Saturday, January 20, 2018

January 21 Radio History

➦In 1919...actress/radio-TV host Jinx (Eugenia) Falkenburg was born in Barcelona Spain.  She was a movie actress & popular model before & during World War II , after which she and her husband Tex McCrary were hosts of “Meet Tex and Jinx” a local radio talk show they conducted from Peacock Alley in New York’s  Waldorf Astoria.  They also hosted NBC TV’s At Home show, while she was a regular on TV’s charades show Masquerade Party.  She died a month after her husband Aug 27, 2003 at age 84.

➦In 1927...the first opera broadcast on a national Radio network occured. Radio listeners in Chicago, Illinois heard music from Faust.

In 1935...WFI-AM in Philadelphia  merged with WLIT as WFIL.

WFIL was formed by a merger of two stations that were launched in 1922. One used the call letters WFI, the other was originally WDAR. Each was owned by a major Philadelphia department store; WFI was operated by Strawbridge and Clothier, while WDAR was run by Lit Brothers.

While operated independently of each other, the two were able to work out amicable share-time agreements (hundreds of other American stations at the time were unable to do so, and frequently engaged in "jamming wars"). Around 1924, WDAR applied for and received the custom call-sign WLIT. By the late 1920s, the two stations were working jointly on various programs, promotions, and sponsorship efforts. In 1935, the two operators agreed to merge with each department store having representation on the new board of directors.

The new call-sign became WFIL, a combination of the two previous identifiers (the fact that the new call letters were close to a phonetic spelling of "Philadelphia" was merely a happy coincidence).

➦In 1938...Legendary radio disc jockey Wolfman Jack was born Robert Smith. He died July 1, 1995 at 57.

Wolfman Jack
Smith was the younger of two children of Anson Weston Smith, an Episcopal Sunday school teacher, writer, editor, and executive vice president of the Financial World, and his wife Rosamond Small. His parents divorced while he was a child. To help keep him out of trouble, his father bought him a large Trans-Oceanic radio, and Smith became an avid fan of R&B music and the disc jockeys who played it, including "Jocko" Henderson of Philadelphia, New York's "Dr. Jive" (Tommy Smalls), the "Moon Dog" from Cleveland, Alan Freed, and Nashville's "John R." Richbourg, who later became his mentor.

After selling encyclopedias and Fuller brushes door-to-door, Smith attended the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington, D.C. Graduating in 1960, he began working as "Daddy Jules" at WYOU in Newport News, Virginia. In 1962, he moved to country music station KCIJ 1050 AM in Shreveport, Louisiana as the station manager and morning disc jockey, "Big Smith with the Records". He married Lucy "Lou" Lamb in 1961, and they had two children.

Disc jockey Alan Freed had played a role in the transformation of black rhythm and blues into rock and roll music, and originally called himself the "Moon Dog" after New York City street musician Moondog. Freed both adopted this name and used a recorded howl to give his early broadcasts a unique character. Smith's adaptation of the Moondog theme was to call himself Wolfman Jack and add his own sound effects. The character was based in part on the manner and style of bluesman Howlin' Wolf. It was at KCIJ that he first began to develop his famous alter ego Wolfman Jack.

Wolfman Jack played the role of an all-night deejay in 'American Graffiti'
According to author Philip A. Lieberman, Smith's "Wolfman" persona "derived from Smith's love of horror flicks and his shenanigans as a 'wolfman' with his two young nephews. The 'Jack' was added as a part of the 'hipster' lingo of the 1950s, as in 'take a page from my book, Jack,' or the more popular, 'hit the road, Jack.'"

➦In 1946...“The Fat Man” began its 5-year run on ABC radio. J. Scott Smart, who played the portly detective, weighed in at 270 pounds in real life.

➦In 1978...The soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever reached number one on the album chart.

➦In 1984...singer Jackie Wilson died at the age of 49. He had been in a coma since his 1975 heart attack during a concert in New Jersey.

➦In 1989...Ted Nugent married his second wife, former radio traffic reporter for WLLZ-FM in Detroit, Shemane Deziel. They have a son together.

➦In 1997..."Colonel" Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager for 22 years (and briefly before that managed Eddy Arnold and Hank Snow) died following a stroke at 87.

➦In 1996...WYNY 103.5 FM NYC confirmed rumors that they were dropping country

➦In 1998...WNSR 105.1 FM BYC became WBIX “Big 105"

➦In 2004...FCC Chairman, Michael Powell, anounced his resignation - 2 years before his term was to be up.

➦In 2005...College DJ, Dave Plotkin, from Rollins College's WPRK-FM in Winter Park, Florida, set a record for the world's longest continuous broadcast by a single DJ. He stayed on the air for 110 hours.

➦In 2006...Country music singer Kix Brooks replaced Bob Kingsley as host of the syndicated radio show "American Country Countdown."

