Saturday, November 11, 2017

November 12 Radio History

➦In 1917...singer Jo Stafford was born in Coalinga Calif.  As a member of The Stafford Sisters she had a gig at LA radio station KHJ, then joined The Pied Pipers, who became part of the Tommy Dorsey performing family.  Her solo hits include Shrimp Boats Are A-Comin’, Jambalaya, Long Ago and Far Away, You Belong to Me, & Make Love to Me.

She died July 16 2008 at age 90.

➦In1931…In London, the Abbey Road recording studios were opened by the Gramophone Company, a predecessor of the British music company EMI, its current owner.

Originally a nine-bedroom Georgian townhouse built in the 1830s, the structure was used as an apartment building before its conversion to a recording facility.

After decades of officially being titled as EMI Studios, in 1970 EMI changed the name to Abbey Road Studios, the name by which they had been informally called throughout the 1960s when they were the venue for memorable recordings by the Beatles, Badfinger, and Pink Floyd, among others.

➦In 1947...KPO-AM San Francisco changed its call sign to KNBC. (Today the station is KNBR)

KNBR began life on April 17, 1922, as KPO, a 100-watt station owned by the Hale Brothers department store. In 1925, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper bought half-interest in the operation.  Originally located in the Hale store at Market and 5th (now the site of Nordstrom), its horizontal wire antenna on the roof was so efficient it immediately attracted the attention of audiences all over the Pacific Coast.

In 1927, KPO became an affiliate of the new NBC radio network.

In 1933, KPO was sold to NBC's parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA),  and its operation was consolidated into that of its co-owned KGO at the Hunter-Dulin Building, 111 Sutter Street. From there, NBC operated its West Coast network, feeding dozens of stations and operating a news bureau to serve NBC. As NBC's flagship station on the West Coast, it had a full-time orchestra, five studios, and produced many live shows. During the rise of Hollywood, NBC's radio operation was moved to Los Angeles.

In 1941, just before World War II, NBC constructed Radio City at 420 Taylor Street, considered one of the best radio facilities built during radio's golden age. However, with the network control having been moved to Los Angeles, the San Francisco NBC building was never fully utilized.

During World War II, KPO's news bureau was the major source for NBC of news about the war in the Pacific, and operated shortwave radio stations (transmitters located in Dixon) serving the world. It was at the KPO (RCA) shortwave facility that the message was received that Japanese emperor Hirohito had surrendered, ending World War II.

On November 12, 1947, the Federal Communications Commission approved NBC's application to change the call sign from KPO to KNBC, to shore up its reputation as an NBC station (and the only radio station NBC ever owned on the West Coast). This change lasted until 1962, when the network moved the call sign to its television station in Los Angeles and the radio station was renamed KNBR.

➦1955...Billboard begins its "Top 100" chart, with the first Number One listed as "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing" by the Four Aces. The magazine wouldn't resolve all its pop charts into one until 1959.

➦In 1988...The Hot 100..The Escape Club had the new #1 song--"Wild, Wild West", taking over from the Beach Boys with "Kokomo".  Kylie Minogue's version of the song written by Stanley, Idaho's Carole King--"The Loco-Motion" took the opportunity to move up to #3 and Bon Jovi's "Bad Medicine" was right behind her.

The rest of the Top 10:  Whitney Houston and "One Moment iI Time", U2 and the live "Desire" was at #6, Phil Collins was on the way down with "Groovy Kind Of Love", Will to Power cracked the list with "Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley", the fifth consecutive Top 10 song from George Michael's Faith album--"Kissing A Fool" moved from 15 to 9 and Inxs wrapped up the list with "Never Tear Us Apart".

➦In 1988...The Album Chart..1988:  U2 reached #1 on the Album chart with the Soundtrack to "Rattle and Hum" while Guns N' Roses had the #2 album after 64 weeks of release with Appetite for Destruction.  The previous #1--New Jersey by Bon Jovi was down to #3 and the "Cocktail" Soundtrack and Def Leppard's Hysteria were also bumped down a notch.

The rest of the Top 10:  Don't Be Cruel from Bobby Brown, Anita Baker moved from 22 to 7 in just her second week with the album Giving You the Best That I Got, George Michael was still at #8 with Faith after 52 weeks, Bobby McFerrin had Simple Pleasures and Cinderella jumped into the Top 10 with Long Cold Winter.

Singleton as Blondie with Arthur Lake
➦In 2003...Actress Penny Singleton, forever immortalized as Blondie in the movies & on radio, who was the voice of Jane Jetson on TV`s The Jetsons, died at age 95 after a stroke.

➦In 2005...Paul McCartney became the first musician to broadcast live music into space when a segment of his Anaheim concert was beamed, via NASA, to the International Space Station 220 miles above the Earth.

➦In 2012…Veteran Los Angeles media personality (KLAC-AM for 40 years, KTTV-TV)/commercial pitchman Sam Benson died at the age of 90.

Report: Murdoch Reaches Out To Buy CNN

Rupert Murdoch telephoned AT&T Inc Chief Executive Randall Stephenson twice in the last six months and talked about cable network CNN, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on Friday.

According to one of the sources, the 86-year-old executive chairman of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc offered to buy CNN in both conversations.

Another source said Murdoch had “zero interest” in owning CNN.

Representatives of Twenty-First Century Fox, AT&T and Time Warner, CNN’s parent, declined comment.

CNN has become a sticking point in antitrust approval of AT&T’s $85.4 billion deal to buy Time Warner Inc, hatched in October 2016.

Justice Department staff have recommended that AT&T sell either its DirecTV unit or Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting unit - which includes CNN - a government official told Reuters on Thursday, in order to gain antitrust approval.

On Thursday Stephenson said he had no interest in selling CNN and that he was ready to defend the deal in court if necessary.

According to one of the sources on Friday, Murdoch called Stephenson twice, unprompted, on May 16 and Aug. 8 and on both occasions asked if CNN was for sale. Stephenson replied both times that it was not, according to the source.


It would not be the first time Murdoch has attempted to take control of CNN, according to Reuters.

