Monday, April 6, 2020

Brace For A Bad Week

Health officials said Americans should prepare for the worst days ahead, as the U.S. increasingly becomes the center of the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 1.2 million people globally, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The world’s newly reported cases of coronavirus jumped by more than 100,000 in a day for the first time. The U.S. added more than 33,000 cases, pushing the total number of reported infections in the country above 312,000 as of early Sunday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

More than 8,500 people in the U.S. have died from Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Fox News that the next week would be “the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives,” comparing the suffering to the devastation from Pearl Harbor or the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Americans should stay at home for the next 30 days, he said. Still, he supported the authority of governors to make their own decisions about closing up their economies.

Models show infections could peak in New York, Detroit and New Orleans in the next six to seven days, coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx said late Saturday.

“The next two weeks are extraordinarily important,” Dr. Birx said at a White House news briefing Saturday evening. “This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe.”

Dr. Birx said officials are closely monitoring an uptick in cases in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C., and are hopeful that social distancing in those places could prevent them from seeing the same level of spread as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and part of Rhode Island are having.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that if Americans follow their orders to stay home and observe other safe behaviors, the number of new cases will start to stabilize.

Barron's: It's Ugly In Advertising

Advertising is drying up everywhere you look due to the pandemic, warns Barron's in a brutal assessment of the industry.

The Takeaways:
  • Basic cable: AMC Networks, ViacomCBS and Discovery are looking less attractive as cord-cutting accelerates during the pandemic.
  • Digital beasts: Facebook and Twitter have issued warnings that they will take a hit from the downturn, while Alphabet's Google seems likely to also feel a pinch. Higher traffic isn't enough to offset lower ad spending amid a downturn in the economy.
  • Newspapers: Shares of New York Times, News Corp, Meredith and Gannett have already sold off as the industry continues to cut to the bone. Finding upside potential will be hard until consumer discretionary spending is on the mend.
  • TV and radio: iHeart Media is hurting from the lack of commuters, while Cumulus Media lost its valuable sports programming for the near term.
  • Billboards: Low traffic = low billboard views. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings is off 77% and Outfront Media is down 65% after going into crisis mode.
  • Media giants: Diversified power players Comcast, AT&T and Disney have held up decently in the media sell-off, although they are all missing out on the sports revenue generated from major events.

Report: Marketers Who Keep Spending During Downturns Fare Better

Research shows that brands cutting spending now will have a harder time when recovery comes.

And AdAge reports despite an unprecedented disruption in people’s lives amid a pandemic that could kill hundreds of thousands of people, the current crisis is also creating new opportunities for brands old and new—as uncomfortable as that may be to think about.

As bad as things have been in recent weeks, they’re about to get much worse for consumers.

The downturn fueled by coronavirus will make the onset of the Great Recession in 2008 look mild–at least in the early going. The latest second-quarter U.S. gross domestic product forecast from Goldman Sachs is for a 34 percent decline, more than three times worse than he previous quarterly record of 10 percent set in 1958 (amid a flu pandemic).

A tracking survey of more than 2,700 people conducted March 23-25 by CivicScience found that 14 percent of respondents had lost their jobs and weren't getting paid, while another 10 percent were working fewer hours for less pay. Another 6 percent were not working but still getting paid, though it’s unclear for how long.

Amid all that, it’s tempting for marketers to stop spending on one thing they can control, which is advertising. A survey by agency lead generation firm RSW/US conducted last week found 9 percent of marketers have cut all spending, another 29 percent have “greatly reduced it” and another 31 percent have “somewhat reduced it.”

Research by Ebiquity shows brands that increase spending during a recession achieve market share gains averaging 1.6 percentage points during the first two years of a recovery, said Christian Polman, chief strategy officer, speaking at an Advertising Research Foundation webinar on recession impacts late last month. Brands that maintain their spending average a one-point share gain, while brands that cut spending during a recession average a 0.7-point share gain during the subsequent recovery, he said.

A Kantar survey found large percentages of people now want companies to focus on employee health, remote working, making sure they can still provide needed goods and increasing donations to help ease the crisis. But only 5 percent of people said companies should stop advertising.

TV Ratings: Local TV News Sees Spike In Viewers

Local television stations are experiencing a rare surge in viewership as more Americans tune in for coronavirus updates. But the stations are unlikely to benefit financially because of a cutback in advertising spending.

“We have more viewers than ever, but advertisers are unfortunately stuck in the same economic boat as many of us,” said Patrick McCreery, president of the local media group of Meredith Corp., MDP 1.48% which owns 17 TV stations.

Local broadcast journalists are producing segments from their homes and on the street, as they are considered essential workers. Many viewers are leaning on local TV news for constant updates in their communities.

Spikes in local-TV viewership aren’t unusual when a specific market gets hit by a major disaster, such as Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Nexstar Chief Executive Perry Sook said. What’s different this time, he said, is that the coronavirus pandemic “is a disaster that’s playing out across the entire nation.”

Wall Street Journal Graphic
Local broadcasts aren’t the only news stations experiencing surges in audience. Daytime cable news viewership for channels including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and Fox Business more than quadrupled from a year earlier, according to measurement firm Samba TV.

Charter Communications Inc.’s local Spectrum News, offered to traditional pay-TV subscribers, experienced a 71% increase in household viewership in mid-March compared with prior weeks.

The rise in viewership comes as companies pull back on advertising spending.

“It’s a tale of two cities,” said Kyle Evans, a media analyst at Stephens Inc. “On one side your viewership has been teleported back to the 1950s, when people crowded around their TV at home and watched the news. On the other side, advertising is dropping off and not matching those viewership numbers.”

