Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 26 Radio History

In 1909...Elvis Presleys’ manager, the late Colonel Tom Parker was born in the Netherlands. Before managing Elvis, Parker handled the careers of Minnie Pearl, Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow and Tom Mix.  Presley was convinced he wouldn’t have hit it as big without Parker’s guidance, and in the latter years was splitting the take with Parker 50/50.  He died Jan 21 1997 after a stroke at age 87.

Alex Drier
In commentator & anchor Alex Dreier was born in Honolulu Hawaii.

He did radio commentaries for NBC from 1942-45 and 1951-56.  As Chicago’s ‘man on the go’ he anchored first at WNBQ and then WBKB-TV’s top rated news in the late 50’s and 60.  He later moved to California where he pursued a TV acting career and was a newscaster for KTTV.

He died March 11 2000 at age 83.

In 1933…the Kraft Music Hall debuted on NBC radio. It turned out to be one of radio’s longest-running hits. The first programs, designed to introduce Miracle Whip salad dressing, presented Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra. Singer Al Jolson became the host of the show in 1934, and Bing Crosby’s decade at the KMH helm began in 1936.

The Kraft Music Hall continued on NBC radio until 1949 and then on TV for many more years ; the first year as Milton Berle Starring in the Kraft Music Hall, later it was Perry Como‘s Kraft Music Hall for four seasons. From 1967 on, TV’s Kraft Music Hall featured a variety of guest hosts. Bring on the Velveeta and the Philadelphia brand cream cheese!

In 1949...entertainer Fred Allen ended his amazing radio career as host of his own show. Allen was attempting a transition to TV. Guest on his final show was his old pal, Jack Benny. Allen’s caustic wit didn’t play well on TV and he quickly found himself out of broadcasting, except for his many panel appearances on the original What’s My Line.

In 1959…"Mad Daddy" Pete Myers broadcast his last show on WHK-AM, Cleveland, Ohio.

Pete Myers 1959
In January 1958, Pete "Mad Daddy" Myers joined WJW-AM  from WHKK 640 AM in Akron. His "Mad Daddy" persona later was adapted by Ernie Anderson for his "Ghoulardi" character on sister station WJW-TV in 1963. Myers' show was heard nightly from 8 pm to 12:30 am. Myers had a brief but meteoric career at WJW, lasting only until May 13, 1958, when he resigned to go to Metromedia's WHK which was establishing itself as the new Top 40 powerhouse in Cleveland.

WJW enforced a 90-day noncompete clause, and "Mad Daddy" could not be heard on WHK until August 10. To keep his name in front of the public while he was off the air, Myers concocted a publicity stunt on June 14, 1958, parachuting from a Piper Cub 2200 feet over Lake Erie, and composing a poem on his way down.

He was fished out the waters shortly thereafter, and handed out copies of the 45 record "Zorro" to hundreds of fans who greeted him when he got to shore.

"Mad Daddy" reached the peak of his popularity at WHK, hosting record hops and live after-midnight shows dressed in a Dracula costume. In July 1959 he moved to WHK's sister station in New York, WNEW 1130 AM, where "Mad Daddy" was not well received. He played it straight as Pete Myers there until 1963, when he moved to 1010 WINS and resumed the "Mad Daddy Show." This show was syndicated to other stations until WINS changed format to all-news in 1965.

As again just Pete Myers, he returned to WNEW once more. Myers lived until October 4, 1968, when he took his own life in New York City.

In 1971…WNEW-FM in New York City became the first radio station to play Don McLean's "American Pie," aired in its 8-minute, 36-second entirety.

In 1977…Elvis Presley's final concert took place at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Before the show Elvis was presented with a plaque commemorating the 2 billionth Presley record to come out of RCA's pressing plant. He appeared pale, weak, and overweight, but the only thing out of the ordinary about this show was that Elvis inexplicably introduced almost everyone in his life while on stage. Some took this as "proof" that he knew his end was near.   He died 51 days later.

In 1990...8 Radio stations in Kansas and Oklahoma boycott k d lang, due to her anti-meat ad.

k d lang
LS Radio Inc., a Wichita-based company with seven stations in Kansas and one in Oklahoma, pulled k.d. lang's records Thursday. So did the Shepherd Group, which has three stations in Missouri and one in Montana.

The spot also irritated Larry Steckline, a Wichita broadcaster who owns five country stations in Kansas, the top beef state in the United States. Steckline, a farmer-rancher, said he had ''no problem with her being a vegetarian. . . . My problem is somebody with a name in this industry coming down hard on the number one industry in our state. That's not what I call ladylike.''

Great Empire Broadcasting Inc., another Kansas chain with 10 stations in five states, gathered listener reaction as it considered joining the boycott. Mike Oatman, Great Empire's chief executive officer and general manager of a station in Wichita, reported that 60 percent of the callers favored continuing to play k.d. lang's records and 40 percent favored banning them.

Media Stocks Tank

Wall Street had one of its worst days in years on Friday after the U.K. voted in favor of Brexit, a referendum to remove itself from the European Union, a surprise decision that had investors heading for the exits and pundits predicting doom and gloom.

