Monday, July 26, 2021

SiriusXM Radio Unveils New Platinum VIP Subscription

 

  • SiriusXM's new top-tier plan doubles the access to SiriusXM with two car subscriptions, two streaming logins, plus first-of-their-kind VIP perks
  • Platinum VIP subscribers have access to a selection of more than 5,000 official live concert video and audio recordings on demand exclusively via nugs.net
  • SiriusXM is adding new preview and purchasing functionality to the SXM App

SiriusXM announced today its newest and most comprehensive subscription tier - the Platinum VIP package. Platinum VIP provides subscribers with the full spectrum of SiriusXM content in up to two cars, with a SXM App login for each, as well as special perks, including opportunities to experience SiriusXM events with artists, athletes and stars, including VIP-only exclusives, and VIP Customer Service with priority call handling.

The Platinum VIP package also includes access to an extensive library of live concert video and audio recordings through nugs.net, the leading music platform for live concert streams, offering music fans VIP access to their favorite concerts anytime, anywhere. SiriusXM Platinum VIP subscribers will be able to log in to nugs.net using their SXM App credentials to instantly access more than 5,000 official, soundboard-quality live concert recordings and 250 full video-on-demand concerts handpicked from nugs.net's extensive streaming catalog, with new shows added every few months. Listeners can discover exclusive recordings and create custom playlists featuring artists with 24/7 SiriusXM channels including Bruce Springsteen, Phish, Pearl Jam and Dave Matthews, as well as hundreds of other fan favorites like Metallica, Wilco and many, many more – available via the nugs.net mobile app on iOS or Android devices or on a Mac or PC using a browser at nugs.net here.

Platinum VIP subscribers get all of the content SiriusXM offers in both vehicles and on the SXM App - more than 300 channels. These include Howard Stern's two exclusive channels, live games and events from every major professional sport as well as hundreds of college games, an unparalleled selection of ad-free music channels covering every genre, plus entertainment, news, comedy and more. Platinum VIP is priced at $34.99/month. For more info on all that it offers, go to siriusxm.com/platinumvip.

"Platinum VIP is a terrific addition to our subscription choices and provides real value for those subscribers who love SiriusXM, want it in multiple vehicles, and want all of the premium programming that we offer," said Richard Beatty, SiriusXM's Chief Subscription Revenue Officer. "Not only are they getting the value of two subscriptions, they get added perks like special access to great SiriusXM events, concerts, in-studio shows and more. With the bundled-in access to thousands of great live performances via nugs.net, music lovers are getting a premium experience, and Platinum VIP will continue to evolve as SiriusXM's premium offering with more perks and content being added in the coming months."

Coinciding with the launch of Platinum VIP, several other SiriusXM subscription plans have been recently renamed, making it easier for subscribers to understand their choices.

The renamed SiriusXM in-vehicle satellite radio subscriptions, which all include access to the SXM App, are:

  • Platinum (formerly "All Access")
  • Music & Entertainment (formerly "Select")
  • Music Showcase (formerly "Mostly Music")
  • Choose & Save (formerly "Choice")

The renamed SiriusXM digital (no car required) subscriptions are:

  • Streaming Platinum (formerly "Premier Streaming")
  • Streaming Music & Entertainment (formerly "Essential Streaming")

The programming lineups in these subscription tiers remain unchanged. More info on what they offer can be found at SiriusXM.com/Subscriptions.

With the rebrand of its subscription plans, SiriusXM is also improving the SXM App experience for potential new subscribers with new preview and in-app purchasing functionality, which is rolling out this month. A new user can open up the SXM App and "Try It Out" with a three-hour preview that will enable them to experience the spectrum of SiriusXM content. This includes one-of-a-kind programming like Howard Stern's channels, Drake's Sound 42, Dave Matthews' Friday Night Concert Series, the popular Highway Music Row Happy Hour with Buzz Brainard, Kevin Hart's comedy channel, a favorite team's hometown play-by-play broadcast and much more. Listeners get access to this preview instantly, with no credit card required.

New subscribers will then be able to choose to sign up for SiriusXM's Streaming Platinum or Streaming Music & Entertainment packages, and get their first month free, without leaving the App experience.

"We're very excited to launch our new preview and in-app purchasing functionality in the SXM App," said Beatty. "Our 'Listen Free' events have always been a great introduction to our service for new listeners who want to try us out. Now you can try us out anytime and get access to so much great content with our new SXM App preview. And signing up for one of our streaming subscriptions is now easier than ever with in-app purchasing."

Jacobs Media: Radio Is Under Pressure


Jacobs Media today provided the first glimpse of the MSBC 33 Air Talent Survey to be presented at next month's Morning Show Boot Camp in Chicago.

In today's blog, Jacobs Media's Fred Jacobs writes: "Nearly half of our all-talent sampled (46%) report more stress since COVID. And when we included those who say their stress levels are consistently high, more than six in ten (63%) report worries around the job that aren't altogether healthy. Considering most of these folks got into radio originally because it's a fun way to make a living, the contrast between then and now is striking – and alarming. The irony is that for consumers, listening to radio – especially music stations – often serves as an antidote to stress.

"Back in Techsurvey 2011, we learned that four key emotional drivers for listening to broadcast radio had all increased during the Year of COVID: Connection, companionship, mood elevation, and escape – all strong reasons why radio continues to be a go-to source. And all higher during the pandemic. Sadly, the people employed to make the audience feel better – radio talent – are often burdened with the same pressures as the fans they're paid to entertain. It's not an easy job when world conditions are good. But when we're in a prolonged state of roller coaster emotions and intense pressure, owners and operators need to understand how conditions are changed.

'The way we've always managed' air talent could undergo review. And that's why I'm looking forward to making the trek to the Windy City on August 12-13 for Boot Camp. Of course, it will be wonderful to reunite with friends, associates, and clients after all this time. But it will also be an opportunity for attendees and presenters to compare notes about the most difficult year after, as we work our way back to an equilibrium.

"If you've never been to Boot Camp, I can tell you this – it's a close-knit community of excited, motivated personalities who want to learn from each other and get better at their craft. They have each other's backs because many of them believe no one else does. It is energizing for guys like me to spend time with them, because they're a reminder of why we love radio to begin with. Their enthusiasm is contagious and their dedication to their art is impressive -- Stresses and all.

