Saturday, March 15, 2014

CCM+E Announces New Major Market Restructuring

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment late Friday announced the creation of a Major Markets Operating Group.

The Major Markets Operating Group will consist of four divisions under leaders who will report directly to Bob Pittman, Clear Channel’s Chairman and CEO.  Each will be in positions where they can make the greatest impact on operations and future growth in the company’s leading broadcast and revenue-generating markets, and better and more quickly serve the individual communities in which Clear Channel operates.

According to CCM+E, this more aligned operational management team will provide enhanced communication, collaboration and more efficient access to Clear Channel’s full range of multi-platform assets – including broadcast, digital and events, as well as overall company resources including research, revenue management, strategic analysis, corporate strategy and business affairs -- for the leaders of the individual markets and their advertising partners.

Effective Friday, the Major Markets Operating Group will consist of four divisions led by
  • Hartley Adkins, Executive Vice President
  • Tom McConnell, Executive Vice President
  • Kelly Kibler, Senior Vice President
  • Greg Ashlock, formerly President of Clear Channel Los Angeles, who will now expand his responsibilities as President of Clear Channel Southern California.  
Matt Martin will continue in his position as President of Regional Markets.

Bob Pittman
“As a company we continue to assess every aspect of our operations to make sure we have the right structure in place to efficiently and effectively leverage our position as the country’s leading multi-platform media and entertainment company,” said Pittman.  “Our Major Markets Operating Group will collaborate with our local market management to oversee our entire spectrum of media and entertainment platforms in our largest and highest revenue-generating markets.  This includes everything from our core broadcast radio and its strong digital platform, whose traffic has doubled in the last year, and the extremely successful iHeartRadio digital platform – to events and our expanded coordination with Clear Channel Outdoor, all of which we are increasingly mobilizing to benefit our national and local advertising partners.”

Pittman continued, “It’s critical that we are able to coordinate and integrate our resources faster and more responsively.  With our new Major Markets Operating Group, we will accelerate our decision-making, increase our flexibility and improve results, as well as increase the empowerment and accountability of our individual market leaders.  We’re pleased to expand the responsibilities of these four strong leaders within Clear Channel.”

The company also announced today that Tom Schurr, President of Operations for Major Markets, has left the company.

“During his tenure with us, Tom played a big role in Clear Channel becoming the media and entertainment leader it is today,” said Pittman.  “I know all of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment joins me in thanking Tom for the many contributions he’s made to our company.”

Saturday Aircheck: Robert W. Morgan on 93 KHJ LA

As a youth growing up in Galion, Ohio, Robert W. Morgan's interest was piqued while listening to his favorite DJs on Cleveland's top forty giant KYW which would eventually lead to his first on-air job was at Wooster College in 1955 on WWST & WWST-FM, for an initial salary of $1 per hour.

In 1959 Morgan moved from college radio to KACY Port Hueneme, California where he hosted the over night show called Kegler's Spare Time with Bob Morgan live from the Wagon Wheel Bowl before moving on to a succession of brief stints beginning in 1961 at KTEE Carmel as the second half of a two-man classical music announcer on KTEE, a Marine Corps Heavyweight Champion who later went onto radio fame as "K.O. Bailey," then a short time later as the morning drive DJ and mid-day board op for the Arthur Godfrey Show at KMBY, Monterey, then a jump to KOMY Watsonville, then back to KMBY Monterey followed in 1962 at "K-MAKE", KMAK, Fresno where he first worked with program director Ron Jacobs. This was followed in 1963 by an eight-month stay at KROY Sacramento before finally landing his first major-market job in 1964 at KEWB, San Francisco. It was here that he met and worked with his lifelong friend "The Real" Don Steele.

On April 27, 1965 the careers of Morgan, Steele and programer Ron Jacobs would gain superstar status when they joined the staff of KHJ-AM, Los Angeles almost overnight. Programming genius Bill Drake along with a staff of talented DJs called "Boss Jocks" had transformed a sleepy giant into the city's most dominant radio station. It was here that Morgan enjoyed his greatest on-air success as one of the original "Boss Jocks" on 93/KHJ which dominated the Top 40 radio market in Southern California from 1965 to 1973. Morgan's signature, "Good Morgan Boss Angeles!" to his devoted morning drive time audience would stay with him until the end of his career.

The year 1992 would signal the twilight years of Morgan's distinguished radio broadcast career when he signed on as the morning show host of "oldies" K-EARTH 101 where he again enjoyed solid ratings in the Los Angeles market before announcing in May 1997 that he was suffering from lung cancer.

Morgan told his listeners, "It could have something to do with the two packs a day cigarette habit I had for the last 35 years." In an emotional on-air statement, Morgan stated that he was taking some time off to fight the disease full-time. His friend and colleague Don Steele died, also of lung cancer, in August 1997. Morgan continued to do broadcasts from his home studio until 1998.

Morgan died on May 22, 1998. He was 60 years old

On This Date March 15 In Radio history

On this day...

In 1679...Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz describes binary numbering

In 1922...WSB, Atlanta, Georgia, began broadcasting becoming the fourth Southern radio station.

