Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Dan Bongino Threatens To Quit Over Cumulus Mandate

Radio talk host Dan Bongino is threatening to walk away from his daily Noon to 3pm talk show which is carried by sdome 300 startions nationwide. He has taken issue with a vaccination mandate imposed in August by Westwood One’s owner, Cumulus Media, reports The Washington Post.

Chief executive Mary Berner gave all employees until Sept. 27 to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus before an expected return to the office and wrote that “it would neither be fair nor do we have the bandwidth to make exceptions based on individual preferences,” according to industry publication Inside Radio.

Several Cumulus radio hosts have already quit or been terminated because of a stated preference not to be vaccinated for personal or medical reasons, and Bongino is threatening to join them. Though the host’s team says that he has been vaccinated on the advice of his doctors because he has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Bongino is objecting to a mandate on behalf of rank-and-file employees who don’t want to get vaccinated.

“I’m not really happy with the company I work with right here,” Bongino told listeners on Monday. “I believe these vaccine mandates are unethical. I believe they’re immoral. I believe they don’t take into account the science of natural immunity due to a prior infection. I believe they’re broad-based and don’t take into account an individual circumstances of why they may or may not want to take a vaccine. And they’re antithetical to everything I believe in.”

“So, I’ll say again, I’m not going to let this go,” Bongino added. “Cumulus is going to have to make a decision with me — if they want to continue this partnership or they don’t. But I’m talking to you on their airwaves. They don’t have to let that happen. And I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t. Because it’s really unfortunate that people with a lower profile than me, who don’t have 300-plus stations, have been summarily either shown the door or been put in really untenable circumstances because they simply want to make a medical decision by themselves.”

If Cumulus Media does not relax the vaccination mandate, “this is going to be an entirely untenable situation going forward,” said Bongino, who promised to revisit the subject every day until it is addressed.

Bongino’s radio show is also simulcast on the Fox News streaming service Fox Nation, and he hosts a Saturday-night show on the network titled “Unfiltered.” Although Fox News’s parent company Fox Corp has not introduced a vaccination mandate, a human resources memo sent last month said a “small group of employees” who are not vaccinated or chose not to share their vaccination status are required to be tested on a daily basis. More than 90 percent of rank-and-file Fox employees have reported that they are fully vaccinated, according to the memo.

Fox News personalities who oppose vaccine mandates and have inveighed against them on air have largely refrained from calling out the company’s vaccination policies, and Bongino didn’t critique Fox as he chewed out Cumulus during his radio show on Monday.

Cyberattack On Sinclair Could Have Been Made Months Ago

Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates dozens of TV stations across the U.S., said Monday that some of its servers and work stations were encrypted with ransomware and that data was stolen from its network, reports The Associated Press.

The company said it started investigating Saturday and on Sunday it found that some of its office and operational networks were disrupted. The broadcast group did not immediately say how many TV stations were directly affected.

The Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company either owns or operates 21 regional sports network and owns, operates or provides services to 185 television stations in 86 markets.

In Toledo, Ohio, WNWO appeared to be off the air Monday afternoon. The station posted on Facebook that “our operations are currently limited. We will provide further updates as they become available.”

On WJLA, a Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate in Washington, anchors opened their 4 p.m. newscast by telling viewers the station was under cyberattack and its computers and video servers were down. Nashville, Tennessee’s WZTV put out a notice on its website Monday about “serious technical issues” at the TV station affecting its ability to stream content.

At WBFF in Baltimore, Sinclair's flagship station, Monday's newscasts aired without any of the usual graphics or accompaniments. Some of the usually live segments were clearly pretaped.

“We are also currently unable to access our email and your phone calls to the station,” it said.

Sinclair no longer owns any radio properties, however a cluster of Seattle radio stations the company closed on October 4, 2021 to Lotus Communications is still located at Sinclair’s offices in the KOMO Plaza building. Local reports indicate that Hot AC “Star 101.5” KPLZ-FM has had intermittent dead-air, songs skipping, and no imaging between songs. Online streaming is down for KPLZ-FM, KOMO and Conservative Talk 570 KVI.

Sinclair said it’s taken measures to contain the breach and that its investigation is ongoing. However, it said that the data breach has caused — and may continue to cause — disruption to parts of its business, including aspects of local advertisements by local broadcast stations. The company said it is working to restore operations.

Ransomware attacks, in which cyber criminals encrypt an organization’s data and then demand payment to unscramble it, are a growing scourge in the United States. The Biden administration has pledged to disrupt and prosecute criminal networks like the one that attacked a major U.S. pipeline company in May. The attack on Colonial Pipeline, which led to gas shortages along the East Coast, was attributed to a Russia-based gang of cybercriminals.

Ransomware payments reached more than $400 million globally in 2020 and topped $81 million in the first quarter of 2021, according to the U.S. government.

Crane Hassold, director of threat intelligence at Abnormal Security, said the hackers behind the ransomware attack on Sinclair could have gotten into the company’s system a while ago.

“With many ransomware attacks these days, the initial access that precipitated the attack generally occurs weeks, if not months, ahead of time,” he said.

Sinclair is the latest broadcast group to be hit with a ransomware attack. Dozens of local newscasts and other programming on its TV stations went off the air on Sunday after a number of servers and workstations were encrypted with ransomware, disrupting certain office and operational networks. The company also said data was taken from its network in the breach. Sinclair says it is working to determine what information the data contained and will it plans to take other actions as needed, based on its review.

NYC Radio: WFAN Expects John Sterling To Remain As Yankees' Voice

Yankees radio voice John Sterling will be back. Maybe not as much.

The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports John Sterling will return in 2022 as the radio voice of the New York Yankees.

According to the report, WFAN 660 AM / 101.9 FM officials “will make a proposal ... to Sterling this offseason to work fewer games next season. He would still do a heavy load, but maybe not all 162.”

Marchand reported WFAN “has tried to have Sterling reduce his game load for a while. Former head of programming Mark Chernoff had this same meeting yearly, but never really got Sterling to budge.”

