Friday, June 5, 2020

Indy Radio: Big Joe Staysniak Suspended At Emmis' WFNI

WFNI Sports host Joe Staysniak has been suspended one week without pay after on-air comments he made this week that included saying black people need to stop being victims, kneeling in front of the American flag is treason, the Confederate flag is not racist and he finds it hard to believe black people are being targeted by police.

"Joe, quite frankly, had statements that were very insensitive to a lot of the folks that are out there fighting for their rights and feel like their voices have not been heard," said Jeff Rickard, Staysniak's co-host on "The Fan Morning Show with Jeff and Big Joe." "And it’s time for them to be heard in the wake of the George Floyd murder."

According to the Indy Star, Staysniak, a former Indianapolis Colts lineman, and Rickard were discussing the protests in Indianapolis and across America that were prompted by the death of Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died last month after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee to Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd lay handcuffed facedown.

Joe Staysniak
Black people need to say, "I'm going to stop being a victim," Staysniak told his listeners on WFNI-1 Wednesday. To do so, "Well, you know, get an education, you know, get a second job," he said.

Rickard read an apology from Staysniak Friday in which he said, "I am really sorry for the pain and hurt that I caused by my comments this week."

Staysniak said he has heard from listeners and coworkers who told him his comments deepened wounds in the community. He said he did more talking than listening and "that was wrong."

In a statement read Friday by Rickard, Jeff Smulyan, CEO of station owner Emmis Communications, said Emmis does not condone or endorse viewpoints that diminish the injustices facing the black community in America. He added that the company stands firmly as an ally with the black community in its fight against racism.

"Emmis takes very seriously its commitment to the communities in which we proudly serve and reaffirms its dedication in rooting out injustices and oppression in any form," Smulyan wrote.

As Staysniak discussed Floyd's death Wednesday, he said the incident and others involving police officers and African Americans aren't a black-white issue. It is an issue with leadership, he said, and who is elected to office.

CNN Ignores Trump Comments On Jobs Report

CNN Screenshot lower right
CNN declined to air President Donald Trump’s speech on the surprising May jobs report Friday, while MSNBC dipped out early. Fox News, ABC News, NBC News, and CBS News carried Trump’s address in full.

CNN and MSNBC have gained a reputation for skipping and cutting off President Trump’s speeches, which had led to Fox News becoming the go-to network to see the speeches in full.

As Trump spoke about airline stocks during his speech on Friday, MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin said, “Alright, we are going to break away from President Trump’s statements there.”

“It’s 10:42 a.m., he’s been talking now for about eleven or so minutes. We’re going to monitor that announcement, that statement that he’s making there,” Mohyeldin announced, adding, “He’s obviously celebrating the jobs report number, he’s also going off on a bit of a tangent, talking about all kinds of other issues and politicizing some of it.”

CNN aired segments about the jobs report and the coronavirus instead of Trump’s speech, according to Mediaite.

The Rundown: Memorial Held For Floyd

The first of a series of memorials for George Floyd was held Thursday in Minneapolis, the city where he died at the hands of police, held at a sanctuary at North Central University.

Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton delivered a fiery eulogy, saying, "George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be is you kept your knee on our neck. It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks!" Sharpton also vowed that the protests that have been taking place across the country will become a movement to, quote, "change the whole system of justice." Floyd's family members also spoke at the service, which included everyone standing silently for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time a police officer kneeled on Floyd's neck.

Floyd's body will now be brought to Raeford, North Carolina, where he was born, for a two-hour public viewing and private service for the family on Saturday. Finally, a public viewing will be held Monday in Houston, where Floyd was raised and lived most of his life. A service will be held on Tuesday at The Fountain of Praise church, followed by a private burial. 

Officers' Bail Set: Bail was set at $750,000 yesterday for three fired Minneapolis police officers who were charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder in Floyd's death. Defense lawyers for two of the officers, Thomas Lane and J. Keung, said they were rookies who'd just recently finished probation. Attorney Earl Gray said Lane had no choice but to follow instructions from Officer Derek Chauvin, who had his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes and has been charged with second-degree murder, saying, "What was my client supposed to do but follow what his training officer said?" Gray also said that Lane asked Chauvin twice if they should roll Floyd over and expressed concern that Floyd might be in delirium.

Protests: Protests continued to be largely peaceful yesterday and last night, even as some demonstrators once more stayed out past the 8 p.m. curfew in New York City, including at a rally in Brooklyn attended by an emotional Terrence Floyd, one of George Floyd's brothers. There was a much reduced law enforcement presence in Washington, D.C, last night compared to the night before, according to AP, and after thousands marched from near the White House to the Lincoln Memorial, the protests ended before dark because of heavy rain. In Buffalo, New York, local TV station WBFO recorded video of an officer shoving an older man who walked up to police, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the pavement and begin bleeding. The city's police commissioner suspended two officers over the incident, and the injured man was reportedly hospitalized and stable.

ACLU Sues Over Clearing of Lafayette Park: The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit yesterday claiming President Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr and other administration officials violated the civil rights of protesters when they were forcefully removed from Lafayette Park near the White House Monday evening by police using smoke bombs and pepper spray before Trump walked to a church to take a photo of him holding a Bible. The suit was filed on behalf of the group Black Lives Matter D.C. and individual protesters. But Barr defended the decision yesterday, saying it was necessary to extend a security perimeter around the White House to protect officers and federal property.

SHOOTER USED 'N-WORD' AFTER ARBERY FATALLY SHOT: A Georgia state investigator testified Thursday that the man accused of fatally shooting 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery referred to him using the "n-word" moments later. Richard Dial, the lead Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent in the case, made the disclosure during a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to go forward with a murder trial of white father and son Greg and Travis McMichael in the killing of Arbery, who was black.

Dial said that the McMichaels and another man who's also charged, William "Roddie" Bryan, used their pickup trucks to chase down and box in Arbery after seeing him running in their neighborhood. Dial said Arbery repeatedly reversed directions and ran into a ditch while trying to escape, and Travis then got out of his truck and confronted him. Travis told police he shot in self-defense after Arbery refused his order to get on the ground. Bryan reported Travis' use of the racial slur, with Dial saying, "Mr. Bryan said that after the shooting took place before police arrival, while Mr. Arbery was on the ground, that he heard Travis McMichael make the statement, "f***ing n***er." Cellphone video recorded by Bryan showed the fatal shooting of Arbery. The McMichaels grabbed guns and chased Arbery in a truck when they saw him running, telling police they believed he looked like a burglar who'd been seen on surveillance video.

