Tuesday, July 23, 2024

America Was Watching Fox Sunday For Biden Coverage

More than 9 million viewers flocked to their televisions Sunday afternoon to watch live broadcast and cable news coverage of President Biden’s bombshell decision that he would end his campaign for re-election and endorse Vice President Kamala Harris, reports Forbes. The news broke just before 2 p.m. ET, dominating cable news and leading the broadcast networks to break into regular programming to cover the story.

Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET, Fox News Channel had a total audience of 3.196 million viewers, the largest across the broadcast and cable news networks. CNN was second overall with 1.836 million viewers, followed closely by MSNBC (1.803 million viewers), ABC (1.306 million viewers) and CBS (1.116 million viewers).

Among viewers 25-54, the key demographic valued by advertisers, Fox News led between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET, with 564,000 viewers, followed by CNN (496,000 viewers), ABC (313,000 viewers), MSNBC (280,000 viewers), and CBS (244,000 viewers).

Viewership climbed rapidly as the news of Biden’s decision broke across television and social media, with Fox News delivering a total audience of 1.6 million viewers between 1:45 p.m. and 2 p.m. ET. FNC’s viewership doubled (3.2 million viewers) beginning at 2 p.m.

In prime time—dominated by coverage and analysis of Biden’s decision and the re-shaped contest against former President Donald Trump—Fox News had the largest audience in cable news, with 3.193 million viewers, followed by MSNBC (1.909 million viewers) and CNN (1.268 million viewers).

For MSNBC, which carried special programming between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET led by Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid and Jen Psaki, the network drew 2.1 million viewers and had its largest Sunday audience since 2020.

In the key demo, Fox was first in prime with 471,000 viewers, followed by CNN (334,000 viewers) and MSNBC (257,000 viewers).

Hunter Biden Drops Lawsuit Against Fox News

Hours after President Biden announced he would withdraw from his 2024 re-election bid on Sunday, Hunter Biden dropped his lawsuit against Fox News for airing salacious images of his private misconduct taken from his personal laptop, reports GPB News.

On Monday, a federal judge dismissed a defamation case filed by a former Biden administration official. He ruled that Nina Jankowicz’s legal claims cited statements that were often accurate, broadly speaking, or fell into the categories of opinion or statements that could not be disproven.

"This was a politically motivated lawsuit aimed at silencing free speech and we are pleased with the court's decision to protect the First Amendment,” a statement from a Fox News spokesperson read. Jankowicz's attorneys say they will appeal the decision.

Buffalo Radio: WGRQ Jock Fired Over Social Media Meme

Tom Tiberi
Tom Tiberi, known as “Slick Tom,” has indeed exited Cumulus Media’s “97 Rock” (WGRF Buffalo) after posting a controversial meme on his personal Facebook page. 

The meme, which depicted former President Trump and Vladimir Putin in coffins, was posted before the failed assassination attempt on Trump on July 13. Tiberi explained that he removed the meme immediately after the news of the attempt, but a screenshot had already been widely circulated by what he calls a group of far-right extremists.

Tiberi, who has been a significant presence at 97 Rock for 25 years, expressed his frustration over the situation. HJadmits the meme was in poor taste. "However, the point I need to stress is that this meme was put up BEFORE the assassination attempt on Saturday, I then took it down immediately!” 

Tiberi said in a July 18 Facebook post. “However, by then a small but well-organized group of far-right extremist on FB had taken a screen shot of my meme and posted it all over public FB. The screen shot they shared made it look like I had posted the meme AFTER the assassination attempt rather than on Thursday.”

Cumulus Media has not commented publicly.

Google Decides Not Drop Ad Cookies For Chrome

Alphabet Inc.’s Google said it plans to give people who use its Chrome web browser the option to choose a more privacy-sensitive experience, rather than phasing out cookies, the software that lets marketers track users.

Bloomberg reports the company said it had made the decision after considering the impact that eliminating cookies would have on publishers, advertisers and others involved in the sprawling digital ad business.

“We are proposing an updated approach that elevates user choice,” Anthony Chavez, a vice president at Google, wrote Monday in the blog post. “Instead of deprecating third-party cookies, we would introduce a new experience in Chrome that lets people make an informed choice that applies across their web browsing, and they’d be able to adjust that choice at any time.”

The move marks a major shift for Google, which for years has worked to implement Privacy Sandbox, its plan to replace cookies with other tools for advertisers. The company said it will continue to offer those tools to developers.

R.I.P.: Duke Fakir, Last Original Member of the Four Tops

Duke Fakir (1935-2024)

Abdul Fakir, who was known as Duke, the last remaining original member of the Four Tops, one of Motown’s best-selling and most beloved groups, died on Monday at his home in Detroit. He was 88.

