Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Biden Urges Action On Pandemic, Climate Change

President Biden urged strong global action on the pandemic, climate change and human rights abuses as he spoke before the world's leaders on the first day of the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York City yesterday. He made an impassioned call for nations to work together, saying that overcoming the crises that confront the world, quote, "will hinge on our ability to recognize our common humanity." Biden spoke about his administration ending the United States' two decades of war -- while not addressing the criticism over the handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal -- describing it as setting up a shift to intensive diplomacy.

The president also sought to tamp down concerns about rising tensions with China, saying, "We are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs."

There is now an average of 1,900 people dying in the U.S. each day of Covid-19, the highest it's been since early March, and up 40 percent over the past two weeks, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Experts say it's largely unvaccinated Americans who are being hospitalized and dying from the virus. Back in December, it was some 3,000 people a day dying, but that was before the vaccines were available. The current high death rate is happening with nearly 64 percent of Americans having gotten at least one dose of a vaccine.

J&J: Booster Provides Strong Response: Johnson & Johnson released data yesterday showing that a booster dose for its one-shot vaccine provides a strong immune response. The company said it's in talks with regulators about booster doses of its vaccine.

TWO OFFICIALS CLAIM MANY HAITIANS BEING RELEASED IN U.S.: While the U.S. has been expelling many of the thousands of Haitians who'd been camped under a bridge in the Texas border town of Del Rio, many of the migrants are also being released in the U.S., AP cited two officials as saying Tuesday. One official, described as having direct knowledge of operations, said Haitians have been freed on a, quote, "very, very large scale" in recent days, many with notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days. A second official also said many Haitians were being processed under immigration laws and not expelled. However, AP cited a third official as saying several daily flights of migrants to Haiti were planned to begin today. Meanwhile, Mexico has begun busing and flying Haitian migrants away from the U.S. border, according to authorities.

Daily Mail screenshot 9/22/21 
The FBI said yesterday that human remains found in a Wyoming national park on Sunday were confirmed to be those of 22-year-old Gabrielle Petito, and that the coroner also concluded that she'd been killed by another person. However, Teton County Coroner Brent Blue didn't disclose a cause of death pending final autopsy results. Meanwhile, police continued to search a nature preserve area near the North Port, Florida, home of Petito's fiance, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, who hasn't been seen since last Tuesday. Laundrie, who returned alone on September 1st after having set out months earlier on a cross-country van trip with Petito, has been named a person of interest in the case. Before his disappearance, he'd refused to speak to police or Petito's family.

➤5.9-MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE STRIKES NEAR MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck near Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday (September 22nd), a city that hasn't had a quake of a similar size in decades. There haven't yet been reports of injuries, while social media videos showed at least some minor damage. Australia very rarely has serious earthquakes, with its worst-ever only measuring a 6.6 magnitude in the Northern Territory in 1988.

🛫JUSTICE DEPT. SUES TO BLOCK AMERICAN AIRLINES-JETBLUE PARTNERSHIP: A partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue has brought a lawsuit from the Justice Department and officials in six states seeking to block it. The Justice Department said the deal will reduce competition in New York and Boston and reduce JetBlue's incentive to compete against American in other parts of the country, leading to higher fares. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement, "In an industry where just four airlines control more than 80 percent of domestic air travel, American Airlines' 'alliance' with JetBlue is, in fact, an unprecedented maneuver to further consolidate the industry. It would result in higher fares, fewer choices, and lower quality service if allowed to continue." The deal, which the two airlines call the Northeast Alliance, was announced last year. It lets them sell seats on each other's flights and give customers reciprocal benefits in their separate frequent flyer programs. They argue the arrangement is pro-consumer, and has already helped them start 58 new routes from four airports in New York and Boston, add flights on other routes, and plan new international destinations.

➤CENSUS REPORT: PANDEMIC-DRIVEN BIRTH DECLINE MAY BE TURNING AROUND: A new report out yesterday from the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that the drop in births in the U.S. seen during the pandemic may be turning around. The birth decline was most noticeable at the end of last year and beginning of this year, with births down 7.7 percent in December 2020 from the previous year and down 9.4 percent in January compared to the year before. But by March, births were only down 0.15 percent compared to March 2020, when the pandemic began in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May that the U.S. birth rate fell four percent last year, the largest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years.

Apple is hoping we’ll one day turn to our iPhones to keep tabs on our mental health. Previously, Apple teamed up with UCLA on mental health research, and with pharmaceuticals company Biogen on studying cognitive decline. Now, the brand is planning to incorporate the knowledge it gleans from this work into the iPhone. The goal is to alert users that they may be suffering from conditions such as depression, anxiety, or cognitive decline. The technology would rely on an algorithm built off of data clues such as physical activity, sleep habits, and even how one types on a keyboard. All of this information together could offer insights into how consumers are feeling, their energy, and their concentration levels. This research is still in the very early stages, and it’s not yet clear if Apple will actually be able to create an effective algorithm to do what it wants to. In addition, there are potential privacy issues related to the data that would be gathered that Apple would have to figure out.

🎄ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREES ARE GOING TO BE MORE EXPENSIVE THIS YEAR DUE TO HIGH SHIPPING COSTS:  You might want to start saving your pennies if you’re planning to purchase a new artificial Christmas tree this year. The cost of the fake trees is set to jump up to 66 percent thanks to ongoing global supply issues and a shipping container shortage. Balsam Hill, an artificial tree company based in California, is selling its four-and-a-half-foot tall Grand Canyon Cedar Tree for $499 this year, which is $199 more than it cost in 2020. Meanwhile, Treetime, an Illinois-based company, says the cost of shipping has jumped by 500 percent, and it’s aiming to raise the prices of its trees by no more than 20 percent. Balsam Hill says due to issues with the global supply chain, tree inventory is down by 22 percent, with stock of other decorations down by 42 percent.

➤STUDY..WHAT INFLUENCES FUSSY EATERS:  It’s normal for toddlers to be fussy eaters, but when the behavior extends into school years it can be very hard for both parents and kids. Australian researchers reviewed a number of studies about kids under age 10 and found a range of things that can contribute to a child’s chances of being a fussy eater. Specifically, they found that pressuring a child to eat, offering rewards for eating, and very strict parenting all negatively influence fussy eaters. On the other hand, a more relaxed parenting style, eating together as a family, and involving a child in the preparation of food all reduced the likelihood of fussy eating. Lead researcher Laine Chilman adds, “Some of [the] preferences [of a picky eater] related to a child’s characteristics or personality, which are difficult to change, if at all. But others are external factors that could help reduce fussy eating in kids. Eating together as a family, with siblings, and having a single meal at a regular time all helped reduce food fussiness.”

🏈ADD TOM BRADY TO THOSE NOT HAPPY WITH NFL'S TAUNTING CRACKDOWN:  The NFL's new taunting crackdown has already come under a lot of criticism after just two weeks, and you can add Tom Brady to the list of those who don't like it. New York Giants owner John Mara had at one point explained the point of the crackdown, saying during a news conference, "We get kind of sick and tired of the taunting that does go on from time to time on the field. . . . It’s just a question of whether you can have rules that can be enforced and without taking the fun out of the game too, but nobody wants to see a player taunting another player." There were lots of taunting calls in Week 2 this past weekend, leading some players to speak out, and Brady is one of them, although with a short and sweet comment, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback commenting, "AGREE!" on an Instagram post critical of the new rules, that said, "There's virtually nothing we can all agree on on this app except that the NFL's new taunting rule STINKS."

