Thursday, August 11, 2022

Indy Radio: Country WFMS Taps Matt Malone For PM Drive

Cumulus Media  announces that it has appointed Matt Longhenry (known on-air as Matt Malone) as the new Music Director and Afternoon Drive host for Indianapolis Country WFMS 95.5 FM

Matt will debut in Afternoons on WFMS on Monday, August 22nd, and will be heard Monday through Friday from 3:00pm-7:00pm.

Matt Malone
Longhenry, who worked part-time for Cumulus Grand Rapids from 2019-2020, was most recently Content/Program Director and Morning Show host for Mid-West Family Southwest Michigan at Country station WYTZ-FM in St. Joseph, MI. Previous stops in Longhenry’s radio career include stations in Eau Claire and Madison, WI.

Christopher “Boomer” Layfield, Operations Manager, Cumulus Indianapolis, and WFMS Program Director, said: “Matt’s a self-described ‘country boy’ who loves living the lifestyle – a perfect fit for WFMS! Throughout the talent search and interview process, Matt stood out from the pack for his ability AND his authenticity. Not only does he possess the skills to take command of the Music Director role and the passion to make great radio on-air, online, onsite and on social media, but he’s also a genuinely good human that wants utilize his platform to entertain, engage, inform and assist. He will be a welcomed addition to WFMS and Cumulus Indy.”

Longhenry said: “The opportunity to join a heritage station like WFMS with such a huge impact in the community and within the industry itself is a dream come true. Thanks to Boomer, Chuck Fredrick and everyone involved at Cumulus for believing in me and providing this incredible and exciting next step in this career that I love. I'm proud to be able to wear the legendary WFMS call letters and can’t wait to join the family and get to work!”

Colorado Springs Radio: Cumulus Renews With Air Force Sports

Cumulus Media announces that it has entered into a multi-year agreement with Learfield and Air Force Sports Properties to broadcast Air Force Academy athletic events on Cumulus Colorado Springs’ radio stations KVOR 740 AM and KCSF XTRA Sports 1300 AM. The new agreement renews a successful partnership with the Air Force Academy that has been in place for 40 years and increases the number of women’s basketball games that will air on XTRA Sports 1300 AM each year.

Air Force football and men’s basketball games will continue to be heard on KVOR-AM, while hockey games and women’s basketball games will be heard on XTRA Sports 1300. The stations will also broadcast coaches’ shows for football, men’s basketball, and hockey. KVOR’s Jim Arthur will continue to be the play-by-play voice for football and men’s basketball, and XTRA Sports 1300’s Ryan Kaufman will call the broadcasts of the women’s basketball games.

Scott Jones, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Colorado Springs, said: “It’s an honor, once again, to extend our partnership with Air Force Athletics and Learfield. These broadcasts of Falcons’ sports are extremely important to us at Cumulus, to our listeners and to the entire community. We’re committed to putting a first-class broadcast on the air to match the product the Falcons put on the field, court and ice.”

Ryan Kaufman, On-Air Host, XTRA Sports 1300, said: "I have been so impressed with the improvement of the program over Coach Chris Gobrecht's time at Air Force. She has done a remarkable job building the Falcons into a team that can beat anyone in the Mountain West on any given night. I am ecstatic we can expand our coverage because the people of Colorado Springs need to hear what this team has been doing. On top of that, to be able to have a courtside seat for the next chapter in this program's history is one of the great honors of my broadcasting career. I cannot wait for this season."

Nathan Pine, Air Force Director of Athletics, said: “We are proud to announce the extension of our long-standing partnership with Cumulus for Air Force Athletics radio broadcasts. Cumulus is a leader in the industry, and they have played an important role in helping to extend the Air Force brand and bring Falcon athletic events to homes in our community. With this extension we will continue to broadcast Air Force football, men’s basketball, and ice hockey, while also now adding women’s basketball to our offerings.”

Mitch Mann, General Manager, Air Force Sports Properties, said: “We look forward to not only continuing our partnership with Cumulus Media but expanding upon it. This partnership will continue to provide our community with quality coverage of our cadet-athletes and their accomplishments on the field, rink and court in the coming years.”

Wake-Up Call: Trumps Takes The Fifth

Former President Donald Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination as he testified in a deposition yesterday in a civil investigation into his business dealings by New York Attorney General Letitia James, he said in a statement. Trump stated, "I once asked, 'If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?' Now I know the answer to that question. When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors and the Fake News Media, you have no choice." James has said in court filings that her office has found "significant" evidence that Trump's company misled lenders and tax authorities about the value of assets including his golf courses, high-rise buildings, and even his penthouse at Trump Tower in New York. Trump has denied the allegations. James could potentially bring a lawsuit seeking financial penalties against Trump or his company, or a ban on them being involved in certain types of businesses.

➤INFLATION COOLS, BUT STILL AT HIGH LEVELS: Inflation cooled more than expected in July, with prices up 8.5 percent compared to a year earlier, down from 9.1 percent year-over-year in June, although still at a high level, according to a government report out yesterday. Prices were also unchanged from June to July, the first time that's happened after 25 months of monthly increases. Driving much of the decline in inflation were falling prices for gas, which has dropped from $5.00 a gallon on average in mid-June to $4.20 by the end of last month and to $4.01 yesterday, according to AAA, as well as dropping prices for travel-related costs like airfare, hotel rooms, and rental cars. The news led Wall Street to rally to three-month highs, with investors speculating the Federal Reserve may not have to remain as aggressive in raising interest rates to try to combat inflation, which raises the risk of causing a recession.

➤BIDEN SIGNS BURN PITS LEGISLATION: President Biden on Wednesday signed legislation that expands federal health care services for veterans suffering from chronic illnesses that they blame on exposure to toxic smoke from burn pits at military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. The burn pits were used to dispose of all kinds of waste, including chemicals, tires, plastics, medical equipment and human waste. The legislation was passed after years of struggle, and Biden said during the emotional White House ceremony attended by affected military families, "I was going to get this done, come hell or high water." Biden, whose son Beau Biden died of brain cancer years after being deployed to Iraq, has suggested a link to burn pits, and made the most direct connection he has publicly yesterday. While addressing Brielle Robinson, the young daughter of Sergeant 1st Class Heath Robinson, who died of cancer and after whom the legislation is named, Biden pointed out that she was sitting next to his grandson, Beau's son, and said, "His daddy lost to the same burn pits. He knows what you’re going through."