CDC HEAD WORRIED PEOPLE NOT FOLLOWING CORONAVIRUS GUIDANCE: CDC Director Robert Redfield said Thursday (June 4th) that he’s, quote, "very concerned" that the agency's message about the coronavirus isn't "resonating" with Americans and that their guidance isn't being followed, as the number of cases in the U.S. continues to rise. In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, Redfield spoke about seeing a lot of people not wearing masks in Washington, D.C., crowds gathering over the Memorial Day holiday and at other recent events, such as the SpaceX launch, and the protests over George Floyd's death. He warned the protests could be a, quote, "seeding event" for more outbreaks, and encouraged people who have protested to get tested for the virus in the next few days. His testimony came as the number of deaths in the U.S. reached more than 108,200 as of early this morning, according to the Johns Hopkins University count, and the total number of confirmed cases was more than 1,872,000.

BREES APOLOGIZES, SAYS 'MISSED THE MARK' WITH KAEPERNICK COMMENTS: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized yesterday for reaffirming his opposition a day earlier to Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protests during the national anthem, saying, "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States." 

BILLS ROOKIE QB APOLOGIZES FOR 'ELITE WHITE PEOPLE' TEXT: Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Jake Fromm, who the Bills chose in the fifth round of the 2020 draft, apologized yesterday after screenshots surfaced of a 2019 text conversation about guns in which he referred to, quote, "elite white people." In the conversation between Fromm and a friend, he texted, "But no guns are good. They need to let me get suppressors. Just make them very expensive so only elite white people can get them haha." Later in the conversation, Fromm said he wasn't an "elite white person." The 21-year-old said in his apology: "I am extremely sorry that I chose to use the words 'elite white person' . . . Although I never meant to imply that I am an 'elite white person,' as later stated in the conversation, there's no excuse for that word choice and sentiment. I stand against racism 100%. I promise to commit myself to being part of the solution in this country." 

NBA'S 22-TEAM RETURN PLAN APPROVED: The NBA's Board of Governors approved a 22-team format for returning to play next month at the Walt Disney World resort in a 29-1 vote yesterday. The Players Association is set to vote today on the plan, under which teams will play an eight-game slate of games starting July 31st at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex that will help determine playoff seeding. There could then be a play-in tournament for the final spot in the Eastern and Western Conferences for the postseason. The teams will stay, practice and play at Disney and the NBA Finals will likely go into October.

UNION: MLB PLAYERS WON'T TAKE ANOTHER PAY CUT, REJECT LEAGUE'S PLAN: Executive Director Tony Clark of the Major League Baseball players union said Thursday that players won't take another pay cut and, quote, "resoundingly rejected" the league's plan to start the coronavirus-delayed season that includes further concessions from players. MLB had proposed an 82-game season with a sliding scale of pay cuts, and the players countered with a 114-game season with no cuts beyond the pro-rated salaries they agreed to in March. The league in turn rejected that, and said there may instead only be some 50 games.

Syracuse Radio: Market Vet Rich Lauber OUT At iHM

Rich Lauber exited WBBS B104.7 FM on Wednesday, after 35 years on Central New York radio. He spent the majority of his career as the afternoon host on B104.7, and had also served as operations manager for iHeartMedia’s Syracuse market, which also includes Y94FM (WYYY-FM), Hot 107.9 (WWHT-FM), NewsRadio 570 WSYR (106.9 FM, 570 AM) and Power 620 (WHEN-AM).

Bob Morgan, president of the Upstate New York market for iHeartMedia, confirmed Lauber’s departure Thursday but did not provide any other detailsm according to

Lauber, 60, started working at Y94FM in early 1985 as a music director and on-air personality. He also became assistant program director of WSYR in 1988, according to The Post-Standard archives, and was named the top DJ that fellow radio broadcasters "aren’t ashamed to listen to” in a 1992 newspaper survey.

Rich Lauber
"(WSYR’s then morning show host Bill Baker) told me he likes to do a show that he’s not ashamed to have his kids listen to,” Lauber said in 1992. “And so I try to do a show that Bill’s kids aren’t ashamed to listen to.”

Lauber was the first afternoon DJ on B104.7 when it first changed format to country music in 1993, back when its call letters were WKFM under NewCity Communications. He held the 3-7 p.m. shift for more than two decades while also serving as program director, during which B104.7 frequently dominated the radio ratings and was nominated multiple times for station of the year at the Country Music Association Awards.

The B104.7 website now lists a DJ named “Shanna” as the afternoon host. Shanna, also known as Quinn, is a Buffalo native who previously co-hosted mornings on WRVE 99.5 The River in Albany; she appears to be recording her B104.7 show from another iHeartRadio station in Milwaukee.

Lauber’s departure comes less than six months after hundreds were laid off at iHeartMedia stations nationwide, including in the Syracuse market. Local DJs axed in January include radio legend Dr. Rick Wright, “The Gospel Powerhouse” host Cora Thomas and program director Kenny Dees at Power 620; morning show host Pat McMahon at Y94FM; DJ/program director Cory “Kobe” Fargo at Hot 107.9; “Big Jim Donovan” (aka Jim Dunagan) at NewsRadio 570 WSYR and Y94FM; and Daryl Thomas Ledyard at B104.7 and Y94FM. Former iHeartMedia Syracuse market manager Rick Yacobush and B104.7 morning hosts Tom Owens and Becky Palmer retired in December.

Research:37% of Adults in Canada Are Monthly Podcast Listeners

Podcast consumption levels in Canada are now equal to those in the United States, according to The Infinite Dial® 2020 Canada, the third annual comprehensive study of digital media behavior in Canada, from Edison Research and Triton Digital®.

Thirty-seven percent of Canadians age 18 and older are monthly podcast listeners (compared with same estimate in the U.S., 37% age 18+) and 24% of those in Canada age 18+ are weekly podcast listeners (compared with 23% of those in the U.S. age 18+).

These and other findings were presented by Tom Webster, Senior Vice President from Edison Research, the leading provider of high-quality survey research about audio in the U.S. and worldwide, and Stephanie Donovan, SVP, Publisher Development North America at Triton Digital, the global technology and services provider to the digital audio and podcast industry, in an online presentation earlier today.

