Saturday, December 30, 2017

Best Wishes

January 1 Radio History

➦In 1923...the very first radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl was beamed in Los Angeles over KHJ radio — some 42 years before 93/KHJ became Boss Radio.

➦In 1925...Lucrezia Bori and John McCormack of the famous Metropolitan Opera made their singing debuts on radio. The broadcast over New York’s WEAF Radio soon to be the NBC flagship.

➦In 1927...The Blue Network aired its first program.   The Blue Network (previously the NBC Blue Network) was the on-air name of the now defunct American radio production and distribution service, which ran from 1927 to 1945. Beginning as one of the two radio networks owned by the National Broadcasting Company, the independent Blue Network was born of a divestiture in 1942, arising from anti-trust litigation, and is the direct predecessor of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC..see below) - organized 1943-1945 as a separate independent radio network and later TV broadcaster.

The Blue Network dates to 1923, when the Radio Corporation of America acquired WJZ Newark from Westinghouse (which had created the station in 1921) and moved it to New York City in May of that year. When RCA commenced operations of WRC, Washington on August 1, 1923, the root of a network was born, though it did not operate under the name by which it would later become known. Radio historian Elizabeth McLeod states that it would not be until 1924 that the "Radio Group" formally began network operations.

The core stations of the "Radio Group" were RCA's stations WJZ and WRC; the Westinghouse station WBZ, then in Springfield, Massachusetts; and WGY, the General Electric station in Schenectady, New York.

RCA's principal rival prior to 1926 was the radio broadcasting department of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company. AT&T, starting in 1921, had been using this department as a test-bed for equipment being designed and manufactured by its Western Electric subsidiary.

The RCA stations operated at a significant disadvantage to their rival chain; AT&T used its own high-quality transmission lines, and declined to lease them out to competing entities, forcing RCA to use the telegraph lines of Western Union, which were not as well calibrated to voice transmission as the AT&T lines.

Nevertheless, the WJZ network sought to compete toe-to-toe with the AT&T network, which was built around WEAF (today's WFAN). For example, both stations sent announcer teams to cover the 1924 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Promotional material produced in 1943 claimed certain "firsts" in broadcasting by WJZ, such as the first educational music program in April 1922, the first World Series broadcasts in 1922, and the first complete opera broadcast, The Flying Dutchman, from the Manhattan Opera House.

RCA (as well as its consortium partners General Electric and Westinghouse) were to receive a break in 1926, when AT&T made a corporate decision to exit the broadcasting business and focus on its telecommunications business.

The Decatur Review (Illinois) for Sunday, December 12, 1926 reported the following in an article describing a broadcast to be sponsored by the Victor Talking Machine Company and aired the following New Year's Day, January 1, 1927, which is a description of this first Blue Network broadcast—note that it makes it clear that January 1, 1927 marked the debut of the Blue Network:
"TWO BIG NETWORKS: The network to be used for the first concert will consist of a combination of chains of stations affiliated with WEAF and WJZ, New York. It is also announced that this opening Victor program inaugurates a new chain system to be operated by the National Broadcasting Company, with WJZ as the "key" station. This new chain, which will be known as the "blue" network, will allow simultaneous broadcasting from WJZ through WBZ, Springfield and Boston, KDKA, Pittsburgh, and KYW, Chicago. For broadcasting of the first program, therefore, the "blue" network will be joined with the "red" network, as the WEAF chain is designated, as well as other stations in various cities. Following the New Year's night program, the concerts will be given bi-monthly, through the "blue" network (...)
Allegedly, the color designations came from the way the networks were represented on maps, with red lines (or pushpins) denoting the WEAF network circuits, and blue the WJZ circuits

➦In 1927...The Rose Bowl football game was aired for the first time, coast-to-coast, on network radio.

First local broadcast of the New Years Day Rose Bowl Football Game from Pasadena by KHJ, Los Angeles aired in 1923. (USC played Penn State. The broadcast of the game, which was then called the East vs West Football game.)

➦In 1930..."The Cuckoo Hour" was broadcast for the first time on the NBC-Blue Network (it later became the ABC Radio Network).

➦In 1934...the classic radio horror show Light’s Out was heard for the first time on WENR Chicago. The show became an ‘almost midnight’ NBC thriller 16 months later.

➦In 1940…Broadcasting from the Empire State Building in New York City, radio station W2XDG, the first FM station licensed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, became the first to broadcast with the new Frequency Modulation technology.

➦In 1941...Lorne Greene was appointed first announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's new national radio news service. Years before his emergence as Pa Cartwright on the TV western series "Bonanza," Greene's stentorian tones in nightly wartime broadcasts earned him the nickname, "The Voice of Doom."

➦In 1950...Twenty-six-year-old disc jockey Sam Phillips opened his Memphis Recording Service where, in July of 1953, Elvis Presley spent $3.98 to make his first recording.

➦In 1953...legendary Hank Williams died at the young age of 29 from a drug/alcohol-related heart attack.  You may recall or even be able to sing along with some of the songs Hank wrote or co-wrote: “Cold, Cold Heart”, “Half as Much”, “Jambalaya”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “Hey, Good Lookin”, & “I’m So Lonesome I Could Die.” Indisputedly the biggest star in the history of country music, Williams’ legacy is being carried on by his son, Hank Williams, Jr.

➦In 1961...106.7 FM In NYC went on the air as WRVR, a religious station owned by Riverside Church that also played some jazz. A remnant of this period is a 5 A.M. Sunday morning sermon from the church that airs on the station. As time went on, WRVR was a full-time jazz station with a strong following, but low ratings.

In 1976 WRVR was purchased by Sonderling Broadcasting, owner of WWRL, with the hope that it could move to an urban format and compete against WBLS, which had cut into WWRL's ratings. However, community opposition prevented the format change and WRVR remained a jazz station under Sonderling ownership. At that time it developed the precursor to what would later become known as the "smooth jazz" format.

In 1980 Viacom bought the Sonderling chain, and the station adopted a country music format as "Kick" WKHK. The station was known as "Kick 106.7 FM." The format change, from jazz to country, took place in the middle of the night. The change brought many protests from New York jazz fans, and a petition to the FCC to deny the station's license renewal, which was denied.  The WRVR calls were then moved to Memphis, TN.

