Saturday, September 26, 2015

September 27 Radio History

In 1933..."Waltz Time" debuted on NBC Radio. It remained on the network until 1948.

In 1938...Comedian Bob Hope premieres a new song, "Thanks For The Memory," on his eponymous NBC radio show.

Diana Ross, not MJ
In 1980...The Hot 100..Diana Ross remained on top with "Upside Down", the #1 song for a fourth week.  In many markets, however, Australia's Air Supply's "All Out of Love" was #1.  Queen trailed those two with "Another One Bites the Dust".  George Benson moved up with "Give Me the Night" while Johnny Lee was "Lookin' for Love".

The rest of the Top 10:  Paul Simon's "Late in the Evening", Eddie Rabbitt hopped up with "Drivin' My Life Away", Irene Cara's "Fame" was at #8, Larry Graham remained at 9 with "One In a Million You" and Kenny Loggins reached the Top 10 with "I'm Alright".

In 1985...Howard Stern did last show at WNBC

In 1995...Alison Steele air personality at WNEW FM, WNEW AM, WPIX FM, WXRK died.

In 2004...Legendary rock producer Phil Spector, best known for creating the "Wall Of Sound" on hits like the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," is indicted for the February 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson at his estate in Alhambra, CA.

In 2012...Chuck Crane OM at WHTZ, PD at WYNY died.

Tampa Radio: Bubba Investigated For Ratings Tampering

Beasley Media Group is investigating Tampa Bay radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge.   Clem is being investigated in connection with allegations of ratings tampering scheme.  Both Nielsen and Beasley Media confirmed the investigation in separate statements.

"We have been made aware of the allegations and are in the process of investigating," Soni Diamond, a Beasley spokeswoman, said in a prepared statement. "We have no additional comments at this time."

The Nielsen company also said Friday that it knew of evidence of attempted ratings distortion in the Tampa Bay market, but did not offer any details specific to Clem's circumstances.

Nielsen released the following statement:
"We became aware of evidence of attempted ratings distortion activity in the Tampa market. We are working to resolve this issue and will provide additional details when they become available. Nielsen is committed to maintaining the highest standards of data integrity and acts swiftly to ensure that those standards are upheld."
Bubba Clem
The Beasley group, which is based in Naples, FL owns 53 radio stations in 12 markets. Clem joined Beasley earlier this year when it introduced a format switch to WHFS 98.7 FM and a change in call letters to WBRN.

Typically, occurrences of ratings violations can include, among others, buying information off the diarykeepers or asking them to misrepresent their actual experiences, according to the Nielsen Diary Rating Distortion and Rating Bias Handbook.

Nielsen calculates its ratings by putting listening devices that look like pagers called "portable people meters" on people in a household. Each person represents thousands of listeners in a given market. Those people are meant to be kept secret, and the panelists are changed every 18 months to avoid unusual behavior.

In many cases of ratings fraud, the identity of someone in the Nielsen sample is compromised and they are induced to tune into a specific program or station more than normal, Mary Beth Garber, executive vice president of marketing strategy for Katz Media Group told the Associated Press.

Clem was not on-air during his popular male-oriented show Friday. He told WTVT-TV13 that it was due to injuries sustained during a fall. It was unknown whether Clem would remain on air as the investigation continues.

Beasley owns six radio stations in the Tampa market, following a station-swap deal last fall with CBS Radio. Its WBRN-FM, was switched in February to a new format based around Clem's personality. It's called "Bubba 98/7, No Rules Radio"; Clem hosts the morning show and picks the music content and personalities for the rest of the broadcast day.

Bubba, whose real name is Todd Allen Clem, was dropped by Cox Media WHPT 102.5 FM The Bone in August 2014.

He is best known nationally for secretly recording a sex tape between his then-wife Heather Clem and pro wrestler Hulk Hogan. Hogan is currently involved in a lawsuit vs. the Gawker website over the video.

Clem was acquitted in 2002 of animal cruelty charges following an February 2000 on-air slaughter of a pig.

He was fired in 2004 by Clear Channel after the Federal Communications Commission proposed a $755,000 fine for segments of Clem's show. At the time, it was the single largest fine ever proposed for indecency.

In 2008, Clem was sued by crosstown rival Todd Schniit of WFLZ 93.3 FM and WFLA 970 AM for defamation.  The case was settled in 2013 during a trial.

His syndicated show was dropped by its Orlando affiliate in March 2015 after a two month run due to anemic ratings.

Chicago Radio: WSCR Anchor Goes Into Hiding

Mean tweets and trolling haters often come with the territory for journalists covering high profile news, and we all know Chicago Blackhawks fans have ferocious love for their team, but one Chicago reporter following the Patrick Kane investigation was kept from work Friday after she was threatened on Twitter.

Julie DiCaro, an anchor and contributor to WSCR 670 AM The Score, didn't go to work Friday because of threats she received on Twitter in response to her coverage of the rape accusations against Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane.

The threats, according to DiCaro’s Twitter account involved specifics about her whereabouts, enough that authorities deemed it unsafe for her to go to work. According to USAToday, a look at the rest of DiCaro’s Twitter account and work shows a detailed and balanced account of the accusations against Kane, the developments involving the accuser’s mother’s allegations about the rape kit and press conferences relating to the case.