But when asked by Marchand for his reaction to working fewer games next year, Sterling, who has been the Yankees’ primary play-by-play man since 1989, said, “That’s cool.”

According to nj.com, Audacy senior VP Chris Oliviero, who is charged with overseeing WFAN, provided the following statement to Marchand:

“John is the voice of the New York Yankees, and that’s not changing in 2022. We will all sit down soon at one of his favorite New Jersey diners and game plan for next season when both he and Suzyn (Waldman) are back in The Bronx behind the WFAN microphones.”

Wake-Up Call: Missile? What Missile?

Daily Mail 10/19/21

China's government flatly denies reports that its test flight of what appeared to be a hypersonic missile with advanced technology was, in fact, a missile. It was just a routine experimental flight of a spacecraft that could be used for peaceful purposes, the government said. According to The Financial Times, the craft circled the globe before speeding towards its target, showing a weapons capability that "caught U.S. intelligence by surprise."

➤COLIN POWELL DIES AT AGE 84: Flags are flying at half mast in Washington, D.C. today to mark the passing of General Colin Powell. The decorated Vietnam War veteran who rose to become the nation's top soldier and diplomat has died at the age of 84. Powell was the first Black person to serve in three high-profile roles: as national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of state. Colin Luther Powell grew up in the South Bronx, the son of Jamaican immigrant parents, and joined the Army as a second lieutenant in 1958, just 10 years after the U.S. military was desegregated. He died of COVID-19 complicated by multiple myeloma and Parkinson's disease.

➤TRUMP SUES INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE: Former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit suit against a select committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol in an attempt to keep records from his presidency secret. He is claiming executive privilege in an attempt to have the documents withheld from investigators, who want to know whether he or his allies encouraged the violence.

Today, the House committee is expected to vote on whether to pursue criminal contempt charges against Trump ally Steve Bannon, who has refused to comply with a subpoena to testify.

➤TRIAL IN DEATH OF AHMAUD ARBERY BEGINS: Jury selection began this week in Glynn County, Georgia, in the trial of three White men who are accused of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Arbery was out jogging in a residential neighborhood when he was allegedly hit with a truck and then shot dead. The three men were not arrested until video of the incident was made public in May 2020, weeks after the incident. Arbery was 25.

➤AMAZON HAS 150,000 JOB OPENINGS: Amazon wants to hire 150,000 temporary workers throughout the U.S. to help fulfill orders during the holiday season. That's a 50% increase over just last year. The average starting pay is $18 an hour, and the company is dangling sign-on bonuses and higher wages for some shifts in some locations. Most of the jobs involve picking, scanning, packing and loading products onto trucks for delivery.

➤GRIDLOCK OFF LOS ANGELES: About 200,000 shipping containers filled with goods are sitting off the coast of Los Angeles waiting to be offloaded. That's a record logjam, Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told CNN. Retailers and automakers are anxiously waiting for deliveries of products for the all-important holiday season.
President Joe Biden announced last week that the port would move to a 24/7 operating schedule to try to clear the logjam.

➤LAUNDRIE LOOKALIKE AMBUSHED BY FEDERAL MARSHALS: A man who has the misfortune to resemble fugitive murder suspect Brian Laundrie was rudely awakened from a nap in his hotel room near the Appalachian Trail by armed U.S. Marshals. Severin Beckwith, of upstate New York, even has a notch on one ear like Laundrie. Beckwith had to shave his beard off to convince the marshals they had the wrong guy, after which they gave him and his girlfriend a free night's stay in a lodge with complimentary breakfast.

   Here’s one thing you likely never associated TikTok with. Doctors in multiple countries are reporting a rise in teenage girls developing tics, and that anxiety, depression, and TikTok could be contributing factors. The increase started at the beginning of the pandemic and has alarmed and puzzled doctors. Several medical journals report the teen girls were watching TikTok videos of people who said they had Tourette Syndrome, which is a genetic nervous-system disorder that can cause tics which are repetitive, involuntary movements or sounds. The disorder mostly affects boys. A movement-disorders fellow in Chicago says she noticed many patients blurting out the word “beans” with a British accent, and she eventually learned that one British TikToker would blurt out the word “beans.” The experts say that what’s happening is not Tourettes, but a functional movement disorder, and also note that many of the kids who developed tics had previously been diagnosed with anxiety or depression that had been made worse during the pandemic. A recent paper by a child neurologist at Texas Children’s Hospital found that psychological disorders, which have the capacity to spread, were mostly confined to geographical locations in the past, but that social media has allowed them to spread globally. Doctors note the disorders can be treated, and suggest kids take a social media break, and parents keep an eye on the types of videos their kids are viewing. Also, if a child exhibits tics that interfere with daily life, parents should seek out specialists for treatment.

🍬EVEN NUTRITIONISTS DON’T ADVISE GIVING OUT ‘HEALTHY’ HALLOWEEN CANDY, HERE’S WHY:  Halloween and candy just go together, there’s no denying it– but should you consider handing out healthier candy to trick-or-treaters? Registered Nutritionist Amanda Frankeny says you should beware of certain buzzwords on products such as sugar-free, keto, low-carb, or superfood, as they “don’t necessarily make sweets healthier.” Frankeny adds, “While these labels sound nutritious at face value, too much candy of any type can lead to cavities and poor nutrition.” She also notes that you want your kids to have a good relationship with food in general, so, “You don’t want to deprive your little ones of the real deal, or else they may go scrounging around for it, without your supervision and eat large quantities of that candy.” And even more importantly, she says, “People who celebrate eating candy rather than thinking of it as a guilty pleasure are less likely to have body image issues or worry about overdoing it.”

🏀THE NBA SEASON BEGINS: The 75th NBA Season begins tonight with a full schedule of 82 games and a return to near-normal ahead. The Brooklyn Nets will be in Wisconsin to play the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 pm ET. The Golden State Warriors play the Los Angeles Lakers in L.A. at 10 pm ET.