First Employees Walter Iller, Walter Tison
The call-sign "WSB" carried an infamous history before it was assigned to a land-based broadcaster in Atlanta. In very early days of radio licensing, sea-based broadcasters were included in the call-sign assignment system. The first licensee of the call-sign "WSB" was the S.S. Francis H. Leggett. After foundering off the Oregon coast on September 18, 1914, taking a toll of two of the 67 lives aboard, the call "WSB" was reassigned to the Firewood, the name of which forms a grim coincidence with its fate: the ship burned off the coast of Peru on December 18, 1919, with 28 persons on board, all of whom were saved.
Because superstitious seafarers objected to being issued a call "used by that ship which went down with all hands last month", "tainted" calls like "WSB" were quietly issued to unsinkable land stations.

Lambdin Kay, First GM
Originally on 740 kHz until the 1936 FCC bandplan, WSB was the fourth radio station in the South, behind the first AM station, WBT 1110 AM in Charlotte, licensed in December, 1920... WNOX 990 AM in Knoxville, Tennessee licensed in November, 1921... and WWL 850 AM in New Orleans, licensed 13 days before WSB in March, 1922.

They, among others, are all considered "clear channel" stations. That designation is given to frequencies on which only one or two stations are assigned to a frequency that allows full power transmission day and night.

The WSB broadcast callsign stands for "Welcome South, Brother". Founded by the Atlanta Journal newspaper (once a competitor of the Atlanta Constitution, now merged), the station began broadcasting on March 15, 1922, just a few days prior to Constitution-owned WGM 710 AM (eventually swapped to WGST 640 AM.

In 1956..."Colonel" Tom Parker signed a management deal with Elvis Presley.

In 1964... Alan Freed indicted by Federal Grand jury for income tax evasion - 1964

In 1972...Robert W. Morgan of Los Angeles radio station KHJ 930 AM played Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love" for 90 minutes straight. Police eventually raided the station fearing foul play, but discovered a publicity stunt instead.

In 1976...After 11 years as an AM Top 40 radio giant, WCFL 1000 AM Chicago, in its most recent years known as "Super 'CFL," changed to a Beautiful Music format.

In 2010... Air Personality Ron Lundy WABC 770 AM, WCBS 101.1 FM died at the age of 75.

Lundy was born June 25, 1934 in Memphis, Tennessee, the only child of Fred Sr., a railroad engineer, and Mary Lundy. He served in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from high school. Following the completion of his military stint, he returned to his hometown and attended a local radio broadcasting school on the G.I. Bill. At the same time, he worked across the street at WHHM-AM, where he got his first on-air experience one night when he substituted for the regular disc jockey who failed to report for his shift. This resulted in Lundy being hired as a full-time radio announcer by Hodding Carter for WDDT-AM, the latter's new station in Greenville, Mississippi.

After a stop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at WLCS-AM, Lundy was brought to WIL-AM in St. Louis, Missouri in 1960 by Dan Ingram, who was the station's program director until the middle of the next year. Nicknamed the "Wil' Child", Lundy had a style which was described as a combination of "country and crawfish pie" by Bob Whitney, who also played a major role in the appointment.

Lundy was reunited with Ingram at WABC 770 AM in 1965. He made his New York radio debut on September 1, working the overnight shift as "The Swingin' Nightwalker."

Beginning in May 1966, he became the midday fixture at the station for the next sixteen years.  With his catchphrase "Hello, Love–this is Ron Lundy from the Greatest City in the World," he usually preceded Ingram's afternoon drive time program, and sometimes when Ingram was running late to the studio, Lundy would keep going until Dan arrived, doing impressions of The Shadow, where he would play Margo Lane and Lamont Cranston. The two best friends hosted "The Last Show" before WABC's format conversion from music to talk radio at noon on May 10, 1982.

In February 1984, Lundy resurfaced at New York's oldies station WCBS 101.1 FM in the mid-morning slot, following former WABC colleague Harry Harrison. According to program director Joe McCoy, the station created the slot especially for Lundy, reducing other shifts from four hours to three.

In June, 1997, Lundy's WCBS-FM show was awarded the 1997 "BronzeWorld Medal" at the New York Festivals Radio Programming Awards for the "best local personality".

Lundy retired from WCBS-FM on September 18, 1997. (Click Here to listen, courtesy of

During Ron's final show, he rests his hand on Dan Ingram's shoulder
Upon retiring from radio, Ron and his wife Shirley moved to the small town of Bruce, Mississippi.

Lundy's voice made two cameo appearances during his career. The first one was in an early scene in Midnight Cowboy, when Joe Buck, hearing a Lundy WABC broadcast while listening to his portable radio, realized that the bus he was riding soon approached New York City. The other was in Starship's 1985 hit "We Built This City."

Lundy was inducted the St. Louis Hall Radio Hall of Fame on January 1, 2006.

Friday, March 14, 2014

RAB: Digital Revenue Continues To Gain Momentum

Erica Farber
Radio revenues for Q4 and Full-Year 2013 were flat against comparable 2012 periods which had been buoyed with an influx of political spending at the culmination of the presidential campaign. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), final figures were $4.602B and $17.649B respectively.

Spot revenue declined 3% in Q4, in large part due to it being an off year in the political arena. This was offset by strong performances in Digital (+18%), Off-Air (+11%), and Network Comp (+7%). For the total year, Spot was off just 1%, with gains recorded in both Digital (+16%) and Off-Air (+5%); Network ended the year at -4%.

