Saturday, May 27, 2023

We Remember Those Who Sacrificed


Memorial Weekend 2023

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars, including World War II, The Vietnam War, The Korean War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date General Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

May 29 Radio History

Bob Hope circa '40s
➦In 1903
...comedian Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in London England (Died – July 27, 2003). He was a British-born American stand-up comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete, and author. With a career that spanned nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in more than 70 short and feature films, with 54 feature films with Hope as star, including a series of seven "Road" musical comedy movies with Bing Crosby as Hope's top-billed partner.

In addition to hosting the Academy Awards show 19 times, more than any other host, he appeared in many stage productions and television roles, and was the author of 14 books. The song "Thanks for the Memory" was his signature tune. Hope was born in the Eltham district of southeast London, UK, arrived in the United States of America with his family at the age of four, and grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

After a brief career as a boxer in the late 1910s, he began his career in show business in the early 1920s, initially as a comedian and dancer on the vaudeville circuit, before acting on Broadway. Hope began appearing on radio and in films starting in 1934. He was praised for his comedic timing, specializing in one-liners and rapid-fire delivery of jokes which often were self-deprecating. He helped establish modern American stand-up comedy.

Celebrated for his long career performing in United Service Organizations (USO) shows to entertain active duty American military personnel, making 57 tours for the USO between 1941 and 1991, Hope was declared an honorary veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces in 1997 by an act of the United States Congress. He appeared in numerous specials for NBC television starting in 1950, and was one of the first users of cue cards.

He debuted on NBC radio in 1935, and was heard on a weekly basis for the next 23 years, though the last 4 years were repeats.  His TV show debuted in 1952, and his final special aired in 1996 when he was 93.

Hope retired in 1997, and died at the age of 100 in 2003, at his home in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.

➦In 1918...Herbert Arthur "Herb" Shriner born (Died – April 23, 1970). He was a humorist, radio personality and television host. Shriner was known for his homespun monologues, usually about his home state of Indiana. He was frequently compared to humorist Will Rogers.

Herb Shriner
In 1940, Shriner was hired by NBC for occasional radio appearances, which led to a regular spot in 1942 and 1943 on the comedy-variety program Camel Caravan. During World War II, he served in a United States Army special services unit and performed for two years in USO shows for GIs in Europe. After the war, he appeared on a number of radio shows, including The Philip Morris Follies of 1946 with Johnny Desmond and Margaret Whiting.

In 1947 he appeared in a Broadway musical review called Inside U.S.A. The performances were panned by critics, but Shriner's monologues made it a success and carried the show for over a year. Shriner hosted Herb Shriner Time, a CBS Radio weekday program, in 1948 and 1949 with the Raymond Scott Quintet, singer Dorothy Collins, and announcer Durward Kirby.

Herb Shriner Time evolved into a short-lived, fifteen-minute television show. A half-hour version on ABC ran during the 1951-52 season. Shriner found TV success with Two for the Money, a game show which appeared on NBC in the 1952-53 season, then moved to CBS for three seasons.

He died in an auto accident April 23 1970 at age 51.

➦In 1939…'When a Girl Marries' aired for the first time on CBS Radio.  It was a daytime radio drama which was broadcast on three major radio networks from 1939 to 1957. It was the highest rated soap opera during the mid-1940s.

➦In 1941...Robert David "Bob" Simon born (Died in a car accident  – February 11, 2015).  He was a radio, TV correspondent for CBS News. During his career, he covered crises, war, and unrest in 67 countries. Simon reported the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, the Israeli-Lebanese Conflict in 1982, and the student protests in China's Tiananmen Square in 1989. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, he and four of his TV crew were captured and imprisoned by Iraq for 40 days. He published a book about the experience titled "Forty Days."

He became a regular correspondent for CBS's 60 Minutes in 1996 and, in 1999, for 60 Minutes II. At the time of his death in an auto accident, he served as 60 Minutes senior foreign correspondent.

