Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 27 Radio History


1932...Radio City Music Hall, in New York City, began operation with the first event open to the public.

In 1939...“The Glenn Miller Show”, also known as “Music that Satisfies”, started on CBS radio. The 15-minute, three-a-week big band show was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes and was heard for nearly three years.

In 1947...Bell Labs invented the transistor.

In 1958...Buddy Holly made his first appearance in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas since becoming a major recording star. Along with broadcasting "live" over KLLL radio from a fruit and vegetable store, he returned to the station's studios to record "You're The One," a song that station management challenged him to write in half an hour.

In 1963..."The Animals" performed on the BBC radio show, "Saturday Club", their first radio appearance.

In 1964...The Beatles' scored their sixth No. 1 song when "I Feel Fine" hit the top of the charts. Their previous No. 1 hits that year were: "I Want to Hold Your Hand"; "She Loves You"; "Can't Buy Me Love"; "Love Me Do" and "A Hard Day's Night."

In 1968...Don McNeils' "The Breakfast Club" signed off the ABC Radio network, after 35 years of successful broadcasting.

Don McNeil 1942
In Chicago during the early 1930s, McNeill was assigned to take over an unsponsored early morning variety show, The Pepper Pot, with an 8 a.m. timeslot on the NBC Blue Network. McNeill re-organized the hour as The Breakfast Club, dividing it into four segments which McNeill labeled "the Four Calls to Breakfast."

McNeill's revamped show premiered in 1933, combining music with informal talk and jokes often based on topical events, initially scripted by McNeill but later ad-libbed. In addition to recurring comedy performers, various vocal groups and soloists, listeners heard sentimental verse, conversations with members of the studio audience and a silent moment of prayer. The series eventually gained a sponsor in the Chicago-based meat packer Swift and Company. McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable radio format.

The program featured Fran Allison (later of Kukla, Fran and Ollie fame) as "Aunt Fanny", plus Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers and various comedy bits. Every quarter-hour came the "Call to Breakfast" -- a march around the breakfast table. A featured vocalist on the show, under her professional name of Annette King, was Charlotte Thompson Reid, who later became an Illinois congresswoman for five terms (1962–71). Eileen Parker became a vocalist with the program in 1953.

The Breakfast Club initially was broadcast from the NBC studios in the Merchandise Mart. In 1948, after 4,500 broadcasts from the Merchandise Mart, the program moved to the new ABC Civic Studio. It was also heard from other Chicago venues: the Terrace Casino (at the Morrison Hotel), the College Inn Porterhouse (at the Sherman House) and "the Tiptop Room of the Warwick Allerton Hotel on Chicago's Magnificent Mile," as well as tour broadcasts from other locations in the U.S. It remained a fixture on the ABC radio network (formerly the NBC Blue Network; it became known as ABC in 1945), maintaining its popularity for years and counting among its fans Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas.

Don McNeil with comedian Sam Cowling 1956
After ABC Radio was split into four networks in 1968, The Breakfast Club was moved to the new American Entertainment network, and was known for its last months on the air as The Don McNeill Show.

In 1974...the Dear Abby 5-minute show ended its run on CBS radio after 11 years.

Tulsa Radio: Iconic Country Personality Billy Parker Signs-Off

Billy Parker, a five-time national country music disc jockey of the year, made his radio debut in 1959 and has been on the air continuously in Tulsa since 1971. This past week he taped his last show.

The farewell show will air twice on KXBL 99.5 FM Big Country this weekend — from 8-10 a.m. Saturday and 8-10 p.m. Sunday.

Click Here To Listen

The Tulsa World reports the 78-year-old Parker a love of music drove Parker to become a picker, singer (he turned “pro” at 14) and disc jockey. He launched his DJ career hundreds of QuikTrips ago.

The convenience store chain QT has 725 stores now. Parker started working for QT when the convenience store chain had only three stores. He was sweeping the floor at store No. 6 when he was listening to the radio and heard Ron Blue of KFMJ say the station needed a part-time disc jockey.

Parker put the broom away and asked the store manager if he could zip over to the radio station. He drove as fast as he could to get there because he didn’t want to leave anything to chance.

“It didn’t pay much, but I wanted it, and I took it,” he said.

When another DJ at the station failed to show up for work a few times, Parker was promoted to full-time status.

Parker has been on the air in Tulsa for 44 consecutive years, he thought about going for 50. But long enough is long enough. It’s time, he said.

“You know what? I feel like the best time to quit is when you are ahead,” he said. “I feel like I’m ahead from the standpoint of friendship and everything else.” He said he has worked for four corporations since he started with KVOO in ’71 and has never been dissatisfied with anyone.

But Parker thinks it’s a shame that, with the exception of stations like KXBL, you don’t hear songs by great artists like Price anymore. He said he would have continued to play the “old” country he cherishes, with management’s blessing, if he had stuck around.

“But in my mind and in my heart I knew it was time to leave because of all the changes — not in management and not in anything except the music and the lacking of the older (artists). The younger demographics, you know, are running the show.”

China To Expel French Journalist

Ursula Gauthier
(Reuters) -- China will force a French journalist who criticised its treatment of its Muslim Uighur minority to leave the country, her employer, the weekly l'Obs news magazine, said on Friday.

The press visa of Ursula Gauthier, the magazine's Beijing correspondent, expires on Dec. 31 and Beijing has refused to grant an extension, saying a report she wrote supports acts of violence by Uighurs that China considers terrorist activity.

The story, dated Nov. 18, suggested that China was using last month's Paris attacks to justify crackdowns on Uighur people in northwest China's Xinjiang region.

Hundreds have been killed in recent years in the region, beset by ethnic tensions which Uighur groups blame on repressive government policies while China denies any human rights abuses and says it faces a campaign from Islamist radicals and separatists.