His Twenty-First Century Fox made an $80 billion offer for Time Warner in 2014 but abandoned the plan in the face of Time Warner’s resistance. At that time, Fox had planned to divest CNN - which competes with Fox News - in order to avoid antitrust issues.

There is no law against a company owning two cable networks, but there is a Federal Communications Commission prohibition on owning two broadcast networks. A Fox deal with CNN could also raise antitrust concerns because of the market share that a combined company would have among cable news viewers.

“I have been called and asked if I would sell CNN by numerous people,” Stephenson told the New York Times DealBook conference on Thursday. But he added: “Selling CNN makes no sense.”

Cox Media Group Names New VPs For Atlanta Brands

Cox Media Group has appointed four new Vice Presidents who will work together to fully integrate CMG’s portfolio of traditional and digital media platforms in the Atlanta area beginning in 2018.

Moya Neville is CMG Atlanta’s new VP of Sales.  Neville returns to CMG after spending the last three years at Cox Media, a division of sister company Cox Communications. “I can’t tell you how fortunate I feel to be able to work with the powerhouse teams and brands that make up CMG Atlanta,” she said. “I know for a fact, that some of the best media talent in the country sit in WSB radio, TV and at the AJC. Working side-by-side with that talent and our assets to do great things for our customers, will be game changing.”

In her previous role at Cox Media, Neville developed and led the sales strategy for the enterprise, and she oversaw the revenue and profit growth of operations in Cox Media’s 20 local sales offices. Before joining Cox Media, Neville was Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Donna Hall is CMG Atlanta’s new VP of Marketing. A 30-year Cox veteran, Hall has been VP and Market Manager for CMG Atlanta and Athens radio stations since 2014. In Dayton, she was the Sr. VP of Marketing and Client Solutions for CMG Ohio when the company integrated its radio, TV and newspaper operations in 2010. She has great experience with operating in a fully-integrated role overseeing newspaper circulation, TV programming and Creative Services, radio promotions and B2B/B2C research and marketing for all platforms, including digital.

“I look forward to discovering how we can leverage all of our award-winning Atlanta media brands by working more closely together as one powerful media group in this highly competitive market,” said Hall.   “I believe we will all truly be better together to deliver what our readers, viewers, listeners and clients count on us for.”  In addition to her new CMG Atlanta marketing responsibilities, Hall will oversee programming for all Atlanta-area music stations, including in Athens, Ga.

Mark Medici is CMG Atlanta’s new VP of Audience and Newspaper Operations.  Medici has been the Multi-Market Vice President of Audience.  He has deep roots in free and paid consumer platforms.  Medici and his teams have led the business intelligence, platform development, content optimization, content distribution and consumer sales strategies and tactics that drive CMG Newspapers’ successful print and digital audience, revenue and product development results.

“Local content has always been at the heart of CMG and at the heart of our local communities,” said Medici.  “The opportunity to shape what local content looks like and how it is delivered for Atlantans and future generations, like my own kids, is pretty special.”

Paul Briggs is CMG Atlanta’s new VP of Content and Broadcast Operations. Briggs has many years of media experience in both TV and radio.  During his tenure at WHBQ-TV, Briggs and his team significantly improved the performance of the station, achieving record high ratings and revenue performance, and elevating the station to a leadership position in the market. Prior to moving to Memphis, Briggs was the Director of Sales at WSOC-TV in Charlotte.

“I am thrilled to be joining the outstanding CMG Atlanta team,” added Briggs. “No other media company can match our combined TV, radio, newspaper and digital footprint in the Atlanta market. The exciting opportunities to build on integrating our award-winning news organizations and improve the experience for our readers, viewers and listeners and customers are limitless. I am very excited to get started.”

“This is the perfect leadership team to take CMG Atlanta into the future,” said CMG’s Executive Vice President Jane Williams. “Integrating CMG Atlanta is part of the company’s multi-faceted strategy to position us for future growth and success. With our integrated media approach, we have a unique opportunity in CMG’s flagship market where we offer our audiences unparalleled award-winning content, our customers comprehensive strategic business solutions, and our employees unrivaled cross-platform career opportunities.”  Williams added that CMG will begin the search for Briggs’ successor in Memphis immediately.

CMG’s Atlanta-area media brands include: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, MundoHispanico, News 95.5 FM AM 750 WSB, 97.1 The River, B98.5, KISS 104.1 FM, and WSB TV Ch. 2 Action News, as well as 960 The Ref, WGAU 98.7 FM & AM1340, Magic 102.1 FM, 103.7 Chuck FM, Power 100.1 and Your Country Georgia 106.1/107.1 in Athens, Ga.

Filing: iHM Again Expresses Concern About Its Viability

In a financial filing this week with the SEC, iHeartMedia warned investors that it was in dire financial straits and noted that "there is substantial doubt as to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following November 8, 2017.”

iHM outlined concerns about "the impact of our substantial indebtedness, including the effect of our leverage on our financial position and earnings" and "our ability to generate sufficient cash from operations and liquidity-generating transactions and our need to allocate significant amounts of our cash to make payments on our indebtedness, which in turn could reduce our financial flexibility and ability to fund other activities."

At the end of September, iHeartMedia had debt maturities totaling $366.9 million, $308.5 million and $8.368 billion in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively, according to the filing. In its effort to stave off default, the company said it must depend on its ability to "achieve forecasted results, our ability to conserve cash, our ability to refinance the amounts outstanding under the receivables-based credit facility."

At the end of September, the company listed cash and cash equivalents on hand of $285.4 million and said it had access to $85 million under a receivables-based credit facility.

The company's other financials painted a bleak picture as well.

In its latest quarter, the company posted a net loss of $248 million, a far steeper loss than the $35 million in red ink that the company posted in the same period in 2016. Revenue slipped slightly as well, down to $1.54 billion against $1.57 billion in 2016.

At the close of trading on Thursday, the company's stock had plummeted, down by 54% and trading below a dollar at $.55. iHeartMedia stock recovered 47% on Friday, still closing in the dread sub-$1 range which can lead to delisting at $.81 per share.