➦In 1942…Bing Crosby, backed by the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra, recorded Irving Berlin's "White Christmas." The first public performance of the song was by Bing Crosby, on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day, 1941; a copy of the recording from the radio program is owned by Crosby's estate and was loaned to CBS News Sunday Morning for their December 25, 2011 program. It was released on July 30 as part of an album of six 78-rpm discs from the musical film Holiday Inn. At first, Crosby did not see anything special about the song.

By the end of October 1942, "White Christmas" topped the Your Hit Parade chart. It remained in that position until well into the new year.  It has often been noted that the mix of melancholy—"just like the ones I used to know"—with comforting images of home—"where the treetops glisten"—resonated especially strongly with listeners during World War II. A few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Crosby introduced "White Christmas" on a Christmas Day broadcast.  The Armed Forces Network was flooded with requests for the song. The recording is noted for Crosby's whistling during the second chorus.

In 1942 alone, Crosby's recording spent eleven weeks on top of the Billboard charts.   In Holiday Inn, the composition won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1942.

➦In 1961...Jack Spector began working as a disk jockey in New York in 1961 at WMCA 570 AM, where he was a member of a group of broadcasting personalities called the Good Guys. He labeled himself Your Main Man Jake and usually closed his shows saying, "Look out street, here I come!"

He switched to WHN 1050 AM in 1972, then for nine years was the host of the "Saturday Night Sock Hop" on WCBS 101.1 FM. He also worked for a brief period as the host of a sports talk show for WNBC 660 AM.

Spector broke into broadcasting in Martinsburg, W.Va., in 1955, then worked for stations in Albany, Providence, R.I., and Chicago before returning to New York. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he attended Brooklyn College and had a brief tryout as a minor-league baseball player with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization. He served in the United States Army in Korea.

➦In 1977...the NBC News & Information Service, which was a 24-hour-a-day news service, ended.

NBC launched the NBC News and Information Service (NIS) in 1975.  According to Faded Signals, it allowed local radio stations to launch all-news formats, providing affiliates with up to 55 minutes of news per hour.

NBC aired the service on its Washington station, WRC.  It also added the all-news format on its network-owned FM stations in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco.

Many stations signed on with the service, but by 1976, NBC was not sure if its network would ever become profitable.

➦In 1978...former radio personality and actor Bob Crane (Donna Reed Show, Hogan in Hogan’s Heroes), died at age 49, the victim of a brutal murder.

Bob Crane
A drummer from age 11, Crane began his career as a radio personality, first in New York City and then Connecticut before moving to Los Angeles, where he hosted the number-one rated morning show. In the early 1960s, he moved into acting, eventually landing the lead role of Colonel Robert E. Hogan in Hogan's Heroes. The series aired from 1965 to 1971, and Crane received two Prime-Time Emmy Award nominations for his work on the series. After Hogan's Heroes ended, Crane's career declined. He became frustrated with the few roles he was being offered and began doing dinner theater. In 1975, he returned to television in the NBC series The Bob Crane Show. The series received poor ratings and was cancelled after 13 weeks. Afterwards, Crane returned to performing in dinner theaters and also appeared in occasional guest spots on television.

While on tour for his play Beginner's Luck in June 1978, Crane was found bludgeoned to death in his Scottsdale apartment, a murder that remains officially unsolved. This suspicious nature of his death and later revelations about his personal life gradually changed Crane's posthumous image from a cultural icon to a controversial figure.

➦In 1979..."The Source", considered Radio's first rock news network, debuted.

w/Groucho Marx
➦In 1997...Radio, TV announcer George Fenneman (left) died at age 77  (Born  - November 10, 1919).  He is most remembered as the announcer and good-natured sidekick for Groucho Marx's comedy/quiz show vehicle You Bet Your Life, which began in 1947 on radio and moved to television in 1950, where it remained on NBC for 11 years. Fenneman's mellifluous voice, clean-cut good looks, and gentlemanly manner provided the ideal foil for Marx's zany antics and bawdy ad libs.

