Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Spoken Word Audio Share Cutting Into Music TSL

The share of time spent listening to spoken word audio has increased 20% since 2014, while time spent with music across the same period decreased 5%.

This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups, and increases in spoken word share among those ages 13-34. These findings are part of The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, presented Tuesday in a webinar hosted by Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick and NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite.

This new Report examines listener behaviors and preferences related to spoken word audio – podcasts, news, sports, talk radio and audiobooks – and includes five years of previously unreleased data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear® study.

Key findings from the Spoken Word Audio Report include:
  • 121 million Americans listen to spoken word audio each day, an increase of 16 million people in the last five years. 
  • Growth in spoken word listening has been greatest among young people: those age 13-34 now spend 19% of their audio time with spoken word audio (up 58% from 2014).
  • Mobile technology use is driving growth in spoken word audio category: 22% of listening to spoken word audio in 2019 is now on a mobile device, compared to 9% five years ago.
  • Spoken word audio yields deep connections and involvement from its consumers, with large percentages of consumers reporting they turn to spoken word audio content for information, inspiration, entertainment, and companionship.
  • 59% of spoken word audio listeners are digital-first, meaning they listen most through computers, mobile devices, and smart speakers. Forty-one percent are analog-first, meaning they listen most through AM/FM radio receivers.
“Public media accounts for a large share of spoken word audio listening. New technologies like smart speakers, the ubiquity of mobile devices, and increased connectivity, mean that NPR’s journalism and storytelling is reaching more listeners in new spaces and platforms,” says NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite.

According to Edison Research Vice President Megan Lazovick, “Spoken word audio is different. Spoken word can be vastly more intensive listening experience than other types of audio. People lean in — they truly listen. Twenty-four percent of all time spent listening to audio is going to spoken word, and that’s especially impressive considering where it was just five years ago.”

Houston Radio: KRBE-FM's Roula+Ryan Renew For Five More Years

CUMULUS MEDIA has announced that it has entered into a multi-year agreement with award-winning Houston on-air personalities Roula Christie, Ryan Chase, Eric Rowe, and Kevin England. Roula and Ryan are Co-Hosts of 104.1 KRBE-FM’s long-running morning radio show, “The Roula and Ryan Show”, which airs weekdays from 6:00am-10:00am.

Leslie Whittle, Vice President, Hot AC, CUMULUS MEDIA, and Program Director, 104.1 KRBE-FM, said: “Each day our listeners wake up to laughter, will learn something, and could shed a tear or two, but one thing you can count on is that Roula, Ryan, Eric and Special K are never boring. They have experienced many personal milestones the past 13 years, which I’ve been proud to witness. The Roula and Ryan Show has also celebrated our beloved city’s accomplishments and milestones, and has gotten Houston through some tragedies as well. I’m honored to be able to work with this great team for another 5 years!”

Roula and Ryan said: “We are beyond excited to continue this journey with KRBE and Cumulus Radio!  It’s rare to have a team with such camaraderie and chemistry from the top of corporate down to the players on the show! Thank you so much to Mary Berner, Dave Milner, Dan Bennett, Alex Cadelago, Leslie Whittle, and Doug Hamand for creating a workplace that really feels like family and home. A special thank you to our representative Paul Anderson from Workhouse Media for his continuous hard work and support! The Roula and Ryan Show is the Heartbeat of Houston and we look forward to keeping that heartbeat going for a long time.”

Orlando Radio: Stevie DeMann Joins JVC As Director of Programming

Stevie DeMann
JVC Broadcasting has announced the addition of radio programming veteran Stevie DeMann as JVC’s Director of Programming for their growing collection of Florida radio stations.

 DeMann, with a successful career in cities including Baltimore, Orlando, Boston, and most recently serving as Operations Manager for Cox Media Orlando, will oversee 103.1 The Wolf (WOTW Orlando), Florida Man Radio 660AM/105.5FM (WDYZ-AM Orlando / WYGC Gainesville), Bud FM (WOTW-HD2 Orlando), Q92.9 (WMFQ Ocala), US102.3 (WXUS Ocala), and Y100.1 (WXUS-HD2 Ocala) beginning November 25th. 

“I wanted to find the right situation before getting back into the business,” Stevie DeMann says when asked about why he is returning to Central Florida radio. “The team at JVC Florida is the best. From management to programming, sales and promotions, they are all pros that love working together to create successful LOCAL content, events, and promotions. I am thrilled and thankful to CEO John Caracciolo and EVP Shane Reeve for trusting me to ensure our on-air product is the best.”

“John and I know that a pro like Stevie will be a game-changer for our six radio stations,” JVC EVP Shane Reeve comments. “Stevie will complement our already great personalities in both markets grow and will be able to lend great leadership, ideas, and experience to our sales teams. Stevie will add to our goal of winning in each market, proving that radio works, and JVC is the best at delivering results.”

“Our company is in rapid-growth mode and we require someone with a significant and successful programming background to show that live and local radio is what listeners and clients want and can be done well,” says JVC’s owner and CEO John Caracciolo. “Stevie’s history and background in Orlando allows JVC such a leg up on the competition in that market. His experience in big markets like Boston, Orlando, and others will lend a tremendous hand with our already successful team in Gainesville-Ocala. I am very excited about the future of JVC in Florida and across the country!”.

FL Radio: Bob Walker Transfers for Hall Communications

Hall Communications Vice President of Programming Bob Walker will segue from Providence / New Bedford to Lakeland / Winter Haven, FL  replacing the retiring Mike James as operations manager for WPCV, WWRZ, WLKF and WONN.