L'Obs said Gauthier was the subject of editorials in state-controlled media and even death threats after her article was published.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said the article "openly supports terrorist activity, the killing of innocents and has outraged the Chinese public." His comments appeared in a question-and-answer posted on the ministry's website on Saturday.

Lu added that because Gauthier did not make a public apology, she could not work in China.

R.I.P.: William Guest, Co-Founder of The Pips

William Guest
William Guest, one of the original members of Gladys Knight and the Pips, has passed away at the age of 74.

According to Guest’s sister-in-law, Dhyana Ziegler, he died Thursday (Dec. 24) in Detroit of congestive heart failure.

Guest was a member of the Grammy winning group from 1953 to 1989. He performed background vocals on hits such as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

“My heart is broken, but I know his legacy will live on,” said Guest’s daughter, Monique Guest, in a statement.

Gladys Knight and the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

With the death of Guest on Thursday and Edward Patten in 2005, the only remaining Pip is Gladys Knight’s brother, Merald “Bubba” Knight.

December 26 Radio History

In 1921...comedian/author/composer & all around Renaissance man Steve Allen was born in New York City.

He began in radio, co-hosted a quarter hour daily comedy show on Mutual, & had a midnight audience-participation show on KNX Radio Hollywood, which morphed into the original NBC-TV Tonight Show from New York.

More TV shows, many books, a movie (The Benny Goodman Story), much pop music writing.

Steve died at age 78 on October 30th, 2000 after a minor traffic accident caused a blood vessel in his heart wall to rupture.

In 1926...In Nashville, the "WSM Barn Dance" began regular Saturday night broadcasts.

In 1950...
The Gillette Safety Razor Company & Mutual radio signed agreements for the radio rights for the next six years to baseball’s World Series and All-Star games. The price tag: a comparatively paltry $6 million dollars.

In 1953...The radio program "Big Sister" signed off the air from the CBS Radio netowrk. The show aired for 17 years.

In 1954..."The Shadow" radio program signed off the air. 'The Shadow' began in 1930 as the Narrator for a radio show called 'Detective Story Hour' based on a magazine of the same name. The Narrator became more popular than the series and a 21 season run of 'The Shadow' series followed with actors in the leading role including Orson Welles (1937-1938), Bill Johnstone (1938-1943), John Archer (1944-1945) and Bret Morrison (1943-1944, 1945-1954).

In 1963...50 years ago, The Beatles released the single, "I Want To Hold Your Hand," which became their first U.S. smash hit, marking the beginning of Beatlemania and music's "British Invasion."

In 1965...Beatle Paul McCartney was interviewed on pirate radio station "Radio Caroline". Radio Caroline was a British radio station founded in 1964 by Ronan O'Rahilly to circumvent the record companies' control of popular music broadcasting in the United Kingdom and the BBC's radio broadcasting monopoly. Unlicensed by any government for most of its early life, it was a pirate radio station which only became formally illegal in 1967.

In of the true titans of both bigtime radio & TV, Jack Benny died of pancreatic cancer at age 80.

His weekly radio show was consistently top rated over a 23 year run ending in 1955.  He appeared regularly on CBS-TV from 1950-65.  He is credited with developing a broadcast format for comedy that is still being widely followed today.

Benny had been a minor vaudeville performer before becoming a national figure with The Jack Benny Program, a weekly radio show that ran from 1932 to 1948 on NBC and from 1949 to 1955 on CBS. It was among the most highly rated programs during its run.

Benny's long radio career began on April 6, 1932, when the NBC Commercial Program Department auditioned him for the N.W. Ayer agency and their client, Canada Dry, after which Bertha Brainard, head of the division, said, "We think Mr. Benny is excellent for radio and, while the audition was unassisted as far as orchestra was concerned, we believe he would make a great bet for an air program." Recalling the experience in 1956, Benny stated that Ed Sullivan had invited him to guest on his program (1932), and "the agency for Canada Dry ginger ale heard me and offered me a job."

With Canada Dry ginger ale as a sponsor, Benny came to radio on The Canada Dry Program, on May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing for six months until October 26, moving to CBS on October 30. With Ted Weems leading the band, Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.

Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did The Chevrolet Program until April 1, 1934. He continued with sponsor General Tire through the end of the season. In October, 1934, General Foods, the makers of Jell-O and Grape-Nuts, became the sponsor strongly identified with Benny for ten years. American Tobacco's Lucky Strike was his longest-lasting radio sponsor, from October, 1944, through to the end of his original radio series.

The show switched networks to CBS on January 2, 1949, as part of CBS president William S. Paley's notorious "raid" of NBC talent in 1948–49. It stayed there for the remainder of its radio run, ending on May 22, 1955. CBS aired repeat episodes from 1956 to 1958 as The Best of Benny.

In 1992...NYC's WPAT-FM changed from beautiful music - down tempo AC

In 2004...longtime Iowa radio personality, Dick Petrik, died at age 76. Petrik began as the first News Director at KOEL, Oelwein, and maintained that position for 41 years.

Petrik took the job as KOEL’s first news director in April of 1952, nearly two years after the station went on the air. Petrik helped build KOEL into one of the best small-market radio stations in the country. He held the record for longest tenure of any news director in the nation. In 1972, he was the first recipient of the Jack Shelley award, the highest honor given annually by the Iowa Broacast News Association for outstanding contributions to professional broadcast journalism in Iowa.

Friday, December 25, 2015

December 25 Radio History

In 1931...The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City was the subject of a broadcast for the first time. Lawrence Tibbett was featured as vocalist in "Hansel und Gretel". The productionw aired on the NBC Radio network.

In 1937...famed conductor, Arturo Toscanini, conducted the first broadcast of the radio program, "Symphony of the Air", across the NBC Radio netwrok.

In 1939..."A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens, was recited for the first time over the CBS Radio network.

In 1945...Actor Gary Sandy, who played Andy Travis on TV's WKRP in Cincinnati was born.