The NY Times reports his family said in a statement that the cause was heart failure.

Fakir sang first tenor with the Four Tops, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. The group’s hits not only helped define the “Motown Sound” but also the entire 1960s era of pop.

Their classics included the exuberant “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” and the urgent “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” both of which hit No. 1, along with the barreling Top 10 staples “It’s The Same Old Song,” “Standing In the Shadows of Love” and “Bernadette.”

For a two-year period, the Four Tops worked with Motown’s celebrated songwriting and production team Holland-Dozier-Holland (the brothers Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier). After leaving the label in 1972, the quartet earned more Top 10 records with “Keeper of the Castle” and “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I Got”).

On all the group’s songs, Mr. Fakir’s high, smooth voice added grace to harmonies that supported the baritone lead vocals of Levi Stubbs.

Spotify Income Jumps 21 Percent YoY

Spotify saw its global Premium Subscriber base grow to 246 million paying users in Q2 - and posted its biggest-ever quarterly profit in the three months to the end of June.

That's according to the company’s latest financial results (for Q2 2024), filed today, in which Spotify reported that its Premium Subscriber base was up 12% YoY, and up by 7 million net subscribers on the 239 million that SPOT counted at the end of the prior quarter (Q1 2024).

Subscriber net additions of 7 million were 1 million ahead of guidance, according to Music Business Worldwide.

"Our business continued to perform well in Q2, led by healthy subscriber gains, improved monetization and record profitability," said Spotify in its investor presentation on Tuesday.

Spotify’s total number of Monthly Active Users, which combine paying users and ad-supported users, grew 14% YoY to 626 million.

That was up 11 million MAUs from the 615 million reported for the prior quarter (Q1 2024), but below guidance by 5 million (Spotify forecast that it would reach 631 million MAUs in Q2).

In terms of finances, in Q2, Spotify’s Premium / subscriber revenues grew 22% YoY at constant currency to $3.608bn, driven by the platform's subscriber growth and a Premium ARPU increase of 10% YoY at constant currency to $4.97.

Spotify’s Ad-Supported Revenue in Q2 2024 was $490.97), up 12% YoY at constant currency, reflecting double-digit Y/Y growth across all regions.

Spotify generated $4.098B in total quarterly revenue (including Premium and ad-supported), which was up 21% YoY at constant currency.

In terms of profitability, Spotify posted a "record high" operating income of $286.402M in Q2, which, according to Spotify, reflected "lower personnel and related costs and lower marketing spend".

“It’s an exciting time at Spotify. We keep on innovating and showing that we aren’t just a great product, but increasingly also a great business,” said CEO Daniel Ek. 

“We are going so on a timeline that has exceeded even our own expectations. This all bodes very well for the future.”

Comcast Revenue Dragged Down by Parks, Studios

Comcast Corp. reported second-quarter revenue that missed analysts’ estimates, dragged down by a slower season at its movie studios and theme parks.

Revenue fell 2.7% to $29.7 billion, the company said in a statement Monday, missing the $30 billion average of analysts’ projections. 

Revenue for the Universal Pictures studio, in particular, fell 27% to $2.25 billion, facing a tough comparison to last year, when “Super Mario Bros.” and “Fast X” were released, one of Comcast’s best theatrical quarters ever. Comcast is looking ahead to the rest of the year’s film slate, including this summer’s box office success “Despicable Me 4,” and “Twisters,” and the upcoming “Wicked” release in November.

Meanwhile, theme park revenue dropped nearly 11% to $1.98 billion as attendance normalized compared to record-setting 2023.

However, NBCUniversal’s TV business offset the segment, posting $6.32 billion in revenue, up 2% from last year.

NBCUniversal’s answer to streaming, Peacock, remained a bright spot for the company. The streamer posted its best year-over-year improvement, with paid subscribers increasing 38% to 33 million. Revenue for the streamer increased 28% to $1 billion.

Peacock also boosted the media segment’s adjusted EBITDA, which was up 9% to $1.36 billion.

Losses related to Peacock were $348 million, a significant improvement from losses of $651 million in the same period last year.

Comcast, similar to its cable peers, continued to feel pressure in the broadband segment. The company said it lost 110,000 residential broadband customers during the quarter.

Revenue for the segment that includes the Xfinity-branded broadband, cable TV and mobile fell 1.5% to $17.82 billion due to further decreases in the cable TV business. Comcast shed 419,000 cable TV customers during the quarter.

However, revenue for domestic broadband grew 3% to $6.57 billion due to price increases.

