Saturday, May 6, 2017

May 7 Radio History

➦In 1941...Glenn Miller recorded "Chattanooga Choo Choo" for RCA which subsequently became a huge hit on Radio.

➦In 1945...America learned that the war in Europe was over...

There were two sources of news during the World War II era - newspapers and radio.  Radio was faster, just as the internet and social media are (generally) faster with the news today.

Ray Steele WIBC
On May 7, an Associated Press reporter May 7, broke an embargo and sent first word of the German surrender to his wire service, ostensibly to be passed on to newspapers (the news was supposed to be embargoed to allow the leaders of the three Allied nations - the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union - to jointly announce the surrender on May 8.  But radio stations and networks also subscribed to the AP wire, and as soon as the news was reported, it was on the radio - hours before it could be printed in a paper.  Thus began a long period, though short by today's cable news endless coverage standards, of reporting about the end of the first half of the war.

Ray Steele on WIBC 93.5 FM Indinapolis spoke in 2015 with radio historian Steve Darnall. He hosts two wonderful weekly programs on the golden age of radio - Those Were The Days, which airs Saturday afternoons on WDCB 90.9 FM in the Chicago area, and Radio's Golden Age, which airs online at and  Steve is also editor and publisher of the quarterly Nostalgia Digest.

➦In 1946...Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering (later renamed Sony) is founded with around 20 employees.

➦In 1955...Decca Records released, for the second time, “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets. It had first been issued 12 months earlier, but did not take off until it was used in the 1955 movie, Blackboard Jungle.

➦In 1969...the CBC/Radio Canada banned all tobacco advertising on the CBC/SRC radio and television networks.

➦In 1996...Don McNeill - ABC Radio Breakfast Club died at age 88.

The Breakfast Club was a long-run morning variety show on NBC Blue Network/ABC radio (and briefly on television) originating in Chicago, Illinois.

Hosted by Don McNeill, the radio program ran from June 23, 1933 through December 27, 1968. McNeil's 35½-year run as host remains the longest tenure for an M.C. of a network entertainment program, surpassing Johnny Carson (29½ years) on The Tonight Show and Bob Barker (34⅔ years) on The Price is Right.

In Chicago during the early 1930s, McNeill was assigned to take over an unsponsored early morning variety show, The Pepper Pot, with an 8 a.m. timeslot on the NBC Blue Network. McNeill re-organized the hour as The Breakfast Club, dividing it into four segments which McNeill labeled "the Four Calls to Breakfast."

McNeill's revamped show premiered in 1933, combining music with informal talk and jokes often based on topical events, initially scripted by McNeill but later ad-libbed. In addition to recurring comedy performers, various vocal groups and soloists, listeners heard sentimental verse, conversations with members of the studio audience and a silent moment of prayer. The series eventually gained a sponsor in the Chicago-based meat packer Swift and Company. McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable radio format.

The program featured Fran Allison (later of Kukla, Fran and Ollie fame) as "Aunt Fanny", plus Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers and various comedy bits. Every quarter-hour came the "Call to Breakfast" -- a march around the breakfast table. A featured vocalist on the show, under her professional name of Annette King, was Charlotte Thompson Reid, who later became an Illinois congresswoman for five terms (1962–71).

The Breakfast Club initially was broadcast from the NBC studios in the Merchandise Mart. In 1948, after 4,500 broadcasts from the Merchandise Mart, the program moved to the new ABC Civic Studio. It was also heard from other Chicago venues: the Terrace Casino (at the Morrison Hotel), the College Inn Porterhouse (at the Sherman House) and "the Tiptop Room of the Allerton Hotel on Chicago's Magnificent Mile," as well as tour broadcasts from other locations in the U.S. It remained a fixture on the ABC radio network (formerly the NBC Blue Network; it became known as ABC in 1945), maintaining its popularity for years.

From 1993....

After ABC Radio was split into four networks in 1968, The Breakfast Club was moved to the new American Entertainment network, and was known for its last months on the air as The Don McNeill Show

➦In 1982...Dan Ingram does his last show at 77 WABC (Sound quality is fair, it was recorded 100 miles from NYC.). WABC would change to Talk Radio three days later.

➦In 2002...WYNY 107.1 FM dropped country format in NYC.

Philly Radio: FCC's Pai Says Colbert Comments Under Investigation

Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert’s controversial joke about President Trump drew the attention of the Federal Communications Commission. The agency received “a number” of complaints about Colbert’s commentary earlier in the week, according to the FCC’s chief.

According to The Hill, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai promised to “take the appropriate action” following a comprehensive investigation of Colbert’s remarks.

The FCC's response will depend on whether Colbert’s remarks are considered “obscene.”

“We are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it’s been set out by the Supreme Court and other courts and we’ll take the appropriate action,” he told Talk Radio WPHT 1210  AM Thursday.

“Traditionally, the agency has to decide, if it does find a violation, what the appropriate remedy should be,” he said. "A fine, of some sort, is typically what we do.”

Broadcast television is governed by different rules depending on the time of day, Pai said Wednesday, prior to viewing Colbert’s comments.

The FCC flags speech it considers “indecent” before 10 p.m., he told Fox Business Network, and looks for “obscene” content after that point. Colbert's “The Late Show” airs at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS.

The agency’s website states that content must meet a three-tier Supreme Court test to be labeled “obscene.”

“It must appeal to an average person’s prurient interest; depict or describe sexual conduct in a ‘patently offensive’ way; and, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value,” it reads.

Colbert on Monday unleashed a flood of insults at Trump, satirizing an interview with CBS news the president cut short the day before.

“The only thing your mouth is good at is being [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s c—k holster,” he said of Trump.

Colbert on Wednesday defended his joke amid fierce backlash online.

“I don’t regret that,” he said. “[Trump], I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight."

FCC Chairman Wants To Cut Regulations

By David Shepardson | WASHINGTON

(Reuters) --The head of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, said on Friday that the agency is continuing a sweeping regulatory review, keen to adapt rules to the digital age and get rid of rules that he said are barriers to business.