Louisville Radio: WHAS 'Black Barney' Protected Speech

Longtime WHAS 840 AM personality Terry Meiners’ on-air statements about a police officer who had given him a speeding ticket in 2011 were “constitutionally protected,” the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

Terry Meiners
Louisville Metro Police Officer Sam Cromity claimed in a March 2012 lawsuit that Meiners disparaged and lied about him on the air after being given a speeding ticket in March 2011.

In agreeing with a lower court’s dismissal of that defamation lawsuit, the appeals court ruled the statements “addressed an issue of public concern, specifically, the integrity of a local police officer.

“Since Meiners fully disclosed the facts supporting his opinion, and those facts are not provable as false, Meiners’ opinions are constitutionally protected.”

According to WDRB-TV41, Cromity claimed Meiners referred to him as "Black Barney" -- an apparent reference to Barney Fife, a caricature of a bumbling, imbecilic police officer" and Cromity's black vehicle, that he played belittling songs about the highway patrol, and called the officer a delusional "liar" who was irresponsible, reckless and dangerous.

A district court jury acquitted him of speeding.

In the appeal of the dismissed lawsuit, Cromity argued, in part, that he had been slandered, and it was up to Meiners to prove his statements were true.

Pence argued in court records that Meiners' comments were made during a "radio talk show given to robust, freewheeling and often intemperate discussions" and based on "nondefamatory facts fully disclosed to the listening audience."

Cromity accused Meiners of driving 75 mph in a 55-mph zone on the Watterson Expressway. The lawsuit claimed Meiners implied Cromity was confrontational and Meiners felt he would be arrested if he complained.

Meiners told jurors that the "Black Barney" reference had nothing to do with race but instead was a reference to Cromity's vehicle, a black Ford Mustang, and to the officer's notoriety in patrolling that area. Meiners said he created a character combining the outlaw Black Bart and Deputy Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show."

WHAS Radio, named as Clear Channel Communications, was also named as a defendant in the suit.

George Strait Talks New Album On NASH Country's AMS

L-R: AMS's Ashley Figueroa, Chuck Wicks, George Strait, Blair Garner

Country Superstar George Strait surprised America’s Morning Show Friday morning! What was thought to be a phone interview turned in to a live in-studio visit on the NASH Campus from the King of Country Music. “I was just walking down the street…,” Strait joked.

September 26 Radio History

In 1887…Emile Berliner, a German immigrant living in Washington, DC, applied for a patent for the gramophone he had invented which could play flat discs, as opposed to the wax cylinders used on Thomas Edison's apparatus for playing recorded sound.

In 1908...The first stereo advertisement, for an Edison Phonograph, appears in the Saturday Evening Post.

In 1960…The first of the four televised presidential debates between hopefuls Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy took place at the studios of WBBM-TV in Chicago. Moderated by newsman Howard K. Smith, the debate was seen on TV by more than 69 million people, while another 17 million heard the debate on radio.

In 1962...The CBS radio network released a yearlong survey on the most popular radio features of the day. Note: these are not specific radio formats. Talk-Music (22%) - News, interviews, discussions, talks, sports and also have a minimum-to-moderate interest in music but do not tune in primarily for music. News only listeners - listen to newscasts. (12%) Classical/Semi-Classical Listeners (16%) Popular Music - Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Steve and Eydie, etc. (40%) Rock n Roll - (7%) The survey shows that rock n roll listeners have the lowest education and income levels of all listener groups.

Gary Owens
In 1962...Gary Owens moves from KFWB 980 AM to KMPC 710 AMLos Angeles. KFWB was playing Top40, KMPC played more adult pop like Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra etc.

Owens replaced previous host Johnny Grant and  he remained for the next two decades working the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. shift, Monday through Friday. A gifted punster, Owens became known for his surrealistic humor. Among his trademarks were daily appearances by The Story Lady (played by Joan Gerber); the Rumor of the Day; myriad varieties of "The Nurney Song"; and the introduction of the nonsense word "insegrevious", which was briefly included in the Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary.

His regular on-air radio terms included "krenellemuffin," as in, "We'll be back in just a krenellemuffin." Gary always credited his radio engineer at the end of his broadcast: "I'd like to thank my engineer, Bob Jones, for creebling at the turntables." He also created the previously non-existent colors "veister" and "krelb".

In 1968...ABC radio says it will not run a radio commercial for the “Barberella” soundtrack album. The network says it won’t accept radioads because the film was given a condemned rating by the Legion of Decency - the official motion picture arm of the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. The Paramount film stars Jane Fonda as “Barberella.”

In 1968...Progressive rock radio was making waves - Bill (Rosko) Mercer the 7p to midnight DJ on WNEW 102.7 FM in New York is getting 4 shares on his show and the third highest ratings among teens in the area (WABC and WMCA are first-second) . Says Rosko - “On a progressive rock program, it’s extremely important to think of the programming. Think before you do it, the same as any job requires. People are hungry for proper presentation of music. They don’t want “Ten Years After” or the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” thrown at them. They want it prepared for them. Anyone can play a stack of records at home. It’s a presentation that counts to a large extent.”

