Saturday, January 3, 2015

January 4 In Radio History

In 1923...WEAF in NYC (now WFAN 660 AM) and WNAC in Boston (now WRKO 680 AM) conducted the first non-wired simulcast using a 100-foot antenna connected by a clothesline to the building's roof.

In 1923...Ft Worth radio station WBAP debuted a new country music show called the “barn dance.”

It featured a variety of performers, including an old-time fiddler named Captain M.J. Bonner who played square dance music. WBAP’s barn dance was so popular that a number of other radio stations began copying it. Soon, the barn dance variety show format could be heard across the country.

One of the most successful imitators of WBAP’s barn dance was the Nashville radio station WSM, which launched its Grand Ole Opry in 1925.  Grand Ole Opry went on to become the best-known country music radio show in history.

In 1928...the NBC Radio Network premiered "The Dodge Victory Hour", starring Al Jolson, Will Rogers, and Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

In 1932..."The Carnation Contented Hour," a showcase for top singers and musicians, debuted on the NBC Red network. Sponsored by the Carnation Milk Company, the series continued until December 30, 1951.

In 1935...Bob Hope made his first appearance on network radio as part of the cast of "The Intimate Revue."

In 1936...the first sales-based pop music chart was published in Billboard. Big band violinist Joe Venuti's "Stop! Look! Listen!" was the first #1 record.

In 1950...Two years after Columbia Records introduced the long-playing record, RCA announced its intention to follow suit

In 1954..A young truck driver named Elvis Presley enters the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, TN, ostensibly to record a song for his mother's birthday (which was, in reality, many months away). He records "Casual Love Affair" and "I’ll Never Stand in Your Way." It was this recording that would lead MRS head Sam Phillips to call Presley back to record for his Sun Records label.

In 1963...Actor/comedian Dave Foley was born. He played Dave Nelson on ths sitcom "NewsRadio"

In 1970...'Music 'Til Dawn' ended airing on WCBS 880 AM in NYC. "Music 'Til Dawn" was an all night classical music radio program sponsored by American Airlines from 1953 to 1970.

In 1977...Mary Shane was hired by the Chicago White Sox to be the first full-time, female, play-by-play announcer for a major league baseball team.

By mid-season, however, it was apparent that her lack of experience and baseball knowledge was quickly turning it into a failed experiment. She was pulled from the broadcasts before the 1977 season ended and her contract was not renewed.

Shane later worked in Massachusetts, where she became a sportswriter for the Worcester Telegram in 1981. She died of a 1987 heart attack at age 42.

In 1982...The ABC Direction Network with 57 affiliates and the ABC Rock Network with 40 affiliates become the 5th and 6th ABC Radio networks.

In 2010…Baseball broadcaster (Los Angeles Angels) Rory Markas died after a heart attack at 54.

January 3 In Radio History

In 1929...William Paley incorporated the Columbia Broadcast System.The origins of CBS date back to January 27, 1927, with the creation of the "United Independent Broadcasters" network in Chicago by New York talent-agent Arthur Judson. The fledgling network soon needed additional investors though, and the Columbia Phonograph Company, manufacturers of Columbia Records, rescued it in April 1927; as a result, the network was renamed "Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System." Columbia Phonographic went on the air on September 18, 1927, with a presentation by the Howard Barlow Orchestra from flagship station WOR in Newark, New Jersey, and fifteen affiliates.

Operational costs were steep, particularly the payments to AT&T for use of its land lines, and by the end of 1927, Columbia Phonograph wanted out.  In early 1928, Judson sold the network to brothers Isaac and Leon Levy, owners of the network's Philadelphia affiliate WCAU, and their partner Jerome Louchenheim. None of the three were interested in assuming day-to-day management of the network, so they installed wealthy 26-year-old William S. Paley, son of a Philadelphia cigar family and in-law of the Levys, as president. With the record company out of the picture, Paley quickly streamlined the corporate name to "Columbia Broadcasting System".  He believed in the power of radio advertising since his family's "La Palina" cigars had doubled their sales after young William convinced his elders to advertise on radio.  By September 1928, Paley bought out the Louchenheim share of CBS and became its majority owner with 51% of the business.

During Louchenheim's brief regime, Columbia paid $410,000 to A.H. Grebe's Atlantic Broadcasting Company for a small Brooklyn station, WABC (no relation to the current WABC), which would become the network's flagship station. WABC was quickly upgraded, and the signal relocated to a stronger frequency, 860 kHz.  The physical plant was relocated also – to Steinway Hall on West 57th Street in Manhattan. It was where much of CBS's programming originated. Other owned-and-operated stations were KNX in Los Angeles, KCBS in San Francisco (originally KQW), WBBM in Chicago, WCAU in Philadelphia, WJSV in Washington, D.C. (later WTOP, which moved to the FM dial in 2005; the AM facility today is WFED, also a secondary CBS affiliate), KMOX in St. Louis, and WCCO in Minneapolis. These remain the core affiliates of the CBS Radio Network today, with WCBS (the original WABC) still the flagship, and all except WTOP and WFED (both Hubbard Broadcasting properties) owned by CBS Radio. By the turn of 1929, the network could boast to sponsors of having 47 affiliates.

Paley moved right away to put his network on a firmer financial footing. In the fall of 1928, he entered into talks with Adolph Zukor of Paramount Pictures who planned to move into radio in response to RCA's forays into motion pictures with the advent of talkies.  The deal came to fruition in September 1929: Paramount got 49 percent of CBS in return for a block of its stock worth $3,800,000 at the time.   The agreement specified that Paramount would buy that same stock back by March 1, 1932 for a flat $5,000,000, provided CBS had earned $2,000,000 during 1931 and 1932. For a brief time there was talk that the network might be renamed "Paramount Radio", but it only lasted a month – the 1929 stock market crash sent all stock value tumbling. It galvanized Paley and his troops, who "had no alternative but to turn the network around and earn the $2,000,000 in two years.... This is the atmosphere in which the CBS of today was born."  The near-bankrupt movie studio sold its CBS shares back to CBS in 1932.   In the first year of Paley's watch, CBS's gross earnings more than tripled, going from $1,400,000 to $4,700,000.