The review builds on the FCC's efforts in the first 100 days of the Trump administration to dismantle several significant regulations.

Pai said the FCC is looking closely at regulatory burdens on small businesses and examining whether the costs of existing rules outweigh the benefits and vowing faster decisions on approving new innovations.

Ajit Pai
"We’re reviewing the FCC’s rules across the board and deciding which ones still make sense in the digital age," Pai said at a speech at the American Enterprise Institute marking his recent 100-day anniversary on the job. "When the facts warrant, we will not hesitate to revise overly burdensome rules or repeal them altogether."

Pai said the FCC will make quicker decisions on whether to approve new technologies and wants to help entrepreneurs.

"We will make a decision within one year. There will be no more waiting indefinitely for an answer," Pai said. The FCC has revised its experimental licensing program and made it easier for inventors to register proposed new experiments, he added.

Pai said he is focused on helping low-income and rural Americans get access to high-speed internet and "modernizing our rules and removing unnecessary regulatory barriers, promoting innovation, protecting consumers and public safety, and improving agency operations."

Pai said the FCC imposes $800 million a year in paperwork burdens on the private sector and said the total regulatory burden "is much higher."

"The fundamental question is this: Do we want that money to be diverted to lawyers and accountants, figuring out how to comply with FCC rules? Or do we want it spent delivering American consumers better, faster, cheaper Internet access?" he said.

Pai said last month he would launch a "comprehensive review" of close to 1,000 pages of media regulations.

He also proposed a draft plan to reverse the Obama-era landmark 2015 net neutrality order that gave the commission authority to bar internet companies from blocking, throttling or giving "fast lanes" to websites.

The FCC has adopted 49 items since Pai took over the U.S. telecommunications regulatory agency and many take aim at rules enacted under Democratic former President Barack Obama.

Among those items, In April, the FCC reversed a 2016 decision that limits the number of television stations some broadcasters can buy.

Gigi Sohn, a former top aide to Pai's predecessor at the FCC said Pai favors incumbents instead of consumers.

The FCC under Pai temporarily blocked Obama rules that would have subjected broadband providers to stricter privacy requirements than websites, giving Congress time to vote to overturn the rules.

D/FW Radio: CBS Cuts Four From KRLD 1080 AM

CBS Radio has cut at least four people from DFW news-talk radio station KRLD 1080 AM, including some familiar names, not all of whom were shy about using social media to mention that they were cut.

Perhaps the biggest name was Charley Jones, the longtime host of “Texas Overnight” on KRLD and TSN, according to a source. On his Facebook page, a lengthy comment thread — that started with a Feb. 22 post — abruptly changed topics this morning to “you’ll be missed” comments.

The station confirmed the cut, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Another familiar name is J.D. Ryan, whose 17-year association with CBS Radio goes back to his days on “The Russ Martin Show” when it was on KLLI, the talk-radio predecessor to the current sports station KRLD 105.3 FM “The Fan.” Ryan contributed “Around Town” features about DFW as well as “Texas Road Trippin’ ” features.

Ryan posted on Facebook about being cut, and although he begins with “It is with sadness ...” he does not sound bitter.

“I have never worked with a better group of people EVER in my career and it was an honor and privilege to tell some good stories and touch some lives,” Ryan writes in part.

Ryan is still part of the syndicated, Fort Worth-based John Clay Wolfe show, which airs locally on KZPS 92.5 FM “Lone Star 92.5” and is not affiliated with CBS.

Yet another familiar name, sports anchor-reporter Roger Emrich, was also cut, according to a source. Emrich, a more than 20-year veteran of KRLD, is also the public-address announcer at AT&T Stadium. Reporter and assistant news director Matt Thomas, whose KRLD and TSN stint goes back to 2006, is also out.

“ I'll miss my colleagues who have all been SO encouraging with a MOUNTAIN of kind messages since I 'disappeared' from the newsroom this morning,” Thomas said in a Facebook post that indicated that he didn’t see the cut coming.

Besides KRLD-AM and FM, CBS Radio owns classic-hits station K LUV/98.7 FM, “adult hits” station KJKK/100.3 FM “Jack-FM” and Top 40 station KVIL/103.7 FM “Amp 103.7.” CBS also owns Fort Worth-based TV stations KTVT/Channel 11 and KTXA/Channel 21.

Music Mogul Irving Azoff EXITS iHM Board

Irving Azoff - 2012
iHeartMedia announced Friday that music industry veteran Irving Azoff has resigned from the company’s board.

Azoff, longtime manager for The Eagles and Christina Aguilera, among others, has been a staunch supporter of the radio giant as iHeart attempts to forestall a bankruptcy filing by pursuing an exchange offer with its debtholders. In an 8-K filing, iHeart stated that Azoff’s decision to step down did not arise from any disagreements over the direction of the company.

According to Variety, Azoff had been on the board since September 2010. In 2013, Azoff launched Global Music Rights, an upstart music licensing company that represents a handful of top artists.

In recent months, Azoff has gone to war with the Radio Music License Committee, which negotiates with licensing companies on behalf of the nation’s radio stations. After talks broke down with GMR last fall, the two sides filed competing anti-trust lawsuits against each other, which remain pending in federal court.

Report: Immunity Granted For Fox Probe

New troubles for Fox News arose this week as a lawsuit accused it of gender discrimination and one of the women who have accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment said she would appear before the British regulatory group that is assessing 21st Century Fox’s attempted takeover of Sky, the satellite TV giant.

At the same time, a federal investigation into Fox News continues. The inquiry, which began in September, appears to focus in part on settlements made by the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, and how they were paid and accounted for internally, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The NYTimes is reporting a former public relations chief for Fox News has been subpoenaed and granted immunity from prosecution, one of the people said. The former executive, Brian Lewis, started at Fox News when it was founded in 1996 and was once considered one of the closest aides to Roger Ailes, the former chairman who was forced out last summer amid a sexual harassment scandal. He was fired in 2013 and left the network with a settlement.

