Saturday, March 2, 2019

March 3 Radio History

Alexander Graham Bell
➦In 1847...Alexander Graham Bell born (Died - August 2, 1922). He was a Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer, and innovator who is credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone. He also founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885.

Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. Bell considered his invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.

Many other inventions marked Bell's later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils, and aeronautics. 

➦In 1885...Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, established American Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1885, which acquired the Bell Telephone Company and became the primary phone company in the United States. This company maintained a monopoly on telephone service in the United States until anti-trust regulators split the company in 1982.

AT&T Corporation was eventually purchased by one of its Baby Bells, the former Southwestern Bell, in 2005 and the combined company became known as AT&T Inc.

➦In 1922...WWJ-AM, Detroit, Michigan began broadcasting.

WWJ first signed on the air on August 20, 1920 under the call sign 8MK, and was founded by The Detroit News; the mixed letter/number calls were assigned to the station by the United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation, the government bureau responsible for radio regulation at the time. The 8 in the call sign referred to its location in the 8th Radio Inspection District, while the M in the call sign identified that the station operated under an amateur license. It is not clear why the Detroit News applied for an amateur license instead of an experimental license. As an amateur station, it broadcast at 200 meters (the equivalent of 1500 AM).

8MK was initially licensed to Michael DeLisle Lyons, a teenager, and radio pioneer. He assembled the station in the Detroit News Building but the Scripps family asked him to register the station in his name, because they were worried this new technology might only be a fad, and wanted to keep some distance.

The Scripps family were also worried radio might replace newspapers if the medium caught on, so the family financially supported Michael. In fact, most early radio stations were built, for the same reason, by families who owned newspapers – out of concern that radio would put them out of business, on the basis that newspaper readers would find it more timelier to tune to listen to the headlines on radio at any given time than wait to read them in a daily newspaper the next day.

On October 13, 1921, the station was granted a limited commercial license and was assigned the call letters WBL. With the new license, the station began broadcasting at 360 meters (833 AM), with weather reports and other government reports broadcast at 485 meters (619 AM).

On March 3, 1922, for reasons that are not known, the call letters, 'WWJ, were assigned to the station. Some believe the new call letters are an abbreviation for stockholders William and John Scripps, but on page 82 of a book published by the Detroit News in 1922, WWJ-The Detroit News, it stated that "WWJ is not the initials of any name. It is a symbol. It was issued to the Detroit News by the government in connection with the licensing of this broadcasting plant."

Ty Tyson was the original “voice” of the Detroit Tigers was 39 years old that first radio summer of 1927.

Today Newsradio WWJ 950 AM is owned by CBS Radio.

➦In 1925...KFWB Los Angeles signed-on.

The station was launched by Sam Warner, a co-founder of Warner Brothers. The station launched the careers of such stars as Ronald Reagan and Bing Crosby. The station was the first to broadcast the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Although some think its call letters stand for Keep Filming Warner Brothers or (K)-Four Warner Brothers, actually the callsign was sequentially issued by the Department of Commerce, predecessor to the FCC (March 1925) at the same time as KFWA in Ogden, Utah (Feb 1925) and KFWC for San Bernardino (also Feb 1925).

On February 8, 1937, KFWB opened a new facility on the south end of the Warner Brothers lot. It included six large studios, one of which was a 500-seat theater, and a "multi-manual pipe organ, built especially for broadcasting."

In 1946, KFWB imported two disc jockeys from New York City: Maurice Hart of WNEW, whose drive-time show Start the Day Right was described as "Words and Music Straight from the Hart," and Martin Block, who coined the phrase "Make-Believe Ballroom," which was later used by Al Jarvis when Block returned to New York. In those days, disc jockeys selected their own music, either from KFWB's extensive record library, or new songs brought to them by "song pluggers." Old and new, vocal and instrumental were mixed together to the disc jockey's choice.

KFWB was sold to its long-time general manager, Harry Maizlish, in 1950, and soon after moved off the Warner Brothers lot to join Maizlish's FM station, KFMV, on Hollywood Boulevard.

In 1958, the original "Seven Swingin’ Gentlemen" took Rock and Roll into its first major market, at KFWB.

Also in 1958, under new owners Crowell-Collier Broadcasting, program director Chuck Blore transformed the station into a Top 40 format called Channel 98 Color Radio. The station became one of the most highly listened to stations in the Southland and in the nation. The air staff during the glory days included Bill Ballance, B. Mitchell Reed, Bruce Hayes, Al Jarvis, Joe Yocam, Elliot Field, Ted Quillin. and Gene Weed. Their staff of highly respected newscasters included Cleve Herrmann, Charles Arlington, John Babcock, Beach Rogers, Mike Henry, Hal Goodwin, Al Wiman, Bill Angel, J. Paul Huddleston and Jackson King. But times changed, and in the mid-60's, KFWB was overtaken by rival KRLA.

Then KRLA was put in second place by the launch of Boss Radio at 93/KHJ, and this relegated KFWB to the position of the third-place pop music station in the L.A. market.

KFWB was later purchased by Westinghouse in 1966. On March 11, 1968, the station was relaunched as an all news radio station. The station promoted itself with its slogan, "You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world," as first used by New York Westinghouse station WINS, although the station's format used a 30 minute news cycle.

Until spun off into a trust, KFWB was owned by CBS Radio, a subsidiary of CBS Corporation, formerly known as Westinghouse, which also owns KNX, the only all-news station in Los Angeles. KFWB and KNX famously feuded as all-news rivals for years, both on radio and in television advertising. Like its former sister stations (and fellow all-news stations) WINS in New York and KYW in Philadelphia, KFWB had a running Teletype sound effect in the background during regular newscasts.

On Sept. 22, 2014, KFWB became "The Beast 980", an all-sports format...and on March 1 2016, The Beast ended operations as an all-sports station after the station’s asset trust sold the business to Universal Media Access KFWB-AM LLC headed by Charles W. Banta of Buffalo NY. for $8M.