"The Brexit as catalyst could likely be the turning point that will trigger a financial market crash in the U.S. and in global markets in parallel," Thomas Kee Jr. wrote at MarketWatch, a unit of News Corp's Dow Jones.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, others on Friday were focusing more narrowly on the entertainment companies. Rick Munarriz at the Motley Fool, for example, predicted Disney theme parks in Florida will take a hit, given that 1.7 million visitors to that state came from the U.K. last year and Friday's vote had the pound plunging relative to the dollar.

"When it costs 8 percent more to purchase things in the U.S. — overnight — it does force folks to reconsider their vacation plans," Munarriz wrote. "Tack on the political and economic unrest that's bound to follow in the U.K. and suddenly that trip to Disney World becomes a stay-cation."

In Friday's dismal action, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 611 points, or 3.4 percent, while the Nasdaq was off 4.1 percent and S&P 500 fell 3.6 percent.

Of the seven media conglomerates, three fared better than the Dow: Comcast fell 2.1 percent on Friday, Disney was off 3.3 percent and Time Warner was down 3.2 percent.

Hurt most was 21st Century Fox, which saw its shares sink 7.7 percent, followed by Viacom (down 5.8 percent), Sony (down 4.8 percent) and CBS (down 3.8 percent).

Among the seven conglomerates, $20 billion in value was wiped out on Friday, and of the 50 entertainment/media stocks tracked by The Hollywood Reporter, one closed higher on Friday: Regal entertainment Group, the movie exhibition company, was up 8 cents to $20.66.

Of those 50, Fox fell the hardest, followed by Discovery Communications, down 7.2 percent. Discovery has a strong presence in the U.K. and, unlike most companies, issued a statement about the Brexit vote.

Other significant movers included Netflix (down 3.5 percent), Nielsen (off 4.8 percent), Lionsgate (off 5.1 percent), Dish Network (off 5.4 percent), Time (down 5.7 percent), News Corp (off 6.2 percent) and ComScore (down 7.2 percent).

Media stocks were more volatile Friday than were stocks of other industries because they have been considered "risk-off" stocks ever since Disney said 10 months ago that ESPN was losing subscribers, a revelation tanked the entire sector, says Steven Birenberg of Northlake Capital Management.

Ryan Seacrest On The Future of Media

A special Cannes edition of "Reliable Sources" will be airing on CNN International this weekend... featuring Coles, Thompson, and iHeartRadio's Bob Pittman and Ryan Seacrest.

Watch Seacrest talk about how media consumption is changing in this interview clip from the show.

Chicago Radio: WGN Extends Contract Of PD Todd Manley

Todd Manley
Tribune Media's WGN 720 AM has extended the contract of  Todd Manley as vice president of content at the news/talk station.

“Todd makes it fun to come to work every day,” Jimmy de Castro, president and general manager of WGN, said in a statement.

“He’s a content musician that drives our incredible spoken word content across a multitude of platforms.”

The new deal will keep Manley in the top programming job through the end of 2019.

He previously worked at WGN as production/imaging director and creative director from 1998 to 2008, and has been back as deCastro’s right-hand man since 2013.

“I’m in awe of the effort our personalities and producers put forth each day,” Manley said. “They’re each driven to make sure WGN listeners never ever miss a story.”

WGN 720 AM (50 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Manley has also worked at adult alternative WXRT and the former WCKG in Chicago and modern rock WPNT and talk KTRS in St. Louis. He was production/imaging director and then creative director at WGN from 1998-2008.

Report: CNN Staff 'Near Revolt" Over Lewandowski Hire

Corey Lewandowski
CNN’s “facing a near internal revolt” over Jeff Zucker’s hiring of Corey Lewandowski as an exclusive commentator for the news network days after he was fired as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, according to Page Six at the NY Post.

“CNN is facing a near internal revolt over the Corey hiring,” said a TV insider, who described many in the newsroom as “livid.” “Female reporters and producers especially . . . They are organizing and considering publicly demanding” that Lewandowski be let go.

Michelle Fields
Earlier in the week, Donald Trumps’s daughter Ivanka gave her dad an ultimatum to cut Corey loose after she was distressed by news he’d grabbed reporter Michelle Fields by the arm at a Florida event, and by a report that he recently got into a shouting match on a Midtown street with campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

At CNN, the hiring of the former Trump campaign manager on Thursday didn’t only alienate women on staff. A source further said that “Latinos and others in the newsroom feel betrayed by an homage to Trump,” so “they may do a public letter” objecting to the move.

Phlash Phelps Back to Defend Find Title

Visiting Laurel Park last fall for the annual Maryland Million Day festivities, SiriusXM personality and Baltimore-area native Phlash Phelps smiled as a large crowd that gathered around him began shouting his name.

As it happened, they were cheering for his namesake, Hillwood Stable-owned Phlash Phelps, who won the Maryland Million Turf by three-quarters of a length for a fourth straight victory to cap his 4-year-old campaign.

“I’m watching the race and people are yelling, ‘Go, Phlash, go’ behind me and I thought that was the weirdest thing, to have people all cheering for him. It was really cool to hear that,” Phelps said. “One lady stopped me and I said I had a horse in the race. She asked which one and I said, ‘Phlash Phelps,’ and she said, ‘Oh, I love him!’ I said, ‘Which one, the radio one or the horse?’ It was the horse.”

