Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sept 23 Radio History

➦In 1949...Bruce Springsteen was born in Long Branch, New Jersey.

➦In 1950…"The Eddy Arnold Show" debuted on NBC Radio.

➦In 1956...Mickey Dolenz began his television career in NBC’s “Circus Boy” series. But he became a star ten years later as a key member of The Monkees, the TV series inspired by The Beatles.

➦In 1957...“That’ll Be the Day” by Buddy Holly & the Crickets reached #1 on the charts. The title was from a phrase used by John Wayne in the film ‘The Searchers.’

➦In 1967...The Hot 100..An example of what made 1967 one of the best years in the Rock Era--the progression of #1's from "Respect", "Groovin'", "Windy", "Light My Fire", "All You Need Is Love", "Ode to Billie Joe".

And on this date, the Box Tops took over the coveted position with "The Letter".

That's heavy duty competition, something you always want to evaluate when looking at music.  All are members of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era.

➦In 1967...The Album Charts..The album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles had been out 14 weeks with 13 of those at #1.  Even the Doors' solid debut could not topple it.  Flowers from the Rolling Stones was #3

➦In 1969…The London Daily Mirror reported that Paul McCartney was dead. It was the first time the rumor was printed in a mainstream newspaper. The hoax began to gain traction in the U.S. on October 12, 1969 when disc jockey Russ Gibb's listeners shared and discussed "clues to the death" on Detroit's WKNR-FM.

➦In 1978...The Hot 100.."Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste of Honey amazingly held on to #1 for a third week, but only for the moment.  On its heels was "Kiss You All Over" by Exile while Olivia Newton-John scored her 18th career hit with "Hopelessly Devoted To You".  Behind that trio, the Commodores' former #1 "Three Times a Lady", Andy Gibb's "An Everlasting Love" and yet another hit from Grease--"Summer Nights" from John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John.  The rest of the Top 10:  Boston's new release "Don't Look Back", "Hot Blooded" from Foreigner, Canada's Nick Gilder entered the Top 10 with "Hot Child in the City" and the Little River Band were up from 15-10 with "Reminiscing".

➦In 1978...The Album Charts..Grease returned to #1 on the album chart after a one-week occupancy by Boston's Don't Look Back.    That gave one of the last great musicals its eighth week at the top. Foreigner's Double Vision was third followed by Some Girls from the Rolling Stones.

Radio Marti
➦In 1981...the Reagan administration announced its plans for what would become known as Radio Marti. Radio Marti provided unfiltered and uncensored news to Cubans living under the regime of the dictator Fidel Castro.

➦In 2003...Rosalie Allen died at age 79. Allen was the singer/broadcaster also known as the "Queen of the Yodelers". Allen was the first woman inducted into the Country Radio Broadcasters Country DJ Hall of Fame.

➦In 2004...Bill Ballance died at age 85. Ballance is widely credited for paving the way for "shock jocks" with his controversial show in the 1970s which covered topics such as relationships and sex.

Ballance had radio station stints in Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and San Diego. Ballance was the evening personality late 1950s-early 60s on #1 rated KFWB. In Los Angeles, on KGBS, Ballance became well known as the host of the Feminine Forum radio show, which he managed beginning in 1971. He is known as the forerunner to "shock jocks" Tom Leykis and Howard Stern, having been accused of exploiting women's rights activists who called in to his show.

The Feminine Forum was dropped in 1973, and he began the Bill Ballance Show. He left Los Angeles in 1978 and went to radio station KFMB in San Diego, where he remained for fifteen years. While his early years in San Diego were successful from a ratings standpoint, his core audience was much smaller than what he had in Los Angeles. Ballance continued his practice of mixing open-topic callers with various in-studio guests (psychologists, counselors, physicians, etc.), as well as his own hand-written monologues. By the late 1980s, however, his popularity began to wane. As other talk show hosts copied and changed the "shock jock" format, and as the format itself began to evolve into racier topics and discussions, the "Bill Ballance Show" began to seem tame by comparison.

He retired from radio in 1993, after more than 50 years in the industry.

Ballance caused another stir in 1998, when a judge ruled that nude images of Dr. Laura Schlessinger could continue to be posted on a website. Ballance had sold the pictures to Internet Entertainment Group for $50,000.00 because he had been snubbed by Schlessinger at a Beverly Hills luncheon honoring her. He claimed that they were the product of a 1970s affair between himself and Schlessinger, while Schlessinger was married. Schlessinger admitted the affair but claimed she was legally separated and had filed for divorce from her first husband at the time of their affair. Ballance was 28 years older than Schlessinger.

