Saturday, February 18, 2017

February 19 Radio History

In 1878...Inventor Thomas Alva Edison patents his latest (and personal favorite) creation, the phonograph. Beginning life as a telegraph repeater, the device was actually completed by an assistant working from Edison's sketches.

In 1922...vaudeville performer, Ed Wynn, became the first vaudeville star to agree to a Radio contract.

In the early 1930s Wynn hosted the popular radio show The Fire Chief, heard in North America on Tuesday nights, sponsored by Texaco gasoline. Like many former vaudeville performers who turned to radio in the same decade, the stage-trained Wynn insisted on playing for a live studio audience, doing each program as an actual stage show, using visual bits to augment his written material, and in his case, wearing a colorful costume with a red fireman's helmet. He usually bounced his gags off announcer/straight man Graham McNamee; Wynn's customary opening, "Tonight, Graham, the show's gonna be different," became one of the most familiar tag-lines of its time; a sample joke: "Graham, my uncle just bought a new second-handed car... he calls it Baby! I don't know, it won't go anyplace without a rattle!"

Wynn reprised his Fire Chief radio character in two movies, Follow the Leader (1930) and The Chief (1933). Near the height of his radio fame (1933) he founded his own short-lived radio network the Amalgamated Broadcasting System, which lasted only five weeks, nearly destroying the comedian. According to radio historian Elizabeth McLeod, the failed venture left Wynn deep in debt, divorced and finally, suffering a nervous breakdown.

Wynn died June 19, 1966 in Beverly Hills, California of throat cancer, aged 79.

In 1975...Harris introduced the world's first solid-state Radio transmitter.

In 1977...Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album released.

In 1981...George Harrison is ordered to pay ABKCO Music $587,000 for "subconscious plagiarism" "My Sweet Lord" with "He's So Fine".

In 1996...Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in York PA on WQXA 105.7 FM

In 2007...the SIRIUS and XM Satellite Radio services announced a proposed merger.

After years of speculation (the New York Post first reported on a potential merger in January 2005), and three months of serious negotiations, the $13 billion merger between Sirius and XM was officially announced on February 19, 2007. At the time, the nation’s only two satellite radio providers reported nearly 14 million combined subscribers (with nearly 8 million belonging to XM), with neither having turned an annual profit. Sirius was valued at $5.2 billion, and XM at $3.75 billion.  Each subscription was sold for $12.95 monthly.

Sirius and XM executives felt the merger would lower programming costs by eliminating overlapping stations and duplicated marketing costs. According to their original operating licenses, the two companies were not allowed to ever own each other’s license. In proceeding with the merger, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin ignored this rule, gambling that the FCC would consider other audio entertainment to be competitors and allow the merger to proceed by waiving the rule.

In 2016…Los Angeles radio legend Charlie Tuna died at the age of 71.

At age 16, Tuna began working at his hometown's radio station, KGFW. Then, he went to work at KLEO in Wichita, Kansas for a year with the air name "Billy O'Day". He then worked for KOMA Radio in Oklahoma City in 1966, where he took over the "Charlie Tuna" pseudonym from Chuck Riley, who had used it for one show the week prior to Tuna's arrival. Tuna then moved on to WMEX in Boston for the first 9 months of 1967.

In late 1967, KHJ in Los Angeles offered Tuna the 9 to noon slot, where he debuted on Thanksgiving Day 1967. In 1972 he became one of the original DJs at KROQ AM, a new Top 40 station (formerly Country KBBQ). In 1973 be moved to KKDJ as program director and morning personality. He presided over its 1975 call-letter change to KIIS, and broadcast the first show at KIIS-FM as it began its AM/FM simulcast. He also worked at KTNQ, KHTZ (later KBZT), KRLA, KODJ (later KCBS-FM), KMPC, KIKF, and KLAC.

He worked at KBIG 104.3 where he hosted a long running morning show Charlie Tuna in the Morning which aired from 5 to 10 am. His last full-time morning show aired on September 17, 2007, when the station flipped to a non-rhythmic-based adult contemporary format, as 104.3 My FM. He returned to radio February 9, 2008 when he became the weekend personality on Los Angeles oldies station K-Earth 101. CBS on August 27, 2015 began down sizing their stations in Los Angeles, at which point Charlie moved on to expand his syndicated radio business.

Tuna served as announcer for Casey Kasem on his 1980s television program America's Top 10, and occasionally filled in for Kasem on his radio programs American Top 20 and American Top 10. He co-hosted Your Good Time Oldies Magazine from 1992 to 1995, and he produced and hosted 52 weekly episodes of Back to the 70s, which were rerun at radio stations across the country until 2008.

Tuna had a year long run in 2009 of a 5-hour classic hits daily and weekend show, syndicated through United Stations Radio Network in New York. He joined Black Card Radio in Los Angeles in 2010 as host of a 5-hour weekend show Charlie Tuna - The 70's, which is distributed nationally and internationally, and later added a 5-hour daily and weekend show for all radio formats. He moved his radio station voice imaging business to Black Card Radio later that year.

NBC Celebrates It's 90th Anniversary Sunday Evening

NBC’s 90th anniversary celebration, at 9 p.m. Sunday, takes two hours to chart the network’s story starting with radio.

But the focus will be on television and such classic series as “Laugh-In,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Cheers,” “The Golden Girls,” “Seinfeld,” “ER” and “Friends.” Kelsey Grammer of “Frasier” hosts the program from the Paley Center. The starry representatives include William Shatner, Ted Danson and Tina Fey.  Here’s hoping they give Johnny Carson a lot of love.

