Saturday, April 22, 2017

April 23 Radio HIstory

➦In 1995...Howard Cosell, ABC Radio Sports, died

After the war, Cosell began practicing law in Manhattan, primarily in union law. Some of his clients were actors, and some were athletes, including Willie Mays. Cosell's own hero in athletics was Jackie Robinson, who served as a personal and professional inspiration to him in his career. Cosell also represented the Little League of New York, when in 1953 an ABC Radio manager asked him to host a show on New York flagship WABC featuring Little League participants. The show marked the beginning of a relationship with WABC and ABC Radio that would last his entire broadcasting career.

Cosell hosted the Little League show for three years without pay, and then decided to leave the law field to become a full-time broadcaster. He approached Robert Pauley, President of ABC Radio, with a proposal for a weekly show. Pauley told him the network could not afford to develop untried talent, but he would be put on the air if he would get a sponsor. To Pauley's surprise, Cosell came back with a relative's shirt company as a sponsor, and "Speaking of Sports" was born.

Cosell took his "tell it like it is" approach when he teamed with the ex-Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher "Big Numba Thirteen" Ralph Branca on WABC's pre- and post-game radio shows of the New York Mets in their nascent years beginning in 1962. He pulled no punches in taking members of the hapless expansion team to task.

Otherwise on radio, Cosell did his show, Speaking of Sports, as well as sports reports and updates for affiliated radio stations around the country; he continued his radio duties even after he became prominent on television. Cosell then became a sports anchor at WABC-TV in New York, where he served in that role from 1961 to 1974. He expanded his commentary beyond sports to a radio show entitled "Speaking of Everything".

Cosell's style of reporting very much transformed sports broadcasting. Whereas previous sportscasters had mostly been known for color commentary and lively play-by-play, Cosell had an intellectual approach. His use of analysis and context arguably brought television sports reporting very close to the kind of in-depth reporting one expected from "hard" news reporters. At the same time, however, his distinctive staccato voice, accent, syntax, and cadence were a form of color commentary all their own.

➦In 2004…Southern California radio-TV sportscaster Bill Brundige died of heart failure at age 89.

Bill Brundige
Brundige served as West Coast sports director for the Armed Forces Radio Network during World War II and received the Helms Athletic Foundation award for his entertainment contributions to the men and women serving in the Pacific.

Later, Brundige was an announcer for baseball's Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators, and football's Detroit Lions. It was Phil Wrigley, owner of the Cubs, who brought Brundige to Southern California to broadcast games for the Angels, a minor league team that had the name long before Gene Autry purchased an American League expansion team that began play in 1961.

In 1964, Brundige founded an auto glass company in Orange County that bears his name. He retired after ending a broadcasting career of more than 40 years with a talk show on Anaheim's KEZY.

'The Factor' Fades To Black On Fox

Greg Gutfeld closed the curtain on Fox News’s “The Factor” Friday night as the program that has existed for 20 years under former host Bill O'Reilly officially went off the air, reports The Hill.

"The O'Reilly Factor” has been the most-watched cable news show for the past 15 years.

Fox News cut ties with O’Reilly earlier this week in the wake of sexual harassment charges that had led 90 advertisers to leave his program.

O’Reilly himself did not get a chance to say goodbye to his viewers, as he was on vacation when the decision was made to end his relationship with Fox.

Gutfeld said that even as those at the program looked forward to “new beginnings,” it was a “sad day.”

“Some of the people on the Factor staff have been here from the very beginning helping Bill O’Reilly create something that had never been done before,” he said. “In the 20 years since the Factor has been on the air, Bill changed the way news is done, and his show became a sanctuary for you, our loyal viewers, who are not being well-served by the mainstream media.”

Gutfeld said it was impossible for him to truly turn the lights out on a show synonymous with O’Reilly.

“How do I turn out the lights on such a venerable and amazing show? I can’t. It’s not my show and it’s not my place. So on behalf of all of us on the Factor, good night and godspeed.”

Tucker Carlson will take over the 8 p.m. slot in O'Reilly's place starting Monday, moving from his 9 p.m. slot. His debut will feature an interview with TV personality and author Caitlyn Jenner.

Taking over at 9 p.m. will be “The Five,” a panel show with six rotating co-hosts: Kimberly Guilfoyle, Dana Perino, Bob Beckel, Gutfeld, Jesse Watters and Juan Williams. Sean Hannity will remain in his 10 p.m. timeslot.

Who's Next On Left's Hit List?

That was the question interwoven throughout Thursday’s edition of Glenn Beck’s radio show as he and author David Limbaugh discussed the ouster of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

Beck has noted that O’Reilly was the victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by liberal groups to force Fox News to push O’Reilly out the door.

According to, Beck and Limbaugh agreed that liberals will continue to try to silence other conservative voices.

Limbaugh said it is in the nature of liberals to suppress free speech and in that of conservatives to nurture it

“We believe in the marketplace of ideas and that our ideas will triumph if given a full airing,” Limbaugh said.

“They are triumphant that this happened to O’Reilly,” Limbaugh added. “I can’t imagine going after a liberal icon. I don’t want to get those people off the air.”

Limbaugh and Beck agreed that intolerance broadcast by the media helps recruit conservatives.

“I think MSNBC has done more for the conservative movement than Fox in all of its years,” Beck added.

Judge Imposes Gag Order On Jones Custody Case

Alex Jones
A request for a mistrial was denied Friday at the start of the court session over the custody of the children of radio talk host Alex Jones.

The request was made  because of a tape played in court Thursday in which Jones had offered supportive commentary on Donald Trump’s remark on a 2005 Access Hollywood tape — released in the heat of 2016 presidential campaign — about his ability, as a celebrity, to grab women by the genitals and get away with it.

The clip had not been approved to be played before the jury by Naranjo, though it ran for a minute or more before Randall Wilhite, one of Jones’ attorneys, asked the judge to stop the tape and approached the bench for an extended discussion with the judge and Kelly Jones’ attorneys.

Jones appeared elated at the time, and the jury was ultimately asked to disregard what they had seen.

