Monday, March 19, 2018

WWO Adds Paul Joseph As VP/Program Ops&Content

Paul Joseph
Westwood One, the largest radio network in the U.S., announces the strategic hire of veteran media executive Paul Joseph in the newly created role of VP, Program Operations and Content, for its burgeoning Music and Entertainment division.

Joseph will leverage his vast industry experience to coach, consult, and train Westwood One/Cumulus hosts and producers to better engage listenership, build their brands, and drive revenue within the company’s pop music programming arena. He is based in Culver City, CA and reports to Susan Stephens, SVP/GM, Music and Entertainment.

Joseph joins Westwood One from Cumulus Media, Los Angeles. Before that, he was the creator and executive producer for IMG’s The Source, where he secured IMG’s 12,000-strong roster of stars with their own radio hour on satellite radio. Among his many other high-profile gigs, Joseph was the creator and executive producer of The Radio Music Awards on ABC-TV/NBC-TV; consultant and executive producer, On Air With Ryan Seacrest at KIIS-FM/LA; executive producer, American Top 40; executive producer, Rick Dees in the Morning, KIIS-FM/LA plus the national version; producer of KIIS-FM’s Unite, Wango Tango, and Jingle Ball events; and writer/producer of Into the Night for ABC Late Night Television. He also produced and directed commercials for Clear Channel personalities and was on-air at KIIS-FM.

“There is no doubt that Paul is a star and a mentor that makes magic happen,” says Stephens. “His expertise will be invaluable to our roster of talent and producers as he works one-on-one with our team to help each person and show achieve their personal best. Investment in talent and programming is priority at Westwood One, and this strategic hire is another example of our commitment to great content and employee growth.”

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the amazing Westwood One team,” says Joseph. “Our goal is to strengthen programming and content across the platforms by using all the tremendous assets of Westwood One and Cumulus Media, including Zach Sang, the brightest young star in radio. Many thanks to Suzanne Grimes, Charles Steinhauer, Kirk Stirland, Susan Stephens, and, of course, Mike McVay for their confidence and support. Let’s Rock!”

Michael Ferro EXITS Tronc

Michael Ferro is retiring from the board of Tronc ahead of the newspaper chain’s $500 million sale of the Los Angeles Times and other California assets.

The Chicago Tribune reports Ferro’s retirement is effective immediately, the company said. Justin Dearborn, chief executive officer of Tronc, was named to succeed Ferro as chairman of the company that also owns the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and other major daily newspapers.

Michael Ferro
“I want to thank everyone who worked so hard over the last two years creating great journalism, strengthening the company’s financial position and delivering significant value for shareholders,” Ferro, 51, said in a news release Monday. “I am confident that under the leadership of Justin and the rest of the board and management team Tronc will continue to deliver value for investors while executing the plan for digital transformation.”

While Ferro is stepping down from the Tronc board, he will continue in his role as a paid management consultant to the company, a result of a three-year, $15 million deal struck in December. Ferro received his first $5 million annual fee, which was paid in advance on Jan. 1, according to financial statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last month, Tronc agreed to sell the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune and other California-based assets to Los Angeles biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong for $500 million in cash. Soon-Shiong, Tronc’s second-largest shareholder, also will assume $90 million of pension liabilities tied to the California properties.

Ferro, a technology entrepreneur who previously led the investor group that owned the Chicago Sun-Times, became the largest shareholder and chairman of Tribune Publishing in February 2016, and the corporate name was changed to Tronc shortly thereafter.

Atlanta Radio: Cumulus Moves Brian Thomas To WKHX

Brian Thomas
Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed veteran programming professional Brian Thomas as Program Director of WKHX Kicks 101.5 FM.

Thomas heads to Atlanta from Cumulus Media-Chicago, where he was Program Director for Classic Hits WLS 94.7 FM. Thomas also serves Cumulus as a member of the Corporate Programming Team for the Country format, and is Vice President, Programming, Classic Hits.

Thomas was previously Program Director for Cumulus Media’s Country station in New York City, NASH FM 94.7/WNSH-FM. Prior to joining Cumulus, he was National Vice President of Classic Hits programming for CBS Radio. He was also Program Director of Country WQYK-FM and Classic Hits WRBQ-FM, and Vice President, Programming for CBS Radio in Tampa.

Sean Shannon, Vice President and Market Manager, Cumulus Media-Atlanta, said: “I am thrilled to have Brian join our team. His knowledge and his passion for Country is contagious. I can’t wait to see what he can do with this legendary brand.”