➤JUSTICE DEPT. CHARGES IRANIAN OPERATIVE IN MURDER PLOT AGAINST EX-NSA BOLTON: The Justice Department said yesterday that it had charged an Iranian operative in a plot to murder John Bolton, who was U.S. national security adviser during former President Donald Trump's administration, in presumed retaliation for a January 2020 U.S. airstrike that killed Iran's most powerful general, saying $300,000 was offered to kill Bolton. Shahram Poursafi was identified as a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and is now wanted by the FBI. Prosecutors say the plot developed in the fall of 2021, more than a year after Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, was killed in a targeted airstrike. Bolton, who was no longer NSA at that point, tweeted after the strike, "Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran." Poursafi’s current location is unknown.

➤SUSPECT IN NEW MEXICO MUSLM KILLINGS DENIES INVOLVEMENT: A 51-year-old Afghan immigrant who was arrested Monday for the killings of two Muslim men in Albuquerque and is suspected in the murders of two others in the New Mexico city yesterday denied involvement. Muhammad Syed, who is himself Muslim and has been in the U.S. for five years, instead told police he was so concerned by the killings that he was driving to Houston when he was stopped by police to find a new home for his family, according to court documents. But the criminal complaint says bullet casings found in Syed’s vehicle matched the caliber of the weapons believed to have been used in two of the killings and that casings found at the crime scenes were linked to guns found at Syed’s home and in his vehicle. Authorities said Syed knew the victims and, quote, "an interpersonal conflict may have led to the shootings."

Three people were killed Wednesday when a house exploded in Evansville, Indiana, around 1 p.m. At least one other injury was reported. Evansville Fire Department Chief Mike Connelly said 39 houses were damaged by the explosion, but they hadn't confirmed how many of the houses were occupied at the time because some were "too unstable" to enter. The cause of the explosion hadn't been determined, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was investigating.

➤BUT WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? The Inflation Reduction Act that is expected to be finalized this week has gotten plenty of attention for its historic commitment to clean energy, focus on reducing the price of prescription drugs, and new taxes on big corporations. NBC News focused on its impact on real people.  Among the potential benefits: 
  • Buyers of electric vehicles can earn a tax credit of up to $7,500, depending on the model and sticker price.
  • Seniors on Medicare will pay no more than $2,000 a year for prescriptions beginning in 2025. (There’s no cap now.)
  • The credit for installing clean energy products at home will increase from 10% to 30%. The tax break will cover Energy Star products as well as a number of solar, wind energy and geothermal heat products.
  • Insulin products needed by Medicare beneficiaries will cost no more than $35 per month beginning next year.
For at least three more years, people who get their health insurance through the national healthcare marketplace will continue to receive the higher levels of subsidies available through special legislation during the pandemic.

➤FEWER ARE GOING TO COLLEGE: There has been a “significant and steady drop” nationwide in the percentage of high school graduates going on to college, according to the Hechinger Report, published by a nonprofit news organization focused on education. The number of high school graduates going on to higher education has dropped from a high of 70% in 2016 to 63% in 2020, the most recent year studied. The pandemic is partly to blame but the report says the causes are deeper and longer-lived. It suggests that Americans are increasingly doubtful that college is worth the high cost.

Every child in London, England, is eligible to receive a free booster shot of the polio vaccine, the government health service announced yesterday. The polio virus has been found in samples from the city’s sewage system. About one million children live in London.  In New York State, health officials are urging people who have never been vaccinated to get the shot now. The polio virus has been found in wastewater in Rockland County and Orange County, both just north of New York City. One young man who had never been vaccinated has contracted the disease in Rockland.

Before a polio vaccine was introduced in the 1950s, polio killed thousands of Americans and left tens of thousands paralyzed.

➤HERE ARE THE WORST BREAKFASTS FOR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS:  If you're looking to keep your blood sugar under control, don't make these breakfast mistakes!  Dietitian Melissa Rifkin says to make sure you get enough fiber. Low fiber breakfasts, like white toast with jam, can cause a spike in sugar. Swap white toast for whole grain, and add real fruit for a fiber boost. Adding protein to breakfast, like yogurt or eggs, can also slow the release of carbs in your bloodstream. Skipping breakfast altogether is another no-no, as it has been linked to developing type 2 diabetes.

➤STEVE MARTIN MAY BE NEARING RETIREMENT: Only Murders In The Building may be Steve Martin’s last acting job. The 76-year-old told The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday, “When this television show is done, I’m not going to seek others. I’m not going to seek other movies. I don’t want to do cameos. This is, weirdly, it.” However he backtracked a bit, adding, “I’m really not interested in retiring. I’m not. I would just like to work a little less. Maybe.”

🛫AIRFARES SHOULD DROP IN THE FALL: If you’re shocked at the summer increase in air fares, just wait a while. Ticket prices should drop as much as 40% this fall, according to travel site Hopper. Domestic roundtrip flights will cost an average $238, down $142 from this summer’s prices and 3% less than in pre-pandemic times, according to the travel site. International roundtrip prices will average $754, down $179 but still 17% than before the pandemic. Hotel prices also typically drop after the summer vacation season.

🍕ITALIANS SPURN DOMINO’S PIZZA: Domino’s Pizza has given up trying to sell pizza to Italians. Its Italian subsidiary has filed for bankruptcy and all of the Domino’s outlets in Italy have been shut down. The American pizza chain has been trying to sell pizza in Italy since 2015, in the belief that its home delivery service would win over customers. Home delivery by local restaurants was then rare in Italy but the pandemic changed all that.

🏈BROWNS QB WATSON TO START PRESEASON OPENER: The Cleveland Browns announced Wednesday that quarterback Deshaun Watson is expected to start Friday's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That news came as the Browns are waiting to see whether Watson will be suspended longer than the six games he was given by NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson last week. The NFL has appealed the ruling, with Commissioner Roger Goodell saying they are seeking a season-long suspension. Some two dozen women have accused Watson of sexual assault, misconduct or harassment during massage sessions, and Goodell this week called his behavior "egregious" and "predatory."

