Saturday, February 10, 2018

February 11 Radio History

➦In 1906...a man who was instrumental in bringing The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet to the airwaves, James Jewell was born.  He was a busy actor, producer and director at radio station WXYZ, Detroit, where owner George W. Trendle opted to drop his network affiliation and create his own programming.   Jewell was made Director of Drama, and was part of the station staff that worked out the original concepts for The Lone Ranger.  He’s also credited with selecting The William Tell Overture as the theme. “Ke-mo sah-bee“, Tonto’s greeting to the masked Ranger, was derived from the name of a boys’ camp owned by Jewell’s father-in-law.  When he departed for Chicago in 1938 he became director of another classic kid’s radio serial, Jack Armstrong the All American Boy.
When that series ended in 1951 he became director of ABC Radio’s Silver Eagle.

He suffered a fatal heart attack in 1975 and died at age 69

➦1938…Bob Hope's first feature film, "The Big Broadcast of 1938," co-starring W.C. Fields, Martha Raye and Dorothy Lamour, opened in theaters and introduced Hope's signature song, "Thanks For The Memory."

➦In 1940... NBC radio presented “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street” for the first time. The famous Blue network series included several distinguished alumni — among them, Dinah Shore and Zero Mostel. The chairman, or host, of “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street” was Milton Cross.

Milton Cross
He would say things like, “A Bostonian looks like he’s smelling something. A New Yorker looks like he’s found it.” The show combined satire, blues and jazz and was built around what were called the three Bs of music: Barrelhouse, Boogie Woogie and Blues.

➦In 1941...1st Gold record presented (Glenn Miller-Chattanooga Choo Choo)

➦In 1949...the private-eye radio drama Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar debuted on CBS Radio, with Charles Russell in the title role.  It amazingly survived five changes in the lead actor during its 13 year run.

➥In 19609...The Payola scandal reaches a new level of public prominence and legal gravity, when President Eisenhower called it an issue of public morality and the FCC proposed a new law making involvement in Payola a criminal act.

What exactly was Payola? During the hearings conducted by Congressman Oren Harris (D-Arkansas) and his powerful Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight—fresh off its inquiry into quiz-show rigging—the term was sometimes used as a blanket reference to a range of corrupt practices in the radio and recording industries. But within the music business, Payola referred specifically to a practice that was nearly as old as the industry itself: manufacturing a popular hit by paying for radio play.

As the Payola hearings got under way in February 1960, the public was treated to tales of a lavish disk-jockey convention in Miami bought and paid for by various record companies. One disk jockey, Wesley Hopkins of KYW in Cleveland, admitted to receiving over the course of 1958 and 1959 $12,000 in “listening fees” from record companies for “evaluating the commercial possibilities” of records. Another DJ named Stan Richard, from station WILD in Boston, also admitted to receiving thousands of dollars from various record promoters, and though like Hopkins he denied letting such fees affect his choice of which records to play on the air, he also offered a vigorous defense of Payola, comparing it to “going to school and giving the teacher a better gift than the fellow at the next desk.” He practically likened it to Motherhood and Apple Pie: “This seems to be the American way of life, which is a wonderful way of life. It’s primarily built on romance—I’ll do for you, what will you do for me?” It was this comment that prompted President Eisenhower to weigh in on February 11, 1960, with his condemnation of Payola.

Dick Clark Testifies
But what explains the involvement of Congress in this issue? Technically, the concern of the Harris Committee was abuse of public trust, since the airwaves over which radio stations broadcast their signals are property of the people of the United States. However, 1960 was also an election year, and Rep. Harris and his colleagues on the Subcommittee were eager to be seen on the right side of a highly visible “moral” issue. Though it is widely agreed that the famous 1960 hearings on Payola merely reorganized the practice rather than eradicating it, those hearings did accomplish two very concrete things that year: they threatened the career of American Bandstand‘s Dick Clark and they destroyed the man who gave rock and roll its name, the legendary Cleveland disk jockey Alan Freed.

➦In 1964...At the Colosseum in Washington, DC, the Beatles played their first U.S. concert. They sang "Roll Over Beethoven," "From Me to You," "I Saw Her Standing There," "This Boy," "All My Loving," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "Please Please Me," "Till There Was You," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Twist and Shout," and "Long Tall Sally."

Because of the stage setup, the band was forced to move their equipment three separate times in order to give everyone in the audience a chance to see them. The opening acts were Tommy Roe, the Caravelles, and the Chiffons.

➦In 1993...the Howard Stern Radio Show began airing on on WRQI-FM in Rochester, New York.

➦In 1994…Actor William Conrad, who provided the voice of Matt Dillon in the radio version of "Gunsmoke," died of heart failure at 73.

