Saturday, December 29, 2018

December 30 Radio History

➦In 1911..actress Jeanette Nolan was born in Los Angeles.

She made her radio debut in 1932 in “Omar Khayyam”, the first transcontinental broadcast from station KHJ.  She was a regular on the cream of the west coast radio dramas, including “One Man’s Family,” “Escape,” “Suspense,” “Cavalcade of America,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Adventures of Sam Spade” and “The Whistler.” She appeared in more than 300 television shows, including episode roles in “Perry Mason”, “I Spy”, “MacGyver”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, and as a regular on “The Richard Boone Show” and “The Virginian”. She received four Emmy nominations.

Nolan died following a stroke June 5 1998 at age 86.

Bert Parks
➦In & TV host Bert Parks was born in Atlanta.  As well as the Miss America pageant, he hosted the  game shows Break the Bank & Stop the Music on radio & TV, and for television alone, The Big Payoff, Double or Nothing, Hold that Note, and Party Line.  He did a series of cameos on TV sitcoms (he was Herb Tarlek’s Dad on WKRP.)

Parks died of lung cancer Feb. 2 1992 at age 77.

➦In 1917...actress Nancy Coleman was born in Everett Washington.  She started in radio & the stage in New York, then was brought to Hollywood to make movies for Warner Bros.  In the 50’s she switched to guest spots in TV shows such as Tales of Tomorrow, Star Tonight & the Adams Chronicles, and became a regular on soaps Valiant Lady & Edge of Night.

Nancy died Jan. 18 2000 at age 82.

➦In 1936...The famous radio feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen began. After a 10-year-old performer finished a violin solo on "The Fred Allen Show," Allen said, "A certain alleged violinist should hide his head in shame for his poor fiddle playing." It didn't take long for Benny to respond. The humorous feud lasted ten weeks on both comedian's radio shows, and gave them material they continued using over the next 20 years.

➦In 1942...the radio program, "Mr. and Mrs. North", began it's run on the NBC Radio network.

➦In 1942...Frank Sinatra opened at New York's Paramount Theatre for what was scheduled to be a four-week engagement, but turned into eight weeks because of its popularity. Police were called to help curb the excitement among the screaming teenage girls known as bobbysoxers -- a phenomenon not seen before for a pop singer

➦In 1943...Mike Nesmith of The Monkees was born.

➦In 1945...Singer Davy Jones, "the cute one" on TV's The Monkees, was born. He died February 29, 2012 at 66.

➦In 1950...At the National Studios in New York City, the Dominoes, a group that included Billy Ward and Clyde McPhatter, recorded the sexually suggestive novelty song "Sixty Minute Man," with Bill Brown taking the lead vocal. In the spring of 1951, despite being banned by many U.S. radio stations, the record rose to #1 on the R&B charts, where it remained for 14 weeks.

➦In 1962...Radio/TV talker Sean Hannity was born.

➦In 2005...Longtime Seattle radio disc jockey (KOL, KJR) Lan Roberts died of lung cancer at 69.

Lan Roberts
During the 1960s and 1970s, Roberts was a high-profile presenter with KJR in Seattle. Like many of the local DJs of the time, he left KJR for rival top 40 station KOL in a late 60s talent raid and returned to KJR in the early 70s.   He was known primarily for comedic skits and gags, working the coveted morning drive shift from 6:00am until 10:00am on weekdays. Lan Roberts was a master of voices and surrounded the top 40 hits of KJR with odd characters with names like Phil Dirt and The Hollywood Reporter. Roberts would carry on spirited conversations between his regular on-air voice and the characters. The Hollywood Reporter (no other name was given) would always begin a report on celebrity gossip in a lisping, snide, mocking voice "This is The Hollywood Reporter," and then continue with a totally bogus report. His career also included spells in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Taipei and San Francisco.

Later in life, Roberts returned to live in his old home town and worked as a radio consultant. He gained a new following by sharing his Liberal political views on his website. In the last ten years of his life he suffered from lung cancer, and urged visitors to his site not to smoke.  In addition, he used his internet presence to chastize the corporate mentality and lack of creativity in the modern broadcast industry.

➦In 2014...Scotty Rhodarmer did his last show on WWNC 570 AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Rhodarmer did the morning show for 50 years beginning in 1954.

R.I.P.: KTLA L-A News Anchor Chris Burrous Dead

Chris Burrous
UPDATED 4:00 AM 12/29/18: Chris Burrous, an anchor on KTLA 5’s “Morning News,” died Thursday after Glendale police found him unresponsive in a motel room. He was 43, according to The L-A Times.

Police were called to a room at the Days Inn about 1:15 p.m. Thursday, where they found Burrous not breathing, the Glendale Police Department said. Paramedics took him to a hospital, where he died.

Detectives are investigating the incident and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials will determine a cause of death.

In a statement, Don Corsini, president and general manager of KTLA, and Jason Ball, the station’s news director, remembered the anchor as a “great journalist and a wonderful friend to many.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Burrous family. Chris loved sharing the stories of Southern California and connecting with our viewers,” the statement said. “He brought a kindness to his work and will be deeply missed by the entire KTLA family.”

Burrous was found unresponsive at a Glendale Days Inn on Thursday afternoon after a man he was with called police to report that he was passed out and possibly not breathing, Glendale police Sgt. Dan Suttles said in a news briefing.

First responders found Burrous inside a room suffering from a medical emergency — and the other man, who Suttles said “appears to be a friend,” was already administering aid, the station reported.

The man stayed at the scene and “quite honestly did a good job of trying to render aid,” he added.

The friend had indicated Burrous had possibly overdosed.

