Saturday, June 1, 2019

June 2 Radio History

➦In 1896...Marconi files full specs for first (radio) wireless patent. He had succeeded the previous year in sending long-wave radio signals over a distance of about two kilometres. And in 1897, Marconi formed a wireless telegraphy company to develop its commercial applications. In 1901, he sent the letter ”S” across the Atlantic from Cornwall, England to a receiving station in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

➦In 1908...Benjamin Franklin Grauer born (Died from a heart attacked at age 68 – May 31, 1977). He was a radio and TV personality, following a career during the 1920s as a child actor in films and on Broadway.

Ben Grauer
Grauer's greatest fame lies in his legendary 40-year career in radio. In 1930, the 22-year-old Benjamin Franklin Grauer joined the staff at NBC.  He quickly rose through the ranks to become a senior commentator and reporter. He was the designated announcer for the popular 1940s Walter Winchell's Jergens Journal. Perhaps, most importantly, he was selected by Arturo Toscanini to become the voice of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Grauer took over as announcer in late 1942, and remained until the orchestra was disbanded in June 1954. Toscanini said he was his favorite announcer.

Starting in 1932, Grauer covered the Olympic Games, presidential inaugurations and international events. During his radio career, Grauer covered nearly every major historic event, including the Paris Peace Conference and the US occupation of Japan. Millions remember his NBC coverage of the New Year's celebrations on both radio and TV. Between 1951 and 1969, Grauer covered these events 11 times live from New York's Times Square. He continued covering New Year's Eve for Guy Lombardo's New Year's Eve specials on CBS in the 1970s, with his last appearance on December 31, 1976, the year before both he and Lombardo died. From the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s, Grauer's reports were part of the NBC television network's The Tonight Show, where he worked with Johnny Carson and prior to that, Jack Paar, and Steve Allen. Grauer was also one of NBC Radio's Monitor "Communicators" from 1955 to 1960.

Grauer also was one of five hosts/narrators of "The First Fabulous Fifty", a five-part NBC Radio Network documentary series on the history of the network, featuring soundbites from past NBC programs. The series was broadcast on the occasion of the network's 50th anniversary in the autumn of 1976. Grauer narrated the first installment, which covered the network's first decade on the air, 1926 through 1936.

➦In Walter Tetley was born in New York City.  At age 23 he moved to Hollywood where his radio career as a series of brash teenagers blossomed and lasted more than 25 years, by which time he was in his late 40’s.  His best remembered roles are as Gildy’s nephew Leroy on NBC radio’s The Great Gildersleeve, and as Julius Abbruzio on The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.  He also voiced many popular cartoon characters.  He died at age 60 Sept. 4 1975, four years after a serious MVA had left him confined to a wheelchair.

Charles Farrell, Gil Stratton Jr. "Freddie", and Gale Storm
➦In Gill Stratton Jr. was born in Brooklyn.  While appearing in supporting roles in film in the late 40’s he began working as a radio actor in such shows as Lux Radio Theater, The Great Gildersleeve, and My Little Margie. He worked opposite Judy Garland in the 1950 radio version of The Wizard of Oz, and opposite Shirley Temple in an audio adaptation of The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. In the 1954 television season, Stratton was a regular on the CBS situation comedy That’s My Boy.  That same year he began a 16 year run as sportscaster on KNXT Los Angeles, and over time also covered sports for KNX radio and KTTV.

He died of congestive heart failure Oct. 11 2008 at age 86.

➦In 1933...WNJ 1450 AM, Newark, New Jersey signed-off the air.

This station originally went on the air as WRAZ in June 1923, located at 1290 AM. It was owned by former naval radio operator Herman Lubinsky, who established the Radio Shop of Newark at 58 Market St., for the home of WRAZ. In April 1924, calls were changed to WCBX.

Then, on October 15, 1924, Lubinsky requested the calls WNJ, which he said stood for "Wireless New Jersey," and received his third set of call letters in 16 months.

In 1925, Lubinsky built a studio in the Paradise Ballroom in Newark and operated a shortwave transmitter for local remote pick-ups.

In July of that year, WNJ moved to 1190 AM and shared time briefly with New York station WGCP.
In July 1926, WNJ broadcast "unauthorized" on 850 and 860 AM.  In April 1927, the station moved to 1070 AM and shared time with WGCP and Newark station WDWM.

Later that year, WNJ moved to 1120 AM and finally in November 1928, the station settled on 1450 AM, sharing time with Fort Lee station WBMS, Elizabeth station WIBS and Jersey City station WKBO.

WNJ, "The Voice Of Newark", presented programming in Polish and Lithuanian and featured some of the earliest Italian programming in the New York metropolitan area, featuring Ben D'Avella.

In November 1932, the FRC (Federal Radio Commission) denied WNJ's request for license renewal. Lubinsky fought the action in the federal courts, but lost and was ordered off the air.

➦In 1959...Rock'n'Roll personality  Alan Freed aired his first show on WABC 770 AM, New York after being fired from 1010 WINS. He left WABC in November of that same year.

NYC Radio: Secular WPLJ Signs-Off

After 48 years, beloved radio station WPLJ 95.5 FM signed-off Friday.

The last song broadcast from the top of Madison Square Garden was John Lennon’s “Imagine,” released in 1971, the same year the station went on the air.

DJ Mike Allan also spun a WPLJ tribute song by Hall and Oates, and — just before the stroke of the station’s 7 p.m. demise — a fitting snippet from the Beatles’ “The End”: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

The station was one of six purchased for $103 million by the Educational Media Foundation, a religious-programming group.

