Saturday, May 11, 2019

May 12 Radio History

➦In 1908...wireless Radio broadcasting was patented by Nathan B Stubblefield

Stubblefield (November 22, 1860 - March 28, 1928) was an American inventor and Kentucky melon farmer. It has been claimed that Stubblefield demonstrated radio in 1892, but his devices seem to have worked by audio frequency induction or, later, audio frequency earth conduction (creating disturbances in the near-field region) rather than by radio frequency radiation for radio transmission telecommunications.

He made public demonstrations of voice and music transmission to five receiving locations on the courthouse square in Murray on January 1, 1902, witnessed by at least 1,000 people, apparently using voice frequency transmission through earth conduction, to a radius of one-half mile. Later he demonstrated wireless telephony in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 1902, where voice and music transmissions were made over a third of a mile from the steamer Bartholdi to shore. He demonstrated wireless telephony as well in Philadelphia on May 30, 1902 to a distance of a half mile. His experiments were discussed in leading scientific journals.

In 1903, he could transmit 375 feet without earth connections, using induction. In 1904, he could transmit 423 yards. The total wire required for the transmitting and receiving coils was of a greater length than what would be required to simply interconnect the transmitter and receiver, but the invention would allow mobility.

By 1907, with a 60-foot transmitting coil, he could work 1/4 mile or 1,320 feet "nicely." On May 12, 1908, he received U.S. patent 887,357 for his Wireless Telephone, using the voice frequency induction system. He said in the patent that it would be useful for "securing telephonic communications between moving vehicles and way stations". The diagram shows wireless telephony from trains, boats, and wagons. In foreign patents he showed wireless telephony with cars. However, there is no indication that he was using voice-modulated continuous high frequency waves, as used for radio today.

Stubblefield's inventions did not lead directly to radio as the technology works today, but the public demonstrations in 1902 and the press coverage in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post, the Louisville Courier-Journal, Scientific American, and elsewhere helped to spur public interest in the possibilities of wireless transmission of voice and music. Most other inventors of the era sought to provide point-to-point messaging, to compete with telephone and telegraph companies.

Stubblefield in the 1902 was in a sense the "Father of Broadcasting", in that he said to the St. Louis Post Dispatch reporter in 1902, " is capable of sending simultaneous messages from a central distributing station over a very wide territory. For instance, anyone having a receiving instrument, which would consist merely of a telephone receiver and a signalling gong, could, upon being signalled by a transmitting station in Washington, or nearer, if advisable, be informed of weather news. My apparatus is capable of sending out a gong signal, as well as voice messages. Eventually, it will be used for the general transmission of news of every description".

➦In 1914...Howard K Smith born (died at age 87 - February 15, 2002).  He was an  journalist, radio reporter, television anchorman, political commentator, and film actor. He was one of the original members of the team of war correspondents known as the Murrow Boys.

Upon graduating, Smith worked for the New Orleans Item, with United Press in London, and with The New York Times. In January 1940, Smith was sent to Berlin, where he joined the Columbia Broadcasting System under Edward R. Murrow. He visited Hitler's mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden and interviewed many leading Nazis, including Hitler himself, Schutzstaffel or "SS" leader Heinrich Himmler and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. When Smith refused to include Nazi propaganda in his reports, the Gestapo seized his notebooks and expelled him from the country. He left for Switzerland on December 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

He was one of the last American reporters to leave Berlin before Germany and the United States went to war. His 1942 book, Last Train from Berlin: An Eye-Witness Account of Germany at War describes his observations from Berlin in the year after the departure of Berlin Diary author William L. Shirer. Last Train from Berlin became an American best-seller and was reprinted in 2001, shortly before Smith's death.

Unable to leave Switzerland, where he and his young wife spent most of the war, Smith reported whatever the Swiss government would permit. After the liberation of France, he began reporting on Germany and central Europe from Berne. By the winter of 1944–1945, he began sending vivid radio accounts of the German counter-attack in the Ardennes known as the Battle of the Bulge, and he accompanied Allied forces across the Rhine River and into Berlin.

Smith became a significant member of the "Murrow Boys" that made CBS the dominant broadcast news organization of the era. In May 1945, he returned to Berlin to recap the German surrender.

He moderated the first Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate, and went on to be anchor of the ABC evening TV news.

➦In 1930…Syndicated gossip columnist Walter Winchell made his radio debut on WABC (then a CBS Radio affiliate) in New York. From 1930 to the late 1950s, his Sunday night broadcasts on the ABC Radio Network were heard by an estimated 20 million people.

Winchell was raised in New York City, and when he was 13 he left school to go into vaudeville with Eddie Cantor and George Jessel.

Then he teamed with a singer named Rita Greene (whom he later married and later divorced) as Winchell and Greene.

After two years of service in the U.S. Navy during World War I, he returned to the Winchell and Greene act.

Quick-witted and inquisitive, Winchell rapidly learned personal and family background and gossip about others with him on the vaudeville circuit, and he took to posting such intelligence, neatly typed and punctuated and with often far-fetched puns, on theater bulletin boards. One of these documents reached the publisher of Vaudeville News, and he became its Western correspondent. This evolved into a full-time job in 1927, and Winchell’s career as a gossip columnist was launched.

In 1924 he was given a show-business column, “On-Broadway,” in the New York Evening Graphic, which he conducted for five years. He moved to the New York Daily Mirror, where his widely syndicated column appeared until 1963. He introduced a weekly radio program in 1932, continuing it until the early 1950s. Winchell’s news reports, always very opinionated, brought him both admirers and detractors. But the reports interested millions of people, as did the Broadway idiom in which he wrote and spoke.

Here's audio from a 1941 broadcast...

➦In 1965…In Hollywood, the Rolling Stones re-recorded "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," which they had first recorded in Chicago two days earlier. It was this Hollywood version that was released.

The first track was recorded pm 10 May 1965 at Chess Studios in Chicago, which included Brian Jones on harmonica. The Stones lip-synched to a dub of this version the first time they debuted the song on the American music variety television program Shindig!  The group re-recorded it two days later at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, with a different beat and the Maestro fuzzbox adding sustain to the sound of the guitar riff.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Satisfaction" #2 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, runner-up to Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone." In 2006 it was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry.

