Saturday, March 17, 2018

March 18 Radio History

➦In 1911...cowboy comic/singer Smiley Burnette was born in Summum Illinois.

He worked on a local radio station and in vaudeville after high school. Always interested in music, he was friends with Gene Autry and worked with him on the radio show “The National Barn Dance”.

He made 80 western movies with Autry, then in TV became a regular on Ozark Jubilee, and played Charlie the railroad engineer on Petticoat Junction.

He died from leukemia Feb 16 1967 at age 55.

Art Gilmore
➦In 1912...announcer/narrator Art Gilmore was born in Tacoma Washington.

He began in 1935 at Seattle radio station KOL, and a year later was hired at KFWB Los Angeles. He soon became the announcer for radio’s Amos ‘n Andy, The Adventures of Frank Race, Dr. Christian, Sears Radio Theater, Stars over Hollywood, etc. It was Gilmore who introduced Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong, reminding listeners to request free religious literature at the conclusion of “The World Tomorrow” on radio and TV. He narrated 156 episodes of syndicated TV’s Highway Patrol with Broderick Crawford, 39 segments of Mackenzie’s Raiders with Richard Carlson, and 41 episodes of Men of Annapolis. He died Sept. 25 2010 at age 98.

➦In 1922...WHN-AM, NYC signed-on at 833Kc

According to Faded Signals, WHN, New York City, signed on in 1922 as the radio station of The Ridgewood Times newspaper.  It was one of the city’s first radio stations, featuring a format of jazz and dance music of the era, as well as children’s shows, variety programs and newscasts.  The Loew’s Theatre Organization bought the station in 1928.

The station played jazz and contemporary dance music, including Sophie Tucker, Fletcher Henderson, and Duke Ellington, as well as broadcasting Columbia University football games. In 1928 the station was bought by the Loew's Theatre Organization.

During the 1920s the station's frequency changed to 830, 760, and then 1010.

In the 1930s it broadcast the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, which was picked up by the CBS Radio Network.

WHN made its final frequency change to 1050 in 1941.

During the 1940s the programs Radio Newsreel and Newsreel Theater were prototypes for what would later become the all-news radio format. The station broadcast Brooklyn Dodgers games with Red Barber as well as the New York Giants and New York Rangers with Marty Glickman.

In 1948, WHN became WMGM, reflecting the Loew’s then-ownership of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio.  The station continued its diversified format until flipping to Top 40 and rock music in the mid 1950s. While it included some R&B, country and instrumentals in the Top 40 mix, WMGM carried a narrower, more up-tempo playlist.

By the early 1960s, WMGM 1050 AM had several competitors in the Top 40 radio market.  WINS, WABC and WMCA all were playing rock, and WMGM was falling behind in the ratings.

Storer Broadcasting bought the station in 1962, renaming it WHN and dropping the Top 40 in favor of slow-paced “beautiful music” and standards.  Here’s what the switchover sounded like:

WHN also became New York City’s Mutual Radio Network affiliate.  Bob & Ray, WABC legend Herb Oscar Anderson and Jim Ameche were some of WHN’s on-air personalities.

The station picked up New York Mets baseball and launched Marv Albert’s sportscasting career.

WHN’s ratings were low and skewed toward older demographics.  After researching the market, Storer converted WHN to a country format in 1973.  Here’s an aircheck from WHN’s Bruce Bradley in 1973:

Mutual bought WHN in the late 1980s.  An FM competitor flipped to country from 1980 to 1984, hurting WHN’s ratings.

Doubleday Broadcasting bought WHN in 1985, and Emmis Communications bought it the following year. Emmis added sports talk in the evenings, keeping the country format during the day.

In 1987, Emmis announced WHN would become all-sports WFAN.  When Emmis purchased NBC’s New York radio stations in 1988, the company moved WFAN from 1050 AM to 660 AM, formerly occupied WNBC.

Spanish Broadcasting System purchased the 1050 AM license and became WUKQ, a Spanish Adult Contemporary station.  Spanish Broadcasting System wanted to swap 1050 AM with cash for the Jewish Daily Forward’s FM station, WEVD 97.9.  The deal was approved in 1989.

WEVD’s call letters and programming moved to the 1050 AM frequency, as covered in an earlier post on this blog.  The station mainly carried a brokered format of ethnic programs, talk shows and foreign-language programming.  By the mid-1990s, WEVD moved to a left-leaning news-talk format.

An agreement with ABC/Disney brought ESPN’s “The Dan Patrick Show” to WEVD in 2001.  A public campaign to save the old format failed.  On the final day of the news/talk format, soon-to-be-terminated staffers occasionally interrupted portions of the brokered programming with sometimes-profane audio clips. On September 2, 2001, WEVD became “1050 ESPN Radio.”

The call letters were changed to WEPN in 2003 after Disney bought the station, competing directly with WFAN’s all-sports format.  In 2012, WEPN’s programming moved to 98.7 FM.  ESPN Deportes later moved the 1050 AM frequency.

➦In 1939...future superstar Frank Sinatra made his first studio recording at Harry Smith’s studio in New York, singing the #1 song of the day, ‘Our Love’, backed by his friend Frank Mane and some musicians put together for the session.

➦In 1940...the daytime drama “Light of the World” was first heard on NBC radio. The soap opera was unique in that it featured the Bible as the center of the story line.

➦In 1965...Chicago Cubs broadcaster Jack Quinlan was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 38.

➦In 1974...Jim Kerr started at WPLJ NYC

Originally from Detroit by way of Chicago, Kerr already had a half-dozen radio years under his belt when he arrived at ’PLJ.

After 15 years there he moved to WPIX, WYNY, WMXV, WQCD and Y107, before settling into his current gig with long-time sidekick Shelli Sonstein at WAXQ (104.3 FM) in 2003.

➦In 1978..."Night Fever" by the Bee Gees, from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, peaked at Number One on the pop singles chart and stayed there for eight weeks.

➦In 1985...ABC announced plans to merge with Capital Cities Communications to form Cap Cities/ABC, the 11th largest corporate merger in U.S. history.

