Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 26 In Radio History

In 1921…WEW in St. Louis was the first radio station to broadcast weather news and forecasts.

Saint Louis University established the station 9YK around 1912, using Morse code to communicate seismological and weather information. Brother George E. Rueppel, assistant director of the Meteorological Observatory at SLU, worked with 9YK before he founded WEW in 1921.  Audio transmissions began at 10:05 a.m. on April 26, 1921; the first voice heard was SLU president Rev. William Robison. The station received radio license #560 to broadcast on 618.6 kHz (wavelength 485 meters) as WEW on 23 March 1922.

In 1924...WHO Des Moines began broadcasting.

The actual on-air start date is in dispute.   A WHO memo from June 14, 1951 states that the first broadcast was on April 10, 1924; this is contradicted by Barry Mishkind Database which states that the First Broadcast License was effective on April 10, 1924 (the FCC's records indicate that the license took effect on April 15, 1924) with the first broadcast on April 26, 1924.

In any event, the station was originally owned by Bankers Life, which is now the Principal Financial Group.

After the FRC's General Order 40 reallocated frequencies in 1928, WHO (We Help Others) ended up sharing time on the same frequency with WOC in Davenport. In 1930, B. J. Palmer, owner of WOC, bought WHO, and the two stations operated together as WOC-WHO until a new 50,000-watt transmitter near Mitchellville began operating on November 11, 1933. (WOC ceased broadcasting that day but returned on another frequency a year later.)

WHO moved from 1000 AM to the current 1040 AM on March 29, 1941, as a result of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement. Today WHO is one of only two 50,000-watt AM radio stations in Iowa (KXEL in Waterloo is the other, however, it is not on a "1928 Band Plan" clear channel like WHO, but is on a NARBA band plan clear channel, dually allocated to The Bahamas (Class I-A) and to Waterloo, IA (Class I-B)), though WHO's signal is non-directional and KXEL's is directional, as are most, but not all Class I-Bs.

Ronald Reagan
WHO was owned by the Palmer family until Jacor Broadcasting purchased the station in 1997; Jacor merged with Clear Channel Communications a year later. WHO and the other Clear Channel radio stations in Des Moines (KDRB, KPTL, KKDM, and KXNO) continued to share a building with WHO-TV until they moved into a new facility in 2005.

For many years, WHO has used an owl as its mascot—an apparent play on its call letters.

United States President Ronald Reagan worked as a sportscaster with WHO from 1932 to 1937. Among his duties were re-creations of Chicago Cubs baseball games as did many radio stations in those days when sports networks had not yet become widespread.

Broadcasting ad 1960

In 1976…CBS Radio newsman Allan Jackson died at the age of 60.

In 1995...Bob Dayton - NYC Radio personality WABC, WPIX FM, WCBS FM died.

Hired from WIL in St. Louis where he had worked under the air name of "Rockin' Robin Scott", Bob arrived at WABC in 1963. According to the tribute website, He was known for his acerbic wit which ultimately resulted in his firing on August 6, 1965 after his "Happy Birthday Hiroshima" introduction to the Crests "16 Candles".

Dayton might have gotten away with that comment had not the wife of ABC Chairman Leonard Goldenson been listening while she was in her office receiving the "Hiroshima Maidens" who were ladies horribly burned in the bombing. She was furious and that was it for Bob Dayton on WABC; he was fired immediately after his show that day.

He shifted to Los Angeles' KBLA. Bob later returned to New York and worked at two New York radio stations; WPIX-FM and WCBS-FM.

In an ironic twist, Bob was supposed to be part of ABC's "SuperRadio" satellite format which was initiated by Rick Sklar. However, SuperRadio never debuted so, unfortunately, Bob was never reunited with his old WABC boss.

In 2012...Pete Fornatale, WNEW FM, WXRK died

He is considered a "pioneer of FM rock," who played an important role in the progressive rock era of FM broadcasting. He was the first person to host a rock music show on New York City's FM band, commencing November 21, 1964 on WFUV. By broadcasting progressive rock and long album tracks, he was noted for introducing a musical alternative to Top 40 AM radio in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Billboard called his station "a legend, affecting and inspiring people throughout the industry."

He gave early exposure to country-rock bands like Buffalo Springfield and Poco, and did one of the first American interviews with Elton John.  In 1991 he was co-host of "Paul Simon Live in Central Park" and was often called to be an expert guest commentator on PBS specials, including those featuring Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Roy Orbison, Peter, Paul and Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor and others.

He had suffered a brain hemorrhage April 15, 2012

In 2014…Pro wrestling ring announcer/radio newsman (KABC-Los Angeles, KHJ-Los Angeles, WOR-New York, KCBQ-San Diego, CKLW-Windsor-Detroit, KRIZ-Phoenix) Lee Marshall, the voice of "Tony the Tiger" for Frosted Flakes since 2005 when he replaced the late Thurl Ravenscroft, died of cancer at 67.

Reports: NBC Inquiry of Brian Williams Is Said to Expand

An NBC News internal investigation into Brian Williams has examined a half-dozen instances in which he is thought to have fabricated, misrepresented or embellished his accounts, two people with inside knowledge of the investigation told The NY Times.

The investigation includes at least one episode that was previously unreported, these people said, involving statements by Mr. Williams about events from Tahrir Square in Cairo during the Arab Spring.

The investigation, conducted by at least five NBC journalists, was commissioned early this year after Mr. Williams was forced to apologize for embellishing an account of a helicopter episode in Iraq in 2003. He was subsequently suspended for six months from his anchor position on the “NBC Nightly News.” The inquiry is being led by Richard Esposito, the senior executive producer for investigations, for the news division.

The review of the 55-year-old Williams’ reporting is not finished and no final conclusions have been reached. When completed, it is expected to form the basis for a decision on whether to bring him back. It is not clear when that decision will be made.

