Saturday, April 10, 2021

U-K Stations Enter OBIT Mode for Prince Philip

Radio stations across the UK entered obituary mode following the announcement by the Royal Family regarding the death of The Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip, reports Radio Today.

Bauer, Global and the BBC commenced their group-wide protocols for such an emergency after the news was released just after midday on Friday 9th April 2021.

All BBC local and national stations either handed over, or were forcibly cut to, a national announcement at 12.10pm.

Programmes on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 1 Dance, Asian Network, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, 5 Live Sports Extra and 6 Music were cut off abruptly at 12.10pm followed by a short silence and a networked announcement voiced by Tom Sandars – continuity announcer for BBC Radio 4 and a newsreader for the BBC World Service.

At BBC Radio 2, Vanessa Feltz, sitting in for Jeremy Vine, was mid-way through announcing the text number when she was cut off.

BBC Radio 4 faded out a book reading to announce a BBC News Special just before 12.10pm, whilst Adrian Chiles on 5 Live announced the news himself at 12.07pm before handing over to the network feed.

Things didn’t go quite according to plan on the BBC World Service, with the presenter attempting many times to hand over to a special news report resulting in silence and confusion for listeners.

Most BBC stations stayed in network mode till late afternoon Friday.

Bauer’s Hits Radio Network of stations waited till 12.30pm to announce the news, which was on social media at 12.01 from the Royal Family account. Hits Radio stations were interrupted by the news bulletin, whilst Greatest Hits Radio’s Mark Goodier announced a breaking news item.

The Hits Radio network in Scotland went to the output of Sky News after Greigsy announced he was joining the newsroom for some breaking news, whilst the Greatest Hits Radio Scotland stations took the 12.30pm network bulletin.

Absolute Radio, KISS and Jazz FM also waited till 12.30pm to make presenter announcements, whilst Magic waited till 12.47pm before any news of the death was broadcast.

At Global, LBC’s James O’Brien cut a caller short to announce the news at 12.06pm before handing over to Global’s Newsroom for more information. LBC News handed over to LBC during the announcement.

All Heart spin-off brands flipped to the main Heart service before the same announcement from Global’s Newsroom at around 12.10pm. All Smooth Radio brands followed the same action, whilst Capital (together with Capital DANCE) and Capital XTRA introduced the bulletin themselves.

Classic FM and Gold also broadcast the same announcement followed by appropriate music and updates for the rest of the day.

At News, Mike Graham on talkRADIO was the first monitored by RadioToday to break the news at 12.03pm. Times Radio was next at 12.04pm whilst talkSPORT had a breaking news update at 12.08pm.

Virgin Radio informed listeners at 12.18pm about the death of Prince Philip and told listeners to switch to Times Radio for more details.

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ADL: Tucker Carlson Has 'Got To Go'

The head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called for Fox News host Tucker Carlson to be fired after a segment Thursday that referenced "replacement" theory.

“Tucker must go,” the group's CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted Friday.

The ADL head explained that the “Great Replacement” theory "is a white supremacist tenet that the white race is in danger by a rising tide of non-whites.”

Greenblatt was referring to Carlson’s appearance on “Fox News Primetime,” when, talking to columnist Mark Steyn, the host offered a theory on why Democrats are pro-immigration. 

“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate,” Carlson said. “But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening actually. Let’s just say it. That’s true.”

Fox News would not comment on Greenblatt’s tweet or the similarities between what Carlson was saying and past white nationalist theories except to point to the host's comments that emphasized "this is a voting rights question."

In addition to Greenblatt’s tweets, the ADL on Friday posted and emailed a letter to Suzanne Scott, the CEO of Fox News, regarding Carlson’s comments.

Billionaires Clash With Alden Over Future of Tribune

A few weeks ago, New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital LLC was on the verge of acquiring Tribune Publishing Co. —home to the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other U.S. metro newspapers—with seemingly no one in its way.

Then, reports the Wall Street Journal, it offended one of its partners in the deal, setting off a battle that could help shape the future of local news in America.

Maryland hotel magnate Stewart Bainum Jr. had worked out a side arrangement with Alden Chief Executive Heath Freeman to buy the Sun, a paper Bainum grew up reading. Then, in Bainum’s view, Alden tried to raise the cost of a fee agreement that would substantially jack up the price, people close to the situation said.

Bainum told his advisers late on the afternoon of Friday, March 12, that he was worried he could no longer trust Alden, according to a person familiar with the matter.

That evening, the 74-year-old got on the phone with his bankers and decided to attempt a stunning 11th-hour move: his own bid for the whole company, which he announced by the end of the weekend.

In a matter of weeks, Bainum orchestrated a $680 million bid, at least for now besting the $635 million offered by Alden. He pledged $100 million of his own money and quickly enlisted the backing of 85-year-old Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, who has offered to provide the rest, according to filings and people familiar with the agreement.

If successful, Bainum and Wyss plan to break up Tribune—with Bainum keeping the Sun and Mr. Wyss, who lives in Wyoming, taking control of the Chicago Tribune. They intend to sell the rest piecemeal, and have attracted interest from deep-pocketed investors for some of the chain’s seven other papers in Florida, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Alden, whose takeover offer had already been accepted by a special committee of the Tribune board, would have an opportunity to counter Bainum’s bid. Tribune earlier this week said it is likely to consider Bainum’s bid superior if he stands by it after reviewing the company’s books. If that happens, Alden would then have to raise its bid or walk away with a $20 million breakup fee.

Alden’s approach to newspapers is to dramatically expand profit margins through cost-cutting, combining services, outsourcing and selling off real estate. Its newspaper company, closely held MediaNews Group, which publishes some 70 daily papers including the Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News, had a profit margin of 17% in 2017, according to a person familiar with the matter. By contrast, the New York Times Co. ’s margin was under 1% that year, while Gannett Co. came in at 1.7%, according to public filings. Alden has declined to disclose more-recent numbers.

Reports: Kim Godwin To Run ABC News

Kim Godwin, a CBS News executive since 2007, is on track to become the first Black woman to run a broadcast network news operation, as she has been offered the top job at ABC News, according to The L-A Times citing people familiar with the plan.

Godwin will fill the position vacated by James Goldston, who departed the news division at the Walt Disney Co. unit last month. CBS has agreed to let Godwin out of her contract so that she can make the historic move.

A Disney representative did not comment on its discussions. A CBS News representative also declined to comment. NBC News reported that Godwin is currently in negotiations for the job as ABC News president.

Kim Godwin
Goldston’s exit came six months after the ouster of the division’s longtime business affairs chief, Barbara Fedida, who left after an investigation into her alleged use of racist language when discussing the news division’s employees.

Interestingly, it was under Fedida’s run as head of talent development at CBS News that Godwin moved from one of the network’s owned TV stations to work on the “CBS Evening News With Katie Couric.”

Now Godwin is being brought into ABC News with the charge to repair the division’s culture.

At CBS, Godwin had editorial oversight of the network’s newsgathering operation, including the national desks, foreign desks and bureaus.