In 1923, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) acquired control of WJZ in Newark, New Jersey (now WABC), from Westinghouse, and moved the station to New York City. The same year, RCA obtained a license for station WRC in Washington, D.C. (now WTEM), and attempted to transmit audio between WJZ and WRC via low-quality telegraph lines, in an effort to make a network comparable to that operated by American Telephone & Telegraph.

AT&T had created its own network in 1922, with WEAF in New York serving the research and development function for Western Electric's research and development of radio transmitters and antennas, as well as AT&T's long-distance and local Bell technologies for transmitting voice- and music-grade audio over short and long distances, via both wireless and wired methods. WEAF's regular schedule of a variety of programs, and its selling of commercial sponsorships, had been a success, and what was known at first as "chain broadcasting" became a network that linked WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island (now WHJJ) and AT&T's WCAP in Washington, D.C. (now off the air).

Since AT&T refused access of its high-quality phone lines to competitors, RCA's New York-Washington operated with uninsulated telegraph lines which were incapable of good audio transmission quality and very susceptible to both atmospheric and man-made electrical interference. In 1926, however, the management of AT&T concluded that operating a radio network was incompatible with its operation of America's telephone and telegraph service, and sold WEAF and WCAP to RCA for approximately one million dollars. As part of the purchase, RCA also gained the rights to rent AT&T's phone lines for network transmission, and the technology for operating a quality radio network.

On September 13, 1926, RCA chairman of the board Owen D. Young and president James G. Harbord announced the formation of the National Broadcasting Company, Inc.,[2] to begin broadcasting upon RCA's acquisition of WEAF on November 15. "The purpose of the National Broadcasting Company will be to provide the best programs available for broadcasting in the United States. ... It is hoped that arrangements may be made so that every event of national importance may be broadcast widely throughout the United States," announced M.H. Aylesworth, the first president of NBC, in the press release.

David Sarnoff  - 1939
The formation of NBC was orchestrated by David Sarnoff, the general manager of RCA, which became the network’s sole owner in 1930. Although he had envisioned NBC primarily as an informational service, the network gained its stronghold in the radio industry with such pure-entertainment efforts as Amos ’n’ Andy and The Jack Benny Program.

Although RCA was identified as the creator of the network, NBC was actually owned 50% by RCA, 30% by General Electric, and 20% by Westinghouse.

The network officially was launched at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, November 15, 1926.

Dubbed the National Broadcast Company, it originally had two separate networks, both focused primarily on the East Coast: the Red Network, which broadcast entertainment and music, and the Blue Network, which carried news. In 1927 the West Coast got its own version of the Red and Blue with the creation of the Orange and Gold networks, which largely showed the same programs. Two years later NBC broadcast its signature three-note chime for the first time as a way to present the station identification required by their broadcast license.

Almost from the start, however, legal troubles tangled NBC's corporate history. In 1931 antitrust issues forced RCA to split from General Electric; the orphaned company moved into new digs in New York City's Rockefeller Center (which remains its headquarters to this day). Despite a spirited rivalry with fellow broadcasting giant CBS in the golden age of radio, NBC ruled the dial — a supremacy that sparked further antitrust investigations from the newly created Federal Communications Commission. In 1939 the FCC ordered RCA to spin off NBC entirely; RCA, in a successful effort to avoid this outcome, instead sold off the Blue Network in 1943. It would eventually become the American Broadcasting Company (now known as ABC).

DC Radio: Sports Host Andy Polin Lands at WJFK-FM

Andy Polin
Andy Pollin, whose contract at WTEM ESPN 980 was not renewed after nearly 25 years, made his debut on WJFK 106.7 FM The Fan Friday morning, during an appearance with the Sports Junkies.

Pollin — the longtime co-host of WTEM’s “Sports Reporters,” among other shows — will now serve as a regular guest and fill-in host for 106.7. It will be his first regular gig on FM radio during his lengthy radio career.

“It just gives us more great talent,” said 106.7 The Fan program director Chris Kinard. “You can never have enough good people, and to have someone the caliber of Andy Pollin available is a pretty rare thing. He hasn’t been available for 25 years, because he’s done such a good job. So to have someone like that available, we’d be crazy not to work something out with him.”

According to The Washington Post, Pollin will also team with another ESPN 980 exile, his former “Sports Reporters” guest Thom Loverro, to host a Saturday morning program on 106.7 The Fan. That show, tentatively known as “Pollin and Loverro,” will air Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, starting on Feb. 25.

Pollin and Loverro will also team up to host fill-in shows when the station’s regular hosts are out. On Monday’s holiday, for example, they will co-host a show from 4 to 7 p.m., Chad Dukes’s regular slot.

WJFK 106.7 FM (20 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
“He’s proven through 25 years of being on the air that he is a great entertainer and one of the most — if not the most knowledgeable hosts about Washington, D.C. sports history,” Kinard said. “He brings a great amount of perspective and experience to the station, and I think that he’s certainly developed a very loyal audience. I think they’ll be excited to be able to hear him again.”

L-A Radio: Uncle Joe Benson Re-Ups At KSWD 100.3 FM

Entercom/Los Angeles has announced a new multi-year contract extension for personality Uncle Joe Benson at Classic Rock KSWD 100.3 FM The Sound.

Benson will continue to host on-air weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., including his popular “10 at 10” feature which airs at 10 a.m. daily and spotlights 10 great songs from 1 great year. Benson will also continue to host “Uncle Joe’s Garage,” a popular video podcast of his many celebrity interviews, and his syndicated “Off The Record” program.

“Joe is the best known and most loved classic rock DJ in Los Angeles,” said Dave Beasing, Program Director, 100.3 The Sound. “The reason is simple. He’s literally written the book on classic rock, and he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.”

“With recent music changes at other stations, The Sound is now the only true classic rock station still standing in LA.” added Peter Burton, VP/GM, Entercom Los Angeles. “The Sound is the natural home for a classic rock veteran like Joe Benson.”