Gosden & Correll
In actor Charles Correll, the creator & voice of Andy Brown in the radio show “Amos ‘n’ Andy”, and the voice of the Colonel in the TV cartoon Calvin and the Colonel, suffered a fatal heart attack at age 82.  His Amos ‘n’ Andy co-star, Freeman Gosden, would live another ten years.

For 34 years Amos and Andy held a very singular place in the American old-time radio experience.In its early prime, the early 1930s, it was common for entire towns to be listening to the show. Stores would close, even movie theatres would stop the film while the Amos and Andy show was played instead for the movie audience. The national audience was estimated at 40 million, and that very large audience was made up of Americans of many races and national backgrounds.

In 1983... Falling star – KMET-FM Los Angeles, once the darling of album rock radio is falling apart. Seems that rival KROQ’s ascendance in the ratings has hurt the station. Gone is longtime program director Sam Bellamy. She believes that KROQ’s New Wave music and format would not have been accepted by her KMET audience even if she had chosen that direction. “Rock of the 80’s” programmer Rick Carroll is negotiating to bring his new hits format to New York (it never happened).

In 1983...WABC splits morning team “Ross and Wilson.” Actually, Ross Brittain got his walking papers. He says his firing came as a complete surprise. “Now I’m a member of the Dan Ingram Home For Unemployed Disk Jockeys.”

From December 1983, Brian Wilson solo on WABC...

In 1983...WFIL Philadelphia is bringing back Jim Nettleton for mornings on the oldies-based station.

Here's a terrific aircheck of WFIL 56 and WIBG 99, spaning the years 1970 thru 1983.  A ton of great Philly personalities including George Michael, Long John Wade, Don Wade, John Records Landecker, Don Cannon, Chuck Knapp, Hy Lit, Joe Niagra, Tony Mann, Dick Fennessy, & Jim Nettleton. (Courtesy of Ellis B. Feaster WPOZ Orlando)

In 1983...Jim Pewter is named program director of oldies KRLA Los Angeles.

In 1983...Sony introduced “Super Walkman.”

In1984…Philadelphia television news anchor (WCAU-TV for 25 years)/NFL films narrator John Facenda died of lung cancer at the age of 71.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cumulus Stock Termed A Must-Sell

Cumulus Media Inc. (CMLS) was one of the Russell 2000's biggest losers for Thursday as the stock slid 15.54% to $0.76.

Starting at an opening price of $0.87 a share, the stock traded between $0.76 and $0.90 over the course of the trading day. Volume was 9.27 million shares over 5,181 trades, against an average daily volume of n/a shares and a total float of 233.77 million.

The losses send Cumulus Media Inc. down to a market cap of $177.69 million. In the last year, Cumulus Media Inc. has traded between $4.51 and $0.90.

The Russell 2000 is one of the leading indices tracking small-cap companies in the United States. It's maintained by Russell Investments, an industry leader in creating and maintaining indices, and consists of the smallest 2000 stocks from the broader Russell 3000 index.

The 'Sell' advisory comes from Seeking Alpha, a content service for financial markets and investors.

According to Seeking Alpha, Cumulus is the fastest-growing radio company in the United States, serving 90 metro markets with over 460 stations. But their view is that being the fastest-growing radio station today is analogous to being the fastest-growing buggy whip manufacturer in 1920. They believe that radio advertising is on the decline.

Jeff Marcus
Seeking Alpha cites several reasons for its "sell" advisory. First, a number of very talented money managers have abandoned the name, and they're nervous about betting against such people. Second, there are problems with its capital structure. Third, there are poor earnings here in spite of growing revenue. Fourth, the shares are priced very optimistically in spite of the aforementioned problems.

In order to finance the various acquisitions Cumulus has made, it has taken on a massive amount of debt. According to Seeking Alpha, the company's debt-to-equity ratio is stunningly high.

Other analysts have questions about Cumulus management. Who's in charge?  Jeff Marcus, currently non-executive Chairman of the Board has been rumored to be making the rounds at many Cumulus stations and unconfirmed reports have EVP of Content and Programming John Dickey cleaning out his office Thursday night. A year ago he stepped away from a Co-COO/EVP operating role shared with Jon Pinch to take the EVP of content position. He’s been a prime mover in Cumulus Media’s country NASH initiative – one of the things his brother Lew has been touting as a growth engine for Cumulus.

Moderate Increase In Holiday Sales Expected

Retailers should see a moderate increase in holiday sales in the stores and online this year, according to Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast.

“An improving labor market, increasing home values and relief at the pump gave more Americans reason to believe the economic recovery was gaining real traction this year,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior US economist. “Those recurring improvements helped buoy sentiment and spending over the past several months. Housing and employment tend to create a more meaningful wealth effect than that of the financial markets, so the recent stock market fluctuations and instability overseas should not have a marked impact on shoppers’ holiday spending intentions. However, while retail holiday sales are expected to rise, the increase may be smaller than last year due to the lingering effects of flat personal income growth in the first quarter.”