Digital continues to gain momentum among advertisers looking to maximize their use of all Radio platforms," states Erica Farber, President and CEO of RAB. "Based on the recent Borrell Associates forecast of a 22% rise in Digital spending on Radio in 2014, this category is poised to surpass the $1B mark."

Report: Most '90s Icons Missing From Country Format

Marked by seminal acts like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn, the ‘90s were a fertile period for country music, especially the first half of the decade.  So, InsdeRadio today explores why is so little of that iconic music heard on country radio today?

Programmers say much of the decade’s music doesn’t sonically fit with today’s country. “People have moved on from the ‘90s sound,” says Clear Channel-Milwaukee director of programming Kerry Wolfe.

“Right now the flavor of the month is the Florida Georgia Line sound.  But back then, everyone wanted to be Garth.”  The amount of ‘90s heard on country radio varies from station to station. Only about 5% of airplay on Milwaukee’s WMIL, which Wolfe programs, is from the ‘90s, and it’s limited to the creme de la creme — songs that have withstood the test of time from Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith, who continue to have hits today.

WMIL stays clear of the overtly pop country of the second half of the decade, such as Faith Hill and Shania Twain, which Wolfe believes derailed the format.  Era-defining songs like Garth Brooks "Friends In Low Places", Brooks & Dunn’s “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” and Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” continue to resonate, Wolfe says, even among younger listeners.

Read More Now (Subscription Required)

Report: Country Radio TSL Eroding For 25-54-Year-Olds

Country consultant Jaye Albright calls it The Bad News.

She recalls in her Breakfast Blog, that duringCRS 2014 session Nielsen Audio revealed national country format trend data showing weekly cume among teens rose 8% and was up an impressive 15% among 18-24s helping country’s audience share grow 17% among teens (12-17 year-olds) and 16% with young adults (18-24), allowing the format to leapfrog past CHR in persons 18-24 and move from third to second among teens in diary markets.

At the same time, country’s share of 25-34 year-olds slipped 9% (still holding onto #1 in that demo).

The cume increases came largely as a result of new listenership, driven by population shifts.

Liberty Drops Plans To Buy Rest Of SiriusXM

John Malone’s Liberty Media said it has given up efforts to acquire the stake in satellite-radio company SiriusXM that it doesn’t already own, and instead is focused on raising capital for cable company Charter Communications to expand, according to Variety.

The company is creating two new tracking stocks: Liberty Media Group and Liberty Broadband Group. The latter will encompass Liberty’s 27% stake in Charter, plus its 1% interest in Time Warner Cable as well as it subsidiary TruePosition, a provider of location-based solutions for public safety and national security markets. The Liberty Media Group would have attributed to it all of the other businesses, assets and liabilities of the company, including Liberty’s subsidiary Sirius XM Holdings, the Atlanta Braves and Liberty’s 17% interest in Barnes & Noble.

Liberty expects to complete the creation of the new tracking stocks by the third quarter of 2014.

John Malone
“We remain very excited about our investments in the cable sector and Charter Communications,” said Malone, who is Liberty’s chairman, in a statement. “We believe the creation of the Liberty Broadband tracking stock and the concurrent rights offering will provide us greater flexibility to, among other things, support Charter in its expansion efforts.”

Liberty owns 53% of SiriusXM. It announced a plan in January to buy the remaining shares of the company in a transaction worth more than $10 billion, which Malone said at the time would “enable us to focus our energies on the pursuit of new opportunities across the expanded portfolio of Liberty’s businesses and to optimize our capital structure.”

Read More Now

Larry Rosin: What Nationalization Will Mean to American Radio

Larry Rosin of Edison Research
In his Edison Research blog, Larry Rosin discusses the nationalization of brands as demonstrated by CCM+E and Cumulus. And opines that the trend is not entirely bad..."But..mostly."

Rosin went on record at Country Radio Seminar a few weeks ago against both Nationalization and Voice-Tracking, calling them a ‘disaster’ for the radio industry. That’s because he's  been doing research on the American radio industry, but mostly on the consumers of radio for over a quarter century now, and  feels like I have a pretty good sense for what the ‘brand’ of radio is for people. And that brand is ‘local.’

In the last year Edison Research has been hired to perform several studies on just the question of how to keep younger consumers listening to FM radio. Rosin says Edison hears pretty much hear the same things over and over – they do and will continue to go to radio for unique compelling content – and to be in-the-know on what is happening locally. Young listeners talk to us about the chance to actually meet the personality they hear on the radio and the announcements of local events or concerts. They understand – their local radio stations are providing them with something that Pandora and Spotify don’t.

So the question is – will the nationalized radio content be so great, so amazing, so compelling, that the consumers of tomorrow will stay loyal to FM?

That’s really the key, according to Rosin:
Because when radio is great it should find itself nationalized. 
Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh were both once local personalities – and they never could have been held in radio had they not been able to nationalize. Radio talents such as these deserve to have fans across the country. These two guys in particular were such major talents that they pretty much got great ratings everywhere they were aired. 
But that’s not necessarily what’s happening today. 
Politeness keeps me from commenting on specific shows, but some of the national options today are barely an improvement or in some cases no upgrade at all from what it is replacing locally. 
Nationalized radio stations become USA Today – with that one lame little paragraph of ‘news from your state,’ as opposed to your local paper. There are already TONS of national media options.
Read More Now 

Chicago Radio: Cubs Could Be Headed To WBBM-AM

WBBM 780 AM has emerged as the leading candidate to become the new radio home of the Cubs, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The CBS-owned outlet is using all of its local stations in a synergistic bid to land the rights to the Cubs, beginning with the 2015 season, according to team and industry sources. If the team goes with WBBM, it would end its long relationship with WGN-AM 720, which dates back to 1925.

It was WGN's decision to put the Cubs' rights on the market after it exercised an option to reopen its contract with the team last fall. Broadcast sources say WGN is losing significant money on the Cubs broadcasts, with listeners and advertisers tuning out a ballclub that has lost 197 games in the last two years.

Reportedly, the Cubs have one of most lucrative radio deals in baseball, valued at an estimated $10 million per year. Despite the rough times, there is an expectation the Cubs still will be able to maintain that revenue level, and perhaps even improve it.

If CBS lands the Cubs, their games would be on WBBM-AM. Meanwhile, the all-news format would air on WCFS 96.3 FM.

However, a possible deal with CBS would extend beyond just airing games. Locally, CBS also owns WBBM-96.3 FM, a top 40 station; Classic Rock WJMK 104.3 FM, classic rock; Alternative WXRT 93.1 FM and Country WUSN 99.5 FM.

Read More Now

Chicago Radio: Turi Ryder To Fill-In On WGN

Turi Ryder
WGN 720 AM has announced that Turi Ryder will be the fill-in host next week for its vacant 11:00pm-2:00am weeknight shift, according to CRM.   Various fill-in hosts have been on the air during that time for the last few weeks.

After doing a few fill-in shifts in 2012, Chicago native Ryder started working at WGN-AM full-time in January 2013. She was given the daunting task of replacing Milt Rosenberg and his cerebral "Extension 720" program, working a 10:00pm-1:00am shift. Ryder's talk show was much lighter in tone than Rosenberg's style of show.

While ratings remained fairly strong in the evenings, and she was developing her own fanbase in her short time on the air for the station, her show was not necessarily a favorite among WGN-AM loyalists. After new management took over the station last year, Ryder was among the first ones released.

For the last few years, Ryder has been a top fill-in host on talk radio stations around the country.  Currently on Sunday afternoons, Turi Ryder is the host of on the Envision Radio Network's nationally syndicated "America Weekend" programming, airing from 11:00am-2:00pm.

Ryder's one-week return to WGN-AM begins Monday, March 17th at 11:00pm.

WGN-AM's 11:00pm-2:00am time slot became vacant in February, when "The David Kaplan Show" ended so Kaplan could move to WGWG-LP/The Game 87.7 FM.

Read More Now

NJ Radio: The Rat Starts A Simulcast in Manahawkin

Greater Media announces WRAT 107.9 FM commenced a simulcast at 10:28AM on Saturday, March 8th of its award-winning live programming on Translator W300AO 107.9 FM in Manahawkin, New Jersey.

107.9 FM began simulcasting WRAT 95.9 FM The Rat out of Lake Como. Both frequencies will remain live 24/7, delivering mainstream rock.

In addition to the 107.9 FM simulcast, The Rat can also now be heard on its sister station, WJRZ’s HD2 signal at 100.1.

WRAT 95.9 FM (4Kw) 60dBu Coverage
“WRAT-FM already broadcasts from the optimum geographic location near the Monmouth-Ocean border on 95.9 FM,” said Greater Media SVP and Regional General Manager Dan Finn.

W300AO 107.9 FM (250watts) 60dBu Coverage
“Now, by simulcasting on 107.9 FM in Manahawkin, it allows us to increase The Rat’s footprint on Long Beach Island and the surrounding area. We’re absolutely thrilled and are confident the listeners will be too.”

Report: Pandora Loses A Third Of Its Users In A Year

  • 65 million Pandora accounts became inactive over the past 13 months.
  • Both iTunesRadio and Spotify added more users than Pandora since March 2013.
  • More Americans use YouTube to listen to music than Pandora.

A few days ago Pandora disclosed that it now has 250 million registered users. The company's management apparently did not realize how damaging this boastful announcement can be, according toAndrie Volgin at SeekingAlpha.

The most obvious - and a very disturbing for Pandora stockholders - comparison is that there are approximately 250 million people over 13 years of age in the United States. Where will the growth come from, if the number of registered accounts equals the number of all potential customers?

According to Volgin, the only logical explanation for this conundrum is that many users have multiple accounts, and that the number of such duplicate accounts must be in the tens of millions.

This explanation, he opines, inevitably leads to an even more disturbing question: when Pandora reports its active monthly users, are they referring to real people or "registered accounts"? Pandora provides an answer to this question in its annual report:
The number of active users may overstate the number of unique individuals who actively use our service within a month as one individual may register for, and use, multiple accounts.
Volgin writes this means that fewer people use Pandora than the headline numbers in the company's monthly and quarterly reports suggest. Considering how many duplicate accounts there must be, the difference, most likely, is very significant. Note that this caveat is included in the annual report, but the company never mentioned it in its monthly audience reports or on quarterly conference calls, and he's never saw it in any of the media reports covering the company.