In 1946...Singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, of "Margaritaville" fame was born.

In 1948...92.3 FM frequency signed-on in NYC as WMCA-FM. Today the station is WBMP 92.3 FM and is owned by CBS Radio, branding at 92.3 AMP Radio.

For the next year, it operated daily from 3p-9p, simulcasting WMCA, 570 AM, according to the NYC FM History website Angelfire.

In December 1949, Nathan Straus, president of WMCA, announced he was closing down the station because he was losing $4000 a month.

He had said several times that baseball games were cut short on the FM, deliberately to elicit response from listeners and he had received only 2 letters in regard to this practice during all of the summer of 1949.

Straus cited several reasons for the failure of FM: drifting of receivers, difficulty in tuning them, the union rule that announcers who were simulcast on FM and AM be paid double in New York and he said people could already hear WMCA on AM.

Further, Straus said that he had twice tried to give WMCA-FM away and couldn't.

This announcement drew sharp critisim from Major Edwin Armstrong, the inventor of the FM system of broadcasting, who said that Straus was not giving FM a fair chance.

Straus announced that WMCA-FM would quit permanently on December 31, 1949, but the day before, a group of businessmen and people associated with WIBG in Philadelphia announced their intention of buying WMCA-FM for $7500.

So, WMCA-FM continued its 3p-9p schedule throughout 1950, however the negotiations with the WIBG group fell through.

In late 1950, WHOM 1480 AM, announced that it would purchase WMCA-FM. An agreement was reached and 92.3 became WHOM-FM on February 26, 1951.

By 1975, the station had evolved into a Pop/Rock leaning AC format, with calls of WKTU.
On July 24, 1978, WKTU abruptly switched to an "All Disco" format as "Disco 92", which eventually evolved into more of a Rhythmic CHR by the Fall of 1979.

In the summer of 1984, WKTU became a mainstream CHR.

Then, in July of 1985, after airing the Live Aid concert, the station switched to a mainstream AOR format, featuring new and classic rock as WXRK "K-Rock".

In September 1985, Howard Stern (who had been fired from WNBC earlier that year) joined the station, initially for afternoons and in early 1986 switched to mornings.

In 1987, WXRK had instituted a classic rock format and on January 5, 1996, evolved into an alternative/active rock format.

On April 4, 2005, WXRK debuted a mainstream rock format, encompassing music from the 60's to today.

On December 16, 2005, Howard Stern broadcasted his last show on the station, before his anticipated move to Sirius Satellite Radio on January 9, 2006.

On January 3, 2006, 92.3 became an "all-talk" station (with the exception of weekends when it features a rock format) using the "Free FM" slogan and featuring David Lee Roth in mornings. Calls were officially changed to WFNY on January 1. In April 2006, David Lee Roth was replaced with Opie & Anthony.

On May 24, 2007 at 5pm, "K-Rock" returned to 92.3. Calls were changed back to WXRK on May 31, 2007.

On March 11, 2009, 92.3 switched to a CHR format as "92.3 Now FM", with the "K-Rock" format moving to 92.3's HD2 channel.

92.3 changed calls to WNOW on November 8, 2012.

On May 22, 2014 at 2pm, 92.3 re-branded themselves as "92.3 AMP."

Calls changed to WBMP on June 23, 2014.

In 1964...In New York, "Murray The K's Big Holiday Show" went on as scheduled, with the Zombies, the Nashville Teens, and the Hullabaloos, after the U.S. Labor Department lifted a ban on granting British artists work visas. Britain's Musicians Union had retaliated by canceling Fats Domino's upcoming tour, before the whole matter was dropped.

In 1995...Singer, actor and comedian Dean Martin died. He was 78

In 2006...Singer James Brown, nicknamed the "Godfather of Soul, died. He was 73.

In 2008...Singer, dancer and actress Eartha Kitt died. She was 81.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Report: Creditors Could Force iHM To Restructure

Two creditors of iHeartMedia, including Lloyd Blankfein’s Goldman Sachs, are expected to put the squeeze on the debt-laden radio giant — a move that could make it a lot harder for its private equity owners to keep the music playing.

Goldman and hedge fund Canyon Capital Advisors are putting together a group of senior lenders to pressure the company to use a $196 million dividend it will receive Jan. 4 to pay down their debt — and not that of junior bondholders, The NY Post has learned.

The lenders, in their gutsy move, are claiming the dividend — which will come from Clear Channel Outdoor, which is 90 percent owned by the radio giant — is restricted and belongs to them, a source very close to the matter said.

iHeartMedia, which owns 850 stations, has $193 million in bond payments due in 2016. Senior creditors are due to be paid later.

The power play could lead to a sooner-than-expected financial restructuring of the entire money-losing radio colossus, said the source, who also noted the possibility it could lead to a court battle over the payment.

The Bob Pittman-led company is losing money and, with the high-yield market crashing, may find it difficult to simply amend and extend its $20 billion in debt.  iHM has succeeded in continually amending the balance sheet to extend the huge pile of debt.

Revenue fell slightly in the nine months ended Sept. 30, to $4.5 billion. The net loss shrank a bit, to $661 million.

Senior lenders, who are likely to get paid in full in any restructuring, do not want to see the company spend more money paying junior lenders or covering the $80 million cash flow shortfall iHeart is projected to lose next year — $120 million in 2017.

If the power play sparks a restructuring, it could succeed in reducing the company’s interest expenses and help it to break even, a source said.

CEO Bob Iger Gets Pay Cut At Disney

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger took a slight pay cut in 2015, with his total compensation package falling 3.4% to $44.9 million, according to public filings.

Variety reports the media and entertainment chief earned $46.5 million in salary, bonuses and stock awards a year earlier. That represented a big boost from Iger’s 2013 package of $34.3 million.

