Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas Radio!

Season's Greetings From Media Confidential!

The Christmas Story - Luke 2:1-20

December 25 Radio History

➦In 1931...The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City was the subject of a broadcast for the first time. Lawrence Tibbett was featured as vocalist in "Hansel und Gretel". The productionw aired on the NBC Radio network.

➦In 1937...famed conductor, Arturo Toscanini, conducted the first broadcast of the radio program, "Symphony of the Air", across the NBC Radio netwrok.

➦In 1939..."A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens, was recited for the first time over the CBS Radio network.

➦In 1945...Actor Gary Sandy, who played Andy Travis on TV's WKRP in Cincinnati was born.

➦In 1946...Singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, of "Margaritaville" fame was born.

➦In 1948...92.3 FM frequency signed-on in NYC as WMCA-FM. (Today the station is WBMP 92.3 FM and is owned by Entercom Communications, branding as ALT 92.3 FM.)

For the next year, it operated daily from 3p-9p, simulcasting WMCA, 570 AM, according to the NYC FM History website Angelfire.

In December 1949, Nathan Straus, president of WMCA, announced he was closing down the station because he was losing $4000 a month.

He had said several times that baseball games were cut short on the FM, deliberately to elicit response from listeners and he had received only 2 letters in regard to this practice during all of the summer of 1949.

Straus cited several reasons for the failure of FM: drifting of receivers, difficulty in tuning them, the union rule that announcers who were simulcast on FM and AM be paid double in New York and he said people could already hear WMCA on AM.

Further, Straus said that he had twice tried to give WMCA-FM away and couldn't.

This announcement drew sharp critisim from Major Edwin Armstrong, the inventor of the FM system of broadcasting, who said that Straus was not giving FM a fair chance.

Straus announced that WMCA-FM would quit permanently on December 31, 1949, but the day before, a group of businessmen and people associated with WIBG in Philadelphia announced their intention of buying WMCA-FM for $7500.

So, WMCA-FM continued its 3p-9p schedule throughout 1950, however the negotiations with the WIBG group fell through.

In late 1950, WHOM 1480 AM, announced that it would purchase WMCA-FM. An agreement was reached and 92.3 became WHOM-FM on February 26, 1951.

By 1975, the station had evolved into a Pop/Rock leaning AC format, with calls of WKTU.
On July 24, 1978, WKTU abruptly switched to an "All Disco" format as "Disco 92", which eventually evolved into more of a Rhythmic CHR by the Fall of 1979.

In the summer of 1984, WKTU became a mainstream CHR.

Then, in July of 1985, after airing the Live Aid concert, the station switched to a mainstream AOR format, featuring new and classic rock as WXRK "K-Rock".

In September 1985, Howard Stern (who had been fired from WNBC earlier that year) joined the station, initially for afternoons and in early 1986 switched to mornings.

In 1987, WXRK had instituted a classic rock format and on January 5, 1996, evolved into an alternative/active rock format.

On April 4, 2005, WXRK debuted a mainstream rock format, encompassing music from the 60's to today.

On December 16, 2005, Howard Stern broadcasted his last show on the station, before his anticipated move to Sirius Satellite Radio on January 9, 2006.

On January 3, 2006, 92.3 became an "all-talk" station (with the exception of weekends when it features a rock format) using the "Free FM" slogan and featuring David Lee Roth in mornings. Calls were officially changed to WFNY on January 1. In April 2006, David Lee Roth was replaced with Opie & Anthony.

On May 24, 2007 at 5pm, "K-Rock" returned to 92.3. Calls were changed back to WXRK on May 31, 2007.

On March 11, 2009, 92.3 switched to a CHR format as "92.3 Now FM", with the "K-Rock" format moving to 92.3's HD2 channel.

92.3 changed calls to WNOW on November 8, 2012.

On May 22, 2014 at 2pm, 92.3 re-branded themselves as "92.3 AMP."

Calls changed to WBMP on June 23, 2014.  In 2017, the station was sold by CBS Radio to Entercom.  The format was flipped to Alternative upon the deal closing.

➦In 1964...In New York, "Murray The K's Big Holiday Show" went on as scheduled, with the Zombies, the Nashville Teens, and the Hullabaloos, after the U.S. Labor Department lifted a ban on granting British artists work visas. Britain's Musicians Union had retaliated by canceling Fats Domino's upcoming tour, before the whole matter was dropped.

➦In 1995...Singer, actor and comedian Dean Martin died. He was 78

➦In 2006...Singer James Brown, nicknamed the "Godfather of Soul, died. He was 73.

➦In 2008...Singer, dancer and actress Eartha Kitt died. She was 81.

December 24 Radio History

➦In 1818...Germany's Franz Gruber composes a melody to words written by Austrian priest Josef Mohr, creating the standard "Silent Night." The song is debuted tonight at Midnight Mass in Gruber's hometown of Obendorf.

Reginald Fessenden
➦In 1906...Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to broadcast a music program over radio. The broadcast originated in Brant Rock, Massachusetts.

In the late 1890s, reports began to appear about the success Guglielmo Marconi was having in developing a practical radio transmitting and receiving system. Fessenden began limited radio experimentation, and soon came to the conclusion that he could develop a far more efficient system than the spark-gap transmitter and coherer-receiver combination which had been championed by Oliver Lodge and Marconi.

