Friday, May 29, 2020

Daniel York Named President, CEO For Cox Media Group

Cox Media Group today announced the appointment of Daniel York as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Daniel York
York most recently served as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer of AT&T and its subsidiary, DIRECTV. As President and CEO of Cox Media Group, York will be responsible for all aspects of managing the company’s market-leading, award-winning media platforms and will oversee CMG’s long-term strategic priorities.

“I’m excited to welcome Dan as the President and CEO of Cox Media Group,” said David Sambur, Co-Lead Partner of Private Equity at Apollo Global Management. “He has an outstanding record of leadership in this industry, and of operating efficiently, creating strategic vision, and inspiring organizations to innovate and grow.”

Steve Pruett will continue to serve as Executive Chairman of CMG and said, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to welcome Dan as the President and CEO of Cox Media Group. He has a background of success in media, content, distribution, operations, and successfully leading large organizations. Most importantly, he embraces contemporary thinking as the media landscape continues to evolve. We have full confidence he is the right person to lead CMG in the next phase of the company’s growth.”

York said, “I am excited to lead Cox Media Group, a company that has the most talented team and leadership in the industry. I have always admired and respected the unparalleled quality of CMG’s 90+ TV and radio stations, digital and advertising platforms, and the company’s unwavering commitment to journalistic integrity. The past few months have underscored that there is no substitute for the most important and valuable content in the ecosystem, market-leading local news and entertainment. I look forward to working with the Board and the CMG team as we continue to enhance our partnerships with our advertisers, content providers and distribution outlets to best serve our communities and millions of viewers and listeners.”

CNN Reporter, Crew Released By Authorities

Police arrest CNN's Omar Jimenez
UPDATE 12:00 PM MAY 29th: Three members of a CNN crew have been released Friday mornng after being placed under arrest during a live report, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

The journalists were among four people arrested as troopers were “clearing the streets and restoring order” following the protests. Floyd died on Memorial Day shortly after being taken into custody on suspicion of passing a bad check and a white police officer knelt on his neck.

The patrol said the CNN journalists “were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”

Jimenez was holding what appeared to be a laminated ID card before he was handcuffed, and his fellow crew members told police that they were from CNN and showing the scene live on the air.

Earlier Posting...

CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his camera crew have been arrested during a live broadcast from the protests in Minneapolis, according to Deadline.

Footage quickly emerged online, and many of Jimenez’s colleagues took to twitter in outcry over the incident (see below).

In the footage, Jimenez, sporting a virus protective mask, is being quizzed by his anchor in front of a group of riot police as they move to arrest a nearby person. State patrol then approach the presenter and his crew, and Jimenez can be heard telling the officers that the four-strong unit can move “to where they would like” and get out of their way in a cooperative and non-confrontational manner. The officers surround the crew as Jimenez continues to report live on air, before he is told that he is under arrest and placed in handcuffs, displaying them to the camera as he is walked away. After a moment, the crew are also placed into handcuffs.

“That is an American television reporter being led away by police officers. He clearly identified himself as a reporter and was respectfully explaining to the police that the CNN team was there and moving away as they would request, and then for some reason he was taken into police custody live on television,” added the anchor off screen.

“I have never seen anything like this,” the anchor adds on several occasions. The camera continued to roll after the incident, placed on the floor at the feet of the officers.

CNN adds a producer and camera operator were also arrested.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has reportedly apologized to CNN President Jeff Zucker over the arrest of CNN Reporter Omar Jimenez during a live report of the civil unrest and protest of the police killing of George Floyd.

CNN’s New Day reported that Zucker spoke with the Minnesota governor who said he deeply apologizes for what happened. The governor reportedly promised to the CNN president that he is going to have the team released and that the arrest “was inadvertent and unacceptable what happened.”

The Rundown: 2.1M File, State Of Agony In Minneapolis

The Labor Department reported Thursday that another 2.1 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week even as businesses around the country have gradually begun to reopen, bringing the total number of Americans who've filed for unemployment since the coronavirus shutdowns began in March to a staggering 41 million. But there were some positive signs in the data, as the overall number of Americans currently getting unemployment benefits fell for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million. Additionally, the number of first time unemployment applications fell for an eighth straight week.

President Trump tweeted a message Thursday morning acknowledging the U.S. passing 100,000 deaths a day earlier.

There have been more than 101,600 deaths in the U.S. from the virus as of last night, according to Johns Hopkins University's count, and more than 1,721,000 confirmed cases.

In other developments:
  • Illinois Ending Stay-at-Home Order: Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced yesterday (May 28th) that he's ending the stay-at-home order he put in place 10 weeks ago, after every region of the state has met the conditions needed to do so. That moves Illinois into the third phase of Pritzker's plan, which will allow the reopening of manufacturing and retail, outdoor dining at restaurants, and small social gatherings.
  • Union: At Least 44 Meatpacking Workers Have Died: The United Food and Commercial Workers union released an estimate yesterday that at least 44 meatpacking workers have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus, and another 3,000 have tested positive. Meat processing plants have been hot spots for the virus, and many have temporarily closed at some point, with the union saying it's led to a 40 percent reduction in pork production and a 25 percent reduction in beef. However, most of the plants have stayed open since President Trump declared them critical infrastructure a month ago. Although many plants have installed physical barriers between workstations and set up hand-sanitizing stations, the union called for more safety measures to be implemented.
Wall Street Journal 5/29/20
➤PROTESTS CONTINUE IN MINNEAPOLIS, ELSEWHERE OVER FLOYD'S DEATH; POLICE STATION SET ON FIRE: Protests continued in Minneapolis for a third day and spread to other places in the country Thursday over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died Monday after a white officer held him facedown on the ground handcuffed with a knee on his neck for more than eight minutes as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe and finally became unresponsive. Cell phone video of the incident sparked national outrage.

Some of the protests have turned violent and led to looting, and last night protesters in Minneapolis broke into a police station and set it on fire. The 3rd precinct station had been the focus of many protests, and staff had evacuated it before the protesters broke in. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard earlier in the day, and 500 of them were being sent to Minneapolis and surrounding areas. However, there were peaceful marches as well in the city. Protesters turned out in New York City's Union Square, where they clashed with police, and demonstrators blocked traffic in Denver. There were demonstrations in Los Angeles and Memphis on Wednesday.

D.A. Says Won't 'Rush to Justice': Derek Chauvin, the officer who held his knee on Floyd's neck, was fired the next day, as were the three other officers who were with him and did nothing to intervene. There are growing calls for criminal charges to be brought, including from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman said yesterday, "That video is graphic and horrific and terrible, and no person should do that. But my job in the end is to prove that he violated a criminal statute, and there's other evidence that does not support a criminal charge." He said they will investigate, quote, "as expeditiously, as thoroughly and completely as justice demands," but stated, "I will not rush to justice." The U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica MacDonald called it "imperative" that the public understands, quote, "how seriously we are taking this and how quickly and swiftly we are moving on this." The FBI is also investigating. 