Deloitte’s Retail and Distribution practice expects total holiday sales to climb to between $961 and $965 billion, representing a 3.5 to 4 percent increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) over last year’s shopping season. This growth rate is below last year’s 5.2 percent gain. Additionally, Deloitte forecasts an 8.5 to 9 percent increase in non-store sales in the online and mail order channels during the 2015 holiday season.

Daniel Bachman
“Online sales continue to be a growth channel, but more importantly, we’ve passed the tipping point where online and mobile engagement play a greater role generating sales in the physical store–where more than 90 percent of retail sales occur–than in digital channels alone,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and Retail and Distribution sector leader.

Deloitte forecasts that digital interactions will influence 64 percent, or $434 billion, of retail store sales this holiday season. This figure reflects the amount of traditional brick-and-mortar retail sales impacted by shoppers’ use of digital devices including desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones.

“Our research shows that people who shop on their phones, tablets and other devices while in stores are more likely to make a purchase and spend more overall,” added Sides. “Also, nearly 80 percent of shoppers say they engage with a retailer or brand through digital channels before setting foot inside the store. These interactions are retailers’ opportunity to engage shoppers seeking inspiration, reviews, product locators, or the option to buy online and pick up in the store. Retailers that are likely to come out ahead this holiday season are the ones connecting the dots between their digital channels and their stores–rather than focusing solely on the online ‘buy’ button.”

Tampa Radio: Jack Harris Reups At WFLA

Jack Harris
Jack Harris, a longtime veteran radio host in Tampa Bay, has renewed his contract with iHeartMedia Tampa Bay and News/Talk WFLA 970 AM for another three years.

Harris has worked in the Tampa Bay market for more than 45 years.

He joined WFLA-AM 970 in 1970 as the midday host and the station's production director. After some time in Washington, D.C., he returned to Tampa and spent two years on Q-105 and Q-Zoo, which at the time was on WFLA-FM.

Harris is also the voice of the Tampa International Airport for the past three years and is the radio play-by-play voice for the Tampa Bay Storm arena football team and the Outback Bowl.

Harris has worked with Tedd Webb, his radio partner for 22 years in Tampa Bay as well as Corey Dylan, Aaron Jacobsen, Jeff Kuyrkendall, Daisy Ash, John Conrad and Chris Trenkmann on the AM Tampa Bay show.

Lon Helton Reups With Country Countdown USA

Westwood One announced that it has signed a new, multi-year extension with Country’s best-known star interviewer, Lon Helton. Helton has hosted the Westwood One-syndicated Country Countdown USA since its inception in 1992 and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Lon Helton
Westwood One COO Charles Steinhauer said, “What more can you say about this program and Lon? For almost two and half decades they have created a special offering for the marketplace with unprecedented access and insight into the world of Country music. We are proud to be able to continue our partnership.”

Helton said “Westwood One and I have been together for almost 24 years, seven CMA and three ACM awards. I’m thrilled to continue a partnership that has created so many hours of great content and enjoyed so much success -- all thanks to the hundreds of great Country radio stations that carry Country Countdown USA and the Country stars who have been so generous with their time in joining me each week as co-host.”

In addition to his radio show, Helton is the Publisher of Country Aircheck, a leading Country news, media and information source.

Helton’s Country radio career began in 1971.  He spent 12 years as both on-air personality and programmer at stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Denver. He spent 23 years as Country Editor of Radio & Records before founding Country Aircheck in 2006. Helton is a member of the Board of Directors of the Country Music Association, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was named CMA “National Personality of the Year” seven times--in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014.  In 2009, 2012 and 2014, he won that honor from the Academy of Country Music. He was inducted into the Country Radio DJ Hall of Fame in 2006.

TV Ratings GMA Most-Watched Morning Show

For the third straight season, ABC’s Good Morning America has been the most-watched morning show in viewers and the A25-54 demo. The last time GMA won 3 seasons in a row in viewers was 20 years ago. TV Newser reports it’s been even longer since GMA led in the demo 3 seasons straight.

CBS This Morning continues to show the most growth in the mornings.

Last week, it was the only network morning news program to post year-to-year gains this week among viewers (+15%, 3.34m from 2.91m) compared to a year ago.  CBS This Morning gained +430,000 viewers compared to the same week last year and closed the viewership gap with the Today Show by half a million viewers, and cut the deficit with GMA by 880,000 viewers according to Nielsen live plus same day ratings for the week ending Sept. 18. The show is now in the closest competitive position with NBC’s Today since the 1993-1994 season.

The averages for 2014-2015 Season:

Total Viewers:    ABC: 5.221M / NBC: 4.682M / CBS: 3.345M
A25-54 viewers: ABC: 1.885M / NBC: 1.791M / CBS: 1.001M

Viewers Accepting Brian Williams' Return

Pope Francis emphasizes forgiveness, and apparently, MSNBC viewers agree, at least when it comes to Brian Williams, reports The LA Times.

Williams' coverage of the pope's arrival Tuesday in the United States was watched by 526,000 viewers from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern, according to Nielsen, a 57% lift over what the cable news network has drawn in those hours over the previous four weeks. The report was the first time viewers had seen Williams in the TV news anchor chair since February, when he was suspended by the network for making false statements on and off the air about his 2003 reporting on the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

NBC News is using the coverage of the pope's visit to launch Williams in his new role of breaking news anchor on MSNBC. The network removed Williams from the anchor job at "NBC Nightly News" in June, replacing him with Lester Holt.

MSNBC's audience was the smallest among the three cable news networks providing continuous coverage of the pope's arrival at Joint Base Andrews outside of Washington, D.C. But the increase was in line with the 59% lift for CNN's audience of 920,000 viewers. Both networks typically see their audiences grow during live coverage of major news events.

Fox News had the most viewers with 1.2 million, down 12% from the prior four-week average but in line with what it typically draws in those hours with regular programming.

Trump, Ailes To Pow Wow

Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman turned Republican presidential frontrunner, is scheduled to meet next week with Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes and other senior executives at the cable news network to discuss their on-again-off-again feud, the network announced Thursday.

The announcement comes one day after Trump said he is boycotting appearing on Fox News because the network has treated him "unfairly."

"Fox News Chairman & CEO Roger Ailes and Donald Trump spoke this morning and plan to have a meeting next week to discuss their differences of opinion regarding Fox's coverage of Mr. Trump's presidential campaign," a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement.

"Ailes will be joined by senior Fox editorial executives," the statement continued. "Mr. Trump believes he has been treated unfairly in certain instances. Fox News has held every candidate in this race to the highest journalistic standards throughout our coverage. We believe a candid meeting about our differences is required and that any misunderstandings can be handled without compromising those standards."

Trump has complained repeatedly throughout his campaign that Fox News has been unfair to him. Along the way, the real estate mogul and former Atlantic City casino magnate worked out a pair of truces with Ailes.

FNC’s statement comes on day after the network called Trump’s announcement he would no longer appear on the network and his attacks on Kelly and The O’Reilly Factor “stale and tiresome.” Trump “doesn’t seem to grasp that candidates telling journalists what to ask is not how the media works in this country,” FNC said Wednesday after the network canceled Trump’s scheduled appearance on The O’Reilly Factor that had been set for tonight. That had resulted in Trump’s announcement he was boycotting FNC.

NYC Radio: Lee Brice To Headline NASH Bash

WNSH NASH FM 94.7 has announced another “NASH BASH” at Manhattan’s Beacon Theater on October 26 at 7:30 p.m. featuring Country star Lee Brice as the headliner and performances by Rodney Atkins, Mo Pitney and Dylan Scott.

The concert celebrates New York’s Country Station listeners across the tri-state area. As NASH’s flagship station, NASH FM 94.7 draws nearly 1.4 million listeners a week. Country fans can listen live for chances to win tickets to the stellar concert event beginning soon.

Lee Brice is an award-winning Country music singer, songwriter and producer. Brice recently received the 2015 Academy of Country Music Award for “Single Record Of The Year,” which recognized the success of his 2014 album I Don’t Dance. Brice is currently on a national tour seeking to become the first Country artist to perform in all 50 U.S. states in 2015.

Tickets to the event are available through and range from $30 to $50.

SiriusXM Adds Jenna Wolfe Weekly Series

Jenna Wolfe
SiriusXM announced today that Jenna Wolfe will host a live, limited-run, one-hour weekly series on SiriusXM's exclusive channel TODAY Show Radio starting today.

In her new series, Jenna-Really Speaking with Jenna Wolfe, Wolfe will discuss some of her favorite topics, including fitness, nutrition and emotional well-being. Wolfe will share personal stories and her experiences as a working mother, take questions and offer encouragement and advice to SiriusXM listeners and speak with some of her favorite athletes, celebrities and medical professional guests.

"I'm absolutely ready for this. I've been practicing 10-minute radio segments in the shower every day for 45 years. I'm only 41, so you know how impressive that is. I couldn't be more excited to talk fitness and nutrition and balancing a nutty life with people going through the same exact thing," said Jenna Wolfe.

Jenna-Really Speaking with Jenna Wolfe will air Fridays starting September 25 at 2:00 pm ET on SiriusXM's TODAY Show Radio, channel 108.

Hoda Kotb, the co-host of the fourth hour of "TODAY," also hosts a weekly live show, The Hoda Show, on TODAY Show Radio.

Jenna Wolfe serves as The TODAY Show's Lifestyle and Fitness Correspondent and as an NBC News National Correspondent. Wolfe spent 12 years as a sportscaster before joining the Today Show in 2007.

SiriusXM launched TODAY Show Radio in June 2014, making the NBC morning program available to radio listeners for the first time ever. The satellite radio channel offers SiriusXM listeners across the country access to live audio feeds of TODAY from both coasts, including replays. SiriusXM is the exclusive audio home of TODAY. In addition to the live audio feeds, SiriusXM's TODAY Show Radio features exclusive content, including news reports from NBC News correspondents, backstage interviews with TODAY hosts and conversations with fans from around the world on the Rockefeller Plaza.