➦In 1991...Radio/TV personality, Jack McCoy, died at age 72.

➦In 2005...Pat Cashman left KJR-FM, Seattle, after 12 years doing morning drive.

Following his graduation from the University of Portland (Oregon), he worked at various small radio stations in Oregon. But after moving to Eugene, Oregon, he left full-time radio work to take a job at a TV station as a commercial writer and director. For a period of time, he even served as the station’s weathercaster, though his humorous bits often took more time than the weather during this brief stint.

Pat Cashman
He moved on to another TV station in Boise, Idaho – this time serving as production director. While there, he originated a legendary Saturday late night TV show called “Peculiar Playhouse.”

Pat moved to Seattle in the early 1980’s, hired as a commercial writer and producer by KING TV. In 1984, he became the station’s first-ever creative director – writing, producing and directing a vast number of award-winning promos and commercials. He was honored with Clios, Addys and Tellys

In 1991, Pat returned to his radio roots on 1090 AM Seattle). He hosted his morning drive time news/comedy show until 1994, when KING Radio was purchased by Bonneville Broadcasting – and moved Pat to become the morning host on another station (then KIRO FM, later called “The Buzz”).

In 1999 Fisher Broadcasting – KOMO Radio hired Pat to immediate strong ratings. When KOMO switched to an all-news, no-Pat format, he left the building… and concentrated on his freelance work.

In the summer of 2003 Pat joined the legendary KJR FM 95.7 as host of the morning show from 6 to 10 AM.

Liberty Media Could Make New Bid For iHeartMedia

iHeartMedia Inc.’s hard-won bankruptcy accord allows lenders to re-open the deal if bids emerge from a buyer like Liberty Media Corp. -- a development that some senior creditors would welcome, according to Bloomberg citing people with knowledge of the process.

Those creditors fought hard for language in the restructuring support agreement that lets them continue to explore “consistent alternative proposals,” said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. That clause was heavily contested in talks before iHM filed for court protection, a company lawyer said during a bankruptcy hearing on Thursday in Houston.

The group is open to options including a higher offer from Liberty or other strategic buyers who may be attracted by Liberty’s bid for iHM, the people said. Liberty Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei had publicly outlined an alternative bankruptcy plan in which Liberty would acquire a 40 percent stake, and has said he’s willing to consider boosting the offer.

No formal talks with Liberty are underway, according to the people. French advertising company JCDecaux SA has also expressed future interest in iHM’s healthy billboard subsidiary, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings.

Liberty, controlled by billionaire John Malone, had been buying up iHM debt in recent months with an eye on getting control of iHM’s radio business after it reorganizes in bankruptcy. In a late bid to play the role of white knight, Liberty and SiriusXM offered to inject $1.16 billion of new money and provide a loan to keep iHeart in business through the bankruptcy process.

iHM said in a statement accompanying its filing that it has enough cash on hand to keep operating without a new loan.

That doesn’t mean investors have heard the last of Liberty. Maffei told attendees at an industry conference earlier this month there are “enormous” synergies for the ailing iHM with two other Malone investments -- the majority-owned satellite radio giant SiriusXM Holdings Inc. and Pandora Media Inc., the online music company where Liberty took a minority position last year.

Sean Hannity Takes Swipe At 'Clueless' Shepard Smith


That’s how Fox News host Sean Hannity described his colleague, Shepard Smith, a day after the anchor of Shepard Smith Reporting called out his network’s opinion programing as “there strictly to be entertaining” and saying, “I wouldn’t work there.”

“While Shep is a friend with political views I do not share, and great at breaking news, he is clueless about what we do every day,” Hannity decried on Twitter Friday afternoon. “Hannity breaks news daily.”

According to, Smith’s comments about the opinion side of Fox News come from a lengthy profile written by Daniel D’Addario for Time, published to coincide with a new multi-year contract that will keep the 54-year-old anchor at the network he helped launch over 20 years ago.

“Our team’s commitment to delivering facts to our loyal viewers in context and with perspective, without fear or favor, is unwavering,” The 54-year-old anchor said in a statement.

Over the past few years, Smith has come to define the divide that has grown at the network in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president. On one side, you have Fox News opinion hosts and program, like Sean Hannity and Fox & Friends, which have quickly lined up to offer an almost unwavering defense of President Trump. On the other, you have the network’s news division, which includes Smith and anchors like Bret Baier, who attempt to report the news as fair and balanced as the network’s former slogan promised.

Smith, who has found himself at times directly debunking stories and segments offered by his colleagues on the opinion side, said he doesn’t let the difference between them get in the way of his reporting.

“We serve different masters. We work for different reporting chains, we have different rules,” Smith told D’Addario. “They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want. If it’s their opinion.”

“I get it, that some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that,” Smith continued. “I don’t work there. I wouldn’t work there.”

Keep Reading

Report: 26M Watch Amazon Prime Video

Around 26 million people watch content through Amazon’s Prime Video service, making it one of the largest streaming video services in the world, behind only YouTube and Netflix.

That data comes from Reuters, which obtained internal Amazon documents outlining viewership, subscription, and financial data for Prime Video.

MediaPost reports Prime Video is available to all Amazon Prime subscribers, or as a standalone offering for $8.99 per month. The company doesn’t reveal how many Prime subscribers it has, but Wall Street estimates range from 70 million to 90 million. With 26 million people watching videos through the service, that means there are tens of millions more people with access to the library of videos that aren’t yet watching.

For comparison, Netflix has more than 118 million global subscribers, while Hulu has more than 17 million subscribers. CBS All Access has more than two million subscribers. YouTube has two subscription offerings, but most of its viewership comes from its free video offerings. YouTube has said it has more than 1.5 billion unique worldwide viewers each month.

PA Radio: Ex-WHLM Personality Sues TV Stations

Former WHLM 930 AM radio personality David Reilly charges that “radical activists” and local TV stations conducted a smear campaign against him that falsely labeled him as “a racist, bigoted Nazi.”

