Saturday, April 23, 2016

April 24 Radio History

In 1947...Jack Webb introduced his short-lived pre-Dragnet detective-adventure radio show Johnny Madero: Pier 23 on Mutual. His first post-San Francisco series (from Hollywood) featured those radio stalwarts Gale Gordon & William Conrad in the supporting cast.

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

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

In 1954...Billboard magazine, the music industry trade publication, headlined a tsunami to come in the music biz. The headline read, “Teenagers Demand Music with a Beat — Spur Rhythm and Blues” … a sign of the entertainment revolution that was underway.

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

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

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

Abbott & Costello
In 1974...comedian Bud Abbott, the straight man in the movie/radio/TV team of Abbott & Costello, succumbed to prostate cancer at age 78

Prince's Remains Cremated, Investigation Continues

(Reuters) --Prince's remains have been cremated and his family and friends attended a private ceremony on Saturday to pay their respects to the late pop superstar at the studio complex and home where he died in a suburb of Minneapolis, a Prince spokeswoman said.

Among those seen entering the Paisley Park Studios complex were his sister, Tyka Nelson, musician and former collaborator Sheila E., his former bass player Larry Graham and model Damaris Lewis.

The service came two days after Prince, whose hits included "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry," was found dead in an elevator at the complex at age 57. His passing shocked millions of fans around the world and prompted glowing tributes from fellow musicians and public figures, including President Barack Obama.

"Prince was celebrated by a small group of his most beloved: family, friends and his musicians, in a private, beautiful ceremony to say a loving goodbye," Prince publicist Anna Meacham said in a statement.

Sheriff Jim Olson
Meacham said Prince's remains have been cremated and their final resting place will remain private.

An autopsy on Prince was conducted on Friday and authorities are investigating his death.

Meanwhile, Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson, whose office is investigating the circumstances of his death, said Prince was last seen alive by an acquaintance who dropped him off at his home at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday night.

"There were no obvious signs of trauma on the body," Olson told a news conference. "We have no reason to believe at this point that this was a suicide. The rest is under investigation."

The influential star, born Prince Rogers Nelson, was found unresponsive in an elevator at the Paisley Park Studios complex where he lived in the suburb of Chanhassen, authorities said.

Olson declined to say whether any items were recovered from the home by police, citing the ongoing investigation. He did say that no one else was found at the property.

The local medical examiner's office conducted a post-mortem examination on Friday morning for four hours but its results could be some time coming.

ABC Fearful Kelly Will 'Go Rogue'

UPDATE 4/23 9PM:  TMZ is reporting Kelly Ripa made the decision to return Tuesday after her people jawboned it with Disney over the fate of her show and the tenure of co-host.

TMZ's ABC sources say Kelly's people made it clear she would come back if they could get assurance the show wasn't getting the ax. ABC honchos are noodling whether to add a third hour of 'GMA,' which would displace 'Live.'

The brass apparently gave Kelly enough assurance to end her boycott.  Even if 'GMA' moves to 9 ... ABC could save 'Live' by moving it to 10 or 11 AM.

According to TMZ,  Kelly made it clear she'd be a happy camper if Michael Strahan leaves before his scheduled September departure. Our sources say both Kelly and Michael are extremely uncomfortable about sitting together under the circumstances, and they'd both like to stop the bleeding STAT.

Earlier Posting...

Kelly Ripa has informed the staff of her ABC Live morning show, “Live With Kelly and Michael,” on Friday night that she would return Tuesday, according to an email obtained by The New York Times.

Addressing the “Live” staff, she said: “(Sorry for this late Friday night email). I wanted to thank you all for giving me the time to process this new information. Your kindness, support, and love has overwhelmed me. We are a family and I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday morning. Love, Kelly.”

Ripa refused to appear on her show twice this week after the network announced that Michael Strahan would leave “Live” for “Good Morning America” in September. A person who spoke to Ms. Ripa said she had felt blindsided since she was given almost no notice about the move. She also felt that network executives were slighting her show in favor of “Good Morning America.”

Strahan began appearing on “Good Morning America” two years ago, and Ripa expressed reservations at the time that his role on that show would be a distraction from his duties on “Live.” She was told that his role would be temporary.

Meanwhille the NY Post quotes a source: “ABC has the other problem that if Kelly does appear at work on Tuesday, that she ‘might do an Ann Curry’ and turn on her co-anchor. There clearly would be tension between her and Michael. He’s on the show for another four months, but could they even be on-air together? Nobody knows what is going to happen.”

Another ABC source said Ripa “feels overshadowed” by Strahan. “Kelly and Michael have been faking it for a while. They haven’t been getting on for some time. Things went south when he went part time to ‘GMA’. She resents Michael’s success and her ego can’t take it. But what is ridiculous is that ‘Live’ is still her show — she’s still the star.”

Meanwhile, Strahan’s ABC News colleague Mara Schiavocampo told us everyone at “GMA” is excited: “He is so loved by everyone on the staff and by all the on-air team. He’s just a really good person. He brings a good energy to the studio and we’re really excited to have him . . . Everybody wanted more Michael.”

Media Giants Protest Proposed FCC Set-Top Box Rules

The nation's largest media companies are banding together to protest proposed FCC rules designed to spur competition in the TV set-top box manufacturing market.

Walt Disney Co., CBS Corp., 21st Century Fox, A&E Television Networks, Time Warner Inc. , Scripps Networks Interactive and Viacom Inc. jointly filed comments with the FCC late Friday to lodge their opposition to the proposal, according to the LA Times.

The FCC, in February, voted three to two along party lines to begin crafting rules intended to open up the set-top-box manufacturing market with new technology standards so that third-party companies could develop devices and apps that could decode pay-TV signals.

The move was intended to loosen the grip of the pay-TV companies -- including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and AT&T, which owns DirecTV -- on the set-top box market and development of TV navigational guides.

Consumers typically lease the set-top box from their pay-TV provider, and those fees can top $200 a year.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a Democrat, introduced the rules to try to give consumers more options.