Universal Media Access launched a South Asian format branding as “Desi 980“, on March 1, 2016.

➦In 1952...“Whispering Streets” premiered on ABC radio.It was a  romantic soap-opera drama with a special twist:The stories were told in a somewhat serial format with the next week's story using a minor character's point of view.  It remained on the air until November 25, 1960 which brought down the curtain on what is called “the last day of the radio soap opera”.

Whispering Streets had multiple well-known hostesses/narrators throughout the show's run including Bette Davis, Cathy Lewis, Hope Winslow, Ann Seymour, Gertrude Warner.  The most dramatic narrator of the show's run is Bette Davis who begins each show with a "Hell-low" and ends with "Goohdd-bye."

➦In 1956...'Heartbreak Hotel'  The First RCA  single for Elvis Presley entered the Billboard top 100 at #68.  It was released as a single on January 27, 1956, Presley's first on his new record label RCA Victor. It was written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton.

A newspaper article about the suicide of a lonely man who jumped from a hotel window inspired the lyrics. Axton presented the song to Presley in November 1955 at a country music convention in Nashville. Presley agreed to record it, and did so on January 10, 1956, in a session with his band, The Blue Moon Boys, the guitarist Chet Atkins, and the pianist Floyd Cramer. "Heartbreak Hotel" comprises an eight-bar blues progression, with heavy reverberation throughout the track, to imitate the character of Presley's Sun recordings.

The single topped Billboard's Top 100 chart for seven weeks, Cashbox's pop singles chart for six weeks, was No. 1 on the Country and Western chart for seventeen weeks and reached No. 3 on the R&B chart, becoming Presley's first million-seller, and one of the best-selling singles of 1956. "Heartbreak Hotel" achieved unheard feats as it reached the top 5 of Country and Western, pop, and Rhythm 'n' Blues charts simultaneously.  It would eventually be certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Presley had first performed "Heartbreak Hotel" during a live show in December 1955 during a tour of the Louisiana Hayride, but the song gained strong popularity after his appearance on Stage Show in March 1956. It became a staple of Presley's repertoire in live appearances, last performed by him on May 29, 1977, at the Civic Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

Jack Kelk, Ezra Stone of 'The Aldrich Family'
➦In 1994...Ezra Stone died at age 76. (Born - December 2, 1917). He was an American actor and director who had a long career on the stage, in films, radio, and television, mostly as a director. His most notable role as an actor was that of the awkwardly mischievous teenager Henry Aldrich in the radio comedy hit, The Aldrich Family, for most of its fourteen-year run.  He was killed in an NJ car accident.

➦In 2008...Norman "Hurricane" Smith died at age 85 (Born - February 22, 1923).  He was an English musician, record producer and engineer.

Smith was the engineer on all of the EMI studio recordings by the Beatles until the autumn of 1965, when EMI promoted him from engineer to producer. The last Beatles album he recorded was Rubber Soul, and Smith engineered the sound for almost 100 Beatles songs in total.

John Lennon first bestowed upon Smith the nickname of "Normal", and it was quickly picked up by the other Beatles. Lennon did so as a humorous reference to Smith's very unhurried, unflappable and amiable nature.

In early 1967, he began working with a new group, Pink Floyd.  In 1972, he enjoyed a transatlantic hit with "Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?", which became a US No. 1 Cash Box and a Billboard Pop No. 3 hit.

➦In 2014...Having departed the WPLJ NYC Morning Show on February 7, 2014, Scott Shannon launched "The Big Show" mornings on Classic Hits WCBS 101.1 FM.

Shannon is particularly known within the broadcasting industry for his work creating the "morning zoo" concept which debuted in Tampa in the early 1980s on WRBQ. The Q Morning Zoo show with Scott and Cleveland Wheeler was the template for hundreds of morning shows across America using the concept and name. For a period of time the trademark for the name "Morning Zoo" was owned by Edens Broadcasting, the owners of WRBQ during that period.

Current cast of the WCBS-FM 'Big Show'
Shannon then took the concept to startup WHTZ (Z100) in New York City in the early 1980s. Along with former disc jockey Ross Brittain of WABC's Ross & Wilson Show, he founded the Z Morning Zoo. He was the driving force in helping Z100 become the top-rated FM station in New York City within a mere 74 days of signing on the air. During this period, he served as one of the original VJs on VH1.

Indy Radio: 12 Exit As Cumulus Takes Over Entercom Stations

Cumulus Media officially took over programming on Friday of three Indianapolis Entercom Communications radio stations—CHR WZPL 99.5 FM, A/C WNTR 107.9 FM  and Sports WXNT 1430 AM—but big changes already had been made earlier in the week.

According to the Indy Business Journal, two high-profile, on-air personalities were let go on Tuesday, among a dozen total employees who were laid off: WXNT sports talk show host Kent Sterling and WNTR afternoon disc jockey Kari Johll.

“I was called on Tuesday and they said we’re making a change,” Sterling told IBJ. “There were 12 of us that were let go."

Known on the air as “KJ,” Johll was on Entercom’s local top 40 station WZPL for more than 17 years before her four-year run as afternoon host on adult contemporary station WNTR. IBJ was unable to get in touch with Johll, but her departure was confirmed by industry sources and she no longer appears on WNTR's website.

Atlanta-based Cumulus announced last month it was acquiring the three stations as part of a bigger shake-up. It has agreed to trade WNSH-FM in New York and two stations in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Pennsylvania-based Entercom in exchange for the three Entercom stations in Indianapolis. The swap deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, but Cumulus began programming the stations on Friday under local marketing agreements.

Sterling said he was fired by Entercom.

“That’s a cleaner way to do it and pretty standard,” said Sterling, who has been in radio in this market for 25 years and formerly worked for Emmis Communications Corp.

Sterling, who has hosted an afternoon sports-talk show on WXNT for nearly five years, added that despite the unusual process, the terminations were handled in an orderly and professional manner.