➦In 2012…Whitney Houston died at the age of 48. Six weeks later, the Los Angeles Coroner's report indicated Houston drowned accidentally and autopsy results revealed heart disease and her recent and chronic cocaine use were contributing factors. It was unclear if she suffered a heart attack before drowning.

➦In 2013…Bassist/Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Rick Huxley, a founding member (1958-1970) of the Dave Clark Five, died after battling emphysema at the age of 72.

➦In 2013…Foreign correspondent Tom Aspell, a 28-year veteran of NBC News, died of lung cancer at age 62.

➦In 2015…Veteran CBS News correspondent (60 Minutes) Bob Simon died when the car in which he was a passenger was involved in an accident in New York City at age 73.

Boston Radio: WEEI Suspends Talker Christian Fauria

Christian Fauria
WEEI has suspended host Christian Fauria for five days for mocking Don Yee, the agent for Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, by using a racially stereotyped Asian accent on Friday’s program.

In a statement posted on late Friday night, the station said Fauria’s comments were “an insensitive and ill-conceived attempted at humor” and that it did not “support or condone” his words.

Fauria, a former Patriots tight end and co-host of the midday “Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria” show, mocked Yee while discussing reporter Ron Borges’s erroneous story in Friday’s Boston Herald.

Don Yee
Borges was pranked via text by a sports radio listener pretending to be Yee, telling him that Brady would skip the Patriots’ offseason organized team activities unless he was paid like Garoppolo, his former backup who signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract with the 49ers Thursday.

The texts between the fake Yee and Borges became public Friday morning. Fauria and his co-hosts decided to do a dramatic reading of the texts on their program.

Fauria, designated to read the fake Yee portions of the text exchange, said, “I’m gonna be Don Yee. For me, I don’t know why, Don Yee sounds like an Asian guy.” He then commenced reading the lines with an over-the-top Asian accent while his co-hosts laughed.

Eventually, the show played audio of the real Don Yee talking. He is of Chinese descent, but he was born in Sacramento, Calif., and does not speak with any distinct accent. Fauria began reading the comments in a normal voice, but slipped back into his accent once because, he said, “It’s more fun this way.”

After WEEI announced his suspension Friday night, Fauria took to Twitter to apologize:

The controversy is WEEI’s second in as many weeks. Last Monday, fill-in host Alex Reimer was suspended indefinitely after using a disparaging phrase while referring to Brady’s 5-year-old daughter.

Meanwhile, The Boston Herald released a statement Friday afternoon addressing Ron Borges' column from earlier in the day, which appeared in the Friday edition of the paper.

"A column by Ron Borges in today’s Herald regarding Patriot Tom Brady’s salary discussions was based on information which proved to be false," it reads. "The Herald apologizes to Brady, his agent Don Yee and the Patriots, and to our readers for this erroneous report. Borges’ column has been suspended pending further review."

Kirk & Callahan revealed Friday morning that a texter "Nick in Boston" was pretending to be Tom Brady's agent Don Yee when texting Borges. The texts informed Borges that Brady was intent on sitting out the Patriots' OTAs unless he was compensated like his former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, who agreed to the largest deal in NFL history (5 years, $137.5 million) Thursday.

Report: FCC, States On Collision Course

State governments are becoming pivotal players in the battle over net neutrality. In recent weeks, legislatures from California to Massachusetts have introduced bills aimed at restoring the Federal Communications Commission's broadband rules, which banned Internet providers from arbitrarily speeding up or slowing down websites.

The Washington Post reports the initiatives have put states on a collision course with the FCC. But now a new tactic gaining momentum among governors threatens to complicate the debate further. Their novel approach, analysts say, is largely untested in court — and it could drive the fight over the Internet's future into hazy legal territory.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) this week became one of the latest to adopt the strategy, signing an executive order that effectively forces Internet service providers (ISPs) that do business with the state to abide by strong net neutrality rules.

Rather than directly regulating the broadband industry, the executive order imposes procurement obligations on state agencies. Under the order, state officials contracting with ISPs for service may do so only if the providers agree not to block or slow websites, or to offer websites faster delivery to consumers in exchange for an extra fee.

As a large consumer of Internet service, said Murphy, the state may be able to pressure ISPs into granting New Jersey residents the same equal-access protections afforded to the government.

The decision comes weeks after Montana and New York officials signed virtually identical orders. The state of Hawaii this week also joined the group.

The orders could contradict the FCC's new rules on net neutrality, which claim to “preempt any state or local requirements that are inconsistent” with the agency's deregulatory agenda. (The FCC declined to comment.) But whether a court will agree with the FCC's approach is unclear. The debate over net neutrality is headed into uncharted waters, analysts say.

Most Media Stocks Take A Hit During Wild Week

U.S. stocks closed their most turbulent week in years with a sharp swing higher, temporarily stemming the bleeding in the market but doing little to quell investors’ fears of a prolonged downturn ahead.

