Saturday, March 18, 2017

March 19 Radio History

In 1912...orchestra leader Russ Case was born in Hamburg Iowa. Still in his teens he joined radio station WOC Davenport Ohio as an arranger.  He produced & led the band for some of Perry Como’s classic recordings as A &R man for RCA Victor, and became the NBC studio orchestra first on radio, then TV. He was working as arranger for The Jackie Gleason Show when he died Oct 10 1964 at age 52.

In 1918...Standard Time Act establishes Standard and Daylight time in the U.S.

In 1928...Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll left WGN radio in Chicago to head across town to WMAQ radio.

They weren’t able to take their previously popular radio show names (Sam & Henry) with them due to contractual limitations. So they came up with names even more popular … Amos and Andy, and continued as radio mainstays for another 30 years.

In 1987...Arch Oboler died, a radio writer best known for the series "Lights Out". he was 77.

In 2003...Harry Harrison did last show at WCBS 101.1 FM in NYC.

In 1953, Harrison worked at WCFL as a summer replacement, yet remained there eight months, substituting for the permanent DJs.  Harrison became program director at WPEO, Peoria in 1954 and hosted the morning show as the "Morning Mayor of Peoria." In just six months, Harrison made WPEO the top station.

In 1959, Harrison joined WMCA, New York, as the mid-day "Good Guy." Joe O'Brien (mornings) and Harrison gave WMCA a "one-two punch" for over eight years.  Other WMCA "Good Guys" included Jack Spector, B. Mitchel Reed, Dan Daniel and Johnny Dark, and talk show host Barry Gray. Harrison became popular with his "Housewife Hall of Fame” feature.

Often, he scored the highest ratings on WMCA. WABC program director Rick Sklar took note.   In 1968, when WABC morning man Herb Oscar Anderson left the station, Rick Sklar hired Harrison to replace him. Harrison was followed in the WABC day by Ron Lundy.

Every year, Harrison played seasonal songs, such as his holiday greeting "May You Always” in the winter (the Amy records single of this song made the Billboard Christmas charts in 1965), and Allan Sherman's summer camp novelty, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh", throughout the summer months.

WABC personalities included, along with Harrison, Charlie Greer, Scott Muni, Bob Lewis, Lundy, Johnny Donovan, Dan Ingram, "Cousin Brucie" Bruce Morrow, Chuck Leonard, Bob Cruz, Frank Kingston Smith, and Roby Yonge, and others.

Harrison had a number of "trademark" phrases, such as "Morning, Mom", "Every brand new day should be opened like a precious gift", "Stay well, stay happy, stay right here" and "Harry Harrison wishing you the best... because that's exactly what you deserve!”

Harrison was let go from WABC as the station changed direction in November 1979

In March 1980, Harrison became the morning personality at WCBS-101.1 FM, playing oldies music. In 1984, with Lundy joining the station, they were once again heard back-to-back. Harrison would interact with Morning Crew engineer Al Vertucci, Phil Pepe, who reported sports, and joke about "wacky weather" and toupee warnings with Irv “Mr. “G” Gikofsky (weather), Mary Jane Royce, and Sue Evans.

On April 25, 1997 New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani issued a proclamation, naming April 25 "Harry Harrison Day" in honor of the second "Mayor."

On March 19, 2003, after a 44-year career in New York radio, Harrison left WCBS-FM, saying "I am not retiring." His farewell to his loyal radio friends (from 5:30 to 10:00am) was held before a live audience at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City. It offered old airchecks plus guest appearances by WCBS-FM colleagues Don K. Reed, Bobby Jay, Steve O'Brien, Randy Davis and Dan Taylor, his replacement, as well as his son and daughter, Patti. Harrison took phone calls from Bob Shannon, Mike Fitzgerald, Ed Baer, and Ron Lundy.

Shortly after he left WCBS-FM, Harrison's long-time wife, Patti, who he had always referred to as "Pretty Patti" on the air, died.

Harrison returned to WCBS-FM with a Saturday morning show in 2004. It offered two hours of variety and two hours of Beatles music and memories.

On Memorial Day, May 30, 2005, Harry and "Cousin" Bruce Morrow were guests on WABC Radio’s annual Rewound show. Four days later, on June 3, WCBS-FM ended its "oldies" format, in favor of the new "Jack" format.  However, as a result of listener disapproval, the WCBS-FM Oldies format was brought back on July 12, 2007, in a 'Classic Hits' modernized form.

In 2004...Tom Rivers died of bronchial asthma at age 38. Rivers worked at WQYK-FM, Tampa and WUSN-FM, Chicago. (Note: not to be confused with the CHUM personality Tom Rivers.) Listeners of WQYK-FM 99.5 loved his amiable, conversational patter during morning drive time.

Rivers was a veteran of 17 years in country radio, most of it spent at WQYK-FM Tampa, Fla., where he served, at various times, as PD, morning host and VP/GM. His career also included a stint as PD/morning host at WMZQ Washington, D.C.

The industry heaped awards on him, including the rare double honor as top personality of the year in both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.

Country stars such as Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and Mary Chapin Carpenter - whose rise to prominence in the early 1990s paralleled Mr. Rivers' own meteoric ascent in country radio - counted him as a genuine friend.

Rivers died after going to sleep March 19 in Chicago, where he worked the last year of his life as operations manager at WUSN-FM. According to his mother, The cause of death was bronchial asthma, a chronic condition he battled much of his life.

He started working the 7 p.m. to midnight shift at Tampa's WQYK-FM . By 1990, at just 24, he had moved up to program director, launching WQYK's era of ratings dominance and eventual recognition by the CMA as the nation's top country station.

In 2005...Morris Blum died from cancer at age 95. Blum started WANN-AM in 1947 in Annapolis, Maryland and pioneered the idea of black programming, playing gospel and rhythm and blues.

Morris Blum
Blum served in the merchant marine as a radio operator aboard a tanker and later in radio intelligence for the FCC during WWII, according to his son.

"When my father returned home, he witnessed a lot of racism and recognized the barriers many in the Annapolis community faced. He loved nothing more than having guests in the air studio who had never spoken their mind freely before. This was an amazing thing for African-Americans, too."

