Saturday, July 8, 2017

July 9 Radio History

➦In 1879…Bell Telephone Company founded.

➦In 1933...Radio producer Dick Orkin was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Orkin was 16 when he began his radio career as a fill-in announcer at WKOK 1070 Sunbury PA . After earning his BA in speech and theater from Franklin & Marshall College he attended the Yale School of Drama, then returned to Pennsylvania to become the news director at WLAN 1390 AN Lancaster in 1959. Later he joined thestaff of KYW Cleveland.In 1967 Orkin moved to WCFL Chicago and created Chickenman, which chronicled the exploits of a crime-fighting “white-winged warrior” and his secret identity as mild-mannered shoe salesman Benton Harbor.

Chickenman’s 250-plus episodes have been syndicated around the world and can still be heard on Internet radio, making it the longest-running radio serial of all time. At WCFL Orkin also produced more than 300 episodes of another popular serial, The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy.

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

Dick Orkin was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2014. 

➦In 1952…John Tesh was born. Besides being a musician, Tesh also is host of his own syndicated radio show.

➦In 1955..."(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley and The Comets peaked at Number One on the pop singles chart and stayed there for eight weeks. It was the first rock 'n roll record to hit Number One on the Billboard charts.

➦In 1956…In Philadelphia, Dick Clark made his debut as host of "Bandstand" on WFIL-TV following the DUI arrest of the show's former host, Bob Horn. The program's name changed to "American Bandstand" when it became a network show on ABC in 1957. Clark relinquished his hosting duties in 1989 to 26-year-old David Hirsch, but the program was cancelled within a matter of months.

➦In 1960…77WABC-AM, New York introduced the WABC MusicChart

➦In 1972....Johnny Donovan started at Muscradio 77 WABC.  
He grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, nicknamed "Sarge," after his father's rank in the United States Army during World War II. A radio enthusiast from an early age (with an amateur radio station K2KOQ in a corner of the basement), he became a DJ ("Large Sarge") on WHVW in nearby Hyde Park, after helping build the station. He went on to stations in Kingston (WBAZ) and Binghamton (WENE), New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey (WMID) before landing in New York City, first at WOR-FM, and finally at WABC.

Donovan stayed on at WABC as Production Director and staff announcer when WABC went to a talk format in 1982.

After Forty-four years of service at both MusicRadio and TalkRadio 77 WABC production guru Johnny Donovan retired in May 2015. He continues as the voice of the Rush Limbaugh Show.

Eric Sevareid
➦In 1992…CBS newsman/commentator Eric Sevareid, one of "Murrow's Boys," the elite group of World War II correspondents hired by CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow, died of stomach cancer at the age of 79.

➦In1992…First AM HD Radio transmission (on 1660 from Xetron, Cincinnati)

➦In 2004...longtime Cleveland deejay Bill Randle succumbed to cancer at age 81.  He had been instrumental in introducing Elvis Presley, along with the likes of Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, Rosemary Clooney, Johnnie Ray, Sarah Vaughan and Fats Domino to the national music scene.

He was born William McKinley Randle Jr. in Detroit, Michigan. In Detroit, he hosted a popular show on WJLB-AM radio (now WDTK) called The Interracial Goodwill Hour, featuring rhythm and blues music and hot jazz. As a pioneering disc jockey at radio station WERE in Cleveland, Ohio he helped change the face of American music. In the 1950s, Time Magazine called Bill Randle the top DJ in America. His popularity and huge listening audience allowed him to bolster the careers of a number of young musicians, including the Four Lads, Bobby Darin, and Fats Domino. Nicknamed "The Pied Piper of Cleveland", a 1955 musical documentary film was made about him titled The Pied Piper of Cleveland: A Day in the Life of a Famous Disc Jockey. The film includes a Cleveland concert at Brooklyn High School on October 20, 1955 featuring Pat Boone and Bill Haley & His Comets with Elvis Presley as the opening act. It is the first film footage of a Presley performance.

While working in Cleveland, Randle would travel back to Detroit for some radio programs. In the late 1950s, Randle would fly back and forth from Cleveland to New York where he produced radio shows in both markets (at WERE and WCBS-AM, respectively). He sat alongside other top DJs of the era including Carl Reese, Phil McLean and Howie Lund.

Many songs that Randle championed on-air ended up as commercial hits, the most successful of which was an edited 45 rpm single of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's "Battle Hymn of the Republic." That version, which Randle suggested to and arranged with Columbia Records (then owned by CBS and a sister property to WCBS-AM) was an unlikely hit in 1959; it ended up on the Billboard charts for 11 weeks and reached as high as #13 on Billboard's "Hot 100" that autumn.

Bill Randle - 1992
During the 1970s and 1980s, Randle resurfaced on several different Cleveland radio stations, even hosting a talk show on WBBG 1260-AM back in 1977. In the 1990s, Randle joined the airstaff of the now-defunct WRMR 850-AM, anchoring the "Big Show" on Sunday afternoons and an late-afternoon program.

➦In 2016…Longtime New York City radio personality (WBLS, WBGO, WWRL, WTJM) Vaughn Harper, host of the "Quiet Storm" program for three decades, died at age 71.

RTDNA Wants FCC To End 'Telephone Broadcast Rule'

RTDNA graphic
RTDNA is calling on the FCC to eliminate its so-called "telephone broadcast rule," which requires that, before broadcasting or recording a telephone conversation for later broadcast, journalists at radio or television stations must inform any party to the call of its intention to broadcast the conversation. Simply saying you work for a radio or TV station is not enough; you must inform the other party specifically.

Journalists at no other media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines or digital outlets have this requirement. The Commission has said the rule exists to balance newsgathering and privacy. However, because there are so many means through which a telephone conversation can be publically posted, such as websites or social media platforms, keeping the rule under the guise of protecting privacy no longer makes sense.