Bob Walker
Walker will also serve as WPCV program director in addition to Hall VP/Programming. Walker will join the Lakeland group at a yet to be determined date in 2020.

“This is a fantastic operation with some very talented people,” said Walker, “Our Central Florida group is the epitome of live and local radio and I look forward to working closely with our strong Florida brands in 2020 and beyond.”

“Bob has been working with our stations since he became group programmer,” said Nancy Cattarius, VP/GM for Hall Communications Lakeland. “We’re delighted Bob will be running the operation in 2020 and look forward to even more growth here in Florida.”

“I want to thank Nancy, Hall Executive Vice President Dan Dubonnet and Hall President Art Rowbotham for their confidence and for this opportunity,” added Walker. “The Hall Communications mission statement of local service is alive and well in Florida.”

Plans for replacing Walker at WCTK in Providence will be determined sometime in 2020.

TV Ratings: Football Dominates

Television viewers flocked to the showdown between LSU and Alabama over the weekend, making it the top-rated regular season college football game in eight years, reports The Associated Press.

The Nielsen company said 16.6 million people watched the game late Saturday afternoon, as LSU held off the Tide’s late charge. At 7 p.m. Eastern, just before its conclusion, the audience topped 20 million people.

Similarly, the 6.7 million people who watched Minnesota beat Penn State earlier in the day was a winner for ABC. It was the network’s biggest audience for a noon college football game in three years. It was particularly appealing to Minnesota fans; the rating for the game was the highest in Minneapolis of any college game since at least 2000, when the market ratings became available, Nielsen said.

Behind the dominant force of “Sunday Night Football,” NBC won the week in prime-time, averaging 7.1 million viewers. Fox averaged 6.7 million, CBS had 5.8 million, ABC had 4.3 million, Telemundo had 1.27 million, ION Television had 1.25 million, Univision had 1.2 million and the CW had 720,000.

⏩ Broadcast Prime-time top 20 viewership:

1. NFL Football: Minnesota at Dallas, NBC, 22.99 million.
2. “NFL Sunday Night Pre-Kick,” NBC, 16.72 million.
3. “NFL Sunday Post-Game,” Fox, 15.71 million.
4. NFL Football: Dallas at N.Y. Giants, ESPN, 14.72 million.
5. NFL Football: L.A. Chargers at Oakland, Fox, 13.85 million.
6. “NCIS,” CBS, 10.89 million.
7. “Little Mermaid Live,” ABC, 9 million.
8. “Football Night in America, Part 3,” NBC, 8.89 million.
9. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 8.84 million.
10. “FBI,” CBS, 8.55 million.

11. “NFL Thursday Night Pre-Kick,” Fox, 8.27 million.
12. “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 8.16 million.
13. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 8.1 million.
14. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.98 million.
15. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 7.89 million.
16. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 7.69 million.
17. “NFL Monday Night Kick-Off,” ESPN, 7.61 million.
18. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 7.39 million.
19. “Hawaii Five-O,” CBS, 7.13 million.
20. “The Masked Singer,” Fox, 7.12 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” was second with 8.2 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.7 million viewers.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell appears to be growing its audience right now. For the second consecutive week, Evening News delivered the largest average audience since O’Donnell joined the newscast back in July.

⏩ Top-rated daytime talk shows in the women 25-54:

Dr. Phil (1.0, unchanged from the week before), tied with Live with Kelly and Ryan and Ellen DeGeneres followed by Wendy Williams, and Kelly Clarkson tied with Maury

⏩ Basic Cable Top 5 – Prime Time:
  1. ESPN (3,076,000)
  2. Fox News (2,675,000)
  3. MSNBC (1,949,000)
  4. Hallmark Channel (1,496,000)
  5. History (978,000)
  6. HGTV (976,000)
  7. CNN (915,000)
  8. A&E (890,000)
  9. TBS (882,000)
  10. Discovery (833,000)
⏩ Basic cable ranker: on Scribd

ABC News Paranoid Over Identity Of Hot Mic Leaker

The suits at ABC are reportedly freaking out trying to find the identity of the leaker behind the Amy Robach tape — after the alleged source posted a letter online slamming the network under the name “Ignotus,” a wizard from the “Harry Potter” franchise, reports The NY Post.

After junior producer Ashley Bianco denied leaking the tape, on which the anchor complained ABC News killed her interview with Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre, someone purporting to be the actual leaker and still working at the network posted a letter on Project Veritas blasting ABC’s “mission of seek and destroy” to conjure up the mysterious mole.

Project Veritas editors confirmed the missive was penned by the same ABC News insider who gave them the tape “in light of the actions taken against those wrongfully identified as involved in the leaking.”

An ABC insider said top execs were particularly puzzled by Ignotus. He is possibly best known as a Harry Potter character, a pure-blood wizard who has a cloak of invisibility, passed through generations, finally to Harry Potter. Ignotus also means “unknown” in Latin.

The ABC insider said, “They are freaking out over the Harry Potter reference. Does this mean the leaker is a Potter fan, likely one of the younger staff members who work the overnight shift? Or is the leaker citing Latin, which means he or she could be an older member of staff. I mean, how many young producers speak Latin these days?”

The source added ABC investigators have been rifling through staff emails, news logs and grilling staffers. The company has been isolating certain employees and putting them under pressure to turn on their colleagues in a bid to find the culprit, the source also claimed, adding the investigation reports back up to the very highest levels at HR at ABC’s parent company Disney.

ABC reps declined repeated requests for comment, saying they could not discuss ongoing company investigations.