Wireless Station at Brant Rock, MA
On December 21, 1906, Fessenden made an extensive demonstration of the new alternator-transmitter at Brant Rock, showing its utility for point-to-point wireless telephony, including interconnecting his stations to the wire telephone network. A detailed review of this demonstration appeared in The American Telephone Journal.

A few days later, two additional demonstrations took place, which may have been the first audio radio broadcasts of entertainment and music ever made to a general audience. (Beginning in 1904, the U.S. Navy had broadcast daily time signals and weather reports, but these employed spark transmitters, transmitting in Morse code).

On the evening of December 24, 1906 (Christmas Eve), Fessenden used the alternator-transmitter to send out a short program from Brant Rock. It included a phonograph record of Ombra mai fu (Largo) by George Frideric Handel, followed by Fessenden himself playing on the violin Adolphe Adam's carol O Holy Night, singing Gounod's Adore and be Still, and finishing with reading a passage from the Bible: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will' (Gospel of Luke 2:14).

He petitioned his listeners to write in about the quality of the broadcast as well as their location when they heard it. Surprisingly, his broadcast was heard several hundred miles away; however, accompanying the broadcast was a disturbing noise. This noise was due to irregularities in the spark gap transmitter he used.

➦In 1922...the BBC broadcast the first British radio play. It was entitled, "Truth about Father Christmas".

➦In 1928...the first broadcast of “The Voice of Firestone” was heard on the NBC Blue Radio Network, Monday night at 8:30. “The Voice of Firestone”became a hallmark in radio broadcasting, keeping its same night and sponsor for its entire 27 year run. Beginning September 5, 1949, the program of classical and semiclassical music was simulcast on television.

Lionel Barrymore
➦In 1939...the classic radio version of “A Christmas Carol” with Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge aired live for the first time on Orson Welles’ Campbell Playhouse on CBS.  On prior Christmasses Barrymore had just read the story beginning in 1934.

➦In 1944..."The Andrews Sisters’ Eight-To-The-Bar-Ranch" radio program debuted on ABC Radio.

➦In 1948...Perry Como made his television debut when NBC televised the Chesterfield Supper Club 15-minute radio program.

➦In 1988....Bulgaria stopped jamming "Radio Free Europe" after more than 30 years.

➦In 2006…Broadcasting executive Frank Stanton, the president of CBS from 1946 to 1971, died at the age of 98.

Frank Stanton 1939
Stanton served as the president of CBS between 1946 and 1971 and then as vice chairman until 1973. Along with William S. Paley, Stanton is credited with the significant growth of CBS into a communications powerhouse.

Stanton was revered both as a spokesman for the broadcast industry before Congress, and for his passionate support of broadcast journalism and journalists. Former CBS News President Richard S. Salant – a widely respected news chief and an appointee of Stanton's – praised Stanton as a corporate mentor and statesman.

During the period of McCarthyism, Stanton created an office at CBS to review the political leanings of employees.  Although right-wing journalists considered CBS left-leaning, branding it "the Red Network", CBS maintained a questionnaire inquiring about journalists' political affiliations. At Stanton's direction, employees were required to take an oath of loyalty to the US government. Stanton and Paley "found it expedient to hire only those who were politically neutral", not wishing to take a position against the FCC and Congress, nor to jeopardize profit by "tak[ing] a stand against the vigilantes".

Stanton, Time Cover 12/4/1950
According to radio historian Jim Cox, "CBS and the blacklisting became synonymous".   CBS, in response to the culture of blacklisting, instituted a "purge of its own", as had Hollywood and president Truman; Paley was more responsible for policy setting, and Stanton its main executor. Radio producer William N. Robson was one victim of the CBS purge; initially reassured by Stanton that his listing in the anti-Communist Red Channels pamphlet would not mean the end of his career with CBS, Robson eventually found the executive office of CBS non-responsive to his inquiries, and his earnings collapsed.   Good Night, and Good Luck, a 2005 movie portraying this era, left Stanton out of the film as a character, partly because Stanton was still living and might have objected to his portrayal.

Stanton played a role in the infamous controversy involving Arthur Godfrey, CBS's top money-earner in the early 1950s. Godfrey insisted that the cast members of two of his three CBS shows, a group of singers known as the "Little Godfreys," refrain from hiring managers. When one singer, Julius LaRosa, hired a manager following a minor dispute with Godfrey, the star consulted with Stanton, who suggested that he fire the popular LaRosa, then a rising star, on the air – just as he'd hired him on the air in 1951. Godfrey did so on October 19, 1953, without informing LaRosa before the airing. The move caused an enormous backlash against Godfrey. Stanton later told Godfrey biographer Arthur Singer that "Maybe (the recommendation) was a mistake."

➦In 2009...Disc jockey (WABC-New York, WFIL-Philadelphia, KBTR-Denver, WRIT-Milwaukee, WIL-St. Louis)/TV sports highlights show host (The George Michael Sports Machine) George Michael died of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia at 70.

Michael was born George Michael Gimpel in St. Louis, Missouri on March 24, 1939. He grew up near Tower Grove Park in the city's south side, and graduated from St. Louis University High School. While attending Saint Louis University, he worked as a Midwest promoter for several record labels such as Scepter and Motown. It was also during this time when he made his radio broadcasting debut on a one-hour Sunday night show at midnight on WIL, which invited individual SLU students to be the hosts every week. He earned a full-time job as a disc jockey at the station after he was judged to be the best of the group.