RTDNA believes the rule unduly restricts broadcast journalists from conducting investigative journalism and interviews in the same manner as those working for print or digital publications, and has suggested to the Commission that the rule is antiquated, imposes discriminatory burdens on broadcast journalists, and should be eliminated.

CableTV Ratings: CNN Tumbles

Last week, more Americans tuned in to watch re-runs of “Yogi Bear,” “Full House,” and “Friends” on Nick At Nite than to watch Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon’s shows on CNN.

According to cable ratings from the week of June 26-July 2, CNN’s viewership of its primetime shows was ranked significantly lower than its competitors like Fox News and MSNBC, which place first and second respectively. Clocking in at No. 10 on the list, CNN fell behind HGTV, Nick At Nite, History Channel, and ESPN — the sports network that’s been hemorrhaging viewers for months.

AT&T Watching CNN

The telecom titan's $85B deal for Time Warner may now hinge on President Trump's feud with the cable news network. Jennifer Saba and Jeffrey Goldfarb discuss the odd twist being reported by the Daily Caller.

Chicago Sun-Times Owners Set Monday Deal Deadline

The owners of the Chicago Sun-Times are prepared to shut down the paper if a deal with an investor group falls through and the government tries to block its sale to the parent of the Chicago Tribune.

According to Crain's Chicago Business, Wrapports, which owns the Sun-Times, plans to pursue the previously announced deal with Tronc if an investor group led by former Ald. Edwin Eisendrath can't finalize its offer. "If they're not going to be ready on Monday, we're moving on," said Brad Bulkley, an investment banker handling negotiations for Wrapports.

If the Justice Department's antitrust division goes to court to try to halt a merger with Tronc, Wrapports owners are prepared to shut down the Sun-Times, said sources familiar with the talks.

Still, would-be buyers in the Eisendrath group are feeling confident about their bid. The group includes the Chicago Federation of Labor and some of its union members, including the Chicago News Guild which represents some Sun-Times workers.

One previously undisclosed member of that group, restructuring consultant Bill Brandt, said he thinks the money pledged for the purchase will be in place by the deadline and that the deal will go forward.

Wrapports put the Sun-Times on the block earlier this year, pitching it to peers like the Daily Herald and Gannett before concluding that the only taker was Tronc, parent to the larger Tribune. The two Chicago publishers reached a tentative agreement in May that would merge the companies but keep the two newsrooms separate.

Wrapports was created by a group of investors led by venture capitalist Michael Ferro in 2011 to buy the Sun-Times, but he shifted gears last year and tapped some of the same investors to buy then-Tribune Publishing, now renamed Tronc.

Charles Payne Vows To Fight Harassment Allegations

Fox Business Network host Charles Payne took to social media Friday to rebut allegations of sexual harassment that led to his suspension from the channel.

“I will fight this like a lion armed with truth,” Payne tweeted Friday.

Payne was removed from the air indefinitely Thursday, hours after the Los Angeles Times reported that he was being investigated by FBN parent 21st Century Fox. A female political analyst who was a frequent guest on the network brought her allegations of sexual misconduct last month to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the law firm investigating harassment claims for Fox.

Payne, who hosted the nightly FBN program “Making Money,” criticized the media for the reports.

Payne acknowledged to the National Enquirer on Wednesday — the day before his suspension — that he was in a three-year “romantic relationship” with the woman. But he has called the claims of harassment “an ugly lie.”

Payne also hired a new attorney, Jonathan Halpern, who said in a statement late Thursday night: “Charles Payne vehemently denies the allegations. He will defend himself vigorously against these claims and will hold those responsible to account.”

The woman who filed a complaint with Paul, Weiss was never an employee of Fox News but appeared as a guest across numerous Fox News and Fox Business Network programs with the hope of becoming a paid contributor. She has told her lawyer, who is preparing a legal complaint against Fox News and Payne, that she stayed in the relationship with the host because she believed he would help her chances of landing a position at the network. She alleges that her opportunities diminished after the relationship ended in 2015 when Payne’s wife learned of their involvement.

Ringo Starr Celebrates 77th Birthday

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr celebrated his 77th birthday on Friday by announcing a new album that will feature former bandmate Paul McCartney.

Starr's 19th solo album "Give More Love" will be released on Sept. 15 and will include McCartney on two tracks - "We're on the Road Again" and "Show Me the Way," which is dedicated to Starr's wife, Barbara Bach.

"We are still mates," Starr told Reuters of his former bandmate. "He's out on the road, he's got his own life. I'm out on the road a lot making records and he was in town so I called him and I said, 'I've got this track for you to play on.'"

Starr called McCartney "the most melodic bass player in the world."

"I love the way he plays," he said.Starr holds his birthday celebrations in public every year, raising awareness of his peace-and-love message. On Friday he led a crowd gathered on the sunny, hot streets of Hollywood in a "peace and love" chant, joined on stage by guests including guitarist Joe Walsh, who is a member of Starr's band and also his brother-in-law, as well as "Twin Peaks" director David Lynch.

"There is a lot of trouble in the world, a lot of violence in the world and a lot of starvation and a lot of people without water," Starr said. "I'm a big supporter of Water Aid because everyone should at least have water ... It's not all bombs and guns."

All four Beatles have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both as part of the band and as solo artists.

ESPN Radio to Broadcast 2017 MLB All-Star Game

ESPN Radio, in its 20th season as the national radio home of Major League Baseball – will broadcast the 2017 MLB All-Star Game from Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, with coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET.

Jon Sciambi, Chris Singleton
ESPN Radio’s Sunday Night Baseball team – Jon “Boog” Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton – will describe the action with Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian reporting. Additionally, ESPN Deportes Radio will serve as the Spanish-language radio home of the MLB All-Star Game.

