Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Saturday Aircheck

IMUS FLASHBACK - Don Imus & Charles McCord

Charles Gets Mad At Don over Whittaker Chambers Bio Book And The Nixion Book In 1997! .... Funny!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

2.7 Terabytes of Data Recovered From Compound

CBS News graphic
A law enforcement source tells CBS News that 2.7 terabytes of data were recovered from the laptops, computers, hard drives and other storage devices seized from the bin Laden compound, according to a story by Emily Rand at

It's unclear whether all of the 2.7 terabytes are original files or if there are multiple copies of files. To put the amount of data recovered in perspective, just one terabyte of data could hold about 2,000 hours of audio or 220 million pages of text.

Intelligence officials have not said how they are analyzing the data, but a DOD computer forensic analyst who works on computers captured on the battlefield tells CBS News forensic analysts are most likely using search indexing tools and software to rapidly analyze seized electronic devices to locate information of interest to the intelligence committee.

Sources said much of the material seized in the daring raid was encrypted so the messages could not be read if they were intercepted.

Among the material confiscated was al Qaida propaganda material including al Qaida messaging strategies to inspire and recruit new Jihadists. There is some indication that bin Laden was continuing to develop his strategy to utilize homegrown operatives that were intimately famiilar with the countries in which they lived.

There was also material on current events, in an apparent effort to keep bin Laden abreast on news from around the world.

Read More.

Talk Radio Rides to the Rescue in Tuscaloosa

How Clear Channel stations promoted a remarkable network of volunteers for tornado relief

From David T. Beito for

Much of the strength of Tuscaloosa's extensive mutual aid comes from an unlikely source: right wing talk radio. The four Tuscaloosa Clear Channel stations have pre-empted their normal fare of Rush, Hannity and top 40 songs to serve as a relief clearinghouse through simulcasts. Gigi South, the local market manager for Tuscaloosa Clear Channel, says that it was her decision to begin the simulcasts.

It was hard to do otherwise. Employees saw demolished neighborhoods outside their windows and the desperate calls for help came in almost immediately. Because many residents lost power and were unable charge cell phones, battery-operated and car radios often became their only form of communication.

These stations have only 12 full-time employees among them, but they've have had a vast impact. The on-air jocks have taken on grueling shifts, sometimes working 10 hours straight.

The goal of the simulcasts is simple: Connect givers and victims and allow them to exchange information. According to Ms. South, "this whole thing has been about connecting listener to listener. They are the ones doing this. We're just the conduit."

Ms. South is being modest. In many cases, people have dropped off goods—sometimes dozens of cooked meals—at the station's door. The on-air jocks have rushed them to those in need. The higher-ups at Clear Channel have fully supported the local initiative to pre-empt normal programming and have provided generators and engineers to keep the stations on the air round the clock.

Read More.

Mr. Beito is a professor of history at the University of Alabama and is author of "Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power" (University of Illinois Press, 2009) and "From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services" (University of North Carolina Press, 2000).

TomzTake:  Kudos on a job well-done to the staffs making it happen at Clear Channel, Tusacloosa: Sports WACT-AM, News/Talk WRTR-FM, Country WTXT-FM and CHR WZBQ-FM 

Farewell Charles McCord!

The Imus in the Morning Team sends off Charles McCord!

Students Protest Newspaper's Controversial Cartoon

A group of University of New Mexico students protested a controversial cartoon printed in the Daily Lobo that depicted the president and Osama bin Laden

NPR Hires Lobbyist For Taxpayer Funding

National Public Radio (NPR) is paying the lobbying firm Bracy, Tucker, Brown & Valanzano to defend its taxpayer funding stream in Congress, according to lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Secretary of the Senate.

According to a story by Matthew Boyle at The Daily Caller, the taxpayer-funded radio network hired the firm in the second quarter of 2011 to work on issues regarding “funding for NPR and affiliate stations.”

It will remain unclear how much NPR is paying for these lobbying services until second quarter lobbying forms are filed. But before NPR hired the firm to represent it on funding issues, the network spent $131,666 in 2011’s first quarter on an in-house lobbyist.

NPR’s hiring of a lobbying firm to preserve its funding has riled some of the network’s critics.

“It’s astonishing that at [a] time we are looking to get a grip on out-of-control Washington spending, NPR is using hard earned tax dollars to pay for a lobbyist to extract more tax dollars,” Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer said in an email to The Daily Caller.

Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado, who is among those leading the charge to defund NPR, told TheDC NPR’s new lobbying campaign won’t help them out in Congress.

“NPR’s misguided attempt to buy goodwill on the Hill will go nowhere,” Lamborn said in an e-mail to TheDC. “The simple truth is, our government is broke and the gravy train has run out of steam. NPR ought to focus its efforts on replacing federal revenues with private donations.”

Bracy refused to say how much NPR’s contract with his firm is worth.

Read More.

New CBS Anchor Visits DC Affiliate

Tina Brown Is Still Hungry for Buzz

From NYTimes Magazine Profile By Peter Stevenson:

NYTimes photo
At 57, Tina Brown — the woman who in the words of The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg “has been a celebrity since she was in college” — has a magazine again.

While Newsweek is bruised and limping, it can still lay claim to a position on the main playing field of American journalism. But for how long? Last year it lost more than $20 million; its new partner, Brown’s three-year-old Web site, The Daily Beast, lost an estimated $10 million...

Brown drives her staff at warp speed. “I’m up from 5 a.m., going online and sending BlackBerry messages out from then until I go to bed,” she said. “People get used to that. I like to have a structure of things that are in place, and then I constantly disrupt it with a new thing, an idea that’s just in the air.