Godwin’s appointment would put women in lead roles at four national TV news operations. Suzanne Scott has headed Fox News Media since 2018. Susan Zirinsky has served as president of CBS News since 2019. Rashida Jones became president of NBCUniversal’s MSNBC cable channel earlier this year, making her the first Black woman to lead a major national TV news network.

Before joining CBS in 2007, Godwin served in a variety of positions at local TV stations. She was the acting news director and assistant news director at WCBS-TV in New York, vice president and news director at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, vice president of news operations for NBC Television Stations and vice president and news director at KXAS-TV in Dallas.

Spotify Has Deleted Controversial ‘Joe Rogan Experience’ Episodes

Spotify is continuing to remove episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience as part of their $100 million exclusive relationship, with more nixed shows discovered this week.

Just last week, Digital Music News first reported that 40 different Joe Rogan Experience podcast episodes were found missing from Spotify, now the exclusive platform for the show. Now, that number has quickly grown to 42, with potentially more shows quietly getting removed from the catalog.

Among the newly-missing is an episode (#411) with Bulletproof Coffee founder Dave Asprey, a frequent guest on The Joe Rogan Experience. Strangely, Spotify has deleted three total episodes with Asprey for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.

One explanation for the removals is that Asprey frequently backs controversial anti-aging and scientific theories, including claims that Bulletproof Coffee is extremely healthy while other coffee brands are not. Asprey has designed the ‘Bulletproof Diet,’ and frequently criticizes coffee manufacturers for leaving high levels of damaging mycotoxins in their blends.

Asprey — who has predicted that he will live to the age of 180 — is certainly unconventional in his theories, though it appears that Spotify has decided to debunk his claims by removing his episodes entirely.

Also suddenly missing is a ‘Live from the Icehouse’ episode (#149) featuring Joe Rogan and Little Esther, Al Madrigal, Josh McDermitt, Brendon Walsh, Felicia Michaels, and Brian Redban. That sounds like a fun time, though perhaps one-too-many raunchy jokes were tossed around in the episode. Indeed, the episode may have simply contained one objectionable joke — but that was enough for Spotify’s editors to hit delete and remove the show entirely.

That crew featured in the ‘Icehouse’ episode seems particularly unpopular with Spotify’s oversight committee.

Earlier, Spotify deleted Joe Rogan Experience episode #276 featuring Little Esther, Al Madrigal, Josh McDermitt, Brendon Walsh, Felicia Michaels, and Brian Redban. In total, 7 different episodes featuring guest David Seaman have been nixed, while the same number of podcasts featuring Brian Redban have also been deleted.

Then, there are the more well-known removals. Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos were notoriously stripped from the podcast early on, though Rogan tested Spotify’s censorship committee by re-inviting Jones onto the podcast in recent months. Spotify hasn’t removed Jones’ latest episode — not yet, at least.

Spotify has offered no explanations for its removals, or even addressed the repeated complaints from Rogan fans. Joe Rogan, on the other hand, has confirmed that Spotify removed certain shows as a condition of their $100 million agreement with him. “There were a few episodes they didn’t want on their platform, and I was like ‘okay, I don’t care’,” Rogan shared in a recent interview with guest Fahim Anwar. Whether Rogan understood that several dozen shows were being removed — and may still be getting removed — is also unclear.

Casey Kasem Home Sells For $34M

After years on and off the market at a variety of prices that began at $42 million and eventually slipped to $37.9 million, the longtime Los Angeles home of the late radio legend Casey Kasem has sold for $34 million in an off-market deal. reports the 2.4-acre estate lies just north of Sunset Boulevard in prime Holmby Hills, behind gates and surrounded by mature landscaping. Records reveal the local buyers are Benjamin Nazarian and his wife Hedy, members of the billionaire Nazarian clan.

Kasem died in 2014, and since then the house has seen legal wrangles, initially between his widow, former actress Jean Kasem (“Cheers”), and his children from an earlier marriage. It appears Jean eventually entered into a partnership with Phil Braunstein of Colossal Properties, with the goal to redevelop the Holmby Hills property into a glitzy spec manse, but that collaboration never actually happened.

Remaining on the estate is a rambling, many-winged mansion — in aerial shots, it rather resembles an albatross in flight —  with eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms in roughly 12,000 square feet of living space, a number that includes the detached guest and staff houses. Built in 1954 but heavily expanded and renovated since, the Grecian-influenced structures were acquired by the Kasems in 1989 for just over $1.7 million.

Other amenities include vaguely Louvre-like interior decor with floridly luxurious public rooms, a catering kitchen, dual master suites, and a 15-car motorcourt that anchors garaging for four luxury vehicles.

The Nazarians’ new spread lies directly across the street from the $36.5 million Holmby Hills estate of Kylie Jenner, and it’s also within sugar-borrowing distance from homes of other financial heavyweights like Tom Ford, Kelsey Grammer and fashion tycoon Max Azria.

Poll: Swifties Rank The Best Albums Of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's “Fearless” re-launch is the first of six albums she is expected to re-record and sell. To mark the beginning of Swift’s re-releases, YouGov asked more than 900 fans of Taylor Swift’s music — Americans who say they like her music “a lot” or “somewhat” — to rate every album on a scale of 1 to 5. The average score for each album was then calculated to determine Swifties’ favorite collection. 

Among fans who were familiar with each album, the most-liked anthology was Red, a 2012 release which earned an average score of 4.12 out of 5. This is perhaps an unsurprising top choice — music critics have argued that Red features her greatest song, “All Too Well.” The second most-liked album is her 2012 pop release, 1989, with an average rating of 4.09 out of 5. The collection of songs on 1989 includes several popular radio blasts: Blank Space and Shake It Off. 

Her new re-release, Fearless, lands in third place with a score of 4.03 out of 5. The album boasts the song Love Story, which inspired several remixes and a viral TikTok dance challenge. Swift said she chose to re-record her second studio album before any other because she wanted to explore its themes of “hope, and lessons learned, and the effervescence of teenage youth.” 

Which Taylor Swift albums are most well-known? 

Even among fans of Swift’s music, many have not listened to her newer albums.  About nine in 10 adults who like Taylor Swift’s music have heard each of her albums, but that drops for her most recent releases: Lover (86%), Folklore (80%), and Evermore (78%). 

R.I.P.: Ron Polao, Philly-Based Actor & Radio-TV Personality

Ron Polao, 81, an actor, Philadelphia TV and radio personality, and longtime advertising voice of Boscov’s department stores, died Tuesday, March 16, of heart failure at home, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Mr. Polao was most proud of his role as Rudolfo, the chauffeur, in the 1967 Mel Brooks film The Producers. He was also an extra in many movies shot in the Philadelphia area, such as Trading Places, Rocky, Blowout, and Taps.

In Philadelphia and Trenton in the 1950s and ’60s, Mr. Polao was a popular radio disc jockey who interviewed Elvis Presley and Patti Page; an overnight radio talk-show host who once persuaded a distraught listener to reconsider suicide; and the star of The Fun Club with Ron Polao on what was then WIBF-TV, Channel 29.