Speaking of the Lakers, the team has claimed Avery Bradley off a waiver from the Golden State Warriors. Bradley struggled last season but, CBS Sports notes, he thrived as a shooter and defender for the Lakers on their 2019-2020 championship team.

🏈TENNESSEE FINED FOR ROWDY FANS' BEHAVIOR: The University of Tennessee has been fined $250,000 for the bad behavior of Volunteers fans during a game over the weekend. Rowdy fans peppered the field with trash towards the end of a game against Ole Miss.The Southeastern Conference also demanded that the university try to identify the worst offenders and bar them from sports events for the rest of the school year.

➤VITALE FACES CANCER TREATMENT: Dick Vitale, ESPN's long-time college basketball announcer, revealed yesterday that he has been diagnosed with lymphoma and is facing six months of chemotherapy treatment. Now 82, Vitale said he expects to continue his on-air duties throughout his treatment.

🏒DRUG OVERDOSE KILLED JIMMY HAYES: Former NHL player Jimmy Hayes died of an overdose of fentanyl and cocaine, according to a Massachusetts medical examiner. Hayes was 31. He won a national championship with Boston College and later played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. His father, Kevin Hayes, told The Boston Globe that his son started taking painkillers to relieve injuries incurred in games.

🏈WASHINGTON STATE COACH FIRED FOR VACCINE REFUSAL: Washington State head football coach Nick Rolovich has been fired with cause after refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with a mandate for all state employees. Rolovich applied for a religious exemption but was refused.

Report: Marketers Should Triple Audio Spend

“The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio” is a new study from WARC, the global leader in marketing effectiveness measurement, and iHeartMedia. The study reveals a major audio investment gap for marketers.

Consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, yet audio is only allocated 8.8% of media budgets. Other media represent 91.2% of ad spend and 69% of consumer media use.

With 75,000 marketer clients in over 100 countries, WARC’s purpose is “to put evidence at the heart of every marketing decision.” Their belief is that effective marketing is based on facts, not opinions. For over thirty years, WARC has brought confidence to marketing decisions through the most trusted research, case studies, best practices and data.

Audio is under-researched as a platform for reach growth and expanded share of consumer attention

Paul Coxhill, Managing Director at WARC, says, “The changing role of Audio has been a relatively under-researched area of the Marketing Media Mix. This study, with iHeartMedia, starts to address that. The study investigates whether there’s a disjoint between consumer consumption and media allocation of audio as a channel. The findings are fascinating and demonstrate a real opportunity for brands to expand their brand reach and, if done well, their share of consumer attention by expanding the role of Audio in their media mix.”

WARC’s analysis of brands reveals four types of marketers:
  • Digital Onlys: These brands have started to invest using podcasts and audio streaming and achieve modest reach and scale. They miss out on the full suite of audio options. Their opportunity is to scale impact with the addition of AM/FM radio, which represents 70% of the ad-supported audio market.
  • Audio Avoiders: They are the 25% of marketers who have no audio in the media plan.
  • Cross-Platform Champions: They explore audio’s full potential and continue to test, learn from, and optimize their investments across platforms.
  • Broadcast Believers: This group has seen the benefits of AM/FM radio and are beginning to delve into more forms of audio.

This week’s CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group blog outlines the key takeaways for advertisers.
  • The investment gap: Consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, yet audio is only allocated 8.8% of media budgets. Other media represent 91.2% of ad spend and 69% of consumer media use.
  • Linear TV consumption has dropped -25%: Currently, linear TV’s share of media time spent is down to 24% from 32% in 2012, a -25% decrease.
  • Marketers overspend on digital and TV, and underspend on audio: WARC’s analysis reveals brands are overspending on TV and digital by 32%, and underspending on audio by a factor of 3X.
  • Nielsen: AM/FM radio makes your TV and digital better with significant lifts in reach: A $2 million TV and digital investment reaches 27% of Americans. Shifting 30% of the media plan to AM/FM radio lifts reach from 27% to 47%, a +74% increase.
  • P&G: AM/FM radio generates a +36% increase in monthly reach for the average brand: An incremental reach analysis of 15 P&G brands conducted via Nielsen Media Impact, the media optimization platform, reveals the average P&G brand experiences a +36% increase in reach to their TV plan through the use of AM/FM radio.
  • AM/FM radio’s superpower: The younger the demographic, the greater the lift in reach: Across P&G’s 15 brands, the lift in reach generated by AM/FM radio keeps growing in younger demographics. Among persons 35-44, the average P&G brand realizes a +63% increase in reach due to AM/FM radio. Among persons 25-34, AM/FM radio doubles the TV reach.
  • Nielsen sales effect studies: Dozens of Nielsen sales lift studies across 14 categories reveal AM/FM radio achieves a $5.06 return on advertising spend for CPG brands and a $14.74 ROAS for retail advertisers.
  • Ad-supported audio evolution: AM/FM is dominant, podcasts and AM/FM radio streaming grow, and Pandora and Spotify stagnate, according to Edison Research’s “Share of Ear.”
  • Podcasts: offer marketers an educated and upscale audience with a median age of 34.
  • Device innovation: Smart speakers bring AM/FM radios back into the home: Smart speaker ownership has reached 40% of Americans.
Click here to view a 13-minute video of the key findings.

ALSO READ: Digital Advertising Still Growing, But Faces Concerns, IAB Report Says

Biden Not Expected To Name Rosenworcel As FCC Chair

Jessica Rosenworcel

Federal Communications Commission acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel is not expected to be nominated by President Joe Biden to serve in the role on a permanent basis, reports The Washington Examiner citing people familiar with the matter said, because she is not liberal enough for the administration.

The five-member agency, which is in charge of regulating the TV, radio, and telecommunications industries along with ensuring broadband internet access, has been missing one commissioner and a full-time chairman since Biden became president at the beginning of this year. The shortage of personnel has hampered Democrats from moving full-steam ahead with their ambitious broadband and telecommunications agenda.