State District Judge Orlinda Naranjo denied the request for a mistrial.

Later, both sides released separate but similar court-approved statements asking the press to respect their children’s privacy and saying they will abide by the gag order imposed by Orlinda Naranjo and refrain from answering questions until the trial is over.

Alex Jones’ statement reads as follows:
“Above all this is a private matter. This is about my family and only my family. I have endeavored very faithfully for three years to keep this circumstance confidential for the sake of my children to protect their innocence. I urge the press to be respectful and responsible and to show due deference to the process of the law and respect the boundaries defined for this case so that a fair result can be found. As there is a gag/protective order on the trial of the safety, welfare and protection for our children’s private rights and what is in their best interests, I am holding my responses until the end of the trial."
Friday’s testimony ended with a brief appearance on the stand by Carol Jones, Alex Jones’ mother, who lives with his father, David, a dentist. Both are very close to their three grandchildren, who are frequent visitors to their home.

Alex Jones’ parents are also involved with Infowars, to the tune of millions of dollars in the last couple of years, according to her testimony.

“It’s a family business,” she said.

Asked about death threats against her son and grandchildren because of Infowars, Carol Jones said that it concerned her, especially in the case of her grandchildren.

“My son’s career, that goes with the territory as they say,” she said. “It’s not the children’s territory.”

Denver Radio: Ed McCaffrey EXITS KDSP, Broncos Radio Team

Dave Logan, Ed McCaffrey 
Former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey is leaving his broadcast career behind after calling Broncos games for the past five years, he announced via Instagram on Friday.

McCaffrey is also stepping away from his radio show on Denver Sports KDSP 760 AM. He joined the KOA 850 AM radio broadcast team in 2012, providing color commentary alongside longtime play-by-play voice Dave Logan. McCaffrey replaced former Broncos quarterback Brian Griese.

While not giving a specific reason for leaving, in the Instagram post, McCaffrey says he is looking forward to watching his four sons play football.

In an Instagram posting, McCaffrey stated: All good things must come to an end, I am leaving my radio show on Denver Sports 760 and my color commentary work on Broncos Radio. Thanks to iHeartMedia, KOA, Denver Sports 760 and the Denver Broncos for allowing me to call games for the Orange and Blue with Dave Logan, Andy Lindahl, and the best broadcasting team in the business. Thanks to Alan Jackson, Mike Rice and Erik Hood who did the heavy lifting on game day. Thanks again to Andy and Romi Bean for hanging out with me at recess for three hours a day."

NY Times Called Out On White House Tweet

Patriots Tweet April 19, 2017
The New England Patriots called out the New York Times this week for its interpretation of the size of the team’s Super Bowl delegations to the White House during the Obama and Trump administrations.

Photos tweeted by the Times showed a much larger group celebrating the 2015 Super Bowl victory with former president Barack Obama, with both staircases to the South Portico filled with people. The image from the team’s trip Wednesday shows a smaller group behind President Trump.

The Patriots rarely offer official comments, choosing to remain silent even after the death earlier Wednesday of former tight end Aaron Hernandez, but they clarified a few things Wednesday evening after the tweet was widely shared.

By midmorning Thursday, Jason Stallman, the Times’ sports editor, had taken responsibility for the tweet in an email to The Post. “Bad tweet by me. Terrible tweet. I wish I could say it’s complicated, but no, this one is pretty straightforward: I’m an idiot. It was my idea, it was my execution, it was my blunder. I made a decision in about four minutes that clearly warranted much more time.

“Once we learned more, we tried to fix everything as much as possible as swiftly as possible and as transparently as possible. Of course, at that point the damage was done. I just needed to own it.”

April 22 Radio History

➦In Hal March was born in San Francisco. He teamed for a time with actor Bob Sweeney & starred in the CBS radio comedy show Sweeney & March.  Early in his television career he appeared on Burns and Allen, The Imogene Coca Show and I Love Lucy. However, he was best known as the host of CBS TV’s $64,000 Question from 1955 to 1958. As a result of the quiz show scandals, the show was canceled and March was out of a job for nearly a decade. He started hosting another show, It’s Your Bet, in 1969, but was diagnosed with lung cancer and died Jan 19 1970 at age 49.

➦In 1935...a half-hour musical variety show headed by personable conductor Meredith Willson began an intermittent run on various radio networks that spanned 19 years.  The first series (eight shows) was on NBC Blue.

➦In 1940...the first all-Chinese commercial radio program was broadcast over KSAN radio in San Francisco. Later, KSAN would become a pioneer in playing “underground rock” music.

NY Times Radio Listing 4/22/1946

➦In 1946
...Tex McCrary and (wife) Jinx Falkenburg arrived at WEAF radio in New York City with an entertaining morning show called, Hi, Jinx, which evolved into The Tex & Jinx Show.

The McCrary's radio show was broadcast five mornings a week on New York radio station WEAF, and became a hit with critics and the public for tackling controversial issues like the A-Bomb, the United Nations and venereal disease along with talk about theatre openings and New York nightlife.[Their guests would be a mix of popular entertainers such as Mary Martin, Ethel Waters and Esther Williams and public figures such as Bernard Baruch, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Truman, industrialist Igor Sikorsky and Indian statesman Krishna Menon.

McCrary wrote the scripts and taught Falkenburg the art of interviewing and the basics of broadcast journalism. Over time she was considered the better interviewer, eliciting candid responses, often from the show's more intellectual guests. Her technique was to ask questions until she understood the answer and so presumably, did all the housewives at home listening to her.  "They developed an audience that was ready to start thinking at breakfast," wrote New York Times columnist William Safire who as a teenager was hired by McCrary to do pre-show interviews of guests.

WEAF later became WNBC and finally WFAN SportsRadio 66.

➦In 1985...Soupy Sales started at WNBC 660 AM. His program was between the drive time shifts of Don Imus (morning) and Howard Stern (afternoon), with whom Sales had an acrimonious relationship. An example of this was an incident involving Stern telling listeners that he was cutting the strings in Sales' in-studio piano at 4:05 p.m. on May 1, 1985. On December 21, 2007, Stern revealed this was a stunt staged for "theater of the mind" and to torture Sales; in truth, the piano was never harmed.  Sales' on-air crew included his producer, Ray D'Ariano, newscaster Judy DeAngelis, and pianist Paul Dver, who was also Soupy's manager.