It was fitting for Lennon to serenade WPLJ’s end.

The station mourned Lennon’s Dec. 8, 1980, murder with days of round-the-clock Beatles music, followed by 15 minutes of silence, as requested by his widow, Yoko Ono.

As of 7pm Friday, the station joined the K-LOVE network, and will now broadcast Christian contemporary music. K-Love's first piece of audio was a request for listener financial support.

Grand Rapids Radio: Townsquare Adds Brian Thomas As OM

Townsquare Media/Grand Rapids has announced the addition of veteran programmer Brian Thomas as the new Operations Manager.

Brian Thomas
He'll also oversee the company's 17 Classic Hits stations.

Thomas' previous posts include Program Director at WCBS-FM New York, WLS-FM Chicago, KFRC/San Francisco, WEZB (B97)/New Orleans and most recently Cumulus Media in Atlanta.

"Townsquare is excelling in local radio by investing in personality and programming, both on-air and online. This is a perfect fit for my skills and I'm thrilled to join. Thanks to Kurt Johnson and Todd Lawley for the opportunity," said Thomas.

SVP/Programming Kurt Johnson added, "Brian's extensive achievement across several formats and markets is well-known. His passion for local radio, music programming, building digital audience, and talent development make him a fantastic addition to the team, helping us build on our already strong local success in Grand Rapids, and taking our Classic Hits stations to the next level."

D-C Radio: Mike Powell To Program WKYS-FM

Radio One/Washington, DC, has  appointed Mike "Swift" Powell as its new Program Director for Urban WKYS 93.9 FM.

Powell arrives from New Orleans and has 15 years of programming experience in multiple formats. Powell rose through the ranks starting his career in 2005 as an air personality with KMEZ/New Orleans, before being upped to Assistant PD and then Program Director with Cumulus Media. Powell left New Orleans in 2017 to become PD with Core Communicators Broadcasting in Charlotte and in 2018 he served as PD with Flinn Broadcasting in Memphis.

"First and foremost, I would like to thank Kashon Powell for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity. I feel incredibly humbled to be chosen to lead such an iconic brand as WKYS and I look forward to creating history with the staff at Radio ONE DC," said Powell.

VP/Programming Kashon Powell added, "I am excited to have Mike take on this role. His experience, passion for the format and enthusiasm will certainly be an asset to our DC team."

"Mike says a lot when he says, creating history. That's what we do here at Radio One, D.C., and I'm looking forward to blazing new trails with Mike on our amazing team," said Senior Regional VP Jeff Wilson.

The appointment becomes effective June 10.

Boston Radio: Bar Stool Sports Drafts Kirk Minihane

When former WEEI 93.7 FM morning show co-host Kirk Minihane officially and contentiously parted ways with Entercom Communications last month, he touted himself as the greatest free-agent in sports media history.

But there was one most logical landing spot all along: Barstool Sports. And that’s where he’s going, according to

Barstool founder Dave Portnoy tweeted Thursday night that Minihane was joining the company, and Minihane later confirmed with a tweet of his own, adding that he would elaborate Friday.

Barstool Sports has a series of popular podcasts as well as a Sirius channel. Minihane is expected to have a prominent presence at both.

Minihane, who brought high ratings and frequent controversy to WEEI’s morning show before leaving in November, announced May 22 he no longer worked for Entercom.

Minihane had been in limbo since departing the “Kirk and Callahan’’ program, where he was a co-host since 2013.

Rush Limbaugh Unloads On Disney

The Disney company and CEO Bob Iger are being hypocritical when it comes to possibly boycotting Georgia over its controversial abortion law, this according to radio host Rush Limbaugh.

"This is just hypocritical and crazy. Disney is a company founded on programming and facilities for children. And the abortion law in Georgia is designed to save and protect children. And we can’t have that," Limbaugh said on his radio show Friday.

"The way Disney is looking at this, we can’t have our audience protected. We can’t do business in a state that’s looking out for our audience and our future audience. We can’t have that," the radio host said sarcastically.

Fox News reports Disney, who film television shows and movies in Georgia, is among a handful of Hollywood studios reconsidering their future in the state after a controversial abortion bill was passed recently.

The law, which would go into effect in January if it passes legal hurdles, will ban abortion after six weeks once a heartbeat can be detected.

Iger told Reuters this week it would be "very difficult" to work in Georgia if the law is implemented and that people may not want to work in the state.

Limbaugh accused Disney of holding Georgia as an "economic hostage."  He also criticized Hollywood and Disney for disrespecting Southern states.

"You know, you look at these southern states, these are conservative states — Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi. Look at how hard they bend over backwards to get this industry to do business in their states. And then what do they do? They come in there, and they start making movies and TV shows that do what?" Limbaugh said. "They start making fun of people who live in the South. They trash these people. They make movies and TV shows and make jokes about ’em."

Report: Viacom CEO Blackballed At Billionaire's Summer Camp

For the second consecutive year, Robert Bakish, Viacom’s CEO was not invited, an unusual move that pits one of Corporate America’s most prominent media executives whose power may grow in the coming weeks against an investment-bank that is considered the media industry’s top deal maker, FOX Business has learned.

Known as the “summer-camp for billionaires,” the conference features a who’s who in the media-business ranging from Amazon chief Jeff Bezos to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, Disney chief Bob Iger and Rupert Murdoch, chairman of new Fox. The company, which was born from the $71 billion Disney - 21st Century’s Fox deal, is the parent company of FOX Business and Fox News.

