Saturday, April 1, 2017

April 2 Radio History

In 1872…Portrait painter-turned-inventor Samuel Morse, who contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system and was co-developer of the Morse code, died at the age of 80.

Gertrude Warner
In 1917...Radio actress Gertrude Warner was born in Hartford Conn. She was known as the third busiest radio actor and one of the ‘queens of the daytime’ during the OTR era.  She played such well known characters as Della Street on the daytime Perry Mason, “the lovely Margot Lane” on The Shadow, and the title character on the soap Joyce Jordan, M.D.    Her radio career spanned 28 years and well over 4,000 performances. She succumbed to cancer Sept. 26 1986 at age 69.

Jack Webb
In 1920...the creator & star of Dragnet Jack Webb was born in Santa Monica.  

Before Dragnet hit the bigtime on NBC Radio in 1949 he had already scored two west coast cult hits with Pat Novak for Hire, & Johnny Madero Pier 23.  Dragnet came to TV in ’51 while continuing on radio until ’56.  Pete Kelly’s Blues, featuring the jazz he loved so much, was an unsuccessful Webb radio series in ’51, a moderate film success in ’55, and a so-so TV series in ’59.  He scored one more TV hit, producing Emergency (1972-77.)  

Webb died of a heart attack Dec 23, 1982 at age 62.

In 1947...The Big Story (dramas based on newspaper reporting) was first heard on NBC radio. It stayed on the air for eight years.

In 1964...As popular music’s most resounding commercial success, the Beatles have sold more than 2.3+ billion albums, while earning six diamond, 24 multi-platinum, 39 platinum and 45 gold albums in the United States alone. It is a remarkable sales record, by any measure, although their most historic, chart-making moment is easily the first week of April 1964, when the band held the top five positions on the vaunted Billboard charts, writes Kenneth Womack at Penn State University.

As the April 4, 1964, issue of Billboard magazine demonstrates, the Beatles were simply dominating the American music scene. And during that unforgettable week, their music occupied the top five chart positions — the only time in pop-music history that a single act has accomplished such a feat. With “Can’t Buy Me Love” holding down the top slot, “Twist and Shout” was second and “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me” rounded out the top five.

Even more incredibly, the Beatles held seven additional positions on Billboard’s Hot 100, including “I Saw Her Standing There” at No. 31, “From Me to You” at No. 41, “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” at No. 46, “All My Loving” at No. 58, “You Can’t Do That” at No. 65, “Roll Over Beethoven” at No. 68 and “Thank You Girl” at No. 79. As if to underscore the awe-inspiring power of Beatlemania during that fabled period, two Beatles tribute acts clocked hits that very same week, including the Carefrees’ “We Love You Beatles” at No. 42 and the Four Preps’ “A Letter to the Beatles” at No. 85. For April 11, 1964, issue of Billboard, the Beatles added two more hits to the Hot 100, including “There’s a Place” at No. 74 and “Love Me Do” at No. 81, giving them a total of 14 hits songs on the Billboard charts at the very same time.

In 1973...the CBS Radio Network began to offer top of the hour newscast 24-hours-a-day.

During the 1970s and into the mid-1980s, the CBS Radio owned-and-operated news stations had a superior style and sound: tight and cohesive production, lively presenters, excellent engineering and outstanding "audio logos" from a company called Identitones. This compilation contains a few stagers and sounders from the heyday of the CBS Radio local news format.

In partnership with CBS Laboratories, CBS Radio developed a unique system to advise affiliates of news bulletins. When activated from network headquarters, CBS NetAlert transmitted coded information over the network lines to each station to communicate anything from the start of a special feed to a national emergency. The system had the capability to override local programming for a special report from CBS News. A NetAlert receiver is seen toward the end of this video.

In 1997...FCC auctioned first S-DARS licenses to CD Radio and American Mobile Radio Corp.

In 2010...Joey Reynolds does last show at WOR 710 AM

Major Internet Providers Will Not Sell Browsing Histories

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Comcast Corp, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc said Friday they would not sell customers’ individual internet browsing information, days after the U.S. Congress approved legislation reversing Obama administration era internet privacy rules.

The bill would repeal regulations adopted in October by the Federal Communications Commission under former President Barack Obama requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers' privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc's Google or Facebook Inc.

The easing of restrictions has sparked growing anger on social media sites.

"We do not sell our broadband customers’ individual web browsing history. We did not do it before the FCC’s rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so," said Gerard Lewis, Comcast's chief privacy officer.

He added Comcast is revising its privacy policy to make more clear that "we do not sell our customers’ individual web browsing information to third parties."

Verizon does not sell personal web browsing histories and has no plans to do so in the future, said spokesman Richard Young.

Verizon privacy officer Karen Zacharia said in a blog post Friday the company has two programs that use customer browsing data. One allows marketers to access "de-identified information to determine which customers fit into groups that advertisers are trying to reach" while the other "provides aggregate insights that might be useful for advertisers and other businesses."

Republicans in Congress Tuesday narrowly passed the repeal of the rules with no Democratic support and over the objections of privacy advocates.

The vote was a win for internet providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast and Verizon. Websites are governed by a less restrictive set of privacy rules.

The White House said Wednesday that President Donald Trump plans to sign the repeal of the rules, which had not taken effect.

Under the rules, internet providers would have needed to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children's information and web browsing history for advertising and marketing. Websites do not need the same affirmative consent.

Some in Congress suggested providers would begin selling personal data to the highest bidder, while others vowed to raise money to buy browsing histories of Republicans.

AT&T says in its privacy statement it "will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period." In a blog post Friday, AT&T said it would not change those policies after Trump signs the repeal.