➦In 1993...Mosaic, the first Web browser, was released

➦In 1996...Paul “Cubby” Bryant started at Z-100 WHTZ 100.3 FM.

Paul "Cubby" Bryant
From 2006-2008 Cubby served as the co-host and sidekick to Whoopi Goldberg on the nationally syndicated morning show Wake Up With Whoopi. Before joining Whoopi Goldberg as co-host of the morning show on WKTU, Bryant was at crosstown sister station WHTZ serving as their Afternoon Drive Disc Jockey and Music Director.

Bryant began his radio career in his hometown of Virginia Beach, VA at WGH-FM (97 Star) in 1988, there was where he inherited his current radio name Cubby (a name given to him by WGH DJ's Tony Macrini and Jeff Moreau) for being so young (at the time 16) and in radio. Then, Bryant joined 104.1 KRBE in Houston, TX as Night Host and Music Director from 1990-1996. In 1996, Bryant began his tenure at WHTZ (Z100) in New York as Afternoon Drive Host and Music Director. In 2000, Bryant went around the world with the group Backstreet Boys to promote the release of Black & Blue, the boys traveled around the world in 100 hours to Sweden, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and the US; 55 of the hours were spent traveling and 45 were spent making public appearances.

In mid-2006, Bryant announced he would be leaving WHTZ after a ten-year run with the station to co-host Wake Up With Whoopi. WKTU cancelled Wake Up With Whoopi in November 2007.

In January 2008, Bryant left Wake Up With Whoopi to return to WKTU, this time as the station's morning host.

Friday, April 21, 2017

iHM Lenders Oppose Debt Overhaul Plan

By Jessica DiNapoli

(Reuters)  A group of iHeartMedia Inc (IHRT.PK) lenders has signed a cooperation agreement to oppose the debt overhaul of the largest owner of U.S. radio stations, presenting a threat to the company's bid to avoid bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter said.

The move shows how iHeartMedia, which says it has more than a quarter of a billion monthly radio listeners in the United States, is struggling to find a solution that would significantly slash its $20 billion debt pile outside of bankruptcy court.

iHeartMedia needs more than 50 percent of the holders of its term loans to approve a debt swap for it to complete its proposed overhaul. iHeartMedia has already pushed back the deadline for its loan swap offer twice, and sweetened it once before. The latest deadline expires later on Friday.

The creditors who signed the pact told iHeartMedia they represent more than half of the term loans holders, and are seeking to put pressure on the company to either significantly improve on its loan swap offer, or propose a new way to tackle the debt altogether, the sources said this week.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. iHeartMedia declined to comment.

"Bondholders and creditors don't feel they've been offered enough," said Anthony Canale, head of high yield research at research firm Covenant Review. "The company's behavior has been extremely aggressive, and may have resulted in some hurt feelings and emotions that may be further complicating this."

WDVE Pittsburgh

iHeartMedia in March launched a pair of debt exchanges to cut its debt, with one swap targeting a series of bonds and the other swap focusing on term loans. Getting a deal on the term loan swap is a precondition for clinching any swap for the bonds.

The company could again extend the deadline for the term loan swap and sweeten terms for the lenders in the hope of garnering more support, as it has done before.

Credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings estimates that full participation in the loan and bond swaps would cut the company's debt pile by up to $4.3 billion.

iHeartMedia said on Thursday that it anticipates it will disclose "substantial doubt" in its next quarterly earnings report about its ability to continue as a going concern, because of its debt maturities and uncertainties around the swaps.

Buyout firms Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP acquired iHeartMedia in 2008 for $24 billion.

iHeartMedia Warns It May Not Last Another Year

iHeartMedia reportedly planning to include language in its next quarterly report warning investors that it may not survive another year, according to a regulatory filing.

According to Fox Business, the company, which owns iHeartRadio and outdoor advertising company Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings , said it continues to expect cash flow to be negative and is uncertain as to whether it will be able to refinance or extend the maturities of some of its borrowings.

The company has almost $350 million of debt coming due this year, part of a massive $20 billion debt load it took on as part of a $24 billion leveraged buyout of then Clear Channel Communications Inc. by private equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners in 2008.

"Management anticipates that our financial statements to be issued for the three months ended March 31, 2017 will include disclosure indicating there will be substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date the first quarter 2017 financial statements are issued," the company said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

iHeartMedia shares were trading up 3% on Friday, while Clear Channel Outdoors shares were down 2%.

iHM: 1Q Radio Revenue Increased 1.5 Percent

iHeartMedia Inc. on Thursday filed a preliminary first-quarter earnings report showing a decline in revenue from the same quarter in 2016, according to

Revenue fell 2.4 percent to $1.33 billion, compared with $1.36 billion in the first quarter last year, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

But the 2016 results included $40.6 million generated by selling some of its U.S. billboards, according to a Debtwire analyst report. In addition, 2017 results were weighed down by a charge of $12.8 million tied to foreign exchange rate changes, said the report by the corporate debt research firm based in New York.

Without those, net revenue for the radio and billboard giant would have increased 1.6 percent on a year-over-year basis, Debtwire senior credit analyst Seth Crystall said.

The quarterly report comes amid a massive $14.6 billion debt-exchange offer to lenders and bondholders that is intended to give the company more time to repay its debt. iHeartMedia has more than $21 billion in debt, $16.5 billion held by the radio portion of the company and $5 billion by the billboard subsidiary.

The SEC filing shows that the radio portion of iHeartMedia generated $784.6 million in the first quarter, a 1.5 percent increase from the year-ago period.

The preliminary report’s numbers could change when the company issues its formal first-quarter earnings report. A date for iHeartMedia’s first-quarter report has not been announced.