Carl Snowden, a civil rights activist and former Annapolis City councilman, told the Baltimore Sun that Blum "spent the better part of his life fighting against bigotry. He averted a catastrophe in Annapolis at the time of Dr. Martin Luther King's death in 1968. He opened the station and allowed the African-American community to come of the radio and voice its concern. There were uplifting comments that allayed fear here."

In 2006... Bill Beutel, ABC Radio & TV news anchor died at age 75.

His first radio job was in Cleveland before moving to CBS Radio in New York City in 1957.  Beutel moved to ABC on October 22, 1962 as a reporter with ABC News and as anchor at the network's New York flagship, WABC-TV.

In 2012…Film critic/entertainment journalist (Chicago Daily-News, WMAQ-TV)/former radio disc jockey (WIND-Chicago, WCKY-Cincinnati)/ newsman Norman Mark died of multiple myeloma at the age of 72.

R.I.P.: Rock'n'Roll Pioneer Chuck Berry Dead At 90

Chuck Berry -2007

(Reuters) -- Chuck Berry, who duck-walked his way into the pantheon of rock 'n' roll pioneers as one of its most influential guitarists and as the creator of raucous anthems that defined the genre's early sound and heartbeat, died on Saturday at his Missouri home. He was 90.

Police in St. Charles County, outside St. Louis, said they were called to Berry's home by a caretaker who reported he had fallen ill, and emergency responders found the performer unconscious. Emergency medical technicians tried to revive him with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, to no avail, and Berry was pronounced dead at 1:26 p.m. local time, police said.

Although Elvis Presley was called the king of rock 'n' roll, that crown would have fit just as well on the carefully sculpted pompadour of Charles Edward Anderson Berry. He was present in rock's infancy in the 1950s and emerged as its first star guitarist and lyricist.

Berry hits such as "Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Maybellene" and "Memphis" melded elements of blues, rockabilly and jazz into some of America's most timeless pop songs of the 20th century.

He was a monumental influence on just about any kid who picked up a guitar with rock star aspirations - Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen among them.

Bob Dylan called Berry "the Shakespeare of rock 'n' roll," and he was one of the first popular acts to write as well as perform his own songs. They focused on youth, romance, cars and good times, with lyrics that were complex, humorous and sometimes a little raunchy.

Both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, as well as the Beach Boys and scores of other acts - even Elvis - covered Berry's songs.

"If you tried to give rock 'n' roll another name," Lennon once said, "you might call it 'Chuck Berry'."

When Richards inducted Berry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, he said: "It's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry because I've lifted every lick he ever played. This is the gentleman who started it all."

Berry's legacy as one of rock's founders was tarnished by his reputation as a prickly penny-pincher and run-ins with the law, including sex-related offenses after he achieved stardom.

Marking his 90th birthday in 2016 by announcing he would release his first album in 38 years, Berry listed T-Bone Walker, Carl Hogan of Louis Jordan's band and Charlie Christian from Benny Goodman's band as his guitar influences, but his lyrical style was all his own. Punchy wordplay and youth-oriented subject matter earned him the nickname "the eternal teenager" early in his career.

Berry came along at a time when much of the United States remained racially segregated, but it was hard for young audiences of any color to resist a performer who delivered such a powerful beat with so much energy and showmanship.

Chuck Berry  - 2009

Berry said he performed his signature bent-knee, head-bobbing "duck walk" across more than 4,000 concert stages. He said he invented the move as a child in order to make his mother laugh as he chased a ball under a table.

Some critics suggested it was his former pianist, Johnnie Johnson, who composed the tunes while Berry only penned the lyrics. Johnson sued Berry in 2000 for song royalties, saying they were equal collaborators on many of the hits, but the case was dismissed on grounds that the statute of limitations had expired.

It was with Johnson that Berry first made his mark, playing at black clubs in the St. Louis area at the musically ripe age of 27. Berry started out filling in with Johnson's group, known as Sir John's Trio, in 1953, and Johnson eventually acknowledged Berry's talent, charisma and business acumen by allowing the group to evolve into the Chuck Berry Trio.

At the suggestion of blues legend Muddy Waters, Berry auditioned for Chess Records, the white-owned Chicago label that put out scores of blues hits. The result was the rockabilly tune "Ida Red," which became a hit after it was retitled "Maybellene" and discovered by white audiences.

When the record came out, Berry said he was stunned to see that pioneering rock 'n' roll disc jockey Alan Freed and another man he had never met, Russ Fratto, were listed as co-writers of "Maybellene." The shared credits deprived him of some royalty payments, but Berry dismissed it at the time as part of the "payola" system that determined which records got radio play in the 1950s. He later regained all the rights to his compositions.


Berry and Johnson collaborated for some 30 years on such rock anthems as "School Days," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Back in the U.S.A.," "Reelin' and Rockin'," "Rock & Roll Music," "No Particular Place to Go," "Memphis" and "Sweet Little Sixteen." But Berry's only No. 1 hit was "My Ding-a-Ling," a throwaway novelty song that seemed to be a juvenile sex reference.

Berry's reputation for being greedy and grouchy was evident in the 1987 documentary "Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll," which focused on a 60th-birthday concert that Keith Richards organized for him. The movie's makers said Berry refused to show up for filming each day unless given a bag of cash.

"He was an oddly cheap character in some ways," Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger told Mojo magazine. "He ... was always rude to everyone. He became too much of a parody of himself."

Berry was born Oct. 18, 1926, the third of six children whose father was a contractor and church deacon and whose mother was a schoolteacher. They lived in a relatively prosperous black section of St. Louis known as the Ville.

In the first of his brushes with the law, Berry was sent to a reformatory as a teenager for armed robbery. After his release at age 21, he worked in an auto plant and as a photographer and trained to be a hairdresser.

As he became a star, Berry irked some in St. Louis by acquiring property in a previously white area and opening his own nightclub, where another legal scrape nearly ended his career.