Advertising is often among the first things cut by companies looking to preserve cash in times of crisis, because it is seen as discretionary spending within many corporations, marketers said. Ad-buying giant Magna Global last week slashed its U.S. advertising forecast as economic conditions continue to worsen because of the coronavirus pandemic, whose impact it likened to “a combination of the Great Recession and 9/11.”

Local TV broadcasters say the automobile industry makes up a key portion of advertising revenue, but auto sales are dropping. Political advertising is another large contributor to local TV stations’ revenue, and the postponement of many primaries because of the virus means that advertising revenue is likely to be pushed to later in the year, company executives said.

Fox News Targets Early May Employee Return

Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said Friday that the outlet is considering May 4 as a "target date" for employees currently working remotely to return to work.

The Hill reports Scott emphasized in a conference call and a memo to staff that the date could change because the coronavirus pandemic "is an evolving & changing crisis," a source who was on the Friday morning call told The Hill.

"I'm using the word 'target' because as we all know this is an evolving & changing crisis. Sometimes by the day and some days by the hour," Scott said on the call, according to the source.

Fox News will be "distributing thermometers to the essential workforce" at its Manhattan headquarters and all bureaus across the country that don't have them, Scott also wrote in a companywide memo.

"Please know that we are following all [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines for the work environment incorporating all necessary social/physical distancing across every area including control rooms, limiting interaction as much as possible and sanitizing all areas of the building," Scott noted in the memo.

"We ask that everyone coming into our buildings please take your temperature each morning before coming to work — on the advice of several doctors we have been in constant consultation with," the memo added.

Scott and Fox News president and executive editor Jay Wallace said that they have continued to go to the network's Manhattan headquarters throughout the coronavirus crisis.

New York City has become the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., forcing all networks and news organizations to instruct most of their employees to work from home to adhere to social distancing guidelines and out of an abundance of caution.

FBN's Bartiromo: Virus Is Top Priority, Not Economy

Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo said the top priority of the country regarding the coronavirus crisis should be treating and containing the disease that continues to spread throughout the country.

The anchor added that "the second and third priority" should then be getting the $22 trillion U.S. economy going again.

"I think most people will agree the number one priority is getting our arms around this virus and ensuring that, we’ve got the right treatments in place, the antiviral, and a vaccine at some point," Bartiromo explained in a phone interview with The Hill.

"This is an unprecedented moment, obviously. When would the government ever tell businesses to shut down and tell citizens to stay at home?" she said.

"So you have to wonder what it’s going to take to bring the economy up again, and I think that is an ongoing discussion that we want to have whether or not the economy can be reopened once again," she continued. "But not until we understand fully how we're going to beat this virus. So that is the priority. But I think that a second and third priority should be certainly be the economy."

Early last month, Bartiromo was criticized by left-leaning outlets, including Salon and Raw Story, for her reporting based on White House sources March 5 that the number of cases in the U.S. would reach into "the hundreds of thousands." Both outlets accused Bartiromo of spreading "disinformation."

The current number of U.S. cases is more than 244,000, with the domestic death toll at least 6,200, according to a New York Times tracker.

"At this point I feel like it’s hard to take some of these outlets seriously," Bartiromo said in response. "I’ve been trashed before for seeking the truth," Bartiromo said.

Stuck at Home, Smart Speaker Owners Leaning on Devices More

With people across the country confined to their homes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many are increasingly turning to their smart speakers for news and entertainment, according to new polling from Morning Consult. That presents an opportunity for advertisers, said several audio marketing consultants and voice content developers, even for those with slimming budgets

“People are home, and they’re going to be using their smart speakers more often,” said Emily Binder, founder of the digital consultancy company Beetle Moment Marketing, which helps brands establish their presence on voice assistants.

Thirty-four percent of U.S. adults who own smart speakers said they are using the devices more often than usual in the past month, according to a March 31-April 1 poll conducted by Morning Consult. Three in 5 said they’re using their devices about the same amount, while 5 percent said they are using them less.

The poll was conducted among 2,200 U.S. adults and holds a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Many companies were establishing their presence in audio and on voice assistants even before the pandemic. Sonic branding first hit the radars of many marketers in 2018, proved itself to be a worthwhile marketing tool in 2019 and was expected to become more popular in 2020, said Will Mayo, the founder and chief strategy officer of SpokenLayer, which works with brands and media companies to create branded short-form audio content and distribute it on platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

The costs associated with producing and placing branded content — such as podcasts, microcasts and smart speaker voice apps — on audio platforms also tend to be much cheaper than those associated with video, audio experts said.

Mayo said it could be up to 10 times more expensive to make video assets than audio assets for campaigns, but some advanced audio campaigns can add up to seven figures in yearly spend.

“We’re seeing a lot of advertisers that have never really done audio come in this year,” Mayo said. “The brands that are willing to jump on this are going to have a phenomenal ROI.”

Trump Hopes Sports Will Return 'Sooner Than Later'

President Donald Trump said Saturday that he believes professional sports can resume “sooner rather than later” and that arenas and stadiums eventually will be filled with fans attending games once the nation’s health improves from the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsday reports Trump made the comments after speaking on a conference call with commissioners from most major sports, including the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.

Trump said at his Saturday news briefing at the White House that the fans “want to get back, they’ve got to get back, too. They want to see basketball, baseball, football and hockey. They want to see their sports. They want to go out onto the golf courses and breath nice, clean, beautiful fresh air.”

Trump said he wouldn’t predict when pro sports can resume.