The Wall Street Journal reports major U.S. indexes ended the week more than 5% lower, their worst loss in more than two years. Investors described the volatility as a shock after more than a year of tranquility in markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average—which rallied 330 points, or 1.4% Friday—had swung at least 1,000 points in all but one day this week and changed direction a total of 53 times.

After dropping more than 3% on Monday and Thursday, the Dow and S&P 500 entered correction territory—a fall of more than 10% from their highs two weeks ago.

Dow Jones' U.S. Broadcasting & Entertainment index was down 6% to 1,269.53 and the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index was down 5.7% to 851.55, more or less following the Dow Jones Industrial index dipping down 5.2% to 24,190.

For the week, Comcast Corp. lost 6.2% to $38.57; Walt Disney was down 5.2% to $103.09; CBS was off 4.8% to $52.76; Time Warner was down 4.5% to $92.40; and Discovery gave back 5% to $22.61.

MediaPost reports 21st Century Fox did generally better than most -- off 2.7% to $35.73.

Two major losers were traditional pay TV providers: Charter Communications, down 10% to $349.43 and Dish Network sinking 7.3% to $43.40.

For the week, Viacom was the rare media stock to move higher -- 2% to $32.87 -- while AMC Networks barely moved, slipping 0.3% to $50.94. Scripps Networks Interactive sank 1.5% to $86.61.

Major digital media/technology stocks were generally affected more than traditional media, with Facebook down 7.5% to $176.11, Amazon losing 6.3% to $1,339, Netflix off 6.7% to $249.47, and Google moving backwards 6.5% to $1,046.

Big pure-play TV station groups performed generally better than traditional media and digital media stocks: Sinclair Broadcast Group was down 3.6% to $34.95; Tribune Media slipped 1.1% to $42.19; Tegna was off 4.8% to $13.34; and Nexstar Media Group dipped 4.8% to $71.05.

Dayton Radio: Justin Kinner Named PD At WING-AM

Justin Kinner
Alpha Media, Dayton, OH, has named Justin Kinner Program Director of Sports WING 1410 AM.

Justin was previously working as the afternoon drive host, and interim PD of WING-AM. He also has experience as an account executive in the market.

Alpha Media, Dayton Operations Manager, Bo Matthews commented on the announcement, “It was clear from the moment I arrived that Justin was the guy to become the new PD of WING-AM. I wish I could bottle up his passion and excitement and pass it around.”

WING 1410 AM (5 kw, DA-N)
“I am thrilled to be named the new Program Director for 1410 WING-AM. I started with this station back in 2014 and to now have the opportunity to be the PD for the station that brought me into this business is a really cool thing and a great feeling,” remarked Justin.

SC Radio: WCZZ Greenwood Flipping To Fox Sports

Broomfield Broadcasting, which owns A/C WZSN Sunny 103.5 FM and WCZZ AM 1090 in Greenwood, SC will be flipping WCZZ to  sports talk in early March.

The Index-Journal reports the company has a new W274CC FM translator at 102.7, and that station and AM 1090 will broadcast local and national sports talk. The target date for the start is March 5.

The AM station, currently known as Rejoice 1090, has been airing Gospel music for the past 11 years.

“We have decided that, for revenue reasons, and for the lack of a sports talk station in the community, to go to Fox Sports,” said Dave Fezler, the station’s general manager. “The revenue for our Gospel station did not meet expectations. We really wanted to provide the community with something like that, but it didn’t work out. After all these years, we’ve decided to make a change.”

WCZZ 1090 AM (5Kw-D, 2.2 Kw-N)
The 102.7 FM station will air Fox Sports talk radio 24 hours a day. The AM station will broadcast sports talk from sunrise to sunset. Fox Sports talk radio’s lineup includes popular shows featuring Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, Rich Eisen and others. In addition, program director Tom Karel is planning to have local sports talk from 3-5 p.m. during the week.

W274CC 102.7 FM (250 watts)
Greenwood High School football will continue to be carried on Sunny 103.5 FM during the fall.

“I am excited,” Karel said about his role. “It’s a chance to get the community involved and give those athletes a chance to showcase what they can do.”

Traditional TV Remains Fav For Olympics Viewing

For the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, NBC is making a big push with digital broadcasting, livestreaming 1,800 hours of coverage — what the network called a record for a Winter Olympics. But more than three-quarters of likely U.S. viewers say they plan to watch the games through traditional television broadcasts.

In a Morning Consult poll, conducted among 2,201 U.S. adults, 62 percent, or 1,354 people, said they were very or somewhat likely to watch the games. The margin of error for the overall poll is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Of the 1,354 likely viewers, 78 percent said they plan to watch the games only or mostly on television, compared to 14 percent who said they will split their viewing equally between TV and online and 7 percent who said they will watch mostly or only online. The subsample has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

For all the radical change that’s going on regarding how people watch TV, there are still an “awful lot” of people who watch TV the old-fashioned way: on a television set, said Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. That number increases with a global event such as the Olympics.