During his time at KTLA, he helped extend its Morning News segment to seven days a week, anchoring weekends and covering breaking news on weekday mornings. He also highlighted Southern California’s best hole-in-the-wall eateries in his weekend Burrous’ Bites segments.

Burrous helped lead coverage on the region’s devastating wildfires, as well as the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, the station said.

He was married to Mai Do Burrous, a fellow journalist, and the couple shares a 9-year-old daughter, Isabella.

Burrous had been a regular on KTLA’s air since 2011, according to Variety. He was co-anchor of the weekend edition of “KTLA Morning News” and also served as a news correspondent for other KTLA telecasts. Burrous was recently part of the KTLA team that covered the state’s devastating wildfires last month and the mass shooting at Thousand Oaks’ Borderline Bar & Grill.

Burrous was also known for his “Burrous Bites” segment spotlighting local eateries, and for his “Made in California” series of reports on local businesses.

Burrous came to Tribune Media’s KTLA after serving as an anchor for Tribune’s WPIX-TV New York. He began his broadcasting career while attending Chapman University in Orange County. He worked for radio stations in San Bernardino and San Jose before seguing to TV as an evening anchor on KEVN-TV, the Fox affiliate in Rapid City, South Dakota.

From South Dakota Burrous returned to California in 1999 as an anchor for KGET-TV in Bakersfield and later worked for KGPE-TV in Fresno. He then spent six years in the Golden State’s capital as anchor for KMAX-TV’s “Good Day Sacramento.”

R.I.P.: Bob Shields, Former Radio-TV Sportscaster In Columbia SC

After an 18-month battle with cancer, longtime WLTX-TV19, Columbia, SC anchor and sports broadcaster Bob Shields has died.  He was 59-years-of-age.

Shields served as WLTX’s sports director for 30 years covering high school sports, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and more. One of his enduring contributions was founding the high school Player of the Week series, a series that is still running today, according to a previous article from The State.

“Bob is one of the most loved people who have worked here at WLTX. Not just here, but in the community,” WLTX general manager and president Rich O’Dell told The State last week after Shields was placed in hospice care. “He would do shows. He would bring in marching bands and players. It really was the thing to watch.”

Shields retired from WLTX in 2010 to spend more time with his family, he told reporters at the time. After leaving WLTX, he worked in a career management firm, Life Careers. Later, he became the director of Caughman-Harman Funeral Home.

For a number of years Shields was also a co-host of “The Early Game” on WNTK 107.5 The Game.

Shields was often regarded as one of the Midlands’ premier sports authorities. He won the South Carolina Broadcasting Association’s award for Sportscaster of the Year three years in a row, from 1995 to 1997, according to a 2010 news release from WLTX.

R.I.P.: Rod Kittleman, KADI Springfield MO Radio Broadcaster

Springfield, MO radio broadcaster Rod Kittleman, 58, passed away at a Springfield hospital Friday

He was 58-years-of-age, according to KY3 News.

Kittleman, who was a 40-year broadcast veteran, hosted the morning show on KADI,99.5 FM a contemporary Christian radio station.

His daughter, Shannon Kittleman-Aguirre, said that he had been in intensive care for the last several days and that he had suffered several strokes.

Kittleman was dedicated to his job. Back in June, KY3's Joe Hickman did a news report on Kittleman for hosting his radio show from his room at Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital, where he was recovering from a leg amputation.

99.5 FM KADI posted the following statement on its Facebook page:

R.I.P.: Norman Gimbel, Award-Winning Lyricist, Dead At 91

Norman Gimbel (November 16, 1927 – December 19, 2018)
Norman Gimbel, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning lyricist, has died at the age of 91, his family has announced.

Gimbel's work included Killing Me Softly with his Song - recorded by Roberta Flack (Grammy for Song of the Year in 1973) the Fugees and others - and the theme to TV series Happy Days.

He also wrote the English lyrics to the Brazilian bossa nova melody, The Girl from Ipanema.

Gimbel and writing partner Charles Fox also collaborated on Croce's "I Got a Name," released the day after the singer's death in a plane crash Sept. 20, 1973. The song served as the theme to The Last American Hero (1973), starring Jeff Bridges.

"I've always felt that lyric was among the very best from Norman's pen," Fox wrote in his 2010 biography, Killing Me Softly: My Life in Music. He noted that he and Gimbel had written more than 150 songs together over 30 years.

"Norman's lyrics have extraordinary beauty and sensitivity and understanding of the human condition," Fox wrote. "There's never a waste or [an] excessive word."

Gimbel died on 19 December at his home in Montecito, California, his son Tony Gimbel told The Hollywood Reporter.

Norman Gimbel was born in Brooklyn and began his career with music publishers David Blum and Edwin H Morris. His early successes included the lyrics to Andy Williams's 1956 hit single Canadian Sunset.

He was best known for his work in film and television, writing the songs for popular shows such as Laverne & Shirley, Wonder Woman and HR Puffnstuff.

Gimbel formed a long-term collaboration with composer Charles Fox and the two of them won a Grammy Award in 1973 for Killing Me Softly.

He and composer David Shire shared an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1979 for It Goes Like It Goes, which was sung by Jennifer Warnes in the film Norma Rae.

In 1984 Gimbel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Steel City Media Files Re-Organization Plan

Steel City Media has filed a plan of reorganization in Federal Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis to exit chapter 11. The plan which is consensual among the company and its significant financial creditors, calls for Steel City to exit bankruptcy with a new balance sheet and with the Frischling family retaining equity control of the company.

Steel City VP Michael Frischling stated, “In an environment where equity in radio companies is being wiped out, we are gratified that we have reached a consensual agreement with our creditors that enables us to maintain equity and operational control that sets the stage for future growth and profitability. We look forward to emerging from Chapter 11 early next year and we want to thank our employees and advertisers for their continued support.”