NYC Radio: Report..WFAN Looking For Younger Host

Mike Francesa
Winter is coming, and so is the end of Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive time slot at WFAN 660 AM / 101.9 FM. Francesa confirmed last week he will leave WFAN afternoon drive at the end of 2019. And the station is wasting no time looking at how to revamp the program lineup for January, reports to

Newsday’s Neil Best reports WFAN has begun unofficial tryouts for its new midday schedule. While there has been no official confirmation that this happening, it’s fairly obvious based on the midday schedule for the next two weeks. This week, John Jastremski is joining Maggie Gray and Bart Scott from 1 to 3 p.m., presumably giving executives a chance to hear how that combination sounds. Next week, Evan Roberts is scheduled to sit in with Gray and Scott.

Best reports Roberts is a leading candidate to be part of the Francesa replacement plan, assuming he has good chemistry with Gray and Scott. But Best notes that would mean breaking up the midday team of Roberts and Joe Beningno. In theory, Jastremski could join Beningo on midday if Roberts goes to afternoon drive.

Susan Larkin is the regional president of Entercom, which is the parent company of WFAN. Per Best, Larkin wants the station to get a “younger roster of hosts.”

Best reports Gray is under contract through 2020, but Scott will be a free agent after this year and could bolt if he decides it’s time to end his run at WFAN.

Francesa famously retired from WFAN in 2017 following a long farewell tour, only to return to the station four months later. He has been back on the air since May 2018, but there have been rumors for months his second stint at ‘FAN may not last long, particularly after Francesa’s much-ballyhooed “Mike’s On” app was bought by Entercom, WFAN’s parent company, and merged into the app.

Francesa’s reported departure also comes with him in imminent danger of finally being defeated by arch-nemesis Michael Kay and ESPN Radio New York in what has become a fierce ratings battle. Francesa has been able to hold Kay off since his return, but Francesa’s afternoon drive domination may be in its death throes. Kay has an overall 7.4 to 6.0 lead in the coveted men ages 25-54 demographic after the first month of the Fall 2019 book.

Public Impeachment Hearings Starting

The public phase of the impeachment inquiry will get underway this morning (November 13th), as nationally-televised hearings begin before House lawmakers into whether President Trump's actions related to Ukraine merit impeachment.

In a memo to lawmakers, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that's leading the inquiry, called it a "solemn undertaking," counseling his colleagues to, quote, "approach these proceedings with the seriousness of purpose and love of country that they demand."

Testifying today will be William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

Witnesses have testified behind closed doors in the past weeks about Trump's July 25th phone call in which he pressured Ukraine's president to investigate Joe Biden and his son, and the conspiracy that Ukraine was behind the 2016 election interference, even though U.S. intelligence has unanimously concluded it was Russia.

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify Friday, and then there will be eight more witnesses next week.

John Legend Is People's Sexiest Man Alive 2019

John Legend has been named People’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2019.

The news was revealed during the latest episode of The Voice when Blake Shelton, the 2017 Sexiest Man Alive, passed on the torch to his fellow coach. Legend thanked Shelton on the television show.

"I sat next to him for the last few months and I learned his sexy ways," Legend said. "I observed every move he made, every utterance that came from his mouth and I think some of it rubbed off on me."

John told People about his reaction to earning the special title. “I was excited, but I was a little scared at the same time because it’s a lot of pressure,” he said. “Everyone’s going to be picking me apart to see if I’m sexy enough to hold this title. I’m [also] following Idris Elba, which is not fair and is not nice to me!”

Elba tweeted his congratulations to Legend, but admonished him not to tell Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson that he had won, saying the star "still thinks he’s got the title."

Legend is People’s 34th Sexiest Man Alive, joining a long list of Hollywood’s hottest, starting with a then-29-year-old Mel Gibson in 1985.

Legend became the first black male to become an EGOT (winner of an Emmy award, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony) in 2018.

Report: FCC Okay With Gannett-GateHouse Deal

A significantly weakened deal to merge the nation’s two largest newspaper publishers heads to a shareholder vote on Thursday, reports The NY Post.

And it’s expected to be approved — despite the multitude of concerns that has the proposed acquisition of USA Today publisher Gannett by New Media Investment Group’s GateHouse Media struggling and gasping for air.

Since the cash and stock deal was unveiled on Aug. 5, the biggest single barrier to getting it done has been the fast and furious erosion of New Media stock, which will be used to help pay for Gannett .

The stock’s closing price of $7.13 on Tuesday is well below its pre-deal price of $10.70 a share. The plunge has lowered the value of the offer from the original $1.4 billion to just over $1.1 billion.

Adding to the merger’s woes, the NewsGuild, which represents workers at a number of papers from both companies, blasted the deal on Monday, saying it will lead to cuts that will close papers and hurt news coverage.

Despite the complex web of complications, most media observers think the big institutional shareholders will OK the deal Thursday, noting that they share many of the same investors and that they are being promised cost savings of $300 million.

Apollo will be supplying nearly $1.8 billion in secured loans to New Media at the sky-high interest rate of 11.5 % to do the deal, which initially drew the attention of the FCC. While the FCC doesn’t ordinarily weigh in on newspaper deals, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia had reinstated the old duopoly regulations that bar the same corporate owner from owning a TV station and a daily newspaper in the same market. That put the FCC into the mix on the newspaper deal since Apollo is in the process of buying majority control of the Cox Media Group, which owns 13 TV stations as well as three newspapers and radio stations in Ohio.

Apollo was summoned to Washington, DC, to explain its way around the duopoly clause.  And one source said it was able to make some alterations to its loan guarantees, which satisfied the FCC.

On Oct. 24, an FCC spokesman said that “both transactions were under review by the commission.” As of Tuesday, the spokesman only said the Cox-Apollo deal was under review.