At a show in Texas in 1959, Berry had met a 14-year-old Native American girl and hired her to work at the St. Louis club. She was later fired and then arrested on a prostitution charge, which led to Berry being convicted for violating the Mann Act, transporting a woman across state lines for immoral purposes. He was sent to prison in 1962 for a year and a half and wrote several songs while incarcerated, including "No Particular Place to Go."

Berry had more trouble in 1979 when he was convicted of tax evasion, serving four months in prison, and in the 1990s when a number of women accused him of videotaping them in the bathrooms of his restaurant-club in Wentzville, Missouri.

While the hits did not keep coming for Berry, the tributes never stopped, and he continued playing a monthly show at a St. Louis nightclub into his late 80s. He received a Grammy award for lifetime achievement in 1984 and his 1986 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame made him part of the inaugural class.

Illustrating his influence, a recording of "Johnny B. Goode" was included in a collection of music sent into space aboard the unmanned 1977 Voyager I probe to provide aliens a taste of Earth culture.

Despite his reputation as a womanizer, Berry and his wife, Toddy, were married more than 60 years.

Garth Explains Why He Choose Amazon Over Other Streamers

Garth Brooks is making the most of his first visit to South By Southwest, according to USAToday.

In addition to doing a keynote Friday afternoon, the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year also announced a free outdoor show for Saturday at Lady Bird Lake, sponsored by Amazon Music, which Brooks did an exclusive streaming deal with in October 2016.

He also got to hear the premiere of his new single Ask Me How I Know played live on Austin's KASE 100.7 FM. "It sounds a hell of a lot better on this system that in it does in my truck," he said in a press conference Friday morning here at the Austin Convention Center.

Brooks discussed his decision in October 2016 to enter into an exclusive streaming deal with Amazon and its on-demand Amazon Music Unlimited subscription service ($7.99 monthly for Amazon Prime members, $9.99 for others)

While Brooks respected Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek ("He's a good guy that understands music") and Apple Music's team ("I'm never going to change to fit their rules"), Amazon offered the full package: streaming, album downloads and physical CDs, said Brooks, who never used the competing companies' names calling them "the other guys."

He expects special releases and archival music including demo tracks to be available eventually. "New, old, everything becomes possible with these guys," Brooks said.

St. Louis Radio: Randy Markel Talking KFNS Sale

Tim McKernan
Tim McKernan has run a successful radio program, a company and even a sports-talk radio station. Full ownership of an outlet in that format could be next.

Randy Markel bought KFNS 590 AM in a process that began in late 2015 when he in essence pulled it out of bankruptcy. Now Markel wants to sell the station to McKernan, who gained a 25 percent ownership stake in it in a transaction that took effect last September. Part of that deal included a provision that McKernan would receive $100,000 if the station is sold to another party, with the agreement he first would have the right to match that offer.

But Markel isn’t pursuing outside interests, as he has offered the station to McKernan — for $2.5 million he said, a substantial amount for a local AM radio station of that ilk. But Markel has invested heavily in the operation, including personnel and upgrading the towers that transmit the station’s signal .

“The idea was to sell to Tim in four or five years,” Markel said this week. “But I thought, ‘Why not sell now?’ I will make a cool half a million dollars-plus in a (little over) a year. I’ve got $2 million in it, I want a half-million profit. That’s what I deserve.”

So talks have begun on the potential deal, according to

Tillerson Defends Decision To Travel Without Reporters

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday stood by his decision not to allow a pool reporter to travel with him on his Asia trip, calling himself “not a big media press access person.”

Erin McPike
According to The Hill, Erin McPike of the right-leaning Independent Journal Review — the only reporter selected by State to travel with Tillerson — pressed the diplomat about his decision in an interview.

McPike noted China restricts press access and asked whether he’s concerned about the the message he’s sending.

Tillerson claimed the decision not to allow more reporters had to do with a desire to save money, saying the plane “flies faster, allows me to be more efficient” with fewer people on it.

He added that there’s plenty of media in the cities where he’s heading, lowering the need for a traveling press. And he disregarded the tradition of the secretary of State spending time with reporters on flights, saying “that’s not the way I tend to work.”

Tillerson wouldn't commit to bringing a pool reporter on future trips, saying it would be decided on a case-by-case basis depending on his goals.

Rhode Island Radio HOF Unveils 2017 Inductees

The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame, founded in 2008 by local radio professionals, has announced its inductees for 2017:

Johnny Dowd/Jaybeau Jones: By one name or another, he's worked at radio stations in Providence, Hartford, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and more, including a stint at JB 105 in Providence from 1979 to 1984. He's currently heard on Sirius XM's "70s on 7."

Roger Laliberte: Laliberte started in 1957 with a French-language broadcast on WWRI in West Warwick, moving to WWON in Woonsocket in 1963 and finally WNRI in 1985.

Myrna Lamb: Lamb, who died in 2014, was a radio personality on WHJJ and WPRO in Rhode Island, where she hosted shows on astrology, then general advice. Her advice show was syndicated by NBC from 1990-1993 and ran on 300 stations nationwide.

Tony Mascaro: Program director of WPRO-AM, he worked at New York City radio stations from 1997-2013 before returning to Rhode Island.

Dick Rakovan: He was general manager at WPRO (AM and FM) from 1974 to 1979. In 1979, working for Outlet Broadcasting, he swapped AM 920 for a Taunton FM station he renamed WSNE. He is retired senior vice president of the Radio Broadcasting Bureau.

Frank Kingston Smith: Smith started his radio career in 1967 at WICE, and he migrated to Boston, then New York, then back to Boston.

The Shepard Award: Created to recognize the founders of radio in Rhode Island, Shepard Department Store owners John and Robert Shepard, the award goes to Mowry Lowe, pioneering newscaster, announcer and executive.

Station of the Year: The award goes to I Heart Media Providence to recognize a successful multi-station food drive.

Legacy Station of the Year: This one goes to Top 40 station WICE-AM.

The official induction banquet for the Class of 2017 will take place at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln on May 4.