➦In 1975...WNEW-FM sponsored a free concerts with Jefferson Starship for a crowd of 60,000 in New York’s Central Park. Later the band and WNEW-FM were charged $14,000 to cover the cost of the clean-up and damage did to the park.

➦In 2001...Entertainer Perry Como died ( Born - May 18, 1912). During a career spanning more than half a century he recorded exclusively for RCA Victor for 44 years, after signing with the label in 1943. "Mr. C.", as he was nicknamed, sold millions of records and pioneered a weekly musical variety television show. His weekly television shows and seasonal specials were broadcast throughout the world. In the official RCA Records Billboard magazine memorial, his life was summed up in these few words: "50 years of music and a life well lived. An example to all."

Como received five Emmys from 1955 to 1959, a Christopher Award (1956) and shared a Peabody Award with good friend Jackie Gleason in 1956.  He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1990 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1987.

He has the distinction of having three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in radio, television, and music.  He scored fourteen No.1 singles among 150 US chart hits, including the singles ‘It’s Impossible,’ ‘Magic Moments’ and ‘Catch A Falling Star.’  In the 1960’s Como had been television’s highest-paid performer.

➦In 2016… Singer/radio host (WNEW 1130 AM and WNSW 1340 AM)NYC Julius LaRosa, who gained notoriety for being fired by the host on a live, national radio broadcast of "The Arthur Godfrey Show," died at the age of 86.

Report: Nielsen Cuts Its Asking Price

Nielsen Holdings is pulling out all the stops to keep its last remaining bidder at the table, including lowering its asking price and moving back the deadline for final offers, sources told The NYPost.

The company, which has been in the market since early this year, recently lowered its asking price to keep private equity firm Advent, working with Goldman Sachs, interested, a source said.

The company also agreed to push back the deadline for final bids to June after Advent and Goldman said they need more time to conduct due diligence, two sources said.

Final bids had been expected in April.

It’s unclear what price tag Nielsen might fetch, but the deal could be as high as $20 billion given the company’s $8.5 billion market cap and $9 billion in net debt.

Advent, which uses leverage for its buyouts, is working on a creative structure to make a potential bid, a source familiar with the process said.

“The strategic review is ongoing and the board is focused on completing the process in as timely a manner as possible,” Nielsen CEO David Kenny said on the company’s April 30 earnings call.

Hedge fund Elliott Management, which has been pushing for a sale, has an 8 percent stake in Nielsen.

Seattle Radio: Jared Fallon Named PD for CHR KSKS

Jared Fallon
iHeartMedia announced Friday that Jared Fallon has been named Program Director for KBKS 106.1 KISS FM, Home of The Carla Marie & Anthony Show, effective June 1, 2019.

As Program Director, Jared will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the station’s music, programming, imaging and branding. He will report to Rich Moore, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Seattle.

“We are very excited to add Jared to our programming team here in Seattle,” said Moore. “His passion combined with his enthusiasm and creativity make him a great fit to lead our amazing KISS team and will take the station to new levels.”

Fallon joins the Seattle market from iHeartMedia’s Q102 Philly, where he most recently served as the program director and afternoon drive host. He also served as the program director and afternoon drive host for Kiss 107.1 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Z100 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin as well as operations manager for iHeartMedia Eau Claire and Wisconsin. He began his career at WAQE-FM.

“The potential 106.1 KISS FM holds combined with the talent and the dedicated team built around its brand is invigorating,” said Fallon. “The opportunity to help maximize the station’s community presence and help curate something incredible for iHeartMedia Seattle is one that I’m excited and fortunate to be a part of.”

Steve Harvey Ending TV Talk Show

Steve Harvey's syndicated daytime talk show "Steve" will end its run in June.

Variety reports the writing was on the wall for the show last September year when NBC cut a deal with Kelly Clarkson for a talk-variety hour to launch in the fall. "The Kelly Clarkson Show" will move into the prime daytime slots occupied on NBC O&Os by Harvey's show for the past seven seasons.

"Steve" taped its final episode on Thursday. Originals will air through June and the show will remain on the air in reruns through September.

The demise of "Steve" raises the question of whether Harvey's show was a casualty of animosity between NBCUniversal and Endeavor's IMG Original Content over IMG's takeover of the show two seasons ago.

Harvey's entry into the daytime talk arena began in 2012 with "The Steve Harvey Show," co-produced by Endemol Shine North America and NBCUniversal and distributed by NBCUniversal Television Domestic Television Distribution. That show was taped in Chicago and featured Harvey more in the Oprah Winfrey/Phil Donahue host mode, albeit with his signature humor. The show was one of the few new entries in daytime to deliver solid, if not spectacular, ratings. This season, it has averaged about 1.8 million viewers a week, putting it at No. 5 among syndicated talk shows behind "Dr. Phil," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "Live with Kelly and Ryan" and "Maury."

After his initial five-year deal with Endemol ended, Harvey in 2016 opted to cut a deal with IMG Original Content to produce a new version of the show, renamed "Steve," that relocated to Los Angeles starting with season six in fall 2017. The new show put more emphasis on celebrity guests and comedic segments. IMG offered Harvey a much larger ownership stake in the show, a higher salary and more creative control over the production. The deal commanded attention in the industry because IMG is a corporate sibling of WME, which represents Harvey, raising the specter of conflict of interest as IMG became Harvey's production partner.

NBCUniversal executives were furious at losing their stake in Harvey's show after the transition to IMG, even though it remained the distributor of "Steve." The new version of the show also remained in its time slots on the NBC O&Os in crucial major markets, but it was no surprise when NBC moved to develop a high-profile new show to replace "Steve."

Despite the demise of "Steve," Harvey will continue to be a regular presence on TV. He's the host of syndicated game show "Family Feud," from Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury, and he is in demand as an emcee for numerous specials including the annual Miss Universe pageant and Fox's "New Year's Eve with Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square."

Harvey will also continue his syndicated radio morning show.

Toledo Radio: Shosh Abromovich New iHM Cluster President

iHeartMedia has announced Shosh Abromovich has been named Market President for the Toledo market, effective immediately.

As Market President, Abromovich will work closely with the programming, business and sales teams and will oversee the markets on-air and digital programming operations as well as create new business and revenue growth opportunities. She will report to Paul Corvino, Region President for iHeartMedia Detroit.