It was a year that saw Disney climb box office heights with the return of the “Star Wars” franchise, but one that also saw its shares take a hit amidst investor concerns about the long-term future of ESPN. There are worries that cable subscriber defections could negatively impact the sports channel’s financial model. For the most part, investors profited from their investment in the company behind Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Disney’s stock rose by 18% during the fiscal year.

Iger’s compensation includes $2.5 million in salary, $22.3 million in incentives, $8.9 million in stock and $8.4 million in options.

In terms of Disney’s leadership, COO Thomas Staggs, who assumed his post in February, earned $20 million in total compensation. That includes just under $2 million in salary, $8.6 million in incentives, $4.6 million in stock and $3.4 million in options.

500+ Stations Airing All-Christmas Formats

For a second consecutive year, the number of all-Christmas stations in the U.S. has exceeded 500.

528 stations are airing all-holiday tunes, according to Inside Radio’s database, one station less than 2014’s record-setting total of 529.

The number marks a decade of growth that has seen the all-Yule ranks swell by 75% since 2005. The total doesn’t include the growing number of stations programming a partial Christmas format or online-only and HD side channels.

Among persons aged 6+, ratings for all-Christmas ACs in Nielsen’s December survey are up a tick over last year (8.5-8.6) but the full extent of the format’s appeal in 2015 won’t be known until the Holiday survey is released in January.

AC radio’s equivalent of the Super Bowl, the format’s appeal transcends every demo and gender. Stations that have earned the position as their market’s go-to holiday music station are often able to charge advertisers a premium during December, when their ratings skyrocket.

According to InsideRadio, four markets have four all-Yule stations: Birmingham, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Rochester, NY and Wilkes Barre-Scranton, PA. Scores of cities have three and markets with two are increasingly common. Atlanta is the only market with no Santa stations.

Report: Trump Is Today's 'Shock Jock'

“When Limbaugh came onto the scene in late 1988, he was saying things that resonated with a huge group of people who thought their voices were not heard anymore,” said Gabe Hobbs, a 35-year radio consultant who helped put Trump on the air, in an early-2000s series of radio commentaries for Clear Channel.

“Limbaugh would not only capture that; he’d state opinions for them. Donald Trump appears, to me, to have something very similar going on.”

According to The Washington Post, the popularity of Stern in the 1980s and 1990s spawned schools of imitators: Erich “Mancow” Muller launched from Chicago in 1994; Gregg “Opie” Hughes and Anthony Cumia from Boston one year later. Within a decade, Stern and Opie and Anthony had decamped for satellite radio. In 1996, Talkers magazine estimated Limbaugh’s total audience at 21 million listeners. This year, it was pegged at just 13.5 million — in­cred­ibly influential among conservatives, but no longer shaping the culture.

But between the peak and the valley, the shock jocks changed the way people expected to hear other people talk. Their rise coincided with the growth of “political correctness” on campuses and in pop culture; their decline coincided with that concept’s senescence.

By the late 1990s, it was no longer shocking to hear graphic talk about sex or insults on the radio; conservative talk, at the same time, tore into the details of Bill Clinton’s intimacy. In the Obama years, the speed of cultural change created an opening that only Trump seemed to see.

WaPo Editorial Cartoon Brews Dust-Up

(Reuters) -- The Washington Post ignited a debate over the role of children in U.S. presidential campaigns when it published - and then retracted - a political cartoon portraying Republican candidate Ted Cruz as an organ grinder and his daughters as monkeys.

It followed a new Cruz campaign TV ad in which the Texas senator shares with his wife and two young children faux Christmas stories entitled, “How Obamacare Stole Christmas” and “The Grinch Who Lost Her Emails,” a reference to Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton. The debate dominated cable news television and social media.

The Washington Post pulled the cartoon by Pulitzer Prize winner Ann Telnaes.

Telnaes said that since Cruz used the girls in a campaign video, she was justified in putting them in her cartoon, which was on the Post website on Tuesday before editors removed it.

Cruz, rising in polls ahead of next November's election, said at a campaign event in Oklahoma that he expected to be attacked but not his daughters.

"If folks want to attack me, knock yourself out," he said. "... I signed up for that, that's fine. But my girls didn't sign up for that."

Cruz responded to the cartoon on Tuesday with an email to supporters that, according to NBC's website, featured the cartoon. He sought $1 million in contributions in 24 hours to "send a message to the Washington Post."

The Post said its policy generally is to avoid children in its editorial section.

"I failed to look at this cartoon before it was published," Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said. "I understand why Ann thought an exception to the policy was warranted in this case, but I do not agree."

Over the years there has been spirited debate whenever the children of presidents and other politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, have had their mostly private lives pierced by journalists.

Their clothing, physical features, underage drinking and even boyfriends have been fodder for barbs.

Josh Elliott Exits NBC Sports

Josh Elliott
Josh Elliott, the former Good Morning America co-anchor who was considered a major hire in spring 2014 when he was poached from ABC, is leaving NBC after less than two years, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"I'm grateful for the chance to work with the remarkable team at NBC Sports, and appreciate their support as I look forward to what's next," Elliott told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.

Elliott, 44, was part of the core ABC anchor team that, in 2012, snapped the 16-year winning streak of NBC’s Today. He was tapped in 2011 by then-ABC News president Ben Sherwood, who had watched Elliott on sister network ESPN.

“Josh and NBC Sports mutually decided to part ways, and we wish him the best of luck in the future,” NBC said in a statement to THR.

It’s unclear what Elliott’s next move will be. But there is industry speculation that he could land at Fox Sports, where he would once again work with erstwhile ESPN executive Jamie Horowitz, who is now running programming at the division’s cable networks, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2.