Wendy Walsh
Mark Kranz, the former chief financial officer for Fox News, also was subpoenaed and has immunity, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Kranz, who oversaw the network’s finances when it paid millions of dollars in settlements, was appointed to his position by Mr. Ailes in 2004, and resigned last year, a week after Mr. Ailes had done so.

On Monday in London, KFI 640 AM (Los Angeles) host Wendy Walsh, a former guest on O’Reilly’s Fox News show, and her lawyer Lisa Bloom will meet with the regulatory group, the Office of Communications, or Ofcom.

The meeting is a sign that the sexual harassment scandal that has tarnished Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, in the United States could be taken into consideration by British regulators as they weigh whether to approve the Sky deal. 21st Century Fox currently owns 39 percent of Sky, and acquiring full ownership has long been a goal of the entertainment company’s executive chairman, Rupert Murdoch.

Ms. Walsh has said that Mr. O’Reilly did not follow through on an offer to make her a network contributor after she declined an invitation to his hotel suite in 2013.

Major Nets Join CNN In Banning Trump Commercial

ABC, CBS and NBC have joined CNN in refusing to air an advertisement that lists President Donald Trump's accomplishments during his administration's first 100 days while blaming the "fake news" media for not reporting on them, according to the Associated Press.

A "fake news" graphic superimposed over the faces of news anchors was cited by CNN, ABC and NBC for not airing the ad. The networks contend that makes it inaccurate, and ABC said it represents a personal attack. CBS would not comment Friday on its reasons for the rejection.

The journalists whose faces are seen in the commercial are Andrea Mitchell of NBC, Wolf Blitzer of CNN, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, Scott Pelley of CBS and George Stephanopoulos of ABC.

"Apparently, the mainstream media are champions of the First Amendment only when it serves their own political views," said Lara Trump, a daughter-in-law of the president who serves as a consultant to the Trump campaign. Already up and running for 2020, the campaign has used the refusal in fundraising pleas to potential donors.

P-I Says Fox News Hired Him To Discredit Accusers

Bob Dietl
Bo Dietl, a private investigator and a former Fox News contributor, admitted that he was hired by the network to discredit at least some of the women who accused executives there of sexual harassment, reports The Washington Examiner.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Thursday night, Dietl said Fox used him to get information on former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson and a former producer, Andrea Mackris.

Carlson accused ousted Fox CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment last year. Mackris accused the network's firebrand anchor Bill O'Reilly, who was fired in April, of inappropriate conduct several years ago.

Both women received multimillion dollar settlements. Ailes and O'Reilly have consistently denied the accusations.

The Journal reported that Dietl, who was an on-air contributor at Fox and is now running for mayor of New York, "had an investigator eavesdrop on Ms. Mackris's conversations at an establishment, in an effort to show she wasn't under duress from alleged harassment."

Fox is under federal investigation over suspicion that the network misled stockholders by hiding its legal settlements with women who accused its executives of sexual harassment.

Minnesota AG Investigates Kars4Kids

One of the country's largest vehicle donation charities, Kars4Kids, is the subject of a troubling report from Minnesota's attorney general that accuses the non-profit of misleading donors.

The Minnesota attorney general is joining a chorus of states with complaints against the charity about how much of the money raised by car donations is going to kids and where that money is being spent, reports CBS News.

The well-known Kars4Kids' jingle makes a simple request, "donate your car today…" and has weathered the wrath of comics.

Lori Swanson
However, new revelations about the charity are no laughing matter. According to the Minnesota attorney general, between 2012 and 2014, Kars4Kids raised $3 million in the state through car donations. But less than $12,000, less than one percent of what was raised, went to Minnesota kids.

"I think it's important when people donate to a charity, that they have information in terms of where their money is going," said Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.

Where does the money go? Ninety percent of the monies donated go to a sister organization, Oorah, a New Jersey-based charity that operates Jewish youth summer camps in New York.

"My main concern about Kars4Kids is that people don't know what's really happening with this charity," said Daniel Borochoff, the president of CharityWatch.

"That's fine if people want to raise money for orthodox Jews, but they need to be clear and state that's what the purpose is," Borochoff said.

Kars4Kids issued a statement addressing the allegations.

"Since we are headquartered in the northeast, many of our programs and recipients naturally come from this area," the statement reads.  "We believe Minnesota residents…appreciate that their generous donations to Kars4Kids help children both in and out of state."

The 2015 budget for their ads? Seventeen million dollars, according to CharityWatch, which is even more than Kars4Kids gave to Oorah.

"So when one makes a donation to Kars4Kids, they're basically paying for those ads," Borochoff said.

Prayers For Loretta Lynn: Stroke Victim

Cover of soon-to-be-released album
(Reuters) -- Country music singer Loretta Lynn was hospitalized after a suffering a stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, her official website said Friday.

Lynn, 85, was admitted to a Nashville hospital on Thursday where she is "under medical care and is responsive and expected to make a full recovery," a statement on said.

The singer's upcoming shows have been postponed on advice of her doctors while she recovers, the statement added.

Lynn was scheduled to perform at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, North Carolina on Friday, and had performances lined up across the United States through November.

Born in Kentucky, Lynn carved a career in the country music scene with her down-home twangy voice, singing hits such as 1960's "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl" and "Coal Miner's Daughter," released in 1970.

May 6 Radio History

➦In 1911...comedic actor Frank Nelson was born in Colorado Springs.

Moving to Hollywood in 1929 he soon became a leading man on numerous radio shows. Nelson began his entertainment career in radio and later moved into television and movies. In 1926, at age 15, Nelson played the role of a 30-year-old man in a radio series broadcast from the then-5,000-watt KOA (AM) radio station serving the Denver, Colorado market. In 1929, Nelson moved to Hollywood, California and worked in local radio dramatic shows, usually playing the leading man.The first sponsored radio show he appeared in to reach a national market was Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, a situation comedy radio show airing from November 28, 1932, and ending May 22, 1933, starring two of the Marx Brothers, Groucho and Chico, and written primarily by Nat Perrin and Arthur Sheekman.