According to the Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise, Reilly, 29, filed a defamation lawsuit this week against two TV stations, members of the local Democratic committee and the heads of two local charities, among others.

Last summer, Reilly used a drone to videotape the controversial “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He edited together a video montage of the footage set to music and posted it to his personal website.

Dave Reilly
That video, along with a previous interview of the organizer of the rally on his father Joe Reilly’s radio station, ignited protests outside WHLM that ended in Dave Reilly being forced out of his job.

Reilly maintains in his lawsuit that he was only an observer and videographer at the Charlottesville rally, not a participant.

And before the Bloomsburg protests and boycott against WHLM erupted, he planned to take over WHLM and “follow in his father’s footsteps.” Now the suit says, he is unable to find work in Bloomsburg and had to move to Kansas.

The lawsuit says that’s because his critics in the Columbia County’s Democratic party and in the community accused him of having racist, white supremacist views he does not hold. It seeks more than $50,000 in damages on each of four civil counts citing alleged defamation; negligence due to the defendants’ “wanton, intentional and malicious conduct;” defamation by implication; and privacy invasion by casting “a false light” on Reilly’s character.

Reilly and WHLM then became the target of a community protest. The radio station lost advertisers and faced “bankruptcy or going out of business” as a result of a boycott.

Among others, Reilly goes after two local television stations and their staff members in his lawsuit. Those include WNEP 16 and its reporters Suzanne Goldklang and Andy Palumbo, as well as WBRE TV and reporters Andy Mehalshick and Kelly Choate.

The suit alleges their coverage of the radio station protest and community outcry was either false or misleading and intended to cast Reilly “in the worst possible light.”

WNEP and WBRE have not commented.

The suit says “media defendants” acted with “reckless disregard for the truth” while the other defendants acted “with the specific intent of harming” Reilly, who was unable to find work in Bloomsburg following his resignation.

SonicAi Releases Free Smart Speaker eBook

SonicAi, the strategic audio partnership between Amplifi Media and Jacobs Media Strategies, has released the definitive eBook on how media companies and brands can best utilize audio to take advantage of the smart speaker explosion. “Look Ma, No Hands!” combines research from Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 2018 and other sources with Fred Jacobs and Steve Goldstein sharing their decades of experience in creating audio excellence by addressing five key areas:

  1. Why you need a voice strategy and not just a skill.
  2. How is that skill working?
  3. How will your skill stand out and be used?
  4. Building “sticky” skills.
  5. How to market and monetize skills.

According to Jacobs Media Strategies President Fred Jacobs, “We’re learning there’s more to winning in this space than just launching skills. Brands need a coherent audio strategy. We hope the eBook is a good start.”

“Brand managers need to do more than just check off the Alexa box. ‘Look Ma, No Hands!’ is a primer that every management team can benefit from in developing a voice-first strategy,” notes Amplifi Media President Steve Goldstein.

The free eBook is available at

March 17 Radio History

Kate Smith
➦In 1931...Kate Smith came out of vaudeville to begin a 3-decade radio career with Kate Smith Sings, a quarter-hour several times a week on NBC.

Phil Baker
➦In 1933...comedian Phil Baker was heard on network radio for the first time when The Armour Jester was heard on the old NBC Blue network. Baker rapidly rose to the top of the radio ratings, and was quizmaster on the original $64 Question (Take It Or Leave It.)

➦In 1935...KSO-AM in Des Moines Iowa call sign is given to KWCR.

Starting in 1925, KSO was authorized to operate from Clarinda, Iowa, on October 7, 1925.  The owner of the station was the A.A. Berry Seed Company. KSO was assigned the frequency of 241.8 meters (1240 kc) with a power of 500 watts. A used 500 watt Western Electric Transmitter was acquired from WHO, Des Moines. The first KSO broadcast was on November 2, 1925. The station used the slogan, "Keep Serving Others".

In 1927 KSO was moved to 1320 kc. Then, in the great revision of frequency assignments which occurred on November 11, 1928, KSO moved to 1380 with 1,000 watts power, but it had to share the frequency with WKBH, LaCrosse, Wisconsin. On January 18, 1929, KSO was ordered to reduce power to 500 watts; then, the share time order ended on February 28, 1931.

Iowa Broadcasting Co. entered into KSO's history in 1931 when it purchased the station from the Barry Seed Co. Iowa Broadcasting had been formed by Gardner and Mike Cowles, the newspaper publishing brothers who owned the Des Moines Register and Tribune, Minneapolis Star, and Look magazine. The sale from Barry Seed Co. to Iowa Broadcasting occurred on June 26, 1931.

For about a year KSO remained in Clarinda under Iowa Broadcasting ownership. One June 4, 1932, authority was received to suspend operations until October 1, 1932. The FRC granted permission in September 1932 for Iowa Broadcasting to move KSO to Des Moines. KSO returned to the air with studios and transmitter at the Register and Tribune building in downtown Des Moines on November 5.1932, but with a reduced power. KSO was now authorized to use 100 watts.

Note: On-Air Signs for KRNT and KSO
Major changes on March 17, 1935: KSO gained a sister station in Des Moines, KRNT, on March 17, 1935. To accommodate the new station, KSO moved to 1460 kc, a frequency previously used by KWCR, Cedar Rapids. KWCR was also owned by Iowa Broadcasting.

On September 11, 1989, the KSO call letters were retired.

Today, 1460 is owned by iHeartMedia. In early 2001, the call letters were changed to KXNO, and 1460 became an all sports station, featuring the Fox Sports Network.

Fred Allen
➦In 1956...comedian Fred Allen suffered a heart attack & died at age 61. He was star of his own radio show under several titles and sponsorships from 1932 to 1949, was featured on NBC radio’s The Big Show from 1950-52, and had guested on TV’s What’s My Line & Colgate Comedy Hour until his death.

➦In broadcaster, war correspondent & author Quentin Reynolds succumbed to cancer at age 62.   He was a host & narrator on several radio & TV programs during & after WW II.

