Saturday, January 23, 2021

R.I.P.: Larry King, Radio-TV Broadcaster


Larry King, the amiable, Brooklyn-born broadcaster whose live global TV program on CNN made him one of the most famous talk-show hosts in the world, has died at age 87, reports The L-A Times.

King died Saturday at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, Ora Media, the company behind programs “Larry King Now” and “Politicking with Larry King”  said in a statement. King was hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month.

King ended his long-running CNN program in 2010 but returned to television again and again as a moderator, opinion shaper and, occasionally, pitchman. During his 25 years presiding over “Larry King Live,” the first international live phone-in TV talk show, King was variously dubbed in the press as “America’s yak-master,” the “pope of talk” and the “top banana of talk-show hosts.”

With his swept-back dark hair, horn-rimmed glasses and trademark suspenders, the jacketless King would sit at his desk with its prop antique microphone and — leaning forward, shoulders hunched — do what he felt he did best: “draw people out in an interview.”

King’s announcement in June 2010 that he would leave his program later in the year came in the wake of a sharp decline in viewership for his show and his reconciliation with his seventh wife, Shawn, after they both filed for divorce. They again filed for divorce in 2019.

In addition to hosting “The Larry King Show,” a late-night radio talk show on the Mutual Broadcasting System from 1978 to 1994, King was the author of a number of bestselling books, wrote a longtime weekly column of random thoughts for USA Today, made more than 20 cameo appearances in movies and, during the midst of the pandemic in 2020, launched an hourlong pop culture podcast.

King was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in Brooklyn on Nov. 19, 1933. In 1944, when King was 10, his father died of a heart attack, forcing King’s mother to go on relief before taking a job as a seamstress in Manhattan’s garment district to support King and his younger brother, Martin.

Although King dreamed of becoming a radio broadcaster while growing up, he spent the initial years after high school working a variety of odd jobs. But in 1957, after hearing that Miami was a good place to break into radio, the 23-year-old King headed to Florida.

The only job he could find was sweeping floors at a small AM station, WAHR, with the promise of an on-air job when someone quit. When the morning disc jockey quit two weeks later, the general manager asked King to step in. Half an hour before going on the air, King later recalled, the general manager told him that Zeiger sounded “too German, too Jewish” and suggested the name King.

In 1958, King moved to a larger radio station, WKAT, and the increasingly popular disc jockey began hosting a four-hour radio show on location at Pumpernik’s, a popular Miami restaurant, where he quickly progressed from interviewing the restaurant’s customers to talking with celebrities such as Lenny Bruce, Bobby Darin and Ella Fitzgerald.

In 1960, King also began hosting a Sunday night interview show for a local TV station. Two years later, he was hired by Miami radio station WIOD and began doing an interview show from the houseboat that had been used on the TV private-detective series “Surfside 6.”

His local popularity was further fueled when he became the color commentator for the Miami Dolphins’ football broadcasts on WIOD and began writing local newspaper columns.

King began living large in the 1960s. But despite impressively earning nearly $70,000 a year by 1966, he found himself deeply in debt, thanks to spending lavishly and betting on horse races.

The years of overspending, along with his heavy gambling debts, caused King to begin lying to his friends so he could borrow money from them.

In 1971, King was arrested after financier Louis Wolfson, with whom King had dealings, pressed grand larceny charges against him. A judge dismissed the charges because the statute of limitations had expired, but the scandal shattered King’s career.

He lost his local radio show, his sideline as the color man for the Miami Dolphins, his television show and his newspaper column.

But the turnaround for King began in 1975 when WIOD radio, under a new general manager, decided to give him another chance.

In 1978, the same year he declared bankruptcy, King’s career took a giant leap when the Mutual Broadcasting System offered him the opportunity to host a national late-night call-in radio show.



“The Larry King Show,” originally broadcast from Miami before moving to the Mutual studios in Arlington, Va., debuted in 1978 on 28 stations. By the early ’80s, the show was being carried on nearly 250 Mutual affiliates in all 50 states and had won a Peabody Award.

NBC To Shutter NBC Sports Network


NBCUniversal is shutting down its sports cable channel NBCSN at the end of the year and migrating much of its programming to its sister general entertainment network USA.

The Wall Street Journal reports the premium properties on NBCSN are the National Hockey League and Nascar auto racing, both of which will start to transition to USA Network this year. Some content will remain on both channels until NBCSN officially turns off the lights. NBCUniversal informed staffers of the plan Friday afternoon in a company memo.

“We’re absolutely committed more than ever to live sports as a company, and having such a huge platform like USA Network airing some of our key sports content is great for our partners, distributors, viewers and advertisers alike,” said NBC Sports Group Chairman Pete Bevacqua.

By putting high-profile sports on USA Network, NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp., is hoping to solve two problems with one move: Get rid of an underperforming asset and boost an already powerful one. English Premier soccer will also have matches on USA.

By putting popular sports on the USA channel, NBCUniversal is hoping it can increase its value of USA Network to distributors. Having more sports on USA will also make it a more viable competitor to WarnerMedia’s TBS and TNT channels, which also carry a mix of entertainment and sports.

The addition of sports won’t mean there will be less entertainment fare on USA, Frances Berwick, chairman of NBCUniversal’s Entertainment Networks, said in a statement. “We remain committed to original entertainment programming, and believe that high-profile live sports will complement USA’s broad premium scripted, unscripted and WWE slate,” she said.

The move is part of a broader reassessment of the company’s cable networks unit that could see further shutdowns in the coming years. Among other networks that are considered potentially expendable are E!, Oxygen and Syfy.

The evaluation of cable networks’ long-term value to the company comes as NBCUniversal pivots much of its attention to its new streaming service, Peacock. It is likely that some of the sports on NBCSN will find a home on Peacock, which already carries the Premier League.

Still, the cable networks have remained a cash cow for NBCUniversal. Pay-TV providers pay to carry channels and then pass on those costs to customers through monthly bills—which have risen as cord-cutting continues. Comcast, as well as its peers, have seen customers flee in favor of subscription streaming services such as Netflix Inc. in recent quarters.

Some of NBCUniversal’s networks—including USA, Bravo, E! And Syfy—have lost more than 10 million subscribers each since 2014, according to Nielsen data.

Comcast launched NBCSN in 1995, when it was then known as the Outdoor Life Network and carried the Tour de France as its biggest property. In 2006, the channel picked up the rights to the NHL and changed its name to Versus. After Philadelphia-based Comcast bought NBC in 2011, the name changed again to NBC Sports Network. The channel currently is in 80.6 million homes.

Rumors have been swirling around for NBCSN’s future for weeks, including a prediction last month that NBC would shut down the channel at some point this year.