However, ratings were low, as they were unable to compete with WHN, which also had a country music format at the time. In 1988, a new jazz station appeared on the New York airwaves, with the call letters WQCD "CD101.9" later changing calls to WEMP, then back to WRXP, and now WFAN-FM.

On January 23, 1984, Viacom dropped country and changed the calls to WLTW. The station became an MOR station known as "Lite FM 106.7 WLTW".

➦In 1968...the ABC Radio Network split into 4 networks: the Information, Entertainment, Contemporary and FM networks.

ABC Radio originally began after the split of NBC Red and NBC Blue (later Blue Network) networks with ABC taking over operations from RCA in 1943 before adopting its name 2 years later.

ABC Radio was known to broadcast the first nationwide report of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was shot in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas at 18:30 UTC on November 22, 1963 and ABC Radio's Don Gardiner anchored the network's initial bulletin at 1:36:50 EST, minutes before any other radio or television network followed suit.

Despite a number of different owners (Capital Cities Communications and later Disney), the radio division remained under ABC's wing until June 12, 2007 when it was sold to Citadel Broadcasting as well as its O&O stations (not including Radio Disney and ESPN Radio nor its affiliates) in a restructuring effort. The radio division has kept the ABC name for about 2 years until Citadel renamed it Citadel Media. Then sometime in September 2011, Cumulus Media has absorbed the now-defunct Citadel Broadcasting and rebranded it to the current Cumulus Media Networks. In 2013, Cumulus Media Networks merged with Dial Global Radio Networks to form Westwood One.

ABC Radio Networks Tribute Website: Click Here

On August 7, 2014, the Walt Disney Company announced that ABC will relaunch its radio network division on January 1, 2015. When its current distribution deal with Cumulus comes to an end, ABC will revamp its radio programming services under a new deal with Skyview Networks. ABC will continue to make its radio news programming via ABC News Radio.

Alison Steele
➦In 1968...Alison Steele started at AOR WNEW 102.7 FM.

Steele was born in Brooklyn, New York. In the 1950s while running errands for a local television station at the beginning of her career, at the age of nineteen, she met and married orchestra leader Ted Steele, who was twenty years her senior. They eventually went their separate ways.

Steele achieved her greatest following as a disc jockey on WNEW-FM, where she hosted the night shift in a new format when contemporary rock music began to be featured on FM radio. FM stations broadcast in high fidelity and, typically, had featured classical or instrumental music in the New York market. This all changed in the 1960s when this station led the switch to FM stations for the musical preferences of the counter culture of the 1960s and 1970s. After a major change in station programming from a briefly instituted all-female middle of the road (MOR) music format to what was becoming known as progressive rock radio occurred at WNEW-FM, she took the new late night position.

Steele acknowledged that she did not know much about progressive rock when she started the program, and apparently, neither did the management of the station, but the new programming was being extended to the growing market. Steele was given complete freedom to plan and present her program. In the process, she developed her persona as The Nightbird, and acquired a massive, loyal audience. Her audience was estimated in 1971 at approximately 78,000 nightly, with the majority of listeners being men between the ages of 18 and 34.

Steele began her show by reciting poetry over Andean flute music, before introducing her show in her well-known sultry, smoky voice with,
“The flutter of wings, the shadow across the moon, the sounds of the night, as the Nightbird spreads her wings and soars, above the earth, into another level of comprehension, where we exist only to feel. Come, fly with me, Alison Steele, the Nightbird, at WNEW-FM, until dawn.”
She then made a transition to recordings of some of the more exceptional and experimental music being recorded at the time, as well as featuring the best of the familiar favorites of her audience.

Her show became an instant hit and did much to push WNEW 102.7 FM into the forefront of progressive rock radio. At one point, she also served as the music director of the station. Steele became the first woman named as Billboard Magazine FM Personality of the Year.

Steele left WNEW-FM 102.7 in 1979 and worked as a writer, producer, and correspondent for Limelight on CNN until 1985. Steele held several positions that overlapped during the decades of the 1980s and 1990s. She worked as a disc jockey on New York's WNEW from 1980–1981. She served as the announcer for the daytime soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, from 1981 to 1984, after replacing Dwight Weist; Her announcing jobs on SFT started in the final months on CBS and the first few years on NBC. In late 1984/early 1985 she left Search and was replaced by The Edge Of Night's announcer Hal Simms. For a number of years, Steele was also the "disc jockey" for the pop/rock in-flight audio entertainment channel on board Trans World Airlines.

From 1989 to 1995, she was on WXRK along with some work for VH1.

Steele died of stomach cancer on September 27, 1995, aged 58.

➦In 1968…Albums were outselling 45-RPM singles for the first time, according to Billboard magazine.

➦In 1971...the tobacco industry was banned from buying advertisements on television and radio.

➥In 1975...the NBC Radio Network began on-the-hour news, 24 hours-a-day.

NBC launched the NBC News and Information Service (NIS) in 1975.  It allowed local radio stations to launch all-news formats, providing affiliates with up to 55 minutes of news per hour.

NBC aired the service on its Washington station, WRC.  It also added the all-news format on its network-owned FM stations in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco.

Many stations signed on with the service, but by 1976, NBC was not sure if its network would ever become profitable.  Affiliates got a six-month notice that the service would end.  NIS closed in 1977.

➦In 1992...The ESPN Radio Network debuted.

Keith Olbermann
ESPN Radio launched on January 1, 1992. Keith Olbermann hosted the first program. The top story that night was that Danny Tartabull signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent.

At first, ESPN Radio broadcast only on weekends. By 1996, it expanded to weekdays with a show hosted by The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nancy Donnellan. One hour of that show was simulcast on ESPN2 (1-2 p.m. Eastern time). Two years later, Tony Bruno and Mike Golic were brought together for a new morning show, the "Bruno & Golic Morning Show" which aired until Bruno left the network in 2000. Mike Greenberg was named as Bruno's replacement, and the morning show became "Mike & Mike", which still airs today (and is also simulcast on ESPN2). In January, 2010, Mike & Mike celebrated their 10 year anniversary on ESPN Radio. Dan Patrick was a mainstay in afternoons until his departure from ESPN in 2007.