Louie Diaz, Operations Manager, Cumulus Media-Atlanta, said: “It’s an exciting time for us, and Kicks 101.5. Atlanta is ready for Brian. Time to turn it up!”

Thomas said: “It was always my dream to program WLS-FM in Chicago, but I started in Country and everyone knows I love it. And although I am Corporate Program Director for Country at Cumulus, it’s not the same as having a Country station down the hall. I’m beyond thrilled that Sean Shannon, Mike McVay and Charlie Cook have confidence in me to program KICKS, one of America’s leading Country stations. And looking forward to working with Louie Diaz and the team at Cumulus Atlanta!

WKHX 101.5 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Thomas replaces veteran programmer Scott Lindy, who departed last week.

Buffalo Radio: Cumulus Promotes James Kurd To RVP/Rock

James Kurd
Cumulus Media announces that it has promoted Rock programming professional Jim Kurdziel to Regional Vice President, Programming – Rock, overseeing the Rock and Alternative formats for Cumulus’ radio stations in the Northeastern U.S.

Kurdziel will continue to serve Cumulus Media-Buffalo, NY, as Program Director and Midday Personality for WEDG 103.3 The Edge FM in Buffalo. In his new role as Regional Vice President, Programming – Rock, for Cumulus, Kurdziel will support stations in markets including: Buffalo, NY; Syracuse, NY; Harrisburg, PA; Wilkes Barre, PA; Saginaw, MI; New Orleans, LA, and Appleton, WI.

Mike McVay, Executive Vice President, Content & Programming, Cumulus Media, said: “Jim has shown his ability to program successfully. His track record speaks for itself. We’re excited to expand his role and take advantage of his success and experience.”

Troy Hanson, Vice President, Programming, Rock, Cumulus Media, said: “We are incredibly proud of Jim for this well-deserved promotion. He is a natural leader. It is a true recognition of his skills, talents and commitment to excellence. And that’s just his hair.” 

Kurdziel said: “It’s hard for me to put into words how much this means to me. To have Mike McVay, John Dimick and Doug Hamand believe in me is humbling and I don’t know what I can say about Troy (that he won’t make fun of me for saying). He doesn’t like getting credit or attention, but to put it simply, he’s made a lot of lives and careers better, especially mine. To continue my career with Cumulus is my passion because Mike is leading us to new heights and it’s so much fun to follow him. Working with true mentors like Ralph Cipolla, Keith Cunningham, Derek Madden, Val Garris and so many others is a privilege. That I can continue in my hometown of Buffalo, NY, with Steve Bearance leading our amazing team is a really wonderful perk - a very cold perk, but a perk, nonetheless.”

SLC Radio: KUBL Taps Lexi And Banks For Wake-Up Duty

Lexi and Bank
Cumulus Media announces that it has named popular Salt Lake City radio personalities Lexi Papadopoulos and Jared Banks Danielson as Co-Hosts of an all-new Morning Show on KUBL K-Bull 93 FM.

They replace Tommy & Joe Johnson.

The show debuts on K-Bull 93 on Wednesday March 21st and will air weekdays from 5:30-10:00am. Lexi and Banks have been on-air in the Salt Lake City market since 2012.

Patrick Reedy, Regional Vice President and Market Manager, Cumulus Media-Salt Lake City, said: “With over five years of entertaining SLC under their belt we’re confident that Lexi and Banks will hit the ground running, with a fun, fast paced, entertaining show, that is sure to put a smile on listeners faces.’

Travis Moon, KUBL Program Director, said: “I am beyond pumped to have Lexi and Banks joining the Bull. They are fun, engaging, and exciting. I can’t wait for our listeners to experience their awesome chemistry, and make them a part of their everyday life. This is going to be fun.”

KUBL 93.3 FM (25 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Lexi said: “I am super excited to be back on the air every morning with my best friend doing what I love - laughing and making you laugh.”

Banks said: “I feel incredibly blessed for this opportunity! K-Bull 93 is a fantastic station with great heritage. The SLC market really showed they liked what Lexi and I were doing on the radio and we are excited to continue that success on the Bull.  A massive thank you to Patrick, Chris and Travis for making it happen.”

Emmis CEO Looks To Diversify

Jeff Smulyan
The Emmis sale of four St. Louis radio stations for $60 million in February, coupled with a move this month to restructure Smulyan’s severance package, had some in the radio industry wondering if the soon-to-be-71-year-old is ready to cash in his chips.

When asked about the possibility, Smulyan let out a hearty laugh.

“No, that’s not me,” he told Indianapolis Business Journal from his roomy office overlooking Monument Circle. “We are who we are, and I like working. Working is not stress to me. I like problem solving.”

