Thursday, March 21, 2019

Atlanta Radio: Brian Thomas EXITS Cumulus Media

Brian Thomas
Programming veteran Brian Thomas has exited Cumulus Media in Atlanta, where he was program director for Country WKHX Kicks 101.5 FM.

Thomas ends five years with Cumulus, including one year of service in Atlanta.  Previously, he was programmed the company's Classic Hits WLS 94.7 in Chicago.

Thomas was previously Program Director for Cumulus Media’s Country station in New York City, NASH FM 94.7/WNSH-FM. Prior to joining Cumulus, he was National Vice President of Classic Hits programming for CBS Radio. He was also Program Director of Country WQYK-FM and Classic Hits WRBQ-FM, and Vice President, Programming for CBS Radio in Tampa.

WKHX APD/MD/midday host Scott Gaines is handling interim PD duties.

Memphis Radio: Duane Shannon Gets New Contract

Duane Shannon
Cumulus Media has  announced that it has signed Duane Shannon to a new multi-year deal as Program Director for Memphis Country WGKX KIX 106 and A/C WKIM 98.9 The Bridge.

Shannon has been with Cumulus Memphis for 9 years, with more than 8 of those years continuing KIX 106/WGKX’s history as the dominant Country station serving Memphis and the surrounding areas, and as Co-Host of the station’s Duane and Abby in the Morning show.

Shannon’s successful career with Cumulus Media spans 13 years and includes positions at radio stations in Chattanooga, Detroit, Toledo and Atlanta.

Morgan Bohannon, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Memphis, said: "Duane has become part of the fiber of both KIX 106 and Memphis. He has exhibited a great knowledge, appreciation and passion for what is a historic, heritage and leading brand in Memphis. KIX 106 has been the leading Country brand in Memphis for over 30 years and we're highly confident that will continue with Duane'sleadership.”

Shannon said: "I can't believe they continue to trust me with this legendary're sure there is no one better out there? Seriously, it is a pleasure to come in to work and be a part of a creative team that motivates me to win every day."

Twin Cities Radio: Ben Hoffman Named Sales Leader At Entercom

Ben Hoffman
Entercom has announced Ben Hoffman as Vice President of Sales for Entercom Minneapolis, effective immediately. In this role, Hoffman will oversee sales efforts for Country KMNB 102.9 The Wolf, Adult Hits KZJK 104.1 JackFM and News/Talk WCCO 830 AM.

“Ben has exceptional leadership qualities and a strong ability to win that I am confident will translate well to the oversight of our sales efforts for Entercom Minneapolis-St. Paul,” said Shannon Knoepke, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Minneapolis. “Ben has a great track record within our company and we are looking forward to a continued trajectory of success for our sales team.”

“I am thrilled to be joining Entercom Minneapolis-St. Paul. This group of stations has legendary brand recognition, a great history of solid partnerships, and a clear commitment to the folks in the Twin Cities,” said Hoffman. “I am looking forward with energy and excitement for the opportunity of being on this team.”

Hoffman is an industry veteran with over 25 years of experience, most recently serving as Senior Vice President and Market Manager for former Entercom stations WXNT-AM, WNTR-FM, and WZPL-FM. Prior to joining Entercom, Hoffman served as Station Manager and Director of Sales for Townsquare Media in Fort Collins, CO. Previously, Hoffman was Corporate Director of Sales for Regent Communications after holding several management roles with iHeart Media in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

102.9 The Wolf, 104.1 JACK FM and 830 WCCO are RADIO.COM stations. RADIO.COM is now the fastest growing digital audio app in the United States and the current leader in local sports coverage. The digital platform currently has over 300 stations and 3,000 podcasts with more added continuously.

Twin Cities Radio: Lindsay Guentzel Exiting WCCO

Lindsay Guentzel
For the second time in less than six months, popular WCCO Radio producer and on-air personality Lindsay Guentzel will be leaving the station. In a blog post this week, Guentzel announced that Thursday, March 21 will be her last day at AM 830, according to

The 32-year-old will be leaving for "opportunities I am going to create for myself," she wrote.

Guentzel put in her two week noticed back in November so she could volunteer with All Hands & Hearts in St. Thomas, but the move didn't work out as planned.

"While I was preparing for my trip, some stuff happened behind the scenes and I ended up coming back to WCCO Radio on December 27th. That's the less-mess version of the story and the only details I'm going to share publicly."

She's now departing the station once again, noting that "taking a risk is scary" but that she's "excited to invest in myself, to pursue projects I'm passionate about. To find something that brings me joy."

Tampa Radio: Rob Lorei Re-Instated At Non-Com WMNF-FM

Ousted WMNF 88.5 FM Community Radio co-founder and News and Public Affairs Director Rob Lorei has  been reinstated, the station announced on-air Wednesday.

WMNF Station Manager Craig Kopp will keep his job despite some pleas from listeners to fire him, according FLA Politics.

The news comes after a marathon board meeting Monday in which hundreds of Lorei fans spoke in favor of reinstating the iconic Tampa Bay radio personality. Board of Directors President David Harbeitner made the announcement on the station’s 3:30 p.m. news report. Lorei will return to the air on Monday,

“The Board has reached the decision to reinstate Rob to his role as News and Public Affairs director at WMNF. We believe that both Rob and Craig Kopp, the station general manager, can and should play a critical role in the present and future of WMNF,” Harbeitner said.

“This event, unfortunately, has reinforced the value of WMNF and the impact we have in the local community, particularly in regards to News and Public Affairs. It also has heightened our commitment to support the Tampa Bay community and to give a voice to the underserved.”