Fenneman was one of a pair of announcers on Dragnet; he shared narration duties with Hal Gibney on radio and the original 1951 Dragnet television series, and then with John Stephenson when Dragnet returned to TV in 1967. It was Fenneman's voice which announced, "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent." while Stephenson would be heard at the end of the episode describing the court trials and verdicts.

➦In 2012…Radio actor Dick Beals, for many years the voice of "Speedy" in Alka-Seltzer TV commercials, died at the age of 85.

In January 1949, as a senior at MSU, Beals got a call to do a radio commercial for WXYZ, Detroit. After the show, the director asked him to be on call for all the children's voices as well as those of small, talking animals on all three network radio shows produced by WXYZ - The Lone Ranger, Green Hornet and Challenge of the Yukon.

In 1952, after performing in an episode of The Green Hornet, WXYZ station manager Jack McCarthy referred Beals to Forrest Owen of Wade Advertising. Owen showed Beals a rendering of a proposed product spokesman for their client, Alka-Seltzer and had him record a voice audition. Four months later, Beals was notified that he had been selected as the voice for Speedy Alka-Seltzer as well as the voice of Sticky, the Vaseline mascot.

Standing just 4'7" tall due to a glandular problem that also gave him his youthful voice, Beals provided the voices of 10-year-old boys well into his 70s.

➦In 2014…Former WNEW 102.7 FM NYC personality Dave Herman died of an aneurysm at 78 while in federal custody awaiting trial on charges of attempting to transport a 7-year-old girl from New Jersey to the Virgin Islands for a sexual liaison.

➦In 2014…Kenneth George Schram died at age 66 from kidney failure (Born - December 17, 1947).  He was a news and radio broadcaster based in Seattle, Washington and was the former host of local-affairs show Town Meeting and KOMO 4’s evening news segments called "Schram on the Street." For several years he hosted a radio show, The Commentators, on KOMO Newsradio with conservative John Carlson.

That show was discontinued in September 2010. Starting September 20, 2010, Schram and Carlson each began hosting new, separate shows on the same station, with Carlson on from 9:00AM to Noon and Schram from Noon to 3:00PM. Schram is also known for his personal award, the "Schrammie", which he gave out on the air to "underscore what I think are among the worst of bone-headed decision, and/or the most appalling of asinine behavior", usually to local or regional newsmakers.

After a 35-year career, Ken Schram was fired from KOMO 4 and Radio on December 7, 2012, citing cutbacks to full-time employees.