911 Call Transcript: The city released the transcript yesterday of the 911 call from a convenience store that the officers responded to about a man using a counterfeit $20 bill. The caller described the man as "awfully drunk" and "not in control of himself." When the 911 operator asked if the man was under the influence of something, the caller said, "Something like that, yes. He is not acting right." Police said Floyd matched the description of the caller and stated that he resisted arrest. However, CNN reported that surveillance video from a nearby restaurant appears to contradict that Floyd was resisting.

Chauvin Complaints, Shootings: The Minneapolis Police Department said yesterday that Chauvin had 18 prior complaints filed against him. It's unclear what they were for, but two of them were closed with discipline, which CNN said was apparently a letter of reprimand. He was also involved in two shootings. In the first, he was one of six officers who fatally opened fire on a stabbing suspect in 2006 after a chase that ended when the suspect pointed a shotgun at them. A grand jury decided the use of force was justified. In the second, Chauvin shot a man two years later while responding to a domestic dispute. Chauvin shot the suspect, who survived, twice in the stomach after he went for Chauvin's gun.

➤TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER CHALLENGING SOCIAL MEDIA PROTECTIONS: President Trump signed an executive order Thursday challenging social media companies' protection from lawsuits, two days after Twitter labeled two of his tweets claiming that mail-in voting would lead to widespread vote fraud as "potentially misleading." Trump called the fact checks "editorial decisions" that were political activism, and said it should lead Twitter to lose its liability protection for what's posted on its platform. The protection is given because the platforms aren't considered publishers. The executive order directs that rule-making agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission be asked to study whether they can put new regulations on the companies. However, experts doubted much could legally be done without Congress acting. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday night that Twitter would continue to, quote, "point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally."

➤BOSTON MARATHON CANCELED FOR FIRST TIME: Organizers announced yesterday that the Boston Marathon had been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first time that's happened in its 124-year history. The marathon had already been postponed from April 20th to September 14th, before now being scrapped altogether. It will be replaced by a virtual event in which participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles on their own will get their finisher's medal. They can run between September 7th and 14th.

➤NFL COACHES EXPECTED TO BE ALLOWED AT TEAM FACILITIES NEXT WEEK: NFL coaches may be allowed back in team facilities starting next week, according to a memo sent by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Thursday to all 32 teams. In the memo, obtained by the AP, Goodell says, "We expect that next week clubs will be permitted to include members of their coaching staffs among the employees permitted to resume work in the club facility." A limited number of team personnel, but not coaches, have been allowed at facilities since May 19th. The only players who are allowed are those undergoing therapy and rehab for injuries.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram 5/29/20
➤TEXAS TO ALLOW FANS AT OUTDOOR SPORTING EVENTS AT 25 PERCENT CAPACITY: Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday that fans will be allowed to attend outdoor professional sporting events in almost all counties in the state at up to 25 percent capacity starting this Sunday. Guidelines from the state recommend that fans and employees remain six feet apart from anyone who's not in their household. Any indoor sporting events will still have to be held without fans.

NBC Allegedly Tells Reporters Not To Use Word 'Riots'

NBC News came under scrutiny Thursday for allegedly telling its reporters to refer to the events in Minneapolis this week as "protests" and not "riots," according to one of its anchors.

Fox News reports Craig Melvin, an MSNBC host and co-anchor of "Today," shed some light as to how his network is framing its reporting.

Melvin's tweet raised eyebrows among critics who accused the network of downplaying the violence that took place in the city to protest the death of George Floyd.

"What kind of alternate reality is this where the mass looting and burning of businesses is not considered a riot by a news network? A protest is what we had here in LA last night. What’s happening in Minneapolis is the textbook definition of a riot. Protesters don’t loot. Period," local Fox affiliate reporter Bill Melugin tweeted.

NBC says that the riots are not riots. Those 'protests' must have magically caused spontaneous combustion that lit buildings on fire, threw flatscreen TVs into the hands of innocent 'protestors' and caused hands to slam hammers into cash registers. What a wild series of events!" filmmaker Robby Starbuck tweeted.

NBC says that the riots are not riots. Those 'protests' must have magically caused spontaneous combustion that lit buildings on fire, threw flatscreen TVs into the hands of innocent 'protestors' and caused hands to slam hammers into cash registers. What a wild series of events!" filmmaker Robby Starbuck tweeted.

Trump Tweet Flagged By Twitter

Twitter Inc. placed a notice on a tweet from President Trump, shielding it from view for breaking what the company said are its rules about glorifying violence, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Trump’s tweet was a comment on the violent protests in Minnesota. The post can now only be seen after users click a box with a notice saying it violated Twitter’s rules against encouraging violence, but it otherwise remains visible.

This is the first time such a step has been taken against a head of state for breaking Twitter’s rules about glorifying violence, a company spokesman said.

The company said users’ ability to interact with the tweet will be limited, and that users can retweet it with comment, but not like, reply to, or otherwise retweet it.

The move by the social media company escalates a dispute with the president that could change the legal environment in which the industry operates. Trump on Thursday signed an executive order seeking to limit the broad legal protection that federal law currently provides to social-media and other internet platforms, a move expected to draw immediate court challenges.

Infographic: Trump Tweeting As Much As Ever Amid Twitter Standoff | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

The president signed the order after Twitter on Tuesday moved for the first time to apply a fact-checking notice to tweets by the president on the subject of voter fraud.

Radio Correspondent Mark Knoller Included In CBS News Layoffs

Veteran White House correspondent Mark Knoller has reportedly been laid off by CBS News, promoting reactions of lament from journalists across the media spectrum.

Knoller, who has been at CBS News for 32 years, primarily reporting for CBS News Radio, wrote in a tweet that he's still with the organization "for the time being."

A CBS News spokesperson directed The Hill back to Knoller's tweet when reached for comment. Knoller's layoff was reported on Twitter by New York Magazine and HuffPost contributor Yashar Ali.

Knoller has won universal respect in the journalism world for his objectivity. He's also been referred to as a "human encyclopedia" known for counting certain aspects of each presidency.

CBS News Layoffs Impact Philly, Chicago

Lesley Van Arsdall
Veteran sports anchor Lesley Van Arsdall was one of more than a dozen staffers this week to fall victim to cutbacks within the news operation at CBS3.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports also ousted were Chandler Lutz, the morning traffic anchor; Cleve Bryan, the station’s South Jersey reporter; and Chantee Lans, the general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor considered to be a rising star. Several engineers, writers, freelancers, and producers also lost their jobs at the Philadelphia news outlet, a station staffer said.