Chicago Radio: 670 The Score Expands Daily Show Lineup

WSCR 670 AM The Score is expanding its weekday lineup in a move that’s highlighted by Laurence Holmes shifting to the middle of the day.

Holmes will move from his evening slot to host his solo show from noon to 2 p.m. on weekdays. The midday show with Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight will now run from 9 a.m. to noon, while the afternoon pairing of Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins will hold their show from 2-6 p.m. The new schedule will begin March 28.

According to the station's website, the change will allow Holmes to have a more consistent voice on the station, as many of his evening shows were pre-empted by Cubs and Bulls broadcasts, as the Score is the radio home of both teams.

"I really feel what the expansion does it make The Score brand bigger and better while giving our consumers more options over the air and through all digital platforms," 670 The Score program director Mitch Rosen said.

Joe Ostrowski will replace Holmes in the evenings, taking over the 6 p.m. slot when there are full shows available. Ostrowski is the host of Early Odds on Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and will bring his respected gambling perspective to his show in addition to discussing the sports hits of the day. Ostrowski will continue to anchor updates in the mornings when he doesn't host the evening prior.

Transition will continue to be held between all shows on 670 The Score. It will start around 11:50 a.m. before Holmes’ show and then around 1:50 p.m. before the afternoon crew takes over for Holmes, whose show will be produced by Tony Gill.

Reading PA Radio: The Reading Eagle Files For Bankruptcy

The Reading Eagle, owned by one of the richest families in America, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday afternoon as the local-news industry continues to be battered.

According to, Peter D. Barbey, chief executive officer of the Reading Eagle Co., disclosed the news of the filing to the staff Wednesday.

The company will continue to publish and broadcast under Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules, while it seeks a buyer to take over the Eagle's news and broadcasting legacy, company officials said.

The Reading Eagle has an average daily circulation of more than 37,000 Monday through Friday, and more than 50,000 on Sunday, according to the company. Its companion website,, averages over 600,000 unique users and 3.2 million pageviews a month.

The weekly South Schuylkill News reaches some 2,800 households in southern Schuylkill County. WEEU, a news/talk station that broadcasts at 830 on the AM dial, has 20,000 watts of power in the daytime, and 6,000 at night.

The first Daily Reading Eagle was published on Jan. 28, 1868 by Ritter & Co., a partnership of William S. Ritter and Jesse G. Hawley, husband of Kate E. Ritter. Reading Eagle Company was incorporated in 1904. The company acquired the Reading Times in 1940 and WEEU radio in 1946. The Reading Times ceased publication in 2002 and the Reading Eagle became the morning newspaper. In 2009, the Reading Eagle began publication on its new press, a 77,000-square-foot addition to its facility at 345 Penn St., Reading. In 2015, the company acquired South Schuylkill News, a weekly newspaper.

The company employs 236 staffers.

The Eagle’s filing is the latest distress signal for newspapers and the news industry in eastern Pennsylvania, with the free tabloid Metro laying off most of its Philadelphia reporting staff two weeks ago, and Spirited Media disclosing this month that it would sell its online news site Billy Penn in Philadelphia.

WEEU 830 AM (20 Kw-D, 6 Kw-N) Daytime 2 mV/m contour
The Eagle was founded by Jesse G. Hawley and William S. Ritter in 1868 and has been owned by Hawley’s descendants since then. In the 1950s, author John Updike worked several summers as a copyboy at the Eagle and also wrote several feature articles.

The company retained the media broker Dirks, Van Essen, Murray & April to find buyers.

In 2015, Forbes magazine ranked the Barbey family as the nation’s 48th-richest, worth $6.1 billion. The fount of the family’s wealth was jeans and other clothing manufacturing.

Peter Barbey, through his Black Walnut Holdings, bought the Village Voice in New York City in 2015, the New York Post reported. Barbey shut down the iconic weekly last August.

Report: 3,000 Pink Slips Expected At Disney-Fox

Moments after putting the finishing touches on its landmark $71.3-billion takeover of 21st Century Fox entertainment assets, Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday began the arduous process of combining two massive organizations, reports The L-A Times.

“I wish I could tell you that the hardest part is behind us; that closing the deal was the finish line, rather than just the next milestone,” Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said in an email welcoming Fox employees into Disney. “What lies ahead is the challenging work of uniting our businesses to create a dynamic, global entertainment company with the content, the platforms, and the reach to deliver industry-defining experiences … for generations to come.”

Disney’s purchase of the Fox assets — a deal that had been in the works for a year and a half — took effect 9 p.m. Tuesday. On Wednesday, a handful of senior Fox executives trekked “over the hill” to Disney’s Burbank headquarters to report for their first day of duty. However, hundreds of others remained on Fox’s Century City lot. For many, the anticipation of the ownership change quickly melted into dread for their own futures.

More than 3,000 people, mostly at Fox, are expected to be squeezed out as Disney figures out which Fox employees it will bring aboard, according to people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to comment. Many of those jobs are in Los Angeles.

Disney has not disclosed a target for job cuts. However, the company has said that it expects “at least $2 billion in cost synergies by 2021 from operating efficiencies realized through the combination of businesses.” The bulk of those efficiencies will come through workforce reductions.

Hedge Fund Confident Of Gannett Takeover

Gannett’s stock popped Wednesday after controversial newspaper conglomerate MNG Enterprises said that hedge fund Oaktree Capital is “highly confident” that MNG can finance a $1.7 billion, hostile takeover of the USA Today publisher.

According to The NYPost, MNG — known for the brutal staff cuts it has imposed at papers like the Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News — said Wednesday that Oaktree stated MNG’s offer would be “sufficient” to cover the indebtedness of both companies and enable MNG to “fully finance a $12-a-share cash consideration,” according to MNG, citing the letter it said it received.