Top Dems Threatened To Forcibly Remove Biden From Office

Vice President Kamala Harris secured the pledged support of a majority of delegates to the Democratic National Convention on Monday, putting her on track to formally lock up the party’s nomination next month to take on former President Donald Trump this fall, according to The Wall Street Journal.

To secure the nomination, Harris needed a majority of the 3,949 pledged delegates to the convention, which begins Aug. 19, who can vote on the first ballot. By Monday evening, Harris had secured more than 2,200 delegates, giving her enough to claim the nomination, according to a count by the Associated Press.

Harris traveled to Wilmington, Del., to meet with campaign staff based in President Biden’s hometown, and Biden, who is recuperating from Covid-19, called into the gathering. He said he realized it was difficult for many staff members to learn of his decision but “it was the right thing to do.”

“The name has changed at the top of the ticket, but the mission hasn’t changed at all,” Biden said, according to audio piped into the event.

Meanwhile, The NY Post reports operatives at the very highest levels of the Democratic Party threatened Joe Biden with forcibly removing him from office unless he stepped down.

The well-orchestrated “palace coup” to stop the faltering president seeking re-election has been in place for weeks, but stubborn Biden fought against it every step of the way, a source close to the Biden family told The Post Monday.

The insider also made clear the anger, paranoia and frustration Biden displayed as the party elite circled around him and piled on the pressure.

Part of the “elaborate” strategy to remove Biden from the race – as he announced in a shock letter posted on X Sunday – was allowing him to debate Republican candidate Donald Trump last month on live TV in Atlanta.

During the car crash 90-minute debate, Biden appeared confused, slack-jawed and at one point he froze up, with his shocking performance turning the tide against him.

As calls for him to bow out mounted, Biden insisted he would continue, but party bigwigs threatened to invoke the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution.

The amendment allows for the vice president and members of the cabinet to declare he is unfit to serve and force him to step down, the source added.

Lawmakers Call For USSS Chief To Resign

The leaders of the House oversight committee called on the Secret Service director, Kimberly A. Cheatle, to resign after her testimony on Monday in which she repeatedly refused to answer specific questions about the security failures that led to an assassination attempt of former President Donald J. Trump.

The NY Times reports representatives James R. Comer, Republican of Kentucky and the chairman of the committee, and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the panel, joined several members of the committee in demanding Ms. Cheatle’s resignation.

Comer and Raskin, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House oversight committee, wrote a joint letter to Cheatle after the hearing calling for her resignation.

Judge Refuses to Toss SoundExchange vs. SiriusXM Lawsuit

A judge has denied SiriusXM’s request to toss SoundExchange’s $150 million unpaid royalties lawsuit, but agrees on a change of venue to NYC.

After SoundExchange sued SiriusXM last year for more than $150 million in unpaid royalties, the satellite radio giant moved to dismiss the case for “lack of personal jurisdiction,” or at least requested that the case should be transferred to a different venue. Now, the court has denied SiriusXM’s request for dismissal, but has agreed to move the trial to the Southern District of New York.

“Although this court […] has specific personal jurisdiction over [SiriusXM], the court finds that the interests of justice and convenience of the parties and potential witnesses warrants transferring this case to the Southern District Court of New York,” writes US District Judge Patricia Tolliver Giles in the decision, dated July 15.

The initial lawsuit was filed in a Virginia federal court in August 2023 by SoundExchange, which collects royalties for the use of recordings on non-digital platforms. The filing alleges that SiriusXM artificially inflated the revenue attributed to webcasting in its satellite and online radio packages, amounting to $150 million in withheld royalties. SoundExchange alleges that SiriusXM’s exclusion goes far beyond “avoiding double payment of paying multiple royalties on the same revenue,” instead asserting that “its webcasting service produces minimal marginal revenue at best.”

Musburger Media Acquires VSiN From Draft Kings

Musburger Media has announced it has purchased VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, from DraftKings Inc. Original VSiN founders Brian Musburger and Bill Adee, who were part of the team that previously launched and led the multi-platform broadcast and content company, will lead it moving forward.

“While a lot has changed in the sports betting industry over the past three-and-a-half years, our original vision for VSiN still holds and we are committed to delivering the most credible, independent information and analysis sports bettors can find anywhere,” said Brian Musburger. “We truly appreciate the work we’ve done with DraftKings and look forward to continuing to collaborate on future projects. Bill and I couldn’t be more excited about leading VSiN into the future and cementing our position as a trusted authority in sports betting.”

VSiN will continue to deliver the news, analysis, and insights that bettors need to inform their betting decisions, with 18+ hours of unique sports betting content each day. With the strategy and team already in place, the sports betting network will focus immediately on expanding partnerships and distribution to educate and entertain even more of the growing number of Americans betting on sports.