“I can’t tell you a date, but I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later,” he said. “We’re not going to have to have separation for the rest of our time on the planet. We need it for this period of time, but eventually people are going to be able to occupy those seats in arenas next to each other like we have for all of my life and all of your life.”

Trump’s conference call included 12 sports commissioners and top executives from football, baseball, basketball and hockey, as well as Major League Soccer, the WNBA, WWE, the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, UFC, NASCAR, IndyCar and Breeders’ Cup, according to a White House pool report.

“The president recognized the good work being done by many teams and players to care for their communities, workforces, and fan bases across the nation,” the pool report said. “The commissioners thanked President Trump for his national leadership and for his interest in the sports industry. President Trump encouraged them to continue to support their fellow Americans during this challenging time.”

Trump said current social-distancing measures aimed to slow the spread of the virus eventually will be relaxed, after which people can gather in large groups. More than 300 million Americans now are under some requirements for social distancing.

NYC Radio: John Sterling Expects Empty Ballparks

John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman
Yankees radio voice John Sterling can’t wait for this coronavirus pandemic to end so he can get back to living life as he knows and loves it.

Sterling told nj-com, he’s missing being in the Yankees radio booth calling games and talking baseball with long-time broadcaster partner Suzyn Waldman.

“Well, like everyone else, I’m, as they say, under house arrest,” Sterling said in a recent interview with Michael Kay for a YES Network “We’re Here” podcast. “You know, I’m just hoping and praying that people will follow these safety guidelines,

Sterling, 81, has been saying busy phoning friends, reading books and watching the news.

“Well, you'd like to have a normal life,” Sterling said. “There's no question that’s one of the tough things. You can't call up your friends and meet for dinner somewhere. There's no place that’s open. But I have a very lovely apartment looking over the Hudson. It’s a big apartment, and my kids will come down and bring me things and I read in the afternoon. Every afternoon I'm in the middle of a book.

“Anyway, I'm doing okay. I'm very lucky that I haven't got the virus. Suzyn hasn't gotten it. I call friends every day around the country to see how they're doing. And, you know, for them, so far so good.”

Sterling is optimistic that there will be a 2020 baseball season and he’ll eventually get to add to his total of calling more than 5,100 Yankees games.

“I don’t know when this is gonna begin,” he said. “They could have a season and play July, August, September and October. And then play the playoffs and World Series in retractable domes or warm-weather sites. For one year you can do that.

"I think if (the season started) by July, they could get in 120 games with a doubleheader every week. As we try to get life back to normal, I think when they begin there will be empty ballparks, which will be weird.

“It would be great for ratings, but it'll be weird.”

Sterling’s big concern now his health, his friends and family’s health, Yankees fans’ health … the health of everyone.

NY Radio: Mike Francesa Agrees To Pay Cut

Mike Francesa
Mike Francesa has agreed to a 20% pay cut through July, he confirmed on Friday, joining other high-paid hosts at WFAN 660 AM / 101.9 FM in seeking to help the station through a business downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Newsday reports.

Entercom, WFAN’s parent company, announced Thursday that it would institute company-wide furloughs, layoffs and pay cuts, starting with CEO David Field taking a salary reduction of 30%.

Those Entercom employees approached about pay cuts were asked to take reductions ranging from 10 to 20%, based on salary level.

The FAN’s highest-paid hosts — believed to include Francesa, Boomer Esiason, Gregg Giannotti, Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno — were in the 20% range.

A source familiar with the process said all of the highest-paid hosts are believed to have agreed. Esiason told The New York Post on Thursday that he would do so.

It appears WFAN’s production side will be spared layoffs for now.

Two longtime update men,  John Minko and Harris Allen, accepted buyouts this week. Minko’s final shift was 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. He has been at the station since it launched on July 1, 1987.

Spokane Radio: Patchin, Lukens Sign-Off At KXLX

In a surprise move, the long-running Patchin and Lukens sports talk radio show signed off at KXLX 700 ESPN for the final time Friday night.

The show originated in 1986 when KXLY-TV sports veterans Dennis Patchin, Rick Lukens and Bud Nameck, joined by local broadcaster Chuck DeBruin, began Sports Tonight. Over the years the cast has changed, but Patchin was a fixture, reports.

Patchin, who started at KXLY in 1984, moved from TV to radio full time in 2009 and has been a sports-talk fixture on weekday afternoons since. In different stretches, Julie Scott, now a University of Idaho media instructor, Keith Osso, KXLY’s current sports director, and Lukens, a Spokane radio and TV fixture since 1983, joined Patchin on the show.

Patchin and Lukens was the last locally produced sports-talk radio show in Spokane.

L-A Radio: Meruelo Media Sends Message Of Support

Otto Padron
Otto Padron, CEO of Mereulo Media has sent employees a letter of reassurance during a challenging time as result of the pandemic.  In his memo, Padron stated "We will grow through this by going through this together... no flowers without rain..."

The letter is posted...

Key Networks Offers Stations Jess Kelly Test Airings

Key Networks announces that its new three-hour morning talk radio program, The Jesse Kelly Show, debuts today in national syndication, and is available to stations Monday through Friday from 9am-Noon EST, with delayed broadcasts available via XDS.

Featuring U.S. Marine veteran, former Congressional candidate and conservative radio and television host, Jesse Kelly, The Jesse Kelly Show broadcasts live from flagship station 950 KPRC in Houston, TX. The show follows Key Network’s launch of The O’Reilly Update, one of the most successful launches of a talk radio program in recent memory.