🏀REPORTS..SIMMONS WON'T REPORT TO 76ERS' TRAINING CAMP: The Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons won't report to training camp next week, according to media reports yesterday, with ESPN citing sources as saying the 25-year-old forward intends to never play a game for the 76ers again. Simmons, who wants to be traded, reportedly told the team's management where he stands in late August, and the 76ers have discussed trades with other teams. But, according to ESPN, they were disappointed in the offers they got and decided to keep him for now, hoping he'd start the season and improve his trade value. Simmons faces fines and potential withholding of his salary if he fails to play.

🏈TEXANS' ROOKIE QB MILLS TO START THURSDAY FOR INJURED TAYLOR: Houston Texans rookie Davis Mills will start at quarterback against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night, filling in for Tyrod Taylor, who's out with a hamstring injury. Head coach David Culley announced the decision yesterday (September 21st), after which Taylor was put on injured reserve, meaning he must miss at least three games. Taylor was hurt during Houston's 31-21 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

🏈RATINGS SURGE FOR MANNINGS' 'MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL' ALTERNATE TELECAST: Ratings surged in Week 2 for Peyton and Eli Manning's alternate telecast of Monday Night Football on ESPN2. The retired NFL quarterback brothers' telecast of the Green Bay Packers 35-17 win over the Detroit Lions increased its viewership on Monday by 138 percent over their debut a week earlier. The Mannings are scheduled to do eight more Monday night games this season, including next week’s between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.

⚾MMA'S MCGREGOR THROWS REALLY BAD FIRST PITCH: Former MMA champion Conor McGregor threw a really bad ceremonial first pitch at Chicago's Wrigley Field yesterday (September 21st) before the game between the Cubs and the Minnesota Twins. The pitch from the lefty McGregor went way off to the right and hit the brick wall behind the home plate area.

Alexa Devices Dominate Smart Speaker Ownership

The Westwood One 2021 Audioscape covers two major innovations in the audio space: podcasts and smart speakers. The data is sourced from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study, CUMULUS MEDIA’s annual Podcast Download release, and Nielsen’s Scarborough USA+ studies.

Here is a closer look at the world of smart speakers, courtesy of this week's Westwood One's blog:

According to Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study, smart speaker ownership has increased over five times since 2017 to 40%. If the pandemic slowed adoption during the first half of 2020, since then, smart speaker ownership growth has resumed.

Amazon Alexa devices dominate smart speaker ownership:

Among smart speaker owners, 80% have an Amazon Alexa device and 34% have a Google Home. Two-thirds of smart speaker owners only have an Alexa device, 20% only have a Google Home device, and 14% have both devices.

The vast majority of smart speaker listening occurs at home, even more so since the pandemic

AM/FM radio has the largest share of ad-supported audio on smart speakers

Nearly 40% of all ad-supported audio time spent on smart speakers goes to AM/FM radio. 18% of ad-supported time spent goes to podcasts.

TheKey takeaways:

  • 40% of Americans own a smart speaker
  • Amazon Alexa devices dominate smart speaker ownership
  • Smart speaker ownership over-indexes in the top 50 markets
  • Americans residing in tech hubs and a mix of major and medium markets are most likely to own smart speakers
  • The vast majority of smart speaker listening occurs at home, even more so since the pandemic
  • Middays are prime time for smart speaker time spent with the remaining time equally allocated to mornings, afternoons, and nights
  • Given Amazon Alexa’s smart speaker device leadership, it is not surprising that Amazon Music leads all other audio platforms for total smart speaker time spent
  • AM/FM radio has the largest share of ad-supported audio on smart speakers
  • Smart speakers have brought radios back into the home and account for an increasing proportion of time spent with AM/FM radio streaming

TV Ratings: Football Dominates The Landscape

Football again dominated the TV ratings last week. One notable game came Saturday afternoon, CBS’ college telecast of Alabama against Florida. With 7.86 million viewers, and a peak of 11.59 million just before its conclusion, it was the network’s most-watched SEC season-opener since 2013.

NBC was the most popular network in prime time, averaging 5.3 million viewers. ABC had 4.9 million, CBS had 4.4 million, Fox had 1.8 million, Univision had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.07 million and Ion Television had 1.06 million.

The 20 Most-Watched Shows:

1. NFL Football: Kansas City at Baltimore, NBC, 19.81 million.

2. “NFL Pregame” (Sunday), NBC, 14.72 million.

3. “NFL Postgame” (Sunday), CBS, 14.5 million.

4. NFL Football: Baltimore at Las Vegas, ABC, 14.46 million.

5. “NFL Postgame” (Sunday), Fox, 11.37 million.

6. “Football Night in America, Part 3,” NBC, 10.3 million.

7. “NFL Pregame” (Monday), ABC, 8.44 million.

8. “Emmy Awards,” CBS, 7.83 million.

9. College Football: Auburn at Penn State, ABC, 7.61 million.

10. NFL Football: Baltimore at Las Vegas, ESPN, 7.57 million.

11. “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 7.43 million.

12. NFL Football: N.Y. Giants at Washington, NFLN, 7.33 million.

13. “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 6.39 million.

14. “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” ABC, 4.46 million.

15. “NFL Pregame” (Monday), ESPN, 4.33 million.

16. “Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC, 4.13 million.

17. “Big Brother” (Wednesday), CBS, 4.05 million.

18. “Big Brother” (Thursday), CBS, 3.91 million.

19. “Football Night in America, Part 2,” NBC, 3.91 million.

20. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Tuesday), Fox News, 3.78 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening newscasts with an average of 7.9 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 6.6 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 4.8 million.

Fox News Channel led the cable networks in prime time, averaging 2.63 million viewers. ESPN had 1.94 million, MSNBC had 1.33 million, HGTV had 1.06 million and Hallmark had 894,000.

TV Newser reports Tucker Carlson Tonight finished the week as the most-watched cable news show with 3.42 million total viewers. The program also finished No. 1 among adults 25-54, averaging 569,000 in the measurement. The Five was the No. 2 cable news show of the week, averaging 3.11 million total viewers and No. 3 in the A25-54 demo (449,000). Hannity ranked No. 3 in total viewers (3.07 million) and No. 2 in the demo (478,000).

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports The “Monday Night Football” presentation with Peyton and Eli Manning increased its viewership by 138% over last week’s debut, becoming the most-watched alternate telecast in ESPN history.

ESPN and Nielsen reported that the Mannings’ freewheeling telecast of the Green Bay Packers’ 35-17 victory over the Detroit Lions on ESPN2 averaged 1.9 million viewers. The Week 1 overtime thriller between the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders averaged 800,000.

The previous high for an ESPN alternate presentation was 1.03 million for the January 2018 College Football Playoff championship game between Alabama and Georgia on ESPN2.

Monday night’s game had an overall average of 13.81 million across ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes.

The Mannings are scheduled to do eight more Monday night games this season, including next week’s contest between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. The remaining seven have not been determined.

TV Ratings: Network Newscasts Lose Viewers

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir again finished the season on top in total viewers and the key demographic, but all the network evening newscasts saw their viewership drop in 2020-21 versus a year earlier, reports Deadline.

The newscast averaged 8.74 million total viewers, down 7% from 9.39 million a season earlier. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 7.32 million, down 11% from 8.27 million; and CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell posted 5.4 million, down 8% from 5.86 million.

