Wednesday, June 16, 2021

SBS Names Albert Rodriguez New President

Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. , the nation’s largest Hispanic-owned and targeted media and entertainment entity, announced today that it has named Albert Rodriguez to the position of President of SBS, succeeding Raúl Alarcón, who has served in that capacity since 1985.

Rodríguez will retain his current title of Chief Operating Officer and will report to Alarcón, who will continue in his position as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

As President, Rodriguez’s duties will include managing all aspects of SBS’ operations and overseeing the future growth and financial performance of the Company’s radio, TV, digital and experiential businesses and market-leading brands.

Alex Rodriquez
Widely regarded in industry circles as a leader in the Latino multimedia sector, SBS is the largest certified minority-owned, Hispanic-targeted media company in the nation, operating top-rated radio formats in the country’s largest markets, including flagship WSKQ-FM in New York City, America’s most-listened-to station in any language (and the #1 Spanish-language station in the world); Aire, the most expansive Spanish-language radio network with 300+ affiliates; LaMusica, the country’s highest-rated and fastest growing Hispanic streaming app; MegaTV, the popular news and political commentary television network; and concert promoter SBS Entertainment and its perennially sold-out roster of signature live events.

“Albert has demonstrated an amazing ability to deliver industry-leading financial results for the Company during the most extraordinarily challenging times in the history of electronic media. He has personally spearheaded a number of corporate initiatives which have been instrumental in establishing the Company’s leadership standing, while adroitly handpicking an executive team which is second-to-none in the industry,” stated Alarcón.

“After nearly a quarter century of dedication and loyalty in building a track record of stellar achievements, no one is more qualified than Albert Rodríguez to expand upon this Company’s treasured legacy of nearly four decades of service to the nation’s Latino community. I congratulate him on his many accomplishments and very much look forward to his firebrand leadership of SBS in the future,” added Alarcón.

Rodriguez commented, “I am honored that Raúl is entrusting me with these added responsibilities, particularly at this time of universal recognition and acceptance of the awesome power of the Latino consumer. I look forward to continue executing our Chairman’s vision, which has created extraordinary value for the Company and its shareholders, and to working with our amazing team of content and sales professionals as we together write the next exciting chapter in the history of SBS as the preeminent entertainment destination for U.S. Latinos”, added Rodriguez.

The Company signaled that it will be implementing additional management initiatives in the coming weeks as part of its ongoing efforts at solidifying and expanding its competitive standing in the U.S. media marketplace.

Milwaukee Radio: WTMJ's Gene Mueller Sets Retirement

Gene Mueller

Newsradio WTMJ 620 AM Morning Show host, Gene Mueller, announces his retirement after over 40 years in broadcasting. 

Mueller made the announcement earlier today on Wisconsin’s Morning News. The long-time host’s career in radio leaves behind an unmatched legacy and ultimately shaped the progression and success of WTMJ’s Morning Show. Mueller will step away from the morning show in February 2022.

Gene Mueller, speaking about his retirement said, “As hard as it may be for some to believe, the thrill of getting up at 1:45am each weekday morning has finally worn off after 44 years. I hear there’s this thing called ‘sunrise’ that I’d really like to witness in person on a regular basis as I live in a world where there are no deadlines, and every day feels like Saturday.” He continued, “I’ve been blessed with fantastic opportunities over the course of my career, not the least of which was the one I had the past 14 years to host Wisconsin’s Morning News, accompanied by so many talented teammates and such supportive management.”

“Gene has informed and entertained generations of listeners,” said Steve Wexler, Vice President and Market Manager of Good Karma Brands, which owns and operates WTMJ. “He is beloved by so many people in our community because of the authentic, personal connection he’s made with them over the air and in person. We can’t thank him enough for his years of early wake-ups, his commitment to our stations and our community, and of course his sense of humor,” Wexler said.Mueller is expected to continue his work with select advertising partners on WTMJ and contribute occasional content to the station after he leaves the morning show.

“The morning show on WTMJ is our flagship program. We’re looking forward to continuing to provide news, personality, companionship and meaningful content, over the air and on our digital platforms, for generations to come”, Wexler added.

A native of Sheboygan, Mueller’s passion for radio began during his high school years and continued throughout college where he was the news director at UW-Stevens Point’s campus radio station, 90 FM WWSP from 1975 to 1977. In 1977, he began his professional career at WSPT in Stevens Point as a News Reporter. In 1981, Mueller became the News Director and Morning Show Co-Host at Milwaukee rock station WQFM, and later in 1982, he joined WKTI as a morning show co-host alongside Bob Reitman. The Reitman & Mueller duo dominated morning show ratings for almost 25 years. Since December 2010, Mueller has anchored Wisconsin’s Morning News.

Nearly A Third Of All Media Time Will Be Mobile This Year

As the US begins to emerge from the pandemic, people are re-entering the world with new habits, including new mobile behaviors, reports eMarketer. This year, the time US adults spend on mobile devices will continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate than last year. Nearly a third of their daily time spent with media will be on mobile.

Whether hunkered down at home or working in jobs that require a physical presence, most people have changed their behaviors over the past year—either to preserve their health or because of changes in options for entertainment, shopping, school, or work. That’s had a profound impact on how media is consumed.

Prior to the pandemic, we expected growth in mobile time spent to slow and level off within a few years. Instead, average time spent on smartphones, tablets, and feature phones in 2020 increased by just over half an hour per day to reach 4 hours, 16 minutes (4:16), about 28 minutes more than we had predicted back in November 2019.

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May 2021 PPMs Day 2: DC, Boston, Miami +9 More Markets

 👉Nielsen on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 released the second batch of May 2021 PPM data for the following markets:

  7  Washington DC

10  Boston

11  Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood

12  Seattle-Tacoma

13  Detroit

14  Phoenix

15  Minneapolis-St. Paul

16  San Diego

17  Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater

18  Denver-Boulder

22  Baltimore

24  St. Louis

Click Here to view Topline number for subscribing Nielsen stations.

Wake-Up Call: Biden, Putin Meet

President Biden will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva today in the final event of his eight-day European trip. Biden plans to bring up a range of issues, including cyberattacks on U.S. companies, arms control, and the treatment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has been jailed after earlier being poisoned. Biden met yesterday with European Union officials, with an agreement reached to ease a 17-year trade dispute over subsidies for aircraft manufacturers.

 ➤U-S PASSES 600,000 CORONAVIRUS DEATHS: The U.S. reached another sad pandemic milestone yesterday, passing 600,000 deaths from Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University's count, a figure that's about equal to the number of Americans who died of cancer in 2019. The milestone came as vaccinations have dramatically brought down cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the worst weeks in January. Reflecting that, Covid restrictions are being lifted across the country, with New York and California the latest states to remove most of their restrictions yesterday. Just under 65 percent of U.S. adults have had at least one dose of a vaccine.

➤ISRAEL LAUNCHES AIRSTRIKES IN GAZA: Israel launched airstrikes at what it said where Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday, the first since a cease-fire ended the 11-day war with the militants last month. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The strikes came after Palestinians in Gaza sent incendiary balloons into southern Israel Tuesday afternoon, causing at least 10 fires. They were acting in response to hundreds of Israeli ultranationalists parading in east Jerusalem, some of them chanting, "Death to Arabs!" Yair Lapid, the foreign minister in Israel's new coalition government, said those marchers shouting racist slogans were, quote, "a disgrace to the Israeli people."