The extraordinary potential of radio news showed itself in 1930, when CBS suddenly found itself with a live telephone connection to a prisoner called "The Deacon" who described, from the inside and in real time, a riot and conflagration at the Ohio Penitentiary; for CBS, it was "a shocking journalistic coup".   Yet as late as 1934, there was still no regularly scheduled newscast on network radio: "Most sponsors did not want network news programming; those that did were inclined to expect veto rights over it."  There had been a longstanding wariness between radio and the newspapers as well; the papers had rightly concluded that the upstart radio business would compete with them on two counts – advertising dollars and news coverage. By 1933, they fought back, many no longer publishing radio schedules for readers' convenience, or allowing "their" news to be read on the air for radio's profit.   Radio, in turn, pushed back when urban department stores, newspapers' largest advertisers and themselves owners of many radio stations, threatened to withhold their ads from print.   A short-lived attempted truce in 1933 even saw the papers proposing that radio be forbidden from running news before 9:30 a.m., and then only after 9:00 p.m. – and that no news story could air until it was twelve hours old.

In the fall of 1934, CBS launched its independent news division, shaped in its first years by Paley's vice-president, former New York Times man Ed Klauber, and news director Paul White. Since there was no blueprint or precedent for real-time news coverage, early efforts of the new division used the shortwave link-up CBS had been using for five years to bring live feeds of European events to its American air.

A key early hire was Edward R. Murrow in 1935; his first corporate title was Director of Talks. He was mentored in microphone technique by Robert Trout, the lone full-timer of the News Division, and quickly found himself in a growing rivalry with boss White.  Murrow was glad to "leave the hothouse atmosphere of the New York office behind" when he was dispatched to London as CBS's European Director in 1937, a time when the growing Hitler menace underscored the need for a robust European Bureau. Halberstam described Murrow in London as "the right man in the right place in the right era".

Edward R. Murrow pictured with CBS' London-based D-Day team. Front row (left to right): Bill Downs, Charles Collingwood, Gene Ryder, Charles Shaw. Back row (from left): Larry LeSueur, Edward R. Murrow, Richard C. Hottelet, Bill Shadel.

Murrow began assembling the staff of broadcast journalists – including William L. Shirer, Charles Collingwood and Eric Sevareid – who would become known as "Murrow's Boys". They were "in [Murrow's] own image, sartorially impeccable, literate, often liberal, and prima donnas all". They covered history in the making, and sometimes made it themselves: on March 12, 1938, Hitler boldly annexed nearby Austria and Murrow and Boys quickly assembled coverage with Shirer in London, Edgar Ansel Mowrer in Paris, Pierre Huss in Berlin, Frank Gervasi in Rome and Trout in New York. The News Round-Up format was born and is still ubiquitous today in broadcast news.

In 1938...the NBC Red Network first broadcast the "Woman in White", which ran for 10 years.

In 1940...WPG-AM in Atlantic City NJ consolidated with WBIL & WOV as "new" WOV.

WPG had been in operation since 1923 operating on one of the cleared national channels of the first zone on a frequency of 1100 kilocycles.

WPG in Atlantic City share time on 1100, with WBIL in NYC. The cumbersome arrangement ended in 1940 in a complicated series of events when Arde Bulova's Greater New York Broadcasting Corporation bought WPG and absorbed it into WOV, shut down both WOV and WPG on January 3, 1940 because they interferred with WBIL, asked the FCC to cancel WOV's license and move WBIL to 1130 (today is WBBR) , and immediately changed WBIL's calls to WOV, which today is WADO 1280 AM.

WPG was unique in radio. Approximately, fifteen million visitors come to the resort in a year. They are all interested in Atlantic City and it's happenings when in their homes wherever that may be. Atlantic City is an all year round resort.

WPG, due to its location on the Atlantic Seaboard, has overspill service area from Maine to Florida, daytime or night. During the winter months, when radio is at its best, we are especially strong into all of New England. and in several popularity contests for radio stations, we have finished among the first few.

Today, the WPG calls are used for branding by Townsquare Media's WPGG 1450 AM in Atlantic City, NJ.  Since October 22, 2012, the station broadcasts a talk radio format under the branding "WPG Talk Radio 1450".

In 1970...The Beatles (without John who was in Denmark on vacation) recorded "I Me Mine," the last song they recorded together under the band's name until 1995.

In 1973...The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) sold the New York Yankees to a 17-person syndicate headed by George Steinbrenner for $10 million.

In 1975...Radio announcer (hosted Saturday afternoon broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera for 43 years) Milton Cross died following a heart attack at 87.

In 1977...Apple Computers was incorporated.

In 1986...Capital Cities acquired ABC-TV for $3.5 billion. In 1991, Disney purchased Capital Cities/ABC Inc. for $19 billion.

In 1987...Aretha Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1993...Sportscaster Johnny Most, 37-year radio voice of the National Basketball Association's Boston Celtics, died following a heart attack at age 69.

In 1995...Windsor-Detroit radio-TV newsman (CKLW, WWJ, WKBD-TV)/recording artist (narrated Americans, a #1 Billboard single in 1974) Byron MacGregor died from pneumonia-related complications at 46.

Byron MacGregor
Born Gary Lachlan Mack in Calgary, Alberta, by the age of nineteen he became the youngest news director at the AM radio station, CKLW in Windsor, Ontario, which also served Detroit, Michigan as well as Toledo and Cleveland in Ohio and covered twenty eight states and six provinces. This was during its "Big 8/20·20 News" period, and also around the time RKO General was forced to sell the station, due to a change in Canadian ownership rules that prohibited foreign firms from controlling Canadian licensed stations.

