Tuesday, January 19, 2021

CBS All-Access ReBranding Starting March 4

ViacomCBS Inc. announced today that its highly anticipated streaming service, Paramount+, will launch in the U.S. on Thursday, March 4, 2021.  The new name will rebrand the company's CBS All-Access streaming service

ViacomCBS will also bring Paramount+ to international markets with initial debuts in Latin America on March 4, 2021; the Nordics on March 25, 2021; and Australia in mid-2021. The CBS All Access service in Canada will be rebranded to Paramount+ on March 4, 2021, and an expanded offering will be available later in the year.

Additionally, the company will host an investor event and issue fourth quarter and full year financial results for the period ending December 31, 2020 on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. The presentation will deliver a comprehensive overview of the company’s streaming strategy, including Paramount+, Pluto TV, and SHOWTIME® OTT.

ViacomCBS revealed last Setpember that CBS All Access would be rebranded Paramount+ in early 2021.. The rebranding is the second, and much bigger, phase of the two-phase expansion of CBS All Access, which first launched in 2014 and was among the earliest entrants in the streaming space. In July, All Access added more than 3,500 episodes from Viacom networks BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Smithsonian Channel, along with a smaller redesign that incorporates hubs for the Viacom networks.

Paramount+ will heavily increase upon CBS All Access’ original series output, with projects like a revival of BET’s “The Game,” a reimagined “Behind the Music,” a 10-episode limited series about the making of “The Godfather,” titled “The Offer,” an “iCarly” revival, a “Flashdance” TV series and more, as well as original films.

Chicago Radio: Charmaine Bey Expands Duties At WGCI-FM

Charmaine Bey
iHeartMedia's WGCI 107.5 FM in Chicago announced today that Charmaine Bey will host “Inside The Midday with Charmaine Bey.”  “Inside The Midday with Charmaine Bey” will broadcast weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and  features Bey’s electric personality as well as entertainment news, live and local information and various show segments including “Hip Hop/R&B & Throwback Hits,” “The Charmaine Report,” “The Group Chat,” “The Rewind with DJ BG” and “Charmaine’s Last Minute.”

“Charmaine is a tremendous entertainment asset,” said Johnnie D. Glover, Program Director for 107.5 WGCI. “I am looking forward to Charmaine connecting with WGCI listeners both on the air and socially on a star-studded level as our new midday host.”

“Charmaine has built a stellar entertainment brand,” said Matt Scarano, President of iHeartMedia Chicago. “We are excited to showcase her brand on a different level with our listeners, advertisers and community in her new role.”

“I am both honored and thrilled to expand my career at Chicago’s 107.5 WGCI,” said Bey.

“Radio has long been a dream of mine, and with the help of my iHeartRadio family, my dreams are now a reality. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to iHeart for initiating my career in radio four and a half years ago, and even more so for this opportunity. I couldn’t be more excited.”

Bey joined 107.5 WGCI in 2016 while also holding a lead role in the VH1 reality television series “Black Ink Crew: Chicago.” She has cultivated a mass following across all of her social media platforms that has led her to work with top established brands. Bey is a seasoned radio personality whose credits include substantive interviews with artists including the late Nipsey Hussle, 2 Chainz, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, H.E.R., G Herbo, Bibby, Yo Gotti, and Jennifer Hudson. Before launching her entertainment career, she worked for CBS and Groupon. Bey is a Louisiana native and a graduate of Howard University.

Hartford Radio: Brian Shactman New Morning Co-Host At WTIC-AM

Entercom has announced the addition of Brian Shactman as morning show co-host for News/Talk WTIC 1080 AM in Hartford. Shactman will join co-host Ray Dunaway on “Mornings with Ray and Brian,” weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET, effective immediately.

“I’m excited to welcome Brian back to Connecticut to join our morning show program alongside Ray Dunaway,” said Stephanie Perl, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Hartford. “He has a proven track record of entertaining and capturing his audience, and his energy will be a great addition to our show.”

Brian Shactman
“I have been listening to Ray for years, and WTIC is always my first stop when I get in the car,” said Shactman. “To now be a part of the WTIC team is an absolute thrill. Connecticut – the whole state – is a community. WTIC is a huge part of that community, and I am excited to help people start their day in this great state.”

Shactman joins Entercom after serving as an anchor for NBC10 Boston and New England Cable News since 2014. He most recently created and hosted “Primary Source,” a nightly political show focusing on the presidential primary and has also anchored weekend evenings on NBC10 Boston since the onset of the pandemic. Prior to that, Shactman held on-air roles for MSNBC, CNBC, NBC owned-and-operated television station in Connecticut, and ESPN. Among his career awards and accomplishments is a 2003 Associated Press Award for his documentary on legendary UConn coach Geno Auriemma, as well as a national Emmy Award nomination in 2012.

Listeners can tune in to 1080 WTIC News Talk (WTIC-AM) in Hartford on air, as well as nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter and Facebook.

Joe Ricketts Is Launching A National News Outlet

Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Joe Ricketts is preparing another venture into the news business, and he’s chosen Omaha as his launching pad.

The Omaha World-Herald reports Ricketts is hiring staff to launch an online national news outlet called Straight Arrow News that he said will do what other outlets aren’t doing — providing news without a political slant.

“I think there’s a gap in the market — there’s no source for unbiased, fact-based news. And I believe there’s a business opportunity there,” he said.

Joe Ricketts
“Some people say you can’t have unbiased news. I want to prove them wrong with Straight Arrow News,” he said.

In the past few weeks, online job advertisements have been posted for a video editor, senior producer, news reporter, and motion graphics designer/producer for Straightarrownews.com. The ads say the endeavor will be “dedicated to unbiased, nonpartisan reporting” and is projected to start in February.

The company was incorporated in Delaware in July. An October filing in New York State lists the company’ address as 9140 West Dodge Road. That is also the address of Hugo Enterprises, the holding company of for-profit and nonprofit endeavors of Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade. His family also owns the Chicago Cubs.

He declined to say how large of a staff he is hiring or when exactly the service will launch, but he said Straight Arrow would initially focus on national news.

When asked about the launch of non-biased news source, Gary Kebbel, a professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said Straight Arrow News is a great name.

“I think most people will say that’s exactly what they want,” Kebbel said, but he’s not convinced that is really, truly what they’re seeking.

People’s attitudes about bias in news, he said, are colored by their own opinions. And people with strong political opinions on the right or left tend to be more passionate about seeking out stories than those in the middle of the spectrum, Kebbel said.