TX Radio: JR Hayes New MD/PM Host At KORA

J-R Hayes
Tim "JR" Hayes has been added as the new MD/Afternoon personality for Brazos Valley Communications Country KORA 98.3 FM in Bryan-College Station, TX.  Most recently, he arrives from  KLLL 96.3 Lubbock, where was production director and afternoon host.  He prevsiously was PD, MD and on -air at WAAC in Valdosta, GA and KDCD inSan Angelo, TX.

“JR brings a passion and appreciation for local radio and its role in bringing communities, organizations, and people together,” said GM John Seigler. “JR has a tremendous appreciation and understanding of Country music, both Nashville and Texas Country.”

KORA PD Carly Evans said, We couldn’t be more thrilled to have JR joining our talented group of radio professionals here at 98.3 KORA. His Texas Country and radio background are extremely strong, and he will make an amazing asset to the company and station.”

I'm truly excited to be offered the position with KORA, a great Texas Country radio station," commented Hayes.  "I've been very involved in the Texas Country scene for a long time and to have the opportunity to join KORA and build on its legacy of opening doors for Texas artists is wonderful.”

KORA 98.3 FM (900 watts) Red=Local Coverage Area

NC Radio: Fayetteville Host Jeff Thompson To Retire

Jeff Thompson
Jeff Thompson, familiar long-time voice on Fayetteville radio stations, is calling it quits after 52 years.

Thompson, most recently with WIDU 1600 AM, said he plans to retire on Oct. 31.

"This is probably the quickest way to let my friends and followers know that after 52 years, I have decided to retire from radio," the release said.

Thompson began his radio career in September 1963 after he completed his enlistment and was discharged from the Army at Fort Bragg. He said he decided to stay in Fayetteville.

"I married a local girl and raised three children," Thompson said. "I've considered Fayetteville our home all these years and am proud to have had the privilege of chronicling this community's news events day to day."

The reports Thompson previously worked at WFNC 640 AM. He was a regular on "Fayetteville's Morning News" starting in 1976. The station's original news show was called "Top of the Morning."

He worked with a number of popular local anchors and reporters like Wendy Riddle, Terry Jordan and Gilbert Baez.

Thompson said he plans to stay in Fayetteville and has no plans of slowing down. "I'm not going anywhere," Thompson said, "just putting aside the microphone. I hope to remain involved in civic affairs as all concerned citizens should."

Laurissa Phillips Named CCO/GM For Rare Country

Laurissa Phillips
Rare Country, the newly-launched country music and lifestyle website, has tapped talent and production executive Laurissa Phillips as its Chief Creative Officer and General Manager. Dually-based in Atlanta and Nashville, Phillips is responsible for the daily, creative and strategic oversight of the website dedicated to serving the country music fan. Rare Country is a subsidiary of Cox Media Group’

Leon Levitt, vice president at Cox Media Group and publisher of Rare, stated: “Rare Country has experienced phenomenal growth over the past six months and now under Laurissa’s leadership, we expect that growth to accelerate. Her energy, strong industry relationships and deep understanding of the business make Laurissa the perfect person to lead what has become the fastest-growing, country music website today.”

Phillips stated: “Rare Country takes pride in catering to passionate country music fans using both original editorial and artist driven social content. Our ability to share our content across Rare’s vast social media and digital properties is a giant opportunity for the country music industry to reach an even wider audience, and I’m excited to be a part of the Rare Country team.”

Rare Country already has an impressive audience. Its content is shared with 14 million people on Facebook every month, driving 5 million site visits and 7 million page views. Key to the site’s distribution model is its ability to share its content with both on its website and via social media, exponentially amplifying Rare Country’s reach. Billed as “America’s News Feed,” averages over 40 million visits per month.

L-A Radio: Report..KPFK 'On The Brink'

Pacifica Radio’s KPFK 90.7 FM is on the brink of extinction, and longtime staffers are seeing their hours – and their paychecks – cut in half.

“It’s a disaster,” says Sonali Kolhatkar, a longtime KPFK staffer who hosts the daily show “Uprising.” “Morale has been horribly low. We went from this amazingly buoyant place to this horribly depressing place.”

The Pasadena Weekly reports staffers attribute the in morale is due to poor management and a board of directors who are more interested in lining their pockets and pushing radical political and social agendas than they are in creating great radio or raising funds for the station.

Pacifica Radio is a network of five independently operated, listener-supported radio stations known for their liberal views, including Los Angeles-based KPFK, Berkeley’s KPFA, and New York’s WBAI. It was founded in 1946 by conscientious objectors from World War II, but over the last few years the democratic and open-minded principles on which the station was founded have been turned on their head, and sinking ratings, internal disputes, loss of grant money, constant fund drives, and financial missteps have brought a once beloved resource to the breaking point.

Sonali Kalhatkar
Kolhatkar and her colleague Ian Masters, host of the show “Background Briefing,” say that the root of Pacifica’s problems begins and ends with the board of directors and with General Manager Leslie Radford. When Kolhatkar heard that Radford was coming in to replace the previous general manager, she says, “I knew this was the beginning of the end because I had seen how she operated. She has no radio experience. I knew things were going to get real bad.”