In the 25-54 demographic, World News Tonight averaged 1.69 million, off by 10% compared to 1.88 million a season earlier. NBC Nightly News averaged 1.41 million, down 21% from 1.78 million. CBS Evening News averaged 984,000, down 11% from 1.10 million.

In the 18-49 demo, World News Tonight averaged 1.17 million, off 8% from 1.27 million in the previous season. NBC averaged 982,000, down 20% from 1.23 million, and CBS posted 701,000, down 10% from 780,000.

News executives have largely attributed the erosion to the end of a momentous election year and to the spectacle of Donald Trump’s administration. The evening newscasts in particular saw a viewership spike in the initial months following the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, 2020. Although that has waned since then, ABC News noted that World News Tonight still ranked as the top program in total viewers in all of broadcast and cable TV for 20 of the 52 weeks this season (excluding sports and syndication), while NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News also have been among the top shows on their networks at various points throughout the year.

The figures are from Nielsen and were released by ABC News. They are Live+same day.

Shreveport Radio: KQHN Launches New AM Show

CUMULUS MEDIA announces that Shreveport HotAC Q97.3 / KQHN-FM has launched a new weekday programming lineup this week. Afternoon Drive Host Jay Michaels moves to Mornings on Q97.3 and airs from 6:00am-10:00am Monday through Friday. Rachel Ryan returns to the Q97.3 airwaves as new Afternoon Drive Host, airing from 2:00pm-7:00pm. Ryan previously hosted Middays on the station until December of last year. 

The new weekday schedule for the station is:
  • 6:00am – 10:00am – Jay Michaels
  • 10:00am – 2:00pm – Dallace Jade
  • 2:00pm – 7:00pm – Rachel Ryan
  • 7:00pm – Midnight – Adam Bomb
Tish Boden, Vice President and Market Manager, Cumulus Shreveport, said: “Team Cumulus Shreveport is looking forward to the success of the revamped lineup for Q97.3. Jay Michaels in the morning is a huge benefit because he will be live and local. The Q97.3 audience already loves Jay; he is the voice of the station. Also, having Rachel Ryan back with us doing afternoon drive is a big win for Team Cumulus Shreveport!”

Jay Michaels, Operations Manager, Cumulus Shreveport, and Program Director, Q97.3, remarked: “Our revamped lineup on Q97.3 allows us to have local, interactive and relatable content throughout the day. I’m excited to kick off the day with our listeners and lots of music and what I know will be Shreveport’s new favorite, “Carmen Calls on the :10’s” – and I’m so glad Rachel Ryan is coming back to handle Afternoon Drive!”

Rachel Ryan commented: “I love Shreveport! A feel-good city that welcomes you with a warm hug! Big thanks to Jay Michaels and Tish Boden for welcoming me back to the Q97.3 team! I’m ready to hit the ground running!”

Facebook Oversight Board Launches Review

Facebook Inc.’s de facto Supreme Court of content is calling on the social media giant to release more information about how it moderates posts by famous people, reports Bloomberg. 

The Facebook Oversight Board said in a statement Tuesday that it has asked Facebook to provide more clarity about a program designed to protect high-profile figures from having their posts mistakenly taken down.

The review by the Oversight Board follows a Wall Street Journal report revealing details about a system Facebook built to exempt high-profile users in politics, popular culture and journalism from enforcement action over posts that break their rules. The program, known as “cross check,” was designed to avoid public relations backlash over famous people who mistaken have their posts taken down, the newspaper reported. While Facebook told the oversight board the program only affects a “small number of decisions” it actually included at least 5.8 million users in 2020, according to the newspaper.

“In light of recent developments, we are looking into the degree to which Facebook has been fully forthcoming in its responses in relation to cross-check, including the practice of whitelisting,” the board wrote. Users who are “whitelisted” don’t face enforcement actions, the newspaper reported.

The board said it expects to receive a briefing from Facebook in the coming days and will issue a public analysis next month.

eMarketer: Spotify To Overtake Apple Podcasts

eMarketer report Spotify is still expanding its podcast listenership in the US, while Apple Podcasts’ has essentially stagnated. 

In fact, Spotify will narrowly surpass Apple in that metric by the end of this year. The Swedish streaming company will have 28.2 million monthly podcast listeners over Apple’s 28.0 million, a razor-thin lead that will widen in the years to come.

This year, 40.0% of US internet users will tune in to podcasts at least once per month. Given the medium’s rapid listener growth thus far, eMarketer expects that growth to slow down for the next few years.

Despite this overall deceleration, Spotify’s growth among that listener base will continue to increase through the end of our forecast period in 2025.

YouTube and Google Podcasts are also popular platforms for podcast listening in the US. Amazon Music continues to build out its audio offerings and invest in the medium.

Benztown, Envisionwise Team For Web Design

Benztown, a global leader in radio imaging, voiceover, programming, podcasting and jingles, announces that it has entered into an agreement with Envisionwise, a Savoy, IL-based web design and development company serving radio since 2001, to offer its easy-to-use, cost-effective technology platform to enhance radio stations’ digital presence, while increasing revenue opportunities for stations. 

Envisionwise presented by Benztown delivers three technology products that deliver and maintain station Websites, Alexa Skills and Text Messaging service for radio: LinkedUpRadio, Pivot Radio and TextMeMan. Stations can activate one, two or all three products, with the convenience of one log-in for multiple stations. Envisionwise presented by Benztown also offers 24/7/365 live concierge support so there is always a live person to assist with the technology, as needed. The platforms are scalable and give stations more capabilities for less money, with no long-term commitments with both cash and barter options.

  • LinkedUpRadio is a custom-designed, affordable website platform that allows individuals or groups to easily manage all station websites, ads, content, and social networking in one system, with no coding or special skills required. LinkedUpRadio websites are designed for radio stations housing unlimited blogs, image sliders, schedules, photos, custom forms and much more. A variety of premium add-ons available for unlimited digital revenue opportunity.
  • Pivot Radio develops custom Alexa Skills for radio stations that integrate with Amazon smart speakers. Stations can schedule pre-rolls and outro advertisements while managing the Alexa voice and the visual display graphics through a simple admin interface. Pivot Radio handles all development, submissions and establishes an Amazon Alexa skills store presence for each station’s skill. Custom banner graphics are provided help promote skills and analytics are available to share with station advertisers. Pivot Radios newest skill feature provides an opportunity for stations to take client requests over Alexa. 
  • TextMeMan is an affordable easy-to-use text messaging service that connects stations directly to listeners through texts for contests, giveaways, song requests, and local updates, including news, events, and advertising promotions. Listeners can receive both SMS or MMS messages, with options to opt in and out at any time. All technology is managed online from any location with no special software needed.

Dave “Chachi” Denes, President, Benztown, said: “What can I say about Jackie Parks other than she’s a Super Hero! She’s Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel and the Black Widow all rolled into one and Envisionwise’s incredible services can give stations super powers including revenue generation, time savings and listener engagement.”  

Jackie Parks, President/CEO, Envisionwise, commented: “Working with Dave "Chachi" Denes, Masa Patterson, Mike McVay and the entire staff at Benztown is an exciting opportunity for us. Benztown has an impeccable reputation with a valuable team and services. We've been in the radio space for over twenty years and have built an empire of digital products that will target the same audience. Joining forces with Benztown and sharing the same vision is a dream come true. We couldn't be more thrilled to work with Benztown and to see what the future holds.”

News Media Trust: Depends On Age

A new analysis
of Gallup/Knight Foundation survey data reveals that age is an important differentiator in understanding the complexities of Americans’ trust in and perceptions of the news media.