Country Artist Morgan Wallen Tops Billboard's Album Chart

Morgan Wallen

Morgan Wallen broke the record for the most streams by a country album in a week, as country music gets more traction online and becomes a bigger part of overall listening on streaming services, reports The Wall Street Journal.

“Dangerous: The Double Album,” by the mullet-wearing country star from East Tennessee, tops the new Billboard 200 album chart, powered by its 240 million U.S. streams in the week ended Jan. 14. That more than doubles the prior record, 102 million streams, achieved by Luke Combs last October. In its debut week, “Dangerous” also sold 74,000 U.S. copies as a full package, bringing its total to the equivalent of 265,000 in sales, according to MRC Data, formerly Nielsen Music.

“Dangerous,” which was released on Jan. 8 on Big Loud Records and Republic Records, is considered a bid for superstardom by Wallen, whose rapid rise has captured the attention of music-industry watchers. Billboard magazine, the music trade publication, put Wallen on its cover this month. The New Yorker magazine called him “the most wanted man in country.”  Wallen also made headlines when “Saturday Night Live” dis-invited him as musical guest, after he broke Covid-19 protocols, before inviting him again in December.

Wallen’s popularity is a big moment for country music, which historically has lagged behind hip-hop, rock and pop on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Increasingly, more country stars are succeeding thanks in part to streaming, with Sam Hunt, Luke Combs and Gabby Barrett joining streaming success stories like Florida Georgia Line.

The success of Wallen, 27, is fueled in part by a long-standing trend in country music: A sound that evokes classic arena and country rock from the 1970s—say, artists like the Eagles or Bruce Springsteen—but with a Southern accent, and sometimes a hip-hop beat. Other country artists with rock leanings include Chris Stapleton and Eric Church.

Wallen’s debut album, 2018’s “If I Know Me,” had multiple country hits. The follow-up, “Dangerous,” is mainstream country, yet was produced by Joey Moi, who is known for his work with the radio-friendly rock band Nickelback.

One of the reasons for country music’s recent streaming surge is the pandemic, which froze the live-music business. From the initial lockdown to early May, country audio streams in the U.S. surged more than 20%, making it—along with children’s music—an early beneficiary, according to MRC Data. By the end of last year, country saw a roughly 15% spike in streams, compared with pre-pandemic levels, led by artists like Mr. Wallen. That dwarfs the 3% increase across genres overall. Country music remains a laggard—it’s still just 7.5% of all U.S. audio streams—but that is up from 6.9% before Covid-19, a notable gain for the genre.

Social Media: Parler Is Back...Or Not

Parler, the free-speech social network, reappeared with a statement from its chief executive officer on Monday, reports Bloomberg.  The move comes as the website found a way around the bans that took it offline last week.

“Our return is inevitable due to hard work, and persistence against all odds,” CEO John Matze wrote in a new post. “Despite the threats and harassment not one Parler employee has quit. We are becoming closer and stronger as a team.”

The site, which became unavailable after Amazon.com Inc. determined it had violated its terms of service, has found a new company willing to host it, DDoS-Guard Corp. Public data associated with the Parler.com domain name shows that one of the internet servers it directs visitors to is hosted by DDoS-Guard. Another server, specifically for routing Parler.com email but not website content, is an Outlook.com address, operated by Microsoft Corp.

John Matze
DDoS-Guard’s website lists an Edinburgh location for its registered office, though its two owners, Evgenii Marchenko and Aleksei Likhachev, live in Russia, according to documents filed with Companies House.

Parler’s domain name is now registered with Epik Inc., a website services company based in Sammamish, Washington, according to public records made available by internet regulator Icann. Epik is also the domain registrar for Gab, another less restrictive social networking site popular with the far right.

Still, most of the features on Parler.com appeared to remain down early Tuesday, besides statements from Matze and other employees. Members are unable to log in or post messages and the app is still unavailable in the Apple Inc. or Google Play stores.

Parler -- which has less restrictive terms dictating what members can post and was endorsed by some Republican lawmakers and media figures -- was banned from mainstream hosting and app stores after its users were linked to groups supporting rioting at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.

The company had seen a surge in users as Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. banished outgoing President Donald Trump along with users and groups that supported the violence.

R.I.P.: Jimmie Rodgers, '50s-'60s Pop Singer

Singer Jimmie Rodgers 1933-2021

Pop Singer Jimmie Rodgers died Monday night at age 87.

In the late 1950s, Jimmie Rodgers soared from obscurity into the music charts with top 10 hits such as "Honeycomb," "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," and "Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again." But a decade later, a devastating injury nearly silenced the pop-folk singer forever.

Rodgers grew up in Camas, Washington, where he would sing along with the radio as a kid.

Despite being a good student, Jimmie was bored with school studies and went on to enlist in the air force where he served 18 months overseas during the Korean War.

“It was rough and I lost many friends,” he said grimly. “One evening, a buddy asked me to the chow hall, but I had to work. Later that night, some North Koreans crossed the Hann River at the back of the base and killed the men in the hall where I would have been.”

It would be one of several narrow escapes throughout his life. But the war also influenced Rodgers’ civilian career.

In the summer of 1957, he recorded his own version of "Honeycomb", which had been written by Bob Merrill and recorded by Georgie Shaw three years earlier. The tune was Rodgers' biggest hit, staying on the top of the charts for four weeks. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.

Over the following year he had a number of other hits that reached the Top 10 on the charts: "Kisses Sweeter than Wine", "Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again", "Secretly", and "Are You Really Mine". 

Other hits include "Bo Diddley", "Bimbombey", "Ring-a-ling-a-lario", "Tucumcari," "Tender Love and Care (T.L.C)", and a version of Waltzing Matilda as a film tie-in with the apocalyptic movie On the Beach.

Wake-Up Confidential: Biden to Propose Path To Citizenship

President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil immigration legislation on his first day in office that would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. If passed, it would amount to a major reversal from President Trump's restrictive immigration policies and mass deportations, but its prospects in a Congress that is narrowly divided in both the House and Senate would be uncertain. 

➤RAPPER LIL WAYNE, EX-NYS ASSEMBLY SPEAKER REPORTEDLY ON TRUMP'S PARDONS/COMMUTATIONS LIST: President Trump is expected to issue a list of around 100 more pardons and commutations today, and ABC News reported that rap star Lil Wayne and the former powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, are on the list. Lil Wayne pled guilty last month to illegally possessing a loaded handgun while traveling to Florida on a private plane a year earlier. Silver was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to jail last summer. 