Shosh Abromovich
Abromovich most recently served as the senior vice president for iHeartMedia Toledo. In addition, she also served as an account executive, local sales manager and general sales manager for iHeartMedia Detroit. She began her career as an account executive for iHeartMedia Detroit and is a graduate of Michigan State University.

“Shosh has done an excellent job at leading our sales teams in the Toledo market,” said Corvino, “She truly understands the value of iHeart’s full spectrum of services and unmatched assets, including radio, podcast, digital streaming, social media and mobile as well as OTT in relation to creating effective branding and results-driven marketing programs.”

“It is a privilege to lead this dynamic and multi-talented iHeartMedia team,” said Abromovich. “iHeartMedia’s unparalleled assets support, entertain and inform the Toledo/Northwest Ohio community. I am fortunate to be surrounded by talented and dedicated people who will continue to lead and grow our valued partnerships in this incredible city.”

Philly Radio: Joe Pags To Be Night Ranger On WPHT

Joe Pags
Syndicated radio talk host Joe Pagliarulo is scheduled to air on Entercom's WPHT 1210 starting Thursday.  The show will air on WPHT weekdays evenings 9pm to 12M.

The San Antonio-based Joe Pags Tweeted the news Friday:

The Joe Pags Show takes the timeslot formally occupied by the Sean Hannity Show.  Hannity is now heard live afternoons 3 to 6pm, filling the Rich Zeoli timeslot.  It was announced this week that Zeoli woul be moving to AM drive on WPHT. 

Pags is heard live from 5-8pm Central from Flagship WOAI in San Antonio and airs on dozens of affiliate stations nationwide. “I love entertaining and am thrilled to bring my unique brand of talk radio to a wider audience,” says Pags.

Joe Pags is ranked #14 in the 2018 Talkers Magazine “Heavy Hundred (Ranked #17 in the 2017) and his show was recently named to the NewsMax list of the most influential local talk shows in the country.

Pags started his career in radio in 1989 in Palm Beach County, Florida before making his way to the TV anchor desk in Saginaw/Flint, Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, and Lansing, Michigan then moving on to New York. From there he was called back to radio and landed at the Clear Channel Talk Flagship, WOAI/San Antonio.

May 11 Radio History

Israel Beilin
➦In 1888...Irving Berlin born as Israel Beilin (Died at age 101 from a heart attack -  September 22, 1989) was an American composer and lyricist, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history. His music forms a great part of the Great American Songbook. Born in Imperial Russia, Berlin arrived in the United States at the age of five.

Whether for Broadway musicals or films, for humorous songs or romantic ballads, his compositions are celebrated for their appealing melodies and memorable lyrics. His many popular songs include “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “God Bless America,” and “White Christmas.” In 1968 Berlin received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

➦In 1912...Foster Brooks born (Died at age 89 – December 20, 2001).  He was best known as a comedian for his portrayal of a lovable drunk in nightclub performances and television programs.

Foster Brooks
His career started in radio, notably with Marshall Krieger at station WHAS-AM in Louisville. He was a staff announcer, and his deep baritone voice was also well-suited for singing. Brooks gained fame for his reporting of the Ohio River flood of 1937, where he was featured on emergency broadcasts by WHAS and also WSM-AM from Nashville, Tennessee. In 1952, Brooks appeared on local TV in a short-lived spoof of Gene Autry and his "Singing Cowboys".

He later worked in local broadcasting as a radio and TV personality in Buffalo and Rochester, New York, before moving to the West Coast to launch a career as a stand-up comic and character actor. In Buffalo, Brooks performed with a country and western vocal group known as the Hi-Hatters.

In 1960, Brooks moved with his family to Los Angeles to seek more professional opportunities

He then began his drunk act, which went over well with crowds at Las Vegas nightclubs and on television. Brooks was a frequent guest on talk and variety shows and numerous Dean Martin celebrity roasts. Despite his on-screen personna he actually quit drinking in the early 1960s, on a bet, and remained a teetotaler for the rest of his life. He died Dec. 20 2001 at age 89.

➦In 2006...Frankie Thomas died of respiratory failure following a stroke at age 85.  (Born - April 9, 1921). He was an American actor, author and bridge-strategy expert who played both lead and supporting roles on Broadway, in films, in post-World War II radio, and in early television. He was best known for his starring role in Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Podcast Growth In Canada Called 'Tremendous'

Over one-quarter of Canadians 18+ now own a smart speaker, and 36% of Canadians 18+ are now weekly podcast listeners, according to The Infinite Dial 2019 Canada report, a comprehensive study of digital media behavior in Canada which debuted today at the Canadian Music Week Radio Summit in Toronto.

Findings of the study were presented by Tom Webster, Senior Vice President from Edison Research, the leading provider of high-quality survey research about audio in the U.S. and worldwide, and Stephanie Donovan, SVP, Publisher Development North America at Triton Digital, the global technology and services provider to the digital audio and podcast industry.

Webster and Donovan presented the latest information on media device ownership, radio, smart speakers, online audio, in-car audio, and podcasting among Canadians.  Awareness of smart speakers overall (such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa) grew to 65% of the Canadian population age 18+, and the number of smart speaker owners who have two smart speakers in their home almost tripled, from 15% of owners last year to 43% in 2019. Podcasting also saw tremendous growth year-over-year, with 36% of the 18+ population having listened to a podcast in the last month, up from 28% in the 2018 survey.

This marks the second annual release of the study in Canada, and the continued expansion of the Infinite Dial, the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in the U.S.  The survey is a representative telephone survey of all Canadians age 18 and over, designed to be projectable to the nation’s population.

“The percentage of Canadians listening to podcasts has grown tremendously since 2018, mirroring what we have seen in the Infinite Dial U.S., and providing more evidence of a surge in spoken word programming,” noted Webster.  “The increase in smart speaker owners who have two or more smart speakers in their home - from 15% last year to a staggering 43% in 2019 - is substantial, and certainly a huge contributor to the increase in overall internet-only audio listening across the region,” said Donovan.

The Infinite Dial Canada 2019 was conducted in the first quarter of 2019 and uses a nationally representative survey of 1,065 people.  The sample is a random probability telephone sample, comprised of both mobile phones and landlines, of all Canadians age 18 and older. The data is weighted to 18+ population figures, and surveys were offered in both English and French.

Survey: Nearly All Moms Have A Smartphone

Moms and Media 2019 revealed continued interest in devices both new and old, heavy internet usage and social media engagement.

With data points drawn from the Infinite Dial series from Edison Research and Triton Digital, the latest installment of Moms and Media shows how Moms in the United States continue to build their tech tool kit, using established devices like smartphones along with newer technologies such as smart speakers. Additionally, this year’s report illustrates how the internet is crucial to Moms’ media behaviors and consumption.

Smartphone ownership among Moms continues to rise in 2019. Powering Moms’ mobile lifestyle, this device reigns as an essential to the tech tool kit.  Showing a slight increase over last year, 94% of Moms now own a smartphone.

While Moms have been consuming content, engaging social media and communicating with smartphones for many years, they are showing great interest and making room in their tech tool kit for smart speakers. Just getting on Moms’ radar in the last year or so, now about one third of Moms own some type of smart speaker.

The research reveals in 2019 more than ever that the internet is the engine of Moms’ media consumption.  Heavy users spending about 4 hours daily using the internet, Moms are not limited to just listening to online audio and using social media. Moms are invested in streaming video services like Netflix as well, and also continue their trend of watching YouTube specifically for music videos.

Pinterest continues grow in usage among Moms, showing a strong upward trend in the last few years. Back in 2017, 47% of Moms used the site and in 2018 it was more than half of Moms, at 54%. This year more than 6 in 10 Moms report using Pinterest.

Historically, Facebook has always been a major factor in Moms’ social networking. Despite the downward trend in usage among total users 12+, Facebook remains strong among Moms with 81% reporting that they currently use the site.

Where the reports sees some Facebook fallout is for the social networking site used most. Among moms who use social networking, 64% said they use Facebook most, which is down from where it was last year at 69% and 72% in our 2017 data.

Atlanta Radio: WSTR Launches New Morning Show, New Hosts

Jenn Hobby To Get Help From Her New Friends
Entercom's HotAC WSTR Star 94.1 FM has done a near clean sweep of its entire on-air lineup, keeping only Jenn Hobby as a primary morning host, according to Atlanta Media Watcher Rodney Ho

Out the door:
  • Morning host Jeff Dauler
  • Mid-day host Heather Branch
  • Afternoon host Mike Marino.
Star 94.1 has consistently lagged behind the other three pop stations (Q100, Power 96.1, B98.5) in town in ratings, is bringing in two new male “friends” to help out Hobby's new show “Jenn and Friends.”

According to Ho, suits clearly had this planned out far in advance. They had promotional materials about the revised line-up ready for the sales staff to distribute to clients by the middle of the day.

One new member is Mark Owens, a producer on sister station 92.9/The Game and a long-time between-innings host at Atlanta Braves games. He was also known as Phil Terrana on the Bert Show many years ago, an inside joke since that was former Star 94 morning host Steve McCoy’s real name.

So for Owens, this is an ironic new home. Curtis Slade is described in marketing materials as “minority interior decorator who loves traveling and shopping.” He has been working in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the same city where current Star 94.1 program director Ron Roberts used to be senior VP of programming for iHeartRadio.

Show director Jeannine Riley remains on the morning show.  She recently took over for Kelly Cheese, who left voluntarily, then found a radio job in Michigan.

Kennesaw State University graduate Amanda Kelly and Rachel Kelso (who attended UGA), two existing assistant producers on the show, will remain as well, with Kelly continuing to cover traffic.Kelly will also do mid-days, replacing Heather Branch, Star’s longest-running on-air personality who arrived about 10 years ago.

And taking over for Mike Marino from 2 to 6 p.m. will be a familiar name from the past: Mike Kannon. Kannon used to be on the rhythmic top 40 station 95.5/The Beat, which was a popular station in the 2000s but died when Cox Media Group needed a major signal for its news station WSB.

Hobby, a fixture on Atlanta radio for 18-years, used to work at the Beat as well before coming to the Bert Show in the early 2000s. She worked there until 2012, then spent four years at Kicks 101.5 before moving to Star with Dauler.

Since McCoy and Vikki Locke left Star more than 11 years ago, the station has had trouble finding a long-term solution for mornings. This will their sixth morning show incarnation since 2008.

Dauler on Instagram
Ousted Jeff Dauler is not saying anything about his sudden departure as morning host Thursday from Star 94.1, probably because his severance agreement limits his ability to do so. But, according to  Ho,  his wife Callie, in an Instagram Story video.

Based her commentary, it’s clear Jeff  was not happy with whatever change in direction the show had taken, especially after new program director Ron Roberts took over last year. Callie, who works with HLN host Robin Meade, was in Nashville for work when Jeff called her with the  news. He told Callie: “I’m so relieved.” Callie cried but later said she, too, felt relieved: “I am so glad we can move on to something that is a better fit. This was such a cluster of a couple of years!”

But she said the firing was still a surprise and it was “heartbreaking” that the station had been planning this while she and Jeff were dealing emotionally with a miscarriage earlier this year.

Cumulus Media Reports 1Q As "Strong"

Cumulus Media Inc. Thursday afternoon released operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2019.

For the three months ended March 31, 2019, the Company reported net revenue of $267.5 million, an increase of 1.4% from the three months ended March 31, 2018, net income of $0.5 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $41.8 million, an increase of 3.8% from the three months ended March 31, 2018.

Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus Media said, “Driven by a steady focus on our key strategic priorities including accelerating digital growth, our strong performance continued in Q1 2019 with year-over-year increases in both revenue and EBITDA.

"Additionally, we now have four pending M&A transactions that collectively are expected to generate more than $120 million of net proceeds and bolster our competitive positions in Indianapolis and Allentown.  Combined with the $25 million voluntary prepayment made in February, these proceeds will reduce our net leverage to 4.8x on a pro forma basis.  We look forward to continuing our disciplined execution against all our strategic priorities and financial goals in the quarters ahead.”

The Company operates in two reportable segments, the Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One. Cumulus Radio Station Group revenue is derived primarily from the sale of broadcasting time on our owned or operated stations to local, regional and national advertisers. Westwood One revenue is generated primarily through network advertising on our owned or operated stations and on its approximately 8,000 affiliate stations.