R.I.P.: Longtime Maine Radio Personality Don Brown

Don Brown
Longtime central Maine radio personality Don Brown died Thursday because of complications from multiple strokes. He was 77.

Augusta-based radio station WMME 92.3 Moose FM in Augusta, ME said in an online post Friday morning that Brown was the creator of the Love Fund and served in local radio for decades, including WABK, WKCG and, most recently, Cruisin’ 93.5 in Waterville. He had been on the air for about 49 years.

In 2006, Brown was inducted into the Maine Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and in 2011 he was honored with the Citizen of the Year award from Le Club Calumet, the Augusta-based Franco-American club.

In a 2012 interview with the Kennebec Journal, Brown talked about leaving WABK’s morning show and said that he and Blueberry Broadcasting LLC “parted company amicably.”

Brown, whose real name was Don Wormwood, was known for his deep gruff voice on the early morning radio.

The Press-Herald reports his first job was on a talk show on WIDE in Biddeford while he was still in high school. The television years were 1957 to 1965, working on “The Dave Astor Show (For Teenagers Only).”

Many people in central Maine grew up listening to the voice of Don Brown in the morning on WABK-FM 104.3.

Detroit Radio: WJR Lands Interview With FCC's Ajit Pai

                                              FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and WJR 760 am Detroit's Paul W. Smith

Morning host Paul W. Smith interviewed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Friday morning’s show.

Pai, who has been an occasional guest on WJR as FCC Commissioner, called WJR to say he'd be in Detroit today and graciously accepted Smith's invitation to appear on today's St. Patrick's Day show.
Lucky day for WJR listeners!!

March 18 Radio History

In 1911...cowboy comic/singer Smiley Burnette was born in Summum Illinois.

He worked on a local radio station and in vaudeville after high school. Always interested in music, he was friends with Gene Autry and worked with him on the radio show “The National Barn Dance”.

He made 80 western movies with Autry, then in TV became a regular on Ozark Jubilee, and played Charlie the railroad engineer on Petticoat Junction.

He died from leukemia Feb 16 1967 at age 55.

Art Gilmore
In 1912...announcer/narrator Art Gilmore was born in Tacoma Washington.

He began in 1935 at Seattle radio station KOL, and a year later was hired at KFWB Los Angeles. He soon became the announcer for radio’s Amos ‘n Andy, The Adventures of Frank Race, Dr. Christian, Sears Radio Theater, Stars over Hollywood, etc. It was Gilmore who introduced Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong, reminding listeners to request free religious literature at the conclusion of “The World Tomorrow” on radio and TV. He narrated 156 episodes of syndicated TV’s Highway Patrol with Broderick Crawford, 39 segments of Mackenzie’s Raiders with Richard Carlson, and 41 episodes of Men of Annapolis. He died Sept. 25 2010 at age 98.

In 1922...WHN-AM, NYC signed-on at 833Kc

According to Faded Signals, WHN, New York City, signed on in 1922 as the radio station of The Ridgewood Times newspaper.  It was one of the city’s first radio stations, featuring a format of jazz and dance music of the era, as well as children’s shows, variety programs and newscasts.  The Loew’s Theatre Organization bought the station in 1928.

The station played jazz and contemporary dance music, including Sophie Tucker, Fletcher Henderson, and Duke Ellington, as well as broadcasting Columbia University football games. In 1928 the station was bought by the Loew's Theatre Organization.

During the 1920s the station's frequency changed to 830, 760, and then 1010.

In the 1930s it broadcast the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, which was picked up by the CBS Radio Network.

WHN made its final frequency change to 1050 in 1941.

During the 1940s the programs Radio Newsreel and Newsreel Theater were prototypes for what would later become the all-news radio format. The station broadcast Brooklyn Dodgers games with Red Barber as well as the New York Giants and New York Rangers with Marty Glickman.

In 1948, WHN became WMGM, reflecting the Loew’s then-ownership of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio.  The station continued its diversified format until flipping to Top 40 and rock music in the mid 1950s. While it included some R&B, country and instrumentals in the Top 40 mix, WMGM carried a narrower, more up-tempo playlist.

By the early 1960s, WMGM 1050 AM had several competitors in the Top 40 radio market.  WINS, WABC and WMCA all were playing rock, and WMGM was falling behind in the ratings.

Storer Broadcasting bought the station in 1962, renaming it WHN and dropping the Top 40 in favor of slow-paced “beautiful music” and standards.  Here’s what the switchover sounded like:

WHN also became New York City’s Mutual Radio Network affiliate.  Bob & Ray, WABC legend Herb Oscar Anderson and Jim Ameche were some of WHN’s on-air personalities.

The station picked up New York Mets baseball and launched Marv Albert’s sportscasting career.

WHN’s ratings were low and skewed toward older demographics.  After researching the market, Storer converted WHN to a country format in 1973.  Here’s an aircheck from WHN’s Bruce Bradley in 1973:

Mutual bought WHN in the late 1980s.  An FM competitor flipped to country from 1980 to 1984, hurting WHN’s ratings.

Doubleday Broadcasting bought WHN in 1985, and Emmis Communications bought it the following year. Emmis added sports talk in the evenings, keeping the country format during the day.

In 1987, Emmis announced WHN would become all-sports WFAN.  When Emmis purchased NBC’s New York radio stations in 1988, the company moved WFAN from 1050 AM to 660 AM, formerly occupied WNBC.

Spanish Broadcasting System purchased the 1050 AM license and became WUKQ, a Spanish Adult Contemporary station.  Spanish Broadcasting System wanted to swap 1050 AM with cash for the Jewish Daily Forward’s FM station, WEVD 97.9.  The deal was approved in 1989.

WEVD’s call letters and programming moved to the 1050 AM frequency, as covered in an earlier post on this blog.  The station mainly carried a brokered format of ethnic programs, talk shows and foreign-language programming.  By the mid-1990s, WEVD moved to a left-leaning news-talk format.

An agreement with ABC/Disney brought ESPN’s “The Dan Patrick Show” to WEVD in 2001.  A public campaign to save the old format failed.  On the final day of the news/talk format, soon-to-be-terminated staffers occasionally interrupted portions of the brokered programming with sometimes-profane audio clips. On September 2, 2001, WEVD became “1050 ESPN Radio.”