The Washington Post reports NBC executives met in a conference room Thursday morning at the network’s Rockefeller Center headquarters for a briefing about the investigation. The meeting included the three executives likely to determine Williams’ fate at the network: NBC Universal chief executive Steve Burke, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack and NBC News president Deborah Turness.

April 25 In Radio History

In 1874...Guglielmo Marconi was born in Bologna, Italy.

His father was a wealthy landowner and his mother was a member of Ireland’s Jameson family of distillers. Marconi was educated by tutors and at the Livorno Technical Institute and the University of Bologna.

Marconi 1901
In 1894 Marconi became fascinated with the discovery by German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz of “invisible waves” generated by electromagnetic interactions. Marconi built his own wave-generating equipment at his family’s estate and was soon sending signals to locations a mile away. After failing to interest the Italian government in his work, Marconi decided to try his luck in London.

The 22-year-old Marconi and his mother arrived in England in 1896 and quickly found interested backers, including the British Post Office. Within a year Marconi was broadcasting up to 12 miles and had applied for his first patents. A year later, he set up a wireless station on the Isle of Wight that allowed Queen Victoria to send messages to her son Prince Edward aboard the royal yacht.

By 1899 Marconi’s signals had crossed the English Channel. The same year, Marconi traveled to the United States, where he gained publicity offering wireless coverage of the America’s Cup yacht race from off the coast of New Jersey.

Marconi joined the Italian Fascist party in 1923. In 1930, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini appointed him President of the Royal Academy of Italy, which made Marconi a member of the Fascist Grand Council.

Marconi died in Rome on 20 July 1937 at age 63, following a series of heart attacks, and Italy held a state funeral for him. As a tribute, all radio stations throughout the world observed two minutes of silence on the next day.  His remains are housed in the Villa Griffone at Sasso Marconi, Emilia-Romagna, which assumed that name in his honour in 1938.

In 1943, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision on Marconi's radio patents restoring some of the prior patents of Oliver Lodge, John Stone Stone, and Nikola Tesla.  The decision was not about Marconi's original radio patents and the court declared that their decision had no bearing on Marconi's claim as the first to achieve radio transmission, just that since Marconi's claim to certain patents were questionable, he could not claim infringement on those same patents.

In 1908...Iconic radio and TV newsman Edward R. Murrow was born. He died April 27, 1965 at 57

In 1949…An article in LOOK magazine predicted that radio was doomed and that within three years TV would overshadow radio completely.

In 1956...Elvis Presley scored his first Number One hit with "Heartbreak Hotel."

Friday, April 24, 2015

Comcast CEO: "Today, We Move On"

Brian Roberts
After months of fighting the headwinds of fierce opposition, Comcast has bowed to the inevitable and withdrawn its $45.2 billion merger agreement with Time Warner Cable, according to Variety.

“Today, we move on,” Comcast chairman-CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement Friday. “Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away.

Comcast’s retreat on Time Warner Cable will have ripple effects across the landscape of cable and broadband providers.

Charter Communications had struck a complicated agreement with Comcast to acquire 3.9 million subscribers as a result of divestitures that Comcast and Time Warner Cable planned in order to make the deal more palatable to regulators. Charter cut the deal as a consolation prize after being outmaneuvered in the bidding for TW Cable in early 2014.

More recently, Charter struck another cable acquisition deal, for Bright House Networks, that was contingent on Comcast and TW Cable tying the knot. Bright House has long been managed by TW Cable, an arrangement that would have ended if the Comcast deal had closed.

Wall Street analysts say Charter, in which cable mogul John Malone has a 25% interest, will be in a stronger position to make another run at TW Cable because its stock price is up and operations have strengthened. TW Cable resisted the unsolicited bid that Charter launched in mid-2013, calling it “grossly inadequate.”

Read More Now

Comcast, Time-Warner Merger Is Off

Comcast is walking away from its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable after regulators decided that the deal wouldn’t help consumers, making approval unlikely. Bloomberg's Scarlet Fu, Alex Sherman and Cory Johnson have more on "Street Smart."

When it was announced a little more than a year ago, it felt to many like a sure thing.

After all, according to an analysis story in today's NY Times, government regulators had approved Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011. Comcast had an army of registered lobbyists, more than 100 strong, in Washington alone. The company’s chief executive, Brian L. Roberts, golfed on Martha’s Vineyard with President Obama. Its executive vice president, David L. Cohen, hosted three fund-raisers for Mr. Obama, two at his home in Philadelphia, raising a total of more than $10 million.

But now the $45 billion Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is dead. Comcast is folding, in anticipation of regulators rejecting the deal.

The news, which broke on Thursday afternoon, was certainly dramatic. But the air of inevitability that once hung over the deal had been dissipating for months, as the debate over net neutrality — in short, the question of whether Internet providers should be allowed to charge content providers for speedier service — played out in Washington. And a merger that had at first seemed to be primarily about cable television turned into something much different.

The government’s verdict on the merger and its stance on net neutrality were separate issues, but they were very much intertwined. At the end of the day, the government’s commitment to maintaining a free and open Internet did not square with the prospect of a single company controlling as much as 40 percent of the public’s access to it.

Read More Now

NYC Radio: Curtis Sliwa Gets Raunchy Over NYC Pol

Talk Radio WABC 770 AM's Curtis Sliwa has stepped in it..again.

The NY Daily News is reporting a 'slobbering' Curtis Sliwa went from rude to raunchy Thursday when he exposed his lurid thoughts onn-air about NY City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

The Guardian Angels founder said he’s fantasized about having sex with her.

Sliwa, 61, speaking on his “Curtis & Kuby” radio show Thursday, recalled how “drop-dead gorgeous she looked in the red dress” Mark-Viverito, 46, wore at the State of the City speech in February.

He also insinuated that the feeling was mutual and knocked Mark-Viverito (who is single) for wearing "plain" clothes that didn’t do justice to her “stunning” appearance.

“I had an attraction to her, and I have felt some sexual tension when I have been in her presence,” the twice-divorced Sliwa told co-host Ron Kuby.