“Signing on for several more years doing what I love is the best,” said Joe Benson. “I’m playing my and The Sound family's favorite classic rock and working with the greatest artists, plus Dave, Peter and the entire Entercom team.  I’m thrilled.”

KSWD 100.3 FM (5.4 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Benson began his career in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1968. He moved to Los Angeles in 1980 to join KLOS-FM and is remembered for his successful run as the morning DJ on KCBS-FM during that signal’s “Arrow 93” era.

Benson joined The Sound in February of 2013, where he has been joined by Los Angeles’ iconic classic rock DJs Rita Wilde and Cynthia Fox. Benson has published six volumes of “Uncle Joe’s Record Guides,” the definitive history books of classic rock.

St. Louis Radio: KTRS Adds Jon Grayson, Doug McElvein

Jon Grayson
Jon Grayson, longime overnight host on KMOX 1120 AM has exited for a daytime on-air job at KTRS 550 AM.

KTRS officials announced Friday that Grayson, a 16-year veteran of KMOX, will take over the 10 a.m. to noon shift at "The Big 550" starting March 13.

The slot had been filled by Martin Kilcoyne and Randi Naughton, until Kilcoyne jumped to KFNS-AM 590 this week.

Grayson began his radio career while in college and has hosted general interest, politics and sports shows during his 29 years in the business. A highlight of his career was his coverage of war-torn Iraq during his tour of that country in 2006. He has also hosted an overnight nationally syndicated program, Overnight America, since 2012.

“We’re excited to have a talent of Jon’s caliber joining our on-air team at KTRS,” general manager Mark Dorsey said. "His personality and wit are a great fit for what our listeners have come to expect ... ."

At the start of the year, Grayson's syndication deal with the Westwood One network ended.

KTRS 550 AM (5 Kw, DA-N)
KTRS also announced Wednesday that it had hired Doug McElvein, another former KMOX host. He'll work a variety of shifts at KTRS.

McElvein had been at KMOX for more than 22 years, 17 years as a host of "Total Information AM," before getting layed-off 13 months ago.

Fort Myers Radio: Y100 Imports Lulu & Lala For Evenings

iHeartMedia/Fort Myers has announced that popular twins Lulu and Lala have joined HotAC WZJZ Y100.1 FM as nighttime hosts. Lulu and Lala will broadcast weekdays from 7 p.m. to midnight.

"I’m so happy to welcome Lulu and Lala to southwest Florida,” says Eric Rosado, Program Director. “They are a perfect fit to an already all-star lineup at Y100.1. Their connection to pop culture and the entertainment world, social media presence and ability to relate to our listeners everyday lives is sure to shake up nights in Fort Myers!”

Born in North Bergen, New Jersey, television and radio personalities and twin sisters Marissa and Marianela Gonzalez, better known as “Lulu & Lala,” began to captivate the Latin market in 2007 as part of The Luis Jimenez Morning Show on Univision’s X96.3 in New York.

Six years later, these Cuban-Salvadorian sisters carried their loyal Latin following over to mainstream as co-hosts of Ty Loves NY on 92.3 NOW. The girls make their return to Florida, having once hosted an afternoon show on Hits 97.3 in Miami.

WZJZ 100.1 FM (84 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
The sisters will also continue to host their afternoon show in New York on WKTU 103.5 FM.

Research Webinar Takes Peek At Radio's Future

Where is radio today, and where are listening levels headed in the future? Those are the big questions Alan Burns Associates addressed in Thursday’s webinar in which we and partners Strategic Solutions Research released the first set of data from “What Women Want – 2017.”

According to Nielsen RADAR data, radio's decline in cume and AQH rating, along with TSL, slowed in 2014 and may have stopped - or perhaps merely paused - in 2016. Where do we go from here? Will it be stability or just a slower slide?  According to a post in the Burns Radio blog, the answer is in the hands of the radio industry – not pureplay streaming services or automobile manufacturers.

With women, radio's images haven’t changed over the last five years and they are stunningly positive:
  • Women love their favorite radio station at a level that’s comparable to two of the world’s biggest and sexiest brands – Netflix and Amazon – and far more than they love Apple, or streamers like Pandora and Spotify.  
  • They feel understood. More women feel understood by the radio station they listen to most than by two industries that spend millions of dollars trying to understand and predict women: cosmetics and fashion. Amazingly, these women scored their P1 radio station higher than their significant other on “understanding me.”
  • And because they feel understood, they feel that radio station is a good or best friend. And the “best friend” vote is growing.
There are, though, two caution flags on the road, according to Burns/Strategi Solutions. The first is that “radio” now feels dated in comparison with other technologies (and it is; "radio" is almost 100 years old). The second is that young people – especially teens – feel less love and affiliation with radio. Being hyper – savvy technologically, six in 10 of them can easily imagine a day when they won’t need to listen to radio for music. And nearly a quarter of them tell us that that one of the main reasons they listen to radio is because they can’t get Internet in the car.

Radio must embrace new technology like NextRadio FM chip for smartphones. And radio needs to care about what 15 to 19 year-olds are doing and thinking right now.  Even if they aren’t part of your current target, they are a big part of your future.

CBS' John Dickerson: The Press Ruining Its Own Reputation

John Dickerson
CBS "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson said Friday the "press did all that good work ruining its reputation on its own" due to what he called "hysterical coverage" of Donald Trump.

According to The Hill, Dickerson made the comments during an interview with Salem Radio talk host Hugh Hewitt. Click Here for Audio.

He analyzed the president's repeated attacks on the press during a Thursday press conference, which included Trump declaring the American people don't trust the media the way it used to.