But the companies worry that tech companies that enter the TV navigation market might serve up individual TV shows to consumers, such as "Empire," "Paw Patrol" or "NCIS," rather than an entire channel of programming. That would leave the TV industry vulnerable to the same fate as the music industry after consumers began buying individual songs rather than entire albums and CDs.

St. Louis Radio: After Six Weeks, Dino Costa Exits KFNS

Dino Costa
Dino Costa roared into St. Louis last month on KFNS 590 AM The Fan nsfull of brashness and spunk, vowing to quickly take over the local sports-talk radio business.

“If I don’t dominate this market in a year, I will crawl on hands and knees back to Wyoming,” he said then. (See Original Posting, Click Here)

But now, Friday, final day of his sixth week on the air as the morning host,  was his last at the station. That’s because he perceives a management restructuring of the station is imminent, and he’s uncomfortable with that.

According to, Costa was hired by Randy Markel, a newcomer and renegade in the local radio business who wanted a swashbuckler to shake things up. And Costa has done that. He has made his mark locally with strong opinions interspersed with name-calling and coarse language.

“I’ve loved every minute I’ve been in St. Louis,” he said. “It was my desire to come to the market and provide a most unique and impactful radio endeavor and I believe I have done that by providing ... something that is clearly a radical departure from the status quo of St. Louis radio. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many great people in St. Louis. The Blues have treated me so well, I love their fan base. I’ve been looking forward to the Cardinals’ season. I really became attached in the six weeks I’ve been there. We were prepared as a family to move there, we just closed on a house and we had to put the breaks on that. I was looking forward to the future with a lot of excitement and thought it would be something I’d love to spend the next 20 or 25 years in St. Louis. But things change, the dynamics of the situation have changed.

Costa, 52, is an East Coast native who has worked in numerous markets, including Denver, Jacksonville, Fla., as well as Wheeling and Huntington, W.Va. His most prominent job was on Sirius XM Radio, for which he has a show for five years. He also has made TV guest appearances on Fox News.

iHM Names Jay Cruze KY-IN Country Director

Jay Cruze
iHeartMedia has announced the appointment of  Jay Cruze as Director of Country Programming for the Kentucky-Indiana region and its five Country outlets.

In addition, Cruze will also oversee WAMZ 97.5 FM in Louisville, WBUL 98.1 FM in Lexington and WUBG 98.3 FM in Indianapolis.

Cruze, a 20-year radio veteran, most recently served as Senior VP/Programming for iHM August. GA and Program Director of WLUB 105.7 FM.

"When you combine Jay's understanding of the radio and music industry with his energy and passion for the product, we're confident that he is the right person to lead and grow these incredible brands," said iHeartmedia Kentucky-Indiana Region President Earl Jones.

"I've had the opportunity to watch Jay evolve into a leader in his field and enjoy the successes that come from hard work and great instincts," added iHM Regional Senior VP/Programming Michael Jordan. "He brings a lot to the table and will be a valuable asset to our team."

"Michael and Earl have set the bar high with these heritage brands and have the talent in place for us to continue to dominate country ratings in Kentucky-Indiana," said Cruze. "I can't wait to hit the ground and get to work with this rockstar team!"

NOLA Radio: WRKN Rebrands As 'Country Giant'

Cumulus Media has announced the rebranding of WRKN 92.3 FM as “The Gulf South’s Country Giant… New Orleans, Baton Rouge… NASH FM 92.3”. The station was formerly branded as “NASH FM 92.3 New Orleans’ New Country Leader”.

WRKN-FM serves the New Orleans, LA, and Baton Rouge, LA, Metro areas and the entire Gulf South, via a mammoth radio tower that is 2,000 feet tall transmitting at 100,000 watts.

As the station re-brands, NASH FM 92.3 The Gulf South’s Country Giant will move from a contemporary Country format to its new mass-appeal country format featuring Country Gold programming, paired with today’s best country music.

The re-branded station’s core programming is centered in the ‘90’s golden age of country music, and will also include current country artists, offering a wide variety of country music with broad appeal among Persons 25-54. Core artists will include: Garth Brooks, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Toby Keith, Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, and the Zac Brown Band. NASH FM 92.3 The Gulf South’s Country Giant will play songs that country fans know, love and sing along to.

WRKN 92.3 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage
Award-winning Country radio personality Scott Innes kicked off WRKN-FM’s next generation of great Country radio at 10AM on Thursday. Innes joins the new on-air line-up as Midday Personality, airing weekdays from 10AM-3PM.

The weekday line-up now features:

6AM:   America’s Morning Show with Blair Garner
10AM: Scott Innes
3PM:    Shawn Williams
7PM:    NASH Nights Live
12M:    Kix Brooks

John Boyle, Operations Manager/Program Director for NASH FM 92.3 said: “The Gulf South’s Country Giant NASH-FM 92.3 now fills a huge void of country music in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and everywhere in between and beyond. We’re thrilled to welcome Scott Innes to Middays. Scott is a truly gifted entertainer who is incredibly talented.”

Scott Innes
Innes said: “Like Zoinks! I can't tell you how excited I am to be back behind the mic on the most powerful radio station in south Louisiana playing the music that I love so much! And with a company that truly understands Country Music!”

Innes was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters in 2008, and has also been honored for his professional achievements with a Marconi Award, an ACM Award for Radio Personality of the Year, and a CMA Award for Country Radio Broadcaster of the Year. He was also recognized as Radio Personality of the Year by CRS. Innes is the only person to have won three Golden Mike Awards from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters.

An accomplished Country music writer, Innes wrote the Top 40 Country song “Handprints on the Wall” for Kenny Rogers, and has written songs for Richie McDonald of Lonestar, T. Graham Brown, Sammy Kershaw and others. Innes is also a popular voice actor, and in 1997, became the official voice of cartoon characters Scooby Doo and Shaggy for Warner Bros. He has voiced Scooby Doo and Shaggy in over eight feature films, including the 2002 Warner Bros.’ live action film, “Scooby Doo”, as well as for 1000 talking toys. He has also voiced more than 25 of the world-famous Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, including: Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo Bear, and Popeye.