Disney Plus Glitches Tapered During Day 1 Of Streaming

Walt Disney Co. ’s flagship streaming service made its debut Tuesday morning amid technical glitches that prevented some users from logging in and created difficulties for others who wanted to watch movies and shows, a result of a problem stemming in part from computer servers operated by another company, according to The Wall Street Journal citing a person familiar with the matter.

The servers were apparently unable to keep up with two kinds of demand: people trying to sign up for the Disney+ service for the first time; and subscribers who had signed up ahead of time, who were trying to watch videos. The issues causing the problems appeared to be fixed by midday Tuesday.

Disney+ began presenting problems for some users almost as soon as it was launched on Tuesday morning.

Disney has been under intense pressure to get this launch right. The company acquired BAMTech LLC, a streaming-technology company, to build the app’s technical infrastructure, and is spending hundreds of millions of dollars producing movies and television shows for the service. The new emphasis on a streaming service meant to be viewed from home represents a strategic pivot for a company that until now has been most successful in getting people to movie theaters and theme parks.

Disney+ has been marketed to users for months, and many of those trying to watch on Tuesday bought three-year subscriptions to the service at a significant discount. Users signing up now can either pay $6.99 a month or an annual rate of $69.99 after a seven-day trial.

Complaints about Disney+ glitches peaked on social media around 9 a.m. on the East Coast but fell off as the day went on.

Hockey Voice Don Cherry Believes "You People" Got Him Fired

"Hockey Night in Canada" analyst Don Cherry said he believes he was fired Monday because of two words he used during his Coach's Corner segment.

"It's the two words, 'You people' — and you know people are very sensitive like that — that got me," he said Tuesday night during an appearance on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News.

The popular, outspoken former coach drew criticism for complaining Saturday night that people in Toronto were being disrespectful by not wearing poppies to honor Canada's fallen military heroes leading up to Remembrance Day. His words were viewed as a criticism of immigrants.

"You people ... love our way of life, love our milk and honey," Cherry said during the segment. "At least you could pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada.”

BMI Music Awards: Dwight Yoakam Honored

Dwight Yoakam (Photo by The Tennessean)
Eric Church said Dwight Yoakam changed the way he listened to music.

“His attitude was very Bakersfield, and the sound was like nothing I’d heard,” Church said in a video tribute as Yoakam was honored Tuesday with the BMI Presidents Award at the 67th Annual BMI Country Awards.

Artists and friends paid tribute to Yoakam, who has sold more than 25 million albums, during the ceremony held at BMI’s offices on Music Row. Previous recipients of the award include Kenny Chesney, Pink, Harlan Howard, Brooks & Dunn, Adam Levine and others who have profoundly influenced the music industry.

“I wrote primarily because I needed things to sing,” Yoakam said. “Every placard that I’ve received from BMI over the years is something I cherish. The awards are up in my office to remind me of how fortunate I’ve been to make a living doing something I’ve would have done for free.”

The night’s other top honorees were Nicolle Galyon, who was named Songwriter of the Year for the first time along with Ross Copperman, who accepted the award for the third time. Galyon is the first woman to win the award since Taylor Swift took the prize in 2010. Dan + Shay’s “Tequila,” which was co-written by Galyon, was named 2019 BMI Country Song of the Year.

Galyon co-wrote four songs honored at the BMI Music Awards: Lee Brice’s “Boy”; Keith Urban’s “Coming Home”; Lady Antebellum’s “Heartbreak”; and Dan + Shay’s “Tequila.”

Copperman is responsible for Kenny Chesney’s “Get Along,” Blake Shelton’s “I Lived It,” Justin Moore’s “Kinda Don’t Care” and Dierks Bentley’s “Woman, Amen.”

Nominations Open For The Gracies Awards

The Gracie Awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF), has opened the call for entries for the 45th Annual Gracie Awards Gala to be held May 19, 2020, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills and Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 24, 2020, in New York.

Serving again as chairs for are McVay Media Consulting President Mike McVay and AWMF board members The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen and The Punch Point Group co-founder and managing partner Annie Howell.

"Each year, the Gracie Awards celebrate and honor truly exceptional content by, for and about women. It is our belief that recognizing expertise, courage and contributions across television, radio and interactive/digital media is essential to ensuring continued growth for our industry," said AWMF executive director Becky Brooks. "As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Gracies enables the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to deliver on its promise of furthering the connection, education and recognition of women in media."

This year includes a category for showrunners in television and creating more avenues for radio hosts/co-hosts by adding categories for Outstanding News Anchor and Weekend Host Personality.

The 2019 Gracie Awards entry eligibility air dates are from January 1, 2019, through December 31. Early Bird rates for entries end on December 12, 2019, at 11:59 PM Eastern. The deadline for all entries is January 16, 2020, at 11:59 PM Eastern. Find more info at

FCC Radio Call Sign Activity For October 2019

During October 2019,  the FCC accepted applications to assign call signs to, or change the call signs of the following broadcast stations:

R.I.P.: Bob Gregory, Tulsa Broadcaster

Bob Gregory
Longtime Tulsa broadcaster Bob Gregory died Nov. 6 of natural causes.

He was 88, according to

Born Robert Bruce Pitcock in Fort Smith on July 27, 1931, Gregory began his professional life in radio at age 19. He was then with the KTUL-TV news department from the early 1960s through the mid-1980s — apart from 1967-70, when he was a reporter at CBS News in Washington.