“There are no hard feelings. I understand the situation. That’s radio,” Sterling said.

Sterling hopes to stay in this market. “I don’t think I’m going to be short on opportunities,” he said.

Indiana Radio Watch reported that Entercom social media coordinator Chelsie Nickell also was let go. Nickell joined Entercom's Indianapolis promotions team two years ago and earned promotions to promotions assistant, administrative assistant, and finally social media coordinator.

A source close to the situation told IBJ that cuts were made in a number of departments and in areas where there was overlap between the local Entercom and Cumulus operations. The source added that Entercom’s Indianapolis market manager, Ben Hoffman, is being moved to an Entercom station in Minneapolis where he will be director of sales.

There’s been a lot of speculation that Cumulus could change formats of some of the Indianapolis Entercom stations that have overlapping audiences with its local stations.

In Indianapolis, Cumulus already owns classic rock WJJK 104.5 FM 104.5 and country WFMS 95.5 FM, which are consistent top five stations in this market. Both have been No. 1 in recent months. Cumulus also owns CHR WYRG 93.9 FM.

The Entercom acquisitions further cement Cumulus’ dominant position in the Indianapolis market. So far, Cumulus officials haven’t detailed their ultimate plans for the Entercom stations, beyond keeping their formats at least for the short term.

Detroit Radio: WLLZ Drops Alternative For Classic Rock

iHeartMedia Detroit announced Friday the debut of the new WLLZ 106.7 Detroit’s Wheels, The New Generation of Classic Rock, effective immediately.  Previous format was Alternative.

106.7 Detroit’s Wheels will broadcast a new generation of Classic Rock including songs from artists like AC/DC, Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Pearl Jam. The new station will also feature some of Detroit’s most beloved on-air personalities including Trudi Daniels, Doug Podell and Bill McAllister as well as other legendary on-air personalities in rock Detroit radio.

“Detroit’s Wheels is back,” said Paul Corvino, Region President for iHeartMedia Detroit. “The attitude, music and personalities featured on 106.7 Detroit’s Wheels is the perfect formula and will contribute to building a great audience for our advertisers.”

“The people now have a unique destination for rock in Detroit,” said Tony Travatto, Region Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Detroit. “There’s an unfulfilled audience in Detroit radio and this new station will quench that thirst. We are excited to change the rock landscape in the Motor City!”

Full Programming Lineup:
  • Bill McAllister 6 a.m. – 10 a.m.
  • Trudi Daniels 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Doug Podell 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Casey Krukowski 7 p.m. – 12 a.m.

NYC Radio: Sentencing Delayed for Sports Talker Craig Carton

The attorney for Craig Carton has asked that his sentencing be delayed three weeks because they await a psychological report of the former WFAN host that he says "is essential" to their sentencing presentation, according to a court filing Thursday.

According to Newsday, Carton's sentencing, originally scheduled for Feb. 27, was pushed back earlier this week to March 15. On Thursday, Carton's attorney, Derrelle Janey, asked the federal judge overseeing the case in writing to push it back until April 5 so they can complete their presentation.

"The report is requiring more time to be completed than anticipated," Janey wrote in Thursday's filing. "Once completed, we will then need time to incorporate the report into the sentencing submission for this court."

Carton was convicted in November in Manhattan federal court on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud. The verdict came on the second day of deliberations following a week-long trial.

Carton, 50, faces up to 45 years in prison, but his sentence likely will be much lower. He was accused of running a Ponzi scheme by raising more than $4 million to buy and resell concert and sports tickets at a profit, but instead diverted the money to pay his gambling debts and investors.

Billboard is reporting prosecutors with the Southern District of New York say a co-defendant of former sports radio host Craig Carton should face 21 to 27 months in prison for his role in a Ponzi scheme that stole millions from a hedge fund to pay off loans sharks, casino gambling debts and personal loans.

Detroit Radio: Craig Fahle Avoids Jail for DUI, Drugs

Craig Fahle, a former WDET 101.9 FMFM radio host and former spokesman for the Detroit Land Bank Authority, has been sentenced to probation and community service for drunk driving and drug possession, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Police officers stopped Fahle Nov. 9 at Somerset and Charlevoix after they saw him speeding behind them and then tailgating their patrol car, the report said.

Fahle failed a field sobriety test and refused a preliminary breath test, according to the Grosse Pointe News. A blood test showed Fahle had a blood alcohol content of .221.

The news site also said when Fahle was being booked, officers found a small baggie in his pocket containing a white powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine.

He was initially charged with operating while intoxicated and felony possession of a controlled substance. But the drug charge was reduced to a misdemeanor in a plea deal, the Grosse Pointe News said. 

Fahle said on his podcast, “I’m sorry. Truly sorry. My world was crumbling around me. I was unable to pay my bills which created problems not only for me, but my family and my friends. I was too arrogant to realize I was in a downward spiral and it all came to a head one bad night in November.”

LA Radio: Marc Sherman Named Regional SVP/Programming For iHM

Marc Sherman
iHeartMedia announced Friday that Marc Sherman has been named Regional Senior Vice President of Programming for the New Orleans and Baton Rouge market.

As Regional Senior Vice President of Programming, Sherman will be responsible for the development of local programming strategies, including overseeing on-air content, digital strategy, music programming and on-air personalities. Sherman will report to Eddie Martiny, Region President of HeartMedia Houston, New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

“I’m excited to expand Marc’s programming expertise to the New Orleans and Baton Rouge markets,” said Martiny. “I have had the pleasure of working with Marc for over 15 years and he is not only a brilliant programmer but an excellent leader. New Orleans and Baton Rouge are in good hands.”