“It’s really lean now," said the station staffer, who was not authorized to speak to the media. "And we were already so lean to begin with.”

CBS3 has seen significant turnover in its executive, newsroom and sales personnel in recent years. While 6ABC and NBC10 battle it out at the top of the local ratings board, CBS3’s Eyewitness News has been stuck jostling for third place with Fox29.

The layoffs came as part of a nationwide staff reduction this week by the station’s parent company ViacomCBS.

Citing financial pressures from the coronavirus pandemic and an ongoing corporate restructuring, ViacomCBS slashed more than 300 personnel across its news and entertainment divisions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

CBS merged with Viacom in December to create a new multinational multimedia behemoth then valued at $15.6 billion.

Though TV news viewership has soared as Americans hunger for pandemic news, advertising revenue has shriveled to close to zero because most ad-placing businesses have remained shuttered since mid-March because of COVID-19 .

Pam Zekman
By Thursday afternoon, the station’s website had scrubbed any evidence that Van Arsdall, Lutz, Bryan, or Lans had ever worked there.

Van Arsdall, 47, spent nearly 20 years at the station and was named the station’s weekend sports editor in 2011. She joined the Eyewitness News in team in 2003 as a general assignment reporter. Previously, she was a reporter and anchor at Newsradio KYW 1060 AM.

In Chicago, the legendary Pam Zekman, one of Chicago television’s premier investigative reporters, was among at least a dozen employees at WBBM-Channel 2 who lost their jobs today in sweeping companywide layoffs at CBS, according to Chicago Media Waatcher Robert Feder.

Others cut reportedly included morning news anchor Erin Kennedy, sports anchor Megan Mawicke, meteorologist Megan Glaros, and reporters Mike Puccinelli and Mai Martinez, according to insiders. Additional staffers, including some outside of the news department, were expected to be notified before the end of the day.

Philly Inquirer Cuts Ad Staff In Half

Almost half of the advertising department at the Philadelphia Inquirer has either accepted a buyout package or been laid off, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal citing both management and the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia, and CBS3 has reportedly laid off 14 people as part of broader cuts announced by parent company CBS Viacom.

The cuts are part of a larger trend at print and broadcast media outlets who have been hit hard by steep declines in advertising revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the Inquirer, there were 32 buyouts and layoffs, with 26 emanating from the advertising department and six from the newsroom.

In late April, management offered buyouts to all 55 members of the advertising department. According to an April 22 bulletin sent by Guild Executive Director Bill Ross and President Diane Mastrull to membership, layoffs would follow if at least 20 staffers in the department did not voluntarily apply for the buyout package.

Ross said Thursday that 20 members of the advertising department accepted the buyouts and the Inquirer laid off six other employees. This is the company’s fourth staff reduction in five years.

Ross said all employees received contractual severance pay and benefits that vary by seniority. A buyout is three weeks of pay per year of service with the company, and three weeks of medical per year of service. He said layoffs were done based on seniority and those six employees received double the severance and benefits as a penalty under the collective bargaining agreement.

“Obviously, due to revenue losses in advertising, the employer had to resort to buyouts and layoffs,” Ross said. “Appreciated the employer doing its best to wait through the pandemic to shed staff, but understand it. Our members are long-term dedicated employees and pros. They understood the situation, and thanks to our contract, received severance pay and unused vacation and personal days.”

At the request of the Guild, the Inquirer also extended a buyout opportunity to newsroom employees aged 65 and older. The Guild told members last month that it was simply a courtesy from management “because some in the newsroom have been asking about buyout options,” but the note was clear that there were no plans for newsroom layoffs. Five newsroom employees accepted buyout packages, including veteran sports columnist Bob Ford and news editor David Lee Preston.

Lauren Kauffman, vice president of people and culture at the Inquirer, said that since Feb. 23 a total of 23 Guild members accepted buyout packages and an addition nine were laid off.

TN Radio: WNWS Wants to Keep Dan Reaves Off WTJS

Dan Reaves
News/Talk WNWS 101.5-FM in Jackson, TN has filed for a temporary restraining order to prevent radio talk host Dan Reaves from remaining on the air at Talk WTJS 93.1-FM, the Jackson Sun reports.

"Dan broke the promise he made to me personally, and a legal commitment to our company which has supported him for 20 years," Carlton Viers, President of WNSW parent company Wireless Group, said.

Previously, Reaves worked at WNWS and served as its 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekday host. He left on May 12 and joined WTJS, filling the same time slot. Reaves launched his new show on WTJS on May 26.

The lawsuit alleges that Reaves violated his non-compete agreement with WNWS by joining a competing radio station. The non-compete states that Reaves has to wait a year after leaving WNWS before he can join any radio or TV broadcast company that competes with them in West Tennessee.

The lawsuit says that Reaves signed the non-compete on June 24, 2001.

WNWS also filed a second lawsuit against Reeves, alleging he violated his contract, intentionally interfered with its business and revealed company secrets to a competitor.

The company sent Reaves a letter notifying him that he was in breach of contract on May 18 to prevent him from working at WTJS.

Reaves was unavailable for comment but confirmed Grace broadcast, the parent company of WTJS, had hired a lawyer and was reviewing the lawsuit.

Detroit Radio: Sherri Powers New Chief Engineer For Beasley

Sherri Powers
Beasley Media Group announces Sherri Powers has been promoted to the position of Chief Engineer at Beasley Media Group’s Detroit-based radio properties, including WRIF-FM, WCSX-FM, WDMK-FM and 105.The Bounce.

Powers, who celebrated her 22nd Anniversary in April at the stations, most recently served as Assistant Chief Engineer of the radio cluster.

The veteran broadcast engineer began her career at WCSX-FM and WHND-AM in 1991, where she spent the summer making cables and building a production room as well as setting up remotes. Powers eventually went on to work part-time doing remotes for WRIF-FM, before landing her first full-time job with WOW-FM 99.5. After the station flipped to WYCD-FM (country format), she was named Assistant Engineer from 1993 – 1998. Powers eventually contracted with Greater Media to build all new studios for WCSX-FM & WRIF-FM, before being hired full-time at the stations in 1998.

“It’s been incredible working in radio over the past 29 years,” said Powers. “I’ve had the great fortune and privilege of spending a great majority of my career with the incredible Beasley Media Group stations in the Motor City,” said Powers. I’d like to thank Mac Edwards and the incredible people I work with every day for their support!”

“We’re so fortunate to have Sherri Powers as an integral member of the Beasley-Detroit Team,” said Vice President and Market Manager Mac Edwards. ”Not only is Sherri highly respected by her colleagues, she epitomizes dedication to her craft and devotion to getting the job done right.  Sherri has taken the lead on many significant projects in her storied career here. We look forward to watching her continue to lead as our new Chief.”

