Monday, January 18, 2021

FCC Warns Ham, CB Radio Operators

The Federal Communications Commission has issued an unusual weekend enforcement warning that boils down to this: Don’t use ham radio, CBs, FRS walkie-talkies or other personal radio services to plan crimes.

According to Radioworld, this comes as federal and local government and law enforcement officials around the country report concerns over possible terrorist attacks from disgruntled Trump supports enraged by the outcome of the election and stoked by the recent attack on the Capitol.

The Enforcement Bureau “has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities,” the FCC said in a statement issued Sunday morning.

“The Bureau recognizes that these services can be used for a wide range of permitted purposes including speech that is protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution,” it said. But it continued in bold font: “Amateur and Personal Radio Services, however, may not be used to facilitate crimes.”

The warning applies to ham radio operators and users of services like Citizen’s Band, Family Radio Service walkie-talkies and General Mobile Radio service.

Specifically, amateur licensees are reminded that they are prohibited from transmitting “communications intended to facilitate a criminal act” as well as “messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.” Users in the Personal Radio Services like CBs are prohibited from using them “in connection with any activity that is against federal, state or local law.”

NuVoodoo Research Webinar To Reveal New Data

The dates have been for the first NuVoodoo webinars of the New Year, kicking off on Thursday, February 11 at 1 PM Eastern. There are four opportunities to be on the livestreamed webinar so you can get answers to your questions on the spot; register at

The team at NuVoodoo is calling the webinar “How to Get Your Ratings From Here to Vaccinated,” as stations and the listeners and advertisers they serve are adapting … while we all wait for vaccines to allow lives to trend back toward normal. Again we’ve interviewed nearly 3,500 14-54’s across the tier of PPM markets to get to the bottom of the things you need to know to help put your radio station on top of the Nielsen ratings:

  • Work-from-home and workplace listening trends
  • National and local contests
  • Marketing messages that drive tune-in or boost TSL
  • Social and digital channels that move the needle
  • Podcasts, Smart Speakers & streaming

And Smart Speakers will again be a headline in the webinar. People have cut back on lots of things during the pandemic, but they’re still allocating dollars to home entertainment. Smart Speakers are an inexpensive entertainment enhancement and the penetration of devices has grown significantly while they’re spending more time at home.

Smart Speakers represent a critical link to increasing radio AQH by tapping into audio home entertainment. PPM market stations employing Total Line Reporting (TLR) can reap numbers by scripting it out so that listeners know what to say to get the station on their Smart Speakers. Of course, the stream they get has to be as solid as the on-air signal, appropriately processed and utterly foolproof to start up.

Among Smart Speaker users who regularly use their devices for audio entertainment, 2 in 5 are already spending at least 30 minutes a week streaming FM stations. Digital streaming platforms (DSP’s) like Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and Amazon Music have a head start, but FM is in the game.

In the webinar MuVoodoo will dive deep in the data to show differences in perceptions and behavior as they vary across demos, ethnicities, usage levels and format preferences. They will also highlight the differences between those who’d say “yes” to Nielsen and those who would never participate in the radio ratings.

👉Register: Click Here

New Survey: Who's Listening To Podcasts?

New data from YouGov shows that between 2019 and 2020, the share of podcast listeners — and frequency of listening— increased across all ages. These big changes in listening habits signal good news for both ad businesses and content creators and it will be critical to understand which audiences are driving the demand for audio content.

While reduced commuting due to COVID-19 cut into radio listening – traditional and streaming – podcast listening continued to grow in 2020. Listening grew across all age groups between 2019 and 2020, although the audience remains greater among younger adults. We’ve now reached the point where 50% or more of adults under 50 and more than two in five of all US adults (43%) are listening to podcasts.

Whereas video streaming has seen growth in both audience size and time spent watching streamed video (8% and 12.7% respectively), the same can’t be said of podcasting. The number of podcast listeners grew by 18% but the average time spent listening to podcasts remained consistent with last year – that's overall and across age groups.

Unlike traditional radio, which is predominantly listened to in the car, podcasts are listened to as much at home as when out and about. In fact, ‘doing household chores’ and ‘cooking/baking’ are the first and third most popular occasions for listening to podcasts. 

Different from other media, where we saw shifts due to COVID-19 (e.g. the decline in listening to radio in the car or the increase in daytime TV viewing), there were no dramatic shifts in when people listen to podcasts as a result of COVID-19 -- just a slight decline in listening while commuting (29% to 27%) and slight increase during cooking/baking (17% to 21%).

As marketers consider the role of podcasts in their marketing plans and the role of their brand in podcasts, understanding why consumers are listening to a podcast helps refine those roles. Whether it be for entertainment or informative reasons, marketers need to ask themselves what messaging will resonate best in each context?

Atlanta Radio: WWWQ Adds New Midday and PM Drive Talent

CUMULUS MEDIA announces that Atlanta Top 40 radio station WWWQ Q99.7  will debut two new live and local shows on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. 

The first, Charged Up, featuring popular Atlanta club and event DJ and on-air personality Yvonne Monet, airs Monday through Friday from 11:00am-3:00pm EST, followed by a new Afternoon Drive program, Atlanta’s Vibe, featuring station favorites Jade and Moe, airing weekdays from 3:00pm-7:00pm EST. 

Yvonne Monet joins Q99.7 following a successful 20-year career as one of the Atlanta area’s most well-known club and event DJ’s. Jade moves from Nights on Q99.7 to team with Moe from The Bert Show in afternoons for Atlanta’s Vibe. In addition to his new Afternoon Drive program, Moe will continue to entertain Q99.7 listeners on The Bert Show weekday mornings from 5:30am-11:00am. 

Brian Philips, Executive Vice President, Content & Audience, CUMULUS MEDIA, said: “Atlanta’s sophisticated audience has always demanded and embraced programming innovation. All at Cumulus are proud of, and confident in, these fun, adventuresome changes at Q997.” 