A significant number of Canadian adults are consumers of online audio, as the study found that 70% have listened to some type of online audio in the past month (compared with 67% in the U.S.) and 60% have listened to online audio in the past week (compared with 58% in the U.S.).

Despite these high online audio reach numbers, online audio has not yet made its way into the car for most Canadians. Of those in Canada age 18+ who have driven or ridden in a car in the last month, 18% have listened to online audio in-car, compared with 33% of those in the U.S. Fifty-seven percent of adults in Canada use AM/FM radio most often as their in-car audio source while 25% use owned music (including owned digital files) most often in-car, followed by SiriusXM at 7%, online audio at 4% and podcasts at 4%.

Sixty-nine percent of adults in Canada have listened to AM/FM radio in the past week, and 14% of adults in Canada have listened to AM/FM radio online in the past week.

Regarding smart speaker ownership, the study found that 26% of those in Canada age 18+ own at least one smart speaker, and of those owners, 42% own two or more devices.

According to Tom Webster, Senior Vice President at Edison Research, “We observed some strong gains in many of our key audio metrics, from podcasting to smart speaker ownership. Canada is amongst the leaders in the world in terms of digital audio consumption.”

"We are proud to once again unveil the latest insights and trends around media usage and consumption in Canada,” said Stephanie Donovan, SVP, Publisher Development North America at Triton Digital. “Broadcast radio listeners remain loyal to the brand, but with one in five Canadians having listened to broadcast radio online in the last month, it’s clear the technology through which they choose to consume is changing.”

Other key The Infinite Dial® 2020 Canada findings include:
  • At-home is where most Canadians have consumed a podcast. Eighty-one percent of podcast listeners in Canada age 18+ have listened to a podcast at home and 40% have listened in a car/truck
  • 80% of adult Canadian podcast consumers listen to all or most of a typical podcast episode
  • Half of adult podcast listeners in Canada have listened to a podcast from a public radio producer
  • 14% of those in Canada age 18+ own a Google Home smart speaker, 11% own an Amazon Alexa, and 3% own an Apple HomePod
  • The dominant brand of online audio is Spotify, with 28% of Canadian adults listening to Spotify in the past month, compared with Apple Music at 13% and Google Play Music at 11%. Of those who use various online audio brands, 37% say they use Spotify most often.

The Infinite Dial® survey, conducted in the first quarter of 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic, is a high-quality telephone survey and uses a nationally representative survey of 1,076 people in Canada age 18 and older. The sample is a random probability telephone sample, comprised of both mobile phones and landlines. The data is weighted to 18+ population figures.

Cable TV News Ratings: CNN On A 6-Day Demo Win

As protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd continued through the week, CNN hit a major ratings milestone: On Wednesday, the network notched its sixth day in a row in the top spot among the cable news channels for total day and primetime viewers in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54.

This is the first time CNN has topped those viewership groups in 19 years, since the post-9/11 news cycle.

According to The Wrap citing Nielsen ratings, from Friday, May 29 to Wednesday, June 3, CNN beat Fox News and MSNBC in the demo in total day ratings, measuring from 6 a.m. ET to 6 a.m. ET. Due to data availability, Wednesday’s numbers were measured from 6 a.m. ET to 3 a.m. ET.
  • Friday, brought in 668,000 average total-day demo viewers compared to Fox News’ 460,000 and MSNBC 253,000. 
  • Saturday, CNN had 763,000 average demo viewers while Fox News saw 559,000 and MSNBC saw 243,000. 
  • Sunday brought CNN 680,000 average viewers from 25 to 54, while Fox News got 503,000, and MSNBC got 267,000. 
  • Monday, CNN had 712,000 total-day demo viewers on average while Fox News grabbed 612,000 and MSNBC had 316,000. 
  • Tuesday, the total for CNN’s key demo viewers was 596,000 while for Fox News it was 507,000 and MSNBC it was 301,000. 
  • Finally, on Wednesday, CNN’s average total-day viewership count in that all-important demo stood at 614,000, up from Tuesday’s total. Fox News and MSNBC also saw increases over Tuesday with 508,000 and 304,000 average viewers, respectively.

Road Trips Ruled Out for MLB Broadcast Crews

Whenever Major League Baseball returns this season, at least half of all game broadcasts will be done remotely, according to

Bruce Levine of WSCR 670 The Score reports MLB has informed announcers (both TV and radio) that they will not travel this season, and will instead broadcast road games remotely.

Several networks have experimented with remote broadcasts in recent years, particularly with international play. ESPN has been broadcasting Korea Baseball Organization games remotely the last few weeks.

It can be a bit awkward at times, and it's harder for announcers to talk to players to get background information for a story, but by and large remote broadcasts work just fine.

All MLB announcers( TV and radio) have been told they will be doing all 2020  road games from a  local broadcast studio or home ballpark with monitors as their guide.'s Bob Klapisch reports the Yankees are considering broadcasting all their games remotely this season. YES Network television broadcasts would be conducted at the network's studios in Connecticut, and WFAN radio broadcasts would be done at their studios in Manhattan. The only exception might be a television field reporter at the ballpark.

"[Major League Baseball] would like to have as few people inside the Stadium as possible," YES Network executive John Filippelli told Klapisch.

Broadcasters typically travel with the team and reducing the size of the traveling party makes it safer for everyone. Also, because announcers tend to be older (retired players, etc.), many are at heightened risk of serious complications from COVID-19. It only makes sense to limit their travel and reduce risk. 

NY Times Backtracks On 'Troops' Op-Ed Piece

With its editorial staff in open revolt, The New York Times backtracked on its support of a controversial op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that called for troops to be introduced to squash Americans protesting police brutality and the murder of George Floyd.

After first defending its decision to publish the editorial, The Times is now saying that it undertook a “review” following scathing blowback from its own ranks. It has now determined that the op-ed didn’t meet its standards. In fact, the paper concedes the inflammatory article was published without the editorial page editor James Bennet having read it, The NY Post reports.

James Bennet
The Op-Ed pieces has been scrubbed from the Times' website.

“We’ve examined the piece and the process leading up to its publication,” Eileen Murphy, a Times spokeswoman, said in a statement. “This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards. As a result, we’re planning to examine both short-term and long-term changes, to include expanding our fact-checking operation and reducing the number of Op-Eds we publish.”