At KTUL, Gregory wrote and hosted the popular series of “Oil in Oklahoma” TV programs, which were seen and loved by many in this community; the series also appeared in book form. He created several other award-winning documentary films and TV shows concerning Oklahoma history, politics, and culture. In doing so, he trained or mentored a great many Tulsa-area TV journalists.

In 1992, after retiring from broadcasting, Gregory drew upon his lifelong love of baseball in order to write the book, “Diz: The Story of Dizzy Dean and Baseball During the Great Depression,” a critically acclaimed biography of the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher.

A man of great style, deep voice, and quick wit, Bob Gregory (Pitcock) was a voracious reader, lively conversationalist, nonstop learner, and generous spirit, his obituary states.

November 13 Radio History

➦In 1906...Lee de Forest, who coined the term "radio", patented Audion tube.

Lee de Forest
De Forest was interested in wireless telegraphy and invented the Audion in 1906. He then developed an improved wireless telegraph receiver.

On 25 October 1906, de Forest filed a patent for diode vacuum tube detector, a two-electrode device for detecting electromagnetic waves, a variant of the Fleming valve invented two years earlier.

One year later, he filed a patent for a three-electrode device that was a much more sensitive detector of electromagnetic waves. It was granted US Patent 879,532 in February 1908. The device was also called the de Forest valve, and since 1919 has been known as the triode.

De Forest's innovation was the insertion of a third electrode, the grid, between the cathode (filament) and the anode (plate) of the previously invented diode.

The resulting triode or three-electrode vacuum tube could be used as an amplifier of electrical signals, notably for radio reception. The Audion was the fastest electronic switching element of the time, and was later used in early digital electronics (such as computers). The triode was vital in the development of transcontinental telephone communications, radio, and radar until the 1948 invention of the transistor.

In 1904, a De Forest transmitter and receiver were set up aboard the steamboat Haimun operated on behalf of The Times, the first of its kind.  On July 18, 1907, De Forest broadcast the first ship-to-shore message from the steam yacht Thelma. The communication provided quick, accurate race results of the Annual Inter-Lakes Yachting Association Regatta. The message was received by his assistant, Frank E. Butler of Monroeville, Ohio, in the Pavilion at Fox's Dock located on South Bass Island on Lake Erie. DeForest disliked the term "wireless" and chose a new moniker, "radio."

De Forest is credited with the birth of public radio broadcasting when on January 12, 1910, he conducted experimental broadcast of part of the live performance of Tosca and, the next day, a performance with the participation of Italian tenor Enrico Caruso from the stage of Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

➦In 1913...Alexander Scourby was born (Died at age 71 – February 22, 1985). He was a film, television, and voice actor known for his deep and resonant voice.  He is best known for his film role as the ruthless mob boss Mike Lagana in Fritz Lang's The Big Heat (1953), and is also particularly well-remembered in the English-speaking world for his landmark recordings of the entire King James Version audio Bible, which have been released in numerous editions. He later recorded the entire Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Scourby recorded 422 audiobooks for the blind which he considered his most important work.

Jack Gale
➦In 1925...Legendary radio broadcaster Jack Gale was born (Died - January 24, 2018) .  During his remarkable career he has been a radio performer, programmer, owner, voice-over talent, music publisher, manager and record producer spans more than 50 years.

Born in Baltimore, Gale started in radio prior to the emergence of rock 'n' roll and the Top 40 format.

He was heard on WSRS in Cleveland, WTMA in Charleston S.C., WITH in Baltimore, and WMEX in Boston before joining Stan Kaplan in 1965 at BIG WAYS in Charlotte, N.C., where the station and "Jack Gale the Morning Glory" achieved #1 ratings in 36 North and South Carolina counties.

➦In 1937...The NBC Symphony Orchestra first performed on radio.  It was established by David Sarnoff, the president of the Radio Corporation of America, especially for the celebrated conductor Arturo Toscanini. It was disbands in 1954.

The orchestra's first broadcast concert aired under the direction of Monteux. Toscanini conducted ten concerts that first season, making his NBC debut on December 25, 1937. In addition to weekly broadcasts on the NBC Red and Blue networks, the NBC Symphony Orchestra made many recordings for RCA Victor. Televised concerts began in March 1948.  During the summer of 1950, NBC converted Studio 8-H into a television studio (the broadcast home of NBC's late-night comedy program Saturday Night Live since 1975) and moved the broadcast concerts to Carnegie Hall, where many of the orchestra's recording sessions and special concerts had already taken place.

➦In 2001...Sportscaster Wallace Frank Messer  died (Born - August 8, 1925). He was best known for his 18 seasons announcing New York Yankees baseball games, and as the recognizable emcee voice of various Yankee Stadium festivities during a three decade span.

An Asheville, North Carolina native, Messer was a member of the Marines during World War II in the South Pacific. After the war, he worked as a broadcaster in minor league baseball in the 1950s.

He got his major-league break when he joined the Baltimore Orioles and worked alongside their noted longtime voice, Chuck Thompson. In 1966, the year Bill O’Donnell also joined the broadcast crew, the O’s won their first world championship. Messer also called Baltimore Colts football during the 1960s.

Messer’s next major-league break came after the 1967 season, when Joe Garagiola left the Yankees broadcast crew to concentrate on the network jobs he also had at NBC Sports and NBC News. Messer took Garagiola’s place for 1968, working with ex-Yankees Jerry Coleman and Phil Rizzuto.

Jerry Coleman, Frank Messer, Phil Rizzuto
The Yankees’ longtime public-relations director Bob Fishel had urged team management to approve a traditional play-by-play sportscaster, which the Yanks had not had since the firing of Red Barber after the 1966 season.