“I’m not very good with people who aren’t committed,” she continued. “Kathy O’Hearn from CNN has come over to develop our Web TV. Kathy says, ‘Don’t come here unless you’re balls to the wall!’ So now we call it ‘B to the W!’ We say, ‘Is he B to the W?’ Because otherwise someone comes in and says, ‘Well, two days a week I have to teach at N.Y.U. . . .’ And we say, ‘Not B to the W!’ ”

The “NewsBeast” merger — orchestrated by Barry Diller and Newsweek’s owner, the late audio mogul and philanthropist Sidney Harman — was one of necessity for both men. Newsweek had been rudderless since Harman bought it last August for $1 from the Washington Post Company and assumed $40 million in liabilities. Diller meanwhile was in the same boat as anyone trying to make a stand-alone Web site profitable.

Ideally, The Beast would mimic the success of The Huffington Post, the Web site that Brown’s friend Arianna Huffington hawked to AOL for $315 million in February. But HuffPo has what The Beast lacks: a tribal identity, one that draws 31 million monthly visitors. With the Newsweek deal, Diller and Brown tethered The Beast to a print landmass — albeit a fairly scorched one — and avoided having to answer the inevitable question of whether The Beast by itself could ever be a viable business.
Read More.

CC Media See Losses Narrow

CC Media Holdings Inc. and its sister company Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. reported narrower losses as lower radio-segment costs and growing billboard ad sales boosted their bottom lines, according to a Dow Jones Newswires story.

The Clear Channel companies have benefited of late from rising advertising demand, which tends to follow broader economic conditions.

"Our digital revenues were particularly strong as we benefited from an expanding footprint and continued demand across many of our markets," Clear Channel Outdoor Chief Financial Officer Tom Casey said.

CC Media, the vehicle used by private-equity firms Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP to privatize Clear Channel Communications Inc. in 2008, posted a first-quarter loss of $131.8 million, compared with a prior-year loss of $175.4 million. Revenue rose 4.5% to $1.32 billion, or about 4% excluding the effects of exchange rates.

Revenue in radio broadcasting, the largest segment, grew 2.8% as earnings climbed 15% on lower operating expenses.

The outdoor company posted a first-quarter loss of $9.5 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with a prior-year loss of $47.8 million, or 14 cents a share. Revenue rose 6.8% to $650.2 million and grew 5% on a constant-currency basis as the Americas and international segments posted sales growth at essentially the same rates.

Rival CBS Corp. (CBS) last week reported its outdoor revenue grew 5.4% as the business' operating loss narrowed.

Read More.

Report: NBC Broadcast Will Take Years to Turn Around

Comcast Corp., the U.S. cable company that took control of NBC Universal in January, will likely have to spend “a number of years” turning around the unit’s broadcast business, said Comcast Executive Vice President Stephen Burke.

According to a story by Alex Sherman at, Comcast will try to boost ratings and revenue for NBC, which has lost ground against rivals such as CBS Corp. and News Corp. Fox. Comcast said yesterday that broadcast television revenue fell to $1.35 billion in the first quarter from $2.08 billion a year earlier, when results included the Olympics.

“We are under-performing relative to the other three of the big four dramatically, hundreds of millions of dollars worse that the other three,” said Burke, who is also chief executive officer of NBC Universal, in a conference call Thursday.

Read More.

CC's Pittman Plays Up Traditional Radio's Stability

Bob Pittman made a personal, minority investment of $5 million in Clear Channel in November, when he took on an executive role at the privately owned San Antonio-based company. In a recent interview with The LA Times, Pittman talked about what he's doing to bring the traditional radio company into the digital age, online radio and whether he thinks Pandora Media Inc. is a threat.

How is traditional radio doing in the digital age?

The perception out there is that radio is somehow in trouble. The reality is that we have the same percentage of the population listening to radio, at 93%, as we did in 1970 when it was 92%. It's not declining. Clear Channel reaches 237 million listeners a month, and that doesn't include our online listeners.

What do you think of Pandora, Slacker and all the online radio stations that are grabbing so many ears these days?

Pandora is not really radio in that it's not curated. It's more like a playlist that you put on shuffle. They don't have local information or local personalities. That said, Pandora is a nice feature. When I was at AOL, we had Instant Messenger. It was a nice feature, too. But it remains to be seen whether Pandora can be a free-standing business model.

So, what's it going to take to make money online?

The problem is that advertising comes slowly to any new medium or product. When I was at MTV, we projected $10 million in ad revenue for the first year. We did $500,000 and almost went out of business. Coca-Cola did not advertise with us for the first five years. That's how slow advertisers are to warm up to new media. It was the same thing at AOL. But over time, it will grow.

Read More.

Erie-area FM Signal Goes to Local Company

Richard Rambaldo is returning to the Erie airwaves
A local company co-owned by the Fairview advertising executive, who was once involved in the ownership of six local radio stations, has won a permit for the region's newest signal -- the 6,000-watt 92.7 FM.

According to a story by Ed Palattella at the Erie Times-News, Rambaldo's First Channel Communications LLC submitted a final high bid of $2,068,000 on Tuesday in a government auction of the frequency, which is licensed for Lawrence Park Township.

The signal was the first to go up for auction in the Erie market since 1999.

First Channel owns no other radio stations in the Erie market, so the Federal Communications Commission gave the company a 35 percent discount toward its final bid. The discount means the actual cost of First Channel's purchase of 92.7 FM will be $1,334,000.

The purchase must undergo regulatory review, but Rambaldo said First Channel has emerged as the winner at the auction.