Eugene OR Radio: Host Jack Fleming Retires

Jack Fleming - 1957
After nearly 59 years in the business, Eugene, OR radio host Jack Fleming has retired at 81.

Fleming told KVAL-TV13 News he's loved radio since he was a child. He remembers playing with his train set and listening to radio dramas.

Jack Fleming KWAX
He began his career as a radio host in 1957. He worked in Connecticut and Los Angeles before he received a life-changing phone call for a job offer in Eugene.

"And if I might say exactly what I asked him, I said where in the 'H' is Eugene, Oregon?" Fleming said.

Although Eugene was smaller and rainier than he would have liked, it was a job he couldn't refuse. He signed KPNW 1120 AM , a 50,000 watt radio station, onto the air for the first time.

"So, to have a 50,000 watt station in a little bird like Eugene - that was quite a big deal," Fleming said.

 His family moved to Eugene, planning to stay for just two years. "By the time two years was up, I was used to the rain. So we stayed here. I've been here since 1967," he said.

Fleming was the first voice on KPNW, but also worked at KUGN 590 AM and capped his career after 31 years of hosting for non-com KWAX 91.1 FM, where he made quite the name for himself.

R.I.P.: Illinois Radio Broadcaster Dick Elliott Was 96

Dick Elliott
Former radio news broadcaster and announcer for the Harlem Globetrotters Richard John Wiora aka Dick Elliott died March 6 in Oak Park, IL.

He was 96-years-of-age, according to

He had a distinctive and memorable voice, familiar to many listeners in Chicago and its suburbs on WIND Radio 560. He also worked at WLS and WJJD in Chicago. But he started out modestly at a station in Ottumwa, Iowa, as Santa, handing out candy to kids at Christmas time and then announcing the current price of corn on air.

After retirement from WIND, he taught a class in journalism ethics at Columbia College Chicago.

April 23 Radio History

In 1995...Howard Cosell, ABC Radio Sports, died

After the war, Cosell began practicing law in Manhattan, primarily in union law. Some of his clients were actors, and some were athletes, including Willie Mays. Cosell's own hero in athletics was Jackie Robinson, who served as a personal and professional inspiration to him in his career. Cosell also represented the Little League of New York, when in 1953 an ABC Radio manager asked him to host a show on New York flagship WABC featuring Little League participants. The show marked the beginning of a relationship with WABC and ABC Radio that would last his entire broadcasting career.

Cosell hosted the Little League show for three years without pay, and then decided to leave the law field to become a full-time broadcaster. He approached Robert Pauley, President of ABC Radio, with a proposal for a weekly show. Pauley told him the network could not afford to develop untried talent, but he would be put on the air if he would get a sponsor. To Pauley's surprise, Cosell came back with a relative's shirt company as a sponsor, and "Speaking of Sports" was born.

Cosell took his "tell it like it is" approach when he teamed with the ex-Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher "Big Numba Thirteen" Ralph Branca on WABC's pre- and post-game radio shows of the New York Mets in their nascent years beginning in 1962. He pulled no punches in taking members of the hapless expansion team to task.

Otherwise on radio, Cosell did his show, Speaking of Sports, as well as sports reports and updates for affiliated radio stations around the country; he continued his radio duties even after he became prominent on television. Cosell then became a sports anchor at WABC-TV in New York, where he served in that role from 1961 to 1974. He expanded his commentary beyond sports to a radio show entitled "Speaking of Everything".

Cosell's style of reporting very much transformed sports broadcasting. Whereas previous sportscasters had mostly been known for color commentary and lively play-by-play, Cosell had an intellectual approach. His use of analysis and context arguably brought television sports reporting very close to the kind of in-depth reporting one expected from "hard" news reporters. At the same time, however, his distinctive staccato voice, accent, syntax, and cadence were a form of color commentary all their own.

In 2004…Southern California radio-TV sportscaster Bill Brundige died of heart failure at age 89.

Bill Brundige
Brundige served as West Coast sports director for the Armed Forces Radio Network during World War II and received the Helms Athletic Foundation award for his entertainment contributions to the men and women serving in the Pacific.

Later, Brundige was an announcer for baseball's Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators, and football's Detroit Lions. It was Phil Wrigley, owner of the Cubs, who brought Brundige to Southern California to broadcast games for the Angels, a minor league team that had the name long before Gene Autry purchased an American League expansion team that began play in 1961.

In 1964, Brundige founded an auto glass company in Orange County that bears his name. He retired after ending a broadcasting career of more than 40 years with a talk show on Anaheim's KEZY.

Friday, April 22, 2016

San Diego Radio: Top Rated KIFM-FM Rebrands As SunnyFM

Entercom has rebranded its 6+ top-rated KIFM 98.FM.  Easy 98.1 has been replaced by Sunny 98.1 as of 5pm Thursday.

After playing "Sundown" by Gordon Lightfoot, KIFM rebranded as "Sunny 98.1," and relaunched its adult contemporary format, this time moving in a more contemporary direction. The first song on "Sunny" was "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & the Waves.

Running jockless for now, KIFM is promising ten song blocks around all commercials. Prior to the change, the station had led the San Diego market with a 6.2 share in the March 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings, making for a rare situation where a radio station at the top of the market ratings changes formats.

KIFM 98.1 FM (26.5 kW) Red=Local Coverage Area
KIFM has been airing variations of the adult contemporary format since it signed on in 1960. In the mid-1990s, after airing a successful smooth jazz evening program called "Lights Out San Diego," KIFM went with smooth jazz around the clock as "Smooth Jazz 98.1". During smooth jazz's popularity, KIFM was one of the top rated stations in San Diego and was the 2005 winner of the Marconi Award. As the smooth jazz format began to age, KIFM shifted to smooth adult contemporary (airing mostly pop artists with R&B roots, such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Madonna and Anita Baker, with only an occasional Smooth Jazz instrumental) in the Summer of 2011. KIFM began calling itself "98.1 Smooth FM". By the fall of that year, the station shifted to Rhythmic Adult Contemporary, by playing recent and older R&B and classic soul tracks. The original smooth jazz format moved to KIFM's HD2 subchannel.