Oaktree — a distressed-asset investor controlled by billionaire Howard Marks — declined to comment on Wednesday.

The stock surged to $11.13 on Wednesday before shedding some of its gains to close at $10.90, up 2.5 percent.

“Oaktree is a knowledgeable investor with experience in the newspaper- publishing industry, and we are pleased they have confidence in our ability to attain debt financing to acquire Gannett on these terms,” said MNG Chairman Joseph Fuchs.

But Gannett threw cold water on the letter. “Gannett has said in the past that MNG’s proposal fails that test, and the letter from Oaktree Strategic Credit does not alter the company’s assessment of MNG’s proposal,” the company said in a press release.

The Gannett board has fought the MNG takeover, saying it undervalues the company, which is the largest newspaper chain in the country in terms of total circulation.

MNG, known as Digital First Media, is controlled by Alden Global Capital, and the owner’s vicious cuts to its newspapers earned it the animus of many journalists in its newsrooms, who have dubbed it the “destroyer of local newspapers.”

As the proxy battle rages, Gannett CEO Robert Dickey is also preparing to step down on May 8 and headhunter Egon Zehnder is searching for his replacement.

In the meantime, Gannett on Monday named its chief legal counsel Barbara Wall to the new position of acting chief operating officer.

Report: WSJ To Join Apple Subscription News Service

The Wall Street Journal plans to join a new paid subscription news service run by Apple, according to two people familiar with the plans, as other publishers chafe at the terms that the Silicon Valley company is demanding of its partners.

Other major publishers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, have opted out of joining the subscription service, said the people, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the plans.

According to The NYTimes, Apple and The Wall Street Journal plan to announce the deal Monday at a media event at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The event is intended to draw attention to the company’s bet on news and entertainment, including a streaming service that will put Apple in direct competition with Netflix, Amazon and HBO.

The service, described by some as a “Netflix for news,” will offer access to a new paid tier of the Apple News app. Through that tier, readers will be able to consume articles from hundreds of participating magazines and news outlets. The app’s free tier will still let people read a smattering of select articles from a wide variety of publishers.

Rogers Media Sells All Canadian Consumer Print Brands

St. Joseph Communications (SJC) and Rogers Media Wednesday announced they have entered into an agreement in which SJC will acquire all seven of Rogers Media’s consumer print and digital magazine brands.

SJC is Canada's largest privately owned communications company with three integrated platforms in Content, Print and Media. SJC will acquire Maclean’s, Chatelaine (English and French), Today’s Parent, HELLO! Canada, digital publications FLARE and Canadian Business, as well as the company’s Custom Content business.

SJC is committed to developing and growing these iconic brands that Canadians have come to know and love. All current Rogers Media Publishing employees will be offered employment through the deal, which is expected to close in April 2019.

"We are pleased to add these renowned titles to our portfolio of award-winning media brands and to welcome their dedicated staff into the St. Joseph family," said Tony Gagliano, Executive Chairman & CEO of SJC. “We also want to welcome their diverse and loyal audiences and advertisers who have supported these brands through the years.”

SJC has always been a proud publisher of quality editorial content. For close to two decades, its brands have told some of the most important, engaging Canadian stories in both print and digital.

“Bringing together two talented teams and many of Canada's most celebrated magazine brands is an important opportunity for SJC, the media industry and our country,” said Gagliano. “Our experience with brands such as Toronto Life, and the strategies applied and growth we have seen there, gives us confidence that we can help transform these brands so they may prosper in the quickly changing media landscape."

Rogers Media and SJC will work together to ensure a smooth change of ownership, including some transition services. Current subscribers will continue to receive their print and digital subscriptions.

“It was vitally important to us to find a good home for our employees and these storied brands so that the publications live on and flourish in a well-established company dedicated to publishing. It was a difficult decision, but one we believe is right as we accelerate our strategic vision and reposition our media business for the future,” said Rick Brace, President of Rogers Media. “We are extremely proud of these iconic magazine brands and all the employees who have delivered high-quality content for decades and helped shape Canadian culture and conversation.”

Jay-Z, Neil Diamond, Cyndi Lauper Songs Added To Nat'l Registry

The Library of Congress has chosen 25 new recordings for the National Sound Registry. It’s an electic and terrific group including “Soul Man,” “Sweet Caroline,” Yiddish recordings, Jay Z, and more. Also on the list is the soundtrack to “Hair,” Cyndi Lauper’s debut recording, and “Minnie the Moocher.” Plus Earth Wind & Fire’s essential “September.”

The awards go to the recordings themselves and the people who made them.

Added to National Recording Registry:
  • Yiddish Cylinders from the Standard Phonograph Company of New York and the Thomas Lambert Company (c. 1901-1905)
  • “Memphis Blues” (single), Victor Military Band (1914)
  • Melville Jacobs Collection of Native Americans of the American Northwest (1929-1939)
  • “Minnie the Moocher” (single), Cab Calloway (1931)
  • “Bach Six Cello Suites” (album), Pablo Casals (c. 1939)
  • “They Look Like Men of War” (single), Deep River Boys (1941)
  • “Gunsmoke” — Episode: “The Cabin” (Dec. 27, 1952)
  • Ruth Draper: Complete recorded monologues, Ruth Draper (1954-1956)
  • “La Bamba” (single), Ritchie Valens (1958)
  • “Long Black Veil” (single), Lefty Frizzell (1959)
  • “Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1: The Early Years” (album), Stan Freberg (1961)
  • “GO” (album), Dexter Gordon (1962)
  • “War Requiem” (album), Benjamin Britten (1963)
  • “Mississippi Goddam” (single), Nina Simone (1964)
  • “Soul Man” (single), Sam & Dave (1967)
  • “Hair” (original Broadway cast recording) (1968)
  • Speech on the Death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy (April 4, 1968)
  • “Sweet Caroline” (single), Neil Diamond (1969)
  • “Superfly” (album), Curtis Mayfield (1972)
  • “Ola Belle Reed” (album), Ola Belle Reed (1973)
  •  “September” (single), Earth, Wind & Fire (1978)
  • “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” (single), Sylvester (1978)
  • “She’s So Unusual” (album), Cyndi Lauper (1983)
  • “Schoolhouse Rock!: The Box Set” (1996)
  • “The Blueprint” (album), Jay-Z (2001)

