Saturday, November 24, 2018

November 25 Radio History


Norman Tokar
➦In 1919...actor/director Norman Tokar was born in Newark, New Jersey. At the age of 22 he took over the starring role of Henry on NBC radio’s The Aldrich Family when Ezra Stone enlisted in 1942.  In TV he directed the series Leave it to Beaver, The Bob Cummings Show and The Donna Reed Show, and the drama Naked City. He   found his greatest success directing over a dozen films for Walt Disney Productions, spanning the 1950s to the 1970s.  Tokar died April 6 1979. aged just 59.
WJAX mics at March 1936 news event. Future FL Gov. Warren Fuller is third person from the right
➦In 1925...the City of Jacksonville FL installed a broadcast station. The city appropriated $19,960 to put the station on the air and operate it through 1926. The station manager/engineer, John T. Hopkins was paid $250 a month and his assistant, James Brock made $165. The station, WJAX, made its first broadcast on Thanksgiving 1925 operating on 890 Kc. with 1000 watts using an antenna wire strung between two large tapered towers. WJAX shifted to 880 Kc. in 1928 and 900 Kc. in 1930.(Jacksonville radio historian Billy Williams).   Today, the station is WFXJ, branded as Sports Radio 930 AM and is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.


➦In 1949...“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” first appeared on the music charts and became THE musical hit of the Christmas season. Although Gene Autry‘s rendition is the most popular, 80 different versions of the song have been recorded, with nearly 20,000,000 copies sold.


➦In 1960...radio actors were put out of work when CBS radio axed five daytime serials from the airwaves. We said so long to The Second Mrs. Burton (after 14 years), Whispering Streets, Young Dr Malone & Right to Happiness (both after 21 years) and Ma Perkins (after 27 wonderful years.)  In 1940, the high point for radio soap operas, there were as many as 45 on the air each day!


➦In 1960..."Amos 'n' Andy," in its final incarnation as "Amos 'n' Andy's Music Hall," was heard for the last time on CBS Radio. Created, written and voiced by Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, the show had been heard nationally since March of 1928. It ran as a nightly serial from 1928 until 1943, as a weekly situation comedy from 1943 until 1955, and as a nightly disc-jockey program from 1954 until 1960.

Show from 1941...




➦In 1976...a Viking 1 radio signal from Mars help to prove Einstein's general theory of relativity.

YouTube To Test 'Ad Pods'

YouTube is adding a new advertising solution to its portfolio -- one that makes the streaming video platform more like traditional TV offerings.

According to MediaPost, the Google-owned video site will be testing what it is calling “ad pods.” The ad pods will see two video ads clustered back to back. Until now, YouTube breaks only one featured ad at a time. Importantly, users will still have the ability to skip the ads and go straight to the content.

YouTube will roll out the ad pods on desktop later this year, with mobile and connected TV screens to follow.

According to a blog post from Google video ads project manager Khushbu Rathi, the goal is to reduce the number of ad breaks during longer viewing sessions.

“Through this research, we also learned that fewer interruptions is correlated with better user metrics, including less abandonment of content and higher rates of ad viewing,” Rathi writes.

The company cites experiments suggesting the ad pods resulted in a mid-to-high single-digit increase in reach and frequency for advertisers, without impacting brand lift.

The move is somewhat surprising, given that Google has been at the forefront when it comes to encouraging shorter ads from marketers. The company launched its six-second bumper ads product more than two years ago. That format remains popular on the service.

'The Match' Called A Tech Debacle


WarnerMedia and AT&T had hoped that Friday’s live pay per view event featuring golf rivals Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson would be a showcase of the enlarged company’s multiplatform programming capabilities.

Instead, the event may prove to be a PR and business debacle, according to Variety. A technical snafu in the streaming function via Turner’s Bleacher Report sports website forced the company to drop the paywall and offer a free live stream to ensure that those who paid $20 for the event would be able to see it at the start time of 3:10 p.m. ET.

“We experienced some technical issues on (Bleacher Report) Live that temporarily impacted user access to ‘The Match,’ ” Turner said in a statement. “We’ve taken a number of steps to resolve the matter, with our main priority being the delivery of content to those that have purchased the PPV event.”

Fans who paid for the event are undoubtedly none too happy to learn that it wound up being available for free. Mickelson ultimately prevailed in what Golf Week called “a 22-hole thriller.” Comcast upped the pressure on Turner to issue refunds by vowing to give a $19.99 credit to all those who bought the pay per view event through Comcast’s Xfinity platform.

“The Match” was billed as golf’s first PPV event, with Woods and Mickelson playing 18 holes for a winner-takes-all $9 million purse. The two planned to make a number of side bets to raise the stakes and donate those additional dollars to charity.

The event was sold as a streaming offering via Bleacher Report and as a traditional PPV telecast offered via AT&T’s DirecTV and other MVPDs including Comcast, Charter, Cox and Altice. There were no problems with the PPV delivery of the event by the linear distributors. Turner hoped to use the made-for-TV event to promote Bleacher Report Live as a source of live streaming sports programming.

Forbes: Katy Perry Highest-Paid Woman In Music

Katy Perry has roared back to the top of Forbes’ highest-paid women in music list.

According to the L-A Times, she earned an estimated $83 million before taxes between June 2017 and June 2018, largely due to her 80-date Witness tour and judging duties on ABC’s “American Idol” reboot.

Perry reclaims the spot from 2015, when she earned $135 million during Forbes’ scoring period.

Perry was followed by Taylor Swift, who rose from last year’s No. 3 spot by earning $80 million thanks to her Reputation tour, which launched in Phoenix in May. Swift might have unseated Perry this year had most of her tour dates fallen inside the scoring period.

Beyoncé, who topped the list last year, came in at No. 3 with $60 million. After welcoming twins Rumi and Sir with husband Jay-Z in June 2017, Bey laid low until her acclaimed “Beychella” performance at the Coachella music festival in April.

The power couple embarked on their On the Run II stadium tour — a follow-up to their widely successful 2014 joint tour — in Cardiff, Wales, in June, so much of the tour's earnings fall into next year’s scoring period. That means Beyoncé and Swift will likely vie for Forbes’ nominal title next year.

Rounding out the top 10 are Pink ($52 million), Lady Gaga ($50 million), Jennifer Lopez ($47 million), Rihanna ($37.5 million), European superstar Helene Fischer ($32 million), Celine Dion ($31 million) and Britney Spears ($30 million).