The company’s lenders and bondholders have been watching the company’s operating performance as loans and bonds mature.

iHeartMedia has $317 million in debt obligations maturing this year and $324 million in 2018, but $8.4 billion due in 2019. As of March 31, iHeartMedia had $365 million in cash, $201 million of that held by the billboard subsidiary, according to Debtwire.

Sinclair To Acquire 14 TV Stations In 8 Markets

Sinclair Broadcast Group Friday announced it has struck a deal to buy Bonten Media’s 14 stations in eight markets for $240 million—a move that comes amidst reports that the group is also nearing the purchase of Tribune Media.

Broadcasting&Cable reports the deal would give Sinclair ownership of stations in the Tri-Cities, Tenn.-Va. market; Greenville-New Bern-Washington, N.C.; Chico-Redding, Calif.; Missoula, Mont; Abilene-Sweetwater, Texas; Butte-Bozeman, Mont.; Eureka, Calif; and San Angelo, Texas. Four Cunningham Broadcasting stations operated by Bonten are included.

Completion of the transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approval by the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") and antitrust clearance, as applicable.  The Company anticipates that the transaction will close and fund with cash on hand in the third quarter of 2017, subject to the satisfaction of the closing conditions.

The Bonten and Esteem stations covered by the transaction are:

(1) Represents television designated market areas ("DMAs") according to the Nielsen Company.  The numbers in the column represent the ranking in terms of size of the DMA out of the 210 generally recognized DMAs in the United States.
(2) KCFW is a simulcast of KECI

"We look forward to welcoming the Bonten employees into the Sinclair family and are pleased to be growing our regional presence in several states where we already operate," commented Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair.  "We believe our economies of scale help us bring improvements to small market stations, including investments in news, other quality local programming, and multicast opportunities with our emerging networks of Comet, Charge! And TBD."  

Including the Bonten station acquisitions, all previously announced acquisitions, and pro forma for expected synergies, the Company's 2015 and 2016 media revenues would have been $2.236 billion and $2.620 billion, respectively.  The $240.0 million purchase price represents a 6.7x multiple and is expected to be on average approximately $25 million accretive to our free cash flow on an annualized basis1.

Rush Wonders: Why Advertisers Never Target The Left

Rush Limbaugh
In the wake of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s ouster, talk show host Rush Limbaugh noted Thursday that there is a different standard for sexual misconduct on the left than there is on the right.

“Let me ask you a question. Have you ever wondered why not a single left-wing media figure is ever the target of advertiser boycotts? Have you ever noticed that, and, if you haven’t, please take notice of it, and then ask yourself, why? What in the world could explain the one-sidedness of this?” Limbaugh said.

“How is it that a woman who is now out there berating Bill O’Reilly as a subhuman dryball happily once dated Anthony Weiner and is currently on CNN giving commentary about this and many other things?” he added.

According to, Limbaugh reminded listeners that many voices outraged over O’Reilly’s conduct were less so when allegations were flying around a liberal icon.

“Because, you know, liberals, sponsors of O’Reilly have been have you noticed many of them sponsor the Clinton Foundation? Many of them… I mean, you talk about sexual abuse? Bill Clinton’s wife ran the bimbo eruptions units when he was in the White House to seek and find the women who might accuse Bill Clinton of sexual abuse (and other things) and destroy them. And advertisers never leave the Clintons, and donors never leave the Clintons. Why is that?” he said.

Limbaugh also stated there's cultural battle going on at the Fox News Channel...

The campaign to oust O’Reilly, which began in the pages of the New York Times, was part of a larger game that remains in play even after O’Reilly is gone, Limbaugh noted.

Providence Radio: WWLI Promotes Heather Gersten To APD

Heather Gersten
Cumulus Media announces that it has promoted Heather Gersten to Assistant Program Director for Lite Rock WWLI 105.1 FM in Providence, RI.

In addition to her new role, Gersten will continue as Co-Host of “Heather & Steve”, Lite Rock 105’s morning show, a position she has held for the past 14 years. “Heather & Steve” is currently the #1 rated show in Providence with Persons 25-54.

In addition to her APD and morning show duties, Gersten is part of Lite Rock’s “2 Lite Chicks” with midday personality Amy Pontes. She and Pontes also co-host the "Wicked Awesome 80's Show" every Saturday night at 8pm on Lite Rock 105.

Prior to joining Lite Rock 105, Gersten spent three years on-air at Star 93.7 in Boston, after serving as Danny Bonaduce’s morning show sidekick on Big 105 in New York City. She was also a News and Traffic Reporter at radio stations across the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area.

Cumulus Corporate Vice President-AC and Lite Rock 105 Program Director Emily Boldon said: “With her considerable talents, dedication and drive, Heather has repeatedly proven herself to be the perfect candidate. She lives, breathes and loves this radio station with a passion I wish I could replicate.”

Holly Paras, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Media-Providence, said: “Heather’s commitment to Lite Rock 105’s programming excellence moves her to do work well beyond the traditional boundaries of her role as morning drive personality. I am thrilled that she has agreed to accept this role – it is well deserved and hard earned.”

WWLI 105.1 FM (50 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Gersten said: “I've truly loved hosting Mornings at Lite Rock 105 for the last 14 years and getting to know our listeners across Southern New England. I'm thrilled by the ratings success Lite Rock has shown over the last two years and as Assistant Program Director, under the talented direction of Emily Boldon, I look forward to being an active part in solidifying Lite's #1 position in Providence! I appreciate the vote of confidence from Holly and Emily."

SMI: Broadcast, Cable Revenue Steady During 1Q

Ad spending on broadcast and cable entertainment held mostly steady during the first quarter, but NBC emerged as a big winner, according to new data from Standard Media Index.

Broadcast and cable entertainment ad revenues for the quarter fell 0.3% and 1.1% respectively, and broadcast entertainment in the primetime daypart for CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC combined declined 1.5%.

But, reports FierceCable, NBC came out well ahead of the cumulative figures with entertainment primetime ad revenue up 13.2% over the year-ago period. The network’s average 30-second spot across the daypart rose 4.5% to $109,650 for new shows. SMI credited the increases to hits like “This Is Us,” “Chicago Fire,” “P.D.,” and “Med.”