"That one comment, ‘they don’t trust you anymore,’ is a summation of where we are in America,” Hewitt observed. “Because I really do think Manhattan-Beltway elites have lost the country. They’ve lost it. There’s just no confidence.”

“Yes, it’s true, and it’s not because of anything obviously Donald Trump did,” Dickerson concurred. “The press did all that good work ruining its reputation on its own, and we can have a long conversation about what created that.”

Dickerson, who took over as "Face the Nation" moderator in 2015, compared press coverage of Trump to meteorologists who overhype every storm in their forecast.

Dickerson went on to say that the press had overhyped many little stories about Trump, leading to many other reports not being viewed with much credibility by the American people. The CBS host also said that the media must represent the American people to the president when asking questions.

A recent poll by Emerson College found that more people in the U.S. trust Trump than the media.

On Friday, President Trump Tweeted:

Dickerson commented on Friday's CBS Evening News:

Trump Supporters Call For Shepard Smith's Head

On Thursday, Fox News 3pm (ET) host Shepard Smith slammed President Donald Trump for what Smith described as his refusal to provide an honest answer about his administration's communications with the Russian government.

On Friday Smith was MIA.  Why?  Apparently, no big deal...Smith‘s absence from Fox News Friday had to do with his scathing review of Pres. Trump’s news conference yesterday, Smith already had a pre-planned day off. He’ll be taking Monday, Presidents’ Day.

On Thursday, Smith also defended CNN reporter Jim Acosta against the president's assertions that CNN and other outlets are "fake news," arguing that Trump is treating the press "like children."

Smith's comments came after Trump's free-wheeling press conference on Thursday afternoon, during which the president repeatedly sparred with reporters and accused the media of treating his administration unfairly. While Trump said he had no contact with Russian officials during the campaign, he did not respond directly to questions posed by Acosta and other reporters concerning whether any of his advisers had.

Like Megyn Kelly, Smith has gotten a taste of the social media fury of Trump supporters who believe a Fox News host has scorned the president:

February 18 Radio History

In 1920...announcer/host/panellist Bill Cullen was born in Pittsburgh.  His lifetime association with game shows began in radio, hosting Quick as a Flash. On TV he presided over Name That Tune, The Joker’s Wild, and introduced The Price is Right.  He holds the record for hosting with 23 different game shows.  For a combined 20 years he was a panellist on I’ve Got a Secret and To Tell the Truth.

He died from lung cancer July 7, 1990 at age 70.

In 1922...WOC-AM, Davenport, Iowa, went on the air. WOC is widely known as the radio station where future U.S. President Ronald Reagan got his start re-creating Chicago Cubs baseball games.

Ronald Reagan
 WOC traces its roots to 1907, when Robert Karlowa began an experimental station in Rock Island, Illinois. The station was known under several callsigns, including 9-BC, 9-XR and 9-BY.

On February 18, 1922, the government assigned the fledgling station the WOC call letters, and full-time broadcasting commenced. Historians believe WOC to have been the first commercial radio station west of the Mississippi River, and certainly the first in Iowa.

Karlowa continued to operate the station, but the costs quickly became too great. In March, he sold the station to Col. B. J. Palmer, who operated the Palmer School of Chiropractic, later the Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport. The equipment was moved to a small studio on Palmer's Brady Street campus, and a family connection was started that lasted almost 75 years.

WOC was known for many firsts in the radio industry. A short list might include:
  • Broadcasting from the Iowa Legislature.
  • On-air and studio personnel being required to keep logs of such things as electrical consumption and on-air programming (to the second). The programming log also helped the station begin programs on an absolute "minute-and-second" schedule.
  • Use of a fader panel, allowing use of several microphones in the studio at one time.
  • On January 26, 1925, WOC formed a network and joined forces with radio station WEAF. In September 1927, WOC became a charter member of the new NBC radio network.
In 1933, Ronald Reagan got his first broadcasting job at WOC as a sportscaster. Reagan returned to WOC in 1988, when WOC and FM-affiliate KIIK 104 dedicated its new studios on East Kimberly Road.

Courtesy of Faded Signals
Early radio stations often shared frequencies.  One station often would broadcast during the day and the other station at night.

According to Faded Signals, beginning in 1930, WOC in Davenport, Iowa, shared a frequency with WHO in Des Moines.  In 1933, WHO signed on a 50,000-watt transmitter.  The two stations shared the transmitter until 1934 when the owner of WOC-WHO, B.J. Palmer, was able to move WOC back to a full-time frequency in Davenport.

In 1927...the first United States Radio Broadcast of "Cities Service Concerts" took place, featuring Jessica Dragonette.

The Cities Service Concerts were musical broadcasts which had a long three-decade run on radio from 1925 to 1956, encompassing a variety of vocalists and musicians.

The concerts began with trial broadcasts in the New York area during 1925 and 1926 Graham McNamee was the announcer for the brass group of Edwin Franko Goldman when the hour-long program began February 18, 1927 on NBC, expanding to a symphonic sound with Rosario Bourdon and a 30-piece orchestra that summer along with the Cavaliers quartet.

On January 3, 1930, Jessica Dragonette brought her repertoire of 500 songs to the series, often doing duets with Frank Parker and generating top ratings during the 1930s. She was replaced by soprano Lucille Manners in 1937. Other performers during this period were Robert Simmons and James Melton. Along with the Cities Service Singers, baritone Ross Graham (1905-1986) arrived in 1939. Graham was also heard on Show Boat. Maestro Dr. Frank Black headed the show from at least 1938 to 1942 along with Manners and Graham.