Currently, the agency has two Democratic and two Republican commissioners. When Rosenworcel’s term ends at the end of this year, Republicans could have a 2-1 advantage in votes.

Liberals say that by failing to choose a full-time chairman to the agency, Biden has signaled that the commission is not important to his agenda, while agency-related issues important to Democrats continue to linger, such as restoring net neutrality rules, increasing internet price transparency, scrutinizing major telecommunications mergers, and improving competition among internet providers.

Instead of the 50-year-old Rosenworcel, the Biden administration is holding out for an FCC chairperson in the mold of Lina Khan , four sources familiar with the matter told the Washington Examiner, the Federal Trade Commission chairwoman who is an anti-monopolist and a vocal critic of Big Tech's powers favored by progressives.

”Jessica has been around a long time, and she’s a real professional, but she’s not someone who is looking to revolutionize the FCC in the way Lina Khan is at the FTC,” a person familiar with Rosenworcel's situation said.

“The problem is Jessica is perceived as not progressive enough, and the administration feels the left wing of the party doesn’t support her. She has no sizzle,” the person added.

Liberals in the telecommunications and broadband policy space say that Rosenworcel isn’t willing to go as far as the administration wants in terms of instituting changes that further Biden’s anti-inequality agenda through increased regulations and scrutiny of telecommunications companies and internet service providers.

Talker Dennis Prager Says He Got COVID 'On Purpose'

Dennis Prager (Daily Mail photo)
Talk Show Host and prominent anti-vaxxer, Dennis Prager, claims he has caught coronavirus deliberately to give himself natural immunity he says a shot won't provide. 

Speaking on his radio show which airs on the right-wing Salem Radio Network, Prager, who is 73, claimed that he socialized with strangers on purpose in the hope of catching the virus. 

Prager was forced to broadcast from his home rather than a studio because of the illness, reports The Daily Mail.

'It is infinitely preferable to have natural immunity than vaccine immunity and that is what I hoped for the entire time,' Prager explained, having begun the broadcast with a cough.  'Hence, I so engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them, knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting COVID.

Prager said he continues to take a variety of other remedies including Regeneron, zinc, azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

Prager has long ranted over his opposition to the vaccines and stated last November he had no intention of receiving the jab.

'I have received monoclonal antibodies, that's Regeneron. I have, of course, for a year and a half, been taking hydroxychloroquine from the beginning, with zinc. I've taken z-pack, azithromycin, as the Zelenko protocol would have it. I have taken ivermectin.

The Food & Drug Administration reports that neither hydroxychloroquine nor ivermectin is an effective treatment for COVID. 

An unvaccinated person in Prager's age group is at higher risk of serious side-effects from a COVID infection, with the disease far more likely to kill the elderly, although most older sufferers to pull through unharmed.  

Regeneron was famously used by Donald Trump when he caught COVID in October 2020, when it was in its experimental phrase.

RRHOF Unveils All-Star Presenters

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has revealed an initial list of all-star presenters and performers who will take the stage during the 36th annual Induction Ceremony on October 30th at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Limited tickets are on sale now, including newly released production holds.

Initial lineup of special guests include:
  • Angela Bassett inducting Tina Turner, with performances by Christina Aguilera, Mickey Guyton, H.E.R., and Bryan Adams
  • Taylor Swift inducting Carole King, with performances by Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson
  • Drew Barrymore inducting The Go-Go’s
  • Paul McCartney inducting Foo Fighters
  • Lionel Richie inducting Clarence Avant for the Ahmet Ertegun Award
Learn more about purchasing tickets, event guidelines, and Induction Week schedule at www.rockhall.com.

The Ceremony honors this year’s Inductees: Tina Turner, Carole King, The Go-Go’s, JAY-Z, Foo Fighters, and Todd Rundgren in the Performer category, along with Kraftwerk, Charley Patton and Gil Scott-Heron for Early Influence, LL Cool J, Billy Preston and Randy Rhoads for Musical Excellence, and Clarence Avant for the Ahmet Ertegun Award.

The Ceremony will on November 20 on HBO and stream on HBO Max alongside a radio simulcast on SiriusXM Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Radio (310) and Volume (106).

Disney+ Magic Tarnished

Walt Disney's stock received a rare Wall Street downgrade on Monday, as Barclays called for bold changes from the media giant to reverse slowing growth at its Disney+ streaming service, reports Reuters.

Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek last month hinted at a slowdown in Disney+, saying fourth-quarter global paid subscribers will grow by "low single digit" millions compared with a rise of 58.5 million in the previous three months. read more

Disney+, which has one of the richest portfolios of media content, had a blockbuster launch in 2019; it attracted new subscribers with its hit "Star Wars" and "Avengers" franchises.

Rival streaming platforms such as Netflix Inc, Apple TV+ (AAPL.O) and Amazon Prime Video have had a different approach. They invested heavily on original content to draw in subscribers.

"While the company (Disney) appears to be targeting one new piece of content a week, not every piece of content has the same franchise value or visibility," Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar said.

Barclays also said the slowdown in Disney+ subscribers could not be solely attributed to a pull forward in additions in 2020, when streaming platforms gained popularity as people hunkering down at home sought entertainment.

To achieve its target of 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024, Disney will need to more than double its current pace of growth to at least the same level as Netflix, according to Barclays.

Netflix, which is due to report its quarterly results on Tuesday, had 209 million subscribers as of the quarter ended June. Disney+ had 116 million paying customers.

Fox News Digital Dominates In Multiplatform Views

Fox News Digital wrapped up the third quarter of 2021 ahead of all major U.S. news organizations in both multiplatform views and multiplatform minutes, according to Comscore. 

Fox News Digital accumulated over 5.2 billion multiplatform views and 10.6 billion multiplatform total minutes, while CNN finished with 4.4 billion views and 7.3 billion minutes during the news-heavy quarter. It was the second straight quarter that Fox News Digital topped all other news brands in the news competitive set as Americans seek news and analysis on everything from President Biden to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Fox News Digital also finished ahead of news and media organizations including CNN, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, Washington Post, New York Times, HuffPost, Reuters, and USA Today.