It had been reported Sunday that Trump is not likely to issue a pardon for himself, and yesterday's report said he's also unlikely to issue pre-emeptive pardons for his children and other close associates. 

➤BIDEN INAUGURATION TO FEATURE VIRTUAL 'PARADE ACROSS AMERICA': President-elect Joe Biden's inaugural festivities Wednesday won't include the traditional parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., because of the coronavirus, one of several usual events that have been reimagined or canceled due to the pandemic. Instead, there will be a virtual parade, called "Parade Across America," following his swearing-in and a visit to Arlington National Ceremony to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The parade will include performers and other representatives from all 50 states, and the Presidential Inaugural Committee said Monday (January 18th) that it will celebrate the nation's heroes and highlight the diversity, heritage and resilience of the United States. The virtual, livestreamed parade will begin at 3:15 p.m. ET with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris getting a presidential escort to the White House, which will include the University of Delaware Drumline and the Howard University Drumline from Biden and Harris' alma maters, and representatives of every branch of the military, including the U.S. Army Band, a Joint Service Honor Guard, and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard and Fife and Drum Corps. The virtual parade will feature performers and speakers in communities across the country, with participants including: comedian Jon Stewart; musician Nile Rodgers; singer and actress Andra Day; Olympic athletes Nathan Chen, Allyson Felix and Katie Ledecky; and skateboarder Nathan Apodaca, whose Fleetwood Mac TikTok went viral last year.

 ➤CORONAVIRUS DEATHS RISING IN 30 STATES, HAVE PASSED 399,000: Coronavirus deaths are rising in 30 states amid the ongoing winter surge, as the total number of deaths as of early this morning was just over 399,000, according to Johns Hopkins University's data. As hospitals and health care workers are already under severe strain in many states, a new mutated variant from the U.K. is already spreading in the U.S. that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said is about 50 percent more contagious, and the CDC has warned it will likely become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March. While it's not more deadly, the variant can cause more hospitalizations and deaths because it's more contagious. Meanwhile, the vaccine effort is continuing to lag behind expectations, with only about 10.6 million people having received at least one dose, according to federal data, even though about 31.2 million doses have been distributed.

➤RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER NAVALNY ORDERED JAILED FOR 30 DAYS: A judge ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny jailed for 30 days Monday after he'd returned to Russia the day before from Germany and was arrested as soon as he landed in Moscow. Navalny had been recovering in Germany for months after a near-fatal nerve agent poisoning that he charges the Russian government was behind. After the order for his jailing, Navalny's allies called for protests this weekend across the country, and Navalny himself said in a video statement, "Don’t be afraid, take to the streets." Russia's prison service said Navalny had violated probation terms of a suspended sentence on a 2014 money-laundering conviction, which he says is contrived and politically motivated.

➤STUDY: LATTES ARE THE COFFEE DRINK THAT LEAVES THE BIGGEST CARBON FOOTPRINT:  Coffee may help many make it through their days, but a new study finds lattes are the caffeinated beverage that leaves the biggest carbon footprint. University of College London looked at four standard Starbucks orders and compared their carbon footprints. Lattes, which are made with the most milk, had the biggest carbon footprint, followed by cappuccinos, flat whites, and then dairy-free espressos. The researchers note that using non-dairy alternatives would make your drink much more eco-friendly, as would buying your caffeinated beverages from coffeehouses that buy sustainably-sourced coffee beans.

➤MAJOR AIRLINES REVEAL HOW MANY PASSENGERS ARE BANNED FROM THEIR FLIGHTS: Thousands of Americans have made it onto a collection of lists people would rather avoid—the “no-fly” lists of the nation’s major airlines. Upward of 2,730 Americans have been placed on these lists, that prohibit them from flying with a certain carrier. This only applies to U.S. airlines that keep such lists and also share the data, including Alaska (303 on their no-fly list), Delta (over 880), Frontier (over 500), Spirit (432), or United (615). The number does not include any prohibited passengers from American, Hawaiian or Southwest. Both Alaska and United have also confirmed that at least a tenth of their now-banned passengers (so 32 for Alaska and 62 of United’s) had been added since the week of January 4th. This uptick in passengers comes as the TSA increases security scrutiny ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden tomorrow (January 20th).

🏈MAHOMES IN CONCUSSION PROTOCOL: Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes remained in the NFL's concussion protocol Monday after suffering a concussion in the third quarter of the Chiefs' divisional-round win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, forcing him to sit out the rest of the game. With the AFC conference championship game against the Buffalo Bills coming up next Sunday, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid wouldn't speculate yesterday on when Mahomes would be cleared to play. He said, "You just go forward. You have an answer if he’s there and if he’s not there. I can’t tell you an answer from a medical standpoint. I just don’t know." If Mahomes isn't able to play, backup Chad Henne, who came into the game on Sunday for him, would start against Buffalo.

 ⚾METS GM FIRED AFTER REPORT OF TEXTS, LEWD PHOTOS TO FEMALE REPORTER: UPDATE 1/19 9AM: Mets general manager Jared Porter was fired Tuesday after sending graphic, uninvited text messages and images to a female reporter in 2016 when he was working for the Chicago Cubs in their front office.  Earlier report...

The New York Mets released a statement late last night after ESPN reported that the team's new general manager, Jared Porter, send unsolicited texts and lewd photos to a female reporter in 2016 when he was with the Chicago Cubs. Mets President Sandy Alderson said Porter, quote, "acknowledged to me his serious error in judgment, has taken responsibility for his conduct, has expressed remorse, and has previously apologized for his actions." He continued, "We will follow up as we review the facts regarding this serious issue." ESPN reported that the now 41-year-old Porter sent a barrage of texts after meeting the reporter in 2016. The woman initially engaged in conversation with Porter, but stopped after he sent her a lewd photo. Porter continued to send her texts, and then sent an even more explict photo. The reporter responded, "This is extremely inappropriate, very offensive, and getting out of line. Could you please stop sending offensive photos or msg." ESPN said Porter told them last night that the pictures weren't of himself, stating, "Those are like, kinda like joke-stock images."

🏈TENNESSEE FIRES FOOTBALL HEAD COACH PRUITT, NINE OTHERS FOR 'SERIOUS' RULES VIOLATIONS: Tennessee fired football head coach Jeremy Pruitt and nine others yesterday after an internal investigation found what the university Chancellor Donde Plowman called "serious violations of NCAA rules." Tennessee conducted the probe after getting a tip last November about allege recruiting violations. The others fired were two assistants and seven members of the recruiting and support staff. 