On August 19, 2013, at 10 AM, 98.1 flipped to soft AC as "Easy 98.1". The rebranding came after trailing San Diego's longtime AC leader, KYXY, in the Arbitron ratings reports. The final song on "Smooth" was "I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis, while the first song on "Easy" was "Easy" by The Commodores.

Broadcast, Digital Help Q1 Finish On A High

March and the first quarter delivered strong gains for television and digital media’s advertising revenues, a positive result as the industry heads into the all-important upfront and newfronts, according to Standard Media Index (SMI). The total advertising market grew 4% year-on-year in March and was up 8% for Q1 2016 when compared to 2015.

Intensified spending on premium digital properties accelerated in March and drove the digital sector to another stellar month (16%) and ensured the digital sector delivered another outstanding quarter (20%).

Thanks in part to television’s growth in March (2%), the sector also surged ahead in the first quarter of 2016 (4%) as this year’s crucial upfront negotiations approach, which are poised to be the strongest in several years.

“These results continue to reinforce the strength of the major TV networks in an increasingly fragmented market. Large, engaged and measurable audiences that advertisers have confidence in have seen the medium deliver terrific results in recent months. Our data clearly shows a number of major categories, like CPG and auto, moving money back into TV after a lot of experimenting with digital last year. Concerns around viewability and measurement have caused marketers to reassess their mix and we’ve seen television as the major beneficiary here,” said James Fennessy, SMI’s CEO.

“The overall news hasn’t been so great for many of the cable networks with continued soft ratings biting into revenue growth. Hopefully, new total audience measurement initiatives will soon provide a more holistic picture of viewership on all platforms, which should translate into better revenue for everyone in the sector. Premium video and social are the key growth drivers for digital and it’s clear that more reliable measurement make these mediums far more attractive for advertisers.”

SMI recorded slower performances for its other media sectors in March. The magazine, newspaper, out of home and radio sectors all weathered sharp year-on-year percentage decreases in the single to double-digit range.

SMI March Ad Market Highlights

Digital Political Ad Spending to Skyrocket in 2016

While TV is still the dominant destination for political ad spend, spending on digital channels, is increasing the fastest year over year. In fact, US political ad spending on digital is estimated to nearly quadruple compared to 2014, according to research. reports  estimates from Nomura Securities indicate broadcast TV makes up the largest share of US political ad spending. In 2016, the channel is estimated to account for $6.06 billion of political ad spending or 59.4% of the total—a slight decrease in percentage compared to 2014.

But when compared to 2012, the last presidential election year, TV’s loss is larger, at 4.6 percentage points. And compared to 2008, the last time there was a presidential election without an incumbent, broadcast TV’s share of political ad spending was nearly 10 points higher than it will be this year.

Cable TV, which makes up the second-largest share, is estimated to account for $1.10 billion this year or 10.8% of total US political ad spend.

Digital, however, is predicted to see the biggest growth, compared to prior years. Indeed, the channel is projected to account for $1.00 billion of political ad spending or 9.8% of the total. To compare, digital saw $270 million in political ad spending in 2014, 3.6% of total political ad spending. And in 2012, the last presidential election year, political advertisers spent just $160 million on digital advertising. Going back to 2008, the last presidential election year with no incumbent, digital was barely on the radar with just $20 million in political ad spending.

Radio is also estimated to increase its political ad revenues compared with the 2014 midterm year, though spending will hold about steady compared with the prior presidential election. In 2014, the channel received $490 million in US political ad spending and this year it’s estimated to get $850 million—in line with 2012 levels.

Prince Dies At Studio Complex

By Jill Serjeant and Piya Sinha-Roy

(Reuters) - Prince, the innovative pop superstar whose songwriting and eccentric stage presence electrified fans around the world with hits including "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry," died on Thursday in Minnesota. He was 57.

His influential, genre-defying music blended jazz, funk, R&B, disco and rock, winning seven Grammy Awards and an Oscar.

Prince was found unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park Studios compound, which included his home, in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen, according to the Carver County Sheriff's Office.

In a transcript of a 911 call made from the complex and released by the sheriff's office, an unidentified male initially reported that someone was dead at the home, later identifying that victim as Prince.

The sheriff's office said it was investigating the circumstances. The local medical examiner's office said in a tweet that an autopsy had been scheduled for Friday.

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger hailed his fellow singer and musician as "revolutionary" and one of the most unique and exciting artists of the last 30 years. Prince was an original lyricist and a "startling" guitar player, he added.

"His talent was limitless," Jagger wrote on Twitter.

President Barack Obama called Prince "one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time," and said few had influenced "the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly."

Distraught devotees gathered outside the Paisley Park compound in mourning.

"His music made the hair on your arms stand up," said one, Kristina Dudziak, 44. "It felt like he was making love to his guitar. ... It's a sad day," she added, starting to sob.

Sheila E., a singer and percussionist who worked closely with Prince in the 1980s, wrote on Twitter: "My heart is broken. There are no words. I love you!"

The performer's death was the most notable passing of a music giant since rock star David Bowie died of cancer at 69 on Jan. 10.


Prince, whose hit songs also included "Let's Go Crazy," "I Would Die 4 U," "Raspberry Beret," "Little Red Corvette" and "Kiss," was on a U.S. tour as recently as last week.

Last Friday, he was briefly hospitalized with what his representative told celebrity news website TMZ was the flu after his plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois.

The representative said Prince had performed in Atlanta despite not feeling well and felt worse after boarding the plane back to Minnesota, the website reported.

But over the weekend, the musician hosted a party at Paisley Park. One attendee, 26-year-old Jamie Reimann, said Prince appeared after midnight Saturday and played two tunes on a piano in what would turn out to be his final performance.

"It was just five or six minutes. He introduced his doctor ... and asked fans to give him a round of applause and said the doctor was helping him feel better," Reimann said.

"He (Prince) looked fine, but his voice sounded like he might have had a cold or something. He didn't look sickly."