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Key Networks is offering the “Test Drive Jesse Kelly” program through April 30, 2020, with no agreements or contracts necessary to try the show. Stations that are experiencing any staffing challenges due to the Coronavirus and have programming gaps to fill can try Jesse’s show with no contract or commitment.
Jesse Kelly

Dennis Green, Chief Revenue Officer, Key Networks, said: “We encourage stations to ‘test drive’ The Jesse Kelly Show now, when people are clamoring for new and compelling content that is relevant to their lives and speaks to them in a personal way. If you need to plug a temporary hole in your programming lineup, even if it’s on a sports station, give Jesse a try for as long or short as you need.”

Green noted: “Jesse Kelly has been a leading voice during the Coronavirus pandemic, arming listeners with actionable facts on how to keep their families safe. He is also very supportive of small businesses during this very challenging time, encouraging America to support workers and small businesses. Listeners across the country will respond to Jesse’s candor, relatability, insight and humor, at a time when they are looking for a reasoned and informed perspective and a trusted companion for uncertain times.”

Key Networks delivers The Jesse Kelly Show to stations of all market sizes. All network advertising is included with the show, with no additional barter units for stations to run.

For more information and to get The Jesse Kelly Show for your station, contact Dennis Green, Chief Revenue Officer, Key Networks, at 844.KEY.NETS or 

April 6 Radio History

➦In 1892...Lowell Jackson Thomas born (Died at age 81 – August 29, 1981).  He  was a writer, actor, broadcaster, and traveler, best remembered for publicizing T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). He was also involved in promoting the Cinerama widescreen system.

In 1930, he became a broadcaster with the CBS Radio network, delivering a nightly news and commentary program. After two years, he switched to the NBC Radio network but returned to CBS in 1947. In contrast to today's practices, Thomas was not an employee of either NBC News or CBS News. Prior to 1947, he was employed by the broadcast's sponsor Sunoco. He returned to CBS to take advantage of lower capital-gains tax rates, establishing an independent company to produce the broadcast which he sold to CBS. He hosted the first-ever television news broadcast in 1939 and the first regularly scheduled television news broadcast (even though it was just a camera simulcast of his radio broadcast) beginning on February 21, 1940 over local station W2XBS (now WNBC) New York. It is not known whether all or some of the radio/TV simulcasts were carried by the two other television stations capable of being fed programs by W2XBS at the time, which were W2XB (now WRGB) Schenectady and W3XE (now KYW-TV) Philadelphia.

In the summer of 1940, Thomas anchored the first live telecast of a political convention, the 1940 Republican National Convention which was fed from Philadelphia to W2XBS and on to W2XB. Reportedly, Thomas wasn't even in Philadelphia, instead anchoring the broadcast from a New York studio and merely identifying speakers who addressed the convention.

The television news simulcast was a short-lived venture for him, and he favored radio. Indeed, it was over radio that he presented and commented upon the news for four decades until his retirement in 1976, the longest radio career of anyone in his day (a record later surpassed by Paul Harvey). His signature sign-on was "Good evening, everybody" and his sign-off "So long, until tomorrow," phrases that he would use in titling his two volumes of memoirs.


➦In 1931...Little Orphan Annie debuted on the NBC Radio Network.  Annie was based on the daily American comic strip created by Harold Gray and syndicated by the Tribune Media Services. The strip took its name from the 1885 poem "Little Orphant Annie" by James Whitcomb Riley, and made its debut on August 5, 1924, in the New York Daily News.

The plot follows the wide-ranging adventures of Annie, her dog Sandy and her benefactor Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks. Secondary characters include Punjab, the Asp and Mr. Am. The strip attracted adult readers with political commentary that targeted (among other things) organized labor, the New Deal and communism.

 The strip's popularity declined over the years; it was running in only 20 newspapers when it was cancelled on June 13, 2010.

➦In 1945...'This is Your FBI' debuted on ABC radio as a weekly 30-minute police drama. Frank Lovejoy served as narrator over the following eight years.

➦In 1984...One of the most influential Top 40 stations in the world in the 1960s and 1970s Windsor’s iconic rock radio station CKLW (The Big 8 ) switched format to Adult Standards, branding as ‘The Music of Your Life.’


Some listeners believe that CKLW started to decline in popularity after Canadian content regulations went into effect in 1971. Although having to play 30% "CanCon" songs that generated little in the way of sales put the station at a competitive disadvantage compared to its U.S.-based competition, CKLW still managed to help break a number of Canadian songs and artists in the United States. These included Anne Murray, The Poppy Family, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, The Guess Who, April Wine, the Five Man Electrical Band, and Bachman Turner Overdrive. Just as, if not more, responsible for the decline in CKLW's ratings as the 1970s wore on was the rise of FM radio as an outlet for contemporary music, as the station gained a direct FM Top 40 competitor, WDRQ, in 1972, and its listening audience was also fragmented between album oriented rock outlets such as WWWW, WRIF and WABX and adult contemporary stations like WNIC and WMJC.

The Canadian government's initial unwillingness to licence FM frequencies with pop or rock formats stranded Canadian stations on AM while an entire demographic of listeners began the exodus to US-based FM outlets anywhere the signals were in range. For many younger listeners by 1978, CKLW was the station they listened to only if they had an AM-only radio in their cars.

The station's music softened to the point where by 1982 it gave no airtime to harder-rocking songs like Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", and jingles were initially phased out, with new jingles and a new slogan ("The Great Entertainer") being introduced in 1979.

➦In 2011...Coyote William McCloud died from liver disease at age 68 (Born - August 31, 1942). He was a popular radio disc jockey in Nashville.