Comcast Outbids 21stFOX To Get Sky

Comcast Corp. topped 21st Century Fox Inc. in a weekend auction for Sky, winning the British broadcaster with a $38.8 billion bid that ends a monthslong takeover battle and promises Comcast a greatly expanded international footprint.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Comcast’s offer of £17.28 of a share, or about $22.59, per share surpassed Fox’s highest bid of £15.67 after three rounds of bidding Saturday, in a rare auction held by British regulators.The £29.7 billion valuation was by far the highest ever for such a process in the U.K., which has conducted a handful of smaller-scale auctions to settle intractable bidding wars. The winning bid represents a premium or more than double to Sky’s value before Rupert Murdoch’s Fox put Sky in play some 21 months ago.

Comcast won at a steep price. Its winning bid came in at £17.28 a share, up sharply from its £12.50 bid in February and Fox’s initial £10.75 bid in December 2016.

The jostling over Sky—which sells phone, TV and internet services to 23 million European customers and produces its own news, entertainment and sports programming—was part of a broader scramble by media companies to fortify themselves against a rising threat from Silicon Valley giants such as Netflix Inc.

Comcast executives say a combination with Sky—which like itself is a giant in both content and distribution—will boost its user base to 53 million and add more heft to invest in technology, programming and valuable sports-media rights. The merger will also help Comcast diversify its revenue base beyond the U.S., where cable cord-cutting is taking a toll on the traditional TV business.

Still, Sky was something of a consolation prize for the cable giant. This summer, it lost a bidding war to Walt Disney Co. for Fox’s entertainment assets. Disney agreed to pay $71 billion for Fox’s famed Hollywood studio and international assets, including a 39% stake in Sky that Fox had long held. That bigger deal is expected to close in coming months.

If Fox had won this weekend’s auction for Sky, Disney would ultimately have taken 100% control of the pay TV company. Instead, attention will now turn to whether Disney will sell the 39% stake in Sky—its value has increased by the bidding competition—or remain a minority partner for Comcast.

Analysts have raised the idea that Comcast could trade its 30% stake in Hulu to Disney—giving Disney overwhelming control of the streaming-video service—in return for the rest of Sky. Comcast has said it values its position in Hulu and just named some NBCUniversal executives to Hulu’s board.

Chicago Radio: WLS-FM Goes With Brian Peck For Evenings

Brian Peck
Cumulus Media has  announced that it has appointed Chicago radio broadcast veteran Brian Peck as On-Air Host of Evenings on Classic Hits WLS 94.7 FM. Peck debuts in the 7:00pm-12:00 Midnight slot on Monday, September 24.

Peck has recently shared evening hosting duties with fellow 94.7 WLS personalities, Tom O’Toole and Danny Lake, who will continue with their weekend shows on 94.7 WLS, along with Erin Carmen and Abby Ryan. 

A Chicago radio fixture since 1992, Peck was introduced to Chicago radio listeners as Co-Host of Mornings on WKQX (Q 101) with former MTV veejay, Mark Goodman. In August 1996, Brian went on the air at WTMX 101.9 The Mix and later at WSHE SHE 100.3. He most recently hosted Middays at WJMK K-HITS 104.3 before joining 94.7 WLS.
Wade Linder, Program Director, 94.7 WLS, said: “Brain has a rare interactive style with our listeners. It seems like he’s conversing with a different caller every time he turns on the mic.”

WLS 947 FM (4.4 Kw) Red=Localo 60dBu Coverage Area
Peck said: “94.7 WLS is a perfect fit for me and my style. I’m excited to play Chicago’s Classic Hits and talk with our listeners every night from seven to midnight!”

Nashville Radio: Talk WLAC Adds FM Simulcast

Michael Leahy and Steve Gill
iHeartMedia Nashville announced Friday that TalkRadio WLAC 1510 AM, will now simulcast on W252CM 98.3 FM.

The 98.3 FM signal will broadcast across the southern portions of the Nashville area, including Williamson County and the Franklin area. WLAC will also now be heard on WSIX 97.9 FM HD-2 and continue to broadcast on 1510 AM, and everywhere listeners are via iHeartRadio.

1510 WLAC AM is one of the most legendary stations, featuring voices synonymous with talk radio, such as top on-air hosts, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Dave Ramsey. The station will continue to feature conservative talk as well as news, traffic and weather updates and serve as the flagship play-by-play station for Vanderbilt Commodore football and men’s basketball.

In addition, WLAC’s Tennessee Star Report has expanded and will now broadcast from 5 to 8 a.m. effective, immediately. Steve Gill will continue to host the Tennessee Star Report weekday mornings with Michael Patrick Leahy, Tennessee Star Executive Editor.

“I’m thrilled that TalkRadio WLAC can now be heard on the FM dial,” said Dan Edom, Region President for iHeartMedia Nashville. “Listeners will now be able to hear Steve Gill, Glenn Beck, Rush, Hannity, and Dave Ramsey on crystal clear FM sound.”