His first radio job outside of his hometown was in 1962 at WRIT in Milwaukee, where he worked the 6-to-10 pm shift until he was reassigned to 5-to-9 am morning drive time in early 1964.  His next stop was at KBTR in Denver later in 1964, working under the name "King" George Michael for the first time. He earned the nickname due to his success in "ruling" evening radio.

He became one of the original Boss Jocks at WFIL in Philadelphia when its new Top 40 rock and roll format debuted on September 18, 1966.  He served as music director and evening deejay for the next eight years. WFIL, which was popularly known as "Famous 56" after the transition, ended WIBG's listener ratings dominance and became the city's most popular station by the summer of 1967.

Michael was the first Philadelphia rock and roll radio personality to read the scores of local high school football and basketball games on the air. He also helped to start the career of Howard Eskin by hiring him to be his engineer.  Decades later, Eskin would be a contributor to The George Michael Sports Machine.   On George's last WFIL show (on September 6, 1974) he played "When Will I See You Again" by the Three Degrees for the first time ever on any radio station. The playing of this on his show broke the song into the mainstream, and within two months was a huge international hit, reaching number one in the U.K., and number two in the United States. George was personal friends with the owners of Philadelphia International Records and the song's writers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The aircheck of this can be heard on WFIL's tribute site, where he says,"I don't know if this song will be a hit".

Michael, noted for his energetic style, was hired by 77 WABC in New York City; his first on-air stint there was on the evening of September 9, 1974.  Michael now not only was entering the nation's largest media market; he also succeeded radio legend "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, who had jumped to competitor WNBC.  Several incidents from Michael's radio stint there have been chronicled in Morrow's autobiography.  Even though he was reunited with Dan Ingram and Ron Lundy (colleagues from his WIL days in St. Louis), Michael's time at WABC, which ended on November 17, 1979, was mostly frustrating because he was no longer a music director who had any influence on a playlist which was much shorter than the ones with which he was more familiar.  One of the highlights during his time at the station occurred when he anchored its coverage of the New York City blackout of 1977 after the music format was temporarily suspended for the night.

His first experience in sports broadcasting also came in 1974 when he was a television announcer for the Baltimore Orioles on WJZ-TV.  He declined an offer to work for the ballclub full-time in order to accept the WABC position.  As part of the deal to bring him to New York, Michael also worked for WABC-TV as the weekend sports anchor and a color commentator on New York Islanders telecasts for several seasons, paired mainly with Tim Ryan.   He served as an occasional substitute on ABC American Contemporary Network's Speaking of Sports show whenever Howard Cosell, the primary commentator, was on vacation or assignment.

➦In 2011...Talk personality Lynn Samuels WBAI, WABC NYC died from a heart attack at age 69.

Lynn Samuels
She began her radio career at WBAI in 1979, where in addition to her on-air work she was music director and an engineer and producer. Walter Sabo, in a tribute on the Alex Bennett program (hosted by Richard Bey) on December 27, 2011, stated that Lynn first worked for WOR on Saturdays from 4–6 p.m. "for quite some time".

Samuels was heard on Talkradio WABC from 1987 until 1992, 1993 until 1997, and 1997 until 2002, including two breaks in which she was fired and then rehired. Her third and final dismissal in 2002 was allegedly due to budget cuts.

Samuels was also a call-screener for Matt Drudge. In 2002, she joined WLIE for a brief time before being hired by Sirius in 2003.

Sexual Misconduct Tops 2017's Biggest Stories

The wave of sexual misconduct allegations that toppled Hollywood power brokers, politicians, media icons and many others was the top news story of 2017, according to The Associated Press' annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors.

The No. 2 story was Donald Trump's tumultuous first year as president. A year ago, Trump's unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election was a near-unanimous pick for the top news story of 2016.

The first AP top-stories poll was conducted in 1936, when editors chose the abdication of Britain's King Edward VIII as the top story.

Here are 2017's top 10 stories, in order:

1. Sexual misconduct: Scandals involving sexual misdeeds by prominent men are nothing new in America, but there's never been anything remotely like the deluge of allegations unleashed this year by women who were emboldened to speak out by the accusers who preceded them. Luminaries toppled from their perches included movie magnate Harvey Weinstein, media stars Bill O'Reilly, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, and several celebrity chefs and members of Congress.

2. Trump-First Year: The controversies started on Inauguration Day, with the new president challenged over his claims on the size of the crowd, and persisted throughout the year. Trump's approval ratings hovered around record-low territory, his base remained fiercely loyal, and his relentless tweeting — often in the early morning hours — provoked a striking mix of outrage, mockery and grateful enthusiasm.

3. Las Vegas mass shooting: A 64-year-old high-stakes video poker player, after amassing an arsenal of weapons, unleashed a barrage of gunfire from a high-rise casino-hotel that killed 58 people and injured hundreds among a crowd attending an open-air concert along the Las Vegas Strip. Weeks after the massacre, questions about the gunman's motives remained unanswered.