Bob Bakish
Allen & Co.’s snub of Bakish is apparent retribution for the Viacom chief complaining to his board about the firm’s investment banking work on a high-profile deal, and that the boutique investment firm shouldn’t be hired on future deals, people close to Bakish tell FOX Business.

CBS was and continues to be a ratings leader, nabbing five of the top 10 television series, including major sports and news programming. Viacom controls such broadcast staples as MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and movie studio Paramount Pictures. The two media companies controlled by the Redstone family’s National Amusements Inc. holding company, are conducting serious merger discussions that could result in a deal in the coming weeks after nearly two years of on-again, off-again discussions.

The invite-only conference has been a mecca for business leaders in media and technology given Allen & Co.’s dominance in advising these companies and their top executives on various transactions.

Bakish reportedly enjoyed attending the conference as well, and was last seen there in 2017. But that was before he and Allen & Co. butted heads over an ill-fated bid by Viacom to purchase Scripps Networks Interactive in 2018. He subsequently complained to Viacom’s board about Allen & Co.’s work on the proposed transaction and sought to get the firm removed as a banker or adviser on any and all Viacom deals.

NYTimes Bars Reporters From CableTV Opinion Shows

The New York Times has begun re-enforcing a standing policy that forbids reporters and editors from appearing on cable news opinion programs deemed too partisan, a list that includes MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," according to The Hill citing a Vanity Fair report.

The story includes an anecdote about the Times's finance editor David Enrich being invited to appear on Maddow's prime-time program earlier this month to discuss a report regarding President Trump, Jared Kushner and allegedly suspect transactions involving Deutsche Bank before Trump took office.

After Enrich agreed to appear he was instructed to back out by his superiors.

"The Times was wary of how viewers might perceive a down-the-middle journalist like Enrich talking politics with a mega-ideological host like Maddow," reads the report by Joe Pompeo, who went on say that a Maddow producer was "miffed about the cancellation," according to sources.

Other programs deemed too opinionated and partisan for the Times's reporters and editors to appear on included "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon and MSNBC's "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell."

It said Fox's "Hannity" and "Tucker Carlson Tonight" would also fall into that category, though Pompeo wrote that Times reporters might not appear on those more conservative programs commonly.

According to the Times's handbook of values and practices for the news and editorial departments, staff members should avoid shows that "emphasize punditry and reckless opinion-mongering."
Staff members "may participate in radio, television or Internet interviews or discussions, paid or unpaid, that deal with articles they have written or subjects that figure in the coverage they provide, edit, package or supervise," the public document reads. 

"In deciding whether to make a radio, television or Internet appearance, a staff member should consider its probable tone and content to make sure they are consistent with Times standards," it adds. "Staff members should avoid strident, theatrical forums that emphasize punditry and reckless opinion-mongering."

The report comes as journalism in the U.S. "has gradually shifted away from objective news and offers more opinion-based content that appeals to emotion and relies heavily on argumentation and advocacy," according to an extensive Rand Corp. analysis released last week.

Report: DOJ Launching Antitrust Investigation of Google

The Justice Department is gearing up for an antitrust investigation of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, a move that could present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.

The department’s antitrust division in recent weeks has been laying the groundwork for the probe, the people said. The Federal Trade Commission, which shares antitrust authority with the department, previously conducted a broad investigation of Google but closed it in 2013 without taking action, though Google made some voluntary changes to certain business practices.

The FTC and the department have been in talks recently on who would oversee any new antitrust investigation of a leading U.S. tech giant, and the commission agreed to give the Justice Department jurisdiction over Google, the people said.

With turf now settled, the department is preparing to closely examine Google’s business practices related to its search and other businesses, the people said.

A Justice Department investigation would put Google—and potentially other tech giants—in an unwanted spotlight at a time when major internet companies already have seen their political fortunes turning, both in the U.S. and overseas.

The shift has come with multibillion-dollar antitrust fines for Google from the European Union. Facebook Inc. has come under intense fire over Russian use of its platform to meddle in the 2016 election. Policy makers also are increasingly skeptical of internet companies’ privacy practices, as well as their potential to create other public harm.

Alphabet, Google’s parent, typically is ranked among the world’s five largest firms by market capitalization, nourished by its powerful position in online advertising, a lucrative market that threatens to eclipse other forms of advertising. Along with Facebook, it has become a major player in the complex market. But other firms—notably Inc. —also have begun to compete for the business, raising competitive concerns for Google.

Music Piracy Still a Scourge

The latest MusicWatch Annual Music Study, estimates that there are 17 million stream-rippers in the U-S during 2018, up from 15 million in 2017.

Stream-ripping is not a casual activity either.  The top 30 percent of streamrippers are copying 112 files, on average – the equivalent of more than 10 full music albums. That may not seem a lot in a world where streaming services hold millions of songs, but ask any rights holder how they feel about someone copying their works.

Stream-ripping doesn’t just displace traditional types of music purchasing. MusicWatch consumer research shows that the main reasons cited by people who use stream-rippers are often to substitute for features offered by subscription music streaming services. This includes the ability to load files on their device for access to songs offline, and not having to pay for songs individually.

It’s somewhat absurd that the same search and app platforms that promote legitimate music streaming services don’t do more to discourage apps that promote piracy. One-quarter of users pointed out how they find these stream-ripping apps at the app stores, or through a search. Certainly the app and search companies could do more to educate consumers about which uses potentially constitute copyright infringement.