Sean Shannon, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Atlanta, said: “Top 40 is an ever-evolving project and the addition of market legend Yvonne Monet to Middays and Atlanta’s Vibe with Jade and Moe in Afternoon Drive adds connection, community and distinctiveness to the Q99.7 brand.”

Louie Diaz, Vice President, Cumulus Contemporary, and Program Director, Q99.7 Atlanta, added: "Welcome to Q99.7, Charged Up! Yvonne Monet will bring a fresh feel to Q99.7 Middays with great on-air and video content on our socials. Jade and Moe's vibe will be a spin-off of The Bert Show. Heavy listener inclusion with a lot of video and presence on our station site and socials. Moe will also remain on The Bert Show each weekday morning."

Infowars' Alex Jones Claims He Paid for D-C Pre-Riot Rally

Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones claims his company paid for the rally that preceded the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday January 6. 

According to The Austin American-Statesman, multiple photos from the day show Jones, the founder of right-wing media group Infowars, addressing crowds of Trump supporters on a bullhorn, or standing in a crowd. He also spoke at a Trump rally on Freedom Plaza on Jan. 5.

In the Jan. 7 video filmed in Washington, D.C, Jones claimed he was asked by the White House to lead the march to the Capitol three days prior to the event.

In the video, Jones said the Secret Service would pull him out of the front row during the president’s speech, about 30 minutes before it ended, so he could go to the place where he would start the march. Jones said he ultimately did not end up leading the march because there was already a crowd ahead of him.

Jones also said he paid close to $500,000 dollars to book the Ellipse, the park where President Donald Trump’s supporters initially gathered, and other areas near the Capitol. He said 80% of the money came from an unnamed donor.

Wake-up Confidential: Insider Attack Worries

The FBI is vetting all of the 25,000 National Guard troops being deployed in Washington, D.C., for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday because defense officials are worried about a potential insider attack or other threat from them, the Associated Press reported Sunday. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told AP that although they are conscious of the potential threat in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, they have so far not seen evidence of any threats from within the ranks of the servicemembers, and the vetting hasn't turned up any issues. The report cited officials as saying the vetting process began as the first Guardsmen began deploying to Washington more than a week ago, and that it is set to be done by Inauguration Day. 

NY Times 1/18/21

➤ONLY SMALL PROTESTS AT STATE CAPITOL BUILDINGS: Despite worries and online chatter about armed protests at state Capitol buildings across the country Sunday in the wake of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, only small groups of right-wing protesters turned out in some of the states, some of them armed with rifles, and none showed up at others. Statehouses across the country have significantly increased security because of the warnings from the FBI, and the protesters at the Capitols were outnumbered by police and National Guard troops. There were no reports of any violence. States will remain alert, however, with the threat continuing at least through President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.

➤CNN: TRUMP TO ISSUE AROUND 100 PARDONS, BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF: President Trump is readying to issue around another 100 pardons and commutations Tuesday, his last full day in office, CNN reported Sunday. Their number will reportedly include white collar criminals and high-profile rappers, along with ones more criminal justice reform-aligned. They are also expected to include controversial pardons, but as of now, according to CNN, Trump is not expected to pardon himself. The idea that presidents can pardon themselves is a constitutionally dubious one, with most experts believing they can't. Additionally, Trump's advisers have encouraged him not to do it in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Capitol because it would look like he was guilty of something, the report cited a source as saying.

➤INCOMING CDC DIRECTOR EXPECTS 500,000 CORONAVIRUS DEATH IN U.S. BY MID-FEBRUARY: Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who will be the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in President-elect Joe Biden's administration, said on CBS' Face the Nation yesterday that she expects there will be 500,000 deaths caused by the coronavirus in the U.S. by the middle of February. As of this morning, there had been just under 400,000 deaths -- 397,600 -- according to Johns Hopkins University's data, so she's forecasting another 100,000 deaths in one month. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb predicted on the same show that the mutated variant of the coronavirus first discovered in the U.K. that is more contagious will be the dominant strain in the U.S. by March. Gottlieb said that it's currently about 0.5 percent of all infections across the country, but that will likely double each week, saying, "[I]n about five weeks, this is going to start to take over." Although the variant is more contagious, it doesn't appear to be any more deadly.

➤RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER WHO SURVIVED NERVE AGENT POISONING ARRESTED AFTER ARRIVING IN MOSCOW: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested Sunday after he landed at an airport in Moscow. He was returning to Russia from Germany, where he'd been recovering for five months after a near-fatal poisoning with a nerve agent that he charges the Russian government was behind. His detention had been expected, since Russian officials claim he violated parole terms from a suspended sentence on a 2014 embezzlement conviction. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. "strongly condemns" Navalny's arrest, calling it "the latest in a series of attempts to silence Navalny and other opposition figures and independent voices who are critical of Russian authorities." Jake Sullivan, who President-elect Joe Biden has chosen to be his national security adviser, tweeted, "Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable."

➤FRESHDIRECT SHARES FOOD TREND PREDICTIONS FOR 2021:  Grocery delivery service FreshDirect is predicting that food shopping and cooking habits are going to change in 2021. The company’s annual food trend forecast was released recently, and predicts consumers will buy more fresh seafood, premium cuts of meat, and prepared meals. The company also thinks people will be ordering produce online in place of traditional in-person shopping, bringing more creativity into the kitchen, and have a higher focus on reducing food waste. They also foresee a growing demand for same-day delivery and online grocery shopping in general. The company’s Chief Merchandising Officer Scott Crawford says, “The rapid increase in demand for online grocery and the boom in home cooking are squarely aligned with what our team of food experts have been seeing firsthand, both early last year and later accelerated by the pandemic.”