“He was a character,” said his daughter, Mia. “He was eccentric. People would say, ‘That’s your dad?’ But they loved him. He had a unique personality.”

Polao liked to wear big glasses and distinctive clothes. A comedy writer who pitched several TV and radio pilot shows, he was a pioneer in children’s programming with his after-school Fun Club. The show featured him doing skits and jokes, and reading letters from viewers who poked fun at him.

The program was advertised around town on billboards that featured a picture of Mr. Polao with his thumbs in his ears and the directive “Go home and make fun of Ron Polao.” He also worked in the TV studio at NBC’s Channel 3 as an announcer when commercials and public service bulletins were aired live.

Driven to create and express himself wherever he could, he wrote, directed, produced, and narrated TV commercials for Boscov’s from the 1990s to 2017. He attended store openings, and the family accompanied him on Caribbean cruises sponsored by founder Albert Boscov.

Mr. Polao was born June 23, 1939, in Trenton. His entertainment career took off first after he won a DJ contest at a local radio station. That led him to spinning records and hosting radio shows at what were then WTNJ, WTTM, and WDAS.

April 10 Radio History

➦In 1915...Actor Harry Morgan was born Harry Bratsberg (Died at age 93  – December 7, 2011)  His career spanned six decades.

Morgan's major roles included Pete Porter in both December Bride (1954–1959) and Pete and Gladys (1960–1962); Officer Bill Gannon on Dragnet (1967–1970); Amos Coogan on Hec Ramsey (1972–1974); and his starring role as Colonel Sherman T. Potter in M*A*S*H (1975–1983) and AfterMASH (1983–1984). Morgan appeared in more than 100 films.

Morgan also hosted the NBC radio series Mystery in the Air starring Peter Lorre in 1947.

➦In 1922...WBT Charlotte, NC signed-on.

The station actually dates back  to December 1920, when Fred Laxton, Earle Gluck and Frank Bunker set up an amateur radio station in Laxton's home. Four months later, the station received an experimental license as 4XD. The trio decided to go commercial in 1922, and incorporated as the Southern Radio Corporation.

On April 10, the station signed on as the first fully licensed radio station south of Washington, D.C. WSB in Atlanta was the first station in the Southeast to actually broadcast, a month before WBT. However, the Commerce Department only authorized WSB to broadcast weather reports until it received its license a few months after WBT.

In 1925, the original owners sold WBT to Charlotte Buick dealer C.C. Coddington, who promoted both the radio station and his auto dealership with the slogan "Watch Buicks Travel." Coddington built a transmitter at a farm property he owned on Nations Ford Road in south Charlotte, where it remains today. He sold WBT to the two-year-old CBS network in 1929; CBS wanted to make WBBM in Chicago full time on 780 AM, which was a shared frequency with KFAB in Omaha, Nebraska and in order to do that they moved KFAB to 1110 AM. That was accomplished by directionalizing the signal of WBT. A series of power increases brought WBT to its current 50,000 watts.

New FCC regulations forced CBS to sell the station to Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, forerunner of Jefferson-Pilot, in 1945, though it remained a CBS affiliate.

For much of its history, WBT aired a variety of programming including news, sports, soap operas, and musical programs such as "Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks." Smith, best known for writing the song that became the Deliverance theme "Dueling Banjos", went to work at WBT at age 20 at the invitation of station manager Charles Crutchfield. He played guitar and fiddle for musical programs on WBT before getting his own show. Crutchfield believed that Charlotte, not Nashville, could have ended up being the country music capital because of the station's early "Briarhoppers" and "Carolina Hayride" shows, which may have inspired The Grand Ole Opry.

WBT's Grady Cole
Grady Cole was WBT morning host for 32 years, replaced in 1961 by Ty Boyd, who hosted the morning show until 1973, playing such artists as Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee and Petula Clark. Then he moved to WBTV. He returned to WBT in 2008 to co-host the morning show while its regular hosts took time off.

WBT was the number one station in Charlotte for many years; among its employees were Charles Kuralt and Nelson Benton. But by 1970, WBT was down to number nine, and national advertising representative Blair Radio Network wanted ratings to improve. Jefferson Standard did not like the idea of change, but Blair enlisted Mel Goldberg to research what programming Charlotte needed. Even Crutchfield gave in, and WBT let go 28 staffers and spent $200,000 on changes that included new studios. It also canceled many programs that advertisers supported but which didn't attract enough listeners.

WBT's H.A. Thompson
Henry Boggan
On March 15, 1971, WBT switched to adult contemporary music during the day; Rob Hunter and H. A. Thompson were new DJs. Bob Lacey started at WBT in 1972 with a nighttime talk show "Lacey Listens". Two years later, WBT had reached number one again, reaching the highest Arbitron numbers on record to this day. Around the same time, the station dropped its longtime affiliation with CBS Radio and joined ABC. WBT won Billboard adult contemporary station of the year in 1976 and 1978. In 1979, "Hello Henry" Boggan began his nighttime talk show.

WBT made changes to its format on December 10, 1990, hoping to attract more women. The station dropped James K. Flynn, Thompson and Tom Desio, generating numerous protests.

John Hancock
Don Russell had hosted "Russell & Flynn" in the morning; the show was renamed "Russell & Friends." John Hancock became midday host, and WBTV personalities Mike and Barbara McKay began an afternoon program. Boggan, whose show had run in the afternoon, returned to his evening slot, replacing Desio, but was sometimes pre-empted by sports programs.

Lincoln Financial Group bought Jefferson-Pilot in 2006. The merged company retained Jefferson-Pilot's broadcasting division, renaming it Lincoln Financial Media. In January 2008, Lincoln Financial sold WBT-AM-FM and WLNK to Greater Media of Braintree, Massachusetts. It sold its three television stations, including WBTV, to Raycom Media--thus breaking up Charlotte's last heritage radio/television cluster. Greater Media had long wanted to expand into the fast-growing Charlotte market; its owner had wanted to buy WBT after hearing its signal at night on Cape Cod.

On July 19, 2016, Greater Media announced that it would merge with Beasley Media Group. Because Beasley already had the maximum number of stations in the Charlotte market with 5 FM's and 2 AM's, WBT-AM-FM and WLNK were spun off to a divestiture trust, eventually going to a permanent buyer.

On October 18, 2016, Entercom announced that it would purchase WBT AM/FM and WLNK, plus WFNZ.  Upon the completion of the Greater/Beasley merger on November 1, Entercom began operating the stations via a time brokerage agreement, which lasted until the sale was consummated on January 6, 2017.

On November 5, 2020, Urban One agreed to a station swap with Entercom in which they would swap ownership of four stations in Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. to Entercom in exchange for their cluster of Charlotte stations, including WBT and WBT-FM. As part of the terms of the deal, Urban One took over operations via a local marketing agreement on November 23

➦In 1930...WRAK 1400 AM Williamsport, PA signed-on. The FCC assigned the call letters.

➦In 1943...The Falcon radio series premiered on the NBC Blue Network, continuing on NBC and Mutual until November 27, 1954. Some 70 episodes were produced.

➦In 1967…The 13-day strike by the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (AFTRA) ended.

