Saturday, February 3, 2018

February 4 Radio History

➦In 1935...the CBS Radio Network first aired "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch".

➦In 1927...KGA-AM, Spokane, Washington began broadcasting.  KGA was a successful country music outlet for most of its life until 1994, when it switched to a news/talk format.

On July 15, 2008, KGA reduced its nighttime power to 15,000 watts, changed its class from Class A to Class B (Class A stations are required to operate at 50,000 watts at all times) and changed its directional antenna system, all so that its sister station KSFN 1510 AM in Piedmont, California, which serves San Francisco could increase its nighttime power to 2,400 watts, up from 230 watts.

KGA 1510 AM (50Kw-D, 15Kw-N) Red=Local Coverage
➦The justification for this change was gaining several hundred thousand potential listeners in San Francisco while sacrificing a few thousand potential listeners in the Pacific Northwest. The hope for a larger audience did not materialize.

Today, the station airs CBS Sports Radio Network.

➦In of the many Frank and Anne Hummert radio soap operas, ‘Amanda of Honeymoon Hill‘ began it six-year run, the first half on NBC Blue, and then on CBS.

➦In 1976...Fleetwood Mac released the single "Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)" in North America.

➦In 1977…Fleetwood Mac released "Rumours."

➦In 1978..."Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees peaked at number one on the pop singles chart.

➦In 1983…Radio announcer (WHN- New York, WQXR-New York, The Chase And Sanborn Hour) Jim Ameche, radio's original Jack Armstrong on "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy," died of lung cancer at age 67.

He portrayed Alexander Graham Bell in the 1957 film The Story of Mankind, the role his older brother Don had played in the film biography of Bell in 1939. The two brothers' faces and voices were a close match.

➦In 1992...veteran actor John Dehner died from emphysema & diabetes at age 76.

On radio he had played a succession of bad guys on Gunsmoke, Escape & other dramas, and was the star of two 1950’s westerns, Frontier Gentleman and Have Gun Will Travel.  On television he had recurring roles on The Doris Day Show, Gunsmoke, The Don Knotts Show, The Virginian, The Colbys, Baileys of Balboa, Rawhide, Tales of Wells Fargo, The Winds of War.

➦In 1996...WYNY 103.5 FM, NYC drops Country.

In September 22, 1988 at 5:30pm, a frequency swap took place between WYNY 97.1 and 103.5. 103.5 became country as WYNY "Country 103.5" and 97.1 became WQHT "Hot 97."

DJ's during this time included Joe Marino, Jim Kerr, Dan Taylor, Kim Ashley, Bill Walker, Del DeMontreux, Jesse Walker, Frank Sata, Bill Rock, and Ray Rossi.

Charlie Cook became the PD in 1992, replaced by Johnny Michaels, Fred Horton, Rusty Walker, and finally Chris Kampmeier (now Operations Manager for iHeartMedia/Orlando).

Country lasted on 103.5 until February 4, 1996 at 6:15pm when it was dropped in favor of resurrecting the old calls of WKTU (which had been on 92.3 in the 1970's and early 1980's - but by this time, the WKTU calls were being used at a station in Ocean City NJ and when WKTU was acquired for 103.5 on February 28, 1996, the Ocean City station switched to WTKU.)

The last song played on WYNY was Garth Brooks', "The Dance."

WKTU now features a Rhythmic/Dance CHR format.

➦In 2004...11 years ago, Facebook was launched as a social networking Web site limited to Harvard University students.

➦In 2009...Eddie Schwartz died at age 62. Schwartz worked late night and overnight at WGN 720 AM, Chicago from 1982 to 1992.

Wall Street: Media Stocks Take A Battering

Stock prices fell sharply from near record highs Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average tumbling 666 points, or 2.5%, to close out the worst week on Wall Street in years.

According to The LATimes, the main trigger was growing concern about rising interest rates and inflation, and their impact on stocks going forward, as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note reached its highest peak in four years, analysts said.

But they said that many of the fundamental factors that have driven stocks higher — including rising corporate earnings — remain intact, and that Friday's trading had no signs of panic selling.

Indeed, they said the pullback was not surprising given the market's remarkable surge of the last 12 months, which extended a nine-year bull market in stocks.

"The fundamentals are still OK," said Patrick O'Hare, chief market analyst at the investing website "The easy money had been made, and it will be more challenging to extend the gains as interest rates move higher."

The Dow Jones industrials fell 665.75 points to 25,520.96. That was the worst point drop since the blue-chip average fell 678.92 points on Oct. 9, 2008, in the midst of the nation's financial crisis.

Media stocks, with a few notable exceptions, were battered Friday.

Of the 50 stocks tracked by The Hollywood Reporter, 39 of them were down on Friday, including Walt Disney (off 2 percent), Time Warner (down 3 percent), CBS (off 6 percent), Viacom (down 4 percent), Comcast (off 2 percent) and 21st Century Fox (down 1 percent).

Sony, which recently posted stellar quarterly earnings, especially in its entertainment division, was the only major media conglomerate to trade higher on Friday, closing up 6 percent. Other exceptions Friday included Netflix and Amazon, up 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Both of those new-media powerhouses recently reported good quarterly earnings.

The stock market has been on a roll since Donald Trump's election to the presidency — and the president often tweets about the bull market — but media stocks have largely not participated in the run-up. On Friday, some analysts were saying the plunge was a market "correction" as they expect that recent tax cuts should keep the economy humming.