➦In 2010...WWRL dropped “Air America” format - 2010

➦In 2013...WRXP (now WNSH) 94.7 FM NYC becomes Country “NashFM”

Facebook Surveys User's 'Most-Trusted' News Sources

Facebook unveiled major changes Friday to the News Feed of its 2 billion users, announcing it will rank news organizations by credibility based on user feedback and diminish its role as an arbiter of the news people see.

According to The Washington Post', the move comes after the company endured harsh criticism for allowing disinformation to spread on its social network and for favoring liberal outlets over conservative ones. In a blog post accompanying the announcement, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote Facebook is not “comfortable” deciding which news sources are the most trustworthy in a “world with so much division."

The new trust rankings will emerge from surveys the company is conducting. "Broadly trusted" outlets that are affirmed by a significant cross-section of users may see a boost in readership, while less known organizations or start-ups receiving poor ratings could see their web traffic decline significantly on the social network. The company's changes include an effort to boost the content of local news outlets, which have suffered sizable subscription and readership declines as news consumption migrated online.

The changes follow another major News Feed redesign, announced last week, in which Facebook said users would begin to see less content from news organizations and brands in favor of "meaningful" posts from friends and family. Currently, 5 percent of Facebook posts are generated by news organizations; that number is expected to drop to 4 percent after the redesign, Zuckerberg said.

Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants are grappling with their roles as dominant distributors of information in an era of foreign manipulation of social media platforms and dwindling revenues for many media outlets. On Friday, Google announced it would cancel a two-month-old experiment, called Knowledge Panel, that informed its users that a news article had been disputed by independent fact-checking organizations. Conservatives had complained the feature unfairly targeted a right-leaning outlet.

More than two-thirds of Americans now get some of their news from social media, according to Pew Research Center.

Chicago Radio: Cumulus Wants Merlin Deal Cancelled

With bankrupt Cumulus Media looking to pull out of a $50 million deal to buy WLUP 97.9 FM and WKQX 101.1 FM after four years at the helm, the Chicago rock stations could soon revert to their owner: Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Michaelssaid Friday he is ready to take over the stations, if necessary, and promised listeners they would continue with their current rock formats, at least in the near term.

Randy Michaels
We are fully prepared to step in and operate the stations essentially as is,” Michaels said. “There are no changes being planned right now, other than behind the scenes.”

A bankruptcy judge is scheduled to rule Feb. 1 on motions filed Thursday by Atlanta-based Cumulus to reject a handful of “extremely unprofitable” contracts, including agreements to air Chicago Bulls and White Sox broadcasts on WLS-AM 890 and the deal to buy WLUP and WKQX from Merlin.

Cumulus has been operating WLUP and WKQX since January 2014 under a local marketing agreement with Merlin that included an option to transfer ownership of the stations. Cumulus paid Merlin a fee that escalated from $300,000 to $600,000 a month over four years, totaling more than $20 million since its inception.

In its filing Thursday, Cumulus said the stations have lost more than $8.4 million to date because expenses — including the monthly fees — exceeded revenues.

Merlin executed the option to sell the stations for about $50 million, based on a formula agreed upon in the 2014 contract, and filed a transfer application with the Federal Communications Commission on Oct. 24. Cumulus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Nov. 29.

Michaels said he has no intention of withdrawing the FCC transfer application, which would require Cumulus to pay Merlin within five days of approval.

“That thing could pop any day,” Michaels said. “No one has opposed the application.”

Cumulus and Merlin have been engaged in discussions, but they have “not been able to arrive at revised terms,” Mary Berner, Cumulus’ CEO, said Thursday in a news release. Cumulus executives declined further comment.

On Friday, a source familiar with the situation said Cumulus would have to pay the $50 million to take ownership of the stations and has no intention of doing so.

Michaels said Cumulus has “not made a reasonable counterproposal,” but he did not rule out the possibility that the two sides could strike a revised deal before Feb. 1.

L-A Radio: Lisa Worden To Oversee KYSR Day-To-Day

Lisa Worden
iHeartMedia announced Friday that radio veteran, and recently appointed Vice President of Programming for KYSR Alt 98.7 LA’s New Alternative in Los Angeles, will expand her role and now oversee all programming for ALT 98.7 as Program Director.

In addition, Worden will continue as Alternative Rock Brand Manager for iHeartMedia’s National Programming Group.  As Program Director, Worden will manage the day-to-day programming operations for ALT 98.7 working closely with on-air personalities and sales to oversee the station’s on-air content, digital footprint and music programming.

“Having Lisa’s wealth of programming experience now available to us as a resource, it made logical sense for her to take a much more active role in the day-to-day as the PD of Alt 98.7 and we look forward to tapping into her skills,” said Andrew Jeffries Executive Vice President, West Division for iHeartMedia. “Her relationships within the industry combined with her knowledge of the format, specifically Los Angeles, will help accelerate the growth, of an already very successful station, into 2018.”

