Monday, January 27, 2020

Grammys: Billie Eilish Sweeps All 4 Major Categories

The biggest night in music, the Grammy Awards, went down Sunday night in L.A. at the Staples Center airing live on CBS, with Alicia Keys hosting for the second year running. The non-televised portion 62nd Grammy Awards began with a moment of silence for NBA star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash earlier in the day, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant.

Going in, Lizzo led the nominations with eight, including Record, Album and Song of the Year. Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X were nominated six times; Eilish, now 18, was 17 when the nominations were announced, making her the youngest artist in Grammys history to get nods in all four major categories at the same time.

Eilish swept the show. She took home Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Engineered Album. Her brother Finneas won Producer of the Year for his work with her.

Lizzo was also a big winner, walking away with Best Solo Pop Performance, Best Traditional R&B Performance and Best Urban Contemporary Album. The late Nipsey Hussle landed Best Rap Performance and Best Rap/Sung Performance.


Before the show kicked off, Ozzy Osbourne made his first major red carpet appearance following his revelation that he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The 71-year-old carried a cane and was joined by his daughter, Kelly Osbourne.

Lizzo got the party started in true glam glory performing a medley of her hits starting with “Cuz I Love You,” while occasionally hopping on the flute. Before she got started, she announced: “Tonight is for Kobe.” Bom bom bi dom bi dum bum bay.

Keys took to the stage and immediately brought the room to tears with her thoughtful and heartfelt words about Bryant’s unexpected passing. She was joined by Boyz II Men to sing “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye.”

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani sang “Nobody But You,” and nope, their love story played out onstage still isn't old.

Keys spoke, and then sang an incredible song about the transformations we’re seeing in music, culture and the wide world; she spoke and sang of hope despite tragedy and chaos. Keys also delivered the message again and again that “music is love.”

The Jonas Brothers performed “What a Man Gotta Do,” along with an unreleased single.

Lizzo gave a rousing, emotional speech thanking her many supporters, and reminding fans to “lift each other up” and keep their struggles in perspective, saying "All of my little problems that I thought were big as the world were gone."

Tyler the Creator put us under a spell with an energetic, dystopian “New Magic Wand.”

Usher, FKA Twigs and Sheila E. performed a Prince tribute with a medley, which kicked off with “Little Red Corvette.” Reception on social media was mixed. The performance teased "Lets Go Crazy: A Grammy Salute to Prince" airing Tuesday, January 28th on CBS.

Camila Cabello reminded why she’s still Daddy’s girl in “First Man.”

Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker performed “Bring My Flowers Now,” hitting an unexpectedly timely note, as many pointed out on social media.

Ariana Grande performed what started out as a nostalgic medley, including “Imagine” and “7 Rings,” that still managed to morph into steamy sass with lingerie, and yes, “Thank u, Next.”

Eilish took the stage with her closest friend and collaborator, her brother Finneas and sang “When the Party’s Over.”

Aerosmith hit the stage with “Living on the Edge,” then went into “Walk Like This” with Run DMC literally busting in and joining the party. Run DMC paid tribute to their late band member Jam Master Jay by using his logo as a backdrop.

Tyler the Creator brought his mom onstage with him to accept the award for Best Rap Album, and he thanked her and his supporters for believing in him through it all.

Lil Nas X performed “Little Town Road,” with BTS, Diplo, Mason Ramsey and Billy Ray Cyrus, and it was a bizarre, genre-bending and fabulous glitter bomb.

Everyone listened when Demi Lovato returned with a raw, but beautifully done “Anyone.”

DJ Khaled, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch, John Legend and Meek Mill paid stirring tribute performing “Higher,” to the late Hussle, who won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance posthumously and Best Rap/Sung Performance. After the performance, they also hailed Kobe Bryant.

Flamenco darling Rosalia took the stage with a mesmerizing performance that put dancing center stage during “Juro Que.”

DJ Khaled and John Legend didn't leave a dry eye in the house when accepting the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Performance for their late friend Hussle.

Gary Clark Jr. delivered a powerful “This Land,” after scoring Grammys for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.

Eilish and Finneas accepted the award for Album of the Year, saying they were “confused and grateful.”


New Study Examines Deepening Media Divide

As the U.S. enters a heated 2020 presidential election year, a new Pew Research Center report finds that Republicans and Democrats place their trust in two nearly inverse news media environments. 

Overall, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents view many heavily relied on sources across a range of platforms as untrustworthy. At the same time, Democrats and independents who lean Democratic see most of those sources as credible and rely on them to a far greater degree, according to the survey of 12,043 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 29–Nov. 11, 2019, on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.

These divides are even more pronounced between conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats.

Moreover, evidence suggests that partisan polarization in the use and trust of media sources has widened in the past five years. A comparison to a similar study by the Center of web-using U.S. adults in 2014 finds that Republicans have grown increasingly alienated from most of the more established sources, while Democrats’ confidence in them remains stable, and in some cases, has strengthened.

The study asked about use of, trust in, and distrust of 30 different news sources for political and election news. While it is impossible to represent the entire crowded media space, the outlets, which range from network television news to Rush Limbaugh to the New York Times to the Washington Examiner to HuffPost, were selected to represent popular media brands across a range of platforms.

Greater portions of Republicans express distrust than express trust of 20 of the 30 sources asked about. Only seven outlets generate more trust than distrust among Republicans – including Fox News and the talk radio programs of hosts Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

For Democrats, the numbers are almost reversed. Greater portions of Democrats express trust than express distrust in 22 of the 30 sources asked about. Only eight generate more distrust than trust – including Fox News, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

Another way to look at the diverging partisan views of media credibility: Almost half of the sources included in this report (13) are trusted by at least 33% of Democrats, but only two are trusted by at least 33% of Republicans.