🏀FIVE STRAIGHT WIZARDS GAME POSTPONED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS ISSUES: The Washington Wizards' game that was scheduled for Wednesday (January 20th) against the Charlotte Hornets was called off yesterday due to coronavirus issues, their fifth straight game that's been called off. It's also the 14th NBA game overall that's been postponed since January 10th due to players testing positive or contact tracing leading to teams having less than the minimum required number of players. The Wizards had six players test positive late last week and three others were ruled out because of contact tracing.

⚾REPORTS: LESTER AGREES TO ONE-YEAR DEAL WITH NATIONALS: Veteran pitcher Jon Lester has agreed to a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals, according to media reports Monday, pending the results of a physical. The 37-year-old was with the Chicago Cubs for the past six seasons, and went 3-3 in 61 innings and 12 starts last year.

🏡NETS' IRVING BOUGHT HOUSE FOR GEORGE FLOYD'S FAMILY: Former NBA player Stephen Jackson revealed on The Rematch podcast that Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving bought a house for the family of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police last May led to weeks of protests against racism and police brutality. Jackson, who was a close friend of Floyd, said that Irving and other celebrities had reached out to help Floyd's family, stating, "Kyrie Irving bought them a house. Lil Wayne's manager bought them a Mercedes-Benz. Barbra Streisand gave them stock in Disney."

FOX News Channel Launches New Opinion Show

Fox News has lined up six rotating hosts for its new 7 p.m. opinion program aimed at feeding the appetite of conservative viewers in the hour, reports The L-A Times.

The new show called “Fox News Primetime” launched Monday night with “Fox & Friends” morning show co-host Brian Kilmeade, as previously announced. The Times has learned that other names lined up to helm the program are “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo and regular contributors to the network Katie Pavlich, Rachel Campos-Duffy, Mark Steyn and former congressman Trey Gowdy.

A Fox News representative confirmed the upcoming hosts.

The program is being launched as Fox News shakes up its lineup as it prepares to cover the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden and the Republican Party in the post-Trump era.

Fox News is moving “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” which has aired in the 7 p.m. hour since 2017, to 3 p.m. to make way for an opinion show that will be a more compatible lead-in for its conservative hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. MacCallum’s program, which featured newsmaker interviews, was the time period ratings leader in 2020, but slipped to third behind CNN and MSNBC in recent weeks.

Fox News had its largest audience levels in its history in 2020, leading all of cable TV according to Nielsen. But the conservative-leaning network has fallen behind CNN and MSNBC since election day, as more viewers have tuned in to those networks to follow the transition of the new Democratic administration and the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol led by pro-Trump rioters.

Fox News is also seeing some of its viewers sample upstart right-wing TV outlet Newsmax. While the Newsmax audience is a fraction of what Fox News draws, the network does see a pronounced audience lift at 7 p.m. Eastern for its host Greg Kelly, who remains a rabid Trump defender even after the Capitol riots.

A Fox News representative had previously stated the program changes were under discussion since the early fall and are not a response to the recent ratings trends.

Abilene Radio: KTLT Drops Sports Talk for Rock

CUMULUS MEDIA announces that it has launched KTLT 98.1 The Phantom, a new Rock radio station for Abilene, TX’s Rock music fans. 

Previously programmed as a Sports Talk station, 98.1 The Phantom debuted on Friday, January 15th, and fittingly, kicked off at midnight with Metallica’s cover of Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page”. KTLT-FM’s new name, “The Phantom”, is a tribute to local landmark Fort Phantom Hill Lake.

Paula Divello, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Abilene, said: “We are excited to provide Abilene and the Big Country with a brand new Rock station. The Phantom will provide fans with current Rock artists like Shinedown and Disturbed, laced with 90’s and 2000’s mega bands such as Metallica and Foo Fighters. It will be a game changer for local rock fans and our clients.”

GMP Promotes Anny Mansfield To Corporate Research Director

To meet the growing demands of Gen Media Partners (GMP) expanding portfolio of radio rep firms and networks, Anny Mansfield has been appointed to the newly created position of Corporate Research Director. 

Anny Mansfield
Mansfield, who has been with Gen Media Partners since its inception, will build out a company-wide research department and work closely with the company’s sales departments to serve the needs of network and national advertisers. The announcement was made by Gen Media Partners Chief Executive Officer Kevin Garrity.

“I am very pleased that we already had the right person on our team to lead research across Gen Media Partners,” said Garrity. “Anny is exceptional at finding the data to develop marketing strategies that help our account executives deliver compelling stories and solutions about the power of radio to advertisers and their agencies, especially for new business development.”

Mansfield added, “I am excited at the opportunity to work with the sales teams across all our radio repped and network divisions. Audio is experiencing a surge of attention from brand marketers and agency planners and buyers. This is a great time for radio, and I look forward to working with all our divisions.”

Prior to her promotion, Mansfield was Director of Research for GMP, working with client radio broadcasters across General Market and Hispanic National Sales. In her new role, her responsibilities extend to Sun Broadcast Group, the network GMP purchased just over two years ago. Mansfield’s 20+ years in radio research includes previous stints at Katz Media’s Univision National Radio Sales. She had been with McGavren Guild since 2007 when it became part of GMP in 2014.

Here's How Pandemic Impacted Rush Hour Traffic

by Niall McCarthy, Statista

 The 2020 edition of TomTom's Traffic Index has found that the global pandemic brought about a halt to increasing levels of traffic congestion in cities around the world as lockdowns led to a far lower volume of commuters. Out of 416 cities analyzed by TomTom in 57 countries, congestion decreased in 387.

In the United States, Los Angeles and New York were named the most congested cities in 2020, though their traffic levels declined 15 percent and 11 percent, respectively, compared to 2019. The index reveals how the pandemic influenced America's morning and evening rush hours last year with its key findings illustrated on this infographic. In January 2020, morning rush hour congestion grew 1 percent compared to the same month in 2019 with the volume unchanged in the evening.

By April, however, the situation had changed drastically amid a tidal wave of Covid-19 cases and lockdowns. That month, U.S. cities saw 74 percent lower congestion during the morning rush hour than the equivalent month in 2019 while it was 75 percent lower during the evening.