Meanwhile, NBC’s big broadcast competition all fell during the quarter, with Fox down 7.7%, CBS down 4.2% and ABC down 5% in overall revenue.

Despite revenue being down, Fox scored with “Empire,” which had the highest average 30-second spot price for a scripted show in the first quarter at about $576,500, up 4.8% annually.

Overall, the broadcast industry grew 2.4% during the quarter.

On cable, Scripps’ HGTV and Food Network saw their ad spends rise 17.9% and 10.3% respectively, while Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel also saw double digit increases, up 10% and 16.5% respectively.

Ad revenue on news programming across CNN, MSNBC and Fox News rose 16% during the quarter. MSNBC drove the majority, seeing its ad spending on news programming jumping 49.5% during the quarter across all dayparts.

“The big story for Q1 is the power of news programming thanks to the continued Trump impact. We are also seeing a soft sports market, and weak entertainment programming, being propped up by the ratings strength of News across both Cable and Broadcast. The key question for the industry is how long is this likely to last?” said SMI CEO James Fennessy in a statement.

“The bright spots in Entertainment were the breakout success of ‘This is Us’ and the continued growth of Lifestyle programming on networks like Scripps, with many viewers no doubt trying to escape the current political environment. There have been some significant declines in major advertiser categories in the period, notably automotive, entertainment, consumer electronics and the precipitous fall of retail spend. We did see big jumps in spend from pharma, QSR and insurance for the quarter. The impact of quality and viewability issues for Digital came through in the sectors relatively insipid growth of just 6% in comparison to a 19% jump for the same period in 2016.”

Media Rides The Trump Bump

The Trump administration's combative view of the traditional news media as the ''opposition party'' and ''fake news'' has turned out to be good news for the media.

Roselle Chen reports for Reuters.

Local TV Station Revenue Reached $28.4B in 2016

Retransmission consent agreements between local television stations and cable/satellite companies contributed to total industry revenue in 2016 of $28.4 billion, according to estimates from BIA/Kelsey.

Last year, stations received approximately $6.8 billion from retransmission agreements made individually or through ownership groups with cable and satellite providers in every market. Adding to this revenue, local television benefitted from increased election advertising in numerous states and also experienced double-digit growth through its digital media offerings. The new television forecast, including new retransmission consent data, is available in the firm’s first quarterly market report for television and in its software database, MEDIA Access Pro.

“The dependence on retransmission fees has become incredibly important to local stations and many publicly traded ownership groups because it amounts to nearly one-third of their revenue,” said Mark Fratrik, SVP and chief economist at BIA/Kelsey. “The fees provide a sound financial basis for the stations and have also become the foundation for many of the larger stations. Our analysis also uncovered that even mid-size and smaller market stations are increasingly relying on the income provided by these fees.”

For the first time, BIA/Kelsey’s Media Access Pro™ and its sister publication Investing In Television Market Report includes retransmission consent estimates on local television. Although the agreements are not made public, BIA/Kelsey developed a modeling formula that used its public information and industry knowledge to provide a deeper examination into the revenue streams for each station.

The firm’s new estimates predict that on a market-by-market basis, retransmission fees will continue to rise over the next five years, based on specific household growth rates, as well as expectations on price increases and consumer behavior.

Additionally, television has been experiencing strong growth in over-the-air (OTA) revenues, which is attributed to local television’s continued ability to reach high concentrations of the population. While presidential years typically add an uptick in advertising, it appears that statewide and local races, in particular, added significantly more to station revenues. Three such markets include Reno, NV; Charlotte, NC; and Springfield, MO where advertising revenue increased by more than 30 percent in 2016. The industry’s OTA advertising revenue increased by 11.4 percent in 2016 but in 2017 BIA/Kelsey predicts that OTA revenue will decrease by 4.1 percent.

Digital revenues for the television industry grew to $1.006 billion, a 10.4 percent increase over 2015, as local stations improved their social media and online activities. BIA/Kelsey expects digital revenues to increase another 8.8 percent in 2017. The chart below shows the total revenue for the local television station industry for 2016-2021.

“Stations continue to embrace the digital innovations that bring them viewers and that effort is paying off in increased local ad revenues,” said Fratrik. “The local television markets are remaining healthy and will remain that way in the foreseeable future as long as they continue to improve their news, weather and programming options across all channels.”

DC-VA Radio: Radio One To Acquire WWXT-FM, WXGI-AM

Radio One has announced its acquisition of Red Zebra Broadcastings’ WWXT 92.7 FM in Frederick, MD and WXGI 950 AM in Richmond, VA

While Red Zebra, a sports marketing company, moves toward a more digital delivery system, Radio One, the largest urban radio broadcaster in the country expands its Washington, DC market and diversifies its Richmond market with this acquisition.

DC’s WMMJ MAJIC 102.3 FM, a leading Urban Adult Contemporary station, will simulcast on 92.7 FM and grow its listenership. In Richmond, Radio One will diversify its all-music cluster and maintain the sports radio format of WXGI 950 AM and simulcast the new Richmond ESPN Radio on 1240 AM and 102.7 FM. The local marketing agreement is effective May 1. The deal is anticipated to close by the end of June.

Alfred Liggins, CEO of Radio One said, “I still believe in the power of terrestrial radio and am excited about this deal with Red Zebra. I’m always willing to evaluate an opportunity that allows us to grow our radio assets and continue to diversify our radio group not just through syndication and digital, but good programming that serves our listeners.”

WWXT 92.7 FM (2.85 Kw)
Washington DC WMMJ 92.7 102.3 FM

Effective 12:01 a.m. on May 1st, WWXT-FM licensed to Prince Frederick, Maryland will be the simulcast home of The Sound of the DMV, MAJIC. Listeners will begin their day with the nationally syndicated, Russ Parr Morning Show weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Midday host Vic Jagger will keep listeners engaged Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Radio and television icon Donnie Simpson will continue to entertain listeners weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. And John Monds winds the night down with his nationally syndicated show, Love and R&B on Sunday through Thursday from 7:00 p.m. to midnight.