“Sherri has proven herself time and time again and is respected and adored by the staff,” said Beasley Media Group Chief Technology Officer Mike Cooney. “I could not be happier that she has accepted the Chief position.”

Powers is a graduate of the Broadcast Electronics Program at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in Detroit, Michigan.

Lansing Radio: WQTX Imports DeDe In The Morning

Duke Wright’s Midwest Communications, Inc. owned WQTX Stacks 92.1 in Lansing, MI has debuted “DeDe in the Morning” from 5-10 am weekdays.

“The playlist on Stacks 92.1 has a very fun, upbeat vibe. We needed a morning show that fit that vibe. All fun and no drama “says Terry Stevens, Operations Manager. “After listening to DeDe in the Morning and seeing the results she delivers in markets similar to ours, we are 100% confident that DeDe and her team are the perfect fit for AM Drive on Stacks 92.1! Lansing is going to LOVE her!”

DeDe states: “Thank you Midwest and the Stacks 92.1 team. We all need to laugh right now, and we are excited to bring our fun and laughter to Lansing.”

Head of Content Geo Cook comments: “The rapid expansion of the DeDe In the Morning brand across the country continues to exceed expectations. DeDe’s comedy, format versatility, unique content, and unrivaled commitment to community has fueled #1 ratings in PPM and diary markets, even in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. We are ecstatic to partner with Midwest Communications owner Duke Wright, VP of Programming Jeff McCarthy, OM Terry Stevens and the Stacks 92.1 team to help them dominate in Lansing with DeDe.”

DeDe in the Morning is distributed nationally via a partnership between Service Broadcasting Group (SBG) Urban KKDA (K104)/Dallas and Compass Media Networks

NFL Eases TV Broadcast Restrictions

National Football League team owners have renewed the NFL’s exclusive video gaming rights with Electronic Arts and eased restrictions on how many games CBS and Fox can broadcast on Sundays.

CNBC reports terms of the multiyear agreement with EA Sports, which produces the popular Madden NFL football series, were not announced.

Brian Rolapp, NFL executive vice president and chief media and business officer, said Thursday the league spent a year analyzing the gaming sector and listening to pitches from rival firms, including 2K Games, owned by New York-based Take-Two Interactive Software. Rolapp said EA made the “most compelling case and beat out the competition pretty profoundly.”

The NFL also altered a rule around its media distribution of live games on Sundays. Rolapp said the “single-header protection” rule would be loosened. The rule prevents the “double-header” network (CBS or Fox) from simultaneously airing games in markets where the home team is playing.

Starting next season, Rolapp said fans can now expect to see three games four times per market. Last year, the NFL tweaked the rule to twice per market. Following the 2020 year, Rolapp said the NFL could change the rule again to make it more fan-friendly.

“I think we will continue to look for opportunities to perpetuate that model, which is a broad distribution of our games,” Rolapp said. “What that will look like — we’re still working through, but technology will have a big part of that. I think you will continue to see us push how we can get more football to fans on an easy access basis.”

Owners also approved a game rule to permanently expand automatic replay reviews. Game officials can now review scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul.

Songwriter Thanks Country 360 Host Michael Knox

Michael Knox, co-host Shalacy Griffin and Ben Stennis
Michael Knox, host of the syndicated radio show KNOX COUNTRY 360 distributed by United Stations and multi-platinum music producer, best known for his work with country superstar and ACM Artist of the Decade recipient Jason Aldean, welcomes award winning songwriter Ben Stennis on this week's show to talk writing songs for Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, High Valley, Parmalee and others. 

Ben Stennis is a BMI award winning songwriter known for High Valley's "Make You Mine," "She's With Me" and their current single, "Ground I Grew Up On.” Other notable songs include Jason Aldean's “I Ain't Ready To Quit” on the multi-platinum album “My Kinda Party,” Tim McGraw’s "Neon Church," Ronnie Dunn's "Damn Drunk" and Parmalee's "Roots" to name a few. 

One hilarious moment of the pre-recorded show finds Stennis thanking Knox for his first cut as a songwriter on Jason Aldean's “My Kinda Party” album, explaining that the money helped pay for a down payment on a house, the delivery of a baby and the purchase of a brand new minivan. Without missing a beat, Knox jumps in with, “The only issue I'm having here, is that you were an artist so you're cool, then you get your first Jason Aldean cut and you're cooler, and then you bought a minivan???!!!” 

Knox Country 360 airs in numerous markets throughout the U.S. including Dallas, San Francisco, Washington DC, Indianapolis, Nashville, Columbus OH, Louisville, Albany NY and more. The show takes listeners on a unique and often hilarious journey inside today's biggest hits with today's hottest artists, songwriters and a cast of Nashvillian characters that join Knox and his co-host Shalacy Griffin each week. 

Radio Contact: United Stations Radio Networks, Sue Falco at

2020 Service to America Awards Finalists Announced

The National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation revealed Thursday the finalists for the 2020 Celebration of Service to America Awards, recognizing outstanding community service by local broadcasters. One winner from each category will be announced during the Celebration of Service to America Awards program, accessible online and available for broadcast radio and television stations to air on a specific date in late August.

The Awards, previously scheduled for June 9, has been reimagined as a pre-recorded event. Through a partnership with Hollywood production company Trailer Park, the NAB Leadership Foundation will provide a broadcast-quality program showcasing the vital role of local radio and television stations throughout the U.S. The specific date for the event will be announced in the coming weeks.

Trailer Park is a leading Hollywood-based entertainment marketing company, counting many of the world’s most prestigious and successful companies, brands, media properties and film franchises among its clients.

“America’s radio and television stations’ dedication to public service shines brightly in local communities every day, and continually ensures the safety and well-being of viewers and listeners,” said NAB Leadership Foundation President Michelle Duke. “We look forward to celebrating broadcasters who have gone above and beyond to serve communities and families in need, and we are thrilled to honor broadcasters’ service with audiences across the country.”