Republicans’ lower trust in a variety of measured news sources coincides with their infrequent use. Overall, only one source, Fox News, was used by at least one-third of Republicans for political and election news in the past week. There are five different sources from which at least one-third of Democrats received political or election news in the last week (CNN, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News and MSNBC).

And in what epitomizes this era of polarized news, none of the 30 sources is trusted by more than 50% of all U.S. adults.

Study Explores The Fox News 'Phenomenon'

In the more compact Republican media ecosystem, one outlet towers above all others: Fox News, according to a new study from The Pew Research Center.

Pew concludes it would be hard to overstate its connection as a trusted go-to source of political news for Republicans.

About two-thirds (65%) of Republicans and Republican leaners say they trust Fox News as a source. Additionally, 60% say they got political or election news there in the past week.

Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, CNN (67%) is about as trusted a source of information as Fox News is among Republicans. The cable network is also Democrats’ most commonly turned to source for political and election news, with about half (53%) saying they got news there in the past week.

The big difference is that while no other source comes close to rivaling Fox News’ appeal to Republicans, a number of sources other than CNN are also highly trusted and frequently used by Democrats.

The partisan gaps become even more dramatic when looking at the parties’ ideological poles – conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats.

U-S Homes Now More Connected Than Ever

In November 2019, the average U.S. home had 9.2 connected devices, of which, audio devices were the most prevalent category after mobile, connected TV and computers/laptops.

According to Comscore, homes are becoming more and more connected, and over-the-top (OTT) devices and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are a big driver of this.

The company notes its interesting to see that smart speakers see steady usage throughout the day, but most particularly during morning hours, namely 8 a.m. to noon. Both phones and streaming boxes/sticks see much more use during after-work hours in the evening, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., which is expected as those are hours when the majority of audiences have time to relax.

Going a layer deeper, below Comscore breaks out smart speaker usage habits by weekdays as opposed to weekends. We can see that audiences on weekdays tend to engage more with their devices after work, from 5 p.m. and onwards, and on weekends, they tend to engage more during morning hours.

These insights open doors for savvy marketers to capitalize on the morning usage, such as branded voice commands for morning consumer goods, or weekend usage, such as translating a weekly planning or productivity enhancement app to be more voice command friendly.

Lastly, how do smart speaker owners engage with their devices? Comscore found that the majority of activities on smart speakers are general, non-purchase oriented, such as general questions, updates on weather/traffic/travel/sports, and setting timers and alarms. Only a minority of activities were focused on finding local businesses or ordering food and services.

NPR Calls Pompeo Skirmish 'Intimidation'

Mary Louise Kelly, Marie Yovanovitch, Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo erupted in an expletive-laden outburst Friday after an NPR broadcaster asked if he owed an apology to Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled last year as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, according to The Wall Street Journal citing accounts by the broadcaster.

Pompeo asserted in an interview with Mary Louise Kelly, a co-host of “All Things Considered,” that he had “done what’s right” for every person on the State Department team.

When pressed on whether he could identify specific statements he had made in defense of Ms. Yovanovitch, Pompeo said, “I’ve said all I’m going to say today.”

After the interview ended, Mr. Pompeo glared at Kelly for several seconds, left the room and then instructed an aide to escort her to a private room at the State Department without a recorder, Kelly said on the air afterward and in an NPR statement about the encounter. Repeatedly using the “f-word,” Kelly said, Mr. Pompeo complained about being questioned on Ukraine because he had expected the interview to focus on Iran.

The State Department has not disputed the remarks NPR attributed to Mr. Pompeo from the post-interview session. But on Saturday morning, the State Department issued a statement by Pompeo asserting that her report was an attempt by the media “to hurt President Trump and this Administration.”

He also said in his statement that Kelly had twice lied by agreeing in advance that the interview would only cover Iran and that his discussion with her afterward would be off-the-record. “It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency,” he said.

Kelly said during her interview that she had informed State Department officials that she would ask about both Iran and Ukraine. She added in the NPR broadcast Friday night that she wasn’t told the post-interview meeting would be off the record and would never have agreed to that stipulation.

NPR Senior Vice President for News Nancy Barnes issued a statement on Saturday supporting Kelly.

"Mary Louise Kelly has always conducted herself with the utmost integrity," Barnes writes, "and we stand behind this report."

And in a Saturday interview with All Things Considered, NPR President and CEO John Lansing also came to Kelly's defense.

Lansing allowed that tensions can and do arise when journalists ask officials hard questions.

"But this goes well beyond tension — this goes toward intimidation," Lansing said. "And let me just say this: We will not be intimidated. Mary Louise Kelly won't be intimidated, and NPR won't be intimidated."

Pompeo is planning a trip to Kyiv in the week ahead, a visit that comes as President Trump faces the continuation of a Senate trial on House impeachment articles related to his request that the Ukrainian government investigate his political rival Joe Biden and other matters.

Day 3: More Holiday PPMs Released By Nielsen

Nielsen on Friday, Jan 24, 2020 released the third batch of Holiday 2019 PPM data for the following markets:

   22  Portland OR

   23  Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC

   25   San Antonio

   27  Sacramento

   28  Pittsburgh

   29   Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo

   30  Las Vegas

   31  Orlando

   32  Cincinnati

   34  Cleveland

   35  Kansas City

   36  Columbus OH

Click Here for Topline numbers of subscribing Nielsen stations.

Will CMT's Gender Pledge Influence Country Radio?

CMT last week pledged to establish a 50/50 programming policy for music videos from female artists on both its CMT and CMT Music channels.  CMT’s senior vice president of music strategy and talent Leslie Fram hopes that the gesture will be a motivator across the industry. “We’re not saying you have to play every song by every woman.”