The Times’ Publisher A.G. Sulzberger has also vowed to change the process as a result, according to a report in The Times.

Earlier in the day, Bennet himself defended the op-ed’s publication while conceding it might have been a mistake.

“It would undermine the integrity and independence of The New York Times if we only published views that editors like me agreed with, and it would betray what I think of as our fundamental purpose — not to tell you what to think, but to help you think for yourself.”

The NewsGuild, the union that represents over 1,200 rank-and-file journalists at The Times, countered that publishing the piece promoted hate and endangered the papers’ own reporters in the field. More than 800 staff members signed a letter protesting its publication, The Times has reported.

Bennet, in turn, admitted he believed the union had a point, concluding, “I know that my own view may be wrong.”

Journalists Stage Walkout At Philly Inquirer

Journalists at the Philadelphia Inquirer staged a partial walkout Thursday in outrage at a headline over the George Floyd protests that twisted the name of the group Black Lives Matter to read, “Buildings Matter, Too.”

“On June 4, we’re calling in sick and tired,” stated a letter signed by at least 44 “Journalists of Color of The Philadelphia Inquirer.”

“Sick and tired of pretending things are OK,” added the letter, tweeted by many of those stating they were staying home in protest. “The carelessness of our leadership makes it harder to do our jobs, and at worst puts our lives at risk.”

Philly Inquirer newsroom
The headline — comparing the vandalism to buildings to the international outrage sparked by deaths in police custody — appeared on Page 12 of Wednesday’s print edition.

“We should not have printed it,” the paper’s editors wrote in an “apology to our readers and Inquirer employees” late Wednesday, conceding the headline was “deeply offensive.”

“We’re sorry, and regret that we did,” continued the apology, signed by Editor Gabriel Escobar, Managing Editor Patrick Kerkstra and Executive Editor Stan Wischnowski.

WaPo Burns Owner Bezos On charitable Giving

All the money in the world apparently can’t buy you favorable press in your own paper, according to Mediaite.

On Thursday, the Washington Post took a shot at its owner, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, by calling attention to his charitable giving — or relative lack thereof.

In a feature for the Post’s style section examining the charitable contributions of 50 of the richest Americans, writers Roxanne Roberts and Will Hobson reported that their publicly announced donations since the Covid-19 outbreak add up to less than .001 percent of their combined worth.

Using the figure of $97,300 as the median net worth of the average American household, the Post’s study found that Bezos has given the equivalent of less than a hundred bucks.

Union Files Harassment Complaint Against NBC

Gabrielle Union has filed a harassment complaint against NBC and Simon Cowell on Thursday after claiming NBC’s entertainment chief Paul Telegdy tried to silence her reports of racism. She has previously accused NBC and “AGT” producers Syco and Freemantle of axing her as a judge on the TV hit after she made complaints of racism on set.

Gabrielle Union
In documents filed by Union’s attorneys with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, exclusively obtained by Page Six, Union’s legal team drew in some of the network’s biggest stars into the complaint, calling the network “a snake pit of racial offenses.”

The filing accused NBC of hiring Hough as a judge alongside Union despite her “widely publicized scandal for personally appearing in blackface.” It stated: “Combining someone who so openly wore blackface (Hough) with someone who is black and regularly advocates on behalf of minorities (Union) should have at least alerted Telegdy that this could cause Union to experience some trepidation or concern about being unprotected from racially insensitive individuals while working as a judge on AGT… Telegdy’s decision to hire Hough has since proven to be a reflection of NBC’s true feelings about the African American community and blackface.”

It also claimed that failing to stop Cowell from smoking cigarettes inside after she complained meant that NBC had “different rules for white males.” We reported that Cowell started smoking outside after Union complained.

Page Six is told that the findings of the external report concluded that Union’s complaints were not a factor in the decision to let her go.

Indeed, the investigators are believed to have cited a decrease in ratings, lack of chemistry between the judges and Union’s performance as the reason for her departure.

However, the documents filed by Union claimed that the steps NBC and “AGT” producers took to silence the star — and to cover up racial discrimination on the set — “[stand] in stark contrast to the current worldwide efforts to eradicate racism through the Black Lives Matter protests and movement.”

In a statement, NBC Universal said: “The allegation that anyone involved in this process threatened Ms. Union is categorically untrue. We took Ms. Union‘s concerns seriously and engaged an outside investigator who found an overarching culture of diversity on the show. NBCUniversal remains committed to creating an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect. ”

MN Radio: Twin Cities 'Night of Light' Set For Friday

The Minnesota Broadcasters Association announces that on Friday, June 5, 2020, all Twin Cities commercial radio stations will join broadcast outlets from across the state to lead the people of the Twin Cities region in showing their support for each other through “Twin Cities Night of Light”.

The Minnesota Broadcasters Association and local broadcasters encourage all Twin Cities residents to participate in the “Twin Cities Night of Light” on Friday night by simultaneously turning on their home porch lights and car headlights parked in driveways from 10:00pm to 11:00pm.

“Twin Cities Night of Light” is a community-wide effort to shine a light on the region’s wish for unity, healing and hope, by showing neighbors and the world-at-large that Minnesotans care about one another and seek to move forward in a positive and united way.

Wendy Paulson, President of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association, said: “Minnesota’s broadcasters proudly serve our communities. The Twin Cities Night of Light is a symbol, a unifying way for our communities to show support for one another and get one step closer to healing.”

R.I.P.: Steve Priest, Co-Founder of The Sweet

Steve Priest 1948-2020
Steve Priest, the bassist and co-founder of the U.K. band Sweet, died Thursday at the age of 72, a bandmate confirmed on Facebook. No cause of death was revealed.

Priest, who was born in England and lived in Los Angeles, had been performing with his own edition of Sweet in recent years. The earlier and most-remembered version, also known as The Sweet, had its greatest success during Britain's glam rock wave in the 1970s, recording such hits as "Ballroom Blitz," "Little Willy" and "Love Is Like Oxygen."

Andy Scott, guitarist and now the last surviving member of the core quartet from the ’70s, confirmed the news Thursday on The Sweet band's Facebook page in a statement that included high praise for Priest's musical skills.

R.I.P.: George Hamberger, Former Buffalo Radio Personality

Former Buffalo radio personality George C. Hamberger died May 29 after a three-year struggle with multiple myeloma.  He was 74.