In 1973, he read a Toronto newspaper editorial written by Gordon Sinclair of CFRB in Toronto, a commentary about America. MacGregor then read the patriotic commentary on CKLW Radio as part of a public affairs program; and, due to the huge response he was asked to record "The Americans" with "America the Beautiful" performed by The Detroit Symphony Orchestra as the background music. Both MacGregor and Sinclair released recorded versions of the commentary. MacGregor's version of the record (released on Westbound Records) became a bigger hit than Sinclair's in the United States, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of February 9, 1974.

MacGregor was known for his deep voice and high-energy announcing style at CKLW; and for writing copy in a manner that was compared to that of sensational tabloid newspapers.

He later made the transition to a more traditional anchoring and interviewing style when he moved to WWJ Newsradio 950, the CBS Radio all-news station in Detroit, where he served as both morning and afternoon drive anchor during his thirteen-year occupancy. MacGregor also became the first newsman in Detroit to simultaneously anchor prime-time newscasts on both radio (WWJ) and television (WKBD-TV 50).

By the mid 1980s MacGregor held dual citizenships in Canada and the United States. His wife of nineteen years, Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor. She was the first female helicopter news and traffic reporter in North America, and today works for WWJ and WOMC and the Metro News Networks.

In 2005...Adam Carolla returned to morning drive-time radio with the premiere of "The Adam Carolla Show" on several CBS Radio stations including 97.1 FREE FM in Los Angeles (KLSX-FM), KIFR-FM San Francisco, KSCF-FM San Diego, KZON-FM Phoenix, KUFO-FM Portland and KXTE-FM Las Vegas.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Tampa Radio: Bubba's Back And Beasley's Got Him

Bubba the Love Sponge Clem is expected to be returning to the Tampa airwaves on Monday at a station yet to be determined, he officially confirmed on his website.

All signs, however, point to Clem making his return when WHFS 98.7 FM, formerly known as The Fan.

Clem, who was dropped by Cox’s WHPT 102.5-FM The Bone in August, had been teasing a return to Tampa on various social media sites. But a posting on his website says his show is on a holiday break but “will return on January 5th, 2015 — which coincides with the Bubba Radio Network’s debut on a new station in the Tampa Bay market.”

WHFS 98.7 FM (50Kw) 60dBu Coverage
At the same time, WHFS — which abruptly dropped its sports format last month — recently launched a redesigned website that touts listeners to tune in on Monday for “a big announcement.”

That announcement will include the revealing of a new format. The station currently is asking listeners to vote on choices ranging from classic country, hip-hop/R&B, Christian rock, and “everything that rocks.”

In December, speculation started that Bubba’s return would be on 98.7. That station was recently purchased by the Beasley Broadcast Group and has registered such Internet domain names as and

For a time Friday Beasley, aired a simulcast of its station WRBQ 104.7 FM Q105 on 98.7 FM leading some to wonder if maybe the Classic Hits format would move to 98.7, and a new format would be launched on 104.7 FM.  However, that doesn't seem resonable, when you consider the heritage Q105 enjoys in the market.

Bubba intends to hold a press conference about the return at some point on Monday, WFLA-TV8 reported.

“Things are going to get very interesting Monday morning,” the station quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, Beasley's WHFS 1010 AM has dropped CBS Sports Radio and flipped to Business Talk, with programming from sister Business Talk WSBR 740 AM from Boca Raton, FL.

Demographics Indicate Two Americas Emerging

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The Census Bureau just released a new set of state population estimates. These estimates revealed a definite pattern: there are definitely two different regions within the United States, each with their own pattern of growth. For simplicity’s sake, B-I is calling these “America1” and “America2.” Neither is meant to be pejorative, but Business Insider thinks these labels reflect the role these regions will take in American life going forward.

For clarity’s sake, in this definition, America1 is largely made up of the Northeast, the Midwest, the Mississippi Valley, the Northern Plains and Alaska. America2 is the coastal Southeast from the Mason Dixon line south, as well as Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama, as well as Texas, much of the West and Hawaii.

According to Census data, America1 has only grown about 1.5% since 2010 (a gain of just over 2 million people), while America2 has grown nearly 5% (a gain of over 8 million people). This is due to two main factors: natural change (births minus deaths), and net migration (international immigration plus domestic migration).

Since the Census, America2’s natural population change has been twice America1’s, giving it some major demographic tailwinds. In addition, America2’s international immigration rate has been about 40% higher than America1’s since 2010. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the domestic migration rate from America1 into America2 has gained the latter region an additional 1.6 million people since 2010. This means, on a net basis, America2 has gained over 4 million people from migration since 2010, while America1 has only gained about 46,000!

Nielsen December Tune-In Growth Smaller For AC

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As 2015 begins, radio programmers across the country are starting to gauge the impact of holiday music on their airwaves, most notably those that flip from Adult Contemporary (AC) to all-Christmas formats.

This December portable people meter (PPM) survey covers a four-week period that ends the week after Thanksgiving, which means the true impact of holiday music in top markets won’t be fully evident until next month. In the meantime, Nielsen has assessed the available data to see what the impact of the annual switch to the “all Christmas” format across AC has been while judging how those changes affected other popular formats, including Country and Hot AC. Elsewhere, Urban Contemporary built on its success in November to reach some new highs in December as the classic hip-hop format continues to expand across the U.S.

But the lead story, as it is every year when the holidays roll around, is the aforementioned performance of AC stations around the annual Christmas music flip. In 2014, the December AC results mirrored those of last year, according to Nielsen. In fact, AC shares for audiences aged 6 and older were identical (8.5%) year-over-year, and the 18-34 shares this year (7.2%) were just one-tenth of a percent lower than they were last year. The 2014 results for audiences aged 25-54 (8.2%) were also identical to those we saw last year.

What’s interesting, according to Nielsen, is that the growth in AC tune-in from November to December has been getting smaller with each passing year when the format flips to holiday music. In 2011, the format grew by more than 2 points, increasing from 7.8% to 10.0%. This year, the increase was 1.5 shares, going from 7.0% to 8.5%.