The call letters were changed to WEPN in 2003 after Disney bought the station, competing directly with WFAN’s all-sports format.  In 2012, WEPN’s programming moved to 98.7 FM.  ESPN Deportes later moved the 1050 AM frequency.

In 1939...future superstar Frank Sinatra made his first studio recording at Harry Smith’s studio in New York, singing the #1 song of the day, ‘Our Love’, backed by his friend Frank Mane and some musicians put together for the session.

In 1940...the daytime drama “Light of the World” was first heard on NBC radio. The soap opera was unique in that it featured the Bible as the center of the story line.

In 1965...Chicago Cubs broadcaster Jack Quinlan was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 38.

In 1974...Jim Kerr started at WPLJ NYC

Originally from Detroit by way of Chicago, Kerr already had a half-dozen radio years under his belt when he arrived at ’PLJ.

After 15 years there he moved to WPIX, WYNY, WMXV, WQCD and Y107, before settling into his current gig with long-time sidekick Shelli Sonstein at WAXQ (104.3 FM) in 2003.

In 1978..."Night Fever" by the Bee Gees, from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, peaked at Number One on the pop singles chart and stayed there for eight weeks.

In 1985...ABC announced plans to merge with Capital Cities Communications to form Cap Cities/ABC, the 11th largest corporate merger in U.S. history.

In 1991...Radio/TV personality, Jack McCoy, died at age 72.

In 2005...Pat Cashman left KJR-FM, Seattle, after 12 years doing morning drive.

Following his graduation from the University of Portland (Oregon), he worked at various small radio stations in Oregon. But after moving to Eugene, Oregon, he left full-time radio work to take a job at a TV station as a commercial writer and director. For a period of time, he even served as the station’s weathercaster, though his humorous bits often took more time than the weather during this brief stint.

Pat Cashman
He moved on to another TV station in Boise, Idaho – this time serving as production director. While there, he originated a legendary Saturday late night TV show called “Peculiar Playhouse.”

Pat moved to Seattle in the early 1980’s, hired as a commercial writer and producer by KING TV. In 1984, he became the station’s first-ever creative director – writing, producing and directing a vast number of award-winning promos and commercials. He was honored with Clios, Addys and Tellys

In 1991, Pat returned to his radio roots on 1090 AM Seattle). He hosted his morning drive time news/comedy show until 1994, when KING Radio was purchased by Bonneville Broadcasting – and moved Pat to become the morning host on another station (then KIRO FM, later called “The Buzz”).

In 1999 Fisher Broadcasting – KOMO Radio hired Pat to immediate strong ratings. When KOMO switched to an all-news, no-Pat format, he left the building… and concentrated on his freelance work.

In the summer of 2003 Pat joined the legendary KJR FM 95.7 as host of the morning show from 6 to 10 AM.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Denver Radio: Guy David To Join KYGO For Mornings

Guy David
Bonneville International’s KYGO 98.5 FM Denver/Boulder welcomes Guy David to Co-Host mornings with Tracy Dixon 5am-9am.

 “I am beyond excited to work with Tracy,” David said. “It’s an absolute honor to be at KYGO and Bonneville. I look forward to getting to know the community and calling Denver home for many years to come.”

“I have been searching for a morning host since I arrived in October” said KYGO Program Director John E. Kage. “Guy really jumped out of the speakers. He’s is a great storyteller, naturally funny, and engaging. With all of the great morning radio in Denver, I feel like this immediately gives us what we need; A unique sound with two talented and compelling hosts on KYGO. I love Guys’ story. I feel lucky to have found someone willing to move from Australia, then leave L.A. to chase his morning radio dream in a small town in Wisconsin.”

KYGO 98.5 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
David joins KYGO from WFON K107.1 FM Fond du Lac, Wi., and will begin his Co-Host duties with Tracy Dixon in early April.

Cumulus CEO Stresses Turnaround Progress

During Thursday's Earnings Call with analysts, CEO Mary Berner recalled that when she joined the company, it was clear it faced substantial company specific challenges including rapidly deteriorating operating and financial performance and a looming debt overhang.

Berner stated "With no immediate pressure to deal with the balance sheet at that time, we've worked quickly to identify and prioritize the efforts necessary to rebuild Cumulus into an organization that could deliver sustainable, profitable and industry-leading performance. And in order to achieve this objective, we laid out three foundational priorities growing ratings, different culture and enhancing the basic blocking and tackling of the day-to-day operations."

Call Highlights:
  • "In 2016, our focus on these fundamental priorities produced as I've said significant and measurable progress and more recently as a result of this progress, as expected we have began to see some positive financial indicators. Starting with rating, by any measure our rebound has been tremendous marked by reversal of four straight years of ratings decline. Our PPM markets which generate about half of our Station Group revenue have outperformed the industry for 15 straight months, with almost all of those months showing year-over-year double digit growth.
  • "Our diary markets representing the other half of our Station Group revenue naturally take longer to turnaround given the measurement methodology; however, those markets are now showing rating vitality. In the recently released fall ratings book, Cumulus diary markets grew in both absolute ratings and ratings share. In fact, as we move into the second quarter of 2017, for the first time in five years, the entire platform will be selling off improved ratings.
  • Our most recent employee survey completed in November maintains the dramatic improvements in sentiment we've been seeing all a year and the nearly universal embrace of our new cultural dynamics. 97% of employees say they plan to be with the Company in 12 months, 93% of employee say they believe Cumulus is changing for the better, 93% are proud to work at Cumulus, and 85% of employees are excited for the future.
  • "Our total turnover is down from a high point in the upper 40s during 2015 to 24% now, with that performance beating our internal goals in less than a year. Full-time turnover is down from 30% in 2015 to 20% in 2016, and voluntary sales turnover is down from 36% to 23%. These are strong numbers which are not only significant, not only right, but a key factor and our ability to deliver against our third foundational priority, improving execution in every job and by every employee.
In prior earnings calls, she noted that it takes some time for ratings improvements to be reflected in revenue because you not only have to generate the increase in ratings, you have to do so consistently over a period of time, have those ratings published and then go-to-market with those published ratings.