"While AQ3 is a research study for and about air talent, I would hope that a few executives will access our summary and analysis, share it with their teams, and make it a part of their strategic plans. In radio, we “test” everything: our music, our topics, our clocks, our contests. But we spend scant time thinking about the health and welfare of our most important asset – our talent. AQ3 is loaded with findings designed to make us a lot smarter – and hopefully, a little more empathetic. I look forward to sharing it with you."

READ COMPLETE BLOG HERE

Orlando Radio: Accion N/T Format Expands To Tampa, Jacksonville


iHeartMedia Tampa and Jacksonville announced today that iHeartMedia Orlando’s Acción 97.9 FM - 810 AM – La Primera En Noticias will simulcast in both markets, effective immediately. The station can now also be heard on Tampa’s 1250 AM, 105.9 FM and 100.7 HD2 and Jacksonville’s 930 AM, 97.3 FM and 97.9 HD2.

Acción first launched in 2018. The station, which made its debut in Orlando, features “Acción en la Mañana with Luis Davila Colon and Jesus Manuel Torres” as well as a team of talented newscasters including Sandra Carrasquillo and Rafael Carderera. In addition, Acción features a variety of well-known on-air personalities such as Peter Vivaldi, Hector Marcano, Wanda Hernandez, Dania Alexandrino, Xavier Villacísm, Diana Raquel and Mariano Gonzalez Solis.


“Acción represents a solution for the Hispanic audience eager for a Spanish speaking newscast and companies that are looking for this fast-growing audience interested in developing a life in the USA,” said Hector Marcano, Senior Vice-President of Hispanic Strategy for iHeartMedia.

“For the past few years, we have worked as a team to keep our Hispanic community informed of the events that have changed history,” said Jesús Manuel Torres, News Director for Acción – La Primera En Noticias. “This time, our commitment continues to grow, and our team is ready to continue bringing relevant information and analysis to each market.”

“I’m excited to expand the Acción brand to other important Hispanic markets in the state of Florida,” said Linda Byrd, Division President for iHeartMedia. “Getting the news and information to Florida’s growing Hispanic population in their native language will be very impactful.”

“We are very excited to deliver a first of its kind Spanish language news platform to the Tampa Bay Hispanic community on 1250 AM, 105.9 FM and 100.7 HD2,” said Chris Soechtig, Area President for iHeartMedia West Central Florida. “With the changing demographics in our area, this is natural addition to our diverse portfolio and an excellent complement to our Spanish Hits format, Rumba 106.5.”

“We are so thrilled to be launching the first full-service Hispanic news talk radio station to Northeast Florida,” said Paul Rogers, Area President for iHeartMedia North Florida. “With the recent launch of the Black Information Network on 104.1FM and Acción on 970 AM, 97.3 FM and also on 97.9 HD2, no other media company can truly help our advertisers, brands and community organizations reach the full spectrum of the First Coast’s diverse populations like iHeart can.”

Birmingham Radio: DJ New Era Joins WQEN Morning Show


WQEN 103.7 the Q, Birmingham’s Hit Music Station, announced today the debut of the new “Alabama in the Morning” from 6-10 a.m.

“Alabama in the Morning” is hosted by Alabama Cole and DJ New Era. The new show will feature interactive topics, listener games, plus a unique perspective on pop culture and local events.

Alabama Cole
As her name implies, Alabama Cole is a homegrown talent from Birmingham, Alabama. She has worked in morning radio for iHeartMedia Chicago’s BIG 95.5 and iHeartMedia Seattle’s HITS 106.1, among other stations throughout her career. She is also a successful podcaster, author, and public speaker.

DJ New Era is also a Birmingham native and has become an elite DJ with residencies in Atlanta, New York, and Las Vegas. He can also be heard on iHeartRadio’s 104.1 the Beat in Birmingham, Alabama, and Hot 105.7 in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Both Alabama and DJ New Era have worked incredibly hard to prepare for this opportunity, said Dino Conrad, Program Director for 103.7 the Q. “I couldn’t be more excited for these two and what we’re building in Birmingham!”

“We couldn’t be happier to have Alabama and DJ New Era – two very talented personalities – at the helm of this new program,” said Ray Quinn, Area President for iHeartMedia Alabama. “This team will bring Birmingham a unique, entertaining, and informative live and local morning show.”

“Truly excited for this extremely talented duo to be Birmingham’s spoonful of energy and entertainment in the mornings,” said Shosh Abromovich, Division President for iHeartMedia.

‘I’m so grateful for this opportunity,” said Cole. “ Being the host of my own morning show has been a dream of mine for a long time, and I cannot wait to bring great morning radio to my hometown!”

Wake-Up Call: Masks For Vaxxers Under Active Consideration


Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday that the possibility of recommending that people who are vaccinated against Covid-19 again wear masks indoors is, quote, "under active consideration" by the government's leading public health officials amid the surge in the highly-contagious delta variant across the country. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist who's also President Biden's chief medical adviser, also said on CNN's State of the Union that booster shots may be suggested for vaccinated people who have suppressed immune systems. Fauci described himself as being "very frustrated" amid the lagging vaccine effort in the U.S., calling the soaring Covid case rates in the country driven by the delta variant an "unnecessary predicament" and saying, "We're going in the wrong direction."


➤PELOSI APPOINTS SECOND REPUBLICAN, TRUMP CRITIC KINZINGER, TO JANUARY 6TH COMMISSION: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday named a second Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, to the special House committee that will investigate the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Kinzinger accepted, saying, "For months, I have said that the American people deserve transparency and truth on how and why thousands showed up to attack our democracy. I will work diligently to ensure we get to the truth and hold those responsible for the attack fully accountable." Both Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the other Republican on the committee, also chosen by Pelosi, have been outspoken critics of former President Donald Trump. No other House Republicans are participating, as Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled all five that he'd put forward for it after Pelosi rejected two of them, Reps. Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, who both voted on January 6th against certifying Joe Biden's presidential election victory are outspoken allies of Trump. The House voted in May to create an independent investigation that would have been evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, but Senate Republicans blocked it. Pelosi created the House commission after that.

🚧PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IS SNAG IN FINALIZING INFRASTRUCTURE DEAL: Funding for public transportation has become a snag in finalizing the bipartisan infrastructure deal, according to Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the lead Republican negotiators. Portman said on ABC's This Week that they were, quote, "about 90 percent of the way there" on a deal, stating, "We have one issue outstanding . . . It’s about mass transit." Democrats want more money in the legislation to go to public transportation, but Republicans want the amount to be less, with GOP Senator Pat Toomey citing the relief money that was sent to public transportation as part of the pandemic relief measures. Meanwhile, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who's a Democratic negotiator, had an optimistic outlook, saying on CNN's State of the Union, "We’re down to the last couple of items, and I think you’re going to see a bill Monday afternoon."