Worden recently joined iHeartMedia in November 2017 as Vice President of Programming for ALT 98.7 and Alternative Rock Brand Manager for the company’s National Programming Group. Worden brings over two decades of Alternative Rock programming experience to iHeartMedia, prior to joining iHeartMedia she was the Assistant Program Director and Music Director for KROQ-FM in Los Angeles. In 2003, Worden spent two years as the Program Director for WHFS-FM in Washington, DC before returning to KROQ-FM in 2005.

KYSR 98.7 FM (75 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
She was named one of Billboard’s Top Women in Music from 2010-2014 and one of Billboard’s Top Rock Programmers in 2016. Worden also received the Station Music Director of the Year award at the Worldwide Music Summit in 2011 and 2014.

Philly Radio: WOGL Extends Harvey Holiday

Entercom/Philadelphia has signed a contract extension with longtime Delaware Valley radio personality Harvy Holiday.

Holiday made the announcement on his Facebook page:

Holiday has been in broadcasting for a half-century or more.

Harvey Holiday
He started out in the mid-sixties working at WYNS 1160 AM (now WBYN) in Lehighton, Pennsylvania and served the Allentown market. From there, he went to WRAW 1340 AM in Reading and then on to WAAT 1300 AM (now WIMG) in Trenton. It was the oldest operating station in the entire state of New Jersey.

Next, Harvey went to WMID 1340 AM in Atlantic City. The station was a powerhouse in the 50s, 60s and early 70s. The only time, Holiday left the Delaware Valley was to jock on WSAR in Fall River, Massachusetts.

In 1970, Harvey Holiday moved to WDAS AM & FM. There, he was Program Director of WDAS-FM (plus an on-air shift) and later became Research Director for both AM & FM.

In 1985, he left the station to run WFIL 560 AM, an oldies station at the time. He also worked at Power 99, WPGR and WIOQ where he did morning drive.

On July 2, 1989, he started “Street Corner Sunday” from 7 pm until 12 midnight on WOGL. A year later, he went full-time at WOGL and has spent more than the last decade doing mid-day.

Report: Jeff Zucker Has 'No Interest' Running ESPN

Jeff Zucker
CNN is shooting down reports that its president Jeff Zucker is a candidate to run the Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, according to The LATimes.

Disney has been looking for a new top executive to run the beleaguered sports media giant since the sudden departure of John Skipper, who left the company Dec. 18 to deal with a drug addiction problem.

The website Deadline reported Friday that Zucker, 52, has been in discussions about the job. But a CNN spokesperson said Zucker is happy in his current position and has no plans to bolt.

“Jeff loves his job at CNN and has no interest in running ESPN,” a representative for the cable news channel said.

Chatter that Zucker and Disney have talked about the position has circulated among sports TV executives amid questions about his future at CNN, where he is under contract at least through the end of the year.

CNN parent Time Warner Inc. is headed to federal court in March as the Justice Department has filed suit to stop AT&T’s $85-billion deal to acquire the media conglomerate. The government has raised concerns that the merger could raise prices for pay-TV subscribers.

Whoever runs ESPN will have to deal with changing habits of TV viewers who are increasingly turning away from cable to get their video content online. ESPN is coping with the decline in cable subscribers who provide substantial revenue for the channel while dealing with the escalating rights fees demanded by sports leagues.

Viacom CEO Paid $20.3M In 2017

Bob Bakish
Bob Bakish, a longtime international exec at Viacom who moved up to CEO in December 2016, made $20.3M in salary and bonus money in fiscal 2017, the company disclosed today in a proxy filing with the SEC.

In a residue of the pre-Bakish era, when ousted CEO Philippe Dauman was among the highest-paid CEOs in America, the statement showed that former COO and interim CEO Tom Dooley took home $53.6M in severance pay.

According to Deadline-Hollywood, the other key element in the Viacom proxy was the revelation that Ken Lerer, chairman of BuzzFeed and an influential media and tech player, will not continue on the Viacom board. The other nine board members have been re-nominated by the company to continue.

Shareholders will have their annual meeting March 8 in New York, according to the filing.

Bakish has applied a more low-key management hand than those of his predecessors as Viacom enters a critical phase in its comeback effort. As it regroups, the company also has been mentioned in a spate of reports of M&A conversations as media players look to scale up to keep pace with growing peers like Disney. Shari Redstone, who leads controlling shareholder National Amusements, has explored anew coming back together with CBS, two years after the companies abandoned merger talks.

LA Times Publisher Placed On Leave

Ross Levinsohn
Los Angeles Times Publisher and Chief Executive Ross Levinsohn was placed on an unpaid leave of absence Friday as the paper’s parent company, Tronc, investigates allegations of inappropriate conduct while he was an executive at other companies.

Times President Mickie Rosen will lead the newspaper in Levinsohn’s absence and Editor in Chief Lewis D’Vorkin will continue to manage the newsroom, Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn said in an email to employees. Rosen and D’Vorkin were both appointed to leadership roles in October.