The third quarter also featured the chaotic pullout of American troops from Afghanistan, the 20-year mark since September 11, 2001, the disappearance and discovery of deceased blogger Gabby Petito, the hunt for Brian Laundrie and a series of public relations nightmares related to tech giant Facebook, among many other significant news stories. 

During the month of September, Fox News Digital delivered more than 1.8 billion total multiplatform views, outpacing CNN’s website in the category and delivering over 100 million multiplatform unique visitors in the process. 

The Fox News Mobile App had nearly 7.3 million unique visitors during the month, topping CNN in that category, too. 

Fox News has now been the most engaged news brand across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for 85 straight months, according to Socialbakers. 

In addition, Fox News had the most Facebook and Instagram interactions among news organizations, with over 22.4 million Facebook interactions and nearly 29.2 million on Instagram. Fox News dominated YouTube, too, with over 307.2 million video views during the month. 

Fox Business’ website finished the third quarter with 357 million total multiplatform views and 604 million multiplatform total minutes, an increase in both categories compared to the second quarter. FOXBusiness.com also topped the business competition on YouTube with 29.8 million views.

In September, FOXBusiness.com finished with 21 million multiplatform unique visitors and 130 million multiplatform views. The business network also totaled 216 million multiplatform minutes during the month and has now finished atop Forbes.com in multiplatform minutes for 12 consecutive months. 

FOX News Media reaches 200 million people each month between Fox News Channel, Fox Business network, Fox News Digital, Fox News Audio, Fox News Books, Fox Nation and FOX News International. 

FOX Weather, a new streaming service dedicated to the weather, launches on Oct. 25. 

FOX Weather Names More Forecasters For Streaming Service

FOX Weather, FOX News Media’s AVOD streaming service launching on October 25th, has named four additional meteorologists and a multimedia journalist to its on-air team, announced Sharri Berg, president of the platform. Marissa Torres, Ian Oliver, Kiyanna Lewis, and Jane Minar will helm programming across the platform, while Brandy Campbell will serve as a multimedia journalist.

In making the announcement, Berg said, “We’re thrilled to welcome Marissa, Ian, Kiyana, Jane and Brandy to the FOX Weather team. Combined, they bring more than two decades of experienced weather reporting and breaking news coverage to the platform’s already robust lineup of premier meteorologists.”

Joining FOX Weather from Nexstar’s WPIX-TV in New York, Marissa Torres will serve as a co-anchor on the new streaming platform. Since 2014, she has been forecasting early morning weather and traffic for WPIX, elevating to co-anchor of the PIX11 Morning News program.

Ian Oliver joins FOX Weather as a co-anchor for the platform. Most recently serving as the weekend evening and midweek daytime meteorologist for WFLA-TV, Oliver covered numerous severe weather systems during his four year tenure with the Tampa Bay NBC affiliate, including Hurricanes Irma (2017) and Matthew (2016). 

Meteorologist Kiyana Lewis is joining FOX Weather as a co-anchor beginning this December. Since 2019, she has served as a meteorologist for the New York City metropolitan area, working for News 12 The Bronx and News 12 Brooklyn. 

Jane Minar, who joined FOX Weather in August as an off-air meteorologist has been promoted to co-anchor working as the overnight/5 AM/ET host for the streaming platform. Minar started her career as the lead meteorologist at the FOX affiliated WFXG-TV in Augusta, GA in 2019 where she anchored the station’s four-hour morning newscasts. 

Brandy Campbell joins FOX Weather as a multimedia journalist based in Miami, FL. Most recently, Campbell served as multimedia journalist on the evening newscasts for the ABC affiliated station KTBS-TV in Shreveport, LA. 

FOX Weather is a 24/7 ad-supported streaming service operated by FOX News Media. Launching on October 25th, the platform will build upon FOX News Channel’s expansive newsgathering units & FOX Television Stations’ added resources with a combined 120 meteorologists for a comprehensive suite of weather products featuring local, regional and national reporting, in addition to live programming.

Kanye West Legally Changes Name To Ye

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michelle Williams Court approved the rapper's request to formally change his name from Kanye Omari West to just Ye, with no middle name or last name, according to USAToday. He originally filed the petition to change his moniker in August, citing ​"personal reasons."

Artist formerly known as Kanye
The 44-year-old's Instagram and Twitter account currently show his name as Ye, although his official handle remains @kanyewest on both platforms.

His ex Kim Kardashian West and their four children – North West, 8, Saint West, 5, Chicago West, 3, and Psalm West, 2 – all bear his former surname. Kardashian West didn't change her last name back to Kardashian when she filed for divorce in February.

Ye, an abbreviation of his first name, is the rapper's longstanding nickname that he used as early as 2012 in his hit single "Clique" featuring Jay-Z and Big Sean ("Yeah, I'm talking Ye").

In 2018, the rapper, music producer and clothing entrepreneur announced on Twitter that he's no longer "the being formally known as Kanye West… I am YE." Some may refer to Ye as an alter ego, but West explained in another tweet: "Who or what is Kanye West with no ego? Just Ye."

Ye also has a religious significance to him. West titled his eighth studio album "Ye," which was released in 2018.

"I believe 'ye' is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and in the Bible it means 'you,' " West said during an interview with Big Boy in June 2018.

Ye's name change is the latest shakeup for the star. He also recently put his ranch and business properties in northwestern Wyoming up for sale for $11 million. Ye moved from California to Wyoming in 2019. 

Pandora Launches ‘The Lookout By SoundCloud’

Pandora and SoundCloud are joining forces to bring fans music from the hip hop superstars of tomorrow with ‘The Lookout by SoundCloud’, a new station available on Pandora. The station will feature songs heard on the SiriusXM show of the same name, which airs on SiriusXM’s Hip-Hop Nation (Ch. 44) and is hosted by music journalist Sowmya Krishnamurthy. Listen to ‘The Lookout by SoundCloud’ on Pandora HERE.