Gradually, ESPN added more dayparts and became a 24-hour service.

➦In 1997...EAS Rules go in effect

➦In 2006...former Chicago radio personality, Alan Stagg, died of complications from pneumonia.

A classic rock disc jockey with a deep, booming voice--"He had the voice of God, if God was a cowboy," said his onetime boss Bill Gamble-- Stagg was on the air in Chicago for most of the 1990s on stations that included WCKG-FM and WDRV-FM.

"Sanctuary" aired in the late 1990s on WXCD-FM, where Gamble was program director. A re-creation of the early days of FM radio, "Sanctuary" was a free-form melange of rock from the 1960s and 1970s, audio clips from movies and other sources, and Mr. Stagg's sometimes skewered take on life. Wind chimes tinkled in the background.

Alan Stagg
"He did radio like actors do theater; it wasn't just time and temp," said Gamble, now program director at 92.5 "The Wolf" in Denver. "He created theater of the mind."

The show later migrated to WCKG-FM, where Mr. Stagg was hired by former station executive Jeff Schwartz.

"To me, `Sanctuary' is exactly what radio is all about," said Schwartz, now a radio and media consultant. "It was like the hippier version of [former Chicago rock jock] Ron Britain's `Subterranean Circus.'"

Allan Stagg was the longest-running of several names Mr. Stagg used professionally, but he also used the name in everyday life, his wife said. Born Juris H. Josts, Mr. Stagg grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., and started as an intern at a local radio station while in high school.

He knew he wanted to get into radio ever since having listened to the far-reaching signal of Chicago's WLS-AM as a boy. "He loved Dick Biondi," his wife said.

December 31 Radio History

➦In Dick Kollmar was born in Rigewood NJ.

He starred as Boston Blackie in the long-running radio show, and co-hosted a WOR New York chat show with his wife, gossip columnist Dorothy Kilgallen.  On TV he hosted the series Broadway Spotlight & Guess What.

He died Jan. 7 1971 from an overdose of pills, an apparent suicide at age 60.

➦In 1914...Roy Rogers’ sidekick Pat Brady was born in Toledo Ohio.

He appeared in more than 100 episodes of TV’s Roy Rogers Show, after hooking up with Roy in films & on radio.   He also sang with the western group Sons of the Pioneers.

He died in a motor vehicle accident Feb. 27 1972 at age 57.

➦In 1923...In London, the BBC first aired the chimes of Big Ben.

➦In 1923...the first transatlantic radio broadcast of a voice occurred between Pittsburgh and Manchester, England.

➦In station KOMO signed on the air in Seattle at AM 980.  Today the longtime Fisher Broadcasting outlet has an all-news format at AM 1000.

KOMO Control circa 1948 (Photos courtesy of

In July 1926, KOMO was founded on Harbor Island as KGFA 980 by two owners: Birt F. Fisher, whose lease on Seattle radio station KTCL was about to run out, and the Fisher brothers of Fisher Flouring Mills, who had been on the island since 1911. (The Fisher Brothers and Birt Fisher were not related.) In preparation for the switch to the new station, Birt Fisher changed KTCL's call sign to KOMO.

In December, his lease ended, and he took the call letters with him to KGFA. KOMO 980's first broadcast was December 31, 1926. The studios moved to Downtown Seattle in 1927. The station also began a long-running affiliation with NBC Radio that year as well, primarily with the Red Network, but also with the short-lived West Coast NBC Orange Network from 1931 to 1933. Over the following years, KOMO's frequency would go from 980 to 1080, back to 980, down to 920, up to 970, then back to 920, and settled at 950 after the NARBA frequency shakeup in 1941.

Circa 1948

Fisher's Blend Station, owner of KOMO, bought NBC Blue Network affiliate KJR from NBC in 1941. In 1944, KOMO switched frequencies with KJR (then at 1000 kHz) and sold KJR off two years later. At its new frequency, KOMO began broadcasting with 50,000 watts of power from its current transmitter site on Vashon Island in 1948. New studios at the corner of Fourth and Denny, near what is now the Seattle Center, were dedicated in February 1948.

➦In 1929...Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played "Auld Lang Syne" as a New Year's Eve song for the first time during their first annual New Year's Eve Party at the Hotel Roosevelt Grill in New York. The show was broadcast on the CBS Radio network and became the longest-running annual special program in radio history.

➦In 1940...ASCAP prevented the radio industry from playing any ASCAP-licensed music. The ban lasted for ten months. It was in reaction to a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP, the American Society of Composers and Publishers.

➦In 1943...Country singer John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf. He died in a crash of an experimental plane he was piloting on Oct. 12, 1997 at 53.

➦In 1948...Disco diva Donna Summer was born. She died on May 17, 2012 at 63

➦In 1951...The "Wild Bill Hickok" TV series was replicated on radio following its success on television.

➦In 1961...for $300, LA radio station KFWB hired the Beach Boys, appearing under that name for the first time, to perform at their Ritchie Valen’s Memorial Dance in Long Beach.   Previously the group had played California nightclubs as The Pendletones, as Kenny and the Cadets, and as Carl and the Passions.

➦In 1963...the "Dear Abby Show" premiered on the CBS Radio network. It ran eleven years. On this day in 1966, "Pirate Radio 390" (Radio Invicata)an off-shore station near England, resumed broadcasting.

➦In 1967...Radio stations across the nation had to comply with an FCC mandate that AM/FM outlets in major cities had to air non-duplicated programming.  The limit was 50 percent for simulcasts. Here's a NY Times story dated December 31, 1966 concerning NYC stations...

➦In 1970...Paul McCartney sued the other members of the Beatles for a legal dissolution of their "partnership." On the same day, the British magazine Melody Maker announced that the Beatles were looking for a new bass player. Four years to the day later, the four of them came to terms and made the separation final.