November 24 Radio History


➦In 1890... French investor Edouard Branly coins the term "radioconductor"; the first use of the word "radio".

Ireene Wicker
➦In 1905...actress Ireene Wicker of early radio quality kids show fame, was born in Quincy Illinois. She was “The Singing Story Lady” on network radio for twenty years, dramatizing the children’s stories with her own acting & singing ability.  Her radio show was first sponsored by the Kellogg Company, beginning in 1931. Her show was promoted as America’s first radio network program for children. Despite the title of her show, The Singing Lady, most of it involved Wicker telling adaptations of stories for children, ranging from fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen through to Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. Also in the 1930s and early 1940s, she portrayed Jane Lee on the serial Judy and Jane on NBC-Blue. In the 1940s, Wicker was a regular on Deadline Drama on NBC and the Blue Network. In the 1950s, she told stories on Big Jon and Sparkie on ABC radio.  She also played bit parts on other radio & TV programs out of Chicago.  She died Nov. 17 1987 at age 81.

➦In 1906...actor Don MacLaughlin was born in Webster, Iowa.

He was the star of ABC Radio’s ‘David Harding, Counterspy’ in the 1940’s, and continued in the role when it moved to NBC Radio and Mutual in the 1950’s.  In 1956 he created the role of lawyer Chris Hughes on CBS-TV’s ‘As the World Turns’ and continued to play him over the next 30 years!
Howard Duff

He died at age 79 on May 28 1986.


➦In 1913...actor Howard Duff was born in Bremerton Wash.

He first hit the bigtime on radio in The Adventures of Sam Spade, Detective in the CBS series sponsored by Brylcreem.  On TV he starred in the series Felony Squad, Mr. Adams and Eve, Flamingo Road, Knots Landing, and Dallas.

He died following a heart attack July 8, 1990 at age 76.



➦In 1920...The first radio play-by-play broadcast of a football game was aired by Texas A&M University station 5XB, later to be known as WTAW in College Station, Texas. The University of Texas defeated Texas A&M, 7-3.  The call letters stood for Watch The Aggies Win.  Today, the calls are used by a locally-owned station at 1620 AM.


➦In 1926...WLAC Nashville signed-on. The call letters were chosen to contain an acronym for the first owner of the station, the Life and Casualty Insurance Company of Tennessee. Studios were located on the fifth floor of the Life and Casualty building in downtown Nashville. In 1928, it became Nashville's CBS Radio affiliate, while its main competitor, 650 WSM, was affiliated with NBC, the other major Radio network in the early days of broadcasting.


The early years of the station featured, as most big-city stations of that time, network programming, local news, studio-orchestra musical features (accompanied by an in-studio pipe organ), farm reports, and some educational programming. Its main competitor in that era, WSM, became known as the radio station where country music essentially developed and became a national phenomenon. When country music became a big business in the late 1940s, WLAC added early-morning and Saturday-afternoon shows in an attempt to steal some of WSM's thunder. Otherwise, the station prided itself as a pillar of the community and placed emphasis on general full-service programs.



➦In 1926...KVI-AM, Seattle, Washington began broadcasting.

KVI's legacy can be traced back to its debut on November 24, 1926, where it was licensed to Tacoma, Washington at 1280 AM. By the spring of 1928 its signal would be shifted to 1060 AM, followed by a larger shift to 760 AM, in the fall. By September 1932, it had moved to its permanent 570 AM frequency. In 1949, KVI relocated its studios and city of license to Seattle. KVI broadcasts from a single tower on Vashon Island.


In 1959, Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters added KVI to its portfolio. KVI switched to a very successful personality adult contemporary format in 1964. By 1973, KVI had evolved into a middle-of-the-road (MOR) direction. It was during this period that it became established as a dominant player in the market. KVI was the original flagship station for the ill-fated Seattle Pilots in 1969 and for the Seattle Mariners, from their inaugural season of 1977 until 1984.

By 1982, KVI had begun to gradually add more talk programming. In July 1984, KVI switched to oldies. That direction would last less than a decade. By 1992, KVI had a talk-format again. At first, the station used the slogan "the balanced alternative" with a lineup alternating liberal and conservative talk hosts, but in 1993, KVI dropped all its liberal hosts except Mike Siegel. Siegel, formerly a liberal, swung right in his views during this period and remained on the station. By May 1994, the year KVI was sold (along with KPLZ-FM) to Fisher Communications, KVI had an almost entirely conservative-talk format.


Seattle Radio History - 570AM (KVI) from Twisted Scholar on Vimeo.

KVI returned to a full service format at 4 p.m. on November 7, 2010, with a base music rotation of classic hits along with news and traffic updates.

Due to the failure of the format, which only garnered an average of a 0.5 share of the market, and losing the ratings battle against KJR-FM and KMCQ, KVI began stunting with Christmas music on Thanksgiving Day. On January 3, 2012, the station flipped back to talk, this time as "Smart Talk", with an emphasis on entertainment news, lifestyle and health reports, and local news.

On April 11, 2013, Fisher announced that it would sell its properties, including KVI, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Although Sinclair primarily owns television stations, the company intends to retain KVI, KPLZ-FM, and KOMO. The deal was completed on August 8, 2013.

➦In 1958
  • Jackie Wilson released the single "Lonely Teardrops," co-written by Berry Gordy, Jr.
  • Ritchie Valens released the single "Donna" b/w "La Bamba."
  • Brenda Lee released the single "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree."

➦In 1963…On live national television, Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, President John F. Kennedy's accused assassin, as authorities were preparing to transfer Oswald by armored car from the police basement to the nearby county jail. Ruby's 1964 conviction and death sentence were overturned in 1966 when an appellate court ruled that his motion for a change of venue before the original trial should have been granted. In December 1966, before a new trial could be arranged, Ruby died of pneumonia while suffering from liver, lung, and brain cancer.



➦In 1974…During his infamous "Lost Weekend," John Lennon rehearsed with Elton John for Elton's upcoming Madison Square Garden performance, at which Lennon planned to make a surprise cameo appearance.


➦In 1991...Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS-related pneumonia at age 45. Queen’s biggest hits were the No. 1 songs “Another One Bites the Dust,” which sold more than 2 million copies, and the million-selling “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” The group is also well known for the double-sided hit “We Are the Champions/We Will Rock You.”


➦In 1991...Kiss drummer Eric Carr died of cancer at age 41. Doctors removed a cancerous tumor in Carr’s heart in April but the cancer had already spread to his lungs. He joined Kiss in 1982 when founding drummer Peter Criss left the group.