‘The Lookout by SoundCloud’ on Pandora will feature new artists weekly like Toosii, Sheff G, Metro Marrs, Young Devyn, $NOT, Dro Kenjo, Cico P, Flo Milli, Nevi, SoFaygo, Isaiah Rashad, Sleepy Rose, and more.

“With a hit slot on SiriusXM’s Hip-Hop Nation and now a new home on Pandora, SoundCloud’s top playlist, ‘The Lookout’, is the go-to source with the largest digital audio reach for fans to discover the best in breaking hip hop,” says Caiaffa, Interim Head of Music at SoundCloud. “Joining forces with Pandora to expand ‘The Lookout by SoundCloud’ amps up our shared commitment to help the emerging hip-hop artist community to get heard and discovered.”

Rising rapper Toosii shared, “I’ve got a lot of love for SoundCloud going back to the beginning of my career. It’s a place where I discovered a lot of music, and I was able to use it to introduce everyone to what I’m doing. They continue to show incredible support.”

Originating and extending from one of SoundCloud’s most popular and influential playlists, ‘The Lookout by SoundCloud’ will provide a space for Pandora listeners to explore the next wave of breaking hip hop artists. Since launching on SoundCloud in 2019, ‘The Lookout’ has quickly grown to become the premiere destination for discovering the hottest next generation of rising stars in hip hop before hearing them anywhere else. Elevating artists bubbling up on the platform and championed by the community as well as standout emerging talent hand-selected by SoundCloud’s curators and tastemaker music teams, ‘The Lookout’ has spotlighted some of today’s biggest artists in hip hop before they became household names including Pop Smoke, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, Lil Tecca, Rod Wave and more.

R.I.P.: Gaby Ramos, Salt Lake City Radio Personality Murdered


Gaby Ramos

A Salt Lake City Spanish radio host who often spoke out about violence on her show was shot and killed Sunday, police confirmed Monday.

The SLC Tribune reports Gabriela Sifuentes Castilla, 38, was fatally shot around 1:35 a.m. Sunday at her home which she shared with members of her family, Sgt. Aaron Cheshire with the Taylorsville Police Department said. She suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police are searching for 34-year-old Manuel Omar Burciaga-Perea in connection with the shooting, which detectives are investigating as a domestic homicide. He and the victim had been in a romantic relationship for less than a year, Cheshire said.

Sifuentes Castilla also was known by her on-air name Gaby Ramos. She had worked as a host on the radio station La Más Picosita on KRMI 1550 AM since March 2020. 

On her show “La Neta del Planeta” (The Truth of the Planet), she discussed topics including violence, substance abuse, injustice, nutrition, love and self-worth. The program was “dedicated to the service of the community,” according to Alex Calvo, director of La Más Picosita.

When Sifuentes Castilla and Burciaga-Perea broke up, “she tried to manage things the best way as possible, keeping him as a friend,” Calvo said. But her ex-boyfriend “was obsessed with her.”

October 19 Radio History

Bern Bennett
In 1921...Announcer Bern Bennett born (Died at age 92 – May 29, 2014). For nearly sixty years, beginning in 1944, Bennett was a staff announcer at CBS Radio and television. In the 1940s and 1950s, he was closely associated with Bud Collyer, as announcer on three Collyer-hosted game shows, Winner Take All, Beat the Clock, and To Tell the Truth, all produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman.

Other radio programs for which Bennett was the announcer included This Is Broadway, School of the Air and Breakfast With Burrows. In 1960, he was host of Upbeat Saturday Night, a 30-minute program featuring live jazz music on CBS radio.

In 1937...the radio classic, “Big Town“, made its debut on CBS radio. Star reporters at the Illustrated Press, Steve Wilson and Lorelei Kilbourne, were played by Edward G. Robinson and Claire Trevor. In 1942 they were succeeded by Edward Pawley and Fran Carlon, who carried the show for most of its 14 year run.

Julius LaRosa
In 1953...Julius LaRosa was fired live on-air by Arthur Godfrey.

La Rosa was on Godfrey's shows from November 19, 1951 to October 19, 1953. When Archie Bleyer, Godfrey's bandleader, formed Cadence Records in 1952, the first performer signed was La Rosa. Cadence's first single, which was also La Rosa's first recording, was "Anywhere I Wander." It reached the top 30 on the charts, and his next recording, "My Lady Loves To Dance", was a moderate success.

After La Rosa's third recording, and a dispute with Godfrey over his failure to attend a Godfrey-mandated dance class required of all cast members, La Rosa hired his own agent and manager: Tommy Rockwell.

With hit recordings and his appearances on Godfrey's shows, La Rosa's popularity grew exponentially. At one point, La Rosa's fan mail eclipsed Godfrey's. A year after La Rosa was hired, he was receiving 7,000 fan letters a week.  Godfrey did not react well to LaRosa hiring Rockwell as his manager. After consulting with CBS President Frank Stanton, on the morning of October 19, 1953 (in a segment of the show broadcast on radio only), after La Rosa finished singing "Manhattan" on Arthur Godfrey Time, Godfrey fired La Rosa on the air, announcing, "that was Julie's swan song with us." La Rosa tearfully met with Godfrey after the broadcast and thanked him for giving him his "break".

In 1970, he became a very successful and amiable disc jockey at one of America's biggest radio stations in the top market, Metromedia's WNEW 1130 AM in New York City.

In 1958...Brenda Lee, still weeks short of her 14th birthday, recorded a Johnny Marks song destined to become a seasonal classic, ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.’ Floyd Cramer played piano for the Nashville session, Boots Randolph was on sax.

In 1975...Phillips Haynes Lord died at age 73 (Born - July 13, 1902). He was a radio program writer, creator, producer and narrator as well as a motion picture actor, best known for the Gang Busters radio program that was broadcast from 1935 to 1957.

His thirty-minute program ran on Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on CBS radio and opened with the portentous sounds of machine gun fire, police whistles screaming and tires screeching, causing the phrase "coming on like gangbusters" to be coined. Copied years later by the television show America's Most Wanted, each episode of Gang Busters had up-to-the-minute reports of criminals wanted by the FBI or other law enforcement officials, many of whom were later arrested due to tips from listeners.

The Gang Busters radio show was an enormous long-running success with 1,008 radio broadcasts over twenty-one years from July 20, 1935, to November 20, 1957.  In 1998, Gang Busters was part of the 30-hour audio cassette called CBS's 60 Greatest Old-Time Radio Shows.

In 1991...Grant Turner, WSM-AM Nashville and Grand Ole Opry announcer for 49 years, died at the age of 79.

Jesse Granderson "Grant" Turner was born May 17, 1912 in Baird, Texas, near Abilene. In 1928, while in high school, he performed as Ike and His Guitar announced for Abilene, TX. Turner majored in journalism at college and worked for Texas and Louisiana newspapers during the 1930s, but he returned to radio announcing in 1940 at KFRO in Longview, TX., before joining a station in Sherman, TX.

Grant Turner
In 1942, he moved to Knoxville, TN.. Turner rode an all-night bus to Nashville and auditioned for WSM, where he joined the staff on June 6, 1944, which was D-Day, the day the Allies invaded Europe in World War II.

He first announced early-morning programs, but a few months later joined George D. Hay's staff of Saturday night Grand Ole Opry announcers. Turner became announcer for R. J. Reynolds's NBC network half hour of the Grand Ole Opry, in the late 1940s: the Prince Albert Show, piped weekly to some 170 stations and some 10 million listeners by 1953. In the early 1950s he hosted WSM's Mr. DJ, USA program, featuring guest DJs from around the nation, and in the mid-1950s became the third regular announcer for Ernest Tubb's WSM Midnight Jamboree, a job he held until 1977

Turner for years hosted the pre-Opry Grand Ole Opry Warmup Show-spinning records and taking requests on the Opry House stage. He worked the Friday and Saturday night Opry shows, besides the summer matinees, until the night before he died. Grant Turner was one of three original members to be inducted into the Country Music D J Hall of Fame in 1975. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1981.

In 1991...Dan Ingram debuted at Oldies WCBS 101.1 FM NYC.  Here's an un-dated aircheck:

In 1994...comedienne/singer/actress Martha Raye died after a lengthy illness at age 78. The big-mouthed comic appeared with Al Jolson on radio, and had her own weekly TV series 1954-56. Thereafter she was a frequent guest on numerous TV variety shows.

Boom Boom Branigan
In 2010…Albany NY radio personality "Boom Boom Brannigan" died at age 82.

Born in Utica as Joseph Charles Motto, he became well known during the 1960s as a disc jockey at Albany-Troy giant WPTR 1540 AM. Brannigan was going by the name Ronny Victor at a Buffalo radio station when he landed the job at WPTR during the early 1960s.

In a 1998 interview, Brannigan said he was trying to think of a new name for the Capital Region market when he tuned in his new employer and learned his stage identity had already been chosen. “I heard this jingle that said ‘Boom Boom is coming’ and then there would be this sound of drums,” he said. Brannigan remained at WPTR until 1975, when the popularity of disc jockey-driven rock ’n’ roll had been replaced by album-oriented rock formats and talk radio.

Later, he would buy small radio stations like WKOL in Amsterdam and WSCG in Corinth, both NY.

Brannigan had chances to move to bigger broadcasts in New York City and Philadelphia to compete against national talents such as Dick Clark and Wolfman Jack, but Brannigan didn’t want to move to talk radio.

In 2014...Chattanooga radio legend  Luther Masingill passed away after a short illness at age 92.  With a career that spanned an incredible 74 years, Luther had been at the morning mic at WDEF radio for both Pearl Harbor (1941) and 9/11 (2001).

He had also appeared on the WDEF-TV noon news every weekday since the station signed on in 1954.

John Lithgow is 76


  • Actor Tony Lo Bianco (“The French Connection”) is 85. 
  • Artist Peter Max is 84. 
  • Actor Michael Gambon (“Harry Potter” films) is 81. 
  • Actor John Lithgow is 76. 
  • Singer Jeannie C. Riley is 76. 
  • Singer Patrick Simmons of The Doobie Brothers is 73. 
  • Actor Annie Golden (“Orange is the New Black”) is 70. 
  • Talk show host Charlie Chase is 69. 
  • Singer-keyboardist Karl Wallinger of World Party is 64. 
  • Singer Jennifer Holliday is 61. 
  • TV host Ty Pennington (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) is 57. 
  • Singer-guitarist Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd and the Monsters is 56. 
  • Rebecca Ferguson is 38
    Actor Jon Favreau is 55. 
  • “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker is 52. 
  • Comedian Chris Kattan (“Saturday Night Live”) is 51. 
  • Singer Pras Michel of The Fugees is 49. 
  • Actor Omar Gooding (“Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper”) is 45. 
  • Country singer Cyndi Thomson is 45. 
  • Writer-director Jason Reitman (“Juno”) is 44. 
  • Actor Benjamin Salisbury (“The Nanny”) is 41. 
  • Actor Gillian Jacobs (“Community”) is 39. 
  • Actor Rebecca Ferguson (“Dune,” “The Greatest Showman”) is 38. 
  • Singer Zac Barnett of American Authors is 35. 
  • Actor Ciara Renee (“Legends of Tomorrow”) is 31. 
  • Actor Hunter King (“The Young and the Restless”) is 28.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Cyberattack Impacting Sinclair TV Nationwide, Lotus Radio In Seattle

Some Radio, but mostly TV broadcasts for Sinclair-owned channels nationwide are being reported as technical issues, but which multiple sources told The Record to be a ransomware attack.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday and took down the Sinclair internal corporate network, email servers, phone services, and the broadcasting systems of local TV stations.

As a result of the attack, many channels weren’t able to broadcast morning shows, news segments, and scheduled NFL games, according to a barrage of tweets coming from viewers and the TV channels themselves.