➦In 1972...TV producer Dick Clark initiated a new holiday tradition with "Three Dog Night's New Year's Rockin' Eve" on NBC. The headliners, along with Blood, Sweat & Tears, Helen Reddy, and Al Green, appeared in performances that had been pre-taped in the Grand Ballroom of the Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach, California. Clark himself did not appear on the initial program. In 1973, he began hosting the special, its name shortened to "New Year's Rockin' Eve." The show moved to ABC-TV in 1974.

➦In 1982...the "CBS Mystery Theater" aired its final episode after 8 years on radio.

➦In 1982...the NBC Radio network cancelled practically all of it's daily features.

➦In 1985...Singer/actor Ricky Nelson, his fiancĂ© Helen Blair, and five members of the Stone Canyon Band, died in the crash of his private DC-3 airplane (which was previously owned by Jerry Lee Lewis) near DeKalb, Texas, while en route to a concert appearance in Dallas. The pilot was attempting an emergency landing after a fire, caused by a malfunctioning gas heater, broke out on the plane.

Nelson was 45.

➦In 1989...the final edit was added to the annual WLS Music Montage.

Every New Year's Eve, the "Top 89" songs of the year were counted down on WLS-AM (and FM). After the #1 song was played at about 4 minutes before Midnight, the radio station wished listeners a Happy New Year!

Then...this wonderful montage was played. Each year added about a minute of the previous top songs in Chicago. The montage originally started short, as you can guess, and ultimately ended up as this 27+ minute marathon.

After WLS-AM changed to all-talk in 1989, this montage was no longer heard in Chicago. But thanks to Scott Childers, this "rebuild" version can be heard exactly as it was played every year. Kudos to Scott for putting this together!

This is an appreciation to the production work that Scott, Tommy Edwards (the originator) and the production staff created over the years.

Thanks to Scott Childers for the permission to post this. Check out his site at

➦In 2013...Veteran talk radio personality (WOR, WABC, WMCA in New York, KABC, KNX in Los Angeles, WBBM-Chicago, WWDB-Philadelphia) Bob Grant died at the age of 84.

Grant graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in journalism. He began working in radio in the 1940s at the news department at WBBM (AM) in Chicago, as a radio personality and television talk show host at KNX (AM) in Los Angeles, and as an actor. During the Korean War, he served in the Naval Reserve.

He later became sports director at KABC (AM) in Los Angeles, where after some substitute appearances he inherited the talk show of early controversialist Joe Pyne in 1964 and began to build a following. Grant hosted three shows on KABC (AM) in 1964 titled, "Open Line," "Night Line," and "Sunday Line."

Grant was approached to come to New York by executives at WMCA when WMCA was going to become a talk station. He was recommended to them by Jack Thayer, who had been the station manager of KLAC. Grant was opposed to the move, as he hated what he knew about New York i.e. the subways, crime, and congestion. He also had four children and a home in Los Angeles.

Grant was convinced to come to New York when an executive said to him at the end of a meeting, "It's just too bad that the number-one talk-show host in America doesn't want to come to the number-one market in America."  Grant came to New York and did his first show on WMCA on September 21, 1970, where he worked for station manager R. Peter Strauss.

 After being in New York for a short time, Grant wanted to go back to Los Angeles. He was contacted by the former news director at KLAC, who was now a program director at another station to join his station, but Grant declined, because he had signed a two-year contract with WMCA.  Grant's unhappiness being in New York led to him becoming angry with the callers. He hoped to get fired by R. Peter Strauss, however his ratings soared as he got angrier.

Farewell 2017

President Renews Feud With Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Donald Trump opened up a new chapter in his running feud with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Friday, saying the United States Postal Service should be charging the online shopping giant more for shipping, reports The Daily Mail.

Trump's jab at Amazon's bottom line is a continuation of his longstanding battle with Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post.

The Post, one of the newspapers Trump most loves to hate, has drawn his ire since early in his presidnetial campaign for generating negative coverage of the Republican.

The USPS has posted losses for 11 straight years, largely on the basis of gigantic legacy pension and health care costs.

And while online shopping has led to growth in its package-delivery business, fewer Americans send letters via first-class mail every year.

Federal regulators moved recently to allow bigger jumps to stamp prices beyond the rate of inflation, which could eventually increase companies' shipping rates.

Amazon, on the other hand, has the markings of an unstoppable juggernaut – and one analysis shows that the Postal Service is giving it a free ride.

An April report from Citigroup found that the fast pace of change in the shipping business has left the USPS struggling to allocate its expenses correctly.

Bureaucrats have fixed the share of infrastructure costs associated with packages at a 5.5 per cent, but package shipments now make up 25 per cent of the USPS's business.

Factoring in the actual expenses associated with delivering more packages than their price model allows for, boxes should cost postal customers $1.46 more than they do, on average – building the equivalent of a government subsidy into the final price.

According to The Washington Post,  Trump has periodically criticized Amazon since before he took office. In 2016, Trump said that the company could face “a huge antitrust problem” if he was elected because “Amazon is controlling so much.” As recently as this summer, Trump twice asked a hedge fund manager whether he thought Amazon was a monopoly. (The manager, whose fund owns Amazon stock, said no, according to CNBC.)

Trump has also charged that the Internet retailer hurts competitors and local governments by failing to pay sales taxes. The company did not collect sales tax for years, but it does now.

Trump has argued that Bezos is using The Washington Post to advance his financial interests.  The Post’s editors and Bezos have declared that he is not involved in any journalistic decisions. The Post is owned by Bezos personally, not by Amazon.

It was not clear what drove Trump’s interest in the shipping relationship between Amazon and the Postal Service on Friday morning. Shipping is in the news with the holiday season, and several cable networks mentioned Amazon and Bezos as part of features Friday morning, though they did not appear to mention the Postal Service issue.

Trump Takes Credit For News Media Growth

This past year, big news media organizations -- TV news networks and major print-based newspapers -- posted soaring ratings and increased overall media business.

President Trump believes this won’t last unless he is elected again in 2020.

Speaking to The New York Times on Thursday, Trump said the U.S. is being “respected again.” He speculated that “another reason I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there. Because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes.”