Websites and internet service providers do use and sell aggregated customer data to advertisers. Republicans say the rules unfairly would give websites the ability to harvest more data than internet providers.

Trade group USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter said in an op-ed Friday for website Axios that individual "browser history is already being aggregated and sold to advertising networks - by virtually every site you visit on the internet."

This week, 46 Senate Democrats urged Trump not to sign the bill, arguing most Americans "believe that their private information should be just that."

Viacom Looks To Launch Paramount Network

By Tim Baysinger

(Reuters) - When Viacom Inc’s Spike TV rebrands as the Paramount Network in early 2018, the struggling media company hopes to position itself as a challenger to top-rated U.S. cable networks like Comcast Corp’s USA and Time Warner Inc’s TNT with shows that have the caliber of HBO.

Viacom is heading into the upfront, when U.S. TV channels sell the bulk of their advertising inventory for the next year, seeking to turn around its fortunes under new CEO Bob Bakish. The Paramount Network will be a major part of their pitch to advertisers when Viacom begins meetings with agencies in mid-April.

On Thursday, Viacom unveiled the first look of the new network since it announced the rebrand.

Since launching in 2003 as the first network exclusively for men, Spike had been a hard sell for Viacom because the network failed to meaningfully catch on with that demographic. What Viacom has been missing is a big, broad cable network like a USA, which has been the most-watched entertainment-based U.S. cable channel the last 11 years. It hopes to fill that void with Paramount Network.

“The level I would say of what we want to do is more of the quality of an HBO,” Kevin Kay, president of the Paramount Network, told Reuters. However, since HBO is a subscription-based channel that doesn't have to cater toward advertisers, Kay has a tightrope to walk.

“I don’t want to be super dark and not funny," said Kay.

One former ad sales rep for Viacom noted that its lack of long-form dramas, a staple on most other major networks, was frustrating since it was something potential advertisers wanted.

“They’ve been too niche in their youth focus… they’ve never had a USA," said Rino Scanzoni, executive chairman and CEO of ad  agencies Midas Exchange and Modi Media owned by WPP PLC, who noted that Viacom was abandoned by younger audiences migrating toward digital.

Paramount plans to launch at least six new series next year, and three were announced Thursday. "American Woman" is based loosely on the life of reality TV star Kyle Richards; an hour-long adaptation of the 1988 film "Heathers" and a six-part drama miniseries "Waco."

The new channel will also mine film studio Paramount Pictures, which is undertaking its own turnaround under new chief Jim Gianopulos, for movies to turn into TV shows. An adaptation of “First Wives Club” is in development.

With shows like “Lip Sync Battle,” which was renewed for a fourth season, Spike had already pushed away from its original branding, but Kay added that the name Spike was still a barrier for female viewers. “The switch to Paramount solves that problem.”

As advertisers wade through the clutter of the “Peak TV” era, buyers are paying more attention to the overall strategy and brand of a network instead of trying to find the next hit TV show.

“Even with the big networks like the USA, TNTs and TBS’s of the world, they’re still all about something,” said Amy Ginsberg, Chief Investment Officer at Horizon Media’s Canvas Worldwide, on the need for Paramount shows to have a theme that identifies them with the network.

ESPN Host Wishes Mike&Mike Split Was Handled Differently

Mike Greenberg hasn’t given much thought to life after “Mike & Mike,” but he at least wishes the end of an era had been on their terms.

According to the NY Post, the veteran ESPN personality admitted — not without despair — the reports detailing his and Mike Golic’s breakup are true, a corporate decision that would end the 18-year radio and TV partnership. As much as Greenberg is looking forward to returning to his native New York City and launching his own morning show, the 49-year-old said the way the split was handled hasn’t sat well with him — Sports Illustrated broke the news of their reassignments in mid-January.

“My one regret in all this is if we do break up — and that’s certainly a very real possibility, I’m not denying that at all — I would have really liked the first place our audience heard about that to have been from us,” Greenberg said in an interview with Sporting News published Friday. “Obviously, that’s not a possibility anymore.”

Whenever the Mikes’ divorce becomes reality, neither expects to be included in ESPN’s sweeping layoffs, which have some on-air talent holding their breath.

“Whatever it is that’s going on, I’m not being consulted about it and no one is talking to me about it,” said Greenberg, who joined up in Bristol in 1996. “I honestly don’t know what’s happening. I’ve worked at ESPN for 20 years. I love that place. … If that sort of thing is going to go on, it will make me feel terrible.”

So far, ESPN has refused to comment.

The move to put Greenberg in his own morning show would come as ESPN is planning to undergo another round of layoffs, which will spare behind-the-scenes staff but includes many hosts and reporters whom fans know and recognize.

During an appearance on Richard Deitch’s Sports Illustrated podcast, ESPN expert and bestselling author Jim Miller predicted the network will shed between 40 and 50 on-air personalities during this round of cutbacks.

NYC Radio: MLB Mets Radio Producer Is 'Iron Man'

Chris Majkowski
There is a member of the Mets organization who’s amassed a longer streak than The Iron Man himself.

More than 1,000 games longer, and counting, according to the NY Daily News.

His name is Chris Majkowski, and he’s been the man behind the scenes of the Mets’ WOR 710 AM radio broadcast for nearly 25 years. Entering the 2017 season, Majkowski, a producer and radio engineer, has worked 3,759 consecutive games. Cal Ripken Jr.’s MLB-record streak ended at 2,632 games.