Nelson found fame as the put-upon foil to Jack Benny on Benny's radio show during the 1940s and 1950s. He found fame playing an unctious clerk or customer service worker on Jack Benny’s NBC radio show, and later on the Benny and I Love Lucy TV shows on CBS.  He took the same over-the-top character to numerous other TV shows and commercials, as well as in voicing for cartoons.  He lost a years-long battle with cancer Sept 12 1986 at age 75.

Orson Welles
In Orson Welles was born in Kenosha Wisconsin. Besides his movie work, which began with the great Citizen Kane, Welles was a star of bigtime radio; his Mercury players produced The War of the Worlds and dozens of other hour-long dramas, many under the title ‘Campbell Playhouse’ on CBS. Other radio series starring Welles included The Shadow, Harry Lime, and The Black Museum.  He died following a heart attack Oct. 10 1985 at age 70.

➦In 1937...WLS-AM reporter Herb Morrison describes fiery disaster of zeppelin Hindenburg ("Oh, the humanity!") at Lakehurst, NJ.  Here's a corrected synch of Herb Morrison's recording of the event matched with footage from the Pathe newsreel and the Universal newsreel. Where film isn't available, pictures are substituted.

Some of radio's greatest moments are when the actual event occurs live on the air or while a reporter is recording and the unexpected happens. One such event happened to reporter Herb Morrison on May 6th, 1937 in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The mighty German passenger Zeppelin, Hindenburg, was attempting a mooring. The Hindenburg was one of Nazi Germany's finest airships. It was supposed to reflect the greatness of the German Reich and its leader, Adolf Hitler.

Herb Morrison
The airship had made this voyage before and friends and family were at Lakehurst waiting for the arrival of the great zeppelin. Reporter Herbert Morrison was there too thanks to his radio station, WLS, Chicago. The day was rainy and there had been strong thunderstorms earlier. Morrison was recording the event for later rebroadcast. The early part of his recording reflects information about the airship and the day and what is necessary to bring it into mooring under such conditions.

Engineer Charles Nehlsen was manning the Presto Direct Disc recorder. The recorder includes a large turntable with a 16-inch platter, a heavy-duty lathe, which would actually cut into the lacquer disc, and an amplifier. It was important that these recorders be perfectly level and that vibration be avoided. Ultimately, the complete broadcast would be recorded on four 16" Green label lacquer discs.

As the zeppelin arrives, listenMorrison is describing the mooring when suddenly it bursts into flames. Morrison is shocked, but keeps talking though breaking occasionally overcome by the tragedy unfolding in front of him. Later the broadcast continues after the tragedy as the victims are being brought in and survivors are interviewed.

An interesting side note is at the moment of explosion, when Morrison is heard yelling "It burst into flames!" the vibrations from the explosion caused the recorder to bounce on the disc creating deep grooves until Engineer Nehlson is able to momentarily lift the lathe from the disc and place it back down. The discs, which are contained at the National Archives reflect the grooves and the force of the explosion.

It was radio news at its finest; news events reported as they happened. The description is brought home to radio's listeners and we in turn grieve for the dead and injured. This event reflected the potential and power of radio broadcasting immediately before and, later, during World War II as the Murrow Boys and others would bring the war home to America via the airwaves.

While the event was not aired live, it did air later. In those days radio reporting of events was always broadcast live only since the networks had policies forbidding the use of recorded material except for sound effects. But Herbert Morrison, the reporter, was not there to report disaster and had no facility for broadcasting live. Instead, he was there at the behest of his radio station, WLS, Chicago, to record a report on the grand airship.

Later that day, Morrison and his sound engineer, Charlie Nehlsen left New Jersey with the transcription discs and headed back to Chicago. The morning after the disaster is when parts of the recording first aired over WLS. Logs of when it first appeared over NBC are not known to exist. It is known that at least five minutes of the recording did broadcast on May 7th at 11:38 AM in the New York area and over the Red Network. It was later in the day that the longer sections were played to a national audience. This was one of the few times that the networks allowed a recording of an event to be broadcast. (Radio Days)

➦In 1944...Fishers Blend radio stations KJR & KOMO in Seattle swapped frequencies.  KOMO was moved to 1000 kc where its power could be increased, while KJR, now at 950, was sold within two years.  With the new frequency, KOMO was broadcasting at 50,000 watts, sending its signal over several states.

➦In the final hours of WWII, the German radio announcer known as “Axis Sally” made her final propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

➦In 1975...a ham radio group known as REACT acted early and their warnings kept casualties down to 3 deaths in a tornado that struck Omaha, Nebraska.

➦In 1996...the Howard Stern Radio Show debtued on WCCC-FM, Hartford, Connecticut.

➦In 2015…Veteran radio newsman/talk show host Ty Wansley died of congestive heart failure at 63.

Wansley began in broadcasting as a newscaster in the 1970's at two of St. Louis' powerhouse radio stations, KWK and KATZ. Following several prominent years in his native St. Louis, Wansley was wooed by Sheridan Broadcasting to become the National News Director of the Sheridan Network.

Following his successful stint at the helm of the Sheridan Network, Wansley returned to St. Louis to become National News Director of Amaturo Broadcasting; overseeing the news departments of radio stations in St. Louis,Miami, Houston, and Detroit. In 1979, Wansley moved up the broadcasting ladder as he traveled to Chicago, where he headed the news department of WBMX and WJPC radio.

In 1982, Wansley transcended the world of reporting and became a popular talk show host at WVON radio with his program,Tell Ty. The popularity of Tell Ty prompted WLS Radio to recruit TY to join the ABC talk show line-up , which evolved into the very unique talk-show tag-team of Ty and colorful politician and prominent attorney Edward R. Vrdolyak. Wansley and Vrdolyak enjoyed immense success on Chicago's ariwaves, which included a popular collaboration on WJJD-A.M.

Friday, May 5, 2017

TS13: Radio's Listening Locations Are Changing

In Jacobs Media's new web study of radio listeners, a big story is how radio’s traditional listening locations – the home, the car, and the workplace – are undergoing change. From content consumed to new distribution outlets to emerging gadgetry, the traditional pattern of media usage and radio listening are changing – in some cases, rapidly.

