Saturday, June 11, 2016

June 12 Radio History

In 1851...early Radio pioneer, Oliver Joseph Lodge, was born in England.

John Lodge
He was a British physicist and writer involved in the development of key patents in wireless telegraphy.

On 14 August 1894, at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Oxford University, Lodge gave a lecture on the work of Hertz (recently deceased). 

There he conducted a demonstration of Hertzian (radio) based wireless telegraphy, transmitting messages between two buildings, showing their potential for communication.   

This was one year before Marconi demonstrated his system for radio wireless telegraphy.

In 1911...the consummate radio actress Claudia Morgan was born in Brooklyn.
Throughout the 1940’s she played Nora Charles opposite Les Tremayne in The Adventures of the Thin Man. She was married to radio announcer and actor Ernest Chappell, and performed with him on the late ’40s horror show, “Quiet Please.” She was also a regular on The O’Neills, David Harum, Ford Theatre, Joyce Jordan, M.D., The Right to Happiness, Grand Central Station, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, On Stage and Dimension X.  In the early ’70s, Morgan was heard on Himan Brown‘s CBS Mystery Theater.

She died Sept. 17 1974 at age 63, cause undisclosed.

In William Lundigan was born in Syracuse NY.

He began as an adolescent announcer for a hometown radio station in a building owned by his father. He spent thirteen years as announcer before being discovered by a Universal film executive in 1937.  When bigscreen roles dried up in the mid-50′s he returned to announcing as host of TV’s dramatic anthology Climax, and Shower of Stars, on which he did commercials for the sponsor Chrysler. He also starred in the 1959 TV series Men into Space.

He died of heart failure Dec 20, 1975 at age 61.

In 1947…After nine years as a 15-minute radio serial on WXYZ-Detroit, "Challenge of the Yukon" expanded to a 30-minute format and began its 11-year network run, eight years on radio – first on ABC, then on the Mutual Broadcasting System – followed by three years on CBS-TV, with episodes mostly filmed in Ashcroft, Colorado. In 1951, the show was re-named "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon."

In 1955...the first network show to be produced with no script, The University of Chicago Round Table, was heard for the final time after 24 years on NBC radio. The program was the first network radio program to win the coveted George Foster Peabody Award.

In 1955Monitor debuts on the NBC Radio Network. The weekend program "Monitor," the brainchild of NBC radio and television network president Sylvester "Pat" Weaver, began its 19½-year run on NBC Radio. The initial broadcast lasted eight hours. After an introduction by Weaver, news headlines from Dave Garroway and a routine by Bob and Ray, Garroway cued a music remote featuring live jazz by Howard Rumsey and the Lighthouse All-Stars at the Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach, California.

In 1989…Former disc jockey Vivian Carter, co-founder with Jimmy Bracken (later her husband) of Vee-Jay Records (the label name formed from their initials) died following a stroke and complications from diabetes at the age of 69. Vee-Jay was the largest black-owned label of the 1950s and over its 13-year lifespan had a talent roster that included the Spaniels, the Dells, Jimmy Reed, Rosie & The Originals, John Lee Hooker, Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, Betty Everett, Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, the 4 Seasons and, briefly, the Beatles. Vee-Jay went bankrupt in 1966.

In 1989...Memphis radio station WHBQ, the first to air an Elvis record, announced it was banning all Presley music. As program director Ron Jordan put it, “we overdo the Elvis bit here.” Jordan rescinded the order two days later after hundreds of Elvis fans called to protest. Presley’s first single, “That’s All Right,” made its debut on WHBQ in 1954.

In 2007…Citadel took  control of Disney/ABC radio stations

In 2013…Veteran radio personality/programmer (WLS-Chicago, WDRQ-Detroit, WXTR-Washington, WIZF-Cincinnati, WLHT, WTRV and WGVU-Grand Rapids) Bill Bailey died of a heart attack at age 66.

Police Believe Grimmie Killer Was Deranged Fan

UPDATE 6/12/16 6AM: A man thought to be a deranged fan fatally shot Christina Grimmie, a rising singing star who gained fame on YouTube and as a contestant on television's "The Voice," while she was signing autographs after a concert in Orlando, Florida, police said on Saturday.

Kevin Loibl
The suspect, identified as 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl of St. Petersburg, Florida, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was tackled by the 22-year-old singer's brother in the Friday evening attack, Orlando police said.

Loibl is believed to have traveled to Orlando for the event. He had two loaded handguns, additional ammunition and a hunting knife at the time of the shooting, police said.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters the suspect did not appear to have a criminal record and there was no indication he and Grimmie knew each other. Mina said it appeared he may have been a deranged fan.

Saturday Posting...

(Reuters) -- Christina Grimmie, a rising singing star who gained fame as a YouTube sensation and a contestant on television's "The Voice", was shot dead while signing autographs for fans after a concert in Orlando, police said on Saturday.

The suspected attacker died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police believe he traveled to the Florida city specifically to carry out the shooting, authorities said.

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive for Friday night's shooting, Orlando Police Chief John Mine said at a news conference.

Grimmie, 22, was signing autographs for fans inside the Plaza Live music venue just before 10.30 p.m. on Friday after performing as the opening act for the band Before You Exit, police said.

The 21-year-old man, whom police have not yet identified, approached Grimmie with two guns and opened fire before Grimmie's brother Marcus tackled him, an act that Mine said probably saved lives.