➦In 1978…The fictionalized account of the early days of disc jockey Alan Freed, "American Hot Wax," widely considered to be one of the best rock 'n' roll movies of all time, opened in North American theaters, featuring appearances and performances by Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Tim McIntire played Freed. Fran Drescher, Jay Leno, Laraine Newman, and Jeff Altman were also in the cast.

➦In 1989...WABC 770 AM moved to 2 Penn Plaza in NYC.

➦In 2004...J.J. Jackson suffered a fatal heart attack at age 62. Jackson, originally a radio DJ, was also one of the first “VJs” on MTV when it first launched in 1981.

Jackson first gained prominence while working at WBCN in Boston in the late 1960s, then at KLOS in Los Angeles for ten years. Jackson was one of the first DJs to introduce Americans to The Who and Led Zeppelin. He was a music reporter for KABC-TV when he was tapped as one of MTV's original "fab five." As a VJ, Jackson hosted the long awaited and much anticipated "unmasking" of KISS. He was one of the few African Americans to DJ an "album rock" radio station.

After five years at MTV, Jackson returned to Los Angeles radio, first at KROQ-FM in 1987, then as program director of modern rock/alternative station KEDG ("The Edge") until May 1989. He later returned to KLOS, and hosted the afternoon shift at smooth jazz station KTWV ("The Wave") for one year.

➦In 2015…Veteran radio personality (KCBQ and KFMB-San Diego, WAVA-Washington, WKYC-Cleveland, KLIF-Dallas)/National Radio Hall of Famer Jack Woods (left), who in 1962 and using the name "Charlie Brown" was a founding member of the popular Charlie & Harrigan morning show (with his first on-air partner Ron 'Irving Harrigan' Chapman, succeeded in 1966 by Paul Menard), died after a stroke at the age of 80.

Charlie & Harrigan Charlie Brown, a.k.a. Jack Woods, and Irv Harrigan, a.k.a. Paul Menard, were first paired in 1966 at KLIF/Dallas before moving on to ratings success in Cleveland, Houston, and both KFMB and KCBQ in San Diego, where the duo invented “reconstructed syndication,” a way to spread their local success to more than 40 affiliates in both large and small markets across the country. Using specially tailored audiotapes delivered via UPS that included time checks, weather, and local information and references, listeners in every single city were sure that Charlie & Harrigan were just down the street.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Mid-State PA Radio: Cumulus Swaps WWKL, WZCY Frequencies

Cumulus Media announces that it flipped the frequencies of two of its Harrisburg, PA, radio stations Thursday, March 15, at 2pm ET. CHR station WWKL-FM (formerly known as HOT 93.5 FM) moved from 93.5 on the dial to 106.7 as the new HOT 106.7.

The 106.7 frequency had been home to Cumulus Media’s Country-formatted WZCY-FM, which segued to its new home at 93.5 as 93.5 NASH FM. HOT 106.7 FM’s strong signal will bring HOT 106.7’s CHR programming to a larger audience across the Harrisburg-York-Lancaster DMA. Concurrently, the stations’ respective websites launched their new online homes at and

Cumulus Media also announced programming enhancements at 93.5 NASH FM, which adopts the new moniker, “Your Neighborhood Country”. The new 93.5 NASH FM refocuses its music selections on more familiar, gold-based Country music, playing artists including Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton and George Strait. In addition, Afternoon On-Air Host and Program Director Charles “Chachi” Angelo moves to Mornings on the station with his Co-Host, Jenna Clay. Midday Host Alex Harley will move to Afternoons on 93.5 NASH FM, followed by NASH Nights Live in Evenings and The Blair Garner Show in Overnights.
Ron Giovanniello, Regional Vice President, Cumulus Media-Pennsylvania, said: “We want our listeners and advertisers to know that we are just moving their favorite radio stations. We have tried our very best to make this as simple as possible. The exact same HOT radio station that listeners and advertisers have loved for decades is now on the best and biggest FM signal in the entire Harrisburg-York-Lancaster, PA, DMA at 106.7 FM, allowing listeners to hear HOT everywhere. Likewise, our NASH Country radio station moves from 106.7 FM to 93.5 FM. At the same time, we are excited to launch some new programming elements to 93.5 NASH FM, including Chachi & Jenna in the Morning and Alex Harley in Afternoons. Also, 93.5 NASH FM will now play all your favorite Country music including the music that made Country great, mixed in with today’s hit Country.” 

WWKL 106.7 FM (14 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
John O’Dea, Cumulus Harrisburg Programming Operations Manager and WWKL-FM Program Director, said: “Since 2001 when we first launched HOT we have seen the station continue to go and grow in Harrisburg. By moving HOT to the massive 106.7 signal, we now have the opportunity to reach listeners across the Harrisburg, York and Lancaster markets.”

WZCY 93.5 FM (1.25 Kw)
Charles “Chachi” Angelo, WZCY-FM Program Director, said: "We're excited to be live and hyper-local with the best mix of Country music in all of the neighborhoods surrounding Harrisburg and York. I have so many people to thank: Alex Harley for all of his hard work with re-imaging the new station, our Cumulus leadership for putting their faith in our programming strategy, everyone in our Promotions, Digital, and Sales departments, and our families at home for their unwavering support. I'm looking forward to getting back to mornings with my on-air partner Jenna Clay, and waking up Harrisburg and York with local stories that affect their daily lives, all while playing the best of 'Your Neighborhood Country'."

Study: Non-Com N/Ts Benefit Most From 'Trump Bump'

After years of declining or flat ratings, news/talk stations grew their overall share performance in 2016 for the first time in at least five years. A new report from Gabe Hobbs Media shows news/talk increased its total week AQH share in the crucial adults 25-54 demo from a 2.4 in 2015 to a 2.5 in 2016.

That performance is an about-face from the 2011-15 trend when the share tumbled 2.9-2.4. Looked at another way, more than half (55%) of news/talk stations boosted their 2016 ratings while 25% maintained their numbers and 20% were down. That’s a major turnaround from 2015 when 52% lost ratings ground and just one-third (33%) improved.