ESPN Radio will also serve as the exclusive, national radio broadcast home of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday, July 10, at 8 p.m.

ESPN Radio’s The Ryen Russillo Show (1-4 p.m.) will emanate from The Clevelander in Miami, Fla. on Monday, July 10 and Tuesday, July 11. Ryen Russillo will be joined by guest co-host Adnan Virk. The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz will precede The Ryen Russillo Show in its normal time slot (10 a.m.-1 p.m.) from The Clevelander in Miami, Fla. on both Monday and Tuesday.

More MLB All-Star coverage:
  • The 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby will be exclusively televised by ESPN. Karl Ravech, in his first year as the voice of the event, will be joined by analysts Mark Teixeira and Jessica Mendoza and reporter Buster Olney. ESPN2 will also simulcast ESPN Deportes’ live coverage of the event in Spanish. For more previously announced coverage plans for the T-Mobile Home Run Derby and the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, visit ESPN Media Zone.
  • SportsCenter on the Road and Baseball Tonight will be on site from Miami, Fla. on Monday and Tuesday. SportsCenter, hosted by Sage Steele, will provide regular updates throughout both days as well as reports from Pedro Gomez and Eduardo Perez.
  • Baseball Tonight will be hosted by Karl Ravech and Adnan Virk and feature appearances from analysts David Ross, Mark Teixeira, Tim Kurkjian and Eduardo Perez. Baseball Tonight airs from Marlins Park from 3-4:30 p.m. and 7-8 p.m. on Monday, and again from 4-5 p.m. and 7-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
  • Intentional Talk with host Chris Rose and analyst Kevin Millar will air on ESPN2 from Marlins Park on Monday and Tuesday from 5-6 p.m.

FCC Call Sign Activity For June 2017

During June 2017, the FCC accepted applications to assign call signs to, or change the call
signs of the following broadcast stations:

NOLA Radio: Garland Robinette Is Signing Off

Garland Robinette
New Orleans broadcasting legend Garland Ribinette, who was a key part of WWL-TV's on-air news team during its 1970s and 1980s heyday -- and who, later, as a talk-show host on WWL 870 AM / 105.3 FM, became a key voice of post-Katrina New Orleans -- announced Friday that he is retiring.

"(It's) time to put down the microphone and pick up the paint brushes," Robinette, an avid painter, said in an open letter to his audience, published on the WWL-AM website. "Forty years in the public eye is a long time."

According to Chris Claus, vice president and general manager of Entercom New Orleans, which owns and operates WWL Radio, the 74-year-old Robinette made his decision after a recent bout with pneumonia. Robinette has been absent from his "Think Tank" program since mid-April.

"It's a tough decision for Garland; a sad one for us," Claus said in a news release. "He means so much to WWL, to our community, to the region.  His voice, his leadership and undying passion will be greatly missed."

A product of Boutte in Louisiana's Cajun country, Robinette rose to local prominence when he joined WWL-TV in 1970. With Angela Hill, his co-anchor who would become his wife, Robinette would be a key part of a broadcast news team at WWL that would dominate local TV news ratings into 2016, according to

In the process, Robinette -- in addition to reporting the news -- would occasionally make it. In 1978, his marriage to Hill captivated the city, dubbed by The Times-Picayune "a marriage made in Nielsen heaven." In 1988, he made headlines of another sort when he was barred from the GOP National Convention at the Superdome after trying to enter the venue with a handgun he had forgotten was in his briefcase.

July 8 Radio History

➦In 1954…Radio disc jockey Dewey Phillips of WHBQ 560 AM Memphis played an acetate disc pressing of "That's All Right" on his "Red Hot & Blue" rhythm & blues show. Due to audience response, the song was immediately played 14 more times. Callers to the station insisted that the singer, a local boy named Elvis Presley, must be a black man. Presley, who knew of the planned airplay in advance, hid out at a local movie theater, but with the help of Elvis' parents, Phillips was able to track him down for a live radio interview later in the evening.

Dewey Phillips
Phillips started his radio career in 1949 on WHBQ, and was the city's leading radio personality for nine years and was the first to simulcas➦t his "Red, Hot & Blue" show on radio and television.

Phillips' on-air persona was a speed-crazed hillbilly, with a frantic delivery and entertaining sense of humor. However, he also had a keen ear for music the listening public would enjoy, and he aired both black and white music, which was abundant in post-World War II Memphis, a booming river city which attracted large numbers of rural blacks and whites (along with their musical traditions). He played a great deal of rhythm and blues, country music, boogie-woogie, and jazz as well as Sun Records artists.

Phillips briefly hosted an afternoon program on WHBQ-TV/13 in the mid-1950s. It mostly consisted of Phillips playing records while he and others clowned around in front of the camera.

Though Phillips was not involved in the payola scandals of the time, he was fired in late 1958 when the station adopted a Top 40 format, phasing out his freeform style. He spent the last decade of his life working at smaller radio stations, seldom lasting long. A heavy drinker and longtime drug user (mainly painkillers and amphetamines, which contributed to his manic on-air behavior), Phillips died of heart failure at age 42.

➦In 1957... Herb Oscar Anderson debuted at 77 WABC (1st time, before flipping to Top40)

➦In 1958…The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) presented the first Gold record album, signifying $1 million in sales, for the soundtrack of "Oklahoma!" Four months earlier, the RIAA had issued the first Gold single, representing the sale of one million records, for Perry Como's "Catch a Falling Star."

➦In 1960...Storer Broadcasting Company purchased WINS radio in New York City for $10 million.

It was the highest price paid for a radio station (to that time). Many great radio personalities including Murray the K, Bruce Morrow and Alan Freed were stars on WINS Radio. WINS, under Storer ownership, also aired some very clever promotions, including the clay tablet, ostensibly of Egyptian origins, found in the back seat of a taxicab.  Upon closer examination, it read, “Everybody’s mummy listens to 10-10 WINS!”