Messer's great Yankee moments included his 1978 call of Bucky Dent’s dramatic three-run homer in the American League East Championship Game against the host Boston Red Sox; and his 1980 call of Reggie Jackson’s 400th home run ("There she goes! Might be upper deck!"), both on WINS radio.

WPIX and its usual Rizzuto-Messer-White broadcast trifecta also carried the ALCS in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1981, providing New York viewers a local alternative to the nationally broadcast telecasts. Messer handled the post-game clubhouse celebration after the Chris Chambliss home run that won the 1976 ALCS.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Nominees Announced

iHeartMedia today announced the nominees for the 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards on Friday, January 17 at 8 p.m. PT held at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles. 

Fans across the country will also be able to tune in to the second annual live awards event via a LiveXLive stream and on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide. The event will honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2019 and will span 30 categories, celebrating the incredible talent and wide variety of leaders across the booming podcasting industry.

Podcasts nominated for Best Podcast of the Year include “The Daily,” “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “Stuff You Should Know,” “My Favorite Murder,” “Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend,” “Revisionist History,” “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” “The Dropout,” “The Shrink Next Door” and “The Read.” Additional nominees include podcasts from all creators, distributors and platforms with a panel of blue-ribbon podcast industry leaders, creatives and visionaries determining the winners across categories including Music, Comedy, Crime, News, Sports & Recreation, Food, Business & Finance and more. 

Podcast fans themselves will once again decide the winner of the “Best Podcast of the Year” award through social voting on Twitter now through January 10. More information can be found at

In addition, the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will present three Icon Awards to pay tribute to the creators, organizations and podcasts that have made groundbreaking contributions to podcasting’s expanding role in today’s popular culture. The winners for the 2020 Pioneer Award, Social Impact Award and Innovator Award will be announced at a later date.

This year’s category finalists (by alphabetical order) are:

Launch Of Disney+ Hits Bumps

After two years of planning, the Walt Disney Co. today finally launches Disney+, the much anticipated streaming service that marks one of the Burbank company’s biggest gambles to date, according to The LA Times.

UPDATE 9:00 AM: Disney's new streaming service is running into some early tech issues on its launch day with "unable to connect" errors being reported across social media channels.

Disney has spent more than $3 billion on technology and content in an ambitious bid to take on Netflix at its own game. The $6.99-a-month service boasts a deep library, including movies and TV shows from Pixar Animation, “Star Wars,” Marvel Studios and classic Disney fare.

The new product represents a shift in Disney’s business strategy and potentially, another blow to the traditional pay-TV bundle that has been so important to its business. Cord-cutting is on the rise, taking a big bite out of revenue to Disney’s cable sports empire, ESPN, and other channels.

What to watch on Disney+: A critic’s guide What to watch on Disney+: A critic’s guide
The new streaming option could entice more people to cancel their pay-TV subscriptions, further jeopardizing the health of an important profit center — the fees that cable and satellite TV operators pay for programming. Nearly a quarter of U.S. households are expected to drop traditional TV subscriptions by 2022, according to research firm eMarketer. The number of people in the U.S. who stream video through subscription services is expected to reach 205.6 million in 2023, up from 182.5 million this year, according to eMarketer.

Disney faces formidable competition from rivals including Netflix, which has a big head start with 158 million subscribers and is spending about $15 billion on content this year.

But Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Iger fervently believes that the companies that forge strong relationships with consumers will be the ones that survive the digital migration. His legacy will be judged, in large part, on the success of Disney+.

Highlights of what is available:
  • LucasFilm’s new Star Wars live-action series The Mandalorian...Episode 2 comes out Friday the 15th, forthcoming episodes will release on Fridays.
  • The X-Men animated series from the 90’s.
  • Avengers: Endgame is also coming to Disney+ at launch.
  • The first three Toy Story movies so you can get all caught up for Toy Story 4 if you haven’t seen that one yet.
  • All 30 seasons of The Simpsons will be available on day one.
  • The new “live-action” Lady and the Tramp movie is a day-one Disney+ exclusive.
  • So many great animated classics like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.
Not Yet...Some movies and shows will await expiration of existing streaming deals with rivals: 
  • The Pixar cartoon “Coco,” the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” and the Star Wars movies “The Last Jedi” and “Solo” fall in this category.
  • Others like “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” and “The Lion King” remake haven’t been released for streaming yet. “Maleficent” is still in theaters.
  • Other original TV shows like Marvel’s “Loki” are still in the works.

CBS Corp 3Q Revenue Reaches All-Time High

CBS Corporation today reported results for the third quarter of 2019, including an all-time high in the third quarter for revenues.

“We delivered record third-quarter revenues as we continue to increase our investment in our premium content and direct-to-consumer streaming services, which is the cornerstone of our growth strategy,” said Joe Ianniello, President and Acting Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation.

“During the quarter, our direct-to-consumer revenue from CBS All Access and Showtime OTT grew 39% from last year, driven by a strong slate of original programming. Meanwhile, retrans, reverse comp and virtual MVPD revenues grew 18%, and our total affiliate and subscription fees grew 12%, representing more than a third of our overall revenue in Q3.

Joe Ianniello
"Our content licensing revenue is also growing as we ramp up production of programming for all of our platforms, including five new hit shows that we just launched on the biggest platform in media, the CBS Television Network, which is on track to end the season as the most-watched network for the 12th consecutive year.

"Our base business also remains strong, with solid underlying network advertising growth of 2% during the quarter. In addition, here in the fourth quarter we have a terrific programming schedule at Showtime, including returning favorites Shameless and Ray Donovan, along with a number of exciting new series, such as The L Word: Generation Q. So we are building great momentum as we near our merger with Viacom and head into 2020.”