Horowitz has lately been hiring talent for the cable channels including Jason Whitlock after Whitlock’s rocky stint at ESPN, and Colin Cowherd, who also was hired away from ESPN. In his brief stint as the executive in charge of NBC’s Today, Horowitz championed positioning Elliott as the heir apparent to Matt Lauer. Lauer, who lately has presided over a restabilization at the NBC program, is under contract only until next year.

December 24 Radio History

In 1818...Germany's Franz Gruber composes a melody to words written by Austrian priest Josef Mohr, creating the standard "Silent Night." The song is debuted tonight at Midnight Mass in Gruber's hometown of Obendorf.

Reginald Fessenden
In 1906...Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to broadcast a music program over radio. The broadcast originated in Brant Rock, Massachusetts.

In the late 1890s, reports began to appear about the success Guglielmo Marconi was having in developing a practical radio transmitting and receiving system. Fessenden began limited radio experimentation, and soon came to the conclusion that he could develop a far more efficient system than the spark-gap transmitter and coherer-receiver combination which had been championed by Oliver Lodge and Marconi.

Wireless Station at Brant Rock, MA
On December 21, 1906, Fessenden made an extensive demonstration of the new alternator-transmitter at Brant Rock, showing its utility for point-to-point wireless telephony, including interconnecting his stations to the wire telephone network. A detailed review of this demonstration appeared in The American Telephone Journal.

A few days later, two additional demonstrations took place, which may have been the first audio radio broadcasts of entertainment and music ever made to a general audience. (Beginning in 1904, the U.S. Navy had broadcast daily time signals and weather reports, but these employed spark transmitters, transmitting in Morse code).

On the evening of December 24, 1906 (Christmas Eve), Fessenden used the alternator-transmitter to send out a short program from Brant Rock. It included a phonograph record of Ombra mai fu (Largo) by George Frideric Handel, followed by Fessenden himself playing on the violin Adolphe Adam's carol O Holy Night, singing Gounod's Adore and be Still, and finishing with reading a passage from the Bible: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will' (Gospel of Luke 2:14).

He petitioned his listeners to write in about the quality of the broadcast as well as their location when they heard it. Surprisingly, his broadcast was heard several hundred miles away; however, accompanying the broadcast was a disturbing noise. This noise was due to irregularities in the spark gap transmitter he used.

In 1922...the BBC broadcast the first British radio play. It was entitled, "Truth about Father Christmas".

In 1928...the first broadcast of “The Voice of Firestone” was heard on the NBC Blue Radio Network, Monday night at 8:30. “The Voice of Firestone”became a hallmark in radio broadcasting, keeping its same night and sponsor for its entire 27 year run. Beginning September 5, 1949, the program of classical and semiclassical music was simulcast on television.

Lionel Barrymore
In 1939...the classic radio version of “A Christmas Carol” with Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge aired live for the first time on Orson Welles’ Campbell Playhouse on CBS.  On prior Christmasses Barrymore had just read the story beginning in 1934.

In 1944..."The Andrews Sisters’ Eight-To-The-Bar-Ranch" radio program debuted on ABC Radio.

In 1948...Perry Como made his television debut when NBC televised the Chesterfield Supper Club 15-minute radio program.

In 1988....Bulgaria stopped jamming "Radio Free Europe" after more than 30 years.

In 2006…Broadcasting executive Frank Stanton, the president of CBS from 1946 to 1971, died at the age of 98.

Frank Stanton 1939
Stanton served as the president of CBS between 1946 and 1971 and then as vice chairman until 1973. Along with William S. Paley, Stanton is credited with the significant growth of CBS into a communications powerhouse.

Stanton was revered both as a spokesman for the broadcast industry before Congress, and for his passionate support of broadcast journalism and journalists. Former CBS News President Richard S. Salant – a widely respected news chief and an appointee of Stanton's – praised Stanton as a corporate mentor and statesman.

During the period of McCarthyism, Stanton created an office at CBS to review the political leanings of employees.  Although right-wing journalists considered CBS left-leaning, branding it "the Red Network", CBS maintained a questionnaire inquiring about journalists' political affiliations. At Stanton's direction, employees were required to take an oath of loyalty to the US government. Stanton and Paley "found it expedient to hire only those who were politically neutral", not wishing to take a position against the FCC and Congress, nor to jeopardize profit by "tak[ing] a stand against the vigilantes".

Stanton, Time Cover 12/4/1950
According to radio historian Jim Cox, "CBS and the blacklisting became synonymous".   CBS, in response to the culture of blacklisting, instituted a "purge of its own", as had Hollywood and president Truman; Paley was more responsible for policy setting, and Stanton its main executor. Radio producer William N. Robson was one victim of the CBS purge; initially reassured by Stanton that his listing in the anti-Communist Red Channels pamphlet would not mean the end of his career with CBS, Robson eventually found the executive office of CBS non-responsive to his inquiries, and his earnings collapsed.   Good Night, and Good Luck, a 2005 movie portraying this era, left Stanton out of the film as a character, partly because Stanton was still living and might have objected to his portrayal.

Stanton played a role in the infamous controversy involving Arthur Godfrey, CBS's top money-earner in the early 1950s. Godfrey insisted that the cast members of two of his three CBS shows, a group of singers known as the "Little Godfreys," refrain from hiring managers. When one singer, Julius LaRosa, hired a manager following a minor dispute with Godfrey, the star consulted with Stanton, who suggested that he fire the popular LaRosa, then a rising star, on the air – just as he'd hired him on the air in 1951. Godfrey did so on October 19, 1953, without informing LaRosa before the airing. The move caused an enormous backlash against Godfrey. Stanton later told Godfrey biographer Arthur Singer that "Maybe (the recommendation) was a mistake."

In 2009...Disc jockey (WABC-New York, WFIL-Philadelphia, KBTR-Denver, WRIT-Milwaukee, WIL-St. Louis)/TV sports highlights show host (The George Michael Sports Machine) George Michael died of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia at 70.