➦In 1970…Effectively estranged from his bandmates, Paul McCartney issued a press release indicating he was leaving The Beatles.

The press release took the form of a Q&A in which McCartney discussed his new solo album and, with Lennon's exit still being withheld from the public (for business reasons), matters pertaining to the Beatles' immediate future. While McCartney did not state that the group had broken up, he talked of his "break with the Beatles" and having no plans to work with the band in the future; he also ruled out the likelihood of ever writing songs with Lennon again.

On 10 April, The Daily Mirror reported on McCartney's departure from the Beatles under the front page headline "Paul Quits The Beatles". Newspapers around the world then interpreted McCartney's remarks as an announcement that the band had broken up

John Lennon was furious, especially since the breakup was announced a week prior to the UK release of McCartney's first solo album. When a reporter tracked down Lennon for his thoughts, he replied, "Paul hasn't left. I sacked him."

➦In 1978...Long John Nebel died (Born John Zimmerman; June 11, 1911). He was an influential New York City talk radio show host.

Long John Nebel
From the mid-1950s until his death in 1978, Nebel was a hugely popular all-night radio host, with millions of regular listeners and a fanatically loyal following to his syndicated program, which dealt mainly with anomalous phenomena, UFOs, and other offbeat topics.

In 1962, WNBC offered Nebel more than $100,000 per year (if not a record sum paid to a radio personality at the time, then very nearly so) to begin broadcasting from their station, and he accepted the offer. He continued there until 1973, when WNBC, facing sliding ratings, decided to switch to a Top40 music format. After a protracted battle with station management, Nebel refused to change the content of his show and resigned from the station in protest.

Nebel was quickly hired by WMCA, where, from 1973 to 1977, he continued his program.   In 1977, Nebel joined the Mutual Broadcasting System and Nebel's show went nationwide, replacing Mutual's national distribution of Herb Jepko's radio talk show.

Nebel's format paved the way for later radio hosts, including Art Bell, George Noory of Coast to Coast AM, Hilly Rose, Jeff Rense, and Clyde Lewis, all of whom have broadcast shows on paranormal topics. Colin Bennett called Nebel the Art Bell of his era.

➦In 1987...Canadian newsman and commentator Dick Smyth ended an 18-year run at CHUM-FM and walked across the street to CFTR-FM.  Earlier in his career, Smythe was 20/20 news director at The Big 8 CKLW in Windsor-Detroit.  Smyth died March 6, 2021.

➦In 1998...Pioneering NYC Radio personality Eddie O'Jay, whose "Soul at Sunrise" was a fixture on WWRL and WLIB in the '60s, died.

Eddie O'Jay
O'Jay was from the old fast-talking school, and the signature phrase most cited Tuesday was the famous "Don't lose your head. You need your head. Your brain is in it. You hear?

His career began in 1951 as a Disc Jockey at WOKY in Milwaukee. From there, he went to WABQ in Cleveland, and WUFO in Buffalo, finally working my way to the "Soul at Sunrise" show on WWRL, WBLS and WLIB in New York City. After a distinguished 27 year career in radio in the United States, he expanded to include an internationally syndicated radio program on "Swazi Music Radio," in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1980.

He's been inducted into the Black Radio Hall of Fame.

While at WABQ, O'Jay discovered a group of five young beginners in the business called The Mascots from Canton and Masilon, Ohio.  O'Jay was asked to manage and direct the group which took hi name, The O'Jays.

George Wilson
➦In 2013…Legendary Top 40 programmer George Wilson Crowell died of complications, at age 84, from a heart attack . He had been living in Albuquerque.  He had survived several heart attacks in 2012.

Wilson gained a huge reputation during the 60s and 70s as PD for WOKY Milkwaukee. He also EVP/Programming  with the Bartell broadcasting and the Star Group.  His background also includes a stint at KIQQ LA in the early ‘80s.

Rochelle Staab, Wilson’s secretary at WOKY Milwaukee, called him “a brilliant Top 40 programmer, a guy’s guy, a tough competitor, and a true friend and supporter”.

She shared his philosophy:

On programming radio: “Play the hits, talk dirty, watch the bottom line.”
On Vegas: “Always split aces and eights at the blackjack table.”
On horse racing: “Bet the closers at Santa Anita.”

  • Actor Liz Sheridan (“Seinfeld”) is 92. 
  • Mandy Moore is 37
    Sportscaster John Madden is 85. 
  • Actor Steven Seagal is 69. 
  • Singer Terre Roche of The Roches is 68. 
  • Actor Peter MacNicol (“Numb3rs,” ″Ally McBeal”) is 67. 
  • Bassist Steven Gustafson of 10,000 Maniacs is 64. 
  • Singer-producer Babyface is 63. 
  • Musician Brian Setzer is 62. 
  • Singer Katrina Leskanich of Katrina and the Waves is 61. 
  • Drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander of Primus is 56. 
  • Singer Kenny Lattimore is 54. 
  • Comedian Orlando Jones is 53. 
  • Guitarist Mike Mushok of Staind is 52. 
  • Rapper Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest is 51. 
  • Actor David Harbour (“Stranger Things”) is 46. 
  • Blues singer Shemekia Copeland is 42. 
  • Actor Laura Bell Bundy is 40. 
  • Actor Harry Hadden-Paton (“Downton Abbey”) is 40. 
  • Actor Chyler Leigh (“Supergirl,” ″Grey’s Anatomy”) is 39. 
  • Bassist Andrew Dost of fun. is 38. 
  • Actor Ryan Merriman (“The Pretender”) is 38. 
  • Singer-actor Mandy Moore (“This Is Us”) is 37. 
  • Actor Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips”) is 36. 
  • Actor Shay Mitchell (“Pretty Little Liars”) is 34. 
  • Actor Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense”) is 33. 
  • Country singer Maren Morris is 31. 
  • Singer-actor AJ Michalka of Aly and AJ is 30. 
  • Actor Daisy Ridley (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) is 29. 
  • Actor Sofia Carson (“Descendants”) is 28. 
  • Actor Ruby Jerins (“Nurse Jackie”) is 23.

Friday, April 9, 2021

NYC Radio: Charlie Kirk Joins 77WABC Radio

TALKRADIO 77 WABC, New York, along with 107.1 FM WLIR, Long Island, announced today that Salem Radio Network’s syndicated talker Charlie Kirk will join the stations’ lineup at Noon ET, beginning Monday, April 12th. 

77 WABC is known as one of America’s top NewsTalk radio stations, launching the national careers of great hosts like Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Levin.

“I am thrilled and honored to take the same time and station where my friend and American hero Rush Limbaugh launched his national radio show in 1988,” said Kirk. “I am so impressed with what John Catsimatidis has done since he bought this great station and will commit to doing my part to keep this as one of the top talk stations in America.”

Kirk joined the Salem Radio Network in the Noon to 3pm time slot last October 5th and has continued to build in audience and stations. Kirk also hosts one of the Top 10 podcasts in the USA, wrote a NY Times Bestseller, and founded Turning Point USA which now counts over 250,000 young people as members.