Revenues for the third quarter of 2019 grew 1% to $3.30 billion from $3.26 billion for the same prior-year period. Affiliate and subscription fee revenues were up 12%, driven by increases in fees from CBS Television Network affiliated stations and retransmission revenues, as well as growth from the Company’s direct-to-consumer streaming services. Content licensing and distribution revenues were up 1%, mainly as a result of higher sales of series produced for third parties. Advertising revenues decreased 7% from the third quarter of 2018, when the Company had record political advertising sales fueled by the 2018 midterm elections.

Operating income for the third quarter of 2019 was $501 million compared with $690 million for the same prioryear period and included costs incurred during the third quarter in connection with the pending merger with Viacom Inc. Adjusted operating income decreased 21% to $581 million from $736 million for the same prior-year period as a result of an increased investment in content, including a higher number of series produced for multiple platforms, as well as the Company’s direct-to-consumer streaming services.

Net earnings for the third quarter of 2019 was $319 million compared with $488 million for the third quarter of 2018. Adjusted net earnings decreased 24% to $356 million from $469 million for the third quarter of 2018. These decreases were driven by the lower operating income, which was partially offset by a lower effective income tax rate in 2019.

Diluted earnings per share for the third quarter of 2019 was $.85 compared with $1.29 for the same quarter in 2018. Adjusted diluted EPS decreased 23% to $.95 from $1.24 for the same prior-year period.

Cash Flow

For the third quarter of 2019, operating cash flow was $27 million compared with $137 million for the third quarter of 2018. For the first nine months of 2019, operating cash flow was $341 million compared with $1.18 billion for the same period in 2018.

Free cash flow was an outflow of $7 million for the third quarter of 2019 compared with an inflow of $97 million for the same prior-year period, and for the first nine months of the year, free cash flow was $247 million in 2019 compared with $1.08 billion for 2018. The decreases for the nine-month period were mainly driven by an increased investment in content and a non-recurring income tax payment in 2019.

CBS' Ianniello to Pocket $100M When ViacomCBS Deal Closes

Joseph Ianniello
Acting CBS Chief Executive Joe Ianniello, who will become chairman and CEO of CBS once Viacom merges with CBS, will bank a hefty payout of $100 million when the deal closes, reports The NY Post citing sources.

That’s up from the $70 million he was already set to pocket in severance for not being named head of the newly combined company — despite staying on in his current job.

The added $30 million is due to the $10 million he’ll pocket for agreeing to extend his former contract — plus $20 million in stock of the new company, ViacomCBS, sources said.

Ianniello’s fortunes are nothing short of miraculous. The exec, who served as the longtime No. 2 to disgraced former CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves, was only recently on thin ice with Shari Redstone, the heiress whose family owns a majority stake in Viacom and CBS through National Amusements Inc.

A court filing by National Amusements Inc. uncovered a trove of text messages showing Ianniello had been supporting Moonves’ battle to dilute Redstone’s voting control over CBS before Moonves was ousted in a flood of sexual misconduct allegations in late 2018.

“I will have your back to the end!” Ianniello messaged Moonves, referring to a vote to reduce Redstone’s control.

Cumulus Media 3Q Earnings, Revenue Surpass Estimates

Cumulus Media Inc. has announced operating results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019.

Third Quarter Financial Highlights

As compared to the third quarter of 2018 on an As Reported GAAP basis:
  • Net revenue decreased 0.5%
  • Net income was $16.3 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) decreased 5.5%
As compared to the 3Q of 2018 on a Same Station basis, excluding the impact of political revenue:
  • Net revenue increased 3.9%
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased 2.2%
As compared to the 3Q of 2018 on a Same Station basis, including the impact of political revenue:
  • Net revenue increased 3.2%
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) decreased 0.8%

Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer of CUMULUS MEDIA, said, “In the third quarter, the Company turned in another strong performance with same station revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 3.9% and 2.2%, respectively, on an ex-political basis.  Our operating plan has continued to deliver industry-leading digital revenue growth and continuing growth in our national and network channels.  We also made great progress in the quarter on our balance sheet as our free cash flow generation allowed us to fund a voluntary debt prepayment of approximately $29 million, which reduced net leverage to 4.5x.  Additionally, we completed a $525 million term loan refinancing that extended our debt maturity and reduced future interest expense.”

During the investor's call with analyts, Berner highlighted what she called "meaningful contributions" in the quarter from standout stations and brands.

Mary Berner
"Our best performing markets for the quarter where Chicago, Cincinnati, DC, Indianapolis and Baton Rouge. And speaking of Indianapolis, I would also note that we are continuing to benefit from the swap transactions that we completed in Q2.

"The station (WNDX 93.9 FM) we flipped to rock format to fill a gap in the market is enjoying ratings increases of over 100% year over year, with multiple consecutive months of impressive ratings growth. And across the entire Indianapolis cluster on a same station basis, we grew by double digits in the quarter.

"In Allentown, the other market we expanded for swap transaction, we mentioned last quarter that WODE-FM posted a number one in the spring book and that ratings traction converted to revenue share gains in September for the market.

"In a number of other markets we've also made some significant programming moves under our new Programming Head Brian Philips. A few examples. In San Francisco, we've been working to cement the leading position of our heritage sports brand KNBR. We signed Greg Papa voice of the 49ers to a multiyear deal and then added FM distribution to the station by flipping KFOG-FM to a simulcasts of KNBR.

"In its first month on the FM band rating share for KNBR skyrocketed, up 73% year over year. We also recently resigned our powerhouse morning show in Houston, The Roulette and Ryan Show on KRBE-FM to a multiyear deal, securing the station's leading position in the market. Notably KRBE also received a Marconi award this year, radios most prestigious annual award for CHR Station of the Year.