Sherman joins the New Orleans and Baton Rouge markets from iHeartMedia Houston, where he served as Senior Vice President of Programming. In addition, he served over 20 years as Program Director for Sunny 99.1 and oversees programming for iHeartMedia Houston’s market 94.5 The Buzz, 93.7 The Beat, AM 740 KTRH, SportsTalk 790 and AM 950 KPRC. He began his career at WJET Radio with Jet Broadcasting and is a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

“A heartfelt thank you to iHeartMedia New Orleans and Baton Rouge for bringing this tremendous opportunity my way. I’m stoked at the opportunity to collaborate with Bob Murphy and his outstanding teams in New Orleans and Baton Rouge on a regular basis.” said Sherman.

Tuscaloosa Radio: iHM Names Amber Parker SVP/Programming

Amber Parker
Amber Parker has been named Senior VP/Programming for iHeartMedia’s 4-station cluster in Tuscaloosa, AL.

In addition to her new post, she’ll handle middays on Country WTXT 98.1 FM, weekdays from 10am-3pm. Parker joins the Tuscaloosa market from iHM/Colorado Springs, where she most recently served an air personality for Y96.9. She also handled PD duties for 96.1 The Beat in Colorado Springs, and was night host for Big 97.9 Fort Collins, CO. She began her career at Cromwell Radio Group in Mattoon, IL.

“We’re pumped to have Amber on our iHeart Team in T-Town,” said iHeartMedia/Birmingham Area Senior VP/Programming Tom Hanrahan.. Amber is passionate about Country music, incredibly creative and truly connects and engages with her listeners on-air and through social platforms almost 24 hours a day — I’m not sure she has an off button.”

“In Tuscaloosa, Nick Saban, University of Alabama Head Football Coach, teaches that there is a process necessary for success,” added iHeartMedia Tuscaloosa Market President John Malone. “It involves having a winning plan, incredible focus, dedication and hard work. Amber possesses all of these qualities and will take our stations to the next level. She has already inspired our iHeart Tuscaloosa team and I’m thrilled to have her leading our programming efforts.”

“I’m so thrilled to join the iHeart Tuscaloosa team,” said Parker. I am ready to hit the ground running to bring creative programming and digital content to T-Town. Plan on seeing a lot of me! I intend to bring more of Nashville to Alabama. Roll Tide!”

March 2 Radio History

➦In 1897...British patent No. 12,039 (1897) "Improvements in Transmitting Electrical impulses and Signals, and in Apparatus therefor", was granted to a 22-year-old Marconi.

As a boy he took a keen interest in physical and electrical science and studied the works of Maxwell, Hertz, Righi, Lodge and others. In 1895 he began laboratory experiments at his father’s country estate at Pontecchio where he succeeded in sending wireless signals over a distance of one and a half miles.

In 1896 Marconi took his apparatus to England where he was introduced to Mr. (later Sir) William Preece, Engineer-in-Chief of the Post Office, and later that year was granted the world’s first patent for a system of wireless telegraphy.

The apparatus that Marconi possessed at that time was similar to that of one in 1882 by A. E. Dolbear, of Tufts College, which used a spark coil generator and a carbon granular rectifier for reception. A plaque on the outside of BT Centre commemorates Marconi's first public transmission of wireless signals from that site. A series of demonstrations for the British government followed—by March 1897, Marconi had transmitted Morse code signals over a distance of about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) across Salisbury Plain. On 13 May 1897, Marconi sent the world's first ever wireless communication over open sea.

➦In 1950...Karen Anne Carpenter born (Died - February 4, 1983 at age 32).  She was an American singer and drummer who was part of the duo the Carpenters alongside her brother Richard. She was praised for her contralto vocals, and her drumming abilities were viewed positively by other musicians and critics.

Carpenter was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and moved to Downey, California, in 1963 with her family. She began to study the drums in high school, and joined the Long Beach State choir after graduating. After several years of touring and recording, the Carpenters were signed to A&M Records in 1969, achieving commercial and critical success throughout the 1970s. Initially, Carpenter was the band's full-time drummer, but gradually took the role of frontwoman as drumming was reduced to a handful of live showcases or tracks on albums.

Carpenter had the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, which was little-known at the time, and was briefly married in the early 1980s. She died at age 32 from heart failure caused by complications related to her illness; her death led to increased visibility and awareness of eating disorders. Her work continues to attract praise, including being listed among Rolling Stone's 100 greatest singers of all time.

➦In 1974....Super WCFL 1000 AM Chicago Survey From March 2, 1974

➦In 1983…Compact Disc recordings (CDs), were introduced in the United States. The compact disc is an evolution of LaserDisc technology, where a focused laser beam is used that enables the high information density required for high-quality digital audio signals.

➦In 1984...From R&R March 2, 1984...

➦In 1999...Singer Dusty Springfield died from breast cancer at age 59.  (Born 16 April 1939). Shewas an English pop singer and record producer whose career extended from the late 1950s to the 1990s. With her distinctive sensual mezzo-soprano sound, she was an important singer of blue-eyed soul and at her peak was one of the most successful British female performers, with six top 20 singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 and sixteen on the UK Singles Chart from 1963 to 1989. She is a member of the US Rock and Roll and UK Music Halls of Fame. International polls have named Springfield among the best female rock artists of all time.

➦In 2004...Actress Mercedes McCambridge died just shy of her 88th birthday (Born - March 16, 1916). She was an American actress of radio, stage, film, and television. Orson Welles called her "the world's greatest living radio actress." She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for All the King's Men (1949) and was nominated in the same category for Giant (1956). She also provided the voice of Pazuzu (the demon) in The Exorcist (1973).

➦In 2004...Following advice from his doctors, 95-year-old Alistair Cooke announced his retirement from The BB's Letter from America—after 58 years. The show was the longest-running speech radio show in the world. Cooke died at midnight on 30 March 2004, at his home in New York City. He had been ill with heart disease, but died of lung cancer, which had spread to his bones. He was cremated, and his ashes were clandestinely scattered by his family in Central Park, NYC.