Poll: NFL Is Losing Its Core Audience

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll depicts a developing nightmare for the National Football League: Its core audience is losing interest rapidly, a potential threat to the league’s dominant role in American culture.

According to, the poll shows that fans are following the sport less closely, even in key demographics, such as young men, that historically propelled the league’s growth. At the same time, parents increasingly want their children to turn away from football amid growing worry about player safety and the league’s efforts to address it.

The drop in interest spans age groups and the political spectrum—painting the picture of a sport that isn’t just experiencing a momentary dip, but a battle against fundamental questions about football’s future that have been building for years.

The problems are taking a heavy toll. Adults who report following the NFL closely has dropped 9% since 2014, the poll finds. More alarming for the league, however, is the makeup of the people moving away from the NFL in large numbers: Just 51% of men aged 18 to 49 say they follow the NFL closely, down from 75% four years ago. The poll did not ask respondents why their interest changed. The Journal/NBC News poll interviewed 900 adults from Jan. 13-17. The margin of error for the full sample was plus or minus 3.27 percentage points.

The drop offs, according to the poll, also crossed political lines. Base Democrats who follow the league closely fell by 16 points versus four years ago, while it was 14 points for base Republicans.

Beyond the scope of the NFL, the poll also revealed that parents are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of their kids playing football, prompted by a surge in information about the dangers of head injuries. In 2014, 40% of mothers said they would encourage their child to play a sport other than football due to concerns about concussions. That figure has now climbed to 53%. Democrats, the poll found, expressed these concerns with head injuries more frequently than Republicans.

25.5M Expected To Listen To Super Bowl on Westwood One

There is a lot of spending activity around the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event of the year. Westwood One and Vision Critical/MARU have collated some new, never-released data about the spending habits of Super Bowl fans. Where are they dropping their dollars? What’s in their shopping carts?

Check out our attached infographic and blog post about the fans, their shopping habits, party prep, and how they listen to the Big Game.

Key findings:
  • Super Bowl fans are on the move: According to NRF’s latest Annual Super Bowl Spending Survey, one-third of Super Bowl fans are planning to attend a party or watch the game at a bar or restaurant. AM/FM radio is there with them with 74% of Westwood One Super Bowl listening occurring away from home and 68% of all radio time spent going to AM/FM radio.
  • Super Bowl fans are big spenders: Up 8.5% from last year, Super Bowl fans are projected to spend a massive $15.3 billion this year, according to the NRF. That money is mostly going to food and beverage with 82% of fans planning to stock up for the weekend.
  • Super Bowl fans wear their team pride: In a new survey, Westwood One and Vision Critical/MARU find that half of Super Bowl fans are planning to wear their favorite team’s jersey on game day to cover their Super Bowl superstitions.
  • Super Bowl snacking is serious: As the 2nd most popular day for food consumption, Super Bowl snacking is no joke. Beer, chicken wings, and pizza will all see huge numbers in purchases this weekend. But what snack foods do fans think should be uninvited? New Westwood One and Vision Critical/MARU data shows that fans think carrot sticks and corn dogs should get the boot along with deviled eggs and bean dip.
Westwood One is the official network radio partner of the NFL and will broadcast live Super Bowl LII game coverage and from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday.

MS Radio: Personality David Mueller Seeks Redemption

David Mueller, who lost his job at Deneer's KYGO 98.5 FM, for groping superstar Taylor Swift, says he is "very grateful" for a new gig at WMYQ 92.1 FM in Greenwood, MS.

The 56-year-old told the Greenwood Commonwealth that he had difficulty finding work in a big-city radio market. He started his job Monday in Greenwood, home to about 14,000 people in the rural Mississippi Delta.

"I never wanted to leave radio from the moment I was out on the street with no job and no income," he said.

In a civil lawsuit, a federal jury determined Mueller assaulted and battered Swift by grabbing her under her skirt as they posed for a 2013 photo in Denver. Mueller, who goes by "Jackson" on air, still denies that. He began co-hosting the "Jackson and Jonbob" show this past Monday.

Delta Radio CEO David Fuss, which owns WMYQ,  says he believes Mueller's side of the story. Delta Radio is based in Las Vegas and owns nine radio stations.

Mueller's hiring comes as the #MeToo movement draws attention to sexual assault and harassment.

Las Vegas Radio: Wayne Danielson Promoted To PD At KWNR

Wayne Danielson
iHeartMedia/Las Vegas announced Friday that Wayne “Big D” Danielson has been named Program Director for KWNR 95.5 FM The Bull.

As Program Director, Danielson will work closely with on-air personalities and sales to oversee the station brand’s on-air and digital programming, as well as local events and partnerships. He will report to Tony Matteo, Regional Senior Vice President for iHeartMedia Central California/Nevada.

“Big D has been a part of the fabric of the Bull brand in Vegas in many roles over the years and we’re excited that he’ll now be leading the station as Program Director,” said Matteo. “No one knows this station, this city and this audience better than Big D.”

Danielson joined 95.5 The Bull from iHeartMedia Las Vegas’s 93.1 The Party in August 2016. He has also previously served as a night personality at 101.3 KDWB, Twin Cities’ No. 1 Hit Music Station, in Minneapolis. Danielson began his career at KCLD-FM in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

KWNR 95.5 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
“I’ve been blessed in my career and that continues for me as I move into this new role,” said Danielson. “I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by some of the most talented people in this business and I’ve tried to take a piece of their knowledge with me on my journey. I look forward to this new challenge while continuing to serve this powerful team and amazing community.”