The media habits of 14 format core audiences, along with five generations, are examined in this mega-survey of radio listeners. From Boomers to Millennials, different patterns of consumption are emerging, providing radio broadcasters with information from which they can map out game plans and strategies.

TS13 was conducted from January 16 - February 27 of this year. Stakeholder stations participated in a webinar earlier this week, and the results of the study will be released over the next few months.

As Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs points out, "We’ve been focused on the car for several years in Techsurvey – and for good reason. But as time goes on, radios are disappearing from the home front, and being replaced in many cases by smart TVs, wireless audio systems, and ‘smart speakers’ like Amazon Echo and Google Home. The ‘Alexa Factor’ is a big finding in this year’s study of radio listeners.”

Techsurvey13 provides two different “pyramids” for stakeholder stations. The “Media Pyramid” contains broad categories, including smartphone and tablet ownership, audio and video streaming, and this year, devices like the Amazon Echo. The “Brand Platform Pyramid” unveiled in 2015 continues to provide fascinating usage information about big brands that include Snapchat, Netflix, TuneIn, and Shazam.

Jacobs continues, "Devices like the Echo and Google Home are in 11% of our respondents’ homes. While smartwatch ownership has doubled from 2016, these devices are still trying to discover their true value proposition. In the meantime, most other categories are showing growth, including podcasting, mobile devices, and audio and video streaming.”

This year's Media Pyramid is below:

More than nine of ten respondents spend at least one hour a day with radio and/or television, the foundation of this pyramid.

Other highlights include:
  • The home is the new car – While 88% of homes have a working radio, that’s not the case with Millennials, where only three-fourths (76%) have a radio at their residence. Techsurvey13 shows wireless speaker systems, smart TVs, and now devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home showing up in homes.
  • Oh, Alexa! – In its debut year, 11% of the entire sample own “smart speakers.” And they are increasingly using voice commands on their devices. Overall, nearly half (45%) frequently or occasionally use their voice, especially owners of gadgets like the Echo and Google Home. 
  • It’s free – Consumers love broadcast radio for the music, personalities, and emotional drivers such as companionship and mood elevation. But in a new response option in TS13, nearly six in ten (57%) say a main reason they enjoy listening to the radio is that it’s a free service.
  • The mobile revolution marches on – Nearly nine of ten respondents (87%) now own a smartphone and two-thirds (68%) now have a tablet - mobile continues to grow year after year. And more consumers wake up with a mobile phone than a clock radio. 
  • Radio’s digital platforms are growing –  While 74% of consumption to the average station in TS13 take place on “regular radios,” 22% of usage is now occurring via computer streams, mobile apps, and podcasts. The shift is more pronounced with each passing year. 
  • Who’s using headphones? – Overall, 15% of respondents in TS13 use headphones half the time or more often while listening to radio. These consumers are most likely to be members of Gen Z, Hispanics, African-Americans, and especially fans of the Rhythmic CHR and Urban AC formats. 
  • Podcasting is growing, but ever so slowly – More than one-fifth (21%) listen to podcasts weekly or more often. And the preferred device for podcast listening is the smartphone, chosen by a majority (51%) of regular podcast users.  
  • Smartwatches are growing…but slowly – Ownership of connected watches doubled from last year, but only 8% of respondents own one, a gadget that is in search of a market. 
  • Privacy issues – For the first time since it’s been included in our Techsurveys, fewer streamers of our stakeholder stations express a willingness to register to access the stream. Yet, nearly two-thirds (65%) say they’d provide basic information – name, email address, and zip code. 
This year's Brand/Platform Pyramid provides data points that help broadcasters get more granular with their audiences, identifying the key media brands they use. For each of the brands and platforms, this pyramid shows weekly usage (with the exception of broadcast radio which is one hour/day or more, and SiriusXM which is based on subscribership/free trial).

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s Brand Platform pyramid:

  • Three-fourths (75%) are on Facebook weekly or more, making it the dominant social media platform. One-fourth spend time on Instagram (25%), showing solid growth from TS12.  
  • Nearly half (48%) watch YouTube videos weekly or more, while more than four in ten (41%) connect with Netflix during a 7-day period, up sharply from last year.
  • One-fourth (25%) listen to Pandora on a weekly basis, a drop for the second year in a row.  While Spotify (12%) is up incrementally.
  • Of the social media brands on this pyramid, Snapchat (14%) is showing the strong year-to-year growth. 
Both pyramids are available by format, gender, and generation, making them useful tools in better understanding how radio listeners are expanding their horizons.

This year’s survey covers key areas of interest to all media brands, including actionable information about connected and autonomous cars, social media usage, mobile devices and apps, audio and video streaming, and other key topics.

Techsurvey13 was powered by NuVoodoo who provided analytical and platform support.

Analyst: iHM's Balance Sheet Doesn't Pay-Off

(Reuters) -- May 4 iHeartMedia Inc, the largest owner of U.S. radio stations, said there was substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.

iHeartMedia, which said 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 debt pile outside of bankruptcy court.

As of March 31, the company had debt of $20.37 billion and total assets of $12.27 billion. It had $365 million of cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet as of March 31.

iHeartMedia indicated in a regulatory filing on April 20 that it would issue a going concern warning.

iHM was taken over by private equity firms BainCapital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners through a leveraged buyout in 2008 for $26.7 billion, piling up the company with huge debts.

The company hosts syndicated radio shows of celebrities such as Steve Harvey, Ryan Seacrest and Rush Limbaugh.

Separately, the company reported a first-quarter net loss of $388.2 million, compared with $88.5 million a year earlier.

“We remain focused on balancing financial discipline with investments to grow our businesses while continuing to work on our capital structure,” said Rich Bressler, president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

Total debt at the company stood at $20.4 billion on March 31, up from $20.36 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016.

According to, the company is in the midst of a $14.6 billion debt-exchange offer in which it is seeking partial debt forgiveness on loans and bonds and a two-year extension of loan and bond maturities. The offer’s deadlines have been extended three times since it was first issued March 15. The current deadline is May 12. As of April 26, only 0.4 percent, or about $31 million, of the $8.3 million in bond debt in the offer had been tendered, according to the company.