➦In 1978...Exile released "Kiss You All Over" to radio

➦In 1979…Radio-TV quiz show host John Reed King died following a heart attack at 64.

On radio in the 1930s and '40s, he was the announcer for "Our Gal Sunday," "Duffy's Tavern," "Death Valley Days." In the 1960s and '70s, he was a news anchor on radio and TV in Pittsburgh (KDKA 1020 AM) and San Francisco (KGO 810 AM).

Friday, July 7, 2017

MA Radio: Townsquare To Acquire Six Stations, Two Translators

Townsquare Media today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire 6 radio stations and two FM translators in and around the Pittsfield, MA market, from Gamma Broadcasting LLC and Berkshire Broadcasting Co. Inc.

“We are very excited to announce this transaction which will strengthen our footprint in the Northeast,” commented Townsquare Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven Price.

“We look forward to partnering with the Pittsfield team to bring our resources, including our digital and live event products, to Berkshire County’s advertisers and audience, and further build upon their success in the market.”

In connection with the acquisition, Townsquare is acquiring assets including 3 radio stations and 1 FM translator from Ganna Broadcasting. The stations are: Top40 WBEC 95.9 FM, News/Talk WBEC 1420 AM, Classic Hits WUPE 1110 AM and translator W277CJ at 103.3 FM.

Townsquare is also acquiring the capital stock of Berkshire Broadcasting Co., Inc., including 3 radio stations and 1 FM translator.  The stations are:  Classic Hits WUPE 100.1 FM, A/C WNAW 1230 AM, A/C Talk WSBS 860 AM and translator W231AK at 94.1 FM.

Upon closing, Townsquare will own 318 radio stations in 67 markets, maintaining its position as the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States. The Company expects the Acquisition to close in the third quarter of 2017, subject to closing conditions and customary regulatory approvals.

Fox Business Suspends Host Charles Payne

UPDATE 7/7/17 11:30a: Fox Business Network host Charles Payne pushed back on allegations of sexual harassment that have been levied against him, taking to Twitter to defend himself.

“That is an ugly lie I vehemently deny to my core. There is a mountain of proof that also proves its a lie,” Payne said in a statement that was posted Friday morning.

Earlier Posting...

Fox Business Network host 56-year-old Charles Payne has been suspended while 21st Century Fox investigates sexual harassment allegations made against him, the company confirmed Thursday night.

“We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy for any professional misconduct,” a Fox Business Network representative said in a statement. “This matter is being thoroughly investigated and we are taking all of the appropriate steps to reach a resolution in a timely manner.”

The LA Times reports Payne, who hosts “Making Money” on the network and appears on various other programs, has acknowledged what he described as a three-year “romantic relationship” with a married female political analyst who frequently appeared on Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel from 2013 to 2016. Payne admitted to the extramarital affair in a statement to the National Enquirer published Wednesday that included an apology to his wife, children and friends.

That relationship is now being reviewed after the woman contacted Fox’s law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison last month to report her allegations of sexual misconduct. The woman, who worked for CNN last year, had a representative tell the firm she believed she was eventually blackballed from the network after she ended the affair in 2015 and tried to report Payne to top executives at Fox News, according to two sources familiar with her complaint.

Neal Korval, an attorney representing Payne, said the anchor “categorically denies” having committed any acts of sexual harassment against the woman. Korval said Payne will respond to the woman’s allegations in court if a complaint is served.

The woman has told her lawyer, who is preparing a legal complaint against Fox News and Payne, that she stayed in the relationship because she believed he would help her chances of landing a position at the network, according to the sources.

Instead, the woman is alleging, after she ended the affair her appearances were drastically reduced, the sources say.

Report: Nielsen To Huddle With Networks Over Misspelling Tactics

Graphic courtesy of Awful Announcing
Major news networks such as NBC, CBS and ABC have been purposely misspelling words to create a spike in their TV ratings, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

NBC has misspelled words on 14 separate occasions since September, frequently spelling their evening news program as “NBC Nitely News.”

This tactic fools the systems of Neilsen thus causing the misspelled version to appear as a second program. This then excludes the nights with bad ratings from the show’s official record, making it seem as though the program has a higher percentage of successful nights.

As the second highest-rated news station behind ABC, NBC has stood its ground amidst the controversial decision.

“As is standard industry practice, our broadcast is re-titled when there are pre-emptions and inconsistencies or irregularities in the schedule, which can include holiday weekends and special sporting events,” a show spokesperson told the WSJ.

NBC is not alone in its quest to win the numbers game, though. ABC News broadcasted “Wrld New Tonite” seven times and CBS aired “CBS Evening Nws” 12 times since September.

According to The Daily Caller, other ways networks try to fudge their numbers by airing the same show twice and factoring the additional viewers into the first viewing. They also cram all national TV commercials toward the beginning of shows so they receive more views.

With a lot of noise surrounding these questionable tactics, the Wall Street Journal reports that Nielsen will hold a meeting on the subject for TV industry reps in July.

L-A Radio: Meruelo LMAs KPWR, Pending Sale Closing

Meruelo Media announced Thursday that it is now programming and selling advertising on recently acquired station KPWR 105.9 FM Los Angeles under the terms of an LMA with the current owner, Emmis Communications Corporation.

Meruelo Media’s game-changing move unites two legendary radio brands effectively taking control of the Hip Hop format in Los Angeles. The company also announced that KPWR would continue to super serve its listeners, fans and clients to complement Meruelo’s existing programming formats and air talent on L-A's KDAY 93.5 FM and the newly launched Riverside station KDEY 93.5 FM The Wild.