Latoya Jackson is 67
  • Actor Anthony Geary (“General Hospital”) is 76. 
  • Singer Rebbie Jackson is 73. 
  • Composer Danny Elfman (Oingo Boingo) is 70. 
  • Singer LaToya Jackson is 67. 
  • Actor Ted Levine (“Monk,” ″The Silence of the Lambs”) is 66. 
  • Actor Annette Bening is 65. 
  • Actor Rupert Everett is 64. 
  • Actor Adrian Paul (TV’s “The Highlander”) is 64. 
  • Singer Melissa Etheridge is 62. 
  • Actor Lisa Whelchel (“The Facts of Life”) is 60. 
  • Guitarist Noel Gallagher (Oasis) is 56. 
  • Singer Jayski McGowan of Quad City DJ’s is 56. 
  • Actor Anthony Azizi (“Threat Matrix,” ″Lost”) is 54. 
  • Guitarist Chan Kinchla of Blues Traveler is 54. 
  • Actor Laverne Cox (“Doubt,” ″Orange Is the New Black”) is 51. 
  • Guitarist Mark Lee of Third Day is 50. 
  • Cartoonist Aaron McGruder (“Boondocks”) is 49. 
  • Singer Melanie Brown (“Scary Spice”) of the Spice Girls is 48. 
  • Rapper Playa Poncho is 48. 
  • Singer Fonseca is 44. 
  • Actor Justin Chon (“Deception,” ″Dr. Ken”) is 42. 
  • Actor Billy Flynn (“Days of Our Lives”) is 38. 
  • Actor Blake Foster (“Power Rangers Turbo”) is 38. 
  • Actor Riley Keough (“Daisy Jones and the Six”) is 34. 
  • Actor Brandon Mychal Smith (“Sonny With a Chance”) is 34. 
  • Actor Kristen Alderson (“General Hospital,” ″One Life to Live”) is 32. 
  • Actor Lorelei Linklater (“Boyhood”) is 30.
  • In 1979..Mary Pickford, Canadian actress (Poor Little Rich Girl, Suds, Secrets), dies of cerebral hemorrhage at 87
  • In 1982..Romy Schneider, actress (Cardinal), dies of cardiac arrest at 43
  • In 2008..Harvey Korman, Actor (The Carol Burnett Show; Blazing Saddles; High Anxiety), dies at 81
  • In 2010..Dennis Hopper, Actor and director (True Grit, Blue Velvet, Easy Rider), dies at 74
  • In 2021..B.J. Thomas, Singer ("Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head"; "Hooked On A Feeling"; "Growing Pains Theme"), dies of lung cancer at 78
  • In 2021..Gavin MacLeod [Allan See], Actor (Mary Tyler Moore Show -"Murray"; The Love Boat - "Captain Stubing"), dies at 90
  • In 2022..Ronnie Hawkins, American-Canadian rock musician, dies at 87

May 28 Radio History

➦In 1957....The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) is established, leading to the creation of the annual Grammy Awards.

➦In 1958….Top40 1010WINS pranked rival  WMGM 1050 AM with a Charles DeGaulle phone call..

Before the era of radio shock jocks and tv prank-yankers, there was the infamous Charles de Gaulle Hoax of 1958, when DeGaulle was President of France.

It was the first truly great prank call in the history of radio--a doozy of a sting. Broadcast live throughout the Northeast, the faux phone call left one station supremely humiliated, leaving the other--the perpetrator of this mad hoax--basking in smug glory.

According to an aerticle Ken Brooks which appeared in Plus! magazine, in the spring of 1958, New York City radio stations were waging a fierce war for listeners. The combination of rock-and-roll and the transistor radio had made Elvis the King, and AM radio stations--at least those with their ears to the asphalt--were hastily switching formats.

One of the first stations to make the switch--in 1956, in fact--was WINS. By 1958, WINS had assembled a legendary line-up of disc jockeys that including Alan Freed, the former Cleveland jock credited with coining the term "rock and roll."

WINS's large news department was impressive as well; indeed, station call letters stood for International News Service, a division of the powerful Hearst Corporation.

Struggling in the shadow of WINS was low-rated WMGM. The station had once been the proud home of Brooklyn Dodger broadcasts, but the team was gone now, transplanted to Los Angeles that very spring. WMGM's tepid music format combined a bit of rock with easy-listening.

The station was not exactly a strong news-gathering force, either. Without a large news staff, WMGM execs outfitted an old panel truck and assigned two reporters to cruise the streets looking for "scoops." The reporters were dubbed the Minute Men; presumably they would be on the scene of a breaking story in a matter of minutes.

Headlines on the morning of Tuesday, May 28, 1958, concerned big news overseas: The imminent collapse of the French government, and the possibility that Gen. Charles De Gaulle--the popular World War II hero--would seize control of the republic.In the WMGM newsroom, executives decided on a bold move that would prove to New Yorkers that WMGM could be taken seriously as a news-gathering operation.