Conducted by Gabe Hobbs Media using Nielsen data, the study tracks 122 news/talk stations in 44 of the top 50 markets in the 25-54 demo from Jan. 2011 through Dec. 2016.

Although the share increase was relatively modest, the number of AQH persons made a much bigger leap, up 14.5% year-over-year from a total of 2,600 to 3,000. All numbers quoted are for persons 25-54.

“The overwhelming majority of any ‘Trump Bump’ went to non-commercial radio,” Hobs says. Non-comm news/talkers leapt from a 2.5 AQH share in the money demo in 2015 to a 3.1 in 2016. Commercial FM news/talkers were flat at a 3.9 and commercial AM stations dipped 1.7-1.6.

iHM To Now Focus On Operations Vs. Debt

iHeartMedia paid $1.4 billion last year in interest on its debts. Its media division, which includes the broadcast stations, a popular music app and Premiere Networks that syndicates shows by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others, had $3.6 billion in revenue and $735 million in operating income.

Counting its global business in outdoor billboards, which is not part of the bankruptcy, the company had $6.2 billion in revenue over all.

The bankruptcy is the culmination of iHeartMedia’s yearslong dance with its creditors, reports The NYTimes.

It is also the latest and most high-profile shift in the tumultuous radio business, which has struggled to retain advertising dollars and compete with streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.  Cumulus Media, iHeart’s closest competitor, with 445 stations, declared bankruptcy four months ago.

Annual advertising, radio’s chief revenue source, has hovered around $16 billion for years, according to a report last year by the accounting firm PwC. By 2021, the report projected, that figure, for terrestrial broadcast stations, would reach only $16.6 billion, with a 10-year compounded annual growth rate of just 0.425 percent.

Bob Pittman
iHeartMedia has maintained that its radio stations remain popular and vital even as it has introduced apps and negotiated new licensing deals intended to control its royalty payments online.

“We have transformed a traditional broadcast radio company into a true 21st-century multiplatform, data-driven, digitally focused media and entertainment powerhouse with unparalleled reach, products and services now available on more than 200 platforms,” Robert W. Pittman, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement announcing the bankruptcy filing.

Lance Vitanza, an analyst at Cowen, said that iHeartMedia had done better than most radio companies in expanding its audience and adapting to new technologies, but that debt had weighed it down — a burden that could find relief through the bankruptcy process.

“Ultimately, when they come out of bankruptcy, they will be in a much better position,” Vitanza said. “We expect them to be able to focus their resources on growing their business rather than on debt service, which is what they’ve had to do for the last 10 years.”

Bain Capital: Too Smart For Their Own Good?

Bain Capital has had better weeks.

The NYPost reports the Boston private-equity firm was a lead investor in three leveraged buyouts — Toys ‘R’ Us, iHeartMedia and Guitar Center — each of which experienced a financial collapse in recent days.

The Mitt Romney-founded firm co-led the 2008 buyout of America’s biggest radio station owner, iHeartMedia, and on Thursday the San Antonio, Texas, company filed for bankruptcy protection.

In 2005, Bain was a lead investor in Toys ‘R’ Us, which announced Thursday it was liquidating its 730 stores, putting 33,000 jobs at risk.

And the 34-year-old PE shop was also the lead investor in 2007 in Guitar Center, the musical instrument retailer that this week proposed a debt refinancing that, if accepted by bondholders, would be considered a default, credit agencies said.

Twenty-two percent of Bain LBOs from 1984-92 went bankrupt, Applebaum wrote in her book, “Private Equity at Work.” That is a far higher percentage than the industry average, according to the book. It happened under previous leadership.

The $26 billion iHeart buyout seemed a stretch, even at the time.

Bain, and Thomas H. Lee Partners first agreed to buy iHeart, then called Clear Channel, in 2007.

But as the deal was set to close, the Great Recession began.

Lenders financing the buyout — including Citigroup and Morgan Stanley — moved to terminate the deal.

Bain and THL took the lenders to court and forced the buyout to be completed.

Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners control 68 percent of the voting stock of iHeartMedia, according to the company’s most recent annual report.

Tallahassee Radio: Jeff Horn New OM For Adams Group

Jeff Horn
Adam Radio Group/Tallahassee has  announced that Jeff Horn has appointed Operations Manager of the cluster and Program Director of Country WWOF 103.1 The Wolf.

He replaces Gregory "Big Moose" Juszczyk who recently relocated.

"We are thrilled to have Jeff on our team," said Hank Kestenbaum, Vice President & General Manager of Adams Tallahassee. "Jeff has spent 30 years in Tallahassee radio and his prior experience in Country Radio and in similar positions made him the perfect candidate for us, not to mention we have a prior history together. I guess you could say we put the band back together!"

"It is so exciting to be back in country radio and even more exciting to be with Adams Radio and The Wolf," said Horn. "I can hardly wait to dive in!"

WWOF 103.1 FM (51 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Previously Horn served as PD for WEBL in Memphis, WYZB in Fort Walton Beach, Operations Manager for iHeart Media Tallahassee, TRIAD Broadcasting, and North Florida Broadcasting. Jeff began his radio career in Miami with Y-100, 96x, and K-102.

VT Radio: Dana Jewell Returning To N/T WDEV

Dana Jewell
Vermont Radio Broadcaster and former WDEV Wake Up Vermont co-host Dana Jewell, known for his easygoing conversational manner and humor, will return to WDEV AM 550 and simulcast on FM 96.1, 96.5, 98.3, 101.9 on March 26, according to

Jewell was the signature morning voice six days a week at WDEV from 2001 to 2008 following the retirement of longtime morning host Michael Carey. For eight years listeners started their day with Dana. In 2008 Jewell left WDEV to pursue a career in sales.

Raised in Burlington, Jewell began his career spinning records at Arthur’s Disco in the mid-1970s. In 1980 he was hired at WSYB in Rutland for evenings. His radio career has included stints with WEZF, WDOT, WVMT and WEXP as well as Hall Communications. He founded the Hometown Clipper coupon mailer in 1991, and joined the morning team on WDEV in 2001.