Kolhatkar says that when Radford announced the pay cuts and layoffs last month, employees were also told that they could apply for California’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance program, which allows for the payment of benefits to employees whose hours and wages have been reduced. In order for that to happen, KPFK needed to submit the required paperwork, which didn’t happen in time.

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Guinness Honors Longevity Of Vin Scully

Baseball broadcasting HOFer Vin Scully has been officially recognized by Guinnes World Records for having the Longest career as a sports broadcaster for a single team, having been behind the mic for an incredible 65 years 5 months and 22 days (as of 23 September).

Known for his distinctive lyrical yet simple play-by-play descriptions, the legend has been announcing the Los Angeles Dodgers games since 1 April 1950 when the team were based in New York as the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Before Wednesday’s game between the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks kicked off, Guinness World Records adjudicator Alex Angert entered the stadium and presented the long-serving broadcaster with a certificate.

Angert said: “I’m honored to be able to present legendary broadcaster Vin Scully with his official certificate. Vin is a national treasure and it’s unbelievable to think that his career as the Dodgers’ broadcaster predates Guinness World Records, which just celebrated its 60th anniversary in August.

“His voice has called some of baseball’s most timeless record-breaking moments and the world has been lucky to have him behind the microphone for the last seven decades. Vin’s career has been ‘Officially Amazing’ and we are glad to welcome him into the Guinness World Records family.”

Vin Scully’s career was only just beginning when 62 years ago he became the Youngest sports broadcaster to broadcast a World Series game (baseball). Aged 25, he voiced the broadcast of the 1953 World Series game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees.

September 25 Radio History

In 1933...Tom Mix was heard for the first time on NBC Radio. His show ran until June,1950.

Here's the Tom Mix tie-in to the call sign of Hubbard Radio's WTMX Chicago.

WKBI AM in St. Marys PA went on in 1950. This was the first of a group of stations that would become the Allegheny Mountain Radio Network headed up by Cary Simpson. In 1966, WKBI-FM went on the air Licensed to Ridgeway, Elk County PA's County seat.

In the 70's WKBI-FM changed formats from Top 40 to Country and at that time changed call letters to WTMX in honor of one of Hollywoods early famous cowboys of the silver screen, Tom Mix. Mix was born in Southern Elk county.

WTMX would become WKBI-FM again in 1983.

In Chicago, WCLR changed it's call sign to WTMX in 1989.

(H/T: Jim Linn Jacksonville.)

In 1967...Bob  Hall, Host of Music Til Dawn on WCBS 880 AM passed away.  "Music Till Dawn" premiered on April 13, 1953. WCBS announcer Bob Hall was the model for hosts on that program around the nation.

In 1975...While performing "Lonely Teardrops" onstage at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, NJ during a Dick Clark oldies revue, Jackie Wilson collapses from a heart attack, bashing his head on the stage and lapsing into a come from which he will remain until his death in 1983.

Video features Wilson on the TV Show Shindig with Billy Preston on the keyboards.

In 1976...Frampton Comes Alive!  by Peter Frampton stood alone at the top of the album chart for the eighth week.  Silk Degrees from Boz Scaggs was a strong second with Linda Ronstadt's Hasten Down the Wind close behind.

The self-titled Fleetwood Mac was now moving back up after 61 weeks of release.

The rest of the Top 10:  Wild Cherry, War with their Greatest Hits package, Spirit from John Denver at #7, Spitfire by Jefferson Starship, All Things in Time by Lou Rawls at #9 and Chicago X.

In 1978…Radio actor (The Shadow, The First Nighter Program, Heartbeat Theater) Bret Morrison died following a heart attack at the age of 66.

In 1989...Jacor launched "Power 93: the Power Pig" in Tampa.

A year earlier, Jacor Broadcasting bought WFLA-FM 93.3 and its sister station, WFLA-AM 970, and switched the FM’s format and calls to oldies WFLZ “Z93.”  The format lasted only about a year.

After a weekend of stunting, including an hour of an urban contemporary micro-format, WFLZ would flip to Top 40 on September 25, 1989 at 8:15 AM to compete against local CHR Q105 (the first song under the new format was "Cold Hearted" by Paula Abdul). The station became "Power 93" or "The Power Pig", and aggressively targeted Q105 with promotions such as handing out "Screw The Q" t-shirts at various on the street events.

The station took over first place in 72 days and became one of the most legendary radio stations of all time.

Power Pig WFLZ #1
The first full-time Power Pig on-air lineup in October 1989 included Dr. Don Carpenter and the “Three Little Pigs” – Jack Harris, BJ Harris, and PD Marc Chase – on the morning show. In middays was long-time Tampa radio vet Dave Mann; afternoons were led by former Q105'er Jon 'Rock N Roll' Anthony, and nights were hosted by Tim and Tom. The original Beaver Stevens held down 10pm-2am, and Russell ‘The Love Muscle’ handled overnights from 2am-6am. The Pig continued its double-entendres on the weekends, too, with Hot "Dickie" Damn, Booger, Hardin Long, Jason (Mason's illegitimate son) Dixon, Jomama Johnson, Boner, and Brian Christopher.