➤eMAILS SHOW TRUMP PRESSURED JUSTICE DEPT. TO INVESTIGATE UNSUPPORTED FRAUD CLAIMS ABOUT 2020 ELECTION: Emails released yesterday by the House Oversight Committee show that then-President Donald Trump, his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and other allies pressured the Justice Department to investigate unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, even though his former attorney general, Bill Barr, had said there wasn't evidence for it, as had Justice Department and Homeland Security Department officials repeatedly. Emails sent to then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen urged investigating debunked conspiracy theories and false information about voter fraud. One email sent by a Trump assistant from him included a draft legal brief for the Supreme Court, that asked it declare that the Electoral College votes case in six states Trump lost, quote, "cannot be counted," and asking for the high court to order a special election in those states. That didn't happen, and Trump considered replacing Rosen with an ally, Jeffrey Clark, and even investigated whether the White House could appoint a special counsel on its own.

➤POLL..VOTERS SAY POLITICAL DIVISION IS TOP ISSUE FACING THE COUNTRY:  Americans are concerned about the political divides in the country, with a new poll out yesterday finding that voters view political division as the top issue facing the U.S. About 32 percent see the nation's divides as one of their top two issues, ahead of those who said the same about the pandemic, health care, and economic issues like jobs and taxes. The Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Service's poll further found that more than two-thirds of voters, 69 percent, prefer politicians who are willing to compromise to get things done, compared to just 27 percent who said they'd prefer politicians stand by their values and ideology instead. Voters believe that President Biden is trying to end the divisions, even if they don't approve of his job performance. The poll found that 52 percent approve of Biden's job performance, but an even higher 60 percent believe he's working at least somewhat hard to heal the nation's political divisions.

➤TWH TO HOST THOUSANDS FOR THE 4TH:  Coronavirus rules are being removed across the country as Covid-19 vaccinations continue to climb, with New York and California on Tuesday the latest to lift most of their remaining restrictions. The Biden administration is celebrating the opening up again too, with the White House to host thousands of essential workers and military families on the South Lawn of the White House for the Fourth of July, to also celebrate, quote, "independence from the virus," CNN reported, citing a White House official. It will be the biggest in-person event at the White House since President Biden took office. Biden had hoped that 70 percent of U.S. adults would be vaccinated by Independence Day, but it looks like we may not reach that goal until the end of July.

We may soon be getting another federal holiday, after the Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would make Juneteenth, which is June 19th, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. Juneteenth marks when the last slaves learned that they were free on June 19, 1865. Union soldiers brought the news of the Confederate surrender two months earlier to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas. That also came about two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the Southern states. The bill passed in the Senate under a unanimous consent agreement, and it's expected to easily pass the House, which would send it to President Biden to sign. Most states recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or have an official observance, and it's a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington.


The Daily Mail Screenshot 6/16/21

➤ZILLENNIALS ARE OBSESSED WITH DECADE DAYDREAMING, EXPERT EXPLAINS WHAT THEIR NOSTALGIA MEANS:  If you look at TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, you’ll find Zillennials (born between 1993 and 1998) creating content pining for eras gone by—but some eras they weren’t even alive for. So what’s the deal with this type of escapism? Psychologist Dr. Krystine Batcho says this is on par for the course for anyone transitioning from adolescent to a young adult. She explains, “Research has shown that this age group is especially likely to feel nostalgic. For teens and young adults, there is considerable conflict in abandoning childhood.” She also says this is a time of identity exploration, and there’s a “tension between wanting to be ‘like everyone else’ to be accepted, and ‘wanting to be different’ to be a unique independent person.” So this is where the interest in past decades comes in, and the internet gives them significantly more access to browse and cherry-pick the trends and cultural moments they connect with the most. Dr. Batcho adds, “Historical nostalgia is longing for the way things were in a prior time in history, even predating one’s birth. This type of nostalgia is associated with a degree of dissatisfaction with current circumstances.” Also, Zillennials are exploring new territory in a way, as their entire lives have been in “digital” which creates “stress from social and interpersonal changes” often times in the so-called “public eye of social media.”

 ➤STUDY..WATERPROOF MASCARA, LIQUID LIPSTICKS, AND FOUNDATION MAY CONTAIN CANCER-LINKED ‘FOREVER CHEMICALS’:  Time to clean out your makeup collection. Scientists from the Green Science Policy Institute tested 231 cosmetic products from stores and brands across the U.S. and Canada, and found some contained potentially toxic chemicals called PFAS. These chemicals break down slowly, and therefore can build up in water and food, stay in our bodies, and cause health issues. Exposure to the two most well-studied PFAS has been linked to increased risk of some cancers, low birth weight, and problems with the thyroid and immune system. The study found that more than three-quarters of waterproof mascaras, nearly two-thirds of foundations and liquid lipsticks, and more than half of eye and lip products had high fluorine levels, suggesting the presence of PFAS. The team found nearly 90% of the products with high fluorine levels—including 29 confirmed to contain PFAS—did not list PFAS on the ingredients label. Since there’s not much people can do to avoid unlabeled PFAS, the study authors are calling on the government to ban PFAS in makeup and other personal care products.

➤MACKENZIE SCOTT, BEZOS' EX-WIFE, DONATES $2.7 BILLION: MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is continuing to give away big chunks of her fortune, announcing yesterday that she's given $2.7 billion to 286 organizations. As high as that amount is, it's actually the third round of major philanthropic gifts Scott has made, after two batches in 2020 for a total of $6 billion. Scott wrote in a Medium post that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, worked with researchers and advisers, quote, "to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change," making clear she's troubled by the increasing concentration of huge fortunes among a very small percentage of the population. Many of the recipients of her philanthropy are organizations led by minorities, women or others from vulnerable populations. Forbes has estimated Scott's wealth at some $60 billion, and it's grown since she received a four percent stake in Amazon in her 2019 divorce.

➤ROYAL CARIBBEAN DELAY INAUGURAL SAILINGS OF NEW CRUISE SHIP AFTER EIGHT CREW MEMBERS POSITIVE FOR COVID: Royal Caribbean is delaying the inaugural sailings of its newest cruise ship, the Odyssey of the Seas, after eight crew members were positive for Covid-19 in routine testing. The Odyssey of the Seas' inaugural sailings were going to be six- and eight-night Southern and Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from July 3rd to July 31st. They will now begin on July 31st, with four cruises scrapped. All 1,400 crew members were vaccinated on June 4th, but the positive cases were found before the vaccines would be considered fully effective. Cruise lines are trying to return to normal operations as they emerge from their long pandemic shutdown.

➤JARED KUSHNER HAS BOOK DEAL: Former President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was a top White House adviser during Trump's administration, has a book deal with Broadside Books, a conservative imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, which announced yesterday (June 15th) that it will be out early next year. Broadside said of the as-yet untitled book, "His book will be the definitive, thorough recounting of the administration -- and the truth about what happened behind closed doors." Financial terms weren't disclosed.

➤WOMAN WINS $867K AFTER USING SAME LOTTERY NUMBERS FOR YEARS: A Michigan woman won an $866,890 jackpot from the Michigan Lottery's Fantasy 5 drawing by using the same numbers she has played for years. The 47-year-old Kent County woman, who chose to remain anonymous, bought a ticket for the May 10th drawing using her regular numbers: 03-07-17-36-38. Her plans for the winnings include fixing up her home, paying bills, and taking a vacation.

🏀DURANT LEADS NETS TO GAME 5 WIN OVER BUCKS: Kevin Durant delivered what Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash called a "historic performance" for the team in Game 5 of their second-round playoffs match-up against the Milwaukee Bucks last night, scoring 49 points with a triple-double to lead them to a 114-108 win and 3 games to 2 lead in the series. The two-time NBA Finals MVP had 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists, becoming the first player to have at least 45 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a playoff game. With Kyrie Irving out and James Harden returning but not putting up much on offense, Durant gave his all, playing the entire 48 minutes and shooting 16 for 23 from the field. Game 6 is on Thursday.