“These are not just television shows,” Thompson said in a Feb. 8 phone interview. “They’re rituals, and a TV set makes a better altar on which to consume a ritual than a mobile device.”

Livestreaming is a time commitment to a full event, while the TV broadcasts that NBC will air in the United States are “not quite highlight reels, but certainly compressed,” Thompson said.

Branding Expert Simon Mainwaring Tops NAB Session

Simon Mainwaring
Branding expert Simon Mainwaring will headline a keynote session titled “The Future of Profit is Purpose” on the Main Stage of the 2018 NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday, April 9. The session will focus on how companies can develop and implement purpose-driven strategy to optimize overall business results.

Mainwaring will explain the business perspective of “conscious capitalism,” which refers to companies that serve the interests of all stakeholders, from investors and employees to consumers and local communities. Separate vignettes will highlight how companies are uniquely positioning themselves to thrive in today’s crowded marketplace by operating with a distinct purpose.

Roy Spence
Following the keynote, attendees will have the opportunity to engage in a Q&A with Mainwaring and marketing and advertising executive Roy Spence during a session titled “Implementing Conscious Capitalism at Your Station.” Spence will provide in-depth information and examples of how broadcast industry professionals, specifically station management, can drive profits by capitalizing on new and pre-existing public service initiatives.

“The most successful broadcasters understand that it’s good business to ‘do good’ in the community,” said NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton. “This session will reveal how the purpose-based business model can create a real and competitive edge for a range of industries.”

Simon Mainwaring is the founder and CEO of We First, a consultancy that helps develop purpose-driven brands like TOMS, Virgin, Timberland, Coca-Cola and numerous others. His book “We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World” is a “New York Times,” “Wall Street Journal” and Amazon bestseller. He previously worked in the creative departments for some of the world’s top advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Wieden & Kennedy, and Ogilvy.

February 10 Radio History

➦In 1925...WTIC-AM in Hartford, CT signed-on.

WTIC AM dates back to 1925 when it came on the air with 500 watts of power from the 6th floor of the Travelers 26 Grove St bulding in Hartford where there were seven studios, most or all with control rooms. The station was licensed to the Travelers Insurance Company ("TIC") and had studios in downtown Hartford.

The 1931 CT State Register shows WTIC, owned by Travelers Broadcasting Service, operating on 1060 Khz with 50,000 watts, the most powerful station in the state.  The transmitter, referred to as "old number one" was the first 50,000 watt transmitter ever manufactured by RCA and has serial number 001. This RCA 50 transmitter was the first high power commercial transmitter to use 100-kilowatt tubes, the first to use mercury-vapor type rectifiers throughout, and the first capable of true 100 percent modulation of its full rated 50-kilowatt carrier output.

By 1941 they had changed frequency to 1080 khz.  WTIC is now owned by CBS Radio.

Bob Steele
WTIC is known for its historic time tone, which is a broadcast of the Morse code letter "V" every hour on the hour since 1943. This makes it one of the oldest continuously broadcasting radio time tones in the world. WTIC employs a GPS master clock system that fires the custom-built time-tone generator shortly before the top of the hour, timed such that the final tone of the sequence occurs precisely on the hour (Even though everything else heard on the station is on a 10-second delay), and listeners have been setting their watches to WTIC for many years. The notes of the sequence were pitched to mimic the famous opening sequence of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, whose "short-short-short-long" rhythm matches that of the Morse code letter "V". The Morse code letter "V" for Victory was selected during the height of WWII.

WTIC's best-known personality was Bob Steele, who started with the station in 1936 and stayed with WTIC for his entire sixty-six year career, ending with his death on December 6, 2002 at the age of 91.

Steele continued to broadcast a 5:30 - 10:00 AM Monday-Saturday morning show for WTIC for fifty-five years, scaling back to Saturdays only after September 1991; by the time of his last broadcast in November 2002, he was only heard on the first Saturday morning of every month. Despite WTIC's various format changes over the years, Steele's show (which featured musical standards, farm news and prices early in the morning, novelty songs, silly jokes, horrible puns ("...and the weather for Mexico City is chili today, hot tamale") and a regular "Word of the Day" segment - even long after WTIC itself had abandoned music for a focus on news/talk remained unchanged throughout its run, making it perhaps the longest-running radio program in history to have never undergone a significant format change.

➦In 1959...Link Wray performed his controversial instrumental "Rumble" on ABC-TV's "American Bandstand." Many radio stations had refused to play the record only because of the danger implied in its title.

➦In singer, Lionel Cartwright Ohio, was born. He was famous for the song "I Watched it on the Radio".

➦In 1964...Johnny Holliday starts at 1010 WINS

➦In 1989…Hockey broadcaster Dan Kelly, best known for his radio play-by-play coverage of the St. Louis Blues for more than two decades, died of lung cancer at 52.

➦In 1996...“The New” WKTU officially debuts at 103.5 FM.

After dropping its previous Country format, WYNY then began stunting on February 5 at 6am with a simulcast of WRCX/Chicago. On February 6, at 6 AM, the simulcasting switched to Mainstream Urban-formatted KKBT/Los Angeles. On February 7, at 6 AM, the simulcasting switched to Talk-formatted WLUP/Chicago. On February 8, at 6 AM, the simulcasting switched to AC-formatted KIOI/San Francisco. On February 9, from 6 AM to 6 PM, the simulcast switched to Alternative-leaning Top 40 WXKS-FM/Boston. At 6 PM, the simulcasting of sister stations ended.

On February 10, the station changed its call letters back to WKTU and returned to a dance-based CHR format; WKTU's first song was "Gonna Make You Sweat" by C&C Music Factory. The station instantly skyrocketed to number one in the Arbitron ratings, although in the decade since, they have cooled down considerably. Drag performer RuPaul co-hosted mornings with Michelle Visage, Lisa Taylor and Freddie Colon around this period, further helping their ratings. Sean "Hollywood" Hamilton and Goumba Johnny followed in mornings from 1998-1999.

By 2002, the moderate amount of rap played on the station was gone and the station evolved into more of a Hot Rhythmic AC.

➦In 2004...Rick Dees announced he was leaving the morning show at KIIS-FM, Los Angeles, after 22 years at its helm. (Video is from 2007.) Click Here for his final KIIS-0FM Show.

➦In 2015…"NBC Nightly News" managing editor and anchor Brian Williams was suspended by the network for six months without pay following an internal review of comments he made on the air about his experiences in the early days of the Iraq war. In June, NBC announced that Lester Holt would be the new anchor of "Nightly News" and Williams would transfer to the company's cable channel, MSNBC.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Philly Radio: Jon Ritchie Off WIP After DUI, Assault

Jon Ritchie
SportsRadio WIP 94.1 FM host and former Eagles fullback Jon Ritche was arrested for DUI early Friday morning, hours after an estimated 700,000 Birds fans descended on Center City to attend an Eagles parade to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl championship

According to a criminal docket filed in Philadelphia Municipal Court, Ritchie, 43, faces charges for DUI, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. He was released without bail, and his next court date is scheduled for Mar. 14.

According to, WIP referred all inquires to Entercom, the station’s parent company. So far, there has been no response to a request for comment.

Ritchie wasn’t on air Friday during his WIP midday show, which he has co-hosted since Oct. 2017 alongside Joe DeCamara. Former Eagles offensive lineman Tra Thomas filled in for Ritchie on Friday.

Atlanta Radio: Frank Ski & Wanda Return To WVEE

Entercom has announced the return of Frank Ski as morning host on WVEE 103.3 FM V-103, The People’s Station in Atlanta.

Ski will re-join his former morning co-host Wanda Smith on the newly titled “Frank & Wanda in the Morning,” beginning Monday. Joe Taylor, known as “Miss Sophia,” will also return to the show with her signature “Girl Talk” segment and entertainment updates. The morning show will air weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

“Frank & Wanda have been an integral part of our local Atlanta community for well over a generation. We are excited to be able to bring the team back together to re-connect with our listeners and build on our ongoing commitment to entertain, inform and inspire,” said Rick Caffey, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Atlanta. “In addition, the show will be an integral part of V-103’s digital content initiatives.”

“We’re ecstatic to reunite as co-hosts and be back on the air at V-103,” said Wanda. “I’m looking forward to welcoming Frank back as co-host.”

“Atlanta is our home and we wake up every day with a new drive to serve our community and add new energy and flavor to our listeners’ morning commute,” continued Frank. “We look forward to sharing great inspirational information and having a whole lot of fun with longtime fans and can’t wait to invite new listeners to the show.”

WVEE 103.3 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
The “Frank and Wanda Morning Show” aired on Atlanta’s V-103 from 1998 to 2012. During that time, it quickly rose to become a listener favorite due to its humorous take on news and lifestyle issues.

NBC Cuts Ads By 30% For Olympic Opening

As NBC Sports prepares to air the Winter Olympics opening ceremony tonight, it is hoping to avoid the backlash that plagued the Rio kickoff. This time around, NBC is reducing the ad load in its primetime coverage of the opening ceremony by 30 percent, while also livestreaming the event for the first time, 14 hours before its tape-delayed primetime coverage.

This year’s primetime opening ceremony telecast will also look very different than Rio’s: it’s being hosted by Katie Couric and Mike Tirico, who will make his debut as NBC’s primetime Olympic host in Pyeongchang.