This is not the only conclusion, accoriding to Volgin. We can also use it to calculate the churn rate. A churn rate - the number of customers who drop the service and have to be replaced by new customers - is a very important metric for any company. Pandora does not disclose this information.

Read More Now

'Radio Stuff' Talks With Pandora's Tim Westergren

In the latest edition of the 'Radio Stuff' podcast, host Deb Slater (@deb_Slater) and Larry Gifford (@giffordtweet) go indepth with Pandora founder and Chief Strategic Officer Tim Westergren in a wide-ranging interview about radio, music, Pandora and the lessons broadcast and personal radio can learn from each other.

Westergren, Pandora’s Chief Strategy Officer, spent a half-hour chatting with Deb and Larry. As a young, struggling musician Westergren remembers radio with reverence and awe.

“We were all trying to get on radio. It’s always been the holy grail for artists.”

“We've learned a lot from radio, I tell you that. For one, the genius of radio was that it as an industry worked to imbed itself ubiquitously; every car, every alarm clock, and every stereo - ultimately it became a home for AM/FM and that's our (Pandora's) same ambition.”

Should radio be concerned? Not according to Westergren.

"I think radio will always have a place here. I think there's a shared playlist people always like to tune in to. There's a community around that. It's what I grew up on - the Michael Jackson's of the world, U2s, and Cold Plays - these cultural tap roots have been created by radio and I think there will always be an appetite for that. I think they'll live along side each other.”

Currently, Pandora’s app is embedded in over 1/3rd of all cars rolling out of factories this year. And while music is Westergren’s passion, don’t be surprised when Pandora adds news, sports, weather, traffic and shows.


Direct Visitors More Engaged With News Websites

How someone gets to a news organization’s website says a lot about the level of engagement and loyalty he or she displays toward the site and its content, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis conducted in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

In the study of U.S. internet traffic to 26 of the most popular news websites, direct visitors—those who type in the news outlet’s specific address (URL) or have the address bookmarked—spend much more time on that news site, view many more pages of content and come back far more often than visitors who arrive from a search engine or a Facebook referral. The data also suggest that turning social media or search eyeballs into equally dedicated readers is no easy task.

These are among the key findings that detail how 1 million people enrolled in one of the nation’s most popular commercial internet panels have been connecting through their desktop and laptop computers with the most accessed or shared news sites of our time.

An analysis by Pew Research of three months of comScore data finds that among users coming to these news sites through a desktop or laptop computer, direct visitors spend, on average, 4 minutes and 36 seconds per visit. That is roughly three times as long as those who wind up on a news media website through a search engine (1 minute 42 seconds) or from Facebook (1 minute 41 seconds). Direct visitors also view roughly five times as many pages per month (24.8 on average) as those coming via Facebook referrals (4.2 pages) or through search engines (4.9 pages). And they visit a site three times as often (10.9) as Facebook and search visitors.

Read More Now

Seattle Radio: Mike Salk Returning to ESPN 710

Mike Salk
As expected, Former KIRO 710 AM ESPN morning show radio host Mike Salk is returning to Seattle as the station’s program director and host.

The move takes effect March 23, according to The Seattle Times.

Salk partnered with Brock Huard to form the “Brock & Salk Show” in April 2009 as part of the launch of 710 ESPN Seattle.

In March 2013, Salk accepted a position as co-host of the afternoon drive radio show at WEEI in Boston. Salk said he welcomed the opportunity to return to his “adopted” hometown of Seattle. In addition, Salk will return to the airwaves in a yet-to-be-determined time slot.

“I could not be more excited about this unique opportunity and the new challenge of running the programming at 710 ESPN Seattle,” Salk said in a release. “Even though I left Seattle last year, it never ceased being home.”

710 ESPN Seattle vice president and general manager Dave Pridemore added: "It is gratifying to have Mike return to 710 ESPN Seattle and as the program director and eventually as an on-air host. Mike knows the market, our people, the sports talk format, the art and business of radio, and the power and influence of digital media. We are privileged to have Mike at the helm of 710 ESPN Seattle."

Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates Address Privacy Issues

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates were both in the news yesterday (March 13th) for their statements about privacy amid the controversy over the ongoing revelations from the documents taken by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

Zuckerberg posted a statement on Facebook yesterday calling for the U.S. government to take more measures to respect users' privacy and security, saying, “The U.S. government should be the champion for the Internet, not a threat."

He also revealed, "I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future."

Writing that he's "confused and frustrated" by the NSA stories, Zuckerberg said, "When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government."

Bill Gates
Meanwhile, Gates was asked about the issue in a Rolling Stone interview published yesterday while discussing the privacy implications of cloud computing and all the information available.

Gates said, "I actually wish we were having more intense debates about these things," but when asked about Snowden, said, "I think he broke the law, so I certainly wouldn’t characterize him as a hero. If he wanted to raise the issues and stay in the country and engage in civil disobedience or something of that kind, or if he had been careful in terms of what he had released, then it would fit more of the model of ‘Okay, I’m really trying to improve things.’ You won’t find much admiration from me."