Tronc said it has hired the law firm Sidley Austin LLP to review the allegations contained in a detailed report Thursday by National Public Radio. The report, by media correspondent David Folkenflik, found that Levinsohn was a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and that he allegedly engaged in “frat-boy” behavior in work settings before joining The Times on Aug. 21.

In addition, NPR reported that Levinsohn allegedly used sexist and homophobic language when talking with colleagues and subordinates. In one instance, Levinsohn acknowledged that he had rated the relative “hotness” of his female colleagues while he served as an executive at the search engine AltaVista in the early 2000s, according to court documents reviewed by NPR. He also said he speculated about whether a female subordinate had a side job as a stripper.

“I want to reemphasize to you all that the Company takes any allegations of inappropriate behavior by its employees very seriously,” Dearborn said in a note to staff. “It is critical that in any such circumstances we conduct a thorough review so that we have a full understanding of what happened. We will not hesitate to take further action, if appropriate, once the review is complete.”

LA Times Newsroom Votes To Unionize

Journalists at the Los Angeles Times have overwhelmingly elected to form a union, a first for the 136-year-old news organization that for much of its history was known for its opposition to organized labor.

The union drive was launched publicly in October and culminated in an election earlier this month. Results, tallied Friday by the National Labor Relations Board, show workers voted 248 to 44 to be represented by the Washington, D.C.-based NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America.

“We respect the outcome of the election and look forward to productive conversations with union leadership as we move forward,” said Marisa Kollias, spokeswoman for Tronc Inc., The Times’ parent. “We remain committed to ensuring that the Los Angeles Times is a leading source for news and information and to producing the award-winning journalism our readers rely on.”

Guild organizer Kristina Bui, a copy editor at The Times, said: “This was a long time coming, and we’re all thrilled that this has finally happened. The newsroom has put up with so much disruption and mismanagement, and this vote just underscores how much of a say we need to have in the decision-making process. The newsroom is demanding a seat at the bargaining table.”

A staff organizing committee of 44 Times journalists had urged workers to unionize in response to years of corporate turnover, advertising declines and cutbacks that have shrunk The Times’ staff from more than 1,000 in the late 1990s to fewer than 400 today.

Management, in emails to workers, said a union would not be able to solve the fundamental financial challenges facing The Times and other newspaper companies, which have faced steady declines in print advertising revenue coupled with much slower growth — or declines — in online revenue.

Through the first nine months of last year, Tronc reported that print advertising revenue was down 17% from the same period a year earlier, while the company’s digital ad revenue fell 6%.

The NewsGuild, formed in 1933, represents 25,000 journalists, including reporters and editors at the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. The Los Angeles Times was one of the few major U.S. newspapers whose journalists were not part of a union.

Dayton Radio: Mark Neal EXITS Sports WING

Mark Neal has left WING 1410 AM after hosting Dayton Sports Scene for 15 years.

The Dayton Daily News reports Neal said he and wife have decided to take different career directions, which will take him away from the radio station he’s worked at for 18 years.

“When you get married, it’s a team effort,” Neal said. “And you have to do what’s best for the team.”

Neal had the longest-running sports talk show in Dayton. Dayton Sports Scene started 15 years ago with Neal as host, running half an hour twice a week. The eight years, the show was on 4-6 p.m. every weekday during drive time.

“When I first started, sports talk radio, 24/7 was new,” Neal said. “When I started working at the station in 2000  we were a CNN affiliate and we ran block programming in the afternoon. It’s really evolved.

Getting to do drive time, in my own home town, and being someone people got to know - this will always have a special place in my heart.”

Neal said he hopes WING-AM continues Dayton Sports Scene. Justin Kinner has hosted the show since Neal announced his departure.

Chattanooga Radio: Sean Stewart Jumps To WRXR

Entercom announced Friday that Sean Stewart has been named Program Director and host of the new morning show “Rock 105 Mornings With Sean Stewart” on WRXR Rock 105.

Sean Stewart
The new local morning show will air from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and feature rock music and lifestyle topics of local interest.

“Delivering live local audio content to our communities is a top priority and we’re excited to be going live in the mornings again,” said Nichole Hartman, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom. “Sean is a talented and driven personality and we know he will take Rock 105 to the next level.”

“Entercom is a great company who believes in the power of local radio and it feels good to be back and ROCKING,” said Stewart. “This role is a huge opportunity and I’m excited to bring new life into Chattanooga’s best rock band.”

WRXR 105.5 FM (1.8 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Stewart was previously the Music Director for crosstown Top 40 WDOD 96.5 FM.

BFoA Sets Up Edward F. McLaughlin Memorial Fund

The Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charity that provides aid to past and present members of the broadcasting profession, has established the Edward F. McLaughlin Memorial Fund to honor the iconic broadcaster who passed away early Friday at the age of 91 in Palm Beach, FL.