Westwood One, Google Get Smart During March Madness

Westwood One and Google LLC, have announced an innovative collaboration directly integrating Westwood One’s exclusive live NCAA March Madness programming on smart devices with the Google Assistant.

Fans can now hear Westwood One’s live coverage of NCAA March Madness on Google Assistant speakers and displays. Westwood One is the Official Network Radio partner of the NCAA. Google is the Official Public Cloud provider of the NCAA.

Putting the fan first, Google Assistant users can listen to all of the upsets and buzzer-beaters with a simple voice command. Google Assistant will take users directly to the live audio stream when they say, ‘Hey Google, play NCAA March Madness on Westwood One.”

 Collaborating to directly integrate premium live content is the first innovation project between Westwood One and Google. Bringing the live NCAA live stream to listeners together breaks new ground for both companies, coming just as Triton Digital released new data that 19% of total listening hours to AM/FM radio streams occurred on smart speakers in January 2019.

"Westwood One has the largest network of custom voice apps in the country, but this is the first time our content will be natively integrated in a voice eco-system,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP, Marketing for Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One. “Innovating with Google on our high demand NCAA March Madness coverage delivers against our promise to serve our fans with live content whenever and however they want to listen.”

Cumulus Media and Google will promote the integration across multiple owned and operated properties for the duration of NCAA March Madness through the Final Four games.  For more info visit

R.I.P.: Skylark Rossetti, Hawaii Radio Legend

Skylark Rossetti
Hawaii broadcasting legend Jacqueline Leilani “Skylark” Rossetti died of renal failure early this afternoon at Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center in Honolulu.

She was 65, according to

A 1971 graduate of Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama in Honolulu, she studied art at San Francisco City College and began her education on her occupation-to-be on the college’s radio station. After returning home in the early 1970s, she worked on air at KNDI-AM in Honolulu before becoming the midday personality in a legendary air staff at Honolulu’s KCCN-AM that included Kimo Kahoano and the late Krash Kealoha.

Rossetti called herself “The Honolulu Skylark” after an early Hawaii airplane, later shortening the name to simply “Skylark.” Broadcasting Hawaiian music, she was integral in the rise of Hawaii superstars such as the Sunday Manoa, the Brothers Cazimero and the Makaha Sons of Niihau.

With a mellifluous voice and flawless delivery, Rossetti also was in demand as an emcee and commercial voice-over artist.

With Kahoano and Kealoha, Rossetti was a co-founder of the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards recognizing Hawaii’s music and musicians. She won her own Hoku statuettes in 1993 and 1996, and the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. In addition, she was recognized as Outstanding Hawaiian Woman of the Year in 1984 and Broadcaster of the Year in 1991.

Rossetti, Kahoano and Kealoha also were part of the Class of 2017 inductees into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.

In May 1990, Rossetti helped put KCCN-FM 100 on the air and its popularity was immediate, becoming No. 1 in ratings within a year. In 1992, she moved to Hilo and worked first for KWXX-FM and later for KAPA-FM.

March 21 Radio History

The Ritz Theater - 1937
➦In 1921...Broadway's The Walter Kerr Theatre opened at 219 West 48th Street in NYC.  One of the smaller auditoriums in the Theater District, it seats 975. Designed by Herbert J. Krapp for the Shubert family, it operated as the Ritz Theatre from 1921 to 1990, when it was renamed for playwright and critic Walter Kerr.  ABC operated it as a radio and then television studio between 1943 and 1965.

➦In 1922...KGW-AM, Portland, Oregon signed-on.

The Oregonian newspaper created KGW-AM (now Sports KPOJ 620 AM RipCity, owned by iHeartMedia) by purchasing an existing transmitter from the Shipowners Radio Service. The U.S. Department of Commerce licensed the station, and it began broadcasting on March 21, 1922

The studio was housed on the 11th floor of The Oregonian Building Tower at Sixth & Alder Streets. The transmitter was located on the 13th floor. The antenna consisted of a 70-foot, four-wire inverted "L"-type flattop, suspended between a 60-foot mast on top of the building and a 95-foot tower on the nearby Northwestern Bank Building.

R.G. Calvert supervised the operation and Richard “Dick” Haller was the program director. Their aim was to give their listeners news fresh from the press with the best music and outstanding speakers. KGW’s early announcers and writers were usually former newspaper employees, and the first engineers and technicians came from the ranks of former maritime wireless radio operators.

When the station first went on the air, 5,000 radio sets were said to have tuned in. Speakers included The Oregonian’s Editor, Edgar Piper and Mayor George Baker. There was also an opera singer, a novelist and a live musical presentation. Dick Haller became known as KGW’s “Million-Dollar Voice” and his broadcasts were very popular. He would go on to a successful career with NBC in San Francisco.