W252CM 98.3 FM (250 watts) Red=Local Coverage Area
“It’s been great being back on the air in Nashville over these last few weeks,” said Gill. “Adding a big booming FM signal on WLAC will be a great opportunity for us to reach voters in the final month of this election season and we will be right in the thick of things.”

During his 15 plus years on-air, Gill has won numerous state and national broadcast awards, as well as various local on-air awards, including Most Powerful Media Personality in Middle Tennessee by Nashville Post Magazine and Achievement in Radio Awards as Best Talk Host in the Nashville market. He also was consistently ranked among Talkers Magazine’s “100 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America.”

Las Vegas Radio: Kris Fisher To Program KOAS, KVGS

Kris Fisher
Beasley Media Group announces Kris Fisher has been named as the new Brand Manager at Rhythmic Oldies KOAS Old School 105.7 FM and HotAC KVGS Star107.9.

Ee will begin his new position on Monday, September 24, 2018.

Fisher most recently served as the Program Director at Beasley Media Group’s HD98.3 and Hot 95.5 /93.1 in Augusta, Georgia.

“We’re thrilled that Kris will be joining our team in Las Vegas. After a lengthy nationwide search it is especially gratifying to be able to promote someone from within our company,” said Vice President and Market Manager Dennis Gwiazdon. “HD98.3 and Hot 95.5/ 93.1 have achieved some of their highest ratings under his direction. I’m looking forward to watching Kris work his magic for us here!”

“Kris is a star programmer with proven success in our company and I’m proud that he will now be leading our stations in Vegas,” said Beasley Media Group Executive Vice President of Programming Justin Chase. “I have no doubt he will win!”

“I’m honored and thankful to be given this opportunity to take such a huge step in my career,” said Fisher. “I began my radio journey with the purpose of having fun and seeing the world. This is going to be an incredible addition to that journey. Dennis and his staff have a great thing going and I’m beyond excited to join our Beasley fam in Las Vegas!”

MD Radio: Adams Launches Gold-Based Country On 98.5 FM

Adams Radio Group has decided on a new format for WGBG 98.5 FM in Salisbury-Ocean City, and the decision is country.

Recently, Adams moved WGBG Classic Rock from 98.5 to a new 25,000-watt signal that had previously been broadcasting country. The new “US 98.5 Everything Country” will be consulted by Keith Hill.

Keith Hill
Keith Hill, well known for his experience and success in country will provide guidance for the stations programming. Keith commented on the new station “My very first job in radio was in Seaford, DE…on this very station! This is a homecoming for sure! Salisbury – Ocean City has needed a country station like US 98.5 for a very long time. I am excited to be leading the effort to bring listeners a wider variety of country from Garth Brooks to today. Music that really is country too!”

US98.5 will be commercial free for some time. Keith says “we intend to play at least 50,000 songs before adding full commercial content!”

WGBG 98.5 FM (6 Kw) Red=Local 60dBU Coverage Area
Ron Stone, CEO of Adams added “I could not be happier than to have Keith Hill programming this new station. No one else could be a better fit. After a lot of research, we determined our best opportunity for success was country on 98.5, a signal that serves the market very well! Salisbury – Ocean City needs a country format that does not ignore the best country of all time. The market is in for a real treat with US 98.5”. Stone added, “there are more surprises coming on this station. Stay tuned!”

Boise Radio: KBOI's Paul J Schneider To Retire

Paul J Schneider
Every day, for decades, Paul J Schneider has awakened the Treasure Valley with his golden voice, quick wit, eye for the detail and affinity for sports.  Now, after over 51 years of media and radio broadcasting, Paul J Schneider has decided it is time to sleep in.

According to Schneider, “The last time I slept in was when I was on television and that is when I stayed up all night and THEN slept until 10:00am.”

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, who has been a frequent guest on Paul J’s shows as a state legislator, Congressman, Lt. Governor and Governor, said, “I have appreciated Paul J Schneider’s wit and wisdom as a mainstay on KBOI for almost my entire career in government. I have enjoyed waking to his commentary and his thought provoking analysis of the day’s most pressing issues. I always looked forward to hearing his play-by-play calling duties for so many years as the ‘Voice of the Broncos.’  I especially appreciated his counsel and the great friendship we have developed over the years!”

Paul J moved to Boise and started his career at KBOI 670 AM in June of 1967, shifting exclusively to radio in 1976.  During the early years, Paul anchored the TV news and voiced the television replay of BSU football.  From there he was quickly ushered in as the radio play-by-play voice for Boise State football and basketball which he held from 1973 to 2008.  His radio career has spanned the encyclopedia of Treasure Valley history and during his career enjoyed one of the country’s largest radio audience shares as a part of “Dunn & Schneider” which aired from 1973 to 1993.  Since 2001 Paul J. has hosted “Idaho Talks Live” with Chris Walton and throughout his career, Paul J and his morning partners have been at the top of station ratings.