At 10:30 am, newscaster Bill Edmunds interrupted with this announcement: 

"French President Coty is conferring with political leaders after receiving the resignation of Premier Pflimlin. A new government may be created today with General de Gaulle at the helm. WMGM has a call in, long-distance, overseas to General De Gaulle to bring you a direct interview...As soon as that call is completed, we'll put that call right on the air."

Monitoring rival stations' broadcasts is standard practice in the radio business. WMGM's plan to call de Gaulle caused no panic in the WINS newsroom, where it was seen as a desperate act on the part of WMGM. The idea that General de Gaulle would actually return a call to a local New York City radio station was outlandish.


At noon the phone rang at WMGM studios. On the line was an overseas operator--or so she claimed. "Your trans- atlantic call is ready, sir," she said.

Bill Edmunds hustled to a mic."General? General de Gaulle?"

"Yas?" The response sounded static-y and far-away.

"General de Gaulle, this is WMGM in New York City." One could feel the adrenaline in Edmund's voice; they gave out awards for scoops like this. "I would like to know if you would care to make a statement to the American people at this time."

"Yas, I certainly would," said de Gaulle in a heavily French-accented English. "Are we on zee air now?" he asked.

"No sir, we are making a tape to play later, throughout the day and on our newscasts," Edmunds said.

"Well..." There was a pause as the General mulled this over. "No," he said finally, "I would not like to be recorded, as I have not yet granted the French press any of thees informay-shee-own. But I will agree to be broadcast."

"Will you hold, please, and we'll put you directly on the air? Can you do that?" Edmunds was practically begging.

"Yas, but make it very fast as I must go to ze Na-shee-a-nal Assem-blee."

"Just as soon as they give me the go-ahead, General..." In the thirteen seconds of dead-air that followed--an eternity in radio-time--one could hear the engineers scrambling to punch the right buttons.

Then, live, in stentorian tones, Edmunds announced: "I am on the phone with General Charles De Gaulle in France. General de Gaulle, would you care to make a statement about the crisis in France?"

"Thank you Mr. Edmunds," the General began. "I would like to make clear that when I assume pow-air I weel not do so by any dictatorial means. I am too much of an old soldier...and I weel give to the pee-pull of France the government they should have had ever since the war."

Edmunds wasn't about to let the General go just yet. A few more questions. Then de Gaulle broke in: "...Monseuir, can you tell me again whom I am speaking to?"

"Bill Edmunds, General. I'm one of the WMGM Minute Men." Surprisingly, de Gaulle sounded not the least bit impressed.

"WMGM?" the General repeated. "Why, everybody knows the best radio station in New York is WINS." Then he screamed: "Viva la France!"

In the second-and-a-half before the line went dead, in the background, one could hear the unmistakable sounds of hysterical laughter.

Poor Bill Edmunds: Totally nonplussed, unsure what had transpired, unwilling to let go of that award he'd surely have received.

Here's what he said next: "Uh...ladies and gentlemen...we've, uh, been talking to, uh..."--Edmunds drew a blank..."General Charles de Gaulle!"

Mercifully, someone at the studio had the presence to kill Edmunds' mike.

By the time New York's afternoon newspapers hit the streets, the incident was front page news. The World-Telegram headline read: "WHO HAD DE GALL TO CALL WMGM?"

"Switchboards at WMGM and WINS were as hot as the French crisis today," the paper declared, " and General Charles de Gaulle was at least partially responsible..." Executives at WMGM, the paper reported, are demanding an immediate investigation by the Federal Communications Commission.

When asked by the World-Telegram for comment, WINS general manager Herb Fearnhead responded blankly, "I don't know a thing about it." Not that WINS was adverse to rubbing it in: The rest of Tuesday afternoon their announcers broadcast the time in French.

Then, on Wednesday morning, a final insult. A telegram arrived at WMGM. Sent from Paris, it read: "I was cut off. What happened? --Charles de Gaulle."

Twenty-six years would pass before anyone fessed up. That's when an assistant program director for WINS admitted that the entire episode, complete with pre-recorded "transatlantic static," was the brainchild of WINS news director Tom O'Brien. And it was O'Brien's fiancee--a stewardess for British Overseas Airlines, stationed in Paris--who authored the bogus telegram.

➦In 1962…"Wide World of Sports with Chris Schenkel" debuted on the CBS Radio Network.

➦In 1998…actor/comedian, Phil Hartman, was shot to death while asleep by his wife. He was 49. Hartman starred in the TV sitcom, "NewsRadio".

➦In 2017...sportswriter Frank Deford, longtime sports commentator/philosopher on NPR’s Morning Edition, died at age 78.  Beginning in 1980 he did 1,656 commentaries for the public radio network.

➦In 2017...Radio personality & news anchor Ken Ackerman of KCBS Radio San Francisco for parts of 5 decades, died at age 95.  From 1958-70 he hosted American Airlines’ Music til Dawn.

Kylie Minogue is 55

  • Actor Carroll Baker is 92. 
  • Singer Gladys Knight is 79. 
  • Singer Billy Vera is 79. 
  • Singer John Fogerty is 78. 
  • Musician Jerry Douglas of Alison Krauss and Union Station is 67. 
  • Actor Louis Mustillo (“Mike and Molly”) is 65. 
  • Actor Brandon Cruz (“The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”) is 61. 
  • Actor Christa Miller (“Scrubs,” ″The Drew Carey Show”) is 59. 
  • Country singer Phil Vassar is 59. 
  • Singer Chris Ballew of Presidents of the United States of America is 58. 
  • Singer Kylie Minogue is 55. 
  • Rapper Chubb Rock is 55. 
  • Actor Justin Kirk (“Weeds”) is 54. 
  • Talk show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck (“Fox and Friends,” ″The View”) is 46. 
  • R&B singer Jaheim is 46. Actor Jake Johnson (“New Girl”) is 45. 
  • Actor Monica Keena (“Dawson’s Creek,” ″Undeclared”) is 44. 
  • Actor Alexa Davalos (“Clash of the Titans” ″The Chronicles of Riddick”) is 41. 
  • Actor Megalyn Echikunwoke (“24”) is 41. 
  • Singer Colbie Caillat is 38. 
  • Actor Carey Mulligan (“The Great Gatsby”) is 38.
  • In 1971..Audie Murphy, American soldier who was among the most decorated in WW II with 33 medals and actor (To Hell and Back, Whispering Smiths), killed in a plane crash at 46
  • In 1972..Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire and Emperor of India (Jan 20th, 1936 until his abdication on Dec 11th, 1936), dies at 77
  • In 1998..Phil Hartman, Canadian-American actor (NewsRadio, 1995-98; The Simpsons, 1991-91; SNL, 1986-94: Peewee's Playhouse), and graphic artist, murdered by his wife in his sleep at 49
  • In 2010..Gary Coleman, American actor (Diff'rent Strokes), dies at 42

AI Seen As Threat To Journalism

The rise of artificial intelligence could “fatally undermine” journalism, News Corp CEO Robert Thomson warned — echoing dire forecasts that humans may be cast aside in a variety of knowledge-based industries.

The NY Post reports Thomson raised the alarm over AI programs that can swipe proprietary content or steer away advertising dollars from “blacklisted” publications as he addressed industry leaders at the International News Media Association’s World Congress in New York on Thursday.

“Our collective IP [intellectual property] is under threat” from AI, said Thomson, the top executive at The Post’s parent company, which also owns the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and the Times of London. 

“Firstly, our content is being harvested and scraped and otherwise ingested to train AI engines.

“Secondly, individual stories will be surfaced in specific searches.”

“And, thirdly, our content will be synthesized and presented as distinct when it is actually an extracting of editorial essence,” Thomson added.

“These are super snippets, containing all the effort and insight of great journalism but designed so the reader will never visit a journalism website, thus fatally undermining that journalism.”