🏀NBA PLAYOFFS: Results from second-round games yesterday:
  • Brooklyn Nets 114, Milwaukee Bucks 108 - Brooklyn leads series 3 games to 2

🏒NHL PLAYOFFS: Results from Conference Finals yesterday:
  • Tampa Bay Lightning 4, New York Islanders 2 - Series tied 1-1

⚾ALTUVE HITS WALK-OFF GRAND SLAM FOR ASTROS IN 10TH INNING: The Houston Astros' Jose Altuve won yesterday's (June 15th) game against the Texas Rangers with a 10th-inning walk-off grand slam for a 6-3 victory. That came after the Astros made it into extra innings with a game-tying homer by Carlos Correa in the ninth. It was MLB's first walk-off grand slam this season.

⚾DIAMONDBACKS LOSE 21ST STRAIGHT ROAD GAME, ONE AWAY FROM RECORD: The Arizona Diamondbacks blew a seven-run lead to lose 9-8 to the San Francisco Giants last night (June 15th), getting their 21st straight loss on the road. Arizona is now just one road loss short of the MLB record, currently shared by the 1963 New York Mets and the 1943 Philadelphia Athletics.

⚾MLB TO GIVE 10-GAME SUSPENSION TO PITCHERS FOR DOCTORING BALLS: MLB is cracking down on pitchers using illegal substances to doctor baseballs, saying Tuesday (June 15th) that they will be ejected and suspended for 10 games if they do it. Under the policy, which will start Monday, umpires will start regular checks of all pitchers, even if not requested by opposing managers. The crackdown comes in a season so far of record strikeouts and a league batting average at a more than half-century low. Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement that it was, quote, "needed to level the playing field," after what he said has been "an extensive process of repeated warnings without effect.

➤SIMONE BILES' BROTHER ACQUITTED OF MURDER: The 24-year-old brother of Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. gymnast Simone Biles was acquitted of murder charges in a retrial yesterday in Ohio after a mistrial last month. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Joan Synenberg granted a judgment of acquittal by the defense for lack of evidence, dismissing Tevin Biles-Thomas' murder charges and acquitting him of voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault. Biles-Thomas was arrested in 2019 in connection with a New Year's Eve shooting in Cleveland. According to authorities, a group of uninvited guests walked into a home that night and a fight began that led to the shooting in which three people were killed. Police had said Biles-Thomas was the shooter, but he has maintained his innocence.

Spotify Clinches $60M+ Deal For ‘Call Her Daddy’ Podcast

Alex Cooper and her sex-positive podcast “Call Her Daddy” are leaving Barstool Sports — coming to Spotify exclusively starting next month under a multiyear deal, reports Variety.

All existing and new episodes of “Call Her Daddy” will remain free and, starting July 21, will available only on Spotify. In addition to bringing the podcast to Spotify exclusively, the deal also covers all future episodes and additional exclusive new projects in development with Cooper.

The three-year agreement between Cooper and Spotify is worth more than $60 million in total, a source familiar with the pact told Variety. That makes it Spotify’s biggest exclusive deal for a woman-led podcast to date. (The Wall Street Journal, which first reported talks, had pegged the deal at “around or over” $20 million.)

Cooper and Sofia Franklin
“Call Her Daddy” has consistently ranked in the top 15 podcasts across all platforms this year, and was the No. 5 most-listened-to podcast on Spotify in 2020. (The No. 1 podcast on Spotify last year was “The Joe Rogan Experience,” followed by “TED Talks Daily,” The New York Times’ “The Daily,” and Spotify exclusive “The Michelle Obama Podcast.”) “Call Her Daddy” also is the second-most-popular female-created podcast globally on Spotify after “Crime Junkie,” hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, according to data released in March 2021.

Spotify’s deal locking up “Call Her Daddy” brings another hugely popular podcast to its stable of shows, joining “The Joe Rogan Experience” and Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” (coming to Spotify exclusively as of July 1). Spotify also has signed exclusive deals with partners including the Obamas and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for original podcasts. And it has acquired podcast companies Gimlet, Anchor, Parcast and Megaphone, as well as Bill Simmons’ The Ringer.

Originally, “Call Her Daddy” was hosted by Cooper and Sofia Franklyn, with the duo bantering on explicitly risqué topics and sharing amusingly entertaining personal stories. Last year, Cooper and Franklyn had a public spat with Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy over the terms of their contracts; Portnoy, among other things, claimed he offered them base annual salaries of $500,000 plus bonuses and other incentives. Franklyn did not sign a deal and said she felt “betrayed” by Cooper; after quitting the show, Franklyn launched her own podcast, “Sofia With an F.”

FOX News Podcasts+ Land On Apple's Platform

FOX News Audio, FOX News Media’s radio and podcast division, has collaborated with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions to launch a new subscription-based content channel entitled FOX News Podcasts+. This new platform will offer exclusive content along with commercial-free episodes of the FOX News Podcasts portfolio, as well as commercial-free podcast versions of FOX News Sunday, and FOX News Radio’s (FNR) The Brian Kilmeade Show, FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla and The Guy Benson Show.

Available for $2.99 per month ($29.99 per year), subscribers will have access to exclusive content including seasonal FOX News Investigates specials, bonus shows from major political events, and special long-form podcasts encompassing faith, history, documentaries and true crime. FOX News Podcasts+ will also provide subscribers with commercial-free access to the platform’s nearly 40 original podcasts hosted by network stars such as Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum, Dana Perino and Will Cain, along with additional episodes and interviews from FOX News Audio’s entire content portfolio. Subscriptions will be available on, and at Apple Podcasts by clicking the FOX News Podcasts+ channel.

FOX News Podcasts currently rank among the top 15 podcast publishers according to Triton Digital and delivered double-digit year-over-year growth across downloads and overall listeners during Q1 2021. Additionally, The Brian Kilmeade Show (weekdays, 9 AM-12 PM/ET) was recently named one of the top five most influential radio shows in America according to the TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred list. FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla (weekdays, 12-3PM/ET) and The Guy Benson Show (weekdays, 3-6PM/ET) also placed in the top 100.

FOX News Media operates FOX News Audio, which encompasses FOX News Radio (FNR), FOX News Headlines 24/7 and FOX News Podcasts. A 24/7 news service, FNR reaches 18.9 million listeners a week on over 1,500 News and Talk affiliated radio stations. Featuring three nationally syndicated weekday talk programs — The Brian Kilmeade Show, FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla and The Guy Benson Show — FNR also provides hourly newscasts surrounding business updates and breaking-news coverage. FOX News Podcasts offers a catalogue of more than 35 on-demand original podcasts, including The FOX News Rundown. On SiriusXM Channel 115, FOX News Headlines 24/7 services listeners with around the clock coverage of the day’s headlines in 15 minutes segments.

TV Ratings: Streaming May Be Reaching Saturation

A British research company may have discovered a magic number for American media consumers — and it’s seven, reports The Associated Press.

That’s seven streaming services, paid or free, that consumers are willing to subscribe to before the hassle of keeping track of log-ins and passwords just becomes too much, said Maria Rua Aguete, senior research director at the London-based media consultancy OMDIA.

For the past few years, OMDIA has been monitoring the average number of streaming services that online homes subscribe to, and it rose steadily from around 5 to 7.23 in the United States last November. But the latest survey, completed in April, showed that number had dropped to 7.06.