4. Hurricane onslaught: In a four-week span, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. Harvey killed more than 80 people in Texas and caused an estimated $150 billion in damage. Irma killed scores of people in the Caribbean and U.S., including 12 residents of a Florida nursing home that lost its air conditioning. Maria damaged more than 200,000 homes in Puerto Rico, caused lengthy power outages, and prompted an investigation into whether the official death toll of 64 was vastly undercounted.

5. North Korea: At times the taunts had a schoolyard flavor to them — a "dotard" versus "Little Rocket Man." But they came from two world leaders with nuclear arms at their disposal — Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Fueling the tensions were North Korea's latest tests of a hydrogen bomb and of ballistic missiles that potentially could reach the U.S. mainland.

Read 6 Through 10 here

Holiday Music Dominating Music Streams

It wasn’t so long ago that a blockbuster fourth-quarter album by a music superstar could rescue a record company from financial ruin, or at least a slow sales year. Think of Jay-Z’s “Kingdom Come,” which sold 680,000 copies during Black Friday week in 2006 and showed up beneath plenty of Christmas trees that year.

But in today’s world of Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music, music fans are paying less attention to those kinds of late-in-the-year releases. They’re too busy streaming Christmas music, reports The NYTimes.

“For the first time, this year, we are actually dissuading our labels from releasing albums in the December time period,” said Vinnie Freda, the Warner Music Group’s chief data officer. “It’s like the world stopped between Dec. 7 and Dec. 28. It’s like people stopped listening to music.”

These are boom times for holiday music, with overall streams increasing to nearly 2.4 billion in the fourth quarter last year from almost 1.3 billion in the same period in 2015, according to Nielsen Music. But with the exception of a few traditional pop-star releases, including Taylor Swift and Sam Smith this year and Adele in 2015, shopping-season superstar albums have become noticeably more absent.

Many in the record business are encouraging the biggest stars to put out albums in other months like January, after people receive iTunes gift cards and streaming subscriptions for Christmas presents, and September, when students get ready to go back to school.

Earlier this year, after the pop star Sia informed her manager, Jonathan Daniel, that she liked Christmas music, he encouraged her to write two holiday originals. She responded with a full album. The result, “Everyday Is Christmas,” has 10 songs that have streamed a combined 55 million times on Spotify, generating revenue of nearly $385,000 via that service alone, according to estimates based on data from the Recording Industry Association of America. It has also sold 16,000 physical CDs and 17,000 digital versions.

So December is now primarily for holiday music. Streaming has increased the popularity of chestnuts like the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and Bing Crosby’s “Merry Christmas,” as well as newer stars like Michael BublĂ© and Pentatonix.

Indy Radio: Jack Shell Lands PM Drive On WFMS

Jack Shell
Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed Jack Shell as Afternoon Drive On-Air Personality for Country radio station WFMS 95.5 FM in Indianapolis.

Shell hits the WFMS-FM airwaves on Tuesday, December 26, 2017, from 2pm-7pm. He joins Cumulus Media-Indianapolis from Country station WYCD-FM in Detroit, where he was Midday On-Air Personality.

Tom Stemlar, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Media-Indianapolis, said: “Jack’s a star and we’re excited to add even more top talent to WFMS and Cumulus Indianapolis.“
Stephen Giuttari, Operations Manager, Cumulus Media-Indianapolis, and Program Director, WFMS-FM, said: “Jack is one of the premiere talents in America. His passion for the area, for Country and for connecting with listeners makes him a perfect fit to join the WFMS Team and the Country Battle here in Indy.”

WFMS 95.5 FM (13 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Shell said: “I am beyond grateful to Stephen Giuttari, Doug Hamand, Mike McVay, and most of all my very PATIENT agent, Jim Robinson, for working together to allow this Illini the chance to return home to my beloved Midwest and wave the checkered flag each afternoon for Hoosiers on the great 95.5 WFMS. I have loved Indianapolis all my life, and I look forward to planting roots here, playing here and most of all winning here. Let’s DO this!"

Atlanta Radio: Radio One Flips Translator To Classic R&B

Radio One launches flips W275BK 102.9 FM in Atlanta to Classic R&B as "Classix 102.9".  The translator had been airing classic Hip-Hop.  The translator is fed via Radio One's WUMJ 97.5 FM HD2, licensed to Fayetteville GA.

The new format features songs from the 70's and 80's with artists such as Rick James, Prince, The Gap Band, Earth Wind and Fire, The Whispers and even some classic funk. Beginning January 3, the "DL Hughley Show" debuts in weekday afternoons from 3-7pm, followed two weeks later with the "Tom Joyner Morning Show" officially returning to Atlanta on January 16.  Joyner was dropped by Cox Media Group Urban AC “Kiss 104.1” WALR in late November.

"Ever since Tom left the market, there has been an outcry for him to return to Atlanta," said Regional VP/General Manager Tim Davies. "We found the audience for our Boom format was too narrow. By expanding the playlist and launching a fresh R&B sound with the Tom Joyner Morning Show in the morning and for the first time in Atlanta the DL Hughley show in the afternoons, Classix 102.9 will be a great new station for the market, and a perfect complement to our cluster."

W275BK 102.9 FM (250 watts)
VP/Programming and Operations Hurricane Dave announces Erwin Hill (Katt D) is promoted to PD. "We love to promote from within our organization. I've had the pleasure to see Katt D in his role as APD for MAJIC 107.5/97.5 FM and Praise 102.5 FM. There's no doubt he's going to do some amazing things in his new role as Program Director for Classix 102.9," he said.