Bressler and iHeartMedia Senior Vice President and Treasurer Brian Coleman, citing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules, declined during an analysts call Thursday to discuss the status of the debt-exchange offer or to offer an update on the previous report of the low acceptance by lenders and bondholders.

Bressler said part of the reason there was more cash in Q1 2016 was due to the sale of billboards that were recorded in that quarter. He also said there were additional programming and talent costs (the company just resigned Elvis Duran and Steve Harvey), the timing of trade and barter costs, the seasonality of the first quarter, and challenges with accounts receivable. Traditionally, for radio, the first quarter is always the weakest quarter but Bressler admitted, on several occasions, that he was surprised by the softness of the advertising market. He said he expected it to be more robust

The company has $316.5 million in debt maturities this year, $324.2 million in 2018 but $8.4 billion in 2019. The company had $365 million in cash as of March 31.

Investors and debt holders fully understand iHeartMedia’s “going concern” statement, said Seth Crystall, a senior credit analyst at Debtwire, a New York-based corporate debt research firm.
“They don’t like it. (IHeartMedia) has a balance sheet it can’t pay off,” Crystall said, adding that he does not know what would convince more lenders and bondholders to accept the debt-exchange offer’s terms.

“We don’t run the company for one quarter,” Bressler said during the analysts call. Twenty percent of media consumption is radio, he said, but the radio industry receives only 6 to 8 percent of media advertising. “That’s our challenge,” Bressler said, citing “a tough advertising environment.”

CBS 1Q Profit Falls On Radio Sale Adjustment

  • Revenues of $3.34 Billion
  • Operating Income of $704 Million
  • Diluted EPS from Continuing Operations Up 15% to $1.09
  • Adjusted Diluted EPS from Continuing Operations Up 9% to $1.04
CBS Corporation late Thursday reported results for the first quarter of 2017, including record first-quarter adjusted diluted earnings per share (“EPS”) from continuing operations.

“Our first-quarter results once again demonstrate the strength of our strategy, which is to diversify our revenue mix as we achieve our long-term financial goals,” said Leslie Moonves, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation.

Les Moonves
“Retransmission consent and reverse compensation led the way in Q1, growing 28%. This contributed to a 17% increase in our Company’s affiliate and subscription fee revenue, which also benefited from our over-the-top subscription services, CBS All Access and Showtime OTT. In addition, we a had very solid quarter for content licensing and distribution, which was up 16% and is poised for continued strength when several of our hit series enter the syndication cycle later this year. And we continue to add to our content pipeline all the time. In two weeks we will unveil our new primetime schedule on the CBS Television Network, which will include 19 returning series further strengthened by several new shows, the majority of which we will own.

"We look forward to the upfront marketplace where we’re confident advertisers will once again place great value on the #1 television network in an increasingly fragmented media landscape. And longer term, that content becomes even more valuable when we license it across distribution services, both here in the U.S. and internationally as well. As we continue to sharpen our core content focus in the quarters to come, including the impending split-off of our radio business, we will be even better positioned to take advantage of all of the opportunities before us. So there is so much yet to come, and our road map for success is clear.”

1Q 2017 included a noncash charge of $715 million in discontinued operations to establish a valuation allowance to adjust the carrying value of CBS Radio to the value indicated by the stock valuation of Entercom Communications Corp. CBS Radio is classified as held for sale and therefore, in accordance with accounting guidance, the valuation allowance will continue to be adjusted based on the trading price of Entercom’s stock, which could result in future gains or losses.

On Thursday's earning call with anaylysts, COO Joseph Ianniello give a quick update on the CBS Radio/Entercom transaction. "Our deal to merge CBS Radio with Entercom remains on track for the second half of 2017. We filed a CBS Radio S-4 a few weeks ago, and we're in the process of obtaining the necessary approvals from the various regulatory agencies. We look forward to recognizing the value of this business in the months ahead.

"Also in connection with our Radio transaction and in accordance with accounting rules, we made a non-cash adjustment to the carrying value of Radio to the current market derived by Entercom's stock price. As an asset held for sale, the value of our Radio assets will be marked to market until we complete this divestiture, and could be adjusted downward or upward from current levels."

Scripps Reports Radio Revenue Was Off 1Q 2017

The E.W. Scripps Company today reported operating results for the first quarter of 2017.

For the quarter, net loss was $1.9 million or 2 cents per share. In the prior-year quarter, the net income was $4.9 million or 6 cents per share.

For the quarter, total revenue was $211 million compared to $209 million in first-quarter 2016.

Business highlights

  • The company has closed an offering of $400 million of new senior unsecured notes priced at 5.125 percent and scheduled to mature in 2025. Proceeds from the offering were used to repay the existing $391 million term loan B due in 2020, to pay related fees, and for general corporate purposes. Since this is a refinancing, the company is not significantly increasing the total amount of debt.
  • Retransmission revenue increased 24 percent to $66 million in the first quarter. The increase was driven by the renewal at higher rates of two contracts covering 3 million subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2016. Retransmission revenue is expected to become about 35 percent of television division revenue this year.
  • Digital revenue grew 25 percent in the first quarter, particularly driven by growth at our podcast industry-leading company Midroll.
  • Scripps is launching a new daytime television lifestyle talk show featuring country music entertainer Kellie Pickler and Emmy Award-winning New York City journalist Ben Aaron. The show is a partnership with Grammy Award-winning country music artist Faith Hill. It will launch this fall in 20 Scripps TV station markets.
  • Scripps received three prestigious Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in Television Political Journalism from the Norman Lear Center at University of Southern California. The awards recognized original reporting of the 2016 elections across the company’s 24 news-producing markets and at Newsy; its campaign fact-checking partnership with Politifact and including Newsy; and the work of its Denver station, KMGH, in covering a forgery scandal involving a U.S. Senate race.