As an early radio station experiencing tremendous popularity, KGW implemented many innovative new broadcasting ideas. KGW set itself apart from the other stations by having the first radio variety show in the nation, the first audience participation show, the first quiz program, the first library program, the first radio debate, the first in-school listening program and the first singing commercial. In 1925, on-air advertising became a source of KGW’s operating revenue. KGW produced the first-ever singing commercial for Sears, Roebuck and Company in the late 1920s.

KGW was the first station in Oregon to affiliate with a national broadcasting service when they carried the inaugural program of the National Broadcasting Company’s Orange Network on April 5, 1927. The Orange Network was known as the NBC Pacific Coast Network.

The nationally famous Hoot Owls, officially known as "The Order of Hoot Owls Roosting in the Oregonian Tower" aired from 1923 to 1933 as a 2-1/2 hour variety show that was broadcast to over one million listeners. Their slogan soon became "Keep Growing Wiser," whose initial letters represented the KGW call letters.

One of the performers on the Hoot Owls program, Mel Blanc, achieved fame as the author of cartoon characterization in later years in Hollywood where he became the nation’s voice for cartoon characters such as Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny. Blanc, who received his high school education in Portland, joined the program in 1927. Nicknamed "The Grand Snicker" on the Hoot Owls, Blanc became well known for his comedy, as well as his skills as a storyteller, ad-libber, musician, vocalist, and, later, orchestra pit conductor.

Blanc left KGW in 1933 and moved down the hall to perform on sister station KEX in the popular "Cobwebs and Nuts" program, before moving to Hollywood in 1935.

➦In 1924...The first foreign language broadcast aired on WJZ 770 AM, New York City.

The WJZ call sign was first used on what is now WABC in New York City. The original Westinghouse Electric Corporation, whose broadcasting division is a predecessor to the current broadcasting unit of CBS Corporation, launched WJZ in 1921, located originally in Newark, New Jersey. WJZ was sold in 1923 to the Radio Corporation of America, who moved its operations to New York, and in 1926 WJZ became the flagship station for the NBC Blue Network.

In the 1929 movie The Cocoanuts the station was name-checked by Chico Marx in a sequence of running gags between Chico and Groucho: Chico uses the station's call-sign as the punchline of a punning joke based on his confusion over the meaning of the word "radius", which he confuses with 'radios', leading to the mention of the station's call-sign. NBC Blue would become the American Broadcasting Company in 1942. ABC later established WJZ-FM and WJZ-TV at the same time in 1948.

In 1953 ABC merged with United Paramount Theatres, and changed the call letters of their New York area stations to WABC, WABC-FM (now WPLJ) and WABC-TV. Four years later, Westinghouse Broadcasting acquired Baltimore television station WAAM (channel 13) and changed its call letters to WJZ-TV, which remained an ABC affiliate until 1995 when the station switched to CBS.

➦In 1925...Lowell Thomas was first heard on radio as a guest on KDKA, Pittsburgh PA talking about “man’s first flight around the world".

In 1930, he became a broadcaster with the CBS Radio network, delivering a nightly news and commentary program. After two years, he switched to the NBC Radio network but returned to CBS in 1947. In contrast to today's practices, Thomas was not an employee of either NBC News or CBS News. Prior to 1947, he was employed by the broadcast's sponsor Sunoco.

He returned to CBS to take advantage of lower capital-gains tax rates, establishing an independent company to produce the broadcast which he sold to CBS. He hosted the first-ever television news broadcast in 1939 and the first regularly scheduled television news broadcast (even though it was just a camera simulcast of his radio broadcast) beginning on February 21, 1940 over local station W2XBS (now WNBC) New York.

The television news simulcast was a short-lived venture for him, and he favored radio. Indeed, it was over radio that he presented and commented upon the news for four decades until his retirement in 1976, the longest radio career of anyone in his day (a record later surpassed by Paul Harvey).

➦In 1939…Radio Star Kate Smith recorded 'God Bless America', originally written by Irving Berlin in 1918.  After updating and revision, Smith had introduced the song on her radio show in November 1938.

Smith was a major star of radio. She began with her twice-a-week NBC series, Kate Smith Sings (quickly expanded to six shows a week), followed by a series of shows for CBS: Kate Smith and Her Swanee Music (1931–33), sponsored by La Palina Cigars; The Kate Smith Matinee (1934–35); The Kate Smith New Star Revue (1934–35); Kate Smith's Coffee Time (1935–36), sponsored by A&P; and The Kate Smith A&P Bandwagon (1936–37).

The Kate Smith Hour was a leading radio variety show, offering comedy, music, and drama with appearances by top personalities of films and theater for eight years (1937–45).

Smith continued on the Mutual Broadcasting System, CBS, ABC, and NBC, doing both music and talk shows on radio until 1960.

➦In 1952...The Moondog Coronation Ball was first host by radio personality Alan Freed. It is generally accepted as the first major rock and roll concert.

At the time, its most remarkable feature was its mix of black and white musical performers, in a revue intended for a racially mixed audience, at a time when almost all performances, radio stations and record labels were de facto segregated by race. One popular belief is that this fact predisposed the authorities to seek reasons to limit or bar the show.

The concert was organized by Alan Freed (a disc jockey considered to have coined the term "Rock and Roll" at WJW-Radio), along with Lew Platt, a local concert promoter, and Freed's sponsors, including Leo Mintz, owner of the Record Rendezvous store. More tickets were printed than the arena's actual capacity, in part due to counterfeiting, and a printing error (tickets for a follow-up ball were sold with the same date printed after the first had sold out). With an estimated 20,000 individuals trying to crowd into an arena that held slightly more than half that — and worries that a riot might break out as people tried to crowd in — the fire authorities shut down the concert after the first song by opening act Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams ended. Freed made a public apology on WJW the next day.