Tampa Bay Times 1/18/21
🏈NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF RESULTS: Here are the results of this weekend's NFL divisional playoff games:

Saturday, January 16th
  • Green Bay Packers 32, Los Angeles Rams 18 (NFC)
  • Buffalo Bills 17, Baltimore Ravens 3 (AFC)
Sunday, January 17th
  • Kansas City Chiefs 22, Cleveland Browns 17 (AFC)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30, New Orleans Saints 20 (NFC)
Next Sunday's Conference Championship Matchups
  • Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (AFC)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers (NFC)

🏈CHIEFS, BUCCANEERS ADVANCE TO CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Kansas City moved one step closer to successfully defending its Super Bowl title yesterday and Tampa Bay's Tom Brady won the battle of the veteran star quarterbacks over New Orleans' Drew Brees, as the Chiefs and Buccaneers won their divisional playoff games to advance to the conference championships. The Cleveland Browns' return to the playoffs after nearly two decades came to an end as they fell to the Chiefs 22-17. Kansas City got the win even after losing quarterback Patrick Mahomes midway through the third-quarter when he suffered a concussion, forcing backup Chad Henne to take over. The Saints' 30-20 loss to Tampa Bay could have been the end not only of their season, but of Brees' career, according to media rumors. Brees declined to say after the game if he was retiring, but stated, "I appreciate all that this game has given to me. There are obviously so many incredible memories."

After suffering a concussion, it remains to be seen if Mahomes will be cleared for next Sunday's AFC conference championship game against the Buffalo Bills. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said after the game, "He’s doing great right now, which is a real positive as we look at this. He passed all the deals he needed to pass and we’ll see where it goes from here. . . . We’ll see how he is tomorrow, but right now he’s feeling good."

🏀76ERS-THUNDER GAME POSTPONED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS ISSUES: Last night's (January 17th) scheduled game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed due to coronavirus issues, with Philadelphia not having the minimum number of players required due to contract tracing. It was the 13th NBA game that's been called off due to coronavirus issues since January 10th.

🏈STALEY TO BE CHARGERS' NEW HEAD COACH: Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley agreed last night (January 17th) to be the new head coach for the crosstown Los Angeles Chargers. It will be the first head coaching job for the 38-year-old Staley. He's replacing Anthony Lynn, who was fired after the Chargers went 7-9 this season, his fourth as head coach.

⛸CHEN WINS U.S. FIGURE SKATING TITLE FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT YEAR: Nathan Chen won his fifth straight U.S. Figure Skating Championship on Sunday (January 17th), the first man to win five U.S. titles in a row since Dick Button did it from 1946 to 1952. The competition was held at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas without any fans due to the pandemic. Bradie Tennell won her second women's U.S. title on Friday night.

🎾72 PLAYERS IN LOCKDOWN AHEAD OF AUSTRALIAN OPEN: The number of players in lockdown ahead of the Australian Open has grown to 72 after there was a fifth positive coronavirus test Sunday (January 17th) from the charter flights that have been bringing players, coaches, officials and media to Melbourne for the tennis major. The players won't be allowed to leave their hotel rooms or practice for 14 days. Other players who are on less strict quarantine because there weren't positive tests on their flights can practice for five hours a day. So far, no players have tested positive since landing. The Australian Open begins on February 8th.

Ronnie Spector: Phil Was A "Brilliant Producer, But A Lousy Husband"

Ronnie and Phil Spector

Music legend Ronnie Spector is remembering her ex-husband Phil Spector after news of the music producer’s death at age 81 from COVID-19 while he served a prison sentence for the 2003 murder of Lana Clarkson, reports Yahoo! Entertainment News.

On her Instagram page, the singer, who rose to fame with singing group the Ronettes, posted a throwback photo of herself with Spector in the recording studio, along with a lengthy caption that detailed the former couple’s meteoric rise and ultimate downfall.

“It’s a sad day for music and a sad day for me,” the 77-year-old star wrote. “When I was working with Phil Spector, watching him create in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the very best. He was in complete control, directing everyone. So much to love about those days. Meeting him and falling in love was like a fairytale. The magical music we were able to make together, was inspired by our love. I loved him madly, and gave my heart and soul to him.”

She wasn’t the only music legend sharing her memories of Spector. Darlene Love, who also worked with the producer on several hit songs, described her abusive working relationship with Spector.

“You know, the whole thing was like a bad marriage,” Love told Variety. “It’s a marriage that was abusive — not just physically, but mentally. That’s what Phil was trying to do with me. He wanted to control not Darlene, but the talent.”

But she also credited his role in the music industry.

“I felt this is very sad,” Love added. “I didn’t think of hate. I didn’t think, ‘He deserved it or this should have happened.’ I just felt this was a sad way for him to leave this earth. The more I thought about it, the sadder I got. He changed the sound of rock ‘n’ roll — the reason I know this is because Steve Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen and Elton John all told me that.”

Lana Clarkson, Spector During Trial

In Spector’s later years, the producer was embroiled in even more controversy. He was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his Los Angeles mansion, and was sentenced to 19 years to life after a trial that was completed in 2009. Spector maintained Clarkson’s death was an “accidental suicide.”

After news of Spector’s death, Clarkson's mother, Donna Clarkson, made a note about the loss of her daughter’s life.

“Lana Clarkson was a warm, compassionate, kind, loving woman who would be 58 years old now. Her energy, brightness and love of life have sustained her family since her murder 18 years ago in 2003," she said in a statement Sunday.

Misinformation Posts Drop After Trump Is Banned

President Trump’s permanent ban from Twitter helped eliminate huge clouds of misinformation that were polluting social-media networks, according to new research.

From Jan. 9-15, misinformation about election fraud on social networks plummeted around 73%, from 2.5 million to 688,000 posts, according to data from social-analytics firm Zignal Labs, as cited by a Washington Post report.

That came after Twitter finally banned Trump on Jan. 8, with the company citing the risk of “further incitement of violence” after the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. After Trump posted a video tweet on Jan. 6 telling the mob, “We love you, you’re very special,” he also said in a tweet (which Twitter quickly removed), “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.”

Before Trump was exiled from his favorite online platform, he had used Twitter to repeatedly and falsely claim the presidential election was “rigged” and that it was “stolen” from him. In the two months following the election, Twitter had appended hundreds of fact-checking labels to @realDonaldTrump’s posts with lies about the 2020 election including baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.

Variety points out that Twitter’s permanent suspension of @realDonaldTrump wasn’t the sole reason for the sudden and steep drop in election denialism on the internet. Facebook and other platforms also suspended Trump’s accounts, some permanently.

In addition, on Jan. 12, Twitter said it had also removed more than 70,000 accounts that were “engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content,” referring to the bizarre pro-Trump conspiracy cult. And last Monday Facebook said it had started to remove content with the phrase “stop the steal.”

Meanwhile, a study by the Election Integrity Partnership (released before the 2020 U.S. election) found that a group of 20 widely followed pro-Trump Twitter accounts — including Trump’s and Sean Hannity’s — accounted for 20% of retweets about voting misinformation, per the Washington Post report.

James Murdoch Condemns News Media

James Murdoch has condemned the US media for “propagating lies” which have unleashed “insidious and uncontrollable forces” that will endure for years, reports The Guardian.

Questioned about whether Fox News – founded by his father Rupert Murdoch and run by his brother Lachlan – had played a role in the riot at the Capitol last week, he said media groups had amplified election disinformation, which successfully sowed falsehoods.

Providing his sternest reproach yet of the US news industry since stepping away from the family business, Murdoch stopped short of naming Fox News but the comments will be seen as a thinly veiled rebuke.

James Murdoch
“The damage is profound,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “The sacking of the Capitol is proof positive that what we thought was dangerous is indeed very much so. Those outlets that propagate lies to their audience have unleashed insidious and uncontrollable forces that will be with us for years.

“I hope that those people who didn’t think it was that dangerous now understand, and that they stop.”

He added that the media would inevitably face “a reckoning” after being “co-opted by forces that only want to stay in power, or are manipulating our discourse from abroad and are only too happy to make a mess and burn things down.”

In a subsequent statement issued jointly with his wife, Kathryn, they added: “Spreading disinformation – whether about the election, public health or climate change – has real world consequences. Many media property owners have as much responsibility as the elected officials who know the truth but instead choose to propagate lies.

“We hope the awful scenes we have all been seeing will finally convince those enablers to repudiate the toxic politics they have promoted once and forever.”

Murdoch resigned from the board of News Corp. last July due to “disagreements” over “certain editorial content,” according to a letter he sent to the board. He has spoken out at length in the past about Fox News’ coverage of the climate crisis and, contrary to the pro-Trump agenda of the network, he has called the president’s leadership “craziness,” “callousness” and “cruelty.”

MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle Slammed As 'Democratic Party Hack'

Stephanie Ruhle
MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle is being slammed as a "Democratic Party hack" after a softball interview with one of President-elect Joe Biden's advisers, who thanked her for pushing his agenda.

FOX News reports Jared Bernstein, whom Biden tapped to serve as a member of the Council on Economic Advisers, thanked Ruhle for her "advocacy" and "help" Friday morning when discussing the massive $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal aimed at combating the pandemic and bolstering the sagging economy.

Rather than pressing Bernstein on any of the controversial portions of the package -- such as a federally mandated $15 minimum wage -- the NBC News senior business correspondent puffed it up as a bipartisan effort.

"This isn't about D or R, it's about A -- America," Ruhle said. "There's not a lot of programs that get support from the Chamber of Commerce and [Sen.] Bernie Sanders, but that's actually what we've heard in the last 14 hours."

"There’s been a lot of people pulling for this," he said. "Your help has been extremely important because not only have you continued to amplify some of the things that we’re trying to do here, but you’ve been in the weeds and you’ve talked about the very policies that have been knocking around for a long time and that we finally have been able to get together and put into a plan. So I want to thank you for your advocacy as well."

Ruhle responded: "Well, Jared, if you’re going to compliment me, there’s always more time for that in our show. We’re going to continue to cover this. Do you know why? Because policy matters. That's how people’s lives change."

NewsBusters contributing editor Kyle Drennen slammed the MSNBC anchor, writing that Ruhle "made it clear that she is a self-avowed Democratic Party hack."

Country Radio Hall of Fame Induction Plans Unveiled

The Country Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will be honored during CRS 2021: The Virtual Experience. Due to COVID restrictions, the annual Country Radio Hall Of Fame induction ceremony and dinner could not be held as a live event. Country Radio Broadcasters will now feature individual presentations presented by Curb Records in the morning and afternoon of each day, Wednesday, Feb. 17, through Friday, Feb. 20. Exact times will be available through the event website closer to the date.

The 2020 Country Radio Hall of Fame inductees include off-air radio broadcasters Jim Duncan, Victor Sansone, and George Beasley, and on-air radio personalities Tim Wilson, Chuck Edwards, and Mark “Hawkeye” Louis. Read more about the inductees here.

Country Radio Hall of Fame Co-Chair, Joel Raab, commented, “We’re thrilled to finally honor The Country Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2020, giving them their overdue recognition at this year’s CRS 2021: The Virtual Experience. Please join us in honoring this incredible class of broadcasters.”

In addition to honoring the Hall of Fame inductees, the 2020 President’s Award and Career Achievement Award recipients will also be recognized during the Opening Ceremonies on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 12:30 p.m. CT.

Nominations for the Country Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2021 are being accepted through the end of March, reports Music Row.

