Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Saturday Aircheck

This week the current owners of 1050 CHUM AM Toronto announced the station will become SportsTalk 1050 CHUM on April 13, 2011. The move comes two years after the station switched to an audio simulcast of Canadian CP24, all all-news format.

However, from May 27, 1957 to June 14, 1986 1050 CHUM was the Top40 station everyone listened to in Toronto.  Today's aircheck features American Gary Gears from December 16, 1973. Hat Tip to the Rock Radio Scrapbook.

Click here to listen.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cumulus, Citadel ThisClose To Deal?

Cumulus Media Inc. today confirmed that Cumulus and Citadel Broadcasting Corporation  have entered into an exclusivity agreement to negotiate a merger agreement under which Cumulus would acquire all of the outstanding common stock and warrants of Citadel at a price of $37.00 per share. Citadel owns and operates 225 radio stations in over 50 markets and also operates the Citadel Media business, which is among the largest radio networks in the US.

Under the terms of Cumulus' proposal, the payment received by Citadel shareholders would consist of a combination of cash and Cumulus stock for each Citadel share and warrant, with a fixed exchange ratio. Based upon the proposed cash and stock election formula, the $37.00 per share consideration would, on average, be capped at a maximum of $30.00 per share in cash and a maximum of $14.00 per share in Cumulus stock. Based on actual elections made by Citadel shareholders and subject to proration, each Citadel shareholder could individually receive more or less cash or Cumulus stock than these amounts, up to the $37.00 per share total.

Cumulus expects to fund the cash portion of the purchase price with up to $500 million in equity financing from Crestview Partners and Macquarie Capital, and the remainder through debt financing to be led by UBS Investment Bank and Macquarie Capital. Cumulus, which previously announced the pending acquisition of the remaining equity interests that it does not currently own in Cumulus Media Partners LLC, also expects to complete a refinancing of all of the outstanding debt of Cumulus, CMP and Citadel as part of the proposed transaction.

After giving effect to the proposed acquisition, Cumulus would own 570 radio stations across approximately 120 US markets.

A combination of Cumulus and Citadel, together with CMP, would provide Cumulus with:

  • A truly national platform with approximately 120 US markets, including 8 of the top 10 markets
  • A balance sheet with lower overall leverage and a simplified capital structure
  • A significantly enhanced equity market capitalization for Cumulus, which would provide greater trading liquidity and strategic flexibility
  • The scale necessary to effectively compete and invest in the local digital media marketplace; and
  • A network for the syndication of content and technology assets.

Execution of a definitive merger agreement with Citadel is subject, among other things, to completion of due diligence and financing arrangements. Any transaction would be subject to the approval of each company's board of directors, as well as obtaining regulatory and shareholder approvals, and other customary conditions.

Golf Channel Removes Jim Gray

Golf Channel reporter Jim Gray has been pulled from this weekend's assignment at the Northern Trust Open after an argument with Dustin Johnson's caddie following the first round Thursday at Riviera Country Club, according to Bob Harig at

The network said in a statement that it was removing him from the coverage so as not to be a distraction.

Johnson's caddie, Bobby Brown, argued with Gray on Thursday in the scoring area, telling the veteran broadcaster that he should not have been discussing a rules incident with Johnson on the course during the round.

A four-time winner on the PGA Tour, Johnson was nearly disqualified and was assessed a two-stroke penalty because he was late for his first-round tee time. Gray spoke to Johnson about it later in the round, something that Brown and others in the group took issue with.

Gray, a freelancer reporter, was involved in ESPN's airing of LeBron James' publicly announced decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer to play for the Miami Heat. Gray interviewed James during that broadcast.

Read more here.

Obama Talked R&D With Jobs, Zuckerberg

Research spending and technology exports were some of the menu items Thursday evening when President Barack Obama sat down for dinner with corporate chieftains from Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google In.

At the home of venture capitalist John Doerr just outside San Francisco, Mr. Obama met with Apple's Steve Jobs, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Eric Schmidt, among others. According to Jared A. Favole at,  the overall aim of the meeting was for Mr. Obama to discuss his competitiveness agenda, and to find new ways the government and private sector can work together to lift the shaky economy.

Things did get specific, however. "The president specifically discussed his proposals to invest in research and development and expand incentives for companies to grow and hire," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to reporters traveling with the president.

The president's budget, released this week, included billions of dollars for new R&D spending. Mr. Obama has also secured a measure to allow businesses to fully expense business investing for 2011.

Mr. Obama's meeting with the technology executives fits into his renewed effort in recent months to work closely with the private sector on ways to lift the economy. Mr. Obama vowed, in a speech earlier this month to business leaders, that he would knock down barriers to growth. He said he needed the private sector's help to revamp the corporate tax code, expand the economy and make government run more efficiently.

It is unclear how specific discussions got on areas such as taxes. The business community, and technology companies in particular, have raised concerns about Mr. Obama's proposal to boost taxes on overseas income.

List of attendees at the dinner Thursday evening:

  • John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Carol Bartz, President and CEO, Yahoo Inc.
  • John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems Inc.
  • Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter Inc.
  • Larry Ellison, Co-Founder and CEO, Oracle Corp.
  • Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix Inc.
  • John Hennessy, President, Stanford University
  • Steve Jobs, Chairman and CEO, Apple Inc.
  • Art Levinson, Chairman and former CEO, Genentech Inc.
  • Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google Inc.
  • Steve Westly, Managing Partner and Founder, The Westly Group
  • Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook Inc.

Who Gives the Most Trusted Recommendations?