➦In 1993...Michael Jackson, embroiled in sex and drug addiction scandals, managed to pull off the biggest deal in music publishing history. Jackson sold his publishing operation, A-T-V Music, to E-M-I Music Publishing, in a deal worth more than 200-million dollars. Sources said Jackson himself received half that amount. Among the four-thousand titles under A-T-V’s control are most of the classic Lennon-McCartney Beatles compositions.

Friday, November 23, 2018

iHM Wants to Pay Up to $33 Million in Bonuses


iHeartMedia Inc., a radio-station operator that filed for bankruptcy in March, is seeking a judge’s approval for a bonus plan that could pay its top executives as much as $33 million next year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In papers filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston, iHM lawyers said the bonuses — earmarked for 11 executives — are needed to motivate its top managers.

Bob Pittman
Without the bonuses “in a highly competitive and challenging industry,” compensation for top executives would fall well below peer companies and that “could significantly undermine” iHeart’s ability to motivate senior management, court filings said.

Among those in line for a bonus is Chief Executive Robert Pittman. The MTV co-founder, who has led iHM since 2011, collected more than $14 million in the 12 months leading up to the company’s bankruptcy filing.

Bankruptcy law prohibits bonuses that reward executives for simply sticking with companies, but it does allow for incentives tied to hard-to-reach milestones.

iHeart bonuses are based largely on cash generated from operations, court papers show. It includes only income from regular operations, ignoring items such as gains or losses on asset sales or on financing activities, interest or tax changes.

“With confirmation of the debtors’ plan of reorganization and a path to emergence from chapter 11 in sight, maintaining a highly motivated workforce is as important as ever,” iHeart’s lawyers said. A hearing to consider approval if iHeartMedia’s reorganization, paving the way for the company’s exit from chapter 11, is slated for Dec. 11.

iHeart says it expects total 2019 bonus payouts to the top executives of $22.1 million. But if the San Antonio-based company hit its top targets the insiders’ incentive plan could cost as much as $33.2 million next year.

Among the potential stumbling blocks to the restructuring plan, however, is a lawsuit from iHM’s so-called legacy bondholders. The bondholders are suing the radio station operator, saying the proposed plan shortchanges them on their recovery. A hearing on the lawsuit concluded last month in bankruptcy court without a ruling.

iHeart, which has more than 850 radio stations, filed for bankruptcy after nearly a year of talks with its creditors on the terms restructuring more than $20 billion in debt, the bulk of which was left over from a 2008 leveraged buyout.

LBI Media Files for Bankruptcy

LBI Media Inc., the nation’s largest private minority-owned Spanish language TV and radio broadcaster filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, blaming its woes on competition from digital media platforms and a heavy debt load.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Burbank, Calif.-based company has also faced legal challenges from a group of the company’s second lien bondholders, led by Caspian Capital LP, who sued to stop the broadcaster’s move to restructure its debt via an out-of-court deal with senior lender HPS Investment Partners, according to a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

“In recent years, the growing Hispanic population in the United States and expansion of LBI’s EstrellaTV network have provided a significant growth opportunity for the company,” said Chief Financial Officer Brian Kei in court documents. Despite these opportunities, LBI faced the same “market pressures” as the rest of the TV and radio industry, including the “diversion of advertising spending to digital media,” Mr. Kei said.

LBI Media was founded in 1987 by Lenard Liberman, chief executive officer of the company, and his father Jose Liberman, both immigrants from Mexico. The company roots go back to the purchase of two unprofitable radio stations, which the Libermans converted to Spanish-language format. After replicating that strategy around the country, LBI now has TV and radio stations in most cities — including Los Angeles, Dallas New York — with big Spanish-language audiences. LBI also produces its own programing and operates a TV studio in Burbank.

Like other radio and TV broadcasters, LBI’s advertising revenues took a big hit during the 2008 financial crisis and never recovered. LBI’s earnings reached a peak of $48 million in 2006 but fell to $19 million by 2012. Last year the company brought in $31 million — well short of the company’s $47 million annual interest burden, according to court filings.

Black Artists Make History On Country Charts


Jimmie Allen has made history as the first black artist to have his debut single reach No. 1 on country radio, and it happened on the same week Kane Brown, who is biracial, has the top country and pop album in the U.S.

According to The Tennessean, Allen cried when he got the news his song, "Best Shot," hit the top spot on Billboard's country airplay chart, which tracks radio success.


"First I screamed, like, 'Thank, God. Finally! Finally, man.' Then after that I'm filled with gratitude and motivated to work even harder," Allen said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday morning.

"I realized just because you get here doesn't mean you get to stay here, so I just try to wake up and be thankful every day. I'm not going to lie, I broke down and cried for like 20 minutes when I found out my song went No. 1 because I think about everything I sacrificed."

Allen co-wrote "Best Shot" and it appears on his debut album, "Mercury Lane," released last month. Brown's sophomore album, "Experiment," debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's 200 albums and country albums charts, respectively, this week.

The 32-year-old Allen — who moved from Delaware to Nashville at age 21 — said he's happy to diversify contemporary country music while also paying tribute to other black artists in the genre, from Charley Pride to Darius Rucker.

Pride and Brown have had No. 1 country radio hits, but not with their debut songs. Rucker's first country single did hit the No. 1 spot, but his official debut song was with Hootie & the Blowfish, thus making Allen's recent feat historic.

Facebook Admits To Targeting Billionaire George Soros


Facebook officials on Wednesday admitted to digging up dirt on Jewish billionaire George Soros and its competitors less than a week after The New York Times published an explosive exposé on the tech giant.

George Soros
Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s head of communication and policy, published a blog post detailing the company’s decision to hire Definers Public Affairs, a Republican opposition research firm, and why it aimed its effort at the company’s critics, including Soros.

“Some of this work is being characterized as opposition research,” Schrage wrote. “But I believe it would be irresponsible and unprofessional for us not to understand the backgrounds and potential conflicts of interest of our critics.”

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied having any knowledge of the company’s PR campaign against Soros until the Times investigation, which also found negative campaigns aimed at Apple and Google, was made public.

Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, also denied having knowledge of the hiring of Definers. However, in a statement supplementing Schrage’s blog post, she said she recently learned that the PR company’s work had “crossed my desk.”

Facebook has since cut ties with Definers, according to an article at The Huffington Post.

Schrage defended its attacks on Soros as a response to the liberal financier calling the company a “menace to society” during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos last January.

