Saturday, June 24, 2017

June 25 Radio History

➦In 1942...the first broadcast of the unique, hilariously-scripted panel show “It Pays to Be Ignorant” was aired on WOR Radio and the Mutual Broadcasting System. It eventually spanned 9 years on the air, moving first (in 1944) to CBS and in 1951 to NBC.

The satirical series featured "a board of experts who are dumber than you are and can prove it." Tom Howard was the quizmaster who asked questions of dim-bulb panelists Harry McNaughton, Lulu McConnell and George Shelton.

Each episode would start with some jokes ("Do married men live longer than single men?"... "No, it only seems longer.") and an introduction of the experts. After this, three or four questions would be discussed in detail: some posed by Howard, some picked at random by a guest from the audience. These questions often had the answer obvious in the query ("What town in Massachusetts had the Boston Tea Party?") or were common knowledge.

➦In 1949…Billboard magazine changed the name of its country music hit parade from Hillbilly Music Chart to Country & Western.

➦In 1970…The U.S. Federal Communications Commission ruled it illegal for radio stations to put telephone calls on the air without the permission of the person being called.

➦In 1976...songwriter/singer & broadcast personality Johnny Mercer, who wrote the lyrics to more than 1,000 songs, including That old Black Magic, Swinging on a Star, Accentuate the Positive, Hooray for Hollywood, and Days of Wine & Roses,  who had 19 Academy Award nominations, died asa result of brain cancer surgery at age 66.  In 1942 he had become a co-founder of Capitol Records.

➦In 1988...Radio disc jockey Mildred E. Gillars, better known during World War Two as "Axis Sally" for her Nazi propaganda broadcasts, died. She was 87. Gillars served 12 years in prison for treason.

Mildred Gillars
Born Mildred Elizabeth Sisk in Portland, Maine, she took the surname Gillars in 1911 after her mother remarried. At 16, she moved to Conneaut, Ohio, with her family.  In 1918 she enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan University to study dramatic arts but left before graduating. She then moved to Greenwich Village, New York City, where she worked in various low-skill jobs to finance drama lessons. She toured with stock companies and appeared in vaudeville but she was unable to establish a theatrical career.

In 1929, Gillars left the U.S. for France. In 1934 she moved to Dresden, Germany, to study music, later being employed as a teacher of English at the Berlitz School of Languages in Berlin.

In 1940 she obtained work as an announcer with the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG), German State Radio.

By 1941, as the U.S. State Department was advising American nationals to return home, Gillars chose to stay in Germany after her fiancé, a naturalized German citizen named Paul Karlson, said that he would never marry her if she returned to the United States.

Until 1942 Gillars' broadcasts were largely apolitical. This changed when Max Otto Koischwitz, the program director in the USA Zone at the RRG, cast Gillars in a new show called Home Sweet Home.

Soon she acquired several names amongst her GI listeners, including Berlin Bitch, Berlin Babe, Olga, and Sally, but the one that became most common was "Axis Sally".

She remained in Berlin until the end of the war. Her last broadcast was on May 6, 1945, just two days before the German surrender.

➦In 2006…Music producer/arrranger Arif Martin, who spent 30 years with Atlantic Records, died from pancreatic cancer at age 74.

Arif Martin
He produced many hit artists including The Rascals, Carly Simon, Petula Clark, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Queen, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Lulu, Anita Baker, Judy Collins, Phil Collins, Scritti Politti, Culture Club, Roberta Flack, Average White Band, Hall & Oates, Donny Hathaway, Norah Jones, Daniel Rodriguez, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Melissa Manchester, Side Show, The Manhattan Transfer, Modern Jazz Quartet, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Leo Sayer, Dusty Springfield, David Bowie, Raul Midon, Mamas Pride, Jewel and Ringo Starr.

It was Mardin who, when producing the Bee Gees' 1975 hit "Nights on Broadway," discovered the distinctive falsetto of Barry Gibb, which became a familiar trademark of the band throughout the disco era.

➦In superstar Michael Jackson died at age 50, after suffering heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills.

Jackson is credited with transforming the music video into an art form and a promotional tool. Four of his solo albums are among the world’s best-selling records: Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995), while his 1982 Thriller is the world’s best-selling record of all time with sales of over 50 million. Guinness World Records list’s him as one of the “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time”, with 13 Grammy Awards and 13 number one singles.

Radio Talkers Reax To Johnny Depp Comment

The fallout over Johnny Depp seemingly joking that he endorsed the killing of President Donald Trump continued practically unabated on Talk radio Friday.

"Anybody who is calling for the assassination of the president is so far past reason that we're never going to get to them," Glenn Beck said on his show. "How are you going to talk to the people who are shouting down and throwing Molotov cocktails? You're not. You're never going to talk to them."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, most radio hosts weighed in on the controversy Friday after playing audio of Depp's original comments that he made at the Glastonbury Festival in England the night before.

The reference, of course, was to actor John Wilkes Booth assassinating President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Depp later issued a statement to People magazine that read: "I apologize for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump. It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone."

The real-life attempted assassination of Rep. Steve Scalise and other Republicans on a baseball field was also drawn into the conversation by Rush Limbaugh, though only by citing a segment on Time Warner's HLN.

"I'm gonna argue that Johnny Depp doesn't really influence people," Pete Dominick says in the HLN segment Limbaugh played Friday.