According to, Social media has put power in the hands of the consumer, giving everyone a publishing platform to push out their thoughts and feelings to the world at large. This has given great power to word-of-mouth, typically considered the most trustworthy form of marketing. But social behavior is changing as it matures.

The GlobalWebIndex “Annual Report 2011,” which includes data from Trendstream and Lightspeed Research, outlines a shift in consumer behavior on social media. As usage of social sites increases around the world, the landscape is maturing. According to the report, usage is shifting to focus on distributing content rather than creating it. Social media users disseminate and share professionally created content more often on microblogs, social networks and video-sharing platforms.

But the human element remains key to engendering trust. Internet users worldwide reported a nearly 50% increase in their trust of social network contacts giving product recommendations, and a 21% increase for microblog contacts. Even though many of those contacts are likely sharing some professional content with or alongside their personal recommendations, professional sources of information like newspapers and TV barely gained any trust over the same period.

Read more here.

Facebook, Twitter Are Changing the Middle East

In an interview with WSJ's Alan Murray, social media expert Clay Shirky discusses the effect of Facebook, Twitter and other social media in the recent uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and what it could mean for the Middle East at large.

CBS News Grows Online Audience has been building a growing audience, passing ABC News and Fox News in online traffic late last year.

According to, part of the success around the network's growth has been by streaming programming on popular live portals with channels on Livestream and Ustream, in addition to the network's live player.

Time Inc. Chief Exec Jack Griffin Out

The chief executive of Time Inc., Jack Griffin, is leaving the company after less than six months on the job — forced out over what company executives said was a widespread sense that his management style was brusque and did not fit the corporate culture there, according to Jeremy W. Peters at Media Decoder at

Mr. Griffin, 50, drew an unusual public rebuke from Jeffrey L. Bewkes, the chief executive of Time Inc’s parent company, Time Warner, who said in an e-mail to employees on Thursday evening that the situation had become unworkable.

“Although Jack is an extremely accomplished executive, I concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner,” Mr. Bewkes wrote.

Mr. Griffin’s selection as chief of Time Inc., the world’s largest magazine publisher, surprised many in the industry when the appointment was announced in August. Mr. Griffin had been head of the magazine division at Meredith, the Des Moines-based publisher of magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle and Ladies’ Home Journal.

He was the first chief executive in Time Inc.’s history to come from outside the company, replacing Ann S. Moore, who had been with Time for 30 years.
Read more here.

Bieber Ruffles The Ladies On 'The View'

When Justin Bieber opened up to Rolling Stone about his views on premarital sex and abortion, he probably didn't expect the co-hosts of "The View" to vilify him for it, according to a story by Shari Weiss at

But some of the talk show's stars did just that Thursday morning, when they debated whether 16-year-old Bieber had any business discussing such adult matters.

The teen heartthrob is quoted in the magazine's March issue as saying "you should just wait" until you're in love to have sex, and "I really don't believe in abortion … It's like killing a baby."

When asked about situations in which women become pregnant after being raped, Bieber said he believed "everything happens for a reason," but noted, "I haven't been in that position, so I wouldn't be able to judge that."

As guest co-host KaDee Strickland pointed out, "He won't be in that position because he cannot give birth."

"He doesn't have a choice like that," she added. "He's a 16-year-old boy, as I understand it. That's a very hot-button thing to be talking about."

Joy Behar said Bieber's "everything happens for a reason" comment is "really insulting to people who have been raped or victims of incest. There is no 'reason' for that."

Both Strickland and Behar said they were "concerned" about the influence the singer's comments might have on young girls – his core fan base.

His lone defender? Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

"I don't think we can discount somebody's opinion because they happen to be 16," she said. "We have brilliant minds who are young [and] young minds who have created things that are now changing the world. To discount his opinion simply because he's 16, I think, is a disservice."

Read more here.

Lakers Leaving Fox

Houston and Los Angeles were cornerstones of Fox Sports Net when it was created in the mid-1990s, and now Fox has suffered a blow in LA with this week’s announcement that the Lakers will leave after the 2011-12 season for English- and Spanish-language regional sports networks owned by Time Warner Cable, according to a column by David Barron at

If estimates valuing the deal at $3 billion over 20 years are reasonably correct, cable bills in LA are about to go up big-time. However, Time Warner in LA, like Comcast in Houston with its Rockets-Astros network launching in 2012, now must sell the new channel in a marketplace that has substantial numbers of households serviced by providers and about 620,000 households with no pay TV.

DirecTV has more than a million customers in LA, which, along with other providers and uncabled households, together account for more than half of the households in the LA market. Another remarkable element of the deal is that Time Warner is paying so much money for, given the Lakers’ popularity with the NBA’s national outlets, maybe 60 to 65 exclusive telecasts each year.

Fox Sports Net, meanwhile, isn’t going out of business, but is remarkable to consider the extent to which it is fading as a force in Top 10 markets.

It still has a full run of teams in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and, until the Lakers leave, Los Angeles. But in addition to team-owned outlets like NESN in Boston and YES in New York, Comcast is now a dominant Top 10 player with MLB/NBA/NHL deals in the San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, D.C., with Houston soon to follow, plus the Mets in New York and the Celtics in New England.

Read more here.

GM To Offer Pandora iNet Radio

General Motors Co will launch a new system to stream online radio from Pandora in upcoming Chevrolets starting with the Volt and Equinox.

Reuters is reporting the new partnership comes as the top U.S. automaker looks to make up for lost ground against Ford Motor Co in the increasingly competitive market for digital entertainment systems in vehicles.

GM said the 2012 Chevrolet Volt and the Equinox would come equipped with a new system dubbed "Chevy MyLink" anchored by a seven-inch, color touch-screen display in the dashboard.