George Hamberger 1946-2020
The Buffalo News reports Hamberger first took to the air in 1968 on WYSL-FM and was a full-time deejay for more than 20 years. In recent years, he continued to be heard as a regular guest on WBEN’s Morning Show, providing his perspective on real estate and development.

Returning to Buffalo after college , he was doing marketing with WYSL-AM and its simulcast FM station, which then had studios on the top floor of the Statler Hotel, when one of the FM disc jockeys called in sick.

“The station manager said, ‘You have a nice voice. Why don’t you fill in on the FM?’ ” he recalled recently. “I was on from 6 to 9 that night. Back then, FM was really not a factor, but to keep the license straight with the FCC, they had to separate the programming three hours a day and they needed somebody to come in and play the songs.”

Hamberger said that he and other deejays soon convinced the general manager to give them free rein on FM. One of his claims to fame was that he was the first to spin Led Zeppelin on the radio in Buffalo.

The station became popular, started broadcasting in stereo and was renamed WPHD-FM. He was host of the afternoon drive show.

He was lured to WGR in 1971 and hosted the morning drive show on its FM station before it became 97 Rock. Three years later, WBEN, wanting to attract younger listeners, offered him its afternoon drive program. He had built up ratings when, in 1976, a radio consultant offered him a morning drive program on the West Coast. He turned it down.

Hamberger took over an afternoon shift at WKBW radio, which at that time shared its studios on Main Street with WKBW-TV.

His stint at WKBW ended in a highly publicized flap over a double entendre. It was a comment he made after a commercial for the Dodge Aspen.

“I said, ‘I’ve always appreciated a good-looking As ... pen,’ ” he said. “When I got fired, it made all the papers. People thought it was just a promotional stunt.”

He soon was back on the air at WBEN, which was under new ownership, and was featured after broadcasts of Buffalo Bills football games. He then went to Toronto, where he did the afternoon drive show on CFTR and bought a house there.

In 1983, he came back to Buffalo to be morning host on WGR-AM and turned down a chance in the mid-1980s to replace shock jock Howard Stern on WNBC in New York City. He left WGR in 1987, but returned for a second stint from 1989 to 1991.

After launching a career in real estate, he continued to do radio. In the late 1990s, he hosted Saturday mornings on WHTT-FM.

June 5 Radio History

➦In 1910...Radio, TV character actor Herb Vigran was born in Cincinnati.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1939, and with his unique voice was frequently cast in scores of network radio dramas and variety shows, performing with the likes of Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Jimmy Durante.

He appeared in more than 350 TV shows and bigscreen films, most notably in Dragnet, Gunsmoke and I Love Lucy.

He died of complications from cancer Nov. 29 1986 at age 76.

➦In 1956...Elvis Presley appeared on The Milton Berle Show, causing a national uproar with his hip-swiveling performance of "Hound Dog. When Presley appeared next on Ed Sullivan’s show on CBS TV, he was pictured only from the waist up.

➦In 1973…following news that the American Red Cross had run out of money as a result of aid efforts for recent natural disasters, Gordon Sinclair of CFRB in Toronto recorded what would become his most famous radio editorial, "The Americans." While paying tribute to American success, ingenuity, and generosity to people in need abroad, Sinclair decried that when America faced crisis itself, it often seemed to face that crisis alone.

At the time, Sinclair considered the piece to be nothing more than one of his usual items. But when U.S. News & World Report published a full transcript, the magazine was flooded with requests for copies. Radio station WWDC-AM in Washington, D.C., started playing a recording of Sinclair's commentary with "Bridge Over Troubled Water" playing in the background. Sinclair told the Star in November 1973 that he had received 8,000 letters about his commentary.

With the strong response generated by the editorial, a recording of Sinclair's commentary was sold as a single with all profits going to the American Red Cross. "The Americans (A Canadian's Opinion)" went to No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100, making the 73-year-old Sinclair the second-oldest living person ever to have a Billboard U.S. Top 40 hit.

A transcript of the commentary was also recorded by Byron MacGregor, news director of Windsor, Ontario, radio station CKLW-AM Windsor-Detroit, and it became an even bigger hit in the U.S., climbing to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sinclair was said to be annoyed by MacGregor's recording, which was released as a single before Sinclair's authorized version. 

➦In 1977…DJ Charlie Van Dyke did his last show on 93KHJ, Los Angeles.

➦In 1982…DJ Cousin Brucie returned to New York City Radio on WCBS 101.1 FM.

➦In 1998...actress Jeanette Nolan died following a stroke at age 86.  During the golden age of radio she played a variety of characters on such programs as “The March of Time”, “Cavalcade of America“, “The Court of Missing Heirs”, “The Adventures of Mister Meek”, “Life Begins” and “Manhattan at Midnight”.  She appeared in more than 300 television shows, including “Perry Mason” (1957), “I Spy” (1965), “MacGyver” (1985), “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (1955), and as a regular on “The Richard Boone Show” (1963) and “The Virginian” (1962).
Ronald Reagan
➦In 2004...Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer's disease at age 93.  In the '30s, Reagan held jobs as a radio announcer at several radio stations. While at  WHO radio in Des Moines he was  an announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games. His specialty was creating play-by-play accounts of games using only basic descriptions that the station received by wire as the games were in progress.

While traveling with the Cubs in California in 1937, Reagan took a screen test that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers studios. He spent the first few years of his Hollywood career acting in B-grade movies, in the '50s and early '60s, he hosted Death Valley Days & GE Theatre on TV, and who 1n 1980 was elected the 40th President of the U-S.

➦In 2013…Radio personality Don Bowman died at age 75.  He was original host of the syndicated American Country Countdown from 1973 to 1978, During his career, he was a personality at  KDEO-San Diego, KEWB-Oakland-San Francisco, KDWB-Minneapolis-St. Paul, WKDA-Nashville, KRZK-Branson.