McLaughlin was at the helm of ABC Radio Network for many years and is widely recognized as the man who discovered Rush Limbaugh, which led to the revitalization of AM Radio and the news/talk format. McLaughlin was a longtime Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation and held the title of Chairman Emeritus at the time of his passing. Earlier this week, the Broadcasters Foundation announced McLaughlin as the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ed McLaughlin
“The Board of Directors and I are saddened at this tremendous loss to our industry and grateful for Ed’s years of service to the Broadcasters Foundation,” stated Dan Mason, Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. “Ed believed in giving back to the profession that he loved and helping those among us who need it the most.”

A life-long broadcaster, McLaughlin founded EFM Media Management in 1987 and syndicated The Dr. Dean Edell Show. Shortly thereafter, he launched the national syndication of local Sacramento radio host Rush Limbaugh, which led to the revitalization of AM radio and the news/talk format.

William O’Shaughnessy, Chairman of Whitney Global Media and a Board member of the Broadcasters Foundation, noted: “Ed was a great raconteur who often held court at the ‘21’ bar where he did a lot of business entertaining out-of-town affiliates.”

During his 14-year tenure at the helm of ABC Radio Networks, McLaughlin guided the expansion of long-form programming, acquiring American Top 40 with Casey Kasem, launching American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley, and championing Paul Harvey’s program to reach 1,000 affiliates. His ABC Radio stable of personalities included the legendary Chicago newscaster and national commentator Paul Harvey.

Richard A. Foreman, prominent station broker and Chief Executive Officer of RAF Media, who was an ABC Radio Network colleague, added: “Ed really resurrected network radio in the early 80’s.  And he moved talk radio to the forefront of an industry populated by stations that resembled jukeboxes with their cacophony of various music formats. He saw that stations could make people think … not just entertain them.”

As Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, McLaughlin redefined the organization and set it on its current course. Throughout his career, McLaughlin has received numerous accolades, including Radio Ink’s Lifetime Leadership Award in 2010 and the National Association of Broadcasters’ National Radio Award in 1996. He was the first chairman of the Radio Network Association, a long-standing board member of the International Radio & Television Foundation, and a trustee of The Paley Center for Media. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.

To donate to the Edward F. McLaughlin Memorial Fund, please visit, call 212-373-8250, or email

January 20 Radio History

➦In 1896...legendary entertainer George Burns was born Nathan Birnbaum in New York City. After a lengthy apprenticeship in vaudeville, in 1932 George & wife Gracie became a longrunning hit in radio, films & then TV with The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show [“Say goodnight, Gracie.”]  On Gracie’s retirement he returned to a solo act, winning an Oscar with The Sunshine Boys, followed by another hit film Oh, God!  He died Mar 9, 1996 at age 100.

➦In 1920...Ernst Alexanderson granted US patent for magnetic amplifier.

Ernst Alexanderson
Alexanderson also designed the Alexanderson alternator, an early longwave radio transmitter, one of the first devices which could transmit modulated audio (sound) over radio waves. He had been employed at General Electric for only a short time when GE received an order from Canadian-born professor and researcher Reginald Fessenden, then working for the US Weather Bureau, for a specialized alternator with much higher frequency than others in existence at that time, for use as a radio transmitter. Fessenden had been working on the problem of transmitting sound by radio waves, and had concluded that a new type of radio transmitter was needed, a continuous wave transmitter. Designing a machine that would rotate fast enough to produce radio waves proved a formidable challenge. Alexanderson's family were convinced the huge spinning rotors would fly apart and kill him, and he set up a sandbagged bunker from which to test them. In the summer of 1906 Mr. Alexanderson's first effort, a 50 kHz alternator, was installed in Fessenden's radio station in Brant Rock, Massachusetts. By fall its output had been improved to 500 watts and 75 kHz. On Christmas Eve, 1906, Fessenden made an experimental broadcast of Christmas music, including him playing the violin, that was heard by Navy ships and shore stations down the East Coast as far as Arlington. This is considered the first AM radio entertainment broadcast.

Alexanderson and G.E. continued improving his machine, and the Alexanderson alternator became widely used in high power very low frequency commercial and Naval wireless stations to transmit radiotelegraphy traffic at intercontinental distances, until by the 1930s it was replaced by vacuum tube transmitters.

He also created the amplidyne, a direct current amplifier.

Alexanderson was also instrumental in the development of television. The first television broadcast in the United States was to his GE Plot home at 1132 Adams Rd, Schenectady, NY, in 1927. In 1928, WRGB then W2XB was started as world's first television station. It broadcast from the General Electric facility in Schenectady, NY. It was popularly known as "WGY Television".

Over his lifetime, Mr. Alexanderson received 345 US patents, the last filed in 1968 at age 89. The inventor and engineer remained active to an advanced age, working as a consultant to GE and RCA in the 1950s. He died in 1975 and was buried at Vale Cemetery in Schenectady, New York.

➦In 1930....1st radio broadcast of "Lone Ranger" (WXYZ-Detroit)

➦In 1954...America's first black-owned radio network, the National Negro Network, was founded by W. Leonard Evans, Jr. During its brief existence, the network provided up to 45 affiliate stations with programming that included the soap opera, "The Story of Ruby Valentine," starring Juanita Hall and Ruby Dee, as well as the series "It's a Mystery Man," featuring Cab Calloway.