Thomson cited “extreme revenue pressure” and “the uncertain macroeconomic times ahead” for the news business, which will require media companies to “optimize operations.”

He took aim at “Global Disinformation Index and its ilk” for dissuading advertisers from doing business with publishers that post stories that are deemed “disinformation.”

GDI, a UK-based entity with affiliates in the US, reportedly compiled secretive “exclusion lists” of conservative media outlets in an attempt to deny them advertising dollars.

Thomson said he recently approached the CEO of a major advertiser and wondered why the company banned placing ads with The Post.

“The chief exec said he was completely unaware of any such ban,” Thomson said.

“So he checked, and to his genuine and annoyed surprise, a hyper-politicized agency flunky had a Post prohibition.”

GDI’s blacklists are reportedly sent to large advertising firms that are lobbied by “nonpartisan” organizations that purport to fight disinformation online.

The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the New York Times, the BBC, and Thomson Reuters are among the news agencies that have started to incorporate AI into their news operations.

Atlanta Radio: PD Ken Charles Talks Changes At N/T WSB

Soon after veteran radio programmer Ken Charles joined FM 95.5 WSB radio last year, he learned long-time host Scott Slade was planning to leave the morning show after 31 years.

Rodny Ho at reports Charles was armed with fresh internal research from WSB listeners, so earlier ths year he used Slade’s departure as a starting point to embark on a series of moves that have impacted four of the station’s six weekday time slots, the most change WSB has seen in more than three decades.

Chris Chandler recently took over for Slade as morning host. Mark Arum’s show switched time slots with Eric Von Haessler’s team, which is now on in afternoons. And Shelley Wynter has gone solo on weekday evenings with his former co-host MalaniKai Massey getting her own show on Saturday nights.

In an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Charles explained why he made the changes and how he believes they will make an already well-established, financially profitable station even better.

WSB's Ken Charles
“I feel very comfortable that we’ve got the right people in the right slots,” said Charles, who previously worked as director of programming at former rival news/talk station WGST-AM from 1998 to 2001. “We are set to grow our success.”

The station, which was No. 1 in Atlanta for much of 2020 and 2021 when the news cycle was super hot, saw some slippage last year, which happened to many news/talk stations nationwide. But WSB remains a powerhouse. In April, it was No. 3 overall behind rock station 97.1/The River and R&B station Majic 107.5/97.5 and top 5 in all major dayparts, according to Nielsen ratings.

Here are some highlights from the talk with Charles:

Bud Light, Target Marketing Decisions Have Backfired

Recent high-profile and controversial marketing decisions by Target and Bud Light are backfiring and burning shareholders in the process to the tune of a combined $28 billion, according to Fox Business.

"These are both cases where brands have gotten in the middle of some really controversial issues," said Timothy Calkins, associate chair of the marketing department at Northwestern Kellogg, in an interview with FOX Business. "I think we'll see more brands be very cautious about getting into the middle of some of these really controversial issues."

Bud Light’s gifting transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney a personalized pack of beer with the influencer's likeness as part of an ad for the company's March Madness contest and to celebrate the year anniversary since Mulvaney began identifying as a woman has cost Anheuser-Busch nearly $19 billion with shares down 14% amid nationwide boycotts of the beer and sales tanking.

"It was pretty clear, with Bud Light, that decisions were made by the team working on the brand, but not by more senior executives. And so, there wasn't really a line in there. I think in hindsight a team would say, you really don't want to get involved in that controversial an issue. The problem is it just takes your brand into a space that it doesn't need to be, and it just creates a lot of strong feelings about something that isn't really related to the product or its brand," Calkins observed. 

"Why did its US leadership underestimate the risk of pushback given the recent experience of other firms? Is A-B hiring the best people to grow the brands and gauge risk? If Budweiser and Bud Light are iconic American ideas that have long brought consumers together, why did these marketers fail to invite new consumers without alienating the core base of the firm’s largest brand? These questions are not trivial to the crisis and say a lot about the state of A-B’s marketing culture," he wrote. 