During the earnings call with analysts, CFO John Abbott described the local spot market as "tough".

John Abbott
"Looking at the numbers by business unit, starting with the Cumulus Radio Station Group, we continue to experience a tough local spot market environment, partially offset by strength in digital and national revenue. Total revenue for the Cumulus Radio Station Group declined $1.7 million or 1% to $166.5 million from first quarter last year, and excluding political, Station Group revenue was down $1.3 million or 0.8%."

Concerning Westwood One, "Abbott stated the network business produced another solid quarter with revenue growth -- revenue growing $5.6 million or 5.9% from first quarter of last year. This increase was driven mostly by growth in the core ad sales business and podcasting, partially offset by the negative comparison to last year when we had revenue from the Olympics."

Berner told analysts that Podcasts are profitable for the company  "So far in 2019, we continue to see the same strong growth in the podcast that we have enjoyed since we started the business. As the exclusive partner for over 40 podcasts we've generated nearly 52 million downloads in March 2019, more than doubled the 23 million generated in March 2018. And that doesn't include our growing local podcast businesses. By our estimation, this will put us in the top five largest podcast companies measured by Pod Track in March. What is particularly notable about this growth, is that, that we have been able to achieve it while maintaining profitability."

Viacom Profit Rises 3% Despite Dips in Advertising

  • Delivered Year-over-Year Growth in Reported and Adjusted Diluted Earnings Per Share
  • Sequentially Improved Domestic Advertising Revenue Growth, Driven by Acceleration in Advanced Marketing Solutions
  • Delivered Ninth Straight Quarter of Year-over-Year Improvement in Paramount Adjusted Operating Income
  • Saw Early Momentum in Pluto TV Integration, with Monthly Active Users Growing to Approximately 16 Million in April
  • Achieved Significant Distribution Gains, with Renewed and Expanded AT&T Agreement, Carriage on Charter and fuboTV OTT Packages, and Content Deal with T-Mobile
Viacom Inc. today reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31st, 2019.  It eked out a profit in its fiscal second quarter, even as revenue from several of its main business lines decreased.

“This quarter we executed strongly on our strategic priorities and made significant progress in advancing our evolution, state Bob Bakish, president/CEO.

"We grew viewership share at our flagship networks, accelerated our Advanced Marketing Solutions and continued our momentum at Paramount Pictures. We also achieved important milestones in expanding our distribution across traditional, digital and mobile platforms, while dramatically improving our audience reach through the integration of Pluto TV. As the media landscape continues to segment across price points, we’re confident in our strategy, strong results and the opportunities ahead as we continue to position Viacom for the future.”

  • Domestic advertising revenue growth rate improved for the second quarter, driven by accelerating growth in Advanced Marketing Solutions (AMS).
  • AMS revenue increased 76% in the quarter compared to 54% in the fiscal first quarter, benefiting from the Pluto TV integration.
  • This year’s late Easter timing had a 1% unfavorable impact on the domestic ad sales growth rate.
  • Domestic affiliate revenue declined due to SVOD library licensing, which was halted while finalizing Pluto TV’s content strategy. Contractual rate increases were largely offset by subscriber declines.
  • International revenue was impacted by foreign exchange, macroeconomic headwinds in the U.K. and the timing of SVOD.
Operational Highlights
  • Viacom maintained the #1 share of basic cable viewing with key domestic audiences in the quarter, including the 2-49, 2-11, 12-17, 18-34 and African American demos.
  • In Live+SD viewing, Viacom flagships grew share by 2% YOY.
  • Comedy Central delivered its eighth consecutive quarter of share growth – up 12% YOY.
  • MTV was the fastest growing network in primetime among the top 30 broadcast and cable networks, and increased share for the eighth straight quarter – up 5% YOY.
  • Paramount Network earned its second consecutive quarter of share growth – up 3% YOY.
  • Viacom had more top 10 and top 30 original cable series in the quarter than any other cable family among key demos.

Liberty Media Reports SiriusXM Revenue Jump

Liberty Media Corporation Thursday reported first quarter 2019 results. Highlights include:
First quarter revenue increased to $1.7 billion; pro forma revenue (as if Pandora was included in both periods) increased 10% to $1.9 billion
  • Net income declined 44% to $162 million on acquisition and other related charges of $76 million; diluted EPS of $0.03 reported
  • Adjusted EBITDA(2) climbed 27% to $567 million, pro forma for the Pandora acquisition
  • SiriusXM capital returns approached $900 million year-to-date as of April 22nd
  • SiriusXM completed acquisition of Pandora media; issued combined 2019 guidance
  • Liberty Media’s ownership of SiriusXM stood at 68.6% as of April 22nd
“SiriusXM produced another strong quarter and the integration with Pandora is well underway,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Media President and CEO. “Both Formula 1 and the Braves kicked off their 2019 seasons and broke ground on exciting new developments – Formula 1 on the racetrack in Hanoi and the Braves on the second phase of the Battery Atlanta.”

The following table provides the financial results attributed to Liberty SiriusXM Group for the first quarter of 2019. In the first quarter, approximately $9 million of corporate level selling, general and administrative expense (including stock-based compensation expense) was allocated to the Liberty SiriusXM Group.

SiriusXM’s financial results above include the results of Pandora beginning February 1, 2019, the date Pandora was acquired by SiriusXM. Pro forma results for SiriusXM including Pandora for the full three months ended March 31, 2019, excluding acquisition accounting adjustments, can be found in Liberty Media’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2019.

Financials Off A Bit For Saga Communications

Saga Communications, Inc. (SGA) today reported net revenue decreased $193 thousand to $27.8 million and free cash flow increased $324 thousand to $2.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2019.  Station operating expense decreased $234 thousand to $23.2 million and operating income decreased $354 thousand to $2.0 million for the same period.  Net income decreased $159 thousand to $1.4 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2019.  Diluted earnings per share were $0.23/share in the first quarter of 2019 compared to $0.26/share during the same period in 2018.

The results for the quarter were affected by the purchase of the radio stations in the Gainesville – Ocala, FL radio market on December 31, 2018.

On a same station basis for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 net revenue decreased $1.2 million to $26.8 million.  Operating income decreased $463 thousand to $1.9 million and station operating expense decreased $1.1 million to $22.3 million.

The Company had $39.2 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2019 and $40.7 million as of May 6, 2019.  The Company's total bank debt was $15 million as of the end of the quarter.  Including the recent $0.30 per share dividend which was paid on March 29, 2019, the Company will have paid over $64 million in dividends since December 3, 2012.

Capital expenditures were $1.2 million in the first quarter of 2019 compared to $1.5 million for the same period last year.  The Company expects to spend approximately $5.0 to $5.5 million for capital expenditures during 2019.

Tribune Media Reports 1Q Revenue Increase

Tribune Media, which owns 42 TV stations and cable network WGN America and has agreed to be acquired by broadcasting giant Nexstar Media Group for $4.1 billion, reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, driven by higher retransmission and carriage fee revenue.

Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern and his team won't hold a conference call with analysts due to the pending Nexstar deal, reports Variety.

During the first quarter, earnings reached $113.2 million, or $1.27 per share, compared with $141.2 million, or $1.60 a share, in the same period of 2018. Adjusted for various items, earnings per share reached 60 cents, up from 51 cents in the year-ago period and ahead of Wall Street estimates.

Quarterly operating profit came in at $54.7 million, compared with $187.3 million for the first quarter of 2018, "primarily due to the absence of the net pretax gain on the sales of spectrum" recorded in the year-ago period, the firm said. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), another profitability metric, fell 6 percent to $112.5 million.

First-quarter revenue rose 3 percent to $455.0 million driven by a 9 percent gain in retransmission and carriage fee revenue, while core advertising revenue climbed 1 percent.

"The first quarter of 2019 continued the positive momentum established by Tribune Media in the second half of last year," Kern said.

"We're very pleased with the progress being made toward closing our previously announced transaction with Nexstar, which has announced its plans to divest certain TV stations and filed its applications for license transfers with the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC has started the clock on its review of the transaction and we remain on-track for closing late in the third quarter."

Evan Paul Named New Host For 'A Taste Of Country' Nights

Townsquare Media & Compass Media Networks have announced Evan Paul as the new host of the syndicated “Taste of Country Nights” replacing Sam Alex.

Paul recently hosted mornings at Beasley Media Classic Hip-Hop WMGC 105.1 FM inDetroit. He has previous Country experience hosting mornings at “98.7 The Bull” KUPL Portland and has worked stints in Charlotte, Memphis, New York, Philadelphia, and San Diego.

Radio, television personality Sam Alex has exited his role as host of Townsquare Media’s syndicated radio show Taste of Country Nights. Alex has been in the role for the past five years. He will continue to handle interviews and covering red carpets for Celebrity Page TV.

Alex, a Chicago native, has previously worked at WMZQ in Washington, D.C., as well as WRRM in Cincinnati, Ohio. During his time with Taste of Country Nights, Alex was nominated for the Academy of Country Music’s National On-Air Personality of the Year honor. Taste of Country Nights also grew to broadcast to over 100 affiliates during his time with the program.

“Thank you to Kurt Johnson and everyone at Townsquare Media for five incredible years. I’m also eternally grateful for the loyal sponsors and over 30 individual station owners who chose to carry the show.” Alex said.

FCC Issues New Interference Process For FM Translators

The Federal Communications Commission Thursday adopted a Report and Order that streamlines and improves the FM translator interference complaint and resolution process.

FM translator stations rebroadcast the signal of an AM or FM station. The increasing number of FM translator stations, as well as their growing economic importance for AM and digital FM stations, has led to industry interest in improving the rules governing FM translator interference complaints.

Currently, even one listener complaint, at any distance from the desired FM station, can result in an FM translator station having to cease operations. Moreover, there are often prolonged disputes over the validity of the interference claim.

Today’s Order provides additional certainty and reduces the costs and burdens of the existing interference claim and resolution process by:
  • Allowing translator operators to change frequency to any available same-band channel as a minor change in response to interference issues
  • Establishing a minimum number of listener complaints, proportionate to the population the complaining station serves, that a station would need to submit with any claim of interference
  • Standardizing the contents of each listener complaint
  • Establishing interference resolution procedures that permit, but do not require, complaining listeners to cooperate with remediation efforts, and implementing an alternative, technically-based process for demonstrating that interference has been resolved
  • Establishing an outer contour limit for actionable interference complaints while allowing waivers of that limit for interference complaints that meet specified criteria
The NAB said the FCC deserves credit for endorsing a common-sense compromise for reviewing FM radio listener complaints that may arise from FM translator interference. “FM translators have been enormously helpful extending the reach of AM radio stations,” said NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton. “We’re pleased the FCC continues to embrace ideas that foster the revitalization of AM radio.”

Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said that even though translators receive only secondary protection, “They are crucial parts of our radio landscape.”

“This item considers the robust record to try to balance interference concerns with the need for both FM stations and translators to continue to provide service to listeners,” he added.

According to RadioWorld, there has been ongoing discussion by broadcasters and industry stakeholders about the final contour limits that the FCC planned to establish. The FCC had initially discussed an outer contour limit of 54 dBμ, though organizations like the New Jersey Broadcasters Association expressed concerns about how that proposed limit would impact stations. 

The commission determined that setting a complaint limit at the 45 dBμ contour “best balances full-service, secondary service, and listener interests by providing a contour limit that encompasses the bulk of full-service core listenership while limiting complaints at the margins of listenable coverage,” the FCC said in its proposed draft order.

News Corp Revenue Up Sharply

News Corp reported a sharp increase in revenue for its most recent fiscal quarter, driven by the consolidation of Australian pay-television company Foxtel and continued gains at its book-publishing arm, reportds the Wall Street Journal.

The New York-based media company posted a net profit of $23 million, or 2 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $1.11 billion, or $1.94 a share, in the year-earlier period. Last year’s loss included noncash impairment charges and write-downs of $1.2 billion.

Revenue rose 17% to $2.46 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected net profit of $9 million and earnings per share of a penny on revenue of $2.5 billion. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $247 million, up 36% from a year earlier.

“News Corp reaped rewards from our digital strategy this quarter, underscored by a robust rise in digital subscriptions across our media properties, a sharp increase in digital audio book sales and continued expansion at our digital real estate businesses despite volatile conditions in property markets,” Chief Executive Robert Thomson said in a statement.

Separately, Lachlan Murdoch, chief executive of Fox Corp. , told investors in New York on Thursday that Fox Corp. and News Corp wouldn’t be reuniting. Both businesses had once been united but were split several years ago. Rupert Murdoch serves on the News Corp board as co-chairman.

News Corp’s largest unit, the news and information-services business, which includes The Wall Street Journal, Times of London and New York Post, reported a revenue decline of 5% to $1.22 billion, reflecting the negative impact of foreign-currency fluctuations.

Advertising revenue for the news unit fell 9%, reflecting in part foreign-currency fluctuations, while circulation and subscription revenues were relatively flat.

Heidi Raphael Named CCO At Beasley Media

Heidi Raphael
Beasley Media Group has announced Heidi Raphael has been promoted to the position of Chief Communications Officer at the company.

Raphael, who joined Beasley Media Group in May of 2017, most recently served as the Vice President of Corporate Communications. Previously, she held the position of Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Greater Media, Inc., where she spent 20 years prior to the company being sold to Beasley Media Group.

“Heidi has proven time and time again that she is most deserving of being promoted to the position of Chief Communications Officer,” said Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beasley. “While she’s only been at our company for two years, she’s accomplished more than others would in five! We are so very proud and lucky to have her in our Beasley Media Group family.”

“It is such an honor and a privilege to work with Caroline and all the incredible people at Beasley Media Group,” said Raphael. “I am so very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an innovative organization that makes a difference in the industry and the communities it serves. I am proud to be on their team!”

Raphael currently serves on the boards of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, the Broadcast Education Association and the Florida Association of Broadcasters. In addition, she is a member of the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group Executive Committee.

May 10 Radio History

➦In 1922...WHB-AM, Kansas City, Missouri, signed-on.

According to, Sam Adair and John Schilling signed WHB on the air in 1922 from Kansas City.  Cook Paint and Varnish Company purchased the station in 1930.  It was an independent station until becoming a Mutual Network affiliate in 1936.

WHB operated as a daytime-only station until the FCC granted it full-time status in 1946.

Cook sold WHB-AM to Omaha entrepreneur Todd Storz in 1954.  He enjoyed success with a Top 40 pop format on his stations in Omaha and New Orleans.  Storz flipped WHB to the nation’s first 24-hour Top 40 format.  It became Kansas City’s most popular station by the end of the year.

WHB-AM’s 10,000-watt signal made the station one of the most powerful Top 40 stations in the country. It became a model for many stations around the nation seeking to copy the success of the Top 40 format.

Here’s a sample of what WHB sounded like in 1960:

Storz Broadcasting sold WHB to Shamrock Broadcasting in 1985.  The new owner dropped Top 40 for a oldies.  In 1989, KCMO-FM flipped to oldies, drawing away WHB-AM’s listeners.

WHB began simulcasting a farm/country music format in 1993.  It swapped frequencies with KCMO-AM in 1998, giving the station a larger daytime coverage area. (DA50Kw-D, DA5Kw-Night).  WHB had been broadcasting at 710 AM (DA10Kw-Day, DA5Kw-Night).

Union Broadcasting purchased WHB and flipped the station to its current sports format in 1999.

➦In 1934...Gary Owens born Gary Bernard Altman (Died at age 80 – February 12, 2015). His polished baritone speaking voice generally offered deadpan recitations of total nonsense, which he frequently demonstrated as the announcer on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Owens was equally proficient in straight or silly assignments and was frequently heard on television and radio as well as in commercials.

Gary Owens
Owens started his radio career in 1952 as a news reporter at KORN, Mitchell, South Dakota and two years later was promoted to news director. In 1956, he left KORN for a newscaster job at KMA, Shenandoah, Iowa before moving on to a disc jockey job at KOIL, Omaha, Nebraska. He also worked in Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis, and at KIMN in Denver before relocating to California in 1959, working at KROY in Sacramento and KEWB in Oakland before finally settling in Los Angeles.

Owens moved to KEWB's sister station KFWB in Los Angeles in 1961. From there, he joined the staff of KMPC in 1962, where he remained for the next two decades working the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. shift Monday through Friday.

A gifted punster, Owens became known for his surrealistic humor. Among his trademarks were daily appearances by The Story Lady (played by Joan Gerber); the Rumor of the Day; myriad varieties of "The Nurney Song"; and the introduction of the nonsense word "insegrevious", which was briefly included in the Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary.

Owens moved from KMPC to another Los Angeles station, KPRZ 1150 AM, in the early 1980s, hosting mornings at the "Music Of Your Life"-formatted station.

In the late 1990s, Owens hosted the morning show on the Music of Your Life radio network, where he later had the evening shift and hosted a weekend afternoon show until 2006.

He died Feb. 12 2015 of complications from his life-long diabetes, at age 80.

➦In 1954...Bill Haley and the Comets released the classic "Rock Around The Clock," which became the first rock and roll song to top the charts.

➦In 1972…George Washington Trendle died (Born - July 4, 1884).  He was a Detroit lawyer and businessman best known as the producer of the Lone Ranger radio and television programs along with The Green Hornet and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.

During the 1920s, George W. Trendle was a Detroit, Michigan, lawyer who had established a reputation as a tough negotiator specializing in movie contracts and leases. Trendle became involved in the Detroit area entertainment business in 1928 when local motion picture theater owner John H. Kunsky offered Trendle 25 percent ownership in exchange for his services.

George W Trendle
Trendle and Kunsky formed the Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company in 1929 after purchasing Detroit radio station WGHP. The radio station's call letters were changed to WXYZ.

WXYZ was initially affiliated with the CBS but became an independent station within a year. Trendle's partner, Kunsky, legally changed his name to King in 1936, and the Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company became the King-Trendle Broadcasting Company. WXYZ improved its technical facilities through the 1930s, expanding its studios, raising its daytime power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts in the late 1930s, and increasing nighttime power to 5,000 watts in time for its mandated 1941 move from 1240 to 1270 kHz under the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement.

In 1931, Kunsky-Trendle acquired WASH and WOOD in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The two stations merged facilities, including studios and transmitters, but retained both station licenses. WASH was on the air from 8 a.m. to noon, and WOOD from noon to midnight. WOOD-WASH became an NBC Red affiliate in 1935. King and Trendle decided to drop the WASH license in 1942, keeping the WOOD identification.