The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox will be playing each other in MLB's Field of Dreams game tonight in Dyersville, Iowa, near the field where the 1989 movie was filmed. The teams will wear uniforms inspired by how their franchises looked in the early 20th century as they play in the throwback ballpark that seats only about 8,000 people, with the game to be broadcast on Fox. The first Field of Dreams game was held at the ballpark last year between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox, with Chicago winning 9-8. That game drew nearly six million viewers, that most-watched regular season MLB game on any network since 1998.

 🏈REPORT: NFL ADDING BLACK FRIDAY GAME: The NFL will be adding a Black Friday game to its schedule, the Sports Business Journal reported yesterday, most likely starting with the 2023 season. Amazon, which won an exclusive Thursday Night Football package for its Prime streaming service, will stream the game that will be taking place on the day after Thanksgiving, according to the report. The NFL already has three Thanksgiving Day games.

🏈BROWNS' GRANT OUT FOR SEASON WITH TORN ACHILLES: Cleveland Browns wide receiver and kick returner Jakeem Grant Sr. was placed on injured reserve Wednesday (August 10th) and will miss the entire 2022 season with a torn Achilles that he suffered during practice Tuesday. Grant was a Pro Bowl returner for the Chicago Bears last season, and the Browns signed him to a three-year deal in the offseason. Browns special team coordinator Mike Priefer saId earlier this week that he thought Grant would, quote, "transform" Cleveland's return game.

⚾TIGERS FIRE GM AVILA: The Detroit Tigers fired longtime general manager Al Avila on Wednesday after more than two decades with the franchise, including the past seven years as GM. While he's been GM, the Tigers finished in last place in the American League Central Division four times and currently are in last place with a 43-68 record. Avila said in a statement released by the team, "To Tigers fans, you're the best and you deserve a winner. I wish the results could have been better this season but know there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years."

FCC Commissioner: TikTok ‘A Serious National Security Threat’

A lot of people view the Chinese app TikTok as a platform for sharing funny videos, but it poses a data security risk, according to Brendan Carr, a commissioner of the FCC.

“They just see TikTok for what it appears to be on the surface, but that’s just the sheep’s clothing,” Carr recently told Epoch TV’s “China Insider.”

“If you look beneath it, there’s an awful lot of data that’s being pulled from your device, and apparently sent back to China. Underneath that, it’s pulling biometrics, including face prints and voice prints, keystroke patterns and rhythms, search and browsing history, location information.”

Carr referred to a June BuzzFeed report based on leaked audio from 80 TikTok internal meetings that revealed that engineers in China had repeatedly accessed U.S. data. U.S. user data flowing back to the Chinese regime is concerning, according to the commissioner.

“Once data hits China, they have a national security law there that compels all of those entities there to assist them in espionage activity,” he said.

TikTok has repeatedly denied that the Chinese regime can access users’ data.

Brendan Carr
Carr said China runs the world’s most sophisticated data analytics operation, meaning that “all sorts of nefarious conduct” could take place should the communist country get its hands on the sensitive data of millions of app users.

“They have a history of business and industrial espionage, blackmail. And so the concern is really when you’re taking that much data on that many international users … that’s really where the threat vector begins,” he said.

Carr also raised concerns about the content transmitted on the Chinese video app.

“Engineers in Beijing are working on the algorithms very actively … deciding what is displayed to users in the U.S. and globally,” he said. “Whether it’s a foreign influence campaign or other content, it’s noteworthy that China does not allow Tik Tok inside of China, but yet they allow these types of influence campaigns to take place globally.”

Given that the Chinese app poses an espionage risk, Carr called for a concerted effort to counter this threat.

“We need to go to all fronts there,” he said, referring to a recent request by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to the Federal Trade Commission, urging it to formally investigate the relationship between the Chinese regime and ByteDance, TikTok’s Beijing-based owner.

Zonecasting Supporters Meet With FCC's Rosenworcel

Continuing its lobbying push at the FCC, GeoBroadcast Solutions and several of its allies met with FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and other commission officials including Holly Saurer, chief of the Media Bureau, last week.

The group included representatives of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, National Newspaper Publishers Association, Roberts Radio Broadcasting, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council, JAM Media Solutions and Kizart Media Partners.

According to Radio World citing a GBS summary of the meeting, the group expressed “their broad and deep support” for the GBS proposal that would permit FM broadcasters to originate content from booster stations for a limited part of each program hour.

They went over the list of arguments that GBS has been making in the face of opposition from the National Association of Broadcasters and many of the big U.S. radio groups including iHeartMedia.

Those arguments include the limited and voluntary nature of the proposal; the fact that “every other form of media” has some form of geo-targeting; that the rule change would benefit minority-owned radio stations, businesses and audiences; and that testing at WRBJ(FM) in Jackson, Miss., supports its arguments.

They also told Rosenworcel that the GBS technology “adds small, local businesses to the advertising pool,” that current FCC rules already mandate that boosters not disrupt a primary station signal; that broadcasters will have incentive not to self-interfere; and that there is “zero risk” of cross-channel interference, given the nature of all boosters to operate on-frequency.

They added that field tests at WRBJ and at KSJO in San Jose, Calif., “show that the technical concerns raised about this technology have been thoroughly answered.” According to GBS, “the testing at WRBJ shows that even in a challenging environment like pancake-flat Jackson, the booster technology can be designed to minimize interference between a primary signal and a geo-targeted booster signal and to render minuscule transition areas in low or non-populated parts of the broadcaster’s footprint.”

GBS told the commission officials that big radio group owners “seek to stifle innovation and hobble the small, independent and in many cases minority-owned stations trying to find a way to compete in today’ s media marketplace.”

Disney+ Tops Netflix For Streaming Subscribers

Walt Disney Co. reported a 26% jump in revenue Wednesday and more new customers than expected added to its streaming service, but it lowered the bar for anticipated future growth at its Disney+ streaming service.

The Wall Street Journal reports Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy on the company’s call with analysts ratcheted down its forecast for Disney+, saying it now expects to sign up between 135 million and 165 million subscribers to its core Disney+ service, and up to 80 million to its lower-cost Asian streaming service, Disney+ Hotstar, for a total range of 215 million to 245 million subscribers by September 2024.

In the three-month period ended July 2, Disney+ gained 14.4 million new subscribers, nearly all of them from outside North America. Analysts were expecting 10 million additions, according to FactSet. The company also announced price increases to its streaming products in the U.S.

The shift in Disney’s streaming forecast signals the difficulties it and rivals, such as Netflix, face in attracting new customers domestically, where streaming options abound and many households use one or more services. Plus, in an increasingly difficult economic environment, some households are rethinking spending on in-home entertainment, industry analysts have said.