A Form 315 filing made Dec. 28 indicates that WPNT Media Subsidiary LLC is reforming as WPNT Inc.  and  the Kansas City-based licensee controlled by the sons of Saul Frischling — MGTF Media Company is also being changed.  This new entity will see family patriarch Saul Frischling‘s voting interest and percentage of assets drop. Taking the remaining ownership interest in both entities is 54th Street Equity Holdings, a unit of New York-based Business Development Corporation of America.

WPNT Inc. is comprised of A/C WLTJ Q92.9 and Adults Hits WRRK 96.9 FM 96.9, offering Adult Hits as “BOB.”

MGTF is comprised of CHR/Pop KMXV 93.3 FM, A/C KCKC 102.1 FM, Country KFKF 94.1 FM New Hit Country KBEQ 104.3 FM.

This will also put all of Steel City’s collective debt in the hands of 54th Street.

Now, it is on track to exit Chapter 11 in early 2019.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Announces Lay-Offs

Cleveland Plain Dealer editor George Rodrigue has announced that the paper will lay off nearly half of its unionized workforce in early 2019 as it transitions to a “centralized production hub.”

According to, the announcement came only days after the Plain Dealer News Guild presented a counter proposal to the outsourcing plan that Advance Publications reportedly began to explore in October. Bargaining has been ongoing this month.

Rodrigue sent a letter to local news editors and published it on Dec. 27 before employees themselves learned that their jobs would soon be gone. He has characterized the decision as an effort to preserve quality local coverage while creating efficiencies.

Most of the employees and local observers, however, view the decision as a continuation of Advance’s union-busting efforts, which began with the strategic schism of the print (union, Plain Dealer) and digital (non-union, newsrooms.

The PD’s union was the nation’s first news guild (Local 1) and at its height represented more than 700 reporters and editors in the region. The few who remain work under a contract that expires in February, at which point all signs point to the union's final dismantling. In social media posts, the Guild has explicitly characterized the recent decision as "union busting."

The logistics of the move to a centralized production hub remain unclear, but the 29 editors and designers who assemble the paper before it’s printed — selecting stories for the print edition, writing headlines, creating graphics — will ostensibly be “outsourced” to a hub which performs similar functions for a number of papers.

Rodrigue said this centralization concept has been industry tested and proven to be effective, but local journalists have strenuously disputed the notion that an overburdened national staff, working from generic templates, can produce the same level of quality that local editors and designers can. They also question the meaning of “local editorial control,” which Rodrigue insisted the PD would retain.

December 29 Radio History

➦In 1891...Thomas A. Edison patented "transmission of signals electrically" (radio).

Wendell Niles, Marilyn Monroe 1952
➦In of the prominent announcers of bigtime radio & early TV Wendell Niles was born in Twin Valley Minnesota.

On radio he worked on The Bob Hope Show, Adventures of Philip Marlowe & The Man Called X, among many others.  He teamed with Steve Allen & June Foray on a mid-40’s Mutual quarter-hour ‘Smile Time’.  His TV credits include Truth or Consequences, Let’s Make a Deal, Colgate Comedy Hour & It Could Be You.

He died March 28 1994 at age 89.

➦In 1945...Sheb Wooley recorded four songs for Bullet Records at the studios of WSM Radio, the first commercial recordings made in Nashville.

➦In 1945...The mystery voice of "Mr. Hush" was introduced to the audience of the radio show, "Truth or Consequences", which was hosted by Ralph Edwards.

Ralph Edwards
Born in Merino, Colorado,  Edwards worked for KROW Radio in Oakland, California while he was still in high school.  Before graduating from high school in 1931, he worked his way through college at the University of California, Berkeley, earning a B.A. in English in 1935. While there, he worked at every job from janitor to producer at Oakland's KTAB, now KSFO. Failing to get a job as a high school teacher, he worked at KFRC and then hitchhiked across the country to New York, where, he said, "I ate ten-cent ($2 as of 2014),  meals and slept on park benches".

After some part-time announcing jobs, he got his big break in 1938 with a full-time job for the Columbia Broadcasting System on WABC (now WCBS), where he worked with two other young announcers who would become broadcasting fixtures - Mel Allen and Andre Baruch.

It was Edwards who introduced Major Bowes every week on the Original Amateur Hour and Fred Allen on Town Hall Tonight. Edwards perfected a chuckling delivery, sounding as though he was in the midst of telling a very funny story. This "laugh in the voice" technique served him well when 20th Century Fox hired him to narrate the coming-attractions trailers for Laurel and Hardy movies. He later used the conspiratorial chuckle frequently when surprising someone on his programs.

In 1940, Edwards created the game show Truth or Consequences, which aired for 38 years on radio and television. Contestants were asked to perform (often ridiculous) stunts for prizes of cash or merchandise.

➦In 1958...the first radio broadcast from space occurred when the voice of President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "To all mankind, America's wish for Peace on Earth & Good Will to Men Everywhere".

➦In 1963...WMCA 570 AM first station in New York to Play “I Want to Hold Your Hand " at 12:50 PM.  Across town, 77 WABC plays the song an hour later.

Throughout the 1960s, WMCA would continue to beat other radio stations on most Beatles' promotions, scoring firsts, causing headaches in particular for rival WABC - most notably when Capitol Records printed a photograph of the "Good Guys" line-up - on the back of a limited edition record sleeve for the single, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (Side 2: "I Saw Her Standing There"). WMCA's Good Guys were also featured at both of the Beatles' concerts at Shea Stadium, on August 15, 1965 and on August 23, 1966.