"This day couldn't be happier for First Channel Communications," Rambaldo said on Tuesday.

He said First Channel will survey the local market before deciding on a format for the new station, which he said he expects to be on the air in early 2012.

"It will be a musical format," Rambaldo said.

With the purchase, First Channel, whose other co-owner is Erie car dealer Dave Hallman Jr., is the only local owner of a commercial radio station in the Erie market. Out-of-town media groups own the other 10 stations -- seven FM and three AM.

Read More.

Locals Awarded Atlantic Broadcasting's 5 Stations

George Miller
A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge gave her approval Thursday afternoon for Longport Media LLC, owned by an Atlantic City attorney and businessman, to buy the five radio stations owned by Atlantic Broadcasting for a price of $4.2 million, according to a story by Elaine Rose at

George Miller, principal of Longport Media, said after the hour-long hearing that he is the sole owner of the company, but is considering selling shares to other investors. He said he bought the stations to keep them under local control.

"A lot of people involved in the stations are local icons of the community, and I wanted to keep the local flavor," Miller said.

Longport Media will take over operation of the five radio stations on May 13, and the deal will close in about a month, pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission.

Art Camiolo, a long-time manager and consultant in southern New Jersey radio stations, will be involved in the day-to-day operation of the stations.

Read More.

Tom'zTake:  The stations involved are:  WOND-AM 1400, Spanish station WBSS-AM 1490, classic hits station WTKU-FM 98.3, Top 40 station WTAA-FM 102.7 and classic rock station WMGM-FM 103.7.

There Are Some Things MTV CEOs Won't Do

Resignation Alert

From Ray Gustini, The Atlantic Wire:
Lowbrow reality shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom were Judith McGrath's specialty during her seven years as CEO at MTV, but apparently there are some simulated realities even she objects to: McGrath resigned this morning, hours after the premiere of Electric Barbarellas, a pet project of Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone (Viacom owns MTV) that she hated and tried to have killed a year ago.

Mogulite's Amy Tennery says Redstone insisted  MTV proceed with the show when it was in development last summer. McGrath, meanwhile, "fought the Barbarella's airing tooth and nail," only to come up short.

So why did the chairman of Viacom go out on a limb for a reality music show featuring a dancing band?

Because he was in love! The Daily Beast's Peter Lauria reported back in June that the 87-year-old Redstone was "so smitten with a scantily clad new all-girl group dubbed the Electric Barbarellas that he has paid to fly its six members out to New York to meet with record labels," quite an act of generosity for an unknown girl group whose style Lauria describes as a "cross between the Pussycat Dolls and Spice Girls, except raunchier and not as musically gifted."
Read More.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Heidi Jones Could Go Free

Ex-WABC weather anchor accused of false rape claim
nydailynews photo

A former NYC TV weathercaster charged with making false rape claims could go free after prosecutors admitted Wednesday that she was questioned by cops without being read her rights, according to a story by Melissa Grace at

One-time WABC-TV forecaster Heidi Jones had claimed she was assaulted by a mysterious "Hispanic" man in Central Park last fall.

But when a massive manhunt came up empty, she made damning statements admitting she'd lied under grilling by cops, officials said.

Jones' lawyer is now challenging the admissability of the statements since they were taken without her being made aware of her rights.

"The District Attorney has now confirmed no Miranda warnings were ever given to Heidi Jones," defense lawyer Paul Callan said.

Manhattan prosecutors admit in legal papers that Jones was never read the Miranda warning, but insist it's a non-issue because she was not under arrest.

Prosecutors also said the statements were given "in the context of a criminal investigation she initiated."

A Manhattan Criminal Court judge ordered further hearings on whether Jones' rights were violated.

Read More.

TMZ: Katie On the Verge of $20 Million ABC Deal

TMZ Composite
Katie Couric and ABC television are on the verge of signing a $20 million deal, which would give Katie her own talk show, as well as significant involvement in ABC News -- and the big casualty could be "General Hospital."

Sources connected with ABC tell TMZ -- under the deal that is in the final stages -- Katie would do specials for ABC News, "20/20," and do a significant amount of fill-in work -- including anchoring.

ABC would also give Katie a 1-hour, 5-day-a-week syndicated talk show, that would begin in September, 2012.  TMZ sources say ... one option ABC is considering is giving its affiliates back the hour where "General Hospital" airs to make room for Katie.  In other words, ABC would axe the third, longest-running soap in history and the last one standing on ABC.

ABC is also realistic, believing that one of its two new 2011 syndicated shows will fail, leaving room for K.C.

According to TMZ, when the dust settles and ABC's daytime schedule gets rearranged, Katie would probably land in the 3 PM time slot.

Read More.

Fox Houston Under Fire For Asking ‘Is Glee too gay?’

Houston’s KRIV Fox 26 came under fire this week from various gay-rights groups around the nation for a segment it aired asking if the hit show Glee was “too gay,” according to The Tubular blog at the Houston Chronicle.

The nearly six-minute Fox in Focus segment followed the April 26 episode of Glee, which was inspired by Lady Gaga’s chart-topping Born This Way single and featured a heated debate between Ray Hill, a local champion of gay rights, and Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (via Skype).

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a statement this week saying the segment “began on the wrong foot by even suggesting that television programs with positive portrayals of gay characters could negatively impact teens.”

“Fox Houston should not only apologize and correct the misinformation in this segment, but needs to think twice before elevating hurtful messages and anti-gay attitudes,” GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios said.

Read More.