“It’s not that people want to watch less,” Rua Aguete said. “But people don’t like to keep so many streaming services and log-ins.”

If true, if seven is indeed the number where many consumers will draw the line, that has enormous business implications. It increases the importance of aggregators, or services where people can seamlessly collect their services, and make it harder for new companies to get into the business. It can also be the impetus for big business deals, like last month’s announced merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia.

Meanwhile, in broadcast television last week, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” was the most popular program.

ABC was the most-watched network in prime time, averaging 3.1 million viewers. CBS had 2.9 million viewers, NBC had 2.7 million, Fox had 2 million, Univision had 1.3 million, Ion Television had 980,000 and Telemundo had 910,000.

Top 20 Prime-Time TV Shows (Total Viewers):

1. “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 7.22 million.

2. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 6.51 million.

3. “Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC, 4.84 million.

4. NBA Playoffs: Phoenix at Denver (Sunday), TNT, 4.22 million.

5. NBA Playoffs: Utah at L.A. Clippers (Saturday), ABC, 4.11 million.

6. “New Amsterdam,” NBC, 4.1 million.

7. NBA Playoffs: L.A. Clippers at Utah (Thursday), ESPN, 4.07 million.

8. “NCIS,” CBS, 4 million.

9. “The Good Doctor,” ABC, 3.99 million.

10. NBA Playoffs: Phoenix at Denver (Friday), ESPN, 3.96 million.

11. “United States of Al,” CBS, 3.92 million.

12. “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” ABC, 3.87 million.

13. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 3.84 million.

14. NBA Playoffs: Brooklyn at Milwaukee (Thursday), ESPN, 3.79 million.

15. “The Bachelorette,” ABC, 3.77 million.

16. NBA Playoffs: Denver at Phoenix (Monday), TNT, 3.69 million.

17. “The Chase,” ABC, 3.66 million.

18. NBA Playoffs: Atlanta at Philadelphia, (Tuesday), TNT, 3.628 million.

19. NBA Playoffs: L.A. Clippers at Utah (Tuesday), TNT, 3.626 million.

20. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 3.621 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race, averaging 7.6 million viewers last week. The “NBC Nightly News” had 6.1 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 4.8 million.

TNT led the cable networks with an average of 2.13 million viewers. Fox News Channel had 2.12 million, ESPN had 2.1 million, MSNBC had 1.33 million and HGTV had 1.18 million.

CableTV Ratings: Tucker Carlson Is Most-Watched

Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson had the most-watched show in all of cable news for the week ending June 13th, with Tucker Carlson Tonight delivering an average total audience of 2.8 million viewers. Forbes reports the show also led among viewers 25-54, the demographic group most valued by advertisers, with an average audience of 457,000 viewers.

FNC’s Hannity had the second-highest audience in the key demo on the week, with an average audience of 363,000 viewers, besting MSNBC’s highest-rated prime time program, The Rachel Maddow Show, which delivered an average audience in the key demo of 308,000 viewers.

Overall, Fox News was the highest-rated network not just in cable news, but all of basic cable, winning prime time for the 17th consecutive week with an average total audience of 2.2 million viewers and 331,000 viewers in the advertiser-friendly key demo.

➤Basic CableTV Ranker (Total Viewers):

➤Basic CableTV Ranker (Viewers 25-54):

On weekends, two of Fox News’ newest programs, Unfiltered with Dan Bongino (Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET) and Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy (Sundays at 7 p.m. ET), each easily outdistanced the cable news competition, with Bongino taking honors as the most-watched weekend show in cable news for the second straight week, with an average total audience of 1.5 million viewers and 269,000 viewers in the key demo.  Trey Gowdy’s show won among total viewers (1.2 million viewers) and in the key demo (137,000 viewers).

In late night, FNC’s Gutfeld! continued to deliver impressive audiences, averaging 1.5 million total viewers for the week and 296,000 viewers 25-54, beating broadcast network late night shows including ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and NBC’s The Tonight Show.

Houston's FOX 26 Fires Rogue Reporter

A reporter with Houston's Fox News affiliate, who interrupted a live report about the weather to accuse her employers of "muzzling" her, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that she was fired as a result.

Ivory Hecker, a former general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor with Fox 26 Houston, went viral on Monday after announcing live on-air that she would be going to the far-right group Project Veritas with recordings from "behind the scenes at Fox."

"Before we get to that story, I want to let you, the viewers, know that Fox Corp. has been muzzling me to keep certain information from you, the viewer," Hecker, 32, said at the start of a live shot on Monday. "From what I am gathering, I am not the only reporter being subjected to this."

In a Tuesday morning phone call, a recording of which was provided to Project Veritas, Hecker was suspended from her role "effective immediately, pending review." But Hecker told The Beast that she was terminated shortly after that call.

The station confirmed to the outlet that Hecker had been terminated.

 "FOX 26 adheres to the highest editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality," a Fox 26 spokesperson told Insider. "This incident involves nothing more than a disgruntled former employee seeking publicity by promoting a false narrative produced through selective editing and misrepresentation."

In a follow-up interview with The Beast, Hecker said she had "been longing" to part ways with Fox Corp., which she described as "strange" and "slightly unhinged," since last August when she "realized what they were."

"Fox 26 knows I'm fearless," she told the outlet. "I have zero interest in working for another corporation. They all toe the same line." 

A representative for Hecker did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

Later on Tuesday, Hecker, through Project Veritas, released the videos and recordings she had previously referred to, which she said show her station censoring stories about doctors who promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine. 

According to Hecker, she was sent on assignment to cover a local hospital and how they were covering COVID-19. Once there, she said the hospital's chief confirmed they had used the controversial malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients.

Multiple studies found the drug was not particularly effective in treating COVID-19, but former President Donald Trump repeatedly hyped the drug as a false cure throughout much of 2020. 

In one of the videos, Fox 26's vice president and news director Susan Schiller tells Hecker that she needs to "cease and desist" her posting about the drug.

SW-MI Radio: Townsquare Promotes Mary Fork To MP/CRO

Townsquare Media Inc. announced Tuesday that Mary Fork has been appointed as Market President/Chief Revenue Officer for Southwest Michigan, leading its “Digital First” strategy and driving strategic multi- platform sales and content initiatives across the region, which includes Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Mary spent nearly the last decade leading teams for Comcast/Effectv throughout Southeast Michigan. She will report to Townsquare Senior Vice President Todd Lawley.

Mary Fork
“From the first time I spoke to Mary it was clear that the ability to coach, lead and execute a multi-platform strategy is in her DNA. She possesses a unique skillset that will allow her to bring our world class set of digital and local broadcast solutions to the market with the mission of making Townsquare Kalamazoo/Battle Creek the #1 local media company in Southwest Michigan,” commented Mr. Lawley.

“I am beyond excited to be returning home to Southwest Michigan and joining the Townsquare Media family. What compelled me to join Townsquare is not only the full-service digital marketing capabilities and incredible local media brands, but the way Townsquare goes to market and its Digital First strategy. I was completely impressed when I saw how Townsquare’s campaigns have full transparency, true optimization and industry leading attribution. With the unmatched product power and campaign management integrity of Townsquare, I knew I needed to join this winning team,” said Ms. Fork.

Townsquare COO – Local Media, Erik Hellum added, “I have been very impressed with Mary’s experience, multi-platform knowledge, passion and positivity. She is excited to make Kalamazoo and Southwestern Michigan her home, and work with our talented Townsquare team to do great things.”