The system will allow Chevy drivers to stream music from Pandora Media Inc by syncing the vehicle to a smartphone and using an existing Pandora account.

Chief Executive Dan Akerson, who has a background in telecommunications, has said one of his priorities was to sharpen the automaker's focus on vehicle electronics.

Read more here.

PA School District Wants DJ To Apologize

Lakeland School District wants a radio personality to apologize for allegedly reporting "false and defamatory" information about the district.

According to a story by Caitlin Heaney at, the school board unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday night, authorizing its attorneys to send letters to radio station Froggy 101 (WGGY) and its affiliates to demand an apology from host Jacob Navarro.

The district claims Mr. Navarro erroneously reported on Dec. 17 and 20 that a Lakeland student had taken a gun to school and school officials covered up the matter. Those actions were "irresponsible, malicious, unethical and damaging to the community and represent the worst in smear tactics," according to the resolution. Board Vice President Richard Koruszko said the statements were "completely false."

After Mr. Navarro allegedly made the reports, parents contacted Lakeland about pulling their students from school, and one person told a school board member she almost crashed her car when she heard the statement, said Superintendent Margaret Billings-Jones, Ed.D.

Mr. Koruszko said the board passed the resolution for the community because Mr. Navarro's alleged comments caused a disservice to the public.

"It's a very serious matter, and there (were) many, many concerned parents who, when they heard that news, they were upset," he said.

The resolution also authorizes the district's attorneys to contact the Federal Communications Commission and other authorities about the matter and to ask Mr. Navarro to "cease and desist from such irresponsible broadcasting."

Read more here.

Serene Branson Had A 'Complex Migraine'

Doctor:  No stroke

KCBS2 Los Angeles television reporter Serene Branson's garbled speech during a live Grammy broadcast last Sunday was not the result of a small stroke as many have speculated but was instead a symptom of a "complex migraine," according to her physician, Dr. Neil Martin, chief of neurosurgery at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Thomas H. Maugh II of the LATimes reports Martin received permission from Branson to discuss her condition publicly.

Branson appeared fine when she appeared on air following the awards show, but her words made no sense, and the show's producers immediately cut away from her and paramedics were called. She recovered quickly and was taken home.

A complex migraine can mimic the symptoms of a stroke, with weakness, loss of vision and difficulty speaking, in addition to a headache. It is often mistaken for a stroke.

Read more here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Report: Citadel in Negotiations to Sell To Cumulus

4pm UPDATE: Citadel Broadcasting is in talks to sell itself to a smaller rival, Cumulus Media for $37 a share in cash and stock, people briefed on the matter told Michael J. De La Merced and Brooks Barnes at DealBook on Thursday, after months of refusing to consider a deal.

Under the terms of the new proposal, Cumulus would pay $30 a share in cash and $7 in stock for each Citadel share, or about $2.5 billion.

Talks between the two companies, which began this week, are ongoing and may still fall apart, one of these people said. One concern of Citadel’s management is that a deal would require a significant amount of debt.

Class B shares of Citadel, which trade over the counter, rose 6.6 percent to $32.50 in midday trading on Thursday after CNBC reported Cumulus’s new offer.

Citadel, the nation’s third-largest radio broadcaster, had previously declined to consider takeover offers by Cumulus last year. The most recent offer, which Cumulus disclosed in December, was valued at $31 a share, or $2.1 billion.

Cumulus has the backing of an investor group led by Crestview Partners, a private equity firm, which previously indicated it would provide up to $500 million in equity.

But the refusal by Citadel to consider the Cumulus offers angered its shareholders, many of whom are hedge funds who gained their holdings in the company after it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

Investors were provoked in particular by a $400 million debt offering that Citadel announced shortly after Cumulus’s offer was made public. The bond sale was seen as a deterrent to a takeover because it required a $31 million payment in case the company was sold.

Read more here.

Glenn Beck 'Uncomfortable' With Google


National Enquirer: Jobs May Have Six Weeks

Apple founder Steve Jobs has lost an alarming amount of weight and is reportedly sicker than has been previously admitted, according to a story at

The 55-year-old computer genius announced in late January that  'at my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health'.

Since then, Apple employees have claimed that he can still be seen at the company's headquarters in California and is also calling all the strategic shots from his home.

But yesterday  shocking new pictures were published in the supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer which suggests things are worse than Apple would have the world believe.

The Enquirer claims that the man behind the iPod, iPhone and iPad is stricken with pancreatic cancer and may have just six weeks to live.

The new photos show Mr Jobs looking painfully frail and weak, with his jeans and dark top hanging loosely on his 6ft 2in, rail-thin body.

However, he is well enough to meet Thursday with Barack Obama in San Francisco.

The president is visiting Intel Corp, where he will also talk to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO, Eric Schmidt to draw attention to the role of education in preparing Americans for new high-tech jobs.

The National Enquirer pictures are not yet available online.

Jobs's weight is said to have dropped from a pre-cancer 175lb to 130lb now, according to the National Enquirer. His thinning hair is a sign of the effects of the advanced chemotherapy usually used to treat the disease.

The photos, which were taken on February 8, showed Mr Jobs going for breakfast with his wife Laurene Powell before heading to the Stanford Cancer Centre in California.

Read more here.

Must Read:

ABC NEWS:  Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Mark Zuckerberg to Meet With President Obama Thursday in San Francisco

NBC Weighs Value Of Future Olympics

Comcast Corp., which last month acquired majority ownership of NBC Universal, may not be feeling the love for the Olympics, according to a story by Meg James at

Long one of NBC's most prestigious properties, the Olympic Games have given the broadcasting company huge ratings, leverage when negotiating new deals with cable operators and sweeteners to attract marquee advertisers willing to pay hefty premiums.