According to Berner:
  • "Over the last 12-months as our rating have improved, we have seen them flow into revenue in a fashion that reflects that lag. Miller Kaplan measures revenue market share across ad channels in 53 of our markets, covering over 80% of our Station Group revenue. In those markets, a national spot using the first convert, the first channels convert operating improvement. Our ratings gains have helped us deliver revenue share growth in 11 of the last 12-months.
  • "On the local side where ratings convert somewhat more slowly, we have now seen revenue share growth for six consecutive months through February 2017. And as we've moved to refine our digital strategy which I'll speak more about shortly, we've been able to deliver digital revenue shared gains in 11 of the last 12 months as well. In total, across all Station Group ad channels, total revenue share has grown in eight of the last 12-months as well as in both the fourth quarter and for the full-year 2016.
As for 2017,  Berner assured those on the call that Cumulus would "continue to build our sales execution program to expand the revenue impact of our ratings increases. These efforts generally fall into one of five categories, talent, training and tools, sales analytics, platform growth, products and tactics, and digital."

iHM Downgraded Over New Debt Exchange Effort

Fitch Ratings on Thursday downgraded much of iHeartMedia Inc.’s debt after the company offered a sweeping new debt exchange program aimed at extending bond maturities dates and staving off bankruptcy.

Fitch Ratings bumped the San Antonio-based radio and billboard giant’s debts down a notch to “C” from “CC.” Both ratings are considered junk bond ratings, reports the San Antonio News-Express.

As an incentive for the new debt exchange offer, iHeartMedia is offering debt holders up to 49 percent of the equity in its international billboard subsidiary, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc., according to iHeartMedia’s debt exchange offer announcement. The billboard subsidiary is considered the healthiest part of iHeartMedia.

The remaining 51 percent would be spun off into a separate company owned by iHeartMedia shareholders, including the two Boston-based private-equity firms that acquired 70 percent of the former Clear Channel Communications company in 2008. Those companies are Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

If the offer doesn’t draw enough interest from debt holders, the radio-and-billboard company would remain consolidated and intact.

The board would separate the radio and billboard sides of the company it it gets enough interest, but the level of participation necessary remains unclear, Fitch Ratings analyst Patrice Cucinello said Thursday. iHeartMedia has not announced a percentage of participation needed to spin off the billboard subsidiary.

iHeartMedia is offering to exchange up to $14.6 billion of the $20.37 billion in debt the company held as of Dec. 31. Much of the total debt stems from the 2008 leveraged buyout of the company by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

“Fitch views the proposed exchange offers as distressed debt exchanges given our belief that the present capital structure is unsustainable and that the exchange offers are being conducted largely to avoid bankruptcy,” the Fitch Ratings report stated.

Portland-Seattle Radio: Geoff Owens Named PD At KXJM, KUBE

Geoff Owens
iHeartMedia has announced  that Geoff “G-Off” Owens has been named Program Director for KXJM JAM’N 107.5 FM in Portland and KUBE 104.9 FM in Seattle/Tacoma, effective immediately.

Owens will also serve as afternoon drive host for both stations, a position he’s held at JAM’N 107.5 since 2012. JAM’N 107.5 and KUBE 104.9 have a strong cross-platform presence and broadcast several popular personalities including Big Boy’s Neighborhood, Nina Chantele, Kristina Kage, Tra’Renee, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Deuce.

Owens will be responsible for day to-day programming operations for JAM’N 107.5 and KUBE 104.9. He will work closely with on-air personalities and sales to oversee the on-air content, digital footprint and music programming for both stations.

“Nobody knows the JAM’N 107.5 brand, core audience and Portland community better than Geoff,” said Tim Herbster, Regional Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia’s Pacific Northwest Region. “It’s always special when you can watch a hard-working employee’s career grow from intern to Program Director. Geoff’s on-air skills and programming vision will also be extremely beneficial as we continue to grow KUBE 104.9 in Seattle/Tacoma.”

KUBE 104.9 FM (17 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Owens is a well-known local media personality who has worked at JAM’N 107.5 since 2004, when he joined the radio station as an intern. He was promoted to night on-air host in 2010 and moved to host afternoons at the station in 2012. In 2016, Owens was named Assistant Program Director and Music Director for JAM’N 107.5.

KXJM 107.5 FM (71 Kw)
“I’m looking forward to further serving our Portland community and listeners while working with the legendary KUBE 104.9 and extending my love affair with the Northwest into the Seattle/Tacoma market,” said Owens. “Thank you to the iHeartMedia Pacific Northwest team for their continued trust in me and the opportunities to grow my career. It’s going to be an exciting 2017.”

iHM Launches SmartAudio Digital Sales Tool

iHeartMedia introduced its SmartAudio digital data advertising product, an added feature of its groundbreaking programmatic solution, at its “SoundFront” advertising industry event.

SmartAudio leverages the power of iHeartMedia’s programmatic solution to help advertisers evaluate, plan and buy broadcast radio, enabling them to build innovative campaigns that target key audience segments.

SmartAudio provides brands with even more effective ways to reach their audiences. With SmartAudio, iHeartMedia can now mine its unparalleled digital data from more than 95 million registered iHeartRadio listeners, along with leading second and third-party digital data, consumer and behavioral resources and social networks, to create robust audience segment profiles –including Millennials, auto intenders, mothers and more.

Tim Castelli
Advertisers will be able to utilize these enhanced profiles to select the best broadcasting schedules and methods to reach their targeted consumers. By utilizing the product’s capabilities, brands will receive the massive scale of broadcast radio and the targetability of digital. iHeartMedia has already developed more than 700 SmartAudio audience segment profiles, and will continue to create more based on advertisers’ requests.

“Broadcast radio has the unparalleled advantage of real-time connection with consumers, giving the ability for advertisers to reach enhanced audiences at scale, and even tailor their creative messages for real-time,” said Tim Castelli, President of National Sales, Marketing and Partnerships for iHeartMedia.