Michael was born George Michael Gimpel in St. Louis, Missouri on March 24, 1939. He grew up near Tower Grove Park in the city's south side, and graduated from St. Louis University High School. While attending Saint Louis University, he worked as a Midwest promoter for several record labels such as Scepter and Motown. It was also during this time when he made his radio broadcasting debut on a one-hour Sunday night show at midnight on WIL, which invited individual SLU students to be the hosts every week. He earned a full-time job as a disc jockey at the station after he was judged to be the best of the group.

His first radio job outside of his hometown was in 1962 at WRIT in Milwaukee, where he worked the 6-to-10 pm shift until he was reassigned to 5-to-9 am morning drive time in early 1964.  His next stop was at KBTR in Denver later in 1964, working under the name "King" George Michael for the first time. He earned the nickname due to his success in "ruling" evening radio.

He became one of the original Boss Jocks at WFIL in Philadelphia when its new Top 40 rock and roll format debuted on September 18, 1966.  He served as music director and evening deejay for the next eight years. WFIL, which was popularly known as "Famous 56" after the transition, ended WIBG's listener ratings dominance and became the city's most popular station by the summer of 1967.

Michael was the first Philadelphia rock and roll radio personality to read the scores of local high school football and basketball games on the air. He also helped to start the career of Howard Eskin by hiring him to be his engineer.  Decades later, Eskin would be a contributor to The George Michael Sports Machine.   On George's last WFIL show (on September 6, 1974) he played "When Will I See You Again" by the Three Degrees for the first time ever on any radio station. The playing of this on his show broke the song into the mainstream, and within two months was a huge international hit, reaching number one in the U.K., and number two in the United States. George was personal friends with the owners of Philadelphia International Records and the song's writers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The aircheck of this can be heard on WFIL's tribute site, where he says,"I don't know if this song will be a hit".

Michael, noted for his energetic style, was hired by 77 WABC in New York City; his first on-air stint there was on the evening of September 9, 1974.  Michael now not only was entering the nation's largest media market; he also succeeded radio legend "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, who had jumped to competitor WNBC.  Several incidents from Michael's radio stint there have been chronicled in Morrow's autobiography.  Even though he was reunited with Dan Ingram and Ron Lundy (colleagues from his WIL days in St. Louis), Michael's time at WABC, which ended on November 17, 1979, was mostly frustrating because he was no longer a music director who had any influence on a playlist which was much shorter than the ones with which he was more familiar.  One of the highlights during his time at the station occurred when he anchored its coverage of the New York City blackout of 1977 after the music format was temporarily suspended for the night.

His first experience in sports broadcasting also came in 1974 when he was a television announcer for the Baltimore Orioles on WJZ-TV.  He declined an offer to work for the ballclub full-time in order to accept the WABC position.  As part of the deal to bring him to New York, Michael also worked for WABC-TV as the weekend sports anchor and a color commentator on New York Islanders telecasts for several seasons, paired mainly with Tim Ryan.   He served as an occasional substitute on ABC American Contemporary Network's Speaking of Sports show whenever Howard Cosell, the primary commentator, was on vacation or assignment.

In 2011...Talk personality Lynn Samuels WBAI, WABC NYC died from a heart attack at age 69.

Lynn Samuels
She began her radio career at WBAI in 1979, where in addition to her on-air work she was music director and an engineer and producer. Walter Sabo, in a tribute on the Alex Bennett program (hosted by Richard Bey) on December 27, 2011, stated that Lynn first worked for WOR on Saturdays from 4–6 p.m. "for quite some time".

Samuels was heard on Talkradio WABC from 1987 until 1992, 1993 until 1997, and 1997 until 2002, including two breaks in which she was fired and then rehired. Her third and final dismissal in 2002 was allegedly due to budget cuts.

Samuels was also a call-screener for Matt Drudge. In 2002, she joined WLIE for a brief time before being hired by Sirius in 2003.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Report: CBS Reports Higher Ad Prices For News On Digital Platforms

CBS News is getting higher prices for advertising opportunities on its digital offerings than it gets for broadcast news content, CBS News President David Rhodes said Monday at TVNewsCheck’s annual NewsTECHForum in New York.

David Rhodes
“The pricing that we’re receiving for the advertising we’re selling on [CBS News’ digital] platforms, because they are to this point ad-supported, is very strong and, in fact, is more than two [times] what we’re receiving for our overall average broadcast news offering,” Rhodes told TVNewsCheck Editor Harry Jessell, who interviewed Rhodes in a keynote session that opened the two-day conference.

The digital platform the two focused on mostly was CBSN, the 24-hour live-streaming Internet news channel CBS launched in November 2014. Noting that CBS O&Os are contributing video packages to the service, Jessell asked Rhodes if non-CBS-owned affiliates would have the same opportunity. Rhodes’ answer indicated the network is aware of affiliate interest, but is undecided on the question of whether more local content, from non-CBS-owned stations, is the right direction for the service to go in.

Not surprisingly, Rhodes is just as bullish on traditional broadcast news as he is on his news division’s forays into digital. He noted that The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley had its largest November audience in nine years last month. And Rhodes also expressed satisfaction in the steady audience growth of CBS This Morning in recent years too.

“We’re finding it’s a very strong business to be in right now,” Rhodes said of morning TV.

Asked about the continuing challenge facing traditional evening newscasts to attract younger viewers, Rhodes said it’s not as important as people think. To survive and be successful, network newscasts don’t necessarily have to attract young people, and they never really have, he pointed out.

Las Vegas Radio: KOAS Adding Steve Harvey Morning Show

Old School KOAS-FM 105.7 FM Las Vegas (licenced to Doaln Spring Az) has announced the addition of the Steve Harvey Morning Show to the station’s weekday morning lineup.

Start date is January 4, 2016.