Amanda Crew is 34
  • Actor-singer Bill Hayes (“Days of Our Lives,” “Your Show of Shows”) is 95. 
  • News correspondent Bill Moyers is 86. 
  • Country singer Don Reid of the Statler Brothers is 75. 
  • Guitarist Fred Stone of Sly and the Family Stone is 73. 
  • Singer Laurie Anderson is 73. 
  • Country singer Gail Davies is 72. 
  • Financial expert Suze Orman (“The Suze Orman Show”) is 69. 
  • Drummer Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden is 68. 
  • Jazz drummer Peter Erskine (Steps Ahead, Weather Report) is 66. 
  • Saxophonist Kenny G is 64. 
  • Singer Richard Butler of Psychedelic Furs is 64. 
  • Actress Beth Hall (“Mom,” ″Mad Men”) is 62. 
  • Actor Jeff Garlin (“The Goldbergs,” ″Curb Your Enthusiasm”) is 58. 
  • Actor Ron Livingston (“Sex and the City,” ″The Practice”) is 53. 
  • Singer Brian McKnight is 51. 
  • Musician Claus Norreen (Aqua) is 50. 
  • Actor-singer Mark Wahlberg is 49. 
  • Actor Chad Allen (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”) is 46. 
  • Bassist P-Nut of 311 is 46. 
  • Actress Navi Rawat (“Numb3rs”) is 43. 
  • Actress Liza Weil (“How To Get Away With Murder,” ″Gilmore Girls”) is 43. 
  • Bassist Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy is 41. 
  • Guitarist Seb Lefebvre of Simple Plan is 39. 
  • Actress Chelsey Crisp (“Fresh Off The Boat”) is 37. 
  • Actress Amanda Crew (“Silicon Valley”) is 34. 
  • Musician Harrison Mills of Odesza is 31. 
  • Musician DJ Mustard is 30. 
  • Actress Sophie Lowe (“Once Upon A Time In Wonderland”) is 30. 
  • Actor Hank Greenspan (“The Neighborhood”) is 10.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

SiriusXM CEO Expects Self-Pay Subscriber Gains

Jim Meyer
SiriusXM expects to grow its self-pay subscriber base in the current second quarter despite headwinds from the novel coronavirus pandemic, CEO Jim Meyer said on Thursday during the audio entertainment giant's virtual annual shareholder meeting.

According The Hollywood Reporter, Meyer expects self-pay subscriber additions for the quarter to be "positive," while analysts have recently estimated self-pay subscriber losses of around 200,000 for the period. B. Riley FBR analyst Zack Silver in a Thursday report, which was published before the meeting, forecast SiriusXM would lose 148,000 self-pay subscribers in the second quarters and 458,000 paid promotional subscribers.

In the first quarter of the year, with the second half of March hit by the pandemic, SiriusXM added 69,000 self-pay customers, down from 131,000 in the year-ago period, while losing 212,000 promotional subs. That meant it ended March with more than 34.8 million subscribers, including more than 30 million self-pay users.

Meyer in his prepared remarks said the company has "maintained a very strong" level of liquidity, "and I have no concerns here." He cited SiriusXM's strong free cash flow and reductions on spending in such areas as hiring, highlighting that the firm plans to continue paying its dividend and restarted stock buybacks after its first-quarter earnings call.

Hit hardest and earliest by the pandemic was digital audio advertising, Meyer said, calling April "difficult," while May was "certainly better than April" thanks to "some more stability." While his team was encouraged by how June is looking, he said visibility remains limited and ad cancellations higher than usual. "Every media company has been hit in the ad sales area," he said. "We were no exception."

Miami Radio: Line-Up Unveiled For Hits 97.3 FM

Cox Media Group’s WFLC HITS 97.3 announced today its relaunch with a new station line-up and director of branding and programming for Miami’s Top 40 radio station.

The relaunch includes “The SoFlo Morning Show” hosted by veteran afternoon drive host, Kimmy B, along with resident DJ and night show host, Al P, and weekend warrior Kelbin Live. The dynamic trio represents all facets of South Florida, bringing new swag and sass to the South Florida morning commute.

Afternoons will now be anchored by South Florida native and WFLC’s Music Director, Dia Ryan, who will get listeners through their afternoon with a music soundtrack full of hits while keeping them updated on what’s happening in pop culture. Nights become extra spicy with the newest member of the HITS 97.3 on-air team, Carolina Calix, a Miami native who grew up in Little Havana.

“The entire HITS 97.3 on-air team represents the passion, culture and soul of South Florida,” said Jill Strada, Director of Operations, who launched the station in 2014. “HITS 97.3 will continue to serve our community while staying on the cutting edge of everything pop culture. HITS 97.3 had its South Florida facelift and is now ready to show off its new glow!”

HITS 97.3 temporarily changed its name to “Quarantine Radio” while on-air talent broadcasted live from home during the COVID-19 crisis. The station hosted several viral events including Happy Hour, Brunch, and Bootcamp Workouts with their listeners before taking a pause before the relaunch. HITS 97.3 will continue to serve as the pop culture voice of South Florida, and to showcase local talent connecting with listeners through traditional airwaves, on their smart speakers, and via social media.

Ian Richards, who is relocating from Michigan, will begin as the new Director of Branding and Programming for WFLC starting in July.

“Ian is a smart, passionate and competitive programmer,” added Strada. “I feel confident he is going to tackle Miami’s competitive Top 40 market and lead HITS 97.3’s talented on-air team to number one!”

“I’m grateful for this opportunity in Miami and want to thank Ralph Renzi, Jill Strada, Tim Clarke, Steve Smith and Jeremy Rice,” said Richards. “I can’t wait to work with this amazing Cox Media Group team and help take HITS 97.3 to the next level.”

Forbes: Kylie Jenner Tops Highest Paid Celeb List

Oprah Winfrey returned to the Forbes list of top-earning celebrities this year landing at No. 91 with estimated earnings of $37 million before taxes and fees, thanks mostly to a lucrative Apple TV+ deal.

Winfrey’s return to the small screen landed her back on the Celebrity 100, which tracks annual earnings for performers, athletes and other front-of-the-camera stars. The nine-figure deal with Apple—the actual number has never been revealed—put her back in the mix as a performer and brought her an estimated $10 million this year, with a much larger payout coming later in the deal. The rest of her earnings are mostly made up of profits from television network OWN—she owns a 25% stake—payments from WW WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and her deal with Hearst to produce O, The Oprah Magazine. Winfrey has a net worth of $2.6 billion.

Since Winfrey ended her eponymous talk show in 2011, she has largely stayed away from major on-screen projects, in part due to limitations set by a contract with Discovery, the majority owner of OWN. There was her OWN interview show Super Soul Sunday, a stint on 60 Minutes, and roles in films The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and A Wrinkle in Time, but she worked mostly as an executive for her investments—including WW and OWN—and her philanthropy.