“We’ve been testing SmartAudio with some of the top brands and we’re already seeing additional impact for those using it. They’re able to leverage the product’s flexibility to decide which specific ad to run based on something as simple as whether the local sports team won or lost last night’s game.”

SmartAudio is available now to all advertisers who want to utilize the power of broadcast radio to develop highly targeted campaigns that leverage the rich data sets only available via SoundPoint’s technology and analytics.

Maddow's Tax Return Hour Was Ratings Winner

Tuesday evening’s episode of The Rachel Maddow Show, in which the eponymous host and Daily Beast contributor David Cay Johnston revealed President Trump’s 2005 tax returns, scored huge ratings, beating out all other cable-news competitors, according to The Daily Beast.

According to Nielsen data, the show raked in 4.1 million viewers, beating out Fox News (which normally wins the cable-news set for the 9 p.m. hour), CNN, and the rest of all cable television.

Additionally, that viewership figure was enough to beat out even ABC and Fox broadcast-network ratings during the 9 p.m. ET hour. This was the highest-rated program ever for The Rachel Maddow Show in both total viewership and the key ages 25-54 demographic.

Maddow teased this particular evening’s show with a tweet—“BREAKING: We’ve got Trump’s tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC. (Seriously.)”—and was widely mocked for how long it took the host to finally reveal what many ultimately viewed to be a lackluster scoop on the president’s old tax returns.

President Donald Trump blasted as “fake news” Maddow’s program in which she got her hands on two pages of his 2005 IRS 1040 form.

Deadline reports Trump wasn’t the only critic of the broadcast, which was nicked by some viewers and TV-industry navel lint gazers as being a whole lot of buildup – she’d kept viewers panting for about 24 minutes before finally getting down to the info she’d obtained – for very little bang.

Among the Twitter complaints by viewers as they foamed over: “More than a million people have signed a petition demanding that Rachel Maddow release Trump’s tax returns” and “Why won’t Rachel Maddow release Donald Trump’s tax returns? What’s she hiding”  – and, our personal fave, “This is SNL’s worst cold open.”

Fake News? Sean Hannity Once Pointed Gun At Juan Williams

Fox News host Sean Hannity once aimed a gun at political analyst Juan Williams following an on-air debate, CNN reported on Thursday night.

According to CNN, who cited three unnamed sources, Hannity allegedly turned on the weapon's laser sight "causing a red dot to bob around on Williams' body." The sources said that the off-camera incident in October "clearly disturbed" Williams and others present, though they added Hannity "was showing off," the CNN report adds.

Williams, who serves as an analyst for Fox News, downplayed the incident in a statement on Twitter.

According to USAToday, Hannity's colleagues reportedly brought the gun incident to the attention of Fox News executives, CNN reported, though it remains unclear "whether anything came of it." The sources also claim it went to longtime executive and Fox News co-president Bill Shine, a friend of Hannity and a former show producer.

"Sean Hannity has been trained in firearm safety since he was 11 years old and has a license to carry a gun in five states, including New York," Fox News told CNN in a statement. "The situation was thoroughly investigated and it was found that no one was put in any danger," the Fox News spokesperson added, saying the incident was referred to the network's legal and human resources departments.

The Fox News spokesperson also provided a statement from Hannity, CNN reported.

Hannity took to Twitter late Thursday night to deny the report:

Proposed Budget Cuts Worries Non-Coms

Proposed cuts to federal funding of public broadcasting conjure up images of Big Bird getting pink slipped from “Sesame Street.”

But the impact of the cuts would be a lot closer to home. President Trump’s budget blueprint, released Thursday, would eliminate support for the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio.

The LA Times reports about half of the $445 million provided every year to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is distributed among 350 member stations to fund the operations of local PBS stations. Many of those outlets provide service to smaller communities who depend on free over-the-air television.

“If this stays at zero funding this is like the tsunami crashing onshore and it’s the little houses will get washed away first because they are totally dependent upon on it,” said Neal Shapiro, president of WNET, the New York flagship station of the Public Broadcasting System. “But then the big houses will start falling too because we are an interconnected system.”

If local TV stations can’t survive, that would ultimately hurt the larger outlets that create much of the programming such as “Nova” from WGBH in Boston and “PBS Newshour” from WETA in Washington that is distributed across the country.

For public radio, federal cuts would hurt the effort by stations to deliver local news — a job that many commercial radio outlets have abandoned due to consolidation and cost-cutting to service debt of their parent companies.

Smaller public radio stations will be at risk of going off the air. Stations in Indiana, Texas, Alaska and other areas receive as much as 30% to 40% of their budget from the public funds because they don’t have access to big sponsors who can underwrite their programs.

PBS recently conducted a study that showed bi-partisan support for government funding of public broadcasting. The study found that 70% of those who voted for Trump say they would tell their elected representatives to find other places in the budget to save money if asked their opinion about eliminating federal funding for public television.

The number was even higher among voters in states that went from Democratic to Republican in the 2016 election, with 85% of voters wanting savings to come from somewhere other than public television.

Public stations are likely to hammer home those points to members of Congress who will have to go home and face the voters affected by the cuts.

Subway Cries Fowl, Sues CBC Over Chicken Challenge

The fast-food chain has slapped the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. with a lawsuit over an TV expose last month that claimed its chicken was only about 50-percent poultry and the rest of it soybeans, The NYPost has learned.

Subway’s is claiming $210 million in damages in the legal flap, blasting the soy-filler allegations from news show CBC Marketplace as “defamatory and absolutely false,” a Subway spokesman told The Post.

“Despite our efforts to share the facts with the CBC about the high quality of our chicken and to express our strong objections to their inaccurate claims, they have not issued a retraction, as we requested,” Subway said in a Thursday statement.

“Serving high-quality food to our customers is our top priority, and we are committed to seeing that this factually incorrect report is corrected.”

CBC Marketplace aired a segment on Feb. 24 called “The Chicken Challenge” that found Subway’s oven-roasted chicken contains a mere 53.6 percent chicken, according to DNA tests, and its chicken strips contain about 42.8 percent chicken.