Cleveland rock radio station WMMS 100.7 FM attempted to stage a revival of the concert in 1986 under the name "Moondog Coronation Ball II"; then-program director John Gorman had intended for the event to serve as an oldies rock and roll tribute concert – part of the campaign to bring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Cleveland. For legal reasons, the event never materialized.

A few years later in 1992, Gorman, then at local oldies radio station WMJI 105.7 FM, successfully organized a 40th anniversary concert called "Moondog Coronation Ball '92". The concert has been held every year since, featuring oldies rock and roll acts, and sponsored by WMJI. In recent years, the event has been held at Quicken Loans Arena.

➦In 1995...New York City sold the two radio stations it owned: WNYC AM and FM.

WNYC is one of the oldest radio stations in the United States. Funds for the establishment of the station were approved on June 2, 1922 by the New York City Board of Estimate and Apportionment. WNYC made its first official broadcast two years later on July 8, 1924, at 570 AM with a second-hand transmitter shipped from Brazil. With the commencement of WNYC's operations, the City of New York became one of the first American municipalities to be directly involved in broadcasting.

In 1928 WNYC was forced into a time-sharing arrangement on 570 AM with WMCA, another pioneering New York radio outlet. This situation lasted until 1931, when the Federal Radio Commission (a forerunner to today's FCC) moved WNYC to 810 AM. The frequency move did not help WNYC from an operational standpoint as it now shared its frequency with the more-powerful WCCO in Minneapolis, over 1,200 miles to the west. WNYC was now limited to daytime-only operations, broadcasting from sunrise to sunset.

Shortly after becoming mayor in 1994, Rudy Giuliani announced he was considering selling the WNYC stations. Giuliani believed that broadcasting was no longer essential as a municipal entity, and that any financial compensation would be used to help the City cover budget shortfalls. The final decision was made in March 1995: While the City opted to divest WNYC-TV (now WPXN-TV) through a blind auction, WNYC-AM-FM was sold to the WNYC Foundation for $20 million, far less than what the stations could have been sold for if they were placed on the open market.

While this potential sale put an end to the occasional political intrusions of the past, it required the WNYC Foundation to embark on a major appeal towards listeners, other foundations, and private benefactors.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Steve Jones Departs ABC Radio for Skyview Networks

Skyview Networks announced today that ABC Radio executive Steve Jones will assume the role of President and Chief Operating Officer reporting to co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Ken Thiele. In his new role, Jones will help lead Skyview Networks' growth in sports play-by-play, content creation across platforms, syndication, network sales, distribution of audio and technology innovation. Jones begins his new role with Skyview Networks on April 9, 2019.  He will conduct business from both the company's Scottsdale corporate office and its New York office.

Steve Jones
"Steve is a highly respected leader in the audio industry and his addition to Skyview will accelerate what already has been a period of explosive growth," said CEO Ken Thiele. "Since Skyview Networks and ABC News partnered in 2014, Steve and I have worked side-by-side in developing new business that has resulted in great success for both companies."

In his role at Disney/ABC, Jones led the ABC Radio business, which provides news and entertainment content, reaching over 73-million listeners weekly across 1,650 radio stations and a myriad of digital audio platforms.

"I am thrilled to be joining Skyview to help grow what already is an outstanding company and to build upon Skyview's success with ABC, CBS and its sports play-by-play business," said Jones. "Skyview has built a world-class sales organization led by Jeanne-Marie Condo, and together, we will create and bring new power, reach and scale to the marketplace."

"We are excited to welcome Steve to the company and the Skyview leadership team," said Jeanne-Marie Condo, Executive Vice President/General Manager, Skyview Networks. "He has an extraordinary vision for how we can organically expand our footprint and bring new innovation to our partners and our clients."

Continued Thiele, "During more than 30 years at Disney/ABC, Steve received dozens of awards recognizing his role as a business leader, innovator and content creator. He now brings his experience and expertise to Skyview to help prepare us for our next phase of aggressive growth."

Day 2: Nielsen PPMs Released To DC, Boston, Miami, 9 More Markets

Nielsen on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 released the second batch of February 2019 PPM data for the following markets:

   7  Washington DC

  10  Boston

  11  Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood

  12  Seattle-Tacoma

  13  Detroit

  14  Phoenix

  15  Minneapolis-St. Paul

  16  San Diego

  18  Tampa-St Pertersburg-Clearwater

  19  Denver-Boulder

  21  Baltimore

  24  St. Louis 

Click Here for topline numbers for subscribing Nielsen stations.

Disney Closes On Fox, Iger Will Cut Jobs

Walt Disney Co. completed its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox Inc.’s entertainments assets, and now must get to the task of squeezing out promised cost savings, an effort that will lead to thousands of firings in the film and TV business, according to Bloomberg.

With the deal, Disney takes over a portfolio that includes the 104-year-old 20th Century Fox studio, the FX and National Geographic cable networks, and an additional 30 percent of Hulu, the online video service. To make the deal work financially and support the company’s costly efforts to compete with Netflix Inc., Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger has promised $2 billion in cost savings, a commitment that all but assures epic job cuts.

The deal is one of the most dramatic in the current wave of entertainment-industry mergers, shrinking the number of major Hollywood studios to five from six and putting the irreverent Homer Simpson and “Family Guy” in the same stable of cartoon characters as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Underscoring the looming human cost, Disney is taking on 15,400 Fox employees, while the smaller new Fox Corp. will keep about 7,000. Last August, executives at Burbank, California-based Disney said they’ll achieve their targeted savings over two years, with the U.S. operations bearing the brunt early on. The Hollywood Reporter said last month that 4,000 jobs will be lost.