“I have missed Radio Vermont since the day I left. It’s good to be coming back where I belong,” Jewell said.
WDEV 550 AM (5 Kw-D, 1 Kw-N DA-2)
“(Jewell) was a staple of WDEV for a number of years, greeting listeners each day with his friendly style,” said general manager and owner Steve Cormier, who took over the business from Ken Squier. “We have many listeners who remember Dana and will be happy to hear him on WDEV again.”

Fox News Signs Shepard Smith To Long-Term Deal

Fox News has re-signed longtime anchor Shepard Smith to a new multiyear deal, according to an announcement by 21st Century Fox and Fox News Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

“Shepard Smith is an exemplary journalist whose skill in anchoring breaking news is unrivaled. His powerful storytelling on both television and digital platforms has elevated our entire news gathering process,” Murdoch said.

According to The Hill, Smith, 54, began with the network at its inception in 1996. He will continue to serve as its chief news anchor and managing editor of breaking news and said in the deal's announcement that he is "honored to continue to call Fox News my home."

Meanwhile, Smith says opinion programming on his network doesn't "really have rules" and exists "strictly to be entertaining," in an interview published Thursday.

"Some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining," Smith told Time Magazine's Daniel D'Addario in a piece titled, "Shep Smith Has the Hardest Job on Fox News."

“We serve different masters," Smith, 54, added when discussing the difference between the opinion side of Fox News, including shows such as "The Sean Hannity Show," and the network's news division. "We work for different reporting chains, we have different rules. They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want. If it’s their opinion."

According to Nielsen Media Research, "Shepard Smith Reporting," which airs at 3 p.m., averaged 1.6 million viewers and 335,000 in the key 25–54 demographic that advertisers covet most, topping CNN and MSNBC in both categories.

Meredith Puts Magazines On The Block

Media company Meredith has hired advisers to explore a sale of its Time, Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated magazines following its $1.84 billion acquisition of Time Inc in January, people familiar with the matter said.

According to Reuters, the move illustrates how Meredith sees some of Time Inc's titles that attract primarily male readership as not playing to its core strength in women's magazines, which include Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle and Martha Stewart Living.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based company has tapped investment banks Citigroup and Houlihan Lokey to find potential buyers for the magazines, the sources said this week. There is no certainty that a divestiture will occur, the sources added.

While it's possible that media, telecommunications or technology companies could express an interest in the magazines, a sale to wealthy individuals, such as philanthropists or billionaires, is viewed by Meredith as more likely, according to one of the sources.

It was not clear how much the magazines could be worth. Fortune and Money generated more than $20 million in 12-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBIDTA), while Time generated more than $30 million in 12-month EBITDA, according to one of the people.

The potential divestitures underscore how Time Inc's primary attraction for Meredith was building scale in digital advertising. With its roots in traditional publishing, Meredith has been in a fierce competitive online race against internet giants such as Alphabet Incs Google and Facebook Inc for consumer eyeballs and advertising dollars.

The deal with Time Inc expanded Meredith's reach with internet-savvy millennials, creating a digital media business with 170 million monthly unique visitors in the United States and more than 10 billion annual video views.

Report: Podcast Boom Is Here To Stay

According to a new report from the Radio Advertising Bureau, 44% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast.

And that an increase from 2006 where the figure was 11 percent.

The 2018 Infinite Dial by Edison Research and Triton Digital found that podcasting remained an emerging source of entertainment and information with 73 million Americans listening to a podcast every month, 48 million Americans listening weekly, and the average listener taking in 7 podcasts per week.

RAB says that radio outlets and their personalities are tapping into the world of podcasting in a very big way with iHeartRadio, Cumulus/Westwood One, ABC News Radio, Entercom, Hubbard Radio and 44% of local radio stations producing and purveying original content. And through content and distribution partnerships with podcast production companies, the depth and quality of audio content has never been better.

Podcasting in its simplest form is audio programming, available on-demand, and offers a unique way for brands to partner with broadcast radio. The Westwood One Podcast Network has grown with popular podcasts that resonate with audiences, such as "The Ben Shapiro Show," "The Jim Rome Podcast," "Talk is Jericho." Last year iHeartRadio saw a 60% increase in podcast listenership as it's the standalone #1 podcaster among commercial broadcast radio companies, with 525 original and branded podcasts spanning 18 different categories, from business and sports to science and entertainment.

The podcasting boom is here to stay, concludes the RAB, and brands are recognizing that in a big way as they continue to leverage the medium to engage and tell their stories to targeted consumer groups.

Rihanna Ad Sparks Outrage, Snapchat Offers Apology

An ad on Snapchat asking users if they'd rather "Slap Rihanna" or "Punch Chris Brown" has spawned widespread outrage, including from the singer herself, and brought profuse apologies from the company behind the visual-messaging app.

CBS News reports Snapchat said it is investigating how the ad for a mobile video game called "Would You Rather" made it to the app.

Rihanna, who Brown was convicted of assaulting when she was his girlfriend in 2009, posted an angry statement on her Snapchat and Instagram accounts.

"I'm just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess!" Rihanna, 30, wrote. "I'd love to call it ignorance but I know you ain't that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it!!!"

"Shame on you" she goes on to say. "Throw the whole app-oligy away."

"This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service," a Snap, Inc. spokesman said in a statement. "We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process."

Snapchat said most of its advertising is bought through a self-service platform but is subject to review that should have stopped the ad. "Would You Rather" is now blocked from advertising there.

Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault for his attack on Rihanna in 2009 just hours before the Grammy Awards.

Spotify Relies On its Free Service To Acquire Paying Users

Spotify loses money on every new user that takes advantage of its free service tier, but that shouldn't concern investors in the long-run, Spotify chief financial officer Barry McCarthy told investors on Thursday.

"The ad supported service is also a subsidy program that offsets the cost of new user acquisition," McCarthy told investors.

The Spotify service comes in two tiers: First, a free version, supported by ads. And then, there's the $9.99 ad-free Spotify Premium service, where the company makes most of its subscription revenue.

According to BusiunessInsider, while the free tier eventually leads many customers into eventually becoming a Spotify Premium customer, it's still a costly investment: After a customer moves from the free tier to Spotify Premium, it takes 12 months on average for Spotify to recoup the costs of all the music they listened to without paying.

The company attributes those losses to the music licensing fees and royalties that it has to pay on every song that streams on its service. That's added up to $10 billion in music fees since Spotify debuted in 2008. In 2017, it meant that Spotify lost $1.5 billion on $5 billion in revenue.

Spotify sees its free service as a marketing and acquisition expense, McCarthy said, and believes that it will pay off financially for Spotify once the company has the scale necessary to grow its margins.

March 16 Radio History

➦In 1906...comedian Henny Youngman was born Henry Youngman in London. Famous for the line “Take my wife … please.” His big break came when he was booked on the popular Kate Smith radio show in 1937.  Had his own TV show (with boxer Rocky Graziano)The Henny & Rocky Show in 1955. His career was revived via repeated appearances on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in the 1960’s. He made 12 guest appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. He died of pneumonia Feb 24, 1998 at age 91.

➦In 1916...actress Mercedes McCambridge was born in Joliet Ill.

Orson Welles dubbed her “the greatest radio actress” after she had lead roles in many of his Mercury Theatre broadcasts in the 1930’s while starring on Broadway.  She guested on numerous radio dramas (Lights Out, Inner Sanctum, Studio One, Bulldog Drummond, Ford Theatre, Gang Busters, Abie’s Irish Rose, etc.) and had lead roles in both East and West Coast originations of I Love a Mystery. Later she had a healthy career in TV, and won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for All the King’s Men.

She died March 2 2004, two weeks before her 88th birthday.

➦In 1922...WKY AM, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma went on-the-air.

1944 Print Ad
"5XT" became the 87th licensed station in the United States on March 16, 1922. It was owned by the Oklahoma Radio Shop (Earl C. Hull & H.S. Richards). The station was assigned the WKY call letters and began broadcasting weekdays from noon to 1:00 P.M. and from 7:30 to 9:30 P.M. On Sundays, WKY was on the air from 3 to 4 P.M. and 7:30 to 9:30 P.M.

On November 1922, WKY announced a "silent night" policy, meaning the station would broadcast only four, and later three nights a week. This was so listeners could have a chance to tune into other stations in neighboring states.

Richards and Hull struggled to keep WKY on the air. In late 1925, Richards left the radio business, but Hull continued to keep WKY on the air by selling shares of the station to radio dealers in Oklahoma City. The dealers paid Hull a small salary to keep the station broadcasting; however they decided the financial drain had become too much. In 1928, WKY was purchased by the Oklahoma Publishing Company, publishers of the Daily Oklahoman for the hefty sum of $5,000 (over $63,000 in 2010 dollars).

The formal opening of the new WKY was set for November 11, 1928, but the station went on the air several days earlier to carry the presidential election returns as Herbert Hoover won in a Republican landslide.

By the following year, WKY was attempting to operate like the powerhouse stations in the east. Aside from the programming from NBC, everything broadcast by WKY originated locally.

In 1958, WKY became the second Top-40 formatted station in Oklahoma City, behind KOCY, (now KEBC). During the 1960s and 70's WKY fended off serious challenges from 50,000 watt rival KOMA 1520 AM.

Although KOMA was very famous outside Oklahoma City, due to its large nighttime signal (like WABC in New York), WKY was usually the ratings leader in the city itself (as WMCA won New York City ratings books from 1963–1966); WKY continued to top many Arbitron ratings sweeps into the 1970s.

Ironically, WKY mainstays during that time—Danny Williams, Ronnie Kaye and Fred Hendrickson—would go on to become "KOMA Good Guys" when the station flipped from a standards to an oldies format.

Today, WKY is owned by Cumulus and airs an Hispanic format.

➦In 1926...Comedian Jerry Lewis was born Joseph Levitch in Newark New Jersey. As well as comedian he was also a successful actor, singer, humanitarian, film director, film producer and screenwriter, known for his slapstick humor in film, stage, TV and radio. Lewis was one-half of the hit popular comedy duo Martin and Lewis with singer Dean Martin from 1946 to 1956. He hosted the live Labor Day weekend TV broadcast of The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for 44 years.  Lewis died of cardiovascular disease Aug. 20 2017 at age 91.

Dick Beals

➦In 1927 actor Dick Beals was born in Detroit.

His career began doing child voices on all three of WXYZ radio’s juvenile dramas The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet and Challenge of the Yukon. He may be best remembered as the voice of Speedy Alka Seltzer in TV commercials.  Due to a glandular condition his voice never matured, and he went on to do young voices on scores of Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera TV cartoon series.  A licensed pilot, in his later life he flew himself from his California home to faithfully attend Seattle OTR conventions.

He died May 29 2012 at age 85.

➦In 1929...WHP-AM, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania went on-the-air.   The origin of WHP actually dates back to 1925, when a small radio station, known then as WHBG signed on at 1300 AM, with a tiny 20 watt transmitter (today it has 5Kw).  The station was first owned by Skane Electrical Service, however, it was then sold in early 1927 to Mack’s Battery Service, who changed the name to WMBS, moved its location to Lemoyne, and changed it’s position on the dial to 1280AM.

The WHP name was crowned to the station in 1929, when the Harrisburg Telegraph Newspaper took over the station, and moved it’s dial position to 1430AM. The station later moved to 1460 AM, and eventually moved to its well known frequency of 580 AM in 1951.

Today, WHP is owned by iHeartMedia and airs a News/Talk format.

➦In 1947...U.S First Daughter Margaret Truman appeared on Radio in her professional radio debut, singing with the Detroit Symphony.

➦In 1956...WQXR 1560 AM boosted power to 50Kw, Today the call letters are WFME.