NBC's previous parent company, General Electric Co., also used sponsorship of the Games as a calling card, helping to open doors of commerce in China and beyond. But unlike GE, Comcast isn't concerned with sales of turbines, lights and security systems.

NBC Universal posted a staggering $220-million loss on its coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, a financial gaffe that Comcast hopes not to repeat.

We are here to make money," NBC Universal Chief Executive Steve Burke said Wednesday when asked about Comcast's interest in the Olympics during a conference call with analysts. "We're here to be disciplined. Our job is to increase value over the long term."

Read more here.

Public Broadcasting Execs to Please, Move On

In funding cuts fight, CPB, others find themselves stuck with unhelpful ally

With friends like, public broadcasters don’t need enemies. But they’ve got plenty, especially now that the Republicans who control the House of Representatives are proposing to cut off all government funding for public broadcasting.

According to a story by Katy Bachman at, when House Republicans put the money for public broadcasting on their list of budget cuts two weeks ago, there was barely a peep from either the right or the left. But that changed when MoveOn, a liberal organization that’s a favorite bogeyman for and target of conservatives, jumped into the fray.

MoveOn turned the entry page for its Web site into a petition opposing the proposed cuts and e-mailed its members imploring them to sign the petition.

Public broadcasting executives appreciate the support—to a point. But several who spoke with Adweek wish MoveOn would have stayed quiet. They’re concerned that the group’s support will help opponents paint public broadcasting as a tool of the left wing, rather than a thoughtful, educational and often high-brow approach to news and culture.

“We’re embarrassed,” one exec said.

As if on cue, Brent Bozell, the founder and president of the Media Research Center, a conservative press watchdog, seemed to confirm public broadcasters’ worst fears. Bozell entered the debate by tweeting: “Earth to media reporters: If PBS and NPR subsidies are being promoted by, doesn’t that hint at WHOSE media these are?”

Read more here.

Must Read:

BROADCASTING&CABLE:  White House Press Secretary: Noncom Funding is Priority

President Calls Lara Logan

US Army/CBS photo
President Obama phoned CBS reporter Lara Logan Wednesday to express concern over the brutal sexual assault she suffered while covering the Egyptian revolution.

Sources at CBS confirmed to, Obama reached out to Logan, 39, but did not reveal specifics on what he discussed with the veteran war-zone correspondent.

Logan was released from a hospital Tuesday night, and was recovering at home in Washington with her husband and their two children, network sources said.

CBS went public with news of the attack on Logan after receiving a call from the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid that was working on the story.

Logan was set upon by a mob of more than 200 Friday as she and her crew covered the downfall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Logan was separated from her camera crew, "surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating," CBS said in the statement.

A group of women and 20 Egyptian soldiers came to her rescue and she was flown out of the country on Saturday.

In an interview with before she was assaulted, Logan, who hails from South Africa, revealed that   Egyptian authorities had detained her and her crew at gunpoint and accused her of being an Israeli spy.

National Press Club, the world's leading professional organization for journalists, urged Egyptian authorities Wednesday to "aggressively investigate" the attack and to bring those responsible to justice.

Stunned news colleagues of Logan, who is also a CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent, showered her with well-wishes and expressed outrage over her ordeal.

Read more here.

Must Read:

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Anything that even hints at blaming Lara Logan for her attack, is unconscionable

BOSTON HERALD:  CBS complicit in news coverup

NYTIMES:  ABC Correspondent Attacked in Bahrain

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chicago's Mix Lets Listeners Vote Playlist

Hot adult contemporary WTMX-FM (101.9) is turning over the evening hours to its listeners. Thanks to new software developed for WTMX parent Bonneville International by a firm called Listener Driven Radio, WTMX listeners can go to the radio station website and vote for the songs they want to hear on the station, according Lewis Lazare, Media columnist for

The songs with the most votes will immediately become the playlist each evening Monday through Friday from 8 p.m. to midnight. This approach differs dramatically from that at a station such as adult hits WJMK-FM (104.3), where listeners get only a predetermined playlist fed to them by the station.

The new WTMX format has been dubbed “U-Mix-It,” and Erin Carman has been tapped as host of the experimental program. She previously was a weekend and fill-in host at WTMX. “I feel like I’ve been cast in the role of a lifetime,” said Carman, who described the new format as “instant gratification in an instantaneous world.”

Indeed, the new approach reflects a movement in many areas of broadcasting to give the public considerably more control. Greg Solk, programming honcho for WTMX parent Bonneville International, hopes the new audience-controlled format will establish a closer bond between station and listeners by allowing them to become more involved. “I think this will help audiences get more excited about radio,” explained Solk.

He also believes the new format will offer some of the same appeal that has made TV shows such as “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars” hugely popular. “The social aspect of entertainment and the connection of ‘shared experience’ of driving the outcome resonates strongly with audiences,” explained Solk.

Read more here.

New Flare-Up in Capitol Over 'Net Neutrality'

House Republicans attacked new "net neutrality" rules for broadband Internet lines in a contentious hearing Wednesday and criticized Democratic Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski for adopting them, according to a story by Amy Schatz at

Republicans are targeting the new Internet rules, which would bar Internet providers from blocking or slowing Internet traffic and services, as one of many new regulations, including for health care and the environment, which they say are unnecessary and overly burdensome on industry.