Coyote McCloud
For more than 30 years, he was a drive-time personality at several Nashville radio stations. He first became well known in the early 1970s on WMAK-AM, then a market-dominant rock and roll station, as host of its 7 p.m.–midnight program

McCloud was one of the most controversial deejays of the late 1980s when he was the lead man on "The Zoo Crew" on Nashville's Y107 (WYHY). While enormously popular among his target demographic, his outlandish on-air personality drew the ire of many within the community as being a "bad influence" on teenagers. He was one of the subjects of a CBS 48 Hours documentary in 1992 about "shock radio". McCloud enjoyed his highest level of popularity while working for Y107, and had his own fan club.  He worked at the station for over 10 years, from 1984 to 1995. McCloud was featured frequently in Billboard.

Early in his career, he was an afternoon drive personality at WGOW-AM (owned by Ted Turner) in Chattanooga, using the name Bill Scott. In 1976, his recording of "Nitty Gritty Rock and Roll" was released as 45 rpm record on the Midland South label, distributed by RCA. The song included the catch-phrases he used as a nighttime deejay on WQXI "Quixie" in Atlanta.

Early in 1983 while hosting the morning show at Kix 104, McCloud was selected by Country Music Television network founders Glenn D. Daniels and co-founder G. Dean Daniels to be the first on-air "voice" of the network. When CMT (originally called "CMTV") launched on March 5, 1983, McCloud provided the first vocal announcement heard on the network under an animated "CMTV" logo with the words, "You're Watching CMTV...Country Music stereo." He remained the on-air "voice" of the network from 1983 through 1984.

McCloud also worked at Kix 104 (WWKX) in the early 1980s, Power Country 103 (WZPC) in the mid-1990s, and Oldies 96.3 (WMAK) in the early 2000s. Along with Cathy Martindale, he hosted Coyote & Cathy In The Morning on 96.3 (WMAK FM) and 97.1 WRQQ until late November 2006.

➦In Mickey Rooney, whose career began in vaudeville, silent movies and on radio, and continued through Hollywood’s sound era into television, his work spanning nine decades until just a few weeks earlier, died at age 93.

Candace Cameron
  • Scrubs actor Zach Braff is celebrating his 45th birthday.
  • Actress Candace Cameron, who played the oldest daughter on TV's Full House and Fuller House, is 44.
  • Actress Marilu Henner, Taxi's Elaine Nardo, is 68.
  • Cheers' Cliff Clavin, actor John Ratzenberger, turns 73.
  • Actor Paul Rudd is 51.
  • Actor Billy Dee Williams is celebrating his 83rd birthday.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

April 5 Radio History

➦In 1922…KOB-AM Albuquerque, New Mexico signed-on.

Ralph Willis Goddard
The station was founded at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Las Cruces (now New Mexico State University) by Ralph Willis Goddard, and began broadcasting tests in 1919 under the call letters 5XD. On April 5, 1922 the station began regular operation as KOB, a callsign which had belonged to marine radio aboard the Princess Anne before its February 2, 1920 shipwreck on Rockaway Shoals, Long Island.  New Mexico A&M sold the station after Goddard was electrocuted while adjusting the transmitter on December 31, 1928. In 1933 the station moved to Albuquerque, and was later bought by the Albuquerque Journal.

In 1948, Tom Pepperday, owner and publisher of the Journal, signed on KOB-TV, the first television station between the Mississippi River and the West Coast. The stations passed to Time-Life in 1952 and to Hubbard Broadcasting in 1957. Hubbard Broadcasting sold the radio stations in 1986. In order to trade on the well-known KOB calls, the new owners simply added an extra "K" to the radio station's call letters.

KOB was involved in a 38-year-long dispute with New York City station WABC (originally WJZ) over the use of the 770 kHz frequency. KOB was moved there from 1030 to make room for WBZ in Boston. While the Federal Communications Commission requested that WJZ install a directional antenna to allow the stations to interoperate over large areas, the station refused to comply, encroaching on the range KOB was intended to cover. Only after reaching the U.S. Supreme Court was the issue settled, when the FCC assigned KOB to a new license class. KKOB and WABC became sister stations when Citadel Broadcasting purchased ABC Radio in 2007; Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.

➦In 1922…WDZ-AM, Decatur, Illinois signed-on.

WDZ started in the office of the James Bush grain elevator in Tuscola, Illinois. The original call sign was 9JR and the original intent of the station was to broadcast grain reports, making it the first radio station to do so. The station later started mixing some music in with the grain reports.

The radio station's power was increased to 1000 watts in 1939 with a new 252-foot (77 m) tower. During that time, WDZ used remote broadcasts that was unique for a rural station. The station started the use of remote broadcasting equipment which included a truck called, the "WDZ 'White Relay Truck"', equipped with a 100-watt transmitter to relay broadcasts from area locations, and some two-watt, battery operated transmitters that could be worn on the backs of assistants when a program originated from remote sites.   The station was on 1020 kHz in 1941, but changed to 1050 kHz, and has remained there since.

1050 kHz has been a Mexican Clear Channel since 1941 (was a U.S. Clear Channel before 1941), and U.S. operations on Mexican Clear Channels was restricted to 1,000 watts and to daytime operations, only, until the "Rio" treaty took effect in the late 1980s (before 1941, 1020 kHz was a U.S. Clear Channel and that, too, was restricted). After "Rio" took effect, it was a simple matter for WDZ to add night operations with as little as 250 watts, and today the station is indeed operating with its pre-"Rio" maximum daytime power and its post-"Rio" minimum nighttime power. Anything more than 1,000 watts days and 250 watts nights very likely would require installation of a directional antenna system at great capital expense. WDZ is diplexed (i.e., it uses the very same vertical radiator) with co-owned WSOY.

