Saturday, April 14, 2018

April 15 Radio History

Jim and Marian Jordan
➦In actress Marian Jordan was born in Peoria Illinois. She is  most remembered for portraying  Molly McGee, the patient, common sense, honey-natured wife of Fibber McGee on the NBC radio comedy hit Fibber McGee and Molly from 1935–1959. She starred on this series opposite her real-life husband Jim Jordan.  She died of cancer April 7 1961 at age 62.

➦In 1912…After midnight, two wireless radio operators at Cape Race, Newfoundland heard the last of the RMS Titanic's distress calls.

At 2:27 a.m., the "unsinkable" ocean liner sank in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg the evening before.

There were 711 survivors. A total of 1,517 people died, of which 328 bodies were recovered. Those too badly damaged or deteriorated were buried at sea, and the remaining 209 were taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they were claimed from the morgues or buried over an 11-day period starting May 3.

➦In 1956…Columbia Records music director Mitch Miller, disc jockey Alan Freed, and two psychiatrists appeared on Eric Sevareid's TV program "CBS Sunday News" to discuss the "potentially negative effects of rock 'n' roll on teenagers."

➦In record company owner George Goldner died in New York City at 52. Goldner was one of the first to recognize that black groups could score on the pop charts if their records were produced with the white audience in mind. Starting with “Crying in the Chapel” by the Orioles in 1953, Goldner had great success with New York street corner groups. Some of the other acts he recorded included Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, the Crows and the Chantels. Goldner eventually gambled away most of the fortune he made with his dozen or more record labels.

➦In 1994...In Cleveland, WMMS-FM's Jeff & Flash, & entire station staff, were fired.

WMMS, aka "The Buzzard", ruled the Cleveland airwaves through much of the 1970s and 80s. The morning team of Jeff Kinzbach and Ed "Flash" Ferenc were at the top of the ratings until their departure in 1994.

➦In 2013…In Boston, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon, killing three people and causing injury to more than 260 others, the worst act of terrorism in America since 9/11. Two prime suspects were identified later that day as Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan was shot by police. An unprecedented manhunt led to Dzhokhar's capture on April 19. According to FBI interrogators, Dzhokhar and his brother were motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs, but "were not connected to any known terrorist groups."

R.I.P.: Radio Host Art Bell Dies On Friday The 13th

Radio host Arthur William Bell passed away Friday, April 13.

Arthur Bell, also known as Art Bell was the original owner of Pahrump based radio station KNYE 95.1 FM. And perhaps best known for his conspiracy theory in the paranormal, with his radio show "Coast to Coast" - which was syndicated across the nation.

The Nye County Sheriff's Office says Bell died at his home in Pahrump, Nevada.

Bell is scheduled for an autopsy later this week to determine the cause of death.

He was 72-years-old.

Art Bell
Semi-retired from Coast to Coast AM since 2003, he hosted the show many weekends on Premiere Networks for the following four years. He announced his retirement from weekend hosting on July 1, 2007, but occasionally served as a guest host through 2010. He attributed the reason for his retirement to a desire to spend time with his new wife and their daughter, born May 30, 2007. He added that unlike his previous "retirements", this one was permanent, while leaving open the option to return.

Art Bell III was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, to Arthur Bell, Jr., a United States Marine Corps captain, and Jane Gumaer Bell, a Marine drill instructor. Arthur Bell, Jr. died in 2000, and Jane Bell died December 23, 2008.

Bell was always been interested in radio, and at the age of 13 became a licensed amateur radio operator. Bell now holds an Amateur Extra Class license, which is in the top U.S. Federal Communications Commission license class. His call sign: W6OBB.

Bell served in the U.S. Air Force as a medic during the Vietnam War and in his free time operated a pirate radio station at Amarillo Air Force Base. He would make a point of playing anti-war music (like "Eve of Destruction" and "Fortunate Son") that was not aired on the American Forces Network.

After leaving military service he stayed in Asia, living on the Japanese island of Okinawa where he worked as a disc jockey for KSBK, the only non-military English-language station in Japan. While there, he set a Guinness World Record by staying on the air for 116 hours and 15 minutes. The money raised there allowed Bell to charter a DC-8, fly to Vietnam, and rescue 130 Vietnamese orphans stranded in Saigon at the war's end. They were eventually brought to the United States and adopted by American families.

Bell returned to the United States and studied engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He dropped out and returned to radio as a board operator and chief engineer, and had opportunity to be on the air a few times. For several years he worked behind and in front of the microphone. After a period of working in cable television, in 1986 the 50,000-watt KDWN in Las Vegas, Nevada offered Bell a five-hour time slot in the middle of the night. Syndication of his program to other radio stations began in 1993.

First a rock music disc jockey before moving into talk radio, Bell's original 1978 late-night Las Vegas program on KDWN was a political call-in show under the name West Coast AM.  In 1988, Bell and Alan Corberth renamed the show Coast to Coast AM and moved its broadcast from the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas to Bell's home in Pahrump.

Bell abandoned conventional political talk in favor of topics such as gun control and conspiracy theories, leading to a significant bump in his overnight ratings. The show's focus again shifted significantly after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Many in the media did not want to be blamed for inciting anti-government or militia actions like the bombing. Subsequently, Bell discussed off-beat topics like the paranormal, the occult, UFOs, protoscience and pseudoscience. During his tenure at KDWN Bell met and married his third wife, Ramona, who later handled production and management duties for the program.

According to The Washington Post in its February 23, 1997 edition, Bell was at the time America's highest-rated late-night radio talk show host, broadcast on 328 stations. According to The Oregonian in its June 22, 1997 edition, Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell was on 460 stations. At its initial peak in popularity, Coast to Coast AM was syndicated on more than 500 radio stations and claimed 15 million listeners nightly. Bell's studios were located in his home in the town of Pahrump, located in Nye County, Nevada; hence the voice-over catchphrase, "from the Kingdom of Nye".