➤GENERAL SAYS U.S. AIRSTRIKES WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT AFGHAN FORCES: General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Army Central Command, told reporters Sunday that U.S. airstrikes will continue in support of Afghan forces fighting the Taliban. He added the U.S. military will continue giving logistical support to the Afghan Air Force even after American forces leave the country by August 31st, stating, "We will continue to support the Afghan forces even after that August 31 date . . . " The Taliban has been taking over territory in recent months as the U.S.-led foreign forces have been carrying out their withdrawal. McKenzie said, "The Taliban are attempting to create a sense of inevitability about their campaign. They are wrong. Taliban victory is not inevitable." The U.S. carried out two airstrikes on Taliban targets last Thursday in support of Afghan forces.

➤SEVEN KILLED IN UTAH CRASH CAUSED BY SANDSTORM: Seven people were killed and several others were critically injured in a series of crashes that were caused by a sand or dust storm on I-15 near Kanosh, Utah, late yesterday afternoon. The Utah Department of Public Service said in a statement, "It appears that 20 vehicles were involved in Sunday's crashes after high winds caused a sand or dust storm and impaired visibility on the roadway." Photos of the site showed multiple tractor trailers and several damaged cars on the road, with scattered debris.

➤LOUISIANA CONGRESSMAN HIGGINS HAS COVID FOR SECOND TIME: Republican Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana revealed Sunda in a Facebook post that he and his wife, Becca, are both sick with Covid-19 for a second time, and that his son also has Covid. Higgins said he first had the virus in January 2020, quote, "before the world knew what it was," but his sickness is "far more challenging" this time. He stated, "We are all under excellent care, and our prognosis is positive." Higgins hasn't said publicly whether he's been vaccinated, but he has encouraged people to get the vaccine. In his statement, Higgins also called the coronavirus the, quote, "biological attack weaponized virus" from China.

➤FIRST LADY IN HAWAII SUNDAY ON WAY HOME FROM OLYMPICS: First Lady Jill Biden was in Hawaii on Sunday, making the stop on the way home to Washington, D.C., from the Tokyo Olympics, where she'd led a U.S. delegation. She had stopped in Alaska on the way to Japan days earlier. Biden went to a vaccinated clinic in Waipahu, urging unvaccinated Hawaiians to get the vaccine. Later in the day, she joined military families for a barbeque at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu.

➤SOME STATEs NOW MAKING PEOPLE SUBMIT TO FACIAL RECOGNITINION TO GET UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS:  A growing number of states are requiring people to submit to facial recognition technology in order to get their unemployment benefits. CNN reports that 27 states' unemployment agencies have entered into contracts with a company called ID.me for the identity verification process, and 25 of them are already using it. The states began using ID.me to try to reduce the surge of fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits made during the pandemic, amid the huge increase in legitimate claims because of the crisis. ID.me also verifies user identities for many federal agencies, according to CNN, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration and the IRS. ID.me uses facial verification, which compares a photo ID with a video selfie someone takes on their phone. ID.me says it doesn't sell user data, but it does keep it. Privacy advocates and civil rights groups have raised objections to the use of facial recognition technology, which has no federal laws governing how it's used. There are some states and local governments that regulate or banning its use.

➤SURVEY..NEARLY THREE-QUARTERS CAN IMAGINE GOING ONE DAY WITHOUT LOOKING AT A SCREEN:   A new survey of 2,000 British adults found that nearly three-quarters of them, 73 percent, said they can't imagine going even one day without looking at a screen, including things like computers, tablets and phones as well as TVs. That result in the OnePoll survey for Artelac comes as researchers say that adults spend about six hours each day in front of screens. Sixty percent of the survey respondents estimated they spend more time looking at screens while working from home since the pandemic began than they do when going into the office. While they can't imagine going a day without screens, some 64 percent admitted they spend too much time looking at them, with the average person estimating only 47 percent of their screen time is spent on productive things. Nearly half, 45 percent, said they're open to and feel positively about the idea of a screen break, and just over one-third said they've started cutting themselves off from screens at around 9 p.m. each night.

➤STUDY...NAME YOUR CHILD JOHN OR MARIE IF YOU WANT THEM TO BECOME A GENIUS: Your child’s name might have an impact on their level of success one day. Edubirdie, an online writing platform, has determined what baby names are most-likely to belong to future geniuses. They analyzed over 900 names of people who are extremely intelligent, including Nobel Prize winners and notable scientists to determine the top 20 baby names most-likely to be associated with genius. The top 9 baby girl names were (in order): 1) Marie, 2) Elizabeth, 3) Ellen, 4) Susan, 5) Ada, 6) Barbara, 7) Irene, 8) Jane, and 9) Nadia. While the top 11 baby boy names were, in order: 1) John, 2) Robert, 3) William, 4) James, 5) Thomas, 6) George, 7) Richard, 8) Charles, 9) Carl, 10) Paul, 11) Michael. The researchers found 30 geniuses were named John, while the name Marie was heavily associated with Nobel Prize Winner Marie Curie.

➤CDC..NUMBER OF FLU, OTHER VIRUS CASES REACH ‘HISTORIC’ LOWS IN 2020-21:  The 2020-21 flu season was really light. In fact, it was the lightest on record since at least 1997, the first year the cases of the virus were tracked, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency says that well under one percent of more than 1.1 million specimens collected from people experiencing flu-like symptoms tested positive for the seasonal virus. By comparison, in a “typical” flu season, in which an estimated 35 million people are infected, as many as 25 percent of specimens come back positive, according to historical CDC data. It’s thought the reduction in flu cases between October 2020 and May 2021 is likely due to the measures taken to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as the wearing of masks and social distancing. Public health experts say this is another reason everyone should get their flu vaccine ASAP as they return to school and work, which means a return to exposure to the virus.