Winfrey signaled things were changing in June 2018, when she signed a multiyear deal with Apple TV+ to both create and appear in content, returning to a camera-ready role with Oprah’s Book Club. The Apple streaming service has aired four episodes of the show, an extension of her popular book club, including interviews with authors like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jeanine Cummins, whose novel American Dirt has been criticized by the Latinx community. In March she debuted Oprah Talks, a 12-episode interview series about the coronavirus, hosting guests like Idris Elba and frontline doctors to help explain the virus and its effects.

Check out The Top 20:

#1 Kylie Jenner – $590 million
#2 Kanye West – $170 million
#3 Roger Federer – $106.3 million
#4 Cristiano Ronaldo – $105 million
#5 Lionel Messi – $104 million
#6 Tyler Perry – $97 million
#7 Neymar – $95.5 million
#8 Howard Stern – $90 million
#9 LeBron James – $88.2 million
#10 Dwayne Johnson – $87.5 million

#11 Rush Limbaugh – $85 million
#12 Ellen DeGeneres – $84 million
#13 Bill Simmons – $82.5 million
#14 Elton John – $81 million
#15 James Patterson – $80 million-
#16 Stephen Curry – $74.4 million
#17 Ariana Grande – $72 million
#18 Ryan Reynolds – $71.5 million
#19 Gordon Ramsay – $70 million
#20 Jonas Brothers – $68.5 million

Click Here for the full list.

The Rundown: Four Cops Now Charged In Floyd's Murder

The three other police officers who were with Officer Derek Chauvin when he kneeled on George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes were charged yesterday, and the charge against Chauvin was upgraded. Chauvin, who was charged last week with third-degree murder, has now been charged with second-degree murder. He'd also been charged with second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers -- Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, and Tou Thao -- were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. All were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department the day after Floyd's death. 

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office released Floyd's full autopsy report yesterday, which noted he'd tested positive for the coronavirus on April 3rd, but was apparently asymptomatic. A summary released Monday said he'd died of a heart attack while being restrained by officers on May 25th. The first of three memorial services for Floyd will be held this afternoon at North Central University in Minneapolis. Floyd's body will then be brought to Raeford, North Carolina, where he was born, for a two-hour public viewing and private service for the family on Saturday. Finally, a public viewing will be held Monday in Houston, where Floyd was raised and lived most of his life. A service will be held on Tuesday at The Fountain of Praise church, followed by a private burial.

Protests Largely Peaceful: Peaceful protests continued in many cities yesterday and last night, and there didn't appear to be signs of major clashes between protesters and police in New York City, where there had been looting earlier in the week, or in Washington, D.C. A large force that included officers from the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Prisons, and National Guard soldiers were out in the nation's capital yesterday. But the protests and marches by demonstrators were peaceful. There continued to be some protests overseas in support of those in the U.S., including in London, Finland, the Netherlands, Colombia, and in Athens, Greece, where police fired tear gas after protesters outside the U.S. Embassy attacked them near the end of the demonstration.

Esper Against Using U.S. Military: Defense Secretary Mark Esper broke with President Trump yesterday, saying that he is against deploying U.S. military forces to subdue protests that turn violent, which Trump had threatened on Monday. He said the 1807 Insurrection Act, which Trump warned he could invoke, should be used, quote, "only in the most urgent and dire of situations," adding, "We are not in one of those situations now."
President Trump, General Jim Mattis
Mattis Criticizes Trump: Trump's first defense secretary, retired General Jim Mattis, spoke out against the military force threat yesterday n rare public criticism of the president he served before quitting in December 2018. In an essay in The Atlantic, Mattis said, "I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled," and blasted both Trump and Esper for considering the use of active-duty forces, as well as for the use of the National Guard to clear out peaceful protesters at Lafayette Park Monday evening before Trump walked to a church and posed for photos while holding a Bible. Mattis called that an "abuse of executive authority." He said, "Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict -- a false conflict -- between the military and civilian society." He also charged of Trump: "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people -- does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us." Trump tweeted in response that Mattis is, quote, "the world's most overrated General," and said, "Glad he is gone!"

'Boogaloo' Members Charged: Three men alleged to be members of the far-right extremist "Boogaloo" movement were charged by federal prosecutors in Las Vegas with conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism during protests in the city over Floyd's death, as well as with possession of Molotov cocktails. The men, one 23, one 35 and one 40, were arrested Saturday. The Boogaloo movement, whose followers want a second civil war, has been linked to some online posts and protests, and members have reportedly been seen at protests in places including Minnesota, Texas and Philadelphia.

➤STUDY SHOWS HOW MUCH MASK USE, DISTANCING REDUCE CORONAVIRUS TRANSMISSION: A study that used data from 16 countries found how much using a mask and distancing from others reduces the risk of transmitting the coronavirus, providing evidence that the measures really do work. Researchers at Canada's McMaster University found that the risk of transmitting the virus without preventive measures was 17.4 percent, but it fell to 3.1 percent while wearing a face mask or respirator. The risk of transmission in standing less than a meter -- a little over three feet -- from someone without other forms of protection was 12.8 percent, but at more than one meter it was down to 2.6 percent.

There have been more than 107,100 deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. as of early this morning, and more than 1,851,000 confirmed cases. Screenshot
➤BREES FACES BACKLASH FROM OTHER ATHLETES OVER ANTHEM KNEELING PROTESTS: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faced backlash from other athletes yesterday after he said he was opposed to Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protests during the national anthem against police brutality and racial injustice.

Asked during a Yahoo interview amid the current protests following George Floyd's death to revisit Kaepernick's protests, Brees said, "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States." Brees has said he supports the anti-police brutality protests, but doesn't see the anthem as the proper forum for it. 

 Among those posting on social media were an emotional Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, who said in an Instagram video: "Our communities are under siege, and we need help. And what you're telling us is don't ask for help that way. Ask for it a different way. I can't listen to it when you ask that way. We're done asking, Drew. And people who share your sentiments, who express those and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem." San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted, "He's beyond lost." The L.A. Lakers' LeBron James tweeted: "You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free."

➤NBA BOARD OF GOVERNORS TO APPROVE 22-TEAM FORMAT: The NBA Board of Governors intends to approve a league proposal today for a 22-team format to restart the season in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Resort, ESPN reported. The NBA's plan includes 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, eight regular-season games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed, and playoffs. The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences. Teams will begin training in July at team facilities and advance to full training camps in Orlando later that month.