Following is the list by category with links to information on their remarkable public service initiatives:

Service to Community Award for Radio – Ownership Group
Momentum Broadcasting Company – “Porterville Firefighter Fundraiser”
'Ohana Media Group – “OMG Service to Alaska”
Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group – “Miracles for Kids Radiothon”

Service to Community Award for Television – Ownership Group
Gray Television – "Measure of Hate"
Hearst Televison – "Project CommUNITY"
NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations – "Project Innovation"
Sinclair Broadcast Group – “Opioids – A National Crisis”

Service to Community Award for Radio – Major Market
Bonneville International’s KIRO-AM Seattle, Wash. – “710 ESPN Seattle and Coaching Boys into Men”
Hubbard Radio’s KRWM-FM Seattle, Wash. – “WARM 106.9 Community Activation”
Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM Atlanta, Ga. – “2019 WSB Careathon”
Radio One’s WTLC-FM Indianapolis, Ind. – “Stop the Music to Discuss Suicide Prevention and Mental Health”

Service to Community Award for Television – Large Market

Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KABB-TV, WOAI-TV San Antonio, Texas - “Show Me Your Bill”
Hubbard Broadcasting’s KOB-TV Albuquerque, N.M. - “Protecting Our Enchanting Environment”
Nexstar Media Group’s KXAN-TV Austin, Texas - “Save Our Students: Solutions for Wellness and Safety”
Nexstar Media Group’s WDAF-TV Kansas City, Mo. – “FOX4 Band of Angels”
Graham Media Group’s WKMG-TV Orlando, Fla. – “Driving Change: Florida’s Texting and Driving Law”

Service to Community Award for Radio – Medium Market
Alpha Media’s WSGW Saginaw, Mich. – “WSGW’s Sharing Hope Radiothon”
iHeartMedia’s WRVE-FM, WGY-AM, WGY-FM Latham, N.Y. – “News Radio 810 and 103.1 WGY and 99.5 The River’s 2019 Cares for Kids Radiothon”

Service to Community Award for Television – Medium Market
Gray Television’s KWTX-TV Waco, Texas – “Food for Families”
TEGNA’s WBIR-TV Knoxville, Tenn. – “The Reality of Suicide”
Gray Television’s WNDU-TV South Bend, Ind. – “Never Again: Preventing Bus Stop Tragedies”
TEGNA’s WTOL-TV Toledo, Ohio – “11 Investigates: Guilty Without Proof”

Service to Community Award for Radio – Small Market
Bryan Broadcasting’s KNDE-FM College Station, Texas – “103 Charities. $389,000. 1 Day. 1 Station.”
Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM Trenton, N.J. –“New Jersey Judges”
Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM Trenton, N.J. – “N.J. 101.5 Feel Better Bears”
Milner Media Partners’ WYUR-FM, WVLI-FM, WIVR-FM, WFAV-FM Bourbonnais, Ill. – “Serving the Kankakaee River Valley”

Service to Community Award for Television – Small Market
Gray Television’s KVLY-TV Fargo, N.D. – “Homeless Kids Need Help”
Gray Television’s KWQC-TV Davenport, Iowa – “2019 Flood Relief”
Gray Television’s WJHG-TV Panama City, Fla. – “Remembering the Forgotten”
About Celebration of Service to America Awards

The 2020 Celebration of Service to America Awards, previously scheduled for June 9, has been reimagined as a pre-recorded event, accessible online and available for broadcast stations to air on a specific date in late August. Through partnership with Hollywood production company Trailer Park, the NAB Leadership Foundation will produce a broadcast-quality program showcasing the exceptional public service exhibited by local radio and television stations throughout the U.S. The 2020 Celebration of Service to America Award winners will be announced for the first time during the program, and all eight category finalists will be highlighted for their excellence in community service.

R.I.P.: Tony Redz, Well-Known D-C Radio Personality

Tony Redz
The legendary radio personality Tony Redz Aka Mr. 24/7 has died, a heart attack victim.

The news regarding his death was confirmed by Redz’s former colleague and fellow radio host Sunni on Twitter. The tweet read, “Got a call from DJ Flexx that shattered my heart. Can’t believe our former colleague Tony Redz has passed away. Way too young. Prayers to his family. Unbelievable.”

Redz began his music career in Radio in 1997, at Radio One’s WKYS 93.9 FM. He later moved to CBS Radio’s WPGC 95.5 FM in 2000. He embarked on a 30-city tour as a part of the management deal with Violator Records.

May 29 Radio History

Bob Hope - circa the '40s
➦In 1903...comedian Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in London Englan (Died – July 27, 2003). He was a British-born American stand-up comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete, and author. With a career that spanned nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in more than 70 short and feature films, with 54 feature films with Hope as star, including a series of seven "Road" musical comedy movies with Bing Crosby as Hope's top-billed partner.

In addition to hosting the Academy Awards show 19 times, more than any other host, he appeared in many stage productions and television roles, and was the author of 14 books. The song "Thanks for the Memory" was his signature tune. Hope was born in the Eltham district of southeast London, UK, arrived in the United States of America with his family at the age of four, and grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

After a brief career as a boxer in the late 1910s, he began his career in show business in the early 1920s, initially as a comedian and dancer on the vaudeville circuit, before acting on Broadway. Hope began appearing on radio and in films starting in 1934. He was praised for his comedic timing, specializing in one-liners and rapid-fire delivery of jokes which often were self-deprecating. He helped establish modern American stand-up comedy.

Celebrated for his long career performing in United Service Organizations (USO) shows to entertain active duty American military personnel, making 57 tours for the USO between 1941 and 1991, Hope was declared an honorary veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces in 1997 by an act of the United States Congress. He appeared in numerous specials for NBC television starting in 1950, and was one of the first users of cue cards.

He debuted on NBC radio in 1935, and was heard on a weekly basis for the next 23 years, though the last 4 years were repeats.  His TV show debuted in 1952, and his final special aired in 1996 when he was 93.

Hope retired in 1997, and died at the age of 100 in 2003, at his home in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.

➦In 1918...Herbert Arthur "Herb" Shriner born (Died – April 23, 1970). He was a humorist, radio personality and television host. Shriner was known for his homespun monologues, usually about his home state of Indiana. He was frequently compared to humorist Will Rogers.

Herb Shriner - 1949
In 1940, Shriner was hired by NBC for occasional radio appearances, which led to a regular spot in 1942 and 1943 on the comedy-variety program Camel Caravan. During World War II, he served in a United States Army special services unit and performed for two years in USO shows for GIs in Europe. After the war, he appeared on a number of radio shows, including The Philip Morris Follies of 1946 with Johnny Desmond and Margaret Whiting.

In 1947 he appeared in a Broadway musical review called Inside U.S.A. The performances were panned by critics, but Shriner's monologues made it a success and carried the show for over a year. Shriner hosted Herb Shriner Time, a CBS Radio weekday program, in 1948 and 1949 with the Raymond Scott Quintet, singer Dorothy Collins, and announcer Durward Kirby.

Herb Shriner Time evolved into a short-lived, fifteen-minute television show. A half-hour version on ABC ran during the 1951-52 season. Shriner found TV success with Two for the Money, a game show which appeared on NBC in the 1952-53 season, then moved to CBS for three seasons.

He died in an auto accident April 23 1970 at age 51.

➦In 1939…'
When a Girl Marries' aired for the first time on CBS Radio.  It was a daytime radio drama which was broadcast on three major radio networks from 1939 to 1957. It was the highest rated soap opera during the mid-1940s.