Imus Loses Charles McCord After Nearly 40 Years

From David Hinckley,

Every Don Imus radiothon is a little different, and so it is with the one Thursday and Friday on WABC (770 AM), 6-10 a.m.

The cause is the same. The money goes to the Imus Ranch, the Tomorrows Children Fund and the CJ Fund for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

But other things come and go, and this year a big thing will be going: Charles McCord, the newsman and sidekick for most of Imus' nearly 40 years on New York and national radio.

Imus said last month that McCord will leave after Friday's show and, like the song says, going back to Arkansas.

That's about all the details there are, and maybe all the details there will be. In contrast to Imus, McCord has never shared much about his life beyond the fact he is a diligent Bible student and he and his wife, Connie, raise champion Boston terriers.

But privacy is a refreshing trait in this age of oversharing, and McCord's calm, understated approach has always provided balance to the impulsive Imus.

McCord started as a newsman and wherever he has traveled with Imus, he has remained one. He's smart, incisive and skilled with words. Like the best reporters, he can grasp and distill the essence of complex stories.

He has kept that stature even while becoming known primarily as Imus' sidekick - a cornerstone of the disparate team Imus has assembled over many years to do a show that's silly, satiric, informative and fun for grownups.

Like the others, including producer Bernard McGuirk, engineer Lou Rufino and comics Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell, McCord plays his position.
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Charles Mccord has a meldown on the air Imus in the morning. (July 2010)

Bob Shomper Heads to WCCO Radio

WCCO Radio (AM 830) named a new program director on Wednesday: Bob Shomper, who comes from a KTAR in Phoenix, Arizona, according to a story by Paul Walsh at

Shomper succeeds Wendy Paulson, who left in February after about 10 years.

Near the end of Paulson's tenure, listeners saw the departures of on-air voices Al Malmberg, Brad Walton, Jack Rice, Tim Russell, Dark Star and Eric Eskola.

Also, the station's dominant hold on play-by-play coverage of college and professional sports over the years has shrunk of late down to one team -- the Timberwolves.

A native Midwesterner, Shomper was program director at KTAR-FM in Phoenix. He also has done programming for WBAP in Dallas and Chicago stations WGN and WLS.

Read More.

Shomper has a long and respected career in radio and broadcasting and has received numerous industry awards, including being named one of America’s Top Programmers by Radio Ink Magazine. He will report to Mick Anselmo, CBS RADIO Minneapolis Senior Vice President/Market Manager. Shomper’s appointment is effective immediately, according to a posting on the station's website.

“Bob’s years of experience in, and knowledge of, the business are a perfect fit to help us continue building our success at WCCO,” says Anselmo. “His direction and leadership will be a great benefit to our community, the staff and listeners of WCCO.”

A native Midwesterner, Shomper comes to WCCO-AM from KTAR-FM in Phoenix, Arizona, where his news staff recently received the 2011 Murrow Award for Overall Excellence. Shomper has also programmed some of America’s best-known radio stations, including WBAP/Dallas, WGN/Chicago and WLS/Chicago.

“The legendary call letters of WCCO have been a part of my life since I can remember,” said Shomper. “WCCO’s commitment to the Twin-Cities community and its listeners is unparalleled and I am both thrilled and honored to join with Mick Anselmo to lead the WCCO programming team.”

5 Atlantic Broadcasting Stations Sell For $4 million

Successful bidder not named

Five Atlantic City, NJ radio stations were sold at auction Wednesday, but the successful bidder is not being named, the bankrupt company’s attorney said.

According to a  story by Elaine Rose at, the details will be revealed this afternoon in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, in front of Judge Judith Wizmur, when the sale is presented to the court for approval, said Michael Viscount, an attorney with Fox Rothschild in Atlantic City. The bidding was conducted at the Atlantic City office of Fox Rothschild, which represents Atlantic Broadcasting.

The stations were sold for $4.2 million, a document filed with the court Wednesday evening shows.

Atlantic Broadcasting filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Dec. 20, after it accumulated about $8 million in debt, court documents show. In the filing, CEO John Caracciolo blamed the stations’ financial woes on the recession, poor performance by previous management and theft.

Former general manager Brett DeNafo was arrested in October and charged with stealing $175,000 from the company, an accusation his attorney called “110 percent bogus.” The case is still pending and has not yet been presented to a grand jury, said Madelaine Vitale, a spokeswoman for Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel, on Wednesday.

Atlantic Broadcasting owns news-talk station WOND-AM 1400, Spanish station WBSS-AM 1490, classic hits station WTKU-FM 98.3, Top 40 station WTAA-FM 102.7 and classic rock station WMGM-FM 103.7. All of the stations except WTAA were part of what was known as the “Green Group,” headquartered on Route 9 in Linwood.

The main owners of Atlantic Broadcasting formed a new company, Boardwalk Radio of Syosset, N.Y., to be the “stalking horse” in the bidding process and set a minimum bid of $3 million. Four other parties submitted qualified bids by last week’s deadline.

Read More.

Rick Dees Is Back!