Report: More Layoffs Expected At ESPN

ESPN will lay off more than 100 staffers after the Thanksgiving holidays, multiple sources tell Sports Illustrated.

The layoffs, which were described by a person briefed on the plans, will hit positions across ESPN including front-facing talent on the television side, producers, executives, and digital and technology staffers. The SportsCenter franchise is expected to be hit hard—including on-air people—given the frequency of the show has lessened considerably on main network ESPN.

Though hiring has continued and the network remains one of the great destinations for jobs in sports media, ESPN has experienced significant layoffs over the last two years. In Oct. 2015 the company laid off roughly 300 employees, about 4-5% of its workforce—a particularly brutal act of gutting given the long tenures of many of those who were cut. Many of those employees helped build the foundation of ESPN and had given their professional life to the company.

Last April, ESPN eliminated around 100 journalists and on-air personalities. At that time the company said: “A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions.”

ESPN continues to be impacted by the changing habits of consumers including cord-cutting and cord-nevers (those who have never purchased a cable subscription) as well as the rising costs of sports rights. The network has dropped in households from 100.13 million in 2011 to an estimated 87.5 million households today.

Disney Shares Rise As Focus Turns To Streaming

Walt Disney’s shares rose 3 percent on Friday, as Wall Street shrugged off poor financial results and focused instead on the media giant’s commitment to build a service that will compete aggressively with video streaming pioneer Netflix.

According to Reuters, Disney’s sharper focus on streaming comes amid subscriber losses at its legacy cable networks that include ESPN and ABC, which many viewers are deserting for cheaper, on-demand streaming options.

On Thursday, Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger talked up his commitment to streaming, calling it the company’s “highest priority this year.”

In a step that will further cement Disney’s strong position as a content powerhouse, Iger also unveiled a deal to develop a new “Star Wars” trilogy.

Perhaps more importantly, Iger said Disney’s planned streaming service would be “substantially” cheaper than Netflix.

Analysts said the lower price likely reflected Disney’s relatively smaller content slate but that the move could help the service gain subscribers quickly.

To compete better with Netflix and other streaming services, Disney has also said it will keep new Disney releases out of Netflix, starting from 2019.

Disney was making all the right strategic decisions as it builds out the streaming business, Evercore ISI’s Vijay Jayant said.

The company is developing family-friendly streaming services that will sell directly to consumers. It will launch a sports-focused service called ESPN Plus in early 2018.

Harrisburg Radio: EMF To Acquire Rocker WTPA

Patrick Sickafus
'The Rock Of Central PA' WTPA is being sold and will soon be airing contemporary Christian music.

Owner Patrick Sickafus (aka Pat Garrett) has announced he is selling WTPA 92.1 FM to Education Media Foundation for $700K. 

He purchased the station in 2013 for $530K.  At that time, the station had been placed in a a trust as the result of the Citadel-Cumulus merger.

EMF will be placing it's K-Love format on 92.1 FM, which will improve coverage over its current translators at 88.5 and 101.7 FM

Sickafus also owns Classic Country WWSM 1510  AM in the market.

WTPA 92.1 FM (1.5 Kw) Red=Local Coverage
WTPA's rock format previously aired on 93.5 FM.  In 2011, to gain clearance of its purchase of Citadel Communications, Cumulus moved the intellectual property of WTPA to the 92.1 signal and placed the station in a trust named Potential Broadcasting.

Boston Radio: Felger & Mazz TV Simulcast Suspended

Michael Felger
WBZ 98.5 FM Boston sports talk show host Michael Felger has been suspended from NBC Sports Boston following comments he made about the death of retired Phillies and Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay.

Felger, the cohost of the popular 98.5 The Sports Hub talk show "Felger and Mazz," will not appear on NBC Sports Boston through Sunday, according to a statement released by the television station.
Phillies Legend Roy Halladay Dies in Plane Crash

Halladay, a new pilot, died on Tuesday when his small ICON A5 aircraft crashed off the coast of Florida. Video posted to TMZ reportedly showed the plane flying low to the water in the moments before it crashed.

Felger responded to the crash by saying, "He got what he deserved."

"Felger and Mazz," which airs on the radio from 2 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, is simulcast on NBC Sports Boston. In its place on Friday, NBC Sports Boston aired a repeat of this week's Boston Celtics-Atlanta Hawks game.

"While we don't have editorial control of the content of his radio show, which we simulcast, Felger's comments are not representative of our network's views or standards," NBC Sports Boston said in its statement.

98.5 The Sports Hub has not said if Felger will face discipline. Felger appeared on his radio show on Friday afternoon.

On Thursday, Felger began his show by saying he regretted his comments about Halladay.

R.I.P.: Former Youngstown Radio Personality Dick Thompson

Long-time Youngstown OH radio personality Dick "Big Al" Thompson has died.

Executives with Cumulus Radio said the WHOT and WNIO disc jockey died on Thursday. He was 89.

For more than half a century, the name Dick Thompson was synonymous with radio in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys.

He came to the area in the late 1950s, working on the old WHOT as one of the “Good Guys,” as they were known back then. After retiring the first time when he was 65, he went back on the air with friend and colleague Johnny Kaye for both WNIO and WSOM.

He signed off the air for the last time 10 years ago.

Thompson was part of a DJ duo with the late Johnny Kay on WHOT 1330 AM. The two became household names and they pulled down some of the highest ratings in the country, He was inducted in the Radio and Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2003.

He began at WHOT in Youngstown in 1958.

Thomas John, digital content director at iHeartMedia Youngstown, worked with Thompson, who doubled as program director at WHOT, in the 1970s.

“My favorite Dick Thompson story is that he was also DJ Big Al Knight,” John recalled. “He was on the air [in a prerecorded program] from midnight to 6 a.m., and then he would come in and do his morning show at 6. He didn’t change his voice, but no one caught on.”

November 11 Radio History

➦In 1928...WGL-AM, Fort Wayne, Indiana began broadcasting.