“Charlie Kirk has proven to be one of the bright lights of the conservative movement,” said Catsimatidis. “He’s young, energetic, articulate, and proving to be a great radio talent.”

“We have built one of the strongest talk lineups in all of radio at 77 WABC and are delighted to add this great young star to our platform,” said President of Red Apple Media, Chad Lopez. “We know this will be a great move both for our listeners and advertisers.”

“I was fortunate to be the PD at WABC for 14 years. I am thrilled to see WABC once again affirm its status as one of the truly iconic talk stations in the nation, and so blessed to be able to add our newest star Charlie Kirk to their all-star lineup,” said Phil Boyce, Salem Sr. VP of Spoken Word at the Salem Radio Network.

U-S Newspaper Print Circulations Shrank During Pandemic

USA Today lost more than half of its print sales as US newspaper circulations were hit by the Covid-19 crisis last year, the U-K-based Press Gazette research has found.

The title, owned by publishing giant Gannett, saw its print circulation fall by 60% in the months after Covid-19 restrictions were imposed across the country.

America’s other largest newspapers – the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times – also experienced significant declines over the summer. USA Today and the Journal were particularly badly hit by falling sales to hotels as travel dried up during the pandemic.

On average, the largest ten weekday newspapers in the US experienced a circulation fall of 20% in the six months to September 2020, Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) figures show.

But this average was dragged down by USA Today and the Journal. Other declines were less extreme among newspapers that were not reliant on hotel sales, with subscriptions holding up over the summer.

For this analysis, Press Gazette obtained AAM certificates for the ten newspapers we previously identified as having the largest weekday circulations in the US.

Beneath our US newspaper circulations table, we take a closer look at the AAM certificates of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today to examine where sales were lost.

Outside of the top three newspapers, the circulations of the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and New York Post fell 9%, 10% and 14% respectively.

The smallest newspapers in the top ten – the Chicago Tribune, Newsday and the Star Tribune – experienced relatively minor declines of 3%, 4% and 2% respectively.

The Tampa Bay Times’ average weekday circulation rose from 137,590 to 142,516, but this was after it made the switch from a daily to a newspaper published only on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Teen Passions Include Chick-fil-A, Racial Equality

  • Overall teen “self-reported” spending increased slightly to $2,165 per year; seeing emergence of female-led spending cycle led by apparel
  • Teens care about social/political issues naming Racial Equality as No. 1 & the Environment as No. 2; Black Lives Matter as No. 3
  • Snapchat remains No. 1 (31%) favorite social media platform, followed closely by TikTok (30%); Instagram loses share as the No. 3 player
  • Athletic brands dominate fashion preferences as 38% of preferred apparel brands are “athletic” with notable gains in Nike (No. 1 apparel & footwear brand), lululemon at No. 4 & gains for Under Armour
  • Food returns as teens’ No. 1 wallet priority at 23%

Piper Sandler Companies, a leading investment bank, has completed its 41st semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens® survey in partnership with DECA. This survey highlights discretionary spending trends and brand preferences from 7,000 teens across 47 U.S. states with an average age of 16.1 years. Generation Z, which contributes approximately $830 billion to U.S. retail sales annually*, represents an influential consumer group where wallet size and allocation provide a proxy for category interest.

This year’s Spring 2021 survey was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was conducted from February 19 to March 24; 58% of teens have returned to school in either a hybrid format or in person this Spring while 42% remained fully virtual. We received the highest amount of responses from the South at 48% of the mix and 10% of the responses from the Northeast—similar to Spring and Fall 2020.

“Our Spring survey gave rise to a number of themes emerging for GenZ as we think about the path to reopening. We are seeing a female-led spending recovery with upticks in spending on clothing, handbags and skincare in particular. Within apparel, athletic is still the dominant trend with Nike & lululemon taking new highs and Under Armour seeing improved mindshare. Simultaneously, we are seeing a revival of the 1990s fashion trend flannel shirts, baggy pants, mom jeans & eclectic hair trends all in vogue.

“GenZ is a conscious generation as teens this Spring cite Racial Equality & the Environment as their top-two social issues. We have also seen “thrifting” emerge as a strong trend as thinking secondhand is becoming second nature to teens. In fact, 47% of teens have purchased and 55% have sold secondhand.

“In the wake of COVID-19 and given these consumers are digitally-native, we are not surprised to see online adoption at its highest ever this Spring. Snapchat & TikTok are the top-two social media platforms. While Amazon remains the No. 1 website, we are seeing a rise in female-centric platforms like SHEIN, Revolve and Princess Polly,” said Erinn Murphy, Piper Sandler senior research analyst.

Spring 2021 Key Findings:

Spending & Shopping Behavior

  • Areas of wallet share contraction included: Concerts/Events & Car (remains below multi-year average)
  • Areas of wallet share expansion included: Clothing & Accessories (especially for females)
  • Amazon remains teens’ No. 1 preferred online shopping mindshare at 56%
  • Skincare spending for females ranks ahead of makeup spending
  • TikTok influencers have significantly reshaped skincare brand preferences; 86% of females use online influencers as a source of discovery for beauty brands and trends
  • Video games hold ~16% of teen wallet share; 53% of gamers plan to purchase the new console system in the next 2 years
  • Teens allocate 8% of their shopping to secondhand; 47% of teens have purchased & 55% have sold secondhand – thrift/consignment stores ranked No. 10 as favorite brand/retailer, compared to No. 23 in the Spring 2020 survey

Brand Preferences

  • Chick-fil-A remains No. 1 restaurant for 7 consecutive surveys; Starbucks maintains No. 2 and Chipotle remains No. 3
  • 49% of teens either consume or are willing to try plant-based meat with Impossible Foods as the No. 1 choice, followed closely by Beyond
  • For more than 10 years, Nike remains No. 1 apparel brand; Nike also holds No. 1 spot for footwear brand and preferred athletic apparel & footwear brand
  • PacSun moves up from No. 5 apparel brand to No. 3; adidas falls to No. 5 – lowest level since Fall 2017
  • 96% of females claim to shop online vs. 88% last year, while 92% of males claim to shop online vs. 91% last year
  • Lays is most preferred snack brand among teens at 11%, followed closely by Campbell’s Goldfish (9%)
  • Ulta maintains No. 1 preferred beauty destination against Sephora for fifth survey in a row (46% share vs. 39% LY); 80% of female teens willing to spend more for “clean” or natural beauty
  • Tarte remains top-ranked cosmetic brand for 7 consecutive surveys; e.l.f. registers all-time high in survey at No. 2 preferred makeup brand
  • CeraVe holds No. 1 spot as top skincare brand for the second survey in a row; The Ordinary remains in the No. 4 spot similar to Fall and up from No. 14 last Spring
  • Teens spend 32% of their daily video consumption on Netflix, down slightly from 34% in Fall 2020, followed by YouTube (No. 2) and Hulu (No. 3)
  • Half of the list of favorite social media personalities is dominated by YouTube and TikTok content creators
  • 88% of teens own an iPhone and 90% expect an iPhone to be their next phone, both record survey highs

The Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens® survey is a semi-annual research project that gathers input from 7,000 teens with an average age of 16.1 years. Discretionary spending patterns, fashion trends, technology, and brand and media preferences are assessed through surveying a geographically diverse subset of high schools across the U.S. Since the project began in 2001, Piper Sandler has surveyed more than 201,800 teens and collected over 49.7 million data points on teen spending.