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes On Hot Seat

From David Lieberman, Executive Editor,

Jeff Bewkes probably rues the day he agreed to sit down with Charlie Rose for an interview last week: The Time Warner CEO spent much of this morning’s quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts explaining what many of his answers meant -- especially his apparent about-face in saying that he now welcomes Netflix’s effort to become an online programming service.  
“I’ve tried at times to be humorous,” says Bewkes, who once likened Netflix to the Albanian Army trying to take over the world. For those who didn’t get the joke about welcoming Netflix, he says that he thinks it’s fine for the Web service to buy lots of old TV re-run  “That’s good for everybody.” 
But that doesn’t mean he wants Netflix to serve as an inexpensive alternative to traditional cable networks including HBO. He’s against having a subscription video service that would “devalue the content.” 
Bewkes says he isn’t concerned yet about cable and satellite customers cancelling their pay TV service in favor of Netflix and free programming from over-the-air broadcasters. 
“We don’t think U.S. consumers want less choice,” he says. That’s why he’s “open to the idea” of renting more Warner Bros programming to Netflix as well as other services that are “rustling around in the forest.” 
As for his statement that Time Warner was likely to exceed expectations, Bewkes says that was “taken a little out of context.” He simply meant that the company “will continue to grow steadily over the long run.” Rose “wasn’t asking about this quarter. He isn’t a financial analyst.” 
On other matters, Bewkes defended Time Warner’s costly decision to pick up some of the broadcast rights that CBS had to NCAA basketball championship games -- which contributed to anemic 1Q profit growth at the Turner cable networks. “We think this is going to be a profitable deal over time,” Bewkes says.

Read More.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Obama: 'I won't release bin Laden death photos'

In an interview with Steve Kroft for this Sunday's "60 Minutes" conducted today, President Obama said he won't release post-mortem images of Osama bin Laden taken to prove his death. according to a story by Brian Montopoli at

"It is important to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool," said the president.

"We don't trot out this stuff as trophies," Mr. Obama added. "The fact of the matter is, this is somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received."

The president said he had discussed the issue with his intelligence team, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and that they agree with the decision. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that Mr. Obama made the decision today.

In explaining his choice not to release the photo, Mr. Obama said that "we don't need to spike the football." He said that "given the graphic nature of these photos it would create a national security risk."

The president told Kroft he saw the photos following the raid on the compound and knew that bin Laden had been killed.

Read More.

Cumulus Media Enters into Content Partnership

Partners with Radar Online and Country Music Media Group

Cumulus Media today announced that it has entered into a content partnership with American Media subsidiaries, Radar Online and Country Music Media Group, to develop entertainment content and programming for broadcast on Cumulus’ Top 40 and country music stations as well as future syndication.

This partnership presents a unique opportunity to in-depth and “insider” entertainment and country music news reports, programs, features and interviews, drawing upon Radar Online and Country Music Media Group’s extensive newsgathering expertise, contacts and editorial strengths.

Radar Online, the fastest growing celebrity news site, averages 5 million unique visitors per month – up 140% from a year ago. The website has repeatedly scooped the competition on some of the biggest stories, including exclusives surrounding the ongoing scandals involving Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods, Lindsay Lohan and the famous taped rants of Mel Gibson.

Country Weekly is the only weekly publication in the United States dedicated to country music, covering everyone from traditional legends such as George Strait, Reba McEntire, and Alan Jackson to today’s superstars such as Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. As the popularity of this genre continues to soar, Country Weekly is right in the center of this dynamic culture.

Radar will feed the Cumulus Top 40 stations with exclusive celebrity news and interviews in real time due to its 24/7 coverage. Country Weekly segments will take listeners into the lives of their favorite stars and provide exclusive interviews, the latest breaking news from Music Row, as well as insight into all things relating to the country lifestyle.

Access to Cumulus’ station and network group, (pro forma for announced acquisitions) presents Radar and Country Music Media Group with a broad platform from which to brand and disseminate their entertainment and country music content, and to enhance public awareness of their online presence and print offerings.

AMI will be promoting the Cumulus stations in their print and digital properties to create even further synergies. The companies will work together to develop integrated advertising strategies and programs to enhance their respective brands through the creation of unique and compelling content assets.

Source: US Presswire

Osama Story Literally Stopped the Presses at NYTimes

When late on Sunday night The New York Times tore up one front page and crashed an entirely new one about Osama Bin Laden’s death, it was only the third time in the last 43 years the paper literally stopped the presses, according to a posting by John Koblin at

The Times printed 350,000 copies of a non-Bin Laden paper — which included a story with the headline, “Another Side of Tilapia, the Ideal Farm Fish” — before it dumped that edition and got the news of President Barack Obama’s late night announcement in a new edition, according to an internal memo. Seventy percent of the newspapers the Times wound up printing for Monday had the bin Laden news. The Times printed an additional 165,000 copies of the paper on Monday, as well.

To the best of anyone’s institutional memory, the only other instances when the Times is believed to have stopped the presses in the last few decades: Lyndon Johnson’s abrupt announcement that he would not run for reelection in 1968, and the night of the 2000 cliffhanger election.

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Neilsen: TV Ownership Down

The Nielsen Company announced the 2012 Advance/Preliminary TV Household Universe Estimate (UE) is 114.7 million, down from 115.9 million in 2011. Marking the first integration of the 2010 Census counts, the 2012 UEs reflect an aging population, as Baby Boomers increasingly shift out of the 35-49 demographic, as well as greater ethnic diversity.

The 2012 UEs also reflect a reduction in the estimated percent of U.S. homes with a television set (TV penetration), which declined to 96.7 percent from 98.9 percent. The last such UEs decline occurred in 1992, after Nielsen adjusted for the 1990 Census, and subsequently underwent a period of significant growth. Potential interrelated factors for the 2012 UE downward shift in TV penetration include:
  • Digital Transition: The summer of 2009 marked a significant milestone with a shift from analog to digital broadcasting. Following the transition, consumers were only able to view digital broadcasts via a set with a built-in digital tuner (i.e., a newer TV set) or an analog TV set connected to a digital-to-analog converter box, cable or satellite. TV penetration first dipped after this transition; the permanence of this trend was acknowledged in 2010 after the number of TV households did not rebound over time.
  • Economics: As with previous periods of belt-tightening, the cost of owning a TV is a factor in this UE decline; TV penetration first saw sustained decreases in second quarter 2009. Lower-income, rural homes were particularly affected.
  • Multiple Platforms: Nielsen data demonstrates that consumers are viewing more video content across all platforms—rather than replacing one medium with another. However, a small subset of younger, urban consumers are going without paid TV subscriptions. Long-term effects of this are unclear, as it’s undetermined if this is also an economic issue, with these individuals entering the TV marketplace once they have the means, or the beginning of a larger shift to viewing online and on mobile devices.