➦In 1963...The Peter, Paul & Mary single, "Puff The Magic Dragon," debuted on the Billboard Hot 100. It was banned by several radio stations whose management thought the song was about the joys of smoking marijuana. The group has always denied the allegation.

➦In 1964…Alan Freed was charged with tax evasion in a grand jury indictment stemming from the earlier payola investigation that ruined the career of the ex-disc jockey.

➦In 1983...Arthur Godfrey, WCBS Radio, died of emphysema at the age of 80.

Arthur Godfrey
Godfrey served in the United States Navy from 1920 to 1924 as a radio operator on naval destroyers, but returned home to care for the family after his father's death. Additional radio training came during Godfrey's service in the Coast Guard from 1927 to 1930. It was during a Coast Guard stint in Baltimore that he appeared on a local talent show and became popular enough to land his own brief weekly program.

On leaving the Coast Guard, Godfrey became a radio announcer for the Baltimore station WFBR (now WJZ (AM) and moved the short distance to Washington, D.C. to become a staff announcer for NBC-owned station WRC the same year and remained there until 1934.

Recovering from a near-fatal automobile accident en route to a flying lesson in 1931 (by which time he was already an avid flyer), he decided to listen closely to the radio and realized that the stiff, formal style then used by announcers could not connect with the average radio listener; the announcers spoke in stentorian tones, as if giving a formal speech to a crowd and not communicating on a personal level. Godfrey vowed that when he returned to the airwaves, he would affect a relaxed, informal style as if he were talking to just one person. He also used that style to do his own commercials and became a regional star.

Arthur Godfrey 1948
In addition to announcing, Godfrey sang and played the ukulele. In 1934 he became a freelance entertainer, but eventually based himself on a daily show titled Sundial on CBS-owned station WJSV (now WFED) in Washington. Godfrey was the station's morning disc jockey, playing records, delivering commercials (often with tongue in cheek; a classic example had him referring to Bayer Aspirin as "bare ass prin"), interviewing guests, and even reading news reports during his three-hour shift. Godfrey loved to sing, and would frequently sing random verses during the "talk" portions of his program. In 1937, he was a host on Professor Quiz, radio's first successful quiz program.

Godfrey became nationally known in April 1945 when, as CBS's morning-radio man in Washington, he took the microphone for a live, firsthand account of President Roosevelt's funeral procession. The entire CBS network picked up the broadcast, later preserved in the Edward R. Murrow and Fred W. Friendly record series, I Can Hear it Now. Unlike the tight-lipped news reporters and commentators of the day, who delivered breaking stories in an earnest, businesslike manner, Arthur Godfrey's tone was sympathetic and neighborly, lending immediacy and intimacy to his words. When describing new President Harry S. Truman's car in the procession, Godfrey fervently said, in a choked voice, "God bless him, President Truman." Godfrey broke down in tears and cued the listeners back to the studio. The entire nation was moved by his emotional outburst.

Godfrey made such an impression on the air that CBS gave him his own morning time slot on the nationwide network. Arthur Godfrey Time was a Monday-Friday show that featured his monologues, interviews with various stars, music from his own in-house combo and regular vocalists. Godfrey's monologues and discussions were usually unscripted, and went wherever he chose.

"Arthur Godfrey Time" remained a late morning staple on the CBS Radio Network schedule until 1972.

➦In 1983...NYC and L-A Air Personality B. Mitchel Reed, died at the age of 56.

He was born Burton Mitchel Goldberg in Brooklyn, New York.

After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he entered the world of radio while teaching political science at his alma mater.

Reed hosted the all-night Birdland Jazz Show at WOR (AM) in New York in 1956. A year later, he landed a job at KFWB in Los Angeles.

On January 2, 1958, KFWB became a Top 40 station known as "Coloradio Channel 98," and the DJ's were known as "The Seven Swinging Gentlemen." The lineup included Bruce Hayes, Al Jarvis, Joe Yocam, Elliot Field, Bill Ballance, and Ted Quillan. Reed held the 6-9 P.M time slot. Under Program Director Chuck Blore, KFWB became the number one radio station in LA.

He was known as "The Fastest Tongue in the West," for the speed in which he spoke to his audience. He left KFWB for WMCA in his home state of New York on February 7, 1963. He soon became part of a team of disc jockeys known as "The Good Guys," among them Jack Spector.

Reed went to London, England in pursuit of a band making headlines in hopes of breaking them in New York. The band was none other than The Beatles. His persistence paid off as it led to advance record pressings and exclusive interviews. This helped usher in "Beatlemania" in early 1964.

By 1965, Reed decided to return to Los Angeles. His last show at WMCA was on March 20. Thousands of his fans cheered him at the airport upon his departure. Many fans who were thrilled of his return greeted him when he arrived in LA. This ushered in his second stint at KFWB and The Wide Wide Weird World of BMR.

After attending the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, Reed realized he wanted to go in another direction music-wise. He met with San Francisco based DJ Tom Donahue over the frustrations of radio music restrictions. Donahue was a Program Director for underground station KMPX (FM). With no such music station in LA, Reed left KFWB and founded KPPC-FM in Pasadena. Both stations achieved more success than anticipated with the popularity of AOR programming.

Both stations ran into a conflict with their respective owners thus resulting in a strike. After the strike ended in June 1968, Donahue, got Metromedia to take on the AOR format at KMET (FM). Reed programmed what would become one of the first 24 hour automated music stations. It would go live in the summer of 1969. He left KMET for one year in 1971 to work at KRLA. He returned to KMET in 1972 where he stayed the next six years.

In 1978, Reed underwent coronary bypass surgery. He would leave KMET for KLOS (FM) in 1979. His lingering heart condition caught up with him on March 16, 1983. He died in his West Los Angeles home at the age of 56.

➦In 2012...Bell Canada, the country's biggest telecommunications company, announced it had agreed to buy Montreal-based Astral Media Inc. for $3.38 billion, giving the company more control over content for its cellphone, Internet and land-line services. The deal provided for the acquisition of Astral's 84 commercial radio stations, 22 English-language specialty television channels, and 13 French channels.