“But what we will be doing is reaching out [to radio] saying, ‘What kind of pledge can you even make?’ It would be nice if radio could increase women’s spins even by 10 percent. It’s not that difficult, it’s not some scary thing.”

Rolling Stone Country reached out to more than 30 country radio PDs and asked if they would make a similar pledge and/or remove the “no women back-to-back” rule that has plagued the genre for decades. Last week, it became the subject of a viral tweet from WKCQ 98.5 FM in Saginaw, Michigan in which they stated “we cannot play two females back to back.”

“Smells like white male bullshit,” Kacey Musgraves tweeted in reply. Only a handful of PDs responded at press time, including Tom Poleman, chief programming officer and president of iHeartMedia.

“Not sure what station said they have a ‘no women back-to-back’ rule, but it’s definitely none of our stations,” Poleman told Rolling Stone Country. “iHeartCountry continues to recognize the pivotal role of women in country, and our top country on-air personality, Bobby Bones, and the entire iHeartCountry team have been strong supporters of women in country.”

Others, like David Corey, the program director of WKLB 102.5 FM in Boston, went further. “I am 100 percent in favor of supporting women in the format way more than we have been,” he said. “I think the goal for our industry [and] radio programmers in general is to increase adds and rotations of female artists over the next six months to a year so that the songs we are playing in that time frame can get to a point where they will be big hits several months after the airplay starts.

That’s a sharp contrast from programmers like Randy Brooks of KIXQ Kix 102.5 FM in Joplin, MO, who insists that all decisions are made simply on “the power of the song and the performance as a whole.”

MoJoe Roberts of KUPL 98.7 the Bull in Portland says the concern is fair and not simply “social issues,” whatever that may be. “I feel there is a lot of validity in the outcry for more airplay for women,” says Roberts, who is adding a woman-centric weekend show to his programming. “We stand with the movement and are showing our support.”

Nashville’s main leadership organizations, the CMA and CRS (Country Radio Seminar), offered gestures of support as well. “CMA is supportive of any music discovery program that helps give women artists and creators an equal opportunity,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA CEO in a statement to Rolling Stone Country.

D/FW Radio: MLB Rangers, KRLD-FM Extend Radio Deal

Entercom and the Texas Rangers have announced a multiyear broadcast extension. As part of the agreement, KRLD 105.3 FM The Fan will continue serving as the flagship station of the Texas Rangers Radio Network and the team’s English language radio play-by-play broadcasts.

“We're ecstatic to continue our rich history with the Texas Rangers and Hall of Fame broadcaster Eric Nadel on 105.3 The Fan,” said Brian Purdy, Regional President and Market Manager, Entercom Dallas. “This year is extra special for Entercom Dallas-Fort Worth and North Texas fans with the opening of the New Globe Life Field. As the unrivaled leader in local sports coverage, we are looking forward to continuing to provide fans with robust coverage of the team on and off the field.”

“The Rangers are very pleased to extend our agreement with Entercom,” said John Blake, Executive Vice President for Communications, Texas Rangers. “We have enjoyed a great relationship with 105.3 The Fan over the last five years. As we move to Globe Life Field in 2020, we are looking forward to working with Entercom and 105.3 The Fan to provide the best in baseball coverage to all Rangers fans. We really appreciate this partnership.”

As part of the agreement, the station will continue providing play-by-play coverage of all regular and postseason games broadcast, as well as select Spring Training games. The station will also continue to air live pregame and postgame shows. Sister station NewsRadio 1080 (KRLD-AM) will continue to carry any games that conflict with previously scheduled programming on 105.3 The Fan.

Play-by-play announcer Eric Nadel will return for his 42nd season of broadcasting Rangers baseball this season. The 2014 Ford C. Frick Award recipient will join Matt Hicks, who is returning for his eighth full year to call the majority of the games. Jared Sandler will return for his sixth year as host of the station’s pregame and postgame coverage, as well as play-by-play announcer for select broadcasts. 

In addition to game broadcasts, 105.3 The Fan will also continue to air daily Rangers-themed programming featuring interviews with players, coaches and front office personnel.

105.3 The Fan has served as the radio home of the Rangers since 2015 and for 22 of the last 26 years beginning in 1995. From 1995 to 2008, all games were broadcast on NewsRadio 1080. After its launch in 2008, 105.3 The Fan became the first FM station to broadcast Rangers games by airing the team’s 2009-10 season weekday games.

The Texas Rangers Radio Network provides broadcasts of Rangers baseball games to more than 70 stations throughout Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The Rangers will continue to oversee all radio production and network elements of the broadcasts.

Sean Hannity To Interview Trump During S-B Pregame Show

FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Sean Hannity will conduct a sit-down interview with President Donald J. Trump which will air during the FOX SUPER BOWL PREGAME SHOW on Sunday, February 2nd beginning at approximately 3:30 PM/ET. The interview will take place at the White House and cover an array of topics.

Additional portions of the interview with President Trump will be presented on FNC’s Hannity on Monday evening, February 3rd (9:00-10:00 PM/ET).

As one of the most prominent and influential voices in the media and the country, Hannity showcases his candid style and passionate commentary on politics and the American agenda every weeknight. Hannity reigned as the number one program in cable news for the third consecutive year, recently notching an all-time high in program history and averaging its most-watched year ever in total viewers with 3.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Additionally, the program routinely ranks at the top of the 10 most watched programs on cable in primetime. In 2019, with Hannity at the helm, FNC notched its highest-rated year in primetime in the network’s 23-year history.

Fox News Digital Reports 2019 Was Best Year Ever

From the Mueller investigation's paralyzing grip on Washington to breaking news and exclusive reports from around the nation and world, Fox News Digital dominated online news in 2019, garnering a staggering 19.5 billion visits.