After 55-Years, Tom Brokaw Retires From NBC News


Veteran TV anchor Tom Brokaw, a fixture at NBC News for 55 years, retired from the network Friday.

The L-A Ties reports the 80-year-old Brokaw has made only a few on-air appearances on NBC and its cable news channel MSNBC in recent years, as he has been battling cancer. The former anchor of “NBC Nightly News” — a seat he filled for 22 years — has been a senior correspondent and occasional commentator since 2005.

“During one of the most complex and consequential eras in American history, a new generation of NBC News journalists, producers and technicians is providing America with timely, insightful and critically important information, 24/7,” Brokaw said in a statement announcing the move. “I could not be more proud of them.”

Brokaw was one of the most familiar figures in network TV news for several decades after he emerged as a White House correspondent for NBC News during the Watergate scandal in 1973. He began his NBC career at the Los Angeles bureau of the network, where he covered Ronald Reagan’s gubernatorial campaign and the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

The South Dakota native moved to New York in 1976 when he was named co-anchor of the network’s morning franchise “Today,” where he sat alongside co-host Jane Pauley until 1981. His good looks, ability to handle hard news and celebrity interviews and skill for ad-libbing endlessly on live TV led an executive to give him the nickname “Duncan the Wonder Horse.”

In 1983, Brokaw became the anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.” He vacated the job for Brian Williams in 2005 but remained an authoritative presence at NBC News, hosting documentaries, reporting for the newsmagazine “Dateline” and appearing on the network’s election night and special event coverage.

Brokaw served as moderator of NBC’s Sunday Washington roundtable program “Meet the Press” for several months after the sudden death of Tim Russert in 2008.

Brokaw’s legacy was tarnished after former NBC News colleague Linda Vester went public in 2018 with allegations of sexual harassment against the anchor. Vester said Brokaw attempted to kiss her in a hotel room when the two were on assignment for the network in the 1990s. She also said he once showed up at her New York hotel room unannounced in an attempt to start a sexual relationship.

Brokaw denied the incidents and a large number of women employees at the network circulated a letter stating their support for him.

Twin Cities Radio: PD John Hanson OUT At Entercom's WCCO

John Hanson
WCCO 830 AM Radio's program director is no longer with the Minneapolis station.

An email to staff on Thursday from Shannon Knoepke, the senior vice president and Twin Cities market manager for the station's owner Entercom, said, "John Hanson is no longer with the company, effective today. ... More to come as we move forward and work to fill this position."

Hanson joined WCCO Radio in 2018, according to the company's website. Prior to that, he worked as a co-host on KSTP-TV's "Twin Cities Live" from 2008-2012.

He began working for Entercom in 2013 when he was hired to program sports radio stations in Kansas City.

Hanson was first introduced to the area as co-host of KSTP-TV's "Twin Cities Live" when the afternoon talk show debuted in 2008. He left the show in 2012 and joined the Entercom family in 2013 to program sports radio stations in Kansas City.

Hanson, who grew up in the Twin Cities, returned home in 2018 for the WCCO programming position.

WCCO morning-drive personality Dave Lee announced this month that he will retire in April.

There are no details on why he's leaving WCCO Radio.

Baltimore Radio: MLB Orioles, Jim Hunter Part Ways

Jim Hunter

Jim Hunter, who has served as a play-by-play announcer for Orioles baseball games since 1997, announced Friday that he will not rejoin the team’s broadcasts in 2021 after the club elected to not renew his contract, reports the Baltimore Sun.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic altered the way games were broadcast during the 2020 season, Hunter was slated for a new role, serving as a regular on-air contributor rather than in a play-by-play role for the Orioles Radio Network and MASN.



In a second tweet, Hunter thanked many of the other broadcasters he worked alongside, including former Orioles Jim Palmer, Ben McDonald, Rick Dempsey and Mike Bordick, as well as longtime Orioles broadcaster Joe Angel.

Hunter joined the Orioles in 1997 after having worked with CBS Sports Radio since 1982, serving as a member of the network’s crew for the MLB “Game of the Week” since 1986. He also assisted with Olympics and Super Bowl coverage during his time with CBS.

Hunter has served as the emcee of the Orioles’ Opening Day ceremonies, introducing players as they came down the famed orange carpet.

The Orioles are expected to announce their full 2021 broadcast group sometime next week, a team representative said.

NAB Issue Broadcasters' Policy Priorities


NAB is ready to get to work with the 117th Congress as the organization representing TV and radio broadcasters has unveiled its main policy agenda., according to TV Technology.

Headlining NAB’s Broadcasters’ Policy Agenda are issues surrounding broadcast ownership, spectrum issues, promoting diversity and the preservation of local journalism in the age of big tech.

NAB stressed the importance of broadcasters to the new Congress, detailing its reach, impact on jobs and the overall role of broadcasters as first informers, news reporters and investigators, public servants, innovators (presently with NextGen TV) and, at this particular point in time, a vital lifeline to keep the public informed about COVID-19.

Among them is the issue of broadcast ownership. The FCC is currently in the Supreme Court arguing for new broadcast ownership rules that have been held up because of a decision by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. NAB is urging policymakers to support the FCC’s modernization of radio and TV ownership rules, which it says the 1996 Telecommunications Act mandated the FCC do every four years, to reflect the current marketplace and account for the rise and increasing influence of digital media.

The issue of retransmission consent is also part of NAB’s agenda. Negotiations between local TV station providers and pay-TV operators have become increasingly contentious and have led to numerous blackouts of stations each year. 

NAB also stresses the importance of increasing broadcast diversity, specifically to creating opportunities for women, people of color and other underrepresented communities. A specific action NAB asks Congress to take in this area is to reinstate the diversity tax certificate.

The preservation of local journalism is also high on NAB’s priority list, especially in this age of big tech. NAB would like Congress to consider the competitive challenges and antitrust concerns raised by digital platforms and their impact on local news and information, specifically by supporting laws and policies that recognize and uphold broadcasters “unique and essential roles” in our democracy as part of the free press.

Other issues on the agenda include opposing legislation that modifies advertising tax laws, as well as music licensing issues.

“America's local radio and television broadcasters stand ready to help our nation overcome the challenges that lie ahead,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “ NAB looks forward to working with the new administration and Congress on bipartisan policies to address the crises facing our nation, while helping keep our millions of listeners and viewers informed, safe and connected."

NAB’s Broadcasters’ Policy Agenda can be viewed online.