➤TOKYO OLYMPICS: Highlights from Sunday-Monday:
  • U.S. Men's Basketball Loses to France, Ends Streak - The U.S. men's basketball team lost their first game, falling to France 83-76. That ended a 25-game Olympics winning streak for the U.S. team dating back to the 2004 Athens Games.
  • U.S. Women Second in Gymnastics Qualifying, First Time in Decade - The U.S. women's gymnastics team came in second in the qualifying round to the Russian Olympic Committee team, the first time since the 2010 world championships they didn't qualify in first place. Simone Biles had the all-around top score, with teammate Sunisa Lee second. However, mistakes by the gymnasts, including Biles, added up to land them in second place.
  • U.S. Wins Two Swimming Golds, Ledecky Second in 400-Meter Freestyle: The U.S. has won two swimming gold medals so far, the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay and Chase Kalisz’s gold in the men's 400-meter individual medley. But defending Olympic champion Katie Ledecky came in second in the women's 400-meter freestyle to Australia's Ariarne Titmus. It was the first loss of an individual Olympic final for Ledecky, after she won gold in the 800-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Games, and gold in the 200-, 400-and 800-meter freestyles in the 2016 Games in Rio.
  • Osaka Wins First Two Matches: Fresh off lighting the Olympic Flame on Friday, Japan's Naomi Osaka has won her first two tennis matches, both of them in straight sets, and is now into the Round of 16. Meanwhile, Ash Barty, the world's top-ranked women's player, stunningly lost in the first round to Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo.
  • U.S. Wins First-Ever Golds in Three Events: The U.S. won first-ever gold medals in three events: men's 10-meter air rifles, won by Will Shaner; women's individual foil (fencing), won by Lee Kiefer; and women's taekwondo, won by Anastasija Zolotic in the under 57-kilogram final.
  • Japan Sweeps Gold in Skateboarding's Debut: Host nation Japan swept gold in men's and women's street skateboarding as the sport made its Olympics debut. Yuto Horigome won the men's event, while American Nyjah Huston, who was favored to win the gold, came in seventh after a series of falls. Thirteen-year-old Momiji Nishiya won the women's event, making her one of the youngest athletes to ever win Olympic gold.
  • U.S. Golfer DeChambeau, Spain's Rahm Out of Olympics After Positive for Covid - U.S. golfer Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm of Spain, who's top-ranked in the world, are both out of the Olympics after testing positive for Covid-19. DeChambeau tested positive as part of final testing before leaving the U.S. for Japan. Rahm tested positive for the second time in two months.
MEDAL COUNT: China is in first place with 13 medals overall -- six gold, two silver and five bronze -- followed by the U.S. with 12 and Japan with eight. In the gold medal count, China and Japan are tied in first place with six, the U.S. is second with five, and South Korea and Australia are tied in third with two.

LINKS:

⚾AFTER BEING NO-HIT INTO EIGHTH INNING, RED SOX BEAT YANKEES 5-4: New York Yankees pitcher Domingo German no-hit the Boston Red Sox for seven innings yesterday, but Boston exploded for five runs in the eighth inning and went on to win the game 5-4. With the Yankees up 4-0, Alex Verdugo began the eighth with a double for Boston's first hit of the game. New York manager Aaron Boone then pulled German, and reliever Jonathan Loaisiga gave up three runs. After he was taken out, reliever Zack Britton gave up two more runs before the inning ended. The Yankees didn't score in the top of the ninth, giving Boston the 5-4 win.

⚾PIRATES REPORTEDLY TRADING FRAZIER TO PADRES: The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to trade All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier to the San Diego Padres, according to reports yesterday. The Pirates will be getting three minor league players in return. Frazier is leading the majors with 125 hits while batting .324, and was the National League starter in the All-Star Game earlier this month.

🏈TOM BRADY SHOWS OFF AMAZING SKILLS THROWING TO JUGS MACHINE, BUT IS IT REAL?

🏌AUSTRALIA'S LEE WINS EVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP FOR FIRST MAJOR: Australia's Minjee Lee won the Evian Championship Sunday at Evian Resort Golf Club in France to take her first major. The 25-year-old beat South Korea's Jeongeun Lee6 in a one-hole playoff after they both finished at 18-under 266.

Tucker Carlson Confronted Face-To-Face

Tucker Carlson has been made fully aware of where he stands in the eyes of Dan Bailey from Montana, reports The Wrap. When the two unexpectedly met in a fishing store over the weekend, Bailey gave the host every piece of his mind, straight to Carlson's face.

Bailey, a fly fishing guide from the area, posted a video of his encounter with Carlson on his Instagram after the fact. The video appears to start mid-confrontation and lasts less than 30 seconds.

"Dude, you are the worst human being known to mankind," Bailey said. "I want you to know that. What you have done to this state, to the United States, to everything else in this world. I don't care that your daughter's here. What you have done to people's families, what you have done to everybody else in this world."

For his part, Tucker Carlson tried to defuse the situation, telling Bailey that he wasn't going to get into a debate and saying "Settle down, son." At that, Bailey visibly bristled in offense and continued to follow Carlson around the store.

LI Radio: Former GM Sentenced To 15-Months

The former manager of an East End-based radio station group was sentenced Friday to 15 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $302,585.01 in restitution for using a company credit card without authorization to pay for personal luxuries such as boat maintenance and a Caribbean vacation.

Newsday reports 58-year-old Stephanie McNamara Bitis, who served as the general manager of the Water Mill-based Long Island Radio Broadcasting LLC from 2015 until 2017, apologized — tearfully at one point — in a statement to the court before sentencing. Bitis was also sentenced to one year of supervised release.

Stephanie Bitis
"Because of the tremendous mistake I made, 58 years of any good I've done has been totally erased and this defines me, your honor," Bitis said. "I'm sorry we're all here. I apologize for the time and expense of everyone involved."

Bitis, who pleaded guilty in November 2020 to access device fraud as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, on Friday paid $125,000 of the restitution — $52,585.01 to Long Island Radio Broadcasting and $72,414.99 to Granite State Insurance Company, which had paid a claim related to Bitis' theft to the broadcaster. Bitis made the payment by mortgaging her home. The radio company owns WEHM 92.9/96.9 FM, WBAZ 102.5 FM and WBEA The Beach 101.7 FM.

Bitis, a former member of the Sag Harbor school board, decried the public ridicule she's received in her small town since the news of her conduct was made public. She told the judge she experienced tremendous "embarrassment, guilt and remorse," and a prison sentence would mean she'd lose her job and her two children would have to drop out of college.

"In the court of public opinion, it's a life sentence," said Bitis.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Bagnuola said while Bitis had moved quickly to take responsibility by pleading guilty to an information and waiving indictment — he argued for a sentence within the 12 to 18 month in prison stipulated in the plea agreement, saying there was a need for deterrence. Bitis, who was paid $150,000 annually while employed by the broadcaster, had used the company credit card to fund a family trip to Aruba, boat maintenance and orthodontist visits, prosecutors have said.

Lauren Stone, owner of the radio company and WEHM host, attended the sentencing by phone but did not comment.