According to the Times investigation, Facebook initially hired Definers to monitor press coverage of the company. Facebook later expanded its relationship to include promoting negative coverage of Google and Apple, whom Facebook views as rivals.

Meanwhile, Fox News reports Billionaire George Soros’ investment management firm has saved millions after completely selling off its shares of Facebook and slashing its stakes in Netflix and Goldman Sachs just before the stocks nosedived, a report said Wednesday.

Soros Management Fund saved $17.7 million in the fourth quarter by dumping the three stocks, Barron’s reported.

Goldman tumbled 15 percent in the fourth-quarter, while streaming-content giant Netflix plunged 29 percent since the end of September, according to Barron’s. Facebook has fallen 20 percent in the fourth quarter, hitting an intraday low of $126.85 on Tuesday.

The firm’s stake in Goldman shrunk from 64,814 shares at the end of June, to 28,206 at the end of September, according to Barron’s. Goldman Sachs' stock began its tumble earlier this month when the Justice Department revealed charges against two former employees for issuing bonds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Cutting 89 percent—or 106,400 shares—of its Netflix position in the third quarter, the firm held only 13,800 shares at the end of the September, according to the outlet. Its stock began its slide in October when investors expressed skepticism over its future profitability.

TV-NM Radio: High Plains To Acquire Five Stations


High Plains Radio Network has agreed to acquire five radio outlets and one FM translator from Tejas Broadcasting LLP for $285,000.

Included in the deal are:
  • CHR KICA 98.3
  • Classic Rock KKYC 102.3 Clovis NM
  • Classic Country KKNM 96.5  Bovine TX
  • La Caliente KGRW-FM 94.7 Friona TX
  • Regional Mexican KZIP 1310 & FM translator K224EF 92.7 Amarillo, TX.
High Plains Radio Network is headed by Monte Spearman and has broadcast interests in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. Tejas Broadcasting is headed by James Anderson and has broadcast interests in Corpus Christi, TX.

Report: ESPN Sheds 2M Subscribers During 2018


ESPN has shed about 2 million domestic subscribers over the past 12 months, according to Variety citing Disney’s newly released annual report.

ESPN’s total U.S. subscriber base stands at about 86 million, per Disney’s report for its 2018 fiscal year, which ended in September. That sub number compares to 88 million as reported in Disney’s fiscal 2017 report.

Disney Channel has also seen its subscribers ebb to 89 million, down from 92 million in fiscal 2017. Freeform fell by 2 million to the 90 million mark. Disney Junior (69 million) and Disney XD (71 million) both lost 3 million subs.

The numbers, attributed to Nielsen Media Research estimates, indicate that the growth of virtual MVPDs such as YouTube Live and Hulu’s package, are still not enough to offset a net decline in the subscribers from the traditional pay-TV world.

Disney is hardly alone among media giants in feeling the effects of cord-cutting — all of cable TV’s major players have been pinched to some degree by traditional MVPD subscriber losses. Disney and ESPN’s fate have long been seen as an important barometer of the pay TV marketplace given their industry-leading status.

Disney earlier this year launched the ESPN Plus streaming service as a means to opening the service up beyond linear cable distribution. Disney said the service has garnered more than 1 million subscribers to date.

During Disney’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings announcement earlier this month, Disney execs noted that the rate of subscriber declines slowed between 2017 and 2018, to a drop of 2% compared to 3% between 2016 and 2017. In the fiscal fourth quarter ending Sept. 30, the rate of decline clocked in at 1%, likely reflecting the gains from virtual MVPDs.

Trump Bump Continues To Benefit NYTimes


When The New York Times announced its digital subscription model in March 2011, it was considered a bold move by many industry experts. The question was: would people really be willing to spend money on digital content that they were used to getting for free?

As it turned out, the answer is yes.

According to Felix Richter at Statista, seven and a half years after the introduction of its metered paywall, the Times has more than 2.5 million digital news subscribers accounting for 36 percent of the company’s subscription revenues in the first nine months of 2018. “We believe that our success with subscriptions across digital and print is a tribute to the quality and creativity of the journalism produced by our colleagues in The New York Times newsroom and editorial departments”, CEO Mark Thompson said during the Times Company's earnings call earlier this month.


Interestingly, the Times saw a significant uptick in digital subscriptions after Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016. Despite Trump’s repeated, harsh criticism of the country’s leading newspaper, the Times gained roughly a million digital subscriptions under his presidency.

"It is true that intense interest in U.S. politics gave us additional digital momentum in late 2016 and early 2017", Thompson conceded, adding that "our strategy and current digital growth does not depend on that, or indeed any single strand of news. It is this breadth, and our proven ability to extend Times quality to new topics and new media that convinces us that we can scale our digital business further and faster than anyone else".

R.I.P.: Angelica Cob-Baehler, Veteran Music Executive

Angelica Cob-Baehler
Veteran music executive and television producer Angelica Cob-Baehler died Wednesday after a year-long battle with cancer, Billboard is reporting. She turned 47 less than two weeks ago.

Cob-Baehler, who was instrumental in discovering and developing acts -- most notably Katy Perry -- was a fierce advocate for the artists she worked with during her 25-year career, including Stone Temple Pilots, John Mayer, Death Grips, System of a Down and 30 Seconds to Mars.

Most recently, Cob-Baehler, known as “Geli” to her friends, was chief marketing officer for Big 3, the professional 3-on-3 basketball league, founded by Jeff Kwatinetz and Ice Cube.

Cob-Baehler met Perry while she was a vp at Columbia Records. Perry was signed to the label and recorded a still-unreleased album. When Cob moved to Virgin Records in 2005 -- hired as svp of publicity by then-CEO Jason Flom, with whom she'd worked at Atlantic Records -- she began an ultimately successful campaign to bring Perry to Capitol Records (following Virgin’s merger into the EMI Music Group) and played a large role in the A&R and creative direction of Perry’s 2008 breakthrough album, One of the Boys, as well as the follow-up, Teenage Dream. They remained close until Cob-Baehler’s death.

"Angelica was a consummate professional," says Flom, now head of Lava Records.

"She had an uncanny ability to recognize talent and a gift for helping artists reach their greatest potential. I know Angelica as the person who believed in Kid Rock when few others did and she worked tirelessly to help transform him into a superstar. Angelica was the person who was responsible for bringing a then unknown performer named Katy Perry to Virgin Records. But what I will always remember about Angelica was her kind and gentle spirit. For even though she was strong and tough, she never lost her cool and she had a tremendous positive impact on my life and on the lives of countless others.  Rest in peace, Angelica. You are gone too soon, but you will never be forgotten."