"Why would you put the government in charge of the Internet?" said Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Mr. Genachowski defended the new rules during the hearing, saying the FCC "did the right thing" and that it is "pro-job and pro-investment" for the U.S. economy.

Democratic lawmakers on the panel also defended Mr. Genachowski and several said they didn't think the FCC had gone far enough with regulating Internet lines. They said the agency should have more firmly established its authority to play Internet traffic cop by re-regulating Internet lines under rules designed for the landline phone network.

"Without some clear rules of the road, large corporations can carve up the Internet into fast and slow lanes, charging a toll for content and blocking innovators from entering the information superhighway," said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.), whose district includes many Silicon Valley companies, including Google Inc.

Republican lawmakers are trying to stop the new-neutrality rules though various legislative avenues, including an amendment to budget legislation to stop funding to the FCC to implement the new rules. They are also planning within the next few days to introduce legislation to overturn the rules using the Congressional Review Act, although such an effort is unlikely to gain the needed approval of President Barack Obama, who supports the FDD's net-neutrality rules.

In late December, the FCC adopted, on a partisan 3-2 vote, new regulations on Internet lines that would prohibit phone and cable companies from blocking or slowing legal Internet traffic. Those net-neutrality rules would guarantee the rights of consumers to access to legal Internet sites and services.

Read more here.

Programming Changes at N/T WPRO-AM

News Talk 630 WPRO and 99.7 FM announced Wednesday that John DePetro, the host of The WPRO Morning News, will be returning to his prior role as talk show host in the 9AM-12N time slot.

“The opportunity to recast The WPRO Morning News is extremely exciting,” said Program Director Paul Giammarco.  “We are close to announcing our new morning show, which I feel will be raising the bar on objective news reporting in the state of Rhode Island.  No other media outlet or print publication will be able to deliver the most up to the minute newsmaker interviews or detailed developments of local, regional and national news stories as WPRO”. 

With John’s return to talk show host, WPRO will increase its already robust local presence.  WPRO will focus on offering five live and local programs that are unequaled across the nation in content, opinion, and commentary, unsurpassed in entertainment value.

In exploring an opportunity for a syndicated weekend talk show, John DePetro stated, “I want to thank the management of WPRO and Citadel Broadcasting for allowing me to pursue the incredible opportunity of national syndication. This is a dream come true. I look forward to discussing local issues from 9 A.M. to noon on WPRO, and will have more to say regarding my other project (syndication) at a later date."  John added, “Rhode Island is my home.  It is important that my audience know that my primary focus will always be on local talk in Rhode Island”.

U.S. Journalist Trashes CBS' Lara Logan on Twitter

While the world reels in shock over CBS reporter Lara Logan's sexual assault in Egypt, another American journalist is causing a different kind of outrage, calling Logan a "warmonger" who was simply trying to outdo Anderson Cooper.

According to a story by Aliyah Shahid at, Nir Rosen, an NYU fellow who has extensively covered the Iraq War, made the insensitive remarks during a Twitter rant on Tuesday.

"Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson," Rosen wrote, referring to the CNN correspondent, who was reportedly punched in the head multiple times while covering the recent demonstrations in Egypt.

Rosen went on, insisting it would be humorous if Anderson too had been sexually assaulted.

"Yes yes it's wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don't support that. But it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too."

From there, his posts only got worse.

Last week, Logan, a "60 Minutes" correspondent, endured a "brutal and sustained sexual assault by a mob of men while covering the Egyptian uprising," CBS News said on Tuesday. She was eventually saved by a group of women and about 20 Egyptian soldiers, the network reported.

The 39-year-old is now back in the U.S. and recovering.

Rosen, who has written for a number of prestigious publications, including Time, Harper's, The New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine, later offered a half-hearted apology, after deleting many of his previous posts. He's currently a fellow at the Center on Law and Security at NYU School of Law.

Read more here.

Must Read:

POLITICS DAILY:  Nir Rosen Resigns as NYU Fellow After Trashing Lara Logan on Twitter

Kill Switch' iNet bill Alarms Privacy Experts

A raging debate over new legislation, and its impact on the Internet, has tongues wagging and fingers pointing from Silicon Valley to Washington, D.C., according to a story by Jon Swartz at

Just as the Egyptian government recently forced the Internet to go dark, U.S. officials could flip the switch if the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset legislation becomes law, say its critics.

Proponents of the bill, which is expected to be reintroduced in the current session of Congress, dismiss the detractors as ill-informed — even naive.

The ominously nicknamed Kill Switch bill is sure to be a flashpoint of discussion at the RSA Conference, the nation's largest gathering of computer-security experts that takes place here this week.

The bill — crafted by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Tom Carper, D-Del. — aims to defend the economic infrastructure from a cyberterrorist attack. But it has free-speech advocates and privacy experts howling over the prospect of a government agency quelling the communication of hundreds of millions of people.

"This is all about control, an attempt to control every aspect of our existence," says Christopher Feudo, a cybersecurity expert who is chairman of SecurityFusion Solutions. "I consider it an attack on our personal right of free speech. Look what recently occurred in Egypt."

Its critics immediately dubbed it Kill Switch, suffusing it with Big Brother-tinged foreboding. "Unfortunately, it got this label, which is analogous to death panels (during the health care debates)," says Mark Kagan, director of research at Keane Federal Systems, an information-technology contractor for the government.

The disruption to communications and economic activity "could be catastrophic," says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Read more here.

Lawrence O'Donnell: Voice of MSNBC Desperation

From David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun critic

I promised myself I was going to waste no more time this year on silly cable news ratings ploys. But I have to say, not since MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, that legendary American journalist, took it upon herself to try and ridicule the news judgment of CNN for covering Michele Bachmann's State of the Union response have I seen anything as ridiculous as MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell attacking Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News program host who dominates the time period in which O'Donnell is now foundering.