Research shows that stream-rippers are more likely to participate in other unsanctioned forms of music sharing such as downloading songs from unlicensed mobile apps, or sharing on digital lockers. Stream-rippers tend to be better educated and from higher income households, negating the excuse that piracy is driven by lack of financial resources.

R.I.P.: iTunes

Apple is phasing out its content download and streaming service, Bloomberg reports. CEO Tim Cook will unveil a spread of new features geared to move the company’s focus away from the iPhone starting Monday at the tech giant’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

iTunes has been the way Apple users listen to music, watch movies and TV shows, hear podcasts, and manage their devices for almost two decades. This year, Apple is finally ready to move into a new era. The company is launching a trio of new apps for the Mac – Music, TV, and Podcasts – to replace iTunes. That matches Apple’s media app strategy on iPhones and iPads. Without iTunes, customers can manage their Apple gadgets through the Music app.

June 1 Radio History

➦In 1921...Conductor & musician  Nelson Riddle was born in Oradell New Jersey.  His career stretched from the late 1940s to the mid-1980s. His work for Capitol Records kept such vocalists as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney and Keely Smith household names.

He found commercial and critical success again in the 1980s with a trio of Platinum albums with Linda Ronstadt. His orchestrations earned an Academy Award and three Grammy Awards.

He died of liver ailments Oct 6, 1985 at age 64.

➦In 1936...the NBC Blue network’s Lux Radio Theater moved from New York City to Hollywood. On the first show from Tinseltown, program host and “producer” Cecil B. DeMille introduced Clark Gable and Marlene Dietrich in The Legionnaire and the Lady. It attracted a remarkable (for the era) listening audience of 40 million.

➦In 1961..WVNJ 100.3 FM signed-on (today is is iHeartMedia's WHTZ Z100). 100.3's origins date back to 1942 when it was WMGM, licensed to New York. The station went off the air in February 1955. During 100.3's down time, the frequency was allocated to WFHA in Red Bank. On June 1, 1961, 100.3 was ressurrected as WVNJ, now licensed to Newark. WVNJ featured an easy listening/jazz format that continued until August 2, 1983, when WHTZ "Z100" was born.

➦In 1961...FM stereo begins.  At 12:01 a.m., GE's WGFM 99.5 FM (now WRVE) Schenectady, NY became the first FM station in the United States to broadcast in stereo.  The station, which had been simulcasting WGY 810 AM,  aired classical music.

The first commercial FM broadcasting stations were in the United States, but initially they were primarily used to simulcast their AM sister stations, to broadcast lush orchestral music for stores and offices, to broadcast classical music to an upmarket listenership in urban areas, or for educational programming.

By the late 1960s FM had been adopted by fans of "Alternative Rock" music ("A.O.R.—'Album Oriented Rock' Format"), but it wasn't until 1978 that listenership to FM stations exceeded that of AM stations in North America.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Top 40 music stations and later even country music stations largely abandoned AM for FM. Today AM is mainly the preserve of talk radio, news, sports, religious programming, ethnic (minority language) broadcasting and some types of minority interest music. This shift has transformed AM into the "alternative band" that FM once was.

➦In 1967...The album 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' by The Beatles was released.

➦In 1968...'Mrs. Robinson' by Simon and Garfunkel hit Number One

Don Imus
➦In 1968...Don Imus started at KUTY in Palmdale, CA.  He stayed at the station until 1969 when he left for a job at KJOY, a small radio station in Stockton, California. He was later fired for saying "hell" on air.  After being fired in Stockton, and in 1968 he went to KXOA in Sacramento, California.
Three years later, he landed the morning spot at WNBC in New York City before his firing in 1977.

In 1979, Imus returned to WNBC and stayed at the station until 1988 when the show moved to WFAN. Imus gained widespread popularity when the show entered national syndication in 1993. He was labelled a shock jock radio host throughout his later career and his programs have been popular and controversial.After nearly 50 years on the air, Imus retired from broadcasting in March 2018.

His on-air pranks, such as calling up a restaurant and ordering 1200 hamburgers to go, made his show immensely popular and boosted ratings. He was inspired to pursue a career in radio by listening to California radio personality Don MacKinnon.

➦In 1969...Tobacco advertising was banned on Radio and TV stations in Canada.

In the U-S, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act banned the advertising of cigarettes on television and radio effective January 2, 1971.

Bob Crane had been called a genius in radio by his radio colleagues at WICC in Bridgeport, CT, and KNX and KMPC in Los Angeles. All sound effects, gimmicks, and voices are performed by Bob Crane (who was also known in radio as the Man of 1,000 Voices), either as pre-recordings or live right at the mic. Bringing all the pieces together, Bob transforms an otherwise bland commercial reading into a dazzling comedic performance.

In this commercial for Winston Cigarettes, he sounds as if he is carrying on a full conversation with his engineer. But in all actuality, it's all Crane.

In 1980…Arthur C. Nielsen, Sr., founder of the Nielsen ratings system, died at the age of 82.

➦In 1980...CNN debuted on cable as TV's first all-news station. The Cable News Network was launched at 5:00 p.m. After an introduction by Ted Turner, the husband and wife team of David Walker and Lois Hart anchored the channel's first newscast. Burt Reinhardt, the executive vice president of CNN at its launch, hired most of the channel's first 200 employees, including the network's first news anchor, Bernard Shaw.