In 1946, the newly formed American Broadcasting Company purchased the King-Trendle Broadcasting Company and its radio stations for $3.65 million. This sale was for the broadcast facilities (including WOOD, WXYZ, and the Michigan Regional Network) and a construction permit for what would later become WXYZ-TV (channel 7) but did not include ownership of Trendle's radio programs.

Here is an episode of The Lone Ranger from 1937...

➦In 1982...Top 40 formatted WABC 770 AM, New York City, played it's last record before converting to talk Radio.

WABC ended its 22-year run as a music station with a 9 am–noon farewell show hosted by Dan Ingram and Ron Lundy. The last song played on WABC before the format change was "Imagine" by John Lennon, followed by the familiar WABC "Chime Time" jingle, then a moment of silence before the debut of the new talk format.

In 1959, Harold L. Neal, Jr. was named General Manager of WABC. Neal had been at WXYZ in Detroit. He was charged with making WABC successful in terms of both audience and profits. By 1960, WABC committed to a virtually full-time schedule of top-40 songs played by upbeat personalities during the first week of December 1960. Still, WABC played a few popular non-rock and roll songs as well. WABC's early days as a Top 40 station were humble ones.

Top 40 WINS was the No. 1 music station and WMCA, which did a similar rock leaning top 40 format, was also a formidable competitor, while WABC barely ranked in the Top Ten. Fortunately for WABC, the other Top 40 outlets could not be heard well in certain New York and New Jersey suburbs, since WINS, WMGM, and WMCA were all directional stations. WABC, with its 50,000-watt non-directional signal, had the advantage of being heard in places west, south, and northwest – a huge chunk of the suburban population – and this is where the station began to draw ratings. Early in 1962, WMGM, owned by Loew's, which then owned MGM, was sold to Storer Broadcasting. Upon its sale, WMGM reverted to its original WHN call letters and switched to a MOR music format playing easy listening and, unlike WNEW which played limited amounts of soft rock and roll, absolutely no rock and roll except maybe Ray Charles or Bobby Darin. WHN was considered MOR because it was vocal based and played about 75 to 80% vocals and the rest instrumentals.

(Note:  Musicradio 77 WABC History segments were compiled by Ellis b. Feaster. Feaster is now morning host on Contemporary Christian WPOZ 88.3 FM in Orlando, FL. Thanks for the work Ellis!)

Sam Holman was the first WABC program director of this era. Under Holman, WABC achieved No. 1 ratings during much of 1962, after WMGM reverted to WHN. By the summer of 1963, WMCA led the pack, with WABC at No. 2 and WINS slipping to third place. It has been said, but is difficult to verify, that WMCA dominated in the city proper, while WABC owned the suburbs. This would be consistent with WMCA's 5,000-watt directional signal, although WMCA had the benefit of a lower frequency than WABC.

Then, Hal Neal hired Rick Sklar as the program director. Sklar would go on to become a member of the Radio Hall of Fame and be credited as one of the pioneering architects of the Top 40 format.

Under Sklar, the station went to the shortest playlist of any contemporary music station in history; the number one song was heard about every hour and 15 minutes. Top 5 songs were heard almost as often. Other current songs averaged once to twice per airshift. The station played about 9 current hits per hour and several non-current songs. The non-currents were no more than 5 years old and the station played about 70 of them totally.

WABC was known by various slogans, "Channel 77 WABC", then "77 WABC", and later "Musicradio WABC". Also, like WMCA did, WABC played no more than two songs in a row and there was heavy talk and personality between every song. The station averaged 6 short commercial breaks per hour but they were short and no more than 3 ads in a row. Voiceovers by the live airpersonality on the air were often part of the commercial.

WABC Daytime Coverage Map
Early 1960s disc jockeys included Dan Ingram, Herb Oscar Anderson, Charlie Greer, Scott Muni, Chuck Dunaway, Jack Carney, and Bob Lewis, but the best known WABC DJs are the ones that followed them in the mid-1960s and 1970s: Harry Harrison, Ron Lundy, Jim Nettleton, Radio Hall of Fame members Dan Ingram and "Cousin Brucie" Bruce Morrow, Chuck Leonard, Bob Cruz (a Dan Ingram sound alike), Frank Kingston Smith, Roby Yonge, George Michael, and Johnny Donovan. Also heard on WABC was sportscaster Howard Cosell, who would continue into 770's all talk format years with a late night program.

Especially in the afternoons and evenings, WABC was the station that teenagers could be heard listening to on transistor radios all over the New York metropolitan area. Due to its strong signal, the station could be heard easily over 100 miles away—as far as the Catskill Mountains, Pocono Mountains and outlying areas of Philadelphia.

WABC's ratings strength came from its cumulative audience. Most listeners didn't stay with WABC for long periods of time, as the station had some of the shortest "time spent listening" (or TSL) spans in the history of music radio—an average listener spent about 10 minutes listening to WABC. It was the price paid for a short playlist, and numerous commercials between songs, but what WABC lacked in TSL it more than made up for with its sheer number of listeners.

The end of the 1970s found FM radio beginning to overtake AM music stations in most markets. In June 1975, an FM station on 92.3, owned by the San Juan (Puerto Rico) Racing Association flipped to Soft Rock and became known as Mellow 92 WKTU. That station had very low ratings and had no effect on WABC. But on July 24, 1978, at 6 PM, WKTU abruptly dropped its Soft Rock format in favor of a disco-based top 40 format known as "Disco 92". By December of that year, WABC was unseated, as WKTU became the No. 1 station in New York City. The first "disco" ratings saw WKTU with 11 percent of the listening audience—a huge number anywhere, let alone in a market the size of New York City—and WABC dropping from 4.1 million listeners to 3 million, losing 25 percent of its audience practically overnight.

After this initial ratings tumble, WABC panicked and began mixing in several extended disco mixes per hour and sometimes played two back-to-back. Some of the disco songs ran in excess of eight minutes. What regular listeners heard was a major change in sound. While the station continued playing non-disco and rock songs about a third of the time, familiar format had seemed to disappear and as a result, WABC began to lose its identity.

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