“I have not had sex with that woman,” said Sliwa. “I have thought about it. But I have never, never engaged her.”

He did claim to have had sex with other members of the City Council.

“Three so far,” he boasted.

Read More Now

Tri Cities Radio: WKOS Flips From NASH Country To NASH Icon

Cumulus Media announces that radio station WKOS 104.9 FM in Tri-Cities, TN (Johnson City-Bristol-Kingsport) launched this week as the all-new NASH Icon station, 104.9 NASH Icon.

WKOS was previously programmed as NASH FM 104.9.

Program Director J.B. Stone will continue to program WKOS. Nash Icon is a new format playing the best Country hits from Country music’s most iconic artists, driven by Country music fans’ desire for more exposure to their all-time favorite artists from 1980 through today. 104.9 NASH Icon features artists from Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts and the Dixie Chicks to Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride and Kenny Chesney.

The new weekday on-air line-up for 104.9 NASH Icon includes:
  • Kim Stewart, Midnight-5:00 a.m.
  • Marty McFly, 5:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
  • Lisa Manning, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  • Scott Gains, 2:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
  • Darlas Rai, 7:00 p.m.-Midnight
Greg Frey, Corporate Program Director for Cumulus said: “NASH Icon continues to grow as an extension of our NASH Country music brand. We’re excited to bring this unique Country listening experience to the Tri-Cities on 104.9 NASH Icon.”

WKOS 104.9 FM (2.75 Kw) Red=60dBu Local Coverage Area
104.9 NASH Icon provides advertisers the opportunity to engage with the passionate Country fan base across a multi-media platform that spans radio, television, digital, magazine and live events. NASH Icon is based at the NASH Campus in Nashville, the nation's only multi-media facility devoted solely to producing and distributing content based on the Country music lifestyle. The NASH Campus features three studios designed for a combination of TV and radio programming, indoor and outdoor event space, a print newsroom and extensive office space.

Pandora Claims Ten Percent Listening Share

  • User engagement reaches an alltime high of 22.3 hours per active user per month
  • Total revenue was $230.8 million, growing 19% year-over-year on a GAAP basis and 28% on a non-GAAP basis
  • Advertising revenue was $178.7 million, growing 27% year-over-year
  • Local advertising revenue was $43.3 million, growing 67% year-over-year
  • Total listener hours were 5.30 billion, growing 11% year-over-year
Brian McAndrews
"Weve been actively investing in every part of our business - from the music we play, to the ad technology and music maker products we offer. This quarters results are a reflection of those investments paying off," stated Brian McAndrews chairman, president and CEO of Pandora.

"In a time when listeners and brand partners have more choices than ever, listener hours grew, local advertisers increased their spending with us and we continued to advance our lead in digital audio by generating more demand and strong sell through.

Listener Hours:
  • Total listener hours grew 11% to 5.30 billion for the first quarter of 2015, compared to 4.80 billion for the same period last year.
  • Active Listeners: Active listeners were 79.2 million at the end of the first quarter of 2015, compared to 75.3 million from the same period last year.
"Our focus on growing engagement and loyalty continues to payoff reinforcing Pandora’s position as the clear leader in internet radio and is growing force in radio overall. By our estimate, and the first time ever, Pandora’s share is now 10% of all U.S. ratio listening as of March 25, 2015 up from 9.1% in March 2014," according to McAndrews.

Most listening is to Pandora’s ad-supported free tier, but the company reports now having close to 3.8 million paying subscribers.

The company has added more than 90 reps in recent months and its sales ranks total about 430. That includes 138 reps focused on local sales across 37 cities. That compares to 194 software engineers on staff.

“We’re adding salespeople, not just doubling down in markets that are successful, but also adding specialty vertical experts in those markets,” McAndrews said.

Just how big Pandora’s salesforce will become isn’t certain, but he said the typical big radio company has 1,300 to 1,800 reps. “We generally feel like we can cover the major markets and a majority of the opportunity with half, if not fewer salespeople than that,” he said.

Pandora’s first quarter advertising revenue rose 27% to $178.7 million. McAndrews noted that 24% of the company’s total revenue now comes from local markets, totaling $43 million. Even so, the company reported a $48 million loss during the quarter.

SiriusXM Launches New Mobile App, Player

SiriusXM Thursday announced the launch of its next generation of streaming services with an updated app that allows subscribers to stay connected to their favorite SiriusXM programming on the go beyond the car.

The new SiriusXM app has been rebuilt from the ground up and offers subscribers an enhanced and personalized user experience via iPhone, Android smartphones, and other connected devices, as well as online at

The streaming service immerses subscribers in the world of SiriusXM with a refreshed look that puts them in control of their listening experience, a new Search feature making  it easier than ever for listeners to get to the content they want On Demand, improved navigation that streamlines how listeners get to their customized channels, enhanced Social features, better personalized recommendations of channels, shows and content available to each listener, and improved speed and overall performance in low-bandwidth areas.  SiriusXM has also redesigned its app and online media player with a flexible architecture for new features and capabilities to be easily added through future updates.

"It's now easier and better than ever to listen to our curated and exclusive content on just about any mobile device on the go and online at home or at work.  We are thrilled by how enthusiastically our subscribers have embraced the new features that give them more control of when and where they listen to the content they love," said Enrique Rodriguez, Executive Vice President Operations, Products and Connected Vehicles Services, SiriusXM. "This reengineering and redesign inspires subscribers to search and discover even more of the content they enjoy, and allows a deeper engagement with their favorite SiriusXM shows and hosts on social media, all right in the app."

SiriusXM will also give listeners customized recommendations created from the channels, shows, and On Demand content they are listening to so they can get even more of the music, sports, comedy, news, talk and entertainment shows they love and discover even more content to enjoy on SiriusXM.