* Source: Fung Global Retail & Technology

Wake-Up Call: Floyd Died From Lack Of Oxygen, Not Drugs

Medical experts testified Thursday in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder and manslaughter trial in the death of George Floyd last May that Floyd died from a lack of oxygen due to being pinned down on the pavement with Chauvin's knee on his neck, not from drugs and his underlying health conditions, which the defense contends.

Lung and critical care specialist Dr. Martin Tobin said that Floyd's breathing was severely constricted when he was pinned down and that the lack of oxygen led to brain damage and caused his heart to stop. He said, "A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died." Tobin pointed to a moment in a video clip of the incident about five minutes after police began holding Floyd down when he said a change in Floyd's face told him he was dead, stating, "That’s the moment the life goes out of his body."

Dr. Bill Smock, the police surgeon for the Louisville, Kentucky, department who's an expert on deaths from asphyxia, backed up Tobin in saying that drugs didn't cause Floyd's death. Although Floyd was found to have fentanyl in his system, Smock said he didn't have symptoms of a fentanyl overdose, such as constricted pupils and decreased breathing. He said instead his actions were the opposite, stating, "That is not a fentanyl overdose. That is somebody begging to breathe." He blamed Floyd's death on "positional asphyxia," which is a lack of oxygen because of the position of the body.

➤BIDEN ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE ACTIONS ON GUNS: President Biden announced several executive actions on guns at the White House on Thursday, saying the U.S. has a, quote, "epidemic and international embarrassment" of gun violence, but said much more needs to be done. The new actions include a move to crack down on so-called "ghost guns," which are homemade weapons that don't have serial numbers and are often bought without a background check, and tightening regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces like the one used in last month's mass shooting in a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket that left 10 people dead. However, some of the more ambitious actions on guns that Biden wants to take he is unable to do without Congress, which would be a tough lift in the evenly-divided Senate. However, he did name some of them, including eliminating lawsuit exemptions for gun manufacturers, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, closing background check loopholes and passing the Violence Against Women Act.


Phillip Adams
Five people were shot and killed early Thursday in South Carolina by 32-year-old former NFL player Phillip Adams, who then took his own life. 

Killed at their Rock Hill home were prominent 70-year-old physician Dr. Robert Lesslie, his 69-year-old wife Barbara, and their grandchildren nine-year-old Adah and five-year-old Noah. A 38-year-old man who'd been working at the home, James Lewis, was found dead outside. A sixth person who'd also been working at the home, Robert Shook, was hospitalized in critical condition. York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said evidence at the scene led them to Adams as a suspect. 

They went to his parents' home, had them leave, and tried to talk Adams into coming out, but eventually found him dead inside with a gunshot wound to his head. Tolson said they haven't determined a motive. AP cited a source as saying Adams had been treated by Lesslie, but Tolson wouldn't confirm that.

Adams played in 78 NFL games over six seasons for six teams, although he rarely started, and ended his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.

➤TEXAS MAN KILLS ONE, WOUNDS FIVE AT WORKPLACE: A 27-year-old Texas man is accused of killing one person and wounding five others, two of them critically, when he allegedly opened fire yesterday at the Bryan, Texas, cabinet-making company where he worked. A state trooper was also shot and wounded before Larry Winston Bollin was arrested about two hours after the shooting about 25 miles away. Bryan Police Chief Eric Buske said he believes Bollin was an employee at the Kent Moore Cabinets location where the afternoon attack happened. A motive hasn't yet been determined.

🛳FLORIDA SUES FEDS OVER CONTINUED NO-SAIL ORDER FOR CRUISE SHIPS: Republican Governor Ron DeSantis announced yesterday that the state had filed a lawsuit against the federal government over its continued no-sail order for cruise ships, demanding that cruises from U.S. ports be allowed to immediately resume. Florida has three of the world's busiest cruise ship ports, and the industry generates billions of dollars for the economy and employs tens of thousands of state residents. DeSantis said yesterday that the no-sail order is outdated, charging there's, quote, "very little evidence and very little data," and is disproportionately hurting his state. He also pointed to cruising having resumed in much of the world, with industry leaders saying there have been no new Covid-19 outbreaks tied to their ships. Cruise sailings from U.S. ports have been shut down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, after several coronavirus outbreaks on cruise ships around the world.

➤NUMBER OF KIDS CROSSING BORDER WITH MEXICO ALONE REACHED ALL-TIME HIGH IN MARCH: There were nearly 19,000 children traveling alone who were picked up as they crossed the border with Mexico in March, the highest-ever monthly number and double what it was in February, according to government data released yesterday. The previous high had been 11,475 in May 2019 and 10,620 in June 2014. The big increase in children traveling alone and in families crossing the border has put a severe strain on border holding facilities, with the government trying to find more space told hold them and hire more staff to care for the children until they can be placed with sponsors.

➤'NO' VOTE AHEAD IN BALLOT COUNTING IN AMAZON UNIONIZATION PUSH IN ALABAMA: The "no" vote was leading in the unionization effort at an Amazon warehouse facility in Bessemer, Alabama, as votes were being counted yesterday. By the evening, the unionization effort was behind by a lot, with 1,100 workers voting no and less than half that, 463, voting yes. The count, which is being conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, will resume this morning. The vote has gotten national attention, with President Biden, pro athletes and Hollywood stars among those who've urged a yes for unionization, which would be a first in Amazon's history.


➤GAETZ ASSOCIATE SEEKING PLEA DEAL IN SEX TRAFFICKING CASE: An associate and political ally of Rep. Matt Gaetz is seeking a plea deal with federal prosecutors in their sex trafficking investigation, it was revealed during a hearing yesterday in Orlando. If a deal if reached, Joel Greenberg could potentially be a witness against the Republican Florida congressman. An attorney for Greenberg, Fritz Scheller, said after the hearing, "I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today." Gaetz is reportedly under investigation over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, including if he had sex with a 17-year-old and other underage girls, and paid them or offered gifts in exchange for sex.

➤NIKE REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH 'SATAN SHOES':  Nike reached a settlement of its trademark infringement lawsuit with art brand MSCHF yesterday over Lil Nas X's "Satan Shoes" for an undisclosed amount, and as part of the agreement, the Nike Air Max '97 sneakers that were modified with red and black accents, an inverted cross and a "drop of human blood" will be voluntarily recalled. MSCHF will buy back any "Satan Shoes" for their original retail price of $1,018 to remove them from circulation, although it's unclear how many people will actually want to sell them back. The Satan Shoes were released in conjunction with the rapper's controversial music video for the song, "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," which featured Biblical and Satanic imagery, including his character giving Satan a lap dance. At least 200 of the 666 pairs of Satan Shoes that were manufactured were shipped before a judge granted Nike a temporary restraining order on April 1st. According to MarketWatch, David Bernstein, an attorney at the firm that represented MSCHF, said they made the Satan Shoes, quote, "to make a point about how crazy collaboration culture has become," adding that the collection "appeared to be in collaboration with Satan."

➤LINKEDIN IS ADDING ‘STAY-AT-HOME MOM’ AS AN OFFICIAL JOB TITLE: LinkedIn is adding “Stay-At-Home Mom” as an official job title after the site was accused of used “sexist and old-fashioned terminology” to describe breaks from employment. Helen Bolen of New York took to Medium, a blogging platform, to complain that LinkedIn’s drop-down menu automatically suggested “Homemaker” when she searched for mother, father, or housewife. She argues that women are forced to “manipulate” their digital resume to justify the time off taken to have a baby and accuses the site of having gender bias. LinkedIn’s director of engineering, Bef Ayenew, responded, saying, “To make it easier for moms, and all parents, we’re making some important changes to the profile. We introduced two new job titles, including ‘stay-at-home mom,’ ‘stay-at-home dad’ and ‘stay-at-home parent’ to allow full-time parents and caretakers to more accurately display their roles.” He also added, “In the near future, we’ll also add a new field specifically for employment gap types to the profile- like ‘parental leave,’ ‘family care,’ or ‘sabbatical’ so that people can address any gaps in their career journey.” In addition, he said members of the platform will soon be able to add their preferred pronouns.

🏌ROSE IN LEAD AFTER FIRST ROUND OF MASTERS: English golfer Justin Rose is in the lead after the opening round of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National in Georgia yesterday. Rose shot a 7-under 65, giving him a four-stroke lead over American Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who are tied in second place. Defending champion Dustin Johnson, who set the record last year at 20-under 268, failed to break par.

🏌FLEETWOOD GETS HOLE-IN-ONE: English golfer Tommy Fleetwood got a hole-in-one in the opening round of the Masters Tournament yesterday. He made the 170-yard shot on the par-3 16th hole at Augusta National. It was the second tournament in a row in which the 30-year-old Fleetwood hit a hole-in-one, after also making one two weeks ago at the Match Play Championship. The rest of the day didn't go as well, however, for Fleetwood, who ended at two-over par.

➤WATSON'S ATTORNEY GRANTED EMERGENCY COURT HEARINGS: The attorney for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, Rusty Hardin, was yesterday granted two emergency court hearings to take place today related to the civil lawsuits that have been brought against Watson alleging sexual assault and misconduct by 22 women. Hardin will be asking a judge to rule that the attorney representing the women, Tony Buzbee, has to identify them. Only two of the women have publicly come forward. Watson has denied the allegations.

🎾FRENCH OPEN TO BE POSTPONED ONE WEEK: The president of the French tennis federation said Thursday that the French Open will be postponed one week because of surging cases of the coronavirus in France. The clay-court Grand Slam tournament was supposed to begin on May 23rd, but will now start on May 30th. Federation president Gilles Moretton said, "This postponement will give us a little more time to improve the health situation and should allow us to optimize our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland Garros." Last year's tournament was postponed several months to September because of the pandemic, and fan attendance was limited to 1,000 people per day.

➤LANCE ARMSTRONG'S SON CHARGED WITH 2018 SEXUAL ASSAULT: Former cyclist Lance Armstrong's 21-year-old son, Luke Armstrong, was arrested Tuesday (April 6th) and has been charged with sexual assault related to a 2018 incident that took place when he was 18, according to media reports yesterday that cited police records. The alleged victim, who is now 19, told police in November 2020 that she was assaulted by Armstrong when she was 16 after he drove her from a party to his father’s house. He has been charged with felony sexual assault of child. Armstrong's attorney claims the two were in a consensual relationship and that he didn't assault her. The arrest affidavit says the woman told police she met Armstrong in June 2018, and that she was at a party and intoxicated two days later when she called him to pick her up. She said she didn't remember the car ride, but she woke up in his house where he sexually assaulted her before driving her home. The girl told police she told six people Armstrong had sex with her, and that four of them remembered her saying it wasn't consensual, while one said she interpreted it as having been consensual.

YouTube Scrubs Florida Governor Video


Ron DeSantis
YouTube has deleted a video in which Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and a handful of medical experts questioned the effectiveness of having children wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19, The Wrap reports.

The video, which was removed on Wednesday, was of a recent roundtable discussion DeSantis moderated on the global response to the pandemic. DeSantis was joined by Oxford epidemiologist Dr. Sunetra Gupta, Harvard professor Dr. Martin Kulldorff, and Dr. Scott Atlas and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford University. The clip was posted by the American Institute for Economic Research, and a transcript of the discussion can be found on the group’s website by clicking here.

A YouTube rep confirmed on Thursday the video was removed due to multiple instances where the doctors said children didn’t need to wear masks. This position, a YouTube rep said, violated the Google-owned video site’s “COVID-19 medical misinformation” policies, which you can find here.

“YouTube has clear policies around COVID-19 medical misinformation to support the health and safety of our users,” a rep said in a statement. “We removed AIER’s video because it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We allow videos that otherwise violate our policies to remain on the platform if they contain sufficient educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic context. Our policies apply to everyone, and focus on content regardless of the speaker or channel.”

Here are a few exchanges that caught the attention of YouTube’s censors:

  • DeSantis at one point in the video asked if it was necessary for kids to wear masks in school. Dr. Kulldorff in response said “children should not wear face masks, no. They don’t need it for their own protection and they don’t need it for protecting other people, either.”
  • Dr. Bhattacharya said it is “developmentally inappropriate” for children to wear masks and that it “just doesn’t help on the disease spread.” He added: “I think it’s absolutely not the right thing to do… if we went back a year, a lot of experts would say that wearing masks for the general public is not evidence-based.”
  • Dr. Atlas later said “there’s no scientific rationale or logic to have children wear masks in schools.”

The World Health Organization’s guidance on masks says children 5 and under don’t need to wear masks; children between the ages of 6 and 11, the WHO said, should wear masks when they’re in areas of “widespread transmission,” and kids 12 and up “should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults,” like when they’re within 1 meter of the person they’re talking to and indoors.

Poynter Institute Scolds ’60 Minutes’

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies has joined the growing chorus of criticism against the controversial "60 Minutes" report that suggested Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R., engaged in a pay-for-play scheme with Publix over distributing coronavirus vaccines, reports FOX News.

"There was really no there there," Poynter’s senior media writer Tom Jones wrote.

"’60 Minutes’ is the finest and most respected investigative journalism show in the history of television … that doesn’t mean it’s infallible," Jones wrote. "And a sloppy moment on Sunday’s show is raising serious concerns."

The report by Sharyn Alfonsi and produced by Oriana Zill de Granados suggested DeSantis gave Publix preferential treatment to distribute COVID-19 vaccines because the chain donated $100,000 to the governor’s political action committee.

"If that is true — if DeSantis ran a ‘pay-for-play’ scheme involving vaccinations for the coronavirus — that’s an explosive story. But ‘60 Minutes’ really didn’t deliver substantial evidence that DeSantis did any such thing," Jones wrote.