The last time Majkowski missed a contest was Aug. 7, 1993. That day, the Mets played a double-header against the Pirates, and Majkowski was forced to attend his oldest sister’s wedding — though he still arrived at Shea Stadium in the morning to help set up the equipment. “There was no wiggle room there with Mom,” he said.

Since then, Majkowski has attended and worked every Mets game, both at home and on the road, producing for the likes of broadcasters Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen and Howie Rose. He’s humble about his achievement. “I’m just showing up for work,” he said. “It’s not rocket science.” But each day of his job now comes with added motivation: Miss a game, and The Streak dies.

“There have been some things with family functions or other things where I’d be like, ‘Boy, you know, I would really like to go there,’” Majkowski told the Daily News. “But I got 20 years invested in this thing, and now it’s getting toward (25). Now I’ve got these years, and what am I going to do?”

RTDNA Launches Effort To Protect First Amendment Freedom

Since its founding in 1946, RTDNA has supported and defended the First Amendment. In today's climate of distrust and amid growing attacks on journalism, RTDNA is renewing its commitment to speak out for freedom of the press by establishing the Voice of the First Amendment Task Force.

In a website posting, the organization stated the goals of the task force include not only reacting to threats to First Amendment Freedoms, but proactively supporting journalists and educating the public about the importance of a free press to our democracy.

"If the public comes to believe the news media are the 'enemy of the people,' one of our country's most fundamental rights could be lost," said Task Force Co-Chair Sheryl Worsley. "Freedom of the press helps ensure a check on government and helps America stay free."

To launch the effort, members of the task force will be meeting with leaders from radio and television station groups across the country at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas in April. They will discuss recent threats to press freedom and begin to develop a strategic plan to protect and promote the vital role of journalism.

"It has become politically fashionable to bash the press, and we believe that should not go unanswered," said Task Force Co-Chair Scott Libin. "We intend to demonstrate the indispensable role of journalism in a democracy."

Station groups interested in participating call RTDNA Executive Director Mike Cavender at 770-823-1760.

Matt Drudge Joins Michael Savage To Celebrate Birthday

Matt Drudge, the editor of the highly influential Drudge Report, visited Michael Savage’s San Francisco-based national radio show in-studio Friday to celebrate the talk host’s 75th birthday.

After sharing Chinese food with Savage, Drudge got behind “The Savage Nation” mic and took a couple of calls, declaring, “We’re trying to save this young Trump administration.”

“I do think there is a crisis, on many fronts,” Drudge said. “Is some of it of his own making?”

According to, Drudge said he suspects Congress is deliberately sabotaging Trump.

Drudge and Savage talked about their more than two decades in media, with Drudge launching his website 22 years ago and Savage one year earlier.

“It’s been a heckuva a ride. It just feels like yesterday. It just feels like a blink of an eye,” Drudge said.

Drudge noted Savage began his radio career at the age of 52.

“For everybody out there who is in midlife, look at what this man did with his 50s and 60s,” Drudge said.

Layoffs Hit NY1

Change landed hard on NY1 and its viewers this week, in the form of layoffs for about a dozen employees, part of a shift in direction that employees said has been underway since Charter took over in May 2016.

According to the NY Times, many of the victims were recognizable and beloved on-air figures: Shelley Goldberg, the station’s parenting correspondent; Neil Rosen, the entertainment critic with the Big Apple-based rating system; and a travel correspondent, Valarie D’Elia, among others. The cuts — which also included some of the news channel’s programming — did not appear to involve anyone from the station’s hard news operation.

“It’s almost like a second New York family: the people I relied on to get through the day,” said Darice Moyre, shaking her head, in a coffee shop in Astoria, Queens. She said she was familiar with many of the people who had been let go.

“To me it just looked as if they wanted to put their efforts elsewhere,” said Ms. D’Elia, who said she was not surprised by the changes. Still, she said, it remains to be seen what will happen when “a lot of these people who people loved aren’t on the air.”

Whereas the quirky station, with programs like “The Call,” where any New Yorker could call with a gripe, had operated with the understanding that its value was derived not from ratings or advertising dollars, but from the benefit it offered in keeping local cable subscribers, the station’s new managers came in with different ideas, employees said. “The Call” is soon to be canceled.

At an all-hands meeting after the merger in December, employees were told that Charter’s news channels were going to have to start making money, employees said.

“They said that these news products lose money and our mission is to stop that from happening,” said one, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the company.

Quad Cities Radio: 97X's Dwyer & Michaels To Be Honored

Townsquare Media's WXLP 96.9 FM 97X Davenport's Dwyer & Michaels has been tapped to receive the 2017 Kraddick Award by last year's recipient, The Ace & TJ Show.

The presentation will take place during Morning Show Boot Camp's 29th annual conference taking place at Atlanta's Grand Hyatt Hotel, Atlanta/Buckhead on Aug. 3 & 4.

"Are you sure you got the right Dwyer & Michaels?" Bill Michaels (R) joked upon being informed of the honor.

"Seriously, Kidd was a friend and an inspiration to us very early in our careers. We're incredibly honored to be recognized with this award," said Michaels.

"To have our names included along with the previous recipients is quite humbling." Ace & TJ's Ace added, "Dwyer and Michaels are a radio show that, in addition to tremendous success in the Quad Cities for many years, has been a incredible asset not only to the people of their market but to radio shows around the country for years.

The Kraddick Award is awarded each year to one show or talent selected solely by the previous year's recipient. Past honorees have included Bert Weiss, The Bert Weiss Show, The Kidd Kraddick Show, and and Ace & TJ in 2016.

St. Louis Radio: End Of Era As Airborne Traffic Is Grounded

The era of two St. Louis radio stations providing Airborne traffic updates from the sky end.