The station, now 1250 on the AM dial,  was the first to broadcast in the city of Fort Wayne. Chester Keen and Lauer Auto founded what was originally called WCWK when it signed on in 1921. Keen bought the Lauer interests in WCWK in 1925. That same year, WOWO was established by the Main Auto Supply Co., with studios above Main Auto's downtown factory.

In 1928, Keen sold WCWK to WOWO owner Fred Zieg, and the call letters were changed to WGL (What God Loves), taking a callsign previously used by the current WADO in New York City.

WOWO and WGL were owned by the Zieg family until WOWO's sale to Westinghouse in 1936. Westinghouse sold WGL to the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation in 1945. On September 24, 1947, the station's power was increased from 250 W to 1,000 W.

Subsequently it was purchased by the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. The call letters of WGL were reinterpreted as Wayne's Great Lady, referring to Helene Foelliger, who had markedly improved circulation of the News-Sentinel since becoming publisher less than a decade earlier, when she became the youngest, as well as one of the first female, publishers of a major newspaper. William Kunkle, publisher of the morning Journal-Gazette, followed by establishing WKJG (William Kunkle Journal-Gazette) in 1947, but while WKJG established a television station in 1953, WGL had no television license.

In March 2014, Adams Radio Group, LLC entered an agreement to purchase Summit City's cluster (which includes WGL). Days later, Adams announced they would purchase Oasis Radio Group's stations. To meet ownership limits, Adams will retain WNHT, WGL and WXKE, as well as acquiring Oasis Radio Group's WJFX and WBTU, while selling off WHPP to Fort Wayne Catholic Radio, and selling WGL-FM to Calvary Radio Network. WLYV and two translators (on 96.9 FM and 103.3 FM) will also be acquired by Adams. The transaction, at a price of $6.4 million, was consummated on June 2, 2014. As a result, Adams plans on massive format restructuring. WGL flipped to Fox Sports Radio programming on June 3 after "American Pie" by Don McLean bought a close to WGL and WGL-FM's oldies format.

➦In 1928...WOL-AM, Washington, D.C., began broadcasting. The station now at 1450 AM is owned by Radio One.

➦In 1930...NBC first broadcasts from 30 Rockefeller Plaza in NYC.

In a major move in 1931, RCA signed crucial leases with the new Rockefeller Center management that resulted in it becoming the lead tenant of what was to become in 1933 its corporate headquarters, the RCA Building, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Under the terms of the lease arrangement, this included studios for NBC and theaters for the RCA-owned RKO Pictures. The deal was arranged through the Center's founder and financier, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., with the chairman of GE, Owen D. Young, and the president of RCA, David Sarnoff.

➦In 1973...A "live" Mott The Hoople show is simulcast over several US radio networks, but is later revealed to be the group's actual studio songs with applause overdubbed.

➦In 1974…Radio personality/actor (Easy Aces, Monitor) Jane Ace, who performed on the air with her husband Goodman Ace for more than 25 years beginning in 1930, died at the age of 74.

➦In 1987...Former radio programmer Sebastian Stone WOR FM died.

➦In 2011...George Ansbro, staff announcer at WABC Radio died

➦In 2003...Actor Art Carney died. Although best known for his character as "Ed Norton" on "The Honeymooners" TV show, Carney was a voice actor in the 1930's on the weekly Radio show "Gangbusters" and part of "The March of Time" repertory company. He also worked jobs in Radio from 1942 - 1949.

Friday, November 10, 2017

FCC Approves CBS Radio, Entercom Merger

Entercom Communications Corp. Thursday announced receipt of approval from the Federal Communications Commission to complete the proposed tax-free combination with CBS Radio.

The FCC’s order concluded that granting its approval to the merger and transfer applications related to the combination of Entercom and CBS Radio will serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.

Entercom expects its proposed combination with CBS Radio to close as early as November 17, 2017.

David Field
“We are energized and excited by today’s announcement from the FCC. The Commission’s approval marks a significant milestone on our path toward completing the transformational combination of Entercom and CBS Radio,” said David Field, President and Chief Executive Officer, Entercom.

“This brings Entercom an important step closer to our goal of delivering greater value for our listeners, customers and shareholders as a leading media and entertainment company with national scale and the No. 1 creator of live, original and local audio content.”

As previously announced, CBS Corporation launched an exchange offer for the separation of its radio business as part of the agreement to combine CBS Radio and Entercom, which is scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on November 16, 2017, unless the exchange offer is extended or terminated.

The merger will make Entercom a leading local media and entertainment company with a nationwide footprint of 235 stations, with coverage of close to 90% of persons 12+ in the top 50 markets, as well as robust digital capabilities and a growing events platform, and the unrivaled leader in news and sports radio.

The deal’s approval, the Commission says, is “subject to certain conditions.” With that, the FCC also granted associated waivers on a temporary basis of six months.

Specifically, CBS and Entercom sought a temporary waiver of the radio-television cross-ownership rule in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose and Miami-Fort Lauderdale markets to permit CBS executives Leslie Moonves and Joseph Ianniello (Temporary Directors) to serve as Entercom directors for no longer than six months following the close of the transactions.

Entercom also sought a waiver of the local radio ownership rule to maintain its current ownership interests in the Kansas City market. In addition, Entercom currently holds a grandfathered radio combination in the Scranton-Wilkes Barre, Pa., Nielsen audio market.

All were granted, with the San Francisco and Miami waivers expiring in six months.

Boston Radio: iHM, WBZ-AM Union Reach Tentative Settlement

iHeartMedia set to buy local news powerhouse WBZ 1030 AM has agreed to recognize the station’s union and offer jobs to all of its employees, averting a nasty fight that threatened to derail the sale, the Herald has learned.

The Boston Herald reports iHeartMedia’s agreement with the union is a major concession from its initial threats to refuse to honor union contracts and force staffers to reapply for their jobs.

The radio company and union reached an interim agreement last night setting out terms of the new deal, sources said.

“The Employer agrees to recognize the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for all full-time and regular part-time announcers, producers, editors, writers and production assistants employed by WBZ-AM,” according to the proposed agreement obtained by the Herald.