The title changed to Highways in Melody in 1944 when Paul Lavalle was the orchestra leader. Lavalle continued after the show was retitled yet again as The Cities Service Band of America which experimented with simulcasting (audio broadcast separately over the radio) in 1949 and 1950.  The series came to an end on January 16, 1956

In 1949...the CBS Radio Network debuted "Yours Truly Johnny Dollar".

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar was a radio drama of "the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed expense account — America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator." The show aired on CBS Radio from January 14, 1949 to September 30, 1962. There were 811 episodes in the 12-year run, and more than 720 still exist today.

Each story started with a phone call from an insurance executive, calling on Johnny to investigate an unusual claim. Each story required Johnny to travel to some distant locale, usually within the United States but sometimes abroad, where he was almost always threatened with personal danger in the course of his investigations. Johnny's file on each case was usually referenced as a "matter," as in "The Silver Blue Matter" or "The Forbes Matter." Later episodes were more fanciful, with titles like "The Wayward Trout Matter" and "The Price of Fame Matter" (the latter featuring a rare guest-star appearance: Vincent Price).

Johnny usually stuck to business, but would engage in romantic dalliances with women he encountered in his travels; later episodes gave Johnny a steady girlfriend, Betty Lewis. Johnny's precious recreational time was usually spent fishing, and it was not uncommon for Johnny's clients to exploit this favorite pastime in convincing him to take on a job.

Each story was recounted in flashback, as Johnny listed each line item from his expense account.

In 1964...While vacationing in Miami during their first trip to America, the Beatles engage in a photo shoot with heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, better known later as Muhammed Ali. Clay: "You guys got to be making a lot of money. You ain't as dumb as you look." John Lennon: "No, but you are." That night the group visits a local drive-in to watch the new Elvis film Fun In Acapulco.

In 1992...WOWO 1190 AM's legendary host Jack Underwood passed away.

In 1993...Howard Stern's radio program debuted in Rochester, New York.

In 1994...Longtime Toronto radio personality (CHUM, CKFM, CHFI, CKEY, CJEZ) Jay Nelson, also remembered for his work in Buffalo, New York as a midday disc jockey on WKBW 1520 AM Radio and as "Jungle Jay," host of a daily late afternoon television show that featured jungle movies on WKBW-TV, died at the age of 57.

In 1998...Baseball broadcaster (Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals)/restaurateur Harry Caray died after a heart attack at the age of 83.

In 2012...Radio personality Patti Wheeler, a four-decade on-air presence in Birmingham, Alabama, died following surgery to remove brain tumors at age 71.

Friday, February 17, 2017

TWH Denies AP Report Mobilizing National Guard

Sean Spicer
White House press secretary Sean Spicer forcefully denied on Friday that the Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up illegal immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, reports The Daily Mail.

'That is 100 per cent not true. It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this,' Spicer told reporters aboard the Marine One helicopter.

'There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.'
An 11-page document seen by The Associated Press calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

Spicer insisted that 'It is not a White House document'.

Trump's spokesman did not say the idea hasn't been considered. A White House aide confirmed to Friday morning that the idea 'has been discussed,' but wouldn't say whether a plan has been formalized or recommended to the president.

WSJ: Jared Kushner Talked CNN Coverage With Time-Warner

Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, met with a senior Time Warner Inc. executive in recent weeks and expressed the administration’s deep concerns about CNN’s news coverage, according to a White House official and other people familiar with the matter.

The Wall Street Journal reports that during a meeting at the White House, Mr. Kushner complained to Gary Ginsberg, executive vice president of corporate marketing and communications at CNN’s parent Time Warner, about what Mr. Kushner feels is unfair coverage slanted against the president, the people said.

While the administration is battling a large swath of the media, the fight with CNN has special intrigue because its parent company has a massive piece of business awaiting government approval: a proposed $85.4 billion sale to AT&T Inc. Kushner and Ginsberg, who have been friends for a decade and whose discussion covered a variety of issues.

Kushner has taken issue with specific CNN contributors including Van Jones, a Democrat who served in the Obama administration, and Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist, who have each criticized Mr. Trump in harsh terms, the people familiar with the matter said.

CNN’s panels often include a few Mr. Trump supporters, such as Reagan administration veteran Jeffrey Lord and conservative commentator Kayleigh McEnany, a few critics, and journalists who cover the administration.

Read More Now (Paywall)

FCC's Pai Encourages Activation Of FM Radio Chips

FCC chairman Ajit Pai has advocated for the activation of FM radio receivers built into nearly every smartphone, as part of opening remarks he made at the Future of Radio and Audio Symposium in Washington D.C. yesterday.

Many smartphones sold today, including iPhones, have an FM receiver built into the LTE modem that would allow people to listen to FM radio over the air; however, many carriers and phone makers have not enabled the functionality, forcing users to use an app to stream FM radio over Wi-Fi or cellular data.

Ajit Pai
According to, Pai cited a NAB study that found only 44% of the top-selling smartphones in the United States had activated FM receivers as of last year. The vast majority—94%—of the non-activated smartphones are iPhones, according to the study.

"We could be doing a lot better," said Pai, who was appointed as FCC chairman last month. "It seems odd that every day we hear about a new smartphone app that lets you do something innovative, yet these modern-day mobile miracles don’t enable a key function offered by a 1982 Sony Walkman."

The activation of FM receivers in iPhones would have several benefits, including battery life savings, less data usage, and most importantly, the ability to receive emergency alerts over radio without service.

"You could make a case for activating chips on public safety grounds alone," added Pai. "The former head of our Federal Emergency Management Administration has spoken out in support of this proposal. The FCC has an expert advisory panel on public safety issues that has also advocated enabling FM radio chips on smartphones."

Pai said that while he will keep speaking out about the benefits of activating FM receivers in smartphones, he is a believer in free markets and the rule of law, and he thereby cannot support a government mandate requiring activation of these chips, nor does he believe the FCC has the power to issue said mandate.