Prince first found fame in the late 1970s. Over the next three decades, he became known as one of the most inventive and eccentric forces in American pop music.

Often making a statement with bold fashion choices, the diminutive, 5-feet 2-inch-tall (1.57-meter) star sometimes appeared on stage sporting ruffled shirts and tight pants or elaborate costumes, including chain mail covering his face, a shimmery orange tunic with a cane, or bikini briefs.

"He was a legend," said another fan, Karen Menardy, 45, weeping outside New York City's storied Apollo Theater, where some passers-by danced in the street as Prince songs played on a portable speaker.

Outside the First Avenue nightclub in downtown Minneapolis, devotees placed photographs of the artist, a guitar and at least two dozen bouquets of flowers, many of them purple. "We love you Prince!" read a sign attached to one of the bouquets.

Calling Prince a "once-in-a-lifetime artist," music TV channel MTV changed its logo to purple in his honor, and Twitter lit up with reaction from stunned friends and fans.

He was regarded as a perfectionist who from 1993 to 2000 changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in an apparent protest against his record label at the time. For a while, he was dubbed "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince."


An intensely private person, Prince sold more than 100 million records. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and his most recent album, "HITnRUN: Phase Two" was released in December 2015.

Prince became a Jehovah's Witness about 15 years ago, and was a strict vegan. In 2009, he told PBS television about being born an epileptic and suffering seizures as a child.

He also said he was teased in school, and that "early in my career I tried to compensate by being as flashy as I could and as noisy as I could."

Prince's Oscar was for best original song score for "Purple Rain," the 1984 movie in which he also starred. In 2007, he played the Super Bowl in one of the most celebrated such performances.

While he was more accustomed to sold-out arenas, two years ago Prince played perhaps his most intimate gig in the living room of British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas' London home with his band, 3rdeyegirl, Billboard said.

"We'll work our way up, if people like us, to bigger venues," Prince quipped then.

His music was marked by sexually charged lyrics and explosive live performances, while his private life was marked by a string of romances linking him with the likes of Madonna and actresses Kim Basinger and Carmen Electra.

Prince was married twice: to his backup singer, Mayte Garcia, in 1996 and then to Manuela Testolini in 2001. Both marriages ended in divorce, and a son he had with Garcia died a week after birth in October 1996.

"I loved him then, I love him now and will love him eternally," Garcia told People magazine. "He's with our son now."

Born in Minneapolis as Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958, he is said to have written his first song at age 7. As well as singing and writing, he played multiple instruments, including guitar, keyboards and drums.

In a 1998 interview with Reuters, Prince said he ignored critics and focused on a quest for great music. "I just do what I feel I'm supposed to do," he said

 (Additional reporting by Todd Melby in Chanhassen, Frank McGurty, Amy Tennery and Gina Cherelus in New York and Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman)

Report: Prince Treated For Overdose

Prince was treated for a drug overdose 6 days before his death ... multiple sources told TMZ.

Prince's private jet made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois last Friday, hours after he performed in Atlanta. At the time his reps said he was battling the flu ... something we questioned because his plane was only 48 minutes from home before the unscheduled landing.

Multiple sources in Moline told TMZ, Prince was rushed to a hospital and doctors gave him a "save shot" ... typically administered to counteract the effects of an opiate.

Our sources further say doctors advised Prince to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. His people demanded a private room, and when they were told that wasn't possible ... Prince and co. decided to bail. The singer was released 3 hours after arriving and flew home.

When Prince left he "was not doing well."

MTV Pledges Return to Music

The death of Prince happened to fall on a momentous day for MTV, which on Thursday unveiled a new slate of programming at its spring “upfront” presentation to advertisers that highlights, interestingly, more music.

As MTV President Sean Atkins told Variety, the network wants to “put the ‘M’ back in MTV.”

The new group of shows include a music series called “Wonderland,” which will feature live performances from three different acts. MTV said the show is its first weekly live-music performance in two decades.

Mark Burnett, of “Survivor” fame, will produce a currently untitled music competition series. “MTV Unplugged,” where artists play acoustic, intimate versions of their hits, will be rebooted. The network will also develop “Studio 24,” where artists are paired to create a song in 24 hours, and “Year One,” a documentary series that will look at the breakthrough year in various artists’ careers.

As ad buyers and marketers began their treks to the Midtown Manhattan presentation on Thursday, MTV was preparing Prince programming. The network said it would change its logo to purple for the entire day to honor the “Purple Rain” singer, with MTV and MTV2 airing his music videos continuously.

“MTV is heartbroken and in utter disbelief at the news that the world has lost Prince Rogers Nelson so suddenly and so before his time,” the network said in a statement. “Prince was a once-in-a-lifetime artist who transcended every medium and genre he touched and created music with a passion and individuality that inspired multiple generations.”

The Wall Street Journal reports an MTV spokesperson confirmed that the network’s Prince programming was a reflection of its broader push back into music and news.

Prince Tribute Channel Launches On SiriusXM

SiriusXM announced Thursday that it will pay tribute to the legendary artist Prince.

The limited-run channel will feature music from Prince's ground-breaking, iconic and innovative career which spanned over 30 years.  SiriusXM's The Prince Tribute Channel will feature music from the vast body of artistry from Prince's entire career, including his earliest recordings through his most recent release HITnRUN Phase One. The special channel will also feature music by artists that Prince was closely linked to, inspired by and collaborated with.

"Prince's passing is tragic and a true loss for music fans around the world. To honor his legacy and his incredible body of work, SiriusXM will create a special channel that will be devoted to his artistic genius," said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, SiriusXM.

The Prince Tribute Channel will run through Friday, April 29 via satellite on channel 50. The Prince Channel will also be available online and through the SiriusXM app.

Report: Ripa, Strahan Couldn't Stand Each Other

Kelly Ripa is still livid that Strahan and network brass waited until just after taping Tuesday morning to tell her he would be leaving the show in September — alerting her mere minutes before announcing the move publicly.