WMCA Good Guys: Johnny Dark, Joe O'Brien, Jack Spector, B. Mitchel Reed. Harry Harrison
➦WABC responded in different ways, scoring a success during the Beatles' second New York visit in August 1964 - when the band stayed at the Delmonico Hotel, rousing thousands of teenage fans into a frenzy - while broadcasting from one floor above the Beatles' rooms.  WABC later went against its own music policies, promising promoter Sid Bernstein that it would play a new group he was handling before any other New York City radio station - if it could get exclusive access to the Beatles. WABC never added records "out of the box" - but it did for Sid Bernstein when it played The Young Rascals' "I Ain't Going To Eat Out My Heart Anymore" - before other radio stations.

Since WABC knew WMCA already had a relationship with the Beatles, with tapes of the group promoting the station - what could WABC do to achieve the same? In August 1965, WABC came up with what it thought was a brilliant idea - issuing "medals" called "The Order of the All-Americans" - tied to its own DJs.  The strategy was to present the medals to each of the Beatles the next time they were in New York. Everything was set. The goal was to get each Beatle to comment on the "medal" - and then to get each to say the station's call letters, "W-A-B-C." These in turn could be used in station IDs and promotions, etc. - thus matching WMCA's success at getting the Beatles to promote WMCA and its Good Guys. But WABC's plan backfired. The station got its interviews, but none of the band's members would utter WABC's call letters. According to Beatles' historian Bruce Spizer, manager Brian Epstein ordered the Beatles to stop "giving away valuable promotional spots to radio stations for free."

➦In 1980...the Mutual Broadcasting Service cancelled the "Sears Radio Theater" program.

➦In 1985...Phil Donahue and a Soviet radio commentator hosted a special program called the "Citizens’ Summit" via satellite Television.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Upon Further Review, Nielsen Recalls December 2018 PPMs

The first two days of December 2018 PPMs issued Wednesday and Thursday are going to be re-issued by NielsenAudio and the release of markets scheduled for today and Monday are being delayed.

Nielsen told clients there is an issue centering data processing issue for  Week Four, which also impacts the December 2018 PPMs.  They did not elaborate on the concerns.

Nielsen offered no timeline on the reissuing of 24 markets already released this week.  Also, no guidance has been released concerning the rest of the PPMs markets scheduled for December 2018 data.

Following are the markets where December Week 4 and Monthly ratings data will be reissued:

Delivered Wednesday December 26th: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston-Galveston, Los Angeles, Middlesex Somerset-Union, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), New York, Philadelphia, Riverside San Bernadino, San Francisco, San Jose

Delivered Thursday December 27th: Baltimore, Boston, Denver-Boulder, Detroit, Miami-Ft Lauderdale Hollywood, Minneapolis-St Paul, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle-Tacoma, St. Louis, Tampa St. Petersburg Clearwater, Washington DC

And here are the markets where December Week 4 and Monthly ratings data have been postponed:

Scheduled to deliver today, December 28th: Austin, Charlotte-Gastonia Rock Hill, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus OH, Greensboro-Winston Salem High Point, Hartford-New Britain-Middletown, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Memphis, Milwaukee-Racine, Nashville, Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, Orlando, Pittsburgh PA, Portland OR, Providence-Warwick-Pawtucket, Raleigh-Durham, Sacramento, Salt Lake City Ogden-Provo, San Antonio, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton

Day 2: December 2018 PPMs Released for 12 Markets

ADVISORY: The first two days of December 2018 PPMs issued Wednesday and Thursday are going to be re-issued by NielsenAudio and the release of markets scheduled for today and Monday are being delayed.

Nielsen told clients there is an issue centering data processing issue for  Week Four, which also impacts the December 2018 PPMs.  They did not elaborate on the concerns.

Nielsen offered no timeline on the reissuing of 24 markets already released this week.  Also, no guidance has been released concerning the rest of the PPMs markets scheduled for December 2018 data.

Earlier Posting....

Nielsen on Thursday 12/27/18 released the second batch of  December 2018 PPMs results.  The markets released include:

   7  Washington DC

  10  Boston


  11  Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood FL

  12  Seattle-Tacoma

  13  Detroit 

  14  Phoenix

  15  Minneapolis-St. Paul

  16  San Diego

  18  Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater

  19  Denver-Boulder

  21  Baltimore

  24  St. Louis, MD

Click Here to view Topline Numbers for subscribing Nielsen stations.

Radio's Inconvenient Truth

Fred Jacobs
Radio's addicted to the 25-54 year-old demographic, states longtime radio consultant and prolific blogger Fred Jacobs.

In a year-end recap of 2018 posting, Jacobs writes it's an age-old excuse – “That's what advertisers want” – has become a mantra that virtually every broadcast radio programmer faces. Bonuses are based on this target audience, research has become focused on this 30-year age span, and wins and losses are measured by where stations rank on its yardstick.

However for years, Jacobs says most radio companies have paid scant attention to younger consumers, as they first got iPods, then smartphones, and later Spotify and YouTube accounts to suit their music needs.

According to Jacobs, here's inconvenient truth:
  • Many kids simply don't know what a radio is.  And by the time they're old enough to drive, that SUV in the driveway will pair their phones, providing them access to media and entertainment from the Internet (or satellite) service of their choice – platforms they're comfortable with and have grown up with.
So what does research tell us about Gen Z and how they listen to music?  To gain perspective on where music is being consumed in America, he cites a report from AudienceNet, a UK-based research company.  They sampled 3,000 Americans with online access, ages 16+ this past July.