Police Chief John Mina said the gunman apparently traveled from another city in Florida to Orlando to confront her. Chief Mina said the suspect didn't appear to know Ms. Grimmie personally and may have been a deranged fan, though the motive was still unknown.

The suspect shot himself and died after being tackled, police said. Grimmie was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and died from her injuries early on Saturday morning.

A New Jersey native, Grimmie first drew attention several years ago for her YouTube videos featuring covers of pop songs. In 2014, she placed third on the "The Voice," a singing competition on NBC, with Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine as her coach.

Google Denies Accusations It Manipulated Clinton Searches

Alphabet Inc.’s Google battled accusations that it manipulates its predicted-searches function to favor Hillary Clinton, the latest dust-up over the influence large tech companies exert in modern life.

The Wall Street Journal reports the pop-culture news website SourceFed posted a video Thursday alleging that Google’s autocomplete service, which tries to predict queries as users type, is biased toward Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

SourceFed, which is owned by Discovery Communications Inc., showed that typing “Hillary Clinton cri” into a Google search box yielded suggested queries related to crime reform, crisis, and a crime bill. It didn’t include the suggested search “Hillary Clinton crimes,” although Google statistics show that search is more common than the suggested queries.

Google said in a statement: “Google autocomplete does not favor any candidate or cause. Claims to the contrary simply misunderstand how autocomplete works.”

Google said the autocomplete software won’t show “a predicted query that is offensive or disparaging when displayed in conjunction with a person’s name.” A person familiar with the software said the word “crimes” is included in the list of offensive terms. The person added that suggested queries are produced from a number of factors beyond the popularity of searches, including users’ search histories and their locations.

The incident highlights the increasing role tech companies such as Google play as gatekeepers to news and information. Google has long maintained that its search engine is objective, but it has for years faced accusations that it skews results to favor its services over competitors.

Lawmaker: Terrestrial Radio Getting A 'Free Ride'

In an Op-Ed piece for The Hill, longtime NY Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D) says he favors revising performance royalty legislation.

According to Nadler:
"If Congress were to start with a blank sheet of paper, none of us would write the law the way it stands today. Thanks to special-interest exemptions, short-term reactions to changing technologies and congressional gridlock, the law that governs royalty payments is inconsistent and unfair, disadvantaging new technologies and massively shortchanging artists and musicians."
Nadler discusses Internet radio royalty rates, the ongoing legislation over pre-1972 recordings and the performance royalties for terrestrial radio, which he says, "gets a free ride and an advantage over its digital competitors."
"...terrestrial radio gets a free ride and an advantage over its digital competitors. Performing artists, background musicians and other rights holders of sound recordings receive absolutely no compensation when their music is played over the air on AM/FM radio. The bottom line is that terrestrial radio profits from the intellectual property of recording artists for free. Almost every other country compensates performing artists for radio play."
Nadler says that the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, which he co-introduced recently with Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) "to create a uniform system where radio services compete on a level playing field, and all performing artists are fairly compensated."

NAB EVP of Communications Dennis Wharton responded to Nadler's op-ed, telling FMQB, “NAB is pleased that a bipartisan group of 232 House members and 26 Senators oppose Rep. Nadler’s gift to offshore record labels at the expense of thousands of America’s hometown radio stations. Local radio airplay has launched and sustained the careers of countless artists, while scores of artists have sued record labels for non-payment of royalties. It’s disappointing that Rep. Nadler wants to punish the #1 promotional vehicle for the music industry – free and local radio.”

In his piece Nadler counters:
"Truly local broadcasters recognize that the Fair Play Fair Pay Act protects small, local and public broadcasters by capping terrestrial royalties at affordable rates. Stations with less than $1 million in annual revenue would pay $500 per year, noncommercial public radio stations would pay $100 a year, and religious and incidental uses of music would not have to pay any royalties at all. That’s right. Just $100 or $500 per year. That’s less than the cost of a trip to Washington to lobby against artists. The Fair Play Fair Pay Act is the true local radio freedom act. No longer will smaller broadcasters be used as pawns in an immoral fight."

Fox Sports Sun Fires Sideline Reporter

Emily Austen
Emily Austen, a sideline reporter on MLB Tampa  Rays television broadcasts, will no longer appear on Fox Sports Sun because of insensitive comments she made on the Facebook Live page for Barstool Sports, a sports website.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that during a 35-minute video with three men, Austen made several controversial comments:

• That she "didn't even know that Mexicans were that smart.''

• How the "Chinese guy is always the smartest guy in math class.''

• About how she "used to talk to Jews in Boca'' when she was a server, saying one customer was "stingy'' because he complained about how she poured his beer and that "they would complain and b---- about everything.''

Austen, 27, also referred to Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player Kevin Love as a "little b - - - -.''

Austen was a sideline reporter on Rays and Orlando Magic games, and hosted such programs as Inside the Rays. A contract employee, meaning she worked and was paid per event, Austen worked for Fox Sports Florida and Fox Sports Sun. She was not employed or paid by the Rays.

In a statement, Steve Tello, the GM/Senior Vice-President of Fox Sports Florida said, "We were made aware that Emily Austen appeared in a social media video unaffiliated with Fox Sports in which she made insensitive and derogatory comments. She was not speaking on behalf of Fox Sports, nor do we condone any of the statements she made in the video. Emily has been advised that her comments were unacceptable, and she is not scheduled to appear on any upcoming Fox Sports Florida or Fox Sports Sun broadcasts."