Nielsen Notes December's Top Formats

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Nielsen reports December share for Country stations fall on the other side of the holiday music story, as they typically see their audiences shrink as a result of Christmas music.

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December marks the fifth consecutive month of declining shares (among listeners 6+) for Country, which posted a 7.7% this month, down from 7.9% in November. For context, the format stood at 7.8% last December. That means this year’s results to date are in line with what we saw in 2013. When the holiday book releases next month Nielsen expects to have the full picture on where Country will begin 2015 as it looks to reverse the trend of declining shares.

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Below are some additional headlines from Nielsen’s December PPM data across 45 markets using the full-week (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-midnight) daypart audience shares.
  • Urban Contemporary remained in the news, as more classic hip-hop stations came online. Thanks in no small part to that growing trend, Urban Contemporary picked up in December right where it left off last month, breaking November’s record results for listeners 6+ (3.4%) and 25-54 (3.8%) while tying the number for 18-34 year-olds (6.3%). 2014 was the most successful year for Urban Contemporary in PPM history, with the format finishing the year ranked sixth among all formats in the 18-34 demographic.
  • And not to be outdone in the record-breaking department, Hot AC also finished the year on a strong note by matching August’s record results. The format posted a 6.5%  among audiences 6+, a 7.4%  with listeners aged 18-34, and a 7%  in the 25-54 demographic. All three of those results match the all-time best numbers set earlier in the year, and give Hot AC its best year under PPM measurement, as well. It finishes the year ranked fifth overall and fourth among listeners 25-54.

Boston Radio: WRKO Numbers Slide Without Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Entercom's Talk WRKO 680 AM saw its December PPM numbers decline with the departure of longtime-Boston Talker Howie Carr.

According to The Boston Herald, the station went from a 3.5 and 3.2 rating with all listeners (6+ Share) in October and November to a 2.2 in December, the first full month without Carr. In afternoon drive, with adults 25-54, WRKO went from a 2.4 and 2.3 in October/November to a 1.2 in Dec-ember.

Carr, a Boston Herald columnist, bolted WRKO back in November to start his own syndicated afternoon-drive radio show. He picked up four new affiliates since his launch, bringing the number of stations in his network to 19.  His show now airs in the Boston metro on WMEZ 1510 AM and some 19 other New England radio affiliates.

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“It’s pretty amazing what he’s been able to pull off,” said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine. “Regional networks in talk radio are difficult to put together, so Howie Carr has achieved something pretty extraordinary. A lot of people in the 
radio industry are looking at what Howie is doing in New England and saying, ‘Hmmm ... .’”

CNN Money: Three Media Predictions for 2015

There were glaring mistakes at big publications and mergers of major companies, according to CNN Money.

However, the shake-ups in 2014 could be the beginning of large shifts for the industry in 2015.

Top10 Media stories in 2014:

Here are CNN's three media predictions for the New Year:

1. 2015 will be the biggest box office year... ever

2. Stand alone HBO GO will be the tipping point for cord cutters

3. Streaming music is the future, whether Taylor Swift likes it or not: Much was made about the spat between Taylor Swift and Spotify after the pop star pulled her music from the service in November. While other artists have avoided streaming in the past, Swift was one of the first major artists to spurn streaming music in such a big way.

As we head into 2015, she may not be the last to do so.

However, with the Billboard 200 now counting streams, YouTube creating its own music service, and only one album achieving platinum status in 2014, the music industry is clearly moving towards a streaming future.

Artists like Swift may not like that, but as media showed us in 2014 it can't stop, won't stop moving forward.

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'1989' Was 2014's Top Selling Album, Vinyl Is Bright Spot

It came down to the wire, but in the final week of 2014, Taylor Swift's 1989 finishes as the year's top selling album. After only nine weeks on sale, Swift's set stole othe title away from Walt Disney Records' Frozen soundtrack in the very last tracking frame of the year,  according to The Hollywood Reporter.

1989 -- released through Big Machine Records -- sold 3.66 million copies in 2014, according to Nielsen Music, while the Frozen album shifted 3.53 million. (Nielsen's 2014 tracking year ran from Dec. 30, 2013 through Dec. 28, 2014.)

Overall album sales continued to erode, as their volume fell by 11 percent in 2014, compared to 2013. In total, there were 257 million albums sold in the past year, versus 289.4 million in 2013.

Digital album sales also fell, for only the second time, by 9 percent (106.5 million compared to 117.6 million in the year previous). Digital album sales declined for the first time in 2013, when they were off by 1 percent.

In total, just 13 albums have sold more than a million downloads, led by Adele's21, with 3.1 million digital copies. Frozen is the fourth-biggest digital album of all time, with a total of 1.43 million downloads, while 1989 is the No. 5 seller with 1.41 million.

Vinyl album sales were a bright spot in an otherwise generally bleak sales picture, as the configuration grew by 52 percent in 2014 to 9.2 million copies (up from 6.1 million in 2013). For the seventh straight year, more vinyl albums were sold than in any other year since Nielsen started tracking music sales in 1991.

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WSJ reports streaming usage grew considerably to 164 billion songs—a 54% increase from 106 billion in 2013, the company said. That growth was strong, but the music industry may need even stronger growth in the future if streaming is to make up for continued sales declines. Using the industry’s standard conversions, counting 1,500 song streams or 10 individual song downloads as an album sale, overall music consumption didn’t change significantly from 2013 to 2014.

NJ Radio: N/T WOND-AM Increases Local News Content

For more than 30 years, people in South Jersey have received their 6 p.m. news from television’s WMGM TV40 and it has been simulcast on WOND 1400 AM licensed to Pleasantvile, NJ.

However, as of Jan. 1, that's no longer the case as WMGM TV40 has ceased broadcasting the news, according to Pinky Kravitz at

Seizing an opportunity,  News Talk WOND 1400-AM radio will continue to provide a 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekday news program. The station will also add ABC News at the bottom of each hour to complement its top-of-the-hour newscast, meaning listeners will never be more than 30 minutes away from news.