Listeners can now see what's happening on the Facebook and Twitter social media feeds of their favorite SiriusXM hosts and shows and reply, retweet, or comment right in the app. SiriusXM listeners can also tap the Custom Mix button and with a simple move of channel sliders customize and fine tune their favorite music and comedy channels by creating over 100 variations of each of more than 70 channels by adjusting unique characteristics like library depth, familiarity, music style, tempo, region, and multiple other channel-specific attributes.

SiriusXM App also gives listeners:
  • Device Sync lets subscribers automatically keep all favorite channels and channel settings in sync across all compatible devices.
  • Access favorite channels, shows, and more all in one place.
  • Set notifications and track favorite shows and never miss a 'can't miss' moment.
  • Login with a streamlined new interface.
  • Improved interface for subscribers to register new and used car trials for streaming access, add a streaming trial to their satellite radio subscription, and recover usernames and reset passwords, all directly through the app and online.

Artists' Performance Pay Bill Re-Introduced

Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) have reintroduced the Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act, a bill that is now a one-two punch aimed at broadcasters, according to Broadcasting&Cable.

The bill would stipulate that owners of both TV and radio stations could not seek retrans payments for their TV stations unless those co-owned radio stations paid a performance fee for music airplay.

The National Association of Broadcasters has been fighting congressional efforts, backed by record labels and artists, to legislate a performance royalty payment. Blackburn, who counts Nashville musicians among her constituents, has been a leading proponent of the payments and of legislation.

Broadcasters argue they already compensate artists through airplay that drives sales of their songs.

The second blow to broadcaster interests is an add-on to the bill that would prohibit the FCC from mandating radio chips in mobile devices. Broadcasters have been pushing for making those mobile devices broadcast receivers as well, given that many already have the chip but don't have it activated.

“Broadcasters have repeatedly told us that retransmission consent payments are fair because cable and satellite stations make millions by retransmitting local broadcast content. However, when it comes to music, the same broadcasters, many who own both TV and radio stations, sing a completely different tune,” Blackburn said. “Our legislation seeks to modernize outdated law and put an end to a loophole that allows AM/FM radio to avoid paying musicians for their creative work."

Read More Now

NAB Opposes ReTrans Consent Bill

In response to the introduction of legislation Thursday by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) that would block a broadcast television station from receiving retransmission consent payments if its parent company also owns a radio station that does not pay a performance royalty, the following statement was released by NAB Executive VP/Communications Dennis Wharton:

Dennis Wharton
"NAB respectfully opposes the legislation introduced today by Reps. Blackburn and Eshoo. This bill devalues the indispensable role that hometown broadcasters play in communities across America. We thank the 166 Representatives and 13 Senators who have co-sponsored the Local Radio Freedom Act and look forward to gaining more support for a resolution that recognizes the enormous promotional value radio airplay provides record labels and musicians."
The Blackburn/Eshoo bill would also bar federally mandated FM chips in cellphones.

NAB has said repeatedly that our organization does not support mandated FM chips in cellphones. However, we believe wireless carriers should voluntarily activate FM chips that are already in these phones. "For public safety reasons alone, FM chips already in cellphones should be turned on," said Wharton.

NAB noted that FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has praised the lifeline role played by local broadcasters in times of crisis, and encouraged wireless carriers to activate FM chips in cellphones.

Meanwhile, musicFIRST COALITION Exec. Dir. TED KALO issued the following statement:

“The ‘Fair Play Fair Pay Act’ and the ‘Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act’ both show that Congress is waking up to the Broadcasters’ games. How can they justify demanding billion dollar payments for their TV programming when they refuse to pay a cent for music on the radio musicFIRST applauds Representatives Blackburn and Eshoo for introducing this legislation.”

Additional information from musicFIRST on this important legislation can be found here.

Report: NBC D-C Strongly Opposed Williams' Return

Brian Williams
Journalists in NBC News’s Washington bureau expressed strong opposition to the potential return of suspended anchorman Brian Williams during a contentious meeting with the head of the network’s news division in February, accord to media writer Paul Farhi at The Washington Post.

In a sometimes angry series of comments, the journalists told NBC News President Deborah Turness in the private meeting in Washington that Williams’s embellished statements about his reporting exploits had damaged NBC’s credibility and that he should not be permitted to return to the anchor chair.

The bureau staff offered a strong rebuke of Williams, whose troubles were still fresh in the news at the time. Among those who spoke against him were two of the network’s on-air correspondents, attendees said.

NBC’s Washington news bureau is a critical player in the production of “Nightly News.” Its reporters and producers staff beats that generate the bulk of the stories on the newscast, such as the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, the State Department and the Pentagon. The bureau also produces “Meet the Press” on Sundays and NBC’s political and election-night coverage, which Williams traditionally has anchored.

As such, the bureau must work in close concert with Williams and the program’s New York-based producers. In addition to anchoring the program, Williams was its managing editor, which gave him the authority to decide which stories got on the air.

NBC employees in New York, however, caution that the meeting took place during a period of peak stress for the division and that some of the more extreme sentiments may have calmed down in the weeks since then.

Read More Now

RTDNA Announces Regional Murrow Award Winners

The Radio TV Digital News Association (RTDNA) has announced the 2015 regional winners of the Edward R. Murrow Awards.

The awards recognize the best electronic journalism produced by radio, television and online news organizations around the world.

This year, RTDNA awarded 673 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in 14 categories, including Overall Excellence, Breaking News, Investigative Reporting, and Website.


"When newsrooms do outstanding work to inform their audience and serve their community, it should be celebrated," said RTDNA Chair Amy Tardif. "Being recognized with one of journalism's most prestigious awards is one way to showcase their commitment to excellence."

"At a time when news reaches people in so many ways, these awards become even more meaningful," added RTDNA Executive Director Mike Cavender. "It is a tangible reminder of the high quality local journalism being done across the country."