Bell was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2006. He did not attend the presentation.

In 2008, Bell was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Denver Radio: Chelsea Perron Lands Middays At KWBL

Chelsea Perron
iHeartMedia/Denver has announced that Chelsea Perron has been named Midday Host for KWBL 106.7 The Bull, Colorado’s New Country.

106.7 The Bull’s weekday lineup kicks off with the nationally syndicated “The Bobby Bones Show” 5-10 a.m., Chelsea Perron from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., and Brian “B-Dub” Washington from 3 – 7 p.m. The station launched on December 18, 2017.  Perron will report to JoJo Turnbeaugh, Region Senior Vice President of Programming West Division – Denver Region for iHeartMedia Denver.

“An on-air opening with iHeartMedia in Denver always generates strong interest from many talented personalities,” said JoJo Turnbeaugh, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia’s West Division, Denver Region and Program Director of 106.7 The Bull.

“Chelsea was the clear winner. Her authenticity and unique ability to weave story-telling into her show made her the ideal match for the Bull Nation.”

Perron joins 106.7 The Bull from WDJX in Louisville, KY where she served as morning & midday host as well as Music Director. Previous to that she was hosting nights at WERO in Greenville / New Bern, NC.

KWBL 106.7 FM (100 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
“I’m extremely excited to join iHeart and the amazing team in Denver,” says Perron. “It’s not too often you get to be a part of a brand new station. Can’t wait to get back in the country format and work alongside JoJo and B-Dub!”

San Jose Radio: KUFX Adds Joey For Mornings

Joey and Chris Jackson
Bonneville International/ Bay Area based KUFX-FM 98.5 KFOX The South Bay’s Classic Rock Station welcomes Joey Vlazny to mornings beginning Monday, April 16th.

Joey most recently hosted mornings at KRBQ-FM Q-102 and afternoons at KOSF-FM. Joey’s radio journey also includes stops in Chicago, Dallas and now San Jose, California.

Concurrently, San Jose rock legend Chris Jackson moves to afternoons (2pm-7pm), the day-part where he started on KUFX back on March 4, 1991.

“Joey’s smart work ethic, strong creativity and passion for our business elevates our brand awareness” said Brian Figula, 98.5 KFOX Program Director. “I look forward to adding him to the team with Chris Jackson to dominate the San Jose radio market”.

KUFX 98.5 FM (10 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
“Not being on the radio was driving me nuts” said Joey. “Sleeping in till 10am every day was nice, but 3 months of that was enough. I was incredibly honored to even be considered to work on a South Bay institution like KFOX. Taking over mornings from the legendary Chris Jackson certainly adds some pressure to the gig, but I’m excited for the challenge”.

Huey Lewis Cancels News' Tour

Rock group Huey Lewis and the News have called off performing this year after singer Huey Lewis on Friday said he has lost most of his hearing and cannot “hear music well enough to sing.”

The group, which was one of the biggest acts of the 1980s with hits such as “The Power of Love,” “Hip to Be Square” and “If This Is It,” had been scheduled to play at least 10 dates this year, reports Reuters.

Lewis, 67, said in a statement on the band’s website that he experienced severe hearing loss earlier this year.
"Two and a half months ago, just before a show in Dallas, I lost most of my hearing. Although I can still hear a little, one on one, and on the phone, I can’t hear music well enough to sing. The lower frequencies distort violently making it impossible to find pitch. I’ve been to the House Ear Institute, the Stanford Ear Institute, and the Mayo Clinic, hoping to find an answer. The doctors believe I have Meniere’s disease and have agreed that I can’t perform until I improve. Therefore the only prudent thing to do is to cancel all future shows. Needless to say, I feel horrible about this, and wish to sincerely apologize to all the fans who’ve already bought tickets and were planning to come see us. I’m going to concentrate on getting better, and hope that one day soon I’ll be able to perform again." 
Sincerely, Huey
The singer said doctors believe he may be suffering from Meniere’s disease, an inner-ear disorder that causes vertigo, ringing in the ear and permanent hearing loss.

“I can’t perform until I improve,” Lewis said about his doctors’ advice after seeking treatment from three different clinics.

“Needless to say, I feel horrible about this, and wish to sincerely apologize to all the fans who’ve already bought tickets and were planning to come see us,” Lewis added.

Huey Lewis and the News were scheduled to headline at least six concerts this spring and summer. They were also scheduled to perform at the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco as well as open for Jimmy Buffett in Boston and Las Vegas.

Rock Hall Induction Set For Saturday Night

The Rock & Roll Hall Fame induction ceremony takes place tonight at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, and Bon Jovi, The Moody Blues, The Cars, Dire Straits and the late Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe are the artists being honored at the event.

TV and radio personality Howard Stern will induct Bon Jovi, and the New Jersey rockers are expected to perform at the ceremony with former guitarist Richie Sambora and ex-bassist Alec John Such.

Heart‘s Ann Wilson will welcome The Moody Blues into the Rock Hall. The band’s current lineup — featuring longtime members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge — will perform, while the group’s founding keyboardist Mike Pinder and original lead singer Denny Laine are expected to be in attendance.

Killers frontman Brandon Flowers will induct The Cars, whose four surviving members — Ric Ocasek, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson — will give a reunion performance. Weezer‘s Scott Shriner will fill in for late bassist Benjamin Orr.

The presenter who’ll induct Dire Straits hasn’t been announced yet, and only three of the band’s members will be on hand for the event: bassist John Illsley, and keyboardists Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher. Frontman Mark Knopfler and his brother, rhythm guitarist David Knopfler, won’t be attending.

R&B star Mary J. Blige will welcome Simone into the Rock Hall, while contemporary R&B singer Andra Day will perform in Nina’s honor.

Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard will pay homage to late gospel artist Tharpe, an early influence on the music that became rock ‘n roll.

A live stream of the ceremony’s red carpet will be viewable at the Rock Hall’s Facebook page, YouTube channel and official website starting at 5:30 p.m. ET. An HBO special featuring highlights from the ceremony premieres May 5 at 8 p.m. ET.

Reba Hosts Sunday's ACM Awards Show

Country music has grown youth-obsessed over the years, and stars don’t stick around for decades-long careers quite like they used to.

Reba McEntire, though, still claims her place in the spotlight. The 63-year-old Oklahoman released her self-titled debut in 1977. This year, she won a Grammy for Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope, her first gospel album, reports

McEntire’s not a staple on the charts like she was in the 1980s and 1990s. But she maintained a mainstream presence with her sitcom Reba in the aughts and has a didn’t-see-that-coming new role in KFC’s TV ad campaign.

On Sunday, she’ll return to a familiar gig as host of the Academy of Country Music awards, the second-most important awards show on the country music calendar. It will be broadcast from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. on CBS. She’s up for female vocalist of the year in a field of much younger competitors that includes Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert.

New Owner Plans To Move LA Times Newsroom

A California health-care tycoon stunned staffers at The Los Angeles Times on Friday, telling him he planned to move their newsroom to the city’s industrial outskirts — despite the fact he hasn’t closed a deal to buy the company yet.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong — a local billionaire who is in talks to buy the LA Times and San Diego Union-Tribune for $500 million — told hundreds of journalists that they will be moving from their longtime headquarters, located in an art deco building in downtown Los Angeles, to El Segundo, Calif., an enclave south of Los Angeles International Airport about 20 miles away.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong
The surprise Friday morning announcement — made by Dr. Soon-Shiong at a rented space inside the LA Times’ downtown headquarters — blindsided Tronc, the publishing giant that currently owns The Los Angeles Times, as well as other major US newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News.

“We did not give him permission to speak,” a Tronc spokesman said Friday.

Dr. Soon-Shiong declined to comment.

Soon-Shiong’s purchase comes at a perilous time for the publishing industry as advertisers migrate their dollars to Facebook and Google, and as readers have become less willing to pay for print subscriptions.

Newspapers across the country have been reeling from the shift by slashing their newsroom staff. In less than three years, The Times’ parent, Tronc, has shed about 1,400 employees, with most of those coming from operations outside its newsrooms. That represents nearly a fifth of the company’s workforce.

The newsroom in January overwhelmingly voted to join a union to try to preserve jobs. Plans were in the works to cut up to 20% of The Times’ staff and close its Washington, D.C., bureau, Soon-Shiong said, news that spurred him to act “as desperately fast as possible” to save the paper.

“The idea of reducing the newsroom and getting rid of the Washington bureau — I thought if we didn’t move, that would be the death knell of the institution as we knew it,” he said.

Soon-Shiong’s purchase appeared to halt such massive cuts.

The NYPost reported exclusively on Thursday that Dr. Soon-Shiong’s negotiations to complete his $500 million buyout of The Los Angeles Times from Tronc have lately appeared to stall.

While Dr. Soon-Shiong got antitrust clearance to complete the signed deal on March 5, he had remained largely silent since then, provoking speculation that he might be looking to wiggle out of the deal or renegotiate the price.

Michael Ferro Sells Stake In Tronc

Michael Ferro
Michael Ferro, the former chairman of newspaper publishing chain Tronc, has agreed to sell his 25% stake in the company for $208.6 million, according to USAToday citing a filing made by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Friday.

Ferro, who resigned last month as chairman of the company that publishes the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, New York Daily News and other newspapers, will sell his entire stake owned through his venture Merrick Media to McCormick Media, according to the filing.

The buyer is connected to the McCormick family that has owned the Tribune for much of its history, the Tribune reports. McCormick Media will pay $23 per share for more than 9 million shares. Tronc stock closed at 17.15 per share Friday, up 4.19%.

Ferro stepped down as chairman in March just hours before Fortune magazine published a report detailing sexual harassment allegations from two women who worked for him at his investment firm.

The sale by Ferro, who is the largest shareholder of Tronc, comes at a tumultuous time for the company.

Last month, Tronc agreed to sell its biggest circulation paper, the Los Angeles Times, as well as the San Diego Union-Tribune to billionaire health care executive Patrick Soong-Shiong for $500 million. The deal is expected to close this month.

In January, Times employees voted to unionize and publisher Ross Levinsohn was suspended after reports surfaced about sexual harassment allegations against him. Levinsohn was cleared by a company investigation.

Earlier this week, a group of Tribune employees informed newsroom management that they were seeking to start a union at the Midwest’s largest newspaper.

NBC Hockey Analyst Now Cancer Free

After several days watching NHL playoff games in the studio, Eddie Olczyk is more than ready to return to the booth.

After easing his way into this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs following a seven-month battle with colon cancer, the NBC Sports hockey analyst, horse-racing announcer and former NHL player and coach will start the day Sunday in the studio in New York before hopping on a train to to Philadelphia to call Game 3 of the Flyers’ first-round playoff series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at 3 p.m.

On March 14, Olczyk, who is affectionately known around the league as “Edzo,” got the call from his oncologists that he was cancer free. His ordeal began last summer, when he underwent emergency surgery to remove 14 inches of his colon, according to

“I’m 50 days removed from my last cancer treatment, not that I’m keeping count,” Olczyk, 51, said. “I’m just so relieved and so thankful that I’ve rid myself of the poison.”

April 14 Radio History

➦In 1912...two young wireless radio operators at Cape Race, Newfoundland, Robert Hunston and James Goodwin heard the first distress call from the luxury liner RMS Titanic, en route to New York south of the Grand Banks. An iceberg had grazed the ship’s side, popping iron rivets and shearing off a fatal number of hull plates below the waterline. The great ship, on its maiden voyage, sank just under three hours later. 1,517 passengers were lost at sea.