Differences in citizens’ trust in the national media and attitudes about the media’s role in democracy vary not just by political partisanship but age as well.
  • Young adults (18-34) today are more distrusting of the media than older adults and report less trust in media than adults their age 20 years ago.
  • That said, more than two-thirds of young Americans say the news media is “critical” to democracy, and they are more optimistic than older Americans about the media’s role in healing division in the country.
  • Older adults are more likely to turn to one or two sources for news and care more about a news organization’s reputation and political slant in evaluating its trustworthiness, while younger adults are more likely to turn to a variety of sources and care more about an outlet’s transparency in facts, research and process.
For the past few years, Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have kept a pulse on the American public’s trust in the media. Recent polling shows that distrust is growing — but not to the same degree for all Americans. Trust in media has generally been increasing over the past few years for Democrats, while trust continues to erode among Republicans.  However, new analysis of Gallup/Knight surveys collected in 2019 and 2020 shows that variation in trust is not just between partisans. There are also clear differences by age.

Young adults (aged 18-34) are more skeptical of national news organizations than older adults. Just 29% of young adults say they trust national news organizations “a great deal” or “quite a lot,” compared to 41% of adults over the age of 55. Adults aged 35-54 are even more distrusting, with about 44% reporting they trust national news organizations “none” or“very little.” Only about 26% say they trust news organizations a great deal or quite a lot.

Boston Radio: Steve Perrault To Host Audacy's MLB Content

Steve Perrault
Audacy announced Steve Perrault as Senior Producer for Major League Baseball Content for its newly launched 2400Sports podcast studio. In this role, Perrault will oversee the creation and production of all MLB team podcasts and be a contributor to national podcasts co-produced in conjunction with MLB, following Audacy’s content partnership with the league.

Perrault will co-host a new Boston Red Sox podcast under 2400Sports, which will debut in 2022 and will also serve as an on-air contributor for WEEI 93.7 FM, the flagship radio station of the Red Sox. This will be in addition to his current role as co-host of the Live BP Baseball Show on the station.

“As we continue expanding our new 2400Sports podcast studio and embark on our new expansive podcast partnership with Major League Baseball, we’re thrilled about adding Steve to our team to launch a new show centered around the Boston Red Sox,” said J.D. Crowley, Chief Digital Officer, Audacy. “This podcast, which will be intensely focused on fan engagement and fan-created content, will lend a unique perspective to everything Red Sox, and we believe Steve truly encompasses the dynamic of the show.”

“I’m beyond excited for this new opportunity with Audacy and 2400Sports,” said Perrault. “We have the potential to make this something really special, and I can’t wait to be a leading force with that. Baseball over everything. Let’s go.”

Perrault joins Audacy from Barstool Sports, where he served as co-host and producer of the company’s Red Sox-focused Section 10 Podcast for seven seasons. He served as a content producer for Bleacher Report since 2015 while contributing to the company’s new baseball brand “B/R Walk-Off” this year.

S-F Radio: KGMZ Remains Flagship For NBA Warriors

For the 13th straight season, every regular season Golden State Warriors game will be available on television and radio, the team announced Tuesday.

NBC Sports Bay Area, the exclusive television home for Warriors games in Northern California, will broadcast a total of 70 regular season contests during the 2021-22 campaign. Additionally, the network will televise each of the team’s three preseason home games at Chase Center, beginning with the Wednesday, October 6 contest against the Denver Nuggets. NBC Sports Bay Area’s regular season coverage tips off on Sunday, October 24, when the Warriors travel to Sacramento to face the Kings.

For the 25th consecutive season, multi-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play announcer Bob Fitzgerald will serve as the television voice of the Warriors. Fitzgerald will once again be joined by analyst and former Warrior Kelenna Azubuike. 

NBC Sports Bay Area provides extensive gameday coverage with one-hour Warriors Pregame Live and Warriors Postgame Live; season-long, comprehensive Warriors and NBA news, analysis and insider reports on Dubs Talk and in-depth 24/7 online coverage via the MyTeams by NBC Sports mobile app and

For the sixth consecutive season, KGMZ 95.7 The Game will serve as the flagship radio station for Warriors basketball, broadcasting all preseason and regular season games. 

Tim Roye, who is entering his 27th season as the radio voice of the Warriors, will once again handle play-by-play duties. Warriors analyst Jim Barnett will return to the Warriors broadcast team for his 37th season, joining Roye on radio for road games with former Warrior Tom Tolbert serving as analyst for home games. Programming on 95.7 The Game will once again include an additional 60 minutes of network coverage to each of the existing 30-minute pre- and post-game programs as well as heightened in-season daily Warriors coverage featuring both Warriors and NBA-themed shows. Warriors Roundtable will air weekly, Wednesday nights, on 95.7 The Game at 6 p.m. hosted by Roye.

In addition to the flagship station (95.7 The Game), all games can be heard on the Warriors Radio Network’s 10 affiliate stations (below). All games can be streamed on the Warriors app; the Audacy app; and the NBA app; SiriusXM and the SiriusXM app. 

➤Warriors’ 2021-22 Radio Affiliates
  • San Francisco: KGMZ 95.7 FM
  • Chico: KPAY 93.9M
  • Eureka: KWSW 980 AM 
  • Honolulu: KKEA 1420 AM 
  • Mendocino County: KUNK 92.7 FM/96.7 FM 
  • Modesto : KESP 970 AM 
  • Monterey: KRKC 1490 AM/104.9 FM
  • Redding: KNRO 1400 AM/103.9 FM 
  • San Luis Obispo: KKKJL 1400 AM/106.5 FM 
  • Santa Cruz: KION 1460 AM/101.1 FM
  • Santa Rosa: KSRO 1350 AM/103.5 FM

September 22 Radio History

In 1899...Lee DeForest sought employment with Marconi. Lee DeForest de Forest (August 26, 1873 – June 30, 1961) was an American inventor with over 180 patents to his credit. He named himself the "Father of Radio," with this famous quote, "I discovered an Invisible Empire of the Air, intangible, yet solid as granite."

Lee DeForest
In 1906 de Forest invented the Audion, the first triode vacuum tube and the first electrical device which could amplify a weak electrical signal and make it stronger. The Audion, and vacuum tubes developed from it, founded the field of electronics and dominated it for forty years, making radio broadcasting, television, and long-distance telephone service possible, among many other applications. For this reason de Forest has been called one of the fathers of the "electronic age".

He is also credited with one of the principal inventions that brought sound to motion pictures.

De Forest was a charter member of the Institute of Radio Engineers. DeVry University was originally named De Forest Training School by its founder Dr. Herman A. De Vry, who was a friend and colleague of de Forest.

In 1899...Hanley Stafford born (Died September 9, 1968) He was an actor principally on radio.
Haneley Stafford
He is remembered best for playing Lancelot Higgins on The Baby Snooks Show. Stafford also assumed the role of Mr. Dithers, the boss of Dagwood Bumstead on the Blondie radio program. He is commemorated by a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

After emigrating to the US in his twenties he became active in radio acting, appearing in show on KFWB, L-A. Beginning in 1937 he became widely known as Lancelot Higgins (“Daddy”) in Fannie Brice’s radio skit, ‘Baby Snooks,’ and as Dagwood’s boss Mr.Dithers on the radio version of the comic strip ‘Blondie.’

Stafford emigrated from England to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1911. He enlisted in the 43rd Battalion of the Canadian Scottish Infantry in 1915, was wounded in the Third Battle of Yprès in 1916 and returned to England in 1918. Until 1924 he toured Canada in drama productions and landed in Los Angeles that year. He played in stock for eight years and then in tent shows. He was appearing on KFWB radio in Los Angeles by April 1932 then went to Phoenix to manage a stock company, the Delmas-Lawless Players, before returning to Los Angeles to resume stage and radio work the following August.

In 1927...NBC Radio's sportscaster Graham McNamee called the famous “Long count” championship fight in which Jack Dempsey lost the heavyweight boxing title to Gene Tunney. He was featured on the cover of the October 3, 1927 issue of Time magazine

In 1943...singer Kate Smith ended her War Bond radio appeal. She had been on the air for 13 continuous hours and collected $39 million in bond pledges.

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

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

The show's resident comics, Abbott and Costello and Henny Youngman, introduced their comedy to a nationwide radio audience aboard her show, while a series of sketches based on the Broadway production of the same name led to The Aldrich Family as separate hit series in its own right in 1940.

In 1957...the CBS Radio Workshop ended after 18 months of what the critics said was ingenious radio programming. The CBS Radio Workshop was an experimental dramatic radio anthology series that aired starting January 27, 1956.

In 1988...103.5 WQHT and 97.1 WYNY switched frequencies in New York City.

In 1989...Irving Berlin, one of the greatest songwriters in American history, whose "White Christmas" is one of the top-selling singles of all-time, died in his sleep at the age of 101 in New York City.

Irving Berlin
Berlin composed some 1,500 songs -- including favorites like "God Bless America" and "White Christmas" -- 19 Broadway musicals, and 18 movie scores.

"God Bless Ameria" was also written by Berlin in 1918, he filed it away until 1938, when Kate Smith's manager asked Berlin if he had a patriotic song Smith might sing to mark the 20th anniversary of Armistice Day, celebrating the end of World War I. According to author Sheryl Kaskowitz, who wrote a book about the history of the song, not only was Smith looking for a song to remember veterans of that war, but she was also hoping that there would not be another war, seeing that hostilities and war "tensions in Europe were escalating." It was "a simple plea for divine protection in a dark time—a plangent anthem in just 40 words," adds film writer Richard Corliss.

Berlin's daughter, Mary Ellen Berlin-Barrett, states that the song was actually "very personal" for her father, and was intended as an expression of his deep gratitude to the nation for merely "allowing" him, an immigrant raised in poverty, to become a successful songwriter.

In 2003...Alexander Gordon Jump died (Born - April 1, 1932). He was best known as the clueless radio station manager Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson in the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati and the incompetent "Chief of Police Tinkler" in the sitcom Soap.

He also played the "Maytag Repairman" in commercials for Maytag brand appliances, from 1989 until his retirement from the role in July 2003.

In 2004…CBS-owned TV stations were fined a total of $550,000 by the Federal Communications Commission for showing Janet Jackson's exposed right breast during the Super Bowl halftime show. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit later voided the fine ruling that the broadcast was legal under the FCC's then-current policy of allowing "fleeting" indecency on the airwaves.

In 2011...Radio personality Charles "Chuck" Collier died of a heart attack (Born - May 6, 1947). He was best known for his many years at WGAR-AM and WGAR-FM in Cleveland, OH.

Chuck Collier
He began his broadcasting career shortly after college, bouncing between jobs in Cincinnati, Dayton, and New York City. He came to Cleveland in 1970, where he worked for WGAR 1220 AM, and later its sister station, WGAR 99.5 FM. He served the latter part of his tenure as music director/afternoon drive DJ.

In 2012...Howard H. Scott died at age 92 in Reading, PA.

He was a sound engineer and producer credited with helping to develop the LP as part of a team at CBS Laboratories headed by Peter Goldmark.

He also won a Grammy Award for Classical Album of the Year for producing Ives' Symphony No. 1 in collaboration with conductor Morton Gould.

Debby Boone is 65

  • Singer-dancer Toni Basil is 78. 
  • Actor Paul Le Mat (“American Graffiti”) is 76. 
  • Singer David Coverdale (Whitesnake, Deep Purple) is 70. 
  • Actor Shari Belafonte is 67. 
  • Singer Debby Boone is 65. 
  • Country singer June Forester of The Forester Sisters is 65. 
  • Singer Nick Cave is 64. 
  • Actor Lynn Herring (“General Hospital”) is 64. 
  • Scott Baio is 61
    Singer Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde is 64. 
  • Singer Joan Jett is 63. 
  • Opera singer Andrea Bocelli is 63. 
  • Actor Scott Baio is 61. 
  • Actor Catherine Oxenberg (“Dynasty”) is 60. 
  • Actor Bonnie Hunt is 60. 
  • Actor Rob Stone (“Mr. Belvedere”) is 59. 
  • Actor Dan Bucatinsky (“24: Legacy”) is 56. 
  • Bassist-guitarist Dave Hernandez (The Shins) is 51. 
  • Rapper Mystikal is 51. 
  • Singer Big Rube of Society of Soul is 50. 
  • Actor James Hillier (“The Crown”) is 48. 
  • Actor Mireille Enos (“World War Z”) is 46. 
  • Actor Daniella Alonso (“Revolution,” ″Friday Night Lights”) is 43. 
  • Actor Michael Graziadei (“The Young and the Restless”) is 42. 
  • Actor Ashley Eckstein (formerly Ashley Drane) (“That’s So Raven,” “Sofia the First”) is 40. 
  • Actor Katie Lowes (“Scandal”) is 39. 
  • Bassist Will Farquarson of Bastille is 38. 
  • Actor Tatiana Maslany (2020′s “Perry Mason,” “Orphan Black”) is 36. 
  • Actor Ukweli Roach (“Blindspot”) is 35. 
  • Actor Tom Felton (“Harry Potter” films) is 34. 
  • Actor Teyonah Parris (“Mad Men”) is 34.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

NYC Radio: CBS-FM Adds Andre Yancy As Morning Show Producer

Andre Yancy
Audacy has welcomed André Yancey as the new morning show producer for “Scott Shannon in the Morning with Patty Steele” on WCBS-FM 101.1 FM in New York.

“We were fortunate to have so many great applicants excited about the opportunity to work with radio legends Scott Shannon and Patty Steele,” said Jim Ryan, Senior Vice President of Programming, Audacy New York / Brand Manager, WCBS-FM 101.1. 

“We felt Andre was the perfect fit not only for this position, but someone who could grow within Audacy and help strengthen the entire cluster.”

“I want to thank Scott and Patty for our growing relationship and for trusting me at the helm,” said Yancey. “I also extend my gratitude to our fearless leaders Jim Ryan and Chris Olivero. Our shared vision and passion for this craft make this experience incredibly exciting. A special thank you to Heather Cohen for being the guiding light in bringing us all together. To create moments that will fulfill and grow our audience with CBS-FM is an honor.”

Before coming to Audacy, Yancey served as a creative strategist and content developer for long and short-form programming, including Carmen’s Calls and Nick Cannon Radio. He also served as Director of New Media for United Stations Media Networks, developing and deploying apps for Alice Cooper, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Open House Party, and HardDrive Radio. Yancey’s career has spanned over 20 years, including 92.3 NOW in New York as a personality and producer for the Rollin’ with Nick Cannon morning show.