Here's the video of O'Donnell's Monday attack. O'Donnell accuses O'Reilly of dishonesty, and then he cites a study about Fox News that he knows full well has been discredited. Read that here, and you decide who is dishonest.

And here's the ever-so-obvious context: O'Donnell is down more than 10 percent in audience from that of the late, newly-marginalized-by-his-move-to-Current-TV Keith Olbermann. All of MSNBC prime-time is sinking in the ratings, and all they seem to know how to do is make partisan attacks on those who are beating them. Last Friday, for example, with the real and monumental news of Egypt on everyone's minds, Fox News doubled MSNBC's audience during the day and in prime time.

Read more here.

The “One Thing” Your Radio Station Needs

There’s this assumption out there that if you make every second of your station great, that’s what it takes to bring in the listeners by the boat-load.

But do listeners come to you because they love every minute of you?  Or do they come for specific things?

Consultant guru Mark Ramsey submits  that everybody has at least “one thing” that invites them to come back to their favorite stations again and again.

Remember, reducing tune-out by stripping out distractions is a noble goal, but there’s a manifest difference between keeping people tuned in and getting them back once they’ve tuned away, as they invariably will.

How do you get listeners back?

With the “one thing.”

The One Thing your Radio Station Needs from Mark Ramsey on Vimeo.

Radio Opera Drops F-Bomb

Classical radio station WQXR (105.9 FM) is unhappy and embarrassed that the f-word went on air Saturday afternoon during a broadcast of the opera "Nixon In China."

According to David Hinckley at, during Act III of the 1987 composition, performed live as part of the station's weekly Metropolitan Opera series, the character playing Chairman Mao's wife says, "We'll teach these m-f-ers how to dance."

"WQXR regrets that an obscenity was not cut from the air during the live broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera of the production 'Nixon in China,'" a station spokeswoman said yesterday.

WQXR, like other members of the WNYC public radio family, routinely bleeps obscenities. A source familiar with the broadcast suggested this one may have caught the station off-guard, since obscenity is rarely an issue on opera broadcasts.

The slip set off a modest stir among listeners, though the more animated online discussion concerned the musical quality of the John Adams opera.

It is unlikely the station will face any sanctions for the slip. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates content, does not initiate action unless it receives complaints from listeners.

Read more here.

How ‘Morning Joe’ Picks Its Music

Music captures the show’s vibe, connects with audience

From Mallary Jean Tenore,

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When you watch “Morning Joe,” you can’t help but notice the music. Every commercial break is book-ended with tunes from a mix of bands — the Rolling Stones, Smashing Pumpkins, Rilo Kiley, The Grateful Dead and Arcade Fire, to name a few. The music’s catchy, and it helps capture the show’s feel-good vibe.

But it’s not just the type of songs and artists that make the music stand out, it’s also the way they’re selected.

Behind the scenes, the “Morning Joe” producers are busy at work, listening to the MSNBC show’s guests to see if there’s a song or band that could illustrate what they’re saying. The show’s audio director, David Quanvie — or “Q” as he’s called on set — selects much of the music with the help of the show’s producers and hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.

“We don’t have a rundown of the songs we’re going to play; it’s completely organic,” executive producer Chris Licht said in a phone interview. “Really anyone in the control room can shout out a song and Q can literally dial up a song in a couple seconds.”

“Morning Joe,” which had an average of 387,000 viewers per day in 2010, has hundreds of songs in its library. Many are from some of Scarborough’s favorite bands — The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Rolling Stones and Radiohead. He loves the Beatles, too, but the show doesn’t have the rights to play their songs.

Cord Cutting’s Not Real

Unless You’re Under 25

A room full of TV execs heard what they wanted to hear Tuesday morning at the 2011 TV Summit; Cheryl Idell, EVP of Media Product Leadership at Nielsen, presented numbers that suggest the cord-cutting phenomenon is not for real, according to a story by Liz Shannon at

According to Idell, over the last four years, the number of households signing up for cable or cable-like services have shown consistent growth. While, in Idell’s words, “the pie is getting larger,” any subscriber loss is due not to cord cutting but “cord swapping,” where consumers trade their cable subscriptions for satellite or telco options like AT&T’s U-verse. Meanwhile, the increase in broadband-only households from 2010 to 2011 has only grown from 3.6 percent to 4.4 percent of Americans with televisions.

That’s an average, though; when the numbers are broken down across different age demographics, Nielsen found that in households with people 25 years old or younger, 8.5 percent are cable-free, which is almost twice the national average.

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Not-for-profit News Website For L.A.?

Former Times Mirror exec Tom Unterman is 'very hopeful'

From James Rainey, On the Media blog at LA Times:

Sipa Press photo
I've been wondering for a couple of years whether someone would bring Los Angeles the kind of not-for-profit news website that has popped up in cities like San Diego, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Austin and Chicago.

That day may be drawing closer, as venture capitalist and former newspaper executive Tom Unterman has been quietly exploring the formation of such an organization to focus on public policy issues.

Unterman has been quietly discussing the idea with a handful of community leaders around Los Angeles on and off for at least a year, with his deliberations picking up momentum of late. He still doesn't have a formal plan or the partners he would seek to launch the site, but told me he expects to decide this spring whether to go ahead.

"A good, smart, nonprofit journalism effort could be a very nice complementary piece to the media picture here in L.A.," said Unterman, former chief financial officer for Times Mirror Co., which published the Los Angeles Times before it was bought by the Tribune Co. in 2000. "Particularly if it focused on investigative work and filled a gap in the kind of stories that for-profit media can't persistently fill now because of changes in the economics of the news business."