Amazon Preparing To Launch Streaming Music Service

Amazon Echo
(Reuters) -- Inc is preparing to launch a standalone music streaming subscription service, placing it squarely in competition with rival offerings from Apple Inc and Spotify, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The service will be offered at $9.99 per month, in line with major rivals, and it will offer a competitive catalog of songs, the sources said. Amazon is finalizing licenses with labels for the service, which likely will be launched in late summer or early fall, the sources said.

Amazon, which offers a free streaming music service with a limited catalog to subscribers of its Prime shipping and video service, did not respond to a request for comment about the new, full-fledged music plan.

Although it will be a late entrant to the crowded streaming space, Amazon believes a comprehensive music service is important to its bid to be a one-stop shop for content and goods, the sources said.

The new music offering also is intended to increase the appeal of the Amazon Echo, its home speaker, which searches the Internet and orders products from the retailer with voice commands.

“A music service will further increase the daily interactions between Amazon and its customer base,” said former music executive Jay Samit when told about the company's plan.

The new Amazon effort will compete directly with Apple Music and Spotify, which boast more than 30 million songs. Apple launched its service last year in one of the highest profile signs that listeners wanted subscription services, rather than paying for individual songs or albums.

The service also will diversify Amazon's subscription offerings and be another step away from a single, annual subscription. Amazon recently began allowing subscribers to Prime to pay monthly, for instance.

Silicon Valley titans such as Apple and Alphabet Inc's Google have muscled into music streaming in recent years, aiming to weave themselves more tightly into their customers’ daily routines and drive device sales.

Amazon similarly hopes its new service’s tight integration with the Echo will help it stand out and reinforce the speaker’s appeal, the sources said.

Released broadly last year, the Echo has become a surprise hit that rival Google is now seeking to emulate with a speaker of its own.

The move suggests that Amazon will increasingly offer basic media options through Prime while selling additional subscriptions for consumers who want to go deeper. The company recently launched a standalone video service.

The new music service is unlikely to steal many customers from Spotify, but it could pose a threat to other players, said David Pakman, a partner at Venrock who headed early Apple music efforts, when informed of the move.

The Amazon service, which he called "inevitable," “might take a little oxygen out of Apple’s potential pool of paying users,” he said.

Millennials Driven by Radio Over Memorial Day Weekend

Following this year’s Memorial Day Weekend, Katz Radio Group interviewed Americans to
gain a better understanding of how they spent their time, with special emphasis on media
behavior and purchase activity.

Katz results show that Millennials were 64% more likely to take advantage of Memorial Day Weekend sales, lining up at cash registers at a higher rate than any other age group.

Nearly half of all Millennials were influenced by media or word of mouth recommendations to buy a product, shop at a store or dine at a restaurant over the holiday weekend. Among those who were influenced, Radio was cited most often as the catalyst for their purchase decisions, outpacing Word of Mouth, TV, Social Media and Circulars. This insight builds upon a growing body of evidence showing that Millennials, a desirable consumer group, are not only listening, but are also highly receptive to Radio advertising.

June 11 Radio History

In 1900.. broadcast journalist Lawrence E. Spivak was born in Brooklyn. He is best remembered as the host of NBC’s Meet the Press from 1965-75. Prior to that time he had been a member of the program’s panel of questioners, from the first Mutual radio broadcast in 1947.  He died of congestive heart failure March 9 1994 at age 93.

In 1911...sportscaster Russ Hodges was born in Dayton Tennessee. As longtime baseball broadcaster for the New York/S.F. Giants, he was at the mike for Bobby Thomson’s 1951 home run, the so-called ‘Shot Heard Round the World.’  “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”  Hodges suffered a sudden & fatal heart attack April 19 1971 at age 59.

In 1953...the all-black TV sitcom “Amos ‘n Andy,” which had begun on radio in 1929 with two white men playing all the parts, was driven from the air in the heat of the civil rights movement, for its so-called stereotypical characterizations.  This was the last time it was seen on CBS, though the radio series on which it was based ran until 1960.

In 1972...KRE-AM, Berkeley, California became KPAT-AM.

In 1985...WJW-AM, Cleveland, Ohio changed its call letters to WRMR-AM.

WJW broadcasting as WLBV in Mansfield, Ohio on November 13, 1926 under the ownership of John F. Weimer.    In 1928, the call letters were changed to WJW, reflecting the owner's initials.   By 1931, the station had been sold to Mansfield Broadcasting Association, and it was broadcasting at 1210 kHz with 100 watts.

WJW moved to Akron in 1932.  By 1936, the station was owned by WJW, Inc.   On March 29, 1941, WJW, like most stations around the country changed its frequency with the implementation of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement. As of 1942, the station was broadcasting with 250 watts at 1240 kHz.

On November 13, 1943, William M. O'Neill purchased the station and moved it to Cleveland, with facilities in the Guardian Building (now the National City–East 6th Building at 619 Euclid). Marvin Cade signed on the station that Saturday and was the evening news announcer. On the 11 of June 1985, Marvin Cade was invited to sign off WJW Radio for the final time when it switched over to WWWE at 1100 kHz.

WJW became Cleveland's fifth radio station after WHK, WTAM, WGAR (AM) and WCLE.

The frequency was moved to 850 kHz, and power was increased to 5,000 watts. The station became an affiliate of the Blue Network, soon to be ABC. WJW also brought the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts to Cleveland. The station also featured news commentary by Dorothy Fuldheim, and for a short period in the early 1950s was home to a disc jockey called Soupy Hines, later known as Soupy Sales.