Commenting on the first-quarter results, Scripps Chairman, President and CEO Rich Boehne said:

Rich Boehme
“The first quarter following a presidential election is often the lightest in the four-year cycle that drives our broadcast TV business. Nevertheless, we built advertising revenue as the quarter progressed, and now we’re on to partnering with local advertisers as they refine or recast their businesses.

“Looking ahead to the elections in 2018, we anticipate aggressively contested midterm races, with 16 for governor and 10 for U.S. Senate in Scripps markets as the Democrats mount a rousing offense to regain seats in Congress.

“In our digital division, once again Newsy has received an invitation to tell its story at the interactive advertising industry’s NewFronts. National digital advertising buyers will have the opportunity to meet the content producers and business leaders behind our fast-growing news network for the next generation. Newsy is widely distributed on all the major over-the-top services, a cable system, desktop and mobile, and it garnered 1.3 billion video views across all those platforms in 2016. Newsy made an impressive debut at this prestigious event last year. There’s more and even better to come from Newsy this year.

Radio revenue was $14 million, down from $14.6 million in the 2016 quarter. Expenses were $12.4 million compared to $12.5 million in 2016.

Fox News Radio Reporter: Fired For Using Harassment Hotline

(Reuters) -- A Fox News radio correspondent filed a lawsuit on Thursday claiming she was fired for complaining about sex discrimination, after the network encouraged employees to report harassment amid a barrage of legal claims.

Jessica Golloher, who covers the Middle East and North Africa for Fox News Radio Network, says in the lawsuit that instead of addressing complaints, Fox is using the harassment hotline "to paint targets on the backs of employees."

In the lawsuit, filed in New York state court, Golloher says that in April she reported sex discrimination to a lawyer at the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, which Fox retained last year to conduct an internal probe of harassment complaints.

Jessica Golloher
The next day, Golloher was told she would be laid off in August due to budgetary concerns, the complaint says.

"Terminating an employee within 24 hours of utilizing the 'hotline' ... is yet another indication of (Fox's) lack of oversight and retaliatory animus for those that are brave enough to report unlawful conduct," Golloher's lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, said in a statement.

Fox News, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A representative of Paul Weiss also did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Fox News is facing a number of sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, including a proposed class action by non-white employees who say they were mocked and humiliated because of their race and paid less than white coworkers.

The mounting claims led to the resignation this week of network co-president Bill Shine, who is accused in several cases of ignoring complaints of race and sex bias.

Fox last month parted ways with its most popular anchor, Bill O'Reilly, amid a number of harassment claims that he has denied, and network chief Roger Ailes resigned last year after he was sued by former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

Ailes denied the claims, but Fox agreed to pay $20 million to settle Carlson's lawsuit.

In Thursday's lawsuit, Golloher says that despite her being based in Moscow during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, a male London-based reporter who did not speak Russian was chosen as Fox's lead reporter for the games.

Golloher also says that New York-based Fox Radio anchor Dave Anthony routinely spoke down to her and treated her as a "vapid, unintelligent female reporter," according to the complaint

Golloher, who is seeking unspecified damages, says Fox violated New York City and state laws prohibiting workplace discrimination.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports Federal authorities have broadened the scope of their investigation into Fox News. In addition to focusing on sexual-harassment settlements and how they were structured, they’ve also become interested in alleged intimidation tactics at the network, such as the hiring of a private investigator to dig up negative information on women who complained.

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Detroit Radio: WRIF Extends Contract With Dave & Chuck

Beasley Media Group has signed an employment contract with Dave & Chuck, Detroit’s Number One Morning Show. Popular co-Hosts Dave Hunter and Chuck “The Freak” Urquhart along with co-host Lisa Way, have been extended four more years on Detroit’s legendary Rock Station WRIF 101.1 FM.

Both Dave and Chuck each bring more than two decades of radio experience to their morning microphones. Dave started his radio career as a news writer and reporter. But, Dave quickly joined Chuck, who began as a board operator, to form the on-air partnership of Dave & Chuck the Freak. The duo expanded to a trio when they added co-host Lisa Way, and joined WRIF in 2013. The Detroit Market responded tremendously, which required the team to expand again quickly, adding Co-Host Andy Green, Producer James Campbell and Video Editor Jason Watson.

The show was reaching new heights by 2017, when their contracts had two years remaining. A four-year extension was offered by the station’s new owners, Beasley Media Group.

“Of course, we extended their contracts!” commented Beasley Detroit Market Manager Mac Edwards. “Dave and Chuck have crushed the competition and dominated Detroit’s morning radio for men and women, ranking #1 in every key demo including 18 to 34, 18 to 49 and 25 to 54! We value their amazing talent and are fortunate to work with them.”

WRIF 101. FM (23 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
“It’s a huge compliment to know Beasley is so enthusiastic about continuing our show,” said Dave Hunter. “We are not only radio morning co-hosts. We are friends, with families who are enjoying being part of this community.

Beasley has not asked us to change our show. They want us to thrive, so they’ve been beyond supportive. We enjoy working as professional partners with our Detroit Market Manager Mac Edwards, WRIF Program Director Mark Pennington, Beasley Media Group Chief Operating Officer Brian Beasley, as well as Beasley Media Group Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beasley. It just doesn’t get better than that!”

Dave Hunter and Charles Urquhart (and Lisa Way) began in April 2001 on Windsor’s CIMX 88.7 FM, the official name of 89X, until a surprise announcement on Nov. 23, 2012, that they were leaving the alternative music station for an unnamed new outlet in 2013.

The hosts are known for their off-brand of humor and banter, and complement their on-air show with heavy social media interaction with fans along with events such as a humorous annual .5K marathon in downtown Wyandotte. It also this week added an in-studio video element known as the "Peep Show."

One local radio insider praised the extension, reports Crain's Detroit.

“Dave and Chuck originally represented for Greater Media an ideal team to help the radio group work toward bringing a younger, hipper audience to WRIF,” said Don Tanner, a partner in Farmington Hills-based Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications and radio industry insider who wrote radio and music industry text No Static At All.