For years, stations KTRS 550 AM and KMOX 1120 AM flew together above busy roads during the morning and evening rushes.

Friday's drive home was the last time that Tim Wilund from KTRS and Rodger Brand from KMOX will report from above, a change attributed to the high cost of flying, and availability of technology on the ground that allows traffic reporting to be done more efficiently.

"Because of technology, you don't need to do traffic from the air anymore," McGraw Milhaven, programming director and morning host at KTRS told

That technology includes access to Missouri Department of Transportation cameras and road sensors.

He said the two traffic reporters have flown in a small Cessna airplane for the last seven years, and not a helicopter although many still referred to it as such.

Top General Lectures Media About Civilian Deaths

The top U.S. ground commander in Iraq was at the end of his briefing — and at the end of his rope with the media, reports the Washington Examiner.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, had just fielded questions from the Pentagon press corps for 45 minutes last Tuesday, and he felt it was time to inject a little moral clarity into the conversation.

Civilian deaths 'unintentional accidents'
Townsend, in an audio briefing piped in from Baghdad, has just conceded that there was "a fair chance" that a U.S. airstrike played a role in the deaths of more than 100 Iraqi civilians when a building, or buildings, collapsed on a narrow Mosul street in the midst of some of the most demanding house-to-house, door-to-door urban combat since World War II.

But he thought the reporters, with their single-minded focus on why the American-led air campaign, touted as the most accurate in the history of warfare, had taken the lives of innocent civilians including women, children and babies, was missing the bigger picture: They weren't targeting civilians, the Islamic State is.

And so the three-star general let out his frustration over the tone of the questioning. "[It's] a little disappointing to me that all the questions were about our airstrikes, and our process, and our decisions," Townsend said, beginning his lecture to Pentagon reporters.

"If these innocents were killed by the coalition, it was an unintentional accident of war, and ISIS is slaughtering Iraqis and Syrians on a daily basis," Townsend said. "ISIS is cutting off heads. ISIS is shooting people, throwing people from buildings, burning them alive in cages and they are making the video record to prove it. This has gotta stop. This evil has gotta be stamped out. And in my mind any responsibility for any civilian deaths, the moral responsibility for civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria belongs to ISIS."

R.I.P.: Detroit Radio Personality Linda Lee Was 55

Linda Lee
Longtime WYCD 99.5 FM broadcaster Linda Lee Young died Friday after a seven-month battle with cancer, the country radio station announced on its website. She was 55.

Young was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in September 2016.  The Metro Detroit native, who graduated from the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, worked at Ford Motor Co. before joining WYCD’s morning show in 1996,

Lee has spent her 21-year career exclusively in Country radio  . Lee started at WYCD in 1994 as an unpaid intern for the morning show, co-hosted by 2015 Country Radio  inductee Karen Daelessandro. In 1995, Lee handled part time shifts at crosstown WWWW (W4)/DETROIT, then moved to evenings. She re-joined WYCD in 1996 as morning show producer/co-host and was paired with fellow 2017 inductee, Joe Wade Formicola. Lee segued to afternoons in 1998 and has stayed there since, working with three different on air partners, including current co-host, Rob Stone. Lee and former co-host Chuck Reeves (now WYCD morning host) won the CMA Personality of the Year award in 2011. Lee was honored with a GRACIE Award in 2014 and the Michigan Assn of Broadcasters Personality of Year award in 2010 and 2015.

“My favorite thing about Linda Lee is her tremendous positivity,” Stone said in a statement. “No matter what the situation, Linda always finds a way to put her smiling, optimistic spin on things. If we all were as positive as Linda, the world would be a happier place.”

Survivors include her husband Jeff Young, daughter Gina Holmes Mills, and a stepdaughter.

April 1 Radio History

In 1932...Actor Gordon Jump, WKRP in Cincinnati's Arthur Carlson, was born. He died Sept. 22, 2003 at 71.

In 1935...the first radio tube to be made of metal was produced in Schenectady, New York.

In 1936...a future superstar of “Boss Radio” The Real Don Steele was born in Hollywood as Donald Steele Revert.

Steele graduated from Hollywood High School, served in the United States Air Force and then studied at a local radio school, the Don Martin School of Broadcasting, where he also taught for a short time. Shortly thereafter, Steele began his radio career working outside of L.A. at a small station, KBUC in Corona, CA then moving on to KEPR Kennewick, KIMA Yakima and KXLY Spokane, all in Washington; KOIL Omaha, Nebraska; KISN Portland, Oregon, and KEWB San Francisco before returning to Los Angeles to help kick off what would become one of the most influential radio stations in the country, 93/KHJ, Boss Radio, in April 1965.

A poll seeking the top 10 disc jockeys in Los Angeles from 1957 to 1997 rated Steele second (behind Gary Owens) among the 232 personalities nominated.

Steele died of lung cancer on August 5, 1997, at the age of 61.

In 1951…"Paul Harvey News and Comment" debuted on the ABC Radio Network, where it continued until his death Feb. 28, 2009 at 90-years-of-age.

In 1956...Chet Huntley began his career with NBC News. Years earlier Huntley began his radio career at Seattle’s KIRO AM, later working  at stations in Spokane and Portland, before landing a job at LA’s KFI in 1937. He moved to CBS Radio from 1939–51, then ABC Radio from 1951-55. After NBC successfully teamed him with David Brinkley for 1956 election coverage the duo became coanchors of the nightly Huntley-Brinkley Report. Huntley (in New York) and Brinkley (in Washington) closed each broadcast with the trademark, “Good night Chet. Good night David. And good night from NBC News.”