Smulyan said he’s readying to put that love for problem solving to work by diversifying the company in a whole new direction. Years steering a publicly traded company in a high-profile business—radio, television and publishing—have him prepared to face criticism.

“We’re looking at some new areas. I’d like to diversify and try another area where, if we do it, people will say, ‘What do they know about the widget business?’” Smulyan said. “And that will be a fair question, but … what I’ve learned is that, every time we diversified, we were smart enough to know what we didn’t know and we got the talent we needed.”

Just what direction Smulyan is planning to take Emmis he wouldn’t say. But the when? That appears to be soon.

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AT&T, Time Warner Merger Trial Gets Underway

The government and AT&T will square off in court this week to decide the fate of a massive media merger in a trial that will have far-reaching effects on the market and regulators.

The trial begins Monday in the Justice Department's (DOJ) lawsuit to block AT&T’s $85 billion proposed merger with Time Warner.

The Hill is reporting the case has been embroiled in controversy over whether President Trump had any influence in the decision to block the merger as retaliation against CNN. Trump has long accused the Time Warner-owned network of biased coverage.

The DOJ and White House have denied any political interference.

AT&T sought to make those questions a key to its case and requested communications between the DOJ and White House. A judge denied that request.

The trial will instead center on whether the deal could hurt competition or consumers. And the rest of the industry will be watching closely for cues on what types of deals they’ll be able to get away with in the future.

The Justice Department will make the case that combining AT&T’s control over distribution channels with Time Warner’s popular content — which includes HBO, TNT and TBS — will give the company the power to squeeze out competitors and drive up prices for customers, and could have far-reaching consequences for the entire entertainment industry.

USAToday reports revenues have stagnated in the saturated wireless industry, and so too has traditional pay-TV revenue from AT&T's DirecTV satellite service and U-verse fiber-delivered TV service. Adding Time Warner's immense and valuable library of movies, TV and live programming would expand AT&T's ability to offer new streaming video services to the growing mobile and non-traditional video audiences.

That could be all-important for consumers, because without the deal, AT&T and Time Warner separately could be left weaker, compared to competitors such as Comcast and Disney, and less willing to deploy new services or green-light new movies and TV series — an argument made by the companies and analysts covering the sector.

Conversely, the Justice Department contends the merger is anti-competitive and would raise costs for TV operators wanting to distribute Time Warner content, increases that would likely be passed on to consumers.

Ben Shapiro To Media: More Facts, Less Hyperbole

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and CNN host Brian Stelter had a very candid conversation Sunday that was widely praised on social media. During the seven-minute interview, Shapiro exposed the mainstream media and explained why they are disconnected from mainstream America.

TheBlaze reports the highlight of the interview came during an exchange on media bias. Shapiro explained the biggest problem with the mainstream media is many outlets purport to be objective while being extremely partisan.

Shapiro’s comments came in response to critique from Stelter, who suggested Shapiro’s news website and other conservative outlets make journalism better instead of trying to “tear things down.” Shapiro said:

Shapiro also criticized CNN for its coverage of the firearm debate in the wake of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, calling coverage in the mainstream media “absolutely egregious.”

Shapiro took issue with mainstream media outlets, like CNN, giving anti-gun, anti-NRA students a nearly unlimited platform to push their beliefs with little pushback from anchors when the students make factual mistakes or extreme statements, like blaming the NRA or Dana Loesch for mass shootings.

Univision Cost Reductions Hitting Digital

As Univision Communications Inc. explores extensive cost cuts after shelving its plans for an initial public offering, the company’s digital assets aren’t being spared.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Univision, which has been owned by private-equity firms since its massive leveraged buyout a decade ago, hired Boston Consulting Group to review the company’s business. As part of the firm’s preliminary recommendations, BCG proposed cutting the budget of Fusion Media Group by as much as 35%, according to people familiar with the matter.

The cuts threaten to significantly reduce staffing at Fusion Media Group, which includes Gizmodo Media Group, comprised of the Root and most of the websites formerly owned by Gawker Media; a stake in the Onion; and the cable channel Fusion, the people said.

An initial wave of job cuts have already started to filter through Fusion Media Group as the division is integrated with the parent company’s other digital operations, some of the people said. In the past week, Univision laid off Felipe Holguin, the president and chief executive at Fusion Media Group, and Daniel Eilemberg, the president and chief content officer for the Fusion cable network. Budget cuts have also been recommended for the Univision digital assets outside of Fusion.

It’s expected that a significant amount of the savings will come from streamlining of operations at the Fusion cable channel and from the changes implemented recently, according to a person familiar with the process.