RTDNA received more than 4,200 entries during the 2015 awards season, setting an all-time record for the third year in a row.
  • In the large market television category, KING-TV in Seattle led the way with an unrivaled ten Murrows this year.  Among other categories, they took home awards in Overall Excellence, Breaking News and Investigative Reporting.
  • WVUE-TV in New Orleans and WBBH-TV in Fort Myers, Florida each took home seven Murrows, the most in the small market television category. This included wins in the Overall Excellence and Newscast categories for both stations.
  • Four large market radio stations won six Murrows each this year: KERA-FM in Dallas, KIRO-FM in Seattle, WUNC-FM in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and KWMU-FM in St. Louis.
  • In the small market radio category, one station led the way with eight Murrows this year: KRTS-FM in Marfa, Texas.
Regional winners automatically advance to the national Edward R. Murrow Awards competition, which will be judged in May. National awards, including those for network news organizations, will be presented at the RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala at Gotham Hall in New York City on October 12.

Miami Radio: No Charges In Fatal Boating Accident

WFLC 97.3 FM radio personality Lazaro “DJ Laz” Mendez will not be charged by prosecutors for his involvement in Key Biscayne boating accident that killed a man, according to CBS4 Miami.
The accident happened on May 11th, 2014, when Mendez’s boat got trapped on a sandbar.

Several people were helping to push the boat off the sandbar at Nixon Beach when 23-year old Ernesto Hernandez pitched in to help.

As everyone pushed, Hernandez was fatally slashed by the engine’s propellers.

The medical examiner listed his cause of death as “multiple chop wounds.”

Investigators worked to determine if alcohol, carelessness or recklessness played a role. But investigators at the scene reportedly observed “no blood shot eyes, slurred speech or unsteady movement” from Mendez.

Mendez, in a statement Thursday, said, “My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the Hernandez family as they continue to heal from the loss of Ernesto from the sad, tragic day.”

Milwaukee Radio: WKLH Re-Brands As "Hometown Rock"

The evolution of classic rock continues on Thursday asSaga Communication's  WKLH 96.5 FM has re-branded as Milwaukee’s “Hometown Rock.”

Bob Bellini, Brand Manager, said, “Our great, vast body of rock music is simply evolving with our listeners’ preferences. The center of gravity of WKLH’s brand of rock has been shifting from the mid to late 70’s into the 80’s, and this is a continuation of that shift. While “Hometown” does reflect the classic rock especially popular among Milwaukeeans, it’s much more than that. Milwaukee has a gritty, determined personality, home to so many iconic brands, and a lot of pride in that history.

WKLH 96.5 FM (20 Kw) Red=60dBu Local Coverage Area
“Hometown Rock” simply reflects the enthusiasm for our city that we have experienced with our listeners throughout the years”. Milwaukee Radio Group VP/GM Annmarie Topel commented,

“Milwaukee has so many signature products and brands—brands people love and are loyal to. But even popular brands have to reinvent themselves and respond to consumer preferences. WKLH is now brighter, richer, fresher and has more tempo.”

MA Radio: K-Zone Media To Acquire WPKZ

K-Zone Media Group LLC has reached an agreement with Central Broadcasting Inc. to buy all licenses and operating assets associated with the broadcast and programming activities of WPKZ 1280 AM and W287BT 105.3 FM in Fitchburg/Leominster.

The sale price was not disclosed.

W287BT 105.3 FM (150 watts)
The sale is pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission and is expected to be completed later this year. The stations are being sold by William Macek of Central Broadcasting Inc.

WPKZ radio features local news and talk in the morning, local broadcasts of Leominster High School Blue Devil football, play-by-play broadcasts of the four major New England professional sports, BC Eagles football and a full complement of some of the most listened to national talk shows.

"I am committed to providing listeners and businesses with a vehicle that reflects the unique nature of this region. Listeners in the North Central region embrace the news, sports and talk that make this a special place to live and do business."

Report: Jay Z' Tidal Streaming Service Is A Flop

It looks like Tidal, the new music streaming service from Jay Z, is a high-profile flop, having fallen down below Number 650 on the App Store's U.S. app charts less than a month after launching, and Slate says it shows that people really don't care about artists, especially if those artists have a lot of money.

The stated goal of Tidal was to compensate musicians more fairly than Spotify, although not much information was given about how that would work.

It was introduced in a splashy ceremony at which Jay Z was joined by a lot of other big-name musicians, including Kanye West, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Jack White, Madonna and Daft Punk, which drew criticism from a lot of people who said rich musicians whining about not being paid wasn't a good look.

"I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid," Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard said in a recent interview with The Daily Beast. "That’s why this thing is going to fail miserably."

Beyond that, it looks like people just aren't interested in paying more for music -- Tidal costs $9.99 for a basic package with no free, ad-supported tier -- if they don't have to.

Slate writes: "The past 15 years of revealed preferences tell us that most people just want cheap access to as much music as possible," and cites respected industry analyst Bob Lefsetz, who said that people, quote, "love their money more than their favorite artists, never forget it."

NYC Radio: Teacher Wins WFAN Fantasy Phenom

West Essex High School (North Caldwell NJ)  Teacher Pat McGlynn was named WFAN Fantasy Phenom for 2015.

Next, McGlynn will host his own radio show for one year on Saturdays from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. on WFAN or 101.9 FM/660 AM and will also receive a full scholarship to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in Hackensack.

McGlynn has entered this contest for the past two years, but only made it to the semi-finals prior. This year, he made it to the finals and won after receiving the most votes out of 200-240 entrees. McGlynn has been a sports announcer for West Essex, but has not done any other broadcasting. He said he plans to take everything he learns from the broadcasting school and bring it back to West Essex.

"I am still in shock that I won," McGlynn said. "I have entered the contest three times and this is the first year I made it to the finals. Getting to meet the people who I listen to on the radio every day, for almost 25 years, was such a great experience. Actually, winning the contest and having my own show on WFAN-it's a dream come true.”