Phlash Phelps 
Phlash Phelps, the man, shares more than just his name with the popular gelding. Both were bred in Maryland and are based in the Mid-Atlantic; Phelps at SiriusXM’s '60s On 6 studios in Washington, D.C. and the horse with trainer Rodney Jenkins at Laurel.

Each have developed a passionate following and both took several tries before finding success. The human Phelps was fired 17 times over a radio career that began in 1984 prior to landing his current gig 16 years ago; the equine Phelps needed seven tries to break his maiden and has since won five of his last six starts.

“It’s been a really cool thing. That’s how I really got into the horse racing part of it after that,” Phelps said. “I wish I knew a lot more about it or had the money to actually own a horse. That would be neat, but its’ been really fun following him especially when he’s been winning.”

According to Horse Racing Nation, he is the 1-2 program favorite from post 1 in a field of six for the $75,000 Find Stakes on Saturday.  The race is one of five turf stakes worth $330,000 on Maryland-Virginia Breeders’ Day at historic Pimlico Race Course. Phlash Phelps is the defending Find champion.

Unlike last fall, DJ Phlash Phelps doesn’t expect to be on hand to see the race live. Having just turned 50, he is in the midst of an ‘All 50 at 50’ tour where he is visiting each of the 50 states to mark his personal half-century. Already, he has driven 19,000 miles since it kicked off April 11 and has been to 30 states, with Ohio penciled in this weekend as No. 31.

“Usually every weekend I’m gone. I’ve been traveling 1,800 miles a week so the odds are that I will probably not be in town. I will have to watch to find out how he does,” Phelps said. “I usually don’t see it live but I’ll look to find out what happened as soon as he’s done and then I’ll post it on my site if he wins. If he doesn’t win I don’t post it, but he’s been winning so there’s been a lot of posting.

Chicago Radio: Developer ThisClose To Buying Tribune Building

The owner of Chicago's Block 37 mall is close to a deal to buy the landmark Tribune Tower, where it is expected to launch a major redevelopment that could include a hotel, apartments, condominiums and new retail along Michigan Avenue.

According to Crain's Chicago, CIM Group is close to a deal to buy the 36-story tower on Michigan Avenue for about $240 million to $250 million, according to someone familiar with the deal. Los Angeles-based CIM does not have the building under contract but is expected to soon, according to the person.

CIM's partner in the deal is Chicago-based development firm Golub.

The sale process has been ongoing since October, when Tribune Media announced it had hired New York-based Eastdil Secured to seek a sale of the tower at 435 N. Michigan Ave. Stephen Livaditis, a Chicago-based senior managing director at Eastdil, is leading the sale process for Tribune Media, the broadcast company that owns WGN-TV and WGN Radio.

The slow-moving deal has been complicated because potential buyers have been considering a variety of redevelopment options, which could include converting the existing office tower to a hotel. They also have been trying to gauge how large a new building the city is likely to allow to be constructed on a parking lot east of the Gothic tower, which affects the value of the overall site.

The office tenants in the building, Tribune Media and Tribune Publishing—recently renamed Tronc—have been evaluating potential new office spaces downtown in anticipation that a new owner may eventually want to clear out the offices for a new use, according to real estate sources.

Media Outlets Seek Release of Pulse 911 Calls

Twenty-two media organizations, including The Miami Herald and The Associated Press, are suing the city of Orlando, Florida, for access to transcripts and recordings of 911 calls made during the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub June 12.

The Herald reports that the news organizations filed a joint lawsuit Thursday seeking access to four 911 calls that the shooter, Omar Mateen, made while he was inside the nightclub, as well as 603 additional 911 calls made during the attack on the nightclub, which lasted three hours.

According to Politico, The city contends that the 911 calls are exempt from public records law because they record people being killed. The news organizations argue that a Connecticut court ruled in 2012 that 911 calls made during a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School were not exempt despite laws that restrict releasing child abuse records.

The media organizations also argue that 911 calls do not record any killings based on official reports of what happened the night of June 12.

Earlier this week, the Department of Justice released a redacted version of one of Mateen’s calls to 911 operators. The DOJ later released an unredacted transcript of the call after facing criticism. After backlash from media outlets and congressional leaders, the DOJ released an unredacted transcript.

KTLA Crew Narrowly Escapes Wall of Fire

A KTLA5 reporter and his photographer had just finished their live shot for the 11 p.m. news, covering the devastating, out-of-control Erskine Fire burning in Lake Isabella, when flames came within about 30 yards of their van.

Reporter Steve Kuzj and cameraman Victor Vargas scrambled to get their equipment into the truck and flee, getting away safely.

Vargas said the pair noticed firefighters lighting backfires close by as Kuzj finished up his live report on the fire, which at that point was estimated at 5,000 acres and had burned about 80 homes and structures.

Live video on KTLA’s air shortly after 11 p.m. showed a firefighter crew setting fire to brush and grass near the roadway at the end of Kuzj’s live shot.

While Vargas and Kuzj worked to pack up the KTLA van, the heat began to hit them and they started to hurry. In less than a minute, the flames moved from 100 yards to 50 yards to 30 yards away, Vargas said.

“The heat became unbearable,” he said. “The heat was too much that I couldn’t get in the truck through the driver side.”