Two News Vets Departing Their Networks

Elizabeth Vargas
Elizabeth Vargas is leaving ABC News.

Vargas, who has spent the last 21 years at ABC, will depart in the spring, at the conclusion of the 40th season of 20/20. Vargas has co-hosted the prime time newsmagazine for the last 14 years.

“I am sorry only to have to share this news with you as we celebrate the holidays,” Vargas wrote in a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser. “I had hoped to make this announcement after the first of the year.”

ABC News president James Goldston, who calls Vargas “one of the best broadcasters in our business,” said she is leaving “to pursue new ventures.”

James Rosen
Vargas, 55, joined ABC News in 1996 after 3 years at NBC News. Before that Vargas was a reporter/anchor at WBBM in Chicago. She got her start in TV at KOMU TV at her alma mater, the University of Missouri.

And James Rosen, a stalwart of Fox News Channel’s Washington D.C. bureau, is leaving the network, according to TVNewser.

“James Rosen is exiting the company at the end of the year,” a Fox News spokesperson confirms, without providing further detail.

Rosen, 49, has been with Fox News since 1999, 3 years after the channel launched.

As the network’s Chief Washington Correspondent, he often reported for Special Report, but was seen throughout FNC’s programming day, most recently just yesterday.

Apple’s New iPhones Get a Lukewarm Reception From Buyers

Apple Inc. investors have been betting that the pricey new iPhone X will reignite growth for the company’s most important product line.

But, according to The Wall Street Journal,  estimates from two market-research firms indicate customers are buying the X and a pair of other new offerings at about the same rate as they did with new models in the past two years—which fell short of the iPhone’s 2015 peak.

The iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus combined for 69% of U.S. iPhone sales for the month ended Dec. 3., with the remainder going to older models, according to a survey of 300 iPhone buyers by technology-analysis firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

By comparison, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus accounted for 73% of all iPhones sold in their first month in 2016, and the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus accounted for 71% in their first month in 2015, the firm’s prior surveys show. Sales of those devices proved to be lackluster. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus—which were big hits—accounted for 91% of iPhone sales in their first month in 2014.

The survey offers an early glimpse into the sales performance of the most important new iPhone in years. Apple, which bills the iPhone X as the future of the smartphone, gave it a sleek new design with an edge-to-edge display and a three-dimensional camera system that uses facial recognition to unlock the device. It also carries a starting price of $999, half again the price of previous models. Those factors fueled investor hopes for strong iPhone X sales, helping propel Apple’s stock over the past year.

As of early December, the iPhone X accounted for 4% of all iPhone models in use globally, while the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus accounted for​6.3%, estimates Localytics, which analyzes apps across 2.7 billion devices and can detect which models are being used. The combined share of 10.3% is less than the 12.5% the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus claimed at the same point in 2016.

BLM Activist Sues Judge Jeanine, Fox News

DeRay McKesson
A civil rights activist who advocates ending police violence is suing Fox News and Jeanine Pirro for allegedly endangering him by falsely reporting that he instructed protestors to attack an officer during a Black Lives Matter protest in Louisiana.

DeRay McKesson says he was falsely arrested while attending a 2016 protest in Baton Rouge after Alton Sterling was shot and killed by officers there. He and 185 other people arrested during the event sued the Baton Rouge Police Department, which resulted in a six-figure settlement.

During the protest, a police officer was hit by a rock that knocked him to the ground and caused severe injuries to his jaw and head. He later sued Black Lives Matter and McKesson for his injuries. After a judge dismissed his claims against BLM, Pirro appeared on Fox & Friends and, according to the complaint, "made a series of outrageously false and defamatory statements about Mr. McKesson, including that he directed someone to hit the police officer in the face with a rock."

McKesson claims Pirro, a seasoned lawyer, knew what she was saying was false and her statements damaged his reputation and endangered his physical safety. He's suing for damages and an injunction preventing Fox from publishing or republishing the defamatory statements. (Read the full complaint here.)

A Fox spokesperson sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement in response to the claims: “We informed Mr. McKesson‘s counsel that our commentary was fully protected under the First Amendment and the privilege for reports of judicial proceedings. We will defend this case vigorously.”

MLB Media Chief Forced Out After Alleged Misconduct

Bob Bowman
Major League Baseball forced out the architect of its multibillion-dollar digital-media business last month, after years of troubling workplace behavior that former baseball executives were said to be made aware of at least a decade ago.

According to, Bob Bowman led MLB Advanced Media for 17 years, building it into a powerhouse digital platform that made the otherwise hidebound league the envy of pro sports. BAMTech, a spinoff of MLB Advanced Media, is now majority-owned by Walt Disney Co., which paid $2.58 billion to take control over the last 16 months.

Mr. Bowman was one of the most influential people in sports and digital media when MLB announced his departure on Nov. 6, saying he had told Rob Manfred, the league’s commissioner, that he wouldn’t seek to renew his contract.

Other forces were at work, people familiar with the situation said. Mr. Bowman verbally abused a co-worker in October, prompting Mr. Manfred to push him out, these people said. That was preceded by a July incident in which Mr. Bowman allegedly shoved an executive with the group that owns the Boston Red Sox.