Fusion Media Group has more than 600 employees with an annual budget of about $150 million, according to people familiar with the matter. The division was near break-even last year.

“This is cutting into muscle,” one of the people said. “These are not operations that are running with a lot of overhead.”

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Fox Feud: Shepard Smith Vacations As Spat Grows

Fox News chief news anchor Shepard Smith announced Friday afternoon he was taking a "previously-planned one-week vacation" and joked that when he returns "everything will be peachy-keen & hunky-dory."

The Hill reports the announcement comes just hours after fellow Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham slammed Smith as "clueless" about what the opinion side of the network does and for making "inconsiderate and inaccurate" statements about prime-time Fox programs.

Smith had previously said the opinion hosts on his network "don't have rules" and are just meant for entertainment.

Smith's announcement came during his 3 p.m. program, "Shepard Smith Reporting," during a lighthearted end to an interview with "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace.

"No shooting inside the tent. Everything is wonderful," Smith laughed as the interview with Wallace ended. "Going to take a one-week vacation that was previously planned, and be back in a week, and everything will be peachy-keen & hunky-dory. I can't wait."

"That's what they always say: Previously planned and one-week vacation," an amused Wallace replied.

Like Smith, Hannity works out of New York, while Ingraham's show is out of Fox News's D.C. bureau.

The controversy began Thursday after an interview Smith did with Time magazine was published that included comments that Fox's prime-time opinion shows, like Hannity's and Ingraham's, are meant "strictly to be entertaining" and that the hosts "don't really have rules."

Ingraham called out Smith for being "inconsiderate and inaccurate" on Friday.

"Always liked Shep, but his comments were inconsiderate & inaccurate. The hard working team at the Ingraham Angle does real reporting, develops impt sources and scores big interviews. Very proud of them," Ingraham wrote to her 2.13 million followers.

Her comments came less than an hour after Hannity said Smith was "clueless" in terms of what the opinion side of the network does.

"While Shep is a friend with political views I do not share, and great at breaking news, he is clueless about what we do every day," Hannity responded Friday, defending his show as one that "breaks news daily."

Boston Radio: Howie Carr Wants DNA From Sen. Warren

U-S Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) may want to keep a firm grip on her soda cans for the foreseeable future reports The Washington Times.

WRKO 680 AM radio host Howie Carr revealed Friday that he attempted six years ago to obtain a DNA sample from a pen cap she removed with her teeth before she signed a book—and said he plans to try it again unless she agrees to take a test voluntarily.

Carr offered to send her overnight a DNA kit and challenged her to take the test with him “at the cheese shop of your choosing in Harvard Square” in order to resolve the dispute over her claims of Cherokee ancestry.

“I have a backup plan, but it will involve some sneaky stuff, which I’ve tried before,” Mr. Carr said in a Boston Herald op-ed.

During Warren’s 2012 Senate run, one of his people handed her a copy of “Pow Wow Chow,” the Indian cookbook to which she submitted a recipe, along with a capped pen at a campaign event in Worcester.

“Before she realized she was being pranked, Fauxcahontas pulled the cap off the pen—with her teeth,” said Mr. Carr. “I sent the pen off for testing. But alas, there wasn’t enough saliva on it.”

MSNBC Host Apologizes To Trump Appointee

MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle apologized on Saturday for an on-air comment apparently mocking newly appointed White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow's faith, saying she "meant no offense" by the remarks.

According to The Hill, the apology came after Ruhle faced criticism for making an offhand remark on Thursday in response to a statement by Kudlow, in which he said that his tenure in President Trump's White House will be decided by "God's will."

"That’s an interesting way to talk about being the national economic adviser to the president. 'God’s will?' " Ruhle said.

The remark prompted a response from Kudlow himself, who accused Ruhle in a tweet of "sneering at faith" and questioned why the MSNBC host was still on the air.

"Sneering at faith, and God's will, @SRuhle @MSNBC . Why still on air?" Kudlow tweeted. "She apparently believes people in business & economics should not have faith."

Kudlow tweeted on Saturday that he had accepted Ruhl's apology:

Kudlow was tapped earlier this week to replace Gary Cohn as Trump's top economic adviser. Cohn resigned earlier this month amid disagreements with the president over new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Logic Scores Another No. 1 Album

Logic scores his second No. 1 album in less than a year on the Billboard 200 chart, as his new mixtape, Bobby Tarantino II, debuts atop the list.

The set, which was released on March 9 through Visionary/Def Jam, bows with 119,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending March 15, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 32,000 were in traditional album sales.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new March 24-dated chart (where Logic debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's websites on Tuesday, March 20.