Vargas climbed in through the passenger door and they sped away, past an apparent wall of flame.

Vargas said he assumed firefighters expected him and Kuzj to leave shortly, but didn’t realize they needed a few minutes to pack up their broadcasting equipment and get out.

Cincy Radio: WDBZ 1230 AM Adds 101.5 FM Simulcast

Radio One Cincinnati has announced the addition of an FM translator to Praise WDBZ 1230 AM, “Cincinnati’s Inspiration Station.”

Effective immediately, Praise 1230 AM can also be heard on W268CM 101.5 FM in Cincinnati.

Praise AM went live December 3rd, 2015, featuring national gospel heavyweights like Willie Moore Jr. and Darlene McCoy to the city, while showcasing much of the local-focused programming notably The Lincoln Ware Show. Over the past several months, the station has added the all-new Erica Campbell Morning Show to its lineup and expanded its inspirational music programming.

Radio One Cincinnati Station Manager, Mitch Galvin, stated that music fans would be in for a significant increase in audio fidelity. “The sound quality and increased reach of our Praise format is going to be great for listeners and will allow us to do some big things in the community!”

Operations Manager, Kenard Karter, added, “We’re excited to expand the footprint of Praise 1230 AM to the FM dial—this will help continue the growth of the station and ensure that Praise continues to be a place where our community comes for information, entertainment, and to make their voices heard.”

W268CM 101.5 FM (99 watts) Red=Local Coverage Area
Show host, Lincoln Ware, best captured the enthusiasm of the announcement, stating, “I’m excited to speak with younger listeners who would never touch the AM dial but are passionate about talk radio and gospel music!”

In addition to 1230 AM and 101.5 FM, Praise can be heard via WIZF 101.1 FM HD2 and streamed live 24/7 at

R.I.P.: Bowling Green Radio Personality Scooter Davis

Radio personality Thane 'Scooter Davis' Austin died Friday from effects of esophageal cabncer.

Davis was still hard at work at WBVR 96.7 FM The Beaver on June 17, just a week before he died.

He died Friday morning of terminal metastatic carcinoma consistent with esophageal cancer. He survived esophageal cancer before, but on June 8, 2015, his doctor told him he had about 12 months to live.

Friends and co-workers thought the world of Davis.

"I've been knowing him for a decade, but working with him every day face to face started in November," said Dan Callahan, Davis' morning show sidekick. "It's been an incredible honor to be on the air with him."

"He's handled this life's tragedy with grace. He's warmed us all with the inclusion. It's been an amazing seven months with him," he said. "We just take it day by day. He wants to continue. It says something about him."

Davis had a fan base of people who loved him, Callahan said.

Doc Kaelin, national and regional sales manager for Forever Communications, which owns WBVR-FM The Beaver, has known Davis for 30 years or maybe even longer, he said.

"Before I came here I was competition. I was general sales manager for The Gator," he said. "Forever Communications bought them out in 2001. It's easier selling with Scooter than it was selling against him."

June 25 Radio History

In 1942...the first broadcast of the unique, hilariously-scripted panel show “It Pays to Be Ignorant” was aired on WOR Radio and the Mutual Broadcasting System. It eventually spanned 9 years on the air, moving first (in 1944) to CBS and in 1951 to NBC.

The satirical series featured "a board of experts who are dumber than you are and can prove it." Tom Howard was the quizmaster who asked questions of dim-bulb panelists Harry McNaughton, Lulu McConnell and George Shelton.

Each episode would start with some jokes ("Do married men live longer than single men?"... "No, it only seems longer.") and an introduction of the experts. After this, three or four questions would be discussed in detail: some posed by Howard, some picked at random by a guest from the audience. These questions often had the answer obvious in the query ("What town in Massachusetts had the Boston Tea Party?") or were common knowledge.

In 1949…Billboard magazine changed the name of its country music hit parade from Hillbilly Music Chart to Country & Western.

In 1970…The U.S. Federal Communications Commission ruled it illegal for radio stations to put telephone calls on the air without the permission of the person being called.

In 1976...songwriter/singer & broadcast personality Johnny Mercer, who wrote the lyrics to more than 1,000 songs, including That old Black Magic, Swinging on a Star, Accentuate the Positive, Hooray for Hollywood, and Days of Wine & Roses,  who had 19 Academy Award nominations, died asa result of brain cancer surgery at age 66.  In 1942 he had become a co-founder of Capitol Records.

In 1988...Radio disc jockey Mildred E. Gillars, better known during World War Two as "Axis Sally" for her Nazi propaganda broadcasts, died. She was 87. Gillars served 12 years in prison for treason.

Mildred Gillars
Born Mildred Elizabeth Sisk in Portland, Maine, she took the surname Gillars in 1911 after her mother remarried. At 16, she moved to Conneaut, Ohio, with her family.  In 1918 she enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan University to study dramatic arts but left before graduating. She then moved to Greenwich Village, New York City, where she worked in various low-skill jobs to finance drama lessons. She toured with stock companies and appeared in vaudeville but she was unable to establish a theatrical career.

In 1929, Gillars left the U.S. for France. In 1934 she moved to Dresden, Germany, to study music, later being employed as a teacher of English at the Berlitz School of Languages in Berlin.