“The culture that started at BAM was hard working and driven. At times, it was also inappropriate and I take full responsibility,” Mr. Bowman said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. “This inappropriate behavior reflects my personal flaws and not someone else’s. This behavior and my personal behavior were wrong. To those who felt the sting of my behavior, I am truly sorry. To my family, friends and business colleagues who have been steadfastly supportive of me, and whom I have embarrassed, I apologize.”

Schnatter To Continue As Face Of Papa John's

“Papa” John Schnatter may be stepping aside as CEO of the pizza empire he founded in 1984, but don’t expect him to vanish from the brand’s ads and packaging.

As of Jan. 1, 2018, the pizza chain will be run by new CEO Steve Ritchie, who has been serving as chief operating officer, the company announced late this week. Schnatter will remain chairman of the board, and it appears he will also remain the face of the company.

“We have no plans to remove John from our communications,” a Papa John’s spokesman told Adweek. “This was the right time for Steve to step in the CEO role, who has been with Papa John’s for 21 years and started as an hourly employee. We want to focus on what we do best—our people and our pizza.”

Schnatter previously stepped down from the role in 2005, only to return three years later. He has consistently appeared in the chain’s advertisements and on almost all of its branding materials, from pizza boxes to in-store signage.

However, his iconic role with the company hasn’t always been a positive. On a Nov. 1 call, he said “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders” by not resolving the high-profile “take a knee” movement embraced by some players in protest of violence and injustice against black Americans. Papa John’s is an NFL sponsor.

Schnatter’s comments sparked backlash and accusations of racism online, leading him to subsequently clarify publicly that “we condemn racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it.”

R.I.P.: B93 Grand Rapids Radio Personality John 'The Canuck'

John Wiechenthal
Co-workers at Country WBCT B93.7 FM and dispatchers in Ionia County, Michigan are mourning the loss of one of their own, John Wiechenthal.

The 39-year-old married father of three died Thursday, Dec. 21, in a two-vehicle crash.

"John Wiechenthal has been part of our dispatch family since December of 2009," Ionia County Dispatch said in a release.

"John was a very important part of our operation and will be greatly missed by his co-workers. John was our first dispatcher to be recognized by Smart911 with a Smart Save for using that system to save someone," Ionia County Dispatch said.

"We ask that everyone to keep John's family and our dispatch family in your prayers."

At B-93, where he was known as "The Canuck," co-workers had heavy hearts, too.

"He had been on the B-93 team for 19 years and will be greatly missed," the station said on its Facebook page.

According to reports, Wiechenthal's vehicle and another collided and both hit telephone poles.

December 23 Radio History

➦In 1900...Canadian wireless expert Reginald Fessenden, working for the US Weather Service at Brant Rock, Mass. near Boston, broadcast the world’s first voice communications by AM (amplitude modulation) radio wave for a distance of 1.6 km between two 13 metre towers. He asked his assistant, ‘Is it snowing where you are, Mr. Thiessen?’

➦In 1907...the longtime host of ABC radio’s Breakfast Club, Don McNeill was born at Galena Illinois.

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

McNeill's revamped show premiered in 1933, combining music with informal talk and jokes often based on topical events, initially scripted by McNeill but later ad-libbed. In addition to recurring comedy performers, various vocal groups and soloists, listeners heard sentimental verse, conversations with members of the studio audience and a silent moment of prayer. The series eventually gained a sponsor in the Chicago-based meat packer Swift and Company, beginning February 8, 1941. McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable radio format.

He died May 7, 1996 at age 88.

➦In 1922...the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcast the first orchestral concert, the first program of dance music, the first radio talk program, and the first regular bulletin of general news from London.

➦In station KEX in Portland Oregon began broadcasting. It has been a clear channel 50,000-watt powerhouse at 1190 KHz since 1941

➦In 1947...In what would be a major development for radio and other electronics, the transistor is invented by three scientists at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. The trio would win the 1956 Nobel Prize in for their discovery.

➦In Jack Webb, creator & star of Dragnet, died as a result of a heart attack at age 62.

He started in radio as a deejay & failed comic, then found success as the lead in “Pat Novack For Hire.”  In 1949 he started playing Sgt. Joe Friday on NBC radio, taking “Dragnet” to TV in 1951, where it continued until 1959.

A second run of the show began in 1967, during which Webb developed the spin-off “Adam 12.”

➦In 1987..."Good Morning, Vietnam," starring Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Bruno Kirby, and J.T. Walsh, opened in U.S. and Canadian movie theaters.

Stan Brooks
➦In 2013...Stan Brooks, longtime newsman at 1010 WINS died.

He was 86, and had worked until a month before his death, delivering his last report from City Hall on Nov. 20.

Brooks joined WINS, 1010 on the AM dial, as news director in 1962, when it was still one of the dominant Top40 music stations in the country, with a lineup of popular disc jockeys including Murray Kaufman, known as Murray the K.

When Westinghouse Electric Corporation, the station’s owners, decided to make WINS an all-news operation soon after Brooks’s arrival, he helped assemble the staff and lay the groundwork for one of the first all-news radio stations in the country — and the first in the city.

The switch took place on April 19, 1965. The blackout on Nov. 9 that year, which plunged most of the Northeast into darkness, put Brooks’s news team on the aural map.