Nashville Radio: Talker Phil Valentine Remains 'Critical'


62-year-old Phil Valentine, an outspoken vaccine skeptic and radio host at WWTN 99.7 FM in Nashville, remained in critical condition, but alert, Sunday after almost two weeks in the hospital battling COVID-19.

The Tennessean reports he's has had remdesivir injections, and he has been "proned" (flipped on his stomach so the fluid can't settle in one spot in his lungs). Doctors suggested another last-ditch effort.

"They told him to sing," his brother Mark Valentine said. "He was singing in the critical care unit at the top of his lungs."

He sang "My Way," the song Frank Sinatra made famous and includes the lines, "And now, the end is near ..." and "Regrets, I've had a few ..."

Singing, they said, may help his lungs clear.

So far, it has not. He has not shown improvement or any decline for the last few days, his brother said.

Phil Valentine is getting oxygen treatments, but he has not been placed on a ventilator.

"He is positive, and he is scared," Mark Valentine said. "He knows he is very, very sick."

On June 24, about three weeks before he was hospitalized, he wrote this on Facebook: "Common sense told us that if you weren't at risk for COVID you shouldn't get the vaccine."

If he ever gets a chance to do his radio show again, his message will be different, his brother said.

"When he gets the opportunity to tell the world, his message will be, get the vaccine, period," Mark Valentine said.

Until two weeks ago, Phil Valentine was "healthy as a horse," and "a very health-conscious guy," his brother said. "Now he regrets not being more adamant about getting the vaccine. Look at the dadgum data."

Susan Valentine, Phil's wife, has been by his side at the hospital for 14-hour shifts in full protective gear. 

"She is watching her husband fight for his life," Mark Valentine said. 

TV Ratings: Tank For Olympics Opening


NBC's broadcast of the Tokyo Olympic Games opening ceremony drew 16.7 million viewers, the smallest U.S. television audience for the event in the past 33 years, according to Reuters citing preliminary data from Comcast-owned NBCUniversal on Saturday.

Across all platforms, including NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, 17 million people watched the ceremony, NBCUniversal said in an email.

The streaming audience on those platforms grew 76% from the 2018 PyeongChang opening ceremony and 72% from the 2016 Rio opener, reflecting a change in viewing habits.

Friday's audience reflects a steep drop, despite difficult comparisons with previous opening ceremonies when viewers had fewer streaming options.

The Tokyo opener TV audience declined 37% from 2016, when 26.5 million people watched the Rio de Janeiro Games opener, and 59% from 2012, when 40.7 million people watched the London ceremony.

It was the lowest audience for the opening ceremony since the 1988 Seoul Games, which attracted 22.7 million TV viewers. It was also lower than the 1992 Barcelona Games, when 21.6 million people tuned in, according to Nielsen data.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Friday's scaled-down opening event took place with fewer than 1,000 attendees at the Olympic Stadium under strict social distancing rules.

With Tokyo 13 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast, NBC for the first time broadcast the ceremony live in the morning, at 6:55 a.m. ET Friday. NBC's taped, primetime broadcast began at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The company plans to air an "unprecedented" 7,000 hours of Olympics coverage across its multiple television networks and Peacock. These include some of the most anticipated events, such as gymnastics and U.S. Men's basketball, on the streaming platform. It will also stream over 5,500 hours of the Olympics on NBCOlympics.com and its sports app.

The TV ratings drop is part of a trend among live TV events, including awards shows and sports.

NBCUniversal Expects 'Most Profitable Olympics'


NBCUniversal is expecting a massive advertising revenue boost from the Summer Games in Tokyo, with one executive saying it could be its most profitable Olympics yet, reports the Philly Business Journal.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell discussed Philadelphia-based parent company Comcast Corp.'s outlook for broadcasting the Summer Olympics, as well as Super Bowl LVI and the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. Speaking at Credit Suisse’s annual Communications Conference this month, Shell expressed optimism about ad sales for the massive sports events thanks to strong sales for the upcoming 2021-2022 television season.

“Depending on how ratings are, it could be our most profitable Olympics in the history of the company,” Shell said.

NBCUniversal is close to wrapping up its negotiations for upfront advertising, or advertising for the entire television season, he said, and it was the strongest season the company has seen. Demand and pricing were strong, Shell said, with advertisers vying for audience as more people switch to streaming or other platforms not supported by ads. Advertisers are clamoring for reach, and ad-supported platforms like NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service and Comcast’s broadcast television are hot commodities, he said.

Shell expects the strong demand for advertising to bleed into some of the world’s biggest sports events, including the Olympics and Super Bowl. 

Olympics television ratings in the U.S. are driven by the success of the U.S. Olympic team, Shell said, and could be bolstered by gold medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles’ appearances, the swim team, and track and field. Traditional broadcast audiences still make up the vast majority of viewers, but regardless of what the company does, that audience will continue to decline, Shell said. 

With 42 million users since its launch year, Peacock will be “critical” to reaching audiences who migrate away from traditional television toward streaming, as well as to reaching advertisers as the platform grows to new countries, he said. NBCUniversal will continue to make content for traditional television networks alongside Peacock, offering some exclusives on the streaming platform as well, he said.

New Poll: Talker Larry Elder Leads CA Race

Larry Elder

A new poll shows that talk radio host Larry Elder is leading in the crowded race to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom — ahead of Caitlyn Jenner — in a recall election this September.

The NY Post reports Elder leads at 16% in a new Emerson College/Nexstar Media poll.

Elder, a 69-year-old Republican, is followed by businessman John Cox, at 6%, and former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, at 6%. California State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, and Jenner are at 4% each, according to the poll.

Carl Jackson
The poll found that 48 percent of voters still want Newsom to remain in office but the number of people who want him out is increasing. Forty-three percent of people polled now say they will vote to recall Newsom — up from 38 percent in March. A majority of voters say they don’t know yet who they’d want if Newsom is booted from office.

Elder has a nationally syndicated talk show and is a frequent guest on Fox News. He calls himself the “Sage of South Central” on his website, a reference to where he grew up in LA.  While Elder is campaigning, Orlando-based talker Carl Jackson is guest hosting on the Salem Radio Network.

Former Fox News anchor and now podcaster Megyn Kelly is a fan, frequently tweeting out “LARRY!” on her feed.

Elder said Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is why he decided to run.

“The arrogance of Gavin Newsom was crystalized by the way he handled this pandemic,” Elder told the Sacramento Observer Friday.

Elder says he’s not focusing on other candidates.