"He may not influence you, but there are people out there like James Hodgkinson, who did open fire at a baseball practice, and Steve Scalise almost died," Susan Hendricks says to Dominick.

Limbaugh suggested that Hendricks risked her job by taking a position "at odds" with her colleagues, and he also quoted Hendricks dragging the Walt Disney Co. into the conversation, given that Depp is the star of the conglomerate's Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

"Let's be honest. When Lincoln was assassinated, the assassin was an actor on the stage," said Limbaugh, citing Hendricks. "Johnny Depp can now reach millions of people at his little music festival there in the U.K. He's part of the Disney franchise with these pirate movies. So Depp's words are much more serious than anything, say, John Wilkes Booth could have said back in the day."

Report: The Future Is Live Streaming For NFL Broadcasts

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the future of NFL broadcasts is in “over the top” deals like the livestreaming agreement the NFL signed with Amazon this spring.

Amazon will charge advertisers $2.8 million for an “OTT” ad package around its 10 Thursday night games, Reuters revealed on Thursday. Amazon paid $50 million for the non-exclusive rights to NFL games starting this season, nudging aside Twitter, which had paid $10 million to stream Thursday night NFL games last season.

Robert Kraft
“There has been a dramatic shift,” Kraft said at Cannes Lions, speaking as part of an interview with WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell. “This year we’re with Amazon and for us the future is OTT.”

The NY Post reports Kraft continued: “We’ll be very interested to see how Amazon goes as it’s behind the paywall. The thing we have to be careful of is millennials. They don’t watch TV, they don’t have TVs or subscribe to cable. So we have to bring that audience in. Partly it’s done through fantasy games and linking to that. Over-the-top is a great opportunity.”

Amazon will air the games to members of its $99-a-year subscription service, Amazon Prime Video.

Kraft said he would also like to see the NFL expand internationally, a goal that the league has yet to fully realize, he noted.

“Now we play four games a year in London and sell tickets to 80,000 people and we’re going to have a team in London,” Kraft said. “We’re playing the Raiders in Mexico and have plans to play in Germany, Canada and Brazil and China. I don’t know why not France?”

St. Louis Radio: Best Wishes For KYKY Host Paul Cook

Paul Cook
A KYKY 98.1 FM radio host has announced that he has cancer.

Longtime afternoon drive personality at Y98, Paul Cook made the announcement on the station’s Facebook page. He says that he was just diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer.

“In case you’re wondering where I have gone for big chunks of the next six months. The reason is that I will be getting treated for stage four colorectal cancer. Big surprise to me as well. I have the best doctors, so much love around me and there is no better place to work than right here during something like this.”

The broadcaster is originally from south St. Louis County and met his wife while attending Eastern Illinois University. She recently survived a bout with cancer.

Cook is married and has two daughters.  His bio says that, “My girls Quinn (11) and Ryan (8) are my life. We love to make little forts out of pillows, blankets and other things in our home. ”

His book, Cooked in LA: I shot for the stars and hit bottom details his journey into addiction and recovery.

FCC Proposes Adding 'Blue Alerts' To EAS

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed adding an alert option to the nation’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) to help protect the nation’s law enforcement officers.

Called a “Blue Alert,” the option would be used by authorities in states across the country to notify the public through television and radio of threats to law enforcement and to help apprehend dangerous suspects.

Blue Alerts can be used to warn the public when there is actionable information related to a law enforcement officer who is missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, or when there is an imminent credible threat to an officer. As a result, a Blue Alert could quickly warn you if a violent suspect may be in your community, along with providing instructions on what to do if you spot the suspect and how to stay safe.

The proposal, in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) adopted Friday, would amend the FCC’s EAS rules by creating a dedicated Blue Alert event code so that state and local agencies have the option to send these warnings to the public through broadcast, cable, satellite, and wireline video providers.

While some states have individual Blue Alert programs that use various methods to issue these warnings, the proposal is intended to support the development of a national framework that states can adopt. This goal is consistent with the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015. The law was named after two New York Police Department officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were killed in an ambush attack by a man who hours earlier had shot a woman near Baltimore.

The NPRM invites public comment on the proposal.

L-A Radio KLOS' Steve Jones To Get Walk Star

Photo Credit: Davis Factor
Cumulus Media-Los Angeles announces that Rock legend Steve Jones, guitarist for the Sex Pistols and Iggy Pop, one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, and On-Air Host of “Jonesy’s Jukebox” on The Rock of Southern California KLOS 95.5, has been chosen to receive a star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame as the sole honoree in the Radio category for the Walk Class of 2018.

The Walk of Fame Selection Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced the full list of honorees today in the categories of Motion Pictures, Television, Live Theatre/Live Performance, Radio and Recording.

Jones and his fellow honorees were chosen among hundreds of nominations to the committee at a meeting held in June and ratified by the Hollywood Chamber’s Board of Directors. Television Producer and Walk of Famer Vin Di Bona, Chair of the Walk of Fame Selection Committee for 2017, announced the new honorees with Leron Gubler, President & CEO for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce who is also the emcee of the Walk of Fame ceremonies.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2018 are:
  • MOTION PICTURES:  Jack Black, Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Goldblum, F. Gary Gray, Mark Hamill, Jennifer Lawrence, Gina Lollobrigida, Minnie Mouse, Nick Nolte and Zoe Saldana. 
  • TELEVISION: Anthony Anderson, Gillian Anderson, Lynda Carter, Simon Cowell, RuPaul Charles, Taraji P. Henson, Eric McCormack, Ryan Murphy, Niecy Nash, Mandy Patinkin, Shonda Rhimes, and posthumously, Steve Irwin.
  • RECORDING: Mary J. Blige, Sir Richard Branson, Petula Clark, Harry Connick, Jr., Ice T, Snoop Dogg, Carrie Underwood and “Weird Al” Yankovic. In the category of RADIO: Steve Jones. In the category of 
  • LIVE THEATRE/LIVE PERFORMANCE: Charles Aznavour, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and posthumously, Bernie Mac. 
Dates have not been scheduled for these star ceremonies.