Already the largest entertainment company in the world, Disney emerges with more clout to negotiate everything from the fees it gets from cable TV operators to the share of ticket revenue at movie theaters. The sale represents the end of an era for Rupert Murdoch, the 88-year-old media mogul who steered the Fox studio for nearly four decades.

At its heart, the merger marks a huge bet that Iger can establish a direct connection to consumers, sell them multiple monthly subscriptions to watch Disney programs and upend the traditional model in which network owners collect fees for their content from pay-TV operators.

Iger has said he plans to continue to operate 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight and other film labels, many of which release the kind of R-rated films that Disney previously stayed away from.

The Fox deal, which was first officially announced in December 2017, led to a bidding war with Comcast Corp. Disney warded off its rival suitor, but had to pay about about 36 percent more for Fox under new terms announced last June. Comcast, meanwhile, won Fox’s stake in the Sky Plc and ultimately took over satellite TV service in Europe.

To win the blessing of regulators, Disney agreed to sell 22 Fox regional sports networks in the U.S., its half of the A&E channels in Europe and Fox’s sports network in Brazil.

TV Ratings: 'The Bachelor' Scores For ABC, Fox News Tops Cable

Cassie and Colton
An unusual ending to ABC’s long-running attempted love matches on “The Bachelor” paid off for the network.

The Associated Press reports both parts of the finale to the 23rd edition of the series hit the Nielsen company’s top 10 last week, as bachelor Colton Underwood — who started his reign as a virgin — revealed he was dating contestant Cassie Randolph.

That wasn’t initially the plan, since Underwood jumped a fence to abandon the two women who had been finalists to chase Randolph, who had left the show.

The show’s performance led ABC to its fourth weekly win in a row among viewers aged 18-to-49, the demographic its advertisers chase.

CBS won the week among all viewers, averaging 6 million people watching in prime time. ABC had 5.1 million, NBC had 4.5 million, Fox had 2.7 million, Univision and ION Television tied with 1.37 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 900,000.

Fox News Channel was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.33 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 1.94 million, MSNBC had 1.82 million, HGTV had 1.28 million and History had 1.22 million.

⏩ Basic Cable Top 10 – Prime time (Total Viewers)
  1. Fox News (2,387,000)
  2. ESPN (1,935,000)
  3. MSNBC (1,868,000)
  4. HGTV (1,283,000)
  5. History (1,180,000)
  6. USA (1,114,000)
  7. Discovery (1,105,000)
  8. Hallmark Channel (1,031,000)
  9. Investigation Discovery (976,000)
  10. TBS (943,000)

⏩ ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.6 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 8.2 million viewers and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.1 million.

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for March 11-17:

1. “NCIS,” CBS, 12.08 million.
2. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 10.54 million.
3. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 10.1 million.
4. “FBI,” CBS, 8.96 million.
5. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 8.47 million.
6. “Bachelor Season Finale” (Tuesday), ABC, 8.24 million.
7. “The Bachelor” (Monday), ABC, 8.16 million.
8. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 7.84 million.
9. “The Good Doctor,” ABC, 7.78 million.
10. “This is Us,” NBC, 7.75 million.

11. “God Friended Me,” CBS, 7.73 million.
12. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 7.64 million.
13. “Survivor,” CBS, 7.54 million.
14. “American Idol” (Sunday), ABC, 7.18 million.
15. “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 6.98 million.
16. “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 6.58 million.
17. “Hawaii Five-0,” CBS, 6.54 million.
18. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 6.44 million.
19. “Magnum P.I.,” CBS, 6.05 million.
20. “New Amsterdam,” NBC, 5.99 million.

TV Newscheck reports viewer support for long-time host Alex Trebek, who on March 6 revealed that had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, helped make Jeopardy the top-rated game show in the session ending March 10.

Although the veteran quiz show scored a five-week high 6.9 live-plus-same-day national Nielsen, it still had no answer for February sweep champ — and usual ratings leader — Judge Judy, which jumped to a 7.5 and continued to outperform all syndicated shows for the 35th week in a row.

Elsewhere, Wendy Williams returned to her talk show after taking two months off to tend to illness and injury. That ignited a 36% increase from the previous week of reruns to a new season-high 1.5 for the program, which was enough for fourth place in the category.

Dr. Phil  3.1 +3%
Live with Kelly and Ryan  2.4 NC
Ellen DeGeneres  1.8 -18%
Wendy Williams  1.5 +36%
Maury (NBCU) 1.4 NC

Judge Judy  7.5 +4%
Hot Bench 2.5 +9%
People’s Court  1.4 -7%
Judge Mathis  1.0 NC
Divorce Court  0.7 NC

Jeopardy  6.9 +1%
Wheel of Fortune  6.6 NC
Family Feud  6.5 +2%
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire  1.8 +20%
Funny You Should Ask  0.6 +20%

Inside Edition  3.3 +3%
Entertainment Tonight  3.2 -3%
Access  1.4 NC
TMZ  1.3 -7%
Extra  1.2 NC

Big Bang Theory  4.7 -2%
Last Man Standing  2.3 NC
Modern Family  2.0 NC
Two and a Half Men  1.5 NC
The Goldbergs  1.5 NC

CBS Wants Big Bucks For Big Bang Finale

CBS hopes to get a bigger bang out of the very last episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” according to Variety.

The network is seeking between $1.2 million and $1.5 million for a 30-second ad in the finale of the veteran series, according to two people familiar with negotiations between CBS and its advertisers. Those figures would represent a price approximately five to six times higher than the average cost to run an ad in the show this season. The last original episode in the series is slated for broadcast on May 16.