In 1940 she obtained work as an announcer with the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG), German State Radio.

By 1941, as the U.S. State Department was advising American nationals to return home, Gillars chose to stay in Germany after her fiancé, a naturalized German citizen named Paul Karlson, said that he would never marry her if she returned to the United States.

Until 1942 Gillars' broadcasts were largely apolitical. This changed when Max Otto Koischwitz, the program director in the USA Zone at the RRG, cast Gillars in a new show called Home Sweet Home.

Soon she acquired several names amongst her GI listeners, including Berlin Bitch, Berlin Babe, Olga, and Sally, but the one that became most common was "Axis Sally".

She remained in Berlin until the end of the war. Her last broadcast was on May 6, 1945, just two days before the German surrender.

In 2006…Music producer/arrranger Arif Martin, who spent 30 years with Atlantic Records, died from pancreatic cancer at age 74.

Arif Martin
He produced many hit artists including The Rascals, Carly Simon, Petula Clark, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Queen, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Lulu, Anita Baker, Judy Collins, Phil Collins, Scritti Politti, Culture Club, Roberta Flack, Average White Band, Hall & Oates, Donny Hathaway, Norah Jones, Daniel Rodriguez, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Melissa Manchester, Side Show, The Manhattan Transfer, Modern Jazz Quartet, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Leo Sayer, Dusty Springfield, David Bowie, Raul Midon, Mamas Pride, Jewel and Ringo Starr.

It was Mardin who, when producing the Bee Gees' 1975 hit "Nights on Broadway," discovered the distinctive falsetto of Barry Gibb, which became a familiar trademark of the band throughout the disco era.

In superstar Michael Jackson died at age 50, after suffering heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills. Jackson is credited with transforming the music video into an art form and a promotional tool. Four of his solo albums are among the world’s best-selling records: Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995), while his 1982 Thriller is the world’s best-selling record of all time with sales of over 50 million. Guinness World Records list’s him as one of the “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time”, with 13 Grammy Awards and 13 number one singles.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Report: Viacom, CBS Merger Talk Swirls

A decade after CBS became a standalone company, the recent drama surrounding billionaire chairman Sumner Redstone’s control of sister Viacom has offered fresh speculation that CBS may again be merged into its corporate cousin. But, according to InsideRadio, some media analysts calculate the odds of such a rollup as “remote.”

MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson thinks the idea makes financial sense and would be good for shareholders, noting the combined operation would save as much as $400 million in costs.

In a recent report to investors, Nathanson called the 2005 separation of the two companies an “ill-fated move” that has never made any sense to him. Nathanson has been pushing for a “recombination” for the past year despite strong opposition from CBS executives. “Nothing will be solved until the pieces are put back together again,” Nathanson says. “We just aren’t sure how or when that happens.”

But Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker doubts a rollup will occur without the “blessing” of CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves. “We believe that Les is aware of CBS’ structurally advantageous position as a standalone broadcast network,” she writes in a note to clients. And Ryvicker says her analysis shows a merger would be “destructive” to the company’s overall value.

“We believe Viacom needs to be fixed—not slapped onto another company,” she says. “The best way to do this, in our view, is to hire a CEO who is solely focused on Viacom and now has the incentive and wherewithal to make big strategic change and investment.”

When CBS and Viacom were split apart at the start of 2006, the thinking was CBS, with its radio and broadcast TV businesses, would be the “slow growth” company. But the media landscape has rapidly evolved, and it’s been Viacom that has been bogged down with slow-growing cable networks and few digital opportunities for its movie business. As a result, since the CBS-Viacom split, CBS’ stock price has increased 104% compared to a 5% gain for Viacom’s shares.

Viacom CEO Asks For Redstone Immediate Medical Exam

Sumner Redstone, Philippe Dauman
(Reuters) -- Viacom Inc Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and board member George Abrams asked a Massachusetts court on Thursday to require an immediate medical exam of controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone.

In a filing with the Norfolk Probate and Family Court, Dauman and Abrams also asked for a court order requiring the 93-year-old Redstone to provide medical records relating to his mental condition for the past six years.

Redstone, who has trouble speaking and needs around-the-clock care, last month removed Dauman and board member George Abrams from the seven-person trust that will control Redstone's majority ownership of media companies Viacom and CBS Corp when he dies or is deemed incapacitated.

Dauman and Abrams shot back with their own Massachusetts lawsuit contesting their removal from the trust and from the board of National Amusements Inc, Redstone's privately held movie theater company through which he owns 80 percent of the voting shares of Viacom and CBS.

In their suit, they claimed that Redstone is not mentally competent and has been manipulated by his daughter. Redstone has called that allegation "offensive and untrue" in court filings.

Dauman and Abrams on Thursday pointed to National Amusements' move to replace Dauman and four other Viacom directors from the company's board, adding that a medical exam was necessary because events impacting Redstone's media empire "are unfolding at a quick pace, and are in danger of becoming irreversible."

Those purporting to act on Redstone's behalf "have orchestrated one of the most incredible and audacious corporate takeovers in the history of American business," they wrote in a court filing.

A Redstone spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

Analyst: New Cumulus CFO "Not A Good Sign"

At least one financial analyst says a new CFO for Cumulus is not a good sign.