Disney+ currently has 152.1 million subscribers. The company has 221.1 million customers across all of its streaming offerings, including ESPN+ and Hulu, bringing Disney’s total just ahead of Netflix in total customers. Netflix last month reported it had 220.67 million subscribers.

Overall for the third quarter, the world’s largest entertainment company reported profits of $1.41 billion, or 77 cents a share, up from $918 million, or 50 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue increased to $21.5 billion, above the average analyst estimate of $20.99 billion on FactSet.

Chapek attributed the company’s strong results to the performance at its domestic theme parks, big increases in live-sports viewership and the subscriber growth at its streaming services.

Also Wednesday, Disney gave a launch date of Dec. 8 and outlined pricing information for its previously announced ad-supported tier of Disney+ in the U.S., a new product designed to expand the reach of the company’s streaming business.

The price of the ad-free standalone Disney+ service will rise from its current level of $7.99 a month in the U.S. to $10.99 a month, or $109.99 a year. The new, basic Disney+ service with ads, will cost $7.99 a month.

The premium Disney streaming bundle, which includes ad-free versions of Disney+ and Hulu, as well as a version of sports-focused ESPN+ with ads, will remain at its current price of $19.99 a month in the U.S., while a bundle that includes all three services, only with ads on Hulu, will rise in price by $1 a month, to $14.99.

Walmart+ Talking Deal With Major Streamers

Walmart has been in talks with streaming players including Paramount (Paramount+), Disney (Disney+) and Comcast (Peacock) as it looks to add value to its Walmart+ membership package through streaming content, according to NYTimes sources.

A $12.95-per-month Walmart+ membership includes free shipping on orders, free delivery of groceries and other goods from local Walmart stores (on orders of $35 and over), fuel discounts, special promotions and events, and a six-month Spotify Premium music subscription.

Walmart+ is up against Amazon Prime, the massive Amazon membership program that in addition to special deals and free shipping/delivery benefits, includes access to Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, games and books, and perks like unlimited photo storage, 

But Walmart may see a new opportunity: Prime’s U.S. membership has stagnated since Amazon upped the annual fee by $20 in February, from $119 to $139, and the monthly price from $12.99 to $14.99.

In 2020 and 2021, during the pandemic-driven boom in ecommerce, Prime added about 60 million U.S. members, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, a Chicago firm that tracks Prime members through consumer surveys. (The firm counts members, not subscriptions. Subs may each have multiple users/members.)

But U.S. membership as of June 30 this year was 172 million — the same as six months earlier. (Amazon recently reported having 200 million Prime members worldwide.)

Walmart has been seeking ways to expand its in-store entertainment products clout online, according to MediaPost.

Paramount CEO Sees 'Very Strong Future' In TV, Movie Streaming

Paramount Global President and CEO Bob Bakish says the film industry giant is 'in the middle of a transformation.'

Fox News Reports Revenue Growth

Despite concerns that a looming recession would depress ad sales, Fox Corp. is bucking the trend thus far. The media giant reported fiscal fourth-quarter results on Wednesday with revenue rising 5% from the prior year to $3.03 billion and diluted earnings per share of 55 cents, reports TheWrap.

The home to Fox broadcast network, Fox News, Fox Sports and Tubi reported net income of $308 million for the quarter ending June 30. Last quarter, the company reported $3.46 billion in revenue with a net income of $283 million and an EPS of 43 cents per share, which was slightly below Wall Street expectations.

“We completed another successful year at FOX, with Fiscal 2022 results demonstrating the strength and durability of our core brands and their ability to deliver consistent audiences across the entirety of FOX,” CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement. “These results validate the strategy we embarked on three years ago — to focus on live news and sports while investing in high growth digital initiatives to create a platform for ongoing growth.”

Affiliate fee revenues increased by 4% with 7% growth in the TV segment and 2% growth at the Cable Network Programming segment. Ad revenue also increased 7% largely driven by stronger pricing and higher ratings at Fox News Media, higher political advertising revenues at the Fox Television Stations and continued growth at streaming platform TUBI. Murdoch noted that the company is already seeing “very robust demand” at “record prices” for 2023 Super Bowl advertising, which will air on Fox.

For Fox’s full fiscal year, the company reported total revenues of $13.97 billion, an 8% rise from the $12.91 billion reported in the prior year. Fox also reported full year net income of $1.23 billion, which was down from the $2.20 billion reported last year due to the change in the company’s investments, according to the Q4 report. Company leadership pointed to the introduction of the USFL in the fiscal year as one contributor to lower net income.

Overall, Fox’s Q4 revenue was led by the Television Segment ($1.52 billion) and Cable Network Programming Segment ($1.46 billion). The company ended the fiscal year with $5 billion in cash.

Yet company executives are bullish on the fiscal 2023 year from a revenue, EBITDA and cash flow perspective. Murdoch said he expects the company is well positioned in the coming months to weather a souring economy.

“We begin Fiscal 2023 with strong momentum, supported by an enviable schedule of live sporting events and the mid-term election cycle, and bolstered by a best-in-class balance sheet,” he said. “These attributes will serve us well in navigating any macroeconomic uncertainty while continuing to create value for our shareholders.”

Addressing investors Wednesday as Fox Corp. reported Q2 earnings, CEO Lachlan Murdoch said that the company was not experiencing any downturn in its ad business. "We are aware of the chatter around advertising headwinds," Murdoch said. "And of course we will be prepared if the market turns downward. But let me be clear: We are currently not seeing any adverse advertising impact on our business." Murdoch said that with an "unprecedented wave of political spending" ahead of the November elections, he expects Fox to deliver a "record midterm cycle."

Indy Radio: Emmis Confirms Dismissals

According to an internal memo obtained by the Indianapolis Business Journal, Emmis Corp. dismissed eight employees, including longtime WIBC 93.1 FM reporter Eric Berman, on Wednesday in advance of the company selling its Indianapolis radio stations to Urban One, a Maryland-based firm.

IBJ reported that Berman was the only on-air employee who lost his job in the layoffs. Other staff members reported worked in marketing, IT and online contention creation, according to IBJ.

Berman had been with WIBC for 28 years and reported on politics and served as the station’s Indiana Statehouse bureau chief.