But, according to The NY Post the tension between the pair is hardly a surprise. For all their on-air chemistry, Ripa, 45, and Strahan, 44, were far from the closest of colleagues, insiders dished.
The pair “did not get along. It was all for the show,’’ a Ripa source said. “They could not stand each other, and whenever they communicated off-camera, it was always through their reps.”

Strahan was already doing two days a week at “GMA” on top of co-hosting “Live,” and the stress wore on the 6-foot-5 Hall of Fame Giants defensive end, sources said.

“He was having temper tantrums. He’d lose it, yelling at [Ripa] and [“Live” executive producer Michael] Gelman.

“He acted like he was in a locker room, not a dressing room.”

Another source noted that Ripa helped get Strahan the job.

“She got [Strahan] started, he stepped over her without an FYI, and now a nice morning show has become ABC’s newest drama,” quipped the source.

But a Strahan source defended the former Giants star, insisting that he had been under strict orders not to tell anyone — even his co-star — until Tuesday that he was moving to GMA.

Ripa's former cohost Regis Philbin says his old co-host got the shaft in the whole Michael Strahan deal.

TMZ reports Regis spoke to photogs in NYC and made it clear Kelly should've gotten a heads up about Disney's plan to move Strahan from 'Live' to 'GMA.' It's an interesting perspective ... since Philbin famously told Kelly about HIS departure at the last minute.

Meanwhile, Ripa alienating lots of people on 'Live,' because they believe she's jeopardizing their jobs by refusing to work, accoridng to TMZ.

Production crew members believe ABC execs are weighing the benefits of either killing the show or moving it to a later hour so they can add a third hour of 'GMA.'

These crew members are grousing, the longer Kelly stays out, the more damage it will do to 'Live' and the greater the chance that they'll be replaced by 'GMA.' The crew generally likes Kelly, but many of them think what they call "her tantrum" is hurting the show.

AM Alliance Criticizes FCC Proposals

A group of major U.S. broadcast owners is using strong language concerning the possible impact of some of the AM band rule changes being considered by federal regulators.

According to RadioWorld, The recently formed AM Radio Preservation Alliance has submitted 147 pages of suggestions, comments and exhibits, arguing that some of the Federal Communications Commission’s recent proposals would be a “potentially irreversible step toward extinction” for most licensees on the AM band. The broadcasters also responded to comments from other filers that some of its earlier interference descriptions were “overstated” and “incorrect.”

The AM Radio Preservation Alliance includes many of the country’s largest and most familiar radio companies: iHeartMedia, CBS, Cumulus, Alpha Media, Townsquare, Cox, Bonneville, Entercom, Family Stations, Grand Ole Opry (WSM), Greater Media, Hearst, Hubbard, NRG, Scripps, Tyler Media and Tribune.

In its reply comments — filed as industry leaders gathered in Las Vegas at the NAB Show — the alliance focused on interference protections for Class A stations and on reducing protected daytime contours for Class B, C and Ds. It reiterated its earlier comments that changes suggested in a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, as well as variations suggested by certain commenters, will do more harm than good. “If adopted, [the FNPRM proposals] would undermine the efforts to revitalize the AM radio service.”

The alliance said that protecting Class A AMs only to their 0.1 mV/m groundwave contour from co-channel stations and eliminating critical hours protections for Class A AM stations would deprive potentially tens of millions of listeners — especially those in remote and Native American areas — of access to quality programming and emergency information.

Not only that, the changes would weaken key links in the nation’s IPAWS EAS emergency networks, deny listeners access to favored sports programming carried on Class A stations, and undermine the already-tenuous economic underpinnings of AM broadcasting.

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Alphabet Results Hit By Rising Traffic Costs

Google's parent Alphabet Inc missed Wall Street targets for first-quarter profit and revenue on Thursday as it spent more money to build traffic for its mobile advertising services.

The results, which were also hit by the strong dollar, drove shares of the Web search company down 6 percent in late trading Thursday.

Alphabet's consolidated revenue rose to $20.26 billion from $17.26 billion, slightly below the $20.37 billion analyst consensus, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Non-GAAP earnings per share of $7.50, excluding one-time items, missed analysts' expectations of $7.97.

Ruth Porat
Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said on a conference call with investors that payments to other web sites, known as traffic acquisition costs (TAC), totaled $3.8 billion and accounted for 21 percent of advertising revenues. The percentage of ad revenues spent on TAC grew 13 percent year-over-year.

That reflects the ongoing shift to mobile advertising and the growing importance of programmatic advertising, in which ads are bought, sold and displayed by automated systems.

Investors should get used to seeing increased TAC as "the cost of doing business," said Sameet Sinha, B. Riley & Co. analyst.

"If you're getting mobile searches from Apple devices you have to pay Apple for traffic so that revenue can happen," Sinha said. "The same thing on the programmatic side, when you end up representing more people and selling their ad space or buying their ad space, you have to pay somebody else."

Porat said spending on traffic acquisition is expected to keep rising as the shift to mobile continues - pressuring the company's traditionally robust margins on its advertising business.

Fox News Creates New Specials Division

  • Michael Clemente to Oversee New Unit
  • Jay Wallace Promoted to Executive Vice President News and Editorial 
FOX News will launch a new centralized long-form specials unit, announced Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of FOX News. Effective immediately, Michael Clemente will transition from his current position managing news to overseeing this new division as Executive Vice President of News Specials. Jay Wallace will be promoted to Executive Vice President of News and Editorial. Both Clemente and Wallace will report directly to Ailes. FOX News’ current structure consists of two divisions of news and programming, with the latter run by Senior Executive Vice President, Bill Shine, who also oversees FOX Business Network (FBN), and reports to Ailes. The new specials unit now creates a third organizational division.

L-A Radio: Loveline Ending On KROQ

After spending over three decades as host of the popular late-night call-in radio show “Loveline” on KROQ 106.7 FM, Dr. Drew Pinsky officially announced Thursday on the station’s “Kevin & Bean Show” that the program was coming to an end.

According to, the final show will air April 28, when he will be joined by comedian Adam Carolla, a former host of “Loveline.”