Miami Radio: Will Althoff Joins WSFS As MD, PM Drive Host

Entercom has announced that William “Will” Althoff has been named Afternoon Drive Host and Music Director for WSFS 104.3 The Shark FM, South Florida’s Alternative.

Will Althoff
The new show will air weekdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

“Will is an exciting addition to our Afternoon Drive on the Shark. His background and expertise in connecting with the audience makes him the perfect fit for our station,” said Keriann Worley, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Miami.

“I am beyond thrilled to join the Shark and be a part of such an incredibly talented staff. This is a dream come true,” commented Will. “I’m looking forward to connecting with South Florida’s audience almost every day.”

WSFS 1045.3 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Will takes over the afternoon drive from Zach McHugh, who was recently named Program Director and Afternoon Drive Host for Entercom Alternative WRXL-FM in Richmond. Will is a native of Philadelphia with experience in Los Angeles and South Florida markets. He is a veteran across a number of formats. As an actor, he has appeared in a number of TV shows including Bloodline, American Crime Story and Shameless. Will started his career in radio at WHHS-FM

WA Radio: Jerry Ramsay Named OM For Cherry Creek Cluster

Jerry Ramsay
Cherry Creek Media/Wenatchee WA has announced that Jerry Ramsay is the new Operations Manager for it seven-statoin cluster.

The cluster consists of Country KYSN, Classic Rock KPQ 102.1 FM , CHR KWWW 96.9 & 102.9 FM, Hot AC KQBG 99.5 FM , News/Talk KPQ 560 AM, Talk KKWN 106.7 and Sports KYSP 1340 AM.

Ramsay will also handle PD/morning duties for KYSN.

He succeeds Brandon Young in the OM/PD roles following Young's departure last month for the PD gig at Alpha's CountrY KYKX/Longview, TX.

"Jerry brings multiple format experience, a lot of enthusiasm, on top of being a talented morning personality," said Cherry Creek Group PD Mark . "He’s the complete package that we look for at Cherry Creek Media; we’re excited to have Jerry on board."

He was most recently OM for Ingstad Radio in Yakima, WA.

Little Rock Radio: 'Babe Bracket' Creates A Buzz

An effort is underway to stop a Little Rock radio station's annual "Babe Bracket," which allows listeners to vote on 16 local female television anchors in a beauty and popularity contest sponsored by a lingerie shop, reports The Associated Press.

KARK-TV's news director, Austin Kellerman, who once supported the contest, wrote in a blog post Thursday that it was time to end the competition, which is modeled after the NCAA men's basketball tournament known as "March Madness."

He and some listeners to the morning call-in radio show say the contest, which started in 1997, doesn't acknowledge the women's professional accomplishments and wrongly concentrates on their attractiveness and personality. Others say there's nothing wrong with it.

The contest begins each March with 16 women in eight pairs. Listeners to Sports Talk KABZ 103.7 FM show titled "The Show With No Name" vote on which women they like best. Eventually, 15 are eliminated. Past winners have received a crown and flowers.

Stephanie Sharp, an anchor at KARK television, said that amid an international backlash against sexual harassment, the contest is outdated.

"I know it's all in good fun and no one is hurt, but it's 2018. It's not how we're supposed to be comparing professional women," she said. "And it's sponsored by a lingerie shop. It kind of tells you what they're going for."

A former winner of the contest says she doesn't have a problem with it.

"If the Babe Bracket helps me promote things that are important to me, I would say, 'Sign me up every year,'" said Donna Terrell, a KLRT anchor who has used her appearances to tout a charity she set up to fight colon cancer, which took her daughter's life.

Sony Music Generates Nearly $4B In 2017, Streaming Up 32%

The Sony Corporation’s music operations reported a $350 million in operating income on revenues of $1.9 billion for the company’s fiscal third quarter, it announced early Friday morning.

Variety reports recorded music accounted for $1.14 billion, visual media & platform brought in $599 and Sony/ATV Music Publishing $162 million), accounting for double-digit growth in all three categories.

Streaming contributed 43%, with some $492m) coming from the format in the quarter, a 32.1% gain.

Sony Corp. chief Kaz Hirai, a strong proponent of the company’s entertainment properties, will hand the over the CEO reins to his top lieutenant as he transitions to a new role as chairman. Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony Corp.’s chief financial officer, who is much less experienced in the entertainment world, will take over as president-CEO as of April 1.

According Variety, Hirai’s resignation means that Sony’s entertainment assets are losing possibly their loudest and most powerful advocate within the company, and raises questions about their future in an era where consolidation, often on a colossal scale, is the trend of the day. Under Hirai, Sony had made an overture for some of Fox’s assets before Disney produced a bigger bid; without him at the helm, the fate of Sony’s own content businesses is uncertain.

However, sources said Hirai has indicated to insiders he intends to remain involved with Sony’s U.S.-based entertainment businesses in his new chairman role.

BIA/Kelsey Expects Significant Growth in Local Mobile Ad Spending

Local advertising on mobile devices sold by pure-play mobile providers will rise this year to $19 billion, according to BIA/Kelsey’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2018: Mobile and Social estimates.