In 1958...WMCA debuts Top40 format. Among its deejay staff were future legends Scott Muni, Frankie Crocker, Harry Harrison and Murray "the K" Kaufman.

In the 1960s, WMCA's great competition was with rival WABC. Despite WMCA's superior ratings performance and its historic link to the Beatles, some radio historians have treated WMCA as a 1960s radio stepchild–the proverbial David going up against the Goliath that was corporate-owned, stronger-signaled WABC.

For four consecutive years (1963 through 1966) WMCA had the highest ratings share of all radio stations in New York City, according to Arbitron–in spite of its directional, 5,000-watt signal which geographically reached about one-third of the audience ratings area of non-directional, 50,000-watt WABC. WMCA's ratings strength was concentrated within New York City itself, along with the suburban areas immediately north and east. However, WABC proved more popular in outlying areas where WMCA's signal didn't come in as well on standard 1960s-era AM radio receivers. The areas where WMCA did not have a strong signal were southwest, west, and northwest of its transmitter in Kearny, New Jersey. By 1967 and 1968, WMCA still demonstrated a strong showing in total audience surveys, and as late as February 1969, Pulse ratings surveys showed that WMCA continued to best WABC in New York City.

In 1966...The radio comedy serial Chickenman debuted during the Jim Runyon Show on Top40 WCFL 1000 AM. (Exact start date is unknown, but the first episodes aired during Spring '66.)

Dick Orkin conceived and wrote the Chickenman radio series.  Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1933, Orkin was 16 when he began his radio career as a fill-in announcer at WKOK 1070 AM  in Sunbury.

After college he attended the Yale School of Drama, then returned to Pennsylvania to become the news director at WLAN 1390 Lancaster in 1959. Later he joined the staff of KYW 1200 AM in Cleveland.

In 1967 Orkin moved to WCFL and created Chickenman, which chronicled the exploits of a crime-fighting “white-winged warrior” and his secret identity as mildmannered shoe salesman Benton Harbor. Chickenman’s 250-plus episodes have been syndicated around the world and can still be heard on Internet radio, making it the longest-running radio serial of all time. At WCFL Orkin also produced more than 300 episodes of another popular serial, The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy.

Inspired by the commercial parodies on Stan Freberg and Bob & Ray’s radio shows, Orkin created the Famous Radio Ranch in 1973 to produce his own comedic radio spots. Stationed in California since ’78, the Radio Ranch, currently helmed by Orkin and his daughter Lisa, has produced hundreds of memorable ads for a variety of clients, ranging from Time magazine to First American Bank to the Gap, and garnered more than 200 awards in the process.  Dick Orkin was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2014.

Here are two espisodes to enjoy.

In 1970…U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, that required a stronger health warning on cigarette packages, and banned cigarette advertisements on radio and television, to be effective on January 1, 1971.

In 1971...In anticipation of April Fool's Day, Super CFL Chicago published a special edition of its music survey.  If you're of a certain age, you'll appreciate the humor.

In 1974...WWDJ switched from Top40 to religious.

WJRZ 970 AM had been sold to Pacific and Southern Broadcasting (which merged with Combined Communications Corporation in 1974) on January 6, 1971.  The call letters were changed on May 16 of that year to WWDJ (known on the air as "97-DJ"), and the station attempted to take on WABC and replace WMCA as the New York market's second Top 40 outlet.

The station was hampered by a directional signal that covered Manhattan and parts of New Jersey well but suffered in the rest of the Five Boroughs and was virtually nonexistent on Long Island and western New Jersey. Eventually, FM competition from WCBS-FM and adult top 40 station WXLO (now WEPN-FM), and an evolution to adult Top 40 by WNBC (now WFAN), began to eat into WWDJ's ratings. In November 1973 it was ranked 15th in the Arbitron ratings.

By 1974, the station was losing money and unable to sell enough advertising, and the studios had been moved to the transmitter site. As a result, WWDJ dropped the top 40 format on April 1, 1974, and switched to a religious format. Because the change took place on April Fool's Day, many listeners thought the switch was some sort of joke. Initially, WWDJ sold two-thirds of its daily airtime to outside ministries and played traditional Christian music the rest of the time, with the exception of a few hours on Saturdays devoted to a then-new genre, contemporary Christian music. Prior to Combined Communications' merger into the Gannett Company in 1979, WWDJ was sold to Communicom Corporation of America in April 1978.

Today 970 is owned by Salem Media and airs talk programming as WNYM.

From 1986...FLASHBACK to the April 4 Edition of Radio&Records

Fall '85 Arbitron Ratings

In 1988...the man who played the Radio character, "Fibber McGee", Jim Jordan, died at age 91.

''Fibber McGee and Molly'' was on the air on the NBC radio network from 1935 to 1957. For seven years, it was the top-rated show in the country. Among the show's familiar routines was McGee's overstuffed closet, the contents of which tumbled out on him whenever he opened the door.

The McGees' home at, Wistful Vista, became a place on the American cultural road map, and Molly's gentle rejoinder to her husband - ''Tain't funny, McGee'' - became a national catch phrase.

In 1996...the Howard Stern Radio program debuted on WBCN-FM, Boston, Massachusetts.

 In 2007…Radio play-by-play baseball broadcaster Herb Carneal, voice of the Minnesota Twins for 44 years after four years with the Baltimore Orioles, died of congestive heart failure at age 83. In the 1960s, he also called NFL football games for NBC and the Minnesota Vikings.