➦In 2014…Pittsburgh radio personality George "Porky" Chedwick died at age 96 (Born - February 4, 1918). He was known to generations in Pittsburgh as "The Daddio of the Raddio", "The Platter Pushin' Papa", "The Bossman", "Pork the Tork", and a host of other colorful nicknames. His career lasted from 1948 to shortly before his death in 2014.

He began his career at WHOD in Homestead (which took the call letters, WAMO — an acronym for the Allegheny, Monongehela and Ohio rivers — in 1956), when the low-power AM signed on, August 1, 1948. When he responded to an ad in a local paper, advertising for on-air talent at the new radio station, his popularity as a play-by-play announcer won him a 10-minute Saturday sports and music show. The music portion was gradually expanded, in response to the public's reaction.

WHOD, known as "The Station of Nations," was created to serve the diverse European and eastern bloc immigrant population that worked the Pittsburgh area mills. Most of his young listeners, who turned an ear toward Chedwick's music and off-the-cuff rhymes and patter (he may have been the first white rapper), had no idea that he was Caucasian. Years later, when the fact became apparent, the outcry from some parents, religious and civic leaders made him a local anti-hero. and he was banned from appearing in some neighborhoods.

The suggestion that he was trying to corrupt the (white) youth of America was put to rest when he was commended by Senator Estes Kefauver for his work organizing youth baseball teams to combat juvenile delinquency.

In spite of WHOD's low wattage, Chedwick became Pittsburgh's "Pied Piper of Platter". By the early 1950s, black music record labels were hearing about the noise Chedwick was making in Pittsburgh with old R&B stock, so they began inundating him with new material. He introduced the new material to his "movers and groovers," never accepting payola though payola was the norm at the time. Still, oldies would dominate his playlist. Shortly after being honored by WAMO for his years of service in 1984, he was let go by the station. He also worked at various other stations in the Pittsburgh market.

Fred Fiske - 1954
➦In 2017…Former radio broadcaster Fred Fiske, who entertained and informed generations of listeners in Washington, DC, died at age 96.

Fiske’s 64 years behind a radio microphone in Washington began just before the television age dawned, and spanned 12 presidential administrations. He first went on the air in Washington in 1947, when the city had fewer than 10 radio stations. He retired in 2011.

Fiske started as an announcer on WOL-AM and on the national radio version of “Meet the Press” on the Mutual Broadcasting Network. He had performed in radio dramas in the 1930s as a teenager in New York, appearing on the NBC Red Network in dramatic productions.  He subsequently became a pop-music disc jockey, nightly talk-show host and political commentator during an almost unbroken stretch that continued until his last commentary aired on WAMU 88.5 FM on Sept. 27, 2011.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Denver Radio: Big Al EXITS The Fan For KOA

Alfred Williams, the popular co-host with Darren McKee on The Drive, has left the all-sports station KKFN 104.3 The Fan that devotes the bulk of its day-long conversation to the Broncos, reports

The Fan made the announcement Thursday afternoon on its Twitter account.

After honoring a non-compete clause in his contract, Williams – who is known for his booming laugh, outsized, enthusiastic personality and the occasional out-of-left field opinions – will eventually work for iHeartMedia's KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM.

Williams, 50, was a standout on the University of Colorado Buffalo teams that played in back-to-back national championship games following the 1989-90 seasons, and the Denver Broncos during their back-to-back Super Bowl title seasons of 1997-98.

He found a successful second career in broadcasting as he just finished up his 15th year with The Fan.

"I owe my whole career to Bob Call and he was the most important thing in this entire process," Williams said of Bonneville International’s general manager. "He’s the reason I stayed through all the other negotiations and by the end of these contract negotiations, I didn’t have confidence that Bob would be the general manager anymore because he would retire.

"I’ve had runs from major companies in the past, but to stay with Bob and learn how to do radio the right way, and the way you treat people doing it, those were lessons learned from a great man. I’m getting emotional thinking of it because he’s meant that much to me."

The past 10 years, Big Al teamed with 'D-Mac' in the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. time slot that has consistently been the No. 1-rated sports show among men, aged 25 to 54. There were times when their shows were so entertaining, they sounded like they were having a party and their listeners were invited. There were other times when Big Al and D-Mac would engage in captivating verbal tussles.

"I mean, I love the guy," Williams said of McKee. "Our kids grew up together since they were in first grade. He lives a mile away from me. He gave me a ride home after many shows. Hopefully, we can get the band back together at some point."

Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said a search has already begun to find Big Al's replacement.

Meanwhile, when Williams is cleared to work with KOA (non-competes generally last six months, which would put his start-up date around the start of the Broncos' 2019 season) he figures to team with two other local radio talk-show icons in Dave Logan and Rick Lewis, although the exact details of his new job has not yet been worked out.

Local Advertisers Expected To Maintain '18's Overall Ad Spending

Most local advertisers nationwide will hold steady on their total ad total spend and media allocations in 2019, according to BIA Advisory Services’ U.S. SAM™ Survey of Advertising and Marketing.

Only entertainment industry advertisers (i.e., amusement parks, sports teams, motion picture theaters and other entertainment venues) indicate they would make a slightly higher investment in advertising this year, while retailers, professional service providers, and home/trade service advertisers anticipate maintaining the same investment in advertising for their large or small businesses this year. Mobile and social advertising are the two areas where advertisers indicate a willingness to increase ad spend in 2019. These findings, and more details about selling traditional and digital media, are found in the newly issued report, Selling Advertising to Local Businesses.

“It’s clear from our data that local advertisers are comfortable maintaining investment in the ad platforms they are convinced generate the best ROI for their business,” said Celine Matthiessen, BIA’s Vice President of Analysis and Insights and SAM study director. “Over the past several years, our research indicates that advertisers are more focused on personalized, targeted communications and they believe mobile and social deliver on important customer engagement KPIs.”

The SAM survey indicates that advertisers want more than basic demographic targeting. They want full insights into consumer behavior on their path to purchase like knowing websites and social pages they have visited and produce searches they have used to purchase products and services.  This shift in advertising priorities puts the obligation on ad sellers to successfully demonstrate how their channel reaches the right customers throughout the buying process in a manner that can be tracked.