WDZ Performer's Studio
In 1949, the station moved from Tuscola to Decatur.   The relocation of WDZ from Tuscola to the west and to Decatur greatly facilitated the eventual allocation of a station on 1080 kHz in Oak Lawn, suburban Chicago, IL.

WDZ Transmitter Studio
On March 31, 2008, the station switched to a sports radio format as part of the Fox Sports Radio network. Within a year the station switched programming from Fox Sports Radio to ESPN Radio.

WDZ and its sister stations WCZQ 105.5 FM Monticello and WDZQ 95.1 FM, 1340 WSOY 1340 AM and WSOY 102.9 FM Decatur, were sold to Neuhoff Media in February 2009.

Today, WDZ 1050 AM, powers with 1000 Kw-Day, 250 watts Night. and airs ESPN Sports.

➦In 1927...The NBC Orange Network started distributing programs. Also known as the NBC Pacific Coast network it was a National Broadcasting Company radio network in the western United States from 1927 to 1936, before two-way broadcast-quality communications circuits reached the West to relay the larger NBC Red Network and NBC Blue Network.

The Orange Network had its own production and performance staffs on the West Coast. In addition to producing original West Coast works, the Orange Network also had duplicate productions of many eastern shows until the end of 1928. In December 1928, a single broadcast-quality line was completed to San Francisco, and the Orange Network could then carry eastern programming directly, but only one program at a time; from then until 1936, Orange Network fed some programs from Red and some from Blue.

In 1936, a second broadcast-quality circuit was completed, this time to Los Angeles. This circuit also allowed the direction of amplification to be reversed in under 15 seconds, allowing Los Angeles, with its easy access to talent during the Golden Age of Hollywood, to feed broadcast-quality sound to the eastern networks as well. With the opening of the second circuit, the need for the Orange Network disappeared, and the stations on the old Orange Network became the Pacific Coast Red Network, fed by KPO (AM), except KGO (AM), which itself fed a new Western Blue Network made up of stations on the short-lived former NBC Gold Network

➦In 1982…Record World magazine ended publication after 36-years. It was one of the three main music industry trade magazines in the United States, along with Billboard and Cash Box. It was founded in 1946 under the name Music Vendor, but in 1964 it was changed to Record World, under the ownership of Sid Parnes and Bob Austin. It ceased publication on April 10, 1982.

Many music industry personalities, writers, and critics began their careers there in the early 1970s to 1980s.  Record World was considered the hipper, faster-moving music industry publication, in contrast to the stodgier Billboard and the perennially-struggling Cash Box. Record World's collapse was the result of discord between the two owners, and a sudden downturn in record sales.

➦In 2005…News anchor Peter Jennings told his ABC-TV audience that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He died four months later.

Peter Jennings
Jennings was born on July 29, 1938, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; he and his younger sister Sarah were the only two children of Elizabeth (née Osborne) and Charles Jennings, a prominent radio broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Peter Jennings started his broadcasting career at the age of nine, hosting Peter's People, a half-hour, Saturday morning, CBC Radio show for kids.

The 21-year-old Jennings started his rise in broadcasting. In 1959, radio CFJR, in Brockville, ON, hired him as a member of its news department; many of his stories, including his coverage of a local train wreck, were picked up by the CBC. By 1961, Jennings had joined the staff of CJOH-TV, then a new television station in Ottawa. When the station launched in March 1961, Jennings was initially an interviewer and co-producer for Vue, a late-night news program. His producers saw a youthful attractiveness in him that resembled that of Dick Clark, and Jennings soon found himself hosting Club Thirteen, a dance show similar to American Bandstand.

➦In 2014…TV and radio host Lynn Hinds died at age 79 from pancreatic cancer. Hinds informed and entertained countless Pittsburghers for two decades.

Hinds was a radio and TV host here from the 1960s until 1983, starting with radio shows on KQV-AM and WTAE-AM.

Lynn Hinds
Retired news director and broadcaster Frank Gottlieb, who worked with Mr. Hinds at WTAE-TV, always made a point to listen to his radio talk shows. "It was appointment radio. It was on the high level of Lynn's intellect. It was back when talk wasn't the same as it is now. It wasn't bombastic all politics, all the time."

Former WTAE news director Joe Rovitto recalls Mr. Hinds as a well-informed host with "phenomenal" interviewing skills. "That made him the ideal host for television. He was exactly what you would want every journalist to be. He was a sponge for information. At the same time, he was one of the most down-to-earth guys."

In 1983, WTAE decided not to renew his contract. At that point he dedicated his life to teaching. He moved to State College and joined the faculty at Penn State University. While he was there, he wrote, produced and hosted "The Pennsylvania Game," a current affairs quiz show that aired on the Pennsylvania Public Television Network.

In 1991, he left Penn State to teach broadcast journalism at West Virginia University. In 1996, he accepted the job of chair of the communications department at Drury University in Springfield, Md., and retired as professor emeritus.

Hinds wrote several books, including "Broadcasting the Local News: The Early Years of KDKA," and "The Cold War as Rhetoric: the Beginnings, 1945-1950."

➦In  2015…Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Lonnie Alexander "Lon" Simmons died at age 91. (Born - July 19, 1923).