By tapping into a transmission line based in New Jersey, WINS was one of the few radio outlets that managed to stay on the air. From a 19th-floor studio in Midtown Manhattan, Mr. Brooks and his reporters broadcast news and information throughout the night.

After several years as an executive and then a national correspondent for the Westinghouse Broadcasting radio station system, Mr. Brooks became a local reporter at WINS in 1970. His voice has been on the city’s airwaves almost every day since.

In understated dispatches between 30 seconds and one minute long, he reported on plane crashes, race riots, municipal near-bankruptcies, the tall ships, the Son of Sam, the Attica prison uprising and every mayoral administration from John V. Lindsay to Michael R. Bloomberg.

He liked the precision of short-form journalism. “When you’ve got 35 seconds, you’ve got to tell people what they need right away,” he said in an interview last year. “You want to get to the spine of the story.”

Gordon Hinckley
➦In 2013...Gordon Hinkley, whose Milwaukee radio career spanned more than a half century and whose voice was as familiar as an old friend to thousands of listeners, died at age 88.  Known as the “Granddaddy of Milwaukee radio,” his “Ask Your Neighbor” show ran on WTMJ 620 AM for more than 30 years.

Friday, December 22, 2017

R.I.P.: Former WCBS-AM Radio NYC GM-ND Lou Adler Has Died

Former WCBS 880 AM News Director Lou Adler died morning in Connecticut.

He was eighty-eight, according to a Facebook posting by Don Swaim.

Adler, who lived in Wallingford, Connecticut, entered a facility two years ago for the treatment of Alzheimer's. Born in upstate New York, Adler was a graduate of SUNY, Fredonia, NY.

Not to be confused with the record producer and talent manager of the same name, Lou Adler joined WCBS in 1959 as a reporter before moving to WCBS-TV. He returned to Newsradio88 in 1967 as morning anchor and reporter when the station went all-news under General Manager Joseph Dembo.

In 1970 he received the Howard Blakeslee Award for his radio series “Report on Medicine.”

Lou Adler and Jim Donnelly
In 1971, he was named by General Manager Neil Derrough as the station's news director, replacing Marvin Friedman. Despite his supervisory duties, Adler continued his morning drive anchor slot, paired with Jim Donnelly. Under Derrough, Adler was responsible for scaling down the news department, staffed by more than 100 newsroom employees, into a tighter, more efficient operation.

At the time, Adler told The New York Times that his assignment was to turn a good station into an interesting one, and that its pacing and sound was comparable to a newspaper's front-page layout.

He left the station to become news director and anchor at WOR Radio in 1981 at a reported salary of $350,000 a year. In 1985 he was elected president of the Radio-Television News Directors Association.

Following his stint at WOR, Adler was named a professor of broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University and director of Quinnipiac's Ed McMahon Mass Communication Center. Somewhere along the way he earned a law degree. He was also owner of 250-watt WKFD-AM in Wickford, Rhode Island, which went off the air in 2001.

R.I.P.: Sportscaster Dick Enberg Dead At 82

Dick Enberg, who got into the broadcast business accidentally and stayed in it to supplement his teacher’s salary, died Thursday morning at his La Jolla home, his wife, Barbara, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

He was 82, according to The LA Times.

Barbara Enberg said the family found out later in the day when Dick Enberg failed to get off a flight in Boston, where they were scheduled to meet. She said her husband had appeared to be waiting for a car that was set to shuttle him to the San Diego airport for a 6:30 a.m. flight.

“He was dressed with his bags packed at the door,” she said. “We think it was a heart attack.”

Long recognized as one of the most versatile and enthusiastic sports announcer of his era, Enberg did it all: major league baseball, college and pro football, college basketball, boxing, tennis, golf, Olympics, Rose Bowls and Super Bowls, Breeders’ Cup horse racing — earning a trophy case full of Emmys, awards from the pro football, basketball and baseball halls of fame, niches in several broadcasting halls of fame and other assorted honors.

He also was an author, a longtime fixture at Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses parade, the host of several sports-themed TV game shows and was still calling San Diego Padres baseball games into his 80s.

“Sportscasting is a kid’s dream come true, which is one of the reasons that I keep doing it,” he said in his autobiography, “Dick Enberg, Oh My!” the “Oh my!” having been his signature call. “I can’t let my dream go. I’m still in love with what I do.”

And how well did he do it? “He could orchestrate a telecast better than anyone I’ve ever worked with,” Billy Packer, former college basketball analyst and longtime Enberg broadcast partner, once told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I think anybody who worked with him would just stand in amazement at how great he was at anything he undertook.”

As a former teacher, Enberg was noted for his preparation and his knowledgeable yet eager approach to his craft.

“As a broadcaster, you have to be entertaining, you have to be well informed, you have to be excited about what you know and you have to have a sense of your audience — just like in a classroom,” he wrote in his book. “In fact, when I look into the camera, I’m looking into my classroom. When I’m calling a game, I can envision hands shooting up all over the country with questions. ‘Whoops,’ I’ll think, ‘perhaps we need to explain that concept or strategy a little better.’ ”

Even research and preparation weren’t always foolproof, though. Fans could be picky, and when Enberg began using one of his pet calls, “Touch ’em all!” for opposing teams’ home run hitters, Padres faithful rose up in protest and he quickly reserved that call for Padres’ home run hitters.