The largest area of mobile growth is location-targeted ads. Only 13 percent of businesses in the SAM survey said they were not currently using mobile advertising but intended to do so in 2019. Across all business categories, SAM also found that 35.5 percent of businesses are using mobile location-aware, while almost 24 percent are using mobile search.

“Because businesses like the targeting (behavioral) opportunities that mobile and social offer, these platforms continue to show the largest signs of advertiser growth,” said Matthiessen. “For traditional media, there’s an opportunity around digital that sellers might be overlooking. Our survey indicates that buyers of traditional media are extremely comfortable purchasing a myriad of digital ads from their local salesperson so sellers should be prepared to sell offers across multiple platforms.”

The most popular digital advertising purchased through traditional channels include social and mobile media, email, video, display and SEO.

Nielsen CEO: '18 Was 'Challenging' Year

Nielsen Holdings plc Thursday announced its fourth quarter and full year 2018 results.
  • Revenues were $1,658 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, down 5.8%, or 3.5% on a constant currency basis, compared to the fourth quarter of 2017
  • Net loss per share on a diluted basis was $2.68 for the fourth quarter of 2018, which includes certain impairment charges, discrete tax items, and costs related to our previously announced review of strategic alternatives, compared to net income per share on a diluted basis of $0.23 for the fourth quarter of 2017
  • Excluding these items, net income per share on a diluted basis would have been $0.28 for the fourth quarter of 2018
  • Cash flow from operations increased to $546 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, from $506 million in the fourth quarter of 2017
  • Free cash flow for the fourth quarter of 2018 increased to $397 million, compared to $350 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.
David Kenney
David Kenny, Chief Executive Officer of Nielsen, commented, "2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019. I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company's history. Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions.  We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients."

"As part of this transformation, we've also reorganized into two new segments, Nielsen Global Media and Nielsen Global Connect, which better reflect our platforms and vision for the future. These moves better align our external view to our go-forward internal view, help drive greater accountability throughout the organization, and are consistent with a product-driven focus. Altogether, the initiatives we have in place are setting up a strong foundation from which we expect to drive greater revenue growth, profitability and shareholder value over the coming years."

Kenny continued, "The strategic review is ongoing and the Board is working with urgency on this process.  As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen's Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company. The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders."

Tribune, Scripps Report Robust Quarterlies

Tribune Media today reported fourth quarter 2018 earnings results that included Television and Entertainment Segment revenue of $576.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $486.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $90.9 million, or 19%. Excluding barter revenues in the fourth quarter of 2017, revenues increased $97.8 million, or 20%.

According to TVNewscheck, the company said this was driven by an $89.2 million increase in political advertising revenue to $99.8 million; a 13% increase in retransmission and carriage fee revenues to $158.3 million, partially offset by a decrease in core advertising revenue of $10.5 million, or 4%, to $286.9 million.

Television and Entertainment operating profit was for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $184.4 million compared to $127.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $57.1 million, or 45%. The increase was primarily due to a $90.9 million increase in revenues, as described above, partially offset by increases in programming expense, compensation expense and other expenses.

Television and Entertainment adjusted EBITDA was was $250.4 million compared to $183.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $67.2 million, or 37%, primarily due to higher political advertising revenues, retransmission revenues and carriage fee revenues, partially offset by lower core advertising revenues and higher expenses, as described above.

Television and Entertainment broadcast cash flow was $218.6 million as compared to $162.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $55.7 million, or 34%. Television and Entertainment Broadcast Cash Flow for the full year 2018 was $665.8 million as compared to $484.6 million for the full year 2017, an increase of $181.3 million, or 37%.

The E.W. Scripps Co. this morning reported fourth quarter revenue from its Local Media division (its TV stations and local brands on all platforms) of $281 million, up 39% from the prior-year quarter, according  to TV Newscheck.

Local Media broadcast time sales were up 51%, driven by political advertising revenue of $82 million. The political ad revenue caused some displacement of core advertising, contributing to its decline of 8.4%.

Retransmission revenue increased 23% to $77.9 million. The increase in retransmission revenues was due to contract renewals covering approximately 5 million subscribers as well as regular annual contractual rate increases.

Local Media segment expenses increased 16.4% to $183 million, primarily driven by increases in programming fees tied to network affiliation agreements and an $8.9 million non-cash write-off of its Pickler & Ben syndicated show.

Fourth quarter Local Media profit was $98.7 million, compared to $45.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

ABC, iHM Team To Promote New Season of 'Idol'

iHeartMedia announced today it will celebrate the highly anticipated Sunday season premiere of The ABC Television Network’s singing competition series “American Idol” with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and Hot AC radio stations nationwide.

The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time depending the station and market) and will feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series, providing unparalleled access ahead of the show’s two-hour season premiere that night at 8:00 p.m. EST on ABC.

As part of the promotion, local iHeartMedia stations in key markets will feature a commercial free “American Idol” PM drive takeover on March 6 to build excitement for the show’s second premiere week episode, airing that night at 8:00 p.m. EST. In addition to playing today’s biggest hits, the hour-long broadcast will include special audio content from the show. The “American Idol” promotion will also feature content from the hit show on iHeartMedia’s array of national and local brand social platforms.

“‘American Idol’ continues to be one of America’s favorite singing competition shows,” Adrienne Pabst EVP, Connections & Agency Partnerships. “We can’t wait to help ABC celebrate its return with a week of amazing content across iHeartMedia’s extensive network of media platforms that will make music fans across the country even more excited for the premiere.”

“Fans of ‘American Idol’ are always in search of more access to music and personal stories, and we are thrilled to work with iHeartMedia to give our audiences what they want via this exclusive show airing across America,” said Gary Shanas, Vice President, Media Strategy & Planning, Disney-ABC Television.