A young disc jockey named Alan Freed joined WJW in 1951 from WAKR in Akron, Ohio. Shortly thereafter, Alan began making broadcasting history with his shows in which he was known as the "Moondog." Freed played rhythm-and-blues music by black artists for a largely white teen-age audience. He is purported to have given the music the name by which it is known today – rock and roll.

In addition to his radio program, Freed also organized local concerts by early rock artists, called the Moondog Coronation Ball, which many consider to be the first rock concert in American history. The concert on March 21, 1952 at the Cleveland Arena turned into a riot when far too many listeners filled the hall, causing Freed to apologize on the air the next day.

Freed left WJW in September 1954 for WINS New York.

On July 3, 2001, WRMR was one of seven Northeast Ohio radio stations involved in a complex exchange between three radio companies. Although generally reported as a "frequency swap", in reality these seven radio stations mostly traded call signs along with their respective formats and staffs – all to facilitate the transfers of ownership of four of the seven stations. As part of this complex exchange, Salem Communications changed the WRMR call sign to WKNR; changed the station's format to sports radio; rebranded the station SportsTalk 850 AM.  In effect, this new WKNR 850 AM licensed to Cleveland became the successor to the previous WKNR 1220 AM licensed to Cleveland.

In 2003...veteran NBC and ABC television newsman & anchor David Brinkley died of complications from a fall at age 82.

In 2008…The U.S. Congress heard singer Nancy Sinatra plead for legislation requiring that all performers – not just songwriters – be compensated when their songs are played on commercial radio.

In 2014…Radio personality/programmer (KMPS-Seattle, KUPL-Portland) /Country Radio Hall of Famer Lee Rogers, a 40-year broadcast veteran who also made career stops in Minneapolis and Jacksonville, died following a stroke at 67.

Rogers worked in the radio business for more than 40 years. His first job in the Country format came in 1970 at KBAM in Longview, Wash.

His career includes stops at KMPS (Seattle, Wash.), K102 (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.), WQIK (Jacksonville, Fla.) and KCBQ (San Diego, Calif.).

Rogers retired from KUPL in 2009.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Gawker Media Files For Bankruptcy

(Reuters) -- Gawker Media LLC, the online publisher ordered by a U.S. court to pay $140 million to former wrestler Hulk Hogan over the publication of a sex tape, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday and is planning to put itself up for sale.

The move will intensify public debate in the United States over the role of big money in media lawsuits. Billionaire investor Peter Thiel, an early backer of Facebook (FB.O) and a co-founder of PayPal had bankrolled Hogan's lawsuit.

Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, is listed as the largest creditor in Gawker's bankruptcy filing.

Media company Ziff Davis LLC already has an agreement to buy Gawker for a little less than $100 million, according to people familiar with the matter. However, a bankruptcy auction will ensue, likely at the end of July. If no other bidders step up with better offers, Ziff Davis will become Gawker's new owner, the people said.

Ziff Davis, whose gaming and consumer technology websites include AskMen, Computer Shopper and, would significantly expand its internet portfolio with the acquisition of Gawker, gaining websites such as Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Deadspin and Jezebel.

"There's a tremendous fit between the two organizations, from brands to audience to monetization," said a spokesman for Ziff Davis. "We look forward to the possibility of adding these great brands -- and the talented people who support them -- to the Ziff Davis family."

In the filing, Gawker said its assets are estimated to be worth $50 million to $100 million, whereas its liabilities are estimated to be between $100 million and $500 million.

Nick Denton
Gawker has vowed to appeal the verdict in the Hogan lawsuit. In a post-trial hearing in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Friday, the New York-based company argued that it could not pay a bond on the $140 million judgment.

"A high bond like that is effectively the same as not allowing the stay," Michael Berry, an attorney for Gawker, told the court hearing. "My client faces financial ruin. The verdict could be overturned or reduced."

In March, a six-person jury awarded $60 million to Hogan, 62, for emotional distress and $55 million for economic damages, after Gawker published in 2012 a 41-second edited video clip featuring him having sex with the wife of his then-best friend, the radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

The jury then slapped another $25 million in punitive damages on the company and its publisher and Chief Executive Officer Nick Denton.

In order to comply with Florida state law regarding bond for defendants Denton pledged his most meaningful asset, about $800 million worth of stock in Gawker media, according to Berry.

Radio Jobs Tumble

If you work in U.S. radio broadcasting, you are part of an increasingly exclusive club.

RadioWorld cites recent data on employment trends from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show officially substantial job shrinkage in the industry over the past quarter century.

The number of radio broadcasting jobs fell about 27 percent from 1990 through early this year (red line in chart), according to data accumulated by the government bureau; radio is the darker red line in the graphic at right. There were 118,700 radio broadcasting jobs in 1990 compared to 86,800 through March 2016, the most recent month available.

A bureau report about jobs in media shows radio experienced a notable drop in jobs during the Great Recession, which the U.S. Department of Labor considers the period from late 2007 through early 2010. The industry shed nearly 20,000 jobs within three years.

The employment data do show gains in the number of jobs in broadcast television since 1990. Employment numbers of the two broadcast industries nearly mirrored each other through much of the 1990s, but currently there are 130,400 employees in television broadcasting, up from 113,000 in 1990, the government data shows (black line in chart).

No other media have experienced the jobs losses seen by newspapers, according to the government stats. There were more than 457,000 jobs in 1990 compared to just 183,200 remaining in March. That’s almost a 60 percent drop.