Hollywood Walk of Fame Radio Honoree Steve Jones mixes an eclectic Rock and Classic Rock playlist with freeform and often humorous interviews of guests from the music and entertainment world in his weekday radio show, “Jonesy’s Jukebox” on 95.5 KLOS. He is known for keeping an acoustic guitar in the studio and performing stream-of-consciousness songs about the show’s current topic of discussion. The two-hour open forum show airs on 95.5 KLOS Monday through Friday from Noon to 2:00pm., where the only rule is doing whatever Jones wants.

Dawn Girocco, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Media-Los Angeles, said: “Steve Jones is one of the most unique, interesting and exciting people in radio. Listening to “Jonesy’s Jukebox” is like eavesdropping on a conversation in his living room. He brings out the best in his guests and gives listeners more than they ever expect from his storytelling, interviews and fantastic music. We are so excited about this huge and well-deserved honor for Steve and to have him join the ranks of his fellow esteemed inductees and all the legends of entertainment represented on the star-studded Hollywood Walk of Fame.”

Keith Cunningham, Program Director for KLOS and Corporate Program Director, Rock Formats for Cumulus Media, said: "Working with Steve every day is a professional honor and a personal blast. ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Famer' and now 'Hollywood Walk of Fame Inductee' - that just sounds right and I couldn't be happier for Steve. I can't wait to see the flood of rockers who come out to celebrate this one."

Jones said: “I love my job and I love doing it two hours a day. Very grateful to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Walk of Fame Selection Committee.”

Radio's Dave Ramsay Doubles His Money With Sale of Property

Radio talk show host and financial adviser Dave Ramsey has sold a downtown Nashville office building for more than double what he bought it for 5½ years ago.

An entity whose address matches a Franklin hotel owned by businessmen Nishith Jobalia and Nayan Patel paid $3.8 million for the four-story building at 333 Union St., according to The Tennessean.

In late 2011, Ramsey paid $1.6 million for the building, which sits on a 0.16-acre site.

The building has been known as the Jackson law office because it was reportedly the site of former President Andrew Jackson's first law office until 1796.

Guthrie, McCoy, Talbott Added To BFA Board of Directors

The Broadcasters Foundation of America has elected Kim Guthrie, President of Cox Media Group, and DuJuan McCoy, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder of Bayou City Broadcasting, to its Board of Directors, and named Julie Talbott, President of Premiere Networks, an Officer and Vice President.

Kim Guthrie
The new members and Talbott were voted in during the Board meeting that took place in New York City earlier this week.

“The addition of these highly respected industry leaders to our Board and executive ranks will further enhance awareness of our mission to provide assistance to broadcasters in need,” noted Dan Mason, Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. “Their dedication to helping our colleagues who need it most is an inspiration that I hope will reverberate across our industry so that we can help more broadcasters in need.”

DuJaun McCoy
Guthrie oversees all content, sales and operations for Cox Media, including 14 broadcast television stations; more than 60 radio stations; seven daily newspapers, 11 non-daily publications; and more than 100 digital sites and services.

In December 2007, McCoy founded and became Owner, President and CEO of Bayou City Broadcasting, LLC. In 2008, his company agreed to purchase seven TV stations from Sage Broadcasting Corp., thus earning the distinction of being the only African American company to own and or operate a Fox Affiliate in the United States.

Julie Talbott
Talbott oversees the operation of Premiere Networks’ roster of more than 90 radio programs and services, while managing business partnerships with talent and leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks and Total Traffic & Weather Network.

The Broadcasters Foundation’s Board of Directors is comprised of highly respected broadcast executives who are committed to “giving back” through the Broadcasters Foundation. The members of the Board represent a wide array of broadcast and broadcast-related companies.

For more than 70 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of needy broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund, corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative, and bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society. To learn more or to donate, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250 or or visit

R.I.P.: Gabe Pressman, a Dean of New York TV Journalism

(NY Times photo)
Gabe Pressman, a son of the Bronx whose tenacity and style reflected the city he covered as New York’s best-known television reporter and commentator for more than six decades, died this morning in the city he loved. His death was confirmed by WNBC-TV, which had been his home since 1980. He was 93 and most recently reported on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue in March.

According to, Pressman "was among the first, if not the first, local newsmen to move from print journalism to television, Pressman was never one to read wire-service copy in front of a camera. Following an early career in newspapers that took him from The Newark Evening News to the World-Telegram, Pressman believed in shoe-leather reporting and, more important, in never taking no for an answer. That was especially true for the politicians he covered with the bone-clenching determination of a terrier. He was happily a gadfly no matter which shade of red or blue was ensconced in Gracie Mansion, pushing liberals like John V. Lindsay and David W. Dinkins, and conservatives like Rudolph Giuliani with equal fervor on issues of policy, transparency and promises unfulfilled."