Bobby Tarantino II’s debut was powered mostly by streams, as the album launches with 82,000 SEA units (equaling 123 million on-demand audio streams for the album’s tracks in the week ending March 15; each SEA unit equals 1,500 on-demand audio streams). With 32,000 copies of the album sold, the remainder of the title’s equivalent units was generated by TEA units (5,000).

Logic topped the Billboard 200 less than a year ago with his last studio album, Everybody. The effort opened at No. 1 on the list dated May 27, 2017 with 247,000 units earned (of which 196,000 were in traditional album sales).

At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Lil Yachty notches a new personal high-water mark on the list, as he sails in with his new studio album, Lil Boat 2, bowing with 64,000 units (7,000 in traditional album sales). It’s his highest charting album yet, second top 10 effort, and best week in terms of units earned.

David Byrne earns his highest charting album ever on the Billboard 200, as American Utopia enters at No. 3 with 63,000 units.

R.I.P.: Eric Small, Co-Developer Of Optimod FM Processor

Eric Small
Eric Small, co-developer of the Optimod FM processor, founder of Modulation Sciences Inc., and holder of several patents, is dead at the age of 71.

RadioWorld reports that on March 15, Small was leaving a Publix grocery store in Delray Beach FL around 5:09 p.m., when the driver of a car lost control and accelerated towards the store. The car struck Small first and then crashed into the Publix, according to the Palm Beach Sheriffs Office report. The driver and Small were transported to Delray Medical Center, where they both died from their injuries.

Small gained note for his pioneering work as chief engineer of WXLO in New York. Later, he partnered with Bob Orban, and the two developed the Optimod 8000, a radical departure from traditional FM audio processors.

In 1981, he founded Modulation Sciences Inc., where he is best remembered for designing the CP-803 composite processor and Sidekick SCA generator. Over the years, he wrote numerous white papers about audio engineering, and held several patents for the circuits that he developed.

Small also invented microgroove recording for Columbia records and was also Chief Engineer at WOR-FM in New York.

March 19 Radio History

➦In 1912...orchestra leader Russ Case was born in Hamburg Iowa. Still in his teens he joined radio station WOC Davenport Ohio as an arranger.  He produced & led the band for some of Perry Como’s classic recordings as A &R man for RCA Victor, and became the NBC studio orchestra first on radio, then TV. He was working as arranger for The Jackie Gleason Show when he died Oct 10 1964 at age 52.

➦In 1918...Standard Time Act establishes Standard and Daylight time in the U.S.

➦In 1928...Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll left WGN radio in Chicago to head across town to WMAQ radio.

They weren’t able to take their previously popular radio show names (Sam & Henry) with them due to contractual limitations. So they came up with names even more popular … Amos and Andy, and continued as radio mainstays for another 30 years.

➦In 1987...Arch Oboler died, a radio writer best known for the series "Lights Out". he was 77.

➦In 2003...Harry Harrison did last show at WCBS 101.1 FM in NYC.

In 1953, Harrison worked at WCFL as a summer replacement, yet remained there eight months, substituting for the permanent DJs.  Harrison became program director at WPEO, Peoria in 1954 and hosted the morning show as the "Morning Mayor of Peoria." In just six months, Harrison made WPEO the top station.

In 1959, Harrison joined WMCA, New York, as the mid-day "Good Guy." Joe O'Brien (mornings) and Harrison gave WMCA a "one-two punch" for over eight years.  Other WMCA "Good Guys" included Jack Spector, B. Mitchel Reed, Dan Daniel and Johnny Dark, and talk show host Barry Gray. Harrison became popular with his "Housewife Hall of Fame” feature.

Often, he scored the highest ratings on WMCA. WABC program director Rick Sklar took note.   In 1968, when WABC morning man Herb Oscar Anderson left the station, Rick Sklar hired Harrison to replace him. Harrison was followed in the WABC day by Ron Lundy.

Every year, Harrison played seasonal songs, such as his holiday greeting "May You Always” in the winter (the Amy records single of this song made the Billboard Christmas charts in 1965), and Allan Sherman's summer camp novelty, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh", throughout the summer months.

WABC personalities included, along with Harrison, Charlie Greer, Scott Muni, Bob Lewis, Lundy, Johnny Donovan, Dan Ingram, "Cousin Brucie" Bruce Morrow, Chuck Leonard, Bob Cruz, Frank Kingston Smith, and Roby Yonge, and others.

Harrison had a number of "trademark" phrases, such as "Morning, Mom", "Every brand new day should be opened like a precious gift", "Stay well, stay happy, stay right here" and "Harry Harrison wishing you the best... because that's exactly what you deserve!”