Speaking about government surveillance, he said, "There has to be a debate. But the specific techniques they use become unavailable if they’re discussed in detail. So the debate needs to be about the general notion of under what circumstances should they be allowed to do things."

Update: 'Golden Voiced' Ted Williams

Ted Williams
Remember the homeless guy with the 'golden voice'?

Ted Williams has come a LONG way in the 3 years since he was “discovered” holding a cardboard sign on the side of the road.

He’s had ups and downs since then, but when Morning Express with Robin Meade caught up with him, Williams was living in his own home with his longtime girlfriend. He’s been doing some voice work, and written a book.

HLN's Robin Meade gets you caught up with Williams.

Second Book From Rush Limbaugh Is Another 'Best Seller'

Rush Limbaugh's latest young-reader targeted book was released this week and already it's #1 on Amazon's best-seller list.

"Rush Revere and the First Patriots...Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans" is a sequel to last fall's release "The Brave Pilgrims".

Rush boasted on Thursday's radio show that a mother in Puerto Rico referred to his books as "the next Harry Potter books for kids...She called me the next J.K. Rowling".

Report: Michael Smerconish To Get CNN Weeknight Tryout

Piers Morgan’s last day hosting Piers Morgan Live will be March 28, after which CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker is going to try out Michael Smerconish as well as Jake Tapper, Bill Weir, and Don Lemon in the time slot for a few weeks, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Deadlinecom.

Morgan struggled for three years to find an audience in the important time slot, taking over for Larry King who’d been a longtime fixture at the network. Morgan was routinely beaten in the ratings by his cable competitors.

Smerconish, a former Republican who worked in the George H. Bush administration, was a talk show host at WPHT 1210 AM (Philadelphia) and now on SiriusXM,  is a recent addition to the CNN stable; the network announced just a month ago it was adding him to its Saturday morning lineup, as well as doing analysis and opinion on CNN programming throughout the week.

Read More Now

Jimi Hendrix Postal Stamp Unveiled

Legendary rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix put his stamp on music, and now Americans can put Hendrix's stamp on lettersm according to

A new Forever stamp honoring Hendrix was released on Thursday as part of the U.S. Postal Service's Music Icons series. Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, and Tejano musical pioneer Lydia Mendoza have also been honored in the stamp series.

"I am deeply touched and so are other members of the Hendrix family by the issuance of this stamp, and I wish to thank the United States Postal Service for bestowing one of our nation’s highest honors on my brother Jimi,” said sister Janie Hendrix in a statement. "While my brother has been cited many times as being among the most influential musicians of all time, the recognition implicit in his being portrayed on a U.S. postage stamp ranks as an unparalleled honor."

Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current first-class postage stamp price, currently 49 cents. Hendrix's stamp is self-adhesive, and was created by artist Rudy Guttierez and designer Greg Breeding.

Read More Now

On This Date Mar 14 In Radio History

On This Day....

In 1922...KSD-AM, Saint Louis, Missouri, began broadcasting.

KSD-AM Original Studio, 1922
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch launched KSD in 1922, the first St. Louis station to obtain a broadcast license from the Department of Commerce, though WIL claims earlier operation as an amateur station.

KSD Transmitter 1922
According to, first as KSD, and now as KTRS, the station has been on 550 kHz since 1923, which probably gives it the longest record of occupancy on any one frequency of any United States radio station. With its 5000-watt signal and low frequency, KTRS actually has better daytime and nighttime coverage than 50,000-watt clear-channel station KMOX in much of Missouri.

Despite that great coverage, the Post-Dispatch let KSD slip in the 1970s and, on March 19, 1984, it even lost its historic call letters under Gannett ownership. After a short-lived all-news format, on which Gannett pulled the plug just as KSD was beginning to build an audience, KSD went to country and adopted the call letters KUSA. The call letters were restored by EZ Communications when it bought KSD-AM/FM in 1993.

The call letters were switched back to KSD on October 4, 1993.

Newspaper Ad 1936
Unfortunately, the station lost the call letters again when it was sold to the Dorsey Media Group of St. Louis. EZ's successor, American Radio Systems, retained the KSD call letters for use on KSD(FM), which is now owned by Clear Channel Communications.

In 1937...What was humorously billed as the "Battle of the Century" occurred when comedians Fred Allen & Jack Benny met on Radio.  This episode focuses on the feud between Benny and Fred Allen. After the discussion turns to which one could take the other in a fight, Jack, Mary and Rochester drive out to Andy Devine's farm so that Jack can train there.

The feud was fake, of course. Benny and Allen got along fine, and mllked the feud for laughs for many years.

In 1951...Radio Personality Rick Dees was born.

In 1991...Radio talk-show host (CKEY-Toronto, WNBC-New York, the NBC Radio Network's weekend program Monitor)/announcer/narrator Brad Crandall died of kidney failure at 63. He joined WNBC in 1964 and stayed for about six years.

In 2002... WTJM 105.1 FM NYC switched from classic soul to Hip Hop. Today, the call letters are WWPR.