Biden Fires 3 More Exes At U-S Broadcasting Agency


The heads of three federally funded international broadcasters were abruptly fired late Friday as the Biden administration completed a house-cleaning of Donald Trump-appointees at the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

The Associated Press reports two officials familiar with the changes said the acting chief of the USAGM summarily dismissed the directors of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks just a month after they had been named to the posts.

The changes came a day after the director of the Voice of America and his deputy were removed and the chief of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting stepped down. The firings follow the forced resignation of former President Donald Trump’s handpicked choice to lead USAGM only two hours after Joe Biden took office on Wednesday.

Trump’s USAGM chief Michael Pack had been accused by Democrats and others of trying to turn VOA and its sister networks into pro-Trump propaganda machines. Pack had appointed all of those who were fired on Thursday and Friday to their posts only in December.

The two officials said the acting CEO of USAGM, Kelu Chao, had fired Middle East Broadcasting Network director Victoria Coates, Radio Free Asia chief Stephen Yates and Radio Free Europe head Ted Lipien in a swift series of moves late Friday. It was not immediately clear if any of those removed would try to contest their dismissals.

The White House appointed Chao, a three-decade VOA veteran journalist, to be the agency’s interim chief executive on Wednesday shortly after demanding Pack’s resignation. 

Coates, Yates and Lipien, along with former VOA director Robert Reilly and former Cuba broadcasting chief Jeffrey Shapiro were all prominent conservatives chosen by Pack to shake up what Trump and other Republicans believed was biased leadership in taxpayer-funded media outlets.

Report: 'Jeopardy' Having Second Thoughts About Katie Couric

Katie Couric

There are concerns about 64-year-old Katie Couric as a guest host of “Jeopardy!” after her “condescending, elitist” remarks that GOP and Trump supporters should be “deprogrammed,” reports the NY Post.

Days after “Jeopardy!” producers announced verteran TV journalist Couric would be a guest host following the death of beloved host Alex Trebek, she went on Bill Maher’s show and backed Trump’s impeachment and Twitter ban.

The former “Today” host told Maher on January 15, “But I also think some of them are believing the garbage that they are being fed 24/7 on the internet, by their constituents, and they bought into this big lie.

“And the question is how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump.” 



A “Jeopardy!” source told Page Six the remarks immediately worried the producers of the Sony Pictures-created show, which attracts an audience with a median age of 64.2 years old.

The source said, “The ‘Jeopardy!’ audience is very conservative. And the show has always steered clear of politics.

“Katie’s comments so soon after she was announced as a host are very concerning to the producers. They are worried there will be a backlash against her. There has already been some complaints.

Meanwhile, Couric has been weathering criticism for her partisan comments. The Hill columnist and Fox News contributor Joe Concha said, “This sort of rhetoric from Couric — which comes across as so condescending and elitist — underscores the divide between our media, which primarily resides in New York and Washington, and the rest of the country, which is moderate to center-right per multiple polls. And it’s why the industry is so mistrusted and frowned upon.”

Census: Population Declining in 16 States

With a perfect storm of aging residents, low birth rates, COVID-19 deaths and immigration cutbacks, 16 states saw population decreases last year as the United States experienced the slowest national population growth since the Great Depression.

The nation grew only about 7% between 2010 and 2020, similar to the previous historic low between 1930 and 1940, according to new Census Bureau estimates, which do not reflect the 2020 census counts. The agency will release the final 2020 census tally in March.

California, Massachusetts and Ohio had been growing throughout the past decade until last year, while Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania began slides in 2019. Longer-term losses continued for Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.

The latest population drops could lead to economic stagnation for states. The bicoastal tech boom has been fueled by new residents, including foreign-born students and other skilled workers using immigration visas, while many smaller cities and towns depend.

January 23 Radio History


In 1941...WOR-AM moved from Newark NJ to NYC.


WOR began broadcasting on February 22, 1922, using a 500-watt transmitter on 360 meters (833 kc.) from Bamberger's Department Store in Newark, NJ. The station's first broadcast was made with a home made microphone which was a megaphone attached to a telephone transmitter, while Al Jolson's "April Showers" was played. Louis Bamberger's sale of radio sets to consumers explained their affiliation with the station.


The WOR call sign was reissued from the U.S. maritime radio service. The station initially operated limited hours, sharing time with two other stations, WDT and WJY, which also operated on 833 kc.

WOR changed frequency to 740 kc. in June 1923 and shared time with WJY until July 1926, when WJY signed off for good and WOR received full use of the frequency. In December 1924, WOR acquired a studio in Manhattan. On June 17, 1927, as a result of General Order 40, WOR moved to 710 kc., the channel it currently occupies (unlike most stations, it was not affected by NARBA).

Later in 1926, WOR moved from its New York City studio on the 9th floor of Chickering Hall at 27 West 57th Street to 1440 Broadway, two blocks from Times Square.


In 1954...WNBC 660 AM NYC switched from classical to pop

WNBC signed on for the first time on March 2, 1922, as WEAF, owned by AT&T Western Electric. It was the first radio station in New York City.


The calls are popularly thought to have stood for Western Electric AT&T Fone or Water, Earth, Air, and Fire (the 4 classical elements). However, records suggest that the call letters were assigned from an alphabetical sequence. The first assigned call was actually WDAM; it was quickly dropped, but presumably came from the same alphabetical sequence.




In 1969.. in Memphis, Elvis Presley recorded what would be his last #1 song, “Suspicious Minds.” During the 8th take, the producer used a premature fade-out and fade back in near the end of the track. He felt the fade out, fade in reflected the way Elvis performed the song during his Las Vegas acts.


➦In 1969...working at the Apple studios in London, The Beatles (with Billy Preston on keyboards) recorded ten takes of ‘Get Back.’ However, Preston performances were never used. Four days later, 14 more takes of the song were recorded and eventually Take 11 was spliced together with the best take recorded a day later.


In 1977... Carole King‘s landmark album, “Tapestry”, became the longest-running album to hit the charts, as it reached its 302nd week on the album lists. In 2020 it remains #5 on the longevity list.


In 1978....founder and guitarist Terry Kath of the band Chicago died after accidentally shooting himself in the head with a pistol he didn’t think was loaded. He was a week short of his 32nd birthday.


In 1984...In NYC....Country WKHK 106.7 FM in became WLTW "Lite FM".

In 1980 Viacom bought the Sonderling chain, and the station adopted a country music format. The station was known as "Kick 106.7 FM." The format change, from jazz to country, took place in the middle of the night. The change brought many protests from New York jazz fans, and a petition to the FCC to deny the station's license renewal, which was denied. (The WRVR calls were moved to a radio station in Memphis, TN, that had once been owned by Viacom, but is now owned by Entercom.) However, ratings were low, as they were unable to compete with WHN, which also had a country music format at the time.