Berner also mention Cumulus news/talk stations mantain a strong position. "Our stations grew rating share every month this year and our powerhouse news talk network syndication roster, which includes Mark Levin, Michael Savage and Ben Shapiro had also performed very well.

"In particular Ben Shapiro's success in the 18 to 49 demo has been impressive, with listenership up more than 60% in the simulcasts broadcast of his podcast, and up over 40% is live show from the fall 2018, spring 2019 book. In aggregate our strength in news talk positions us particularly well for what we expect to be a very robust political environment as we countdown to the 2020 elections."

Liberty Media To Step Up Podcast Effort

Liberty Media, the company that is controlled by billionaire mogul John Malone and houses such assets as satellite radio company SiriusXM Radio, the Atlanta Braves baseball club and the Formula One racing circuit, on Monday reported lower third-quarter earnings as higher costs and expenses outweighed increased revenue.

Quarterly earnings came in at $262 million, or $193 million attributable to Liberty stockholders, down from $366 million, or $268 million attributable to stockholders, in the year-ago period. Operating income fell from $531 million to $507 million. The company's third-quarter revenue rose from $2.32 billion to $2.86 billion, but operating costs and expenses rose from $1.78 billion to $2.35 billion.

SiriusXM recorded a 1 percent drop in operating profit to $459 million, while the company's Liberty Braves Group's operating profit of $21 million fell from $45 million. Formula One posted an operating profit of $44 million, up from $39 million in the year-ago period.
Greg Maffei
“SiriusXM continues to deliver and posted another record breaking quarter. The company has made great progress in monetization at Pandora, reaching an all-time high for ad revenue in the quarter,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Media President and CEO.

“Formula 1 continues to show great momentum and is on track to hit 2019 targets, benefitting from foundation building over the last two years, and the Braves secured their second straight NL East division title.”


“We were thrilled to have the World Motor Sport Council unanimously approve the 2021 regulations, which were the result of input from all stakeholders across the sport of Formula 1. We believe these regulations stay true to the DNA of Formula 1 while seeking to improve the competition and action on the track,” said Chase Carey, Formula 1 Chairman and CEO. “This season continues to produce some spectacular racing and we congratulate Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes on their amazing achievements. We now look forward to the final two races of 2019 and a record 22 race 2020 season, including our new event in Vietnam and our return to the Netherlands.”


Baseball revenue is comprised of ballpark operations, local and national broadcast rights and licensing and other shared MLB revenue streams. Development revenue is derived from the Battery Atlanta mixed-use facilities and primarily includes rental income.  Baseball revenue per home game grew in the third quarter of 2019 primarily due to increased ticket and concession sales.

Liberty Media is planning to step up its bet on podcasts and is looking for opportunities to develop unique content that will draw in customers.

The majority owner of satellite-radio operator Sirius XM Holdings Inc. believes consumers aren’t tapped out on podcasts, which have grown in popularity in recent years and are now standard fare for media companies.

Last month, Sirius XM and Walt Disney Co. ’s Marvel unit said they signed a multiyear deal that calls on the comic-book business to create a substantial number of podcasts for SiriusXM and Pandora, the streaming service that Sirius acquired in February. Sirius has launched a 20-part podcast series tied to the 100th season of the National Football League and other podcasts, too.

“The audio day, between AirPods and Alexa and other kinds of distribution devices, is only expanding,” Maffei told analysts on Monday.

Music has become somewhat commoditized, but podcasts create the chance to offer customers exclusive material, Mr. Maffei added.

Report: Radio Effective In Reaching Voters

In the latest Westwood One blog post, Pierre Bouvard documeny that radio is a consistently effective tool for political campaigns needing to cut through the clutter.  AM & FM radio reaches a massive, engaged, and diverse audience across the political party spectrum. It is also an essential tool for political advertisers to extend the reach of their TV campaigns, particularly among light TV viewers.

Using Nielsen Scarborough data and Nielsen Media Impact, Nielsen’s cross media optimization system, Westwood One examined AM/FM radio’s reach, proving that AM/FM radio gets out the vote.
  • AM/FM radio has mass reach: According to Nielsen Scarborough data, AM/FM radio reaches 88% of likely voters, more than the Internet (85%), TV (83%), and Facebook (62%). AM/FM radio also has significantly greater reach among likely voters than SiriusXM (18%), Pandora (17%), and Spotify (10%).
  • AM/FM radio reaches Twitter users: With the recent announcement that Twitter will no longer take political ads leading up to the 2020 election, AM/FM radio steps in to fill the void. According to Scarborough, AM/FM radio (88%) outreaches Twitter (18%) among likely voters. Among likely voters, 90% of Twitter users are reached by AM/FM radio. By investing in AM/FM radio, political campaigns get virtually the entire Twitter audience for free.
  • AM/FM radio reaches every key voting segment: 88% of Democrats, Republicans, and Swing voters are reached weekly by AM/FM radio.
  • AM/FM radio makes your TV better: According to an actual U.S. Senate campaign run in Nielsen Media Impact for an October 2018 media buy, a TV only media plan achieves a 79% reach. Reallocating 20% of the media budget to AM/FM radio boosts reach to 90%, a +14% increase in incremental reach versus just TV alone for the same budget.
  • AM/FM radio works for political campaigns: Data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study reveals AM/FM radio is an ideal medium for political campaigns. In addition to mass reach and enhancing TV buys, AM/FM radio has stunning 80% shares of audio time spent among key voting segments and potential voters.