➦In 1941...Robert David "Bob" Simon born (Died in a car accident  – February 11, 2015).  He was a radio, TV correspondent for CBS News. During his career, he covered crises, war, and unrest in 67 countries. Simon reported the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, the Israeli-Lebanese Conflict in 1982, and the student protests in China's Tiananmen Square in 1989. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, he and four of his TV crew were captured and imprisoned by Iraq for 40 days. He published a book about the experience titled "Forty Days."

He became a regular correspondent for CBS's 60 Minutes in 1996 and, in 1999, for 60 Minutes II. At the time of his death in an auto accident, he served as 60 Minutes senior foreign correspondent.

Bing Crosby
➦In 1942…Bing Crosby, backed by the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra, recorded Irving Berlin's "White Christmas." The first public performance of the song was by Bing Crosby, on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day, 1941; a copy of the recording from the radio program is owned by Crosby's estate and was loaned to CBS News Sunday Morning for their December 25, 2011 program. It was released on July 30 as part of an album of six 78-rpm discs from the musical film Holiday Inn. At first, Crosby did not see anything special about the song.

By the end of October 1942, "White Christmas" topped the Your Hit Parade chart. It remained in that position until well into the new year.  It has often been noted that the mix of melancholy—"just like the ones I used to know"—with comforting images of home—"where the treetops glisten"—resonated especially strongly with listeners during World War II. A few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Crosby introduced "White Christmas" on a Christmas Day broadcast.  The Armed Forces Network was flooded with requests for the song. The recording is noted for Crosby's whistling during the second chorus.

In 1942 alone, Crosby's recording spent eleven weeks on top of the Billboard charts.   In Holiday Inn, the composition won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1942.

➦In 1961...Jack Spector began working as a disk jockey in New York in 1961 at WMCA 570 AM, where he was a member of a group of broadcasting personalities called the Good Guys. He labeled himself Your Main Man Jake and usually closed his shows saying, "Look out street, here I come!"

He switched to WHN 1050 AM in 1972, then for nine years was the host of the "Saturday Night Sock Hop" on WCBS 101.1 FM. He also worked for a brief period as the host of a sports talk show for WNBC 660 AM.

Spector broke into broadcasting in Martinsburg, W.Va., in 1955, then worked for stations in Albany, Providence, R.I., and Chicago before returning to New York. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he attended Brooklyn College and had a brief tryout as a minor-league baseball player with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization. He served in the United States Army in Korea.

➦In 1977...the NBC News & Information Service, which was a 24-hour-a-day news service, ended.

NBC launched the NBC News and Information Service (NIS) in 1975.  According to Faded Signals, it allowed local radio stations to launch all-news formats, providing affiliates with up to 55 minutes of news per hour.

NBC aired the service on its Washington station, WRC.  It also added the all-news format on its network-owned FM stations in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco.

Many stations signed on with the service, but by 1976, NBC was not sure if its network would ever become profitable.

➦In 1978...former radio personality and actor Bob Crane (Donna Reed Show, Hogan in Hogan’s Heroes), died at age 49, the victim of a brutal murder.

Bob Crane
A drummer from age 11, Crane began his career as a radio personality, first in New York City and then Connecticut before moving to Los Angeles, where he hosted the number-one rated morning show. In the early 1960s, he moved into acting, eventually landing the lead role of Colonel Robert E. Hogan in Hogan's Heroes. The series aired from 1965 to 1971, and Crane received two Prime-Time Emmy Award nominations for his work on the series. After Hogan's Heroes ended, Crane's career declined. He became frustrated with the few roles he was being offered and began doing dinner theater. In 1975, he returned to television in the NBC series The Bob Crane Show. The series received poor ratings and was cancelled after 13 weeks. Afterwards, Crane returned to performing in dinner theaters and also appeared in occasional guest spots on television.

While on tour for his play Beginner's Luck in June 1978, Crane was found bludgeoned to death in his Scottsdale apartment, a murder that remains officially unsolved. This suspicious nature of his death and later revelations about his personal life gradually changed Crane's posthumous image from a cultural icon to a controversial figure.

➦In 1979..."The Source", considered Radio's first rock news network, debuted.

George Fenneman with Groucho Marx
➦In 1997...Radio, TV announcer George Fenneman died at age 77  (Born  - November 10, 1919).  He is most remembered as the announcer and good-natured sidekick for Groucho Marx's comedy/quiz show vehicle You Bet Your Life, which began in 1947 on radio and moved to television in 1950, where it remained on NBC for 11 years. Fenneman's mellifluous voice, clean-cut good looks, and gentlemanly manner provided the ideal foil for Marx's zany antics and bawdy ad libs.

Fenneman was one of a pair of announcers on Dragnet; he shared narration duties with Hal Gibney on radio and the original 1951 Dragnet television series, and then with John Stephenson when Dragnet returned to TV in 1967. It was Fenneman's voice which announced, "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent." while Stephenson would be heard at the end of the episode describing the court trials and verdicts.

➦In 2012…Radio actor Dick Beals, for many years the voice of "Speedy" in Alka-Seltzer TV commercials, died at the age of 85.

In January 1949, as a senior at MSU, Beals got a call to do a radio commercial for WXYZ, Detroit. After the show, the director asked him to be on call for all the children's voices as well as those of small, talking animals on all three network radio shows produced by WXYZ - The Lone Ranger, Green Hornet and Challenge of the Yukon.

In 1952, after performing in an episode of The Green Hornet, WXYZ station manager Jack McCarthy referred Beals to Forrest Owen of Wade Advertising. Owen showed Beals a rendering of a proposed product spokesman for their client, Alka-Seltzer and had him record a voice audition. Four months later, Beals was notified that he had been selected as the voice for Speedy Alka-Seltzer as well as the voice of Sticky, the Vaseline mascot.

Standing just 4'7" tall due to a glandular problem that also gave him his youthful voice, Beals provided the voices of 10-year-old boys well into his 70s.

➦In 2014…Former WNEW 102.7 FM NYC personality Dave Herman died of an aneurysm at 78 while in federal custody awaiting trial on charges of attempting to transport a 7-year-old girl from New Jersey to the Virgin Islands for a sexual liaison.

➦In 2014…Kenneth George Schram died at age 66 from kidney failure (Born - December 17, 1947).  He was a news and radio broadcaster based in Seattle, Washington and was the former host of local-affairs show Town Meeting and KOMO 4’s evening news segments called "Schram on the Street." For several years he hosted a radio show, The Commentators, on KOMO Newsradio with conservative John Carlson.

That show was discontinued in September 2010. Starting September 20, 2010, Schram and Carlson each began hosting new, separate shows on the same station, with Carlson on from 9:00AM to Noon and Schram from Noon to 3:00PM. Schram is also known for his personal award, the "Schrammie", which he gave out on the air to "underscore what I think are among the worst of bone-headed decision, and/or the most appalling of asinine behavior", usually to local or regional newsmakers.

After a 35-year career, Ken Schram was fired from KOMO 4 and Radio on December 7, 2012, citing cutbacks to full-time employees.

Melanie Brown is 45

  • Singer Gary Brooker of Procol Harum is 75. 
  • Actor Anthony Geary (“General Hospital”) is 73. 
  • Singer Rebbie Jackson is 70. 
  • Composer Danny Elfman (Oingo Boingo) is 67. 
  • Singer LaToya Jackson is 64. 
  • Actor Ted Levine (“Monk,” ″The Silence of the Lambs”) is 63. 
  • Actress Annette Bening is 62. 
  • Actor Rupert Everett is 61. 
  • Actor Adrian Paul (TV’s “The Highlander”) is 61. 
  • Singer Melissa Etheridge is 59. 
  • Actress Lisa Whelchel (“The Facts of Life”) is 57. 
  • Guitarist Noel Gallagher (Oasis) is 53. 
  • Singer Jayski McGowan of Quad City DJ’s is 53. 
  • Actor Anthony Azizi (“Threat Matrix,” ″Lost”) is 51. 
  • Guitarist Chan Kinchla of Blues Traveler is 51. 
  • Actress Laverne Cox (“Doubt,” ″Orange Is The New Black”) is 48. 
  • Guitarist Mark Lee of Third Day is 47. 
  • Cartoonist Aaron McGruder (“Boondocks”) is 46. 
  • Singer Melanie Brown (“Scary Spice”) of the Spice Girls is 45. 
  • Rapper Playa Poncho is 45. 
  • Singer Fonseca is 41. 
  • Actor Justin Chon (“Deception,” ″Dr. Ken”) is 39. 
  • Actor Billy Flynn (“Days of Our Lives”) is 35. 
  • Actor Blake Foster (“Power Rangers Turbo”) is 35. 
  • Actor Brandon Mychal Smith (“Sonny With a Chance”) is 31. 
  • Actress Kristen Alderson (“General Hospital,” ″One Life To Live”) is 29. 
  • Actress Lorelei Linklater (“Boyhood”) is 27.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

CBS News Hit Hard With Layoffs

CBS News was hit hard by a round of corporate cost-cutting that saw "a single-digit percentage" of the network's news staffers laid off, according to an estimate given by network president Susan Zirinsky during a Wednesday afternoon all-hands conference.

According to The Holllywood Reporter, an estimated t50 staffers were cut, though the network has not said specifically how many were affected.

"Everyone is shocked," a CBS News staffer tells THR.

Susan Zirinsky
Zirinsky said in a memo earlier Wednesday that management "had to make some extremely difficult decisions" due to "the economic fallout from the pandemic coming on top of the cost savings initiatives already underway from the merger of CBS and Viacom."

The exec was apologetic and sympathetic during the network's post-cuts meeting, according to multiple staffers on the call, explaining the rationale for the cuts and engaging with the human cost of the layoffs.

"There isn’t a single person leaving who did a bad job," she said. "It’s economics. It is absolutely the financials that has forced us to make these decisions. ... I’m really sorry. There is not a person who won’t be missed.”

CBS News was the first national television news network to have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus among its staff, telling employees to work from home on March 11 after two employees tested positive.

Here’s Zirinsky’s memo to staff:

KCBS L-A Cuts Prominent Anchors

Prominent anchors Jeff Michael and Sharon Tay, along with meteorologist Garth Kemp, were cut from CBS TV stations in Los Angeles late Wednesday amid sweeping corporate layoffs, The L-A Times reports.

Michael has been co-anchor of KCBS-TV Channel 2’s premier newscasts at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. for more than three years.

The Emmy Award-winning anchor joined KCBS in early 2017 after working as an anchor at rival Fox’s KTTV-Channel 11 for nearly two decades.

Michael became known to L.A. TV viewers in the early 1990s as a crime reporter for KABC-TV Channel 7. He provided live coverage of the Los Angeles riots in 1992, the infamous slow-speed chase of O.J. Simpson’s white Bronco and dispatches from Simpson’s criminal trial, among other major stories.

Kemp is another fixture in local broadcasting. The familiar weatherman joined KCBS in 2016, providing forecasts during the evening newscasts. Before that, he worked more than 15 years at KABC as a meteorologist.

Tay has been with KCBS and its sister station KCAL-TV Channel 9 for nearly 13 years. She became a primary co-anchor for KCAL’s signature newscasts about a decade ago.

The cuts were part of a company-wide cost-cutting that comes nearly six months after the merger of Viacom and CBS, a corporate union that executives said would bring $750 million in savings.

Since the stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus outbreak, TV stations, newspapers and other local media have been reeling from dramatic cuts in advertising. Movie studios, retail chains and car makers and dealerships, which typically are heavy buyers of TV station time, have slashed their ad budgets.

TV station economics were fragile even before the pandemic. KCBS, in particular, has struggled for years in the ratings and has experienced low morale and management turnover. Its newscasts trail KABC, Spanish-language KMEX-TV Channel 34, KVEA-TV Channel 52 and KNBC-TV Channel 4 in viewers.

“We are restructuring various operations at CBS as part of our ongoing integration with Viacom, and to adapt to changes in our business, including those related to COVID-19,” a CBS spokesman said in a statement. “Our thoughts today are with our departing colleagues for their friendship, service and many important contributions to CBS.”

As many as 400 employees at ViacomCBS were affected by the cuts, according to people familiar with the plans who were not authorized to discuss them publicly and requested anonymity. Many of the cuts were in Los Angeles, where CBS Entertainment is located, and the corporate headquarters in New York.

About a dozen people were cut from CBS’ TV station in Chicago, WBBM-TV Channel 2.

Boston Radio: WODS Flips to Adult Hits

Entercom today announced the launch of Boston’s newest radio station – BIG 103, “Music Unleashed,” effective immediately. The variety hits station on WODS 103.3 FM will boast a vast music library spanning multiple music genres from the 1980’s 1990’s and 2000’s and feature artists like Guns N’ Roses, Prince, Journey, Madonna, Pearl Jam, The Notorious B.I.G., AC/DC, Britney Spears and Blink-182, among others.

“As we continue living through one of the most challenging times in our country and the world, we are committed to providing comfort by delivering optimistic and entertaining content to our listeners,” said Mark Hannon, Regional President and Market Manager, Entercom Boston. 

“BIG 103 will be a straight-forward, no nonsense sanctuary for fans focused on great music and artists, accented with an irreverent tongue-in-cheek approach that reflects the spirit of our city.”

In addition to the expanded music library, BIG 103 will also feature limited interruptions during its on-air programming through the “2-Minute Promise,” which will not stop the music for more than two minutes at any given time. To further focus on the music, artists and attitude that will define the station, it will initially launch without DJs.