Political Buzz Expected To Drive N/T Ratings In 2017

The News/Talk radio format made significant gains during 2016.

With radio reaching 93% of U.S. consumers each week, according to Nielsen’s latest Comparable Metrics Report, it’s no surprise that listeners tune to News Radio formats more than in non-election years in the lead up to November 11.

In 2012, News Radio audience levels spiked during the election year, and 2016 proved to be no different. The News Radio format gained significant listenership across personal people meter (PPM) markets in 2016 and was the No. 1 ranked format among persons aged 6 and older. Weekly listenership rose by 2 million from 2015, as audiences were highly interested and invested in the unique election season.

Although last year’s election has now come to an end, much of the political buzz remains front and center, and we’ll have to stay tuned for how the format performs in 2017, according to Nielsen.

St. Louis Radio: Ackerman, Calhourn Expand Roles At KMOX

Ackerman, Calhoun
CBS RADIO St. Louis’ News/Talk station KMOX 1120 AM has signed morning show host and Sports Director, Tom Ackerman, and morning show host and News Reporter, Michael Calhoun, to multi-year contract extensions with expanded roles at the station.

Tom and Michael can be heard weekdays from 5:00 to 8:30 AM on KMOX 1120 on-air, online at and through the app.

KMOX Program Director, Steve Moore, said, “Tom and Michael are talented personalities who play integral roles at the station. Tom was born and raised in St. Louis so reporting the news and sports in the city he loves is a natural progression for him.  Michael is an award winning field reporter who brings a unique voice to KMOX that instantly connects with listeners.”

Ackerman, who has served as Sports Director since 2009, will expand his role to serve as co-host of Total Information AM, the station’s daily morning show, alongside Debbie Monterrey and Michael Calhoun.

KMOX 1120 AM (50 Kw)
Calhoun, who debuted on KMOX in 2006 as a part-time reporter, will continue co-anchoring Total Information AM, and add field and spot news reporting to his responsibilities.  Calhoun will also continue to serve as KMOX’s lead-reporter on St. Louis’ Start Up, Entrepreneurs and Innovation initiatives and continue to host Nothing Impossible, a show that informs listeners about how innovators are transforming and revitalizing the St. Louis region.

DC Radio: Danni Starr Joins WKYS Morning Show

QuickSilva, host of The Fam in The Morning on Radio One DC’s WKYS 93.9 FM revealed his new co-host Danni Starr Thursday morning, effective February 21.

Danni will officially join The Fam, which airs weekdays 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.  Like QuickSilva, Danni intimately knows the DC market, as she was a well-known radio personality in this market who continued to grow her multi-media career.

Jeff Wilson, Senior Regional Vice President and General Manager, Radio One DC said, “Danni is the full package. She’s amazingly smart, well versed in music and community activism. Danni is authentic and transparent about her struggles and victories. That kind of energy and wit will serve our listeners well on-air, in social media and on the street.”

WKYS 93.9 FM (24.5 Kw) Red=LOcal Coverage Area
Danni Starr is a national media personality and single mother of two daughters. She has worked in radio for over a decade and is the face of TLCme on the TLC network. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2008 with a communications degree from St. Catherine’s University in Minneapolis. When she is not rendezvousing with her first love, radio, and side chick TV, Danni keeps herself busy with social advocacy and activism.

Trump: 'The Press Is Out of Control'

(Reuters) -- The first gripe came three minutes into President Donald Trump's first solo news conference on Thursday, when he accused reporters of ignoring a poll showing him with a 55 percent approval rating - a figure at odds with most other surveys.

From there, the president's criticism of the media went from barbed to personal in a cutting assessment of what he viewed as unfair coverage of his first few weeks in office - a period that has seen a succession of crises.

On a day when he ceded a loss over a signature policy in a federal appeals court, had to replace his labor secretary pick and faced questions over the resignation of his national security adviser, Trump chose to make the media a central focus of an unusually long and combative presidential news conference.

When asked by journalists of contacts between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives, he deflected the questions and put the focus instead on what he described as "illegal" government leaks and "dishonest" media coverage.

"The press is out of control," he said. "The level of dishonesty is out of control,"

After weeks of disclosures in newspapers over turmoil in his administration, he told one reporter to "sit down" for a rambling question.

"Tomorrow, they will say: 'Donald Trump rants and raves at the press,'" Trump said. "I'm not ranting and raving. I'm just telling you. You know, you're dishonest people. But I'm not ranting and raving. I love this. I'm having a good time doing it."

Trump's message in the 77-minute session appeared aimed at the same voters who elected him president last November, a large number of whom feel Washington has left them behind and who like his image as an outsider trying to shake up the establishment.

He sought to cast problems buffeting the White House as "the mess" he inherited from former Democratic President Barack Obama, and boasted about the "fine-tuned administration" he is running.

In one unusual exchange near the end of the news conference, Trump called on a questioner, asking if he was "a friendly reporter."

When the journalist asked about recent threats to 48 Jewish centers across the country and signs of rising anti-Semitism, Trump appeared to take the question personally, replying: "I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life."

He added he was also the "least racist person," told the reporter to be "quiet," accused him of lying and then dismissed the question as "insulting."


Most opinion polls show Trump struggling with low approval numbers less than a month into his presidency. A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Feb. 10 to 14 gave Trump a 46 percent approval rating.

While many presidencies have started off on rocky ground, Trump's administration has been particularly marked by controversies, fights with the media and a legal battle over an executive order to ban people temporarily from seven Muslim-majority countries.

"I turn on the TV and open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos, chaos. And yet, it is the exact opposite," Trump said.