“American Idol” returns to The ABC Television Network on Sunday, March 3 (8:00–10:01 p.m. EST), streaming and on demand, after first making its return to the airwaves as the No. 1 reality show launch for its inaugural season on the network during the 2017-2018 season. Returning this season to discover an all-new crop of inspiring singers are music industry legends and all-star judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, as well as Emmy® Award-winning host and producer Seacrest as host. Famed iHeartMedia multimedia personality Bobby Bones will take on the role of in-house mentor.

In the highly anticipated premiere episode, viewers will embark on a nation-wide journey starting with the shows’ famed judge auditions in Louisville, Kentucky; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; and Denver, Colorado, where aspiring singers will see if they have what it takes to earn a coveted golden ticket to Hollywood.

Atlanta Radio: Traffic Charges Dropped For WHTA Personality

Ori Montague
The city of Atlanta has dropped traffic charges against a local radio personality who claims she was handcuffed and shot with a Tazer during a traffic incident, reports Fox 5.

On Wednesday, a city solicitor asked a judge to throw out the traffic charges lodged against Qri Montague.

Montague said afterward she's been through an ordeal from the traffic incident which quickly got physical, according to attorney Mawuli Davis.

The personality for WHTA Hot 107.9 FM was spotted changing lanes last October without signaling on Interstate 20. Initially, Officer Lemuel Gardner told her not to move while he started with a routine check of her license plate.

But Montague did move, going to her car to change her shirt, which had a company logo on it. Montague explained she did not want to bring any embarrassment to her company. This is when her attorney says the officer allegedly became aggressive, shooting Montague with a Tazer.

The Atlanta Police Department launched an internal review of Montague's complaint of alleged excessive force, but Officer Gardner decided to quit beforehand.

Davis has notified City Hall of his plans to sue over the claim of excessive force.

Baltimore Radio: MLB Birds Unveil 2019 Broadcast Team

With longtime Baltimore Orioles radio voice Joe Angel retiring, the MLB team announced the new broadcast lineup Thursday for the 2019 season.

While Jim Hunter will remain the primary play-by-play voice on Orioles radio, the team also brought in ESPN play-by-play man Kevin Brown to be commentator for about 50 games this season. Brown, 53, calls high school and college football, hockey, and basketball on ESPN, and served as the play-by-play voice of the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs for seven seasons before his departure in June 2017.

The radio broadcasts will continue to feature former Orioles Mike Bordick, Ben McDonald, Brian Roberts, Dave Johnson and Gregg Olson as analysts.

On the television side, Gary Thorne is also back for his 13th season as the lead play-by-play announcer on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, with Hunter spelling him for around 40 games.

Hall of Famer Jim Palmer will reprise his role as lead analyst for MASN for the 27th season, with Bordick, McDonald and Roberts also rotating through the MASN broadcast booth as analysts throughout the season.

Rob Long
Outside the booth, the Orioles' MASN broadcasts will feature a sideline reporter after several seasons without one as Sara Perlman jumps from her role as MASN All-Access host on the digital side to sideline reporter. Perlman joined MASN in 2017 and was part of their online multimedia push with the Orioles and Washington Nationals.

Longtime WJZ 105.7 The Fan voice Rob Long, who has taken on a more prominent role with MASN in recent years, will host the “O's Xtra” pregame and postgame shows on weekends, with longtime host Tom Davis hosting Monday through Thursday. Rick Dempsey will return for his 13th season as an analyst for that portion of the coverage.

The 71-year-old Angel, a veteran of over four decades of major league baseball coverage, announced his retirement this month. He becomes the second departure from the radio booth in the past three years after fellow longtime radio broadcaster Fred Manfra retired in 2017.

The Orioles Radio Network broadcasts across more than 40 stations in seven states, including 105.7 The Fan (WJZ-FM), the flagship station. The Orioles Radio Network will again broadcast all 162 regular season games. Games can also be streamed on the Gameday Audio platform on and MLB At Bat.

Music Industry Posts Another Year of Double-Digit Growth

The U.S. music industry posted its third consecutive year of double-digit growth, according to Variety citing the RIAA’s year-end revenue report issued Thursday.

The report notes that in 2018 U.S. recorded-music revenues rose 12% to their highest level in 10 years — $9.8 billion, up from $8.8 billion the previous year but still below 2007’s $10.7 billion. This was largely due to the boost in paid music subscriptions, which rose 42% to 50.2 million from 35.3 million the previous year (and 10.8 million in 2015), while streaming revenues soared 30% to $7.4 billion from $5.7 billion in 2017 (and $2.3 billion in 2015).

Total subscription revenues increased 32% to $5.4 billion, the report says. That figure includes $747 million in revenues from “limited tier” paid subscriptions (i.e. ones without full mobile or on-demand access, such as Amazon Prime and Pandora Plus).

Streaming revenues accounted for 75% of the total U.S. industry revenue, with physical accounting for 12%, digital downloads for 11% and synch for 3%.

“Fifty million subscriptions illustrate fans’ unrivaled love for music and the way it shapes our identities and culture — and showcases an industry that has embraced the future and found a healthy path forward in the digital economy,” said Mitch Glazer, the RIAA’s new chairman/CEO, in a blog post. But he also notes, “Make no mistake, many challenges continue to confront our community. As noteworthy as it is for the business to approach $10 billion in revenues again, that only returns U.S. music to its 2007 levels. Stream-ripping, and a lack of accountability for many Big Tech companies that drive down the value of music, remain serious threats as the industry strives for additional growth.”

Indeed, how long this double-digit growth will continue remains to be seen. But as Glazer notes, “As our report illustrates, there are reasons to be excited for today and eager for tomorrow.”

KKR, China's Tencent Eyeing Bids For Universal Music

U.S. buyout fund KKR and China’s Tencent Music Entertainment Group are exploring rival bids for up to half of Vivendi’s iconic Universal Music division, a deal potentially worth up to 20 billion euros ($23 billion), sources told Reuters.