For his labors, he earned 11 Emmy Awards as well as the Peabody and George Polk awards.

The NY Times reports Pressman worked for several newspapers, including The New York World-Telegram and Sun, and for a radio station before embarking on his television career in 1956 at WRCA, a forerunner of WNBC. Except for a stretch from 1972 to 1980 at its Channel 5 rival, known then as WNEW, he spent the rest of his working life with NBC’s New York flagship station. He was still working right up to his death: Earlier this year he covered the St. Patrick’s Day parade, as he had many times before.

In the early days of television news, when announcers often read wire stories on the air and reporting was largely left to the newspapers, Mr. Pressman did his own reporting, writing and reading his own scripts, and was one of the first television journalists to take a camera crew into the streets for stand-up reports from the scenes of fires, murders and other spot news events.

With remarkable endurance, he covered many of New York’s major stories: the 1956 sinking of the Andrea Doria off Nantucket; the arrival of the Beatles in 1964; the 1969 Woodstock festival; regional power blackouts in 1965 and 1977; and a host of elections, protests, plane crashes, subway accidents, political scandals, transit strikes and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001.

He interviewed Fidel Castro, Golda Meir, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Casey Stengel, Robert F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Bella Abzug and every mayor and governor of New York in the last half of the 20th century, as well as every president from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton.

R.I.P.: Longtime Houston DJ Paul Berlin

Paul Berlin
Paul Berlin, the Houston radio disc jockey who guided generations of Houston listeners across 60-plus years from 1950s rock 'n' roll to the gentler sounds of nostalgia and easy listening music, has died after a brief illness.

He was 86, according to The Houston Chronicle.

For years as an announcer on several Houston radio stations and as a concert promoter at venues like the Plantation Ballroom and Dome Shadows, Berlin was the Dick Clark of Houston as an arbiter of the city's musical tastes.

Known during his early days on the air as "Buzz" Berlin, he plunged into the western swing/R&B/rock-and-roll/big band radio melting pot at KNUZ (1230 AM) and moved in 1974 to KQUE (102.9 FM), in 1997 to KSEV and in 2001 to KBME (790 AM) as a champion of easy listening sounds.

His formula, he said in a 2013 interview, was simple: "Be informative. Be entertaining. Or be quiet."

At the height of his popularity, in 1958, Berlin was offered $40,000 - the equivalent of $340,000 in 2017 dollars - to jump from KNUZ to KILT (610 AM). He stayed at KNUZ as one of the best-paid radio announcers in the country.

Berlin helped make hits out of songs like "Chantilly Lace" by the Big Bopper and "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett and promoted Houston concerts by acts ranging from the Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie big bands to the Dave Clark Five and Sonny and Cher.

Air checks of Berlin's shows are included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and he was a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.

June 24 Radio History

➦In 1910...Public Law 262, titled "Act to require apparatus and operators for radio communication on certain ocean steamers," requires Commerce Dept. to license radio operators for ocean-going ships.

➦In 1904...bandleader/actor Phil Harris was born in Linton, Indiana. Orchestra leader of the 30’s & 40’s, and radio, film and TV actor who always seemed to imply allegiance to the former ‘Confederate States of America’. Was a principal of long standing among the comedian Jack Benny’s radio retinue, parlaying his popularity into his own memorable radio series on NBC, in which his movie star wife, Alice Faye, co-starred. He died of heart failure Aug. 11 1995 at age 91.

➦In 1941...A Date With Judy aired for the first time on NBC radio as a summer replacement for Bob Hope.  It would return two more summers before earning its own run 1944 to 1950, with Louise Erickson in the title role.

➦In 1945...the Fitch Bandwagon Mysteries starring Dick Powell as hardboiled detective Richard Rogue debuted as a summer replacement show on NBC radio.  Movie star Powell took the character to Mutual in the fall under the name Rogue’s Gallery.

➦In 1960…One of radio's longest running soap operas, "The Romance of Helen Trent" ended after 27 years and more than 7,200 episodes on the CBS Radio Network.

➦In 1972..."I Am Woman," by Helen Reddy, was released to Radio. "I Am Woman" played a large role in popular culture and became an anthem for second-wave feminism. She came to be known as a "feminist poster girl" or a "feminist icon". "I Am Woman" reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 in December 1972.

➦In 1973...After an extensive two-year investigation, 19 major music label heads, including Clive Davis of Arista and the Gamble-Huff team behind Philadelphia International, are indicted by the state of New Jersey for "payola" practices and income tax evasion

➦In 1975…The U.S. Attorney in Newark, New Jersey handed down indictments of 19 music industry executives after a two-year investigation. Counts of income tax evasion and payola were leveled against Clive Davis, former president of Columbia Records, and Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, architects of the Philadelphia sound of the 1970's. Fines and private settlements followed.

➦In 2005...longtime Atlanta Radio personality, Elmo Ellis, died of cancer at age 86. Ellis worked at WSB-AM from 1940 until his retirement in 1982.

Elmo Ellis
He began his career in radio as director of public relations for WSB Radio in 1940.  When World War Two broke out, Mr. Ellis joined the U.S. Air Force where he worked as a writer and producer for radio programs that aired on the major radio networks.  He rose to the rank of Captain in the U.S. Air Force.  He returned to work in network radio in New York after the war and among his accomplishments in the years that followed, Mr. Ellis would work as a writer and producer for the famous "We The People" and other network radio shows.  He moved from radio to the infant industry of television in 1948 as production manager for WSB-TV.

He would stay in that role until 1952 when he was called on to revive WSB Radio - an era that became famous for Ellis's call to "remove the rust" from radio.  He was the Programming-Production Manager for WSB Radio from 1952 until 1964 - a time of innovation and pioneering that would serve as a guiding light for the rest of the radio industry in this period of time.  In 1964, Mr. Ellis was promoted to the job he is best known for in Atlanta and radio history, when he became General Manager of WSB-AM and WSB-FM.

He would be promoted during this time also to Vice President of the Cox Broadcasting Corporation. He retired from radio work in 1982 and went on to continue a career as the author of books and a newspaper columnist for local newspapers in Atlanta. Mr. Ellis was inducted into the GA Music Hall of Fame in 1995.

➦In 2005...Ron Chapman did his last show on KLUV 98.7 FM, Dallas.

Ron Chapman
In 1959, as “Irving Harrigan” he joined the staff KLIF/Dallas, where he teamed up with Jack Woods (a.k.a. Charlie Brown), playing records and providing character voices as stars of the popular Charlie and Harrigan Show.

In 1969, Chapman joined the staff of KVIL-FM/Dallas-Fort Worth as morning disc jockey, music director, and program director, bringing the “adult contemporary” format to FM radio. During his 31 years at KVIL, Chapman became famous for his upbeat humor and his participation in outrageous stunts and giveaways. At one point, Chapman broadcast live while skydiving from a plane. In one infamous stunt, Chapman told his listeners to each send $20 to the station; within three days, the station had received $200,000. (The money was donated to charity.)

He joined KLUV-FM in 2000. He suffered a stroke last December, but has recovered.

➦In 2010…Radio-television sports announcer (Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Chicago Bulls) Lorn Brown died of heart failure at age 71.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Nielsen Issues Updated Snapshot of Audio Today

Nielsen’s latest Audio Today Report reveals that hundreds of millions of Americans continue to listen to the radio each week, despite the increased usage of digital platforms and podcasts..

The latest State of Audio report confirms thast AM/FM radio continues to be the top weekly reach medium with 271 million Americans 6 and over listening to radio each week.  That's because delivery platforms like AM/FM streaming audio, HD radio, and NextRadio are creating new user experiences.

According to Nielsen:

In 2017,Americans have never had more options to hear their favorite music, stories, sports and commentary, and few media prove this the way podcasts do, as this is one realm where there is literally something for everyone.

The profile of an average podcast listener (according to Nielsen Scarborough) is young, educated and affluent. Consumers who watch, listen to or download a podcast are significantly more likely to be higher educated, higher income and career-minded, making them a qualified—and valuable—audience for advertisers and marketers.

According to Nielsen, marketers and brand managers are rediscovering radio: "It's a mass medium that can deliver targetability and message frequency in markets large and small. And as the audio pie continues to grow (Americans are carving out more and more time each day to listen), radio consumers tune in when and where it counts. Listening outside the home and, specifically, in the car is a huge part of the radio ecosystem. This gives advertisers the opportunity to uniquely deliver their message just prior to purchase."

Detroit Radio: WDVD Signs Blaine Fowler to New Deal

Cumulus Media announces that it has signed Detroit HotAC WDVD 96.3 FM morning show star Blaine Fowler to a long-term contract extension.

Fowler’s eponymous morning show has aired weekday mornings since 2003 on the station. “The Blaine Fowler Morning Show” is heard Monday through Friday from 5:30am-9:00am on 96.3 WDVD-FM.

Robby Bridges, Director of FM Programming, Cumulus Media-Detroit, said: "Blaine and Lauren both are special talents and I'm thrilled they'll make their magic on Detroit's 96-3 WDVD for a long time to come.”

WDVD 96.3 FM (20 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Fowler said: "I'm having the most fun I've ever had and I'm excited to continue to set the alarm and join Lauren Crocker each morning on the radio here in the Motor City!!"

MSNBC Signs Radio's Hugh Hewitt For New Show

Hugh Hewitt
MSNBC, which has been soaring lately in both ratings and advertising prices, is giving radio host Hugh Hewitt his own show, adding another conservative voice to a lineup that already includes Fox News poach Greta Van Susteren and former George W. Bush communications hand Nicole Wallace.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hewitt's self-titled show will air on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. ET, beginning this week, as part of an expansion of the network's weekend programming in July.

In giving Hewitt his own show, MSNBC is sure to raise eyebrows, considering that it has been doing well mostly on the strength of left-leaning opinion journalists like Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell. NBC News chairman Andy Lack is known to favor hard news and has programmed the network to feature a broader range of editorial opinions in addition to traditional newsmen like Brian Williams.

Also, as part of the changes, Thomas Roberts will anchor two hours in the evenings on both Saturday and Sunday, with coverage running until 9 p.m. The evening hours on MSNBC were previously filled with reruns of weekday shows and taped programming.

While all the major cable networks have been doing well during the action-packed first few months of Donald Trump's presidency, MSNBC has been particularly ascendant. On Wednesday, Standard Media Index released a report showing that the network has enjoyed a 43% year-over-year increase in ad rates, besting gains for Fox News and CNN.