Harrison was let go from WABC as the station changed direction in November 1979

In March 1980, Harrison became the morning personality at WCBS-101.1 FM, playing oldies music. In 1984, with Lundy joining the station, they were once again heard back-to-back. Harrison would interact with Morning Crew engineer Al Vertucci, Phil Pepe, who reported sports, and joke about "wacky weather" and toupee warnings with Irv “Mr. “G” Gikofsky (weather), Mary Jane Royce, and Sue Evans.

On April 25, 1997 New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani issued a proclamation, naming April 25 "Harry Harrison Day" in honor of the second "Mayor."

On March 19, 2003, after a 44-year career in New York radio, Harrison left WCBS-FM, saying "I am not retiring." His farewell to his loyal radio friends (from 5:30 to 10:00am) was held before a live audience at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City. It offered old airchecks plus guest appearances by WCBS-FM colleagues Don K. Reed, Bobby Jay, Steve O'Brien, Randy Davis and Dan Taylor, his replacement, as well as his son and daughter, Patti. Harrison took phone calls from Bob Shannon, Mike Fitzgerald, Ed Baer, and Ron Lundy.

Shortly after he left WCBS-FM, Harrison's long-time wife, Patti, who he had always referred to as "Pretty Patti" on the air, died.

Harrison returned to WCBS-FM with a Saturday morning show in 2004. It offered two hours of variety and two hours of Beatles music and memories.

On Memorial Day, May 30, 2005, Harry and "Cousin" Bruce Morrow were guests on WABC Radio’s annual Rewound show. Four days later, on June 3, WCBS-FM ended its "oldies" format, in favor of the new "Jack" format.  However, as a result of listener disapproval, the WCBS-FM Oldies format was brought back on July 12, 2007, in a 'Classic Hits' modernized form.

➦In 2004...Tom Rivers died of bronchial asthma at age 38. Rivers worked at WQYK-FM, Tampa and WUSN-FM, Chicago. (Note: not to be confused with the CHUM personality Tom Rivers.) Listeners of WQYK-FM 99.5 loved his amiable, conversational patter during morning drive time.

Rivers was a veteran of 17 years in country radio, most of it spent at WQYK-FM Tampa, Fla., where he served, at various times, as PD, morning host and VP/GM. His career also included a stint as PD/morning host at WMZQ Washington, D.C.

The industry heaped awards on him, including the rare double honor as top personality of the year in both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.

Country stars such as Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and Mary Chapin Carpenter - whose rise to prominence in the early 1990s paralleled Mr. Rivers' own meteoric ascent in country radio - counted him as a genuine friend.

Rivers died after going to sleep March 19 in Chicago, where he worked the last year of his life as operations manager at WUSN-FM. According to his mother, The cause of death was bronchial asthma, a chronic condition he battled much of his life.

He started working the 7 p.m. to midnight shift at Tampa's WQYK-FM . By 1990, at just 24, he had moved up to program director, launching WQYK's era of ratings dominance and eventual recognition by the CMA as the nation's top country station.

➦In 2005...Morris Blum died from cancer at age 95. Blum started WANN-AM in 1947 in Annapolis, Maryland and pioneered the idea of black programming, playing gospel and rhythm and blues.

Morris Blum
Blum served in the merchant marine as a radio operator aboard a tanker and later in radio intelligence for the FCC during WWII, according to his son.

"When my father returned home, he witnessed a lot of racism and recognized the barriers many in the Annapolis community faced. He loved nothing more than having guests in the air studio who had never spoken their mind freely before. This was an amazing thing for African-Americans, too."

Carl Snowden, a civil rights activist and former Annapolis City councilman, told the Baltimore Sun that Blum "spent the better part of his life fighting against bigotry. He averted a catastrophe in Annapolis at the time of Dr. Martin Luther King's death in 1968. He opened the station and allowed the African-American community to come of the radio and voice its concern. There were uplifting comments that allayed fear here."

➦In 2006... Bill Beutel, ABC Radio & TV news anchor died at age 75.

His first radio job was in Cleveland before moving to CBS Radio in New York City in 1957.  Beutel moved to ABC on October 22, 1962 as a reporter with ABC News and as anchor at the network's New York flagship, WABC-TV.

➦In 2012…Film critic/entertainment journalist (Chicago Daily-News, WMAQ-TV)/former radio disc jockey (WIND-Chicago, WCKY-Cincinnati)/ newsman Norman Mark died of multiple myeloma at the age of 72.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

March 18 Radio History

➦In 1911...cowboy comic/singer Smiley Burnette was born in Summum Illinois.