In 2011…While reminiscing about his experiences of going to a record store and buying vinyl discs, singer Jon Bon Jovi criticized the co-founder of Apple for introducing iTunes, saying "Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

NYC Radio: Ebro Darden Giving Up PD Position At HOT 97

Ebro Darden, VP/Programming for Emmis’ WQHT 97.1 FM HOT 97 has announced that he will be giving up his role as  PD for the station.

He's relinquishing the position at the Hip Hop station after seven years  to focus on the HOT 97 Morning Show.

Darden will remain as Program Director for WQHT until a viable candidate is found to take over the position. 

“Fortunately, I have had tremendous success doing both on-air and PD roles, and Emmis let me choose where I would be happiest.  Mornings, TV & assisting in programming makes sense with everything HOT 97 and I have happening today, so I chose creative over corporate.  See you all at 5 a.m. tomorrow,”

WQHT 97.1 FM (6.7Kw) 54dBu Coverage
Prior to joining WQHT in 2003, Daren previously worked at stations in Sacramento (KBMB, KSFM) and Portland, OR (KXJM).

R.I.P.: Voice-Over Artist Hal Douglas

The Late Hal Douglas
Hal Douglas, a voice-over artist who narrated thousands of movie trailers in a gravelly baritone heard by “audiences everywhere,” as he might have put it, “thrilled by images never before seen ... until now!,” died on Friday (march 7, 2014) at his home in Lovettsville, Va.

He was 89, according to the NY Times.  The cause was complications of pancreatic cancer, his daughter, Sarah Douglas, said.

Mr. Douglas was known for a generation in the voice-over industry as one of the top two or three go-to talents, along with Don LaFontaine, the most prolific, who died in 2008, and Don Morrow, the voice of the “Titanic” trailer.

His dramatic range, from Olympian-thunderous to comic-goofy, suited him for trailers for movies as diverse as “Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump,” “Coneheads,” “Meet the Parents” and “Lethal Weapon.” (“Under 17 not admitted without a parent.”)

Read More Now

NYC Radio: Todd Pettengill 'We're Turning The Page' At WPLJ

Todd Pettengill
Todd Pettengill of 'The Todd Show' on WPLJ 95.5 FM says he just has an old-school view of radio.

“It has to be local and it has to be about people,” he David Hinckley at The NY Daily News. “The listeners can’t be faceless.My job is to connect with them. Too many hosts these days fall into the trap of being a talking head.”

That’s not a danger for him with “The Todd Show,” Pettengill says, “because it’s not about me. I’d actually rather they hadn’t called it that, because it’s really an ensemble.”

The “core four,” he says, are him, Cooper Lawrence, executive producer Joe (Monkey Boy) Pardavila and newcomer Anne Marie Leamy, known as Annie.

Collectively it adds up to a subtly different show than Pettengill co-hosted for the last 23 years on WPLJ with Scott Shannon, who has moved to WCBS 101.1 FM.

“With anyone,” says Pettengill, “and I’m sure this is true for Scott, too, there are little things you do differently when you have a different team.”

Anne Marie Leamy
The main change, of course, is that the team got younger.

“Annie is plugged into the WPLJ demographic,” says Pettengill. “Like Cooper, who’s been with us for three years, she’s someone who lives the lifestyle.

“We have to talk about the things our listeners care about. I don’t expect I’ll want to talk about the same things when I’m 65 that I want to talk about now.”

He emphasizes he isn’t slamming his former long-time partner.

“None of what we’re doing changes my love or respect for Scott,” he says. “What we’re doing is just a sort of freshener. We’re turning a page.”

Read More Now

House Dems Support FCC JSA Crackdown

Key House Democrats Wednesday panned a GOP-backed legislative proposal to derail an FCC plan to crack down on joint sales agreements, raising doubts about the ability of broadcasters to win a legislative reprieve for the station combinations, according to TV NewsCheck.

“I support the FCC’s tightening its attribution rules to address joint sales agreements between television stations,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), during a hearing before the House Communications and Telecommunications Subcommittee Wednesday.

“I’m also concerned by [the] provision that would effectively bar the FCC from modifying its rules to close a loophole that broadcasters have been exploiting to circumvent the FCC’s media ownership rules,” added Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) during the hearing.

Marci Burdick
The FCC is slated to vote on Wheeler’s proposed JSA crackdown on March 31, blocking the formation of new JSAs and giving broadcasters up to two years to unwind existing ones — unless broadcasters can somehow persuade the FCC that the joint combos warrant a special waiver on public interest grounds.

“We strongly oppose the extraordinarily regulatory path the FCC is taking,” said Marci Burdick, SVP of Radio/TV Operator Schurz Communications and chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters TV board, in her testimony during the subcommittee hearing, adding that the FCC’s plan to require existing JSAs to unwind was “unprecedented and amazingly disruptive.”

“While often misunderstood, these [JSA] agreements benefit the public, particularly in small and medium markets where Schurz operates, through improved public service and enhanced transmission facilities,” Burdick said.

Read More Now

Media Industry Worries About Comcast-TWC Merger

Comcast’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable has sparked fears over whether the combined company would have too much influence on the media industry.

Here to break it down is Wall Street Journal reporter Amol Sharma.

Report: The Dodgers May Be Too Expensive For Cable

Game on: Here comes the biggest battle yet over the price of regional sports TV networks.