Then, on January 23, 1984, Viacom dropped country and changed the calls to WLTW. The station became an MOR station known as "Lite FM 106.7 WLTW". Initially, they were an easy listening station without anything that would be classified as "elevator music". At this point, the station played music from such artists as Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, the Carpenters, Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers, Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, Barry Manilow, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, and the Stylistics. The station also played softer songs from such artists as Elton John, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Everly Brothers, the Righteous Brothers and Billy Joel. The station wouldn't play any new music except for new songs by artists that were familiar to listeners of the station. With this format change, ratings did increase from its previously low levels.

(Almost immediately after the call letter switch, the WKHK calls were picked up by an FM station at 95.3 in Colonial Heights, Virginia that was also doing a country format. That station still has the WKHK calls and is now Heritage-owned Richmond, Virginia Country station "K95".)

By the late 1980s, WLTW started to play songs from such artists as Whitney Houston, Chicago, Foreigner, the Doobie Brothers and Bruce Springsteen. As other competing New York City stations changed their focus, the station stayed with their Soft/AC format, even though they were phasing out songs from artists such as Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, and the Carpenters. At this point, the station's ratings were at or near the top compared with other New York City radio stations.


In 1986...after more than a year of planning, the first annual induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was held at New York’s Waldorf Astoria. Those inducted included Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.


In 1987... Bob "Bob-A-Loo" Lewis - WABC - WABC FM - WCBS FM died at age 49.


In 2005...late-night TV icon Johnny Carson died from complications from emphysema in Los Angeles. He was 79.

Carson began his broadcasting career in 1950 at WOW radio and television in Omaha. Carson soon hosted a morning television program called The Squirrel's Nest. One of his routines involved interviewing pigeons on the roof of the local courthouse that would report on the political corruption they had seen. Carson supplemented his income by serving as master of ceremonies at local church dinners, attended by some of the same politicians and civic leaders whom he had lampooned on the radio.

Johnny Carson
The wife of one of the Omaha political figures Carson spoofed owned stock in a radio station in Los Angeles, and in 1951 referred Carson to her brother, who was influential in the emerging television market in Southern California. Carson joined CBS-owned Los Angeles television station KNXT. In 1953, comic Red Skelton—a fan of Carson's "cult success" low-budget sketch comedy show, Carson's Cellar (1951 to 1953) on KNXT—asked Carson to join his show as a writer.

In 1954, Skelton accidentally knocked himself unconscious during rehearsal an hour before his live show began. Carson then successfully filled in for him. In 1955, Jack Benny invited Carson to appear on one of his programs during the opening and closing segments. Carson imitated Benny and claimed that Benny had copied his gestures.

Carson hosted several shows besides Carson's Cellar, including the game show Earn Your Vacation (1954) and the CBS variety show The Johnny Carson Show (1955–1956). He was a guest panelist on the original To Tell the Truth starting in 1960, later becoming a regular panelist from 1961 until 1962. After the primetime The Johnny Carson Show failed, he moved to New York City to host ABC-TV's Who Do You Trust? (1957–1962), formerly known as Do You Trust Your Wife? There, Carson met his future sidekick and straight man, Ed McMahon. Although he believed moving to daytime television would hurt his career, Who Do You Trust? was a success. It was the first show where he could ad lib and interview guests, and because of Carson's on-camera wit, the show became "the hottest item on daytime television" during his six years at ABC.


🎂HAPPY BIRTHDAY:
  • Tiffani Thiessen is 47
    Actor Chita Rivera is 88. 
  • Actor-director Lou Antonio (“Cool Hand Luke”) is 87. 
  • Jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton is 78. 
  • Actor Gil Gerard is 78. 
  • Singer Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters is 73. 
  • Bassist-keyboardist Bill Cunningham of The Box Tops is 71. 
  • Actor Richard Dean Anderson (“MacGyver”) is 71. 
  • Singer-guitarist Robin Zander of Cheap Trick is 68. 
  • Singer Anita Baker is 63. 
  • Bassist Earl Falconer of UB40 is 62. 
  • Actor Peter Mackenzie (“black-ish”) is 60. 
  • Actor Boris McGiver (“House of Cards,” ″Boardwalk Empire”) is 59. 
  • Actor Gail O’Grady (“American Dreams,” ″NYPD Blue”) is 58. 
  • Actor Mariska Hargitay (“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”) is 57. 
  • Singer Marc Nelson (Az Yet) is 50. 
  • “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell is 47. 
  • Actor Tiffani Thiessen (“Beverly Hills, 90210”) is 47. 
  • Bassist Nick Harmer of Death Cab for Cutie is 46. 
  • Actor Lindsey Kraft (“Living Biblically”) is 41.

Friday, January 22, 2021

U-S Smart Speaker Consumption Grows by 29%

Triton Digital has released new data around the consumption of U.S. AM/FM streams on smart speakers.  

Triton compared the consumption of U.S. AM/FM streams on smart speakers in December 2018, December 2019, and December 2020, reporting growth of more than 29%. Consumption on mobile remained flat at 48% throughout the two-year period.

Additionally, Triton analysed share by device type for the same period.  The data shows a slight shift to uses of what is classified as Other devices, which includes Apple HomePod, Sonos, Bose, Roku and more, over both Amazon Echo and Google Home, which decreased slightly and remained flat, respectively. 

Wake-Up Call: Biden Warns COVID Will Take Months to Turn Around


BIDEN SIGNS CORONAVIRUS-RELATED EXECUTIVE ORDERS:
President Biden signed 10 executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic during his first full day in office Thursday, moving immediately to start his national strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, increase the use of face masks, and more. At the same time, he warned that things won't be fixed right away, saying, "We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and it will take months to turn this around." But he also had a message for pandemic-weary Americans, saying, "To a nation waiting for action, let me be clear on this point: Help is on the way." The federal government is taking on full responsibility for the coronavirus response, in a change from the Trump administration, offering to help states with technical assistance and money, instead of delegating major responsibilities to them.
 

Biden yesterday issued an order requiring face masks for people traveling on planes, ships, intercity buses, trains and public transportation, after having already mandated them on federal property. Overseas travelers must show a negative Covid-19 test before leaving for the U.S., and must quarantine once arriving. He's also directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin setting up vaccination centers, with the goal of having 100 operating in a month, and ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin a program to make vaccines available through local pharmacies starting next month, building on a plan from the Trump administration. 


Vaccine Shortages Blamed on Expansion

Many states and cities around the country have been complaining about shortages of their vaccine supplies. Public health experts yesterday blamed the problem in part on the Trump administration's push that began over a week ago to get states to expand eligibility to everyone age 65 and older, according to AP. But that push from the federal government didn't come with an increase in doses to meet the expanded demand. 