This week say Cumulus Media Inc. Chief Financial Officer Joseph P. Hannan exit the company after six years “to pursue other interests.” The Atlanta-based radio giant, which lost $546.5 million in 2015, named named John F. Abbot its new CFO as of July 1.

Abbot recently was CFO of Telx Holdings Inc., a provider of connectivity, co-location and cloud services in the data center industry. Before that, he was CFO of cable television company Insight Communications Co.

Noble Financial analyst Michael Kupinski says the move is "not a good sign" for the company.

He commented Thursday:
  • Restructuring likely. We believe that JP Hanann's departure is a sign that the company's fundamentals are weak and that a capital restructuring is likely
  • Odds for an upturn in fundamentals appear low. In our view, national advertising for the company is expected to be weak and its stations are likely to under perform the industry as a whole
  • Equity could get wiped out in a capital restructuring. Near current levels, CMLS shares trade at 8.9 times enterprise value to estimated 2016 cash flow

Lawmakers Call CableTV Industry On Carpet

Some top members of Congress are calling out the CableTV  industry in a blistering new report finding that tens of thousands of Americans are being overcharged for their service and may not even know it.

According to The Washington Post, the report, published Thursday by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), reflects the struggle that many consumers face when trying to talk to their TV company. It sheds light on some of the corporate incentives that drive the firms. And it finds that one provider alone, Time Warner Cable, is expected to overcharge its customers this year to the tune of $2 million. Already this year, TWC has collected nearly $640,000 in unnecessary fees.

"The company just kept the money," said Portman in a Senate hearing Thursday accompanying the report. "In my view, that's a ripoff."

The practice isn't limited to TWC. Portman and McCaskill's investigation also reveals that Charter Communications — which now owns TWC — earned more than $1.3 million in overcharges between January and April of this year.

Claire McCaskill
The extra charges stem from mismatches in the companies' systems that bill customers for cable boxes they don't actually have in their homes. In response to the probe, the two companies have agreed to conduct regular audits to be sure their billing is accurate.

Even though proportionally that's low, that's still a lot of people affected by the practice, said Portman.

McCaskill went further in a separate report she published Thursday, documenting the anxiety-inducing interactions between consumers and companies that have helped put the industry at the bottom of customer-satisfaction rankings. She accused the industry of playing a big game of "hide the ball" so that consumers cannot get the best price without jumping through hoops or having inside knowledge. She explained that she herself had been on the receiving end of a retention agent's efforts to redirect her anger when she found out she was being charged for a "protection plan" she never agreed to sign up for.

Raleigh-Durham Radio: The Morning Show OUT At WDNC

Right after host Mike Maniscalco and executive producer Demetri Ravanos got off the air at 10 a.m. following The Morning Show Thursday on WDNC 620 AM Buzz Sports Radio, they were separately told they were fired. WDNC also simulcasts on translators
W257CS and W243DK.

According to, The other co-host, Lauren Brownlow, who already was on maternity leave, will stay on in another role that will include appearances on other shows and writing for when she returns in late August or early September.

“They were both very professional about it,” said Dennis Glasgow, the programming director for sports audio at Capitol Broadcasting Company. “It was a pure business decision, that’s all it was.

“We’re very fond of Mike, Demetri and Lauren, but it just didn’t work out,” Glasgow said. “We gave it every effort on our part, I can tell you that I gave it 100 percent and so did the company and so did they, but it just didn’t work out.”

“The Sports Shop with Reese & Kmac,” which has aired from 10 a.m.–noon on WDNC, will air from 6–9 a.m. beginning Tuesday, July 5.

“We are very excited and humbled to be taking the show to the next level with the move to morning drive,” “Sports Shop” co-host Erroll Reese said. “We are very happy to have the confidence of Capitol Broadcasting behind our show.”

Until July 4, NBC Sports Radio’s “Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio” will air from 6-10 a.m. on WDNC with the first hour of the three-hour show repeating from 9-10 a.m. Beginning July 5, Florio’s show will air on delay after “Sports Shop” from 9 a.m.-noon.

“The Morning Show” debuted with a lot of fanfare last September as a show that would emphasize local content, heavily use social media but also would feature non-sports subjects. There were regular non-sports guests, including comedians.

WDNC 620 AM (5 Kw-D, 1 Kw-N) Red=Local Coverage Area
Management hoped that the ratings would improve over the previous show that Maniscalco hosted with Mark Thomas — “The World’s Strongest Morning Show “— but Glasgow said it actually did worse in the ratings. Thomas was let go last July.

Going up against the popular national show “Mike and Mike” on CBC’s sister station, WCMC (99.9 the Fan) certainly didn’t make it any easier.

CNN Hires Trump's Ex--Campaign Manager

Corey Lewandowski
Three days after being ousted from the Donald Trump campaign, Corey Lewandowski is a political commentator for CNN.

On Thursday Lewandowski joined CNN's stable of political experts who appear across the channel's newscasts and talk shows.

For CNN executives, the hiring was a coup. Lewandowski brings first-hand experience running a historic presidential campaign.

But, reports CNN's media pundit Brian Stetler, his hiring was also highly controversial, even within the newsroom, in part because he has a reputation for being hostile toward journalists.