June 16 Radio History

➦In 1934...Radio pioneer Edwin H. Armstrong transmitted FM signal 70 miles from Empire State Building to Long Island.  Armstrong (1890–1954) was an American electrical engineer who invented wideband frequency modulation (FM) radio.  He patented the regenerative circuit in 1914, the superheterodyne receiver in 1918 and the super-regenerative circuit in 1922. Armstrong presented his paper, "A Method of Reducing Disturbances in Radio Signaling by a System of Frequency Modulation", (which first described FM radio) before the New York section of the Institute of Radio Engineers on November 6, 1935. The paper was published in 1936.

As the name implies, wideband FM (WFM) requires a wider signal bandwidth than amplitude modulation by an equivalent modulating signal; this also makes the signal more robust against noise and interference. Frequency modulation is also more robust against signal-amplitude-fading phenomena.

➦In 1941...Front Page Farrell, a radio serial,  first aired on Mutual Broadcasting System from 1941 to March 13, 1942, and on NBC from September 14, 1942, to March 26, 1954. The episodes broadcast on Mutual originated at WOR, making the program the first live serial that Mutual broadcast from New York City.  It was produced by and starred Richard Widmark.

Charles Farrell, Gil Stratton Jr. "Freddie", and Gale Storm
➦In 1952...“My Little Margie” on CBS-TV debuted as a summer replacement for “I Love Lucy” in 1952. The series, starring Gale Storm and Charles Farrell, aired original episodes on CBS Radio concurrently with the TV broadcasts from December 1952 through August 1955.

➦In 1962...Bob Lewis aired his first show on WABC 770 AM, New York. He stayed on for about 8 years.

Lewis died in January 1987 at age 49.

Bob ‘Bobaloo’ Lewis was best known as one of the “All Americans” on 77 WABC. Lesser known was the fact that he was also heard on the FM side. WABC 95.5 FM was a Progressive Rock station.

The format was called “Love” and featured album cuts from Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Who, and many more similar artists which would become the staples of AOR and later, Classic Rock stations.

In 1970 he moved to WCBS FM and in `72 to WNEW-FM.

➦In 1968...Jackson Armstrong premiered on CHUM 1050 AM, Toronto.

Jack Armstrong
Big Jack Armstrong, born John Charles Larsh in Durham County, NC, began his radio career at WCHL in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1960 at the age of 14 as an after school and weekend job. He also worked at WCDJ in Edenton in the summer when his family would go back home during summer break. At some point, he worked for WSSB in Durham, but the time frame is unclear.

Upon graduating from high school in 1964, Larsh moved to Atlanta, where he got an FCC First Class engineer's license, while working on the radio at WDJK. His parents enrolled him in Guilford College in Greensboro in the pre-med course. Larsh dropped out almost immediately, having gotten a radio job at WCOG.

In early 1966, WAYS-AM in Charlotte had begun 24 hour operations.the FCC required that any station must have an engineer on duty at all times the station was on the air. When Larsh applied for a job there, the station quickly saw an opportunity to fill two sets of shoes with one person, since Larsh already had a First Class license. He was hired to fill the overnight shift.

At WAYS, Larsh met Jack Gale, a seasoned veteran of both the radio and music business who would become his mentor. Larsh later remarked, "Jack (Gale) has forgotten more about the radio business than I've ever known." When asked, he would always cite Gale as one of his major influences.

Larsh's first big break came later in 1966, when he landed a job at WIXY 1260 AM in Cleveland, Ohio. The evening disc jockey at this station was always called 'Jack Armstrong,' after the 1930s radio serial Jack Armstrong the All American Boy. With his fast talking, young, friendly approach, Larsh became a huge hit in Cleveland - so huge that floundering WKYC 1100 AM asked him to break his WIXY contract, and come to work for the 50,000 watt blowtorch in January 1967.

'Jack Armstrong' was a copyrighted moniker in the market, so Larsh adopted the alias 'Big Jack Your Leader', and went to work for WKYC. He also occasionally taunted WIXY by calling himself Jackson W. Armstrong.

Larsh moved on, working at other 50,000 watt stations like WMEX 1510 AM in Boston; CHUM 1050 AM in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles, KTNQ 1020 AM in Los Angeles and WKBW 1520 AM in Buffalo, New York.  Larsh was one of the original disc jockeys hired for the all new 13-Q in Pittsburgh in the early 1970s. Larsh also worked at KFRC, The Big 610 in the early 1980s, dominating the mid-day, late night, and overnight shifts at the station.

Larsh was working for WWKB 1520 in Buffalo, New York when the sudden format change in 2006 to liberal talk put him in the unemployed ranks. He died on March 22, 2008 at High Point Regional Hospital in North Carolina. He died from injuries suffered in a fall down his very steep stairs at his home.

Mel Allen
➦In 1996...Mel Allen died at age 83 (Born Melvin Allen Israel; February 14, 1913). He was a radio, TV sportscaster, best known for his long tenure as the primary play-by-play announcer for the New York Yankees. During the peak of his career in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, Allen was arguably the most prominent member of his profession, his voice familiar to millions. Years after his death, he is still promoted as having been "The Voice of the Yankees."

In perhaps the most notable moment of his distinguished career, Allen called Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, in which Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off home run off Ralph Terry to win the fall classic for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This is the only walk-off home run ever to occur in a Game 7 of a World Series.

Allen attended the University of Alabama, where he served as the public address announcer for Alabama Crimson Tide football games. In 1933, when the station manager or sports director of Birmingham's radio station WBRC asked Alabama coach Frank Thomas to recommend a new play-by-play announcer, he suggested Allen.

Shortly after graduating, auditioned for a staff announcer's position at the CBS Radio Network. CBS executives already knew of Allen; the network's top sportscaster, Ted Husing, had heard many of his Crimson Tide broadcasts. He was hired at $45 ($796 in 2019) a week.

Allen was used as a color commentator for CBS's radio broadcast of the 1938 World Series. This led Wheaties to tap him to replace Arch McDonald as the voice of the Washington Senators for the 1939 season.

In June 1939, Garnett Marks, McDonald's partner on Yankee broadcasts, twice mispronounced Ivory Soap, the Yankees' sponsor at the time, as "Ovary Soap." He was fired, and Allen was tapped to replace him. McDonald himself went back to Washington after only one season, and Allen became the Yankees' and Giants' lead announcer, doing double duty for both teams because only their home games were broadcast at that time.

He periodically recounted an anecdote that occurred during his first full season (1940) as Yankee play-by-play man. Hall of Fame first baseman Lou Gehrig had been forced to retire the year before after having been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal illness. Speaking with Allen in the Yankee dugout, Gehrig told him "Mel, I never got a chance to listen to your games before because I was playing every day. But I want you to know they're the only thing that keeps me going." Allen broke down in tears.

➦In 2015…Longtime Detroit personality Alan Almond died from a heart attacked at age 67.  He was host of 'Pillow Talk' from the 1970’s to the ’90’s. Almond never allowed himself to be photographed to enhance the effect of Pillow Talk’s ‘theater of the mind.'