“Internally, it’s bad,” a source who had to call Sinclair employees on their personal numbers to get more details about the attack, told The Record in a private conversation.

The attack could have been isolated, but many sections of the Sinclair IT network were interconnected through the same Active Directory domain, allowing the attackers to reach broadcasting systems for local TV stations.

However, the attack did not reach the part of the Sinclair broadcast system called “the master control,” which allowed the company to replace the scheduled local programming on the affected channels with a national feed, allowing some channels to at least remain on the air.

The incident comes after Sinclair performed a company-wide password reset for IT resources shared by local stations in July after what it described as a “potentially serious network security issue.”

It is unclear how many Sinclair TV stations have been impacted. A Sinclair spokesperson could not be contacted via email or phone as these systems were down because of the attack.

Sinclair no longer owns any radio properties, however cluster of Seattle radio stations the company closed on October 4, 2021 to Lotus Communications are still located at Sinclair’s offices in the KOMO Plaza building. Local reports indicate that Hot AC “Star 101.5” KPLZ-FM has had intermittent dead-air, songs skipping, and no imaging between songs. Online streaming is down for KPLZ-FM, KOMO and Conservative Talk 570 KVI.

In a press release today Sinclair provided information on the cybersecurity incident:

"On October 16, 2021, the Company identified and began to investigate and take steps to contain a potential security incident. On October 17, 2021, the Company identified that certain servers and workstations in its environment were encrypted with ransomware, and that certain office and operational networks were disrupted. Data also was taken from the Company’s network. The Company is working to determine what information the data contained and will take other actions as appropriate based on its review.

"Promptly upon detection of the security event, senior management was notified, and the Company implemented its incident response plan, took measures to contain the incident, and launched an investigation. Legal counsel, a cybersecurity forensic firm, and other incident response professionals were engaged. The Company also notified law enforcement and other governmental agencies. The forensic investigation remains ongoing.

"While the Company is focused on actively managing this security event, the event has caused – and may continue to cause – disruption to parts of the Company’s business, including certain aspects of its provision of local advertisements by its local broadcast stations on behalf of its customers. The Company is working diligently to restore operations quickly and securely.

"As the Company is in the early stages of its investigation and assessment of the security event, the Company cannot determine at this time whether or not such event will have a material impact on its business, operations or financial results."

The Sinclair Broadcast Group is one of the largest media empires in the US, controlling 294 television stations in 89 markets across the US. The Record found tens of Sinclair stations, from Washington to Maryland and from Illinois to Texas, which announced technical issues today.

Ransomware attacks that hit major TV and radio stations and took down live broadcasts also are not that rare and have happened before. Past incidents include:

  • Cox Media Group (June 2021)
  • France’s M6 (October 2019)
  • Entercom, Now Audacy (September 2019)
  • The Weather Channel (April 2019)

The attack is expected to hit Sinclair very hard as the local stations will be losing advertising revenue until they regain control over their broadcasting systems.

Futuri To Present Webinar On Reaching Younger Demos

In the recent Futuri x SmithGeiger study on the future of audience and revenue, 85% of media executives said reaching younger audiences was an important challenge facing the industry today, yet only 47% felt confident in the industry’s ability to do so.

This 30-minute webinar, presented by Futuri’s Charlie Maxx and Sabrina Carlo, will cover exclusive research on content preferences and habits of 18-24 and 25-34 audiences, and actionable recommendations for how best to engage these important groups.

Register now for this enlightening webinar; it takes place on Thursday, October 21, with sessions at 11a and 4p ET. Even if you can’t make it live, by registering, you’ll receive the webinar on-demand once we’ve wrapped. Don’t miss it!

Nielsen Unveils New Brand Identity

Nielsen has unveiled a new brand campaign, including a new identity, reflecting the company's transformation of its culture and a redefined strategy focused solely on the global future of media. Nielsen's new look and feel represents a commitment to innovation and the company's role and purpose of powering a better media future for all people.

Following the sale of its Global Connect business in March 2021, Nielsen is now focused on delivering digital-first and global-first media solutions in three areas - measurement, audience outcomes and content services. Nielsen is combining and enhancing its industry-leading measurement solutions into a single cross-media measurement solution, Nielsen One. With an unmatched foundation of cross platform measurement, Nielsen offers a full suite of planning and outcomes solutions for marketers and agencies to enhance their return on investments. Nielsen also continues to enhance its Gracenote content services business, delivering leading metadata and analytics for On Demand content globally.

"While our business has transformed dramatically over the past few years, it became clear that perceptions of the company have not evolved at the same pace," said Jamie Moldafsky, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. "The rebranding marks a new Nielsen both inside the company and out, with a strategy hyper-focused on the global audience and the changing media environment. Nielsen's core values of inclusion, courage and growth, along with its clear strategy, will power the company's transformation as we partner with the industry and our clients to help them better understand how evolving audiences consume media and find content."

The new brand identity will be unveiled at Advertising Week New York, which will be held October 18 - 21. Signage showcasing the elements of the rebranding will be prominently displayed on the fifth and sixth floors of Hudson Yards. Nielsen will also host a daily breakfast at its lounge, which will feature the new logo, images and colors, in line with the company's new brand identity.

Initial elements of Nielsen's brand evolution include:

New Logo: As a prominent representation of the company, people and brand, the new logo is playful, optimistic and smart. Inspired by the universal play button as well as ratings, the forms come together subtly to create an 'N' letterform in the negative space, signifying insights revealed by Nielsen's data and the constant momentum in media.

New Brand Colors: The multitude of fresh colors speaks to the diversity and richness in media representing or containing a piece of data, a piece of music, a show, a content creator, or a member of the audience, all working together to move media forward. The green and orange triangles represent movement upwards and downwards, an expression of ratings and the popularity of content across all platforms. The red triangle nods towards the content not seen or heard. Data and insights are just as much about what people don't choose to consume, as what they do consume.

New Brand Purpose Statement: Powering a Better Media Future for All People.