New Study Reveals Major Audio Investment Gap for Marketers

WARC, the global authority on marketing intelligence, unveiled today the results of a study conducted in collaboration with iHeartMedia on media consumption and audio investment in the US.

“The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio” highlights a divergence between consumption and investment. While 31% of the average consumer’s media consumption is now audio, only 8.8% of the average media budget is allocated to audio, and 25% of advertisers do not invest in audio at all.

According to the study, consumers of every generation are spending more and more time with audio content across radio, streaming and podcasts driven by audio’s ease and accessibility with the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers adding to in-car, at home and at work listening.

Whilst WARC Data forecasts audio advertising spend in the US to reach $13.9bn this year, a double-digit recovery (+10.9%) from the pandemic’s 2020 cuts, the report highlights a large audio investment gap and the vast opportunity that exists in this mass reach and high engagement audio advertising market.

The study also identified four key types of advertiser attitudes towards audio:

  • Audio Avoiders, the 25% of advertisers who do not invest in audio at all
  • Broadcast Believers, who have seen the benefits of radio and are beginning to delve into more forms of audio
  • Digital Only, those who have started to invest but are missing out on the full suite of audio options, particularly the 90% reach of broadcast radio
  • Cross-Platform Champions, who explore audio’s full potential and continue to test, learn from and optimize their investments across platforms.

Furthermore, the study shows that audio is not a monolith. There are different and critical channels within the audio segment, and they play different roles in the minds of the consumers that advertisers should take advantage of.

Broadcast radio reaches 9 out of 10 Americans every month and is also the number one mass reach media among people ages 18 and over. Podcasts are the fastest growing new audio platform and consistently deliver higher advertising conversion rates than all other digital channels, including social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and even Google. Forecasts from IAB/PwC show podcast ad spend is expected to grow rapidly in the US this year, up 60% to top $1bn for the first time.

The study also highlights the effectiveness of audio advertising at a local, regional and national level and across every stage of the funnel:

  • Increases brand awareness: Audio delivers wide reach and high frequency. Nielsen Share Shift data shows that adding audio to a TV campaign improves performance by 20% whilst reducing costs.
  • Creates favorability: Audience members have close relationships with their preferred stations and platforms, audio boosts brand familiarity and consideration.
  • Sparks conversion: By delivering urgent calls-to-action at the most relevant times and places, audio motivates the actions and interactions brands require.

Whether brands tap into broadcast radio for its mass reach or its effectiveness or dive deeper into podcasting for its highest conversion rates, the study points out how right sizing the audio investment will drive real impact and growth for brands.

Gayle Troberman, Chief Marketing Officer, iHeartMedia, said: “The Audio Investment Gap is the single-biggest growth opportunity for brands. With the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers paired with in-car listening, audio is everywhere and consumers are listening in more places, more times throughout the day. But too many brands are on mute. Brands that right-size their audio investments and begin spending and innovating across radio, streaming and podcasts outpace competitors in finding new audiences, building brand affinity and driving sales.”

Paul Coxhill, Managing Director, WARC, commented: “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.”

“The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio” study was conducted by WARC for iHeartMedia in September 2021 following an analysis of data from WARC’s proprietary knowledge base and research and in consultation with our experts. .

The findings included in the report were presented at the recent online event, AudioCon. The full report, available to download here, includes chapter analysis on audio investment, audio as an effective communications channel, future audio trends, the benefits to brands investing in audio and case studies.

SiriusXM Launches New Free Channel and Podcast Subscription

Today, SiriusXM, with Marvel Entertainment, launched Marvel Podcasts Unlimited, a premium audio entertainment subscription for Marvel fans worldwide, available exclusively via the new Marvel channel on Apple Podcasts.

Marvel Podcasts Unlimited provides subscribers with early and exclusive access to a growing assortment of original new scripted and unscripted podcast series from one of the world's largest and most beloved entertainment brands, featuring fan-favorite characters such as Wolverine, Star-Lord, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Doctor Doom.

Starting today, fans can explore the new free Marvel channel on Apple Podcasts, featuring popular Marvel + SXM Podcasts original series including the award-winning Marvel's Wolverine: The Long Night and its epic sequel, Marvel's Wolverine: The Lost Trail; Marvel/Method, an unscripted series where actor and rapper Method Man interviews celebrity guests like Killer Mike, Jemele Hill, and Kevin Smith about all things Marvel; This Week in Marvel, a weekly conversation series about the latest Marvel comics, TV, movies, games, toys, and more; plus Women of Marvel, Marvel's Voices, and Marvel's Pull List.

The Marvel channel on Apple Podcasts also features the first installment of the new multi-part Marvel's Wastelanders original scripted podcast series, Marvel's Wastelanders: Star-Lord, starring Timothy Busfield (Peter Quill), Chris Elliott (Rocket), Danny Glover (Red), and Vanessa Williams (Emma Frost).

With a subscription to Marvel Podcasts Unlimited on Apple Podcasts, fans can unlock access to exclusive programming including Marvel's Declassified, a narrative documentary series that dives into the rich, dynamic, and evolving history of Marvel Comics, and get early access to Marvel's first Spanish-language podcast series, Marvel's Wolverine: La Larga Noche, an adaptation of Marvel's Wolverine: The Long Night, which launches worldwide today with an entirely new voice cast.

And on October 4th, Marvel Podcasts Unlimited subscribers will receive early access to the first two episodes of the highly-anticipated second installment in the Marvel's Wastelanders series, Marvel's Wastelanders: Hawkeye, featuring Hawkeye (Stephen Lang) and his estranged 17-year-old daughter Ash (Sasha Lane).

Subscribers to Marvel Podcasts Unlimited will also enjoy early access to all future installments of Marvel's Wastelanders, including Marvel's Wastelanders: Black Widow, Marvel's Wastelanders: Wolverine, and Marvel's Wastelanders: Doom, plus additional forthcoming exclusive audio entertainment from Marvel and SiriusXM.

In 2019, Marvel and SiriusXM announced a multi-year agreement to create new original podcast series available across major listening platforms including SiriusXM, Pandora, and Stitcher. Exclusive new episodes of Marvel + SXM Podcasts will continue to be available across other major listening platforms following their debuts on Marvel Podcasts Unlimited.

The new Marvel channel on Apple Podcasts takes Marvel + SXM Podcasts global, with availability in more than 170 countries and regions. Marvel Podcasts Unlimited is available as a paid subscription exclusively through the free Marvel channel on Apple Podcasts for $3.99 per month (U.S.) after a seven-day free trial. Local pricing is available.

Apollo Global Among Bidders For Tenga Media

Apollo Global Management teamed with Standard General on Monday to make a binding bid that topped $8 billion for local TV station owner Tegna, reports The NY Post citing sources close to the matter.

Tegna — spun off from newspaper giant Gannett in 2015 as a separate, publicly traded company — operates 64 television and two radio stations across 54 US markets.

Apollo has bid for Tegna in recent years and has been rebuffed. The Apollo-Standard General team bid about $22 a share this time, sources familiar said.

Tegna set Monday as a bidding deadline for its formal auction to sell itself through investment bank JPMorgan. The sale is on track, sources said.

Byron Allen, owner of the Weather Channel, has also been studying Tegna’s books and could be bidding Monday, a source close to the matter said.

Meanwhile, Tegna in recent months has been hit with suits alleging sex discrimination and racial bias.

Suits included one filed by Reginald Roundtree, a 67-year-old former Tampa news anchor at Tegna’s Tampa Bay, Fla., station who claimed documents were found on a station manager’s desk that included a “hit list” of employees who were over the age of 40 and appear to have been targeted for termination.