April 24 In Radio History

In 1949…Dick Powell began a four-year run as "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" on NBC Radio. In the late 1950s, Powell's company, Four Star Television, produced a TV version of the series starring David Janssen. His secretary, Sam, was shown only from the waist down to display her beautiful legs. Initially, those were the legs of budding actress Mary Tyler Moore, but later, the legs of other actresses were shown.

In 1953...Eric Bogosian was born in Woburn, Massachusetts. Bogosian is best known for his starring role in the movie, Talk Radio.

In 1959…After 24 years of Saturday nights on radio and nine years on television, the final installment of the musical countdown show "Your Hit Parade" was presented on NBC-TV.

The final Top Five: Elvis Presley, "I Need Your Love Tonight" (#5), Brook Benton, "It's Just A Matter Of Time" (#4), Ricky Nelson, "Never Be Anyone Else But You" (#3), Dodie Stevens, "Pink Shoe Laces" (#2), and the Fleetwoods at #1 with "Come Softly To Me."

In 1972…John Lennon's controversial single, "Woman Is the N#gger of the World" was released in the U.S. The song reached #57 on the Billboard Hot 100, even though only two major radio stations – KDAY in Los Angeles and WCFL in Chicago – aired it. Yoko Ono originally uttered the phrase during a magazine interview in 1967 and John explained that he was making a point that women deserved higher status in society.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

S-F Radio: CBS Radio Names Jack Swanson To Lead KCBS

Jack Swanson
Jack Swanson has been appointed Director of News and Programming for All News KCBS 740AM / 106.9FM, it was announced today by Doug Harvill, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, CBS RADIO San Francisco.

The appointment is effective April 24, 2015.

“Jack has a distinguished track record of leading iconic radio stations,” said Harvill.  “He’s a terrific leader with a deep understanding of how a market leading station such as KCBS can be a trusted and active member of its community.”

Swanson began his radio career as a news anchor/reporter for WLS Radio (Chicago) before becoming the News and Program Director for KGO Radio (San Francisco).

Next, he was President and General Manager for KING-FM in Seattle and returned to KGO/KSFO as the Vice President of Programming before joining KCBS in 2015 as Director of News and Programming.

He is the recipient of numerous awards including the best radio Program Director in America and the best news talk PD for four years and the best programmer for three years by Radio Ink and Radio & Records respectively.

"Being asked to lead one of the best news teams in the country is one of those rare situations that don't present themselves often. I'm looking forward to contributing to the amazing growth of this legendary station in the years ahead,” added Swanson.

Houston Radio: Vet Charese Fruge New OM For CBS Radio

Charese Fruge
Charese Fruge has been named Vice President of Programming and Operations Manager for CBS RADIO's six stations in the Houston market, it was announced today by Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, CBS RADIO Houston.

Fruge comes to Houston from CBS RADIO Las Vegas, where she served as Vice President of Programming for the market.  In this new role, she will oversee programming for MIX 96.5 KHMX 96.5 FM, CBS Sports Radio KIKK-AM), SportsRadio 610 KILT 610 AM, Country KILT 100.3 FM The Bull, HOT KKHH 95.7 FM and MEGA 101 KLOL-FM.

The appointment is effective as of Monday, May 4.  Additionally, Fruge will serve as Program Director for music stations, MIX 96.5 and HOT 95-7.

“Charese is a talented programmer and leader,” said Frazier.  “Her longstanding relationships in the music industry, passion for radio, and ability to create special experiences for the listener are an integral part of why she’s such a great fit for Houston.  We are thrilled to have her join the Houston team, as we continue to grow and build upon our brands under her guidance.”

“This role is the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to finally be back in the South,” said Fruge.  “I’m honored, and looking forward to working with Bruce Logan and the Houston team to help take these amazing brands to the next level. I have made lifelong friends and memories in Las Vegas and appreciate them always making me look good.”

Fruge has spent more than 20 years in radio both on-air and in programming with various stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Denver, San Diego, and New Orleans.  She was in Las Vegas with CBS RADIO collectively for more than 10 years and is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.  The Southwest Louisiana native has collected numerous programming awards and women’s leadership awards, including Radio Ink’s Most Influential Women in Radio for 2012 and 2013.

Las Vegas Radio: CBS Promotes Thomas, Bernard, Campbell

Cat Thomas
Cat Thomas has been named VP/Programming for CBS RADIO Las Vegas, it was announced today by Jerry McKenna, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, CBS RADIO Las Vegas. Thomas takes on the lead programming role, overseeing KLUC 98.5 FM, KMXB 94.1 FM, KXTE 107.5 FM, NewsRadio KXNT 100.5 FM / 840 AM and CBS Sports Radio KXST 1140 AM.

The appointment is effective on Monday, May 4.

Thomas will continue to serve as the day-to-day programmer for X107.5, NewsRadio 100.5 FM and 840 AM, and CBS Sports Radio 1140 AM.

“Cat Thomas is a veteran programming executive whose experience in this market is unmatched,” said McKenna. “He has successfully programmed 98.5 KLUC for the better part of two decades and most recently, has been the driving force behind the success of our spoken word brands.  Our stations are in very capable hands.”

John Bernard
Added Thomas, “This is a dream come true. We have the biggest brands in the market and I have loved this group since we put these stations together in 1996.  None of this would be possible without the passion of our staffs.  As the great Woody Hayes said, ‘You Win With People!’ and we have great people from top to bottom.”

Thomas succeeds Charese Fruge who has been named Vice President of Programming and Operations Manager of CBS RADIO Houston.

In a related announcement, John Bernard (J.B. King) has been promoted from Assistant Program Director to Program Director of 98.5 KLUC and Jonathan Campbell (J.Love) has been elevated from Assistant Program Director and Music Director of Mix 94.1 to Program Director of the station.