He worked on a local radio station and in vaudeville after high school. Always interested in music, he was friends with Gene Autry and worked with him on the radio show “The National Barn Dance”.

He made 80 western movies with Autry, then in TV became a regular on Ozark Jubilee, and played Charlie the railroad engineer on Petticoat Junction.

He died from leukemia Feb 16 1967 at age 55.

Art Gilmore
➦In 1912...announcer/narrator Art Gilmore was born in Tacoma Washington.

He began in 1935 at Seattle radio station KOL, and a year later was hired at KFWB Los Angeles. He soon became the announcer for radio’s Amos ‘n Andy, The Adventures of Frank Race, Dr. Christian, Sears Radio Theater, Stars over Hollywood, etc. It was Gilmore who introduced Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong, reminding listeners to request free religious literature at the conclusion of “The World Tomorrow” on radio and TV. He narrated 156 episodes of syndicated TV’s Highway Patrol with Broderick Crawford, 39 segments of Mackenzie’s Raiders with Richard Carlson, and 41 episodes of Men of Annapolis. He died Sept. 25 2010 at age 98.

➦In 1922...WHN-AM, NYC signed-on at 833Kc

According to Faded Signals, WHN, New York City, signed on in 1922 as the radio station of The Ridgewood Times newspaper.  It was one of the city’s first radio stations, featuring a format of jazz and dance music of the era, as well as children’s shows, variety programs and newscasts.  The Loew’s Theatre Organization bought the station in 1928.

The station played jazz and contemporary dance music, including Sophie Tucker, Fletcher Henderson, and Duke Ellington, as well as broadcasting Columbia University football games. In 1928 the station was bought by the Loew's Theatre Organization.

During the 1920s the station's frequency changed to 830, 760, and then 1010.

In the 1930s it broadcast the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, which was picked up by the CBS Radio Network.

WHN made its final frequency change to 1050 in 1941.

During the 1940s the programs Radio Newsreel and Newsreel Theater were prototypes for what would later become the all-news radio format. The station broadcast Brooklyn Dodgers games with Red Barber as well as the New York Giants and New York Rangers with Marty Glickman.

In 1948, WHN became WMGM, reflecting the Loew’s then-ownership of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio.  The station continued its diversified format until flipping to Top 40 and rock music in the mid 1950s. While it included some R&B, country and instrumentals in the Top 40 mix, WMGM carried a narrower, more up-tempo playlist.

By the early 1960s, WMGM 1050 AM had several competitors in the Top 40 radio market.  WINS, WABC and WMCA all were playing rock, and WMGM was falling behind in the ratings.

Storer Broadcasting bought the station in 1962, renaming it WHN and dropping the Top 40 in favor of slow-paced “beautiful music” and standards.  Here’s what the switchover sounded like:

WHN also became New York City’s Mutual Radio Network affiliate.  Bob & Ray, WABC legend Herb Oscar Anderson and Jim Ameche were some of WHN’s on-air personalities.

The station picked up New York Mets baseball and launched Marv Albert’s sportscasting career.

WHN’s ratings were low and skewed toward older demographics.  After researching the market, Storer converted WHN to a country format in 1973.  Here’s an aircheck from WHN’s Bruce Bradley in 1973:

Mutual bought WHN in the late 1980s.  An FM competitor flipped to country from 1980 to 1984, hurting WHN’s ratings.

Doubleday Broadcasting bought WHN in 1985, and Emmis Communications bought it the following year. Emmis added sports talk in the evenings, keeping the country format during the day.

In 1987, Emmis announced WHN would become all-sports WFAN.  When Emmis purchased NBC’s New York radio stations in 1988, the company moved WFAN from 1050 AM to 660 AM, formerly occupied WNBC.

Spanish Broadcasting System purchased the 1050 AM license and became WUKQ, a Spanish Adult Contemporary station.  Spanish Broadcasting System wanted to swap 1050 AM with cash for the Jewish Daily Forward’s FM station, WEVD 97.9.  The deal was approved in 1989.

WEVD’s call letters and programming moved to the 1050 AM frequency, as covered in an earlier post on this blog.  The station mainly carried a brokered format of ethnic programs, talk shows and foreign-language programming.  By the mid-1990s, WEVD moved to a left-leaning news-talk format.

An agreement with ABC/Disney brought ESPN’s “The Dan Patrick Show” to WEVD in 2001.  A public campaign to save the old format failed.  On the final day of the news/talk format, soon-to-be-terminated staffers occasionally interrupted portions of the brokered programming with sometimes-profane audio clips. On September 2, 2001, WEVD became “1050 ESPN Radio.”