In order to synergize content maximization, operations, and sales, Meruelo will move its entire radio operation to KPWR 106’s state of the art facilities in Burbank.

“Combining our three radio brands in one location is our first phase in optimizing our business,” said Otto Padron, President and COO of Meruelo Media.

He continued, “This initial move will strengthen our unique and dominant position in the Hip Hop market by maximizing resources to create a real value proposition for clients. Meruelo Media has the most unique and hyper-local DNA in SOCAL. While most media companies homogenize brands in an effort to consolidate operations, we combine complementary brands in ways that celebrate their differences creating one of America’s most diverse and effective multimedia platforms. Bringing these powerful Los Angeles brands together is a perfect harmony: Power 106, #1 for HIP HOP for today’s hottest beats and KDAY as the Classic Hip Hop leader for Back in the Day Hits.”

KPWR 105.9 FM (25 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Val Maki will remain on in her new role as Meruelo Radio Market Manager. In that role, she will continue her duties as Market Manager for POWER 106. In addition, she will take on the new responsibility of integrating Meruelo’s existing portfolio of radio stations and maximizing the new, three-station cluster. “Val is a proven and talented broadcast veteran and the force behind the success of Power 106” remarked Otto Padron, “We know that under Val’s vision and leadership these very iconic Los Angeles radio stations will continue to grow benefiting our listeners, advertisers, and partners.” Val Maki will report to Otto Padron, President and COO of Meruelo Media.

Opie OUT At SiriusXM

Greg 'Opie' Hughes
Nearly three years to the day after “Opie and Anthony” host Anthony Cumia was abruptly let go from SiriusXM (for a series of racially-charged derogatory and inflammatory tweets), his former on-air partner, Gregg “Opie” Hughes, host of “Opie’s Radio Show” has also been fired by the satellite radio giant.

In a statement provided by SiriusXM, the company writes: “SiriusXM confirms it has terminated its relationship with Gregg ‘Opie’ Hughes, host of the ‘Opie Radio Show’ weekday afternoons on the Faction Talk channel. SiriusXM does not publicly discuss internal personnel issues.”

Variety reports the firing apparently comes as a result of “a video made of an employee using the bathroom.”

Opie’s contract was scheduled to be up in October, and the incident was discussed in detail on Hughes show last week before the show left for vacation, and involved Hughes filming his former booker in the bathroom as a prank. Hughes maintained that it was not a big deal and no different from other past pranks but others disagreed.

Throughout their twenty year history, the duo had survived multiple firings, in at least one case using a dismissal from a gig as a stepping stone to more publicity, larger audiences, and larger paychecks. They left Boston radio station WAAF in 1998 after pulling an April Fool’s Day prank announcing that the Mayor of Boston had died, and subsequently moved to New York, where at the height of their popularity, they were fired for over the infamous Sex for Sam contest when they discussed a couple having sex in St Patrick’s Cathedral. Throughout the twenty year career, Hughes and Cumia always stuck by each other, at least professionally, until Hughes opted to stay with the company after Cumia was let go.

After Cumia depaertred SiriusXM its was a rough run for Hughes. From July 2014 until October 2015, Opie co-hosted the short-lived Opie with Jim Norton show from July 3, 2014 until October 2015.  That show dissolved due to hostility between the hosts. Norton teamed up with former producer Sam Roberts and took over the morning time-slot, while Hughes moved to afternoons for his solo show. Then in January SiriusXM announced they were changing the name of the channel from Opie Radio to Faction Talk. In February, Opie joked that he might get fired after he made news by taunting radio host and long time rival Howard Stern, by sneaking into Stern’s off limits facilities at SiriusXM.

According to a report, the only surviving members of the Opie and Anthony Show who still has a show on SiriusXM are co-host Jim Norton who joined the show in 2001, who currently hosts the Faction Talk morning show with former O&A producer Sam Roberts.

Wednesday morning on the Jim and Sam Show, Jim Norton and Sam Roberts didn’t confirm outright, but seemed to support the idea that Opie is no longer with the company. Both Jim and Sam implied that they were asked not to make any announcements.

Mike & The Mad Dog Reunite For SiriusXM Town Hall

Don’t rule out a “Mike and the Mad Dog” reunion.

Mike Francesa isn’t, as he looks ahead to life after WFAN 660 AM / 101.9 FM, where he’ll take his curtain call in December after 30 years commanding the attention of New York sports fans.

“The bottom line is I don’t know what I’m going to do. I haven’t really made any decisions about anything,” Francesa told The NY Post after Thursday’s Town Hall reunion at the SiriusXM studios in Manhattan. “If someone brings me something, I’ll look at anything. Nobody’s brought us anything, so if somebody brings us something, who knows what the future will bring?”

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo remains under contract with MLB Network and SiriusXM, where he has hosted his own afternoon show since leaving WFAN and his 19-year partnership with Francesa in 2008. If “Mike and the Mad Dog” does resurrect in some form, both recognize it will have to fall under Russo’s terms — and whatever Francesa’s new contract situation may be.

For an hour, at least, Francesa and Russo channeled their old chemistry in a Q&A special that aired Thursday night on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio, ahead of ESPN’s “Mike and the Mad Dog” 30-for-30 premiering next week. Nine years apart, each said, did little to damage their on-air rapport.

“I miss the connection,” Russo said. “You don’t have that connection sometimes when you’re on Sirius, so you miss that Yankee connection, that specific thing that you can break down.”

“It’s like riding a bike,” Francesa added. “We worked together so long that it’s just second nature. … We could sit down today and do a show for five hours."

The Town Hall, which aired Thursday night on Mad Dog Sports Radio on SiriusXM, touched on a number of subjects, including the upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the duo, which will air July 13, and their infamous feuds. But no bad blood remains between the godfathers of sports talk radio, and they say they just recently have begun to understand the full range of their legacy.