Pay-TV distributors are balking at carrying SportsNet LA, a new network that will air Los Angeles Dodgers games and other content related to the baseball club, WSJ reports.

That’s because SportsNet LA is asking for the biggest subscriber fees ever for a regional network of its kind (starting at $4), and so far, no cable providers in L.A. besides Time Warner Cable are biting. Standoffs like this have happened before, but this one feels bigger–as more and more consumers and advocate groups have been railing about how sports prices are almost solely responsible for driving cable bills up.

It will be interesting to see who blinks, as the Dodgers season starts on March 30. Fans usually blame their cable company when they can’t get what they want.

Read More Now

Portland OR Radio: Linnman's Accuser Talks To KGW

Kailee Kinney
On Wednesday morning, Kailee Kinney spoke with KGW News8 about a $325,000 claim she filed against Clear Channel Broadcasting and radio personality Paul Linnman.

Kinney worked for KEX 1190 AM and claims the host of “Morning Update with Paul Linnman” engaged in “unwanted sexual touching” while she worked with him at the Portland radio station.

The suit, which was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court Friday, alleges Linnman came up behind Kinney and groped, slapped and squeezed her buttocks. The suit also claims Linnman made several other inappropriate and offensive sexual comments about Kinney.

“When you put your hands on someone, that is something entirely different, and that’s what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about someone putting their hands on someone, unwanted. And it is my belief that he has done this before,” Kinney said. “And the behavior has been pushed under the rug because at the end of the day, Clear Channel is going to protect their number-one person who brings in endorsement revenue.”

Earlier Wednesday, Linnman responded to the allegations. "I wish I could share the truth about what’s going on here, but this is a legal matter and I’m not able to comment in any way," he said. He referred further questions to his attorney.

Linnman continues to work at the radio station and was on the air Wednesday morning.

Read More Now

NYC Radio: FOX Sports, CBS Radio Sign Francesa Deal

Mike Francesa
FOX Sports and CBS RADIO’s WFAN-660 AM/ 101.9 FM have  multi-media agreement that brings Francesa’s wildly successful radio show to the nation’s newest sports networks, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2, live from coast-to-coast.  The announcement was made Wednesday by David Nathanson, General Manager & Chief Operating Officer, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.

The Mike Francesa Show begins weekday telecasts Monday, March 24 on FOX Sports 1 (1:00-4:00 PM ET) and FOX Sports 2 (4:00-6:00 PM ET), continuing to originate from WFAN’s lower Manhattan studios and broadcast locally.  The show is also streamed live via FOX Sports GO through participating video providers.

“We are thrilled to add Mike Francesa to our FOX Sports family of channels,” said Nathanson. “Mike is without question one of the most popular sports personalities in New York and has maintained a significant national reputation through his syndicated NFL show and his WFAN program, which was previously simulcast on YES.  He’s knowledgeable and opinionated with an ability to attract top-name guests who appeal to sports fans everywhere.  This is a fantastic addition to FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.”

“I’m thrilled to be teaming with FOX Sports - a brand that continues to expand across the entire sports landscape,” said Francesa.  “The combination of WFAN with FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 will prove to be a powerful partnership.”

Added Don Bouloukos, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, CBS RADIO New York: “Mike is the gold standard of sports radio hosts with a loyal following second to none. This move gives him a platform to grow his audience and provides WFAN with another venue to reach passionate sports fans nationwide.”

Francesa has for more than 25 years been the on-air cornerstone of WFAN, the nation’s first all-sports talk radio station launched in July 1987.  Since 2008, Francesa has hosted his own afternoon show, Mike’s On, on WFAN.  From 1989 to 2008, he had a critically acclaimed on-air partnership with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who together co-hosted the Mike and the Mad Dog Show.  In 2000 the Francesa/Russo duo became the first sports-talk hosts ever to win the Marconi Award for Major Market Personality of the Year, an award Francesa received as an individual in 2012, placing him on a very select list of multiple Marconi winners, and the first sports radio host to ever earn radio’s biggest honor more than once.  Both Talkers Magazine and Radio Ink recognized Francesa as the No. 1 sports talk host in the country, and Talkers ranked him the 35th most important radio talk show host of all time.

Boston Radio: Mike Salk OUT At WEEI

Mike Salk
In March 2013, Mike Salk replaced fired Boston radio legend Glenn Ordway on WEEI's afternoon drive program.

A year later, Salk is moving on, according to

The Sudbury native announced at the end of Wednesday's "Salk and Holley" program he is resigning from the station.

He said on his Twitter account (changed to @TheMikeSalk yesterday afternoon) that he would have more details on his future Thursday.

An industry source said he believed Salk was returning to Seattle, where he co-hosted the “Brock and Salk Show” along with former NFL quarterback Brock Huard for three years on ESPN 710 before leaving for WEEI. Salk is expected to have a more prominent role than he had when he left.

A spokesman at WEEI's parent company Entercom Communications said the station will use a rotating cast of hosts alongside Holley in the immediate future while searching for Salk's permanent replacement.

Salk's short-lived run at WEEI was in part due to challenging circumstances and in part his own fault.

He was hired and emboldened by then-Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Jeff Brown. But when Brown departed unexpectedly in September, replaced by Phil Zachary, Salk lost his chief advocate at the station.

Read More Now