Beginning at 6 a.m. ET Friday, viewers can livestream the opening ceremony from Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on and the NBC Sports app. The livestream will include ads, but won’t feature commentary from Tirico or Couric; instead, audiences will hear “the event’s natural sound,” according to NBC Sports.

Katy Couric, Mike Tirico
NBC has livestreamed all Olympic competitions since the London Games in 2012, but had held off on livestreaming the opening ceremony until now.

Then, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT tomorrow, NBC will air its fully-produced telecast of the ceremony, hosted by Couric and Tirico and featuring interviews and profiles. As is the case with all of NBC’s primetime Winter Olympics coverage, it will be broadcast live across all time zones.

Dan Lovinger, evp of ad sales, NBC Sports Group, explained the network’s decision to feature 30 percent fewer ads than the Rio telecast did: “[It’s] not because of the feedback specifically, but because we wanted to create a more continuous viewing opportunity, and we thought it was important,” said Lovinger. “So there are fewer commercials in the opening ceremony than there was certainly in Rio.”

After the outcry over the amount of ads during Rio’s opening ceremony, NBC Sports told Adweek that the ad load was “very similar” to that for the London opening ceremony, but because viewing habits have changed so much in the past four years, the commercial breaks are now more noticeable to audiences.

Home Pod Sells Out On Launch Day

Apple’s HomePod officially goes on sale today, but anyone expecting to walk into an Apple store and buy one may be out of luck.

According to MediaPost, Apple’s site and Apple stores checked in multiple cities are currently sold out of the device, Apple’s relatively late entry into the smart speaker market.

A HomePod ordered today won’t be delivered until Feb. 22 at the earliest, according to the Apple site, though those who preordered are expected to receive them earlier.

However, BestBuy may have them with its website stating the devices ‘should be ready for pickup Friday.’

Apple significantly trails Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home lines of smart speakers entering the market, but Apple put a high emphasis on speaker sound quality.

“HomePod is a magical new music experience from Apple,” stated Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing in. “It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design that is so much fun to use.”

Sinclair, Tribune Extend Merger Deadline

Sinclair Broadcast Group has extended the deadline for the U.S. Justice Department’s decision regarding its proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media.

In an SEC filing, Sinclair and Tribune said that they had agreed to not consummate the merger before Jan. 30, 2018, but now that deadline has been moved to Feb. 11, 2018. Tribune and Sinclair also agreed to provide 10 days’ notice to the DOJ before closing the merger.

According to FierceCable, the development comes after the FCC, which is also evaluating the deal, paused its review process last month.

Sinclair’s bid for Tribune is reportedly on track for DOJ approval, but the company and the government agency are reportedly still discussing Sinclair divesting television stations in order to reduce its market control and national audience reach.

However, as Variety pointed out this week, recent FCC filings from Sinclair suggest the company may be seeking waivers in order to own multiple stations in top markets.

Last month, Rebecca Hanson, senior vice president of strategy and policy for Sinclair, and Miles Mason, counsel to Sinclair, met with FCC staff to discuss protocol for obtaining a waiver.

Among the changes the FCC made in November 2017 was the elimination of the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule, Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and Television Joint Sales Agreement Attribution Rule. Also, the FCC voted to get rid of the eight-voices rule, which bars an entity from owning two stations in one market unless eight independent broadcasters would remain.

In the meantime, Sinclair is reportedly pursuing a deal to sell as many as 10 TV stations to Fox.

Seattle-Tacoma Radio: iHM Extends 950 KJR Brand

Those tuning into Tacoma’s sports radio station on Thursday morning may have been surprised to hear talk about Donald Trump, immigration and the national budget.

Sports programming on KHHO 850AM was replaced Thursday with a new format packed with syndicated programs such as Glenn Beck (6-9 a.m.), (Jack) Armstrong & (Joe) Getty (9 a.m.-noon) and The (Todd) Schnitt Show (Noon-3 p.m.). The station, owned by iHeartMedia Seattle, now bills itself as South Sound Talk 850 and Tacoma’s Voice.

According to The News-Tribune, a twist of the dial, however, turns up much of the old sports programming. Also announced Wednesday was the launch of 1090 KJR on KFNQ, which features national sports coverage and syndicated programs such as Dan Patrick (6-9 a.m.), The Herd with Colin Cowherd (9 a.m.-noon) and Doug Gottlieb (noon-3 p.m.). The switch to 1090AM should give these programs a stronger signal in Seattle. The transmitter is located on Vashon Island.

KHHO 850 AM (10 Kw-D, 1 Kw-N, DA2)
Broadcasts of Tacoma Rainiers games will remain on 850 AM, whose transmitter is in Tacoma. The channel will broadcast some late night sports programming.

KFNQ 1090 AM (50 Kw DA2)
“With the re-launch of 1090 KJR and South Sound Talk 850, the KJR brand in Seattle just got even bigger,” said Rich Moore, senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Seattle, in a press release. The company also owns 950 AM, a sports radio station.