Dave Coskey, president of WOND’s parent company, Longport Media, said, “it is more important than ever for WOND to strengthen its news product and be a leader in the region and fill any voids.”

WOND 1400 AM (1Kw) Coverage, courtesy of  Radio-Locator
In addition, WOND will be adding new programming to its weekday lineup. Included among the new shows will be Off The Press, hosted by Scott Cronick of The Press of Atlantic City. It will be broadcast from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will feature Cronick and a series of reporters and editors from the region’s only daily newspaper, The Press of Atlantic City, highlighting different features each day, ranging from news and sports to features and entertainment.

Coskey said, “other stations talk about being ‘live and local,’ but at WOND we live it. Our news is produced right here, so we are able to react quickly to local breaking news. And our weather forecasts do not come from out-of-town forecasting services. Our meteorologists are located right here at Broadcast Plaza, in Linwood. That allows us to change and update quickly and provide our listeners with the most accurate and up-to-date information.”

Univision Credit Rating Upgraded, Easing Path To IPO

Univision Communications is preparing for a public offering of its shares, which would enable owners of the Spanish-language media giant to begin their long-planned exit.

According to the L-A Times, Moody's Investors Service this week issued an upgrade in the rating outlook for Univision — helping clear the way for a public offering that is expected to occur next year, according to people close to the company who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters.

The New York company's ownership group — which includes Los Angeles billionaire Haim Saban, several private equity firms and the Mexican entertainment juggernaut Grupo Televisa — has not finalized plans for an IPO.

However, several of the owners have concluded that a public offering of stock representing less than 50% of the company would be the best route to recoup some of their investment, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

The owners have been weighing a public offering in mid- to late 2015 in an effort to capitalize on the strength of the stock market and Univision's improved balance sheet. They want to sell the stock in advance of the 2016 presidential election cycle, which is expected to produce a bounty of campaign cash for Univision as politicians turn to Spanish-language media in an effort to woo Latino voters.

The media giant, which owns the fifth-largest TV network in the U.S., has long been considered a jewel on Wall Street because of the growing influence of Latinos in the U.S.

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Review: Media Stocks 2014

Four of the seven publicly traded major media conglomerates outperformed the broader markets in 2014, the exceptions being 21st Century Fox, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, as well as CBS and Viacom, each of which are controlled by Sumner Redstone.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, here are some of the winners and losers of 2014:

The Conglomerates:
  • Time Warner: 30 percent
  • Walt Disney: 25 percent
  • Sony: 18 percent
  • Comcast: 13 percent
  • 21st Century Fox: 10 percent
  • CBS: Minus 13 percent
  • Viacom Minus 13 percent

Eight Winners:
  • Electronic Arts: 105 percent
  • Take-Two Interactive Software: 61 percent
  • Facebook: 43 percent
  • Apple: 41 percent
  • Dish Network: 26 percent
  • DirecTV: 26 percent
  • Yahoo: 25 percent
  • Regal Entertainment Group: 20 percent

Eight Losers:
  • Twitter: Minus 44 percent
  • DreamWorks Animation: Minus 37 percent
  • Zynga: Minus 30 percent
  • Discovery Communications: Minus 23 percent
  • News Corp: Minus 15 percent
  • TiVo: Minus 10 percent
  • Netflix: Minus 7 percent
  • Carmike Cinemas: Minus 6 percent

Asheville Radio: Amanda Leatherman Joins WQNQ AM Show

Amanda Leatherman
iHeartMedia/Asheville announced Wednesday that Amanda Leatherman has been named morning show co-host and assistant program director for WQNQ 104.3 FM, Asheville's Hit Music.

Leatherman will join Josh Michael, program director and Morning Show Host for Top40 Star 104.3 beginning Jan.5, according to

Leatherman comes to iHeartMedia Asheville from the television world, working for networks such as ESPN and Fox Sports as a host for numerous Poker Tours throughout the country.

"I am beyond excited and honored to be chosen to co-host a top morning show and have the opportunity to entertain my new Asheville Neighbors everyday," Leatherman said in the release.

WQNQ 1043 Fm (470watts) 60dBu Coverage
"There was instant chemistry when Amanda and I met and recorded mock shows in the studio. Amanda's raw talent combined with the experience she's gained in the national TV scene will help bring Star 104.3's morning show to the next level," said Josh Michael.

Report: Hip-Hop TV Soap Targeting Radio Programmers

Empire, Fox's upcoming hip-hop soap opera, is aiming to win over radio programmers and music fans when it premieres on Jan. 7. Unlike the network's Glee, Fox's last big scripted musical, Empire will feature almost all original songs instead of covers, according to TV Guide.

"That presents a whole lot of new challenges," says Geoff Bywater, senior vice president of music at 20th Century Fox TV, which produces the show. Unfamiliar tracks can be a tough sell for audiences, says Bywater, but "one thing we really did learn on Glee, as much as we tried, is that trying to get a cover single [on the radio] is difficult. Original music will lend a stronger, credible voice to Empire."

Veteran record producer Timbaland and his team (including Raphael Saadiq) are overseeing the music on the drama, which stars Terrence Howard as hip-hop artist-turned-label mogul Lucious Lyon. While Howard will sing and rap occasionally, most of the songs are performed by series regulars Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Gray, who play Jamal and Hakeem, two of Lyon's sons battling for control of their dad's business. "They were cast for their musical ability as well as their acting ability, and we tailored the music to their strengths," says executive producer Ilene Chaiken.

And unlike Glee's recordings, which are credited to the "Glee cast," Empire's songs will be cited from the "Empire cast, featuring [the actors' real names]." (Established artists will also perform on the show, including Courtney Love, who will not play herself.)

To add some authenticity, the actors will record two versions of most tracks: One clean to air on TV, the other with explicit lyrics.

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Des Moines Radio: Larry Cotlar OUT At The Champ KBGG

Larry Cotlar
Longtime Des Moines Sports personality Larry Cotlar is no longer on The Champ KBGG 1700 AM.

Cotlar posted news of his departure Wednesday on Facebook, and also confirmed the news to The Register .

"As you may or may not have heard, 'The Zone' is no more," Cotlar wrote of his weekday afternoon program. "No longer am I with Cumulus Media and The Champ. I want to thank (radio partner) Jason Highly for his hard work on 'The Zone.' He was great to work with, and I only regret that he was cheated out of an opportunity.

"I also want to thank (program director) Robert Rees for his constant fight to keep our show on the air. He did everything he could because he believed in us where others did not."

Cotlar, who continues with his duties as the radio play-by-play voice of Drake men's basketball, has contributed to multiple Central Iowa media outlets over the years, including a morning program on KXNO 1460 AM.

He joined The Champ in 2009 and teamed with Andy Garman. Highly replaced Garman last September.

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CA Radio: Alpha Closes on Buckley Stations

Alpha Media/Portland, OR, has announced it closed on its previously announced acquisition of six radio stations from Buckley Broadcasting of California and Buckley Communications.

Included in the deal were Oldies KKBB 99.3 FM (99.3), Top40 KLLY 95.3 FM, News/Talk KNZR 1560 AM and News/Talk KNZR 97.7 FM  in Bakersfield and Top40/R KHTN 104.7 FM and Country KUBB 96.3 FM in Merced, CA.

Alpha Media adds the Buckley clusters to the eighty stations (which include 12 under LMAs) currently in the Alpha Media portfolio, bringing the total number of stations owned by Alpha Media to eighty-six. Commenting on the acquisition, Chairman Larry Wilson said, "We are privileged to buy these stations from such great operators. The Buckley clusters are a great addition to our live and local west coast footprint."

"As we close this transaction with Alpha, Buckley Broadcasting is effectively void of broadcast assets for the first time in 58 years. To all who worked for our family owned and operated business over these decades, we thank you again and wish Alpha great success in Bakersfield and Merced," commented Buckley Broadcasting and Communications President/CEO Joseph Bilotta.

Consumer Electronics Show Gets Underway

The annual tech-fest known as the Consumer Electronics Show gets underway this weekend in Las Vegas, attracting more than 160,000 folks and 3,500 exhibitors, looking to see the latest breakthroughs in tech that we'll see in stores not just this year, but in years to come.

According to USAToday, the consumer electronics industry is projected to generate $211.3 billion in 2014, up 2% from 2013, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

Expected to be highlights:
  • 4K TVs: The "ultra HD" sets have been on the market for more than two years, with high prices to reflect the extra dimension of high definition — four times that of standard HD.
  • Cutting the cord: The trend of ditching cable for app-based entertainment is here to stay. HBO says it will launch its HBO GO app in 2015 to anyone, even if you don't subscribe to cable TV. The Dish Network is expected Monday to launch an app-based way to subscribe to Dish without a satellite dish, and there will more announcements of the type at CES.
  • High-tech cars. The auto shows have become the place to sell new cars; CES is the place to show what's possible. "The decisions on car buying are increasingly based on the technology in the car," CEA CEO Gary Shapiro says. Major manufacturers like Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen will be exhibiting and showing connected car technology. It's not just entertainment, but using technology to deal with driver distractions, lane changing and the like.

Las Vegas: Personalities Flocking to CES

The 2015 International CES will feature Hollywood stars, Radio/TV personalities, professional athletes and musical icons promoting the latest innovations revolutionizing the ways consumers live, work, play, connect and access information. Owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association, the 2015 CES, the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, will run January 6-9, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Actor, entrepreneur, and radio/TV personality Nick Cannon will serve as the Ambassador for the Entertainment Matters at CES program. Entertainment Matters is a content-focused CES program developed for the film, television and digital communities.

Rapper, entrepreneur, investor and actor Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson will make an appearance and sign autographs for fans and attendees on Wednesday, January 7 from 2-3 PM at the SMS Audio booth. SMS audio combines technology, function and style to bring the highest caliber of sound, comfort and fashion to every product.

Dr. Phil McGraw, host of the number one daytime syndicated talk show, Dr. Phil, and co-founder of Doctor on Demand will speak at the Digital Health Summit on Thursday, January 8 from Noon-12:30 PM at the Venetian, Level 2, Bellini ballroom 2004. The sixth annual Digital Health Summit will focus on the latest enhancements that impact the healthcare system.

Bob Pittman, Ryan Seacrest
American radio personality, television host and producer Ryan Seacrest will headline address with Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia Inc., at C Space at ARIA, a new show location at the 2015 CES. The headliner address is scheduled for 1 PM on Wednesday, January 7 in the Pinyon 5 Ballroom at ARIA. C Space is the official destination for the marketing, advertising, content and creative communities at the 2015 CES.

Rock icon Neil Young and PonoMusic will hold a special press briefing on High Resolution Audio on Tuesday, January 6 from 3:30-4:30 PM at the Hi-Res Audio Workshop. Limited seating is available. In addition, Young will share his passion for high-res music in a SuperSession led by Rolling Stone executive editor Nathan Brackett on Wednesday, January 7 from 10:15-11:15 AM at the LVCC, room N257.

Dutch DJ and record producer Tiƫsto will host a Fireside Chat and sign autographs on at 1 PM Tuesday, January 6 at the Audiofly booth.

Star of Syfy channel’s “Ascension” and “Battlestar Galactica,” actress Tricia Helfer will be hosting an autograph session on behalf of Elektrobit (EB) Automotive on Thursday, January 8 at 1 PM on the Ford Broadcast Stage. Elektrobit Automotive enhances the in-vehicle experience with industry leading automotive software solutions and services for comfort, safety, entertainment, navigation and connected services.

Host of Howard Stern’s “The Wrap-Up Show,” Jon Hein will host the Last Gadget Standing and the Mobile Apps Showdown on Thursday, January 8 from 10:30 AM-2:00 PM.

Texas Radio: Longtime AM Host Roger Garrett Departs KORA

Roger Garrett
For many Bryan College Station, TX residents, the days have started with the sound of Roger W.W.W. Garrett's voice on his Country KORA 98.3 FM morning show.

He has used that voice and his time to make a big impact on the community, but Wednesday was his last day on-air at KORA, according to

Roger WWW Garrett has been entertaining listeners each morning on KORA for five years starting in 1987, and then for the last ten years.

Garrett started in radio more than 45 years ago. Half of that time has been here in the brazos valley on KORA or other stations, and he's hit the airwaves in Houston and California, too.

He's says it's a passion that started when he was 14 years old.  "Kept a radio in my locker and between classes, I would go to my locker and listen to as much radio as I could- right then I decided I was going to be in radio."

Garrett futures plans include online radio. "I am starting an internet radio station, it's a dream of mine and really looking forward to it, it's actually broadcast quality, radio station distributed over the internet."  He says he hopes to have his online radio station up and running by the end of January.

KORA 98.3 FM (900watts) 60dBu Coverage
John Seigler is the general manager of Brazos Valley Communications, which runs KORA. He says Garrett has a special connection with listeners.

Roger Garrett’s radio career began in 1969 at KWRD in Henderson, Texas where he was the only applicant with an FCC license, which was required in those days. What followed were stops at KEES Gladewater, Texas, KRBE Houston, KROK Shreveport, KHFI Austin, KLDE Houston, KBRE Merced, California, and KAGG, KTSR, KTAM, and KORA in Bryan-College Station.

His replacement, Bo Woods, will start January 12th, 2015.

January 2 In Radio History

Courtesy of
In 1921...KDKA 1020 AM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania broadcast the first religious program on radio. Dr. E.J. Van Etten from the Calvary Episcopal Church appeared and preached.  Two months after KDKA's first broadcast, KDKA aired the first religious service in the history of radio.

It was a remote broadcast far from a radio studio held by Westinghouse form Pittsburgh's Calvary Episcopal Church. The junior pastor, Rev. Lewis B. Whittemore, preached. After that broadcast, KDKA soon presented a regular Sunday evening service from Calvary Episcopal Church. The senior pastor, Rev. Edwin Van Ettin, become the regular speaker. The program continued until 1962.

In 1936...Bing Crosby began a 10-year tenure as host of the NBC Radio program "Kraft Music Hall."

In 1944...WABC 770 AM transmitter moved to Lodi, NJ

In 1953...After ten years on radio starring William Bendix, and a one-year television version with Jackie Gleason as the title character, "The Life of Riley" with William Bendix began a six-season run on NBC-TV.

In 1959...the CBS Radio Network discontinued the broadcast of four soap operas: "Our Gal Sunday", "This is Nora Drake", "Backstage Wife" and "Road of Life".

Courtesy of Bob Dearborn

In 1981..."Night Time America," a groundbreaking five-hour music and call-in show originating in New York City, debuted on the RKO Radio Network. Hosted by Bob Dearborn, it was the first live, daily, satellite-delivered music show in radio history. Eventually,  the program was heard on 154 affiliate radio stations throughout the U.S., from Bangor to Hilo, from West Palm Beach to Fairbanks, and in major cities including Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh, Houston, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis, San Diego, Memphis, Cincinnati, Sacramento, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, Nashville, Buffalo, and New Orleans. (Airchecks, Click Here)

In 1997...the Howard Stern Radio Show premiered in Columbus, Ohio on WBZX 99.7 FM.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Remembering The Greats We Lost During 2014

January 1 In Radio History

In 1925...Lucrezia Bori and John McCormack of New York City's Metropolitan Opera made their radio singing debuts.

In 1927...The Rose Bowl football game was aired for the first time, coast-to-coast, on network radio.

First local broadcast of the New Years Day Rose Bowl Football Game from Pasadena by KHJ, Los Angeles aired in 1923. (USC played Penn State. The broadcast of the game, which was then called the East vs West Football game.)

In 1930..."The Cuckoo Hour" was broadcast for the first time on the NBC-Blue Network (it later became the ABC Radio Network).

In 1940…Broadcasting from the Empire State Building in New York City, radio station W2XDG, the first FM station licensed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, became the first to broadcast with the new Frequency Modulation technology.

In 1941...Lorne Greene was appointed first announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's new national radio news service. Years before his emergence as Pa Cartwright on the TV western series "Bonanza," Greene's stentorian tones in nightly wartime broadcasts earned him the nickname, "The Voice of Doom."

In 1950...Twenty-six-year-old disc jockey Sam Phillips opened his Memphis Recording Service where, in July of 1953, Elvis Presley spent $3.98 to make his first recording.

In 1968...the ABC Radio Network split into 4 networks: the Information, Entertainment, Contemporary and FM networks.

ABC Radio originally began after the split of NBC Red and NBC Blue (later Blue Network) networks with ABC taking over operations from RCA in 1943 before adopting its name 2 years later.

ABC Radio was known to broadcast the first nationwide report of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was shot in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas at 18:30 UTC on November 22, 1963 and ABC Radio's Don Gardiner anchored the network's initial bulletin at 1:36:50 EST, minutes before any other radio or television network followed suit.

Despite a number of different owners (Capital Cities Communications and later Disney), the radio division remained under ABC's wing until June 12, 2007 when it was sold to Citadel Broadcasting as well as its O&O stations (not including Radio Disney and ESPN Radio nor its affiliates) in a restructuring effort. The radio division has kept the ABC name for about 2 years until Citadel renamed it Citadel Media. Then sometime in September 2011, Cumulus Media has absorbed the now-defunct Citadel Broadcasting and rebranded it to the current Cumulus Media Networks. In 2013, Cumulus Media Networks merged with Dial Global Radio Networks to form Westwood One.

ABC Radio Networks Tribute Website: Click Here

On August 7, 2014, the Walt Disney Company announced that ABC will relaunch its radio network division on January 1, 2015. When its current distribution deal with Cumulus comes to an end, ABC will revamp its radio programming services under a new deal with Skyview Networks. ABC will continue to make its radio news programming via ABC News Radio.