“The Employer agrees to offer employment to all current union represented employees of WBZ-AM who are listed on the attached exhibit at their current salary or hourly rate of pay.”

The head of the union declined to comment about the proposed deal but in a memo to employees said iHeartMedia had proposed a much more acceptable deal for employees.

“While we have many questions and still have a lot of work to do to make the proposal acceptable, it is a dramatic improvement over the letter they sent last week,” wrote Tom Higgins, a local director of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

“We have had great support from the public, but it would not be helpful to the process to have this information go beyond our BZ radio membership,” Higgins added. “We don’t want to jeopardize our progress by negotiating in the press.”

The planned sale of ’BZ Radio to iHeartMedia was triggered by the proposed megamerger between CBS Radio and Entercom Communications. That merger forced Entercom and CBS Radio to divest some properties, including WBZ Radio.

Chapter 11 Talk Clouds Future For Cumulus

It’s now a possibility at the second-biggest radio broadcasting company by number of stations, based on comments made by CFO John Abbot during Cumulus Media‘s Q3 2017 earnings call held prior to Thursday’s Opening Bell on Wall Street.

While consolidated net revenue was statistically flat, moving to $287.24 million, from $286.14 million, consolidated net income slid by 97.2%, to $1.27 million (4 cents per share) from $46.3 million ($1.58).

“Regardless of the path forward, we have ample cash to operate our business.”

That statement came from Cumulus President/CEO Mary Berner ahead of the company’s Q3 earnings call.

Cumulus officials acknowledge that its $2.4 billion debt is hurting turnaround efforts despite third quarter 2017 earnings results that seem to indicate the major group owner is making gains on ratings and revenue.

Now the broadcaster is weighing options for restructuring — either outside of court through a pre-arranged agreement with creditors, or in a court-supervised Chapter 11 process.

Cumulus CEO Mary Berner said Thursday on its Q3 earnings call that the broadcaster continues to explore a range of alternatives to restructure its balance sheet.

John Abbott
“Our heavy debt load restrains our ability to do business in the short term and achieve full potential in the long term. We are using this time to continue to develop and we hope to commence the implementation of a restructuring with one or both of our creditor groups that will allow us to continue the momentum of our turnaround efforts,” Berner said.

According to RadioWorld, John Abbot, executive VP, treasurer and CFO of Cumulus, was more direct in his comments about Cumulus moving forward with or without a Chapter 11 filing.

“We have been using this period (since November 1) to continue our discussions and we hope to develop and begin implementation of a restructuring process that could be effectuated either out of court or through a court-supervised Chapter 11 process.”

He continued, “It’s our intention to restructure our debt in a way that balances our goal of minimizing disruption to our business while maintaining the momentum of our turnaround effort while maximizing the benefit of a significantly deleveraged capital structure.”

Las Vegas Radio: KLUC Rebrands Longtime Morning Show

CBS Radio Las Vegas and The Chet Buchanan Show featuring hosts Chet, Spence and Kayla have a new multi-year deal that will continue to have them waking up Las Vegas on KLUC 98.5 FM. The show, produced by Davey the “Showkiller,” has been heard on 98.5 KLUC since its debut in 1999.

In conjunction with the signing of the new deal, the show will also be rebranded from “Chet Buchanan & the Morning Zoo” to “The Chet Buchanan Show” effective immediately.

“Chet’s work on air and in the Las Vegas community is second to none; coupled with Spence’s creativity and passion for radio, I am thrilled that they will continue to be an integral part of the KLUC lineup,” said CBS Radio Las Vegas Operations Manager, JB King. “Along with their co-host Kayla and producer Davey the “Showkilller” I look forward to them taking morning drive on 98.5 KLUC to new heights.”

“We're still the same fun, positive, funny, and interesting show we've always been,” said Chet Buchanan. “Our P1’s who listen all the time will notice a fresh new tone to the things they love, and we look forward to reaching and entertaining new audiences as we get the word out about the new show name. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and resume preparing...Toy Drive starts soon!”

KLUC 98.5 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
The Chet Buchanan Show can be heard weekday mornings in Las Vegas from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM on 98.5 KLUC and online at

St. Louis Radio: Stacey & Jonah To Host PM Drive On WIL

Stacy and Jonah
New Country WIL 92.3 FM has announced Stacey K. Boyer and Jonah Griss-Bush will host PM Drive effective January 2018.  "Stacey and Jonah" will arrrive from Top 40 KHTH/Santa Rosa, CA where they've been hosting mornings since 2012.

Stacey and Jonah will succeed longtime WIL afternoon drive personality Bo Matthews, who moves to an earlier daypart and becomes the station's "Chief Brand Ambassador."

"Hubbard is the platinum standard for live and local talent," said WIL PD Scott Roddy. "While most radio companies are reducing local talent, Hubbard is adding diversity and experience to our stable of show hosts. Stacey and Jonah's charm, wit and humor make them the perfect companion while sitting in traffic on Hwy. 40 during the drive home."

"Added Stacey and Jonah in a joint statement, "We are so excited to join the Hubbard family and the CMA Station of the Year, New Country 92.3, and the outstanding ‘Home Team. A huge thank you to Hubbard Radio's Ginny Morris, Drew Horowitz and Greg Strassell, as well as Hubbard/St. Louis VP/Market Manager John Kojowski and PD Scott for making this dream job possible. It is an honor to join a company that believes in people and talent, not to mention we can now wake up after the sun rises."

Boston Radio: Michael Felger Apologizes For 'Low Class' Comments

The cohost of a popular Boston radio talk show says he regrets comments he made Wednesday about the death of retired Phillies and Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay. reports NECN.

On Wednesday, Michael Felger, the cohost of the popular WBZ98.5 FM The Sports Hub talk show "Felger and Mazz," ranted for 12 minutes on Halladay, calling him a "moron" and "idiot."

Halladay, a new pilot, died on Tuesday when his small ICON A5 aircraft crashed off the coast of Florida. Video posted to TMZ reportedly shows the plane flying low to the water in the moments before it crashed.