He added: “So they basically have to let me win.”

According to MediaPost, Pivotal Research says the big three cable news networks -- Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN -- are up 15% this year, in terms of all viewer person-hours on a live-plus-same day basis across all dayparts.

Overall, TV news viewing has grown 5%.

In total day viewing, Fox News Channel gained 8% to a Nielsen 1.5 million viewers and is 15% higher in the key adults 25-54 demographic coveted by advertisers. MSNBC surged a huge 47% to 885,000 in total viewers and 33% more to 203,000 25-54 viewers. CNN is up 4% to 783,000 total viewers and gained 11% to 257,000 25-54 viewers.

In prime time, MSNBC made big gains -- 50% higher in total viewers to 1.6 million and 37% more to 370,000 in adults 25-54. Fox News Channel was flat at 2.4 million and 1% higher to 488,000. CNN is down 15% to 1.1 million in total viewers and down 13% to 370,000 in adults 25-54.

For the past two quarterly periods, The New York Times Company witnessed its strongest financial periods in recent years -- digital advertising revenue and new online subscriptions offset continued declines in print advertising.

Mar-a-Lago Is A Respite For Trump

Donald Trump Jr. posted photo of his father photobombing his son and grandchildren on Christmas
 When President Trump sat down with a reporter for a wide-ranging, 30-minute interview at his private golf club Thursday, not a single aide or adviser was present at the table — and not a single aide or adviser knew about it in advance.

According to The Washington Post, the interview was enabled by Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media — a club member with a level of personal access to the president in Florida that rankles White House staffers. He invited New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt as his personal guest to lunch at Trump International Golf Club, sat near Trump’s regular table and brought the reporter over to meet the president, who was still in his golf clothes.

As word trickled back to the White House, advisers worked to reach the president, with Trump’s personal aide interrupting at one point to hand him a cellphone with White House communications director Hope Hicks on the line; she checked in on the interview from afar.

Mar-a-Lago also is the place where Trump is often his most unrestrained and unfettered, making it harder for his West Wing staffers to control his daily media diet and personal contacts as they now try to do in Washington.

Mar-a-Lago, said Roger Stone, a former Trump campaign adviser and longtime friend of the president’s, “allows Trump to be Trump.”

“Nobody tells Donald Trump where he can and cannot go,” Stone said. “The president is able to get a lot of information that is normally blocked from getting to him. . . . You don’t have the minders. There is no doubt that he makes more calls.”

Trump’s personal quarters are off-limits to most club members — several friends said they have never been inside.

His regular routine is simple and predictable: He wakes, watches television, tweets, makes phone calls, reads the papers and works. He often emerges for golf if the weather allows, then returns to the club, where he sometimes has lunch or meets with White House staffers. He then returns to his living quarters, emerging again for dinner.

NYT Reporter Defends Trump Interview

Michael Schmidt
New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt on Friday defended his impromptu interview with President Trump against backlash from readers who said he should have pressed the president harder.

“Some readers criticized my approach, saying I should have asked more follow-up questions,” Schmidt wrote in the Times’ “Insider” section. “I believed it was more important to continue to allow the president to speak and let people make their own judgments about his statements.”

Schmidt’s interview with Trump at his Florida golf course made headlines Friday, as it was unplanned and unsupervised, according to The Hill.

In the interview, Trump said he had the “absolute right” to do whatever he wants with the Justice Department, and also said that he thought Special Counsel Robert Mueller would be “fair” to him in the investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russia.

He also repeated at least 15 times during the interview that there was “no collusion” between the campaign and Russia.

White House officials reportedly did not know about the interview, which was unsupervised and on-the-record, and were caught off guard and frustrated after it was published.

December 30 Radio History

➦In 1911..actress Jeanette Nolan was born in Los Angeles.

She made her radio debut in 1932 in “Omar Khayyam”, the first transcontinental broadcast from station KHJ.  She was a regular on the cream of the west coast radio dramas, including “One Man’s Family,” “Escape,” “Suspense,” “Cavalcade of America,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Adventures of Sam Spade” and “The Whistler.” She appeared in more than 300 television shows, including episode roles in “Perry Mason”, “I Spy”, “MacGyver”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, and as a regular on “The Richard Boone Show” and “The Virginian”. She received four Emmy nominations.

Nolan died following a stroke June 5 1998 at age 86.

Bert Parks
➦In & TV host Bert Parks was born in Atlanta.  As well as the Miss America pageant, he hosted the  game shows Break the Bank & Stop the Music on radio & TV, and for television alone, The Big Payoff, Double or Nothing, Hold that Note, and Party Line.  He did a series of cameos on TV sitcoms (he was Herb Tarlek’s Dad on WKRP.)

Parks died of lung cancer Feb. 2 1992 at age 77.

➦In 1917...actress Nancy Coleman was born in Everett Washington.  She started in radio & the stage in New York, then was brought to Hollywood to make movies for Warner Bros.  In the 50’s she switched to guest spots in TV shows such as Tales of Tomorrow, Star Tonight & the Adams Chronicles, and became a regular on soaps Valiant Lady & Edge of Night.

Nancy died Jan. 18 2000 at age 82.

➦In 1936...The famous radio feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen began. After a 10-year-old performer finished a violin solo on "The Fred Allen Show," Allen said, "A certain alleged violinist should hide his head in shame for his poor fiddle playing." It didn't take long for Benny to respond. The humorous feud lasted ten weeks on both comedian's radio shows, and gave them material they continued using over the next 20 years.

➦In 1942...the radio program, "Mr. and Mrs. North", began it's run on the NBC Radio network.

➦In 1942...Frank Sinatra opened at New York's Paramount Theatre for what was scheduled to be a four-week engagement, but turned into eight weeks because of its popularity. Police were called to help curb the excitement among the screaming teenage girls known as bobbysoxers -- a phenomenon not seen before for a pop singer

➦In 1943...Mike Nesmith of The Monkees was born.

➦In 1945...Singer Davy Jones, "the cute one" on TV's The Monkees, was born. He died February 29, 2012 at 66.