Friday, March 31, 2017

RIAA: Streaming Is King, Revenue Jumps 68 Percent

The U.S. music industry grew by strong double-digit percentages last year -- largely because of the rapidly growing streaming music business. The Recording Industry Association of America says revenues grew 11.4% to $7.7 billion from $6.9 billion in 2015.

According to The Tennessean, overall music streaming saw 68 percent growth in 2016 compared with the year before, and the numbers were even more encouraging for subscription-based services from Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon. Subscription services enjoyed a spectacular 114 percent increase last year, rising to $2.5 billion. That's a crucial number to the U.S. music industry, which remains at least somewhat resistant to free streaming, with some artists still withholding their music from services like Spotify's free offering.

In short, the primary way people listen to music shifted dramatically in 2016. Streaming, and not downloads or physical album sales, is now king, and subscription services are the industry's top growth area.

Spotify has most recently reported 50 million global subscribers, and Apple Music, which completed its first full year in 2016, has reported 20 million. Amazon does not disclose its subscriber numbers. And Pandora, which built its company on an online radio model, rolled out its on-demand streaming service, Pandora Premium, late last year.

Total U.S. retail sales reached $7.7 billion. That represented 11.4 percent year-over-year growth, which was the largest single year gain for the music industry since 1998.

The rise of streaming has been stark. In 2011, total revenues from streaming platforms accounted for 9 percent of the market compared with 51 percent last year.

With streaming emerging as the primary consumption method for music fans, record labels have had to shift their strategies. They can now expect a popular release to have a longer sales life compared to when CDs and digital downloads ruled and an album would see its sales taper off after a relatively short period of time.

The 2016 sales report from RIAA wasn't all good news. RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman pointed out in a companion note to the sales report that overall revenues are only now rising after about 15 years of steady decline from the late 1990s. Total sales revenue in 1999 approached $15 billion.

While overall sales were up, CD sales dropped by 21 percent, continuing their plummet, and digital downloads went down 21.6 percent. Vinyl music has been booming over the last decade, enjoying over 30 percent growth each of the past several years. Vinyl sales, however, saw modest 3.7 percent growth in 2016 with 17.2 million units sold.

Bill To Force Radio To Pay For Performances Reintroduced

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act, legislation that would require broadcasters to pay artists and record labels when their songs are played over the air on the radio, was reintroduced on Thursday.

The Tennessean reports the bill is offered up on the eve of a possible broader copyright reform proposal from the House. Music industry stakeholders are hopeful that reform includes a performance royalty for terrestrial radio, because the United States is regarded as the only advanced country in the world that does not pay royalties to artists and labels to broadcast their songs.

Broadcasters are opposed to the bill and have successfully staved off past efforts to create a radio performance royalty. U.S. copyright law pays songwriters and their publishers when songs are played over the radio, but unlike streaming or other forms of consumption, artists are left out.

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act has support from both sides of the aisle.

Rep. Jerold Nadler
Broadcasters have pushed back ferociously about a government-mandated performance royalty for AM/FM radio. The National Association of Broadcasters has introduced memorializing resolutions opposing the creation of the royalty, and that resolution has garnered wide support. The most recent version of that resolution has support of at least 165 House members and 21 Senators.

Broadcasters argue that labels and artists are getting free promotional value when their songs are played on the radio.

"NAB respectfully opposes the legislation reintroduced by Rep. (Jerold) Nadler that would impose a job-killing performance royalty on America's hometown radio stations," NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said. "NAB remains committed to working with Congress on balanced music licensing proposals that help grow the entire music ecosystem, promote innovation, and recognize the benefit of our free locally-focused platform to both artists and listeners."

One historical criticism of proposal is that new performance royalty payouts would especially hurt smaller radio stations. In response, the newly introduced bill would cap total royalty payouts for stations with less than $1 million annual revenue at $500.

Denver Radio: Larry & Kathie J OUT At KQKS

The long-running KQKS KS107.5 FM morning show radio with Larry and Kathie J will come to an end this week.

A spokesperson for the Entercom, the parent company of the Denver radio station, says as of Monday April 3, the show will no longer be airing.

The two sides were unable to come to an agreement on a new contract, according to 9News.

"Larry and Kathie have been an important part of the station for many years,'  said  Esther-Mireya Tejeda Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations. "We wish them both well."

The show has aired weekdays from 5 to 10 a.m. for years. Kendall B left the show earlier this year.

Entercom says they will launch a nationwide search for their replacements.

Detroit Radio: Lay-offs Hit Bell Media

Windsor-based alternative rock station 89X CIMX 88.7 FM has closed its American office and is cutting several members of its on-air staff, reports The Detroit News.

The cuts were part of a larger restructuring at Bell Media, which runs 89X, CIDR 93.9 FM,  CKWW 580 AM, and CKLW 800 AM. The four stations will retain their current formats, according to Bell Media news director Matthew Garrow.

“Cal and Co.,” 89X’s morning show, aired its last broadcast on Thursday morning. Host Cal Cagno tweeted Thursday afternoon, “I no longer work at 89X. After 18’s over. I hope to be back on the air soon but if not...thanks to the listeners for a great run.”

“It was really fun working there,” Cagno said Thursday. “I had a great run and it was an amazing job to have. My whole adult life I’ve worked there. I’m going to miss the people I’ve worked with, and I’m going to miss the listeners the most. But overall it was a great experience.”

Gillian Reilly, Cagno’s co-host, was also let go from the station, along with afternoon drive host Reed Petitpren and Phil “PK” Kukawinski. Promotions and sales forces were cut as well, resulting in around a dozen layoffs.

“The restructuring is a response to the challenges we and other Canadian media companies are facing on multiple fronts: changing broadcast technologies and growing international competition, a tough advertising market, and ongoing regulatory pressure,” Garrow said in an email.

FCC To Vote To Reform $45B Business Data Market

By David Shepardson | WASHINGTON

(Reuters) -- The Republican head of the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday proposed easing regulatory requirements in the $45 billion business data services market, a win for companies like AT&T Inc, CenturyLink Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and others.

The proposal is a blow to companies like Sprint Corp and others that claim prices for business data are too high and backed a plan under President Barack Obama that would have cut prices but was never approved.

Small businesses, schools, libraries and others rely on business data services, or special-access lines, to transmit large amounts of data quickly, for instance connecting banks to ATM machines or gasoline pump credit card readers. Wireless carriers rely on them for the backhaul of mobile traffic. Reuters reported details of the proposal Wednesday.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said in a blog post the commission will vote April 20 to reform the rule that telecommunications experts say would deregulate the market in most of the country but would retain regulations in some places.

"Where this competition exists, we will relax unnecessary regulation, thereby creating greater incentives for the private sector to invest in next-generation networks. But where competition is still lacking, we’ll preserve regulations necessary to prevent anti-competitive price increases," Pai said.

Consumer groups Public Knowledge and Consumer Federation of America called Pai's proposal a "bonanza" for big telecommunications companies that "will drain consumer pocketbooks of tens of billions of dollars per year."

Under President Barack Obama, then FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in April 2016 proposed a sweeping reform plan for business data services that aimed to reduce prices paid.

Wheeler had proposed maintaining and lowering lower price caps using legacy data systems with a one-time 11 percent reduction in prices phased in over three years.

Sprint, which backed Wheeler's proposal, told the FCC in a March 22 letter that "thousands of large and small businesses across the country are paying far too much for broadband because of inadequate competition."

Sprint argued "a small handful of companies are overcharging the very investors and employers that are critical to our economic growth and are using anticompetitive tactics to ensure that these businesses never have access to competitive alternatives."

AT&T argued Wheeler's plan was "little more than a wealth transfer to companies that have chosen not to invest in last mile fiber infrastructure."

Report: Jeff Bezos Now Second Wealthiest In World

Jeff Bezos
Amazon’s amazing 46 percent run-up in its stock price over the last 12 months pushed founder Jeff Bezos’ wealth to $75.6 billion as of Thursday — inching his net worth ahead of Warren Buffet and Amancio Ortega Gaona, the founder of the Zara apparel chain and making him the second wealthiest person in the world.

Only Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, with a net worth of $86.1 billion, is richer.

Such large numbers are hard, at times, to comprehend.

So to help put Bezos’ buying power in perspective, consider that if he really wanted to go on a buying spree, The NY Post reports the 53-year old entrepreneur could:
  • Buy all 32 NFL teams, from the $4.2 billion Dallas Cowboys down to the $1.5 billion Buffalo Bills — and still have $770 million left over.
  • If football isn’t his thing, Bezos could buy every NBA team and every NHL team — and still have nearly $20 billion left over.
  • If sports isn’t his thing, Bezos could go out shopping and pick up Tesla — not a single car, but the entire company. And to hedge his bet, he could also buy oil refiner Marathon Petroleum. That jingling sound in his pockets, that the $2 billion he’d have left over.

Chattanooga Radio: Fired WUTC Journalist Sues University

Fired reporter Jacqui Helbert is suing the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga over her termination from the campus’s public radio station, WUTC 88.1 FM.

Jacqui Helbert
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Hamilton County Circuit Court, Helbert asks for "reinstatement, apology, education and training about the laws violated, lost wages, harm for the emotional distress from the retaliatory firing, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, and any further relief appropriate to the circumstances," up to $1 million in damages.

According to Nashville Scene, the university and and two employees, senior associate vice chancellor of marketing and communications George Heddleston and associate vice chancellor of marketing and communications Chuck Cantrell, are named as defendants.

“Clearly I believe I was fired for reporting a story of important public interest that did not sit well with lawmakers,” Helbert says in a prepared statement.

Lawyer Justin Gilbert says that in addition to seeking justice for Helbert, the suit is about transparency.

The lawsuit repeats the timeline of Helbert’s travel to Legislative Plaza with the Cleveland High School Gay-Straight Alliance and the interviews with Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and Rep. Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland), who both claim to have not noticed Helbert was a reporter, despite her headphones, shotgun microphone, press pass and WUTC-branded tote bag for her equipment.

Students asked Bell and Brooks their opinion of the transgender bathroom bill, and Helbert recorded a story featuring their comments. According to her story, Bell’s comments made some students cry, as he compared being transgender to deciding one day to “feel like a dog.” However, Brooks was very sympathetic to the students and stated that he probably would not support the bathroom bill.

Reportedly, after the story aired, Brooks expressed concerns over it to Bell, who then contacted the station and also contacted Sen. Todd Gardenhire, who represents parts of Chattanooga and Bradley County. Gardenhire reportedly then contacted UTC.

The lawsuit also adds more details that make it clear WUTC staff all thought legislators had threatened to pull funding from the station and the university.

NPR released a statement at the beginning of the week that confirmed WUTC staff had nothing to do with Helbert's firing, stating, in part, "[W]e at NPR believe the decisions should have been left to the journalists in charge. Taking the decisions about enforcing ethics out of their hands did more to undermine the station's credibility than the original infraction. This chain of events underscores why it is critical that newsrooms such as that at WUTC not be subject to pressure from the institutions that hold their licenses, the sponsors who give them financial support or the politicians who sometimes don't like the stories they hear or read."