Felger responded to the crash by saying, "He got what he deserved."

The radio host opened Thursday afternoon's show by commenting on the previous day's behavior.
"In a nutshell, I would say I feel bad about what happened on a lot of levels. I feel bad about what I said and how I conducted myself," Felger said. "To say it was insensitive or over the top is stating the obvious."

"I could come in and say, 'I apologize if I offended anyone,' but that's fake and hollow and everyone hates that. The only folks I really want to extend that to are the loved ones of Halladay. They're the ones who are dealing with enough right now not to have me come over the top and do what I did yesterday. Sorry doesn't do it justice as it relates to them. That's going to stick with me a while as it relates to them."

"I meant part of what I said yesterday and a lot of what I said was just dumb hyperbole. There was stuff I did mean, but the presentation, the tone, and the hyperbole was just low class, bad, not good. I don't feel good about it. I regret my conduct yesterday."

"The tone and the hysterics were really uncalled for."

On air Wednesday, Felger said of Halladay's death: “I looked at that guy and said, 'That ain't no tragedy.' It just sort of angers me. You care that little about your life? Your little joyride is that important to you, that you're going to risk just dying? … 'Whee! Whee! Yeah, man, look at the G-Force on this! I'm Maverick. Pew, Pew! Yeah, man, look at this, this is so cool!' And you did. Splat, and it's over.”

Felger also called Halladay a “moron” and a “jackass.”

Halladay, 40, was killed Tuesday when his A5 aircraft crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He was reportedly performing stunts before the crash.

Halladay tossed a perfect game and a no-hitter in his first postseason start in the same years after coming to the Philadelphia Phillies, and went on to win a Cy Young Award both in the American and National League. The 6-foot-6 right-hander was a three-time 20-game winner who finished 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA. He was a married father of two children.

CMA Awards Scores Nice Win For ABC

Featuring its broadcast of “The 51st Annual CMA Awards,” ABC finished a dominant #1 on Wednesday night, winning all six half-hours of prime in Total Viewers and Adults 18-49.

During primetime, ABC more than doubled its closest competition, leading CBS by 7.8 million viewers (+120% - 14.3 million vs. 6.5 million) and Fox by 113% in Adults 18-49 (3.2/12 vs. 1.5/6).  In fact, among Adults 18-49, ABC delivered the highest rating for any network on any night this season with entertainment programming.

ABC’s CMA Awards qualified as Wednesday’s definitive #1 TV program, outdistancing runners-up CBS’ “Survivor” by 86% with viewers (14.3 million vs. 7.7 million from 8-9pm) and Fox’s “Empire” by 78% with young adults (3.2/12 vs. 1.8/7 from 8-9pm).

The CMA Awards grew by double digits year over year with Total Viewers (+14% -14.3 million vs. 12.5 million) and Adults 18-49 (+10% - 3.2/12 vs. 2.9/9), drawing its biggest audience in three years – since 2014.

In viewers and young adults, ABC built to Wednesday season highs with its largest overall audience on the night in three years and its top Adult 18-49 rating with entertainment programming in two years - since 11/5/14 and 11/4/15, respectively.

During the three-hour live broadcast, #CMAawards trended #1 nationally on Twitter. Social listening impressions reached a staggering 4.56 billion. There was heavy conversation around the evening’s festivities as Facebook and Twitter interactions increased more than 600% from last year to over 5.2 million.

New 'Star Wars' Trilogy Planned As Disney Results Miss

The force of “Star Wars” lifted Walt Disney Co shares on Thursday as the promise of a new film trilogy overshadowed disappointing quarterly results and struggles at the media company’s television business.

According to Reuters, The storied movie studio and theme park operator is scrambling to keep viewers who are abandoning its current top money maker, cable networks. The power of its characters and brands are the reason many investors stick with the company despite its challenges.

Disney shares rose more than 1 percent after Chief Executive Bob Iger said Disney had struck a deal with Rian Johnson, director of upcoming film “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” to create a new trilogy in the blockbuster science fiction series.

A live-action “Star Wars” TV series also is being developed for a streaming service that Disney is launching to capture online audiences, Iger said.

Disney shares rose about 1 percent from their Thursday closing price to $103.57 after the “Star Wars” announcements, reversing an initial falloff after Disney’s results raised concerns about cable subscriptions.

Subscribers and advertising revenue both fell at ESPN, the sports powerhouse that is seen as a proxy for Disney’s ability to fight the rapid migration of audiences to online viewing. Affiliate revenue rose and overall results at ESPN were comparable to the prior year for the quarter that ended in September, Disney said.

Total revenue from Disney’s cable business, the largest unit which includes ESPN and the Disney Channel, fell marginally to $3.95 billion in the fourth quarter, missing the $4.06 billion consensus of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

A two-day closing of Disney’s Florida resorts amid a hurricane and the cancellation of an animated movie were among one-time items that reduced operating income by about $275 million, or about 11 cents per share, the company said.

Disney’s movie business generated revenue of $1.4 billion in the quarter, down about 21 percent and missing analysts’ average estimate of $1.61 billion. Broadcast revenue of $1.51 billion missed Wall Street’s target of $1.69 million, and Disney’s theme parks posted revenue of $4.67 billion, just missing expectations of $4.70 billion.

News Corp Profit Beats on Digital Real Estate Strength

Wall Street Journal owner News Corp reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, driven by a tight control on expenses and growth in revenue across all its businesses.

News Corp said revenue in its rapidly growing digital real-estate unit, which includes REA Group Ltd, rose nearly 20 percent to $271 million, according to Reuters.

Increased competition from digital media and a declining readership is driving print advertising down. Spending on print advertising in the U.S. is expected to fall 14 percent this year to about $18 billion, a third of what it was 10 years ago, according to media research firm Magna Intelligence. (

Major publishers have not been immune to eroding print ad sales. New York Times Co reported a 20.1 percent decline in print ad revenue in the latest quarter, while Chicago Tribune Media owner Tronc Inc posted an 18 percent fall.