The record-setting traffic made and its associated sites the most visited online news organization in the United States, according to figures from industry auditor Comscore. Fox News Digital blew past competitor by nearly 1 billion multi-platform views and bested The New York Times (13.1 billion views) by 50 percent. Fox News Channel has long ruled the cable news ratings, but the new digital dominance came courtesy of a strengthened emphasis on journalism and story-telling, according to Fox News Digital Editor-in-Chief Porter Berry.

“Our enterprise reporting propelled Fox News Digital to its best year ever, averaging over 100 million monthly uniques for the first time in history and a second consecutive year as the leader in multiplatform minutes,” Berry said.

“I am beyond proud of our dedicated team of journalists who consistently produce compelling and informative content across all our digital platforms, and look forward to continued success in the year ahead,” Berry added.

Fox News Digital set yearly highs in multiplatform views, average monthly multiplatform unique visitors, multiplatform minutes and average monthly mobile app unique visitors, according to Comscore. Fox News Digital grew 12 percent compared to 2018 in multiplatform views while most media organizations decreased year over year.

Fox News Digital also averaged 101 million unique monthly visitors -- an 11 percent increase over 2018 -- beating in year-over-year growth. Fox News Digital also topped the news competitive set by driving 46.6 billion multiplatform minutes, up 35 percent on 2018. In December alone, Fox News Digital drove 3.5 billion multiplatform minutes, topping for the 15th consecutive month.

Fox News Digital also beat, and in both total views and total minutes.

Taylor Swift: Let's Get Political

The normally private Taylor Swift premiered an intimate documentary Thursday at the Sundance Film Festival in which the pop star discloses a past eating disorder, chronicles her inner battle over speaking forthrightly about politics and says her victorious 2017 sexual assault court case was a dramatic turning point in her life, reports The Tennessean.

“Miss Americana," a Netflix documentary directed by Lana Wilson, was one the most feverishly awaited films in this year's Sundance program, and the premiere at the Eccles Center in Park City on the festival's opening day was a predictably frenzied scene. Outside the theater, dozens of Swift fans sang in unison.

The film, which will debut Jan. 31 on Netflix, plays like a coming-of-age drama for a performer who — despite finding mega-fame as a teenager — took some time to truly find her voice. In the film, she says she always strove to be “a good girl” and needed approving “pats on the head” for any sense of gratification.

But “Miss Americana” captures an evolution in Swift.

“It's time to take the masking tape off my mouth, like, forever,” she says in the documentary.

One of the film's most dramatic scenes shows Swift, eager to speak out against the 2018 Senate campaign of Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn, meeting with her family to discuss it. Her father warns against it, citing the potential economic impact. Her publicist later advises President Donald Trump might come after her. Indeed, when Swift posted on Instagram against Blackburn and urged young voters to register, Trump said he liked Swift's music about 25% less — a response Swift mocks in the film.

Swift says she grew more political after she countersued, and won, against a Denver radio DJ whom she said groped her during a meet and greet before a concert.

Over the weekend, Swift canceled a planned “surprise” performance of her song “The Man” at Sunday’s Grammy Awards amid allegations of sexism swirling around the Recording Academy.

Sean 'Diddy' Combs Puts Recording Academy On Notice

Sean Diddy Combs
When Sean “Diddy” Combs accepted the Salute to Industry Icons Award at the Clive Davis and Recording Academy’s Pre-Grammy Gala Saturday evening, he brought the elephant in the room—the broiling controversy surrounding the Academy—front and center. Catching everyone in the Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom by surprise, he threw down his own gauntlet to the Academy on behalf of artists and other music industry creatives: “You’ve got 365 days’ notice to get this sh-t together.”

Billboard reports the admonishment came in the last six minutes of Combs’ 40-minute speech after he’d accepted the award from the Recording Academy’s board chairman and interim president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr.

Prefacing that his remarks were being said with love and that it wasn’t about bashing the Academy, Combs pulled no punches as he took the organization to task for its lack of diversity and transparency. “Truth be told, hip-hop has never been respected by the Grammys,” he noted, interrupted by cheers and loud applause. “Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be … And that stops right now.

“I’m officially starting the clock,” he continued in part. “You’ve got 365 days to get this sh-t together. We need transparency, we need diversity. They’re [the Academy] a non-profit organization that’s supposed to protect the welfare of the musical community. But it’s going to take all of us to get this done. It’s going to take the artists and executives to recognize their power. So sign me up. I’m here to help make a difference and help us have a positive outcome."

Harvey Mason
Just hours after Combs challenged the industry to get its act todather, interim Recording Academy CEO and board chairman, Harvey Mason Jr., sent a memo Sunday morning to members detailing a five-step diversity and inclusion initiative.

"Six months ago, when I put my hat in the ring to be your Chair, I did so because I believed that the Academy could do better – could be better," the memo said.

"The music we create has always reflected the best of ourselves and our world. But what was true of music has historically not been true of the music business as a whole. Too often, our industry and Academy have alienated some of our own artists – in particular, through a lack of diversity that, in many cases, results in a culture that leans towards exclusion rather than inclusion."

The memo continued: "Artists – especially women and artists of color – had long begun demanding transparency and taking on our traditional power structure. They have found allies across the industry who believe that we can do better and have joined the fight for change."

Mason's initiatives include hiring a diversity and inclusion officer in the next three months, funding women in music organizations and recommitting to meeting recommendations from the Diversity Task Force the Academy implemented in February 2018.

Read the full memo from interim CEO Mason:

Joey Kramer Joins Aerosmith at Grammys Tribute Event

Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, Joey Kramer, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton
Aerosmith (Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer) accepted the 2020 MusiCares Person of the Year award on Friday night at the Los Angeles Convention Center — but, reports USAToday,  Kramer awkwardly left the stage before he could join them in a performance, the result of a recent court order.