Trump waved away questions about a New York Times report that members of his campaign team had frequent contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials last year.

His main complaint was that the news media had uncovered leaks about intercepted communications between Michael Flynn, ousted this week as national security adviser and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kisylak, and leaks about his own conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

"The first thing I thought of, how does the press get this information?" he asked.

Trump vs. CNN: The Battle Heats Up

Just when you thought the President Trump-CNN feud couldn’t get any hotter, both sides on Thursday took a blowtorch to the blowup.

Speaking at a White House press conference, Trump answered a question from a broadcast-network reporter about government agency leaks by bringing up the cable news network: “ I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred.”

The president also made it personal, telling CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta to “ask [CNN Worldwide President] Jeff Zucker how he got his job, OK?”

It was not immediately known what Trump meant, reports The NY Post.

Meanwhile, Zucker, in New York hosting a long-scheduled media-day event, claimed a recent brand study showed Trump’s constant reference to CNN as “fake news” had not hurt the brand at all.

Speaking from the podium at the event, Zucker told reporters they should be concerned about “authoritarian regimes.”

CNN reporters are not intimidated by criticism and in fact wear it as a “badge of pride,” according to Zucker, who admitted he is a bit concerned about the pace at which news is breaking.

CNN reporters are “exhausted,” said Zucker.

When asked at the press event if he feels responsible for the rise of Trump — from real estate developer to reality TV star to president — Zucker said he does not.

Zucker revealed that in January, the network conducted its “biggest brand survey that we’ve ever done” to determine whether the label Trump has given it, “fake news,” is sticking with viewers. “I am happy to tell you there has been no diminution whatsoever in the CNN brand,” he said. “The CNN brand is as strong as it’s ever been.” He said the company will look to share those results publicly.

Facebook CEO Warns Against Reversal Of Global Thinking

(Reuters) -- Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg laid out a vision on Thursday of his company serving as a bulwark against rising isolationism, writing in a letter to users that the company's platform could be the "social infrastructure" for the globe.

In a 5,700-word manifesto, Zuckerberg, founder of the world's largest social network, quoted Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. president during the country's 19th century Civil War known for his eloquence, and offered a philosophical sweep that was unusual for a business magnate.

Zuckerberg's comments come at a time when many people and nations around the world are taking an increasingly inward view. U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to put "America first" in his inaugural address in January. That followed Britain's decision last June to exit the European Union.

"Across the world there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection," Zuckerberg wrote, without naming specific movements.

The question, the 32-year-old executive said, was whether "the path ahead is to connect more or reverse course," adding that he stands for bringing people together.

Mark Zuckerberg
Quoting from a letter Lincoln wrote to Congress in the depths of the Civil War, he wrote to Facebook's 1.9 billion users: "The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present."

Zuckerberg said that Facebook could move far beyond its roots as a network for friends and families to communicate, suggesting that it can play a role in five areas, all of which he referred to as "communities," ranging from strengthening traditional institutions, to providing help during and after crises, to boosting civic engagement.

In comments on Facebook, some users praised Zuckerberg's note for staying positive, while others declared "globalism" dead.

Facebook has been under pressure to more closely police hoaxes, fake news and other controversial content, although the concerns have had little impact on its finances. The company reported 2016 revenue of $27.6 billion, up 54 percent from a year earlier.

One area where Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook would do better would be suggesting "meaningful communities." Some 100 million users are members of groups that are "very meaningful" to them, he wrote, representing only about 5 percent of users.

Facebook is also using artificial intelligence more to flag photos and videos that need human review, Zuckerberg wrote. One-third of all reports to Facebook's review team are generated by artificial intelligence, he wrote.

Zuckerberg's letter was "a bit more ambitious and a bit more of the 30,000-foot view than I see from most tech company CEOs," Peter Micek, global policy and legal counsel at Access Now, an international digital rights group, said in a phone interview.

But Zuckerberg stayed away from certain subjects on which Facebook could be vulnerable to criticism, mentioning the word "privacy" only once, Micek said.

Miami Radio: WQAM, Hurricanes Extend Broadcast Deal

South Florida Hurricanes fans can continue to find their favorite team on CBS Radio's Sports Radio WQAM 560 AM, as University of Miami Athletics and Miami’s Sports Radio 560 today announced a multi-year extension for the station to remain the flagship radio home of Miami Hurricanes games.

The station has been a broadcast partner since the 1999 NCAA football season.

WQAM will carry all regular season and postseason football games, all men’s basketball games and weekly coaches’ shows for the two sports during their respective seasons. The station will produce and air live all broadcasts from WQAM studios and has non-exclusive streaming rights on the station’s website.

“The Voice of the Hurricanes," Joe Zagacki, will return for his 29th season on football and men’s basketball broadcasts.

Beginning with the 2017-18 athletic season, in the event a Miami Hurricanes’ men’s basketball game conflicts with a professional sports team game, the basketball game will air on an alternate station in the Miami market. All aspects of the renewal and relationship between WQAM and Miami Athletics is overseen by the university's athletics multimedia rightsholder, Learfield’s Hurricane Sports Properties.

WQAM 560 AM (5 Kw, 1 Kw-N)
“We’ve enjoyed a great partnership with Miami Athletics and want to continue delivering excellent game broadcasts and coaches’ shows for Canes fans,” said WQAM Program Director Ryan Maguire. “We take great pride in covering the Hurricanes throughout the year and serving as the program’s flagship station. We are pleased to have renewed our partnership and have the privilege of broadcasting the games for many more years to come.”

“We’re excited to extend our long-standing partnership with WQAM and CBS Radio to continue as the Official Radio Home of the Hurricanes,” University of Miami’s Director of Athletics Blake James said. “The tremendous reach of WQAM allows us to connect with Hurricane fans all around South Florida and we look forward to our continued partnership."