WODS 103.3 FM (8.7 Kw)
Listeners can tune in to BIG 103 in Boston 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, Facebook and Instagram.

The Rundown: U-S Reaches Grim Milestone

WSJ Graphic
The U.S. reached a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday (May 27th), with the number of deaths passing 100,000, a threshold reached in under four months. The number of confirmed cases there have been as of last night was nearly 1.7 million, according to Johns Hopkins University's count. Worldwide, the coronavirus has killed more than 350,000 people and there have been more than 5.6 million cases, with the U.S. having the most confirmed cases by far. In a tweet Tuesday, the day before the country reached the 100,000 toll, President Trump said, "For all of the political hacks out there, if I hadn’t done my job well, & early, we would have lost 1 1/2 to 2 Million People, as opposed to the 100,000 plus that looks like will be the number."

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden released a video yesterday in which he sought to offer comfort to those who'd lost a loved one, saying, "this nation grieves with you." The former vice president also said the sad milestone is one, quote, "we should have never reached -- that could have been avoided."

Studies Suggest More Asymptomatic Than Thought: Two new studies out yesterday suggest that the number of people who have the coronavirus and are asymptomatic may be a lot higher than thought. The first study found that 42 percent of cases from a group of 78 people in Wuhan, China, who tested positive were asymptomatic. They were more likely to be younger, in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, and to be women. The second study found that 81 percent of people on cruise to Antarctica who tested positive were asymptomatic. There were 217 people on board and 59 percent tested positive. Asymptomatic spread is a main reason everyone is being encouraged to wear a face mask. However, in some good news from the Wuhan study, it indicated people who are asymptomatic may not be infectious for as long. The asymptomatic patients shed the virus for about eight days, compared to 19 days among those who had symptoms.

USA Today Front Page 5/28/2020
➤MAYOR CALLS FOR CHARGES AGAINST OFFICER WHO PUT KNEE ON MAN'S NECK; SECOND NIGHT OF PROTESTS: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Wednesday (May 27th) called for criminal charges to be brought against the white police officer who was seen in cellphone video kneeling for some eight minutes on the neck of a handcuffed, 46-year-old black man who repeatedly cried out that he couldn't breathe and died in police custody. Frey said, "I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?" The officer, Derek Chauvin, and three other police officers who were there with him were fired Tuesday, the day after Floyd's death. Police said Floyd matched the description of someone who tried to pay with a counterfeit bill at a convenience store and that he resisted arrest.

Protesters demonstrated for a second day Wednesday outside a police precinct, with some throwing rocks and bottles at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. There was also reported looting at a few nearby stores, with a fire breaking out in one of them. It was the second day of demonstrations, after protesters marched on Tuesday evening more than two miles from the site of the fatal incident to the precinct, with some damaging property. Police also fired tear gas and rubber bullets then. Some people also showed up outside Chauvin's home Wednesday, where paint was spilled in his driveway and someone wrote "murderer" in chalk. An officer told them Chauvin wasn't there. Hundreds protesting Floyd's death blocked a Los Angeles freeway yesterday and broke windows of California Highway Patrol police cars. An attorney for Floyd's family, Benjamin Crump, urged that protests be peaceful, saying, "We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors."

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and state Attorney General Keith Ellison promised there would be a thorough and transparent investigation, but didn't back Frey's call for Chauvin's immediate arrest, saying the legal process needs to play out. The FBI is also investigating whether the officers deprived Floyd of his civil rights. President Trump called Floyd's death a, quote, "very, very sad event," and tweeted that he'd asked for the federal probe to be expedited. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said of the officers' firing, "I don't think that's enough," and called Floyd's death "part of an ingrained, systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country."

➤UCONN STUDENT WANTED IN TWO MURDERS IS CAUGHT: A 23-year-old University of Connecticut student wanted in the murder of two people was caught in Maryland after a six-day manhunt, police said last night. Peter Manfredonia was captured near a truck stop in Hagerstown. Manfredonia is suspected in the machete killing last Friday of 62-year-old Ted DeMers in Willington, Connecticut, and the fatal shooting of his high school friend Nicholas Eisele, also 23, two days later in the town of Derby. He also allegedly injured another man in Willington and kidnapped Eisele's girlfriend, before freeing her in New Jersey. DeMers' wife has said Manfredonia was looking for a woman he knew who is their neighbor when he walked down the road in front of their home wearing a motorcycle helmet and said his motorcycle had broken down. When Ted DeMers gave him a ride back to his bike, Manfredonia allegedly killed him with a machete. An attorney for Manfredonia's family says he's struggled with mental health issues.

➤WHITE HOUSE SAYS TRUMP WILL ISSUE SOCIAL MEDIA EXECUTIVE ORDER AFTER TWEETS LABELED: The White House said Wednesday that President Trump will issue an executive order related to social media today, after Twitter on Tuesday labeled two of Trump's tweets claiming that mail-in voting would lead to widespread vote fraud as "potentially misleading," the first time it's done so for any of his tweets. It's not clear what the order will say, but Republican allies have indicated it could seek to remove from Twitter the speech liability immunity social media platforms have that traditional publishers don't because they're considered passive distributors of third-party content. Trump blasted Twitter's action, tweeting, charging that his free speech was being stifled. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stood by the company's actions, tweeting last night that it will, quote, "continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. . . . This does not make us an 'arbiter of truth.' Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves."

➤DISNEY WORLD ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR RE-OPENING IN MID-JULY: Disney World announced its plans for reopening from its coronavirus pandemic shutdown after they were approved yesterday (May 27th) by an Orlando, Florida, task force. They call for Disney to reopen the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11th, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15th. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has to give final approval. They will open with limited capacity, although not revealed was what percentage of capacity will be allowed in, and advance reservations will have to be made for entry. Employees and guests will be required to wear face masks and social distancing will be enforced. There also will be temperature checks for employees and guests before entering the parks. Events that cause people to gather, including fireworks shows, character meet-and-greets and parades, will be suspended. SeaWorld in Orlando also announced plans to reopen on June 11th, and Universal Orlando said last week it plans to reopen on June 5th.

MLB PLAYERS WANT MORE GAMES, FULL PRORATED SALARIES: After a proposal from MLB on Tuesday (May 26th) for a coronavirus-delayed 82-game season in which the players would take salary cuts on a sliding scale that would see star players lose as much as 77 percent of their salary this year, the players' union is expected to counter with a plan that would have teams play more than 100 games, and in which players would be guaranteed full prorated salaries for the season, according to media reports last night (May 27th). Players were unhappy with the league's proposal, and Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, one of eight players on the union's executive subcommittee, tweeted yesterday the significant pay cuts in it wouldn't be accepted.