“Some personal news: For 28 years, it has been my privilege to bring you fair and detailed coverage of news affecting Hoosiers’ lives and I hope you’ll stick around for whatever comes next,” Berman wrote in a Tweet.

The memo indicated the personnel moves were made by Emmis Corp. due to Urban One not having positions for the workers in its post-acquisition plans, according to IBJ’s report.

Emmis confirmed the dismissals in an official company statement:

The sale of the Indianapolis stations to Urban One was announced in June and is still pending Federal Communications Commission approval.

The sale includes stations includes B105 (WYXB 105.7 FM), HANK FM (97.1 FM), The Fan (93.5 FM and 107.5 FM), Network Indiana and the longstanding WIBC 93.1 FM, which Emmis purchased in 1994 from Horizon Broadcast Group.

FOX59 TV reports Emmis Indianapolis radio stations have 77 full-time and 50 part-time employees, according to the company, all based in their Monument Circle headquarters.

Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins recently told IBJ that he expects the FCC to deliver its ruling on the transaction sometime in August.

New Cuomo Podcast Plunging On Charts

 Ex-CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s new podcast is plunging in the charts just three weeks after its launch reports The NY Post..

According to Apple iTunes’ ranking of top podcast shows, “The Chris Cuomo Project” ranked in 72nd place — down sharply from 51 a day after its July 21 debut despite recent interviews with Sean Penn, Sen. Joe Manchin and former New York Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang.

Cuomo’s new show ranked 9th on Apple’s news podcast list, which represents a much smaller pool of shows that includes “The Daily” from The New York Times, “The Dan Bongino Show” and “The Rachel Maddow Show,” among others.

The fired CNN anchor’s first episode included an interview with Penn about his upcoming documentary about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But as of Wednesday, Cuomo fell to 13th place of all news podcasts, sandwiched between “The Charlie Kirk Show” in 12th place, and “The Megyn Kelly Show” in the 14th spot. Out of all podcasts, he now ranks just behind “True Crime with Kendall Rae.”

Cuomo’s new podcast, “The Chris Cuomo Project,” has slipped in the rankings in recent weeks.

Cuomo’s slide could be attributed to novelty; most podcasts debut at a higher spot before they settle to a more regular ranking. Rankings also fluctuate in the days after new episodes drop.

Case in point: Cuomo’s podcasts have see-sawed to as low as 117th place to as high as 3rd place across all podcasts, according to podcast ranker, Chartable.

Cuomo’s most recent show, which included a 78-minute interview with Yang, touched on topics like “how the media twists words to serve specific agendas:,” as well as the Forward party, a third-party the politician founded.

On Twitter, some listeners sounded off about Cuomo’s Yang interview.

“I was genuinely interested in Chris Cuomo’s new podcast. Went to Spotify to give it a listen. His guest? Andrew Yang. I didn’t listen even for 1 second. If he’s going to have people like that as guests, it is a hard pass for me,” one user tweeted.

August 11 Radio History

➦In 1942...Actress Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, and composer George Anthiel received U.S. patent for Frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS), a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly switching a carrier among many frequency channels, using a pseudorandom sequence known to both transmitter and receiver. It is used as a multiple access method in the frequency-hopping code division multiple access (FH-CDMA) scheme. It eventually led to today's Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth.

Hedy Lamarr
Spread-spectrum signals are highly resistant to deliberate jamming, unless the adversary has knowledge of the spreading characteristics. Military radios use cryptographic techniques to generate the channel sequence under the control of a secret Transmission Security Key (TRANSEC) that the sender and receiver share in advance.

By itself, frequency hopping provides only limited protection against eavesdropping and jamming. Most modern military frequency hopping radios also employ separate encryption devices such as the KY-57. U.S. military radios that use frequency hopping include the JTIDS/MIDS family, HAVE QUICK and SINCGARS.

In the US, since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) amended rules to allow frequency hopping spread spectrum systems in the unregulated 2.4 GHz band, many consumer devices in that band have employed various spread-spectrum modes.

Some walkie-talkies that employ frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology have been developed for unlicensed use on the 900 MHz band.

Lamarr died in Casselberry, FL on January 19, 2000, of heart disease, aged 85.

The Beatles in Chicago
➦In 1966…The Beatles staged their fourth concert tour of America, and it was the last commercial tour they undertook.

Lasting a total of 19 performances, with 17 shows in American venues and two in Canada, it was plagued with backlash regarding the controversy of John Lennon's remark about the Beatles being "more popular than Jesus", death threats, and the band's own dissatisfaction with the noise levels and their ability to perform live. Although it was a commercial success, ticket sales had declined since the group's previous visit, in August 1965. Late in the tour, the band returned to Shea Stadium in New York, where they performed to an audience of 45,000, compared with the 56,000 world record attendance they had achieved the previous year. After the 1966 tour, they would become a studio band and focused exclusively on record production.

In March 1966, Maureen Cleave interviewed John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles as part of a London Evening Standard series on the theme "How Does a Beatle Live?" During the Lennon interview at Kenwood, Cleave noted Lennon's interest in Christianity and religions, to which he replied:

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first – rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

Although the article went largely unnoticed in the United Kingdom, the American magazine Datebook printed the quote containing Lennon's words on the front cover of its August issue.

Fearful of the possibility that protesters or radicals would try to kill them for their supposed "anti-Christ" stance, the group's manager, Brian Epstein, contemplated cancelling the tour altogether. However, during the tour's stop in Chicago, he arranged for a press conference to address the controversy and for Lennon to explain himself. Lennon stated that he was only commenting on the decline among churchgoers, that he made a mistake in using the Beatles' following in comparison with that of organised religion, and that he "never meant it as a lousy anti-religious thing". Despite this explanation, Lennon continued to be asked about the topic in subsequent press conferences throughout the American tour, often visibly exasperating not only him, but his bandmates as well.

➦In 1968...The Beatles launched "Apple Records" label.

➦In 1972...Long John Nebel aired his last show at WNBC 660 AM NYC.

Jim Harmon, author of “the Great Radio Heroes” appears on Long John Nebel’s show and discusses Old Time Radio. This broadcast is from 1967 and was heard on WNBC.

➦In 1984..."We begin bombing in five minutes" is the last sentence of a controversial, off-the-record joke made by US President Ronald Reagan in 1984, during the "second Cold War".