This chart best visualizes the box radio has put itself in largely because of its 25-54 myopia:

Jacobs believes the 16-24 year-old demographic tells the story, where only 12% of music consumption is to AM/FM radio (note that broadcast radio streaming for music is in the single digits in every cell, not really making a big difference).  And when you isolate 16-19 year-olds – a demographic that radio hasn't even thought about since the 70s – their use of on-demand streaming platforms for music is almost 5x over broadcast radio listening.   The chart also indicates that even among that first 10-year group in the coveted “money demo” – 25-34s – music streaming services are now in the lead.

Jacobs suggests it's a good time to make some choices – either broadcast radio will finally have to justify and support stations that skew 35-64 to a stubborn ad community, or the industry will finally have to start getting serious about appealing to Millennials, as well as their younger brothers and sisters.  Radio has a serious Next Gens(s) problem that isn't going to magically resolve itself when today's teens become adults.

SiriusXM Re-Ups Scott Greenstein As Pres/CCO

Scott Greenstein
SiriusXM presented a new deal to President/CCO Scott Greenstein this week.

A employment agreement renewal that will keep him as president and chief content officer through May 2022. Greenstein will be paid an annual base salary of $1.6 million but could pocket as much as $4 million per year if certain performance goals are met.

Since joining what was then Sirius Satellite Radio in 2004, Greenstein expanded the company’s programming lineup to include more than 175 channels. Under his purview, the satcaster launched new formats and artist-branded channels, and cut deals with marquee talent and top content partners. In addition to programming Greenstein also oversees ad sales.

Greenstein’s Employment Agreement specifies an annual base salary of $1,600,000 and an opportunity to earn a target annual bonus equal to 150% of his base salary based on the achievement of performance goals.

Also this week, the Department of Justice greenlighted SiriusXM’s $3.5 billion purchase of Pandora. The DOJ’s Hart Scott Rodino antitrust waiting period expired Dec. 21, taking the merger one step closer to completion. Pandora's board meets January 29th to vote on the deal. Closing is expected soon after.

Report: Yankees, Amazon, Sinclair Talking YES

The New York Yankees are in talks with Inc. and broadcaster Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. about partnering to bid for the team’s regional sports network YES, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.

The Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network LLC, which carries Yankee baseball and Brooklyn Nets basketball, is among the 21st Century Fox Inc. assets that Walt Disney Co. is required to sell for the government to approve its purchase of the majority of the company.

The Yankees own 20% of YES and have first dibs on acquiring the remaining 80%. The team has been talking to a variety of potential partners to purchase the network, for which Disney is seeking a valuation of $5 billion to $6 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

The Yankees have also approached cable operator Altice USA, which has systems in the New York City region, about joining the team’s effort to acquire 80% of YES.

As the primary TV home for one of the most popular franchises in the number-one media market, YES is seen as one of the most valuable sports properties in the country.

For Amazon, a stake in YES would give it entry into another realm of the sports business. It already streams National Football League games on Thursday nights live on its Prime platform and has talked with other leagues in recent years about other partnerships to widen its subscription media offering.

Should it join with the Yankees, Amazon isn’t likely to immediately begin streaming games on its own platforms, a person close to the team said. In addition, Major League Baseball restrictions would likely prohibit Amazon from streaming games outside the Yankees market. Furthermore, the MLB’s streaming deals with the bulk of regional sports networks expired after this season and needs to be renegotiated, which could also complicate potential streaming opportunities for Amazon.

In another possible hurdle for Amazon, pay-TV distributors that currently carry Yankee games—including Altice, Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and DirecTV—would likely balk at games being carried by the retail and streaming giant as well.

Sinclair is also interested in the 21 regional channels and is working with the private-equity firm Blackstone Group LP on a bid for them, people close to the matter said. Baltimore-based Sinclair, which is a large owner of local TV stations, has said it is interested in expanding further into the cable business through local sports networks.

Report: DOJ Backs Off Comcast-NBCUniversal Merger Probe

The Department of Justice has decided against ramping up an investigation into Comcast’s seven-year-old acquisition of NBCUniversal — despite Trump recently doubling down on his criticism of the tie-up as anticompetitive, The NY Post has learned.

The DOJ said in August it was still monitoring Comcast’s activities even though a consent decree in which it agreed not to withhold NBC programming from rival cable companies or video-streaming services was expiring in September.

Nevertheless, federal prosecutors have failed to file a so-called civil investigative demand for company records that would mark a stepped-up investigation and has no plans to do so — effectively clearing the regulatory cloud that has long hung over the deal, according to sources.

The DOJ is backing off partly because it fears it wouldn’t get a favorable hearing from US Judge Richard Leon, who approved the merger in 2011, according to The NY Post citing sources. That’s because Leon appears miffed over the DOJ’s recent appeal to his June approval of AT&T’s merger with Time Warner — a deal which, also against Trump’s wishes, allowed the companies to retain ownership of CNN.

The tide appeared to turn late last month, when Leon ordered a surprise delay of the CVS-Aetna merger into next summer, castigating DOJ officials for not policing the deal more aggressively.

Just two weeks earlier, momentum had appeared to be building for the DOJ to move against Comcast, whose NBC division’s “Saturday Night Live” has drawn barbs from Trump over Alec Baldwin’s mugging impersonations of him.

On Nov. 12, the American Cable Association, which represents more than 700 smaller video and broadband providers, asked the DOJ to open an investigation into Comcast. That prompted Trump to tweet that the trade group said Comcast “routinely violates Antitrust laws.”

Trump has a history with NBC that some insiders argue is even more bitter than his feud with CNN. On top of Baldwin’s weekly insults, NBC in 2015 ended its partnership with Trump to air the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants after the presidential candidate vowed to stop “rapists” and “criminals” from Mexico from coming to the US.