Apollo owns television stations it bought in December 2019 from Cox Media Group and can likely boost Tegna earnings by combining the companies.

More Than Half of Twitter Users Get News On The Site Regularly

As social media and technology companies face criticism for not doing enough to stem the flow of misleading information on their platforms, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that a little under half of U.S. adults (48%) get news on social media sites “often” or “sometimes,” a 5 percentage point decline from 2020. Across the 10 social media sites asked about in this study, the percentage of users of each site who regularly get news there has remained relatively stable since 2020. However, both Facebook and TikTok buck this trend. The share of Facebook users who say they regularly get news on the site has declined 7 points since 2020, from 54% to about 47% in 2021. TikTok, on the other hand, has seen a slight uptick in the percentage of users who say they regularly get news on the site, rising from 22% in 2020 to 29% in 2021.

The survey, conducted from July 26 to Aug. 8, 2021, among 11,178 U.S. adults who are part of the Center’s American Trends Panel, also finds that White Americans make up the majority of U.S. adults who regularly get news from Facebook (60%), yet just under four-in-ten Instagram news consumers (36%) are White. Both Black and Hispanic adults make up a sizable portion of Instagram’s regular news consumers (20% and 33%, respectively).

Among the report’s other key findings:
  • Facebook continues to outpace all other social media sites, with about a third (31%) of Americans getting news there regularly. Following Facebook is the video-sharing site YouTube, with 22% of U.S. adults getting news from the site regularly. Meanwhile, Twitter and Instagram are regular news sources for 13% and 11% of Americans, respectively.
  • Americans overall are less likely to turn to some social media sites as regular news sources. Fewer than one-in-ten Americans say they regularly get news from Reddit (7%), TikTok (6%), LinkedIn (4%), Snapchat (4%), WhatsApp (3%) and Twitch (1%).
  • When looking at the proportion of each social media site’s users who regularly get news there, some social media sites stand out as being more “newsy” even if their total audience is relatively small. Twitter, for example, while used by 23% of U.S. adults, is used regularly to get news by more than half of those (55%) use it. YouTube, while more widely used (72% of U.S. adults use the site), has a smaller portion of its users regularly turning to it for news (30%).
  • The demographics of regular social media news consumers can vary drastically from site to site. People who regularly get news on Facebook are more likely to be women than men (64% vs. 35%), while two-thirds of Reddit’s regular news consumers are men. A majority of regular news consumers on LinkedIn (57%) have a four-year college degree or higher. Younger adults, those ages 18 to 29, are far more likely to regularly get news on both Snapchat and TikTok than adults in other age groups. The majority of regular news consumers of many sites are Democrats or lean Democratic. This may be related to the relatively young age profile of the news consumer base of these social media sites. No social media site included in this analysis has regular news consumers who are more likely to be Republican or lean Republican.

Wake-Up Call: Migrants Being Removed From Texas Encampment

U.S. officials said Monday that more than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants had been removed from an encampment around a bridge at the Texas border town of Del Rio. The administration defended the strong response that includes immediately flying the migrants back to Haiti, with six more flights scheduled for today. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called it a, quote, "challenging and heartbreaking situation," but warned, "If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life."

The Homeland Security Department issued a statement in reaction to images that drew criticism of border agents on horseback using what appeared to be whips and the horses to push back migrants at the Rio Grande, calling it "extremely troubling" and promising a full investigation. White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the images "horrific."

U-S TO TAKE IN MORE REFUGEES: The administration said yesterday that the U.S. would take in 125,000 refugees and their families next year, fulfilling a pledge President Biden made to raise the refugee number cap that had been cut to 15,000 under former President Donald Trump, the lowest number since the 1980 Refugee Act took effect. The administration said it would focus on several key groups, including Central Americans, Afghans at risk due to their affiliation with the U.S., LGBQT refugees, and members of the Uighur ethnic group targeted by the Chinese government.

➤U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEGINS TODAY IN NYC AFTER TWO YEARS: The annual, week-long United Nations General Assembly begins today in New York City for the first time in two years, after all the addresses were pre-recorded last year because of the pandemic. This year, world leaders were given the choice of coming to New York or appearing online, and more than 100 of the leaders decided to appear in person. The U.S. requires a vaccination or a recent negative Covid-19 test for entry, meanwhile the U.N. complex in Manhattan is operating of an honor system in which anyone entering attests they don't symptoms and haven't tested positive in the last 10 days. Among those speaking on the first day today will be President Biden.

Pfizer said Monday that its Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective in children ages five to 11, and they they'll seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon. Pfizer tested a dose of about one-third of what's given in the current shots, but after two doses, the children developed antibody levels just as strong as in teens and young adults that got the regular-strength shots, company senior VP Dr. Bill Gruber told AP. The side effects were similar or fewer than those that teens get, such as arm soreness, fever and achiness.

➤PANDEMIC TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS TO U.S. TO BE EASED: The administration is easing pandemic travel restrictions to the U.S., saying Monday that foreigners will be allowed to fly to United States if they have proof of Covid-19 vaccination and a negative Covid test. The new rules will take effect in November. The eased restrictions will replace a patchwork of rules that had banned non-citizens who'd been in the U.K., European Union, China, India, Iran, Ireland, Brazil or South Africa in the previous 14 days.

➤TRUDEAU HOLDS ON AS PRIME MINISTER IN CANDIAN ELECTIONS: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held on to his position in Canada's parliamentary elections yesterday as his Liberal Party won the most seats of any party. However his bid of calling early elections to try to win a majority of seats in the House of Commons failed, nearly replicating the results from two years ago. The opposition had accused Trudeau of calling an unnecessary early vote for his own personal ambition.

➤DOCTOR WHO DEFIED NEW TEXAS ABORTION BAN SUED: A San Antonio doctor who said he performed an abortion in defiance of Texas' new law banning the procedures after six weeks, essentially daring someone to sue him under the law's enforcement mechanism that allows anyone to sue someone who facilitates an abortion, was in fact sued Monday. There were two lawsuits brought against Dr. Alan Braid, filed separately by former attorneys in Arkansas and Illinois, who both said they're not anti-abortion, but sued to force the courts to rule on the law. Braid wrote in the Washington Post that he'd performed an abortion on a woman on September 6th who was beyond six weeks, but still in her first trimester. He wrote, "I fully understood that there could be legal consequences -- but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested."

➤FBI SEARCHES FAMILY HOME OF PETITO'S FIANCE, LAUNDRIE: The FBI on Monday searched the family home of Brian Laundrie, Gabrielle Petito's fiance, one day after it was announced that a body believed to be that of Petito was found in Wyoming. The FBI had a search warrant for Laundrie's parents' home in North Port, Florida, and they were removed from the home before the search and then brought back inside for questioning. A number of items were removed from the home and a car was towed away. Meanwhile, investigators are still searching for Laundrie, who disappeared a week ago on Tuesday. He had refused to talk to investigators or to Petito's family after returning home alone earlier this month from a cross-country van trip with Petito. She never came home.