R.I.P.: Bill Kelly, Longtime NEPA Broadcaster

Bill Kelly
Veteran Northeastern Pennsylvania broadcaster A. William (Bill) Kelly Jr., 71, of Drums, PA passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018.

A 1965 graduate of Towanda Area High School, he already possessed a passion for broadcasting for which he would dedicate his life, reports the Towanda Daily Review.

At age 12, Bill and his friends made and operated a homemade plywood radio control board in his basement. Hired two years later by his hometown radio station WTTC, Bill described everything from Harry James music to horse-pulling contests. On-air, news, sales and management roles followed. Nine stations in two states (including WHLM AM & FM in Bloomsburg, PA) came quickly, culminating at the then powerhouse number one Top40 WARM 590 AM radio in Scranton-Wilkes-Barre.

Realizing his love of broadcasting was a light bulb moment for which Bill was extremely grateful. His second revelation came when he began using the airwaves to help others. At 20 years old and station manager of WYBG in Massena, New York, Bill raised money for a new ambulance and launched a successful “Save the YMCA” campaign.

At WARM “the mighty 590,” his “Winter Walk” for the March of Dimes, a 20-mile trek from Scranton to Wilkes-Barre, raised $20,000 for children with birth defects. Two years after the Hurricane Agnes flood, he reminded listeners of the Susquehanna’s natural beauty from his canoe in a one hundred-mile “Great Canoe Expedition.” Public service projects like these led him to WVIA, a newly developed public broadcasting television and radio station in Pittston. He volunteered at WVIA until he was offered a job as the station’s first Community Relations Director in 1974, beginning a 40-year career in public broadcasting.

In 1991 after 16 years contributing to the success of WVIA, Bill took the helm as the station’s president and CEO. During his tenure, he refocused WVIA to become a community minded station and created topical programming of regional importance.

Bill enjoyed a long relationship with his Alma Mater, Bloomsburg University. He graduated in 1971 from the College of Education with a bachelor’s degree in English. He was an adjunct faculty member teaching courses in Speech and Mass Communications from 1981 to 1990.

Glen Campbell Family Feud Ends

Glen Campbell
Three adult children of the late-singer Glen Campbell have ended their effort to contest their father's will, which specifically excluded them from any inheritance.

Campbell died Aug. 8, 2017 at age 81 in the final stages of Alzheimer's disease.

According to The Tennessean, Campbell's will left his estate to Kimberly Campbell, his wife of 34 years, and five of his eight adult children, but cut out three children from prior marriages  — William Campbell, Kelli Campbell and Wesley Campbell.

On Monday, the three siblings agreed to dismiss their fight for a piece of their father's estate. A legal filing in Davidson County Probate Court did not detail why. The three had contested the validity of the 2006 will, questioning their late father's capacity.

The legal dispute pitting Campbell's widow against three of Campbell's children has long delayed resolution of the singer's final affairs, including the question of who has the rights to future royalties on his music. The legendary performer was known for songs like "Gentle On My Mind," "Galveston," "Wichita Lineman" and "Rhinestone Cowboy,"

Through her attorneys, Kimberly Campbell issued a statement that said she was pleased to put the matter behind her.

November 23 Radio History


➦In 1887...Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt in London.

In a 50 year acting career highlighted by four Frankenstein films, he found time to make an impact in horror radio & TV productions.  He is still heard today as the narrator of the annual TV cartoon favorite, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

He died at age 81 Feb 2, 1969 from emphysema.

For his contribution to film and television, Boris Karloff was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 1737 Vine Street for motion pictures, and 6664 Hollywood Boulevard for television.




➦In 1889…In San Francisco, the Palais Royal Hotel installed the first coin-operated machine that, by about 1940, was known as a "jukebox." In the beginning it was a crude slot-machine apparatus connected to an Edison phonograph which, upon receiving a coin, unlocked the mechanism, allowing the listener to turn a crank that simultaneously wound the spring motor and placed the reproducer's stylus in the starting groove. This was before the time of vacuum tubes, so there was no amplification. The music was heard via one of four listening tubes. Despite its then-high price of a nickel a song, the new contraption took in $1000 in its first six months of operation.

John Dehner
➦In 1915...actor John Dehner was born in Staten Island NY.

After starting as a Disney animator & radio deejay, he started playing heavies in films & on radio shows such as Gunsmoke, Suspense, Escape and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar.  He starred in The Hermit’s Cave and Frontier Gentleman on radio, and was Palladin in CBS Radio’s Have Gun Will Travel.  TV series credits include Young Maverick, How the West was Won, Temperatures Rising, the Doris Day Show & the Don Knotts Show.

He died of emphysema & diabetes Feb 4 1992 at age 76.


➦In 1938…Bob Hope and Shirley Ross recorded his future theme song, "Thanks For The Memory," for the soundtrack of the motion picture "The Big Broadcast of 1938."

Also on this date in 1996,  Hope set a record for the longest continuous contract in the history of radio and television when his last TV special aired. Hope had been with N-B-C for 60 years.

➦In 1959…Alan Freed was dismissed from his daily television show, "The Big Beat," over allegations that he accepted money to play certain records. Freed denied any wrongdoing.

➦In 1962…The Beatles did a ten-minute audition for BBC Television at St. James' Church Hall in London. Four days later, Brian Epstein received a polite rejection letter from the BBC. They eventually made it on the BBC in 1963.


➦In 1964…The Rolling Stones were late arriving for the BBC radio shows, "Top Gear" and "Saturday Club" and as a result were banned by the BBC for "unprofessionalism."


➦In 1967…San Francisco disc jockey Tom Donahue, inventor of "classic rock" and "deep cut" radio, told Rolling Stone magazine, "Top Forty radio, as we know it today and have known it for the last ten years, is dead, and its rotting corpse is stinking up the airwaves."

➦In 1992...country music legend Roy Acuff died of heart failure at age 89.

Considered the most influential figure in the history of country music, Acuff rose to fame in the 1930’s when radio was more important than records, so his chart hits were relatively few. But he made country standards of songs like “The Wabash Cannonball,” “The Great Speckle Bird,” “Fireball Mail” and “Night Train to Memphis.”


➦In 1993….FCC makes C-QUAM AM stereo standard.  WBZ-AM Boston playing Christmas music on Christmas Eve 1993 in C-Quam AM Stereo. This was recorded via skyway 480 miles from Boston in Lockport, NY, near Buffalo.