Peter Tripp
➦In 1959...Peter Tripp’s “Stay Awake Marathon” started. Tripp was a Top-40 countdown radio personality from the mid-1950s, whose career peaked with his 1959 record breaking 201 hour wakeathon (working on the radio non-stop without sleep to benefit the March of Dimes). For much of the stunt, he sat in a glass booth in Times Square. After a few days he began to hallucinate, and for the last 66 hours the observing scientists and doctors gave him drugs to help him stay awake. He was broadcasting for WMGM 1050 AM in New York City at the time.  Tripp suffered psychologically, after the stunt, he began to think he was an imposter of himself, and kept that thought for some time.

His career soon suffered a massive downturn when he was involved in the payola scandal of 1960. Like several other disc jockeys (including Alan Freed) he had been playing particular records in return for gifts from record companies. Indicted only weeks after his stunt, it emerged that he had accepted $36,050 in bribes. Despite his claim that he "never took a dime from anyone", he was found guilty on a charge of commercial bribery, receiving a $500 fine and a six-month suspended sentence.

Even his wakeathon record did not endure for long. Other DJs had quickly attempted to beat it (such publicity stunts being common in radio broadcasting at the time) and Dave Hunter, in Jacksonville, Florida, soon claimed success (225 hours). Six years after Tripp's record, it was smashed by high school student Randy Gardner, who lasted 11 days.

After leaving WMGM, Tripp was unable to re-establish himself in the world of radio, drifting from KYA in San Francisco to KGFJ in Los Angeles and finally WOHO in Toledo, Ohio, before quitting the medium in 1967. Returning to L.A., he had more success working in physical fitness sales and marketing. He diversified into freelance motivational speaking, writing and stockbroking before settling into a Palm Springs, California retirement.

Overall he had spent twenty years in broadcasting: he began with WEXL in Royal Oak, Michigan, in 1947 then on to Kansas City, Missouri in 1953 where he worked for KUDL (where he adopted the nickname "The Bald Kid In The Third Row", apparently a description made by a parent upon spotting him among many rows of new-borns in a hospital shortly after his birth) and then WHB (restyling himself as "The Curly-headed Kid In The Third Row"; he was not, in reality, bald) where he pioneered the Top-40 format. It was in 1955 that he landed his ill-fated job with WMGM in New York, presenting "Your Hits of the Week".

Tripp died at the age of 73 following a stroke, leaving two sons and two daughters. His four marriages all ended in divorce

➦In 1964...Capitol Records released the album "Meet the Beatles."

➦In 1965...DJ Alan Freed, (WINS, WABC in New York City, WJW-Cleveland, WAKR-Akron)/concert promoter/movie actor (Rock Around the Clock, Go Johnny Go!, Rock Rock Rock!, Don't Knock the Rock, Mister Rock and Roll), the person credited with coining the term rock 'n' roll, died of uremia and cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 43.

Alan Freed
While attending Ohio State University, Freed became interested in radio. Freed served in the Army during World War II and worked as a DJ on Armed Forces Radio. Soon after World War II, Freed landed broadcasting jobs at small radio stations, including WKST (New Castle, PA); WKBN (Youngstown, OH); and WAKR (Akron, OH), where, in 1945, he became a local favorite for playing hot jazz and pop recordings.

Freed is commonly referred to as the "father of rock'n'roll" due to his promotion of the style of music, and his introduction of the phrase "rock and roll", in reference to the musical genre, on mainstream radio in the early 1950s. He helped bridge the gap of segregation among young teenage Americans, presenting music by African-American artists (rather than cover versions by white artists) on his radio program, and arranging live concerts attended by racially mixed audiences.  Freed appeared in several motion pictures as himself.

Initially interred at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, his ashes were moved in 2002 to their present location in Cleveland, Ohio at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On August 1, 2014, the Hall of Fame asked Alan Freed's son, Lance Freed, to permanently remove the ashes, which he did. The Freed family later announced the ashes would be interred at Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery

➦In 1996...WPAT 93.1 FM, New York, switched from beautiful music to a English-Spanish format Suave

➦In 1997...the Howard Stern Radio Show premiered on KKND-FM in New Orleans, Louisiana.

➦In 2000...the FCC established a new noncommercial licensing category for Low Power FM radio stations (LPFMs), with transmitter power limited to 100 watts, signals reaching from three to five miles, and initially confined to small markets and rural communities.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Bankruptcy: Cumulus Wants To Cancel Contracts

Cumulus Media Inc. today announced that it has filed motions with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York requesting authority to reject a handful of extremely unprofitable contracts, including those with the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls.

Cumulus is also seeking to reject its agreements with Merlin Media, as the Company has determined that the legacy terms to acquire WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM in Chicago for approximately $50 million is significantly in excess of the stations’ market value. In total, the Company is seeking to reject fewer than 20 contracts out of more than 15,000 agreements.

According to Cumulus, the company operating the stations formerly owned by Randy Michaels, WLUP-FM and WKQX-FM in Chicago have lost $8.4 Million since 2014. Cumulus says the two stations, net of LMA fees to Michaels, lost $1.5 million in 2014, $800,000 in 2015, $1.1 million in 2016 and $5.1 million in 2017. The LMA fee Cumulus was paying to Merlin was $600,000 per month.

The Court is scheduled to rule on the Company’s motions at a hearing on February 1, 2018.

Mary Berner
Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus Media Inc., said, “As part of our operational turnaround, we have been focused on taking proactive steps to address unprofitable areas of our business. We are taking this action because the economic terms of these legacy contracts guarantee that we lose money and, as such, continuing them in their current form is not in Cumulus’s best interests.  In many of these situations, we have been engaged in discussions with the counterparties to these agreements for months and have not been able to arrive at revised terms that work for both Cumulus and the counterparty. We will continue to take the necessary steps to strengthen our competitiveness and position Cumulus for continued profitability.”

Berner continued, “These contracts represent only a tiny fraction of the thousands of contracts that Cumulus has, and our relationships with the vast majority of our partners remain strong. We look forward to continuing to deliver premium content choices to the 245 million people we reach each week across our collection of stations and Westwood One affiliates."

Spotify To Launch Spotlight, A Radio, Podcast Service

Spotify, the world’s largest paid music service, will begin offering news and political coverage to lure listeners away from radio and podcasts from rival Apple Inc.

Bloomberg reports eight companies, including BuzzFeed and Refinery29, have agreed to produce programming for the new initiative, called Spotlight. One of the first shows will be a four- to seven-minute daily newscast featuring reporting from BuzzFeed journalists across the globe. Spotlight will only be available to customers in the U.S. at first.

News programming can help Spotify capture some of the $18 billion spent on radio advertising each year and boost profitability as it prepares to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. While the company almost singlehandedly reversed the record industry’s long decline, it has been unable to turn a profit due to the high cost of music rights.

Segments on news, pop culture, sports and politics add a new dimension to Spotify, which was already diversifying beyond music with videos and podcasts for its more than 70 million users. Such programming can be more profitable, but it also puts Spotify more in competition with YouTube and Apple, two powerful rivals.

“I know people are coming to Spotify to listen first, but we’re starting to build something new,’’ Courtney Holt, the company’s head of studios and video, said in an interview. “I want to create content that can be seen and listened to.’’

Holt joined Spotify last year after stints in music and digital media to figure out what the company should be doing beyond music. He scrapped several original video series, which were tough for users to locate on the service and struggled to gain an audience.

In their place, he conceived Spotlight, which mimics the the most successful videos on Spotify to date -- music videos and behind-the-scenes footage presented within playlists RapCaviar and Viva Latino. Users can listen to those videos without watching, or watch for additional information.

BuzzFeed’s show will be audio-first, but include infographics and other visual elements, according to Ben Smith, editor-in-chief.

“Spotify has this real opportunity to compete with terrestrial radio,’’ Smith said. “These are news updates for people of the generation we serve, 18- to 35-year-olds.’’

Value of Broadcast Properties Expected To Increase In 2018

In terms of radio and television station transactions, the past year was strong but not overwhelming. As shown in the year end totals, BIA/Kelsey reports that the total number of television stations sold in 2017 were 107 for a total value of nearly $4.7 billion. For radio, there were 755 stations sold in 2017 for a total value of over $3.3 billion.

The number of television stations sold increased by ten over the previous year while the total value of those stations sold decreased by nearly $600 million. On the other hand, the number of radio stations sold increased by 179 and the total value of those stations also increased by over $2.8 billion. Those increases can be credited to the Entercom acquisition of CBS Radio during the year. The stations acquired by Entercom were in many large and medium sized markets, and many of them were very successful ongoing operations. What is worth noting is the fact that Entercom was able to finance this transaction and successfully integrate these stations into their operation. It’s a very good sign for the local radio industry when business success follows such a major acquisition.

Mark Fratrik
As for 2018, BIA Kelsey's Mark Fratrik writes the Federal Communication Commission issued new relaxed regulations concerning local ownership of local television stations, and relaxed regulations surrounding local television-radio and local broadcast-local newspaper ownership. While there is some question as to whether some or all of these new regulations will be challenged in the courts, there is some optimism that this relaxation will lead to an increase in station trading activity.

The other key driver for increased activity was the passage of tax reform late in 2017. By lowering the overall corporate tax rate and full expensing of new capital equipment for five years, the values of broadcast properties will most likely increase. This potential positive influence on these values should be taken in context of the longer-term trend of values reflecting the increased competition faced by local radio and television stations.

Fratric advises it will take some time in the marketplace for these increased values to lead to higher prices for radio and television stations.