NYC Radio: 77 WABC Names Emily Pankow General Counsel

John Catsimatidis, CEO of Red Apple Group, the parent company of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC Radio, has announced that Emily Pankow, Esq. has been appointed Red Apple Media’s General Counsel. Pankow began at the new position on January 4, 2021.

Pankow is a respected attorney who began her legal career at Red Apple Group as an associate. Red Apple Group is a conglomerate that owns and operates assets in the energy, real estate, finance, insurance, supermarket, and media industries. After fifteen years with the organization working across the company's diverse portfolio of business interests, she has risen to the position of General Counsel of Red Apple Media.

Emily Pankow
The following statement was released by John Catsimatidis:

“Red Apple Media and WABC Radio will be well-served by Emily's legal insight. She has proven herself time-and-time again as an asset to our company over the past fifteen years. Since the acquisition of WABC, Emily has been instrumental in the day-to-day legal work and has earned this title. I have every confidence that Emily will succeed in the new position and is destined for great things in the future.”

The following statement has been released by Chad Lopez, President, Red Apple Media:

“We are thrilled to welcome Emily as General Counsel of Red Apple Media and to the iconic, legendary, WABC brand. Emily brings with her, her diverse and extensive legal experience. She will be an invaluable asset to Red Apple Media's ever-growing portfolio.”

The following statement has been released by Emily Pankow:

“I'm honored and delighted to join the Red Apple Media team at this exciting phase of the company's growth under John Catsimatidis's leadership. I look forward to helping build upon Red Apple Media's success. Red Apple Group is continuously expanding its horizons and it has been a pleasure and honor to learn and grow with the company.”

Public Radio Stations Drop ‘The Daily’ Simulcast

At least four public radio stations have dropped syndication of The Daily, the New York Times’ popular daily news podcast, from their broadcast schedules in the wake of the Caliphate scandal, reports Vulture at the New York magazine website.

On Tuesday, Houston Public Media announced that it was suspending the broadcast of the podcast. “Recent discoveries have led us to question whether The Daily, a national podcast, adequately represents Houston Public Media’s core values and standards,” general manager Lisa Shumate wrote in a note posted on the station’s website. Shumate specified the lack of disclosure around host Michael Barbaro’s personal connection to Caliphate, and cited the situation to be inconsistent with the station’s commitment to transparency and standards. “Houston Public Media strives to avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” she added.

Thursday, two other Texas stations, KUT in Austin and Marfa Public Radio, followed suit. They were joined later in the day by KCRW, one of the two major public radio stations in Los Angeles. They all cited the same concerns as Houston Public Media.

When reached for comment this morning, the New York Times responded: “The Daily has its roots in public radio, we are long admirers and consumers of it and we are deeply committed to upholding its mission and values. Those are our values as well. It is a privilege to be included in their programming and we hope the affiliates that dropped The Daily will reconsider in the future.”

This development comes in the wake of a letter-writing exchange between a group of public radio stations and the Times. On Monday night, more than 20 stations that syndicate The Daily sent a letter to the New York Times expressing their “concerns over the recent behavior of members of The Daily production team and personnel decisions undertaken by the New York Times that impact The Daily.” The letter listed a number of specific concerns, including Barbaro’s previously reported efforts to influence the way several journalists framed the Caliphate story; the disparity in outcomes between the two Caliphate leads, Rukmini Callimachi and Andy Mills; and renewed concerns over Mills’s professional behavior.

The Times responded to that letter on Tuesday morning, acknowledging in a letter the stations’ concerns and expressing its belief that it has handled the journalistic lapses around Caliphate with accountability. “Please be assured that our standards are the same in audio as they are across the New York Times,” the letter said. “When we make mistakes we own up to them as we did by correcting the record with Caliphate.”

San Diego Sportscaster Ted Leitner Steps Away From Baseball

Sportscaster Ted Peitner

Ted Leitner, for 41 years the beloved play-by-play radio voice of the Padres known as "Uncle Teddy," will transition to the role of team ambassador, moving away from the booth, the team announced Friday. reports Leitner's radio partner Jesse Agler will assume the role of full-time radio play-by-play man, with Tony Gwynn Jr. joining the booth as a full-time analyst.

Leitner, who paired an affable down-to-earth style with unfettered baseball opinions and a knack for storytelling, has been a staple of Padres baseball since he began calling games in 1980.

"I will miss everything about the Padres broadcast that I have been privileged to be a part of for so many years," Leitner said in a statement. "I've had the best seat in the house in San Diego for over four decades, and I've had the honor of working alongside Hall of Fame broadcasters while watching the greatest players to ever wear a Padres uniform.

"While the broadcast booth will always be in my heart, I look forward to working more closely with the San Diego community and our loyal fans in the future."

Leitner will remain as the lead play-by-play man for San Diego State football and basketball, but his role with the Padres will shift to a community-centric one. Leitner, who was named co-sportscaster of the year in California by the National Sports Media Association in 2020, has long been a staple at charitable events hosted by the Padres in the community.

Leitner’s decision to leave the broadcast booth was due to a collection of factors, he said Friday in a video call, citing his age and his health among them. But he specifically cited pictures of his grandchildren juxtaposed with life on the road during a baseball season.

Leitner's work in San Diego began in the late 1970s as a TV anchor for CBS 8. He presided over both Padres National League pennants in 1984 and '98.

Leitner is perhaps best known for his work alongside Hall of Fame broadcaster Jerry Coleman, who passed away in 2014. Coleman, a former Marine and World Series-winning second baseman with the Yankees, is as beloved as nearly any sports figure in San Diego.

St. Louis Sportscaster Mike Shannon Plans To Retire

St. Louis Sportscaster Mike Shannon

It’s the end of an era. Mike Shannon will call one final season of Cardinals baseball, FOX TV 2 Sports Director Martin Kilcoyne reports.

Mike Shannon isn’t an announcer; he’s bigger than that. He’s a brand.  Multiple generations have spent their summers listening to Mike broadcast Cardinals baseball. But this year, his 50th in the broadcast booth, will be his last.

The 81-year-old Shannon said the decision has been in the works for several years. He stopped doing road games in 2016.

Shannon started playing for the Cardinals in 1962 and won two World Series titles. In 1972, after an illness cut short his playing career, he hopped into the booth alongside Jack Buck.

After a playing career, Shannon joined the Cardinals' promotional staff in 1971; a year later he moved to the team's radio booth. For almost three decades Shannon was paired with Hall of Fame announcer Jack Buck on AM 1120 KMOX and the Cardinals Radio Network. Following Buck's death in 2002, he was named the team's lead radio voice, teaming with Joel Meyers (2002), Wayne Hagin (2003–2005), and John Rooney (2006–present). In 2006, he moved to KTRS (550) which had won broadcasting rights for the Cardinals and ownership of the station. For the 2011 season KMOX regained the rights for Cardinals broadcasting and Shannon returned to his former employer.

During the 1980s, Shannon worked as a backup analyst (behind the main analysts, Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek) for NBC's Game of the Week telecasts (typically working with play-by-play man Jay Randolph).

Counting his tenure in the minor leagues, Shannon has spent 61 years—nearly his entire adult life—with the Cardinals in some capacity. He has also called Cardinals games longer than anyone except Buck.

On August 8, 2014 Shannon was inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.

"Drivers License" Breaks Record For Most Streams In A Single Week

Disney star Olivia Rodrigo released her debut single "Drivers License" on January 8 — and it quickly dominated Spotify's charts. 

CBS News reports the streaming service announced Friday that the emotional pop ballad about teenage heartbreak broke the platform's record for most streams of a song in a single week.

Olivia Rodrigo
Spotify's global weekly Top 200 chart revealed that the tune was streamed 65,873,080 times during the week ending on January 14. The song "DÁKITI" by Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez nabbed the number two spot on the chart, with "Blinding Lights" by The Weeknd coming in third. 

But most streams isn't the only Spotify record the 17-year-old songbird's ballad broke this past week. Spotify tweeted on Wednesday that "Drivers License" set the platform's record for most streams in a day for a non-holiday tune on January 11 and then beat its own record the following day. 

The song peaked at 13,714,177 streams on Friday, according to Spotify's charts.

The song is also cleaning up on other streaming platforms. The ballad broke the record for "the biggest first week streaming debut ever globally" on Amazon Music following its release, Amazon Music tweeted on Thursday. It also smashed the global record for the most requested tune of all-time in one day on Alexa, the company said.

It is currently the most-played song on Apple Music worldwide as of Sunday, according to Apple.

Rodrigo currently stars in Disney+'s "High School Musical: The Musical - The Series" and wrote a song for the show's fourth episode, according to the site. The song, titled "All I Want," is gold-certified and has been streamed over 200 million times, according to Interscope.

R.I.P.: Jim Tilmon, Former Chicago News Anchor

Jim Tilmon
Jim Tilmon, a trusted Chicago TV newsman, meteorologist and pioneering aviator, has died at 86 in Arizona, where he’d retired.

The Sun-Times reports Tilmon died Saturday afternoon, according to Frank Whittaker, station manager of WMAQ-TV, where Tilmon worked for more than 22 years. The Emmy Award-winning broadcaster worked four more years at WTTW-TV.

Tilmon also was one of the nation’s first Black commercial airline pilots and the third African American pilot hired by American Airlines, for which he flew for 29 years.

He did this in an era when some white passengers mistook his uniform for that of a skycap and tried to tip him to carry their luggage.

On TV, his authoritative voice and aviation expertise made for a reassuring on-air presence, especially when there were near-misses or plane crashes. Tilmon would use model airplanes to demonstrate to the viewing audience what had gone wrong.

Mr. Tilmon died about five months after the passing of his son, also named Jim Tilmon. The younger 

Though he retired from TV around 2005, Mr. Tilmon remained a popular figure in Chicago. When he’d come back for visits and walk down Michigan Avenue, he was stopped constantly by people who said they’d watched him for years and trusted his reporting.

January 18 Radio History


➦In 1913...comedian/actor Danny Kaye was born David Daniel Kaminski in Brooklyn.

While most of his impact was on the big screen, he had his own radio show in the 1940’s, and his own TV show in the 60’s.  Surprisingly, he has only two appearances listed for the Ed Sullivan Show.  As a partner in Kaye/Smith Broadcasting he was a co-owner of KJR AM/FM in Seattle & KJRB, Spokane.

He died Mar 3, 1987 at age 74 after a heart attack.

➦In 1914...announcer/actor Rod O’Connor was born in Houston.

In Chicago he became announcer for both Don McNeill‘s Breakfast Club and The First Nighter Program. While serving in WWII he met comedian Red Skelton, who offered O’Connor an announcing gig on his Raleigh Cigarette Program in 1945.  He stayed on when Skelton went to television.  O’Connor also worked with some of the biggest names in radio including Art Linkletter, Dennis Day, Rudy Vallée and Danny Thomas.

He died June 5 1964 at age 50 after losing a battle with cancer.

➦In 1929...“New York Daily Mirror” columnist Walter Winchell made his debut on radio, broadcasting a blend of political commentary and celebrity gossip to “Mr. and Mrs. America…” His quick-jabbing, penetrating manner became his trademark. And so did his fedora hat.

He began his career in journalism by posting notes about his acting troupe on backstage bulletin boards. Joining the Vaudeville News in 1920, Winchell left the paper for the Evening Graphic in 1924, and in turn was hired on June 10, 1929 by the New York Daily Mirror where he finally became the author of what would be the first syndicated gossip column, entitled On-Broadway.