➦In 2004…pioneering sports radio talk show host Pete Franklin died at age 76. Franklin's stops included Cleveland and New York with his last job at KNBR, San Francisco.

➦In 2014…Veteran radio personality (WEEP-Pittsburgh, KSON and KDEO in San Diego, WJET-Erie) Bob Connors, who spent 33 of his 47 years at WTVN-Columbus, Ohio as the station's morning host, until retiring in 2011, died of mantle cell lymphoma at age 80.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Bird Is The Word!


Thanksgiving in the United States was observed on various dates throughout history.

From the time of the Founding Fathers until the time of Lincoln, the date Thanksgiving was observed varied from state to state. The final Thursday in November had become the customary date in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century, coinciding with and eventually superseding the existing holiday of Evacuation Day (a day commemorating the British exit from the United States following the Revolutionary War).

Modern Thanksgiving was first officially called for in all states in 1863 by a presidential proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. Influenced by the campaigning of author Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for around 40 years trying to make it an official holiday, Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving on the final Thursday in November, explicitly in celebration of the bounties that had continued to fall on the Union and for the military successes in the war.

Because of the ongoing Civil War, a nationwide Thanksgiving date was not realized until Reconstruction was completed in the 1870s.

On October 31, 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a presidential proclamation changing the holiday to the next to last Thursday in November, for business reasons. On December 26, 1941, he signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday.


WKRP in Cincinnati is an American sitcom that featured the misadventures of the staff of a struggling fictional radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio. The show was created by Hugh Wilson and was based upon his experiences working in advertising sales at Top 40 radio station WQXI in Atlanta. Many of the characters and even some of the stories (including season 1 episode 7, "Turkeys Away") are based on people and events at WQXI.

The ensemble cast consists of Gary Sandy (as Andy Travis), Howard Hesseman (Johnny Fever), Gordon Jump (Arthur Carlson), Loni Anderson (Jennifer Marlowe), Tim Reid (Venus Flytrap), Jan Smithers (Bailey Quarters), Richard Sanders (Les Nessman) and Frank Bonner (Herb Tarlek).


WKRP premiered September 18, 1978, on the CBS television network, and aired for four seasons and 90 episodes through April 21, 1982. Starting in the middle of the second season, CBS repeatedly moved the show around its schedule, contributing to lower ratings and its eventual cancellation.

When WKRP went into syndication, it became an unexpected success. For the next decade, it was one of the most popular sitcoms in syndication, outperforming many programs that had been more successful in prime time, including all the other MTM Enterprises sitcoms.

Jump, Sanders and Bonner reprised their roles, appearing as regular characters in a spin-off/sequel series, The New WKRP in Cincinnati, which ran from 1991 to 1993 in syndication. Hesseman, Reid and Anderson also reprised their roles on this show as guest stars.

The Premise: The station's new program director, Andy Travis, tries to turn around struggling radio station WKRP by switching its format from dated easy listening music to rock and roll, despite the well-meaning efforts of the mostly incompetent staff: bumbling station manager Arthur Carlson, greasy sales manager Herb Tarlek, and clueless news director Les Nessman. To help bolster ratings, Travis hires a new disc jockey, New Orleans native Gordon Sims (who takes on the on-air persona of Venus Flytrap); and allows spaced-out former major market DJ Dr. Johnny Fever, already doing mornings in the easy listening format as John Caravella, to be himself. Rounding out the cast are super receptionist Jennifer Marlowe and enthusiastic junior employee Bailey Quarters. Lurking in the background and making an occasional appearance is ruthless business tycoon Lillian Carlson, the station's owner and the mother of Arthur Carlson.

November 22 Radio History





➦In 1899…Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America registered in New Jersey

➦In 1906…the "S-O-S" distress signal was adopted at the International Radio Telegraphic Convention in Berlin.



➦In 1934...a song destined to become a seasonal classic, “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” was aired on radio for the first time, on NBC’s Eddie Cantor Show.

➦In 1955...RCA paid the unheard of sum of $25,000 to Sam Phillips of Memphis for the rights to the music of a truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi: Elvis Presley. Thanks to negotiations with Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, RCA tossed in a $5,000 bonus as well — for a pink Cadillac for Elvis’ mother.



➦In 1963…Many U.S. Radio stations suspended regular programming following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  The Number One song that week was 'Sugar Shack' by Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs.


More than three hours of KLIF 1190 AM audio from November 22, 1963, the day of President Kennedy's assassination.

Coverage begins at 11:30 AM (Dallas time) on 11/22/63, with Joe Long of Dallas radio station KLIF reporting live from Love Field Airport as President Kennedy arrives in "Big D".



Today 1190 AM is the home of KFXR.

Kennedy coverage as heard on WBAP 820 AM Fort Worth:




And From The Big One, WLW 700 AM Cincinnati (then an NBC Affiliate):



This is the initial bulletin heard on the NBC Radio Network about the shooting of President Kennedy in Dallas. Robert MacNeil reports live from a telephone located inside the Texas School Book Depository Building, which is where the gunshots came from.



This is the line feed from the ABC Radio Network News in the initial moments of the coverage of the JFK Assasination. Included is the ABC Log Book notes on what they were airing. Someone in ABC Master Control had to log literally everything that was broadcast each day. Also included UPI and AP wire copy which you can see the network anchors are relying on for information.



➦1963…In the UK, the Parlophone label released the Beatles' second album, "With the Beatles," and the single, "Roll Over Beethoven." Capitol Records in Canada issued the album as "Beatlemania! With the Beatles," which has the distinction of being the first Beatles album ever released in North America. Most of the songs from the album were not released in the United States until January 20, 1964 when Capitol Records issued "Meet the Beatles!"

➦In 1980...actress Mae West   died at her Hollywood home at age 87 following a stroke.



Famous for her double-entendres she had a sensational if brief radio career, appearing in two risque sketches on the Charlie McCarthy Show on a Sunday in Dec. 1937.  The listening audience was so shocked that Ms. West did not appear again on radio for another 31 years.

➦In 2002...actor Parley Baer died at age 88 after a stroke.  He was active in bigtime radio, playing Chester on Gunsmoke, and dozens of supporting roles on The Lux Radio Theater, Escape and Suspense.   On TV he was seen in everything from The Andy Griffith Show to Star Trek: Voyager. Six decades of character roles in broadcasting.