While preparing for a scheduled radio address from his vacation home in California, President Reagan joked with those present about outlawing and bombing Russia. This joke was not broadcast live, but was recorded and later leaked to the public. After some brief military confusion, the Soviet Union denounced the president's joke, as did Reagan's then-opponent in the 1984 United States presidential election, Walter Mondale. Reagan's impromptu comments have had significant staying power, being referenced, cited, and used as literary inspiration as recently as 2017.

It was prior to the speech itself, while the president was joking with the National Public Radio audio engineers during soundcheck, that he riffed on his own speech, saying:

"My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

This sort of levity was not uncommon for Reagan; he was known to inject soundchecks, outtakes, and downtime with his humor throughout his career in both show business and politics.

In the minutes before the president gave his speech, a live feed from Rancho del Cielo was still being transmitted to radio stations around the United States. Many broadcasters were already recording the feed, and therefore the president's pre-speech joke, to be ready for the official transmission. While many in the media heard the president's impromptu remarks as he gave them, they were not broadcast live.

Alice Faye and Phil Harris
➦In 1995...Philip Harris died from a heart attack at age 91 (Born June 24, 1904). He was a comedian, actor, singer, and jazz musician. He was an orchestra leader and a pioneer in radio situation comedy, first with Jack Benny, then in a series in which he co-starred with his wife, singer-actress Alice Faye, for eight years. Harris is also noted for his voice acting in animated films. He played Baloo the bear in The Jungle Book (1967), Thomas O'Malley in The Aristocats (1970), and Little John in Robin Hood (1973).

In 1936, Harris became musical director of The Jell-O Show Starring Jack Benny (later renamed The Jack Benny Program), singing and leading his band. When he showed a knack for giving snappy one-liners, he joined the cast, portraying himself as a hip, hard-drinking Southerner whose good nature overcame his ego. In 1946, Harris and wife Alice Faye began co-hosting The Fitch Bandwagon, a comedy-variety program that followed the Jack Benny show on Sunday nights.

The Fitch Bandwagon started as a showcase for big bands, including Harris's, but then it became a situation comedy, The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. Harris played a vain, stumbling husband, while Faye played his sarcastic but loving wife. Gerald Nachman has written that Harris was a soft-spoken, modest man off the air. In On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio John Dunning wrote that Harris's character made the show popular. The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show appeared until 1954. Harris continued to appear on Jack Benny's show from 1948 to 1952.

➦In 2010…Nelson Joseph "Nellie" King died at age 82 from Parkinson's disease(Born March 15, 1928). He was a professional baseball pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and later a member of the Pirates' radio announcing team with Bob Prince.

Nellie King
After his retirement from baseball, King moved into sports broadcasting in 1959 for radio stations in Greensburg and Latrobe, both small cities near Pittsburgh. He was hired as the third member of the Pirates' broadcasting team for the 1967 season, joining Bob Prince and Jim Woods. King replaced Don Hoak, who had moved back onto the field as a major league coach. Woods left the Pirates after the 1969 season and was replaced by Gene Osborn. When Osborn was fired after one year, the Pirates went with a two-man team, Prince and King.

The broadcasting duo remained in place until 1975, when Prince and King were told their contracts would not be renewed. Prince had issues with management at KDKA, which held the broadcast rights. King was swept out in the station's desire to start with a completely new team. The Pirates offered King a job heading the team's speakers bureau, but he declined. He was hired as sports information director at Duquesne University, and started a career that lasted more than 20 years at the university. King also served as color commentator on Duquesne basketball broadcasts and coached the golf team from 1988 until 2004.

King continued to do freelance broadcasting work and was employed by various radio stations, including KDKA, WWSW, WEEP, WTAE, and WEDO. He also served as color analyst on radio broadcasts of Carnegie–Mellon football.

King returned to the Pirates' broadcast booth as a guest commentator for a game in the final season at Three Rivers Stadium on October 1, 2000. In 2009, he published a book titled Happiness Is Like A Cur Dog: The Thirty-Year Journey of a Major League Baseball Pitcher and Broadcaster.

Eric Carmen is 73

  • Actor-TV personality Arlene Dahl (“What’s My Line?”) is 97. 
  • Songwriter Kenny Gamble of Gamble and Huff is 79. 
  • Bassist Jim Kale of the Guess Who is 79. 
  • Country singer John Conlee is 76. 
  • Singer Eric Carmen is 73. 
  • Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 69. 
  • Alyson Stones is 29
    Singer Joe Jackson is 68. 
  • Actor Viola Davis (“How To Get Away With Murder,” ″The Help”) is 57. 
  • Actor-podcaster Joe Rogan (“Fear Factor,” ″NewsRadio”) is 55. 
  • Actor Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad”) is 54. 
  • Actor Ashley Jensen (“Ugly Betty”) is 54. 
  • Actor Sophie Okonedo (“Hotel Rwanda”) is 54. 
  • Guitarist Charlie Sexton is 54. 
  • Hip-hop artist Ali Shaheed Muhammad is 52
  • Actor Nigel Harman (“Downton Abbey”) is 49. 
  • Actor Will Friedle (“Boy Meets World”) is 46. 
  • Singer Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie is 46. 
  • Actor Rob Kerkovich (“NCIS: New Orleans”) is 43. 
  • Actor Merritt Wever (“Nurse Jackie”) is 42. 
  • Actor Chris Hemsworth (“Tron,” ″The Avengers”) is 39. 
  • Guitarist Heath Fogg of Alabama Shakes is 38. 
  • Singer J-Boog (B2K) is 37. Rapper Asher Roth is 37. 
  • Actor Alyson Stoner (“Cheaper by the Dozen,” ″Camp Rock”) is 29.

  • Herb Brooks, who coached the U.S. hockey team that won a stunning upset over the Soviet Union in 1980 and went on to win the gold medal, died in a car accident on this day in 2003. He was 66.
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics and one of the Kennedy siblings that included John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy, died on this day in 2009. She was 88.
  • Actor and comedian Robin Williams died by suicide on this day in 2014. He was 63.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Edison Sheds Light On Podcasts Listening Times

According to Edison there are podcasts for every taste and interest, and perhaps there are podcasts for every hour of the day as well. On the graph below, one can see the estimate from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study showing when podcasts are listened to throughout the day in the U.S.