“I have been privileged to work with great morning show partners and to be on AM radio in its heyday.  I was able to call the Boise State games through their growth trajectory and when not all the games were broadcast live on TV.” says Schneider.

His storied radio career has seen plenty of benchmark moments, including but not limited to:  the first radio interview with President Richard Nixon in 1972 after Watergate; covering the prison riots at the Idaho Penitentiary in 1971 and 1973; and calling Boise State Football’s first trip to the Fiesta Bowl in 2007.

Paul J says, recalling these moments, “Boise and I grew up together through those benchmark moments.  My friend, baseball Hall of Famer, Harmon Killebrew, set up the interview with Nixon.  We called Nixon on his birthday and he made us promise to not talk politics, so we had him predict the Super Bowl.  Boise State’s Fiesta Bowl was a culmination of years of hard work and growth on their end.  The riots were a subset of the conditions, overcrowding and the need for investments from the city.”

Over 51 Years, Paul J has amassed several awards. Winner of over 50 Idaho State Broadcasting Association awards, Idaho Thoroughbred Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Citadel Broadcasting Legend Award, awarded Boise’s Key to the City in 2017, and most recently, a 2018 Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.

Report: NBC Entertainment Chief Bob Greenblatt To Exit

Bob Greenblatt
Bob Greenblatt is preparing to leave his post as NBC Entertainment chairman after leading the network’s turnaround during the past eight years.

Greenblatt, who renewed his contract with NBC last fall, is in the process of negotiating his exit plan at NBC after making the decision that the time is right for him to make the transition, multiple sources familiar with the situation have told Variety.

He’s expected to meet this weekend with NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke to work out an exit plan that would give NBC a long runway for setting a successor. His official departure could be as late as the end of the 2018-19 season in May.

At NBC, Greenblatt has engineered an impressive rebound for the network after out of years in the ratings cellar. NBC has been a roll in the last two years in particular thanks to the buzzy hit “This Is Us.” Under Greenblatt, NBC has finished four of the last five seasons as the top-rated primetime network in the 18-49 demo.

NBC also finished the 52-week 2017-18 season as the No. 1 network in nearly every ratings measure, including total viewers — the first time since 2001-02 that NBC has taken the total-viewers crown.

Report: NBC's Andy Lack 'Part Of The Problem'

Daily Beast graphic
NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack has been under fire for his handling of sexual-misconduct allegations at the network, including one against his ex-friend and former star anchor, Matt Lauer. But years earlier at another company, Lack protected a male employee who sexually harassed multiple women, sources tell The Daily Beast.

Lack was chairman and CEO of Sony BMG Music Entertainment in 2004, when, according to former high-level Sony executives, the company discovered that a music executive named Charlie Walk had sent “sexual” messages via company email to female employees, including “graphic” pornography.

Soon after finding the messages, executives said, they repeatedly implored Lack to address Walk’s sexual harassment. Each time, Lack declined to act.

“I kept telling him: ‘You must do something about this. It’s imperative,’” one of the executives said. “Andy would turn a blind eye to making difficult decisions.”

An NBC spokesperson denied the allegation, and a spokesperson for Sony Music responded: “No comment.”

After Lack was confronted with evidence of Walk’s misconduct, Walk allegedly harassed several Sony female employees, which he categorically denies. (They first went public with their allegations in Rolling Stone this year.) Kate Harold, for one, said Walk in 2006 forcibly kissed her and rubbed his penis through clothing against her during a business dinner. Pam Kaye, who was a promotional manager working under Walk at Columbia Records, said he tried to put his hands down her pants while they were in a car together in 2004.

“Andy Lack is part of the problem if he knew,” Kaye told The Daily Beast.

Lack, 71, is currently rounding out his second shift running NBC’s news division.

Deputy A-G Calls NYTimes Story 'Factually Incorrect'

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sharply refuted a New York Times story that says he suggested recording President Trump to show the turmoil inside the White House and talked about recruiting some in the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare Mr. Trump unfit and remove him.

 "The New York Times's story is inaccurate and factually incorrect," he said in a statement. "I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment."

Rosenstein issued an updated statement saying he "never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false."

According to CBS News, The Times' account is based on sources who were briefed on the meetings or conversations when Rosenstein was alleged to have made the remarks, as well as sources who were briefed on memos or reports written by FBI officials including then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, which allegedly detailed Rosenstein's comments.