Chicago Radio: Dan McNeil OUT At WDRV

Dan McNeil
Dan McNeil, the veteran Chicago sports radio host whose talent and temperament never quite meshed with a music station’s morning show, is out after 16 months at Hubbard Radio classic rock WDRV 97.1 FM.

Chicago Media writer Robert Feder was first to report the change.

John Gallagher, vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio Chicago, announced Thursday that McNeil had decided to step away from The Drive and had been released from his reported $250,000-a-year contract, which ran through March 2017. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Gallagher said McNeil was free to accept employment elsewhere, effective immediately.

McNeil, 54, had been on a collision course with management for weeks. Since returning from a 10-day time-out, he had been cut out as morning co-host and relegated to delivering a three-minute sports report once an hour.

Pete McMurray, who had been teamed with McNeil on The Drive since February 2015, will continue hosting mornings solo, along with producer Scott Miller and news anchor Kathy Voltmer, Gallagher said. Additional changes to the format of the show are in the works.

Detroit Radio: Vet Tom Bender Announces Retirement

Ton Bender
Senior Vice President and General Manager of Greater Media Interactive Tom Bender has announced he will be retiring from the company at the end of June after nearly three decades of service.

“I am grateful to Peter Smyth for allowing me to lead our digital initiative for the past six years as we worked to conquer the digital challenges to radio,” said Bender. “He has been a friend as well as a great boss. I was privileged to work in my hometown with a wonderful group of people who created WCSX-FM and built upon the 45 year heritage of WRIF, where I began my career. Greater Media is an extraordinary company and I thank them for a creative and innovative culture in which to work. Now it’s time for a new chapter in my life!”

“Tom has been a great friend who has played a major role in the success of our Detroit market as well as the overall company,” said Greater Media Chairman and CEO Peter Smyth. “We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of his radio legacy. We wish Tom the very best in his retirement.”

Bender was named Senior Vice President & General Manager of Greater Media Interactive in November 2007. In his role, he was in charge of spearheading Greater Media’s interactive efforts as well as building company-wide systems and resources. Prior to that, Bender served as Regional General Manager of Greater Media’s Detroit-based operation since November of 1986, where he was responsible for creating one of the first “Classic Rock” stations in America, WCSX-FM.

A mentor to countless broadcasters over the years, the radio veteran has served on a variety of industry committees, including the Arbitron Advisory Council, the NAB’s COLRAM committee and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Radio Issues Committee. He was also the first market manager in America to launch the HD Digital Radio initiative with RIFF2 in August of 2005.

Bender was officially inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in July of 2007.

Steve Meyers, Greater Media’s Director of Digital Operations, will assume strategic management of the company’s digital efforts, and Jennifer Williams, Digital Marketing Director, will continue to direct the company’s Content Factory in Detroit.

Reid Holds Bill Up Over FCC Nomination

Harry Reid
Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is holding up legislation backed by Senate Commerce Chairman Republican John Thune in an escalating war over the re-nomination of a member of the FCC.

A spokesperson suggested the hold is linked to Republicans' unwillingness to confirm FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel for a second term.

According to The Hill, Sen. Reid continues to expect Chairman Thune and Sen. McConnell to keep their word and re-confirm Commissioner Rosenworcel,” said a spokesperson for the minority leader when asked about the hold.

Jessica Rosenworcel
The bill in question is aimed at encouraging the government to give up some of its valuable spectrum, the frequencies that carry signals to mobile devices such as smartphones, for use by the private sector. It’s not high-profile outside of tech policy circles, but is a priority for Thune and the committee’s staff.

Reid and other Democrats are frustrated that Republicans haven’t moved the nomination of Rosenworcel, a Democrat, to serve a second term on the commission. They say that when they approved the nomination of Republican Michael O’Rielly in 2013, they did so on the condition that Republicans would move a Democratic nominee.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) both reportedly have holds on the nomination. Thune has said those holds could be loosened if FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would commit to leaving at the same time as President Obama.

Reports: New Board Members Sought For Viacom

(Reuters) -- Sumner Redstone's National Amusements Inc, which holds 80 percent of Viacom voting shares, has started looking for potential board members for Viacom, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Former Time Warner executive Kenneth Lerer, ex-Sony Entertainment President Nicole Seligman and former Discovery Communications Chief Executive Judith McHale are being considered by National Amusements for Viacom's board, the newspaper said.

Thomas May, the chairman of utility company Eversource Energy, is also being considered for the board, the New York Times reported, citing people briefed on the discussions.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and board member George Abrams were removed from National Amusements board and the trust that will eventually control Viacom and CBS Corp, last month.

Report: Programmatic Captures More Campaign Dollars

Instagram is now being utilized more than Twitter in social media advertising campaigns, according the most recent Advertising Agency Survey by STRATA, a Comcast Platform Services company.

While Facebook and YouTube maintain their top positions (96% and 67% of agencies plan on advertising on those sites), 63% plan to use Instagram while 56% are planning to use Twitter, which fell to fourth place. This marks the first time the photo-sharing program has gained more agency attention than Twitter in the survey. Instagram’s rise in the STRATA Survey has been consistently strong, jumping 86% from last year while Twitter has fallen 4% in the same time. Social spend is on the rise overall with 17% of agencies saying they will allocate up to a quarter of their budgets on social, a 76% increase from last quarter. Social media also moved into the top spot for digital spend at 77% of agencies, a 28% increase over last quarter to overtake display (73%).

The first quarter survey found that digital spend is increasingly being executed through programmatic exchanges. Thirty-seven percent trust programmatic to execute digital orders, a 22% increase from last quarter. Overall, more dollars are flowing to programmatic buying as agency trust in programmatic improves for digital and non-digital buying.

Advertisers are also more confident in the ROI of online video ad purchases as almost half (49%) are fairly confident in its value, while another 10% are “very” confident. Just over a third of agencies are still unsure if they are getting a good ROI on online video ads. Targeting has also improved as more than half (56%) of agencies say their online video ads reach their intended targets most of the time.Streaming video and audio both continue to garner more agency interest. Video sites like Hulu and YouTube are also seeing major demand as 71% of agencies are more interested in advertising on those platforms than they were a year ago, while only 3% say they are not as interested as they were last year, the lowest amount ever in the STRATA Survey.

On the audio side, over half (53%) of agencies are more interested in streaming radio like Pandora and iHeartRadio than they were last year, a 15% increase over 1Q15.

“Digital publishers keep on getting better at providing more advertising opportunities to ad buyers. Within digital, the fastest growth we’re seeing is in social media.  In particular, it’s interesting to chart Instagram’s growth in agency interest. It’s no surprise that the social media ad space is getting more competitive as advertisers are given more options,” said J.D. Miller, director at STRATA.

“However, along with social’s rise, video – both local and streaming – continues to dominate. Overall, agencies are getting a better handle on their media mix and are creating exciting campaigns with these various tools.”

Comparing all advertising mediums, TV is the top choice for agencies as 48% say they are more focused on spot TV/cable than any other medium, a 16% increase from a year ago. Spot TV saw a 19% increase in agency focus from a year ago, while cable TV saw a 24% increase.

Letterman: 'I Couldn't Care Less' About Late Night TV

Tom Brokaw interviewed David Letterman At Steak'n'Shake
David Letterman told Tom Brokaw that after his retirement, "I couldn't care less about late night television," in the former late night host's first in-depth TV interview since leaving his show. "I'm happy for the guys - the men and the women, there should be more women," Letterman said of late night TV. "And I don't know why they didn't give my show to a woman. That would have been fine."

The full interview will air Sunday at 7pm on NBC News' On Assignment.

Fox Sports Looking For $5M+ Per Super Bowl :30

Fox Sports is seeking more than $5 million for a 30-second commercial in its 2017 broadcast of Super Bowl LI, which Variety reports is a level that would raise the price tag for ad inventory in what is usually the nation’s most-watched annual TV event into the stratosphere.

Other networks may have secured $5 million for a few commercials in the gridiron classic, but if Fox has its way, each ad in the game will fetch the princely sum – and possibly more.

In 2014, NBC made a bid to sell Super Bowl commercials at $4.5 million a pop, a 12.5% hike from what Fox had sought in the year prior, and worked until just a few days before its 2015 broadcast of Super Bowl XLIX to sell out its inventory.  CBS fared better in 2015 when it sought at least $4.5 million to $4.7 million for a 30-second spot (and more in some cases) for this year’s Super Bowl 50, though it kept the till open in case of last-minute interest.

Marketers flock to the Super Bowl to get a pitch in front of the outsize audience the event attracts, but in recent years, they have taken more time to join the ad roster, rather than rushing in full-bore.

In early talks, Fox Sports has sought between $5 million and $5.5 million for a 30-second commercial slot, according to one of the people familiar with the pace of negotiations. The costs would include the ads appearing in Fox’s live stream of the game, according to one of the people with knowledge of the discussions.

Fox Sports has also sought to have Super Bowl clients spend a similar amount to run ads across the company’s media portfolio, a tactic that is not uncommon in these kinds of talks. That means a single advertiser could end up paying $10 million or more for the chance to appear in the event.

New Deceptive Editing Controversy For Katie Couric

Katie Couric
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is standing by Katie Couric in the face of mounting pressure on the company’s lead newsperson, according to Variety.

In a weekly company-wide meeting with Yahoo staff last Friday, Mayer expressed support for Couric, who at the time was beset by criticism over a documentary she produced independent from her role as Yahoo’s global news anchor, according to sources. That support has not wavered in the last day and a half, a company insider tells Variety, as controversy has surfaced over a second film.

On Wednesday, conservative website the Washington Free Beacon published an article that alleged that director Stephanie Soechtig’s 2014 documentary “Fed Up,” exec produced by Couric, had been edited to mislead viewers. Those claims echoed complaints raised last month by interview subjects from another Couric-Soechtig collaboration, “Under the Gun.”

“Yahoo was not involved in the creation and production of the independent documentaries, ‘Under the Gun’ and ‘Fed Up,'” a Yahoo spokesperson told Variety in a statement. “We’re confident in the work of the Yahoo News team, which adheres to the highest standards of journalism.”

Couric’s standing at Yahoo has been the subject of speculation as the company approaches a possible sale after struggling to better its fortunes under Mayer. Couric joined Yahoo in 2013 in a deal worth a reported $10 million a year — making her one of Mayer’s most high profile and most expensive hires. That deal afforded Couric the creative and professional freedom to work on non-Yahoo side projects such as “Under the Gun,” about mass shootings and gun-control efforts in the United States, and “Fed Up,” about the causes of obesity.

Though the films have been the subject of internal discussions at Yahoo, the company has launched no formal investigation into allegations that Couric violated journalistic norms.