Mutations

In the race to get all Americans vaccinated, there is now also an issue with mutations, including a particularly worrisome one from South Africa that could make the vaccines less effective. Speaking to reporters at the White House yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialists, said, "we are paying very close attention to it." 


➤NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS BEGINNING TO HEAD HOME AFTER INAUGURATION: Now that President Biden's inauguration is over, the nearly 26,000 National Guard troops that were brought into Washington, D.C., to secure the nation's capital in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Capitol are beginning to go home. The National Guard Bureau said Thursday, that just 10,600 of the National Guard troops remain on duty, and that it's helping states with coordination and logistics so that the Guardsmen can get home. Some 7,000 troops are expected to stay in the region through the end of the month.


➤MCCONNELL PROPOSES PUSHING TRUMP'S IMPEACHMENT TRIAL TO FEBRUARY: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing push back the start of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial to mid-February, in order to give him to time to prepare. House Democrats have signaled they want to move quickly, saying it's necessary before the country can move on. However, some Senate Democrats could favor a delay, according to AP, as it would give the Senate more time to confirm President Biden's Cabinet nominees and debate his new $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will ultimately decide when to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, which would start the trial process, but hasn't yet said when she'll do it. Some Republicans are arguing, however, that Trump can't be tried once he's no longer in office.

➤YOUR MEGA MILLIONS CHANCES ARE SLIM: One in 302,575,350. Those are the odds of winning the $970 million prize that is up for grabs in Friday's Mega Millions drawing. During months of buildup and the longest stretch in the game's history without a jackpot winner, millions in smaller prizes were won as the jackpot crept up. Now it's the third-largest prize in U.S. lottery history, if claimed at its amount now.

➤COUPLES STRUGGLE WITH SLEEP PROBLEMS IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: The pandemic has lead to many couples spending a lot more time together than they did previously. This has lead to many couples breaking up, or fighting, the latter of which can actually cause sleeping issues during the night. Wendy Troxel is a senior behavioral and social scientist at the nonprofit RAND Corporation, and says, “When you share a bed with another human being, your sleep is affected and it affects the other person who shares the bed with you.” Add that on top of being together all the time, and it can make relaxing enough to go to sleep even more difficult. And even if you’re not feeling that way, the experts say that without the regimented schedule of a commute to and from the office, or dropping the kids off at school, people are fully embracing their natural circadian rhythms. So if one member of a couple is more of a night owl they may be staying up later than they did pre-pandemic, which can then mean the sleep of their early-bird partner is disturbed when they come to bed. The good news? Experts say there will be some couples that “learn to work through their sleep issues because they don’t have a choice and might actually come out closer.”

➤LAWMAKERS BLAME F-B ALGORITHMS FOR SPREAKING CONSPIRACY THEORIES: In the wake of the the assault on the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago, two lawmakers are pointing a finger of blame at Facebook, specifically at its algorithms that they say spread, quote, "dangerous conspiracy theories." Democratic Reps. Anna G. Eshoo and Tom Malinowski wrote a scathing letter to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, charging, "Perhaps no single entity is more responsible for the spread of dangerous conspiracy theories at scale or for inflaming anti-government grievance than the one that you started and that you oversee today . . . " The two specifically blame the algorithms Facebook employs to maximize user engagement, charging they, quote, "undermine our shared sense of objective reality, intensify fringe political beliefs, facilitate connections between extremist users, and, tragically, lead some of them to commit real-world physical violence, such as what we experienced firsthand on January 6th." Eshoo and Malinowski also wrote separate letters to Twitter and Google making similar accusations, but had particular ire for Facebook. They point to a New York Times report on a test Facebook carried out in 2020 to demote posts deemed, quote, "bad for the world," that said the campaign was watered down when Facebook realized it led to people spending less time on the site. They say that Facebook needs to do a, quote, "fundamental reexamination" of making maximizing time spent on Facebook as the basis for its algorithms' sorting and recommendations.


🏀THREE GRIZZLIES GAMES POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19 ISSUES: The NBA postponed three upcoming Memphis Grizzlies games due to coronavirus issues, with the team short of enough players until the middle of next week, due in part to coronavirus contact tracing. Tonight's game against the Portland Trail Blazers, and games Sunday and Monday against the Sacramento Kings, were called off. The Grizzlies' game against Portland this past Wednesday had also been postponed. There have now been 20 NBA games postponed since the season began.

🏈EAGLES HIRING SIRIANNI AS HEAD COACH: The Philadelphia Eagles are hiring Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni as their new head coach, ESPN reported yesterday, citing Eagles executive vice president Howie Roseman. The 39-year-old Sirianni has also worked as a quarterbacks coach and receivers coach. Philadelphia fired head coach Doug Pederson earlier this month.

🏀CAVALIERS TRADING PORTER TO ROCKETS: The Cleveland Cavaliers are trading Kevin Porter Jr. to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a future protected second-round pick, according to media reports yesterday. The trade comes days after Porter reportedly had an outburst over his locker being moved, requiring Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman to intervene. It also comes two months after he was involved in a car accident in which he was charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, failure to control the vehicle, and possession of marijuana. He hasn't played this season due to personal issues.

➤IOC, ORGANIZERS PUSH BACK ON TOKYO OLYMPICS CANCELLATION REPORTS: The Tokyo Olympics that were supposed to be played last summer were postponed to this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and local organizers are pushing back against a Times of London report that said the Tokyo Olympics will be canceled amid the ongoing pandemic. The Games are slated to begin on January 23rd. However, Senior International Olympic Committee member Richard Pound said earlier in the week that the Olympics may be held largely without fans.

🏈NOTRE DAME'S FOOTBALL PROGRAM PUT ON PROBATION: Notre Dame's football program was put on probation for one year by the NCAA yesterday over a former assistant coach having a not-allowed off-campus recruiting contact with a high school player in January 2019. ESPN cited sources as saying the coach involved was cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght and the player was linebacker Sav'ell Smalls. Lyght was fired in January 2020. Notre Dame was also fined $5,000 and will have other recruiting restrictions.

Biden Names Rosenworcel As Acting Chair At FCC

Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, Jessica Rosenworcel

President Biden designated Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel as acting chairs of their respective agencies on Thursday, reports The Hill.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons, both Republicans, had announced plans to step down from their positions later this month. 

Rosenworcel said she is “honored” to be designated as acting chair of the FCC and work to expand communications opportunities across the nation. 

“I thank the President for the opportunity to lead an agency with such a vital mission and talented staff. It is a privilege to serve the American people and work on their behalf to expand the reach of communications opportunity in the digital age,” she said in a statement. 