➦In 1925...the Chicago Cubs broadcast a regular season baseball game for the first time on WGN 720 AM, Chicago.

➦In 1942...Detroit radio priest, Father Charles E. Coughlin was censured for anti-Semitism.

Charles Coughlin
Coughlin began his radio broadcasts in 1926 on station WJR, in response to cross burnings by the Ku Klux Klan on the grounds of his church, giving a weekly hour-long radio program.  His program was picked up by CBS four years later for national broadcast.  Until the beginning of the Depression, Father Coughlin mainly covered religious topics in his weekly radio addresses, in contrast to the political topics which dominated his radio speeches throughout the 1930s. He reached a very large audience that extended well beyond his own Irish Catholic base.

His radio addresses began to communicate a more political message in January 1930, when he began a series of attacks against socialism and Soviet Communism.  He also criticized the capitalists in America whose greed had made Communist ideology attractive to many Americans.   Having gained a reputation as an outspoken anti-Communist, in July 1930 he was given star billing as a witness before the House Committee to Investigate Communist Activities.

In 1931 the CBS radio network dropped free sponsorship after Coughlin refused to accept network demands that his scripts be reviewed prior to broadcast, so he raised money to create his own national linkup, which soon reached millions of listeners on a 36-station hookup.

By 1934, Coughlin was perhaps the most prominent Roman Catholic speaker on political and financial issues, with a radio audience that reached tens of millions of people every week.

After the 1936 election, Coughlin increasingly expressed sympathy for the fascist governments of Hitler and Mussolini as an antidote to Communism. He claimed that Jewish bankers were behind the Russian Revolution,  and that Russian Bolshevism was a disproportionately Jewish phenomenon.

Coughlin denied that he was antisemitic.  In February 1939, when the notorious American Nazi organization the German American Bund held a large rally in New York City,   Father Coughlin, in his weekly radio address, immediately distanced himself from the organization and clearly stated: "Nothing can be gained by linking ourselves with any organization which is engaged in agitating racial animosities or propagating racial hatreds. Organizations which stand upon such platforms are immoral and their policies are only negative."

On November 20, 1938, two weeks after Kristallnacht, Coughlin, referring to the millions of Christians killed by the Communists in Russia, said "Jewish persecution only followed after Christians first were persecuted." After this speech, some radio stations, including those in New York and Chicago, began refusing to air his speeches without pre-approved scripts; in New York, his programs were cancelled by WINS and WMCA, leaving Coughlin to broadcasting on the Newark part-time station WHBI. On December 18, 1938 thousands of Coughlin's followers picketed the studios of station WMCA in New York City to protest the station's refusal to carry Father Coughlin's broadcasts. A number of protesters made antisemitic statements such as "Send Jews back where they came from in leaky boats!" and "Wait until Hitler comes over here!" The protests continued for several months.  Donald Warren, using information from the FBI and German government archives, has also argued that Coughlin received indirect funding from Nazi Germany during this period.

Available at Amazon
At its peak in the early-to-mid 1930s, Coughlin's radio show was phenomenally popular. His office received up to 80,000 letters per week from listeners. Sheldon Marcus says that the size of Father Couglin's radio audience "is impossible to determine, but estimates range up to 30 million each week". He expressed an isolationist and conspiratorial viewpoint that resonated with many listeners.

After giving early support to Roosevelt, the populist message of "the radio priest" contained increasingly sharp attacks on the president's policies. The administration decided that although the First Amendment protected free speech, it did not necessarily apply to broadcasting, because the radio spectrum was a "limited national resource" and regulated as a publicly owned commons. New regulations and restrictions were created specifically to force Coughlin off the air. For the first time, authorities required regular radio broadcasters to seek operating permits. When Coughlin's permit was denied, he was temporarily silenced. Coughlin worked around the restriction by purchasing air-time and having his speeches played via transcription. However, having to buy the weekly air-time on individual stations seriously reduced his reach and strained his resources.

According to Marcus, in October 1939, one month after the invasion of Poland, "the Code Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) adopted new rules which placed rigid limitations on the sale of radio time to 'spokesmen of controversial public issues'".  Manuscripts were required to be submitted in advance. Radio stations were threatened with the loss of their licenses if they failed to comply. This ruling was clearly aimed at Coughlin due to his opposition to prospective American involvement in what became known as World War II. As a result, in the September 23, 1940, issue of Social Justice Father Coughlin announced that he had been forced from the air " those who control circumstances beyond my reach".

Coughlin reasoned that although the government had assumed the right to regulate any on-air broadcasts, the First Amendment still guaranteed and protected freedom of the written press. He could still print his editorials without censorship in his own newspaper, Social Justice. After the attack on Pearl Harbor and the US declaration of war in December 1941, the anti-interventionist movements (such as the America First Committee) began to sputter out, and isolationists like Coughlin acquired the reputation of sympathy with the enemy. The Roosevelt Administration stepped in again. On April 14, 1942, U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle wrote a letter to the Postmaster General, Frank Walker, and suggested the possibility of revoking the second-class mailing privilege of Social Justice, which would make it impossible for Coughlin to deliver the papers to his readers.  Walker scheduled a hearing for April 29, which was later postponed until May 4.

Meanwhile, Biddle was also exploring the possibility of bringing an indictment against Coughlin for sedition as a possible "last resort".  Hoping to avoid such a potentially sensational and divisive sedition trial, Biddle was first able to engineer a means of ending the publication of Social Justice itself. First Biddle had a meeting with another high official in the administration: banker Leo Crowley, who happened to be a friend of Edward Mooney, Bishop Gallagher's successor. Crowley then relayed Biddle's message to Bishop Mooney that the government was willing to "deal with Coughlin in a restrained manner if he (Mooney) would order Coughlin to cease his public activities".  Consequently, on May 1, Mooney ordered Coughlin to stop his political activities and to confine himself to his duties as a parish priest, warning of potential defrocking if he refused. Coughlin complied and remained the pastor of the Shrine of the Little Flower. The pending hearing before the Postmaster, which had been scheduled to take place four days later, was cancelled now that it was no longer necessary.