An additional $3.1 billion in mobile advertising is being sold by traditional media companies (i.e., radio, television and newspapers) in 2018.

With increasing consumer and SMB adoption and its ability to reach targeted audiences, the mobile/social category will be the third largest ad platform in 2018, behind direct mail and local television. Of the overall $151.2 billon estimated U.S. local advertising spending for the year, pure-play mobile will represent 12.6 percent of the local advertising spend and is on a pace to reach 19.2 percent, and the second top spot, by 2022.

Mark Fratrik
“We are very positive about local advertising on mobile devices to increase significantly in the next decade. As mobile continues to mature, national and small business advertisers see its effectiveness and ability as an all-encompassing platform to reach their audiences,” said Mark Fratrik, chief economist and SVP at BIA/Kelsey. “Mobile has become a preferred platform for the advertising dollar because of its ability to capture audiences of all ages based precisely on where they are and what they are doing, at any given moment.”

Social media ad revenue from mobile (not including tablets) now represents slightly more than 70 percent of total social ad spending, and will grow to 80 percent by 2022 as more social engagement continues to shift away from desktops. Facebook is expected to receive the lion’s share of those dollars followed by Twitter, Snap, LinkedIn, and other popular apps. Further, location targeting advertising within mobile sold by all providers (which includes pure play, radio, television and newspapers) is projected to grow from $17.1 billion in 2017 to $38.7 billion in 2022, a 17.8 percent compound annual growth.

Official Behind 5G Network Plan Leaves TWH

The author of a memo arguing for a government takeover of development of the nation’s 5G mobile network has been removed from the National Security Council staff, according to The Washington Post.  The memo’s unauthorized release this week caused uproar in the telecom community and created embarrassment for the White House.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding is no longer serving as NSC senior director for strategic planning. Spalding was not fired, according to the official, who said his detail had ended and was not renewed. Spalding was not implicated in the leak of the memo, but officials said his advocacy for the plan had gone beyond his role, contributing to the NSC leadership’s decision to send him back to the Air Force.

Part of Spalding’s job had been to canvas private industry and outside groups about the plan, but in recent weeks senior officials became concerned that he had become too aggressive in pushing the idea, getting out ahead of the administration’s still nascent deliberations. He has not been disciplined formally and is free to seek a new job in the Defense Department.

Another senior administration official said there was considerable upheaval inside the White House this week after the 5G memo story broke. Although it is unclear whether Spalding leaked the memo, because he had shared it so widely, some officials judged him responsible.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Jan. 29 that consideration of the plan was at its “earliest stages” and the administration was nowhere near a decision. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said spending federal dollars to build a 5G network would be a “costly and counterproductive distraction” from the competitive, market-driven approach that was needed.

January 2018's Best News Bloopers

Whoever says the news is too troubling...needs to watch!

R.I.P.: Dennis Edwards of The Temptations

Dennis Edwards, who became a lead singer of the Motown hitmakers the Temptations in 1968 as they embraced psychedelic funk and won Grammy Awards for the songs “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “Cloud Nine,” died on Thursday in Chicago.

He was 74, according to The NYTimes.

His death, in a hospital, was confirmed on Friday by Rosiland Triche Roberts, one of his booking agents. She did not specify the cause.

Mr. Edwards’s resonant, powerful voice, burnished from years singing gospel, was perfect for the driving soul music of the 1970s.

Before joining the Temptations, Mr. Edwards sang with another Motown group, the Contours, best known for their 1962 hit “Do You Love Me” (recorded before he joined them). The Contours opened for the Temptations in the late 1960s, and when the Temptations’ lead singer David Ruffin left the group in 1968, he was asked to take over.

Edwards joined the Temptations just as the group, under the direction of the producer and songwriter Norman Whitfield, was developing a grittier sound, one largely influenced by the psychedelic soul of Sly & the Family Stone and very different from their earlier songs, like “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

The other members of the group — Eddie Kendricks, Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and Paul Williams — also sang lead, notably Mr. Kendricks. But Edwards was an essential part of the group’s new sound on songs like “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” and “Shakey Ground.”

Shortly after Edwards joined the group, the Temptations won their first Grammy, for the propulsive, upbeat “Cloud Nine” (1968); they won another for the funk anthem “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” (1971). That song, like two other Temptations hits from that period — “I Can’t Get Next to You” and “Just My Imagination” (on which Mr. Kendricks sang lead) — reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart.

The group received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2013.

Edwards left the Temptations in 1977 to pursue a solo career but rejoined them some years later. In 1989, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, along with the five members from the Temptations’ mid-1960s heyday.

February 3 Radio History

➦In 1927...the FCC, then known as Federal Radio Commission, was created by a law signed into effect by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge.

WEAV 960 AM (5 Kw DA-2)
In 1935...WEAV-AM, Plattsburgh NY signed-on as WMFF, owned by Plattsburgh Broadcasting Corporation (in turn controlled by the Bissell family), and operating on 1310 kHz.  The North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement in 1941 moved the station to 1340 kHz.

On October 23, 1948,  the station changed its call letters to WEAV and relocated again, this time to the current 960 kHz. At one time an affiliate of ABC Radio  and its predecessor, the Blue Network, WEAV switched to CBS Radio in the late 1950s.