During his time as chair, Pai repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules that allowed the FCC to go after service providers that discriminate against certain web traffic. The repeal is likely to be overturned after Democrats gain a 3-2 majority at the commission. 

Slaughter, who has worked at the FTC since 2018, said she is “deeply honored and grateful” to lead it. 

“The best part of serving at the FTC is working with our incredibly dedicated and talented staff. Their expertise, creativity, and steadfast commitment have filled me with confidence that we will be able to meet the formidable challenges facing our markets and the American people today,” Slaughter said in the announcement.

CNN No. 1 Network For Inauguration

Nothing illustrates the political passions of a television network’s audience quite like ratings for a presidential inaugural, according to The Associated Press.

The 6.53 million people who watched President Joe Biden take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address on MSNBC Wednesday was a whopping 338% bigger than its audience for Donald Trump’s swearing in four years ago, the Nielsen company said.

On the flip side, Fox News Channel’s audience of 2.74 million for Biden on Wednesday represented a nearly 77% drop from its viewership for Trump in 2017, Nielsen said.

A preliminary Nielsen estimate shows Biden’s inaugural viewership on the top six networks beat Trump by 4%. Nielsen said it doesn’t have a complete estimate for inaugural viewing because it is still counting people who watched on other networks or outside their homes.

According to TV Newser, here are those Nielsen fast national numbers:

Total Viewers / Adults 25-54 (11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. ET)

  1. CNN: 9,994,000 / 3,509,000
  2. ABC: 7,655,000 / 2,415,000
  3. NBC: 6,885,000 / 2,343,000
  4. MSNBC: 6,528,000 / 1,638,000
  5. CBS: 6,068,000 / 1,438,000
  6. Fox News: 2,742,000 / 521,000
  7. Univision: 1,500,000 / 560,000

Judge Says Amazon Won’t Have To Restore Parler



A U.S. judge on Thursday rejected Parler’s demand that Amazon.com Inc restore web hosting services for the social media platform, which Amazon had cut off following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Reuters reports U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein in Seattle said Parler was unlikely to prove Amazon breached its contract or violated antitrust law by suspending service on Jan. 10, and that it was “not a close call.”

She also forcefully rejected the suggestion that the public interest would be served by a preliminary injunction requiring Amazon Web Services to “host the kind of abusive, violent content at issue in this case, particularly in light of the recent riots at the U.S. Capitol.”

“That event,” she added, “was a tragic reminder that inflammatory rhetoric can - more swiftly and easily than many of us would have hoped - turn a lawful protest into a violent insurrection.”

“We welcome the court’s careful ruling,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement. “This was not a case about free speech. It was about a customer that consistently violated our terms of service.”

Amazon said Parler ignored repeated warnings to effectively moderate the growth on its website of violent content, which included calls to assassinate prominent Democratic politicians, leading business executives and members of the media.

Researchers have said far-right groups at the Capitol had a vigorous online presence on platforms including Parler, where they spread violent rhetoric.

Parler said there was no evidence apart from anecdotes in the press that it had a role in inciting the riots, and that it was unfair to deprive millions of law-abiding Americans a platform for free speech.

It also said Amazon had no right to threaten its “extinction” by pulling the plug, and had been motivated by “political animus” to benefit Twitter Inc, a larger Amazon client that Parler said did not censor violent content targeting conservatives.

Rothstein rejected that argument, saying Parler had merely raised the “specter of preferential treatment” for Twitter.

iHM Celebrates Third Annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards


Last night, the third annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards brought together the most influential names in podcasting to honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2020, celebrating the incredible talent and wide variety of leaders across the booming podcasting industry.
 
The virtual awards event was recorded from multiple locations and exclusively video streamed on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages and broadcasted across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio App.

The virtual event kicked off with a hilarious opening from renowned actor, comedian and producer, Will Ferrell. The comedian, who is behind iHeartRadio’s “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” broke the ice in true Ron Burgundy form, making up his own stats on both the awards show and podcasts. The upbeat tone of the virtual event continued throughout the night with comedic skits from the ladies of Obama’s Other Daughters, made up of Maame-Yaa Aforo, Ashley Holston, Shakira Ja'nai Paye and Yazmin Monet Watkins, hosts of “You Down?” as well as Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers, hosts of “Las Culturistas.”

The eventful night also featured appearances by award nominees, an array of celebrity presenters and other special guests including Aaron Mahnke, Adam Devine, Anders Holm, Baratunde Thurston, Blake Anderson, Charlamagne Tha God, Dan Patrick, Gwen Stefani, Hillary Clinton, Holly Frey, Jill Scott, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, Kyle Newacheck, Laverne Cox, Nikki Glaser, Questlove, Roy Wood Jr., Tenderfoot TV (Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey) and more.

The 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards event highlights include:
  • “Office Ladies” scored the big win of the night with Podcast of the Year, a socially voted category.
  • Gwen Stefani presented the first Seneca Women Podcast Award in partnership with P&G to spoken word poet Amena Brown of “HER with Amena Brown.” This award honors women who use their voices to amplify those of other women.
  • Hosts of “Las Culturistas” kickstarted the show reflecting on the year 2020 and podcasting, hilariously sharing that the best part about podcasting now is that you can do it naked and from home.
  • Obama’s Other Daughters reminisced throughout the show on the top viral moments in awards show history and even attempted to do a virtual four-way kiss, inspired by Britney Spears, Madonna and Christina Aguilera’s three-way kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards.
  • Hilary Clinton warm-heartedly presented the Icon Audible Pioneer Award to Neil Drumming, Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder from Serial Productions.
  • The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards honored Baratunde Thurston with the Icon Social Impact Award (presented by Questlove) and QCODE with the Icon Innovator Award (presented by Tenderfoot TV co-founders Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey).
  • Conan O’Brien accepted the award for Best Overall Host – Male. He playfully told viewers that what separates his podcast from others is his “lack of professionalism.” He even shared his advice for those interested in hosting a podcast and more.
  • Laverne Cox presented the Best Overall Host – Female award to Nicole Byer, host of “Why Won’t You Date Me.” While presenting the award, Cox inspired viewers, telling the virtual audience that everyone should have the opportunity to define who they are on their own terms. She also spoke about her first podcast launching in February 2021.
  • Dan Patrick presented the winner of The Next Great Podcast award, a months-long competition from iHeartRadio in partnership with content creation platform Tongal. Siena Jeakle and Lianna Holston won the competition with “Frankly, My Dear,” a new podcast tackling movie reviews from two friends who don't really like movies.