Separating the day into six four-hour segments, we can see that the most time spent listening to podcasts happens in the midday hours – from 10am to 2pm (26%) – just narrowly above the time spent in mornings (25%). As is seen, listening attenuates from that peak in midday, but some listening happens in all hours. Notice the representation for the overnight hours between 2am and 6am – where perhaps people in certain professions, parents of newborns, and insomniacs are doing 3% of all podcast listening.

A note on how to read this – the graph represents what portion of all podcast listening happens within these hours. Note as well that this data includes all seven days of the week equally represented, so both weekend days and weekdays are contributing.

NYC Radio: Angela Yee Exits The Breakfast Club

Angela Yee
Premiere Networks announced today that award-winning media personality Angela Yee will host a new weekday broadcast radio show, “Way Up with Angela Yee.” The program, which will air middays, will launch Fall 2022 across more than 30 iHeartMedia stations, including New York’s Power 105.1, and will be available for syndication through Premiere Networks to stations across the country.

The move comes after Yee Tweeted Tuesday that a change was coming.


“Way Up with Angela Yee” will feature the iconic personality in a fast-paced, listener interactive show, as she connects directly with listeners on the kinds of hot and timely topics in which she’s garnered trust over her decades on air — from relationships to Hip-Hop and R&B, headline news topics, and overall culture, both in and out of the music industry. The show will be fun, entertaining, inspiring and will include celebrity interviews and special guests.

“Angela Yee is a Powerhouse! She’s a businesswoman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a highly-entertaining, smart and witty talent who will go down as one of the greats of her generation. We are thrilled to have her lead this new show,” said Thea Mitchem, iHeartMedia Executive Vice President of Programming. “Angela has her finger on the pulse of entertainment and culture, and I look forward to watching her bring her positive outlook and even more great content to her devoted listeners in new and influential ways.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Yee is a media veteran and has been on air for nearly two decades interviewing top entertainers including Dave Chapelle, 50 Cent, Issa Rae, Cardi B, President Barack Obama, Jay Z, Eminem, Nas, Vice President Kamala Harris, and more. Over the past 12 years, Yee has been a co-host of Power 105’s wildly popular, nationally-syndicated Radio Hall of Fame show “The Breakfast Club” with DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God. “The Breakfast Club” has become the bullhorn for modern culture and is widely regarded as the most informative and entertaining top-rated contemporary Hip-Hop/R&B morning show today, and avid listeners have always eagerly anticipated Yee’s regular “Rumor Report,” “Ask Yee,” and “Front Page News” segments.

Yee is the recipient of two prestigious Gracie awards, the Spirit of Detroit, WEEN Mission award, the Shirley Chisholm Woman of Distinction, Vice-Chancellor’s Achievement award for AFUWI, the Airblazer award from the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group, and the Talentmasters Morning Show Bootcamp award. Yee also sits on numerous boards including American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI), Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation, the Fund for NYC Housing Authority, and The Shirley Chisholm Cultural Institute.

Additionally, Yee’s highly-popular Lip Service podcast – where she and her girlfriends discuss intimacy, sex, and relationships with the hottest stars in hip-hop and R&B – will soon be available through the iHeartPodcast Network.

“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement to have this once in a lifetime opportunity to create a brand-new show,” said Yee. “I appreciate everyone who has helped to make this happen at iHeartMedia, and most importantly, the listeners who are like family to me. It’s a bittersweet feeling to leave an iconic show like ‘The Breakfast Club,’ which we built from the ground up for 12 years, but we will forever be an extension of each other. I’m working hard and dedicated to making our new program exciting, thoughtful, provocative, and most importantly, a safe haven for even more of us to grow and learn while having fun. I’m ready for this new chapter!

Wake-Up Call: Feds Thought Trump Withheld Documents

Palm Beach Post 8/10/22

The FBI's execution of a search warrant at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on Monday came after authorities believed that Trump or his aides hadn't returned all the documents and other materials that were the property of the government, The Washington Post and CNN reported Tuesday. CNN cited a source as saying officials believed the documents had national security implications. Investigators met with Trump's attorneys earlier this year, and the source said there was suspicion that after months of discussions, Trump representatives weren't being completely truthful with them. Investigators have for months been looking into how Trump handled material taken with him when he left the White House after the National Archives referred the case to the Justice Department after retrieving some 15 boxes of materials from Mar-a-Lago.

Trump has blasted the investigation and Mar-a-Lago search as politically motivated and meant to hurt his potential second run for president in 2024. Top congressional Republicans defended Trump after news of the search broke, including House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, but a smaller number, notably including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, have so far remained silent. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who could potentially be facing Trump in a 2024 run for the GOP presidential nomination, shared, quote, "deep concerns" about the search, but didn't attack the FBI, saying instead that Attorney General Merrick Garland should, quote, "give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately." The White House said President Biden had no prior knowledge of the search, and Democrats dismissed Republican claims of a politicized Justice Department and FBI, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying, "The FBI director [Chris Wray] was appointed by Donald Trump."

Scott Perry
Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania said that FBI agents with a search warrant seized his cellphone yesterday morning. Perry said in a statement that three agents "seized" his phone while he was traveling with his family, calling it "banana republic tactics." He stated, "They made no attempt to contact my lawyer, who would have made arrangements for them to have my phone if that was their wish." AP reported that the circumstances of the seizure weren't immediately known, but Perry has been a figure in the congressional investigation into then-President Donald Trump’s actions leading up to the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Perry pressed Trump to replace Justice Department leaders and install Justice official Jeffrey Clark as the acting attorney general. Clark had been pushing Trump's baseless election fraud claims.

➤POWERFUL EXPLOSIONS AT RUSSIAN AIR BASE IN CRIMEA: There were powerful explosions at a Russian air base in Crimea Tuesday, which could potentially mark an escalation of the war if Ukraine was responsible. Russia’s Defense Ministry denied that the Saki base had been attacked, instead saying that munitions there had blown up in what Russia's state news agency Tass quoted an unnamed ministry source as saying appeared to be due to a "violation of fire safety requirements." Ukraine's Defense Ministry said sarcastically on Facebook: "The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine cannot establish the cause of the fire, but once again recalls the rules of fire safety and the prohibition of smoking in unspecified places." AP reports that if Ukraine was responsible, it would be the first known major attack on a Russian military site on the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Albuquerque police announced yesterday that a 51-year-old man (left) had been charged with killing two Muslim men in the New Mexico city, and that he's also suspected in the murders of two other Muslim men there. The suspect, Muhammad Syed, is himself a Muslim from Afghanistan, who's been in the U.S. for about five years. Police were looking into possible motives, including a, quote, "interpersonal conflict." The latest victim was killed Friday, with the three other men murdered in ambush shootings. Three of the deaths were within the past week, and the fourth took place last November.