Activists Want iHM To Fire Talker Michael Berry

Michael Berry
Texas-based talk host Michael Berry's apology for regularly mocking Chicago murder victims on his nationally syndicated radio show wasn't enough, the Chicago Urban League and the Rev. Michael Pfleger say.

And until Berry's bosses at iHeartMedia hold the man they recently anointed their "Talk Personality of the Year" accountable, Pfleger and the Urban League have warned, the issue isn't going away.

Berry, a former Houston City Council member and rising star in talk radio, for years mocked shooting victims in a regular segment called "Chicago Weekend Crime Update."

Three weeks ago he apologized and vowed to end the segment after liberal media-monitoring organization Media Matters and the Chicago Tribune reported how his jokes about murder victims included mocking the name of Tyjuan Poindexter, a blameless 14-year-old African-American boy who was killed by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting.

But, reports The Chicago Tribune, in a letter sent to iHeartMedia's CEO Robert Pittman, Pfleger, Chicago Urban League President and CEO Shari Runner and BBF Services President and CEO Rufus Williams say they met with Chicago-area iHeartMedia executives March 10, the same day that Berry apologized, and weren't impressed with the answers they got.

The radio giant "including its Board of Directors, benefits from listenership and sales in Black and brown communities yet it perpetuates racial stereotypes that are egregious, offensive, dangerous, and promotes intolerance and hate," the letter to Pittman says.

The letter calls for Berry to be fired and his national award to be rescinded and threatens action against iHeartMedia if it does not follow through. Though Berry's show is not broadcast in Chicago, the letter adds that iHeartMedia, which owns urban Chicago radio stations, including WVON-AM 1690 and WGCI-FM 107.5, has an "alarming lack of racial diversity" among its board and executives.

Westwood One's Backstage Expects Top Stars At The ACM Awards

Westwood One will welcome more than 100 of Country music’s biggest and brightest stars to its Westwood One Backstage at the ACM Awards to celebrate the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music’s Party of the Year®.

Top Country superstars and hot, new emerging talent – including Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Michael Ray, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins, and more – plus the Backstreet Boys --will engage with 30 of America’s top Country stations, TuneIn, and Radio Disney during Radio Row, and with Westwood One Backstage at the ACM Awards exclusive brand partner activations for Ace Hardware; Advance Auto Parts; Dynamic Solutions; Grainger; Outnumber Hunger, an initiative of General Mills; and Ply Gem.

"We are excited to be part of Westwood One’s Backstage at the ACM Awards event," said Matt Davis, Advance Auto Parts Marketing and Sponsorships Manager. "In 2017 we have increased our involvement in music with our partnership with Florida Georgia Line and we look forward to presenting exclusive multi-platform content with the hottest Country stars at the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas."

“We collaborate with our brand partners to custom design best-in-class activations that enable brands to authentically tell their story and deliver on their marketing KPIs. When you couple this with the backdrop of the most popular Country music stars and radio stations in America, you can make magic,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP, Corporate Marketing for Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One. “There is really nothing like it -- and it's all happening at Westwood One Backstage at the ACM Awards.”

These exclusive backstage events, featuring multi-platform content, live performances, and social media experiences, will take place during rehearsals for the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1. Westwood One and Cumulus Media are the official national radio partners for the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards.

The 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards is produced for television by dick clark productions and will broadcast LIVE from T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, at 8:00 pm live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley are returning to the stage to host. They are also set to perform during the show, along with ACM Award nominees Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, and Maren Morris.

McVay, Fram First Innovation In Music Awards Winners

The Innovation in Music Awards has announced Mike McVay, Senior Vice-President/Content & Programming for Cumulus Media and Westwood One, as the recipient of the Heritage Award in Innovation and Leslie Fram, Senior Vice President of Music Strategy at CMT, as the recipient of the Innovation in National Media Award.

Mike McVay
The inaugural event will be held June 6 at the Westin Hotel in Nashville.

McVay oversees the programming of 450 radio stations and two radio networks. He is a 40-year programmer with consulting, management, ownership, sales, programming and on-air experience, as well as having developed and launched several nationally syndicated programs. He has programmed around the world as a consultant with more than 300 stations to his credit. Stations programmed or consulted include those in America, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Grand Cayman and Puerto Rico.

McVay is a recipient of the Rockwell Award, was ranked #4 among America’s Top-Programmers by Radio Ink magazine, is #14 on the Top-40 Most Powerful Broadcaster list from Radio Ink and he was named one of the Titans of Talk by NTS magazine every year 2012-2016. He is a member of the Country Radio Broadcasters board of directors, on the board of directors for the Country Music Association (CMA), a board member for the National Radio Hall of Fame and is chairman of the Radio Show Steering Committee for the 2017 NAB/RAB Convention.

Leslie Fram
At CMT, Fram oversees all music integration with the CMT brand for original programs, and video airplay across all platforms. Negotiating vital partnerships with label and indie acts for exclusive content and premieres, she spearheaded new avenues to reveal and showcase on-the-rise talent, per the development of the digital series “Concrete Country” and the movement of “Next Women of Country,” designed solely to empower the female voices of country music.

Fram also serves on the board of the Academy of Country Music and has received honors such as the TJ Martell Award, NARAS-Atlanta Chapter Heroes Award, and Lifetime Achievement Inductee in the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.

Founder Of Innovation In Music Awards, CEO Cold River Records, Pete O’Heeron commented, “We are excited to start this event with such well-respected names as Mike McVay and Leslie Fram. They were the first two phone calls for our inaugural show. Mike’s lifetime of innovation in programming and Leslie’s innovative program Next Women Of Country Music make them a “slam dunk” for this event!”