The station inaugurated FM service on February 3, 1960, with the launch of WEAV 99.9. FM (now WBTZ-FM) as a simulcast of the AM station.

WEAV-AM currently airs Sports Talk.

➦In 1935...Martin Block starts at WNEW-AM (now WBBR 1130 AM) in NYC at a salary of $20 per week. In 1935, while listeners to New York's WNEW in New York (now information outlet WBBR 1139 AM) were awaiting developments in the Lindbergh kidnapping, Block built his audience by playing records between the Lindbergh news bulletins.

This led to his Make Believe Ballroom, which began February 3, 1935 with Block borrowing both the concept and the title from West Coast disc jockey Al Jarvis, creating the illusion that he was broadcasting from a ballroom with the nation’s top dance bands performing live. He bought some records from a local music shop for the program as the radio station had none. Block purchased five Clyde McCoy records, selecting his "Sugar Blues" for the radio show's initial theme song.

Because Block was told by the station's sales staff that nobody would sponsor a radio show playing music, he had to find himself a sponsor. Block lined up a producer of reducing pills called "Retardo"; within a week, the sponsor had over 3,000 responses to the ads on Block's radio show. Martin Block's style of announcing was considerably different than the usual manner of delivery at the time. Instead of speaking in a voice loud enough to be heard in a theater, Block spoke in a normal voice, as if he was having a one-on-one conversation with a listener.

Abbott & Costello
When one of Block's sponsors offered a sale on refrigerators during a New York snowstorm, 109 people braved the elements for the bargain Block advertised; by 1941 potential sponsors for his show had to be put on a waiting list for availabilities.

➦In 1938...the kids radio adventure drama Challenge of the Yukon (about Sgt. Preston & his ‘wonder dog’ Yukon King) debuted in a 15 minute format on WXYZ Detroit.  It completed George W. Trendle’s trilogy of juvenile adventures preceded by The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet.  The show went to the networks (ABC, then Mutual) in 30 minute form 1947 to ’55.

➦In 1938...the comedy team of Abbott & Costello made their debut as cast members on CBS Radio’s “The Kate Smith Hour.” They remained with the weekly program for two years while their film career got underway.

➦In 1959…At about 1:00 a.m. CST, shortly after taking off from the Mason City, Iowa airport, the chartered airplane containing Buddy Holly (Peggy Sue, That'll Be The Day), Ritchie Valens (Donna, La Bamba), and the "Big Bopper" J.P. Richardson (Chantilly Lace), crashed into an Iowa field, instantly killing all three and the pilot Roger Peterson.

Headed for the next "Winter Dance Party" tour stop in Fargo, North Dakota, the plane had been chartered by Holly so that the band members could travel in heated comfort (their tour bus had a broken heater) and arrive early for the next show. The pilot, not informed of worsening weather conditions, decided to fly "on instruments," meaning without visual confirmation of the horizon, which led to the crash.

Richardson was 28, Holly was 22, and Valens was 17.

Don McLean later immortalized the tragedy in his classic song "American Pie," calling this "the day the music died."

➦In 1968…At EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London, the Beatles began recording "Lady Madonna." All four of them played and/or sang on the track, with four studio musician saxophonists added, finishing February 6. Issued in mid-March, the single was their last release on Parlophone in the UK and Capitol Records in the U.S. All subsequent releases, starting with "Hey Jude" in August 1968, were issued on their own Apple Records label.

➦In Jay C Flippen died after suffering an aneurism during surgery.  He was 72.   He was a radio announcer for the New York Yankees, one of the first game show hosts, and on TV is best remembered as C.P.O. Nelson on the 1962 sitcom ‘Ensign O’Toole.’

➦In 2003...Recorded producer Phil Spector was arrested for allegedly murdering actress Lana Clarkson in his Alhambra, CA home.

Spector remained free on $1 million bail while awaiting trial, which began on March 19, 2007. The retrial of Spector for murder in the second degree began on October 20, 2008, with Judge Fidler again presiding. The case went to the jury on March 26, 2009, and nineteen days later, on April 13, the jury returned a guilty verdict.  In addition, he was found guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a crime.  Spector was immediately taken into custody  and was formally sentenced, on May 29, 2009, to 19 years to life in the California state prison system.

➦In 2003…Longtime St. Louis radio personality Ron Morgan died of a heart ailment at age 60.

Ron Morgan came to St. Louis in 1973, taking an on-air position on Pulitzer powerhouse KSD. It was the beginning of a stay in St. Louis radio that would span nearly twenty years.

Known as "Morgan in the Morning," he peppered his programs with droll humor supplemented with an infectious laugh and gave his program team plenty of opportunities to share the spotlight. He also did mornings at KSD-FM and KLOU, as well as other shifts at KMOX and KHTR.

Morgan was also program director at CBS-owned KLOU when it hit the air with an oldies format, giving the station a strong group of personalities to complement the music, and he served as operations director at KSD-FM. Ron Morgan was visible in the community as a long-time supporter of the Easter Seals Society.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Tim Clarke Named VP/Audience&Content For CMG

Cox Media Group (CMG) has named Tim Clarke to a newly created role as VP of Audience and Content, effective immediately.