WXGI 950 AM (3.9 Kw-D, 45 watts-N)
Richmond ESPN Radio 950 AM, 1240 AM and 102.7 FM

WXGI-AM, licensed to Richmond, is the flagship station of the Redskins and Washington Nationals in Richmond, as well as the University of Richmond Spiders football and basketball. Effective 12:01 a.m. on May 1st, listeners can expect the quality sports programming they’ve come to know to be maintained, just expanded on two additional frequencies. Most of the staff will transition to become Radio One Richmond employees.

Pete Gustin Overcomes Blindness To Voice For Fox

Pete Gustin
2017 so far is shaping up and a very good year for Voiceover and imaging specialist Pete Gustin.

He recently landed a plum role as official image voice for the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio, despite a visual challenge.

Gustin, who is legally blind developed macular degeneration at 8-years-of-age. It eventually led to losing most of his eyesight.

For two years he practiced a technique that would eventually help him land major work in television and radio across the US and the UK. About three yeard ag, Gustin told the story aobut his  “disability” in a YouTube video.

Back in 2013, Gustin told his voice changed when I was 13 years old. I didn’t have to go through the whole Peter Brady thing. It just kind of woke up one morning and was like “Hi Mom” {he says in a deep baritone} and everyone was like you should be in radio! I was like, “Okay, I guess that works!”

.Gustin states "I always knew I had {poor] eyesight and I knew it was a hindrance but, now, I wasn’t exactly captain of the tennis or golf team in my high school, but I was captain of the swim team and an international champion sailor so whatever I could do with my eyesight I would do. I really liked doing voice-overs and I liked doing the radio production and I liked writing and it was like, well, I’m going to do this."

Read More Now

Detroit Radio: Terry Foster Retires From WXYT

Terry Foster
Terry Foster, co-host of the “Valenti and Foster” show on WXYT 97.1 FM The Ticket, has retired from the station, effective immediately. As Foster has openly shared with listeners over the last several months, he suffered a stroke and was on medical leave for much of the second half of 2016. He returned to the show in January but has now decided to refocus his time on his health and his family. Mike Valenti will address this news on today’s show, which will begin immediately following the Tigers game.

Stated Foster, “I am retiring from sports radio but I am not retiring from life. It is time for me to move on to a more low-key career. I want to thank Deb Kenyon and James Powers for helping me get through a difficult time of my life and for the support during my 13-year career with 97.1 The Ticket. I also want to thank the most talented man in radio, Mike Valenti, for showing me the ropes, and thank the men behind the glass and my main crew David ‘The Hatchet Man’ Hull and Mike Sullivan. We were a great team. I just could no longer keep up the brisk pace of talk radio after my illness.

“I appreciate the love and show of support from the fans during my most trying days and through my career in radio and newspaper. And I would love one last hug from my CBS Radio family in Southfield. I found out over the past few months that health and family are the most important things in life. I will see you at the next game.”

WXYT Program Director Jimmy Powers, added, “Terry has brought witty banter, laugh-out-loud humor, and engaging personal stories to thousands of Detroit listeners every afternoon over the past 13 years. He was a vital part of making ‘Valenti and Foster’ the success it is and his contributions to local radio and to our station will be sorely missed. Everyone at 97.1 is sending good vibes and well wishes for health and happiness to Terry and his family.”

Mike Valenti will host afternoons (2:00-6:00 PM) solo until a new co-host is named.

“It’s been a great run for Terry Foster and me on 97.1 The Ticket for more than a decade,” said Valenti. “Working with Terry has provided some memorable on-air moments. I want to wish Terry the same success in retirement that we have enjoyed together as a team. All the best, Terry, to you and your wonderful family.”

Wichita Radio: Brett Harris & Tracy Cassidy OUT At KKGQ

Harris & Cassidy
Radio personalities Brett Harris and Tracy Cassidy are off-the-air at KKGQ 92.3 FM.

Manhattan-based Rocking M Media recently acquired the station and Harris told Rocking M president Christopher Miller told him he couldn’t afford him and Cassidy.

“You guys are a Cadillac, and I can’t really afford a Cadillac,” Harris says Miller said.

“We snickered,” Harris says. “I guess (we’re) honored that we’re a Cadillac.”

Harris and Cassidy didn’t have a noncompete agreement at this station. “Meaning we’re available tomorrow,” he says. “That’s exciting for us. There’s no sideline waiting.”

Harris says this makes the sixth or seventh ownership change at various stations that he and Cassidy have been through at various stations, and he says they weather each one with positive attitudes and without burning bridges.

Cassidy is taking a positive attitude as well. “I’m going to be able to sleep,” she says of her free schedule. “I’m going to be able to have family dinners that go beyond 7:30.”

Austin Radio: Alex Jones Lashes Out At Ex-Wife's Attorney

Alex Jones
Alex Jones, the provocative Austin broadcaster with a tough-guy persona, teared up on the stand Thursday afternoon and, in an emotional outburst, told his ex-wife’s attorney that the lawyer has “no decency, zero.”

“You sit here and twist things, I’ve never seen anything like it in all of literature or the movies,” Jones told Bobby Newman, an attorney for Kelly Jones, seated a few feet in front of him in a Travis County courtroom. “You have won the award sir. No decency, zero.”

According to, the confrontation came as Newman, on the fourth day of the Jones custody trial, sought to undermine Alex Jones’ claims to being the superior parent under whose primary custody for the last 30 months the three children, ages 9, 12 and 14, have flourished.

Newman had just described how their son had been distraught for three days after not being able to visit with his mother.

But Alex Jones said that was because Kelly Jones had spurned the son’s visit, sending him home with his father.

Kelly Jones’ legal team is attempting to show that Jones has been responsible for the children’s alienation from their mother. Jones has insisted that he bent over backwards to make the children visit and get along with their mother, to no avail.

Pressed by Newman, Jones acknowledged that he had smoked marijuana in Texas, in violation of state law, in the last year-and-a-half or two years. He said it was part of his practice to test marijuana once a year so that he can determine its strength, and that had led him to believe it is too strong and shouldn’t be legalized but simply decriminalized.

Newman used the March deposition testimony to tie Jones up in knots about whether he had acknowledged having sex with a woman, who remains a friend, even after his new wife, Erika — who is now eight-plus months pregnant — moved into his home after their engagement in November 2015.

In the deposition, Jones acknowledged that he continued having sex with the other woman until about March 2016. But, when Newman pressed Jones to confirm his previous testimony, Jones offered a befuddled look and said, “I’d have to see a calendar.”

Tomi Takes Glenn To Court Over News Article

Tomi Lahren on Thursday asked a Dallas County judge to hold Glenn Beck and his media firm The Blaze in contempt of court over a news story that attacked Lahren, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Lahren's lawyer, Brian Lauten, alleged in court records that it was clearly Blaze employees who anonymously slammed Lahren in a story Wednesday by The Daily Caller, a conservative website, titled "EXCLUSIVE: The Inside Story Of How Tomi Lahren Flamed Out At The Blaze."

Lahren, Beck
The filing came three days after the judge ordered both sides not to publicly criticize each other.

"It took no less than 48 hours for [Beck and The Blaze] to violate this Court's order," the filing said. "This Court should immediately get to the bottom of what appears to be a very transparent attempt at a public smear campaign by Defendants."

Lahren, 24, is suing Beck and The Blaze, where she worked since 2015, to be freed from her contract that is set to expire in September. She alleged she was fired for voicing a pro-abortion rights stance and saying on The View that it would be hypocritical to support both limited government and government intrusion on abortion.

The Blaze has said that Lahren is not fired, and is still drawing a salary. She should not be allowed to end her contract early just because the company canceled her show, Tomi, the firm argues.

Lauten asked Civil District Judge Martin Hoffman to order Blaze employees to testify at a hearing set for May 1 so he can question them about the article.

What's Next For Bill O'Reilly?

Now that Bill O'Reilly is out at Fox News, talk has begun about where the cable TV heavyweight and best-selling author might land for his inevitable comeback.

But, reports USAToday, the tarnish from multiple accusations of sexual harassment will likely cause major broadcast and cable networks to shy away.

"He is radioactive in terms of any other news network," said Mark Feldstein, a broadcast journalism professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a former journalist at NBC. "He is certainly not going to go to any of the big three or CNN or MSNBC."

When a non-compete clause, expected to run at least six months, runs out, O'Reilly would be free to take to the air again. If a major broadcast or cable channel is out of the question, O'Reilly could get to work sooner and he can survey many other media outlets as a route for his return, said Feldstein, based on his knowledge of typical broadcast contracts.

Among the possible new homes: Newsmax Media, a conservative media company with a TV network (on cable and online), website, magazine and newsletter; One America News Network (OANN), a conservative TV network on DirecTV and several cable systems; and Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Baltimore, Md.-based TV operator with 173 stations and other properties such as the Tennis Channel.

If O'Reilly is willing, Newsmax would be "a really good fit" for him, said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, which follows the talk radio business. "It is conservative and could use that one extra superstar component that O’ Reilly could offer to make it the complete package," he said. "(O'Reilly) might have to take a cut in immediate salary, but he could play a role in being part of a building process on a platform that is already off to a good start within the conservative media community and enjoy solid 'ground floor' positioning in the process going forward."

Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy told CNNMoney on Wednesday, "I'd love to talk to him."

Bill O'Reilly Taken Down By Reporter He Threatened

Bill O'Reilly was taken down by New York Times reporter he threatened in 2015

According to CNBC, Emily Steel — whose reporting in the New York Times brought down Bill O'Reilly — was threatened by the now-former Fox News host two years ago for covering his tall tales about the Falklands war.

"I am coming after you with everything I have," O'Reilly told Steel on the record in 2015. "You can take it as a threat."

Steel, who joined the Times as a media reporter in 2014, was one of the two journalists whose reporting earlier this month led advertisers to leave The O'Reilly Factor and, eventually, to the network dumping O'Reilly on Thursday. Steel and Michael S. Schmidt reported April 1 that Fox and O'Reilly had paid $13 million to silence women who accused the conservative host of sexual harassment.

In an episode of the Daily podcast from the Times after O'Reilly's ouster, Steel described spending months investigating the claims against the host in the face of "resistance" from the network.

According to Steel, she was surprised when O'Reilly was fired. The network has protected its marquee host for a long time, she said, through past allegations and other controversies.

Day 3 Of Nielsen's PPM Markets Released

Nielsen on Thursday  4/20/17 Released the third batch of March 2017 PPM Data for the following markets:

    23  Portland OR

    24  Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC

    26  San Antonio

    27  Pittsburgh

    28  Sacramento

    29  Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo

    30  Las Vegas

    31  Cincinnati

    32  Orlando

    33  Cleveland

    35  Kansas City

    37  Columbus OH

Click Here to view topline numbers for subscribing Nielsen stations.

Spotify Works Fresh Deal For Independent Artists

By Helena Soderpalm and Sophie Sassard | STOCKHOLM/LONDON

(Reuters) -- Music streaming service Spotify said on Thursday it has renewed a nine-year-old licensing deal with independent digital agency Merlin that has proven essential to its enduring appeal to dedicated music fans even as it has become more mainstream.

Merlin represents 20,000 independent record labels in 51 countries - around 12 percent of the digital recorded music market - making it Spotify's fourth largest partner after major labels Sony, Universal and Warner Music, the company said.

The agreement come weeks after Spotify reached a licensing deal with Universal that could make the streaming platform more attractive to its top-selling artists, including Taylor Swift, Adele, Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Kanye West - by letting them release albums exclusively to paying premium users.

Spotify is the world's top music streaming site, having doubled the number of its paying subscribers over the past two years to 50 million as of last month. Rival Apple Music counted 20 million paying subscribers as of last December.

Its stable includes classic British indie labels such as Beggars Group and Sub Pop through to German electronic music label !K7, Kobalt Music, which licenses the music of Prince, and Mad Decent, a U.S. label which has distributed everything from African and Brazilian funk to artists like Outkast.

Spotify, which has yet to show a profit as it expands in markets worldwide and builds new offices in New York, is exploring a market listing in the United States this year, banking sources say, confirming reports over the past year.

But the music platform has resisted a traditional initial public offering (IPO) in favor of a direct share listing, a source with knowledge of the plan said, confirming an earlier report from the Wall Street Journal.

This means existing Spotify investors and employees with stock options would have their shares registered, enabling them to be traded freely, while the company would not be able to raise extra money or work with underwriters to place new shares.

The company raised $526 million in its last funding round in 2015, giving it a valuation of around $8.5 billion at that time.

Spotify lost 173 million euros in 2015 according to the latest figures disclosed by its Luxembourg holding company, but recent deals with labels and the prospect of a stock market listing may mean its cash needs are less urgent.

Merlin, based in Amsterdam and London, also licenses digital rights to Spotify rivals including SoundCloud, Google Play and YouTube Red, Pandora and Deezer.

TTWN Partners With Vizzion For Live Camera Feeds

Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN) has announced a partnership with Vizzion, supplier of the world’s largest traffic camera network, to power the live camera feeds on TTWN’s online and mobile traffic platforms.

The partnership will integrate Vizzion’s network of more than 23,000 live traffic cameras nationwide into TTWN’s award-winning traffic offerings. The live traffic camera feeds will display alongside TTWN's real-time traffic speeds and incident data on, Sigalert and Total Traffic apps and TTWN’s embedded online solutions for its radio and television broadcast partners.

The map interface allows users to quickly view traffic cameras by hovering their mouse cursor over the camera icons. The integration of these cameras, provided by Vizzion's XML Web Service, helps users see how traffic and weather conditions may affect their commute, saving them time and frustration.

“Providing our broadcast radio and television affiliates with industry-leading data and content is a top priority,” said Kevin Loftus, SVP of Operations for Total Traffic & Weather Network. “Integrating Vizzion’s comprehensive network of live traffic cameras increases our nationwide feed coverage by nearly 70%, delivering a superior traffic solution for our media partners and experience for commuters.”

Vizzion President Chris Cooper adds, “TTWN’s digital traffic solutions, including the SigAlert branded web and mobile apps, are one of the most ubiquitous sources of traffic information available online. We're proud to be selected by TTWN to power their digital traffic camera service, reaching hundreds of media affiliates and benefiting millions of commuters every month.”

TTWN’s traffic apps, Total Traffic and Sigalert, can be downloaded through Google Play and the iOS App Store.

Stars Turn Out To Honor Clive Davis

Clive Davis
(Reuters) -- Record producer Clive Davis did not just get a documentary celebrating his five decades in the music business. He also got a world-class show from some of the stars whose careers he promoted.

Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, Dionne Warwick, Kenny G, Carly Simon and R&B band Earth Wind & Fire turned out to sing for Davis, 85, on the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday.

"Mr. Davis, for so many years it's been a real pleasure. I am honored to have been an artist of his and to still be an artist of his," Franklin said from the stage at Radio City Music Hall.

The documentary "Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives," traces the Brooklyn-born producer's journey from lawyer to the record division of CBS/Columbia in 1966, and how Janis Joplin became his first ever signing in 1967.

Davis has since signed or helped manage the careers of dozens of musicians ranging from Bruce Springsteen and Alicia Keys to Santana and Kelly Clarkson.

As part of the tribute, Oscar and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Hudson performed a medley of the biggest hits of Whitney Houston - the protege who Davis discovered and mentored but ultimately could not save from premature death.

Houston drowned accidentally in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub in 2012 after years of drug abuse.

"I hate the word legend, but he is a legend and we are so happy to give him all the respect and to open the festival with his movie," said Robert De Niro, who co-founded the festival in 2002.

Judge Blocks Release Of New Prince Music

(Reuters) -- A U.S. judge has blocked a planned release of new Prince music on the first anniversary of his death this week.

The Minnesota district court on Wednesday issued a temporary injunction barring the release of the six-song EP "Deliverance" after Prince's estate argued that the recordings breached a confidentiality agreement between Prince and his former sound engineer.

According to court documents, Judge Wilhelmina Wright also ordered engineer Ian Boxhill to hand over all "original recordings, analog and digital copies, and any derivative works" to Prince's estate.

"Deliverance" was due to go on sale on Friday and would have marked the first in a series of planned posthumous releases of material by Prince from the huge vault of discarded or unfinished material he reportedly left behind after his death of an accidental drug overdose on April 21, 2016.

Ian Boxhill
Independent record company Rogue Music Alliance (RMA) said earlier this week that the six songs were recorded by Prince between 2006 and 2008 and Boxill spent the last year completing, arranging and mixing the songs.

Representatives of RMA, Boxhill and Prince's estate did not immediately return calls for comment on the temporary injunction.

The title track "Deliverance" was removed from music streaming services late on Wednesday but not before reaching the No.1 spot on the iTunes rock songs charts.

Prince died at age 57 of an overdose of the painkiller fentanyl.

The value of his musical legacy, including a cache of unreleased recordings, has been estimated by some to exceed $500 million when factoring in future royalties, retail sales and commercial rights.

R.I.P.: Cuba Gooding Sr. of The Main Ingredient

Cuba Gooding Sr.
Singer Cuba Gooding Sr., who had his biggest hit in 1972 with "Everybody Plays the Fool," was found dead in a car in Woodland Hills Thursday afternoon, according to KABC-TV7.

Gooding was found in a 2012 silver Jaguar in the 22100 block of Ventura Boulevard around 1 p.m. He was 72 and would have turned 73 next week.

Police are still investigating the cause of his death, but say there were no immediate indications of homicide at the scene.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office said there were several bottles of alcohol as well as drug paraphernalia found in the vehicle, but they would not be more specific. They said it appears he died either of natural causes or a drug overdose and they are awaiting a toxicology report.

The car was seen pulling up to the location around 3:30 a.m. and Gooding was last seen alive around 10:30 a.m., officials said. Someone noticed an unresponsive body in the car and called authorities around 1 p.m. Paramedics responded and tried to treat him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.