On the campaign trail, Trump said President Obama’s DOJ never should have cleared the Comcast-NBC merger.

NBC Claims Weekly Ratings Win

Chevel Shepherd and Kelly Clarkson
The 16-year-old charmer who conquered “The Voice” with her old-school country touch helped boost NBC to a weekly ratings win, reports The Associated Press citing Nielsen data.

Nearly 10 million viewers watched Chevel Shepherd win the singing contest, making it last week’s most popular entertainment show. Shepherd, of Farmington, New Mexico, was coached by another talent show discovery: inaugural “American Idol” victor Kelly Clarkson.

Football once again proved its ratings dominance, with broadcast and cable games and pre- or post-game shows claiming six of the week’s top 10 spots. The top-ranked game — and program overall — was NBC’s Sunday night NFL showcase, in which the Seattle Seahawks clinched a spot in the NFC playoffs with a 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

NBC won the week in prime time, averaging 6.7 million. CBS, aided by “60 Minutes” and top 20 reruns of stalwart series including “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory,” followed with 6.4 million. ABC had 3 million, Fox had 1.7 million, ION Television had 1.28 million, Univision had 1.2 million, Telemundo had 1 million and the CW had 790,000.


ESPN was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.8 million people in prime time. Holiday-spirited Hallmark had 2 million, MSNBC had 1.9 million, Fox News Channel had 1.87 million and CNN had 1.1 million.

MSNBC had an impressive week, finishing ahead of Fox News and CNN in prime time across the key measurements, including total viewers and among the advertiser-preferred Adults 25-54 demographic. In fact, with only one week left in December, NBC’s politics-focused cable network is on track to finish the month as the No. 1 cable news network in prime time among Adults 25-54.

Prime Time (Total Viewers):
  1. ESPN (2,890,000)
  2. Hallmark Channel (2,069,000)
  3. MSNBC (1,975,000)
  4. Fox News (1,923,000)
  5. NFL Network (1,371,000)

ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.7 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” was second with 8.4 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.2 million.


Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Dec. 17-23. Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.

1. NFL Sunday Night Football: Kansas City at Seattle, NBC, 19.6 million.
2. NFL Regular Season: New Orleans at Charlotte, ESPN, 13.3 million.
3. “Sunday Night NFL Pre-kick,” NBC, 12.6 million.
4. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 12 million.
5. “Fox NFL Sunday Post-Game,” Fox, 10.3 million.
6. “The Voice (Tuesday),” NBC, 9.9 million.
7. “The Voice (Monday),” NBC 9.5 million.
8. “Thursday Night Football: Baltimore at Los Angeles Chargers,” NFL Network, 8.2 million.
9. “Football Night in America,” NBC. 8.1 million.
10. “Survivor,” CBS, 7.7 million.

11. “The Voice (Tuesday),” NBC, 7.2 million.
12. “NCIS,” CBS, 7.1 million.
13. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 7 million.
14. “Madam Secretary,” CBS, 6.6 million.
15. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 6.57 million.
16. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 6.4 million.
17. “America’s Got Talent: Holiday,” NBC, 6.2 million.
18. Thursday Night Football: Washington at Tennessee, NFL Network, 6.19 million.
19. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 6.1 million.
20. “Thursday Night Football Pre-kick,” NFL Network, 5.6 million.

The top talk and court shows had hot hands in the session ending Dec. 16, with leaders Doctor Phil and Judge Judy both scoring double-digit increases.

Phil surged 11% to a four-week high 3.0 live-plus-same-day national Nielsen rating and finished first among takers for the 119th straight week.

  1. Dr. Phil (CTD) 3.0 +11%
  2. Live with Kelly and Ryan (Disney-ABC) 2.3 +5%
  3. Ellen DeGeneres (WBDTD) 2.3 NC
  4. Maury (NBCU) 1.4 +8%
  5. Wendy Williams (Debmar-Mercury) 1.4 +8%
  1. Inside Edition (CTD) 3.1 +3%
  2. Entertainment Tonight (CTD) 3.0 +3%
  3. TMZ (WBDTD) 1.3 NC
  4. Access (NBCU) 1.3 NC
  5. Extra (WBDTD) 1.1 NC

Amazon Says The Holidays Were Great for Its Echo Dot

Amazon has announced a record-breaking holiday season. Amazon customers shopped at record levels from a wide selection of products across every department, discovering top holiday gifts and trending products offered at deep discounts and low prices. Some of the best-selling products this season included, all-new Echo Dot, L.O.L. Surprise! Glam Glitter Series Doll, fashion items from Carhartt, and Bose QuietComfort Wireless Headphones, among others.

“This season was our best yet, and we look forward to continuing to bring our customers what they want, in ways most convenient for them in 2019. We are thrilled that in the U.S. alone, more than one billion items shipped for free this holiday with Prime,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer. “Thank you to our employees all around the world who are committed to bringing our customers the widest selection of products with low prices and fast and free delivery options throughout the holidays and all year long.”

Amazon Devices & Alexa
  • Customers purchased millions more Amazon Devices this holiday season compared to last year – the best-selling Amazon Devices this holiday included all-new Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick 4K with all-new Alexa Voice Remote, and Echo.
  • It was a record holiday season for Amazon’s Kids Edition devices; customers purchased more Echo Dot Kids Edition and Fire Kids Edition tablets than ever before.
  • Customers used Alexa to listen to hundreds of millions more hours of music this holiday season compared to last holiday season, and on even more services – including Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, among others.
  • Customers were in to the festive spirit with Alexa Skill Blueprints – popular Blueprints this holiday season were The Holiday Story, Santa’s Letter, and the Hallmark Holiday Greeting.
  • The number one holiday song that customers requested this holiday season was “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.