Tim Clarke
Clarke will set the overarching content strategy for radio — programming, new content development, content distribution, audience growth and measurement. CMG’s Vice President of Programming, Steve Smith, will continue in his critical role to oversee CMG Format Leaders and work directly on radio programming with radio stations and brand managers. Smith will report to Clarke in this new structure. Clarke will also work with the CMG Digital team and industry partners to drive digital innovation for CMG Radio and all CMG stations.

“With Tim in this role, along with CMG’s dedication to strong and innovative programming, I’m confident that CMG will continue to set our properties apart over the air and online as the best in the industry,” said Executive Vice President Bill Hendrich.

Prior to his new role, Clarke served as Sr. Director of Digital Audience for Radio, driving digital brand strategy and engagement at CMG’s radio stations. In Tampa, Clarke was the Program Director at HOT 101.5, launching the station in 2011. His career with CMG also includes working as Program Director at WAPE in Jacksonville, Fla., and Music Director at WBLI in Long Island, N.Y.

“It is an honor to take on these expanded responsibilities,” said Clarke. “Cox is truly an incredible organization, and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I have been afforded throughout my 13-year career here. This is an exciting, transformative time for the media business, and Cox Media Group has the best radio brands and digital products in local media.”

Time Ticking Towards Possible iHM Bankruptcy Filing

iHeartMedia Inc. which failed to make a $106 million bond payment due Thursday, now has 30 days to work out an agreement with investors to restructure its debt or face bankruptcy.

iHM said it made a conscious decision not to make the payment “as active discussions continue among its lenders, noteholders, and financial sponsors regarding a comprehensive debt restructuring.”

The company said the move won’t automatically trigger a default on its bonds as it used a grace period that gives it 30 more days to make the interest payment.

The company’s been teetering on the edge of insolvency for much of the last year. It launched an offer almost a year ago — on March 15 — to try to restructure $14.6 billion of its more than $20 billion in debt by exchanging it for bonds with longer maturities and higher yields.

According to The San Antonio Express-News, the company hasn’t had much luck in negotiations with some of its bondholders and lenders on a possible pre-bankruptcy deal. Some investors have reportedly been reticent to give the company any concessions, figuring they will recover more money if iHeart files for bankruptcy. The investor group, in fact, rejected its latest distressed debt exchange offer, the company said in a December filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Marketwatch is reporting the company likely has the cash to make the payment, having made an interest payment of more than $50 million in January, but is using the 30 days as a strategic tool, Crystall said, adding that iHeart seems to be getting closer to a deal with creditors.

“At one point, they were willing to give 50% of equity to their creditors, but in the last filing the number was over 90%,” he said. “So clearly they are willing to give way on one sticking point. It may be that the talks are stalled, so if they hold off on paying the coupon for 30 days, they may reach an agreement and stay out of court.”

The company is likely also considering that in March it will publish its 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and its auditor is likely to include “going concern” language as it has in the last few filings. IHeart is not expected to be able to make payments due in 2019, when it is facing a big maturity wall in the form of two term loans valued at $6.3 billion, he said.

Going-concern language “would trigger defaults anyway, so they may be thinking, ‘Why make the payment now, when we are close to resolution or, if not, will have to file for bankruptcy? May as well hold on to the $106 million.’ ”

The company’s underlying business is improving and could be sustained if the company succeeds in restructuring its debt, said Crystall. If the tax overhaul enacted in December provides an economic boost, the radio business may attract more advertising dollars, which would provide a further lift to the business.

Chicago Radio: Cumulus, Merlin Reach New Agreement

Cumulus Media Inc. has announced that it has reached an agreement with Merlin Media regarding the operation and sale of WKQX 101.1 FM and WLUP 97.9 FM in Chicago.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cumulus will no longer be required to acquire the Chicago stations for approximately $50 million, and Cumulus and Merlin will temporarily extend the local marketing agreement under which Cumulus has been operating the stations while Merlin conducts a sale process for the stations.

Cumulus expects operations at the stations to continue uninterrupted during the sale process.

“We’re pleased to reach this mutual agreement, which establishes a clear path forward for these stations and our employees in Chicago following months of negotiations with Merlin,” said Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus Media Inc.

Mary Berner
“We continue to be interested in permanently acquiring these stations on economic terms that make sense for our business. In the meantime, as we have for the past several years, Cumulus will continue to operate WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM while Merlin seeks a new owner. Importantly, nothing is changing in the near-term. It is business as usual for team members, advertisers and partners, and we look forward to achieving a favorable outcome for all parties involved.”

The agreement with Merlin provides for an approximately three month extension of the local marketing agreement with additional extensions thereafter, exercisable upon mutual agreement by Cumulus and 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.

Pittsburgh Radio: Silent KQV Seems To Have A White Knight

One month after the iconic KQV 1410 AM Pittsburgh left the airwaves comes the news that its license is in the process of being sold to Broadcast Communications, Inc.

BCI’s president, Robert M. Stevens, said that in adding to his diverse lineup of stations out of North Versailles and Garrett County, Md., among others.

According to the Post-Gazette, the Limited Purchase Asset Agreement between BCI and Calvary Incorporated was filed Jan. 30 and calls for a purchase price of $55,000. Calvary, co-owned or owned outright by the Dickey family since 1982, has not included in this deal its five towers and 20.5 acres of land. That property is on the market for its development value.

The license sale is pending FCC approval. KQV did its final signoff as the New Year’s Eve clock wound down on Jan. 31, 2017.