J-B King
Thomas has spent more than 30 years both on-air and in programming, starting his career on WNHS, his high school radio station at Northland High in Columbus, Ohio. He worked at WFAL, WBGU, WCOL-AM and WNCI while attending college. After graduating from The Ohio State University, Thomas went to work in Orlando at Y106 (now XL 106.7) for several years. In 1988, he was hired to do nights at 98.5 KLUC in Las Vegas, soon after becoming Music Director for the station. Thomas was named Program Director of KLUC in 1996 and has won countless awards as PD including, Program Director of the Year from Billboard, S.I.N., Gavin and EMA Magazines. He added Program Director responsibilities for NewsRadio 100.5 FM and 840 AM, along with CBS Sports Radio 1140 AM in 2014.

Comcast-Time Warner Merger Is Dead

UPDATE 5PM Thursday: Comcast Corp. is preparing to announce Friday that the company will abandon its attempt to buy Time Warner Cable, according to several reports.

Comcast Corp. is planning to walk away from its proposed $45.2 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said, after meeting with opposition from U.S. regulators.

Comcast’s board is meeting Thursday, and an announcement may come as soon as Friday, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The cable giant had been facing growing resistance in Washington.

Earlier posting...

The FCC’s staff threw up a significant roadblock Wednesday to Comcast Corp.’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc., recommending a procedural move that could potentially sink one of the media industry’s biggest mergers in years according to The Wall Street Journal.

The FCC staff reached a conclusion that the best option for the FCC is to issue a “hearing designation order,” according to people familiar with the matter. In effect, that would put the $45.2 billion merger in the hands of an administrative law judge, and would be seen as a strong sign the FCC doesn’t believe the deal is in the public interest.

A hearing could be a drawn-out process, and some regulatory experts describe the procedure as a deal-killer, though Comcast would be entitled to make its case for the tie-up.

Comcast executives on Wednesday met with officials at the FCC and the Justice Department, as those regulators’ reviews of the proposed merger enters its final stages.

Regulatory scrutiny of the deal has intensified in recent weeks. The government is concerned about the influence the combined cable behemoth would have in the broadband and pay-television markets.

The Justice Department meeting with Comcast on Wednesday was a chance for both sides to air their views and begin discussing whether there are any concessions the cable companies could offer that would ease the regulators’ worries.

Justice officials made clear during the session they had significant concerns about the deal, but it wasn’t a drop-dead meeting and the two sides are expected to continue a dialogue, according to people familiar with the matter.

Read More Now

Bloomberg is reporting opposition from the FCC was stronger than the Justice Department’s and could be the bigger obstacle.

“I’d never say anything was 100 percent dead, but this is in the 99 percent category,” Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG in New York, said in a phone interview. “It’s not every day that you have a transaction that is universally hated by everyone outside of Philadelphia,” where Comcast is based.

The Digital Music Debate Heads To Court

Players on both sides of the debate are gearing up for a key hearing next week in Washington that will help determine the digital royalty rates dictated by federal law.

One the one side, online radio service Pandora is asking the Copyright Royalty Board, a government body that controls what music labels can charge for streaming songs, to reduce the fees it pays to music labels — its biggest expense.

On the other, SoundExchange, a licensing group that represents the major music companies, is asking for a significant hike in recorded royalties.

The NY Post is reporting on Monday, a panel of three federal judges appointed by the Library of Congress will hear statements made by big-name digital radio players from Pandora to iHeart Radio and Liberty Media’s Sirius.

While a decision isn’t expected before the end of the year, industry insiders are already handicapping the odds of a rate hike.

“It isn’t a question of whether rates will go up but how much,” said one source close to the record labels. “Expect it to be at least a 40 percent increase.”

Read More Now

iHM Unveils Podcast Network Initiative

Buoyed by the 80 million downloads of the wildly successful podcast Serial, iHeartMedia is unveiling a new podcast-based network "SoundFront". The company is also expected to introduce a general marketing partnership with Snapchat.

iHeartMedia gave Adweek a sneak peek into five of its new programs.
  • Skybound Rundown: It's an indie gaming podcast developed by producers of AMC's The Walking Dead that offers, per iHeartMedia, "all the news you need to know about indie games by indie gamers." 
  • The Vent: Actor Jaime Pressley thinks celebrity moms are out of touch with normal lives and giving iffy advice through mainstream media. So on this podcast, she's sharing personal anecdotes and parenting tips, along with conversations with "real moms." Pressley's show is designed to be laid-back and humorous. "It's impossible not to laugh when you spend any time at all with Jaime," said Eric Day, managing partner at Trium Entertainment, which helped develop The Vent.
  • Heart of the Beat: IHeartMedia is heralding this program as "an auditory seminar with the most successful artists of our time, such as Jared Leto, deconstructing 'why' or 'how' their music was made."
  • Get Mic'd: Well-known radio personalities and social media stars will search for the "next great iHeartMedia DJ." Yes, it's a reality-TV-style talent contest.
  • Who Is Marty Hirsch?: A mockumentary, this podcast will employ the voices of real rock 'n' roll survivors to create a fictional image of "the man, the myth, the legend—Marty Hirsch."
Gayle Troberman
The launch dates, length and frequency of the programs hasn't been disclosed, and distribution details are still coming together. But the podcasts will run on iHeartRadio's app, iHeartMedia websites and possibly some of the media giant's countless radio stations.

Gayle Troberman, CMO of iHeartMedia, said there will be accompanying ad units for brands to appear in addition to the radio-style spots during the podcasts.

"We believe the advertising industry is dramatically under-invested in [digital] sound and audio storytelling," she said. "What's your brand's sound strategy? How does your brand tell stories with sound? That's what we want to address at the SoundFront."

Read More Now

Chicago Radio: WXRT's Frank E. Lee Sets Retirement

Frank E. Lee
After 35 years at the same station and over 40 years in radio, WXRT 93.1 FM  longtime voice Frank E. Lee is retiring. His last day on the Chicago airwaves is set for May 8..