➤S-F MAYOR DEFENDS MASKLESS CLUB DANCING:  San Francisco Mayor London Breed is defending herself after video was taken of her dancing maskless at a crowded indoor club on Friday night in violation of her administration's mask mandate that requires patrons be masked unless they're eating or drinking. Beed said in her defense, "My drink was sitting at the table. I got up and started dancing because I was feeling the spirit and I wasn't thinking about a mask." She also added that, quote, "we don't need the fun police to come in and micromanage and tell us what we should or shouldn't be doing." Breed also noted that proof of vaccination was required to get in. The San Francisco Chronicle reported, however, that Breed was maskless throughout the night, and the city's health department said masks are required indoors regardless of vaccination status. The 47-year-old Breed was at a concert at the Black Cat nightclub, where members of the R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné! were performing.

➤GOP OPERATIVE PARDONED BY TRUMP CHARGED IN ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION SCHEME: A Republican political operative pardoned by then-President Donald Trump last December for a 2012 bribery conviction involving an endorsement of presidential candidate Ron Paul has been charged in an illegal campaign contribution scheme. Jesse Benton, the former chief strategist of the pro-Trump Great America PAC, and Doug Wead, a presidential historian and author who's been an adviser to several presidential campaigns, were accused in federal court of conspiracy to solicit and cause an illegal contribution by a Russian foreign national during the 2016 presidential election. Wead allegedly told the Russian national he could meet an unnamed presidential candidate at a September 22, 2016, political event in exchange for a contribution, which would violate the law against soliciting campaign contributions from foreigners. The indictment doesn't say which candidate, but the only major party candidates left at the time were Trump and Hillary Clinton, and AP says Trump had a Pittsburgh fundraiser that day. The men allegedly disguised the funds by creating a fake invoice.

➤GEORGE HOLLIDAY, MAN WHO FILMED RODNEY KING VIDEO, DIES OF COVID: George Holliday, the man who shot the video seen around the world of four white police officers beating Black driver Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991, died Sunday of Covid-19, according to a longtime friend, Robert Wollenweber. He was 61. Holliday filmed the scene with his new video camera after being awakened by a traffic stop outside his San Fernando Valley home. The grainy footage was a key piece of evidence at the officers' trial. After they were all acquitted in April 1992, riots broke out in Los Angeles during which more than 60 people died and hundreds of businesses were looted or destroyed over several days. King, who was awarded $3.8 million in 1994 after suing the city, drowned his pool in 2012 at age 47.

➤UNIVERSAL OPENS FIRST THEME PARK IN CHINA: Universal Studios opened its first theme park in China Monday. Universal Studios Beijing opened under Covid-19 restrictions, including required face masks and use of a phone app health code that shows whether the visitors have been to regions at high-risk of infection. Represented at the theme park are Universal's Jurassic Park, Kung Fu Panda, and Harry Potter franchises, and Minions from Despicable Me. It's the fifth theme park worldwide for Universal Studios.

➤PRINCESS BEATRICE GIVES BIRTH TO FIRST CHILD, A DAUGHTER: The U.K.'s Princess Beatrice gave birth to her first child on Saturday, a daughter, with husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Buckingham Palace announced yesterday. The baby's name wasn't immediately revealed. She is the 12th great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth the Second. The 33-year-old Beatrice is the older daughter of Prince Andrew and ex-wife Sarah Ferguson.

🎵STUDY..LISTENING TO SONGS YOU WANT TO SING ALONG TO INCREASES YOUR CHANCES OF MAKING MISTAKES BEHIND THE WHEEL:  Apparently singing and driving is dangerous. Brunel University researchers put participants in driving simulations, and found that listening to music that was loud or had lyrics led to higher levels of emotional arousal, compared to listening to soft, non-lyrical music. Past studies have found that loud music with lyrics can elevate levels of aggression, and encourage overconfidence, particularly among younger drivers. Researcher and psychologist Costas Karageorghis says, “The most important thing to consider when listening to music while driving is to ensure you are not mentally overloaded. [...] one of the easiest [things to] control is our choice of auditory stimulation, whether it be talk radio, podcasts or music. Through minimizing distractions, motorists are much better able to focus on the road and therefore stand a better chance of identifying potential hazards in time.”

➤POLL..43 PERCENT SAY THEY ARE DOING THEIR 'DREAM JOB':  Every child is asked what they want to be when they grow up, but how many of them actually go on to do it? A new survey of 2,000 Americans found a number that might be surprisingly high to some, with 43 percent saying they are working in their childhood "dream job." Another 19 percent of top of that have previously had their dream job, even though they're not in it now. The OnePoll survey for The Genius of Play found that doctor or nurse, at 33 percent, was the top thing the respondents wanted to be when they grew up, followed by lawyer at 24 percent, actor at 23 percent, artist at 22 percent and teacher at 21 percent.

➤BLACK WEDDING DRESS TREND GROWS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC:  A growing number of brides are opting to walk down the aisle in black. Notable wedding dress designer Vera Wang previously spoke about her use of the color black in her fall 2012 and spring 2019 collections, telling Harper’s Bazaar, “A lot of people were shocked-- they said it was depressing to have brides in black. I said, ‘Not at all, it’s sexy.’ Then of course a lot of brides embraced it.” As a result, other brands, including Maggie Sottero, Leanne Marshall, Galia Lahav and Marchessa have added black bridal gowns to their collections. David’s Bridal senior manager, Laura McKeever even says, “We are definitely seeing an increase in brides considering alternative styles or colors, like black gowns, tying into the trends that we’re seeing during the pandemic of non-traditional styles.[...] we have seen a 3.7x growth year over year in black bridal gowns.” Google Trends data shows online queries about black wedding dresses have more than quadrupled from January 2004, and the term is currently at its peak, likely due to the approaching fall season.

🏈PACKERS DOWN LIONS 35-17: The Geen Bay Packers downed the Detroit Lions 35-17 at home last night, as Detroit blew a 17-14 halftime lead, not scoring at all in the second half. It was standout night for Packers running back Aaron Jones, who caught three of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' four touchdown passes and rushed for a fourth TD. Rodgers, meanwhile, was 22 of 27 for 255 yards, passing John Elway for 10th all-time in passing yards with 51,633.

🏈TEXANS QB TAYLOR COULD MISS FOUR WEEKS WITH HAMSTRING INJURY: Houston Texans head coach David Culley said Monday that quarterback Tyrod Taylor is day-to-day after suffering a hamstring injury Sunday. However, the Houston Chronicle reported that Taylor could be out for four weeks. Culley said Deshaun Watson won't be activated, meaning third-round pick Davis Mills would be in line to start Thursday against the Carolina Panthers if Taylor can't play.

🏈COLTS QB WENTZ UNCERTAIN WITH BOTH ANKLES SPRAINED: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz is uncertain for Week 3 after he sprained both ankles in Sunday's 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The Colts knew that Wentz had injured his right ankle, which led him to leave in the fourth quarter, but doctors found out Monday that he'd sprained his left ankle too. Head coach Frank Reich said yesterday, "I know Carson has a high threshold of pain. My history with Carson is that he’s a pretty fast healer and he’s tough. If he can play, he’ll play."

⚾PEREZ BREAKS BENCH'S SINGLE-SEASON HOMERS RECORD FOR CATCHERS: The Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez hit his 46th home run last night, breaking Hall of Famer Johnny Bench's record for the most homers by a catcher in a single season, set in 1970. Perez hit the record-breaking two-run homer in the fifth inning of the Royals' 4-2 win over the Cleveland Indians. Perez also moved into a tie for the major league lead in homers with the Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

⚾LESTER GETS 200TH CAREER WIN: St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jon Lester got his 200th career win last night in a 5-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Lester is the third active pitcher with 200 wins, along with the Houston Astros' Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, and the 30th left-hander in MLB history to reach the mark.