Gino Vannelli is 69

  • Actor Eileen Atkins (“The Crown,” ″Doc Martin”) is 87. 
  • Actor Bill Cobbs is 87. 
  • Country singer Billy “Crash” Craddock is 83. 
  • Songwriter Lamont Dozier of Holland-Dozier-Holland is 80. 
  • Singer Eddie Levert of The O’Jays is 79. 
  • Actor Joan Van Ark is 78. 
  • Actor Geoff Pierson (“Splitting Up Together,” “Designated Survivor”) is 72. 
  • Singer James Smith (The Stylistics) is 71. 
  • Singer Gino Vannelli is 69. 
  • Actor Laurie Metcalf (“Roseanne,” ″Norm”) is 66. 
  • Actor Arnold Vosloo (“The Mummy”) is 59. 
    Missy Peregrym is 39
  • Actor Danny Burstein (“Boardwalk Empire”) is 57. 
  • Model-actor Jenny Shimizu is 54. 
  • Actor James Patrick Stuart (TV’s “The Closer”) is 53. 
  • Rapper MC Ren of N.W.A is 52. 
  • Actor Clifton Collins Jr. (“Westworld”) is 51. 
  • Actor John Cho (2009′s “Star Trek,” ″Harold and Kumar” movies) is 49. 
  • Actor Eddie Cibrian (“Third Watch”) is 48. 
  • Actor Fred Koehler (“Kate and Allie”) is 46. 
  • Actor China Shavers (“Boston Public”) is 44. 
  • Actor Daniel Bruhl (“Captain America: Civil War”) is 43. 
  • Actor Sibel Kekilli (“Game of Thrones”) is 41. 
  • Actor Missy Peregrym (“Rookie Blue”) is 39. 
  • Actor Olivia Hack is 38. 
  • “American Idol” runner-up Diana DeGarmo is 34. 
  • Bassist Ian Keaggy of Hot Chelle Rae is 34. 
  • Broadway actor Ali Stroker is 34.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Nielsen, Polk Automotive Turbocharge Audience Measurement

Nielsen today announced a strategic relationship with IHS Markit, a leading provider of automotive information and insights. Through this collaboration, Nielsen will integrate comprehensive automotive data from Polk Automotive Solutions by IHS Markit into its audience and outcomes measurement solutions. Leveraging Nielsen offerings, advertisers will have a clearer understanding of today's auto consumers, empowering them to make more effective, data-driven marketing decisions about engaging with auto audiences.

As the automotive industry adapts to an economy profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and changing consumer preferences, marketers realize the need to be more astute in how and when to reach current vehicle owners and in-market buyers. Bringing together Polk Automotive Solutions and advanced Nielsen solutions enables marketers to leverage  comprehensive information on new and used vehicle transactions and more than 30 years of robust automotive behavior data to inform their planning, activation, measurement and outcomes initiatives. Polk Automotive Audiences are built on the analytics of more than 50 million new and used vehicle transactions per year across the U.S. and are inclusive of every make and model.

"By adding new dynamic elements to a historically static medium for reaching audiences, our collaboration with Nielsen is a significant step forward for advertisers and marketers," said Joe Kyriakoza, Vice President and General Manager, Polk Automotive Solutions by IHS Markit. "Optimization and measurement utilizing Polk data helps the industry move beyond basic tools and legacy metrics toward evaluating actual sales activity, a key imperative today."

Through this relationship, marketers can make more effective decisions about engaging auto audiences, implement cross-screen targeting and activation of auto audience segments, and understand if their campaigns are reaching desired auto audiences. In addition, marketers will be able to observe the impact of their ads on auto-focused audiences, and determine the incremental sales lift driven by their campaigns. Publishers will also be able to showcase the impact of their platform and promote their strengths, receiving the key metrics they need to prove real value to advertisers. 

Among the benefits, clients can:

  • Reach audiences and personalize advertising messages based on a diverse set of criteria, such as buying stage, detailed vehicle attributes, brand affinity and more
  • Optimize media plans using Polk Audience segments for more efficient and effective media buys
  • Improve campaign performance and reduce campaign waste by optimizing reach and frequency of Polk Audiences
  • Better understand media performance insights across platforms, creatives, networks, and buyers

"Robust data and insights are playing an increasingly vital role in helping savvy marketers make informed decisions about how they allocate and optimize media spend," said Ameneh Atai, General Manager, Commercial Strategy at Nielsen. "By incorporating Polk Automotive Solutions into Nielsen's cross-media offering, we're giving brands unparalleled access to the insights and direction they need to approach all marketing decisions with precision and confidence."

Nielsen Audience Segments for Polk Audiences are currently available for activation in the Nielsen Auto Cloud, helping marketers target vehicle owners based on their auto behaviors. This data will also be leveraged for TV outcomes measurement, providing the ability to gain granular insights in how TV advertising leads to outcomes. Over the next 12 months, Nielsen will continue to expand Polk Automotive Solutions into additional offerings across planning, audience measurement and outcomes in a phased approach.

NYC Radio: Carton& Roberts Building On Ratings Lead

WFAN’s Craig Carton and Evan Roberts largely maintained in May the ratings lead they have built in afternoon drive time, nearly matching their figures relative to ESPN New York’s "The Michael Kay Show" in April, according to Neil Best at Newsday.

For the 4 ½ hours in which the programs overlap from 2 to 6:30 p.m., Carton and Roberts ranked third overall in the New York market among men ages 25-54 from April 29 to May 26, averaging 5.9% of those listening in that key demographic, according to Nielsen Audio data obtained by Newsday from an industry source.

Kay finished seventh for that period, averaging 4.2%.

Those figures are similar to April’s, when Carton and Roberts finished third among all stations with 6.4% of the audience while Kay averaged the same 4.2% he got in May.

This was the first month since Carton returned to WFAN in November and was paired with Roberts that they did not improve their performance relative to Kay, but the race appears to have stabilized with WFAN well in front.

The data includes both over-the-air and streaming audiences.

From 6 to 10 a.m., WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti again finished first in May, averaging 7.4% of men ages 25-54, while ESPN ranked ninth at 3.4.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., WFAN’s Maggie Gray and Marc Malusis finished fourth at 5.4% and ESPN was seventh at 3.5%.

➤May PPMs:  Click Here To View Topline Numbers For Subscribing Nielsen Stations.

May 2021 PPMs Day 1: NYC, L-A, Chicago +9 More Markets

Nielsen on Monday, June 14, 2021 released the first batch of May 2021 PPM data for the following markets:

  1  New York

  2  Los Angeles

  3  Chicago

  4  San Francisco

  5  Dallas-Ft. Worth

  6  Houston-Galveston

  8  Atlanta

  9  Philadelphia

20  Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island NY)

26  Riverside-San Bernardino CA

37  San Jose CA

43  Middlesex-Somerset-Union NJ

Click Here to View Topline Numbers for subscribing Nielsen stations.

NBCUniversal Expects Tokyo Olympics To Be Most Profitable

NBCUniversal’s broadcast of the Tokyo Olympics could be its most profitable ever, even with many parts of the world still battling the coronavirus pandemic, reports Bloomberg. 

Jeff Shell, who leads Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal entertainment division, made the prediction Monday at an investor conference. He cited high demand for commercial slots from advertisers, along with the strength and popularity of the U.S. team.

“Depending on how ratings are, it could be our most profitable Olympics in the history of the company,” Shell said at the Credit Suisse conference. The 17-day games are set to begin in late July.

Despite growing concern over the pandemic in Japan, NBC executives are proceeding as if the Olympics will begin as scheduled. The company plans more than 7,000 hours of programming across its broadcast and cable channels, as well as on its Peacock streaming service.

NBC executives are betting that pent-up demand following last summer’s postponement will drive higher viewership and turn around recent ratings declines.

In March 2020, before the pandemic forced the games to be delayed, NBC said it sold more than US$1.25 billion in ads, a record, for the Olympics. The company hasn’t updated sales data for the rescheduled games.

Comcast paid US$4.4 billion for U.S. rights to televise the Olympics from 2014 to 2020, or about US$1.1 billion a year on average. It then agreed to pay another US$7.75 billion to air games from 2021 to 2032, or about US$1.3 billion a year on average.