Speaking to Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning, Dr. David Allison reiterated claims he made in the Free Beacon article that Couric, when interviewing him for “Fed Up,” had encouraged him repeatedly to stop at any time during the interview to collect his thoughts or rephrase an answer, and that one moment in which he did so was edited to make Allison appear unable to respond to Couric’s question.

The film shows Allison, after fielding a question from Couric about that link, asking to collect his thoughts, then taking a long pause. The movie then cuts to another interview subject and does not show Allison again.

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Trump Camp Suggests Hugh Hewitt Be Banned From GOP Convention

Hugh Hewitt
Salem Radio host Hugh Hewitt made news this week when in response to Donald Trump’s criticism of Judge Gonzalo Curiel for being biased in the Trump University civil suit because the judge is “Mexican,” he called for the GOP to dump Trump at the convention.

Now the Trump campaign is striking back at Hewittm according to The Daily Caller.

Hewitt said ignoring Trump’s words and actions is “like ignoring Stage IV cancer. You can’t do it. You gotta go attack it.” Hewitt advised the party change convention rules to allow delegates to select someone other than the billionaire developer to be the nominee.

Trump campaign senior adviser and director of social media, Dan Scavino, called Hewitt a “hater”.

ESPN Audio Sets Monthly Record for Podcast Impressions

In May and for the third consecutive month, ESPN Audio broke its record for the number of podcast impressions –41.2 million.  That represents an increase of 35% over the previous May (30.7 million) and breaks the records set in March (38.9 million) and in April (39.0).

“Podcasting is a thriving and growing business that allows us to serve fans in the trademark ESPN way – using technology to reach the consumer on their terms, whenever and wherever they are,” said Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions.  “Podcasts accomplish two important goals – providing the convenience of time shifting television and radio programming and serving individual sport audiences, both the most popular and niche.”

Leading the way among the nearly 100 offerings was ESPN Radio’s Dan LeBatard Show with a total of 5.3 million impressions.  That represents more than 238,000 per episode.  Rounding out the top five in monthly impressions:  Mike & Mike (3.8 million), First Take and Pardon the Interruption (3.2 million) and Jalen & Jacoby (2.7 million).

Among originally produced podcasts, leading the way was Lowe Post with 2.3 million, 538: Elections (1.6 million) and Baseball Tonight (1.4 million).

Looking at average number of impressions per episode, Lowe Post was second only to LeBatard with 203,000.  Close behind in third was 538: Elections at 198,000.

Fans: CMT Awards Lacked Country Music

Viewers who tuned into Wednesday night’s CMT Music Awards were left wondering whether or not they were watching a country music awards show.

The fan-voted show kicked off with a number of collaborative performances featuring country stars and others outside the genre, from rockers Cheap Trick to rapper Pitbull.

Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris started the show off at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. That was followed with an outdoor performance by Billy Ray Cyrus with recent Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick. Then, the show went back indoors for a performance by Pitbull, pop singer Leona Lewis and Cassadee Pope — all while Jason Aldean, Nicole Kidman and more watched in the audience.

Fox News notes..The country world has recently been welcoming of pop stars, and not just onstage: On her popular album "Lemonade," Beyoncé performs a country original called "Daddy Lessons," which the Dixie Chicks covered in concert and others in the genre have praised. And last year, Justin Timberlake was the highlight of the Country Music Association Awards when he performed alongside Chris Stapleton. Timberlake's song "Drink You Away" hit the country charts after the performance.

Bubba's Attorneys Beg For Licenses

Lawyers Stephen Diaco, left, Adam Filthaut, center, and Robert Adams
Two Florida lawyers accused of orchestrating the arrest of a rival attorney are asking the state’s Supreme Court not to disbar them for good.

Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut of Tampa are requesting disbarment with an opportunity for reinstatement in five years. Their attorneys gave oral argument in the matter Thursday.

Bubba Clem
Pinellas County Judge W. Douglas Baird has recommended permanent disbarment.

A third attorney involved, Stephen Diaco, already has been permanently disbarred, according to

They were partners in a firm that represented radio personality Bubba “the Love Sponge” Clem in a slander suit brought by another radio personality, Todd “MJ” Schnitt.

During the trial in 2013, Schnitt lawyer C. Phillip Campbell was arrested on a DUI charge. Reports later surfaced that Adams, Filthaut and Diaco conspired to set up Campbell to get arrested.

They allegedly encouraged their female paralegal to go undercover and drink with Campbell at a downtown Tampa bar.

Afterward, Campbell was caught in a police DUI stakeout set up through a Tampa police sergeant who was friends with one of the attorneys, according to reports.

Schnitt eventually lost the case. All three lawyers denied the accusations.

There was no timeline for when the court would make a decision.

FCC Call Sign Activity For May 2016

During the period from 05/01/2016 to 05/31/2016 the Commission accepted applications to assign call signs to, or change the call signs of the following broadcast stations.

Charlotte Radio: Stroke Sidelines WRFX's Robert D. Raiford

Robert D. Raiford
Robert D. Raiford – celebrated curmudgeon of Charlotte’s airwaves for decades – isn’t happy, not a bit, and he says he’s kept the reason why a secret long enough.

According to the Charlotte Observer, a stroke in August has cost the veteran broadcaster his mobility, all sensation on his right side and the source of his livelihood: His voice.

Through months of arduous rehabilitation, Raiford has regained the ability to walk haltingly with a cane and speak well enough to make himself understood to those who know him best.