Each day on The steve harvey Morning Show, steve harvey and co-hosts Shirley Strawberry, Nephew Tommy, Carla Ferrell and Junior bring listeners inspirational advice, laughs, celebrity interviews, news, rousing music, the “Strawberry Letter,” listener segments and more.

The Steve Harvey radio show is nationally syndicated by Premiere Networks, the award-winning program broadcasts on nearly 80 stations nationwide and reaches approximately six million weekly listeners. It is the #1 syndicated morning show in America and #1 with African American radio listeners.

KOAS 105.7 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage
“Steve Harvey brings super star power to Old School 105.7. Steve’s talents are enormous; Actor, Writer, Producer, TV Show Host, Comedian and radio host,” said Las Vegas Program Director and Operations Manager John Candelaria. “I can’t wait until January 4th the day we align our Old School brand with steve harvey to create an incredible one – two punch, steve harvey in the morning and Old School all day!”

Report: Steve Harvey To Return Hosting Miss Universe Pageant

Steve Harvey
Despite his embarrassing mistake at the conclusion of the Miss Universe pageant on Sunday, host Steve Harvey will likely be returning to the stage next year, multiple sources confirm to ET.

The 58-year-old comedian and Family Feud host signed a multi-year contract to host Miss Universe just days before the pageant aired Sunday, and that his paycheck is "more than they've ever paid before for a host."

During Sunday’s broadcast, Harvey mistakenly named Miss Colombia as the new Miss Universe, when the title was supposed to go Miss Philippines. Harvey awkwardly apologized and explained the error on live TV while the crown was removed from Miss Colombia's head and placed on a shocked and confused Miss Philippines.

According to the source, Harvey "was mortified" by his mistake, which was apparently a "real ego-crusher" for the veteran TV personality.

However, WME/IMG -- the media agency that purchased the Miss Universe Organization from Donald Trump earlier this year -- "really loves" Harvey, the source explains. In light of the attention Harvey's blunder has brought to the pageant, they likely have no qualms about bringing him back.

According to Harvey, who is also repped by WME, the mix-up came about because he didn't rehearse who would be Miss Universe, as the winner had not yet been decided. Multiple sources tell ET that Harvey didn't attend Friday's rehearsal and wasn't present for the entire rehearsal on Saturday, however other sources close to the pageant tells us Harvey was at every rehearsal he was required to be at.

The Beatles To Stream Starting Thursday

(Reuters) -- 'The Beatles' will see its songs feature across streaming music services starting this Thursday, Christmas Eve, Re/code reported, citing sources familiar with the plans.

Streaming music services including Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon Prime Music, are among the many others set to stream the band's songs, the tech website reported.

According to Re/code, Pandora Media Inc has the music band's songs on its online radio service, but with various restrictions.

The Re/code report follows a source-based report from Billboard a week ago which said 'The Beatles' were coming to a streaming service on Christmas Eve, but did not specify which one.

Unlike artists such as Adele, Coldplay and Taylor Swift, who decided to not release some of their singles to the free versions of music streaming services, 'The Beatles' will be available for free to its users, Re/code said.

(Reporting by Sneha Teresa Johny in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)

CBS Radio Adds Michael Simon For Big Data

Michael Simon
CBS RADIO announced Tuesday that Michael Simon, who led the Obama presidential campaign’s analytics team, has been named a senior advisor to the division.

Simon, who will report to Andre Fernandez, President, CBS RADIO, will work closely with senior management to enhance CBS RADIO’s overall data analytics capabilities, as well as create new data-driven ad products and strategies for political campaigns, candidates, and related committees and organizations.

“Michael is one of the foremost experts in data analytics whose expertise will quickly elevate our efforts in transforming our vast collection of user information into more meaningful business applications,” said Fernandez.  “The ongoing assessment and development of cutting-edge data collection systems will lead to smarter programming and marketing decisions, and optimized advertising purchases in the future. With the 2016 election race underway, now is the ideal time to develop new efficiencies across our data management platforms and business-to-business application tools.”

“CBS RADIO stations touch many millions of Americans every single day with immersive content over the air, online, and on mobile devices,” said Simon. “For many people, a CBS RADIO program is the first thing they hear in the morning, what they listen to while they are at work, and the last thing they hear before they go to sleep. I look forward to helping the division build a sophisticated data platform by which they can help advertisers of all kinds better understand, reach, and connect with this audience.”

Editor Mike Hengel Exits The Las Vegas Review-Journal

Mike Hengel, the top editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is stepping aside, less than two weeks after the family of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson took control of the newspaper.

One reporter said the newsroom was "stunned" by the announcement, which Hengel made on Tuesday evening in the midst of a turbulent period for Nevada's biggest newspaper.

A round of end-of-the-year buyouts were initiated before Adelson purchased the paper on December 10. Hengel was originally not eligible. But the eligibility rules were apparently changed for him.

According to tweets and people who were present for the announcement, Hengel told his staffers that he did not ask for a buyout, but that he was offered one shortly after the change in ownership. He did not say who made the offer. But he said he thought his relationship with the Adelson family would be "adversarial" and that it was best to let them pick their own editor.

"I think my resignation probably comes as a relief to the new owners, and it is in my best interest and those of my family," Hengel said.

Hengel's departure comes at a time of widespread unease about what the new owners intend to do, according to CNN Money.

R.I.P.: Mark Billingsley Of Kix 106 In Memphis

Mark Billingsley, a longtime on-air personality with country radio station WGKX 105.9 FM KIX 106, died Tuesday afternoon following several weeks of illness, the radio station announced.

"He was an extraordinary Memphis Tigers fan," said Alan Kirshbom, spokesman for the station's ownership group. "Just a gregarious, fun, outgoing guy. Everyone who came across him felt he was their best friend and they had known him for years."