WXRT-FM Program Director Norm Winer broke the news in a staff memo:
"It is with mixed emotions that I share the news that Frank Intrieri, known for these past 35 years as 'Frank E. (with a period) Lee' on WXRT, has notified us that he plans to retire following his radio show on May 8th. Frank's consistent contributions to the sound and image of the station cannot be easily summarized in the context of a memo like this. 
His wide-ranging love and knowledge of music, his remarkable verbal skills, his wry and sardonic sense of humor, impressive sense of professionalism and generous nature have distinguished him among Chicago's all-time great air personalities. I have often said that single handedly, Frank has kept the art of the 'segue' alive and that remains true to this day."
Lee has been 93XRT's longtime afternoon host and also the weekend host of the "Sunday Night Concert" and the three-times-per-week segment, "The Vinyl Frontier."

Replacing Lee on the CBS Radio outlet will be 93XRT vet, Marty Lennartz.  With Lennartz, the afternoon shift will end one hour earlier than Lee's, the nighttime staff will then move one hour earlier, with Jason Thomas at 4:00pm and Ryan Arnold at 8:00pm.

Portland OR: KBFF-FM Adds Brooke&Jubal Morning Show

Brooke and Jubal
Alpha Media Portland, OR announced Wednesday, the Brooke and Jubal show from Hubbard’s MOViN Seattle will now be part of KBFF 95.5 FM mornings starting Monday, April 27, 2015.

Jubal Flagg is a standup comedian, radio host, television personality and comedy writer. Known for his quick wit and keen and often strange observations, Jubal has been entertaining audiences on-stage and on the radio for over 10 years.

Brooke has worked in morning radio for over 12 years and has hosted Top 40 radio’s first all female morning drive show in Spokane, served as music director and morning co-host of “The Buckhead Show” in Portland, started another all female morning show in Seattle and has most recently found her radio match with Jubal Flagg.

KBFF 95.5 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
At the start of 2011, “Brooke & Jubal in the Morning” was launched on MOViN 92.5 and Seattle hasn’t been able to recover since.  Brooke and the crew can also be seen on FOX TV’s “Dish Nation”, a nationally syndicated entertainment news program.

Alpha Media VP of Programming, Phil Becker commented on the announcement, “Brooke and Jubal’s success in Seattle has been something that I have admired for some time. I’m excited to watch the competitive landscape change in our market as Brooke & Jubal join Portland’s fastest growing radio station.”

“This show complements the world class talent Phil Becker has recruited to Live 95.5,” added Scott Mahalick, Alpha Media Executive VP of Programming.

“I’m beyond excited for the hard working cast and crew of Brooke and Jubal in the Morning to start this next chapter in the city of Portland and to partner with some of the most respected minds in radio with Alpha Media!” Jubal remarked.

Report: Mobile Driving Digital Media

Mark Fratrik
In the spring update to its U.S. Local Media Forecast 2015, BIA/Kelsey forecasts location-targeted mobile advertising revenues in the U.S. to grow from $6.7 billion in 2015 to $18.2 billion in 2019, representing a 28.5 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

According to the forecast, mobile is driving most of the change in digital media, gaining traction with advertisers, and jumping to an 11.5 percent share of the total local media pie by 2019, up from a 4.8 percent share in 2015. This will make mobile the fourth largest local media in 2019, behind direct mail (23.6 percent share), over-the-air television (13.7 percent share) and pure-play online (12.9 percent share).

“Online spending is growing on ads viewed through desktops, but general online ad unit pricing faces headwinds as the attention of audiences and advertisers alike drifts more towards mobile,” said Mark Fratrik, SVP and chief economist, BIA/Kelsey. “Online will gain just a few points of local advertising market share, as mobile nearly triples its share.”

Michael Boland
Mobile’s impact on the local media marketplace will be a key theme at BIA/Kelsey’s upcoming BIA/Kelsey NOW conference (June 12, San Francisco), which will examine the emerging local on-demand economy (LODE).

“We live in an on-demand culture, conditioned by the mobile device to get whatever we want, whenever we want it,” said Michael Boland, chief analyst, VP, content, BIA/Kelsey, and co-chair for BIA/Kelsey NOW. “This is really reshaping the local service economy, with demand being captured and revealed for service providers in real time. At BIA/Kelsey NOW, we’ll examine how  this may impact the traditional local advertising model, in which advance marketing is required to connect buyers with sellers.”

Nielsen Reports 1Q Revenue Mixed, Profits Up

Nielsen N.V. Wednesday announced 1Q 2015 results and that its Board of Directors approved an increase in the company’s quarterly cash dividend of 12% to $0.28 per common share.

Revenues were $1,458 million, down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014.

“Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis. These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth. In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value,” said Mitch Barns, Chief Executive Officer of Nielsen.

Mitch Barns
Barns continued, “As we look ahead, we remain focused on, first, providing our clients with the solutions they need for Total Audience Measurement and second, guiding the industry towards adoption of a new metric that captures more of the viewing in the rapidly fragmenting media world in which we operate. In the Buy business, we made significant progress on our ecommerce initiatives in China. We now have partnerships with the four largest e-tailers in China, enabling us to measure up to 70% of FMCG online retail sales in the world’s largest and fastest growing market for ecommerce, the latest form of fragmentation in the retail world.”

Income from continuing operations for the first quarter increased by 14.5% to $63 million, an increase of 53.7% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014. The increase is driven by lower restructuring charges and the benefit of ongoing productivity initiatives. Income from continuing operations per share on a diluted basis was $0.17 compared to $0.15 in the first quarter of 2014.

The Board of Directors approved an increase in the company’s quarterly cash dividend of 12% to $0.28 per common share, payable on June 18, 2015 to shareholders of record on June 4, 2015.

On Wednesda conference call with anaylysts, Barns said Nielsen is making “good progress” on its efforts to launch a digital audio ratings service. But, he offered no timetable for when the product would formally debut.

More than 30 broadcasters and third-party vendors have integrated Nielsen’s software into their apps and media players and some companies have begun receiving streaming ratings data. “That's a great sign of progress,” Barns said. “But it’s not across the line yet.”