“I’m thrilled that someone with his business acumen is taking [KQV] over and, hopefully, bring it into the second century,” said Bob Dickey, Jr., KQV vice president and general manager.

Stevens said it is too early for concrete programming decisions, but it is possible KQV’s format might be “similar to what the Dickey family was doing. But of course, we are not the same company.

“Our first choice of format is to do news, and we are studying that very, very carefully. If we don’t feel that’s going to be feasible, we do have some alternatives.”

He added that regardless of format, the “new” KQV probably won’t be on the air until autumn.

Many of BCI’s stations operate out of North Versailles, with programming reaching the eastern suburbs around Western Pennsylvania. Among its holdings are 620 WKHB, 770 WKFB, 810 WEDO, 103.1 KVE and 1570 WQTW.

Warner Music Reports Digital Revenue Up 20%

Warner Music Group’s revenue was up 14% (or 10% in constant currency) and digital revenue was up 20% (or 17%) in its first-quarter financial results for the period ended December 31, 2017.

According to Variety, streaming represented 51% of total revenue, compared with 48.4% in the prior-year quarter.

“2018 is off to a great start. For three years running, we have grown revenue by double digits in the first quarter, a great testament to the sustainability of our success,” said Steve Cooper, Warner Music Group’s CEO.  “Streaming is driving the industry and we continue to outperform thanks to fantastic new music and the strength of our worldwide operating team.”

“This marks the first time in over 10 years that our quarterly revenue has exceeded a billion dollars”, added Eric Levin, Warner Music Group’s Executive Vice President and CFO.  “Our cash flow is strong and we are committed to maintaining our momentum.”

In a conference call on Friday morning, Cooper pointed to the company’s success at the Grammy Awards on Sunday — where Bruno Mars swept the top categories and Ed Sheeran won two trophies, and Warner/Chappell writers Kendrick Lamar and Chris Stapleton had strong showings — and its recent successes in the U.K. with Liam Gallagher and Dua Lipa.

Recorded Music revenue grew 13.4% (or 9.6% in constant currency).  Growth in digital, licensing and artist services and expanded-rights revenue was partially offset by a decline in physical revenue.  Recorded Music operating income was $129 million up from $123 million in the prior-year quarter and operating margin was down 1.1 percentage points to 14.3% versus 15.4% in the prior-year quarter.

CBS, Viacom To Evaulate Consolidation

Taking the first step toward a possible merger, CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc.'s boards each have formed special committees to evaluate whether a consolidation of the two media companies would benefit shareholders.

According to The LATimes, CBS' decision, which came Thursday during a board meeting in Studio City, begins a process that could result in the reunification of the companies. Viacom simultaneously announced that its board also had formed "a special committee of independent directors to evaluate a potential combination with CBS Corp."

"The committee has retained independent legal counsel and is retaining independent financial advisors in connection with this evaluation," Viacom said in a statement.

CBS and Viacom, both controlled by the Sumner Redstone family, were one entity until Redstone in 2006 divided his empire into two companies in a bid to generate more wealth. But now, both companies face steep challenges as consumers migrate to streaming services and other entertainment platforms.

Redstone's daughter, Shari Redstone, tried unsuccessfully to combine the companies in 2016. At that time, CBS' board resisted reunification out of concern that Viacom's problems would weigh on CBS. The 2016 merger talks fell apart over issues of control and a proposed valuation of Viacom, according to people familiar with the situation but who were not authorized to speak publicly.

But Viacom has since improved its operations and devised a new business plan. Viacom owns MTV, VH1, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and the Paramount Pictures movie studio in Los Angeles.

Analysts have been mixed on the benefits of a merger.

"Potential of a recombination of CBS and Viacom would provide CBS with increased scale, more diverse assets, a major studio, while it would bring many of those same benefits to Viacom," Moody's Senior Vice President Neil Begley said in a note. "The most important [benefit] would be to put a surer footing beneath Viacom while it continues to turn around its media networks and Paramount."

However, Marci Ryvicker, a media analyst with Wells Fargo Securities, was skeptical.

"CBS-Viacom? Um, no thanks," Ryvicker wrote in a research note last weekend. "Unfortunately, we are more afraid of the longer term value destruction — particularly at CBS, which we have historically favored given its clean portfolio of MUST HAVE content."

CBS cautioned that a merger with Viacom was not a given.

Apple Posts Record 4Q Revenue

Apple once again beat Wall Street expectations in announcing record quarterly results — fueled by the highest revenue from iPhone sales in its history, although it sold nearly 1 million fewer smartphones than in the year-earlier period, reports Variety.

For the company’s fiscal first quarter of 2018 ended Dec. 30, Apple reported revenue of $88.3 billion, up 13% year over year. Net income was $20 billion, with earnings per diluted share of $3.89, up 16% and also an all-time record.

The iPhone X “surpassed our expectations and has been our top-selling iPhone every week since it shipped in November,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in announcing the results.

The iPhone X is the company’s most expensive smartphone ever, priced starting at $999 with 64 gigabytes of storage, with a new facial-recognition ID feature, an edge-to-edge display and a souped-up camera.

For the December quarter, Apple shipped 77.3 million iPhone smartphones worldwide, representing $61.6 billion in sales. Unit sales of iPhones were down 1% compared with 78.3 million in the year-earlier quarter, while revenue rose 13%. CFO Luca Maestri noted on a call with analysts that Apple’s fiscal Q1 2018 was one week shorter than the 2016 holiday quarter.