There are also swirling questions about whether Lewandowski is still bound to Trump somehow.
Like other Trump employees, he signed a non-disclosure agreement that ensures he will not share confidential information.

The agreement likely included a "non-disparagement clause," impeding his ability to criticize Trump publicly.

On Thursday night, in his first appearance as a CNN commentator, anchor Erin Burnett asked about the existence of such a clause, and Lewandowski declined to answer directly.

More Cars Than Phones Being Connected To Cell Service

Millions of people in the United States have mobile phones, and we’ve had them for years. They may upgrade phones or change plans, but cell phones and plans are generally sold to people who already have devices. But cellular services aren’t out of new devices to connect—now they’ve got cars.

In the first quarter of 2016, connected cars accounted for a third of all new cellular devices, according to

Mobile-industry consultants at Chetan Sharma noted that there were more cars added to networks than phones and fewer tablets than previously. According to analysts, smartphone penetration is at 84% in the United States, and new customer revenue is approaching zero. But connected cars are still new to the market, so as they roll off assembly lines and into garages, they’ll need to be hooked up to a network.

AT&T has 8 million cars on its network, “probably the highest of any mobile operator in the world,” the report said, and it’s adding more cars than all other operators combined. The company provides communications for everything from vehicle-to-vehicle capabilities, telematics, entertainment apps, over-the-air updates, and 4G LTE hotspots built into the vehicle.

Not that people necessarily know their cars are connected at all. A study also showed that while about half of the respondents were shown how the technology worked at the dealership when they were considering purchasing a vehicle, there were complaints that buyers seemed to know as much as the salespeople when it came to connected features. In its analysis of the study, TNS called in-car education “critical to the uptake and use of connectivity”—especially for those 4 in 10 who aren’t even aware of what their car can do.

Randy Travis Honored At Country Radio HoF Induction

Randy Travis, Josh Turner
Josh Turner provided a musical tribute to Randy Travis when the legendary singer was honored Wednesday night during the annual Country Radio Hall of Fame ceremony in Nashville, according to CMT.

Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in March, Travis was presented the Country Radio Broadcasters Inc.’s Artist Career Achievement Award, an honor presented to artists creativity, vision, performance or leadership made a significant contribution to the development and promotion of country music and country radio.

Turner, a longtime Travis fan, sang “A Man Ain’t Made of Stone,” “Forever and Ever, Amen” and “Three Wooden Crosses” during the celebration at the Omni Hotel.

Carole Bowen was presented the CRB’s Presidents Award in recognition of her career at WKIS/Miami and more than 30 years of service on the CRB’s board of directors.

This year’s Country Radio Hall of Fame inductees were Blair Garner, Mike & Dana Schuff and Lisa Dent in the on-air category and Mick Anselmo, Kerby Confer, Jack Reno, Tim Roberts and Jim Slone in the radio category.

Houston Radio: KCOH Adds HD2 Simulcast

Texas' first Black radio station KCOH has completed a sometimes-bumpy migration over to FM HD radio after over six decades on the other side of the dial. The station has been broadcasting locally since 1953, first on 1430 AM and then on 1230 AM.

KCOH 1230 AM (1 Kw) Red=Local Coverage
According to, the move to FM follows the sale of the station to Ben Hall, the Houston attorney who ran for mayor last year. Hall had been hosting his own show, the Ben Hall Legal Hour, when the station announced it was experiencing financial trouble in late 2014. During the transition to FM, KCOH went online-only for several months; in the shuffle, beloved longtime hosts like Wash Allen, Michael Harris and Don Samuel left KCOH, and the future of the historic station was uncertain.

The move to Cox Media's KKBQ 92.9 FM-HD2, which allows the station a wider broadcasting range and therefore a wider listener base, was not initially met with the enthusiasm the staff had expected. A lot of that had to do, station manager and morning host Jeri Beasley says, with their longtime elderly listeners not quite understanding how to access their favorite programs.

KKBQ 92.9 FM (100 Kw)
“A lot of our older listeners didn’t understand what HD radio was; they wanted to know, ‘Why do we have to change?’” Beasley says. “It took a lot of explaining. We taught them how to access the channel and we showed them how to download the mobile app. We asked them to come down to the station and bring their phones, which caused its own problems, with people bringing up their old Jitterbug phones,” Beasley chuckles.

Beasley says the station bought HD radios for some elderly listeners and taught others how to access the station’s website, which live-streams the DJs as they’re on air. After months of door-knocking and otherwise getting the word out, Beasley says the station is stronger than ever.

“We are the station that gives the community a voice. There aren’t very many stations anymore that let the listeners call in and talk to actual DJs and say what they want to say, to state their case,” Beasley says. “We want people to know they have not lost their voice. As a matter of fact, it’s been enhanced, and they can hear it clearer than ever.”

NYC Radio: Trent Harmon Visits WNSH

Trent Harmon
Rising music star Trent Harmon stopped by the WNSH NASH FM 94.7 studios Thursday in New York City to chat with afternoon host Jesse Addy.

Trent is the winner from the fifteenth and final season of American Idol and is currently working on his first album.