NYC Radio: Alex Silverman Promoted To APD At WCBS-AM

Alex Silverman
Entercom announced Thursday that it has elevated Alex Silverman to Assistant Director of News and Programming for Newsradio WCBS 880 AM.

In this role, Silverman will help manage the day-to-day news coverage for the station, its website and social media channels in addition to his current reporting and anchoring responsibilities.

“Alex is a talented news broadcaster and passionate storyteller. His work on air, online, and on the station’s social media channels has helped set WCBS 880 apart from our competitors as a brand that delivers more than just the headlines,” said John Fullam, Entercom’s Senior Vice President and Market Manager.

“I’ve always been proud of the impactful, relevant news coverage WCBS Newsradio 880 provides to millions of listeners a month across New York and beyond. We have the best team in the business and I and look forward to continuing to deliver on that promise,” said Silverman.

Silverman is an award-winning news reporter and anchor who received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award in 2017 for “Excellence in Sound.” He was also a part of WCBS’s award-winning coverage of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. His live on scene coverage of the 2016 Chelsea Bombing helped the station earn numerous accolades including best spot news from the New York State Associated Press News Association, and a National Murrow for Best Newscast. He also helped to lead WCBS 880 Newsradio’s coverage of major news events including the Boston Marathon bombings, the Orlando nightclub shooting, and the 2016 Republican National Convention.

WCBS 880 AM (50 Kw)
Prior to joining WCBS 880 in 2011, Silverman was a reporter and anchor at KIRO-FM in Seattle from 2010-2011, and from 2008-2010 he was a reporter and morning news anchor at WSYR-AM in Syracuse, New York, where he graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Silverman is also an adjunct instructor at Fordham University, where he designed a course titled “Social Media for Journalists.”

Quad Cities Radio: Dave Levora Joins WOC For Mornings

Dave Levora
iHeartMedia/Quad Cities has announced that Dave Levora has been named morning host for Talk WOC 1420 AM, Quad Cities.

He'll team with Program Director Dan Kennedy weekdays from 5:30-9am with regular contributions from Dan Deibert.

Levora joins WOC from crosstown WQAD-TV, where he served as an Account Executive. He'll continue to serve as host for WQAD-TV's "Brewed." Prior to WQAD-TV, Levora was a morning personality on a number of local outlets.

"We're excited to bring Dave into the WOC News Talk 1420 family," said Kennedy. "He's already familiar with radio in the Quad Cities and I have no doubt that our listeners will love him."

WOC 1420 AM (5 Kw, DA)
"I am thrilled to be back on the airwaves in the Quad Cities," added Levora. "I look forward to once again connecting with the listeners and engaging with the community on WOC 1420."

Syracuse Radio: Sports WSKO Adds Local PM Drive Show

Cumulus Media/Syracuse’s WSKO 1260 AM The Score has announced the additiona of a new daily local sports show to its lineup:  DRIVE TIME SPORTS, weekday afternoons 3-6pm.

Host Paul Esden has served as executive producer, and sports  update reporter for BUD & THE MANCHILD show, also heard on WSKO from 10am-noon every weekday. Esden has provided Syracuse University Athletics coverage as a Senior Columnist for Inside the Loud House for the past two years.  Esden earned his B.A. in Sports Broadcasting at SUNY Oswego.

Tom Mitchell, Operations Manager and PD for WSKO, commented, “This is a marvelous opportunity for Paul.  His unique and energetic style, opens up a fresh perspective to cover not only local sports, but also the best in the national sports arena, everyday!”

WSKO 1260 AMM (5 Kw, DA-N)
The Score 1260, known as “The Voice of the Central New York Sports Fan,” is the broadcast home of AAA baseball’s Syracuse Chiefs.

K-C Radio: Denny Matthews Returns For Royals PbP

Denny Matthews
The MLB Royals won’t be the only ones celebrating their 50th year in 2018. Denny Matthews will be back to call his 50th season of Royals baseball as well, according to

Matthews, the Ford C. Frick Award winner who was honored during the 2007 Hall of Fame Induction, signed a four-year contract in January 2015 that expires at the end of the upcoming season.

Steve Stewart will also return for his 11th season with the Royals Radio Network. Engineer Don Free, who retired after last season, will be replaced at home games by Keith Kowalski, who has been with the Royals since 2013.

Fox Sports said that the television broadcasters will all return for the 2018 season: Ryan Lefebvre, Rex Hudler, Steve Physioc, Jeff Montgomery and Joel Goldberg.

This will be Lefebvre’s 20th season with the Royals, and he has handled most of the play-by-play duties for Royals games on Fox Sports Kansas City. Hudler and Physioc will be in their seventh seasons calling Royals games.

Hudler is an analyst for FSKC broadcasts, while Physioc works in both the radio and television booths.

Goldberg, who is the host of the pregame and postgame shows and a frequent innocent bystander/victim of catcher Salvador Perez’s postgame splashes, will be back for his 11th season. Montgomery, the co-host of the pregame and postgame shows and a contributor to the Royals broadcasts, will be in his ninth season.