Infographic: How Covid-19 Affected America’s Rush Hour In 2020 | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Morning rush hour congestion in U.S. cities remained 57 percent lower in December 2020 than December 2019 while evening traffic snarls were also down 41 percent. TomTom states that the Covid-19 pandemic could permanently change traffic patterns if society embraces a new shift in mobility and takes the path towards a safer, cleaner, congestion-free future. Increased remote working possibilities and more flexible working hours could drive the transition while eco-friendly traffic choices would cut emissions, slash reliance on fossil fuels and help protect the planet.

Fewer Americans Plan to Host, Attend Super Bowl Parties

COVID-19 kept countless families and friends apart over the winter holidays. Now, many Americans are planning for a socially distanced Super Bowl.

In a Morning Consult poll conducted a month out from Super Bowl LV, which is scheduled to take place Feb. 7 in Tampa, Fla., only 16 percent of U.S. adults said they are likely to host or attend a gathering to watch the NFL’s title game.

Among those who indicated they are likely to watch the game, 24 percent said they will likely do so with a group of people they don’t live with — down from 39 percent in an identical survey last month — with 9 percent saying they are “very likely” to do so. By comparison, 74 percent of likely viewers said they are unlikely to host or attend a gathering, including 49 percent who said it is “not likely at all.”

The share of likely viewers who plan to get together for this year’s Super Bowl is down more than 20 percent from a survey conducted at roughly the same time in 2019 for Super Bowl LIV, which found that about 31 percent of those who expected to watch the game planned to congregate with friends and family for Super Bowl LIV.

Restrictions on social gatherings remain in place across the country, but they vary drastically by state. In the Los Angeles Rams’ home state of California, for example, Gov. Gavin Newsom prohibited get-togethers with anyone outside of one’s household. In Missouri, home of the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs, there are no limits on outings.

January 19 Radio History


➦In 1903..the first Transatlantic Radio broadcast took place. King Edward VII and President Theodore Roosevelt spoke with one another in a coded radio transmission between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Cornwall, England.

➦In 1905...Anne Hummert Schumacher born  (Died  at age 91 – July 5, 1996) was the leading creator of daytime radio serials or soap opera dramas during the 1930s and 1940s, responsible for more than three dozen series.

With her husband Frank she produced some of radio’s most memorable melodramas, including Our Gal Sunday, The Romance of Helen Trent, Mr Keen Tracer of Lost Persons, Betty & Bob, and Backstage Wife.  The Hummerts also produced several simple down-home musical series, like Waltztime and The American Album of Familiar Music. Their “radio factory” produced as many as 125 series, 61 of them soap operas.

➦In 1908...comic singer Ish Kabibble was born Merwyn Bogue in rural Pennsylvania.  He sang and played trumpet with Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge on radio & record in the 30’s and 40’s. His dim witted characterization was said to be a later inspiration for Jerry Lewis. He died June 5, 1994 at age 86.

➦In 1922..Radio, TV Actor Guy Madison born Robert Ozell Moseley( Died at age 74 – February 6, 1996) was an American film, television, and radio actor. He is best known for playing Wild Bill Hickok in the Western television series The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok from 1951 to 1958.  During his career, Madison was given a special Golden Globe Award in 1954 and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

George Klein
➦In 1923...WMC 790 AM in Memphis, Tennessee signed-on. WMC was first owned by The Memphis Commercial Appeal and its call letters reflect the M and C from its owner's initials. In the 1930s, WMC carried the NBC Radio Red Network, while rival WMPS, owned by the Memphis Press-Scimitar, aired the NBC Blue Network. Starting in the 1930s, the station used a riverboat whistle as its sounder, a nod to Memphis' location on the Mississippi River—a practice that continued well into the 1990s.  The station currently airs ESPN and Fox Sports Radio.

In addition to sports talk shows, WMC-AM features longtime Memphis disc jockey George Klein's weekly tribute program to Elvis Presley. Klein and Presley were close friends and confidantes during the latter's lifetime and the former's long stint on WHBQ-AM.

Now, airing sports the license is currently held by Entercom Communications, which it purchased from CBS in September 2006.

➦In 1927...KGRC-AM (now KONO) San Antonio signed-on. KONO is the fourth-oldest radio station in San Antonio, officially signing on in January 1927. KONO began as a hobby for Eugene Roth in a room over his garage in downtown San Antonio. As the broadcasting industry grew, Eugene Roth's son, Jack Roth, began working with his dad, later inheriting the station. At first, KONO was powered at only 100 watts, broadcasting on 1370 kilocycles and having to share time on the air with other stations. It later moved to AM 1400 before relocating to its current home on AM 860.

In February 1947, an FM station was added, KONO-FM at 92.9 MHz.  The FM station later took the call sign KITY. Eugene Roth served as the president of Mission Broadcasting while Jack was the station's general manager.

In the 1950s, KONO's format was country & western music. In 1957, Mission Broadcasting put Channel 12 KONO-TV (now KSAT-TV) on the air. It was San Antonio's third television station, an ABC Network affiliate.

In the 1960s and 70s, KONO, "The Big 86," was one of the leading Top 40 stations in San Antonio. Some of the on air personnel were Howard Edwards, Don Couser, Woody Roberts, Skinny Don Green, Lee 'Baby' Simms, Dave Mitchell, Johnny Shannon, Charlie Scott, Nick St John and Frank Jolley. KONO won national awards in the 60s for its popularity and creativity. In 1965, Bob Pearson and Howard Edwards were selected as two of the top radio personalities in the country. KONO and its sister station KITY, would remain at 317 Arden Grove, attached to the KSAT 12 building, until the early 1990s, when they moved to a location on NE Loop 410.

In the 1970s, KONO and 550 KTSA battled in the Top 40 format. Although KONO's more recurrent-based style frequently played second-fiddle to the more current-oriented KTSA, it continued to do well. The two stations provided a nice 1-2 punch that made WOAI regret its brief flirtation with the top-40 format in the mid-'70s

KONO began the 1980s with the same recurrent-heavy Top 40 format it had in the 1970s but with a softer sound than before. KONO's days as a true contemporary hits station were numbered, as AM Top 40 stations were rapidly losing audience to FM upstarts. KONO began to evolve to a gold-based Adult Contemporary sound while its Top 40 format on KONO-FM replaced the AC format on sister 92.9 KITY.

Today, KONO AM / FM are owned by Cox Media Group.  860 AM airs a 60s & 70s oldies format, while KONO-FM usually leads the market with its Classic Hits format.

➦In 1943...the FCC endorsed Restricted Radio Operator Permits.

➦In 1998...Rockabilly singer Carl Perkins died. He was 65.