According to the Times, Rosenstein met with McCabe and other senior Justice Department officials the week after FBI Director James Comey's firing, in the spring of 2017. In this meeting, the Times says, he told McCabe he was considering trying to convince officials to invoke the 25th Amendment and suggested wearing a wire to secretly record the president when visiting the White House, and told a person in the meeting that he was serious.

One former senior Justice Department official who was in the room when Rosenstein made the remark about recording the president was made tells CBS News, "I remember this meeting and remember the wire comment. The statement was sarcastic and never discussed with any intention of recording a conversation with the president."

CBS News has has confirmed that while McCabe's interpretation was that this was a serious suggestion, others in the room say it was clearly a joke.

Pai Steps Up Defense Of Net Neutrality Repeal

Ajit Pai
With a federal appeals court preparing to consider the Trump administration’s reversal of Obama-era U.S. net neutrality regulations, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is ramping up his defense of the decision. reports Reuters.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has this month also criticized California’s legislature for approving a state measure to guarantee open internet access and said “bad behavior” on the part of internet service providers (ISPs) could be prevented by the FCC’s new transparency requirements.

The FCC voted 3-2 in December to reverse the Obama era rules that barred internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic or offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization. FCC repeal of the 2015 net neutrality rules was a win for ISPs Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, whose practices faced significant government oversight.

In August, 22 states and a coalition of trade groups representing companies including Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc and Inc urged a federal appeals court to reinstate the rules.

The U.S. Senate voted in May to reinstate the net neutrality rules, but the measure is unlikely to be approved by the House of Representatives and the White House also opposes it.

Under President Donald Trump, the FCC handed ISPs sweeping new powers to recast how Americans use the internet, as long as they disclose changes. The new rules took effect in June but providers have made no changes in access.

Pai said Thursday “if an ISP starts blocking lawful content, everyone will know. If an ISP starts throttling services based on the nature of the content, everyone will know. This is a powerful disincentive for bad behavior.”

On Thursday, Pai criticized big tech companies including Twitter and Google, as “completely unregulated, which is fine, except that they’ve also been badgering the FCC and the federal government to heavily regulate their rivals.”

Update: Dickey Betts Brain Surgery Termed 'Success'

Dickey Betts
As was first reported Wednesday, the 74-year-old “Ramblin’ Man” singer-songwriter and founding Allman Brothers Band guitarist slipped and cracked his head earlier this week, causing bleeding in his brain, while playing with the family dog in his backyard on Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey.

Spero said earlier this week that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee was listed “in critical but stable condition.”

Brain surgery, to relieve swelling, took place Friday morning, according to The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Betts’ wife, Donna, was by her husband’s side on Friday with Dickey’s children.

“The family appreciates all of your thoughts and prayers during this very trying time,” Donna said Wednesday. “Dickey is a notorious fighter and he is displaying that now.”

Last month, Betts suffered a mild stroke at his Sarasota home and had to cancel upcoming tour dates. A week later, Spero announced Betts was responding “very well to treatment” and on Sept. 14 posted to Betts’ social media pages that, “Dickey Betts is raring to go. His recovery from his minor stroke is ahead of schedule and he has already started playing his guitar again.” Then came what was called a “freak accident” leading to Betts’ current hospitalization.

Tens of thousands of people from around the world have sent prayers and thoughts Betts’ way this week using Facebook and other social media sites. Rolling Stone, Billboard and People are among the numerous publications to run stories, with the news circulating internationally via the Associated Press.

In Sarasota, Betts has been surrounded by family and close friends, many who have played in his bands for years.

September 22 Radio History

➦In 1899...DeForest sought employment with Marconi.

Lee DeForest
Lee de Forest (August 26, 1873 – June 30, 1961) was an American inventor with over 180 patents to his credit. He named himself the "Father of Radio," with this famous quote, "I discovered an Invisible Empire of the Air, intangible, yet solid as granite."

In 1906 de Forest invented the Audion, the first triode vacuum tube and the first electrical device which could amplify a weak electrical signal and make it stronger. The Audion, and vacuum tubes developed from it, founded the field of electronics and dominated it for forty years, making radio broadcasting, television, and long-distance telephone service possible, among many other applications. For this reason de Forest has been called one of the fathers of the "electronic age". He is also credited with one of the principal inventions that brought sound to motion pictures.

He was involved in several patent lawsuits, and spent a substantial part of his income from his inventions on legal bills. He had four marriages and 25 companies. He was indicted for mail fraud, but later was acquitted.

De Forest was a charter member of the Institute of Radio Engineers. DeVry University was originally named De Forest Training School by its founder Dr. Herman A. De Vry, who was a friend and colleague of de Forest.

Haneley Stafford
➦In actor Hanley Stafford was born in the town of Hanley in the UK.