While "very hopeful" about making the site a reality, the founder of the Santa Monica-based investment firm Rustic Canyon Partners said the key would be coming up with a plan to sustain such a venture beyond the startup phase — which he estimated would last three years and cost $10 million.

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FCC's Copps Wants 'Real Journalism'

Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps made a case for a government hand in media policy in a speech to the FCBA on Tuesday, according to a story by Sara Jerome at

"The commission can act now. It should have acted on the media before now. I am disappointed that it has not," he said.

The decline of "real journalism" justifies federal involvement, according to Copps. "The news is suffering from a bad case of substance abuse," he said.

The Democratic commissioner pointed to Fox News' Bernie Goldberg and Bill O'Reilly as examples of the problem with today's media landscape, saying the pair has taken his own words out of context.

"What you and I are getting these days is too much opinion based on opinion and too little news based on fact," Copps said.

The key going forward, according to Copps, is "making sure there is media about, and originating from, the local communities a station serves."

Congress has given the FCC power to get involved in the Communications Acts, according to Copps. It may want to give the agency more power to promote media diversity and competition, he said.

The commissioner also reiterated his call for a "Public Value Test" as part of the broadcasting license renewal, a process controlled by the FCC.

Read more here.

WEEI Announces New Drive-Time 'Dream Team'

Writing a new chapter in its 20-year history as the national sports talk radio leader, the WEEI Sports Radio Network today announced a major change to its afternoon drive-time show.

In a move that creates a “Dream Team” pairing two of Boston’s most respected and entertaining personalities, Michael Holley, who has co-hosted the midday “Dale and Holley” program on WEEI since 2005, is moving to afternoon drive-time, joining Glenn Ordway for “The Big Show with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley.”  The program will air weekdays from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and launches on February 28.
Listen to station announcement here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CBS News' Lara Logan Assaulted During Protests

(CBS News) On Friday February 11, the day Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a "60 Minutes" story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.

In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering.

There will be no further comment from CBS News and Correspondent Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time.

CMA Radio Winners Announced

Blair Garner wins National On-Air Personality of the Year

Today the Academy of Country Music is announcing the full list of radio award winners that will not be televised due to time constraints during the live telecast of the 46th Annual Academy ofg Country Music Awards.

This marks the third ACM National On-Air Personality of the Year Award win for Blair Garner, for After MidNite with Blair Garner. Garner, who also won this award in 2003 and 2005, brings an energy to his show that draws listeners in during the late night and keeps them up until the early morning hours. With nearly 260 affiliates, Garner is recognized as being one of the Top 10 Most Listened to Disc Jockeys in America.

Winners in radio categories will be invited to receive their awards at a private reception in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 2, the day prior to the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

For the third year in a row, ACM Awards producers plan to invite individual On-Air Personality of the Year winners (or one individual from the teams who win Personality of the Year categories) to participate in the telecast as the voices for bumpers leading into commercials for the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.


NATIONAL Blair Garner – After MidNite With Blair Garner

MAJOR MARKET Cliff and Brooks (Cliff, Brooks and Tori) – KSON-FM – San Diego, CA

LARGE MARKET Chris Carr, Jason Statt and Maverick – WUBE-FM – Cincinnati, OH

MEDIUM MARKET Andy Ritchie, Alison Mencer and Jimmy Holt – WIVK-FM – Knoxville, TN

SMALL MARKET Dex and Mo – WUSY-FM – Chattanooga, TN


MAJOR MARKET KEEY-FM – St. Louis Park, MN (tie)
MAJOR MARKET KNIX-FM – Phoenix, AZ (tie)

LARGE MARKET WGH-FM – Virginia Beach, VA



Charlie Sheen: Being Sober Is Boring

Wildman actor Charlie Sheen, barely out of hospital from his latest reported drug-and-booze meltdown, said Tuesday he has no intention of mending his ways.

"I was sober for five years a long time ago and was just bored out of my tree," he said in a phone call to DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio host Dan Patrick, according to a AFP story.

"It's inauthentic -- it's not who I am. I didn't drink for 12 years and, man, that first one, Dan. Wow."

Sheen, star of the TV series "Two and a Half Men" and the son of actor Martin Sheen, has become nonstop tabloid fodder with escapades allegedly involving hard drugs, hard drinking, prostitutes and porn actresses.

Two weeks ago he checked into rehab after being rushed to hospital with "severe abdominal pains" from a reported drug- and booze-fueled bender.

The emergency required suspension of production on "Two and a Half Men," in which Sheen, 45, plays a hedonistic bachelor.

In his rambling radio interview, Sheen suggested he should get back to work while he still could.

"Check it. It's like, I heal really quickly. But I unravel pretty quickly. So get me right now, guys," he said, addressing the show's producers.

TMZ, a celebrity news site, reported that Sheen had been partying with five women, including a porn star, and a briefcase full of cocaine at the time of his last meltdown.

The star filed for divorce from his wife of two years in November, days after being taken to hospital following a reported drunken incident at a luxury New York hotel involving another porn star.

In addition to his reported substance abuse, Sheen had several run-ins with the law in the 1990s in cases related to drugs, domestic violence and prostitution.

Read more here.

Obama's Media Machine: State Run Media 2.0?

White House Hones Online Messaging Operation

As the 2012 presidential campaign kicks into gear, President Obama's White House media operation is demonstrating an unprecedented ability to broadcast its message through social media and the Internet, at times doing an end-run around the traditional press.