➦In 2000...Actress Hedy Lamarr died in Casselberry FL (Born - November 9, 1914). She was also an inventor who was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

At the beginning of World War II, Lamarr and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, intended to use frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers.  Although the US Navy did not adopt the technology until the 1960s, various spread-spectrum techniques are incorporated into Bluetooth technology and are similar to methods used in legacy versions of Wi-Fi.Recognition of the value of this work resulted in the pair being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

➦In 2005...Clear Channel Radio began its rollout of HD Digital Radio Multicasts in 28 Markets.

➦In 2006...Singer Wilson Pickett died. He was 64.

  • Actor Tippi Hedren is 91. 
  • Journalist Robert MacNeil is 90. 
  • Director Richard Lester (“A Hard Day’s Night,” “Superman II” and “III”) is 89. 
  • Actor-singer Michael Crawford is 79. 
  • Actor Shelley Fabares is 77. 
  • Country singer Dolly Parton is 75. 
  • TV chef Paula Deen is 74. 
  • Singer Martha Davis of The Motels is 70. 
  • Singer Dewey Bunnell of America is 69. 
  • Actor Desi Arnaz Jr. is 68. 
  • Actor Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy,” ″Married... With Children”) is 67. 
  • Briana Henry is 29
    Comedian Paul Rodriguez is 66. 
  • Keyboardist Mickey Virtue (UB40) is 64. 
  • Actor Paul McCrane (“ER”) is 60. 
  • Singer Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe is 53. 
  • Singer Trey Lorenz is 52. 
  • Actor Shawn Wayans (“White Chicks,” ″Scary Movie”) is 50. 
  • Singer-guitarist John Wozniak of Marcy Playground is 50. 
  • Actor Drea de Matteo (“Joey,” ″The Sopranos”) is 49. 
  • Comedian Frank Caliendo (“Frank TV,” ″Mad TV”) is 47. 
  • Actor Drew Powell (“Gotham”) is 45. 
  • Actor Marsha Thomason (“Las Vegas”) is 45. 
  • Actor Bitsie Tulloch (“Grimm”) is 40. 
  • Actor Jodie Sweetin (“Full House”) is 39. 
  • Actor Shaunette Renee Wilson (“The Resident”) is 31. 
  • Actor Briana Henry (“General Hospital”) is 29. 
  • Actor Logan Lerman (“Percy Jackson” films) is 29. 
  • Rapper Taylor Bennett is 25. 
  • Actor Lidya Jewett (“Hidden Figures”) is 14.

Monday, January 18, 2021

FCC Warns Ham, CB Radio Operators

The Federal Communications Commission has issued an unusual weekend enforcement warning that boils down to this: Don’t use ham radio, CBs, FRS walkie-talkies or other personal radio services to plan crimes.

According to Radioworld, this comes as federal and local government and law enforcement officials around the country report concerns over possible terrorist attacks from disgruntled Trump supports enraged by the outcome of the election and stoked by the recent attack on the Capitol.

The Enforcement Bureau “has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities,” the FCC said in a statement issued Sunday morning.

“The Bureau recognizes that these services can be used for a wide range of permitted purposes including speech that is protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution,” it said. But it continued in bold font: “Amateur and Personal Radio Services, however, may not be used to facilitate crimes.”

The warning applies to ham radio operators and users of services like Citizen’s Band, Family Radio Service walkie-talkies and General Mobile Radio service.

Specifically, amateur licensees are reminded that they are prohibited from transmitting “communications intended to facilitate a criminal act” as well as “messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.” Users in the Personal Radio Services like CBs are prohibited from using them “in connection with any activity that is against federal, state or local law.”

NuVoodoo Research Webinar To Reveal New Data

The dates have been for the first NuVoodoo webinars of the New Year, kicking off on Thursday, February 11 at 1 PM Eastern. There are four opportunities to be on the livestreamed webinar so you can get answers to your questions on the spot; register at nuvoodoo.com/webinars.

The team at NuVoodoo is calling the webinar “How to Get Your Ratings From Here to Vaccinated,” as stations and the listeners and advertisers they serve are adapting … while we all wait for vaccines to allow lives to trend back toward normal. Again we’ve interviewed nearly 3,500 14-54’s across the tier of PPM markets to get to the bottom of the things you need to know to help put your radio station on top of the Nielsen ratings:

  • Work-from-home and workplace listening trends
  • National and local contests
  • Marketing messages that drive tune-in or boost TSL
  • Social and digital channels that move the needle
  • Podcasts, Smart Speakers & streaming

And Smart Speakers will again be a headline in the webinar. People have cut back on lots of things during the pandemic, but they’re still allocating dollars to home entertainment. Smart Speakers are an inexpensive entertainment enhancement and the penetration of devices has grown significantly while they’re spending more time at home.

Smart Speakers represent a critical link to increasing radio AQH by tapping into audio home entertainment. PPM market stations employing Total Line Reporting (TLR) can reap numbers by scripting it out so that listeners know what to say to get the station on their Smart Speakers. Of course, the stream they get has to be as solid as the on-air signal, appropriately processed and utterly foolproof to start up.

Among Smart Speaker users who regularly use their devices for audio entertainment, 2 in 5 are already spending at least 30 minutes a week streaming FM stations. Digital streaming platforms (DSP’s) like Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and Amazon Music have a head start, but FM is in the game.

In the webinar MuVoodoo will dive deep in the data to show differences in perceptions and behavior as they vary across demos, ethnicities, usage levels and format preferences. They will also highlight the differences between those who’d say “yes” to Nielsen and those who would never participate in the radio ratings.

👉Register: Click Here

New Survey: Who's Listening To Podcasts?

New data from YouGov shows that between 2019 and 2020, the share of podcast listeners — and frequency of listening— increased across all ages. These big changes in listening habits signal good news for both ad businesses and content creators and it will be critical to understand which audiences are driving the demand for audio content.

While reduced commuting due to COVID-19 cut into radio listening – traditional and streaming – podcast listening continued to grow in 2020. Listening grew across all age groups between 2019 and 2020, although the audience remains greater among younger adults. We’ve now reached the point where 50% or more of adults under 50 and more than two in five of all US adults (43%) are listening to podcasts.

Whereas video streaming has seen growth in both audience size and time spent watching streamed video (8% and 12.7% respectively), the same can’t be said of podcasting. The number of podcast listeners grew by 18% but the average time spent listening to podcasts remained consistent with last year – that's overall and across age groups.