Sirius XM Adds Listeners

Sirius XM Radio Inc's first-quarter revenue was boosted by more subscribers, but it said lower car sales in the wake of the earthquake in Japan could hurt its subscriber growth this year, according to a story by Liana B. Baker at

The company, home to programming by Howard Stern and Major League Baseball, depends on the car industry to attract new subscribers from new car owners who receive free radios in their vehicles. Its services are featured in several car brands, including Toyota Motor Corp.

About half of the listeners who receive a few months of free radio with their new car later sign up for the full service.

It added a better-than-expected 373,064 subscribers in the quarter, bringing its total listener base to 20.6 million people. Analysts were expecting additions in the 200,000s, according to Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett.

The company left its subscriber forecast unchanged at 1.4 million additions this year. It would have raised its forecast were it not for supply issues stemming from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan two months ago, it said in a statement.

Read More.

Also Read:

AUTOBLOG: Sirius and XM consolidate channel lineups

Katy Perry: 'I didn't have a childhood'

You'll have to forgive Katy Perry if she's been a little eccentric in her 20s.

"I didn't have a childhood," she told Vanity Fair's Lisa Robinson.

In an interview for the June issue, Perry detailed her strict Christian upbringing, where she couldn't use the word "devil" in a secular context and couldn't purchase non-religious music. Her mother would only read to her from the Bible.

Perry's inquisitive nature is what led her to look outside her religion for informationm, Shari Weiss writes at

"I have always been the kid who's asked 'Why?'" she said. "In my faith, you're just supposed to have faith. But I was always like … 'why?'"

The frank talk about Perry's pre-fame years comes amidst rumors her mother, an evangelical minister, is planning a potentially damning book about how her sometimes controversial career affected the ministry.
Still, the 26-year-old suggested she and her parents are on good terms.

"I think sometimes when children grow up, their parents grow up," she said. "Mine grew up with me."

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Shania Twain Focusing On Career Again

When Shania Twain married Frédéric Thiébaud in January, it didn't just mean she had found love again. She had found the will to simply live again, according to a story by Shari Weiss at

The unexpected double betrayal Twain had faced when she found out in May 2008 that her husband, Robert (Mutt) Lange, and her best friend, Marie-Anne Thiébaud, were having an affair was initially too much to bear.

"I didn't want to live," she said on Tuesday's episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Twain, 45, said she also initially chalked up the adultery as an accident or simple mistake, wanting to forgive both Lange and Marie-Anne, and remain in her marriage.

Following her divorce, Twain eventually found comfort in a surprising – and yet entirely unsurprising – source: Frédéric Thiébaud, who had also found his world rocked by the affair.

The two grew close and eventually found comfort in each other's arms. They wed in a romantic oceanside ceremony in Puerto Rico on New Year's day.

The demise of Twain's 14-year marriage ended up being "a very positive thing."

"I needed the wakeup," she told Winfrey.

In part, it allowed Twain to truly reflect on her life – from her abusive childhood and poor upbringing to rise to country superstardom. Those reflections are included in "From This Moment On," a memoir that was released Tuesday.

She is also set to document her life in "Why Not? With Shania Twain," which premieres on Winfrey's OWN network on Sunday.

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Pandora Debuts Personalized Comedy

Pandora, the popular internet radio service, today announced that comedy is now available on the service where radio stations can be created and personalized.
  • Just like music stations on Pandora, comedy stations can be personalized to each individual's taste
  • Powered by the Comedy Genome Project™
  • Listeners can create comedy stations based on their favorite comedians, or on popular genres such as political comedy, working class comedy, PG comedy, or comedy from the 2000s, 60s and 70s, or 80s and 90s
Pandora, known for pioneering personalized music listening and discovery, is broadening its array of content to include comedy in order to meet the requests of its listeners. A team of Comedy Genome Project analysts at Pandora has analyzed thousands of performances to capture their comedic style and content. Additional comedic material is being analyzed daily.

Pandora Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren said, "Pandora is about creating a great, personalized radio experience. Comedy is a natural part of that experience, and it's something our listeners have been asking us to deliver for a while. We are delighted to now be able to give people a mix of familiar and new comic material that they'll love to listen to."

Starting today people can listen to comedy on Pandora in the same manner that they listen to music: by choosing a favorite artist or genre as a seed to start a station and then giving thumbs-up or thumbs-down feedback to shape the station to their individual taste. Like music stations on Pandora, comedy stations will play the seed artist and related material.

John Hyde, Vice Chairman of Image Entertainment, Inc. said, "Everyone knows Pandora – it's unique in the entertainment industry for personalizing the radio experience for listeners and enabling talented artists to discover audiences that will love their music. Image is delighted that our comedy content is being included in the Comedy Genome Project and believe that Pandora's reach with so many listeners offers an unprecedented opportunity for all comedians. It's going to be fascinating to see how personalized radio tackles the comedy listening experience, it's a new frontier and we're excited to be a part of it."