Lon Simmons - 1971
He was born in Vancouver, Washington, he began his radio career in Elko, Nevada, calling Elko High School football and basketball games on KELK. He first announced baseball for a semipro league in Marysville, California. After spending three years broadcasting Fresno State sports on KMJ, Simmons landed in San Francisco in 1957 as the sports director at KSFO. That year, he was the color commentator for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League, teaming with play-by-play announcer Bob Fouts, the father of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts.

In 1958, Simmons took over as play-by-play announcer on 49ers radio broadcasts, paired with former 49er Gordy Soltau. Years later, he worked with KSFO disc-jockey Gene Nelson and then with former NFL player and KPIX-TV sports director Wayne Walker. Also in 1958, he became the second announcer for the newly relocated San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball, teaming with lead announcer Russ Hodges, who moved with the team from New York. To complement Hodges' "Bye Bye Baby!" home run call, Simmons created his own, "Tell It Goodbye!" When Hodges retired, Simmons was promoted to lead announcer and teamed with Bill Thompson. This pairing lasted through the 1973 season. Al Michaels and Art Eckman became the Giants radio announcers on KSFO in 1974.

Simmons' most famous call during his first stint with the 49ers came on October 25, 1964, when Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall picked up a fumble by the 49ers' Billy Kilmer and ran it the wrong way, scoring a safety for the 49ers instead of a touchdown for the Vikings (who won the game anyway, by a score of 27-22).

  • Max Gail (actor, Barney Miller's Detective Stanley "Wojo" Wojohowicz) (77)
  • Michael Moriarty (actor, Law & Order) (79)
  • Colin Powell (former U.S. Secretary Of State) (83)
  • Pharrell Williams (musician and producer, of the Neptunes) (45)
  • Agnetha Faltskog (singer, ABBA) (70)
  • Paula Cole (singer) (50)
  • Mike McCready (lead guitarist, Pearl Jam) (54)
  • Greg Mathis (host, the Judge Mathis TV show) (60)
  • Mitch Pileggi (actor, The X Files, Sons of Anarchy) (68)
  • Hayley Atwell (actress, The Duchess, Captain America: The First Avenger) (38)
  • Lily James (actress, Cinderella, Downton Abbey) (31)

Country At Home Show Replaces ACM Awards Show

Country music stars will come together on Sunday with acoustic performances recorded from their homes for a televised special that will replace the annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which were canceled due to the global coronavirus outbreak.

The two-hour “ACM Presents: Our Country” will feature Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Old Dominion and others.

“It will be a night filled with entertainment, hope and reflection, bringing the healing power of music to Americans at a time when they need it most,” organizers said.”CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King will host the show from her home in New York.

“What these guys have done is amazing,” King said in an interview to preview the event.

“You have Lady Antebellum in three different locations with their kids sort of climbing all around them. That was fun,” King said. “Shania Twain, who’s in her barn with a real live horse that’s sort of listening to her play, while the dog is sitting there looking like, ok, is she still singing?”

Reuters reports the telecast will include a special tribute to Kenny Rogers by Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and Lionel Richie, the writer of one of Rogers’ biggest hits, ‘Lady.’ Rogers died March 20 at age 81.

The ACM Awards were to have taken place at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, with days of preceding concerts and events. The show is among the many live events canceled to prevent large gatherings that could spread the novel coronavirus.

The “ACM Presents: Our Country” program will air on U.S. broadcast network CBS and its streaming platform, CBS All Access, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday. CBS is part of ViacomCBS Inc.

'Living Room Concert for America'' Re-Airs Monday

The Elton John-led, star-studded benefit concert that raised more than $10 million to battle the coronavirus will be re-aired on Fox Monday.

Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys performed from their homes on “Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.” The hourlong event originally premiered last Sunday on Fox and iHeartMedia radio stations, and the money raised during the airings will go to Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.

During the initial broadcast, John, 73, proved he can make the best of any situation. The rock icon lamented, "I have to be quarantined in the only house I have ever been in without a piano."

Fortunately for fans, he still managed to put on a show: As the broadcast closed out, John sat down at his sons' keyboard, joking, "I don't normally play a keyboard like this."

He then proceeded to perform an excerpt of his 1974 hit "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" as the credits rolled, which he dedicated to "the incredible heroes" on the front lines of the pandemic.

SiriusXM Radio: Taylor Swift Guests On Hits-1

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift helped launch a new home DJ series on SiriusXM's Hits 1 (Channel 2) Friday, chatting with fans between playing songs from some of today's top artists.  Hits 1 is available free, along with other SiriusXM channels, during a free trial that runs through May 15.

"It's safe to say we are living through unprecedented times right now," Swift said shortly after her set debuted at noon ET. "I hope that all of you are safe and healthy. Obviously we have a lot of time on our hands right now with people being out of school and out of work."

The first song in Swift's home DJ set was Conan Gray's "Maniac."

"Basically I've been obsessed with the new Conan Gray album," she confessed. "So imaginative, so interesting."

"Maniac" was followed by Tones and I's "Dance Monkey," Harry Styles' "Adore You," Justin Bieber's "Intentions" and Halsey's "You Should Be Sad."

During this time when Americans are being urged to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, Swift told fans she's kept busy by cooking, reading and watching lots of movies she hasn't seen before, USAToday reports.

"But mainly I've been online reading, trying to find out ways to help others and just constantly in awe of our first responders and our emergency workers and our health care professionals who are putting themselves in danger every day that they go to work," she said.

“We love to connect fans with their favorite artists, and our home DJ series will bring some of the biggest names in music into our homes as people look for ways to be entertained,” SiriusXM president and CEO Scott Greenstein said in a press release.

Swift, as she wrapped up her hourlong set, had some heartfelt parting advice for listeners. The set will be replayed throughout the weekend on Hits 1, and will also be available on demand.