Though TV viewership has declined during recent Olympic Games, NBC still makes money on the event. The 2016 Olympics in Rio delivered a US$250 million profit.

Early Biden Postings On Facebook Reflect Ideological Divide

Early assessments of the Biden administration differed widely on popular public Facebook pages by the pages’ self-identified ideological orientation, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. The study, building on a recent Center report examining media coverage of the new administration, concentrates on 1,226 posts published by 25 popular public Facebook pages focused on current affairs from March 8-14, 2021, the same week Biden signed the $1.9 billion coronavirus relief bill. The analysis finds that among popular public Facebook pages that describe themselves as conservative (12 of the 25 studied), 1% of posts carried positive assessments of Biden, while 67% were negative. For those Facebook pages that self-identified as liberal (11 of the 25), only 1% of the posts carried negative assessments while 47% were positive. Two of the 25 pages studied did not describe themselves as favoring one side of the political spectrum and are less of a focus of this analysis. 

Clear differences by ideology also emerged when analyzing the topics popular Facebook pages posted about when discussing the Biden administration. The economy dominated posts on popular Facebook pages that self-identified as liberal, with 46% of all posts on these pages focusing on that topic. The leading topic on popular Facebook pages that self-identified as conservative was immigration, accounting for 32% of all posts on these pages.

The analysis, conducted using data from CrowdTangle, a public insights tool owned and operated by Facebook, also compares posts on these 25 popular Facebook pages with news coverage of the early days of the Biden administration from the broader mix of outlets studied in the Center’s previous report.

Other key findings from this exploration of coverage of Biden’s early days on Facebook:
  • Posts about the Biden administration that mentioned Trump received higher engagement than those that didn’t. Posts that mentioned Donald Trump averaged about 19,800 interactions (defined as the sum of likes, shares and comments generated), more than twice as much engagement as posts that did not invoke the former president (roughly 9,200).
  • Posts about the Biden administration from liberal Facebook pages were more likely to mention COVID-19. Beyond the main topic of a post, researchers also analyzed whether COVID-19 was mentioned in the text of the post or in the link or video contained in the post. Roughly two-thirds of posts (68%) about the Biden administration from liberal pages mentioned the coronavirus – more than twice as often as conservative pages (28%).
  • Posts that had a positive assessment of the Biden administration generated more interactions than posts that carried a negative one. Posts with a positive assessment of the administration generated an average of about 13,800 interactions per post, 29% higher than the roughly 10,700 interactions for each post with a negative assessment. More generally, posts from liberal pages did somewhat better in engagement than posts from conservative pages – an average of about 12,500 interactions per post vs. about 11,300 interactions.
  • Facebook posts and broader news coverage about Biden’s early days (television, radio and online news outlets studied in the Center's previous report) are similar in topics covered. The economy was the biggest topic in each analysis. It was the focus of 28% of all Facebook posts studied, modestly less than the 36% of stories in the broader media sample that were devoted to that subject. And the ranking of topics was similar for both, with the economy at the top spot followed by a mix of health care, immigration, political skills and appointments.
  • Facebook posts assessed the Biden administration more negatively than broader news coverage. Facebook posts during the week studied were 15 percentage points more likely to have a negative than a positive assessment of the Biden administration (36% vs. 21%), while broader news coverage had a roughly equal proportion of stories with a positive assessment (31%) as a negative one (28%). For both posts and stories, however, a plurality of coverage was neither negative nor positive (44% of posts and 41% of stories).

Wake-Up Call: NATO Leaders Focus On China, Russia

President Biden and other NATO leaders met at a summit in Brussels yesterday and addressed the issue of provocative actions by both Russia and China. Biden said that the other leaders supported his plans to press Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting Wednesday to stop cyberattacks on the West that originate in Russia, stop interfering in other countries' elections, and end the violent crackdown on political dissidents in Russia.

He told reporters, "I’m going to make clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can cooperate, if he chooses. And if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and other activities, then we will respond, we will respond in kind." The NATO leaders in a summit statement also addressed actions by China, saying the country is a constant security challenge and is working to undermine global order. They also expressed concern about what the statement called China's "coercive policies," its use of disinformation, and the non-transparent ways it's modernizing its armed forces.

➤GEORGIA SUPERMARKET CASHIER KILLED AFTER FACE MASK ARGUMENT: A supermarket cashier was shot and killed in Decatur, Georgia, yesterday after an argument over wearing face masks in the store. DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said, "There was some confrontation, argument -- I’m not sure exactly what -- in reference to the wearing of masks, at which time the subject pulled out a weapon and shot the cashier." 

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said preliminary information indicates that the customer, identified as 30-year-old Victor Lee Tucker Jr., got into an argument with the cashier and left the store without making his purchase. But he then immediately went back inside and fatally shot the female cashier. A reserve deputy who worked security for the store exchanged fire with Tucker and both were wounded, and a second cashier was grazed by a bullet. Tucker was arrested as he tried to crawl out of the supermarket.

➤EX-NSA CONTRACTOR REALITY WINNER RELEASED FROM PRISON EARLY FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR: Former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner, who was jailed in 2018 on a single count of leaking national security information to the news media, was freed early from prison yesterday for good behavior. The 29-year-old was moved to home confinement. Winner had been sentenced to five years and three months in prison, the longest federal sentence ever imposed for leaks to the news media. Although authorities never identified who received Winner's leak of a classified report, her 2017 arrest was announced the same day that The Intercept reported on a secret NSA document that detailed efforts by the Russian government to get into a Florida-based supplier of voting software as well as the accounts of election officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

➤JUSTICE DEPT. TO TIGHTEN RULES ON GETTING DATA OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: Attorney General Merrick Garland said yesterday that the Justice Department will tighten its rules about getting the data of members of Congress, saying, "[W]e must ensure that full weight is accorded to separation-of-powers concerns moving forward." That announcement comes after recent revelations about the Justice Department under former President Donald Trump secretly getting phone data of congressional Democrats and members of the media as part of a leak investigation.

➤DeSANTIS SIGNS LEGISLATION REQUIRING MOMENT OF SILENCE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS:  Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday that will require public schools in the state to have a moment of silence each day, making it the 15th state to do so. First-period teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade will have to allow between one and two minutes for a moment of silence at the beginning of the school day. Teachers can't recommend what students do with that time, but should encourage parents to talk to their children about it. Still, opponents say the measure promotes prayer in school, and in signing the legislation, DeSantis said, "The idea you can just push God out of every institution and you can be successful, I am sorry our founding fathers did not believe that." One opponent, Rep. Lori Berman, gave examples of what she thinks could potentially happen, saying students might take out a rosary, make the sign of the cross or use a prayer rug, and wondered if that would make some other students uncomfortable.

➤CICADAS INTERFERE WITH CARS, PLANES, WEATHER RADAR: Brood X Cicadas have taken over large areas of the U.S. Trillions of the insects have emerged after spending 17 years underground in approximately 15 states. The red-eyed bugs are not dangerous to humans, but reportedly have been the cause of a few disturbances. A county in Georgia said that residents had been calling 9-1-1 over the 100-decibel sounds the bugs make, while in Ohio, the Cincinnati Police Department recently reported that a young man crashed his car after being hit in the face with a cicada that flew through an open window. In a Facebook post, Cincinnati Police note, “Remember to keep your windows rolled up until our little red eyed friends are gone.” Meanwhile in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, masses of cicadas may even be showing up on weather radar. Brood X has even impacted air travel—last week the White House press plane’s takeoff was delayed due to the bugs. But the good news is—none of this will last long. Adult cicadas will largely be gone by July 4th.