TNT Makes ‘Matching’ Offer for Amazon's NBA Package

Just days after the league told team owners it had finalized new long-term deals valued at $76 billion with Disney’s ESPN, NBCUniversal and Amazon current rights holder Warner Bros. Discovery has exercised its matching rights in a last-ditch effort to keep games on its TNT cable network.

The Wall Street Journal reports Warner didn’t specify whose bid it proposes to match, but people familiar with the situation said the company wants to match Amazon Prime Video’s $1.9 billion per-season offer.

Turner said in a statement Monday that it reviewed offers from other bidders for games in its current rights package and matched one of them. The company called its rights matching provision “an integral part of our current agreement and the rights we have paid for under it.”

The NBA said it had received Warner’s proposal and is reviewing it.

The other deals have much steeper price tags. Disney has a proposed deal to pay about $2.6 billion per-season to keep NBA games on its ESPN and ABC networks while Comcast’s CMCSA -1.37%decrease; red down pointing triangle NBCUniversal has agreed to pay $2.5 billion per-season to put games on its Peacock streaming platform and NBC network. The new deals would take effect starting with the 2025-26 season and run 11 years. 

Ex-Biden Anti-Disinformation Chief Loses Fox Lawsuit

Fox News Media and its parent Fox Corp won a ruling on Monday dismissing a lawsuit by a former Biden administration official who accused the media giant of defaming her as a proponent of censorship.

Chief U.S. District Judge Colm Connolly in Delaware ruled that Nina Jankowicz, who resigned from her U.S. Department of Homeland Security post in May 2022, could not back up her defamation claims.

Jankowicz sued Fox claiming she was forced to resign from the Disinformation Governance Board as a result of the company's broadcasts. She said Fox had “intentionally trafficked in malicious falsehoods to pad its profits.” Fox denied.

Fox News Media said in a statement on Monday that it was pleased with the decision, calling the case "a politically motivated lawsuit aimed at silencing free speech.

The Disinformation Governance Board quickly drew criticism from conservative critics of President Joe Biden and others after it was formed in 2022. The administration suspended the board's work in May 2022, and it was dissolved later that year.

Connolly’s ruling said most of the Fox News statements at issue in the lawsuit were aimed at the board, not at Jankowicz directly. The judge also said viewers would likely have understood the statements at issue to be protected opinion.

Bob & Sheri Utilize Multiple Platforms to Honor Teachers

To salute teachers across America, Bob & Sheri conducted a multi-platform nationwide contest that culminated in a fun-filled trip for eight grand prize-winning teachers and their guests to the Margaritaville Resort in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida this past weekend. 

Two of the Bob & Sheri co-hosts, Sheri Lynch and Lamar Richardson, along with producer Kary “Doc” Bowser, were on-site to lead the celebrations. Teachers were invited to tell their craziest teaching stories for the original content podcast, called The Oddcast in an upcoming special episode, “Teachers Tell All.”

Winners were from markets across the country, including California, Minnesota, Tennessee, Ohio, and North and South Carolina.

Radio History: July 23

➦In 1912...Jackson Beck born (Died at age 92 – July 28, 2004). He was an announcer and actor best known as the announcer on radio's The Adventures of Superman and the voice of Bluto in the Famous era Popeye theatrical shorts.

Jackson Beck
Beck's early radio experience included work at WINS and WHN, both in New York City. Beginning in 1931, he worked with Myrt and Marge, among other roles. In 1934, he was the announcer for The Adventures of Babe Ruth on the radio. In 1943, he took over as narrator of radio's The Adventures of Superman; it was Beck who intoned the familiar prologue "strange visitor from another planet..." He also had recurring roles, voicing an occasional tough guy and also portraying Beany Martin, the Daily Planet's teenage copy boy. On Superman episodes featuring Batman, he played Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred Pennyworth.

He also impersonated Joseph Stalin and other world leaders for The March of Time radio series, starred as The Cisco Kid on radio from 1942 to 1945 and sleuth Philo Vance in a syndicated series from 1948 to 1950, starred in the dramatic anthology Brownstone Theater on Mutual, and served as narrator for the radio adventures of Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

Beck also co-starred in several episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

➦In 1937...Robert Wilbur Morgan born (Died  – May 22, 1998). He was a Top40 radio personality best known for his work at several stations in Los Angeles, California, in particular KHJ-AM.

Morgan also did morning drive at KMPC-AM, KIQQ-FM and KMGG-FM, and finished his career at KRTH-FM, where he retired for health reasons in 1997. He died from lung cancer on May 22, 1998.