Walt Winchell
Using connections in the entertainment, social, and governmental realms, he would expose exciting or embarrassing information about celebrities in those industries. This caused him to become very feared, as a journalist, because he would routinely impact the lives of famous or powerful people, exposing alleged information and rumors about them, using this as ammunition to attack his enemies, and to blackmail influential people. He used this power, trading positive mention in his column (and later, his radio show) for more rumors and secrets.

He made his radio debut over WABC in New York, then a CBS affiliate, on May 12, 1930.

His newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, and he was read by 50 million people a day from the 1920s until the early 1960s. His Sunday-night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people from 1930 to the late 1950s.

Aunt Jenny
➦In 1937...CBS radio introduced listeners to “Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories” for the first time. A complete story was told in five, 15-minute episodes which aired Monday thru Friday each week. Aunt Jenny was played by Edith Spencer (pictured) and later, by Agnes Young. The show continued on radio until 1956 and was sponsored over the years by Spry shortening and Lux soap. Aunt Jenny’s whistling canary, for those of you ready to inquire, was played by animal imitator, Henry Boyd.

➦In 1948... Ted Mack came to television as “The Original Amateur Hour” debuted on the DuMont network. The program continued on different networks for a total 22-year run.  The original, “Original Amateur Hour”, on radio, was hosted by Major Bowes. In the TV version, Mack introduced many up-and-coming stars who later claimed great fame in show biz. Teresa Brewer and Pat Boone are just two of those discoveries.

➦In 1964..Fifty-one years ago today, the Beatles appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time.

The band's breakthrough, and ultimately, pop culture-redefining, first U.S smash, "I Want to Hold Your Hand," entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 45.

The issue was dated Jan. 18, 1964.

The following week, the song rocketed to No. 3. It became the Beatles' first of 20 No. 1s the following week (Feb. 1, 1964).

The Beatles' 20 toppers remain the most by any artist in the Hot 100's history. When Billboard ranked the top acts of the chart's first 55 years this past August, the Beatles ranked at No. 1. 

➦In 1971...Canadian AM radio stations were required for the first time to play 30% Canadian music content. Many stations such as CKLG and CKVN in Vancouver ran marathon Beatles or “rock music” specials over the previous weekend before the rules came into effect. CanCon – a contraction of the words Canadian content – requiring that, from 6 a.m. to Midnight, 30% of all music aired on Canadian radio must be by Canadian artists. As originally prescribed, the recorded performances count as Canadian if two of the following four characteristics are met: *Music composed entirely by a Canadian, *Artist is Canadian, *Produced in Canada, *Lyrics written entirely by a Canadian.

➦In 1983...First GUI/mouse computer, the Apple Lisa, was unveiled.

➦In 1985...Cleveland, Ohio was chosen to be the site of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

➦In 2004...Personality Harry Fleetwood died. He aired on WNBC-AM's "Music Through the Night" in 1954. In 1975, he moved to WNCN to host classical music.

➦In 2011…the FCC gave approval to the $28 billion sale of NBC Universal by General Electric to Comcast Corporation.

➦In 2016...founding member of The Eagles guitarist Glen Frey died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. He was 67.

  • Ashleigh Murray is 33
    Singer-songwriter Bobby Goldsboro is 80. 
  • Comedian-singer Brett Hudson of the Hudson Brothers is 68. 
  • Actor-director Kevin Costner is 66. 
  • Country singer-actor Mark Collie (“Nashville”) is 65. 
  • Actor Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” ″The Other Boleyn Girl”) is 61. 
  • Actor Alison Arngrim (“Little House on the Prairie”) is 59. 
  • Actor Jane Horrocks (“Absolutely Fabulous”) is 57. 
  • Comedian Dave Attell (“Insomniac”) is 56. 
  • Actor Jesse L. Martin (TV’s “The Flash,” ″Law and Order”) is 52. 
  • Rapper DJ Quik is 51. 
  • Singer Jonathan Davis of Korn is 50. 
  • Singer Christian Burns of BBMak is 47. 
  • Actor Derek Richardson (“Men in Trees”) is 45. 
  • Actor-screenwriter Jason Segel (“How I Met Your Mother,” ″Freaks and Geeks”) is 41. 
  • Singer-actor Samantha Mumba is 38. 
  • Actor Ashleigh Murray (“Riverdale”) is 33. 
  • Actor Zeeko Zaki (“FBI,” “24: Legacy”) is 31. 
  • Actor Mateus Ward (“Hostages”) is 22.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

R.I.P.: Phil Spector, Troubled Iconic Record Producer

American record producer, musician, and songwriter Phil Spector who, developed the Wall of Sound, died in an "outside hospital" Saturday from the effects of COVID-19.  He was 81. 

Lana Clarkson
He had been serving time for the 2003 murder of the actress Lana Clarkson. At the time of his death, he was serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life.

Spector is regarded to be among the most influential figures in pop music history who had unprecedented control over every phase of his recording. 

Born in the Bronx, Spector began his career in 1958 as co-founder, guitarist, and vocalist of the Teddy Bears, penning their US number-one single "To Know Him Is to Love Him". In 1960, he co-founded Philles Records, and at the age of 21, became the youngest ever US label owner to that point.

 Throughout the 1960s, he wrote, co-wrote, or produced records for acts such as the Ronettes, the Crystals, and Ike & Tina Turner. He typically collaborated with arranger Jack Nitzsche, engineer Larry Levine, and a de facto house band that later became known as "the Wrecking Crew". Spector initially retired from the music industry in 1966.

Recent mugshot
In 1969, Spector returned to his career and subsequently produced the Beatles' album Let It Be (1970), as well as several solo records by the band's John Lennon and George Harrison. By the mid-1970s, Spector had produced eighteen US Top 10 singles for various artists, but following work with Leonard Cohen, Dion DiMucci, and the Ramones, he remained largely inactive and affected by personal struggles. 