Target, which has supported LGBTQ Pride for years, this year offered merchandise that included female-style swimsuits that have the option to "tuck" male genitalia. Other products offered included ones labeled as "Thoughtfully fit on multiple body types and gender expressions," a "Gender Fluid" mug, and a variety of adult clothing with slogans such as "Super Queer" among other items

When customer backlash erupted, as  first reported by Fox News Digital, the company was forced to make some in-store changes.

"For more than a decade, Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month," a company spokesperson told Fox News Digital. "Since introducing this year’s collection, we've experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work. Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior. Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year."

The merchandising move shaved more than $9 billion off the retailer’s market value since mid-week last week.

There's A Different Battle In the Streaming Wars

The streaming wars started as a race for subscribers. It's now evolved into a race for ad dollars amid a greater profitability push, accoreding to Alexandra Canal at Yahoo! Finnce.

Mark Boidman, partner and global head of media at Solomon Partners, told Yahoo Finance the shift from pure-play subscriber growth to cash generation via ads means the streaming wars are no longer about one platform versus the other. Rather, Boidman described it as "a different type of battle" — a battle against broadcast television and its multibillion dollar ad bucket.

US TV ad spending hit $66.64 billion in 2022, an increase of more than $5 billion compared to the previous year, according to recent data from eMarketer.

Although ad spending is expected to slow over the next five years, Boidman argued capturing ad money from that bucket is "where you're going to see all of these companies create value for shareholders."

Ultimately, Boidman predicted cable will be obsolete in the next 10 years, signaling traditional TV's demise as "a massive opportunity for all of these streaming companies to go after not only those audiences, but those advertising dollars."

"That doesn't mean that you need to have the largest audience [but] the highest quality audience," he explained. "Audiences who can afford a subscription, who can afford to shop in the store. ...That's attractive to brands."

Media giants are already beginning to flex their ability to attract ad buyers.

At Netflix's virtual upfronts presentation earlier this month, the platform revealed its ad-based plan, dubbed "Basic with Ads," has 5 million global monthly active users, or MAUs, a metric that Netflix Worldwide Advertising President Jeremi Gorman said "actually matter[s] to advertisers." The plan debuted in November.

Disney, meanwhile, said it plans to optimize its pricing model in order to "increase subscriber revenue for the premium ad-free tier and drive growth of subscribers who opt for the lower cost ad-supported option." The company launched its $7.99 ad tier in December of last year.

Additionally, Disney revealed it will be it will soon offer a one-app experience domestically that incorporates Hulu content via Disney+ — a similar play to Paramount's Showtime combination, as well as the integration of HBO Max and Discovery+.

"Bundling is increasingly going to be a theme," Boidman said. "Some of that is to unify the streaming experience, reduce churn and give consumers greater experience and engagement [but] that could also help on the advertising side as putting content under one app brings in more advertisers."

Report: Others Willing To Jump Ship At Fox News

A handful of Fox News anchors have allegedly reached out to Tucker Carlson directly or had their surrogates contact the axed anchor to let him know that they were 'eager' to join whatever venture he starts on Twitter when their contracts are up.

According to, Carlson also reportedly received a surprising phone call from one of the network's board members.

According to sources with knowledge of the conversation, the board member informed Carlson that his recent firing was a condition of Fox News' settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. Though the condition is not noted in any of the settlement files, it was an alleged spoken agreement with the guarantee that the settlement would be off if Fox didn't comply.

Sources believe that Dominion had a goal in mind - to maim the conservative news network - and that requiring Fox News to cut ties with their most watched personality, Carlson, would cause a viewer exodus.

The sources added that Carlson is a "civilian casualty," Dominion wanted to send a message to Fox, which seems to be working.