Despite the end of his political and journalistic career, Coughlin remained in his position as parish pastor until retiring in 1966. He died in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1979 at the age of 88. He was buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, Michigan.

➦In 1978...WRR-AM in Dallas Texas changed call letters to KAAM.

WRR-AM was Texas’ first broadcast station when it signed on in 1921 from Dallas.  Owned by the City of Dallas, the original studio and transmitter was located in the Dallas Fire Department central headquarters.

WRR-AM focused on popular music until it switched to all-news in 1975.

Bonneville Broadcasting bought the station in 1978.  It became KAAM.  It became all-sports KTCK in 1994.  Today, Cumulus Media owns “Sports Radio 1310: The Ticket.”

Friday, April 13, 2018

Atlanta Radio: Cumulus To Appeal FCC Decision On 99X Translator

An interference complaint has forced Cumulus Media to shutdown a Translator which was airing  Modern Eock “99X”.

The cause of the shutdown of translator W255CJ at 98.9 is that it was interfering with the signal of Gradick Communication’s Classic Hits WWGA 98.9 WWGA licensed to Tallapoosa, GA. Gradlick has been complaining about the translator for the past years and several attempts by Cumulus engineers to find a solution—including lowering its power—have proven unsuccessful.

The FCC issued the shutdown order for W255CJ after it said interference at the home of one of the listeners who filed a complaint remained “unresolved.”

The Media Bureau concluded Cumulus “failed to eliminate the interference to co-channel station WWGA” and because a translator is considered a secondary service the full-power WWGA takes precedence.
W255CJ 98.9 FM (200 watts)
As Cumulus powered down W255CJ  it explained to listeners they can still hear “99X” programming online and as the HD2 channel of CHR WWWQ 99.7 FM. In a statement on its website Cumulus said it is “pursuing the FCC with an appeal of their decision”.

“We believe the interference complaints were remediated successfully and we have a right to continue to provide lovers of 99X with a product they have proven they love,” it said, adding, “We are not sure how long the process will take, but we will do all that we can to return 99x to the FM band.”

WWGA 989.9 FM (1.85 Kw)
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has disclosed he has circulated a proposal among his fellow commissioners to update the agency’s rules on translator interference. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would allow FM translators to resolve interference issues by moving to any available frequency, as a “minor change” to a facility, and require a minimum number of complaints to support any interference claim.

FCC's Pai Rejects Request To Investigate Sinclair

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday rejected a request from a dozen senators to investigate Sinclair Broadcast Group for “distorting news” coverage.

The senators — 11 Democrats and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) — asked the FCC to review Sinclair’s broadcast license and pause its proposed merger after the company had anchors across the country read scripted promos warning of “fake news” and media bias.

However, Pai turned down their request, saying an investigation would conflict with his commitment to the First Amendment and freedom of the press, according to a letter obtained by The Hill.

“I understand that you disliked or disagreed with the content of particular broadcasts, but I can hardly think of an action more chilling of free speech than the federal government investigating a broadcast station because of disagreement with its news coverage,” Pai wrote.

He added that the FCC “does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on the content of a particular newscast.”

Pai's response comes as the FCC is reviewing a proposed merger between Sinclair and Tribune Media. If approved, Sinclair would own local news stations that reach nearly three-quarters of American households.

Local Ad Spending in Balt-DC To Top $7.9B in 2018

Local advertising spending in the Baltimore-Washington metro area will reach $7.9 billion in 2018 across markets in D.C, Maryland, and Virginia, according to BIA Advisory Services’ 2018 U.S. Local Advertising Forecast.

The top six vertical market categories, which include retail, financial/insurance services, general professional services, automotive, restaurants and wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite), represent more than 73 percent of the ad revenue, with total local spending going across traditional and online/digital media.

BIA will present the firm’s local and nationwide advertising intelligence at LOCAL IMPACT DC  on Thursday, May 10 at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Headquarters in downtown D.C.

“The vibrant ad market and diverse population in the Baltimore-Washington corridor is reinforced by prominent vertical advertisers that are willing to spend money across multiple channels to reach their target audiences,” said Mark Fratrik, chief economist and SVP, BIA Advisory Services.

“Over the last five years, we’ve projected the rise of mobile and online as more mature technologies, such as those that deliver on-the-spot advertising, become available. Advertisers still remain committed to broadcast and traditional print partly perhaps because these channels remain consistent in their ability to connect with local consumers and synchronize quite well with digital advertising efforts,” Fratrik explained.

The top spending categories in media for the Baltimore-DC market reflect the national advertising buying trends. Direct mail, local TV, and mobile are projected by BIA to reach $151.2 billion in the U.S. this year.

BIA will examine the Baltimore-Washington region and the whole $150+ billion locally targeted advertising marketplace at its LOCAL IMPACT DC event on Thursday, May 10 at the headquarters of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) headquarters in D.C. The half-day program will focus on local advertising, where ad dollars are being spent across top media in the metro area and where they will migrate over the next five years.

ESPN+ Streaming Service Launches

ESPN’s first attempt to cut out the cable guy and bring sports programming directly to consumers launched on Thursday.

Its new streaming video product, ESPN+, comes wrapped inside a re-launched ESPN app and costs $4.99 a month.

ESPN+ isn't an attempt to get sports fans to dump their cable package, but rather a way for the sports media giant to offer an additional service to its viewers while also gaining a foothold in the business of internet-delivered subscription products that are seen as the future of TV.