Newsday reports Francesa, who isn’t at liberty to speak about any future contracts yet, said he hasn’t decided anything about his future despite talking to a number of people. He agreed that any reunion with Russo likely would not be on a daily basis but said he has “no qualms” about working with him again.

NYC Radio: Chris Christie To Sub For Mike Francesa

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will get two chances next week to test out Mike Francesa's time slot.

According to, Christie is scheduled to help fill in for Francesa on Monday and Tuesday when the host takes a vacation from his afternoon drive-time show on New York City sports-talk radio station WFAN 660 AM / 101.9 FM, the station confirmed on Thursday.

"We are trying him next week for two days paired with Evan Roberts," said Mark Chernoff, the station's program director.

Christie will co-host the timeslot with Roberts, a WFAN personality, from 2-6:30 p.m. on both days, according to the station's website. Roberts usually co-hosts the slot before Francesa.

Brian Murray, a spokesman for Christie's office, confirmed that the governor has been asked on the show.

The guest spot further fuels speculation that the brash-talking governor, whose final term runs out in January, is a possible replacement for Francesa, the iconic voice who is leaving his show on WFAN in December.

Charlotte Radio: Gerry V Lands PM Drive On WZGV

Gerry V
Fifteen years after leaving Charlotte for New Orleans, Gerry Vaillancourt will return to radio in Charlotte on July 17.

Vaillancourt, who moved with the original Hornets to Louisiana in 2002, will fill the 3-7 p.m. shift on WZGV ESPN730. Bobby Rosinski, who has that time slot, will start a new show called “Wake Up Call” from 6-10 a.m., working with Molly Cotten and Walker Mehl.

Vaillancourt, known widely as “Gerry V,” was one of the first sports-talk radio hosts in Charlotte, starting in 1990. He worked for WFNZ-AM 610 and WBT-AM 1110.

According to The Charlotte Observer, Marty Hurney, owner of ESPN730 and formerly general manager of the Carolina Panthers, approached Vaillancourt after hearing him do a one-week fill-in appearance on WBT. Vaillancourt said he was attracted to the opportunity in part to be closer to his daughters in Charleston and Arlington, Va.

WZGV 730 AM (10 Kw-D, 165 watts-N)
In New Orleans, Vaillancourt hosted sports and news-talk programs. He said his radio style is issues-oriented.

“Of course, we’ll look at the games, too: Panthers, Hornets, UNC,” Vaillancourt said in a telephone interview. “I like a quick-paced show and a lot of opinions. You’ll know how I feel about any topic.

“And obviously, there will be a bit of humor. That’s always been part of my personality.”

ESPN Radio Hosting Annual ESPY Day Auction

ESPN Radio’s 13th Annual ESPY Day Auction to benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research is officially underway on eBay and will continue through Wednesday, July 12.

This year’s auction of more than 60 items includes tickets to prime sporting events, unique experiences with ESPN talent and legendary coaches and behind-the-scenes experiences with ESPN’s  Stephen A. Smith, Scott Van Pelt, Adam Schefter, Jon Gruden, Mike Golic, Trey Wingo, Matthew Berry and more. To see the list of items and make your bid, visit:

Item and experience highlights include:
  • The chance to attend the 2018 NFL Draft and announce an actual Draft Pick;
  • Shadow ESPN Films directors Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman as they work on an upcoming ESPN Films project and attend the “Friends and Family” premiere event of that project when released;
  • An opportunity to visit ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus and go behind the scenes of the network’s 28-hour Fantasy Football Marathon, including an on-screen background appearance during a sketch;
  • Attend a taping of Gruden’s QB Camp and a private meet-and-greet with Jon Gruden;
  • A soccer clinic with FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, Olympic gold medalist and espnW analyst Julie Foudy;
  • An Alabama Football experience that includes a tour of the Alabama campus and a meet and greet with  coach Nick Saban;
  • The chance to attend a Kentucky Men’s Basketball home game and meet coach John Calipari;
  • An ESPYS experience including two tickets to the 2018 ESPYS, behind-the-scenes access, a trip to the Red Carpet and tickets to the after party;
  • A backyard barbecue with Mike Golic Sr., Mike Golic Jr., Trey Wingo and more;
  • Tickets to the U.S. premiere of Star Wars: Episode VIII;
  • A six-day luxury vacation at Pandora – The World of Avatar at Walt Disney World;
  • Autographed ESPN the Magazine covers signed by Derek Jeter, Serena Williams, Bryce Harper, Yasiel Puig, Karl-Anthony Townes, Rob Gronkowski and Shaun White;
  • And much more.
Throughout ESPY Day, viewers and listeners will be encouraged to donate to the V Foundation by calling 800-4-JimmyV or visiting The ESPY Day initiative expanded ESPN’s 25-year effort to help find a cure for cancer, and to date, ESPY-related fundraising efforts over the last 14 years has raised more than $31.5 million for cancer research.

Radio Show To Honor Entercom CEO David Field

David Field, president and chief executive officer of Entercom Communications Corporation, will receive the National Radio Award during the Radio Luncheon on Wednesday, September 6. The 2017 Radio Show, produced by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), will be held September 5-8 in Austin.

“David’s passion for radio and business savvy have led Entercom to new heights,” said NAB Executive Vice President of Radio John David. “We look forward to recognizing him for his continuous dedication and significant contributions to the business.”

David Field
Field is president and chief executive officer at Entercom, the fourth-largest radio broadcasting company in the United States. In February 2017, Entercom announced a merger with CBS Radio that will make it the second-largest radio broadcaster, with a platform that includes many of the country’s most iconic station brands and most popular local personalities covering almost all of the top 50 markets, along with robust digital and events businesses.