Norfolk: 'Mike and Bob' PPM Cancellation

It often happens with no warning.

Turn on the radio one morning and the program that long had been part of your daily routine is no longer there.

Last month, it happened to "The Mike and Bob Show," an irreverent all-talk program that had been a mainstay on radio station 96X for a decade.

According to a story by Rashod Ollison at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, the show was canceled after months of tanking ratings, and the latest sounds in modern rock - Paramore, Kings of Leon and others - now fill the spot.

A flurry of angry comments followed on Facebook, most lamenting what they say is an increasing homogenization of local radio. "Bring Back Mike and Bob to 96X," an online petition to station owner Bob Sinclair of Sinclair Communications, had 340 signatures as of Friday.

But such grassroots efforts can't compete with the Arbitron ratings system, which ultimately affects advertising dollars and determines what stays on and off the air.

"It's the same as any business," said Sinclair, feet propped on his desk inside his sleek downtown Norfolk office. "If the ratings are good, you keep going. If not, you make changes. According to the ratings, listeners want more music, less talk."

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Where Would Imus be Without Charles McCord?

From Fran Wood, The Star Ledger:

They say when you lose someone, you go through several stages of grief – shock, sadness, anger, depression, etc.

Apparently that doesn't apply only to the death of a loved one. I have experienced all these emotions since the announcement, a couple of weeks ago, that Friday, May 6, will be Charles McCord's last day on the Imus in the Morning show.

I have never met McCord. But after 35 or so years of listening to the Imus in the Morning show, he feels as familiar to me as a blood relative.

Charles is not just the newscaster on the Imus show. Not just the backup voice flattering the host, endorsing his opinions, providing the occasional bon mot.

He is all those things, of course. But he is more. In short, Charles McCord is the gold standard of sidekicks.

Not because he is extraordinarily bright, which he is. Or because he can provide a fresh angle on almost any subject at a moment's notice, which he does. Or because he can usually (lamentably, history shows not always) prevent Imus from going off the rails.

McCord is the gold standard because he does all of that, in addition to providing structure and seamlessness to what otherwise might be a chaotic three and a half hours. And he has done it all flawlessly, five mornings a week, year after year, decade after decade.

Not that you'd notice, because he manages to do all this AND stay out of the way.

Well, most of the time. But there have been occasions – few, but scintillatingly memorable – when McCord has erupted into a tirade over something Imus has done.

Imus' prostate cancer is a prime example. After weeks and weeks of Imus talking about it, beginning almost every conversation with a guest by announcing he has it, accusing guests who make some unrelated caustic remark of bullying a cancer patient, McCord will finally blow his stack – as he did when Imus brought up his cancer on the morning of the show's debut on the Fox Business Network:

"Everybody knows you have prostate cancer," said Charles. "Everybody! Headhunters in New Guinea know you have prostate cancer. Lost tribes in the Amazon know you have prostate cancer. ... Nobody cares. Nobody! You want to know why nobody cares? Because you have killed sympathy. Because you have gone on with this crap so long you have KILLED SYMPATHY! You have not only killed sympathy for yourself, you have killed sympathy for cancer patients. You have SISSY cancer! Your cancer is never going to harm you in ANY FATAL WAY. You're going to get killed by something else – probably somebody around here with a baseball bat, if you don't stop it."

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Read Origianl Posting:  Official: Imus Wingman Charles McCord Retiring

Rush Radio: The President Owes Us an Apology

He used all the tools he once opposed to kill Bin Laden

Rush Radio: Sarcastic Praises For Obama


State-Run Media Totally Falls for Rush's "Thank God for Obama"

RUSH: Let's review what happened in the Drive-By Media yesterday. First, Tamron Hall, MSNBC's News Nation.

HALL: Rush Limbaugh opened his show praising the President, even thanking God for the moves -- this decision made by President Obama.

RUSH: Bill Ritter, WABC, Channel 7 Eyewitness News in New York from Ground Zero.

RITTER: Consider this: Even Rush Limbaugh today -- and there is no bigger critic of President Obama than Mr. Limbaugh, he -- said today, quoting now, "Thank God for President Obama." That, from Rush Limbaugh. Are the times changing or what?

RUSH: And Mara Liasson last night, NPR, All Things Considered. These bites, the last two, are four hours after this program ended yesterday. Here's Mara Liasson.

LIASSON: Rush Limbaugh was congratulating Obama today, so this is a moment of unity. This is what the president's whole brand is about.

RUSH: But they weren't fooled over at CNN. Well, they were fooled at CNN earlier, but the reporterette that they've assigned to essentially stalk me (a woman by the name of Carol Costello) this morning on CNN's Newsroom...

COSTELLO: Rush Limbaugh came out with a line saying, "Thank God for the President Obama," but he meant it very sarcastically. If you take a look his website he actually meant, "Congratulations, Mr. President, for Continuing the Bush Anti-Terror Policy."

RUSH: So a reporter who works this beat got the story correct.

See Original Posting, click here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wall Street Journal Keeps Top Circulation Spot

(DOW JONES NEWSWIRES) The Wall Street Journal kept its position as the country's largest newspaper by average weekday circulation during the six months ended in March, with others in the top three also keeping their ranks, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The latest report, which included more than 680 U.S. daily newspapers, is the first to reflect new rules that aim to address circulation issues related to digital editions as well as break out numbers for copies purchased by individuals as opposed to those distributed to third parties. As such, the data weren't directly comparable with past figures, the ABC said. The rule revisions represent more than two years of work by a task force of newspaper publishers and advertisers.

Under the new rules average circulation includes a publication's paid and verified print and digital circulation, including any branded editions.