Radio Listeners Are Resolute

As we gear up to close out the year, the making of New Year resolutions turns into a heated frenzy as we vow to be better. Should we eat healthier? Save more money? Travel more? Radio listeners have a lot to say about their New Year resolutions, and a lot of it plays out by age, format, and gender.

According to Westwood One citing a recent national study among 377 respondents, conducted by Maru/Vision Critical between November 9-November 18, 2018, radio listeners are hot to get healthy and not hot to make resolutions after a certain age:
  • The most popular resolutions for 2019 are: exercise more/improve fitness (42%), save more money (41%), and eat healthier (38%).
  • Nearly all of the New Year’s resolution skew younger towards Millennials 18-34. Maybe as consumers get older the mystique behind making New Year’s resolutions starts to fade.
  • Men are two times less likely to choose a New Year’s resolution for 2019 versus women. Still, the number one resolution for both demographics is to exercise more/improve fitness.
  • Improving fitness and health along with saving money also rose to the top among most frequent format listeners.
The study also showed that listeners of R&B, Hip Hop, and Soft Rock were more likely to make resolutions over listeners of Alternative Rock, Classic Rock, Rock, Country, News/Talk, Sports, and Top 40. You can read more in the attached slides.

So enjoy the remaining holiday cookies and chocolate Santas while you have a few hours left. Happy New Year from Westwood One. The clock is ticking…

December 28 Radio History

➦In 1915...announcer Dick Joy was born in Putnam, Connecticut.

Starting in local LA radio while a USC journalism student he became the youngest staff announcer in CBS radio history at age 21. On radio he worked on The Danny Kaye Show, The Sad Sack, Vox Pop, The Adventures of Sam Spade, Blue Ribbon Town, Dr. Kildare. Silver Theatre, New Old Gold Show, The Saint, and The Danny Thomas Show.  On TV his assignments included December Bride, Perry Mason, Have Gun – Will Travel, Daktari, Lost in Space, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., and Playhouse 90.

He died Oct. 31 1991 at age 75.

➦In 1953...Bob Pittman, CEO of iHeartMedia was born.

The son of a Methodist minister, Pittman was born in Jackson, Mississippi, but raised in Brookhaven and became a radio announcer at the age of 15 to earn money for flying lessons.

He was an announcer in a number of cities and then successfully programmed radio stations in Pittsburgh, Chicago and finally at the NBC flagship station, WNBC-AM, in New York when he was 23 years old. He also produced and co-hosted a music video and news show in 1978 that ran on NBC's O&O Television stations.

He did learn to fly, and has been a pilot for almost 40 years: He now has over 6,000 flight hours; currently holds an Airline Transport Pilot's license for airplanes; and is rated for helicopters and 3 types of jets.

➦In 1981...WEA Records (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) raised the price of its 45 rpm records from $1.68 to $1.98. The company was the leader of the pack with other labels soon boosting their prices. Within a few years, the 45 rpm record was “boosted” right out of existence by the arrival of the CD.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

NYC Radio: Francesa Narrowly Wins The Battle of Sports Mikes

WFAN's Mike Francesa
Mike Francesa of WFAN 660 AM / 101.9 FM  edged Michael Kay of WEPN 98.7 FM ESPN New York in the quarterly autumn ratings book, averaging 5.9 percent of the over-the-air audience among men ages 25-54 to Kay’s 5.8, according to Newsday citing data Nielsen Audio reported on Wednesday.

The two shows ranked second and third overall in the market in that key, advertiser-friendly demographic, behind only a Spanish-language music station, WSKQ-FM, for the period Sept. 13 through Dec. 5.

Kay never has beaten Francesa for a full book, but he has narrowed the ratings gap through the years, and consistently is the highest-rated show on his station.

Emmis' ESPN tends to do better at the younger end of the ratings range, and Entercom's WFAN wins among older listeners, including those over 55. But the 25-54 demo is how the stations measure themselves, and sell advertising time.

The ratings race in afternoon drive time was reignited by Francesa’s return to WFAN on May 1. This fall was the first full ratings book since he came back.

Kay finished the quarter strongly after Francesa took an early lead in October. He will get another shot in winter, assuming Francesa sticks around for that. He has said that he might have to choose between his app and over-the-air radio, and that if he does have to pick one over the other, he will choose the former.

Tim McCarthy, the senior vice president who oversees the New York station for ESPN, said he “couldn’t be happier” with the Kay show, citing the chemistry among Kay, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg.

WFAN led comfortably at other times of the day, with the morning show finishing third at 5.6 percent of the audience and ESPN 12th at 3.8. WFAN’s streaming number from 6 to 10 a.m. was 0.6, which added to the 5.6 would have made that show second overall.

Meanwhile, on Twitter Kay quickly had a replied to a Francesa jab, for which he later apologized.

PPMs Day 1: Holiday Hits Power December Ratings

Nielsen on Wednesday 12/26/18 released the first batch of  December 2018 PPMs results.  The markets released include:

   1  New York

   2  Los Angeles


   3  Chicago

   4  San Francisco

   5  Dallas-Ft. Worth 

   6  Houston-Galveston

   8  Atlanta

   9  Philadelphia

  20  Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island NY)

  25  Riverside-San Bernardino CA

  37  San Jose CA

  42  Middlesex-Somerset-Union NJ

Click Here to view Topline numbers for subscribing Nielsen stations.

Cable News Ratings: MSNBC Beats Fox News

MSNBC beat out Fox News last week in key ratings for first time in 17 years, topping its competitor in total viewers for the first time since 2000, according to The Hill citing a news release from MSNBC.