Unlike traditional radio, which is predominantly listened to in the car, podcasts are listened to as much at home as when out and about. In fact, ‘doing household chores’ and ‘cooking/baking’ are the first and third most popular occasions for listening to podcasts. 

Different from other media, where we saw shifts due to COVID-19 (e.g. the decline in listening to radio in the car or the increase in daytime TV viewing), there were no dramatic shifts in when people listen to podcasts as a result of COVID-19 -- just a slight decline in listening while commuting (29% to 27%) and slight increase during cooking/baking (17% to 21%).

As marketers consider the role of podcasts in their marketing plans and the role of their brand in podcasts, understanding why consumers are listening to a podcast helps refine those roles. Whether it be for entertainment or informative reasons, marketers need to ask themselves what messaging will resonate best in each context?

Atlanta Radio: WWWQ Adds New Midday and PM Drive Talent

CUMULUS MEDIA announces that Atlanta Top 40 radio station WWWQ Q99.7  will debut two new live and local shows on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. 

The first, Charged Up, featuring popular Atlanta club and event DJ and on-air personality Yvonne Monet, airs Monday through Friday from 11:00am-3:00pm EST, followed by a new Afternoon Drive program, Atlanta’s Vibe, featuring station favorites Jade and Moe, airing weekdays from 3:00pm-7:00pm EST. 

Yvonne Monet joins Q99.7 following a successful 20-year career as one of the Atlanta area’s most well-known club and event DJ’s. Jade moves from Nights on Q99.7 to team with Moe from The Bert Show in afternoons for Atlanta’s Vibe. In addition to his new Afternoon Drive program, Moe will continue to entertain Q99.7 listeners on The Bert Show weekday mornings from 5:30am-11:00am. 

Brian Philips, Executive Vice President, Content & Audience, CUMULUS MEDIA, said: “Atlanta’s sophisticated audience has always demanded and embraced programming innovation. All at Cumulus are proud of, and confident in, these fun, adventuresome changes at Q997.” 

Sean Shannon, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Atlanta, said: “Top 40 is an ever-evolving project and the addition of market legend Yvonne Monet to Middays and Atlanta’s Vibe with Jade and Moe in Afternoon Drive adds connection, community and distinctiveness to the Q99.7 brand.”

Louie Diaz, Vice President, Cumulus Contemporary, and Program Director, Q99.7 Atlanta, added: "Welcome to Q99.7, Charged Up! Yvonne Monet will bring a fresh feel to Q99.7 Middays with great on-air and video content on our socials. Jade and Moe's vibe will be a spin-off of The Bert Show. Heavy listener inclusion with a lot of video and presence on our station site and socials. Moe will also remain on The Bert Show each weekday morning."

Infowars' Alex Jones Claims He Paid for D-C Pre-Riot Rally

Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones claims his company paid for the rally that preceded the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday January 6. 

According to The Austin American-Statesman, multiple photos from the day show Jones, the founder of right-wing media group Infowars, addressing crowds of Trump supporters on a bullhorn, or standing in a crowd. He also spoke at a Trump rally on Freedom Plaza on Jan. 5.

In the Jan. 7 video filmed in Washington, D.C, Jones claimed he was asked by the White House to lead the march to the Capitol three days prior to the event.

In the video, Jones said the Secret Service would pull him out of the front row during the president’s speech, about 30 minutes before it ended, so he could go to the place where he would start the march. Jones said he ultimately did not end up leading the march because there was already a crowd ahead of him.

Jones also said he paid close to $500,000 dollars to book the Ellipse, the park where President Donald Trump’s supporters initially gathered, and other areas near the Capitol. He said 80% of the money came from an unnamed donor.

Wake-up Confidential: Insider Attack Worries

The FBI is vetting all of the 25,000 National Guard troops being deployed in Washington, D.C., for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday because defense officials are worried about a potential insider attack or other threat from them, the Associated Press reported Sunday. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told AP that although they are conscious of the potential threat in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, they have so far not seen evidence of any threats from within the ranks of the servicemembers, and the vetting hasn't turned up any issues. The report cited officials as saying the vetting process began as the first Guardsmen began deploying to Washington more than a week ago, and that it is set to be done by Inauguration Day. 

NY Times 1/18/21

➤ONLY SMALL PROTESTS AT STATE CAPITOL BUILDINGS: Despite worries and online chatter about armed protests at state Capitol buildings across the country Sunday in the wake of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, only small groups of right-wing protesters turned out in some of the states, some of them armed with rifles, and none showed up at others. Statehouses across the country have significantly increased security because of the warnings from the FBI, and the protesters at the Capitols were outnumbered by police and National Guard troops. There were no reports of any violence. States will remain alert, however, with the threat continuing at least through President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.

➤CNN: TRUMP TO ISSUE AROUND 100 PARDONS, BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF: President Trump is readying to issue around another 100 pardons and commutations Tuesday, his last full day in office, CNN reported Sunday. Their number will reportedly include white collar criminals and high-profile rappers, along with ones more criminal justice reform-aligned. They are also expected to include controversial pardons, but as of now, according to CNN, Trump is not expected to pardon himself. The idea that presidents can pardon themselves is a constitutionally dubious one, with most experts believing they can't. Additionally, Trump's advisers have encouraged him not to do it in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Capitol because it would look like he was guilty of something, the report cited a source as saying.

➤INCOMING CDC DIRECTOR EXPECTS 500,000 CORONAVIRUS DEATH IN U.S. BY MID-FEBRUARY: Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who will be the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in President-elect Joe Biden's administration, said on CBS' Face the Nation yesterday that she expects there will be 500,000 deaths caused by the coronavirus in the U.S. by the middle of February. As of this morning, there had been just under 400,000 deaths -- 397,600 -- according to Johns Hopkins University's data, so she's forecasting another 100,000 deaths in one month. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb predicted on the same show that the mutated variant of the coronavirus first discovered in the U.K. that is more contagious will be the dominant strain in the U.S. by March. Gottlieb said that it's currently about 0.5 percent of all infections across the country, but that will likely double each week, saying, "[I]n about five weeks, this is going to start to take over." Although the variant is more contagious, it doesn't appear to be any more deadly.

➤RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER WHO SURVIVED NERVE AGENT POISONING ARRESTED AFTER ARRIVING IN MOSCOW: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested Sunday after he landed at an airport in Moscow. He was returning to Russia from Germany, where he'd been recovering for five months after a near-fatal poisoning with a nerve agent that he charges the Russian government was behind. His detention had been expected, since Russian officials claim he violated parole terms from a suspended sentence on a 2014 embezzlement conviction. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. "strongly condemns" Navalny's arrest, calling it "the latest in a series of attempts to silence Navalny and other opposition figures and independent voices who are critical of Russian authorities." Jake Sullivan, who President-elect Joe Biden has chosen to be his national security adviser, tweeted, "Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable."