Apple’s services revenue also saw a healthy uptick in the most recent quarter, rising 18% to $8.5 billion. That segment includes iTunes and App Store digital content and services, Apple Music, AppleCare, Apple Pay, licensing and other services. On the earnings call, Cook said Apple Music hit all-time highs for revenue and subscribers in the December quarter but didn’t provide specifics.

Cook also called out Apple’s launch next week of the HomePod wireless speaker. “We’re very happy with the initial response from reviewers,” he said.

Time Warner Beats Estimates On HBO Growth

Time Warner Inc, which is in the process of being bought by AT&T Inc, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue on Thursday, powered by the success of its premium HBO channel.

Reuters reports the New York-based company said it expects adjusted operating income in the high single digits for 2018 and ad revenue in the high single to low double digits in the first quarter.

Time Warner beat analyst estimates as it awaits the outcome of a Department of Justice lawsuit to block AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. That suit is set to go to trial in March.

The results demonstrate that Time Warner Inc’s risk may be limited if the Department of Justice “defies our expectation and succeeds in its antitrust suit,” Barton Crockett, a B. Riley FBR analyst wrote in a note.

Revenue from Home Box Office, rose 12.7 percent to $1.68 billion. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.65 billion.

HBO premium channel has more than 5 million online streaming subscribers, up from 2 million a year ago, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday.

Those online subscribers come from all online streaming offerings it works with, including its own HBO Now as well as Amazon’s Amazon Channels, AT&T’s DirectTV Now and Sony Vue.

Ad revenue was up two percent for its Turner division, which includes TBS, CNN and TNT, due to higher revenues associated with Major League Baseball post-season games and growth in Turner’s international networks.

Amazon Posts Largest Profit In Its History

Amazon's stock jumped more than 6% after the e-commerce giant topped Wall Street's fourth-quarter expectations.

According to BusinessInsider, the company reported its holiday-period results on Thursday afternoon.

Here's what the company reported, compared with what analysts polled by Bloomberg had forecast:
  • Revenue: $60.5 billion; analysts were expecting $59.85 billion.
  • Amazon Web Services sales: $5.1 billion; the one analyst who offered an estimate to Bloomberg was looking for $5 billion.
  • Earnings per share: $3.75; analysts were expecting $1.83 a share. The company's bottom line was boosted by a windfall of $789 million — or $1.59 a share — related to the new tax law. Without that benefit, the company would have earned $2.15 a share, beating estimates regardless,
Amazon gave only scant details about Whole Foods, the grocery chain it bought last year. The internet company's physical stores, which are largely its Whole Foods outlets, collectively brought in $4.5 billion in sales in the holiday quarter.

By comparison, Whole Foods as a standalone company brought in $4.9 billion in sales in its fiscal first quarter of 2017, approximately the same period a year earlier. But the sales results were actually ahead of Amazon's forecasts, Brian Olsavsky, Amazon's chief financial officer, said on a conference call with investors.

Amazon is focusing on cutting prices at the grocery chain, even beyond those it rolled out immediately after taking control of Whole Foods last August, Olsavsky said. But its integration of Whole Foods is continuing apace, he suggested.

The company has already placed some of its automated lockers — which customers can use to pick up products or return products they've ordered online — in Whole Foods stores. It plans to list Whole Foods products on the Amazon website and to introduce a customer rewards program, Olsavsky said.

Alphabet Misses Forecasts

Google parent Alphabet Inc missed quarterly profit forecasts as steady ad sales growth was offset by increased spending to promote its consumer gadgets, YouTube video app and cloud computing services, the U.S. technology company said on Thursday.

According to Reuters, though growing demand for pricey ads on mobile apps has kept Google’s core ad business surging, the company has moved aggressively to maintain dominance and diversify sales. Expenses jumped 27 percent to $24.7 billion in the fourth quarter from the year-earlier period.

Google bought ads during major sports events to market its new Pixel 2 smartphone and YouTube television service. It slashed prices on other hardware in the race to get online search and media streaming devices into people’s homes. Google continued to quickly add staff to its enterprise sales unit.

A growing portion of revenue has been spent on having the Google search engine set as the default option on products and services such as Apple Inc’s iPhone and Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

Ruth Porat
Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat told analysts in a post-earnings conference call that higher marketing costs coincided with holidays and that payments to partners such as Apple and Mozilla would steady in coming quarters.

Investments are paying off, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said, noting that cloud computing is generating $1 billion in quarterly sales. He said Google’s G Suite workplace software package had doubled its customers to 4 million in two years, as Reuters first reported earlier on Thursday.

“Overall, it was a good quarter. Advertising revenue is still up significantly,” Ivan Feinseth of Tigress Financial Partners said in an email.

Fourth-quarter sales increased 24 percent to $32.3 billion, above the average analysts’ estimate of $31.9 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Adjusted quarterly profit of $6.8 billion, or $9.70 per share, missed estimates of $7 billion, or $10 per share.

The profit figure excludes a $9.9 billion tax charge as Alphabet joined much of corporate America in reporting large one-time expenses in the fourth quarter due to U.S. legislation enacted in December that lowers corporate rates.

The tax law has given companies more affordable access to overseas profits, and Porat said Alphabet would make a “modest increase” in share buybacks with an additional allocation of $8.6 billion.