MSNBC averaged 1,558,000 total viewers during the "sales day" (6 a.m. to 2 a.m.) between Dec. 17-21, making it the top cable news network in the key 25-54 age demographic.

Fox News averaged 1,541,000 total viewers while CNN averaged 975,000.

In prime time (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.), MSNBC continued to lead Fox News and CNN in total viewers and among that key age group for the fourth week in a row.

MSNBC prime time last week averaged 2,578,000 total viewers, compared to Fox's 2,240,000 and CNN’s 1,398,000. Of those viewers, 471,000 thousand were between the ages of 25 and 54 for MSNBC. Fox saw 355,000 viewers in that demographic, while CNN saw 415,000 viewers.

The week's ratings marked a significant drop for Fox, which typically leads the pack.

The latest data means MSNBC could be on track to top Fox News in prime time for the month of December, according to MSNBC.

"The Rachel Maddow Show" finished the week as the top-rated program across all cable news networks, averaging 3,213,000 total viewers by Dec. 21.

Sean Hannity's top-rated Fox show was off all of last week, which could have slowed Fox's viewership, a network spokesperson told The Hill. "Hannity" in October boasted an average total audience of 3.340 million viewers, making him the of most-watched host in cable news in the third quarter, Forbes reported.

A Fox News spokesperson told The Hill that Fox News Channel is on track to beat out its competitors for the quarter and the year, having the highest-rated year ever in primetime.

MNF Finishes 2018 Regular Season Up Eight Percent

MNF – Most-Watched Series on Cable for the Second Straight Year 
ESPN’s Monday Night Football finished the 2018 NFL regular season up eight percent year-over-year with an average viewership of 11,647,000 over 17 games (16 weeks).

In addition to the eight percent gain over 2017 (10,788,000), MNF also increased two percent vs. 2016 (11,390,000).

2018 MNF Season Highlights:
  • MNF finished the season as the most-watched series on cable for the second straight year.
  • MNF accounted for nine of the top 20 most-watched telecasts on cable in 2018.
  • MNF helped ESPN win the night all 16 Mondays this season, among all networks – broadcast or cable – in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos (18-34, 18-49, 25-54).
  • MNF was the most-watched telecast of the day on 15 of 16 Mondays in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos.
  • MNF’s most-watched game of the season was the Chiefs-Rams thriller on Nov. 19, attracting an audience of 7 million viewers. It was the first MNF game played in Los Angeles in 33 years, though originally scheduled for Mexico City.
The top 10 MNF metered markets this season include New Orleans (14.4), Norfolk (11.6), Richmond (10.9), Kansas City (10.6), Denver (10.5), Washington D.C. (10.1), Seattle-Tacoma (9.9), San Diego, Albuquerque and Phoenix (9.6).

ESPN’s MNF debuted a brand new commentator team in 2018, featuring Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, Booger McFarland and reporter Lisa Salters.

MNF Team to Call an NFL Wild Card Playoff Game and the 2019 Pro Bowl:
  • ESPN’s MNF team will call an NFL Wild Card playoff game (January 5 or 6, 2019), as well as the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando (January 27).

Santa Visits Wall Street: Digital Media Stocks Rebound

by Wayne Friedman, MediaPost

(Reuters photo)
Yesterday After a series of major pre-Christmas declines, the stock market recorded sharp hikes in key metrics on Wednesday following the holiday. The Dow Jones Industrials Index surged 5% -- a record 1,000-plus point gain -- to 22,878.

Many analysts say results came from calming assurances that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s job was not in danger, despite reports following President Trump's worrisome tweets.

Top digital media-oriented tech stocks gained more percentage-wise than big stock-market index gains -- leading the way for all media companies.

Amazon was up 9.5% to $1,470.90, while Netflix was 8.5% higher to $253.67 and Twitter added 8.4% to $28.66. Facebook rose 8.2% to $134.18, Apple grew 7% to $157.17 and Google was up 6.5% to $1,039.

Following this were two big TV station groups: Sinclair Broadcast Group, 5.6% higher to $26.62, and Nexstar Media Group, up 5.4% to $75.70.

Bigger, more traditionally oriented media-communications stocks generally followed: Walt Disney grew 5.5% to $105.83; Charter Communications was up 4.6% to $285.70; Discovery Inc. rose 4.4% to $25.55; AMC Networks gained 4% more to $53.87; Dish Network was 3.8% higher to $24.89; and Viacom was up 3.6% to $26.27.

Some media companies improved less -- Comcast was 3.2% higher to $34.14, while CBS was up 3.2% to $43.37; AT&T was 2.6% in the green to $28.08; Verizon Communications added 2.6% to $54.44; and Tribune Media inched up 0.4% to $45.21.

Futures implied Thursday morning that U.S. stocks were headed for declines when they open on Thursday, according to CNBC.

That pullback would do little to dent Wednesday's post-Christmas surge for American stocks.

Akron-Canton Radio: Gets Sunny At 101.7 FM

iHeartMedia/Akron-Canton, OH, has announced the launching of  WHOF Sunny 101.7 FM.

The former holiday hits station will now air light rock favorites including songs from artists such as Adele, Journey, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Maroon 5. To commemorate the launch, the station will feature 5000 songs in a row, commercial free.

The station plans to unveil it's line-up of personalities in the coming weeks.

WHOF 101.7 FM (6 Kw) Red=60dBu Coverage Area
"We are thrilled to add Sunny 101.7 to our diverse portfolio of stations in the Akron/Canton market," said iHeartMedia's North Ohio Region Area Senior VP/Programming Keith Kennedy.

"Sunny 101.7 will be a station all about fun and family, with personalities you can listen to in front of the kids without getting embarrassed."