➤PLAN APPROVED TO STRETCH MONKEYPOX VACCINE SUPPLY: Federal health officials approved a plan yesterday that will stretch the nation's limited supply of monkeypox vaccine. People will be given just one-fifth the usual dose, with it administered in an injection just under the skin instead of into deeper tissue. Research suggests the reduced amount is about as effective as the usual dose, and injecting just under the skin may rev up the immune system better. Two shots would still be given four weeks apart. Robert Fenton, the White House’s monkeypox response coordinator, called the newly-approved dosing "safe" and "effective." The step acknowledges that the U.S. currently doesn't have enough vaccine for everyone seeking the shots as monkeypox has been rapidly spreading and has infected more than 8,900 Americans.

 ➤VACCINE FOR LYME DISEASE MOVING FORWARD: A vaccine to protect against Lyme disease in humans is entering its final phase of clinical trials. At best, it will be available in 2025. Only a vaccine to protect dogs against the disease, which is spread by black-legged ticks, currently exists in the U.S.

Emmett Till
A Mississippi grand jury has declined to incite the now 87-year-old white woman whose August 1955 accusation against 14-year-old Emmett Till led to the Black teenager's lynching, a key, galvanizing moment in the civil rights movement. Leflore County District Attorney Dewayne Richardson said Tuesday that a grand jury in the county heard more than seven hours of testimony from investigators and witnesses before determining there was insufficient evidence to indict Carolyn Bryant Donham on charges of kidnapping and manslaughter. Relatives had said Till had whistled at Donham -- then Carolyn Bryant -- but didn't touch her as she'd claimed. Donham's then-husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W. Milam, were arrested in Till's murder, but acquitted. After their acquittal, the two men admitted to Till's abduction and murder in an interview with Look magazine. Both have long been dead.
➤ELECTRIC FORD GETS PRICIER: The all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup is getting a price increase before it rolls into dealerships this fall. Starting prices will increase to a range of $47,000 to $97,000, from $40,000 to $92,000. The company said the pricing of pre-orders will not be affected but holders of nonbinding reservations will be.

➤TESTS QUESTION SAFETY OF AUTOMATIC DRIVING TECHNOLOGY: The latest version of the automated driving mode installed by Tesla in its electric cars is incapable of avoiding a child standing in its path, according to a safe-technology advocacy group. The Dawn Project says Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta software repeatedly hit a stationary child-sized mannequin standing in its path. The findings are part of an ad campaign that aims for a ban on auto-driving technology.

➤IT’S A BUYER’S MARKET OUT THERE: It’s finally turning into a buyer’s market for home hunters. The number of homes for sale nationwide grew at a record pace for a third consecutive month in July, according to the Monthly Housing Trends report published by The number of active listings increased 30.7% in July. The trend suggests that prospective home buyers will soon have more negotiating power over price. But the increase in supply is a direct result of higher interest rates on mortgages, which could sideline many buyers.

🎾SERENA WILLIAMS TO RETIRE, SUGGESTS WILL BE AFTER U.S. OPEN: Tennis great Serena Williams announced Tuesday that she will be retiring, saying, quote, "the countdown has begun," suggesting, but not clearly saying, that it will be after the U.S. Open, which begins at the end of this month. The 23-time Grand Slam champion shared the news in a essay released yesterday by Vogue magazine and in an Instagram post. 

Williams, who turns 41 in September, wrote on Instagram, "There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction. That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness do I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just (as) exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks." However, she wrote in the essay that she doesn't like the word "retirement," and prefers to think of it as her, quote, "evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me." Williams said she and husband Alexis Ohanian, with whom she shares four-year-old daughter Olympia, want to have a second child, and wrote, "I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out." Williams has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any player, male or female. Only Margaret Court has more, 24, but won some of hers in the amateur era.

🏀RICHARDSON HOPEFUL ABOUT PRISONER SWAP FOR GRINER, WHELAN: Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson, who's repeatedly acted as an emissary in hostage negotiations, said yesterday that he's hopeful about the chances of a prisoner swap that will lead to the release of WNBA star Britney Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, by Russia. Speaking to the Associated Press, Richards wouldn't discuss the current status of negotiations or explain what role he may be playing, but said he was "relatively positive" for several reasons, including the end of the criminal case against Griner last week, in which she was given a nine-year prison sentence on drug charges, providing an opening for diplomatic negotiations to begin in earnest.
🏌JUDGE DENIES THREE LIV GOLFERS BID TO PLAY IN FEDEX CUP: A federal judge denied a temporary restraining order yesterday to three players who left the PGA Tour to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf who wanted to participate in the upcoming FedEx Cup Playoffs. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan suspended Taylor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford after they appeared in LIV tournaments without conflicting-event releases from the tour. U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled they hadn't made their case of irreparable harm and agreed with the PGA Tour's position that the players' argument for emergency relief was of, quote, "their own making."

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that the NFL wants a tougher penalty for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson because his actions were "egregious'' and "predatory behavior.'' Watson was suspended for six games earlier this month by the NFL's disciplinary officer and the league appealed last week, seeking a suspension of at least a year. Watson was accused of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct during massage sessions in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women. One lawsuit was dropped, and Watson has settled 23 of the other 24.

🏈NFL OWNERS APPROVE SALE OF BRONCOS TO WALTON-PENNER FAMILY: The NFL owners on Tuesday unanimously approved the sale of the Denver Broncos to the Walton-Penner family. The sale was announced in June, with the buying group headed by Walmart heir Rob Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner and her husband Greg Penner, the chairman of Walmart. The ownership group also includes former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton. Although the sale price wasn't announced, ESPN has reported it was $4.65 billion, a record for a North American sports franchise.

🌚LOOK OUT FOR THE SUPERMOON: Look up into the sky tomorrow night (Thursday). It’s your last chance of the year to see a supermoon. Supermoons occur on nights that our moon moves closest to Earth in its orbit and therefore looks its biggest and brightest. This will be the fourth and last time in 2022 that this will happen.