Kramer, a founding member of Aerosmith who has played in the rock band for 50 years, wasn't allowed to reclaim his spot when the group was honored at Grammy events this week, according to a Massachusetts judge.

On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Mark Gildea denied Kramer's right to play alongside Aerosmith at the MusiCares gala and the Grammys on Sunday after Kramer sued the band over breach of contract for shutting him out following an injury.

"They are brothers. They refer to each other as brothers and they even fight like brothers," entertainment lawyer (and lawyer to Tyler) Dina LaPolt said before introducing the group as the night's honoree. All five members took to the stage, but only two spoke on behalf of the band: Tyler and Kramer.

Tyler clutched Kramer's shoulder at the podium while he doled out thank you's, and also said this: "Remember, people only really get interesting when they start to rattle the bars on their cages. And the best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up."

Kramer then shouted out MusiCares, fans, his wife Linda and the music industry at large, before awkwardly and quietly leaving the stage.

Prior To Peacock Launch, Comcast Likely To Raise Cost of Cable

Comcast's Brian Roberts
As the Peacock streaming service prepares to unfurl its offerings, Comcast is bracing for more subscribers to fly away, reports USAToday.

The cable operator hemorrhaged 149,000 pay-TV customers in the fourth quarter, the 11th straight quarter of decline.

Luring them away: Streaming apps. So Comcast is betting the future on its new streaming service Peacock to take on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus. How big a bet? $2 billion over the next two years.

"With the rate adjustments that we are implementing in 2020, as well as the ongoing changes in consumer behavior, we expect higher video subscriber losses this year," said Comcast's chief financial officer Michael Cavanagh on Thursday during an earnings call.

So what does that mean for subscribers? The likelihood of higher cable prices. Comcast's price hikes were announced in October.

The Peacock service is Comcast's appeal to the growing number of people cutting the cord as cable prices continue to climb.

CEO Brian Roberts said the whole company is pivoting to the streaming world during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Comcast also said Thursday that it gained 442,000 high-speed broadband customers in the fourth quarter. Later that same day, the company's cable and internet service Xfinity experienced disruptions across the country, fanning consumer frustration.

Westwood One To Present Super Bowl Coverage

CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One, official network radio partner of the National Football League, will present comprehensive coverage and play-by-play of Super Bowl LIV, live from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida on Sunday, February 2, 2020. 

The network will feature a full schedule of game day programming leading up to kickoff, when the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs for the title. It is Kansas City’s third appearance in the Super Bowl, but their first since they won Super Bowl IV fifty years ago. This is the 7th appearance for the 49ers.

Ken Harlan
It’s the 11th time the Super Bowl will be played in Miami, and the 33rd consecutive year and the 47th time overall Westwood One will broadcast the Super Bowl, America’s biggest sporting event.

Kevin Harlan will handle the play-by-play duties for the Super Bowl for the tenth straight year, with Super Bowl XXXIV MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner returning for the second consecutive year as the lead analyst. Former NFL referee turned rules analyst Gene Steratore will also join the radio broadcast booth for this year’s Super Bowl, after having served in a similar role for CBS Sports last season. Former All-Pro Offensive Lineman Tony Boselli returns for a fourth straight year as sideline reporter, and will be joined by longtime field reporter Laura Okmin, who is making her debut on the Super Bowl crew. 

Kurt Warner
Jim Gray will anchor the pregame and halftime coverage, with appearances by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and New England Patriots quarterback and six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. This is Gray’s 19th consecutive Super Bowl for the network. Scott Graham returns for his 11th Super Bowl with Westwood One, and will also contribute to the pregame and postgame show coverage.

Game day coverage begins at 2:00 PM ET, with “Super Bowl Preview”, co-hosted by Scott Graham and Kurt Warner, followed by “Super Bowl Insider” hosted by Scott Graham, and featuring Tony Boselli, Terrell Davis, Rod Woodson, Brian Griese and Ian Rapoport at 3:00 PM ET. At 4:00 PM ET, live coverage from the stadium kicks off with “Super Sunday,” the Super Bowl LIV pregame show, also hosted by Scott Graham. The Super Bowl game broadcast begins at 5:00 PM ET, hosted by Jim Gray, with kickoff expected at approximately 6:30 PM ET.

Jim Gray
Westwood One will also produce “Seven Days to Sunday—The Road to Super Bowl LIV.” This hour-long preview show will air each night through Saturday night, February 1st, 2020. Hosted by Scott Graham, the nightly program will feature interviews with players from the two teams participating in Super Bowl LIV, as well as coaches and other special guests. Each night’s show will be co-hosted by a different Westwood One analyst, including Hall of Famers Kurt Warner, Rod Woodson, Terrell Davis and Jason Taylor, and 2020 Hall of Fame finalist Tony Boselli. Ian Rapoport will also contribute nightly to each show.

The broadcast can also be heard worldwide via the American Forces Radio Network, which provides programming to America’s military forces. The network serves over one million men and women in uniform, Department of Defense personnel, American Embassies and Consulates in over 175 countries and territories, as well as on more than 200 U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command ships at sea.

WTXF Philly Rebrands The 6PM Newscast

WTXF Fox 29 Philadelphia has scrapped its 6 p.m. weekday newscast in favor of "The 6," described as an unconventional spin on the local news format. News Director Jim Driscoll tells The Philly Business Journal the station wants to take some elements from its successful morning show, "Good Day Philadelphia," and apply them at to its new program.