Harmon with PM Drive Host Jesse Addy
Before heading out, Trent performed some of his songs for NASH FM 94.7 listeners, including: “What Are You Listening To”, “Falling” and “There’s a Girl”.

Miami Radio: WZAB Brings Back The Beatles Brunch

Beatle Brunch, which aired Majic 102.7 from May 31, 1992, until last December, when the station has since relaunched as '80s-based 102.7 the Beach, is back on-the-air.

Last week, after months without a local station to call home, Beatle Brunch with Joe Johnson returned to Miami airwaves on Salem's WZAB 880 AM The Biz, where it will air every Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m., according to Miami New Times.

Although the station is mostly business news oriented, it has made a slight departure recently to cater to the older crowd. “They run a Sinatra show on Saturday morning. It’s two hours,” Johnson says. They reached out to him a couple of months ago to express interest in bringing back Beatle Brunch to Miami listeners.

WZAB 880 AM (4 Kw-D, 5 Kw-N
As Johnson has written on the Beatle Brunch Facebook page, AM radio is, for many, “where you heard the Beatles for the first time.” He speculates there may be an unintended nostalgic appeal to hearing the Fab Four on this frequency once again.

While he concedes that millennials haven't yet rediscovered AM radio in the way they’ve embraced, say, vinyl, Johnson acknowledges that at the end of the day younger generations just want to hear the music. “There’s so many little kids getting into the Beatles that they’re not going to be able to relate to that [nostalgia], so that doesn’t matter. They just want to hear the songs.”

To that point, Johnson's first show back prominently featured a kindergarten class from Heron Heights Elementary School enthusiastically singing along to “Yellow Submarine,” “Love Me Do,” and “Hey Jude.”

Another generation of Beatlemaniacs is born.

SiriusXM's Cousin Brucie To Host Annual Reunion Show Saturday

As anyone familiar with the famous radio payola scandal of the late '50s knows, the career of Alan Freed, the disk jockey who helped put rock and roll on the map, was ruined, as were others in his field for accepting illicit money to play records on their shows. Some like American Bandstand television host Dick Clark, were also called in to testify before Congress.

However, according to The Examiner,  Morrow, now 78, decided the other day that he wants to come clean, acknowledging that he once actually did accept a bribe from someone to play a record on his radio program.

"I did accept payola once," he admits. "It was two cherry pies from this record producer whose mother was a baker. So, in order to get his record played, he offered me a couple of cherry pies. I figured that wasn't so bad, so I took them and played his record."

Considering the millions of people Morrow has brought joy to over the past seven decades as one of America's foremost radio personalities, plus his extensive charitable endeavors, he should be forgiven for that little "misstep."

Born Bruce Meyerowitz, on October 13, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York, after adopting the familiar moniker "Cousin Brucie,"as the star of Manhattan's powerful 77WABC, he performed over 4000 shows from 1961 through 1974.

These days, when not doing his Wednesday and Saturday night shows on Sirius XM’s 60’s on 6 channel, he enjoys a peaceful, pastoral existence in upstate New York with wife Jodie, in a stone house built in the 1780’s.

Saturday night, the National Radio Hall of Famer will be hosting a big Palisades Park reunion show at the Meadowlands State Fair in East Rutherford, New Jersey, that will also be broadcast on his Sirius XM program.

Among those on the bill will be Bobby Rydell, The Mellow Kings, Fireflies, and Passions. There also will be a "Supergirls” group featuring original members of The Exciters, Cookies, and Reparata and the Delrons.

Says Morrow, "It's always a very emotional experience. The audience is very much a big part of the shows. It's like magic. It really is."

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Philly Radio: Listeners Bleed For WMMR

WMMR 93.3 FM listeners showed up in record amounts to help save lives at one of the times the American Red Cross needs it the most as summer sets in, schools let out, and families begin vacations plans.

WMMR and the Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross combined efforts to collect 1,297 units of blood on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at Valley Forge Casino Resort- the largest blood drive in the PA, NJ, DE region. Each donation has the potential to save 3 lives.

Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison were the first to donate at 6:00am. They hung out after giving blood to greet every person until the final donor left at 4:30pm.

Each donor left with the newest Preston & Steve t-shirt and a ‘Gadzooks!’ pint glass (a popular catch-phrase from the show). 600 random donors left with a pair of tickets to one of the six Summer Rock Concerts contributed by Live Nation. Preston & Steve Show members Caseyboy, Kathy Romano, Nick McIlwain and Marisa Magnatta greeted donors as they arrived and prepared to give blood.

Even WMMR’s Pierre Robert popped in to thank donors for their act of kindness.

Local businesses also chipped in. In addition to Window Nation supplying the Gadzooks pint glasses, Rita’s Water Ice of Huntingdon Valley and Willow Grove served free Rita’s Water Ice, including one of their newer flavors- Blood Orange. Valley Forge Casino Resort handed out free Beach Tags for donors over 21 to enjoy a day at Valley Beach Poolside Club. Paint-a-Treasure Studios from Haddon Heights, NJ kept kids busy with free ceramic crafts and painting while parents gave blood. Aim High Studio from the Fairview Village/Collegeville, PA area kept the youth busy with some kids’ yoga, hula hoops and games.

The 11 year total for The Preston & Steve Show Blood Drive is now 12,605 pints of blood.