Bob & Sheri Creating Listener Interaction Opportunities


Bob & Sheri, the Charlotte-based morning show syndicated on more than 65 radio stations across the country, is using its independence to develop more creative, innovative ways to interact with listeners.

“The pandemic has forced all of us to rethink listener engagement. It has changed listening patterns —especially for women — pushing us to really innovate, finding different ways to stay connected with our listeners,” said Sheri Lynch, Co-host of Bob & Sheri.

“We spent most of 2020 developing creative ways to interact with our audience,” continued Lynch. “Whether it's our Facebook Live Happy Hours or giving away a Bidet A Day in the month of May, we want our show to be a fun escape from divisive and hard news. Being independent from big group ownership gives us loads of flexibility and allows us to move quickly on new ideas, features, and promotions.”

“With independence comes the freedom to explore original ideas,” said Tony Garcia, Co-Founder of NOW! Media, “A perfect example of this innovation is the phenomenal success we’ve had with Sheri’s recent Cooking with Cats cookbook, which was promoted primarily on the show’s social media and generated an incredible amount of fan participation and orders.”

“When we started developing the cookbook idea, we wanted it to be more than a fundraising project (proceeds from the book benefit feline-friendly charities). We wanted something our listeners could participate in. That’s why we invited listeners to share photos of their cats mucking around in their kitchens - and chose over 70 photos to be included in the book,” said Sheri Lynch. “It’s as much their book as it is mine!”

NFL Championship Games To Air On Westwood One


CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One, America’s largest audio network and the official network radio partner of the National Football League, will present live play-by-play coverage of NFL Conference Championship Sunday. Doubleheader coverage will begin with the pregame show at 2:00 pm ET on Sunday, January 24th when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship at 3:05 pm EST, followed immediately by the AFC Championship game between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs.

3:05 pm ET: NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Pregame coverage starting at 2 pm ET
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Kurt Warner (analyst), and Laura Okmin (sideline reporter)

6:15 pm ET: AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Tony Boselli (analyst), and Ross Tucker (sideline reporter)

Scott Graham will host the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for both broadcasts.

The winners will meet in Super Bowl LV on Sunday, February 7th at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, which also can be heard on Westwood One.

Listeners can hear each of Westwood One’s NFL broadcasts on nearly 500 terrestrial radio stations nationwide, as well as on SiriusXM and on NFL Game Pass. You can find more information on westwoodonesports.com and on the Twitter account @westwood1sports.

R.I.P.: Randy Parton, Younger Brother Of Dolly Parton

Randy Parton
Randy Parton, a country singer and younger brother to Dolly Parton, has died at age 67.  

Parton died of cancer, reports The Tennessean citing a Facebook post Thursday from his sister.

"The family and I are grieving his loss but we know he is in a better place than we are at this time," Dolly Parton shared on social media. "We are a family of faith and we believe that he is safe with God and that he is joined by members of the family that have gone on before and have welcomed him with joy and open arms." 

The statement continued: "We will always love him and he will always be in our hearts."

Born Dec. 15, 1953, Randy Parton was one of 12 children raised by Avie Lee Parton and Robert Lee Parton in Sevierville, Tennessee. 

He was a Dollywood fixture, connecting visitors to the musical East Tennessee family with popular live performances — including seasonal favorite "My People, My Music" — at the park. He began hosting shows at Dollywood in 1986, according to Parton's post.

January 22 Radio History



In 1889...The Columbia Phonograph Company began selling Edison phonograph cylinders and players in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Delaware. It derived its name from the District of Columbia, which was its headquarters.


In 1940...“The Right to Happiness” written by radio soap diva Irna Phillips was first aired on the CBS Radio Network. The daytime serial had begun on NBC Blue three months earlier. And it would switch between CBS & NBC two more times during its 21 year run.


In 1956..."Fort Laramie", a CBS Radio Western series starring Raymond Burr as Captain Lee Quince, debuted.. It aired Sunday afternoons January 22–October 28, 1956, at 5:30pm ET. The 41 episodes starred Raymond Burr as Lee Quince, captain of the cavalry. One year later, Burr became a television star as Perry Mason.





In 2011...Radio Pioneer Ruth Ann Myer WMCA (PD), WMGM, WHN (PD), WNEW (PD) NYC died at age 80.

Ruth Meyer
In 1960, WMCA began promoting itself by stressing its on-air personalities, who were collectively known as "The Good Guys". Led by program director Ruth Meyer, the first woman to hold the position in New York City radio, this was the era of the high-profile Top 40 disc jockey with an exuberant personality aimed at a certain audience segment. With the advent of the Good Guys format, WMCA became more "on top" of new music and started to become known for "playing the hits."

In the early 1960s, the top 40 format was still young, and the field was crowded in New York City. Two major 50,000-watt stations, WMGM 1050 AM (frequency now occupied by WEPN-AM) and 1010 WINS, had battled each other, playing pop music for years. Then in 1960, WABC joined the fray and started featuring top 40 music. Ultimately, it was WMCA's earnest competition with rival WABC that forced WMGM (in early 1962) and then WINS (in spring 1965) to abandon the top-40 format. There was so much attention on the high-profile WMCA-WABC battle that WMGM and WINS were each summarily forced to find new formats.


Andy Musser
In 2012...Sportscaster Andy Musser, voice of the Philadelphia Phillies for 26 years, died at age 74.

He was part of a team, with Richie Ashburn and Harry Kalas, which broadcast Phillies games on both radio and television for 21 consecutive seasons from 1976 to 1997. He retired after the 2001 season.

Musser worked for WCAU radio and television in Philadelphia from 1965 to 1971. During this time, he served as the radio play-by-play announcer for the Eagles football as well as 76ers and Villanova Wildcats basketball. One of the youngest lead broadcasters in the National Football League at the time, he covered the Eagles games with Charlie Gauer for four years until the station lost the broadcast rights to WIP-AM in 1969. Musser also called various events for CBS Radio, including Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl VIII.

Musser was the lead voice for Chicago Bulls telecasts on WSNS from 1973 through 1976, pairing with Dick Gonski in the first two seasons and Lorn Brown in the third. Musser would call New York Knicks games with Cal Ramsey on WOR-TV (away) and Manhattan Cable Television (home) for the next four seasons from 1976 to 1980. He handled all the matches in the first three years, but only the home ones in the fourth.


Jim Irwin
In 2012...WTMJ Milwaukee Sportscaster Jim Irwin died from kidney cancer at age 87. (Born - February 7, 1934). He is probably best known as having been the radio voice of the Green Bay Packers for 30 years. He worked with former Packer Lionel Aldridge, and was paired for 20 seasons with Super Bowl I hero Max McGee. Irwin also called Milwaukee Brewers baseball, Milwaukee Bucks basketball, and Wisconsin Badgers football and basketball games.