Ratings for “The Power Pig” took off with listeners 12+ and 18-34 who bought specially-designed T-shirts imprinted with “Screw the Q” on them from the station’s pink-colored mobile unit dubbed “The Pig Van.”  Lawsuits ensued and, in the end, Q105 took quite a beating and switched to country in 1993. In 1995 WFLZ dropped its aggressive approach and re-imaged itself more mainstream Top 40 as “93.3 FLZ The New Music Revolution” and, in 2000, “The #1 Hit Music Channel”.

In 2001…XM Satellite Radio began fulltime operations. It was set to officially launch on September 12, but due to the September 11 attacks, the kickoff was postponed to the 25th.

In 2003...Bob Murphy broadcast his last MLB NY Mets radio broadcast

In 2005…Longtime radio favorite in Seattle (KOL, KJR) and Chicago (WLS, WCFL), Jerry Kay died at the age of 67.

In 2010…Radio-TV show announcer (Amos 'n Andy, The Adventures of Frank Race, Dr. Christian, The Sears Radio Theater, Stars over Hollywood, The Golden Days of Radio, The World Tomorrow, The Red Skelton Show, Highway Patrol, The George Gobel Show, Mackenzie's Raiders) Art Gilmore died at age 98.

In 2013…News correspondent (CBS, NPR, CNN) Lee Thornton, the first African American woman to cover a regular White House beat for one of the big three broadcast networks, died of pancreatic cancer at 71.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

For Real...Putin Calls Elton

Elton John
(Reuters) -- President Vladimir Putin phoned Elton John on Thursday to say he would be ready to meet up for a chat after the British singer requested a meeting to discuss his concerns about gay rights in Russia.

Putin's call came just a week after a pair of Russian comedians tricked John, 68, into thinking he was talking to Putin on the phone in a stunt that the entertainer laughed off, while saying he hoped it would highlight discrimination against gay people.

This time, Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said the Russian leader really had phoned John, who has used his status as one of the world's most famous gay celebrities to push for equal rights for homosexuals around the world.

"Putin phoned him," Peskov told reporters. "He said: 'I know some guys played a trick on you on the phone, but don't get offended. They are harmless people, though that of course does not justify what they did.'"

Putin told John that since he was a popular performer he would be ready to meet him and discuss any subject which interested him, if their schedules coincided, Peskov said.

Western states and human rights activists have criticised Russia for its treatment of gay people, and John has previously spoken out against a 2013 law banning the dissemination of "gay propaganda" among young people.

Putin has said he is not prejudiced against gay people, but has made comments which activists have criticised as being ambiguous and insulting towards homosexuals.

John, who plays to vast audiences in Russia when he tours, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jorge & Jen Debuts on ESPN Radio September 28

Jorge & Jen, hosted by ESPN Radio current host Jorge Sedano and newcomer Jen Lada, will be broadcast weekday evenings from 9 – 11 p.m. ET beginning Monday, Sept. 28.

“ESPN Radio’s revamped lineup is incredibly compelling, filled with dynamic, energetic hosts with distinct voices and from a wide variety of backgrounds,” said Traug Keller, senior vice president, ESPN business divisions. “Listeners will find opinions, news and humor across all our Audio platforms.”

Sedano, with more than 15 years of radio broadcast experience, hosted Sedano & Stink alongside Mark Schlereth when he joined ESPN in 2013 until March 2015.  Since then, he has hosted The Sedano Show (7-9 p.m.). Prior to joining ESPN, he served as program director and afternoon host at Sports Radio WQAM in Miami. Sedano also served as studio host for Fox’s Sun Sports telecasts of the Miami Heat in 2012-13.

Since joining ESPN earlier this year, Lada has made guest host appearances on a variety of ESPN Radio and television shows. A Chicago native with more than a decade of broadcasting experience, Lada was an anchor and reporter in the Chicago area for Comcast SportsNet, covering professional Chicago sports. She also worked as a reporter and anchor for WITI-TV in Milwaukee and WREX-TV in Rockford, Ill.

The program will be available nationally on ESPN Radio,, the ESPN app, SiriusXM, Apple iTunes, Slacker Radio and TuneIn.

ESPN Radio’s Weekday Schedule:

6 a.m. Mike & Mike
10 a.m. The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz
1 p.m. Russillo & Kanell
4 p.m. The Right Time with Bomani Jones
7 p.m. Jalen & Jacoby
9 p.m. Jorge & Jen
11 p.m. The Freddie Coleman Show
2 a.m. SportsCenter All Night with Jay Reynolds

Trump, Fox News Feud Back On

Donald Trump is done with Fox News. Again.

The Donald tweeted on Wednesday that he would no longer go on the cable news channel for the "foreseeable future."

Once kindred spirits of the more vocal precincts of the Republican party, Trump and Fox News have been on the outs ever since the first Republican debate, in which he took issue with the questions and tone of the moderators. One of those moderators was Megyn Kelly, among the most popular and visible of the Fox News personalities, with whom Trump publicly feuded.

Fox News, for its part, issued a dry statement in response.