➤STUDY..OUR EARLIEST CHILDHOOD MEMORIES BEGIN FROM THE AGE TWO-AND-A-HALF:  What’s your earliest memory? Memorial University researchers have reviewed decades of data to determine that most people have their earliest memory from age two-and-a-half, when previous findings suggested it was actually age three-and-a-half. The researchers say this is because people often think they were older than they actually were in early memories due to something called “telescoping,” or the tendency to “look through a lens” when thinking back to an event that happened a long time ago. A researcher says, “The more remote a memory is, the telescoping effect makes you see it as closer.”

🍪GIRL SCOUTS HAVE 15 MILLION TASTY PROBLEMS THIS YEAR:  The Girl Scouts have an issue this year: 15 million boxes of cookies haven’t sold. The organization says the coronavirus, not decreased demand, is the main culprit. The Girl Scouts of the USA tell the AP that as the pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many troops did away with their traditional cookie booths due to safety reasons. The impact will be felt by local councils and troops, who depend on the cookie sales to fund programming, travel, camps, and more. Kelly Parisi, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA, says most of the unsold boxes remain with the two bakers that make them, and about three million are in the hands of Girl Scout councils, which are scrambling to sell or donate them. The cookies have a shelf-life of one year.  

➤STUDY FINDS NOVAVAX COVID VACCINE 90 PERCENT EFFECTIVE: There may soon be another approved vaccine against Covid-19, with Novavax saying Monday that its two-shot vaccine was found to be about 90 percent effective in a large study in the U.S. and Mexico. The vaccine was also found to be safe and to protect against variants. The U.S. company's vaccine is easy to store and transport, and could play an important role in helping get the global population vaccinated, particularly poorer countries. The company said it plans to seek approval for its vaccine in the U.S., Europe and other countries by the end of September.
➤REP. GREENE APOLOGIZES FOR COMPARING FACE MASK REQUIREMENTS TO HOLOCAUST: Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia apologized yesterday for her recent comparison of members of Congress being required to wear face masks in the House to the Holocaust. The congresswomen told reporters she'd gone to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum earlier in the day, and stated, "I’m truly sorry for offending people with remarks about the Holocaust. There’s no comparison and there never ever will be." In her comments on a podcast more than three weeks ago, Greene compared Covid restrictions in the Democratic-controlled House to, quote, "a time and history where people were told to wear a gold star." She further said they were, quote, "put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany. This is exactly the type of abuse that [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi is talking about." It was a rare apology for the controversial Greene, who has several times made headlines with her comments that support conspiracy theories and her confrontations with House progressives. Her committee assignments were stripped in February after social media posts surfaced in which Greene suggested support for executing some Democratic leaders."

➤DISNEY WORLD, DISNEYLAND NO LONGER REQUIRES FACE MASKS IN MOST AREA FOR VACCINATED GUESTS: As of today, Disney World and Disneyland will no longer require guests who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to wear face masks in most areas. Disney won't be asking for proof of immunization, but said it expects people who aren't fully vaccinated to continue to wear masks at indoor locations in the theme parks, except when dining. All guests, vaccinated or not, will still be required to wear face masks on transportation, including buses, monorails and the Skyliner gondolas.

MONICA LEWINSKY GETS PRODUCTION DEAL: Monica Lewinsky has gotten a first-look production deal with TV production company 20th Television. Lewinsky, a Vanity Fair contributing editor who has her own production company, Alt Ending Productions, is working on the latest installment of the American Crime Story anthology series, Impeachment: American Crime Story, for which she is a producer. Impeachment is about the events that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton over his affair with Lewinsky. 20th TV president Karey Burke said in a statement Monday, "As our team has gotten to know Monica through her involvement with our upcoming edition of American Crime Story, we’ve been very impressed with her instincts as a producer, and her desire to bring provocative, untold stories to the screen. She is formidable and passionate about the work, and we’re hopeful this first look deal leads to many successful projects together.

  CNN's chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour told viewers Monday that she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. "I've had successful major surgery to remove it, and I'm now undergoing several months of chemotherapy for the very best possible long-term prognosis, and I'm confident," Amanpour said at the beginning of her daily television program.

Amanpour, 63, is one of the best-known journalists in the world, in part due to her fearless coverage of international conflicts. She has been off the air for the past four weeks due to the diagnosis.  In her on-air announcement, Amanpour pointed out that ovarian cancer is all too common, affecting "millions of women around the world."
🏀NBA PLAYOFFS: Results from second-round games yesterday:
  • Atlanta Hawks 103, Philadelphia 76ers 100 - Series tied at 2-2
  • L.A. Clippers 118, Utah Jazz 104 - Series tied at 2-2
🏒NHL PLAYOFFS: Results from Conference Finals yesterday:
  • Vegas Golden Knights 4, Montreal Canadiens 1 - Vegas leads series 1 game to 0

🏀NETS' IRVING TO MISS TONIGHT'S GAME, HARDEN STILL OUT: Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash said Monday that Kyrie Irving won't play in Game 5 of the Nets' second-round playoff matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks tonight due to the sprained ankle he suffered in Game 4. James Harden, who's been out since playing in Game 1, still isn't ready to come back after having hamstring tenderness. That leaves Kevin Durant as the only of the Nets' three stars who'll be in the game tonight. The series is tied at 2-2.

🏒GALLANT TO REPORTEDLY BE RANGERS' NEW HEAD COACH: Gerard Gallent will be the New York Rangers' new head coach, according to media reports yesterday, which said he agreed to a four-year contract. Gallant was the first coach of the Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural 2017-18 season, when they made it to the Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Washington Capitals. Gallent was fired in January 2020, and hasn't coached in the NHL since then. He's coached a total of nine NHL seasons, also with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers. The Rangers fired head coach David Quinn in May.

⚾INDIANS' REIGNING AL CY YOUNG WINNER BIEBER OUT AT LEAST TWO WEEKS: Reigning American League Cy Young winner Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians will be out for at least two weeks with a right shoulder strain, manager Terry Francona said Monday. The Indians' ace had an MRI after Sunday's game, in which he gave up a season-high number of hits and threw 107 pitches over five innings, and it showed the muscle strain.

🏃CHAMPION DISTANCE RUNNER HOULIHAN BANNED FOR FOUR YEARS OVER POSITIVE STEROID TEST, BLAMES BURRITO: U.S. distance runner Shelby Houlihan, the current national champion and record holder in the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter distances, has been banned for four years after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. The 28-year-old, who was considered a favorite to contend for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics next month, wrote in an Instagram post Monday that she thinks pork she ate in a burrito is to blame for the positive test result. She wrote that the most likely explanation was a, quote, "burrito purchased and consumed approximately 10 hours before that drug test from an authentic Mexican food truck." Houlihan wrote that she feels "completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed by the very sport that I’ve loved and poured myself into."

🏇RACEHORSE TRAINER BAFFERT SUES TO GET NEW YORK SUSPENSION LIFTED: Hall of Fame racehorse trainer Bob Baffert filed suit in federal court today to try to get his suspension by the New York Racing Association lifted. The organization suspended Baffert in May after one of his horses, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, failed a second post-race urine test that found a banned steroid in its system. Baffert said he was suspended without any prior notice, that the length of the suspension wasn't specified, and that it didn't accuse him of violating any New York state law or regulation. The NYRA said it took into account that other horses trained by Baffert have recently failed drug tests, and that they suspended him, quote, "to protect the integrity of the sport."