Newspaper circulation has been declining for decades, but the pace had been picking up in recent years, amid a reader shift to a range of digital media and as some publishers have drastically curtailed the distribution of their papers or abandoned print partially or all together for the Internet.

The Wall Street Journal had average weekday circulation of 2.1 million, on par with figures reported for the period ended Sept. 30. The Journal had moved past Gannett Co.'s flagship USA Today as the largest U.S. newspaper in 2009.

USA Today's circulation kept its No. 2 spot with 1.8 million readers. The figure also was on par with the earlier period. USA Today had been the biggest paper in the U.S. for a decade. The slump in business travel meant fewer copies of USA Today were sold to hotels, one of the paper's historic strengths.

The New York Times kept the No. 3 rank at 916,911 weekday readers but had the highest Sunday circulation, at 1.4 million. The company had weekday circulation of 876,638 copies under the old rules in the earlier period.

News Corp. is the owner of this newswire, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. The Post's weekday circulation ranked No. 8 nationally, with weekday circulation of 522,874.

Scott Pelley Named Anchor of "CBS Evening News"

(CBS News)  Scott Pelley has been named anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News," it was announced Tuesday by CBS News Chairman and "60 Minutes" Executive Producer Jeff Fager and David Rhodes, the President of CBS News.

The appointment to the broadcast, to be re-named the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley," is effective on June 6. Pelley will continue to report stories for "60 Minutes."

"Scott has it all. He has the experience, the credibility and he is among the very best reporters ever to work at CBS News," said Fager.

"In more than two decades at CBS News, he has distinguished himself at every level, right up to his current role at '60 Minutes,' where his work has been incomparable. We like to think of CBS News as the 'reporter's network' and I can't think of anybody in this business better suited for the anchor chair than Scott."

"Scott is the ideal journalist to lead this broadcast. We're very proud to have him guiding this news organization's reporting each and every evening," said Rhodes. "He has a body of work few in the business can claim and will help us grow CBS News now and in the future."

"I am delighted to join the terrific team at the 'CBS Evening News,'" said Pelley. "It's a privilege to work alongside the most gifted and talented journalists in the industry."

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Report: CBS To Recruit Morning Joe And Mika

With the morning show landscape in flux, Colby Hall at Mediaite has learned that another big move may be in the works, this one at CBS.

Chris Licht, the well respected executive producer of MSNBC’s buzzy Morning Joe program is likely to announce that he is leaving the show to take the top spot on CBS’s struggling Early Show. While last we heard the deal was not finalized, our sources indicate it is “very close.”

But according to Hall, Mediaite is also being told that CBS has a bigger prize in mind with that possible hire, wooing Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski to come host that show when their contracts are up within the year.

That would be an interesting albeit risky move since despite the incredible buzz that show gets among movers and shakers, its national audience is still puny even compared to CBS’ current programming. But at this point, it seems CBS will try anything to resuscitate that perennially third place and buzzless show.

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Q&A With Keith Urbahn: First To Break bin Laden News

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s current chief of staff, Keith Urbahn, is widely credited for being the first to break the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed on his Twitter account.

He tweeted Sunday night, long before the networks or any other news source reported it, “I am told by a reputable person they have killed Osama bin Laden. Hot damn.”

The day after his big get, Jamie Weinstein caught up with Urbahn, who agreed to answer five questions from The Daily Caller about the experience of breaking the news of the death of America’s enemy number one on a social media site.

1. How does it feel to have essentially broken the news about Osama bin Laden’s death?

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Turning to Social Networks for News

From Brian Stalter and Jennifer Preston,
When the White House abruptly announced an address to the nation by President Obama on Sunday night, CNN anchors spent the better part of an hour previewing the address without actually saying what it was about.

“I have my own gut instincts on what it might be,” the CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said a couple of times, adding that a senior White House official had thanked him for showing “restraint” and not speculating.

Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, some CNN watchers had already heard the news. Unconfirmed reports — that turned out to be true — of Osama bin Laden’s demise circulated widely on social media for about 20 minutes before the anchors of the major broadcast and cable networks reported news of the raid at 10:45 p.m., about an hour before Mr. Obama’s address from the White House.

It was another example of how social media and traditional media deal with the same news in different ways and at different speeds. Just as CNN once challenged newspapers and evening newscasts with a constant stream of images from the Persian Gulf war, Twitter and Facebook have become early warning systems for breaking news — albeit not always reliable ones.

Twitter saw the highest sustained rate of posts ever, with an average of 3,440 per second from 10:45 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Eastern time. There were more than five million mentions of Bin Laden on Facebook in the United States alone, as news of the raid at his hideout spread starting around 10:30 p.m.
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Osama story: WGN's Carol Marin Has Great News Day

From Robert Feder,
Monday was a red letter day for Carol Marin. One of those days, she says with absolute conviction, that real news people live for.

It began with her hosting 2½ hours of riveting morning radio on WGN-AM (720), and ended with her moderating two segments on WTTW-Channel 11’s Chicago Tonight. In between, the veteran journalist juggled her two other jobs — as columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and political editor for NBC 5.

As it did for many of her peers around the world, the whole day revolved around the demise of Osama bin Laden and its aftermath.

Marin had been slated to fill in for midday host Mike McConnell on the Tribune Co.-owned news/talk station with substitute co-host Bill Moller. But their carefully planned list of topics and guests flew out the window when news about bin Laden broke late Sunday night. By 5am Monday, Marin and Moller made the decision with their WGN producers to wing it.

It turned out to be a coup for both the station and its listeners.
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