“The target is Newsom,” he said. “If he isn’t recalled, it doesn’t matter. I intend to be the person that you write down or you check off for who you want as a replacement when you recall this guy. He’s going.”

Disney Moving 2000 Jobs To Business Friendly FL

FL Gov. Ron DeSantis now has Mickey on His 'A' Gift List

Walt Disney Co. expects to receive nearly $580 million in tax credits for moving about 2,000 California jobs to Florida, reports The L-A Times.

The Burbank-based media giant applied for and was approved to receive an estimated $578 million in credits from the state of Florida over the next 19 years, according to documents obtained from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The credits are for building and operating a regional campus near Lake Nona to house the roughly 2,000 workers.

The tax credit application was submitted Dec. 26, 2019, and approved Feb. 10, 2020, according to documents viewed by The Times. Disney announced the plan to move 2,000 California jobs to Florida last week. The company described Florida as having a “business friendly climate” and said the new facility would help consolidate operations and promote collaboration among staff.

In a statement, Disney said it was “utilizing an existing incentive offered by the state of Florida in the development of the new regional hub where we will be bringing more than 2,000 professional roles to central Florida and making a sizable investment in this community where we have a long standing presence and commitment.”

According to the tax credit application, Disney plans to invest about $240 million in building the 300,000-to-400,000-square-foot facility and an additional $624 million in office equipment, computers, furniture and other expenses over the next three years. The average wage of the workers in the facility will be $120,000 per year, the application says.

The 2,000 positions that will be relocated from Burbank and Glendale offices represent less than 5% of Disney’s total staff in California, according to Disney officials. Relocating employees will be offered moving assistance, Disney officials said. The move will take place over the next 18 months, they said.

The positions that will be moved to the Lake Nona campus include jobs in digital technology, finance, communications, human resources and product development, Disney officials said. Most of the Glendale-based Imagineers — the staff who design theme park attractions — will be moved to the Florida campus, Disney officials said.

Tech Adoption: Digital Divide Remains


Most adults say they go online at least daily, but how they are accessing the internet often depends on their income level and the devices they own. A recent survey by Pew Research Center shows that a gap exists in regards to income level and the adoption of digital technology.

While earlier reports say 85% of US adults own smartphones and two-fifths planned to purchase more tech during the pandemic, Pew Research Center’s survey of more than 1,500 US adults found that many of those with an annual household income (HHI) of less than $30K do not own a smartphone (24%), laptop or desktop (41%) or tablet (59%).

On the other hand, these devices are commonplace for those with a higher HHI, especially for those making more than $100K. In fact, 87% of those with a HHI between $30K and $100K and 97% of those with a HHI of more than $100K own a smartphone. Similarly, 84% of those with an HHI of $30K-$100K own a desktop or laptop computer and more than half (53%) own a tablet, while 92% of those with an HHI more than $100K own a computer and almost 7 in 10 (68%) own a tablet.

Broadband Access

Data from the Leichtman Research Group indicates that roughly 8 in 10 households have home broadband. However, Pew Research Group’s survey shows that fewer than 6 in 10 (57% of) adults with HHI of less than $30K have home broadband, with a little more than one-quarter (27%) of individuals in this income bracket relying on their smartphone to access the internet. This appears to be especially common for those with a high school education or less and Hispanics, where nearly one-quarter of each group is smartphone-dependent.

By comparison, nearly all (93%) of those US adults with a household income of more than $100K have access to home broadband, while more than 8 in 10 (83%) of those in the middle HHI range have home broadband. And, while the share of those with a HHI of more than $100K who are smartphone-only internet users has increased, albeit slightly (5% in 2019 to 6% in 2021) the share of those with a HHI of $30K-100K who only use their smartphone to access the internet at home has declined between 2019 (14%) and 2021 (11%).

➤Read more here.

July 26 Radio History


Burns & Allen
➦In 1895...Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen was born (Died of a heart attack at age 69 – August 27, 1964). She was a vaudevillian and comedienne who became internationally famous as the zany partner and comic foil of husband George Burns, her straight man appearing with her on radio, television and film as the duo Burns and Allen.

For her contributions to the television industry, Gracie Allen was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6672 Hollywood Boulevard, while she and Burns were inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1988.

Co-star Bea Benaderet said of Allen in 1966: "She was probably one of the greatest actresses of our time."  Today, the annual Gracie Awards are named in her honor.

The Burns & Allen Show debuted on radio in 1932, and ended on TV with Gracie’s retirement 25 years later.


➦In 1903...Donald Voorhees born (Died at age 85 – January 10, 1989, Cape May Court House, NJ. He was a  composer and conductor who received an Emmy Award nomination for "Individual Achievements in Music" for his work on the television series, The Bell Telephone Hour.

Donald Voorhees
Starting in 1926, Voorhees' orchestra recorded prolifically for Columbia, Edison, Pathe, Perfect, Cameo, and Hit of the Week, playing the piano in early recordings. His recording career mostly ended in 1931, when he approached the bigger opportunities radio offered at the time. His first broadcast work was NBC Radio's The Texaco Fire Chief Show, which starred comedian Ed Wynn. Other of the programs he worked for was the Maxwell House Showboat, appearing in a 1933 "picturization", the short Captain Henry's Show Boat.

From 1935 to 1941, and from 1949 to 1953 (with Ardon Cornwell), Voorhees was the musical director and conductor for the radio and television show, Cavalcade of America.

Voorhees also served as conductor of the Bell Telephone Hour orchestra for 26 years, from its first broadcasts on radio in 1942 until its final television episode in 1968. He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1966 for "Individual Achievements in Music" for his work on the series.


➦In 1921...Jean Parker Shepherd Jr. born (Died – October 16, 1999). He was a storyteller, radio and TV personality, writer and actor. He was often referred to by the nickname Shep. With a career that spanned decades, Shepherd is known for the film A Christmas Story (1983), which he narrated and co-scripted, based on his own semi-autobiographical stories.


After military service, Shepherd began his broadcast radio career in early 1945 on WJOB in Hammond, Indiana, later working at WTOD in Toledo, Ohio, in 1946. He began working in Cincinnati, Ohio, in January 1947 at WSAI, later also working at Cincinnati stations WCKY and WKRC the following year, before returning to WSAI. From 1951 to 1953, he had a late-night broadcast on KYW in Philadelphia, PA, after which he returned to Cincinnati for several shows on WLW. After a stint on television, he returned to radio. "Shep," as he was known, settled in at WOR 710 AM in New York Cit at the end of February 1955, and on an overnight slot in 1956, where he delighted his fans by telling stories, reading poetry (especially the works of Robert W. Service), and organizing comedic listener stunts.