Mark Billingsley
Billingsley, nicknamed "Memphis Mark," was on the air with the station for more than 20 years, according to The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

He suffered a medical emergency while doing his afternoon show at the station November 23 and was taken to the hospital, where he underwent brain surgery, Kirshbom said. He never regained consciousness and died at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis at age 53.

The station's program director Duane Shannon said Billingsley died surrounded by family and friends. Shannon said his colleague had a big personality and left a big impression. When he did broadcasts at live events, a crowd would gather around him.

When Billingsley signed off at the end of the day, he'd say something like, "I'm headed to my little piece of America in Fayette County."

By early Tuesday evening, more than 100 people had left comments honoring Billingsley on the station's Facebook page.

R.I.P.: San Diego Radio Broadcaster Ted Tillotson

Ted Tillotson
Ted Tillotson long time radio sidekick, radio news anchor, writer, instructor and tremendous friend passed away last Friday night. Ted was an instrumental force in the KGB Boss Radio Era of the 60s and 70s.

Tillotson worked at KGB 1360 AM "20-20 news" as Ted Taylor or later on at KUDE, KCBQ, Sunny 103, KPRI, The Eagle 94.1 and more.

His name is etched in stone on the KCBQ monument in front of the In & Out Burger in Santee along with other greats from San Diego Radio.

According to Joe Nelson at, "Ted was my sidekick and friend on the original KPRI San Diego's Best Rock from 1977 to 1984, and again at The Eagle in the late 90s."

"I used to tease him that he graduated high school the same year I was born. It was that kind of friendship and his creativity that made KPRI a force in San Diego Morning Radio market for many years."

Tillotson wrote and stared in daily radio episodes on the life and times of Sammy Surfer and his girlfriend Monica. Monica was taken from the real broken heart Ted felt when his own wife left him, according to Joe Nelson.

"I don't think he really ever got over her but out of respect he changed her name from Kathy to Monica. That radio satire helped Ted heal over the years and made thousands of San Diegan's laugh every morning.

December 23 Radio History

In 1900...Canadian wireless expert Reginald Fessenden, working for the US Weather Service at Brant Rock, Mass. near Boston, broadcast the world’s first voice communications by AM (amplitude modulation) radio wave for a distance of 1.6 km between two 13 metre towers. He asked his assistant, ‘Is it snowing where you are, Mr. Thiessen?’

In 1907...the longtime host of ABC radio’s Breakfast Club, Don McNeill was born at Galena Illinois.

In Chicago during the early 1930s, McNeill was assigned to take over an unsponsored early morning variety show, The Pepper Pot, with an 8 a.m. timeslot on the NBC Blue Network. McNeill re-organized the hour as The Breakfast Club, dividing it into four segments which McNeill labeled "the Four Calls to Breakfast."

McNeill's revamped show premiered in 1933, combining music with informal talk and jokes often based on topical events, initially scripted by McNeill but later ad-libbed. In addition to recurring comedy performers, various vocal groups and soloists, listeners heard sentimental verse, conversations with members of the studio audience and a silent moment of prayer. The series eventually gained a sponsor in the Chicago-based meat packer Swift and Company, beginning February 8, 1941. McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable radio format.

He died May 7, 1996 at age 88.

In 1922...the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcast the first orchestral concert, the first program of dance music, the first radio talk program, and the first regular bulletin of general news from London.

In 1947...In what would be a major development for radio and other electronics, the transistor is invented by three scientists at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. The trio would win the 1956 Nobel Prize in for their discovery.

In Jack Webb, creator & star of Dragnet, died as a result of a heart attack at age 62.

He started in radio as a deejay & failed comic, then found success as the lead in “Pat Novack For Hire.”  In 1949 he started playing Sgt. Joe Friday on NBC radio, taking “Dragnet” to TV in 1951, where it continued until 1959.

A second run of the show began in 1967, during which Webb developed the spin-off “Adam 12.”

In 1987..."Good Morning, Vietnam," starring Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Bruno Kirby, and J.T. Walsh, opened in U.S. and Canadian movie theaters.

Stan Brooks
In 2013...Stan Brooks, longtime newsman at 1010 WINS died.

He was 86, and had worked until a month before his death, delivering his last report from City Hall on Nov. 20.

Brooks joined WINS, 1010 on the AM dial, as news director in 1962, when it was still one of the dominant Top40 music stations in the country, with a lineup of popular disc jockeys including Murray Kaufman, known as Murray the K.

When Westinghouse Electric Corporation, the station’s owners, decided to make WINS an all-news operation soon after Brooks’s arrival, he helped assemble the staff and lay the groundwork for one of the first all-news radio stations in the country — and the first in the city.

The switch took place on April 19, 1965. The blackout on Nov. 9 that year, which plunged most of the Northeast into darkness, put Brooks’s news team on the aural map.

By tapping into a transmission line based in New Jersey, WINS was one of the few radio outlets that managed to stay on the air. From a 19th-floor studio in Midtown Manhattan, Mr. Brooks and his reporters broadcast news and information throughout the night.

After several years as an executive and then a national correspondent for the Westinghouse Broadcasting radio station system, Mr. Brooks became a local reporter at WINS in 1970. His voice has been on the city’s airwaves almost every day since.

In understated dispatches between 30 seconds and one minute long, he reported on plane crashes, race riots, municipal near-bankruptcies, the tall ships, the Son of Sam, the Attica prison uprising and every mayoral administration from John V. Lindsay to Michael R. Bloomberg.

He liked the precision of short-form journalism. “When you’ve got 35 seconds, you’ve got to tell people what they need right away,” he said in an interview last year. “You want to get to the spine of the story.”

Gordon Hinckley
In 2013...Gordon Hinkley, whose Milwaukee radio career spanned more than a half century and whose voice was as familiar as an old friend to thousands of listeners, died at age 88.

Known as the “Granddaddy of Milwaukee radio,” his “Ask Your Neighbor” show ran on WTMJ 620 AM for more than 30 years.