Since the industry’s partial deregulation in the mid-1990s, Entercom has grown from 15 stations with roughly $35 million in revenues into one of the industry’s largest and consistently best performing companies. Post-merger, Entercom will have over 240 stations and roughly $1.6 billion in revenues.

Prior to becoming Entercom’s president in 1998, Field served in multiple positions with the company, including chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Before joining Entercom, he was an investment banker at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York.

Field has received numerous awards for his leadership and community service and has been named to “Institutional Investor’s” list of the Best CEOs in America three times. Additionally, he serves on the boards of directors of Entercom, the National Constitution Center, The Wilderness Society, and on the Madison Council of the Library of Congress. Field has also served as chairman of the NAB Radio Board.

L-A Radio: Suspected DWI Crashes At KSPN Transmitter Site

Los Angeles police arrested a man Thursday on suspicion of driving under the influence after he crashed his SUV through the fence at KSPN 710 AM's transmitter site, starting a small brush fire, according to The L-A Daily News.

The location is a large piece of land that houses the transmitter building and three vertical broadcast antennas for ESPN Radio’s LA station, which broadcasts on 710 AM.

Lopez said the man’s vehicle crashed into a fence, and he might be under the influence of some type of substance but was in custody after the incident.

An initial report, Lopez added, claimed the man also might have intentionally tried to start the fire, but the actual method used to start the blaze was unclear at this time.

After the Los Angeles Fire Department was called to the location, they found one vehicle, with the LAPD nearby, after a police pursuit, said Brian Humphrey of the fire department.

A vehicle fire started afterward and burned one acre of dry but trim grass. Firefighters contained the blaze soon after.

Before it became ESPN, the station went by a number of other call letters, principally KMPC from the 1930s through the 1990s.

Nancy Grace To Launch SiriusXM Show

Sirius XM announced Thursday that Nancy Grace will launch her Crime Stories with Nancy Grace show on Triumph, the new Sirius XM talk radio channel! The new show will launch Monday July 10.

In the show, Nancy will draw on her vast network of legal and law enforcement contacts to pursue criminals and fight for victims’ rights. Nancy will also analyze and debate the top news headlines of the day from CrimeOnline. She will also be joined by co-host Alan Duke, a veteran investigative journalist with over twenty years experience covering crime and previously worked at CNN.

On her Crime Stories podcast, Nancy has covered national crime news stories such as the manhunt of Tad Cummins, a former teacher awaiting trial for kidnapping his teen student, the Bill Cosby trial, and the murder of Adrian Jones. Nancy has also brought national attention to the unsolved murders of Chuckie Mauk, Missy Bevers, and others.

“I’m thrilled to join the all-star lineup on SiriusXM where I will continue to fight crime,” said Nancy. “Our new SiriusXM show is all about breaking crime news, finding missing people—particularly children, shining a light on heinous crimes, heating up cold cases, solving unsolved homicides, arming listeners with information and CATCHING the bad guys. SiriusXM will allow me to speak to listeners one-on-one, creating a dialogue to impact the ongoing fight on crime.”

“Nancy Grace is a dominant voice in the criminal justice world, and we’re delighted to bring her passion and advocacy to SiriusXM subscribers nationwide,” said Dave Gorab, Vice President and General Manager, Talk Programming. “Nancy is a force to be reckoned with and has an unmatched roster of legal experts ready to weigh in on the important crime stories of the day. Her new show promises to both educate and empower SiriusXM listeners to fight back against injustice.”

Nancy Grace was the powerful force behind CNN Headline News’ (HLN) top-rated Nancy Grace. A former prosecutor with an unparalleled record of success, Grace continues to be a staple on network and cable news and entertainment programs, dispensing her firebrand take on the modern justice system. She is the New York Times bestselling author of four books and the executive producer of an on-going series of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries films based on the characters from her novels.

Crime Stories with Nancy Grace premieres Monday, July 10 at 12:00 p.m. ET, on SiriusXM’s Triumph, channel 132.

Shakeout Reported At Soundcloud

SoundCloud laid off 173 staffers, or approximately 40 percent of its workforce, and consolidated its operations into offices in Berlin, where the streaming service is headquartered, and New York, closing its London outpost.

Alex Ljung
Billboard reports the move comes amid high-level departures -- COO Marc Strigel, finance director Markus Harder and CCO Stephen Bryan have all left the company in the past five months -- and swirling acquisition rumors, with the New York Post reporting this week that Apple and Deezer were the latest companies to explore bids to purchase the company.

In a statement on SoundCloud's blog announcing the move, co-founder and CEO Alex Ljung wrote that the layoffs were due to a long-term desire to achieve profitability through cost reduction and revenue growth, in order to be "in control of SoundCloud's independent future." Noting that the company had "more than doubled" its revenue in the past year, Ljung continued that the company needed to engage in "cost cutting, continued growth of our existing advertising and subscription revenue streams, and a relentless focus on our unique competitive advantage -- artists and creators."

John Malone's QVC To Acquire HSN

The nation’s two best known home-shopping TV operations, QVC and Home Shopping Network, are set to come together under an all-stock deal valued at approximately $2.1 billion put together by John Malone’s Liberty Interactive Corp.

Variety reports that Under the terms of the deal, Liberty Interactive, which owns QVC and already controls a 38% stake in HSN, will combine the two outlets. Shareholders in HSN will receive 1.65 shares of QVC’s Series A stock for each share of HSN. The companies said the offer values each share of HSN at $40.36, or a 29% premium, based on Wednesday’s closing stock prices.

After the deal, slated to close in the fourth quarter, Liberty Interactive said it planned to spin off its cable-TV operations into an independent company that will be called QVC Group. That unit will include  Zulily, a flash-sale site QVC purchased in 2015 for $2.4 billion, as well as the Cornerstone unit of HSN,  which includes brands such as  Ballard Designs, Frontgate and Grandin Road.