“We’re glad that we can continue to give the best in sports talk programming to our Seattle listeners,” said Rich Moore, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Seattle. “With the re-launch of 1090 KJR and South Sound Talk 850, the KJR brand in Seattle just got even bigger!”

Twin Cities Radio: KFXN Adds Carly Zucker To Evenings

Carly Zucker
Sports talk radio is about to get a big shake-up in the Twin Cities. For the first time in a decade, a woman will lead a program on iHeartMedia's KFXN 100.3 FM.

“Overtime with Carly Zucker,” will be a sports talk show about what players are like when they don't have their game faces on.

“Hopefully, this show will give them an avenue to talk more in-depth about their passions, what makes them tick, the philanthropic work they’re doing in the community—because there are a lot of athletes here and people doing a lot of good,” said Zucker.

Fox 9 caught up with Zucker at her home before “Overtime” debuted. She said she felt like something was missing on Twin Cities sports talk radio. She wanted a program going beyond the highlights.

“People like to find out the personality behind the athlete,” she said.

Zucker got her start in TV then made the switch over to radio where she could be more of herself. She's been part of KFAN’s "Power Trip" in the mornings for a while, but wanted to branch out on her own. However, that's not easy to do in such a male-dominated industry. In fact, there's a very short list of women hosting sports talk radio shows nationwide.

“There needs to be more women—you can hear Lil B and some other people on the station, but I think this will be a really neat voice to have on KFAN,” said Zucker.

KFXN 100.3 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
She has already received criticism that she's only getting this platform because she's married to Minnesota Wild hockey star Jason Zucker.

“That really shocked me because I started in this industry seven or eight years ago—I was working long before I met Jason,” she said.

Zucker says her husband is her biggest fan and of course he'll join her on “Overtime.”

Norfolk Radio: Michael Fournier New PD At WOWI, WHPT

Michael Fournier
iHeartMedia has announced that Michael “DJ Fountz” Fournier has been named Program Director for  WOWI 103 JAMZ, Norfolk’s No. 1 for Hip-Hop and R&B, and WHBT 92.1 The Beat, Hampton Roads Throwback Hip-Hop And R&B!

As Program Director, Fournier will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the stations’ music programming and for both stations’ imaging and branding. He will also serve as midday on-air host for 103 JAMZ. Fournier will report to Tias Schuster, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Norfolk.

“DJ Fountz is a part of the 103 JAMZ fabric,” said Angel Brown, Market President for iHeartMedia Norfolk. “He’s served as the station’s Assistant Program Director for many years and we are excited to have him at the helm of the No. 1 Urban station in the Norfolk market and lead programming efforts at 92.1 The Beat as well.”

“DJ Fountz is 103 JAMZ,” said Schuster. “He helped build the brand over the years and this just feels right. 103 JAMZ is one of our nation’s most legendary Hip-Hop stations and we’re confident that it will continue its market domination with Fountz leading the incredible team.”

Fournier rejoins iHeartMedia Norfolk, where he most recently served as the Assistant Program Director for 103 JAMZ. He began his radio career at the station over eighteen years ago as an intern working his way all the way up to Assistant Program Director for the station. During his time at iHeartMedia Norfolk, he also helped launch 92.1 The Beat in 2015.

WOWI 102.9 FM (50 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
“I’ve been with 103 JAMZ my entire career, so I’m thrilled that my journey has led me to now be the Program Director for such an impactful and historic station,” said Fountz. “I’m equally excited to be the PD for 92.1 The Beat. I’ve been a part of the station since it began and especially love the Throwback format. I can’t wait to help cultivate and advance these amazing brands.”

Green Bay Radio: Talk Host Jerry Bader OUT At WTAQ

Jerry Bader
Talk show host Jerry Bader was let go by Midwest Communications on Thursday. Bader said in a email it was because of his coverage of President Donald Trump, reports The Press-Gazette.

Bader's show was broadcast on WTAQ 1360 AM / 97.5 FM in Green Bay. The station also carries conservative hosts Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity, none of whom are as critical of Trump as Bader sometimes was.

Bader recently changed the tagline of his program from "Close captioned for the reality impared" to "Truth over tribe."

"Following my show today, management at Midwest Communications informed me that I was being let go. It was made clear to me that the reason was the manner in which I covered President Trump," Bader said in his email.

"I have always tried to tell what I believed is the truth and more recently to comport my behavior, on and off the air, with my Christ-following faith, after I was saved in 2016. I've always known it was MWC's microphone that I used each day. I have no regrets on how I've handled the show the past two and a half years."

WTAQ in a press release Thursday said Bader was no longer with the station, but provided no explanation for the departure. By Thursday afternoon, Bader's presence had been mostly removed from WTAQ's website.