“Complementary music tweaks at that time had WRIF looking to compete more with 89X than WCSX or The Drive. That experiment has been a successful one. Just as Dick Purtan’s audience followed him from Q-95-5 to WOMC several years ago, so, too, have D&C’s listeners made the switch to a new 'new rock alternative.' Once again, 'live and local' worked.”

Their predecessors on WRIF, Drew Lane and Mike Clark, topped local morning ratings for years — morning drive is the most lucrative advertising period for FM radio stations — but "Dave and Chuck the Freak" has matched them with younger demographics.

Chicago Radio: Kathy Hart Walks, Hubbard Scrambles

The working relationship between WTMX 101.9 FM The Mix morning show superstars Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart has been a terrible one, according to Chicago Radio& Media website.

While the two seem to have incredible chemistry on the airwaves, when the microphones are turned off, the duo simply cannot stand each other.

Eric and Kathy
According to CR&M, the problems behind the scenes have only worsened over the years and Hubbard Radio Chicago management has done little to smooth over the problem or end the highly toxic work conditions that have long existed.

According to insiders at WTMX-FM, the problem is so bad that the two hosts will only communicate with each other through producers. They will not even say a word to each other.

Many of the insiders side with Hart, claiming Ferguson's ego, entitled attitude, and harsh treatment of others makes it difficult to be around him.

No longer able to handle the negativity of working alongside Ferguson, Hart left the station this week on what appears to be a mental health leave of absence. Hubbard Radio Chicago is now scrambling to try and save their "golden goose" morning show that has produced record-high ratings and revenue for them for so many years.

The "Eric & Kathy Morning Show" has boasted strong listenership among advertiser-coveted 25-to-54-year-old females for most of their tenure at the station. The key to the success of this entertainment based, lifestyle driven show has been its ability to keep the content edgy enough to engage grownups but with enough tongue in cheek humor to sail right over the heads of kids.

Ferguson and Hart have been on-air partners on WTMX-FM since September 1996, creating one of the most successful and consistently highest-rated morning shows in Chicago radio history. This past November they were inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame to honor their radio successes. In January, the duo were given a multi-year contract extension to stay on WTMX-FM.

Springfield MO Radio: Dana Loesch Appearance Moved For Security

Conservative radio talk show host Dana Loesch had planned to do her live show in front of an audience at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield on May 19.

But concerns over her safety prompted a change of venue to the local KSGF 1260 AM / 104.1 FM, where she'll now broadcast live from the station's studio — without a public audience, according to the News-Leader.

The change was announced Tuesday on the KSGF "Mornings Live with Nick Reed" show. Loesch's syndicated radio show airs daily on KSGF from noon-3 p.m.

During his morning show, Reed said several conservative speakers have been accosted or attacked around the country in recent months. He noted that Loesch has become known as a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association. On her radio show, Loesch strongly advocates for Second Amendment rights and gun ownership.

"Because of safety and security concerns, that are certainly warranted, it is just not possible to guarantee her safety and have her out in the open that way," Reed said, referring to the live show she planned to do in front of an audience at Bass Pro Shops. "Her show will be closed off for her safety."

He said Loesch still plans to do a "meet and greet" with people after she does her show at the KSGF studio.

KSGF Program Manager Kortni Tucker previously said people can win a chance to meet Loesch by registering for free tickets at various locations in Springfield. More information about Loesch's visit and how to register for tickets is available online at

Finalists Announced For 2017 Radio Mercury Awards

117 radio spots and campaigns have made it to the finals of the 2017 Radio Mercury Awards, which honors outstanding radio created by advertising agencies, production companies, radio stations and students. BBDO NY, DeVito/Verdi, and iHeartMedia Creative Services lead this year’s entries throughout multiple categories. The Radio Marketer of the Year will be awarded to T-Mobile at the June 1 awards event in New York.

The 2017 finalists incorporate a wide range of small to large advertising agencies and radio stations, as well as national and regional advertisers from the automotive, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, financial services, insurance, travel & tourism, telecommunications, and quick serve restaurant categories. Entries were judged on their creativity, originality and effective communication of a brand’s message.

“We’ve said all year ‘Anything is Possible’ on the radio, and that writers can create limitless opportunities with the right story,” said Mark Gross, founder and creative director, Highdive Advertising and chief judge for the 2017 Radio Mercury Awards. “The spots and campaigns moving on to the next round tell their stories with intriguing and nuanced executions.”

“This list of 117 agencies, production companies, radio stations and universities, have reached an exceptionally high level of creative excellence,” noted Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau. “No matter the advertiser or market size, the ability to build brand awareness and drive ROI is truly unique to radio. All of these finalists creatively succeed on delivering that promise.”

The final round judging panel included Chief Judge Mark Gross founder and creative director, Highdive Advertising; Wade Alger, Executive Creative Director, TBWA \ Chiat \ Day New York; Sean Bryan, Co-Chief Creative Officer, McCann; Peter Kain, Executive Creative Director, BBDO New York; Paula Maki, Managing Creative Director, mono San Francisco; Jorge Murillo, Vice President / Executive Creative Director, Alma DDB; and Andrès Ordóñez, Chief Creative Officer, Energy BBDO.

Click here for 2017 Radio Mercury Awards Finalists.

Canada Radio: Bell Media Promotes Rob Farina

Rob Farina
Bell Media Canada has elevated Rob Farina to the role of head of radio content, strategy, and iHeartRadio for Bell Media, effective May 29.

The company said Thursday that the move follows the upcoming departure of David Corey, vice-president of radio programming, later this month for a new opportunity in the U.S.

Formerly head of iHeartRadio, syndication, and strategic initiatives, Farina officially joins Bell Media with oversight of all content for Bell Media Radio.  He will develop programming for Bell Media Radio while continuing to deliver growth in digital radio, plus continues to be responsible for Canadian radio content syndication group Orbyt Media.

“Rob is a tremendous asset to our radio operations and I am delighted to have him on board in this new role at Bell Media," said radio and local TV president Nikki Moffat, in the announcement.  "He is an extremely talented radio executive and I am confident that he will continue to elevate iHeartRadio along with all of our Bell Media Radio properties across Canada, while driving growth, profitability, and innovation."