After emigrating to the US in his twenties he became active in radio acting, in action shows such as The Count of Monte Cristo, The Last of The Mohicans, Tarzan, Chandu the Magician, Calling All Cars, Flash Gordon, Speed Gibson and The Cinnamon Bear.  Beginning in 1937 he became widely known as Lancelot Higgins (“Daddy”) in Fannie Brice’s radio skit, ‘Baby Snooks,’ and as Dagwood’s boss Mr.Dithers on the radio version of the comic strip ‘Blondie.’  During WWI he had served in the Canadian army and was wounded at Ypres.

Stafford died Sept. 9th 1968, two weeks short of his 69th birthday.

➦In 1927...NBC pioneer sportscaster Graham McNamee  broadcast the famous “Long count” championship fight in which Jack Dempsey lost the heavyweight boxing title to Gene Tunney.

➦In 1935...the final broadcast of Gulf Headliners was heard on CBS.  This was the Sunday night half-hour which starred popular homespun philosopher Will Rogers until his untimely death in an Alaska plane crash August 15.

➦In 1943...singer Kate Smith ended her War Bond radio appeal. She had been on the air for 13 continuous hours and collected $39 million in bond pledges.

Kate Smith
Smith was a major star of radio, usually backed by Jack Miller's Orchestra. She began with her twice-a-week NBC series, Kate Smith Sings (quickly expanded to six shows a week), followed by a series of shows for CBS: Kate Smith and Her Swanee Music (1931–33), sponsored by La Palina Cigars; The Kate Smith Matinee (1934–35); The Kate Smith New Star Revue (1934–35); Kate Smith's Coffee Time (1935–36), sponsored by A&P; and The Kate Smith A&P Bandwagon (1936–37).

The Kate Smith Hour was a leading radio variety show, offering comedy, music and drama with appearances by top personalities of films and theater for eight years (1937–45). The show's resident comics, Abbott and Costello and Henny Youngman, introduced their comedy to a nationwide radio audience aboard her show, while a series of sketches based on the Broadway production of the same name led to The Aldrich Family as separate hit series in its own right in 1940.

➦In 1957...the CBS Radio Workshop was silenced after 18 months of what the critics said was ingenious radio programming.

➦In 1971...Last Arthur Godfrey radio show on CBS

➦In 1984...The Album Charts...Prince made it eight weeks at #1 on the album chart with Purple Rain, holding off Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. again.  Huey Lewis & the News were still at #3 after 51 weeks with Sports.  Tina Turner remained at 4 with Private Dancer and the Cars' great album Heartbeat City was at #5.  That is as fine a Top Five as you'll ever see.

The rest of the Top 10:  Julio Iglesias with 1100 Bel Air Place, Lionel Richie and Can't Slow Down at #7, Ratt's Out of the Cellar, the Soundtrack to "Ghostbusters" at #9 and the Pointer Sisters entered the list with Break Out.

➦In part of a complex transaction, 103.5 WQHT and 97.1 WYNY switched frequencies. WYNY continued to play country music at the new frequency until February 1996. Then the station was sold, the format changed to dance-based CHR, and the call letters changed to WKTU.

Irving Berlin

➦In 1989...Irving Berlin, one of the greatest songwriters in American history, whose "White Christmas" is one of the top-selling singles of all-time, died in his sleep at the age of 101 in New York City.

Berlin composed some 1,500 songs -- including favorites like "God Bless America" and "White Christmas" -- 19 Broadway musicals, and 18 movie scores.

"God Bless Ameria" was also written by Berlin in 1918, he filed it away until 1938, when Kate Smith's manager asked Berlin if he had a patriotic song Smith might sing to mark the 20th anniversary of Armistice Day, celebrating the end of World War I. According to author Sheryl Kaskowitz, who wrote a book about the history of the song,  not only was Smith looking for a song to remember veterans of that war, but she was also hoping that there would not be another war, seeing that hostilities and war "tensions in Europe were escalating."  It was "a simple plea for divine protection in a dark time—a plangent anthem in just 40 words," adds film writer Richard Corliss.

Berlin's daughter, Mary Ellen Berlin-Barrett, states that the song was actually "very personal" for her father, and was intended as an expression of his deep gratitude to the nation for merely "allowing" him, an immigrant raised in poverty, to become a successful songwriter.

➦In 2003...Gordon Jump died. Jump played the befuddled Station Manager in the classic TV sitcom, "WKRP in Cincinnati".

➦In 2004…CBS-owned TV stations were fined a total of $550,000 by the Federal Communications Commission for showing Janet Jackson's exposed right breast during the Super Bowl halftime show. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit later voided the fine ruling that the broadcast was legal under the FCC's then-current policy of allowing "fleeting" indecency on the airwaves.

➦In 2011...Longtime Cleveland radio personality Charles "Chuck" Collier died.

Collier was best known for his many years at radio stations WGAR (AM) and WGAR-FM.  He began his broadcasting career shortly after college, bouncing between jobs in Cincinnati, Dayton, and New York City. He came to Cleveland in 1970, where he worked for WGAR 1220 AM, and later its sister station, WGAR 99.5 FM. He served the latter part of his tenure as music director/afternoon drive DJ.

After 41 years in the Cleveland radio market, Collier died of a heart attack.

➦In 2012...Howard Scott, sound engineer and producer who helped introduce the long-playing vinyl record in 1948, and was a producer with Columbia, Sony and MGM, died of cancer in Reading, Pennsylvania at age 92.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Kelly Clarkson Pokes iHeartMedia Over Airplay

Kelly Clarkson took a shot at iHeartRadio Thursday, tweeting that the network of more than 800 radio stations doesn’t play her songs — or at least not her new one.

Variety reports the remark was in response to a message in which iHR congratulated Clarkson on her new daytime talk show. The singer and songwriter is scheduled to play the iHeartRadio Music Festival this coming weekend and the company is already in full social media blitz and promotion mode.

“I guess I’m cool enough to invite, but not cool enough to play my record,” Clarkson wrote. She tagged the post with the name of her album, “Meaning of Life” and the hashtag “Truth.” The tweet was promptly retweeted thousands of times.

At the iHeartRadio Music Festival this weekend in Las Vegas, she will be joined by Justin Timberlake, Fleetwood Mac and Childish Gambino, among others.

Additionally, Clarkson’s daytime television show, titled “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” was just picked up by NBC, it was announced this week. On the show, Clarkson will serve as host and executive producer alongside husband Brandon Blackstock.

Court Sets Timetable For iHM Re-Org Plan

A Texas bankruptcy judge issued an order Thursday approving the disclosures and solicitation materials for iHeartMedia Inc.'s Chapter 11 plan, which is expressly opposed by the broadcast media giant's unsecured creditors and has faced challenges from federal authorities.

With approval from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur, iHeartMedia has inched forward in its mission to restructure $16 billion in funded liabilities and emerge from bankruptcy with a more sustainable level of debt.

The broadcaster has faced pushback from a committee of unsecured creditors.

The court approval, handed down Thursday, followed iHeart filing a Fourth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization. iHM filed for bankruptcy protection back in March with a goal of reducing its $20 billion in debt by $10 billion before the end of this year.

The order also sets a series of deadlines for soliciting and counting votes, including a voting deadline of Nov. 9 at 5pm Central time. A pretrial conference has been set for Nov. 30, followed by a Dec. 11 confirmation hearing, a key event in the Chapter 11 process.

On March 14 iHM struck an agreement in principle with a group of its lenders on a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring that will cut nearly two-thirds – or about approximately $10.3 billion – in debt and will separate iHM’s radio and digital business from the outdoor business.

Under the proposal, iHM’s senior creditors would receive a 94% stake in the reorganized company along with $5.55 billion of the new secured debt and all of the company’s equity in subsidiary Clear Channel Outdoor. The holders of iHM’s unsecured debt would receive $200 million of the new secured debt and take a 5% equity stake in the reorganized iHM, and holders of iHM’s interests would receive 1% of the equity, reports InsideRadio.

AT&T Rips DOJ Appeal in Time Warner Case

AT&T Inc. on Thursday defended a court ruling that allowed it to buy Time Warner, arguing that both the law and current industry realities showed the acquisition wouldn’t harm competition.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the telecom giant made its case for the deal in a 59-page brief filed with a Washington, D.C., federal appeals court, which is considering the Justice Department’s ongoing challenge to the merger.

The DOJ sued last year to block the deal, but U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, after a six-week trial, broadly rejected the government’s antitrust case in a June ruling. The company closed the transaction a short time later.

The Justice Department is arguing on appeal that Judge Leon ignored fundamental economic principles when he ruled for AT&T.

The company responded Thursday that Judge Leon “well understood the economics” of DOJ’s case, but that the evidence at trial didn’t support the department’s claims that the deal would lead to higher prices.

The Justice Department’s central theory was that consumers would be worse off if AT&T, which owns a top pay-TV distributor in DirecTV, also owned a top producer of programming like Time Warner. The department argued that AT&T could force its cable and satellite rivals to pay higher fees to carry popular Time Warner networks like TBS, TNT and CNN.

AT&T said the evidence showed that the vertical integration of video distribution and programming in one company didn’t produce higher prices. It also said the Justice Department’s own witnesses at trial contradicted the government’s position.

AT&T did raise the price of its DirecTV Now streaming service after it won at trial—a fact noted by the DOJ on appeal—but AT&T said the price hike was “legally and factually irrelevant” and reflected “expanded programming options.”

The Justice Department’s challenge to the AT&T-Time Warner deal was complicated by comments President Trump made as a candidate in 2016 in which he pledged his administration would block the merger. The companies have questioned whether Mr. Trump’s dislike of CNN factored into the DOJ’s decision to sue.

Leon's ruling opened the floodgates to deal making in the fast-changing worlds of entertainment production and distribution, according to The Associated Press.

Just a day after his decision, Comcast launched a $65 billion cash bid for the bulk of 21st Century Fox — topping Disney's all-stock $52.5 billion offer in December. Comcast later dropped that bid in order to focus on its attempted buyout of European pay-TV operator Sky.

After months of offers and counteroffers for Sky by Comcast and Fox, the two U.S. media empires will settle their battle for control of the European broadcaster through a rare auction. The auction will begin after the London stock market's close on Friday and end sometime Saturday evening.

Disney, meanwhile, is closing in on a $71 billion acquisition of Fox's entertainment assets.

Other rumored or potential deals include a Verizon bid for CBS and a tie-up of Sprint and T-Mobile.

Streaming Accounts For 75 Percent of Music Revenue

Streaming now accounts for 75 percent of music industry revenue, according to UPI citing data released by the Record Industry Association of America.

The streaming revenue represented a 28 percent year-over-year increase, amounting to $3.4 billion during the first half of 2018.

Those numbers various forms of streaming, including paid services like Amazon and Apple Music, digital radio like SiriusXM and other Internet stations, as well as ad-supported, on-demand sites like YouTube and Vevo.

Spotify and Pandora, which offer both paid and ad-supported versions, are also included in the streaming revenue amounts.

Although many sites offer free music accompanied by ads, the RIAA report says the paid subscription services are seeing the highest revenue increase with a 33 percent year-over-year growth, amounting to $2.5 billion.

"Paid subscriptions have become the biggest format for music by revenue," the report states. "Despite far few users, subscription streaming vastly out performed ad-supported revenues."

As more and more people listen to music via streaming services, CDs are dying out, falling 41.5 percent during the first half of 2018.

However, vinyl has actually increased by 12.6 percent as hobbyists and music aficionados have been buying the retro product in growing numbers.

Last year, vinyl sales hit a 25-year high.

For now, CDs are still outselling vinyl. During the first half of this year, CDs accounted for about $246 million in sales, compared to $199 million for vinyl.

But if the current pace continues, vinyl could be the top-selling physical form of music by next year.

ESPN+ Streaming Service Hits 1M Milestone

ESPN said it has signed up more than one million paying subscribers for the streaming service it launched in April, a boost of confidence for majority-owner Walt Disney Co.’s effort to win over cable TV cord-cutters, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The ESPN+ streaming service, priced at $4.99 a month, offers fans hundreds of live Major League Baseball and National Hockey League games, college football and soccer matches from around the world.

It also carries Top Rank Boxing, Ultimate Fighting Championship matchups, and original studio programming like “Detail” hosted by Kobe Bryant. The service doesn’t carry live streams from ESPN’s TV channels.

Reaching the one million subscriber mark is a significant milestone for ESPN President James Pitaro, whose primary task since taking the helm in March has been to launch a successful ESPN-branded streaming service.

ESPN this summer converted ESPN Insider subscribers, who were paying $4.99 a month for in-depth sports analysis and tools, to ESPN+ customers. In a statement, the company said the “vast majority” of the one million paying customers are new ESPN+ subscribers who signed up since April. Converted ESPN Insider subscribers are a “significant minority of the total.”

G-R Radio: iHM Gives Regional Duties To WBCT PD Dave Taft

Dave Taft
iHeartMedia/West Michigan has announced the appointment of Country WBCT B-93.7 FM Pprogram Director Dave Taft to Senior VP/Programming duties for the company's West Michigan region, including Grand Rapids and Muskegon.

He'll continue as WBCT's PD, a role he's handled since September, 2009, after serving as Assistant PD/MD, then interim PD of WBCT. He previously handled Operations Manager duties for then Clear Channel's co-owned cluster in Muskegon, and PD responsibilities at the former WSHZ-FM (Star 108).

Concurrently, Sports WMAX 96.1 ESPN Grand Rapids Assistant PD and afternoon co-host Jim Costa is upped to Program Director. He replaces Phil Tower, who retains the PD role for News/Talk WOOD 1300 AM / 106.9 FM and Talk WTKG 1230.

"Dave is an incredible programmer," said Regional Senior VP/Programming Tony Travatto. "He's got the perfect blend of expertise to grow our listeners and clients, and we know he will continue to dominate the media market in West Michigan with our team."