Jean Kasem Sues Casey's Kids, Others

Jean Kasem, his late wife, is suing Casey's three adult children (from a previous marriage) in a wrongful death lawsuit in which she accuses them of engaging in a “homicidal guardianship scam” that she says led to his death three years ago.

She’s seeking charges in excess of $75K. The actual damages will be determined at trial, according to The Daily Caller.

The defendants named in the case are Julie Kasem Aboulhosn, her husband, Jamil Anis Aboulhosn, their attorney Troy Martin as well as Kerri Helen Kasem and Mike Kasem.

Jean Kasem
According to a release, “The lawsuit claims that the children rendered control of Kasem’s medical care against a judge’s order, chemically restrained him and ordered hospital staff to withdraw food and water, killing the entertainer on June 15, 2014. The alleged motive was to gain control of Casey and Jean’s joint assets.”

The widow is not stopping with the adult children. She’s also going after the hospital in Gig Harbor, Wash, which is where Casey died in June, 2014.

“The truth about my husband’s homicide is so disturbing to confront but I am compelled to seek justice,” Jean Kasem said.

“After an exhaustive forensic investigation following Casey’s death and autopsy, there was no other choice but to bring this lawsuit. The facts unambiguously point to defendants’ deceit, self-dealing and fraud, which demand to be exposed. I have taken this action for my daughter Liberty and for my husband of 35 years, as I’m certain Casey would have done the same for me. I pray the justice we seek is quick and thoroughly delivered, not only for us, but for all of the vulnerable and elderly who are subjected to the same predatory and abusive conduct by those who are anxious for them to die for illicit and immediate financial gain.”

Leading up to his death, Casey allegedly had Parkinson’s Disease or Lewy body dementia. Whatever the medical reality, he lost his ability to speak in the last few months of his life.

Keri Kasem
News reports indicate that Jean Kasem cut off contact between Casey and his children beginning in 2013.

In 2015, the children filed a suit against Kasem’s wife for “wrongful death,” which charged her with “elder abuse” and “emotional neglect.” They sought $250K. LA prosecutors chose not to file elder abuse charges against Jean Kasem. But a judge ruled that the children would receive a $2 million payout since Casey had matching life insurance policies at the time of his death – one for his children, another for his wife.

The widow’s lawsuit was officially filed on June 14. She’s demanding a jury trial.

Meanwhile, Kerri Kasem, 44, fired back at Jean Kasem's wrongful death suit , according The NY Daily News.

"Nobody unplugged my dad," Kasem told the Daily News, adding that Jean was the one forcing hydration and nutrition onto Casey when his body failing. "It's the last thing I wanted to do," she continued, sharing that it's very hard to hear that.

Report: Amazon To Charge $2.8M For NFL Ad Packages

By Jessica Toonkel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Inc is looking to charge advertisers $2.8 million for packages that include 30-second spots during the Thursday night National Football League games it will stream live to its Prime customers this coming season, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The offering will be closely watched by the advertising and broadcasting industries as the world's largest online retailer and cloud-computing company makes its first high-profile push into live sports.

Amazon is paying $50 million to the NFL to stream this season's 10 Thursday night games, sources told Reuters in April. The games will be shown simultaneously on either CBS Corp or Comcast Corp's NBC, which are broadcasting five games each.

Amazon takes over from Twitter Inc, which paid $10 million to stream Thursday night games last season.

The live-streamed games will only be available to subscribers to Amazon's $99-per-year Prime service, which includes fast shipping and free video.

Streaming NFL games - regularly the most-watched events on U.S. television - is the latest move by Amazon to get customers to its website, in the hope they will subscribe to Prime and spend more online.

It is also a source of revenue in its own right, although it is unclear that the sale of ads will offset the cost of acquiring the rights to stream the games.

"We are offering a range of options at various price points, depending on advertiser objectives," Amazon representative Kristin Mariani told Reuters in an email, declining to discuss specific ad prices.


For each game, Amazon can sell 10 30-second spots, one of the sources said.

The spots run on the live-stream while local ads air on network TV. Under the terms Amazon is offering, buyers also get to run ads on throughout the football season, which runs from September to February. National spots run by network broadcasters will also be shown on the live-stream.

The move by Amazon to offer live sports online is just one of the Seattle-based online retailer's recent moves into new markets. Last week it struck a deal to buy Whole Foods Market Inc for $13.7 billion, its biggest deal to date.

Amazon's deal with the NFL is a potential challenge to rival Netflix Inc, the world's leading video streaming company, which has so far not ventured into live sports.

It is not clear if Amazon will be able to sell the ads at the intended price, or will be able to make a profit from them. Amazon has traditionally prioritized growth into new markets over profitability and has not shied away from pouring money into new ventures if only to learn about the area.

Its pricing appears to be lower than Twitter's, which charged advertisers $2 million to $8 million for packages of ads that included the games as well as spots on NFL highlights, according to media reports.

Amazon's ad packages are higher than the $550,000 to $590,000 that NBC and CBS typically charge for their on-air national ads, according to industry sources, although Amazon is also offering ads on its website as part of the deal.

How many viewers will watch the live-streamed games on Amazon is an open question. Amazon does not publicize its number of Prime subscribers, but analysts estimate more than 50 million.

By comparison, Twitter has more than 300 million monthly users, but only a small fraction of those watched its live-streamed games last season. NBC and CBS averaged about 17 million and 14.7 million viewers for Thursday night games last season, respectively.  