"A lot of people really are banding together and helping each other," she said. "It's a crazy time right now and you never know who might be struggling, who might be alone. Right now we have to connect with our humanity more than ever before.

"I really, really hope you're quarantining. We will get through this together. I love you guys."

NYC Radio: Sports Talk Is Losing Its Mind

Early morning sports radio and TV hosts have such ridiculous opinions about what happens in the games because the games are on very late, and the hosts have to wake up very early. But there are no games now, so Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti are talking about dogs watching people have sex.

“There is no way that I am gonna have my dog watch me make love to my wife,” is the very first thing Dennis Young at The NYDaily News heard when I turned on WFAN a little after 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The caller, a man named Sal, bragged about his “full-breed boxer,” and Giannotti agreed: “If you’re trying to have sex with a boxer in the bed, it’s not gonna work out.”

By 9 a.m., Esiason was already annoyed by the “CORONA UPDATES” that the station was playing in the mid-morning block. “These COVID updates are filled with nothing but horrific news,” he said.

Like weather or traffic on the twos, the “CORONA UPDATES” or sometimes “COVID-19 UPDATES” are introduced with a little jingle, followed by a brief update on New York City’s cases, death count, and new closures. (In this case, Andrew Cuomo had just closed playgrounds.)

“They gotta do something about those," Esiason said. "There also has to be some news associated with it that isn’t just surrounded by death… They’re so matter of fact, and so hard to take — to come back and try to restart a conversation that we had prior to that is almost impossible.”

One of the show’s producers agreed. “Every other one is a death toll … All these people are dead, now back to sports.” A producer said that they could get rid of the updates if the hosts wanted, but then backtracked and said that they’re mandated by the station. They played until at least 10, but I didn’t catch any on WFAN the rest of the day.

Without sports to analyze, there is little opportunity for shows to differentiate themselves through strength of analysis. Nuance and insight aren’t worth much when there’s no new material. Take that away and you’re left with the same technical issues everyone else is facing, with hosts, producers and guests working remotely.

Cole Gahagan Succeeds Greg Brown At Learfield IMG College

Learfield IMG College longtime President and CEO Greg Brown Friday announced his retirement and the appointment of Cole Gahagan, the company’s former president of content, revenue and enterprise solutions, as the new president and CEO. Following the transition, Brown will serve as co-chairman of the board of directors and advisor to the company.

Greg Brown
“It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to be associated with the great people of this company and the collegiate sports industry for the past 36 years. Learfield IMG College is in good hands with Cole Gahagan and our outstanding employees,” said Brown.

“When Cole joined us in January, I had in my mind transitioning to this new role later in 2020. But with college sports on virtual hold, this lull is an ideal time for the company leadership to transition now so we will be well positioned to serve our partners and sponsor brands on the other side of this national crisis. Cole brings extraordinary experiences to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Brown began with Learfield in 1984 selling sponsorships for the Iowa State Cyclone Radio Network. He grew quickly through the ranks and was named Learfield’s president and CEO in 2009 following the retirement of Founder Clyde Lear. Under Brown’s leadership, the company evolved through organic growth and strategic acquisitions to become one of the leading collegiate sports marketing firms in the nation. Brown oversaw the merger completion between Learfield and IMG College in December 2018. Learfield IMG College now represents more than 1,000 collegiate athletic programs (including nearly 200 multimedia rights relationships), conferences and arenas across the nation as well as a wide array of services to collegiate athletic departments, performing arts centers and event organizers.

Cole Gahagan
“It has been an absolute honor working with and learning from Greg Brown — not just over the last several months — but during the years I observed his leadership and accomplishments from other corners of our sports industry,” said Gahagan. “I’m grateful for his friendship and guidance, and I’m looking forward to continue our working relationship for many years to come.”

He added, “Now more than ever, our Learfield IMG College team has a responsibility to usher the collegiate athletics industry into a new era of growth; leveraging data mining, digital tools and highly compelling content to engage more fans. Over the last several years, we have evolved from serving as an asset creation and sales company to a fully integrated media and tech leader — and we’re only getting started. I’m humbled to now help lead this new charge and am beyond bullish for what lies ahead — both for our people and our partners.”

In his previous role, Gahagan led Learfield IMG College’s media and content teams as well as its collection of businesses, which include its comprehensive collegiate multimedia rights division and affiliated and acquired businesses. Prior to joining the company on Jan. 6, Gahagan was chief commercial officer for Fanatics, Inc. He also was chief revenue officer for Ticketmaster and former senior vice president, development and strategy for Live Nation.

CNN's Brooke Baldwin Reveals COVID-19 Diagnosis

Brooke Baldwin
Brooke Baldwin has joined Chris Cuomo on the roster of CNN on-air talent testing positive for the coronavirus.

The LA Times reports the afternoon anchor announced Friday on her Instagram page she experienced chills, aches and fever on Thursday.

“I’ve been social distancing,” Baldwin said. “Doing ALL the things we’re being told to do. Still — it got me.”

Baldwin, 40, said she has no underlying conditions.

Cuomo, CNN evening anchor and brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, learned on Monday that he had tested positive for the virus and has been doing his nightly program from the basement of his Long Island, N.Y., home.

Cuomo and Baldwin had been coming in to CNN’s New York headquarters on Manhattan’s West Side.

Most TV news anchors have been working remotely at home since New York state was put under a stay-at-home order on March 20.

Two TV news employees have died of complications from the coronavirus — talent executive Maria Mercader of CBS News and audio technician Larry Edgeworth of NBC News.