But even at 88, Raiford feels he’s been cheated out of his life. He wasn’t ready to retire or give up his adventurous hobbies that include riding a Harley, piloting planes and parachuting into the blue.

For nearly a year, his 12 co-workers at the “The Big Show” starring John Boy & Billy on iHeartMedia's WRFX 99.7 FM The Fox have deflected questions about Raiford’s absence, saying he was on medical leave but getting better. Raiford didn’t want people to know of his struggle.

But in May, he quietly retired and on Thursday morning, hosts John Isley and Billy James broke the news to listeners that Raiford was done. For now, at least.

Raiford’s first broadcast came as a baseball announcer for local games on WEGO 980 AM in 1945 in his native Concord. He was 15 and had a voice for radio even then.

He worked at WTOP radio, then and now one of the nation’s premiere news radio stations, in Washington, D.C., beside an up-and-comer named Walter Cronkite.

For the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963, the CBS radio network used him as one of the reporters narrating along the route. For 14 long minutes, Raiford described in crisp detail the somber scene before him.

June 10 Radio History

In 1895...actress Hattie McDaniel was born in Wichita Kansas.

In the 1910s she was a band vocalist, then began playing increasingly assertive maid roles on the big screen, culminating in the supporting-actress Oscar for her ‘Mammy’ in Gone With The Wind (1939), the first African-American to be so honored.  She played on the “Amos and Andy” and Eddie Cantor radio shows in the ’30s and ’40s, and had the title role in her own radio show “Beulah” (1947-51), which she also played on TV (1950-’52) until her death from  breast cancer Oct 2, 1952 at age 57.

In 1924…NBC Radio broadcast the first political convention when the Republicans convened in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1931...In a country-music milestone, Jimmie Rodgers records in a Nashville studio with gospel harmony legends The Carter Family.

In 1995…Lindsey Nelson - Voice Of The NY Mets died of Parkinson's disease.

Lindsey Nelson
He spent 17 years with the New York Mets and three years with the San Francisco Giants. For 33 years Nelson covered college football, including 26 Cotton Bowls, five Sugar Bowls, four Rose Bowls, and 14 years announcing Notre Dame games. He is in 13 separate Halls of Fame. Fans remember a talented broadcaster, an expert storyteller, and a true sports enthusiast.

Nelson began his national baseball broadcast career as one of Gordon McLendon's radio announcers for the Liberty Broadcasting System, which primarily did recreations of games. After a stretch as an administrator with NBC Sports, he began doing the network's baseball broadcasts in 1957. He also broadcast college football, NBA and college basketball, and professional golf and tennis during his NBC tenure.

In 1962, he was hired as the lead broadcaster by the expansion New York Mets, and for the next 17 seasons did both radio and television with Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy. All three were eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 2000...broadcast journalist Judd Rose, who built his reputation at ABC before becoming a CNN anchor, died from a brain tumour at age 44.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Atlanta Radio: Nielsen Flags WKHX For Ratings Distortion

Country station WKHX Kicks 101.5 FM was flagged in the latest monthly Nielsen Audio ratings book for an effort to tamper with the system.

According to Atlanta Media writer Rodney Ho at, Nielsen provided a “note” in the book but did not punish the station or its parent company Cumulus Media, based in Atlanta. It did publicize the infraction so advertisers and rivals in the market were informed of the situation in hopes of discouraging anyone else from doing it down the road.

This is similar to what happened to sister Top40 WWWQ 99.7 FM Q100 around the same time. Q100’s survey distortion efforts were noted in the April Nielsen book month.

Nielsen wrote that Kicks on March 7, 2016 sent out an email to loyal listeners directing them to a “secret” contest website which asked various demographic information but also included a question inquiring if the survey taker would carry a “device that recorded all your radio listening” as part of a “radio ratings project.” One option was, yes, they already do.

This particular survey was flagged and taken down within 27 hours, a shorter period of time than the Q100 situation around the same time. That one was up for several days.

Tracy Johnson, a long-time radio consultant based in San Diego, has worked with both Kicks and Q100, including the Bert Show. He was responsible for the entire “Secret Contest” concept, but it’s unclear who came up with the Nielsen question and who ultimately cleared it, according to Ho.

CBS Radio Sued Over Text Messages

CBS Radio is the latest broadcaster to be sued for an alleged violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) over text messages sent to cellphones.

InsideRadio reports Elaine Bonin has filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin against sports WSCR 670 AM The Score Chicago.

Bonin claims the station used auto dialers to blast unsolicited SMS text messages to her and others in Wisconsin without their prior written consent. The suit further states that Bonin received text messages containing sports scores and sports news from WSCR on Jan. 3, Feb. 7 and Feb. 9. Bonin says she didn’t give CBS or WSCR her number and has no interest in sports.

Each unsolicited message from CBS cost her 0.3 minutes of her prepaid TracPhone allotment, the suit says. She says she never shared her cellphone number with CBS, but somehow got texts from 67011 – the Score’s texting address.

The complaint seeks class-action status for anyone in the U.S. who received a non-emergency text from CBS via an auto-dialer on or after June 7, 2012 and who didn’t give their cell number to CBS, or revoked prior consent to do so.

This comes on the heels of an $8.5 million settlement to a lawsuit brought by listeners against iHeartMedia over advertisements in text messages sent by stations.

The TCPA prohibits companies from sending texts to consumers using an auto dialer unless someone has specifically given their permission. Under the law, a broadcaster can face a civil penalty of anywhere from $500-$1,500 per text message for violations.