According to Reuters, Malone is papering over the challenges facing his television-shopping businesses. Bringing the cable retailer under the same corporate umbrella as his QVC unit makes sense, and investors should end up with something more valuable than a tracking stock. But a complex share swap won’t solve the problems plaguing the two networks.

Malone has picked a good time to pounce, tactically. HSN’s stock had fallen by more than 50 percent in the two years through Wednesday, lowering the acquisition cost and making the 29 percent premium attractive to the target’s investors. Liberty is paying the premium to holders of the 62 percent it doesn’t already own, which amounts to roughly $300 million. Even if management achieves only half its targeted $100 million in cost savings, once taxed at 35 percent and capitalized they will more than pay for the deal.

The company will need all the help it can get. Both QVC and HSN face pressure from the changes in shopping habits driven by Amazon and other e-commerce players. Revenue at Liberty Interactive and smaller HSN have effectively flatlined for the past three years, and their profit fell by 26 percent and 30 percent, respectively, last year. Home shopping’s share of the overall U.S. retail market has fallen a quarter since 2011, according to data from Euromonitor.

NYC Radio: WBMP Personality Jay Dahbi Finds Snake At Home

Jay Dabhi
DJ and on-air personality Jay Dabhi of WBMP 92.3 AMP Radio discovered an interesting, albeit unwanted visitor in the living room of his Queens home on Tuesday night — a snake.

According to sister-station 1010 WINS, Dabhi had just returned from the holiday weekend with his family, wife Shireen and daughter Samira,  when he and his wife noticed what looked like a snake crawling up the leg of one of their chairs.

Dabhi called 911 to alert authorities, but the department was already overloaded with 4th of July emergency calls. It took him two more shouts to 911 before officers responded, over an hour later.

The intruder turned out to be an albino corn snake — which are commonly found throughout the southeastern and central United States — and while it may be non-venomous, it can constrict and bite.

Dabhi later Tweeted his thanks to the NYPD.

July 7 Radio History

➦In 1940...Beatle Ringo Starr was born.

➦In 194?...Radio personality Joey Reynolds was born.  Reynolds' broadcasting career started on TV- in Buffalo at WGR TV 2 his first radio job was WWOL in Buffalo with Dick Purtan then WKWK, Wheeling,WV after that he continued at several venerable stations, including WKBW in Buffalo, New York, WHTZ and WNBC in New York City, KQV in Pittsburgh, KMPC and KRTH in Los Angeles, WDRC in Hartford, WIXY in Cleveland, and WIBG and WFIL in Philadelphia.

➦In 1944...legendary DJ, Bobby Ocean, was born. He worked primarily on the West Coast. As you might expect Bobby Ocean is not his real name.  His real is...Johnny! Johnny Ocean!

However, his first radio job was WDLP, Panama City, FL in 1963 using the name Ray Farrell.

He also used the on-air handles of 'Radio Ray' and 'Captain Turntable'.  He first used the name Bobby Ocean at KGB 1360 AM, in San Diego, CA in 1968.

Best known for his work at KFRC 610 AM San Fransisco and KHJ 930 AM Los Angeles.

➦In 1949...the program "Dragnet" debuted on the NBC Radio Network.  The program was the first to dramatize cases from actual police files.  Dragnet went to television in January 1952 after a successful TV preview on Chesterfield Sound-Off Time a few weeks earlier. The show actually ran simultaneously on radio and TV from 1952 – 1956, continuing on television through 1959. After a seven-year hiatus, it returned as Dragnet ’67 to distinguish itself from its own reruns. This first major real-life police drama series was so successful that it remains in syndication almost 60 years later.

➦In 1974...“The Dr. Demento Radio Show” began national syndication, starring Barry Hansen who had created the good Doctor four years earlier on Los Angeles’ KPPC FM.

➦In 1989...Compact discs began to outsell vinyl records for the first time. The dominance of CDs practically wiped out the 45 RPM single format since nothing came along to replace it. The 3½-inch CD single failed to gain favor with the public partly because record companies refused to offer them at a reasonable price.

Bill Cullen
➦In game show host & panellist Bill Cullen, who hosted the first TV Price is Right, and was a longtime panel member on I’ve Got a Secret & then To Tell the Truth, lost his battle with lung cancer at age 70. He’d begun in radio as host of Quick as a Flash and Hit the Jackpot, and hosted a total of 23 TV game shows, more than anyone else in broadcast history.

➦In 2009…After an earlier private funeral, Michael Jackson's family and fans said farewell to the King of Pop at a memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Berry Gordy, who signed the Jackson 5 to Motown Records in 1968, closed his eulogy by saying "Michael, thank you for the joy, thank you for the love. You will live in my heart forever."

➦In 2015…Longtime Chicago radio personality/executive (WVON) Moses "Lucky" Cordell died of injuries suffered in a fire at his home. He was 86.

➦In 2016…Veteran Batimore radio talk show host (WCBM, WBAL, WFBR) Tom Marr died of complications after a recent stroke and back surgery at age 73. During his almost 50-year career, Marr hosted his own nationally broadcast talk show on the WOR Radio Network and spent eight seasons as the radio play-by-play announcer for the Baltimore Orioles.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Nielsen: Country Was Radio's Top Format In 2016

Country music is a truly American phenomenon that has grown immensely popular over the last decade—particularly on the radio. Nielsen’s new Audio Today Report took stock of the top radio formats in America last year, and for the eighth consecutive year, Country came out on top when ranked by share of total listening. According to our analysis, 13.6% of all radio listening in the U.S. went to a Country-formatted station.

Country has been the top-ranked format since 2009; the last time it was bested was in 2008, when News/Talk was the top format by share of audience. News/Talk held steady at No. 2 last year, followed by Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR), Adult Contemporary and Classic Rock.