His chart-toppers included "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (co-written and produced for the Righteous Brothers, 1964), "The Long and Winding Road" (produced for the Beatles, 1970), and "My Sweet Lord" (produced for Harrison, 1970). According to BMI, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" is the song that received the most US airplay in the 20th century.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

January 17 Radio History

In 1903...Radio game show host and actor Warren Hull was born in Gasport NY.

A movie actor in the 30’s, he turned to radio in the 40’s with announcer/host roles on such shows as Your Hit Parade and Vox Pop. Hull was also the emcee of Spin To Win, only the second game show created by the team of Mark Goodson and Bill Todman.

The next two decades he hosted TV game shows Strike It Rich, Top Dollar, Who In the World and Beat the Odds.

“Strike It Rich” was a wildly successful CBS radio‐television show of the 1950s that ‘was part quiz and part give‐away and offered the public the spectacle of often despondent people relating their hard‐luck stories to Mr. Hull.

Participants were able to win a few hundred dollars by correctly answering a few questions, in addition to which the program featured a “heart line” through which pitying viewers could telephone offers of cash, clothing, merchandise and jobs.

He died of heart failure Sept 14 1974 at age 71.

➦In 1949... after 18 years on radio, “The Goldbergs” starring Gertrude Berg, began its seven-year run on TV.

➦In 1964...the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “There! I’ve Said It Again” by Bobby Vinton. This song was the last No. 1 song before the British invasion. After four weeks at No. 1, Vinton gave way to the Beatles and their first U.S. hit, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

➦In 1986...Longtime Chicago radio personality Joel Sebastian died at age 53. He began his radio career in his native Detroit at station WXYZ, moved to Chicago in 1966, after working at stations in Dallas, New Haven, Conn., and Los Angeles.

Over the last 20 years, he had been a disc jockey and morning on-air personality at eight Chicago radio stations, including WCFL, WLS, WGN, WMAQ and, most recently, WJMK-FM (104).

He began his Chicago career at WCFL as a talkative morning disc jockey. He would open each show with the greeting ''Good morning Chicago, baby,'' while playing Jack Jones` rendition of ''My Kind of Town.''

Sebastian performed a variety of radio roles, reflecting both the wide range of his abilities and the whimsical nature of the business. He was program director at WCFL, rock DJ at several stations and, in the late 1970s, an all-night classical music show host at WGN.

He survived a purge at WMAQ when the station switched to country music in 1975. Most of the on-air staff, including Mr. Sebastian, was fired. But he was rehired a short time later as production chief and weekend personality.

He also worked at WNEW, WKHK, WHN and WNBC in New York City, returning to Chicago in June 1983 to WJMX

➦In 1989...Scott Shannon last show at WHTZ Z100 NYC.  Shannon founded the "Z Morning Zoo" concept and he was the driving force in helping Z100 become the top-rated FM station in New York City within a mere 74 days of signing on the air.

In 1989, Shannon left Z100 for Los Angeles to start up Pirate Radio, KQLZ. Pirate Radio employed a similar Top 40 concept. As the 1990s began, Top 40 radio experienced a decline, and eventually Pirate Radio struggled as well, leading to Shannon's departure.

In 1991 he returned to New York and resurfaced on Z100's biggest rival, WPLJ.  He is now hosting mornings on Entercom's Classic Hits WCBS 101.1 FM NYC.

➦In 2004...TV talk show host, Jerry Springer, began a new radio show on WCKY-AM, Cincinnati, the city where he once had been mayor.

➦In 2012...Johnny Otis, a bandleader and songwriter often called the “Godfather of R & B,” died at home in L.A. at age 90. Best-known for writing “Willie And The Hand Jive,” Otis helped pave the way for Rock & Roll in the early ‘50s.


Betty In 1953 and 2019
  • Actor Betty White is 99. 
  • Actor James Earl Jones is 90. 
  • Talk show host Maury Povich is 82. 
  • Singer Chris Montez is 79. 
  • Singer William Hart of The Delfonics is 76. 
  • Actor Joanna David (“Downton Abbey”) is 74. 
  • Actor Jane Elliott (“General Hospital”) is 74. 
  • Former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor is 73. 
  • Singer Sheila Hutchinson of The Emotions is 68. 
  • Singer Steve Earle is 66. 
  • Singer Paul Young is 65. 
  • Actor-comedian Steve Harvey is 64. 
  • Singer Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles is 62. 
  • Writer-Director Brian Helgeland (“42,” ″Mystic River,” ″L.A. Confidential”) is 60. 
  • Actor Jim Carrey is 59. 
  • Actor Denis O’Hare (“The Good Wife,” ″True Blood”) is 59. 
  • Actor Joshua Malina (“The West Wing,” ″Sports Night”) is 55. 
  • Singer Shabba Ranks is 55. 
  • Drummer Jon Wysocki (Staind) is 53. 
  • Actor Naveen Andrews (“Instinct,” “Lost”) is 52. 
  • Electronic musician DJ Tiesto is 52. 
  • Musician Kid Rock is 50. 
  • Actor Freddy Rodriguez (“The Night Shift,” ″Six Feet Under”) is 46. 
  • Actor-writer Leigh Whannel (“Saw” and “Insidious” movies) is 44. 
  • Actor-singer Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl”) is 41. 
  • Singer Ray J is 40. 
  • Country singer Amanda Wilkinson of The Wilkinsons is 39. 
  • Actor Ryan Gage (“The Hobbit”) is 38. 
  • DJ Calvin Harris is 37. 
  • Drummer Jeremiah Fraites of The Lumineers is 35. 
  • Actor Jonathan Keltz (“Reign,” ″Entourage”) is 33. 
  • Actor Kelly Marie Tran (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) is 32. 
  • Actor Kathrine Herzer (“Madame Secretary”) is 24.