Philly Radio: Kathy Romano Adds Show At BEN-FM

Kathy Romano
Longtime co-host of the Preston and Steve Show Kathy Romano is getting a second gig.

According to, Romano will host "Her Story" on WBEN 95.7 FM on Sundays at 7:30 a.m. starting Feb. 19. She'll continue her normal duties as co-host and traffic reporter for Preston and Steve, which airs weekdays on BEN FM's sister station, WMMR 93.3 FM.

"This is giving me the opportunity for some girl talk that just doesn’t make sense on WMMR's Preston & Steve® Show!” Romano said.

“There are so many amazing women with fascinating stories that we just don’t get to hear."

"Kathy’s going to make ‘Her Story’ a unique show and do a wonderful job," BEN FM program director Chuck Damico said.

The announcement follows some recent on-air shakeups at each station, which are both owned by Beasley Broadcast Group after a July sale from Greater Media.

Longtime evenings WMMR evenings host Matt Cord, who is also PA announcer for the Sixers, was moved to weekday mornings at BEN FM in December. WMMR overnight host Jacky Bam Bam took over Cord's evening duties.

Romano has been with Preston and Steve since 2003 when the show was on now-defunct Y100.

Radio Veteran Dan Mason Joins Horse Racing Radio

Dan Mason
Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) the Eclipse Award-Winning broadcast organization based in Lexington, Kentucky and official radio home of the 2017 Triple Crown and Breeders Cup World Championships announced Thursday that former CBS Radio President and CEO Dan Mason will join the broadcast team as host and analyst.

Mason starts next month with coverage of the Fountain of Youth Stakes and The Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

“Dan is not only an accomplished radio broadcaster but a longtime horseman as well. His native Kentucky roots blends perfectly with our presentation. He will bring an additional perspective to complement our expanding coverage,” said Mike Penna, President HRRN.

Dan Mason added, “I’ve followed Mike and his team since day one. His journey and success story at HRRN has been phenomenal as it has grown from its base in Kentucky to now internationally. I look forward to being part of many new chapters to come.”

In partnership with NBC Sports and Westwood One, HRRN provides exclusive radio coverage of all three Triple Crown races: The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

A complete HRRN broadcast schedule is available at

February 17 Radio History

In 1908...Hall of Fame baseball announcer Red Barber was born. He began calling play-by-play baseball on the radio in Cincinnati, rose to prominence as the voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and finished up with the New York Yankees.  In his latter years he was a weekly fixture on NPR’s Morning Edition from his retirement home in Florida. He died Oct. 22 1992 at age 84.

In 1947...VOA began transmissions to Soviet Union

In Joseph Kearns, one of bigtime radio’s busiest regulars, best remembered as Mr. Wilson in TV’s Dennis the Menace, died after a cerebral hemorrhage at age 55.  He was The Man in Black in the early years of CBS Radio’s ‘Suspense,’ and played Ed the security guard for Jack Benny’s underground vault.

In 1967...At EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London, the Beatles began recording a new John Lennon composition "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite." The track was completed on March 31. It was one of three songs from the "Sgt. Pepper" album banned from airplay on the BBC, supposedly because the phrase "Henry the horse" combined two words that were individually known as slang for heroin. Lennon denied the connection.

In 1972...After obtaining tapes of unreleased material stolen from producer Marshall Chess' home, KDAY-Radio in Los Angeles played two new Rolling Stones tracks non-stop for 18 hours.

In 1979…Garrison Keillor's radio variety show "Prairie Home Companion" was first broadcast nationally as part of National Public Radio's "Folk Festival America."

In 1986...Howard Stern's radio show returned to morning Radio in New York City on WXRK-FM.

In 1991…DJ/personality Gary Gears (KQV-Pittsburgh, WCFL-Chicago, WLS-Chicago, WDAI-Chicago, CHUM-Toronto, AFVN South Vietnam 1968)/commercial voiceover announcer died after a heart attack at 46.

Gary Gears AFVN circa 1969
Gary Gears may have had one of the best voices of all. According to Jeff Roteman's WLS Tribute website, The "Big G" joined WLS in 1971 after a brief stop at WCFL. Gary started at the Big 89 doing the 1-5 am overnight shift. By 1972, Gary had moved to middays working 9 til 12 noon replacing Joel Sebastian. In 1973, Gary was replaced by J.J. Jeffrey.

Gary Gears spent time at the legendary KOIL in Omaha before joining and serving in the US Armed Services. Gary was heard on AFVN radio in Vietnam. After his time in the service, Gary went to KQV in Pittsburgh from Minneapolis St Paul. After leaving Pittsburgh , Gary spent most of his career in Chicago at legendary stations WCFL, WLS and many others including  WDAI, WIND, WJEZ, WJJD, WKQX, WMAQ and WRQX.  He also spent time at CHUM in Toronto.

Gary Gears , Fred Winston, and Kris Erik Stevens all worked in Pittsburgh at ABC owned and operated KQV before joining WLS.

Gary's voice was heard on commercials all over the country in the 70's.  You'll remember his voice from the many spots he did for Sears Auto Centers.  You may have even bought tires or a battery after hearing Gary.

In 1994...Radio personality Barney Pip, WCFL Chicago, WGLI Long Island WPIX FM NYC, died at the age of 57 in a car accident in Indianapolis.

Pip also worked at WJET Erie, Pa., WEEP Pittsburgh, WGLI Babylon, N.Y., WOKY Milwaukee, WIFE Indianapolis, WHHY Montgomery, Ala.

In 2004...Syndicated Radio personalities, Don and Mike, returned to the airwaves after a two-week unpaid suspension. They apologized for saying the word "Bullshit".