As a youth growing up in Galion, Ohio, Morgan's interest was piqued while listening to his favorite DJs on Cleveland's top forty giant KYW which would eventually lead to his first on-air job was at Wooster College in 1955 on WWST & WWST-FM, for an initial salary of $1 per hour.

In 1959 Morgan moved from college radio to KACY Port Hueneme, California where he hosted the over night show called Kegler's Spare Time with Bob Morgan live from the Wagon Wheel Bowl before moving on to a succession of brief stints beginning in 1961 at KTEE Carmel as the second half of a two-man classical music announcer on KTEE with Bob Elliott, a Marine Corps Heavyweight Champion who later went on to radio fame as "K.O. Bailey," then a short time later as the morning drive DJ and mid-day board op for the Arthur Godfrey Show at KMBY, Monterey, then a jump to KOMY Watsonville, then back to KMBY Monterey followed in 1962 at "K-MAKE", KMAK, Fresno where he first worked with program director Ron Jacobs. This was followed in 1963 by an eight-month stay at KROY Sacramento before finally landing his first major-market job in 1964 at KEWB, San Francisco. It was here that he met and worked with his lifelong friend "The Real" Don Steele.

On April 27, 1965 the careers of Morgan, Steele and programmer Ron Jacobs would gain superstar status almost overnight when they joined the staff of 93KHJ-AM, Los Angeles. Programming genius Bill Drake along with a staff of talented DJs called "Boss Jocks" had transformed a sleepy giant into the city's most dominant radio station.

It was here that Morgan enjoyed his greatest on-air success as one of the original "Boss Jocks" on 93/KHJ which dominated the Top 40 radio market in Southern California from 1965 to 1973.

Morgan's signature, "Good Morgan Boss Angeles!" to his devoted morning drive time audience would stay with him until the end of his career. It was also Morgan that voiced much of the "Boss Radio/93 KHJ station promos and imagery. It was also during this time that Morgan co-produced and narrated the 48-hour History of Rock and Roll in 1969, a definitive on-air encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. It was the first-ever "rock-umentary" aired worldwide as a definitive history of the Rock & Roll genre—a "rockumentary," as producers Drake and Gene Chenault would call it—that would stretch from the early 1950s to 1989.

In 1970 Morgan made a surprise move from Los Angeles to WIND Radio Chicago where he remained in the morning slot until finally being enticed back to his KHJ morning show in 1972.

Until his departure from KHJ in October 1970, Morgan had commanded unparalleled radio ratings in Los Angeles. Morgan's return to his former time slot in L.A., which saw a significant spike upward for KHJ until he departed just a year later.

Robert W Morgan
In 1973, Morgan and Steele walked out of KHJ and joined Bill Drake six months later at KIQQ-FM, Los Angeles. The ratings were sub-par, though, causing Morgan to leave the morning slot a year and a half later for weekends and fill-in slots at the prestigious KMPC Los Angeles. He stayed at KMPC until 1984. After a short stint at KMGG, Morgan returned to KMPC.

Morgan was heard in 1973 on Saturday night segments of the long-running NBC Radio program Monitor, an attempt to freshen that program's image. While with KMGG, he was at one time heard as a substitute host of American Top 40. During the mid to late 70s, Morgan also did his own one-hour radio weekly special highlighting one artist or group per show. "Robert W. Morgan's Special of the Week" was often played on radio stations that also carried Casey Kasem's American Top 40 as the same company, Watermark, distributed both.

The year 1992 would signal the twilight years of Morgan's distinguished radio broadcast career when he signed on as morning show host of "oldies" K-EARTH 101, where he again enjoyed solid ratings in the Los Angeles market before announcing in May 1997 that he was suffering from lung cancer. According to L.A. radio personality Bob Shannon, Morgan told his listeners, "It could have something to do with the two-packs-a-day cigarette habit I had for the last 35 years."

In an emotional on-air statement, Morgan stated that he was taking some time off to fight the disease full-time. His friend and colleague Don Steele died, also of lung cancer, in August 1997. Morgan continued to do broadcasts from his home studio until 1998.

He died from cancer May 22, 1998 at age 60. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame the following year.

➦In 1940..John Donald Imus Jr. born.  Imus was radio personality, television show host, recording artist, and author. He is known for his radio show Imus in the Morning which aired on various stations and digital platforms nationwide until 2018. A former railroad brakeman and miner, Imus attended broadcasting school in the 1960s and secured his first radio job in 1968 at KUTY in Palmdale, California. Three years later, he landed the morning spot at WNBC in New York City before his firing in 1977.