When he was about to be released by WOR in 1956 for lack of sponsors, he did a commercial for Sweetheart Soap, not a sponsor, and was immediately fired. His listeners besieged WOR with complaints, and when Sweetheart offered to sponsor him he was reinstated. Eventually, he attracted more sponsors than he wanted.


His last WOR broadcast was on April 1, 1977. His subsequent radio work consisted of short segments on several other stations, including crosstown WCBS 880 AM, and occasional commentaries on NPR's All Things Considered. His final radio gig was the Sunday night radio show "Shepherd's Pie" on WBAI in the mid-1990s, which had him reading his stories uncut, uninterrupted and unabridged. The show was one of WBAI's most popular of the period.

Throughout his radio career, he performed entirely without scripts. His friend and WOR colleague Barry Farber marveled at how he could talk so long with so few notes.

He died Oct. 16 1999 at age 78.  In 2005 he was posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.


➦In 1944...The New York Times took-over ownership of WQXR AM & FM in NYC.


➦In 195?...WCBS 101.1 FM NYC PD Jim Ryan was born.

Jim Ryan
Ryan joined CBS Radio in April 2010 as Program Director of WWFS Fresh 102.7 FM and Vice President, Adult Contemporary Programming. He was named Program Director of WCBS-FM since early 2014.

From September 1996 to April 2008, Ryan worked for iHeartMedia’s WLTW 106.7 Lite-FM. During his time at the station, Ryan programmed and served as Director of Adult Contemporary Programming, went on to become Vice President of AC Programming and was later elevated to Senior Vice President of AC Programming.

Prior to working in New York, Ryan played an instrumental role in establishing WBEB 101.1 FM in Philadelphia. Before joining CBS Radio, he was head of his own consulting company, Jim Ryan Media, where he advised many top radio stations, including market leaders in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston, and syndicated national personalities
.

Pete Fornatale
➦In 1969...One of the pioneers in FM Rock, Pete Fornatale started at rock WNEW 102.7 FM.

Fornatale hosted a weekly program, "Campus Caravan," on Fordham University's WFUV from 1964 to 1970. He began professionally in 1969 at WNEW-FM and also worked at WXRK. He returned to WFUV in 2001 and was heard weekly on his shows, "Mixed Bag" and "Mixed Bag Radio," which is also on XM satellite radio. He won the Armstrong Excellence in Broadcasting Award in 1983.

Fornatale died in New York City at age 66 on April 26, 2012 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.



➦In 2017...Voice actress June Foray died. She was best known as the voice of such animated characters as Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Lucifer from Disney's Cinderella, Cindy Lou Who, Jokey Smurf, Granny from the Warner Bros. cartoons directed by Friz Freleng, Grammi Gummi from Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears series, and Magica De Spell, among many others.

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame honoring her voice work in television.

After entering radio as one of the WBZA Players at WBZA Springfield, MA, Foray starred in her own radio series Lady Make Believe in the late 1930s.   She soon became a popular voice actress, with regular appearances on coast-to-coast network shows including Lux Radio Theatre and The Jimmy Durante Show.

 She was still working well into her mid-90’s.


Mick Jagger is 78
🎂HAPPY BIRTHDAYS:
  • Actor Robert Colbert (“The Time Tunnel,” “Maverick”) is 90. 
  • Singer Darlene Love is 80. 
  • Singer Brenton Wood is 80. 
  • Singer Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones is 78.
  • Actor Helen Mirren is 76. 
  • Drummer Roger Taylor of Queen is 72. 
  • Actor Susan George is 71. 
  • Actor Nana Visitor (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) is 64. 
  • Actor Kevin Spacey is 62. 
  • Singer Gary Cherone (Extreme, Van Halen) is 60. 
  • Actor Sandra Bullock is 57. 
  • Singer Jim Lindberg of Pennywise is 56. 
  • Actor Jeremy Piven is 56. 
  • Singer Wayne Wonder is 55. 
  • Darlene Love is 80
    Actor Jason Statham (“Transporter” films) is 54. 
  • Actor Cress Williams (“Hart of Dixie,” “Close to Home”) 51. 
  • Host Chris Harrison (“The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”) 50. 
  • Actor Kate Beckinsale (“The Aviator,” ″Pearl Harbor”) is 48. 
  • Actor Gary Owen (“Think Like A Man” films) is 48. 
  • Drummer Dan Konopka of OK Go is 47. 
  • Contemporary Christian singer Rebecca St. James is 44. 
  • Actor Eve Myles (“Victoria,” ″Broadchurch”) is 43. 
  • Actor Juliet Rylance (“American Gothic”) is 42. 
  • Actor Monica Raymund (“Chicago Fire,” ″Chicago P.D.”) 35. 
  • Actor Francia Raisa (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) is 33. 
  • Drummer Jamie Sharpe (Rush of Fools) is 32. 
  • Actor Bianca Santos (“The Fosters”) is 31. 
  • Singer-actor Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless is 28.

    Saturday, July 24, 2021

    July 25 Radio History


    Hal Peary
    ➦In 1908...Harold (Hal) Peary born in San Leanadro, CA (Died  at age 76 – March 30, 1985). He was an actor, comedian and singer in radio, films, television, and animation remembered best as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, a supporting character on radio's Fibber McGee and Molly that moved to its own NBC radio hit, The Great Gildersleeve, the first known spinoff hit in American broadcasting history.

    Born as José Pereira de Faria in San Leandro, California, to Portuguese parents, Harold Peary (pronounced "Perry") began working in local radio as early as 1923, according to his own memory, and had his own show as a singer, The Spanish Serenader, in San Francisco, but moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1937. While in San Francisco, he also had "several parts" in Wheatenaville, a program broadcast on NBC's Pacific network beginning September 26, 1932

    Peary worked as a disc jockey at radio station WMGM 1050 AM in New York City. Beginning in 1953, he had a one-hour program Monday-Saturday.


    ➦In 1922...AT&T Western Electric began broadcasting WBAY New York City, the predecessor of WEAF, WNBC, WRCA and the current WFAN.  AT&T broadcast assets within a few years were early NBC properties.


    ➦In 1925...2XAG (now WGY 810 AM) in Schenectady, NY became the first radio station in the U.S. to broadcast with a 50,000-watt transmitter.