➤FRESHDIRECT SHARES FOOD TREND PREDICTIONS FOR 2021:  Grocery delivery service FreshDirect is predicting that food shopping and cooking habits are going to change in 2021. The company’s annual food trend forecast was released recently, and predicts consumers will buy more fresh seafood, premium cuts of meat, and prepared meals. The company also thinks people will be ordering produce online in place of traditional in-person shopping, bringing more creativity into the kitchen, and have a higher focus on reducing food waste. They also foresee a growing demand for same-day delivery and online grocery shopping in general. The company’s Chief Merchandising Officer Scott Crawford says, “The rapid increase in demand for online grocery and the boom in home cooking are squarely aligned with what our team of food experts have been seeing firsthand, both early last year and later accelerated by the pandemic.”

Tampa Bay Times 1/18/21
🏈NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF RESULTS: Here are the results of this weekend's NFL divisional playoff games:

Saturday, January 16th
  • Green Bay Packers 32, Los Angeles Rams 18 (NFC)
  • Buffalo Bills 17, Baltimore Ravens 3 (AFC)
Sunday, January 17th
  • Kansas City Chiefs 22, Cleveland Browns 17 (AFC)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30, New Orleans Saints 20 (NFC)
Next Sunday's Conference Championship Matchups
  • Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (AFC)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers (NFC)

🏈CHIEFS, BUCCANEERS ADVANCE TO CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Kansas City moved one step closer to successfully defending its Super Bowl title yesterday and Tampa Bay's Tom Brady won the battle of the veteran star quarterbacks over New Orleans' Drew Brees, as the Chiefs and Buccaneers won their divisional playoff games to advance to the conference championships. The Cleveland Browns' return to the playoffs after nearly two decades came to an end as they fell to the Chiefs 22-17. Kansas City got the win even after losing quarterback Patrick Mahomes midway through the third-quarter when he suffered a concussion, forcing backup Chad Henne to take over. The Saints' 30-20 loss to Tampa Bay could have been the end not only of their season, but of Brees' career, according to media rumors. Brees declined to say after the game if he was retiring, but stated, "I appreciate all that this game has given to me. There are obviously so many incredible memories."

After suffering a concussion, it remains to be seen if Mahomes will be cleared for next Sunday's AFC conference championship game against the Buffalo Bills. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said after the game, "He’s doing great right now, which is a real positive as we look at this. He passed all the deals he needed to pass and we’ll see where it goes from here. . . . We’ll see how he is tomorrow, but right now he’s feeling good."

🏀76ERS-THUNDER GAME POSTPONED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS ISSUES: Last night's (January 17th) scheduled game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed due to coronavirus issues, with Philadelphia not having the minimum number of players required due to contract tracing. It was the 13th NBA game that's been called off due to coronavirus issues since January 10th.

🏈STALEY TO BE CHARGERS' NEW HEAD COACH: Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley agreed last night (January 17th) to be the new head coach for the crosstown Los Angeles Chargers. It will be the first head coaching job for the 38-year-old Staley. He's replacing Anthony Lynn, who was fired after the Chargers went 7-9 this season, his fourth as head coach.

⛸CHEN WINS U.S. FIGURE SKATING TITLE FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT YEAR: Nathan Chen won his fifth straight U.S. Figure Skating Championship on Sunday (January 17th), the first man to win five U.S. titles in a row since Dick Button did it from 1946 to 1952. The competition was held at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas without any fans due to the pandemic. Bradie Tennell won her second women's U.S. title on Friday night.

🎾72 PLAYERS IN LOCKDOWN AHEAD OF AUSTRALIAN OPEN: The number of players in lockdown ahead of the Australian Open has grown to 72 after there was a fifth positive coronavirus test Sunday (January 17th) from the charter flights that have been bringing players, coaches, officials and media to Melbourne for the tennis major. The players won't be allowed to leave their hotel rooms or practice for 14 days. Other players who are on less strict quarantine because there weren't positive tests on their flights can practice for five hours a day. So far, no players have tested positive since landing. The Australian Open begins on February 8th.

Ronnie Spector: Phil Was A "Brilliant Producer, But A Lousy Husband"

Ronnie and Phil Spector

Music legend Ronnie Spector is remembering her ex-husband Phil Spector after news of the music producer’s death at age 81 from COVID-19 while he served a prison sentence for the 2003 murder of Lana Clarkson, reports Yahoo! Entertainment News.

On her Instagram page, the singer, who rose to fame with singing group the Ronettes, posted a throwback photo of herself with Spector in the recording studio, along with a lengthy caption that detailed the former couple’s meteoric rise and ultimate downfall.

“It’s a sad day for music and a sad day for me,” the 77-year-old star wrote. “When I was working with Phil Spector, watching him create in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the very best. He was in complete control, directing everyone. So much to love about those days. Meeting him and falling in love was like a fairytale. The magical music we were able to make together, was inspired by our love. I loved him madly, and gave my heart and soul to him.”

She wasn’t the only music legend sharing her memories of Spector. Darlene Love, who also worked with the producer on several hit songs, described her abusive working relationship with Spector.

“You know, the whole thing was like a bad marriage,” Love told Variety. “It’s a marriage that was abusive — not just physically, but mentally. That’s what Phil was trying to do with me. He wanted to control not Darlene, but the talent.”

But she also credited his role in the music industry.

“I felt this is very sad,” Love added. “I didn’t think of hate. I didn’t think, ‘He deserved it or this should have happened.’ I just felt this was a sad way for him to leave this earth. The more I thought about it, the sadder I got. He changed the sound of rock ‘n’ roll — the reason I know this is because Steve Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen and Elton John all told me that.”

Lana Clarkson, Spector During Trial

In Spector’s later years, the producer was embroiled in even more controversy. He was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his Los Angeles mansion, and was sentenced to 19 years to life after a trial that was completed in 2009. Spector maintained Clarkson’s death was an “accidental suicide.”

After news of Spector’s death, Clarkson's mother, Donna Clarkson, made a note about the loss of her daughter’s life.

“Lana Clarkson was a warm, compassionate, kind, loving woman who would be 58 years old now. Her energy, brightness and love of life have sustained her family since her murder 18 years ago in 2003," she said in a statement Sunday.