The Six is portrayed as a “30-minute 'foot on the accelerator’ tour through the day’s news," led by anchors Jason Martinez and Shaina Humphries, sportscaster Kristen Rodgers and meteorologist Kathy Orr. It will include the following regular features:
  • The Lead: The day’s top story
  • The Local: Four reporters providing condensed one-minute versions of the day’s big stories.
  • Fast Forecast: A 30-second forecast reported by Orr from outside its studios at 4th and Market streets in Old City.
  • Whaddya Think: Discussion of the biggest sports story of the day, led by anchor Martinez and Rodgers and some guests, with a daily sports poll.
  • Click This: Humphries looks at some of the best digital content on the station’s website, with Fox 29 web producers making cameos.
  • Viewer Sound Off: Feedback from viewers via submitted videos, phone calls, emails and social media posts.
  • Stump the Anchor: Martinez, Humphries, Rodgers and Orr come up with trivia to stump each other.
Unlike "Good Day Philadelphia," which is regularly the number one or two morning newscast in the ratings, Fox 29's 6 p.m. news has traditionally trailed 6ABC, NBC10 and often CBS3. Driscoll says ratings were not a key motivation for the decision.

He said the station is trying to target a community-based audience and provide a complementary lead in to The ClassH-Room, a 30-minute weekday game show that debuted in the 6:30 p.m. time slot in March 2019. That show pits local teachers against their students in a test of knowledge and skill, with questions and challenges related to pop culture, math, world history, science and current events.

“The pie [of viewers] is shrinking,” Driscoll said. “So we have to stand out. The 6 is not conventional. So it can stand out.”

January 27 Radio History

➦In 1926...John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, gives the first public demonstration of a television system in London, launching a revolution in communication and entertainment.

According to History, Baird’s invention, a pictorial-transmission machine he called a “televisor,” used mechanical rotating disks to scan moving images into electronic impulses. This information was then transmitted by cable to a screen where it showed up as a low-resolution pattern of light and dark. Baird’s first television program showed the heads of two ventriloquist dummies, which he operated in front of the camera apparatus out of view of the audience.

Baird based his television on the work of Paul Nipkow, a German scientist who patented his ideas for a complete television system in 1884. Nipkow likewise used a rotating disk with holes in it to scan images, but he never achieved more than the crudest of shadowy pictures. Various inventors worked to develop this idea, and Baird was the first to achieve easily discernible images. In 1928, Baird made the first overseas broadcast from London to New York over phone lines and in the same year demonstrated the first color television.

➦In 1927...Some 5 months after NBC was formed, United Independent Broadcasters Inc. began a radio network which consisted of 16 US stations east of the Mississippi.  Within 20 months it evolved into CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.

With the creation of the "United Independent Broadcasters" network in Chicago by New York talent-agent Arthur Judson. The fledgling network soon needed additional investors though, and the Columbia Phonograph Company, manufacturers of Columbia Records, rescued it in April 1927; as a result, the network was renamed "Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System". Columbia Phonographic went on the air on September 18, 1927, with a presentation by the Howard Barlow Orchestra from flagship station WOR in Newark, New Jersey, and fifteen affiliates.

William S. Paley
Operational costs were steep, particularly the payments to AT&T for use of its land lines, and by the end of 1927, Columbia Phonograph wanted out.

In early 1928, Judson sold the network to brothers Isaac and Leon Levy, owners of the network's Philadelphia affiliate WCAU, and their partner Jerome Louchenheim. None of the three was interested in assuming day-to-day management of the network, so they installed wealthy 26-year-old William S. Paley, son of a Philadelphia cigar family and in-law of the Levys, as president. With the record company out of the picture, Paley quickly streamlined the corporate name to "Columbia Broadcasting System".

He believed in the power of radio advertising since his family's "La Palina" cigars had doubled their sales after young William convinced his elders to advertise on radio. By September 1928, Paley bought out the Louchenheim share of CBS and became its majority owner with 51% of the business.

➦In 1927...KXO 1230 AM went on the air in El Centro, CA. It is the oldest station in the Imperial Valley and is probably the oldest in any community between San Diego and Phoenix. In the 1930s, it broadcast at 100 watts on 1500 kilocycles. It was owned by E.R. Irey and F.M. Bowles.

After the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) took effect in 1941, KXO moved to 1490 kHz and was a network affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System and the Don Lee Network, during the "Golden Age of Radio." Over the years, it spent time as an affiliate of ABC and NBC Radio. In the 1950s, KXO moved to its current dial position at AM 1230.

KXO dates back to the early days of broadcasting, when many radio stations were assigned three-letter call signs. In Southern California, the only three-letter stations that remain, apart from KXO, are 640 KFI, 930 KHJ and 1070 KNX in Los Angeles. KGB-FM in San Diego is the FM sister station to the original KGB, now KLSD 1360 AM.

Over the years, KXO has featured several different formats. Currently, the station broadcasts oldies music with a playlist from the 1960s and 1970s, along with some 1980s titles.

➦In 1931...NBC radio introduced listeners to “Clara, Lu ‘n’ Em” on its Blue network (later, ABC radio). The Chicago-based show became the first daytime radio serial the following year when it was moved from its original nighttime slot.

Elvis 1956
➥In 1948...the Wire Recording Corporation of America introduced the magnetic tape recorder, the first audio recording system that didn’t involve acetate disks or wire. The “Wireway” machine, complete with a built-in oscillator, sold for $149.50.

➦In 1956...', Elvis Presley‘s “Heartbreak Hotel” was released on RCA Victor, which had just purchased Presley’s contract from Sun Records for $35,000. The song sold 300,000 copies in its first week and would eventually sell over a million, becoming Elvis’ first Gold record.

➦In 1997...WNYC 820 AM / 93.9 FM taken over by “WNYC Foundation”

➦In 2003...WNEW 102.7 FM dropped talk format in favor of music.

The station taunted for the next couple of months with Contemporary hit radio music, using a limited playlist of approximately 50 songs from artists like Pink, Eminem, Bowling for Soup, and Avril Lavigne, as well as nightly simulcasts of CBS's Late Show with David Letterman.

Sounders during that period teased listeners about how "a new station" would soon be coming to the 102.7 frequency, and it arrived in April, when WNEW became "102.7 Blink" (keeping the WNEW call letters) and adopted an unusual "Entertainment AC" format.  The station mixed old and contemporary pop hits with talk shows and entertainment news from sources such as E!; on-air personalities during this period included the morning team of Chris Booker and Lynda Lopez (who were also dating during this time), game show host Todd Newton and afternoons with Tim Virgin and now-MSNBC Anchor Alison Stewart. Other personalities included, Rick Stacy (now with WOCL Orlando), Maze, and reporters Matt Wolfe and Lisa Chase, who provided hourly entertainment updates. The station also used AOL Instant Messenger to take requests, and 24 star Kiefer Sutherland did the station IDs ("It is physically impossible not to Blink", etc.).

However, the station's ratings sank further. The station's pink logo led to the derisive nickname "Barbie Radio", and Booker & Lopez did little more on the air than talk about Jennifer Lopez, Lynda's older sister. After less than six months, the station fired most of the staff and changed its branding to "102.7 Blink FM: Music Women Love" with an (again, unusual) explicit appeal to a female audience. This format also failed to draw audiences. By October, it adopted a more mainstream adult contemporary format and ratings began to go up slightly. That November, the station (like many AC stations) adopted the increasingly popular "all Christmas music, all the time" format, dropping the "Blink" format after less than 11 months for the name "New York's New 102.7 FM".

In 2004...The Federal Communications Commission fined Clear Channel Radio (now iHeartMedia) for apparently airing indecent material over several broadcast stations during several days. The Commission proposed the highest fine the law provides resulting in a $27,500 for each of 26 apparent indecency violations for a total of $715,000.

In 2013…Philadelphia television pioneer/radio disc jockey/recording artist Sally Starr died at age 90.

Starr was born Alleen Mae Beller in Kansas City, MO, and legally changed her name to Starr in 1941. Her parents, Charles and Bertha Beller, encouraged her to enter the world of show business, for which she exhibited both talent and ambition. At the age of 12 years, she and her sister Mildred, billed as the "Little Missouri Maids," made their debut on a CBS radio program titled "Brush Creek Follies".

Her broadcast and entertainment career began with creation of the character of a blonde cowgirl who hosted an afternoon children's program for Philadelphia station WFIL-TV (now WPVI) from the 1950s to 1971. Her program was usually known as Popeye Theater or a variation, which presented Popeye cartoons and Three Stooges shorts. She hosted a number of guest visitors including the Three Stooges and Colonel Sanders, plus local legends Dick Clark and Chief Halftown.

She distinguished her character with flashy cowgirl clothing, such as fringes, shiny silver stars, cowgirl hat, and boots. She often dressed in bright red full cowgirl regalia, including gun and holsters. Her opening line was, "Hope you feel as good as you look, 'cause you sure look good to your gal Sal." She closed with "May the Good Lord be blessing you and your family. Bye for now!"

She also hosted a radio show on WVLT 92.1 FM in Vineland, New Jersey until retiring in September 2006.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

R.I.P.: Kobe Bryant, Daughter, 7 Others Dead...LA Sports Radio Coverage

L-A County Sheriff's Dept. photo
Kobe Bryant, the former Los Angeles Lakers superstar and one of the greatest players in National Basketball Association history, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, NBA officials confirmed to league employees.

The Wall Street Journal reports Bryant, who famously commuted to Lakers games from his Orange County home by chopper, was one of five people aboard a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter that caught fire after crashing into the hills of Calabasas, Calif.

He was 41 years old.

Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, was also killed in the crash, according to an NBA memo to employees. Gigi Bryant was a budding basketball star herself, and her father often shared photos and videos of her with millions of followers on social media. He called her “Mambacita,” a nod to the nickname he once gave himself, “Black Mamba.”

Police have confirmed there were was total of 9 persons aboard the helicopter when it crashed in thick fog.

Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.

The crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. (local time) near Las Virgenes Road, south of Agoura Road, according to a watch commander for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The crash ignited a brush fire and made it difficult for firefighters and emergency personnel to get to the aircraft, he said.

The fire was contained to the crash site, officials said. There were no homes in the area, and no roadways were impacted.

ESPN Graphic

Bryant, the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history, retired in 2016 after spending 20 years with the Lakers. In addition to his five titles, he was selected to the all-star 18 times and earned an MVP award in 2008. He was a 12-time member of the all-defensive team and made the all-NBA team 15 times.

Click Here For Live Coverage:

AM 570 LA Sports


News KNX 1070 AM

Saturday, January 25, 2020

January 26 Radio History

➦In 1899...writer/producer Wyllis Cooper was born in Pekin Illinois. He was the creator of NBC Radio’s scary series “Lights Out.” Besides writing, producing and directing, he hosted the show from its start in 1934 to 1936, when Arch Oboler succeeded him. He also was creator/writer/producer of “Quiet, Please!” on Mutual (1947-1948 ) and ABC Radio (1948-1949), and producer/narrator of the early TV series Volume One.  He died June 29 1955 at age 56.

1936 group of breakfastclubbers "start the day with a smile, music and an extra cup of cawfee." L-R: Carl Fasshauer, Bill Short, Earl Roberts, Walter Blaufuss, Helen Jane Behlke, Don, Frank Papile, Clark Dennis, Bill Krenz and Eddie Ballantine

➦In 1907...bandleader Eddie Ballantine was born in Chicago. He was musical director of the Don McNeill Breakfast Club on NBC Blue/ABC Radio for almost thirty years.  When that program ended in 1968 he became a stock market reporter for a Chicago TV station.  He died Nov. 14 1995 at age 88.

➦In 1922...pianist Page Cavanaugh was born in Cherokee Kansas. He formed & led his own trio from 1943-1960, which was featured on NBC Radio’s Jack Paar Show in 1947.  They worked as backup to Mel Torme recordings, and also were featured repeatedly on CBS Radio’s Songs by Sinatra.  He died of kidney failure Dec. 19, 2008 at age 86.

This ad for KNOW appeared in a 1947 issue of Broadcasting
➦In 1932...KUT AM in Austin Texas became KNOW 1490 AM.

On December 7, 1926, the station's first license was originally granted, with the sequentially issued call sign of KGDR. It was owned by a company named "Radio Engineers" and broadcast in San Antonio, Texas. In December 1929, the station was renamed KUT and moved to Austin.That was followed by a call letter change to KNOW on January 26, 1932.

KNOW was owned by the KUT Broadcasting Company. It broadcast at only 100 watts, on 1000 kilocycles. The original KUT moved to Houston and later became KTRH. Today, the KUT call letters are found on the University of Texas' public radio station at 90.5, an affiliate of National Public Radio.

In the 1940s, KNOW moved to its current dial position at 1490 kHz, with the power at 250 watts. It served as Austin's ABC Radio Network affiliate, carrying ABC's schedule of dramas, comedies, news and sports during the "Golden Age of Radio."

In 1949, KNOW was acquired by the Pioneer Broadcasting Company. In the 1950s, it boosted its daytime power to 1,000 watts and remained at 250 watts at night. In the 1960s, it switched to a Top 40 sound. Air Staff in the 70's included P.D. Dave Jarrott, Randall McKee, Jason Wayne. Bill Mayne, Gil Garcia, Jim Gossett, David Gayle, Bill Moss. It call letters where change during the time Hicks Communication owned it from KNOW to KMOW since a mistake was made on giving up the old call letters but were now taken. As contemporary music listening shifted to the FM band in the 1980s, KNOW decided to serve Austin's growing African American community. It flipped to an urban contemporary format. That was coupled with Hicks Communications acquiring the station in 1981.

In 1989, KNOW was sold again, this time to Degree Communications, which switched the format to Oldies. In 1996, the station changed hands again, this time being acquired by San Antonio-based Clear Channel Communications, now iHeartMedia. The call letters were switched to KFON and the format became talk radio {with FON standing for "phone"). It later shifted to sports talk.

In 2005, the station was acquired by Border Media Partners, which owned other stations in Texas, several serving the Latino community. KFON switched to a Classic Regional Mexican music format. There were further call letter changes to KLGO and KTAE, before the current owner Township Media switched the call sign to KTSN, standing for The Sun Network.

The call letters live-on as KNOW-FM and are assigned to Minnesota Public Radio at 91.1 FM.

➦In 1947... “The Greatest Story Ever Told” began a 10-year run on ABC radio. It was the first radio program to dare to simulate the voice of Jesus Christ.

➦In 1969... The Beatles recorded “The Long And Winding Road.” And Ringo Starr wrote “Octopus’s Garden."

When issued as the group's final single in May 1970, a month after the Beatles' break-up, it became the group's 20th and last number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U-S.

The main recording of the song took place in January 1969 and featured a sparse musical arrangement. When preparing the tapes from these sessions for release in April 1970, producer Phil Spector added orchestral and choral overdubs. Spector's modifications angered McCartney. Later versions of the song with simpler instrumentation were subsequently released.

Edward G./ Robinson
➦In & movie star Edward G Robinson died of bladder cancer at age 79.   Rising to stardom in Warner Bros. movies of the 30’s, his most important broadcast credit was the lead role of crusading newspaperman Steve Wilson in CBS radio’s “Big Town” for 5 years beginning in 1937.

➦In 1975...The NBC Radio Networks aired “Monitor” broadcast for the last time with (John Bartholomew Tucker as host.

Big Wilson
Monitor spent its last 12 hours looking back on its 20-year history with hosts Big Wilson and John Bartholomew Tucker.

Many clips were played, including Dave Garroway's interview with Marilyn Monroe on the show's first day, Frank McGee's talk with Martin Luther King Jr. in the early 1960s, Bob and Ray spoofing "Miss Monitor" and reporter Helen Hall riding on a roller-coaster.

On January 26, Big Wilson hosted from noon to 3pm (Eastern) while Tucker hosted from 3-6 pm. The program's last guest was Hugh Downs, who talked about his earlier days on Monitor with Tucker. The final sound heard on Monitor was of the "Beacon", followed by the NBC chimes at 5:58:50pm.

 Click Here for Monitor's final six hours.

On June 12, 1955, the NBC Radio Network had inaugurated "Monitor". On the following Saturday, June 18, "Monitor" began broadcasting 40 consecutive hours each weekend, from 8:00 AM on Saturday to midnight on Sunday. The show aired from a mammoth NBC studio in New York City called Radio Central, created especially for the program, on the fifth floor of the RCA Building.

"Monitor" offered a mix of news, sports, comedy, variety, music, celebrity interviews, and other short segments.

Click Here for the History of Monitor

➦In 2007...Former disc jockey/recording artist/songwriter and promoter Tommy Donaldson, who as Tommy Dee recorded his tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper (The Three Stars), died at age 73.

Bob Green and Anita Bryant at a 1977 press conference in Des Moines, Iowa, where she was famously "pied" on camera by a gay-rights activist.

➦In 2012... onetime WINZ Miami disc jockey Bob Green, who married pop singer (and Florida citrus spokesperson) Anita Bryant, then followed her into anti-gay activism, was found dead at his Miami Beach home at age 80.  The activism ultimately destroyed their careers — and marriage in 1980.