Gunsmoke "The Stage Holdup" CBS 1/2/54 Oldtime Radio Drama Western
Matt Dillon: William Conrad...Kitty: Georgia Ellis...Chester Proudfoot: Parley Baer



➦In 2011…he lead anchor for 25 years at CNN Radio Stan Case was killed in a traffic accident in Birmingham Alabama, as he was driving to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. He was 59.

➦In 2015…Longtime WCCO Minneapolis radio personality Charlie Boone, who spent 37 of his 51 years on the air partnered with Roger Erickson on the popular Boone & Erickson morning show, died at age 88.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Boston Radio: WEEI, Kirk Minihane..Just Disagreed


Kirk Minihane, former co-host of the top-rated "Kirk and Callahan" morning-drive talk show on WEEI 93.7 FM, says it was a “difference of opinion” that led to his leaving the show for a new position with Radio.com.

“There was just a philosophical difference between the station — Entercom, the ownership — and me,” Minihane told Jim Braude when he joined him on WGBH-TV's Greater Boston Monday evening. “They wanted to go one way. I didn’t want to go that way.”

Minihane said there was a document that station executives asked him to sign to remain on the show, but he ultimately refused, according to WGBH-TV.

“It basically said you can’t be interesting, you can’t be mean-spirited, you can’t take chances, you can’t rip the Red Sox, you can’t rip The Boston Globe,” said Minihane. “And I said, 'I’m not going to participate.'”


Instead, Minihane said Entercom offered him a new national radio show, podcast, and column at Radio.com — an offer he is excited about.

“It’s going to be great,” he said.

Minihane also discussed his frustration with The Boston Globe and, more specifically, Interim Editorial Page Editor Shirley Leung. Last week, Leung wrote a column in which she praised Entercom for its decision to move Minihane, which Minihane referred to as a “hit piece” and questioned why Leung did not reach out to him about it before publishing. He also questioned her choice to call him racist without providing examples.

Consumers Love Smart Speakers But Not For News


Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are rapidly gaining in popularity, but use of news on the devices is lagging, according to the Nieman Lab, citing a report released last week by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Use of the devices for music and weather is still far ahead of news use. And among consumers’ complaints about news briefings: They’re too long.

However, there’s time for news publishers to catch up, finds Nic Newman, a senior research associate at RISJ, who did his research via in-home interviews and focus groups, online surveys, and publisher interviews. He also tapped Amazon, Apple, and Google for whatever data they were willing to share — which, unsurprisingly, wasn’t a lot; none of the companies would share data on how many devices they’ve sold or discuss trends in how news is consumed on them. Smart speakers are still devices for early adopters: 14 percent of U.S. adults are now using them. Juniper Research predicted last year that they’ll be found in 55 percent of U.S. households by 2022.

Here are some of Newman’s findings:
  • News consumption on smart speakers is lower than one might expect. In the U.K., for instance, while 47 percent of smart speaker users said they use the device for news monthly and 21 percent use it daily, only 1 percent said news was the device’s most important function. In the U.S., 38 percent of smart speaker users use the device for news at least monthly and 18 percent at least daily.
  • When it comes to which news brands people access on their smart speakers, the default matters a lot: In the U.K., for instance, the default news brand on Google Homes, Amazon Echos, and Apple HomePods is BBC News. In the U.S., there’s a more even split between brands in part because NPR is no longer the default on Alexa. (It is on Apple devices, however.)

Smart speaker news briefings didn’t get much love from users in this research. Here are some of the complaints Newman heard:
  • Overlong updates — the typical duration is around five minutes, but many wanted something much shorter.
  • They are not updated often enough. News and sports bulletins are sometimes hours or days out of date.
  • Some bulletins still use synthesized voices (text to speech), which many find hard to listen to.
  • Some updates have low production values or poor audio quality.
  • Where bulletins from different providers run together, there is often duplication of stories.
  • Some updates have intrusive jingles or adverts.
  • There is no opportunity to skip or select stories.
Length in particular was an issue that arose. One American interviewee named Adam said, “When someone asks for an update on something, they are asking for a summary. Don’t give me something that is longer than a minute.” Right now, for instance, when you ask for news on a smart speaker from The New York Times, you get its podcast, The Daily, which is usually at least 15 minutes long.

WaPo Rips Trump Over Saudi Response


Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan ripped President Trump's response to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday, saying it represented a "betrayal of long-established American values of respect for human rights."

"[Trump] is placing personal relationships and commercial interests above American interests in his desire to continue to do business as usual with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia," Ryan said in a statement.

"The CIA has thoroughly investigated the murder of this innocent journalist and concluded with high confidence that it was directed by the crown prince. If there is reason to doubt the findings of the CIA, President Trump should immediately make that evidence public."

TV Ratings: DWTS Ratings Down, 'The Connors' Stabilize


The Nielsen company says viewership is down for ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” franchise, which concluded its fall season on Monday with country radio personality Bobby Bones beating Disney star Milo Manheim, actress Evanna Lynch and model Alexis Ren.

According to the Associated Press citing Nilesen data, each episode averaged 8.2 million viewers the night that it aired and during the week afterward, down 22 percent from last year’s average of 10.4 million, Nielsen said. The show was once a routine top 10 performer for ABC, but last week’s semi-finals finished out of the top 20. A figure for Monday’s finale was not immediately available.



In better news for ABC, the Rosanne Barr-less sitcom “The Conners” has turned into a solid prime-time performer. Its ratings don’t measure up to last year’s “Roseanne” revival, but last week’s episode was the third most-watched comedy on television, behind CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and its spinoff, “Young Sheldon”

Among the 18-to-49-year-old audience that ABC watches most closely, “The Conners” ranked No. 15 last week, Nielsen said. Only “Grey’s Anatomy” and the annual CMA awards had more young viewers on ABC last week, Nielsen said.

Locked in a tight battle for supremacy with CBS this season, NBC averaged 7.1 million viewers last week to 6.8 million for CBS. Fox had 6 million, ABC had 5.3 million viewers, Univision had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.2 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW averaged 1 million.

ESPN was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.36 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel averaged 2.24 million, Hallmark had 2.19 million, MSNBC had 1.8 million and USA had 1.21 million.


ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.3 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 9 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.6 million.

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Nov. 12-18. Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.

1. NFL Football: Minnesota at Chicago, NBC, 18.84 million.
2. NFL Football: Green Bay at Seattle, Fox, 16.89 million.
3. “Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” NBC, 13.32 million.
4. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 12.56 million.
5. “NCIS,” CBS, 12.47 million.
6. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 10.78 million.
7. NFL Football: N.Y. Giants at San Francisco, ESPN, 10.65M.
8. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 10.29 million.
9. “CMA Awards,” ABC, 10.11 million.
10. “Thursday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” Fox, 9.46 million.