Alison Steele
In 1968...Alison Steele started at AOR WNEW 102.7 FM.

Steele was born in Brooklyn, New York. In the 1950s while running errands for a local television station at the beginning of her career, at the age of nineteen, she met and married orchestra leader Ted Steele, who was twenty years her senior. They eventually went their separate ways.

Steele achieved her greatest following as a disc jockey on WNEW-FM, where she hosted the night shift in a new format when contemporary rock music began to be featured on FM radio. FM stations broadcast in high fidelity and, typically, had featured classical or instrumental music in the New York market. This all changed in the 1960s when this station led the switch to FM stations for the musical preferences of the counter culture of the 1960s and 1970s. After a major change in station programming from a briefly instituted all-female middle of the road (MOR) music format to what was becoming known as progressive rock radio occurred at WNEW-FM, she took the new late night position.

Steele acknowledged that she did not know much about progressive rock when she started the program, and apparently, neither did the management of the station, but the new programming was being extended to the growing market. Steele was given complete freedom to plan and present her program. In the process, she developed her persona as The Nightbird, and acquired a massive, loyal audience. Her audience was estimated in 1971 at approximately 78,000 nightly, with the majority of listeners being men between the ages of 18 and 34.

Steele began her show by reciting poetry over Andean flute music, before introducing her show in her well-known sultry, smoky voice with,
“The flutter of wings, the shadow across the moon, the sounds of the night, as the Nightbird spreads her wings and soars, above the earth, into another level of comprehension, where we exist only to feel. Come, fly with me, Alison Steele, the Nightbird, at WNEW-FM, until dawn.”
She then made a transition to recordings of some of the more exceptional and experimental music being recorded at the time, as well as featuring the best of the familiar favorites of her audience.

Click to enlarge
Her show became an instant hit and did much to push WNEW 102.7 FM into the forefront of progressive rock radio. At one point, she also served as the music director of the station. Steele became the first woman named as Billboard Magazine FM Personality of the Year.

Steele left WNEW-FM 102.7 in 1979 and worked as a writer, producer, and correspondent for Limelight on CNN until 1985. Steele held several positions that overlapped during the decades of the 1980s and 1990s. She worked as a disc jockey on New York's WNEW from 1980–1981. She served as the announcer for the daytime soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, from 1981 to 1984, after replacing Dwight Weist; Her announcing jobs on SFT started in the final months on CBS and the first few years on NBC. In late 1984/early 1985 she left Search and was replaced by The Edge Of Night's announcer Hal Simms. For a number of years, Steele was also the "disc jockey" for the pop/rock in-flight audio entertainment channel on board Trans World Airlines.

From 1989 to 1995, she was on WXRK along with some work for VH1.

Steele died of stomach cancer on September 27, 1995, aged 58.

In 1971...the tobacco industry was banned from buying advertisements on television and radio.

In 1975...the NBC Radio Network began on-the-hour news, 24 hours-a-day.

NBC launched the NBC News and Information Service (NIS) in 1975.  It allowed local radio stations to launch all-news formats, providing affiliates with up to 55 minutes of news per hour.

NBC aired the service on its Washington station, WRC.  It also added the all-news format on its network-owned FM stations in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco.

Many stations signed on with the service, but by 1976, NBC was not sure if its network would ever become profitable.  Affiliates got a six-month notice that the service would end.  NIS closed in 1977.

In 1992...The ESPN Radio Network debuted.

Keith Olbermann
ESPN Radio launched on January 1, 1992. Keith Olbermann hosted the first program. The top story that night was that Danny Tartabull signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent.

At first, ESPN Radio broadcast only on weekends. By 1996, it expanded to weekdays with a show hosted by The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nancy Donnellan. One hour of that show was simulcast on ESPN2 (1-2 p.m. Eastern time). Two years later, Tony Bruno and Mike Golic were brought together for a new morning show, the "Bruno & Golic Morning Show" which aired until Bruno left the network in 2000. Mike Greenberg was named as Bruno's replacement, and the morning show became "Mike & Mike", which still airs today (and is also simulcast on ESPN2). In January, 2010, Mike & Mike celebrated their 10 year anniversary on ESPN Radio. Dan Patrick was a mainstay in afternoons until his departure from ESPN in 2007.

Gradually, ESPN added more dayparts and became a 24-hour service.

In 1997...EAS Rules go in effect

In 2006...former Chicago radio personality, Alan Stagg, died of complications from pneumonia.

A classic rock disc jockey with a deep, booming voice--"He had the voice of God, if God was a cowboy," said his onetime boss Bill Gamble-- Stagg was on the air in Chicago for most of the 1990s on stations that included WCKG-FM and WDRV-FM.

"Sanctuary" aired in the late 1990s on WXCD-FM, where Gamble was program director. A re-creation of the early days of FM radio, "Sanctuary" was a free-form melange of rock from the 1960s and 1970s, audio clips from movies and other sources, and Mr. Stagg's sometimes skewered take on life. Wind chimes tinkled in the background.

Alan Stagg
"He did radio like actors do theater; it wasn't just time and temp," said Gamble, now program director at 92.5 "The Wolf" in Denver. "He created theater of the mind."

The show later migrated to WCKG-FM, where Mr. Stagg was hired by former station executive Jeff Schwartz.

"To me, `Sanctuary' is exactly what radio is all about," said Schwartz, now a radio and media consultant. "It was like the hippier version of [former Chicago rock jock] Ron Britain's `Subterranean Circus.'"

Allan Stagg was the longest-running of several names Mr. Stagg used professionally, but he also used the name in everyday life, his wife said. Born Juris H. Josts, Mr. Stagg grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., and started as an intern at a local radio station while in high school.

He knew he wanted to get into radio ever since having listened to the far-reaching signal of Chicago's WLS-AM as a boy. "He loved Dick Biondi," his wife said.