➦In 1950...At the National Studios in New York City, the Dominoes, a group that included Billy Ward and Clyde McPhatter, recorded the sexually suggestive novelty song "Sixty Minute Man," with Bill Brown taking the lead vocal. In the spring of 1951, despite being banned by many U.S. radio stations, the record rose to #1 on the R&B charts, where it remained for 14 weeks.

➦In 1962...Radio/TV talker Sean Hannity was born.

➦In 2005...Longtime Seattle radio disc jockey (KOL, KJR) Lan Roberts died of lung cancer at 69.

Lan Roberts
During the 1960s and 1970s, Roberts was a high-profile presenter with KJR in Seattle. Like many of the local DJs of the time, he left KJR for rival top 40 station KOL in a late 60s talent raid and returned to KJR in the early 70s.   He was known primarily for comedic skits and gags, working the coveted morning drive shift from 6:00am until 10:00am on weekdays. Lan Roberts was a master of voices and surrounded the top 40 hits of KJR with odd characters with names like Phil Dirt and The Hollywood Reporter. Roberts would carry on spirited conversations between his regular on-air voice and the characters. The Hollywood Reporter (no other name was given) would always begin a report on celebrity gossip in a lisping, snide, mocking voice "This is The Hollywood Reporter," and then continue with a totally bogus report. His career also included spells in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Taipei and San Francisco.

Later in life, Roberts returned to live in his old home town and worked as a radio consultant. He gained a new following by sharing his Liberal political views on his website. In the last ten years of his life he suffered from lung cancer, and urged visitors to his site not to smoke.  In addition, he used his internet presence to chastize the corporate mentality and lack of creativity in the modern broadcast industry.

➦In 2014...Scotty Rhodarmer did his last show on WWNC 570 AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Rhodarmer did the morning show for 50 years beginning in 1954.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Most Americans Optimistic For New Year

After a politically tumultuous year capped by the passage of massive changes to the tax code, more than half of U.S. adults say they expect 2018 to be better, similar to the percentage of people who said the same about 2017.

In a Morning Consult poll of 2,201 adults conducted Dec. 21-24, 53 percent said they believe 2018 will be better than 2017, compared to 21 percent who said it would be worse and 16 percent who said it would be about the same. Ten percent did not know or had no opinion. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

That’s not too far from what people said at the end of last year, when 55 percent expressed optimism that 2017 would be better than 2016. Twenty-four percent predicted that 2017 would be worse than the previous year, and 11 percent said it would be about the same.

If this year’s optimism seems high, it’s probably due to the positivity that surrounds the festive time of year — along with a lot of cheerful economic rhetoric, said Stef Woods, an American University professor who has studied behavior, culture and marketing.

“What you’re hearing in news and media is there will be tax cuts and it will benefit people,” Woods said in a Dec. 20 phone interview. “I think reflecting on economic growth around the holiday season, buying gifts, thinking on resolutions — at the end of the year, we would hope we’re hopeful.”

When the Dec. 14-18 survey respondents were asked what their New Year’s resolution would be about, should they make a resolution, the top choice was related to health, with 64 percent picking this category. Finance-related resolutions came in second, at 57 percent.

Less-popular resolutions were related to relationships (chosen by 44 percent of respondents), leisure (43 percent) and careers (40 percent).

Woods, the American University professor, said that makes sense — not everyone has a romantic partner who is willing to work on improving the relationship, and many people don’t have the luxury of choosing leisure activities or careers. Health and finance, on the other hand, are areas in which everyone can reflect about personal and incremental ways to improve.

Sixty-four percent of poll respondents said they did not make a resolution for 2017. Of those who did, 31 percent said they kept their resolution for nine months or more, but 57 percent gave up after less than six months.

Holiday Music Again Driving AC Formats

Starting next week, radio listening patterns for millions of Americans will be returning to normal as people head back to work, kids go back to school and holiday decorations are slowly put away.

In the meantime, the holiday season is still in full swing, and according to Nielsen, so are the annual gains in audience for Adult Contemporary (AC) radio stations across the U.S. that flipped to the “all-Christmas” format this year.

Nielsen’s portable people meter (PPM) December ratings reveal another strong month for AC radio–the format that most often switches to holiday programming at the end of the year. In fact, this year’s December result (a 10.5% share of national listening among all consumers 6 and older) represents a high water mark for AC in December dating back to the beginning of comprehensive PPM measurement.

What’s more, these increases are being driven by a significant uptick in tune-ins during the afternoon drive time daypart, also known as “PM Drive,” or weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. local time. In other words, drive time truly drove the increases that AC stations saw this month. The chart below compares five years of data trends, by daypart, examining the average audience for AC radio stations during the bulk of the year compared to the November, December and Holiday surveys.

AC audiences increase nearly 30% during PM Drive at the end of the year thanks to the all-Christmas format.

R.I.P.: WKKO Toledo Morning Host Harvey Steele Dead At 60

Harvey Steele
Harvey Steele, the longtime co-host of Toledo's top-rated morning radio show Shores and Steele on WKKO 99.9 FM K100, has died, the radio station confirmed on Facebook Friday.

He was 60, according to The Toledo Blade.

Steele's liver began to fail in 1997 after he unknowingly contracted hepatitis C in a blood transfusion in 1985. He had one liver transplant in 1997, followed by a second transplant a week later at the Cleveland Clinic that saved his life.

He was part of K100 with Gary Shores since 1994, and with Cumulus Media since 1981.

In 2016, Mr. Steele received the National Donor Memorial Award for Excellence in Richmond, Va., for his efforts in promoting the cause of organ donation.

The United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, a private, nonprofit organization based in Richmond that manages the nation’s organ transplant system under contract with the federal government, established The National Donor Memorial Award for Excellence to honor “unsung heroes who have gone above and beyond in promoting organ donation in their community.”

“I guess I wouldn’t want to think of it as an award,” Mr. Steele told The Blade in June, 2016, “because the true heroes of organ donation are the donors and donor families, people who at the worst time of their life somehow saw through their personal grief and allowed their loved one to save someone else’s life.”