"We wish Jerry nothing but continued success with his career at and we are thankful for his years of service to the Northeast Wisconsin community and other in our state," operations manager Jason Hillery said in the release.

Digital Subs Surge At The New York Times

The New York Times Co pleased investors with market-beating profit and revenue as digital subscriptions surged, underscoring the turnaround in its fortunes that had wavered as fewer people bought newspapers, reports Reuters.

New York Times has been discounting heavily to lure more paid subscribers to its online content and is packaging its subscriptions more attractively, with access to sought-after daily crossword puzzles and cooking recipes.

The company added 157,000 digital subscribers in the quarter ended Dec. 31, taking its total subscriber count to above 2.5 million. Revenue from its digital-only subscription products, including news as well as crossword and NYT Cooking Recipes, increased 51.2 percent to $96.3 million.

Subscriptions in the quarter also got a boost from the newspaper’s coverage of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment story, helping the company post the highest-ever annual subscription revenue of $1 billion.

NYT has faced frequent criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump who has called it “failing @nytimes” on Twitter and accused it of bias.

This has, however, resulted in a bump in subscriptions at the publisher, which is building on the online readership it gained during the 2016 presidential election by marketing unbiased reporting as a sales strategy.

Chief Executive Mark Thompson told Reuters that the newspaper will also benefit from Facebook Inc’s initiative to prioritize high-quality news outlets in its social media posts to counter fake news and sensationalism.

Still, New York Times’ print business continued to decline in the fourth quarter.

Print advertising revenue fell 8.4 percent even as digital advertising revenue rose 8.5 percent in the fourth quarter.

Despite falling revenue from print advertising, Thompson said he had no plans of shutting their print operations.

The company posted a net loss of $57.8 million, compared with a year-ago profit of $37.6 million, mostly due to higher costs and pension settlements.

In a separate announcement, on Wednesday, The Times said it had reached a multiyear agreement to print and distribute Newsday’s products out of the company’s plant in Queens.

News Corp Earnings Beat Expectations

News Corp. beat expectations in its second-quarter earnings report Thursday.

Here's how the company did compared to what Wall Street expected:
  • EPS: 24 cents vs. 19 cents expected, according to Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $2.18 billion vs. $2.13 billion expected, according to Thomson Reuters
  • Shares of News Corp. recovered nearly 1 percent in after-hours trading, following a decline of more than 2 percent in the intraday session.
Founded by global media magnate Rubert Murdoch, News Corp. commands a host of major media assets, including HarperCollins, the New York Post and financial mega-publisher Dow Jones, which owns The Wall Street Journal.

Digital revenues at Murdoch's flagship newspaper continued to rise in the second quarter, signaling a continued shift away from print publication. Digital subscribers, the company said, now account for 60 percent of Wall Street Journal's base.

The company's overall digital segment grew to 29 percent of all segment revenues in the quarter, up from 26 percent in the prior year. The Journal's daily digital subscriber base rose 28.6 percent year over year, hitting 1,389,000.

In a Thursday earnings call, CEO Robert Thomson lamented the "dysfunctional, and sometimes dystopian" digital media environment into which News Corp. was being shoehorned.

The company said print circulation had declined in the quarter, and attributed a 6 percent year-over-year decline in advertising revenue to "weakness in the print advertising market and the decision to cease The Wall Street Journal's international print editions in the second quarter of fiscal 2018."

Still, News Corp., like other major media outlets, has felt a boost in overall subscribers during President Donald Trump's often tumultuous first year in the White House.

Nielsen Reports 4Q Earnings Increased

Nielsen Holdings plc Thursday announced its fourth quarter and full year 2017 results.

Revenues were $1,761 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, up 6.3%, or 4.2% on a constant currency basis, compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. Revenues were $6,572 million for the full year of 2017, up 4.2%, or 3.8% on a constant currency basis compared to 2016.

“We executed well on our key initiatives in Watch and Buy while contending with rapidly changing markets in 2017. In 2018, we’ll continue to invest in innovation to drive growth and efficiency as we proceed on the path towards 2020,” said Mitch Barns, Chief Executive Officer of Nielsen.

Barns continued, “In Watch, we had a strong year. Our teams were relentless in their efforts to enhance our Total Audience Measurement system and drive client adoption across all of its components. As the market further evolves due to ongoing media fragmentation, Total Audience Measurement will serve as the foundation for our future, providing the measurement capability, scale, and flexibility necessary to best meet our clients’ needs. In Buy, we remain well positioned in Emerging Markets due to our investments in coverage and our balanced client portfolio. In Developed Markets, the U.S. remains under pressure as clients persist in seeking efficiencies in their own businesses in a difficult growth environment. We continue to drive the rollout of the Connected System and increase coverage and granularity within our Total Consumer initiative, both of which will enable us to drive growth for Nielsen and our clients despite the environment.”