The new initiative offers programming not available on its flagship cable TV channel, such as live college sports and some Major League Baseball and NHL games. The service won’t have any live NFL or NBA games.

ESPN, which is owned by Disney, is hoping the addition of other programming, such as its flagship "30 for 30” documentary series, will convince people to pay for the new service, which was heavily promoted in Apple's app store on Thursday.

Speaking at a press event at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, this month, Pitaro said, “We are really doing this as a service that is complementary and additive and not competitive with the pay-TV business.”

While other companies such as HBO have been able to replicate their TV network services online for a growing audience of cord-cutters, ESPN has a much trickier problem in that many of the expensive sports rights it licenses can't be streamed online. Live sports also tend to have the complex issue of blackouts in different markets.

AT&T Economist: Time Warner Merger Is Good For Consumers

AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner Inc would save consumers money because the marriage of a pay-TV provider with a movie and TV giant would create a more efficient company, an economist testifying for AT&T said in court on Thursday

According to Reuters, Dennis Carlton, from the University of Chicago, sought to rebut testimony on Wednesday from an economist for the government, Carl Shapiro of the University of California at Berkeley, who said the $84.5 billion deal would cost American consumers some $286 annually in higher prices.

Dennis Carlton
The government filed a lawsuit in November to block the deal, citing antitrust concerns. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon will order the deal stopped if he determines it would raise prices for pay TV consumers or threaten the development of online video.

Shapiro had argued that the proposed deal would spur AT&T, which owns DirecTV, to charge its pay TV rivals more for Time Warner content, in particular the Turner family of news and sports shows.

He also said the combined company would have an incentive to decline to offer content to cheaper online video services.

Carlton attacked the assumptions in Shapiro’s testimony and used newer data to show that by his tally, the deal would provide a net benefit to consumers of 52 cents per pay TV subscriber a month.

Carlton said Shapiro underestimated how many people were dropping pay TV altogether and overestimated how many people would leave their pay TV provider if they lost access to Turner’s channels.

On cross-examination, government attorney Craig Conrath sought unsuccessfully to push Carlton to concede that a previous vertical deal, Comcast’s purchase of NBCU, led to more expensive TV shows and movies when NBCU negotiated new contracts with other pay TV companies.

The trial, which began in mid-March in U.S. District Court in Washington, is expected to wrap up this month.

Tronc Layoffs Include Former LATimes Editor

Former Los Angeles Times editor-in-chief Lewis D’Vorkin and dozens of other employees of Tronc Inc. were dismissed on Thursday.

According to, the cuts, which were made in a joint meeting with all the laid off employees present, included Tribune Interactive’s Los Angeles-based video and online content teams, which operate separately from the Los Angeles Times. No information on the total number of layoffs was immediately available.

D’Vorkin was the chief content officer of Tribune Interactive. In a story in the Los Angeles Times on the layoffs, D’Vorkin said his “heart just wasn’t in” Tribune Interactive’s plans.

“In discussions with the company that were going on for a while, finally I said, ‘You know, it’s time for me to move on and explore new ventures that take me back to my entrepreneurial roots,'” he said in the story. “Those are the things that are appealing to me.”

Tronc, based in Chicago, did not immediately comment on the layoffs.

Aire Radio Names Blanca Navas VP Affiliate Sales

Blanca Navas
AIRE Radio Networks, the largest minority certified Spanish Language radio networks and the official radio network of Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. has announced the appointment of Blanca Navas as Vice President, Affiliate Sales. Navas, a seasoned radio executive, will spearhead the networks’ syndication strategy, manage affiliate relations and expand the footprint of AIRE and Spanish Broadcasting Systems radio programming as well as LaMusica’s digital and live music content.

“Blanca has successfully pioneered the launch and execution of a number of programming and distribution strategies in the Hispanic marketplace, said Elisa Torres, EVP, Aire Radio Networks and National Radio Sales, “Her invaluable skillset will complement the continued growth of AIRE, SBS and LaMusica’s content portfolio. We are excited to have Blanca on our team.”

Prior to joining AIRE Radio Networks, Navas was director, syndication and affiliations, Entravision Communications, where she played a critical role in developing new network programs and managed content distribution for the networks’ 48 radio stations across top U.S. Hispanic markets. Navas held similar roles at PRISA Radio/GLR Networks, Radio Disney, Citadel Media en EspaƱol (formerly ABC Radio Networks) and ESPN Deportes.

“I’m thrilled to join AIRE Radio Networks and Spanish Broadcasting System, home of the some of the most iconic multimedia properties and programming in the business,” said Navas “I look forward to working with the team and affiliate partners on developing and creating compelling content that engages Hispanic consumers across multiple touchpoints.”

Navas will report to Elisa Torres, EVP, Aire Radio Networks and National Radio Sales.

Iron Imager Contest: Aussie Brad Leask to Defend His Title

Benztown, a global leader in radio imaging, voiceover services, production libraries, programming and jingles, announced that UK audio imaging professional Sam Wickens has been selected as the finalist in the 7th Annual Iron Imager Contest, the international radio imaging contest where audio production professionals compete for the title of World’s Best Imager. Current Iron Imager Champion Brad Leask, Network Imaging Producer, NOVA Entertainment, Sydney, Australia, will face off against Wickens in a head-to-head live competition on Thursday, May 3, 2018, at the Worldwide Radio Summit at the W Hollywood Hotel. Iron Imager is the first and only competition of its kind.

Benztown also recognized Iron Imager semi-finalists who captured Honorable Mention status in this year’s competition. Those high-performing semi-finalists are: Jonathan Young, Audio Producer, Global, London; Brendan Tacey, National Head of Production, Southern Cross Austereo, Melbourne; Jordana Klein, Imaging Producer and Voice Talent, Toronto; Chris Longman, Imaging Producer, Global, London; Ryan Drean, Worldwide Voiceovers and Audio Production, Dallas; and Sergey Zelentsov, Head of Production, Europa Plus, Moscow. 

Leask and Wickens will demonstrate their world-class imaging skills by producing an original imaging piece for a format unannounced until the day of the competition.

Contestants will use elements from one of Benztown’s 23 production libraries, voiceover talent roster, paired with a script from the Benztown team. 

Iron Imager 2018 Challenger Sam Wickens, 26, is Audio Production Assistant for Capital FM in Hornchurch, Essex (Greater London). Wickens’ career started with a letter and a teabag – a way to get his foot in the door, where he landed a job in 2016 with Capital FM, the UK’s #1 Hit Music station, after earning a degree in audio production and working as an intern. Wickens works from Capital’s Leicester Square office, creating world-class audio content and imaging for over eight million listeners every day. He also handles major production projects for the Capital Network, including Capital’s Summertime Ball and Jingle Bell Ball concerts at Wembley Stadium and the O2, creating audio backstage at these events and at other outside broadcasts. To hear some of Wickens’ work, visit:

Iron Imager 2017 Champion Brad Leask took home his first Iron Imager title last year. Leask has been NOVA Entertainment’s Network Imaging Producer for the past four years. While undertaking an advanced Diploma of Sound Production at RMIT, Brad became part of NOVA Entertainment’s Internship Program. In February 2014, Brad joined that company as an Imaging Producer and within 12 months had developed his skills to take on his current role crafting the imagery for NOVA Entertainment’s Nova and smoothfm networks, Star 104.5 and FIVEaa. To hear some of Leask’s work, visit:

TV Mogul Buys Imus NM Ranch

The 3,400-acre New Mexico ranch overseen by controversial radio personality Don Imus was purchased Thursday by an ex-farmer who became a cable TV mogul known for bringing programs with rural themes to the heartland.

According to The Santa Fe New Mexican, the buyer is Patrick Gottsch, whose Rural Media Group and Rural Free Delivery Television are based in Omaha, Neb.

Bell Tower Keller-Williams listing agent Craig Huitfeldt and Jay Moore, owner of the Las Vegas-based New Mexico Land and Title Co. that closed the deal, confirmed the sale, but neither would give the price.

The last listed price for the property was $19 million. The sale price “wasn’t far off” that figure, Huitfeld said. Hesaid the original plan was to auction the ranch, 50 miles southwest of Santa Fe near Ribera. A $5 million minimum bid would have been required.

The ranch is a 10-bedroom grand hacienda with a Western town that “rivals any Hollywood movie set,” he said.

Imus and Gottsch did business together in the 2000s, when Gottsch simulcast Imus’ show.  The ranch also has a broadcast studio.

Huitfeldt said he did not know what plans Gottsch has for the ranch. Imus had used the property, which had nonprofit status, to host children with cancer.

Gottsch sold satellite dishes door to door in the 1980s before founding several cable TV networks, including The Cowboy Channel.  He was raised on a farm in Elkhorn, Neb.

Imus, 77, acquired the ranch in 1998. He retired from broadcasting about two weeks ago.

April 13 Radio History

➦In 1930...WHOM AM signed on.

This station was founded in 1925 by the New Jersey Broadcasting Corp., owned by Outdoor Advertising executive Harry O'Mealia, whose company owned thousands of billboards around the metropolitan area. WHOM was originally a Jersey City station, having taken over 1450 AM from the merged WIBS/WKBO.

WHOM debuted with a 15 minute inaugural broadcast on April 13, 1930 at 5:45pm. The host was chief announcer Howard Lepper, previously the manager of WIBS. Then, according to,  the station left the air to make time for WNJ and WBMS, returning to the air at 9pm for a gala show that lasted until 2am. In 1931, WHOM absorbed the airtime of WNJ, and the following year, it became a full-time station with the demise of WBMS.

In 1946, WHOM officially changed their "city of license" from Jersey City to New York.

In 1989, the station was sold to Infinity Broadcasting, owners of WXRK 92.3, among others. Calls were changed to WZRC on April 28, 1990 and the station instituted a heavy-metal rock format as "Z-Rock," a service of the Dallas-based Satellite Music Network and was so anxious to enter the New York market. In December 1992, WZRC switched to country music.

Then in 1993, Infinity signed a lease agreement with a Korean programming service making WZRC 1480  the first full-time Korean-language station in New York.

➦In 1940...the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “In the Mood,” by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

➦In 1941...a radio crime drama based on a series of films about a British police inspector, Bulldog Drummond debuted on the Mutual Broadcasting System.  It had an 8 year run.

➦In 1953...Music ‘Til Dawn with host Bob Hall premiers on WCBS 880 AM NYC. American Airlines owned the program at the outset, premiering it on WCBS in Manhattan, as well as on five other CBS-owned stations in cities served by the airline. The list of cities expanded to include at least eight others, with many hosts over the years all bearing the signature "soothing" voice.

The program's theme song, an orchestration of "That's All," introduced and ended each evening's program, and also ran under the announcer's voice at anytime the mike was open.  The show continued until 1970.

➦In 1969...Jack Spector last show at WMCA 570 AM NYC

➦In 2009...Sportscaster Harry Kalas, play-by-play voice of the Philadelphia Phillies for 38 years and also a narrator for NFL films, died of heart disease at the age of 73. He had collapsed in the Nationals Park press box at approximately 12:30 pm, several hours before the Washington Nationals' home opener against the Phillies.

Kalas joined NFL Films as a narrator in 1975. He became its primary voice, following the passing of John Facenda in 1984. He provided the narration to the highlights on Inside the NFL from its inception in 1976 through the 2008 season. Following Kalas' death, fellow Philadelphia Phillies announcer Scott Graham took over his Inside the NFL duties.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

San Diego Radio: KEGY Rebrands As 97.3 The Fan

Entercom Communications Wednesday announced plans to relaunch KEGY 97.3 FM as 97.3 THE FAN, San Diego’s only 24/7, all-sports FM station.

97.3 THE FAN will serve as the flagship home for the San Diego Padres and will broadcast all regular season games, expanded pre and post-game shows and complementary programming throughout the week. The new format will launched today at 5 a.m. PT.

“After a recent off-air tweet, we took the opportunity to step back, listen to the important feedback from the community and our partners, the Padres, and reevaluate the path forward,” said Bob Bolinger, SVP and Market Manager, Entercom San Diego.

“The station was always going to be largely about sports and we determined the right thing to do was to go 100% all-in. We look forward to building 97.3 THE FAN into San Diego’s best sports station, delivering the highest quality content and listening experience for the people of this great community.”

The new line-up will be headlined by engaging and compelling personalities, including Dan Sileo on the air from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. PT, Jim Rome from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. PT and Doug Gottlieb from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. PT, and market veteran Chris Ello with Tony Gwynn Jr. from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT.  97.3 THE FAN will also be the new home to the NFL and the NCAA in San Diego, beginning with the 2018-19 season. This will include the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl and NCAA March Madness.

Listeners in the San Diego area can tune in to 97.3 FM, stream at and connect with the station online via social media at @973TheFanSD on Twitter and @973TheFan on Facebook and Instagram.

A controversial social media post on March 26 by a KEGY 97.3 The Machine morning show host Kevin Klein — who never ended up getting on the air — put the radio station at odds with the Padres just three days before the 2018 season opened.

Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler said the Padres were “very uncomfortable” with a format change he claimed never was discussed with the team.

The club “put them on notice,” Fowler added.

“Should this be the home of what we consider to be family entertainment, Padres baseball? That’s the question,” Fowler said then. “Based on what’s happened the last few weeks, this is almost shock-jock radio. Obviously, that’s not what we intended to be involved in.”

In a statement Wednesday, Fowler said, “We have had numerous discussions over the last two weeks with Entercom’s local and national management about our expectations for the radio home of the San Diego Padres. They have assured us that the challenges we faced with 97.3 FM at the beginning of this season have been addressed and that steps have been taken to make sure they are not repeated.

“We believe that their new format better reflects the values of the Padres and the San Diego community as a whole, and we appreciate Entercom’s willingness to listen to our concerns and adjust their content.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the MLB Padres did not allow employees to go on the station the past two weeks as they work to resolve the situation.  A Padres spokesperson now says “Based on the revised format, our meetings and assurances from 97.3 management, the team will be supplying personnel for interviews in the near future.”

With the format change, 97.3 The Fan joins The Mighty 1090-AM and XTRA 1360-AM to give San Diego three all-sports radio stations in what already was considered an oversaturated market segment. NIelsen ratings for February had 97.3 (before its March format change) and 1090 tied for 23rd place with a 1.6 rating among listeners 6 and older and 1360 tied for 28th with a 0.7 rating.

The Padres signed a five-year deal with Entercom that began with the 2017 season.

National Amusements, CBS Issue Support For Moonves

Les Moonves
CBS Corp. chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves is under increasing pressure amid growing speculation that controlling shareholder Shari Redstone is considering implementing shakeup of the CBS board and his ouster.

After a flurry of rumors on Wednesday morning, National Amusements, the holding company that controls CBS Corp. and Viacom, issued a statement of support for Moonves.

“National Amusements has tremendous respect for Les Moonves and it has always been our intention that he run a combined company,” the company stated.

Earlier, CBS issued a statement in response to a CNBC report suggesting that Moonves will be forced out if CBS and Viacom cannot come to terms on a merger agreement. The wrangling between CBS and Viacom on merger talks urged by Redstone has led to major tension between Moonves, the longtime leader of CBS, and Redstone, president of National Amusements, which controls CBS and Viacom.

“The industry and the marketplace know Leslie Moonves’ record and we think it speaks for itself,” CBS said in a statement.

The biggest sticking point in the CBS-Viacom merger talks is the question of management of the combined company. Moonves wants to retain his core management team anchored by chief operating officer Joe Ianniello. Viacom and Redstone are pushing for Viacom CEO Bob Bakish to be named president and COO of the combined company. The impasse has caused major strain between Moonves and Redstone, spurring speculation that Redstone will move to replace some CBS board members. At present, CBS’ 14-member board is believed to be solidly behind Moonves.

Witness: AT&T-Time Warner Merger Could Cost Customers Millions

The $85.4 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner could end up costing consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in jacked-up fees for cable TV and streaming video, an expert witness said.

The NY Post reports Carl Shapiro, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, testified on Wednesday that if AT&T’s merger with Time Warner is approved, the united company could coordinate with Comcast and its NBCUniversal unit to yank content from lower-priced streaming-video companies like Netflix.

Carl Shapiro
Shapiro is expected to be the last witness brought by President Trump’s Justice Department as it seeks to show that the proposed merger is illegal under antitrust law because it would harm consumers. The government filed a lawsuit in November and is asking Judge Richard Leon to block the deal.

According to Bloomberg, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon interrupted the Justice Department's questioning to point out that Shapiro's analysis depends on the assumption that AT&T will direct Time Warner's negotiations with pay-TV distributors.

Shapiro said it would be in AT&T's interest to use this added leverage in negotiations. But the judge pointed to earlier statements in the trial about how NBC Universal conducts its negotiations independent from parent Comcast Corp. NBC Universal is maximizing its own profits, the judge said.

"If you accept that," Shapiro said, "this bargaining leverage wouldn't come into play."

Shapiro testified that the added leverage AT&T would gain from the $85 billion Time Warner deal would have amounted to $436 million in higher costs for consumers in 2017 and reach $571 million by 2021.

"The merger will in fact harm consumers, and the harm will be significant," Shapiro said.