Advertising is a small but growing part of Amazon's $136 billion in annual revenue last year. Although the company does not disclose figures, its sponsored listings advertising business took in $1.4 billion in revenue in 2016, up seven-fold in the past four years, according to Barclays analysts.

Olympics: NBC Monitors Korea Tensions

An ice sculpture of the Olympic rings is illuminated during the Pyeongchang Winter Festival, near the venue for the opening and closing ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

By Liana B. Baker | SAN FRANCISCO

(Reuters) -- U.S. broadcaster NBC is monitoring the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and so far does not expect to change its plans to send a more than 2,000-person workforce to the Winter Games in South Korea, NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said in an interview on Thursday.

Tension has been high for months over North Korea's nuclear and missile development, and due to fears it will conduct a sixth nuclear test and more ballistic missile launches in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Asia's first Winter Olympics outside Japan will see South Korea's alpine town of Pyeongchang and the coastal city of Gangneung host thousands of athletes and officials when the Games start in February.

"There are obviously geopolitical issues," Zenkel said, speaking by telephone. "I don't think there's an Olympics or any global sporting event without them.

"We're all aware of the issues facing that particular location and we're playing close attention and staying in touch with the different organizations and the experts we have access to," Zenkel said, adding the network gets information from the U.S. State Department.

NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp, is the U.S. exclusive broadcaster for the Olympics, and it usually uses the games to host its best advertisers and clients on site.

It hosted hundreds of clients in Sochi in 2014 and about 1,500 in Rio last year.

In South Korea, however, NBC would not be inviting guests to the Games and would instead be hosting them in the U.S. ski town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Zenkel said.

Contrary to media reports, Zenkel said NBC made that decision as far back as 2014, and it was because of limited accommodations near the Olympic venues, unrelated to any security concerns.

NBC's priority was finding housing for its workers, many of whom are coming from abroad, Zenkel said. Clients who want to go can still be invited by sponsors which are doing hospitality at the Games, he added.

A 13-hour time difference between New York and South Korea could actually work to NBC's advantage for showing live events such as skiing and figure skating in U.S. prime time, Zenkel said, adding that events for U.S. ski racers Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin should be a draw.

"The events in morning or early afternoon will take place in prime time when our largest audience comes together," he said.

Boston Radio: Neil Chayet To Retire From WBZ-AM

Boston radio listeners have heard the name or chuckled at one of his puns, but you certainly recognize the signature tag line of “This is Neil Chayet – Looking at the Law!” This month will
mark the retirement of Neil Chayet’s famously popular “Looking at the Law™” radio feature after a nearly 42-year broadcast career on radio stations all across the country.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and Neil Chayet jointly announced his retirement Thursday, having created more than 10,000 episodes of the daily radio feature that examined court decisions from all around the world and condensed each into a 60-second script. The segment aired daily on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and on CBS RADIO news stations across the country.

“While there is an endless supply of court cases and material to continue, ‘Looking at the Law™’ for years to come, I feel that 42 years is the right number for me and it leaves more time to continue the other passions I’ve worked on tirelessly over the years,” said Chayet.

Although Neil has certainly earned his retirement, he wants his “Looking at the Law™” family to know that he is fighting an aggressive cancer and being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Looking at the Law™”, Neil Chayet’s signature opening and closing line, intoned and stretched as only Neil can do, has brought enjoyment to millions of listeners for over four decades on CBS RADIO stations and affiliates, including the worldwide Armed Forces Network. This remarkable program translates complex and lengthy legal decisions into short segments that are interesting, entertaining and always end with a twist.

Chayet still has the first script he ever wrote.

“Neil has never missed an opportunity for a pun in 42 years,” said Former Massachusetts Governor, William Weld. “You can hear an audible chuckle coming from cars all over New England as they listen to Neil on WBZ,” added Peter Casey, WBZ Director of News & Programming.

Twin Cities Radio: KDWB's Dave Ryan Plays Taps At Military Funerals

The playing of taps is something we expect to hear at a veteran's funeral. In fact, it's their right.

But, reports KMSP-TV Fox9,  the difficulty in finding enough people to play taps sometimes leads to a recording of the music being played instead of a live version.

Now, iHM's Top40 KDWB 101.3 FM Morning Host Dave Ryan is bringing attention to the issue by grabbing his trumpet and becoming a volunteer.

Dave Ryan
The 24-note song is the ceremonial good-bye, and in recent years, it's been tough to find enough volunteers to perform that duty at funerals.

“My dad was a WWII veteran. If there's anything I can do to honor veterans, I'd be happy to do it."

You probably know Ryan from his popular morning show on KDWB. But, he can also play taps on the trumpet. Understanding the need, he decided to audition with an organization called Bugles Across America to play at funerals. And, he got the green light.

Ryan’s rather, an Air Force veteran, was a navigator on B-24 liberators during WWII, and he was the person who encouraged Ryan to play taps in the first place.

“My dad told me if I learned to play taps, he'd buy me an official Boy Scout bugle. I worked really hard to hit that high note and once I hit that note, he bought me the bugle and I've played it many times since then," Ryan said.

"We all have to remember it's not about us. It's about the veteran and their family."

Wrong Gender Pronouns Now Illegal In Canada

Canada passed a law last week making it illegal to use the wrong gender pronouns. Critics say that Canadians who do not subscribe to progressive gender theory could be accused of hate crimes, jailed, fined, and made to take anti-bias training.