He joined the Packers radio broadcasts as a color commentator in 1969 and assumed play by play duties in 1975, a position he held until his retirement after the 1998 season, along with morning sportscasting and commentary duties on WTMJ's morning program. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2003. Irwin continued to contribute occasionally to WTMJ after he retired.

Prior to his longtime career as the voice of the Packers, Irwin began his broadcast career in 1964 as sports director at WLUK-TV in Green Bay.


In 2016…Chicago broadcasting pioneer Jim Conway, who for nearly 40 years worked in both radio and early television, died at age 94. His career included stints in news anchoring and program hosting at WBBM and WMAQ Radio, as well as TV at WBBM, WLS and WGN. He co-anchored the first half-hour nightly news show on WGN, and hosted the first local morning talk show on WLS.


🎂HAPPY BIRTHDAY:
  • Beverley Mitchell is 40
    Actor Piper Laurie is 89. 
  • Singer Steve Perry (Journey) is 72. 
  • Bassist Teddy Gentry of Alabama is 69. 
  • Actor John Wesley Shipp (“The Flash,” ″Dawson’s Creek”) is 66. 
  • Actor Linda Blair is 62. 
  • Actor Diane Lane is 56. 
  • Country singer Regina Nicks of Regina Regina is 56. 
  • Rapper-actor DJ Jazzy Jeff is 56. 
  • Celebrity chef Guy Fieri is 53. 
  • Actor Olivia D’Abo (“Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” ″The Wonder Years”) is 52. 
  • Actor Katie Finneran (“The Michael J. Fox Show”) is 50. 
  • Actor Gabriel Macht (“Suits”) is 49. 
  • Actor Balthazar Getty is 46. 
  • Actor Christopher Kennedy Masterson (“Malcolm in the Middle”) is 41. 
  • Jazz singer Lizz Wright is 41. 
  • Singer Willa Ford is 40. 
  • Actor Beverley Mitchell (“Seventh Heaven”) is 40. 
  • Guitarist Ben Moody of The Fallen (and formerly of Evanescence) is 40. 
  • Actor-singer Phoebe Strole (“Glee”) is 38. 
  • Rapper Logic is 31. 
  • Actor Sami Gayle (“Blue Bloods”) is 25.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Cumulus Makes Changes In Sales Leadership


CUMULUS MEDIA has  announced important changes to sales leadership, effective immediately.

Ron Russo is appointed President, Sales at Westwood One responsible for the network sales and sales planning organizations and reporting to Westwood One President, Suzanne Grimes. Ron has more than 17 years of sales leadership experience, most recently as Westwood One’s EVP of Sales for the Northeast region, prior to which he held sales leadership roles at iHeart and CBS Radio. Ron replaces Bryan Forbes who is leaving the company to pursue another opportunity.

Rafe D’Amico is promoted to SVP, President of National Sales, responsible for leading the Cumulus Radio Station Group’s national spot team and managing the relationship with Katz Radio Group, succeeding Bryan Forbes in this capacity and reporting to Dave Milner, EVP, Operations, CUMULUS MEDIA. Prior to joining Cumulus, Rafe was VP of Strategic Partnerships and National Sales at Beasley Broadcast Group (now Beasley Media Group).

Brandon Berman
, EVP Sales and Sports Partnerships at Westwood One, expands beyond his current oversight of the Midwest region and Westwood One Sports sales, to assume responsibility for the Northeast region as well. Brandon has built his career at Westwood One, with 15 years of increasingly senior positions from his earliest days as an account executive.

Kim Bryant, EVP of Sales for the West and Southwest regions at Westwood One, picks up responsibility for the Southeast region. During Kim’s 10+ years with the company, she has held various sales leadership roles at Westwood One and the Market Manager position for Cumulus New York, prior to which she held management roles at Clear Channel and Entravision.

Adam Shifrin is promoted to VP, Sports Sales and Marketing at Westwood One. A seven-year veteran, Adam retains his current responsibility for generating sports revenue in the Midwest and West regions, and now manages all Westwood One Sports Play by Play, CBS Sports Radio, and associated shoulder inventory as well as the dedicated sports sales and operations teams.

“Westwood One is extremely fortunate to have a group of sales executives poised to lead the team forward seamlessly,” said Suzanne Grimes. “I’m thrilled to announce these well-deserved promotions that will enable us to manage through this challenging pandemic with confidence, commitment, resilience and results.”

“The station group has benefited greatly from Rafe’s knowledge and strategic approach to its National business,” said Dave Milner. “Promoting him to lead the talented team and our relationship with Katz is well-deserved.”

The New Television Landscape: Where The Viewers Are



eMarketer forecasts that in just two years, video streaming services will fully overtake cable subscriptions, and 64.4 million homes will watch streamed content exclusively. But while the predominance of streaming grabs all the headlines, the mostly untold story is the growth of advertising-based video-on-demand (AVOD), according to Ad Age.

Up to 90% of all video ad budgets continue to go to linear spends, according to eMarketer. This imbalance of where the ad dollars go compared with where the audience goes leaves a lot of opportunity for companies that can be flexible and think outside the cable box. For advertisers in search of a younger, more diverse and nationally representative audience who can’t be reached via linear TV, AVOD will become an even more prominent complement to existing linear campaigns in the year ahead.

Network and cable TV have long been the standard for home viewing options, and in many ways, the waves of cord-cutters in the past five years have been early adopters. While live events such as the Super Bowl and the Oscars are big draws for network audiences and advertising, larger numbers of consumers are recoiling from paying for extra channels that they don’t watch, all while cable costs significantly outpace inflation. According to Broadband Search, 45 million consumers cut the cord in 2020. 

Compare that with the exponential growth of streaming services. According to Tubi’s  audience report, The Stream: 2021 Actionable Audience Insights for Brands consumers subscribe to an average of four streaming platforms per household and watch roughly 13 hours of content each week. Some 33 million monthly active users streamed more than 2.5 billion hours last year—a 58% growth in viewership over 2019—and since nearly half our streamers do not have cable, our audience represents an incremental reach of 80% over the top 25 cable networks, according to MRI-Simmons.



Streaming skews younger as well; the majority (57%) of Tubi’s younger streamers (18 to 34) do not subscribe to cable. Not only are they eschewing the traditional advertising model, but they are also becoming increasingly unreachable by linear TV. Nearly half of Tubi’s active monthly users are under 35, making them 20-plus years younger than traditional television audiences. Additionally, 36% of these viewers’ households have children, meaning there are multiple built-in demographics per home.