11. “Football Night in America,” NBC, 9.22 million.
12. “FBI,” CBS, 9.2 million.
13. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 9 million.
14. “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 8.85 million.
15. “The OT,” Fox, 8.71 million.
16. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 8.63 million.
17. “This is Us,” NBC, 8.48 million.
18. “Mom,” CBS, 7.93 million.
19. “Hawaii Five-0,” CBS, 7.88 million.
20. “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 7.58 million.

Report: Megyn Kelly to Get All Of Her $69M Contract To Go Away

Megyn Kelly
Megyn Kelly is expected to walk away from Comcast Corp.’s NBC News with more than $30 million—the full value left on the three-year, $69 million contract with the network, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.

The TV anchor’s exit deal with NBC News could come as early as next week, one of the people said, more than a month after she came under fire for questioning on-air why using “blackface” for a Halloween costume was necessarily racist or insensitive. Her show, “Megyn Kelly Today,” was canceled days later.

The issues that the two sides are haggling over are largely “nonfinancial,” the person said, including noncompete and nondisclosure clauses. Ms. Kelly’s contract with NBC went into effect in the middle of last year, meaning she has a little more than half of her contract left.

In jumping from a star turn at Fox News to NBC News, Ms. Kelly attempted to transition from a hard-nosed prime-time interviewer of world leaders on Fox News to a cheerful morning host at NBC’s “Today.”

But she struggled getting traction on the broadcast network. Her Sunday evening newsmagazine show flamed out quickly, and her revamp of the 9 a.m. hour of the “Today” show attracted fewer viewers than its predecessor.

When she prompted an outcry with her Halloween comments last month, her relationship with NBC fully deteriorated. She apologized, but NBC executives and talent were harshly critical, and within days her morning show was canceled.

Ratings for her former 9 a.m. hour of “Today”—now led by Al Roker, one the sharpest critics of her Halloween comments—have improved since she left, according to Nielsen.

Wall Street: 5 Techies Lose $822B In Market Value


As investors have dumped shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google-parent Alphabet, $822 billion in value has been wiped off their combined market value since the end of August, according to The NYTimes.

Based on the losses from each company’s high point in recent months, more than $1 trillion in value has been erased. Facebook, Apple and Amazon have endured the greatest declines, all down $250 billion or more from their respective peaks.

That is a marked reversal for one of the most popular trades on Wall Street. Investors piled into shares of the largest tech companies, betting their revenue would continue to grow strongly as these behemoths upended industries from retail to communication to media.

Comcast Settles MA Lawsuit Over Hidden Fees


Comcast Corp. agreed to pay $950,000 and cancel debts for 20,000 Xfinity customers in Massachusetts to settle a civil investigation by the state attorney general into deceptive advertising over "lock-in" prices that actually escalated over contract periods because of broadcast television and regional sports fees, court documents show.

According to philly.com, consumer activists say hidden fees in cable bills can boost monthly TV bills by 25 percent. A California class action lawsuit claimed that Comcast earns $2 billion a year from them nationally.

When thousands of Comcast customers in Massachusetts learned of the higher cable bills because of the fees, they dropped their TV service but also incurred termination fees of $240 to cancel long-term contracts, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.

As part of the settlement reached last week, Comcast will issue refunds to Massachusetts consumers who paid early termination fees after downgrading their service or being involuntarily disconnected by Comcast between January 2015 and March 2016. Comcast cooperated with the investigation.

Comcast denied wrongdoing, saying that it was avoiding protracted and costly litigation with the settlement. The Philadelphia company also said it had "enhanced disclosures" in its advertising.

Byron Allen's $20B Lawsuit vs Comcast, Charter Moves Forward

A federal appeals court is keeping a $20 billion lawsuit against Comcast alive, Deadline reports, as both the Center City Philadelphia-based company and Charter continue to fight accusations from Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks alleging the companies discriminated against the company in selecting programming.

Allen, who recently bought The Weather Channel, said both companies violated the Civil Rights Act and also levied serious accusations of racism at Charter, which is facing a $10 billion lawsuit. In court documents, a Charter executive is accused of telling a group of protesters to “get off welfare” and that at an industry event, its CEO called Allen, “boy.”

Charter said in a statement the allegations are "a desperate tactic that this programmer has used before with other distributors,” and that the company is "disappointed with today’s decision and will vigorously defend ourselves against these claims.”

According to the Philly Business Journal, Comcast's statement was much more reserved, saying it “respectfully” disagrees with the judge's decision, and is reviewing it and considering options.

The news of the appeal court decision, which will send the case back to trials court. It also follows the announcement Comcast added two brand new independent stations, Cleo TV and Afro, to its channel line-up.

The two additions fulfill Comcast’s agreement to air 10 new independent stations, eight minority-owned, as part of the company's 2011 consent decree that allowed the NBCUniversal merger to move forward. Afro is described as a “polycultural black network” from Florida-based Afrotainment and Cleo TV, from media company Urban One Inc., is focused on lifestyle and entertainment programming for young women of color.

New CBC President: Future of Public Broadcasting Is Local and Online

Catherine Tait
Catherine Tait, CBC/Radio-Canada's first female president sat down with CBC Radio host Stephen Quinn to talk about the future of public broadcasting in the digital age.

Tait, who is just months into her new role, is already known for being vocal about some of the changes she plans to bring to the national broadcasting corporation.


Report: Amazon Bidding For Fox Regional Sports Nets

Amazon is bidding for all of the 22 regional sports TV networks that Disney acquired from Twenty-First Century Fox, according to CNBC.

The e-commerce giant’s bid includes the New York-based YES Network, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC. It is bidding for the New York network along with an unknown sovereign wealth fund and the Yankees, the sources said. YES may be sold separately from the other networks.

In addition to Amazon, Apollo Global Management, KKR, The Blackstone Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tegna also made first-round bids for the full slate of networks, the sources said.

Fox, which owns the YES Network with the New York Yankees, was seen as a front-runner to bid for the nearly two dozen regional networks. They broadcast the games of 44 professional teams from Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League.

Fox itself did not submit a bid in the first round for the networks although there’s potential that it will join in the second round, the sources told CNBC. Earlier this year, Fox sold some television and movie assets to Disney, which owns the sports channel ESPN. The Justice Department forced Disney to sell the Fox regional sports networks to get that deal done.