Steele and Shores teamed up to do afternoons on K100 starting in 1994 and were an instant success. They were #1 in PM Drive for six years and were honored to win a Country Music Association Award as Best Medium Market Broadcasters in 1995. In 2000, the talented team moved to Morning Drive on K100, where they became the  #1 morning show and the longest-running morning duo in the market.

Portland, S-A, Orlando +9 More Markets..The PPMs Just Keep Comin'

Nielsen on Thursday 12/28/17 released the third batch of December PPM Data for the following markets:

  22  Portland OR

  24  Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC

  26  San Antonio

  27  Sacramento

  28  Pittsburgh

  29  Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo

  30  Las Vegas

  31  Orlando

  32  Cincinnasti

  34  Cleveland

  35  Kansas City

  36  Columbus OH

Click Here To View The Topline Numbers For Subscribing Nielsen Stations

Cord-Cutting No Longer Just For Millennials

Fed up with high prices and bloated packages, millions of Americans cut the cord on cable TV in 2017, finding refuge with a growing number of streaming services, which deliver lower prices and a competitive channel lineup over the internet.

“This was really the year that cord-cutting went mainstream,” said Craig Moffett, a senior analyst at the research firm MoffettNathanson tols The Chicago Tribune. “It was mostly based on the availability of compelling services.”

Internet television, also known as over the top, bypasses cable and delivers video directly to viewers through a broadband connection. Major players include subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu as well as livestreaming services such as Sling TV and DirecTV Now, which air dozens of cable channels in real time.

Once an idle threat customers used to squeeze a few free months of HBO out of cable providers, cord-cutting accelerated in 2017 as disruption in the pay-TV industry reached critical mass. New streaming services launched, subscriber growth skyrocketed and more media companies took the plunge to ensure their programming found viewers online.

“The genie is out of the bottle, and it’s not going to be put back in,” Moffett said. “The media companies are now dependent on the (over-the-top) providers to sustain their distribution, so they have no choice but to steam forward and make their content available.”

Traditional pay-TV providers — cable, satellite and telephone companies — lost 1.7 million subscribers in 2016, and the pace is accelerating, with more than 2.6 million cutting the cord through September of this year, according to MoffettNathanson.

At the same time, virtual distributors gained more than 1.7 million subscribers this year through September.

Veteran Rock Acts Had Biggest 2017 World Tours

Veteran, white male rock stars raked in the most cash from world tours in 2017, according to an annual list released on Thursday, while the highest-ranked women - Celine Dion and Lady Gaga - failed to make the top 10.

According to Reuters, Irish band U2 grossed a leading $316 million from its 30th anniversary, 50-date “Joshua Tree” tour. It was followed by hard rock band Guns N’ Roses which took in $292.5 million, according to trade publication Pollstar’s ranking of the Top 20 worldwide tours of 2017.

British band Coldplay came in third, with $238 million, on a list where Bruno Mars, 32, of Puerto Rican and Philippine descent, was the only musician of color in the top ten. Mars grossed $200 million. Ed Sheeran, 26, was the youngest singer in the top ten, pulling in $124.1 million.

At a whopping $1,500 average, Bruce Springsteen’s limited Broadway run had the highest ticket prices and grossed $87.8 million to give the “Born to Run” singer 14th place.

In 11th place, Dion was the top female act with $101.2 million, while Lady Gaga’s “Joanne” tour grossed $85.7 million for 15th place.

The top 20 tours grossed $2.66 billion in 2017, a record high and an increase of more than $264 million from 2016, Pollstar said.

Pollstar’s ranking is based on ticket sales data and does not include revenue from merchandise which can add a sizable chunk to tour earnings.

Philly Radio: WIP Scores Win Over WPEN

Angelo Cataldi
The NFL Eagles season has been a boon to both Philadelphia sports radio stations, as every show saw ratings increases over last quarter. But once again, Entercom's WIP 94.1 FM has topped rival WPEN 97.5 FM The Fanatic, this time in the 2017 fall ratings book, which uses data gathered from Sept. 14 to Dec. 6 to measure the popularity of stations and shows.

WIP ended the quarter up 22 percent over last year to finish second in the market among men ages 25 to 54, a key demographic desired by both radio stations, according to numbers obtained from Nielsen. WIP finished more than three shares ahead of the The Fanatic, which ended the quarter in seventh place.

According to, in the mornings, Angelo Cataldi (who recently extended his contract with WIP) and his crew remained dominant, crushing The Fanatic’s new duo of Anthony Gargano and former Daily News reporter Bob Cooney. Cataldi nearly doubled Gargano’s ratings share and finished the quarter up over last year, ending in second place. Gargano, whose ratings were slightly down compared to last year, finished the quarter in seventh place.

For middays, WIP’s duo of Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie continued their upward trend with a third-place finish, up a whopping 32 percent over last year. At The Fanatic, despite Gargano’s diminishing lead-in, the new midday team of Harry Mayes and Jason Myrtetus have also managed to slightly grow their ratings share compared to last year. The duo finished the quarter in sixth place, and the hope for The Fanatic has to be that some long-needed consistency in the midday spot can help it retain listeners.

The only real bright spot for The Fanatic was popular afternoon host Mike Missanelli, who ended the quarter in second place over WIP’s duo of the now-departed Chris Carlin and Ike Reese, who landed in third.

New program director Eric Johnson took over at The Fanatic on Dec. 4, and said his immediate goal was to close the overall gap with WIP.

Despite Ratings Drop, NBC's SNF To Top All Shows

NBC "Sunday Night Football" says the NFL programming franchise is once again on track to be the most-viewed TV series this season -- yet ratings are down from a year ago.

NBC says "SNF" averaged 18.2 million Nielsen viewers for live program-plus-same day viewing from September 7 through December 25. The 2017-2018 TV season ends in late May 2018.

MediaPost reports this year’s series is down 11% from a year ago, when "SNL" averaged 20.3 million viewers.

NBC is airing one less "SNF" game then originally scheduled. Recently, the NFL decided not to air a Sunday Night game for New Year’s Eve. Instead, all NFL games will be played either at 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m ET on Sunday. The league did not announce which teams originally would have played in the Sunday night game.

or "SNF" this would be the seventh year in a row as the top TV series -- a run that began in the 2011-2012 TV season. Overall, NBC has aired “SNF” for 12 seasons starting in 2006.