The call letters were changed to WEPN in 2003 after Disney bought the station, competing directly with WFAN’s all-sports format.  In 2012, WEPN’s programming moved to 98.7 FM.  ESPN Deportes later moved the 1050 AM frequency.

➦In 1939...future superstar Frank Sinatra made his first studio recording at Harry Smith’s studio in New York, singing the #1 song of the day, ‘Our Love’, backed by his friend Frank Mane and some musicians put together for the session.

➦In 1940...the daytime drama “Light of the World” was first heard on NBC radio. The soap opera was unique in that it featured the Bible as the center of the story line.

➦In 1965...Chicago Cubs broadcaster Jack Quinlan was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 38.

➦In 1974...Jim Kerr started at WPLJ NYC

Originally from Detroit by way of Chicago, Kerr already had a half-dozen radio years under his belt when he arrived at ’PLJ.

After 15 years there he moved to WPIX, WYNY, WMXV, WQCD and Y107, before settling into his current gig with long-time sidekick Shelli Sonstein at WAXQ (104.3 FM) in 2003.

➦In 1978..."Night Fever" by the Bee Gees, from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, peaked at Number One on the pop singles chart and stayed there for eight weeks.

➦In 1985...ABC announced plans to merge with Capital Cities Communications to form Cap Cities/ABC, the 11th largest corporate merger in U.S. history.

➦In 1991...Radio/TV personality, Jack McCoy, died at age 72.

➦In 2005...Pat Cashman left KJR-FM, Seattle, after 12 years doing morning drive.

Following his graduation from the University of Portland (Oregon), he worked at various small radio stations in Oregon. But after moving to Eugene, Oregon, he left full-time radio work to take a job at a TV station as a commercial writer and director. For a period of time, he even served as the station’s weathercaster, though his humorous bits often took more time than the weather during this brief stint.

Pat Cashman
He moved on to another TV station in Boise, Idaho – this time serving as production director. While there, he originated a legendary Saturday late night TV show called “Peculiar Playhouse.”

Pat moved to Seattle in the early 1980’s, hired as a commercial writer and producer by KING TV. In 1984, he became the station’s first-ever creative director – writing, producing and directing a vast number of award-winning promos and commercials. He was honored with Clios, Addys and Tellys

In 1991, Pat returned to his radio roots on 1090 AM Seattle). He hosted his morning drive time news/comedy show until 1994, when KING Radio was purchased by Bonneville Broadcasting – and moved Pat to become the morning host on another station (then KIRO FM, later called “The Buzz”).

In 1999 Fisher Broadcasting – KOMO Radio hired Pat to immediate strong ratings. When KOMO switched to an all-news, no-Pat format, he left the building… and concentrated on his freelance work.

In the summer of 2003 Pat joined the legendary KJR FM 95.7 as host of the morning show from 6 to 10 AM.

Liberty Media Could Make New Bid For iHeartMedia

iHeartMedia Inc.’s hard-won bankruptcy accord allows lenders to re-open the deal if bids emerge from a buyer like Liberty Media Corp. -- a development that some senior creditors would welcome, according to Bloomberg citing people with knowledge of the process.

Those creditors fought hard for language in the restructuring support agreement that lets them continue to explore “consistent alternative proposals,” said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. That clause was heavily contested in talks before iHM filed for court protection, a company lawyer said during a bankruptcy hearing on Thursday in Houston.

The group is open to options including a higher offer from Liberty or other strategic buyers who may be attracted by Liberty’s bid for iHM, the people said. Liberty Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei had publicly outlined an alternative bankruptcy plan in which Liberty would acquire a 40 percent stake, and has said he’s willing to consider boosting the offer.

No formal talks with Liberty are underway, according to the people. French advertising company JCDecaux SA has also expressed future interest in iHM’s healthy billboard subsidiary, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings.

Liberty, controlled by billionaire John Malone, had been buying up iHM debt in recent months with an eye on getting control of iHM’s radio business after it reorganizes in bankruptcy. In a late bid to play the role of white knight, Liberty and SiriusXM offered to inject $1.16 billion of new money and provide a loan to keep iHeart in business through the bankruptcy process.

iHM said in a statement accompanying its filing that it has enough cash on hand to keep operating without a new loan.

That doesn’t mean investors have heard the last of Liberty. Maffei told attendees at an industry conference earlier this month there are “enormous” synergies for the ailing iHM with two other Malone investments -- the majority-owned satellite radio giant SiriusXM Holdings Inc. and Pandora Media Inc., the online music company where Liberty took a minority position last year.