The DNA tests, conducted by Trent University in Ontario, found that rival fast-food sandwiches contained far more real poultry, according to CBC. The Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich scored 88.5 percent, and Tim Horton’s Chipotle Grilled Chicken Wrap had 86.5 percent, according to the tests.

Larry King Distills Thousands of Interviews Into A Few Life Lessons

By Chris Taylor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - For a complete history of broadcasting, you do not need to go through archives or visit a museum. Just have a chat with Larry King.

The iconic broadcaster, now 83, is coming up on 60 years in the business, having first started on radio on May 1, 1957. Along the way he has interviewed everyone from Eleanor Roosevelt (yes, really) to the current president (more than 100 times, he estimates).

For the latest in Reuters' "Life Lessons" series, King - still working constantly, with his show "Larry King Now" on Ora TV - sat down to distill those tens of thousands of interviews into a few words of wisdom.

Q: Growing up in Brooklyn, who were your biggest influences?

A: My father was a big influence, but he passed away when I was nine. That was a big blow, and I took it very badly. I almost felt like he left me. But I took that emotion and used it to forge ahead. I eventually left Brooklyn at 23, but Brooklyn never left me. It will always be a part of me.

Q: Your dad died when you were 9 years old. What was the money situation in your home in Brooklyn after that?

A: We were on 'relief' for a couple of years, which these days is called welfare. My mother couldn't work, because she was taking care of me and my younger brother. They would give us a stipend of $34 a week, and then inspectors would come to the house and look through the fridge, and ask why she was buying certain cuts of meat.

New York City even bought me my first pair of glasses, because I couldn't see the blackboard at school. That's pretty poor. I always had less money than my friends, and was the only one of my friends without a father. I used all that stuff to propel me forward. But I never forgot where I came from.

Q: What was your first job?

A: It was for a grocer on 86th St. in Brooklyn. I had a little cage on the front of my bike, and I would put groceries in it and deliver them. That was the first time I ever saw a $20 bill, honest to God.

Q: Once you started having success on the radio, how did you deal with that wealth?

A: Well, I didn't make any money for quite a while. At the start, with a small Miami radio station, I was only making $50 a week. At the end of my time there I was doing OK, with radio and TV shows and a newspaper column. But it was only after Ted Turner hired me for CNN in 1985 that I started to make real money.

Q: And how did you handle that?

A: I have never seen one of my own paychecks, actually. I have it all sent to my money managers in Boston. They handle my mortgage, my credit cards, everything. I've been with them since 1978, and they stay on top of me. I see monthly statements, but I'm not good with business or finances. That's not my facility.

Q: What charitable causes have you focused on, with your time and money?

A: In 1987 I had a heart attack. (Former Surgeon-General) C. Everett Koop told me he didn't like the way I looked, and I had a multiple bypass soon after. So now I have a cardiac foundation, and we try to save a heart a day. My father died of a heart attack at 46, so I outlived him, and it is all thanks to modern medicine.

Q: Any big mistakes in life that you would like to have back?

A: If I could have one day back. I would go back to when I was 17, the day I started smoking. By the time I had my heart attack, I was smoking three packs a day. I didn't think I could ever stop.

Q: You have a few kids, so what lessons about life do you try to pass along to them?

A: I just tell them to be true to themselves. As Arthur Godfrey once told me, the secret to life is to be yourself. People might like it, or they might not, but you can't force them. There is no point in trying to be someone else.

Q: What is the one interview that got away?

A: J.D. Salinger. Apparently he watched my show, and was very familiar with it. His wife said he was seriously considering it. That would have been the greatest get of all time.

NWS Accused Of Knowingly Misleading Public

The National Weather Service is denying accusations it knowingly misled the public with its blizzard forecasts this week. On Monday, before the storm hit the East Coast, the agency forecasted up to a foot and a half of snow in New York, but only 7.6 inches fell. In Boston up to a foot was predicted but only 6.6 inches hit the ground. In the nation’s capital, up to eight inches were forecasted, and only about three inches actually fell.

The National Weather Service said it kept predictions high because it worried “a dramatic change in the snowfall forecast could produce an unwelcome result of less readiness and vigilance.”

CBS reports the blizzard did dump massive amounts of snow in many areas in central New York. Binghamton received a record 31 inches of snow. But along the coast, where many of the big population centers are, it was less of a snowmaker than feared, leading some to ask -- what happened with the forecasts.

“We’ve heard reports from the National Weather Service of as much as two inches to four inches per hour,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“It is going to snow hard, and it’s going to snow quickly,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said.

But that day, some of the agency’s models were already changing. It appeared crippling amounts of snow could miss large cities like New York and Philadelphia. However, the weather service didn’t downgrade its forecasts until early Tuesday morning, when the storm was already underway.

David Robinson, the New Jersey state climatologist, said the fluctuating models posed a dilemma for the weather service.  “I think there’s some room for discussion whether they should have been a little more forthright,” Robinson said.

New York City virtually shut down after some forecasts called for as much as two feet of snow. The storm dumped only about eight inches. The lost business and productivity in the northeast cost $2 billion to $3 billion, according to Moody’s Analytics.

R.I.P.: Radio Personality Kerry Gray

Kerry Gray
Former radio personality Kerry Gray has died of cancer at the age of 50.

Gray — co-host of the popular Ben and Kerry morning show on CJXY Y108 in Hamilton, ON died in a hospice facility in Red Wing, MN. His career also included stops at WEQX Manchester/AlbanyNY, KBCO Denver and WEDG 103.3 FM in Buffalo.

"He went peacefully in his sleep," according to his former Hamilton broadcast partner Ben McVie. "He had been battling brain cancer for about a year."

Gray, a native of Dearborn, Mich., recently settled in Minnesota working at Red Wing radio station KWNG 105.9 FM while being treated nearby at the world famous Mayo Clinic.

McVie, who still works the morning show at Y108, said he last visited Gray about four weeks ago.

"I went down to see him and, unfortunately, the day I got there he took a turn for the worse," McVie said.