Canada’s Senate passed Bill C-16, which puts “gender identity” and “gender expression” into both the country’s Human Rights Code, as well as the hate crime category of its Criminal Code by a vote of 67-11, according to LifeSiteNews.

Jordan Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto, and one of the bill’s fiercest critics, spoke to the Senate before the vote, insisting that it infringed upon citizens’ freedom of speech and institutes what he views as dubious gender ideology into law.

“Compelled speech has come to Canada,” stated Peterson. “We will seriously regret this.”

“[Ideologues are] using unsuspecting and sometimes complicit members of the so-called transgender community to push their ideological vanguard forward,” said the professor to the Senate in May.

FCC Proposes $120M Fine For Robocaller

(Reuters) -- The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday proposed a $120 million fine on a Florida resident alleged to have made almost 100 million spoofed robocalls to trick consumers with "exclusive" vacation deals from well-known travel and hospitality companies.

The man, identified as Adrian Abramovich, allegedly made 96 million robocalls during a three-month period by falsifying caller identification information that matched the local area code and the first three digits of recipient's phone number, the FCC said.

The calls, which were in violation of the U.S. telecommunications laws, offered vacation deals from companies such as Marriott International Inc, Expedia Inc, Hilton Inc and TripAdvisor Inc.

Consumers who answered the calls were transferred to foreign call centers that tried to sell vacation packages, often involving timeshares. These call centers were not related to the companies, the FCC said.

In a statement, TripAdvisor said FCC's action would help better protect consumers from others attempting similar tactics in the future.

NYC Radio: WCBS-AM To Observe 50 Years As News Station

A station renowned for its storytelling, Newsradio WCBS 880 AM will present “Celebrating 50 Years of News: A Night of New York Stories” on Tuesday, August 8 at the PlayStation Theater in NYC’s Times Square.

Hosted by 880AM’s Wayne Cabot and Alex Silverman, the event will celebrate the station’s 50th anniversary by bringing together some of NYC’s most notable names in news, politics, sports and entertainment. The evening will close with a special interview and song performance by the legendary Tony Bennett.

“Newsradio 880 is a trusted New York City news outlet with a rich history and legacy of delivering up-to-the-minute news,” said Marc Rayfield, Senior Vice President/Market Manager CBS RADIO New York. “We are proud to be a part of the fabric of New York and will continue to tell the stories of the people, places and happenings from all around this great city. This special night is a chance to gather with listeners, station personalities and prominent figures to celebrate what the station has meant for the past 50 years and will continue to mean well into the future.”

Throughout the evening, WCBS 880AM will welcome a range of memorable personalities who will share stories that have shaped New York City over the last 50 years.

Station personalities including Craig Allen, Joe Connolly, Pat Farnack, Brad Heller, Tom Kaminski, Paul Murnane, Steve Scott and Michael Wallace will take part in the program. Among the special guests sharing their New York stories on stage will be Jeff Fager and Lesley Stahl (60 Minutes), former New York Giants Co-Captain George Martin, Late Show with David Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer, and former New York Mets Manager Bobby Valentine.

Doors open at 6:30 PM; the program begins at 8:00 PM. Tickets go on sale today, Friday, June 23 at 10:00 AM, ET, via Ticket prices range from $55 to $150. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Exploring the Arts Foundation, Tony Bennett’s charity organization dedicated to transforming the lives of young people through arts education.

WCBS flipped from MOR to news August 28, 1967.

By the early sixties, WCBS had evolved into a Middle of the road (MOR) music and personality format, which included limited talk programming. Personalities included legendary morning host Jack Sterling, Bill Randle and Lee Jordan. Like many MOR stations at the time, WCBS did mix in softer songs by rock-and-roll artists, as its ratings at the time were ordinary compared to the higher ratings at WOR and WNEW, both of which also had MOR formats and more distinct identities.

During the 1960s, CBS chairman William S. Paley was concerned about the station's low ratings, and that concern started a process that would lead to the creation of a news radio format that would become known as "Newsradio 88". This format debuted on August 28, 1967. Its original roster of anchors included Charles Osgood,Robert Vaughn (not related to the actor of the same name) and Pat Summerall (who anchor sports during morning drive). Later anchors included longtime anchor Lou Adler, and others like Jim Donnelly, Harvey Hauptman (anchored sports update during PM drive), Bill Lynch and Gary Maurer and Charles Osgood. The late Ed Bradley was also a reporter during the early days.

Initially, the station ran news in the drive time periods but maintained an MOR format during the midday and overnight hours, and within a couple of years, it ran all-news programming for much of the broadcast day except for overnights. "Newsradio 88" began its transformation into an all-news format in 1970, when the overnight American Airlines-sponsored Music Till Dawn ended in January of that year, and completed the process in 1972, when Godfrey's weekday morning variety show came to an end. The station built a reputation as an all-news powerhouse during the 1970s, and has continued with an all-news format to this day.

WCBS-AM Newsradio 88 debuts inauspiciously on its little-heard 101.1 FM station on August 28, 1967, because a small plane demolished the AM transmitter tower on High Island in a fatal crash, knocking the AM station off the air. Interestingly, the debut begins with a staff announcer reading the WCBS-FM sign-on, followed by the "Star Spangled Banner." Then, anchorman Steve Porter reads an account of the air crash. (Porter was  he was also the very first anchor when KYW 1060 AM Philadelphia switched to news two years earlier.)