➤MLB REJECTS PLAYERS' 114-GAME PROPOSAL, SAYS MAY JUST BE 50: With Major League Baseball and its players sparring over the plan for a coronavirus-delayed season, MLB yesterday rejected the players' proposal for a 114-game regular season with no additional salary cuts other than prorated salaries they agreed to, and said there may be just 50 games or even less. The owners had last week proposed an 82-game schedule with a sliding scale of player salary cuts. A 50-game schedule would result in players receiving about 30 percent of their full salaries under the prorated deal.

➤AMC DECLARES MASSIVE Q1 LOSSES: AMC Entertainment said it expects to report ever-high losses of between $2.1 billion and $2.4 billion for the first quarter ending in March. “We believe, but cannot guarantee, that the exhibition industry will ultimately rebound and benefit from pent-up social demand for out-of-home entertainment, as government restrictions are lifted and home sheltering subsides. However, the ultimate significance of the pandemic, including the extent of the adverse impact on our financial and operational results, will be dictated by the currently unknowable duration and the effect on the overall economy and of responsive governmental regulations, including shelter-in-place orders of the pandemic and mandated suspension of operations,” the company said in an SEC filing announcing its preliminary earnings and complicated outlook, Deadline reports.

Las Vegas Radio: KYMT to Import The Woody Show For Mornings

KYMT 93.1 The Mountain, World Class Rock, has announced the debut of “The Woody Show,” effective June 8. The top-rated morning show will broadcast weekdays from 5 – 10 a.m. PT.

“The Woody Show” is highly-interactive, socially-engaging appointment radio. Featuring Woody, along with co-hosts Ravey, Greg Gory, Menace and Sebas, “The Woody Show” is described by listeners as “authentic,” “raw,” “unapologetic” and “recess/happy hour on the radio.” In 2016, the popular program was a NAB Marconi Radio Award finalist for “Major Market Personality of the Year,” and it was launched into national syndication by Premiere Networks in 2017. Fans can follow the show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

93.1 The Mountain also announced today that weekday host AD Rowntree will launch a drive time show in the 3 – 7 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday timeslot, effective June 8. The popular Las Vegas personality, who also serves as Assistant Program Director for the station, will continue his recently expanded on-air role in other iHeartMedia markets, including Houston, San Diego, Cincinnati and Tulsa, Okla.

“Joining 93.1 The Mountain is an incredible opportunity for ‘The Woody Show,’” said Woody. “We’ve had a long-distance relationship with Vegas for a long time. It’s consistently one of the Top 5 cities consuming our daily podcast, and as a neighbor market with Los Angeles, we are there A LOT for both business and personal adventures. We owe a great deal of gratitude to Tony Matteo, Glynn Alan, Gene Romano and Kevin LeGrett for going ALL IN with ‘The Woody Show.’”

“We’re seeing incredible growth on 93.1 The Mountain and Woody is a perfect fit for this station and for this city,” said Tony Matteo, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Las Vegas. “We’re excited to bring ‘The Woody Show’ to the ‘Entertainment Capital of The World.’

“AD’s done an outstanding job for us at 93.1 The Mountain in mornings. He brings a fresh rock perspective and unique voice to the format. We’re proud to see his nationwide reach continue to grow and we’re happy that Las Vegas will continue to be his home market.”

WI Radio: LaCrosse Media Sells Off Stations

Mississippi Valley Broadcasters, LLC, d/b/a La Crosse Media Group, has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to sell WQCC-FM, KQEG-FM, and WLFN-AM to Magnum Communications, Inc., d/b/a Magnum.Media.

Dave Magnum
Dave Magnum stated, “A dedicated bunch of folks really stuck together over 14 months to put this puzzle of transactions together. I’ve known Pat Smith for a long time; he’s a multi-talented broadcaster who forged and sustained a very impressive Radio career. Pat and his business partner, Kelly Ramsey, achieved many successes.”

Reid Magnum added, “My late Mom, Lynn, and my Dad started from scratch with a Tomah licensed Construction Permit in the La Crosse market in 1991. My Brother, Ty, and I were both born in La Crosse. My wife, Chelsey, graduated from UW-La Crosse. The region known as ‘God’s Country’ is special to our family in several ways.” 

Pat Smith
Pat Smith, Managing Member of La Crosse Media Group, has been in La Crosse his entire career. He began in 1974 as a part-time deejay while earning his Mass Communications degree at UW-La Crosse. He went on to work as a Program Director, Farm Director, News Reporter/Anchor, Operations Manager, Salesperson, Sales Manager, General Manager, and now minority ownership as Managing Member.

Smith said, “La Crosse has been a great place to raise a family. My wife, Joanie, also works at the stations. Together we learned from Joe Rohrer and Wisconsin Broadcasting Hall of Famer Jean Gitz Bassett how broadcasters can serve their community."  Smith says he will retire after assisting with the transition, focus on his health, and try to keep up with his grandkids.

La Crosse Media Group reported is spinning off Classic Rock WKBH 100.1 FM West Salem/La Crosse WI goes to Educational Media Foundation. And HotAC WLXR 104.9 FM will go to The Salvation Poem Foundation, which operates the regional Christian “Prayz Network” based at 89.3 WEQS Sparta WI.

Warner Music Group Launches IPO

Warner Music Group on Wednesday began selling its stock at $25 a share, marking the largest initial public offering in the U.S. this year.

The L-A times reports the New York-based company, which represents artists such as Ed Sheeran and Cardi B, increased the number of shares in its offering to 77 million, 7 million more than previously announced.

Shares trading under the symbol WMG rose 22% to $30.53 on Nasdaq on Wednesday afternoon.

The IPO signals a rebound in the music business, which has evolved to embrace the streaming revolution brought on by companies such as Spotify.

The IPO comes at a challenging time for the music industry, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many live events canceled or postponed. Music businesses such as Beverly Hills-based concert promoter Live Nation have taken a major hit as concerts and festivals have been scrapped due to the pandemic.

Even before the outbreak, the IPO market for entertainment companies was uncertain. Endeavor, owner of the WME talent agency, last year put off plans for its IPO.

Streaming businesses have weathered the fallout much better than others in the entertainment industry, as people look to amuse themselves at home.

Still, streaming has been affected by many people no longer commuting to work and the industry’s growth has shown signs of slowing down.