Since its debut, CNN has expanded its reach to a number of cable and satellite television providers, several websites, and specialized closed-circuit channels (such as CNN Airport). The company has 42 bureaus (11 domestic, 31 international), more than 900 affiliated local stations (which also receive news and features content via the video newswire service CNN Newsource), and several regional and foreign-language networks around the world. The channel's success made a bona-fide mogul of founder Ted Turner and set the stage for conglomerate Time Warner's eventual acquisition of the Turner Broadcasting System in 1996. Today, the channel is owned by WarnerMedia News & Sports, a division of AT&T's WarnerMedia

A companion channel, CNN2, was launched on January 1, 1982 and featured a continuous 24-hour cycle of 30-minute news broadcasts. The channel, which later became known as CNN Headline News and is now known as simply HLN, eventually focused on live news coverage supplemented by personality-based programs during the evening and primetime hours.

➦In 2014…Radio production executive Tom Rounds died.  He is best known for his association with 'American Top 40'. He died of complications following surgery at 78.

Tom Rounds
After first entering the broadcasting profession at the campus radio station of Amherst College in Massachusetts in the late 1950s, Rounds worked at 1010 WINS in New York City as a newsman in 1959 before agreeing to travel to Honolulu with the station's general manager to work at station KPOI. While in Hawaii, Rounds—hoping to gain publicity for his new position as a disc jockey—set the world record for sleeplessness. The period of 260 hours awake was attained while Rounds was sitting in a department store window display. Rounds became a regional celebrity following the stunt, and eventually rose to lead the station as program director.

Ron Jacobs had been program director at KPOI before moving to KHJ in Los Angeles under influential radio programmer Bill Drake. Drake was seeking to install his signature Boss Radio format in the Bay Area in 1964; Jacobs recommended Tom Rounds for the position at KFRC in San Francisco.

While at KFRC, Rounds began promoting large multi-act concerts to benefit charity and gain publicity for the station and the bands it featured. After holding the Beach Boys Summer Spectacular at the Cow Palace in 1966, Rounds and KFRC conceived of a large outdoor festival featuring a fair atmosphere similar to the popular Renaissance Pleasure Faire. The KFRC Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival was held in the second weekend of June 1967 at Mount Tamalpais State Park in Marin County, California, to support the Hunters Point Child Care Center. Featuring Jefferson Airplane, The 5th Dimension, The Doors and many other acts, it drew nearly 60,000 attendees. The Fantasy Fair produced by Rounds is considered the first rock festival in history, preceding the more well-known Monterey Pop Festival by one week.

Rounds left KFRC in the Fall of 1967; his decision to move beyond the restrictions of AM radio was documented on the front cover of the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine, with the headline "Tom Rounds Quits KFRC" on the upper right beside a large photograph of John Lennon.

In 1969, Rounds and Jacobs formed Watermark Inc., a radio production and syndication company that created a variety of programs which it then distributed to radio stations throughout North America. The most widely recognized of the programs Rounds headed at Watermark was American Top 40, which featured the team of host Casey Kasem and producer Don Bustany. The program was popular in large markets and also allowed small market stations to present a three-hour national music chart countdown show at nominal cost that nevertheless produced good ratings and helped generate advertising revenue.

The program reached audiences at over 500 radio stations in the United States by the 1980s. The show is still in syndication, hosted by Ryan Seacrest and distributed by Premiere Networks, a division of the American media conglomerate iHeartMedia.

Friday, May 31, 2019

NYC Radio: Farewell WPLJ 95.5 FM

Click Here To Order
Iconic WPLJ 95.5 FM — which launched in 1971 as a pioneering AOR (album oriented rock) station, then embraced the MTV-inspired new wave movement of the early ‘80s and eventually morphed into a hot adult contemporary outlet — will go dark Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

The frequency, acquired from Cumulus Media by leading religious programmers Educational Media Foundation earlier this year, will immediately transition into a contemporary Christian music station, an affiliate of the national K-LOVE network.

WPLJ was one of several stations EMF picked up for more than $100 million from Cumulus, along with such familiar call letters as news/talk station WYAY in Atlanta; Hot AC outlet WRQX (Mix 107.3) in Washington DC; Triple-A station KFFG in San Jose, Calif.; Hot AC station WZAT (102.1 The Sound) in Savannah, Ga.; and Classic Rocker WXTL (The Rebel 105.9) in Syracuse, N.Y.

Jimmy Fink, Jim Kerr, Shelli Sonnstein and Carol Miller
This week, the station celebrated its almost-half century-long run by hosting former DJs and staffers on the air, while offering commemorative T-shirts boasting the outlet’s logos over the years.

Among the on-air personalities who called in were Scott Shannon (along with co-hosts Patty Steele, Joe Nolan, weatherman Bill Evans and Brad Blanks) and Jim Kerr, now the morning man at iHeartMedia’s New York classic rocker WAXQ (Q104.3). Others who visited the studio included former WPLJ President/GM Mitch Dolan, ex-PD Tom Cuddy (now at crosstown WOR-AM) and past APD/.MDE Louie Diaz (now Cumulus VP Contemporary Programming and PD at WWWQ Atlanta).

➤ As WPLJ Signs Off Forever, New York Radio Legend Jim Kerr Looks Back, Click Here.

The station has been marking its imminent demise by playing classic drops, station IDs and promos.