"Yes, Publix donated to DeSantis’ reelection campaign. But that is neither illegal nor unusual. Big companies often donate to political campaigns of both major parties," Jones continued. "Yet the ‘60 Minutes’ piece used that as the main evidence for its premise that DeSantis did something shady. They really didn’t have much else on that topic."

Democratic state officials, conservative pundits, Publix, DeSantis himself and now liberal media watchdogs have all rejected the story.

"There’s nothing wrong with a news network digging into how vaccines are distributed. And political contributions are a good place to poke around on such a story. But, in this case, it doesn’t appear as if DeSantis did anything wrong," Jones wrote. "If he did, ‘60 Minutes’ failed to provide enough information, context or evidence that he did … This doesn’t ruin the ‘60 Minutes’ brand, but this was not one of the show’s finer moments."

Despite the widespread backlash, CBS News has defended its reporting.

When asked why a defense of pay-for-play allegations from the "60 Minutes" report wasn’t in the statement, a CBS News spokesperson told Fox News the newsmagazine repeated claims already made in Florida newspapers and declined additional comment.

Austin Radio: KGSR Imports Ryan Seacrest, Mario Lopez

Waterloo Media Austin’s KGSR Lucy 93.3 – Pop Hits & Flashbacks – has announced the addition of multimedia stars and nationally-syndicated radio personalities Ryan Seacrest and Mario Lopez to the station’s live weekday lineup. 

Beginning Monday, April 12, On Air with Ryan Seacrest will join the station in the 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. CT timeslot, and On with Mario Lopez will broadcast from 7 – 11 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday.

“I’m so excited to bring an A-list lineup to one of the greatest cities and stations in the country with the addition of Ryan Seacrest and Mario Lopez to Lucy 93.3,” said Jay Michaels, Program Director, Lucy 93.3. “I’m a huge fan of both shows, and they perfectly complement our fantastic lineup featuring Pop Hits & Flashbacks!”

On Air with Ryan Seacrest is a four-hour music and entertainment news program focused on all aspects of the entertainment industry, highlighting and interviewing top talent from the worlds of music, film and television. Listeners can also visit to interact and connect with the show, and get their daily entertainment and lifestyle news. The site features photos, videos and social networking.

On with Mario Lopez is a four-hour, music-intensive program featuring a unique blend of entertainment stories and celebrity interviews from a multimedia star’s point of view. Lopez and his wife/co-host Courtney Lopez keep listeners up to date on the latest news, gossip and events, in addition to sharing conversations with the hottest celebrities and music artists. For more information, please visit

Below is the station’s new weekday lineup:
  • Live with B-DOE and Abby 6 – 10 a.m.
  • On Air with Ryan Seacrest 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Live with Jay Michaels and Bailey 2 – 7 p.m.
  • On with Mario Lopez 7 – 11 p.m.

Taylor Swift Drops New ‘Fearless’ Album

Taylor Swift is striking back: the superstar on Thursday night released a rerecording of her 2008 album “Fearless,” the first salvo of a campaign to reclaim her back catalog and gain more control over her legacy, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Two years after failing to acquire the rights to her early albums from her former label, Big Machine Label Group, the 31-year-old pop star is attempting to effectively replace those albums in the minds of consumers with new versions whose rights she owns. On Thursday, Swift enlisted the help of two of her “kids”—Olivia Rodrigo and Conan Gray, rising music stars who are both huge fans—to help promote the remake.

“They are so cute it physically hurts me,” Swift said on Twitter.

The 27-track “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” album follows her third album-of-the-year win at the Grammy Awards last month and weeks of promotional teases, including the release of never-before-heard tracks from the “Fearless” era including “You All Over Me” and “Mr. Perfectly Fine.”

Swift’s plan to rerecord her early albums could devalue the earning potential of the old versions by encouraging fans, advertisers and other users to listen to or license the new tracks. In addition to boosting her streaming income and sales, her move bestows more control: if she wants to license a “Fearless”-era song for use in a commercial or movie, for example, she can ink the deal herself, cutting out the owner of the original version.

“It’s going to be fun,” Ms. Swift told Billboard in 2019, of rerecording her albums. “Because it’ll feel like regaining a freedom and taking back what’s mine.”

“Fearless” is actually the second album in Ms. Swift’s catalog—not her debut, which was 2006’s “Taylor Swift.” However, it was her first No. 1 album on the all-genre Billboard album-sales chart, won album of the year at the Grammys and remains among her most liked and critically-acclaimed records. If the Pennsylvania-born singer-songwriter follows through, it will be the first of six rerecorded albums.

Las Vegas Radio: KWNR Imports Lois Lewis For Late Mornings

KWNR 95.5 The Bull, Las Vegas’ NEW Country Leader, announced Thursday that Lois “Double L” Lewis will host late morning. Lewis will broadcast weekdays from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. PT.

Lois Lewis
In the middays, Lewis will shine her positive personality on Las Vegas’ local stories, trending topics, and all things pop culture, while playing the best new Country music from artists like Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line and more. In addition, Lewis will continue to serve as the on-air personality and Music Director for iHeartMedia Phoenix’s 102.5 KNIX as well as on-air personality for iHeartMedia Phoenix’s Mix 96.9. Before that, she was heard on 95.5 The Bull from 2016 – 2018.

“The addition of Double L’s upbeat energy and infectious personality to our talented lineup will be a welcomed reunion for our Las Vegas audience, partners and clients,” said MoJoe Roberts, Program Director for 95.5 The Bull. “I’m thrilled we are able to have her on the team.”

“We all know what an exciting city Las Vegas is, but its heart comes from the Country music community,” said Lewis. “I can’t wait to be back in Bull Nation. #HORNSUP.”

Orlando Radio: WPYO Promotes Matt Holiday To PM Drive, MD

Cox Media Group Orlando has announced the promotion of Matt Holiday to full-time Afternoon On-Air Talent & Music Director on WPYO POWER 95.3 effective immediately. 

He will be heard weekdays 2 - 7pm and be critical to the daily operation and music programing for POWER 95.3. Holiday comes to Orlando from CMG Long Island where he was a weekend warrior for 106.1 BLI.

Matt Holiday
Steve Smith, CMG VP of Programming commented, "POWER 95.3 is the perfect example of how CHR needs to evolve for the future to remain relevant. Matt Holiday's passion and ambition make him the right choice for success in Orlando. Congratulations, Matt!"

"Matt's story is the perfect example of how talent, hustle, creativity and a great attitude can take careers to the next level," said WPYO Director of Branding and Programming Will Calder. "I'm really excited to start tapping this energy from Matt and working hand-in-hand with him on growing POWER 95.3!".

"I've had the privilege of getting to experience working in radio from all over the country & now after several years of grinding, it really does prove that hard work, determination & building strong relationships pays off," said Holiday. "Major shout outs and appreciation to Will Calder, Jeremy Rice, Steve Stewart, Jason Meder, Steve Smith and everyone along the way who has believed in me".