Pinsky, 57, a board-certified internist and addiction specialist, has served as the voice of reason on the show, which in its time has had numerous co-hosts, including Carolla, former DJ and TV personality Riki Rachtman, current KROQ DJ Ted Stryker and, more recently, “Psycho” Mike Catherwood, who joined after leaving “The Kevin & Bean Show” in 2010. Catherwood left “Loveline” last month to work on other projects and spend more time with his family.

Though the show has a humorous quality to it, the hosts and special guests, which included, among many others, Courtney Love and Snoop Dogg, Pinksy still answered the tough questions, offering advice to those calling about everything from intimacy issues to substance abuse and a vast array of medical issues.

“Loveline” began in 1983 as a Sunday night dating and relationship segment, then hosted by DJ Jim “Poorman” Trenton and Scott Mason. Pinsky was brought in during a segment dubbed “Ask a Surgeon” in 1984 and stuck around. The show was nationally syndicated in 1995, the same year Carolla stepped in as co-host, and it has aired locally 10 a.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday.

During his phone chat with Kevin and Bean, Pinsky said that though he was leaving “Loveline,” he was not leaving radio. He’ll continue his gigs on HLN, as well as “Dr. Drew Midday Live With Mike Catherwood” on KABC 790 AM and the “Adam and Dr. Drew Podcast.” He noted that the “Loveline” brand is strong and that maybe someday the show could be revived, but for now, it was a chapter that needed to be closed.

Boise Radio: KQFC Adds Rick Daniels To PM Drive

Rick Daniels
Cumulus Media/Boise has announced that it has appointed Rick Daniels as On-Air Host of Afternoon Drive on KQFC NASH FM 97.9

Daniels’ has a 17-year career in radio broadcasting and was most recently Production Manager for WSCH 99.3 FM in Lawrenceburg, IN, and was an on-air talent for NASH FM 102.5 in Muncie, IN.

He was also Program Director and Operations Manager for WQXQ-FM (Q102) in Owensboro, KY, and Program Director of 91.5 WUEV-FM in Evansville, IN. Daniels has been an on-air personality for stations including: WLBC-FM in Muncie, IN; WABX and WSTO in Evansville, IN; and WRAY-FM in Princeton, IN. Daniels holds and Associate of Science Degree in Broadcasting from Vincennes University.

Hank Aaron, Program Director for NASH FM 97.9 said: “Rick is going to light up afternoons and put the punch in afternoon drive here at NASH FM 97.9 in Boise.  Afternoons will never be the same….for a good reason!”

From Don Morin, VP/Market Manager: “We are excited to have Rick join the NASH team. He’s going to bring a fresh new sound and approach to afternoon drive in Boise.”

KQFC 97.9 FM (50 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Daniels said: "I’m super excited to be in the beautiful Boise area! I’m also proud to be a part of the NASH FM brand, and to head into an exciting time in Country radio. A big thanks to Market Manager Don Morin and Program Director Hank Aaron for bringing me out here. We’re gonna have lots of fun in the Treasure Valley. "

Maine Public Classical Launches on May 9th

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network announces the upcoming launch of a ,second radio channel, Maine Public Classical slated for May 9, 2016.

MPBN’s current radio channel, Maine Public Radio, will undergo a number of scheduling changes and the addition of multiple new programs and features. Maine Public Classical will feature local programming including Morning Classical with Robin Rilette, Jazz tonight with Rich Tozier, and Down Memory Lane with Toby Leboutillier as well as curated national content including Performance Today with Fred Child.

MPBN’s new classical channel will be fully available on May 9th by streaming on-line, over MPBN’s statewide HD2 Radio signals, and on a new, growing network of FM Stations, including 99.7 in Waterville, 106.1 in Bangor and 91.5 in Fryeburg. MPBN plans to build out and expand the over-the-air Classical FM network throughout 2016 and 2017 acquiring available signals to reach as many classical fans as possible through traditional FM signals.

R.I.P.: Guitar Pioneer Lonnie Mack Was 74

Groundbreaking guitarist and vocalist Lonnie Mack, known as one of rock’s first true guitar heroes, died on April 21, 2016 of natural causes at Centennial Medical Center near his home in Smithville, Tennessee.

His early instrumental recordings – among them Wham! and Memphis -- influenced many of rock's greatest players, including Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and especially Stevie Ray Vaughan. He was 74.

"Rolling Stone called him “a pioneer in rock guitar soloing.” Guitar World said, “Mack attacked the strings with fast, aggressive single-string phrasing and a seamless rhythm style that significantly raised the guitar virtuoso bar and foreshadowed the arena-sized tones of guitar heroes to come.” The Chicago Tribune wrote, “With the wiggle of a whammy bar and a blinding run of notes up and down the neck of his classic Gibson Flying V, Lonnie Mack launched the modern guitar era.”

"Drawing from influences as diverse as rhythm and blues, country, gospel and rockabilly, Mack’s guitar work continues to be revered by generation after generation of musicians. He recorded a number of singles and a total of 11 albums for labels including Fraternity, Elektra, Alligator, Epic and Capitol.

Mack was born Lonnie McIntosh on July 18, 1941 in Harrison, Indiana, twenty miles west of Cincinnati. Growing up in rural Indiana, Mack fell in love with music as a child. From family sing-alongs he developed a deep appreciation of country music, while he absorbed rhythm and blues from the late-night R&B radio stations and gospel from his local church. Starting off with a few chords that he learned from his mother, Lonnie gradually blended all the sounds he heard around him into his own individual style. He named Merle Travis and Robert Ward (of the Ohio Untouchables) as his main guitar influences, and George Jones and Bobby Bland as vocal inspirations.

"He began playing professionally in his early teens (he quit school after a fight with his sixth-grade teacher), working clubs and roadhouses around the tri-state border area of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. In 1958, he bought the guitar he would become best known for, a Gibson Flying V, serial number 7, which he equipped with a Bigsby tremolo bar. (After the release of Wham!, the tremolo bar became known worldwide as a “whammy bar”.) In addition to his live gigs, Lonnie began playing sessions for the King and Fraternity labels in Cincinnati. He recorded with blues and R&B greats like Hank Ballard, Freddie King and James Brown.