According to Variety, the last time WPLJ went off the air, it was for 15 minutes after John Lennon’s murder in December 1980, at the request of Yoko Ono herself.

Current morning show host Todd Pettengill will record the station’s final goodbye, which he says, “should be a thank you for your loyalty and for listening all these years… See you later.”

WPLJ’s call letters came from the name of the first track on the 1971 Mothers of Invention album, “Burnt Weeny Sandwich,” based on a song by one of Frank Zappa’s favorite northern California R&B doo-wop groups, The Four Deuces, which stood for “white port and lemon juice.”

➤ Click Here For More On WPLJ

Reading PA Radio: WEEU Officially On the Block

Reading Eagle Company announced it will accept bids for WEEU 830 AM's federal broadcasting license.

Parties interested in buying the FCC license will have until June 10 to make an offer, said Sara April of Dirks, Van Essen, Murray and April, the firm that is assisting Reading Eagle Company through its bankruptcy sale process.

When the sale of Reading Eagle Company assets to MediaNews Group, a Denver, Colo.-based newspaper chain, was approved by a federal bankruptcy judge last week, WEEU was part of the sale. But MediaNews Group purchased only the station's assets, such as its building, tower, equipment and other property. It declined the license, which is needed to legally operate a radio station.

Court documents outlining the details of the sale stated that the station could go off the air if there is no licensed operator when the sale closes. No closing date has been set, but the court set a deadline of July 31.

Those documents said MediaNews Group would be open to leasing its newly purchased radio equipment to someone who bought the license from Reading Eagle Company for up to five years or until they sold them.

Late last week, Dave Kline, WEEU president and general manager, said he had been inundated with calls and emails from people interested in keeping the station alive.

April said a sale of the license will have to be approved by the federal bankruptcy court and the FCC. And a new owner would have to work out a deal with MediaNews Group to use the current WEEU equipment, or build and buy their own.

WEEU 830 AM (20 Kw-D, 6 Kw-N) Daytime 2 mV/m contour
Reading Eagle President and CEO Peter D. Barbey said he was pleased to hear there are potential suitors for WEEU's license, particularly local ones with a desire to continue the station's legacy.

Reading Eagle Company filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection March 20, citing an untenable financial situation. The company went up for sale, and a bidding process resulted in just one qualified bid from MediaNews Group for $5 million.

Anyone interested in bidding on WEEU's federal broadcasting license can contact Sara April at 505-820-2700 or

Houston Radio: Michael Berry To stay With iHM's KTRH

iHeartMedia Houston’s KTRH 740 AM has announced a new four-year agreement with popular on-air host Michael Berry. Berry will continue his relationship with KTRH AM 740, Houston’s News, Weather and Traffic, as an on-air host for “The Michael Berry Show” through 2023.

Under the agreement, fans will continue to enjoy “The Michael Berry Show” each weekday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. “The Michael Berry Show” features entertaining conversation across a variety of topics, ranging from politics, parenting, culture, food and more.

“I’m excited to extend our partnership with Michael because he is one of the hardest working radio personalities in America and offers a unique brand of humor and information,” said Eddie Martiny, Region President for iHeartMedia Houston. I know his listeners will ‘pop a top’ knowing Michael Berry will continue taking them to and from work!”

“We’re thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with Michael,” said Bryan Erickson, Director of AM Programming for iHeartMedia Houston. “In a format filled with imitators, Michael is a true original.”

“I love what I do, I love who I do it with and I love that I do it here with iHeartMedia,” said Berry. “Talk Radio is about engaging people with ideas, and some will agree, some won’t, but it’s entertaining and rewarding to engage. That’s what I get to do every single day and now I can do it for years more to come.”

Berry began his radio career in 2005 at KPRC AM 950 and now “The Michael Berry Show” can be heard on nearly two dozen additional iHeartMedia stations across top cities throughout the country including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland, Nashville, New Orleans, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Birmingham and Baton Rouge.

Full Programming Lineup:
  • Houston’s Morning News with Jimmy Barrett & Shara Fryer    5 a.m. – 8 a.m. CT.
  • The Michael Berry Show 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. CT.
  • The Rush Limbaugh Show 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. CT.
  • The Sean Hannity Show 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. CT.
  • The Michael Berry Show 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. CT.
KTRH AM 740 is the leading media outlet in the Houston market with multiple platforms, including its broadcast stations; live events; data; and its digital businesses and platforms, including mobile, social and its own iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s free all-in-one digital music, podcasting and live streaming radio service – with more than 2 billion app downloads and 125 million registered users.

Alpha, Compass Renew Partnership

Alpha Media & Compass Media Networks Thursday announced a multi-year extension of their programming partnership for the syndication of The Markley, van Camp & Robbins Show (“MVR”).

Since debuting into syndication in April 2018, MVR has over 50 affiliates in all size markets (PPM and diary) and regions, including KXL in Portland (OR), KTSA in San Antonio, WMBD in Peoria and WWBA in Tampa.

The addition of Scott Robbins (currently a contributor to the show) accentuates the shows focus on addressing topics from the perspective of a Baby Boomer, Gen X and Millennial (by having a host from each era).

“Markley, van Camp and Robbins have achieved the perfect blend of chemistry and humor” says Phil Becker, Executive Vice President of Content, Alpha Media. “This is the show News Talk stations have been looking for.”

Jamie Markley comments “I’m so excited that Robbins is a now a full time member of the show. His lack of filter and wit definitely takes us to another level.”

David van Camp adds “It’s awesome to have Scott. He’s a hilarious guy, a great broadcaster, and a ton of fun to work with.”

Scott Robbins says “I feel incredibly blessed to be part of this show.”

The show airs live weekdays from 9am to 12 noon Pacific (12noon to 3pm ET) and a best-of on weekends.

Fox News Radio Moving The Guy Benson Show To Afternoons

FOX News Radio has announced "The Guy Benson Show" is moving to PM Drive-Eastern.  The show will also  expand to  three-hour hours starting Monday, June 3.

Hosted by FNC contributor Guy Benson, the program (which previously ran from 6-8pm ET) will now be presented from 3-6pm ET, replacing the "Tom Shillue Show." Shillue will continue to host "Quiz Show" (7-8pm ET) on the subscription-based streaming service FOX Nation.

Featuring a discussion of politics and culture from a conservative viewpoint, "The Guy Benson Show" has hosted key newsmakers including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Secretary of State John Kerry since it launched this past May. This program is syndicated out of Washington, DC and appears across FNR's affiliate network. Previously, Benson was the co-host of FNR's "Benson & Harf" along with former FNC contributor Marie Harf.

In addition to his radio program, Benson provides political commentary across FNC's and FOX Business Network's (FBN) daytime and primetime programming. Outside of his roles at FOX News Media, he also serves as the political editor of In 2015, Benson was named to Forbes' 2015 "30 under 30'" Law & Policy list and in 2017, landed on HuffPost's roster for the "25 top millennial broadcasters in American news and politics." He originally joined the network in 2013 as a contributor.

Edison: Social Media Preferences Vary By Age

There are now approximately 223 million social media users age 12+ in the U.S., and their original social media platform of choice, Facebook, is losing ground among users of all ages, for various reasons.

The Social Habit 2019 is a new study from Edison Research designed to dig deeper after a finding from The Infinite Dial®2019 (fromEdison Research and Triton Digital® ) showed that Facebook has 15 million fewer users overall in the U.S. in 2019 than 2017.

The latest study shows that around one-third of Facebook users are using the platform less often than when they joined, regardless of age, but the reasons for using Facebook less vary widely with age. Those age 13-34 say they are using Facebook less because they enjoy other social media sites more, their friends don’t post much on Facebook, and because they are trying to avoid parents and relatives on the site. Those age 35+ say they are using Facebook less because they don’t like rants and have privacy concerns.

“Not only have millions of Americans stopped using Facebook entirely, nearly a third of Facebook users tell us they are using the service less. While Facebook remains the leading social media brand in America, it is being wounded on multiple fronts, as every demographic has their own reasons for spending less time there,” said Tom Webster, Senior Vice President at Edison Research.

Other findings include:
  • The “core users” of the different social media brands, (those who use that one ‘most often’) have different demographic profiles.  Those who use  LinkedIn and Twitter most are more likely to be male. Pinterest and Facebook users are more likely to be female. Snapchat is evenly split.
  • WhatsApp differentiates itself from other social media brands in the U.S. by having the most ethnically diverse user base. Thirty-eight percent of WhatsApp users are Hispanic, 28% are white, 27% are other ethnicity, and 7% are African American.
  • Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter have the highest composition of U.S. users age 12-34. Facebook and Pinterest have the highest composition of U.S. users age 55+. LinkedIn claims the highest percentage of those age 35-54.

In qualitative interviews, Edison Research spoke with social media users age 18-29 who report using Facebook less recently or have stopped altogether. Those users describe some of the reasons they are using Facebook less, including avoiding family members on Facebook, experiencing discomfort with some of the “attention-seeking” they see on social media, and gravitating to other, more photo-heavy platforms. Paradoxically, though, the same users articulate FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, as they scan social media platforms, and feel compelled to participate in social media.

VA Radio: iHM Stations Move To New Frequencies

iHeartMedia Roanoke/Lynchburg announced Thursday that WJJS-FM, Roanoke’s #1 Hit Music Station, and WSFF STEVE-FM, Roanoke/Lynchburg’s Random Radio, have moved to new frequencies.

WJJS-FM has moved its FM frequency to 93.5 in Roanoke, Virginia and will continue to simulcast on 102.7 in Lynchburg, Virginia. In addition, STEVE-FM has moved its FM station frequency to 104.9. Both station frequency changes are effective immediately.

WJJS-FM is Roanoke’s #1 Hit Music Station and features contemporary music from top-charting artists such as Drake, Post Malone, Ariana Grande, Khalid and Cardi B. The station also broadcasts one of the markets top morning shows, “Elvis Duran and The Morning Show” and features one of the most renowned and well recognized on-air personalities, Ryan Seacrest.

STEVE-FM is one of the most popular and listened to radio stations in the Roanoke/Lynchburg market. The station offers a variety and eclectic mix of hits from artists such as Madonna, Aerosmith, Backstreet Boys, Huey Lewis, Bruno Mars, Queen and many more. With the expanded coverage of the 104.9 signal, STEVE-FM will be reaching thousands of new listeners with its wide-ranging format.

Ousted Anchor Jeff Glor To Remain At CBS

Jeff Glor will join Dana Jacobson and Michelle Miller as co-host of CBS This Morning Saturday and serve as a CBS News special correspondent reporting feature stories and investigative reports for the Network, it was announced Thursday by Susan Zirinsky, President and Senior Executive Producer of CBS News. Glor starts the Saturday anchor assignment on June 22.

Jeff Glor
As special correspondent for the network, Glor will continue to highlight the unique American stories he has featured for more than 12 years at CBS News, including the award-winning pieces of the last 18 months. In the coming weeks, Glor will begin a new, ongoing series for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms under the banner “Who We Are,” which will feature inspiring stories across the country similar to his reporting on Gold Star families and people across America defying the odds. Glor will also work with the CBS News investigative unit on hard-hitting original reporting and investigations such as his recent examination of the National Flood Insurance Program, which sparked congressional action and won a Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award.

“Jeff brings a humanity to his reporting and will be a perfect fit on SATMO, as it is fondly called around the CBS Broadcast Center,” said Zirinsky. “Jeff and Brian Applegate, executive producer of CBS THIS MORING: SATURDAY, have an extraordinary history together and have known each other for more than two decades. I am thrilled they can build on their creative partnership with Dana, Michelle and the entire team.”

“I’m looking forward to working closely with Brian again,” said Glor. “The Saturday broadcast is a gem. Brian and his team have established a destination program for news, culture and music. I can’t wait to work with Michelle Miller and Dana Jacobson. I’m also honored to follow in Anthony Mason’s footsteps, who is a writer, host, and colleague I’ve learned from for a long time.”

Glor is an award-winning, veteran CBS News journalist with more than two decades of experience. He joined the Network in 2007 as a correspondent and traveled for more than a decade, reporting from the shootings in Newtown, Conn., the Boston Marathon bombings, and the landfall of Superstorm Sandy, among many others. Most recently, he served as anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS, sitting down with world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump and conducting on-the-ground interviews with everyday Americans to share their stories.

Reunited! SVP & Russillo Podcast to Launch June 3

Former ESPN Radio co-hosts Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo will recreate the tremendous chemistry they enjoyed with lively sports conversation in a new podcast, SVP & Russillo.  The one-hour offering will debut June 3.  After three monthly editions, in September the show will become bi-weekly.  Their former ESPN Radio show was heard for six years weekday afternoons until mid-2015.

“We just figured, if we are going to talk on the phone for 45 minutes, we might as well record it and make it a podcast,” said Van Pelt.  “We enjoyed our time together on radio, and it’s amazing the loyalty and appetite our listeners still have for us.  I couldn’t be more fired up.”

Russillo added, “It’s been a few years since we stopped doing the show and I’ve always been amazed how many times people come up to me and say how much they still miss it.  It was a daily part of people’s lives.  Even people at ESPN who have different roles and positions today say how much they loved the show.  We both knew we would do something again.  I’m just happy it’s still with ESPN.”

Tom Ricks, ESPN vice president, digital strategy and marketing within ESPN Audio, said, “We’ve been looking to reignite the chemistry and fun Scott and Ryen had when on radio together.  They are smart and entertaining and resonated with a loyal fan base who will enjoy them in the format of a podcast.”

Van Pelt, who joined ESPN as a golf reporter in 2001 has hosted his own, personalized edition of SportsCenter at midnight since September 2015, bringing his unique perspective to the venerable show.  The program showcases Van Pelt’s passion for sports, with his self-deprecating wit and disposition toward celebrating stars and storylines.  Van Pelt’s radio involvement dates from July 2009 when The Scott Van Pelt Show made its debut on ESPN Radio and in a simulcast on ESPN2. Russillo was serving as co-host, and the show was re-named SVP & Russillo in October 2012.  It ended in the summer of 2015 when Van Pelt was preparing for the launch of the new midnight SportsCenter.

Russillo, who joined ESPN Audio in 2006, was first heard on a variety of radio shows and formats including talk shows, college football’s College GameDay on Radio and the NFL Draft.  After Van Pelt left for SportsCenter, Russillo continued to host the show through December 2017.  As of January 2018 he hosts a weekly podcast, The Russillo Show.  He also appears regularly on SportsCenter and Get Up! to discuss the NBA.

Reports: Gannett, Gatehouse Media Talking Merger

USA Today publisher Gannett Co. has recently held merger talks with GateHouse Media, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter, a possible deal that would bring together the nation’s two largest newspaper groups by circulation.

Gannett—which two weeks ago defeated Digital First Media in a proxy fight and fended off the hedge-fund backed publisher’s hostile takeover bid—has also been speaking recently with others about potential deals, including Tribune Publishing Co. and McClatchy Co., the people said.

All the companies have struggled over the past decade with steep advertising and print readership declines. This year, both GateHouse and Gannett have had substantial rounds of layoffs, while McClatchy offered buyouts to hundreds of employees.

A tie-up could help the companies bulk up and trim costs to better weather the brutal environment for local newspapers around the country. A merger would give Gannett a far wider geographic footprint to sell digital advertising through its USA Today network and help speed the companies’ reorientation away from print.

Should GateHouse and Gannett reach a deal, the combined company would be the largest U.S. publisher by number of titles and circulation. GateHouse is currently the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S. by number of titles owned, with 156 daily papers and 464 weeklies, most of which are in very small markets. GateHouse also is second in circulation among newspaper publishers in the U.S., behind Gannett.

It isn’t clear how a potential GateHouse-Gannett combination would be structured, and there is no guarantee there will be any deal.

Gannett owns 109 daily newspapers including the Arizona Republic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Indianapolis Star.

GateHouse has spent close to $1 billion in recent years acquiring dozens of small and medium-size papers around the country. Last year, it bought the Austin American-Statesman, the Palm Beach Post and the Akron Beacon Journal.