    Birthday Boy Scott Shannon with mini-Scott (2018)
    ➦In 1947...Radio personality-programmer Michael Scott Shannon was born.  Presently hosting the morning show for Audacy's Classic Hits WCBS 101.1 FM in New York City, and host America's Greatest Hits syndicated nationally with United Stations. He has also worked for WHTZ, WPLJ, The True Oldies Channel, and he is the voice for the syndicated Sean Hannity Show.

    He began his radio career during an Army stint at WFBS 1450 AM in Spring Lake, North Carolina (later WFBX). From there he moved to WCLS 1580 AM in Columbus, Georgia. After leaving the army, Shannon worked full-time in radio at WABB in Mobile, Alabama, where he acquired the name Super Shan.  After a brief stint at WMPS in Memphis he moved to Nashville, where he was the evening disc jockey at WMAK 1300 AM, later becoming that station's program director.

    Shannon left Nashville to take a job as a record promoter with Casablanca Records.  Scott returned to radio in Washington, D.C. as program director of WPGC 95.5 FM, taking that station to the #1 spot in the Arbitron ratings. From there, he moved to WQXI 790 AM in Atlanta. Then, in Tampa, Florida, Scott, along with partner Cleveland Wheeler, he developed the 'morning zoo' radio format while at WRBQ 104.7 FM Q105.



    Shannon is particularly known within the radio broadcasting industry for his work on WHTZ 100.3 FM Z100 in New York City in the mid to late 1980's. Along with former disc jockey Ross Brittain of WABC's "Ross & Wilson Show", he founded the "Z Morning Zoo." He was the driving force in helping Z100 go from worst-to-first in New York City within a mere 74 days of signing on the air.

    In 1989, Shannon left Z100 for Los Angeles to start up Pirate Radio, KQLZ. Pirate Radio employed a similar Top 40 concept. As the 1990s began, Top 40 radio experienced a decline, and eventually Pirate Radio struggled as well, leading to Shannon's departure.

    In 1991 he returned to New York and resurfaced on Z100's biggest rival, WPLJ 95.5 FM. This station had also been struggling since its glory days of the mid 1980s, and Shannon became program director and morning drive co-host. Shannon created a Top 40 format that was geared more toward the adult contemporary audience, brought in co-host Todd Pettengill to form "The Big Show," and the WPLJ call letters were re-emphasized. On February 7, 2014, he announced he was exiting WPLJ effective immediately.

    On February 25, 2014, WCBS FM announced that Scott Shannon would be hosting a brand new Morning Show entitled Scott Shannon in the Morning in New York starting on March 3.



    Shannon is one of several disc jockeys honored in an exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.  In 2003, he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C., and in 2006 he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago, Illinois.

    In September 2010, Shannon was named Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year at the 2010 National Association of Broadcasters' Marconi Radio Awards.


    ➦In 1999....Broadcast journalist Martin Agronsky, who joined NBC Radio as a foreign correspondent in 1940, and went on to a distinguished career with all three U-S TV networks, died of congestive heart failure at age 84.

    Bruce Woodley is 79

    🎂HAPPY BIRTHDAYS:
      • Singer-guitarist Bruce Woodley of The Seekers is 79. 
      • Drummer Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds is 78. 
      • Bassist Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire is 70. 
      • Guitarist Jem Finer of The Pogues is 66. 
      • Supermodel Iman is 66. 
      • Cartoonist Ray Billingsley (“Curtis”) is 64. 
      • Guitarist Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth is 63. 
      • Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian is 62. 
      • Country singer Marty Brown is 56. 
      • Actor Illeana Douglas is 56. 
      • Actor Matt LeBlanc (“Joey,” ″Friends”) is 54. 
      • Linsey Godfrey is 33
        Actor Wendy Raquel Robinson (TV’s “Grand Hotel,” “The Steve Harvey Show”) is 54. 
      • Cellist Paavo Lotjonen of Apocalyptica is 53. 
      • Actor D.B. Woodside (“24”) is 52. 
      • Actor Miriam Shor (“Swingtown,” ″Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) 50. 
      • Actor David Denman (“Parenthood,” ″The Office”) is 48. 
      • Actor Jay R. Ferguson (“Mad Men”) is 47. 
      • Actor James Lafferty (“One Tree Hill”) is 36. 
      • Actor Shantel VanSanten (“One Tree Hill”) is 36. 
      • Actor Michael Welch (“Twilight” films, TV’s “Joan of Arcadia”) is 34. 
      • Actor Linsey Godfrey (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) is 33. 
      • Classical singer Faryl Smith is 26. 
      • Actor Mason Cook (TV’s “Speechless”) is 21. 
      • Actor Pierce Gagnon (“One Tree Hill”) is 16.

      Tencent Ordered To End Exclusive Music Contracts


      Tencent Holdings Ltd. was ordered to give up exclusive music streaming rights and pay half a million yuan in fines, becoming the latest Chinese internet giant to be brought to heel by regulators.

      Bloomberg reports an official investigation found Tencent’s 2016 acquisition of China Music Corp.’s stakes violated regulations partly because of a lack of reporting to authorities, according to a statement by the anti-trust watchdog on Saturday. The State Administration for Market Regulation required Tencent and its affiliates to waive exclusive music rights within 30 days and handed down a fine of 500,000 yuan ($77,145).

      That deal had help create Tencent Music Entertainment Group, which was formed after the merger of QQ Music and China Music Corp.

      Tencent will make rectification plans with its affiliates including Tencent Music Entertainment within the time limit designated and “faithfully” carry out the SAMR’s order to ensure all requirements are met, the company said in a statement on its official WeChat account.

      The penalty levied on Tencent marks the most-direct hit to Asia’s most valuable corporation from Beijing’s escalating campaign against its tech giants. Fellow internet behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. was fined a record $2.8 billion in April for antitrust violations, while its affiliate Ant Group Co. had to scrap an initial public offering and restructure into a financial holding company. Firms backed by Tencent have also come under scrutiny: food-delivery leader Meituan is facing an anti-monopoly probe while Didi Global Inc., operator of the country’s largest ride-hailing service, was this month ordered off Chinese app stores by cyberspace regulators.

      Beijing has sought to curtail the growing influence of China’s powerful internet corporations over every aspect of Chinese life from online shopping to chatting and ride-hailing.

      Tencent Music has long held a commanding lead in Chinese music through exclusive rights to a major chunk of Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group Corp.’s catalogs, which it then sublicenses to smaller platforms including those operated by NetEase Inc., Alibaba and Xiaomi Corp. That dominance was weakened when NetEase struck deals to directly license songs from Universal and Sony.