"In 1963, at the end of another artist's session, Lonnie cut an instrumental version of Chuck Berry's Memphis. He didn't even know that Fraternity had issued the single until he heard it on the radio, and within a few weeks Memphis had hit the national Top Five. Lonnie Mack went from being a talented regional roadhouse player to a national star virtually overnight.

April 22 Radio History

In Hal March was born in San Francisco. He teamed for a time with actor Bob Sweeney & starred in the CBS radio comedy show Sweeney & March.  Early in his television career he appeared on Burns and Allen, The Imogene Coca Show and I Love Lucy. However, he was best known as the host of CBS TV’s $64,000 Question from 1955 to 1958. As a result of the quiz show scandals, the show was canceled and March was out of a job for nearly a decade. He started hosting another show, It’s Your Bet, in 1969, but was diagnosed with lung cancer and died Jan 19 1970 at age 49.

In 1935...a half-hour musical variety show headed by personable conductor Meredith Willson began an intermittent run on various radio networks that spanned 19 years.  The first series (eight shows) was on NBC Blue.

In 1940...the first all-Chinese commercial radio program was broadcast over KSAN radio in San Francisco. Later, KSAN would become a pioneer in playing “underground rock” music.

In 1946...Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenburg arrived at WEAF radio in New York City with an entertaining morning show called, Hi, Jinx, which evolved into The Tex & Jinx Show. WEAF later became WNBC and finally WFAN SportsRadio 66.

In 1985...Soupy Sales started at WNBC 660 AM. His program was between the drive time shifts of Don Imus (morning) and Howard Stern (afternoon), with whom Sales had an acrimonious relationship. An example of this was an incident involving Stern telling listeners that he was cutting the strings in Sales' in-studio piano at 4:05 p.m. on May 1, 1985. On December 21, 2007, Stern revealed this was a stunt staged for "theater of the mind" and to torture Sales; in truth, the piano was never harmed.  Sales' on-air crew included his producer, Ray D'Ariano, newscaster Judy DeAngelis, and pianist Paul Dver, who was also Soupy's manager.

In 1993...Mosaic, the first Web browser, was released

In 1996...Paul “Cubby” Bryant started at Z-100 WHTZ 100.3 FM.

Paul "Cubby" Bryant
From 2006-2008 Cubby served as the co-host and sidekick to Whoopi Goldberg on the nationally syndicated morning show Wake Up With Whoopi. Before joining Whoopi Goldberg as co-host of the morning show on WKTU, Bryant was at crosstown sister station WHTZ serving as their Afternoon Drive Disc Jockey and Music Director.

Bryant began his radio career in his hometown of Virginia Beach, VA at WGH-FM (97 Star) in 1988, there was where he inherited his current radio name Cubby (a name given to him by WGH DJ's Tony Macrini and Jeff Moreau) for being so young (at the time 16) and in radio. Then, Bryant joined 104.1 KRBE in Houston, TX as Night Host and Music Director from 1990-1996. In 1996, Bryant began his tenure at WHTZ (Z100) in New York as Afternoon Drive Host and Music Director. In 2000, Bryant went around the world with the group Backstreet Boys to promote the release of Black & Blue, the boys traveled around the world in 100 hours to Sweden, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and the US; 55 of the hours were spent traveling and 45 were spent making public appearances.

In mid-2006, Bryant announced he would be leaving WHTZ after a ten-year run with the station to co-host Wake Up With Whoopi. WKTU cancelled Wake Up With Whoopi in November 2007.

In January 2008, Bryant left Wake Up With Whoopi to return to WKTU, this time as the station's morning host.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Purple Reign Ends: Prince Dead At 57

(Reuters)-- Music superstar Prince, whose hits included "Purple Rain" and "Kiss," was found unresponsive on Thursday at his Minnesota home and was later declared dead, his publicist said. He was 57.

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson has died," said publicist Anna Meacham.

Celebrity website TMZ, citing sources close to the star, was first to report Prince's death at the home in Paisley Park, in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen.

There were no immediate details on the cause of death, and the local medical examiner declined to comment.

Prince was an innovative and influential singer and songwriter whose music combined jazz, funk and disco. His hit songs also included "Raspberry Beret" and "Little Red Corvette."

He first found fame in the late 1970s, and over the next three decades became known as one of the most inventive and eccentric forces in American pop music.

Prince, an intensely private person, sold more than 100 million records during his career, won seven Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. He won an Oscar for best original song score for "Purple Rain," the 1984 movie whose music was based on his album of the same name. Prince also starred in the movie.

In 2007, he played the Super Bowl in one of the most celebrated such performances.

Data curated by PrettyFamous

Last week, the singer was briefly hospitalized with the flu after his plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, TMZ reported.

A representative told the celebrity news outlet that the singer had performed in Atlanta even though he was not feeling well and felt worse after boarding the plane for a flight back to Minnesota.

Prince's most recent album, "HITnRUN: Phase Two" was released in December 2015, and the artist had been on tour in the United States as recently as last week.

In 1993, Prince legally changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, but later changed it back again.

He was born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis on June 7, 1958, and is said to have written his first song at the age of 7. As well as singing and writing, he played multiple instruments, including guitar, keyboards and drums.

His music was marked by sexually charged lyrics and explosive live performances, while his private life was marked by a string of romances linking him with the likes of Madonna and Kim Basinger and Carmen Electra.

Prince was married twice: to his backup singer, Mayte Garcia, in 1996 and then to Manuela Testolini in 2001. Both marriages ended in divorce.

Twitter lit up with reaction from dismayed friends and fans. "Prince" was the top-trending term on the social media network in the United States on Thursday afternoon with more than 840,000 mentions.

"And just like that ... the world lost a lot of magic ✨ Rest in peace Prince! Thanks for giving us so much," tweeted pop star Katy Perry.

Retired basketball star Shaquille O'Neal wrote: "R.I.P PRINCE, another icon gone too soon."

Film director Spike Lee said on Twitter: "I Miss My Brother. Prince Was A Funny Cat. Great Sense Of Humor."