News Corp, controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has been implementing various cost-cutting measures like reducing staff in its Dow Jones division, which includes the Journal, while boosting its digital real estate business to improve margins.

Revenue in the company’s news and information division, which accounts for about two-thirds of total revenue, rose 1.6 percent to $1.24 billion in its first quarter.

Jim Battagliese Named TTWN/NY Regional Dir./Ops

Jim Battagliese
Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN), has announced that 30-year broadcasting and traffic veteran Jim Battagliese has been named as Regional Director of Operations for the New York market.

Battagliese joins TTWN from Hubbard Radio's WTOP/Washington, DC where he served as Director of Traffic and Weather Operations, since 2010. Prior to WTOP, he managed the Traffic Center for XM Satellite Radio prior to its merger with Sirius. He's also held senior leadership posts at both and Shadow Broadcast Services serving as VP/Operations.

"More Americans get their traffic information from TTWN than any other source, and continuing to provide our affiliates with industry-leading content and service is our number one priority," said Kevin Loftus, Senior Vice President of Operations for TTWN.

"Jim has an extensive background in traffic reporting operations. His leadership in TTWN's New York regional market will have a tremendous impact on our ability to maximize results for our affiliates."

In his new role, Battagliese will drive all aspects of content development and traffic operations for the regions more than 125 broadcast radio and television affiliates, including the New York City, Nassau/Long Island (NY), Hartford/New Haven (CT), Hudson Valley (NY) and Northern New Jersey media markets.

LGBT Characters On TV At Record Highs

The number of lesbian, gay and transgender characters on U.S. television shows have reached record highs, and campaign group GLAAD said on Thursday that their stories were more important than ever given moves in the United States to roll back LGBT acceptance.

In it annual report on diversity on the small screen, GLAAD found 329 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters across all broadcast, cable and streaming TV platforms, including the first asexual and non-binary characters.

Reuters reports GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said TV was a critical place for the portrayal of LGBTQ characters and their lives.

The GLAAD report found that LGBTQ regulars on the main U.S. broadcast channels in TV shows like “Riverdale,” “Empire” “Designated Survivor” made up 6.5 percent of all characters, making the highest percentage in 22 years of GLAAD tracking.

Netflix’s dark comedy “Bojack Horseman” and Freeform’s supernatural “Shadowhunters” brought audiences the first asexual characters on television.

Bob Costas Imagines A World Without Football

Sportscaster Bob Costas joined former Washington Post columnists Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon and USA Today columnist Christine Brennan at the University of Maryland’s 12th Shirley Povich Symposium on Tuesday for a discussion about the biggest changes in sports. According To The Washington Post, Costas and his fellow panelists all touched on something that would’ve been difficult to imagine 14 years ago: a future without football.

“There are issues, including, although it’s a serious issue, the protests going on now in the NFL,” Costas said. “Those issues come and go. The issue that is most substantial — the existential issue — is the nature of football itself. … The nature of football is this: Unless and until there is some technology which we cannot even imagine, let alone has been developed, that would make this inherently dangerous game not marginally safer, but acceptably safe, the cracks in the foundation are there. The day-to-day issues, serious as they may be, they may come and go. But you cannot change the basic nature of the game. I certainly would not let, if I had an athletically gifted 12- or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football.”

“Some of the best people I’ve met in sports have been football people, but the reality is that this game destroys people’s brains. … That’s the fundamental fact of football, and that to me is the biggest story in American sports.”

Kornheiser suggested that football will eventually go the way of horse racing and boxing, two other sports that were once wildly popular.

“It’s not going to happen this year, and it’s not going to happen in five years or 10 years, but Bob is right: At some point, the cultural wheel turns just a little bit, almost imperceptibly, and parents say, ‘I don’t want my kid to play.’ And then it becomes only the province of the poor, who want it for economic reasons to get up and out, and if they don’t find a way to make it safe — and we don’t see how they will — as great as it is, as much fun as it is … the game’s not going to be around. It’s not.”

November 10 Radio History

➦In 1938...Radio star Kate Smith introduced Irving Berlin's 'God Bless America' to her CBS radio network audience. Smith was only 32 and already the undisputed Queen of Network Radio. Her variety hour on CBS had Thursday’s Top Ten for two years and in 1939 she would move to Friday and dominate the night’s ratings for the next four consecutive seasons.

"God Bless America" is an American patriotic song written by Irving Berlin in 1918 and revised by him in 1938. The later version has notably been recorded by Kate Smith, becoming her signature song.

Irving Berlin wrote the song in 1918 while serving the U.S. Army at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, but decided that it did not fit in a revue called Yip Yip Yaphank, so he set it aside.

In 1938, with the rise of Adolf Hitler, Berlin, who was Jewish and a first-generation Russian immigrant, felt it was time to revive it as a "peace song," and it was introduced on an Armistice Day broadcast in 1938, sung by Kate Smith on her radio show. Berlin had made some minor changes; by this time, "to the right" might have been considered a call to the political right, so he substituted "through the night" instead. He also provided an introduction that is now rarely heard but which Smith always used: "While the storm clouds gather far across the sea / Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free / Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, / As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer." (In her first broadcast of the song, Kate Smith sang "that we're far from there" rather than "for a land so fair".)

➦In 1950...a radio comedy series The Magnificent Montague starring Monty Woolley debuted on NBC. It may rank as radio’s last original sitcom. Ironically, its final airing was exactly one year later, as TV continued to steal the radio audience.

➦In 1951…Mayor M. Leslie Denning of Englewood, New Jersey called his counterpart in Alameda, California, to mark the beginning of direct-dial, coast-to-coast U.S. telephone service.

➦In 1956...Billboard magazine's DJ survey reveals that Elvis Presley is the country's number one male artist on both the pop and country charts.

➦In 1966...British newspapers break the news that the Beatles will indeed refuse all future offers to tour.

Struggling to compete with the volume of sound generated by screaming fans, the band had grown increasingly bored with the routine of performing live. Recognizing that their shows were no longer about the music, they decided to make the August 1966 tour their last. The last US concert was at Candlestick Park, San Francisco on August 29, 1966.  A crowd of 25,000 saw the Beatles final concert which began at 8:00 pm.The support acts,in order of appearance,were the Remain, Bobby Hebb, the Cyrkle and the Ronettes.The Beatles played from 9:27 pm until precisely 10:00 pm on a stage five feet high and fully encaged by a six foot high wire fence surrounded by security and police

The famous and very final Beatles concert would be the famous Rooftop concert January 30, 1969.

➦In 1973...The Hot 100..Eddie Kendricks, former lead singer of the Temptations, earned the #1 song with "Keep On Truckin'".  That meant Gladys Knight & the Pips had an abbreviated stay of two weeks at #1 with "Midnight Train To Georgia".  The Rolling Stones' former #1 "Angie" was third followed by "Heartbeat - It's A Lovebeat" from the DeFranco Family.  The rest of the Top 10:  Marie Osmond's "Paper Roses", Ringo Starr had his fourth solo hit and third straight Top 10 with "Photograph", moving from 11 to 6, Billy Preston's instrumental "Space Race" came in at position #7, Cher's former #1 "Half-Breed" was #8, Art Garfunkel slipped up to #9 with "All I Know" and the Carpenters were an amazing 10 of 14 in earning Top 10 hits, registering their eight consecutive Top 10 with "Top Of The World"

➦In 1975...The SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinks suddenly in Lake Superior during a storm, killing all 29 men aboard and inspiring Canadian folkie Gordon Lightfoot to write a song about the tragedy, "The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald."

Freeman Gosde and Charles Correll
➦In 1982...Freeman Gosden, the radio actor who portrayed "Amos" on the Radio show "Amos 'n' Andy", died at age 83.

➦In 1984...The Hot 100..Billy Ocean remained at #1 with "Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)".  Stevie Wonder's former #1 "I Just Called To Say I Love You" wasn't going away, Prince remained at #3 with "Purple Rain" and Wham! had #4--"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go".

The rest of the Top 10:  A solo hit from Chaka Khan ("I Feel For You") moved from 10-5, Hall & Oates had their 25th hit and sixth straight Top 10 song with "Out Of Touch", Tina Turner's comeback was complete with "Better Be Good To Me", David Bowie's "Blue Jean" was #8, Chicago dropped with their great song "Hard Habit To Break" and Styx lead singer Dennis DeYoung picked himself up a solo Top 10 with "Desert Moon".

➦In 1992...First AM HD Radio broadcast with audio codec.

An audio codec is a device or computer program capable of coding or decoding a digital data stream of audio.

In software, an audio codec is a computer program implementing an algorithm that compresses and decompresses digital audio data according to a given audio file format or streaming media audio format. The objective of the algorithm is to represent the high-fidelity audio signal with minimum number of bits while retaining the quality. This can effectively reduce the storage space and the bandwidth required for transmission of the stored audio file. Most codecs are implemented as libraries which interface to one or more multimedia players.

In hardware, audio codec refers to a single device that encodes analog audio as digital signals and decodes digital back into analog. In other words, it contains both an Analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and Digital-to-analog converter (DAC) running off the same clock. This is used in sound cards that support both audio in and out, for instance.

➦In 2003…Chicago Sun-Times newspaper columnist (Kup's Column for six decades)/syndicated TV talk show host/Chicago Bears radio color commentator/Philadelphia Eagles quarterback (1935) Irv Kupcinet died of complications from pneumonia at 91.

➦In 2010...the radio/TV voice of the Seattle Mariners for their entire 33 year history, Dave Niehaus was silenced forever after a heart attack at age 75.  He has since been immortalized with his own “statue” on the concourse at Safeco Field.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Liberty Media Reports 3Q Earnings Increase

Liberty Media, the company controlled by billionaire mogul and chairman John Malone that houses such assets as satellite radio company SiriusXM Radio, the Atlanta Braves baseball club and the Formula One racing circuit, on Thursday reported its third-quarter financials.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, earnings came in at $168 million, up from $115 million in the year-ago period. Satellite radio giant SiriusXM Group posted earnings of $183 million, and the Liberty group housing the Atlanta Braves baseball team recorded earnings of $22 million, but the Formula One racing circuit posted a $37 million loss.

SiriusXM also recorded an 11 percent gain in operating profit, while the company's Liberty Braves Group swung to an operating loss of $9 million from a year-ago profit of $1 million. Formula One, which the company didn't own in the year-ago period, posted a slightly wider operating loss of $17 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $16 million.

Liberty Media's third-quarter revenue rose to $2.07 billion from $1.39 billion, driven by gains at SiriusXM and the Braves and the addition of Formula One revenue.

Cumulus Media Revenue Beats Expectations

Cumulus Media Inc. today announced operating results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017. 

For the three months ended September 30, 2017, the Company reported net revenue of $287.2 million, up 0.4% from the three months ended September 30, 2016, net income of $1.3 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $61.8 million which was up 40.7% from the three months ended September 30, 2016.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, the Company reported net revenue of $841.8 million, net loss of $0.4 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $167.9 million which was up 12.7% from the nine months ended September 30, 2016.  Adjusted EBITDA for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016 included the impact of $14.4 million of expenses incurred to resolve previously disputed syndicated programming and network inventory expenses with CBS Radio Inc.

Mary Berner
Mary Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus Media Inc. said, “As we noted when we announced our preliminary results in October, our strong third quarter performance plainly demonstrates that our operational turnaround plan is working. The entire Cumulus team has shown great commitment to maintaining our momentum. By executing our foundational operating initiatives and continuing to develop growth opportunities, we are confident that we can build on our success despite the challenging industry environment.”

Ms. Berner continued, “We are also focused on addressing our excessive debt load on a parallel track to our operational turnaround plan. As previously disclosed, we are working with our advisors to proactively explore a range of alternatives to restructure our balance sheet, and we are continuing productive discussions with our creditors. Regardless of the path forward, we have ample cash to operate our business. Our goal remains to reduce our debt so we can focus our time and resources on investments in our people, key technologies and initiatives that will ultimately drive sustainable, long-term growth.”