Montgomery Radio: Morning Hosts JT, Leanne EXITING WMXS

JT & Leanne
Their voices have brought morning laughter to Montgomery for more than a decade.

Radio personalities Jamie (better known as “JT”) and Leanne Thompson have hosted WMXS Mix 103.3’s “Married with Microphones” since 2006.

“Nobody thought it would work, but it did,” said Leanne.

But they say the time has come to move on. JT and Leanne are leaving the studio they’ve called home for 12 years.

The couple will now be handling the radio and TV campaigns for EXIT Realty across North America. They also plan to continue operating their advertising agency, as well as hosting the River Region TV show.

Their voices will be missed by their tens of thousands of listeners, who followed them as they blended pop music with quirky tidbits from their personal lives.

“Sometimes getting up and going to work really is extremely difficult for some people, so we always tried to be fun,” said Leanne.

JT and Leanne will broadcast their final “Married with Microphones” today. They plan to share several of their “best of” moments and memories. Some special guests, as well as their three daughters, will also appear on the final show.

Paul Horton will take over as MIX 103.3’s Program Director and Morning Show Host starting January 2nd.  JT and Leanne say they will still fill in from time to time as well.

Bad News For Newspapers

As if the U.S. newspaper business didn't have enough trouble coping with decades of lost readers and advertising dollars. An escalating trade dispute with Canada is poised to make every edition cost a lot more to publish, according to a story at AdAge.

Newsprint prices have jumped since October to a three-year high and may keep increasing if, as expected, the administration of President Donald Trump slaps duties on imported paper from Canada next month. America's northern neighbor accounts for about three quarters of what gets used in the U.S., from the Wall Street Journal to local news providers.

The higher costs will squeeze U.S. newspapers already coping with 28 straight years of declining circulation and increased competition from the internet. Many publications have closed as print-advertising revenue plunged 80 percent since 2005. The New York Times Co. alone spent $72 million last year on newsprint, or 5 percent of operating costs. But the biggest impact may be at the hundreds of smaller papers with fewer financial resources.

A metric ton of newsprint in the U.S. cost about $570 as of Dec. 26, according to FOEX Indexes Ltd., a provider of global pulp and paper data. Prices are the highest since December 2014 and are up 4.8 percent since Oct. 3, after the U.S. began investigating imports of Canadian newsprint.

Prices will probably rise even further in 2018 because it's "pretty much a guarantee" that the U.S. will impose preliminary countervailing duties of 15 percent to 25 percent, said Kevin Mason, managing director Vancouver-based ERA Forest Products Research.

If duties are imposed, Canadian newsprint exporters will have to boost prices, causing immediate hardship for smaller U.S. publications that operate on thin margins, said Paul Boyle, senior vice president of public policy at the Arlington, Virginia-based News Media Alliance. The group represents almost 2,000 news organizations from the Journal Star in Peoria, Illinois, to the New York Times.

Apple Will Offer Discounts On Replacement Batteries

Apple chief executive Tim Cook apologized to customers on Thursday for not being clear that the company slows down phones with aging batteries. Cook promised that, in the future, Apple will “give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery” and let people see if their battery's age affects their phone's performance.

According to The Washington Post, Apple is offering a discount on battery replacements to anyone with an iPhone 6 or later, the company said in a statement. A battery replacement will cost $29 instead of $79 starting in late January. The cheaper price is more in line with third-party repair shops.

While Cook's message was apologetic, he still rejected allegations that Apple slowed down phones with older batteries as a way to push people into buying new phones. “First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” he said.

Media Mogul Norm Pattiz Resigns From University Board

Norm Pattiz
Radio, Podcast mogul Norm Pattiz, who was recorded last year asking an actress at his podcast company if he could hold her breasts and had recently been pressured to leave the board of the University of California, will step down in February, The SF Chronicle has learned.

The board took no action against Pattiz when the recording surfaced in October 2016 because he wasn’t conducting UC business at the time, said the regents, whose job includes holding UC faculty and executives accountable for sexual misconduct. The regents have since changed their policy so that alleged outside misconduct can trigger an investigation.

This fall, attention returned to the Pattiz case as the #MeToo movement emerged and led to vast numbers of women speaking out about sexual harassment. Student protesters demanded his resignation, UC employees threatened a constitutional amendment to make it possible to fire a regent, and three fellow regents raised the matter again with board Chair George Kieffer.

In his resignation letter to Kieffer, Pattiz did not mention the sexual harassment accusation but said it was time to retire after 16 years on the board

R.I.P.: Radio Talk Show Pioneer Hilly Rose

Hilly Rose
Radio Personality and Talk Radio pioneer Hilly Rose has died of natural causes at age 91.

His professional career has spanned seven decades. He was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame as a "Living Legend" pioneer broadcaster in 2016.

Rose began working as a child radio actor in Chicago during the 1940s, appearing on shows such as Ma Perkins and The First Nighter Program. His career was interrupted by military service, but he returned to the air on KCBS in San Francisco hosting one of the earliest talk radio programs. As a reporter for the station, he also landed a rare interview with the Beatles in 1964.

Rose has hosted talk radio programs on KFI, KABC, and KMPC in Los Angeles as well as KGO-AM and KCBS in San Francisco. He won the California State Fair award for investigative reporting.

During the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, Rose solicited AT&T to build a communications infrastructure so that troops could contact their families.

In 1999 Hilly guest-hosted Coast to Coast AM, often running a Y2K theme. His guests included such "End -of-the-World" figures as notable survivalists, hackers responsible for stopping all Amtrak trains, builders of fallout shelters, and others.

Rose began covering the paranormal in the 1970s while on KFI in Los Angeles. He was an early pioneer of Internet broadcasting with a paranormal talk show called The I-Files. His paranormal investigations provided a large volume of content for the early years of satellite radio, with 500 programs airing on Sirius. These programs are available through Fate along with new shows he continues to record for the Fate audience.