According to a story at, the White House Press Office now not only produces a website, blog, YouTube channel, Flickr photo stream, and Facebook and Twitter profiles, but also a mix of daily video programming, including live coverage of the president's appearances and news-like shows that highlight his accomplishments.

"Advise the Adviser: Your Direct Line to the White House," the administration's latest online program launched last week, encourages viewers to offer "advice, opinions and feedback on important issues" and promises a response from a senior administration official in return.

"We're striving to not just have a passive website where people can read about what's happening but create a method of interaction and feedback," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

It joins "Open for Questions," a periodic series of live moderated video chats with officials, "West Wing Week," a magazine-style show featuring the president behind the scenes, and other live-streaming events, including an annotated version of the State of the Union address, all intended to more directly disseminate the administration's message.

Yahoo Decides to Friend Facebook

Yahoo Inc. watched as social-networking website Facebook Inc. stole the attention of users and grabbed a major share of the online-advertising market.

Now, according to Amir Efrati at,  the Internet pioneer is following an old mantra: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

After struggling for years to develop services that compete with the social network, Yahoo in recent months has installed tools such as Facebook's "Like" and "Share" buttons on its news and sports websites in order to help Yahoo users share articles with their contacts on Facebook, among other things.

Yahoo, like other content providers, is seeking to leverage Facebook's huge user base to draw more traffic back to Yahoo after readers click on the sharing buttons. The moves also are aimed at ensuring that links to Yahoo content appear in the search feature on Facebook's site. Yahoo is using similar approaches with Twitter Inc., the Internet messaging service, and Zynga Game Network Inc., which offers online social games.

Yahoo hopes the moves will solve one of its biggest problems—a 10% slide in the time users collectively spent per month on Yahoo sites last year, according to research firm comScore. Yahoo's internal research shows the main culprit for the slide is Facebook, people familiar with the matter said.

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Morley Safer Ruffles Feathers at Private Club

At the height of a messy internal dispute a few weeks ago, members of the exclusive Century Association in Manhattan traded unusually tart and testy e-mail messages.

But according to Michael Barbaro at,  the words of a single member stood out for their harsh tone: those of Morley Safer, the longtime correspondent for CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

As the Century debated whether to sever ties with an all-male club in London, Mr. Safer described a prominent female club member as “whining,” “self-pitying” and “vindictive.”

And he seemed to compare demands for gender equality to the need for special accommodations for “nudists and transsexuals,” according to e-mails obtained by The New York Times.

Mr. Safer, 79, wrote the e-mails in late 2010 and early 2011 as the Century concluded an emotional debate about whether to end an agreement with the Garrick Club in London that gave members access to both clubhouses.

Many Centurions, as members are known, argued that the Garrick’s policies smacked of chauvinism: while male members of the 164-year-old Century have unfettered access to the British club, women can enter only in the company of a man.

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How AP Vetted a Citizen Video of a Death

During the unrest in Egypt, CNN iReporters uploaded 1600 videos and photos,of which 44 were vetted for use on CNN.

While there is value having citizen reporting out on the streets, verifying the content can be an arduous task, according to panelists speaking in this 7:30 minute clip from the Beet.TV Video Journalism Summit at The Washingon Post.

One of the most dramatic videos from Cairo was an AP video of a protestor being shot. The raw, unedited clip has gotten about 670,000 views on YouTube.

The images were recorded by a citizen and confirmed by an AP reporter who was at the scene and saw the shooting, says the AP's Kevin Roach. 

Stroke Scare: What Is Reporter's Condition?

Hours after experiencing an unsettling on-air inability to speak while covering the Grammys last night, Serene Branson is said to be feeling fine, according to a story at

"Serene Branson was examined by paramedics on scene immediately after her broadcast," Branson's station, KCBS, said in a statement. "Her vital signs were normal. She was not hospitalized. As a precautionary measure, a colleague gave her a ride home and she says that she is feeling fine this morning."

The reassuring news comes as a surprise to some, given the worrisome nature of Branson's inability to articulate real words. She started her report by saying, "A very heavy blurtation tonight" before her speech devolved into complete gibberish.

"I am a little surprised," Dr. John Krakauer, associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, told CBS News. "Frankly, I would have admitted her."

Dr. Krakauer, who is not involved in Branson's care, said that Branson might have suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a sort of "mini-stroke" that causes only transient problems. Some patients who are seen at a hospital for a TIA are allowed to go home without being admitted, he said.

He said it was also possible that Branson had suffered a seizure or experienced a rare condition associated with migraine headaches.

But whatever happened to Branson, Dr. Krakauer said her problem should serve as a reminder that stroke can happen even to young people.

Read more here.

Whoopi Goldberg blasts New York Times

Whoopi Goldberg has slammed a New York Times article as “sloppy” because it completely failed to mention her in a review of Afrwww,.can-American Oscar winners, according to Isla Harvey at monstersand

The Oscar-winning actress, who has appeared in over 50 films, said she felt hurt when the magazine feature discussed racial diversity in the Academy Awards, but didn’t print her name once.

“I am embarrassed to say that it hurt me terribly,” she admitted on US talk show The View, earlier today.

The 55-year-old Sister Act star, who won an Oscar in 1991 for her role in Ghost, said she felt “dismissed and erased by the New York Times film critics who should know better”.

She later added: “This is sloppy journalism.”

The Colour Purple star then reached under the table and pulled out her prestigious award, which she slammed down on the desk in front of her.

“Just in case there is any damn question,” she said to rapturous applause from the studio audience.

Goldberg added that she is one of only 12 Hollywood stars to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award.

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