“Oh my!” was an Enberg family saying, his mother using it to express dismay, such as during the many hours young Dick spent broadcasting imaginary games. He used it to express wonder at athletic grace, but it could just as well have applied to his life.

Richard Alan Enberg was born Jan. 9, 1935, in Mount Clemens, Mich. The family moved to Southern California for several years, then back to Michigan, to a farm near the village of Armada. “We had a one-room schoolhouse and a two-hole toilet,” Enberg recalled for The Times years ago.

He quarterbacked his high school football team, then after graduation, enrolled at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, where he played college baseball. And, fortunately, took a course in debate. One of his debate classmates was the public-address announcer for the Chippewas’ football and basketball teams, and when he graduated the job was passed down to Enberg. He also applied for a job sweeping floors, at $1 an hour, at the local radio station. A station employee liked Enberg’s voice, and instead of a broom he was handed a microphone and went to work as a weekend disc jockey, still at $1 an hour. When the station’s sports director left, Enberg moved into that slot, producing a 15-minute nightly wrap-up.

He got his big break in 1965. KTLA, Channel 5, was looking for a sportscaster and Enberg was hired, at $18,000 a year.

NBA TV Ratings Soar

While the NFL gets socked with ratings declines, the NBA is off to its second-most watched season ever, reports The NYPost.

ESPN, which has telecast 30 games since the season’s Oct. 17 opener, said Thursday that average viewership has soared 18 percent, to 1.8 million a game, from this point last year.

TNT, with 16 NBA telecasts to date, said its average is up 25 percent, to 2.1 million viewers. Even NBA TV, with 41 telecasts, is up 25 percent, to 365,000.

The averages, taken collectively, make for the hottest start since the 2010-11 season — the year LeBron James abandoned the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat.

Central to the NBA’s rise is its success in focusing the league’s many dramas on the game itself — an area where the NFL has failed miserably, experts say.

“NBA stars don’t wear helmets, so fans think they know them better by watching their features and their gestures,” said Ben Sturner, president of sports-marketer Leverage Agency. “This sense of familiarity plays really well with the social media set.”

Meanwhile, the NFL is being penalized for a lack of focus, according to Sturner.

Its story lines these days encompass a panoramic sweep of protest rights, brain-damage risks, squabbling owners, media oversaturation, even subpar play.

Denver Radio: Veteran Programmer Jim Lawson Snags KOSI Gig

KOSI 101.1 FM announced Thursday that Jim Lawson has been appointed Program Director for KOSI 101.1 effective Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

Lawson joins KOSI 101.1 and the Bonneville Denver Media Group from iHeart Media where he was most recently Senior Vice President of Programming responsible for the entire iHeart Denver group and region. Prior to that, he held the position of Vice President Hispanic Division for iHeart. Jim has programmed CHR KFMD-FM in Denver and held positions as Operations Manager, Program Director and Brand Architect for KALC and KIMN-FM.

Jim Lawson
Jim also held various roles in programming for legendary Chicago stations WGN and WBBM-FM.

“I have known Jim for years and had to compete against him many times,” said Bonneville Denver VP/Market Manager Bob Call. “I decided that’s enough competing and brought Jim to KOSI 101.1 to lead our legendary AC brand. Jim brings enormous knowledge and experience leading top-rated radio stations, along with the unique perspective of having now worked at all of the markets’ AC radio stations. Getting someone of Jim’s experience and accomplishment to lead KOSI is exciting.”

“I’m humbled and honored to join Bonneville and work alongside VP/Market Manager Bob Call, a person I’ve admired as a competitor for over 20 years,” said Lawson. “The opportunity to program an iconic brand like KOSI 101.1 and continue to build on its’ success is a dream come true.”

KOSI 101.1 DFM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Lawson replaces Andy Holt who leaves to program for WLYF and WMXJ in Miami.

Shreveport Radio: Gary Nolan To Program KQHN

Gary Nolan
Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed veteran radio programming professional Gary Nolan as Program Director and Midday On-Air Host for KQHN Q97.3 FM, Shreveport’s all-new Hot AC station.

Nolan joins Cumulus Media-Shreveport/Bossier City from WMAG-FM in Greensboro, NC. He brings to Cumulus 30 years experience as a Program Director and on-air talent in markets including New York City, Minneapolis, Seattle and Denver. He also previously programmed for Cumulus in Kansas City. Nolan’s appointment is effective January 2, 2018. His Midday show on Q97.3 will air weekdays from 10am-3pm, beginning January 2nd.

Cody Welling, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Media-Shreveport/Bossier City, said: “We are fortunate to have someone of Gary’s caliber and expertise, to headline as Program Director of KQHN. He will do great things, turning the all-new Q97.3 from a blank canvas to a masterpiece.”

Chip Arledge, Operations Manager, Cumulus Media-Shreveport/Bossier City, said: “I’m thrilled to be working alongside such a polished fellow programmer. There’s no doubting Gary will make Q97.3 shine.”

KQHN 97.3 FM (41 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Nolan said: “I’m thrilled to be back with Cumulus. Great way to start a New Year! Thanks to Cody Welling, Chip Arledge, and Rob Roberts for this exciting opportunity. Also special thanks to Mike McVay.”