The prices are astronomical in the current market, and suggest CBS is confident in the power of the series’ denouement to attract a sizable crowd at a time when doing so has become more complex, thanks to viewer migration to streaming services and video-on-demand. The series, led by Chuck Lorre and produced by Warner Brothers, and starring Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, is in the midst of its 12th season on the air.

The average cost for a 30-second ad in “Big Bang” for the current season hovers around $258,500, according to estimates from four media buyers. At $1.5 million, the price for a 30-second spot in the series finale would represent a 480% premium over current-season ad costs.

Yet series finales often draw bigger crowds than a normal episode. The last episode of “Seinfeld” drew 76 million viewers, for example, when NBC showed it on May 14, 1998. And the final original broadcast of “M*A*S*H” lured a whopping 105.9 million viewers when CBS ran it in 1983 – and remains one of the most-watched TV events of all time.

Charlotte Radio: Brandon Chase To Program WBCN Fox Sports

Brandon Chase
Beasley Media Group has announced Brandon Chase has been named as the Program Director at WBCN translator W234BY 94.7 FM / 1660 AM Fox Sports in Charlotte.

Chase has been with the company for over 11 years, began his career on the air at KISS 95.1 in 2008. In addition to his new programming duties, he will continue to serve as the Assistant Program Director & Music Director for WKQC K104.7, Midday On-Air Personality on K 104.7 from 12noon-3pm and Production Director for other cluster stations.

“It’s an honor to lead this FOX Sports radio station,” said Chase. “I love sports and I’m excited for the opportunity to program and promote this format with such an incredible team!”

“Brandon is experienced in the Sports format”, said Bill Schoening, VP and Market Manager of Beasley Media Group Charlotte. “He has a great work ethic and I’m very excited to have him paving the way for success on FOX Sports. I cannot wait to utilize all of his creative ideas and perspective.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Brandon taking the reins and leading FOX Sports in Charlotte,” said John Reynolds, Operations Manager for the Beasley Media Group Charlotte cluster. “His expanded knowledge in the sports world and every aspect of radio programming will help FOX Sports become a market leader. He is a great example of our goal to solidify excellent talent within our company.”

Fort Wayne Radio: WJFX Recruits Billy Cova for Evenings

Billy Cova
Billy Cova (On-air as “Cova”) has been named the new evening host for market-leading Top 40 station, WJFX HOT 1079.

Cova was previously the night host at Entercom’s WDZH (then-98.7 AMP Radio) Detroit, MI. Cova became a free agent when WDZH changed format in November from Top 40 to Soft Adult Contemporary.

HOT 1079 Brand Manager Robbie Mack says, “We received a lot of great submissions for nights. There were some really solid candidates out there, but Cova’s personality and experience stood out. He’s a naturally funny and entertaining guy and he’s just what we need to stay on top at night.”

Cova says, “I’m so excited to join the team at HOT! This station is a staple in Fort Wayne and I can’t wait to engage with the community. Thanks to (Brand Manager) Robbie Mack and (VP/General Manager) Kevin Musselman for the opportunity.”

The night show opening is created as former night host Patrick Grey exits full-time radio for a career at Parkview Health in Fort Wayne. Robbie says “I’m glad to say Patrick is also sticking around and will be on the air every weekend. I can’t thank him enough for all of the contributions he has made to HOT over the years.”

Jacobs Media Expands Relationship With Podcast Movement

Jacobs Media and the organizers of the Podcast Movement conference have announced an expansion of their relationship with the third year of Jacobs Media’s “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters.”

Jacobs Media will be developing 2½ days of sessions designed to bring broadcasters and podcasters together. Sessions and presenters will cover all aspects of podcasting, and attendees will gain important insights into the current state of podcasting and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Fred Jacobs
“Three years ago when we hosted our first ‘Broadcasters Meet Podcasters’ event, attendance was nice but the broadcasters were there just to see what it was all about,” Jacobs Media’s President Fred Jacobs remarks. “The past year was a watershed year as broadcasters have gotten serious about podcasting. Major acquisitions, partnerships, mergers, new content, and emerging stars are part of the conversation. So, Jacobs Media’s ‘Broadcasters Meet Podcasters’ is expanding to keep pace.”

Dan Franks
Podcast Movement’s Co-Founder/Organizer Dan Franks recognizes the important relationship between broadcasting and podcasting, remarking, “One of the most exciting things to come out of the past two Podcast Movements has been our growing relationship with the radio industry. By partnering each of those years with Jacobs, we've not only been partnering with some of the most well-respected people in radio, but also have been able to feature what we think is the world's best podcasting education to radio professionals. We're thrilled to continue our collaboration with Jacobs Media at Podcast Movement 2019!”

Seth Resler
Jacobs Media’s Digital Dot Connector Seth Resler has been involved in podcasting for eight years. He’s been a regular Podcast Movement attendee, and understands the opportunity – and necessity – for radio broadcasters to participate in the continued podcasting growth: “We’ve seen the rise of on-demand video disrupt our colleagues in the television space. That’s why we think it’s crucial for radio broadcasters to stay on top of what’s happening in the on-demand audio space by attending events like Podcast Movement.”

Jacobs Media has collaborated with Podcast Movement to provide a discount on registrations for broadcasters. Any broadcaster who wants to attend should use the code: RADIOPRO and will receive $50 off their registration fee. Broadcast companies or stations that want to send more than five people to Podcast Movement receive a more substantial discount and should contact Paul Jacobs at for details.

The 2019 Podcast Movement will take place in Orlando on August 13-16 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. More information can be found at