French tycoon Vincent Bollore, who controls Vivendi with a 25 percent stake, is in the process of selecting banks to oversee a partial sale of Universal Music Group (UMG), two sources familiar with matter said.

Sell-side banks are expected to be appointed in March, with a process likely to kick off in the second quarter, they said.

But informal discussions with potential bidders are underway as banks are trying to gauge appetite for the unit.

UMG is the world’s biggest music label ahead of Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music, and is home to artists like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

Greg Maffei
According to Music Business Worldwide, another name which has been bandied around in relation to a UMG sale is Liberty Media. Indeed, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei, speaking in November last year, told his investors that Liberty would “absolutely” be interested in taking a closer look at a UMG stake purchase at the right time.

Yesterdayt, Maffei has doubled down on that opinion – with an interesting caveat.

Speaking to analysts following the full-year results announcement of Liberty Media Corp, Maffei reiterated his company’s interest in Universal as an asset.

Liberty is the majority owner of SiriusXM – which itself fully owns Pandora. Liberty also owns a third of Live Nation (and therefore Ticketmaster), in addition to a small stake in music streaming service, JioSaavn.

In addition, thanks to some debt ownership, Liberty will control a piece of iHeartMedia when the broadcast company emerges from bankruptcy later this year, while it is expected to subsequently try and increase this stake.

When asked a question on Universal Music Group yesterday, Maffei said: “If you look at [SiriusXM], one of the largest, if not the largest cost they have is to the content suppliers… [so] understanding how you might hedge some of those costs is interesting. An ownership stake in Universal Music could [therefore] be interesting.”

He added: “I was asked [in November], would you look at [Universal]? Of course. It’s huge supplier to us and an important constituent in the music space. So [when] Vivendi announced that they were going to potentially seek partners, we certainly would express interest.”

Yet Maffei also hinted at something which is likely to become a very interesting conversation point for Vivendi in the coming months.

“That [possibility of a Universal buy] is really only going to be true on the right terms and conditions,” he said, before revealing what exactly he was hinting at: “Would we prefer a path to control? Usually in life we do, but also it would depend on what else is available, what else is offered, and whether that’s attractive in the total.”

Gray TV Hires Greta Van Susteren

Cable news veteran Greta Van Susteren has signed with Gray Television Inc. as its chief national political analyst, the company announced on Thursday, reports The Hill.

Van Susteren, 64, has hosted programs on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC since 1994. Her most recent employer was Voice of America, where she hosted a weekly 30-minute program called “Plugged In With Greta Van Susteren.”

"After more than 20 years on cable news platforms, I am thrilled to move to broadcast news and especially excited to join Gray Television’s journalists all across the country," Van Susteren said in Thursday's announcement.

"It’s a journalist’s dream to be part of a growing media company so focused on delivering quality news in local markets big and small through trusted, local institutions like Gray’s television stations,” she added.

Van Susteren will provide Gray TV's newsrooms "with the expert, unbiased coverage of national and international political developments that have been the hallmark of her distinguished news career," the company said. "In addition, she has two nationally syndicated shows in development with Gray."

Van Susteren first became a national television host as co-host of "Burden of Proof," a legal affairs show on CNN, with Roger Cossack in 1994. She jumped to Fox News in 2002 to host "On the Record" for more than 14 years before she and the network abruptly parted ways in 2016, reportedly over a contract dispute.

The Wisconsin native was signed by MSNBC in January 2017 to host "For the Record," but the show was canceled due to poor ratings after only six months.

Ty Bentli Show Gets Personal During Listener Road Trip

The Ty Bentli Show, Country’s most energetic and freshest take on morning radio, announces that it has unveiled Trippin’ With Ty, a new listener contest series that takes the show’s unique ability to create ongoing, personal connections with listeners across the country to a new level.

Host Ty Bentli kicked off the ultimate country fan experience last week in his hometown of Sioux Falls, SD, with Trippin’ With Ty contest winners Amber Lepper and Kate Jandrin, passionate listeners of The Ty Bentli Show on their local country stations, NASH FM 99.5/WPKR-FM in Appleton/Oshkosh, WI, and NASH FM 104.9/WPCK-FM in Green Bay, WI. Amber and Kate won the contest by correctly guessing the destination and experience for the trip. The Ty Bentli Show listeners were given a chance to ask 3 questions each morning as they tried to narrow down the options.

Nashville-based Ty - and his 5-year-old son, Radley - picked up Amber and Kate in Appleton and flew them to the winter wonderland of Sioux Falls to truly become part of his family. Ty’s mother picked them up from the airport in a hot pink stretch limo (Amber’s favorite color) and whisked them away on a tour of Sioux Falls that included stops at an axe-throwing bar in historic downtown (where they honed their lumberjack skills and learned a LOT about each other by playing “Axe Me Anything”) and at Inca Mexican Restaurant (where Ty had taken his prom date in high school) for dinner.

The tour culminated in Amber’s first concert experience ever as Blake Shelton’s Friends and Heroes tour took over Sioux Falls’ Denny Sanford Premier Center. Ty also snuck Amber and Kate backstage for an intimate performance from Blake himself, and the chance to pack free craft services snacks into their pockets before Lauren Alaina, Bellamy Brothers, John Anderson, Trace Adkins and host Blake took the stage. Amber and Kate were also guests of the VIP room, where they were able to test out Blake’s infamous chair from The Voice!

In Amber’s follow-up on-air conversations on The Ty Bentli Show, she noted their three favorite parts of the trip: Their new friendship with Ty and Rad, throwing axes and learning secrets, and the insanely fun Blake Shelton concert!

The Ty Bentli Show features Host Ty Bentli, Country recording artist and on-air personality Chuck Wicks, Tricia Jenkins, and an expanded cast of friends and characters who get real, get wild, and get Country weekday mornings live from the Music City. The Ty Bentli Show is syndicated exclusively by Westwood One, the largest audio network in the U.S.

Stations interested in The Ty Bentli Show can contact: