Saturday, June 29, 2019

June 30 Radio History

Santos Ortega
➦In 1899...Early radio actor Santos Ortega was born in New York City.   In the early 30’s he served as foil for Frank Crumit and Julia Sanderson, ‘The Singing Sweethearts of the Air,’ and starred in Bulldog Drummond (1942-43), The Adventures of Nero Wolfe (1943–1944) and The Adventures of Charlie Chan (1947-48).

Perhaps his most notable radio role was Commissioner Weston on The Shadow. Ortega was heard in the daytime radio serials Valiant Lady and Perry Mason, and lent his remarkable range of voice characterizations to other radio dramas such as Inner Sanctum, The Mysterious Traveler, Suspense, Casey Crime Photographer, The Eternal Light, The Columbia Workshop, The Big Story, You Are There, and X Minus One. For 20 years he played Grandpa on CBS-TV’s As the World Turns.

He died April 10 1976 at age 76.

➦In 1913...Harry Wismer born (Died – December 4, 1967). He was a sportscaster and the charter owner of the New York Titans franchise in the American Football League (AFL).

Wismer played college football at both the University of Florida and Michigan State College, his playing career ending at the latter school when he damaged a knee severely during a game against the University of Michigan. He then began broadcasting Michigan State sports on MSC's radio station WKAR. In 1934, he was hired as the public-address announcer for the Detroit Lions. The Lions were in their first season in Detroit and were owned by George A. "Dick" Richards, who also owned Detroit radio station WJR. Wismer soon began doing a ten-minute daily radio show covering the Lions in addition to his PA duties, while continuing as a student at Michigan State.

After the 1936 season, Wismer was encouraged by Richards to abandon his studies and come to work for WJR on a full-time basis as the station's sports director. Among Wismer's WJR duties was serving as play-by-play announcer for the station's Lions broadcasts. He stayed until 1941 when he was hired by the NBC Blue Network, the predecessor to ABC. During the 1940s Wismer was named Sportscaster of the Year three years running by Sporting News magazine.

Wismer achieved the height of his fame as the voice of the Washington Redskins. His first game for the Redskins was a most inauspicious one in December 1940, their 73–0 loss to the Chicago Bears' great "Monsters of the Midway" team in the 1940 championship game. At one point Wismer was a 25% owner of the club as well, with the majority of the stock being retained by founding owner George Preston Marshall. However, the relationship between the two had greatly degenerated by the mid-1950s over several issues, not the least of which was Marshall's steadfast refusal to sign any black players. The relationship dissolved in claims, counterclaims, and litigation, and Marshall then set out to destroy Wismer's future as a broadcaster, with some success. Wismer was also involved for a time in the broadcasting of Notre Dame football.

He died Dec 3 1967 of a cracked skull suffered in a drunken fall the day previous, at age 54.

➦In 1921…RCA, the Radio Corporation of America, was formed.  An innovative and progressive company, RCA was the dominant electronics and communications firm in the United States for over five decades. RCA was at the forefront of the mushrooming radio industry in the early 1920s, as a major manufacturer of radio receivers, and the exclusive manufacturer of the first superheterodyne models. RCA also created the first American radio network, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).

The company was also a pioneer in the introduction and development of television, both black-and-white and especially, color. During this period, RCA was closely identified with the leadership of David Sarnoff. He was general manager at the company's founding, became president in 1930, and remained active, as chairman of the board, until the end of 1969.

By 1926 the market for commercial radio had expanded, and RCA purchased the WEAF and WCAP radio stations and networks from AT&T, merged them with its WJZ (the predecessor of WABC) New York to WRC (presently WTEM) Washington chain, and formed the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).  GE used RCA as its retail arm for radio sales from 1919, when GE began production, until 1930. Westinghouse also marketed home radios through RCA until 1930.

John Bardeen, William Shockley and Walter Brattain at Bell Labs, 1948
➦In 1948...Three Bell Telephone Laboratories scientists demonstrated their new invention to replace the vacuum tube — the transistor. John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work.  The transistor is the key active component in practically all modern electronics. Many consider it to be one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century.

➦In 1952...CBS debuted “The Guiding Light” on TV. It was a daytime radio serial for 15 years, and continued on TV for 57 years more, concluding in 2009.

➦In 1961...Radio pioneer, Dr Lee De Forest, died from a heart attack at age 87.  He had 180 patents to his credit and named himself the "Father of Radio," with this famous quote, "I discovered an Invisible Empire of the Air, intangible, yet solid as granite."

Dr. Lee De Forest
In 1906 De Forest invented the Audion, the first triode vacuum tube and the first electrical device which could amplify a weak electrical signal and make it stronger. The Audion, and vacuum tubes developed from it, founded the field of electronics and dominated it for 40 years, making radio broadcasting, television, and long-distance telephone service possible, among many other applications. For this reason De Forest has been called one of the fathers of the "electronic age". He is also credited with one of the principal inventions that brought sound to motion pictures.

He was involved in several patent lawsuits, and spent a substantial part of his income from his inventions on legal bills. He was indicted for mail fraud, but later was acquitted.

De Forest was a charter member of the Institute of Radio Engineers. DeVry University was originally named DeForest Training School by its founder Dr. Herman A. DeVry, who was a friend and colleague of De Forest.

➦In 1983...comedienne Mary Livingstone died of heart disease at age 78. She was born Sadye Marks in Seattle, grew up in Vancouver, then became Mrs. Jack Benny & got some of the best lines ever on his long-running radio show.

➦In 1983...WPLJ 95.5 FM switched from AOR To Top 40.  In the Spring of 1983, the station began a transition from AOR to CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio). With word that a Top 40 format was coming to 100.3 FM, WPLJ moved further into a CHR direction. Though the station began playing artists like Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, Larry Berger stated that he did not make the decision to move to a CHR format until the last week of June, and WPLJ adopted a Rock-leaning CHR format on June 30, 1983.

From 1985...Jim Kerr on WPLJ...

➦In 1987...WYNY 97.1 FM, New York moved from a AC format to gold-based Country format as "Country 97".   The first song played was Dolly Parton's, "Think About Love."

The initial lineup included Mike Wade, Randy Davis, Jack Scott, Lisa Taylor, Mike McCann, Floyd Wright, Jay Michaels, Bill Rock and Jessica. "Dandy" Dan Daniel later joined the station, as well as Scott Carpenter and Carole Mason.   The PD was Michael O' Malley, who is currently a Country radio consultant.

Gale Gordon
➦In 1995...Supporting radio-TV actor Gale Gordon died of lung cancer at age 89. He appeared on dozens of radio shows including Fibber McGee & Our Miss Brooks, and on TV in Our Miss Brooks, Here’s Lucy & Dennis the Menace.

➦In 2001...Country music guitarist, producer and executive Chet Atkins lost his battle with cancer & died at his home in Nashville at age 77.

Atkins’ recordings sold more than 75-million albums. He also played on such hit records as Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya” and the Everly Brothers’ “Wake Up Little Susie.” As an RCA Records producer and executive starting in 1957, Atkins helped craft the lush Nashville Sound using string sections and lots of echo. He had a role in the careers of such stars as Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, Charley Pride, Waylon Jennings and Eddy Arnold.

Bob Hastings and Joe Flynn
➦In 2014...Radio, TV actor Bob Hastings died of prostate cancer at age 89. He is best remembered as Lt. Carpenter on ABC-TV’s McHale’s Navy, and for the title role on NBC radio’s Archie Andrews.

K-C Radio: Kevin Kietzman EXITS WHB 810 AM

Kevin Kietzman
Sports talker Kevin Kietzman couldn’t overcome the outrage stirred by comments he made about Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid and his family during his Monday afternoon show on WHB 810 AM, reports The Kansas City Star.

Union Broadcasting announced Friday afternoon that it had reached a mutual agreement to part ways with Kietzman, a part-owner and key on-air personality at the station who had been suspended since Tuesday.

“We would like to thank Kevin for his dedicated service over the last 22 years,” Union Broadcasting president Chad Boeger said in a statement. “Kevin has been a valuable member of the Sports Radio 810 WHB team. We wish him all the best on his future endeavors and good luck moving forward.”

On his “Between The Lines” program Monday, Kietzman said this when talking about Reid and how he has managed players’ off-field issues: “It did not work out particularly well in his family life and that needs to be added to this as we’re talking about the Chiefs. He wasn’t real great at that either. He’s had a lot of things go bad on him: family and players. He is not good at fixing people.”

Kietzman later denied that he was referring to Reid’s son Garrett, who died in 2012 at age 29 of heroin overdose, but listeners believed otherwise. Some boycotted the station, and the story quickly went national. Kietzman an apology for his comments.

In a statement Friday, Kietzman said: “It’s been my honor and privilege to host Between the Lines for the past 22 years and I’m proud of being a founding partner of this great local company that is so committed to our community.”

Friday’s news was a stunning turn of events for Kietzman, who had been a major player in local media for decades.

Kietzman had spent a decade at WDAF-TV (Ch. 4) as a sports reporter and anchor before joining Boeger at KCTE-AM (1510 AM) in 1997.   Kietzman was part of a group of investors who bought WHB in September 1999 and converted the station to an all-sports format. Others who were part of that group included Boeger, former Royals pitcher Jeff Montgomery and outfielder Brian McRae. Kietzman quickly turned “Between The Lines” into one of the most popular radio programs in Kansas City.

Reading PA Radio: Sale of WEEU 830 AM Official

The sale of WEEU 830 AM to a Venango County, PA radio station operator is official, reports The Reading Eagle.

Federal Bankruptcy Judge Jean K. Fitzsimon on Wednesday approved the $88,500 sale of WEEU's FCC license to Twilight Broadcasting Inc. The license was for sale as part of the bankruptcy of WEEU's parent company, Reading Eagle Company.

The Reading Eagle was sold last month to MediaNews Group, which officially becomes the owner Monday.

Twilight runs two radio stations in Oil City. It was the highest of four bidders to submit an offer by the June 10 deadline.

Twilight officials said they have a deal in place to lease WEEU's broadcasting facility and towers from MediaNews Group, which will allow the station to remain on the air.

Twilight officials said it will probably take 30 to 60 days for the FCC to issue the license to Twilight. During that time, Twilight will run the station as a brokerage programmer, serving as the station's programmer, but not as full owner.

Twilight officials have said they do not plan on making significant changes to the station or its programming.

WEEU 830 AM (20 Kw-D, 6 Kw-N DA-2)
WEEU's fate was left in the air after MediaNews Group purchased the station's assets but not its FCC license, meaning MediaNews Group could not legally operate it.

Newspaper Closing In Youngstown, Ohio

After more than a century, The Vindicator will permanently cease production.

According to WFMJ TV21, 144 employees and about 250 carriers will lose their jobs on August 31, 2019, after the papers last publication.

According to the Vindicator's General Manager, Mark Brown, he has been trying to find a buyer for the paper since December 2017.

"We never thought we would be in this position, being that it was in the family you didn't want to shut it down or lose it but the only way we could see this continue is if we found another buyer," said Brown.

Brown adds that most of the revenue comes from the print product. The Vindicator will not be able to keep their website due to Google and Facebook driving down rates for advertising. News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

The announcement came Friday afternoon, just days after the newspaper marked its 150th anniversary.  On Saturday, a letter to readers will be published by Vindicator publisher Betty J.H. Brown Jagnow and general manager Mark Brown explaining the decision.

The paper has been a fixture in the Mahoning Valley since its first issue was published on June 25th,1869.

It would eventually become the only daily newspaper in Mahoning County.

WFMJ is also owned by the same family that owns The Vindicator. In a letter to WFMJ employees dated June 28, Brown said the decision to shut down the newspaper will not affect the television station.

The closing comes at a time when newspapers across the country are struggling for their survival as news consumers increasingly turn to digital options for news and information.

Second Democratic Debate Draws 18.1M

Thursday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate drew 18.1 million viewers, far outstripping the audience of Wednesday’s initial debate that featured another roster of 10 candidates vying for the nomination.

The Wall Street Journal reports the spike makes Thursday night’s event the most-watched Democratic debate ever, according to Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, which aired the debate on three of its networks.

Neither of this week’s debates topped the 24 million viewers who tuned in to the first Republican debate of the 2016 cycle on Fox News, which featured the top 10 Republican presidential hopefuls and included then-candidate Donald Trump, a reliable ratings juggernaut.

The previous record for a Democratic primary debate—15.8 million viewers on CNN—was set in October 2015, when a lineup of five candidates including former party nominee Hillary Clinton and current candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) participated in the first Democratic debate of the 2016 election cycle.

Onstage Thursday night were 10 democratic hopefuls—half of the 20 candidates participating in this week’s debates—including former Vice President Joe Biden, Mr. Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and Marianne Williamson, a self-help guru.

Wall Street Journal graphic
Ratings for Thursday night’s debate were expected to be higher than Wednesday’s 15.3 million, since front-runners were skewed toward the second night. Compared with Wednesday’s debate, viewership rose by 2.8 million viewers, or 19%.

NBC saw the highest ratings among the three networks that aired the debate, with about 10.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen. MSNBC attracted 6.7 million, and about 840,000 tuned in via Spanish-language network Telemundo.

Although the kickoff to the primary season has come early, with the 2020 election still more than 16 months out, anticipation for this week’s debates has been high. Ad spots were priced accordingly, with 30-second spots on MSNBC going for as much as $100,000, according to people familiar with the matter.

June 29 Radio History

➦In 1901...Ed Gardner born (Died of liver failure at age 612– August 17, 1963). He was a comic actor, writer and director, best remembered as the creator and star of the radio's popular Duffy's Tavern comedy series, which he created in 1941.

He found fame on radio with Duffy's Tavern, portraying the wisecracking, malaprop-prone barkeeper Archie. The successful radio program aired on CBS from 1941 to 1942, on the NBC Blue Network from 1942 to 1944, and on NBC from 1944 to 1951. Speaking in a nasal Brooklyn accent, and sounding like just about every working class New Yorker his creator had ever known, Gardner as Archie invariably began each week's show by answering the telephone and saying, "Duffy's Tavern, where the elite meet to eat, Archie the manager speaking, Duffy ain't here—oh, hello, Duffy."

Duffy the owner never appeared, but Archie did, with Gardner assuming the role himself after he could not find the right actor to play the role. Regulars in the tavern included Duffy's airheaded, man-crazy daughter, droll waiter Eddie, barfly Finnegan and Clancy the cop. The daughter was played by several actresses but began with Shirley Booth, Gardner's first wife, with whom he remained friends even after their 1942 divorce.

Gardner also brought radio directing experience to Duffy's Tavern. He had previously originated the Rudy Vallee-John Barrymore radio show and directed shows for George Burns and Gracie Allen, Bing Crosby, Ripley's Believe It or Not, Al Jolson and Fanny Brice. In addition, Gardner was one of the show's writers and its script editor in all but name, though he had a staff that included Abe Burrows, Sol Saks, Parke Levy, Larry Rhine and Dick Martin. He was notorious for hiring as a writer anyone who sounded funny to him in passing, but Gardner ultimately had the final say on each show's script. In 1949, hoping to be able to take advantage of Puerto Rico's income-tax-free status for future media ventures, Gardner moved his radio show there.

➦In 1932...The radio program 'Vic and Sade' made its debut on NBC Blue Network.  It was created and written by Paul Rhymer. It was regularly broadcast on radio from 1932 to 1944, then intermittently until 1946, and was briefly adapted to television in 1949 and again in 1957.

It was the the second daytime dramatic serial on network radio.  Radio’s first daytime drama was Clara Lu and Em, which premiered on NBC in 1931

During its 14-year run on radio, Vic and Sade became one of the most popular series of its kind, earning critical and popular success: according to Time, Vic and Sade had 7,000,000 devoted listeners in 1943. For the majority of its span on the air, Vic and Sade was heard in 15-minute episodes without a continuing storyline. The central characters, known as "radio's home folks", were accountant Victor Rodney Gook (Art Van Harvey), his wife Sade (Bernardine Flynn) and their adopted son Rush (Bill Idelson). The three lived on Virginia Avenue in "the small house halfway up in the next block

➦In 1947..."Strike It Rich" made its debut on CBS Radio.  It was a game show that aired radio and television from June 29, 1947, to December 27, 1957 on CBS and NBC.

People in need of money (such as for medical treatment or a destitute family) appeared and told their tale of woe, then tried to win money by answering four relatively easy questions. Each player would be given $30 and bet any of their bankroll on answering each question after being given the category. If the contestant didn't win any money, the emcee opened the "Heart Line", which was a phone line to viewers who wished to donate to the contestant's family.

The radio series aired on CBS from 1947 to 1950. On May 1, 1950, the show moved to NBC until December 27, 1957. Todd Russell was the host from 1947 to 1948, followed by Warren Hull. The television series premiered May 7, 1951, on CBS's daytime lineup and ran until January 3, 1958, including a prime time version from July 4, 1951, to January 12, 1955.

Some applauded Strike It Rich for helping out some less fortunate people, as well as showcasing the sincere charity and goodwill of viewers who donated through the Heart Line. Others found it a sickening spectacle that exploited the less fortunate.

➦In 1951...Bill Stern aired his last 15-minute program of sports features for NBC radio. Stern had been with NBC for 14 years. He later moved to ABC and Mutual to finish out a colorful sportscasting career.

Bill Stern
Born in Rochester, New York, Stern began doing radio play-by-play commentary in 1925, when he was hired by a local station, WHAM, to cover football games. Shortly after that, he enrolled at Pennsylvania Military College, graduating in 1930.

NBC hired him in 1937 to host The Colgate Sports Newsreel as well as Friday night boxing on radio. Stern was also one of the first televised boxing commentators.

He broadcast the first televised sporting event, the second game of a baseball doubleheader between Princeton and Columbia at Columbia's Baker Field on May 17, 1939. On September 30, he called the first televised football game.

During his most successful years, Stern engaged in a fierce rivalry with Ted Husing of the CBS Radio Network. They competed not only for broadcast position during sports and news events, but also for the rights to cover the events themselves. They both served for many years as their networks' sports directors as well as being on-air stars.

Some observers consider Stern's style a blueprint in the 1940s for the style of Paul Harvey, ABC Entertainment Network social commentator, who adapted both Stern's newscasting (transforming his Reel One to Page One) and his stories about the famous and odd (to Rest Of The Story), although Stern made no effort to authenticate his stories and, in later years, introduced that segment of his show by saying that they "might be actual, may be mythical, but definitely interesting." Harvey, on the other hand, said he told only stories he had authenticated in some way.

➦In 1951…The radio sitcom, "The Life of Riley," starring William Bendix as Chester A. Riley, ended after a 10-year run. The radio program initially aired on the Blue Network (later known as ABC) from January 16, 1944, to July 8, 1945, it then moved to NBC, where it was broadcast from September 8, 1945, to June 29, 1951.

A version for TV aired for a total of six years between 1949 and 1958, with Jackie Gleason as Riley in the first year and Bendix in the title role from 1953 to 1958.

In front Jackie Wilson and Dick Clark
➦In 1959..."American Bandstand" host, Dick Clark, announced he was going to join with Irvin Feld for a number of "Dick Clark Caravans" to be staged in various cities highlighting pop stars.

➦In 1974...Wolfman Jack aired last show at WNBC 660 AM

➦In 1978...Radio Personality and Hogan's Heroes TV star Bob Crane was murdered at age 49.  The crime remains unsolved. Prime suspect John Henry Carpenter was tried — and acquitted — in 1990.

In 1950, Crane started his broadcasting career at WLEA in Hornell, New York. He soon moved to WBIS in Bristol, Connecticut, followed by WICC in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This was a 1,000-watt operation with a signal covering the northeastern portion of the New York metropolitan area where he remained until 1956.

At that time CBS radio network executives plucked Crane out partly to help stop his huge popularity from affecting the suburban ratings of their New York flagship WCBS 880 AM, and partly to re-energize their flagging West Coast flagship KNX in Los Angeles. Crane moved his family to California to host the morning show at KNX 1070 AM. He filled the broadcast with sly wit, drumming, and guests such as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Hope. It quickly became the number-one rated morning show with adult listeners in the Los Angeles area, with Crane known as "The King of the Los Angeles Airwaves."

Crane, Valdis
Crane's acting ambitions led to his subbing for Johnny Carson on the daytime game show Who Do You Trust? and appearances on The Twilight Zone, Channing, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and General Electric Theater. When Carl Reiner appeared on his show, Crane persuaded him to book him for a guest shot on The Dick Van Dyke Show, where he was noticed by Donna Reed, who suggested him for the role of neighbor Dr. Dave Kelsey in her sitcom from 1963 through 1965.

In 1965, Crane was offered the starring role in a television comedy pilot about a German P.O.W. camp. Hogan's Heroes became a hit and finished in the Top Ten in its first year on the air. The series lasted six seasons, and Crane was nominated for an Emmy Award twice, in 1966 and 1967. During its run, he met Patricia Olson, who played Hilda under the stage name Sigrid Valdis. He divorced his wife of twenty years and married Olson on the set of the show in 1970.

Trivia: It's Bob Crane playing the drums on Hogan's Heroes theme song.

Ron Lundy, Joe McCoy
➦In 1981...Joe McCoy started as Program Director at P;does WCBS 101.1 FM, New York.

When Joe McCoy took over as program director in 1981, WCBS-FM began to gradually shift its focus to the 1964–1969 era, but would also feature a more pre-1964 oldies than most other such stations. The station continued to also feature hits of the 1970s and some hits of the 1980s while cutting future gold selections to one per hour.

Also in the 1980s, after WABC and later WNBC abandoned music in favor of talk, WCBS-FM began employing many disc jockeys who were widely known on other New York City stations, most notably Musicradio WABC alumni Ron Lundy, Dan Ingram, Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, Chuck Leonard and Harry Harrison, as well as Dan Daniels and Jack Spector.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Boston Radio: Loren Owens EXITS Beasley's WROR

Loren Owens and partner Wally Brine - 2013
It's the end of an era as longtime Boston morning host Loren Owens abruptly decided it's time to exit Classic Hits WROR 105.7 FM.

His departure apparently is over an inability to reach a new contract agreement with Beasley Media Group.

Owens final show at WROR apparently is today.

Going back to 1981, Boston listeners tuned-in mornings to hear Owens and his foerm partney Wally Brine. Brine came to 105.7 (then WVBF) from his job in Portland, Maine, to host the station’s afternoon show. Owens a seasoned radio veteran from Denver, Colo., came to host the morning show.

The two said the chemistry was instantaneous.

Brine retired in 2016, the same year Beasley acquired WROR from Greater Media.

Boston Radio: WROR Was Prepared, New Morning Host In Place

Beasley Media Group announces Bob Bronson has been named as the new Morning Drive Personality of The ROR Morning Show with Bob Bronson, LBF and Brian on 105.7 WROR-FM in Boston.

He will officially begin on the air on Monday, July 1st, 2019.

Bob Bronson
Bronson most recently spent 10 years hosting the #1 rated morning show in New York at iHeartMedia's WLTW 106.7 Lite FM. The radio veteran began his career in his hometown of Portland, Maine and has worked in Boston, New Hampshire, Louisville and Raleigh.

Bronson will join Lauren Beckham-Falcone (LBF) and Brian Bell mornings on the station.

“I want to thank the Beasley management team, including Mary Menna, Cadillac Jack and Buzz Knight for giving me the chance to wake up the greatest city in the world,” said Bronson. “I can’t wait to join the amazing team at WROR!”

“I’ve known Bob for over a decade and am excited for the ROR audience to get to know him as well,” said Beasley Media Group Boston Director of Programming, Cadillac Jack. “He’s a battle-tested, hard-working winner who is a relatable storyteller and all-around wonderful person to be leading our talented morning team!”

“Bob is a world-class talent,” said Beasley Media Group Boston Vice President and Market Manager, Mary Menna. “We are so fortunate to be able to bring him home to Boston, and to the WROR listeners.”

Hartford Radio: Salt MacMillan Joins WTIC-FM Morning Show

Salt MacMillan
Entercom welcomed Ryan “Salt” MacMillan as the new morning drive co-host for WTIC 96.5 FM, Hartford’s Iconic Adult Contemporary station.

Effective July 1, Salt will join Hartford radio veteran Christine Lee in the studio. The duo will be on air weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. ET.

“We are incredibly excited to bring Salt to Hartford alongside Christine Lee,” said Stephanie Perl, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Hartford. “Salt’s personality and enthusiasm are the perfect complements to our morning show and we look forward to new possibilities with his addition to 96.5 TIC FM.”

“Boston has given me so much over the past seven years both on and off the air and I will forever be thankful, but it’s time for a new adventure in Hartford,” said Salt. “Gary Craig is a Hartford radio legend and with his long-time partner, Christine Lee, I am honored to try and continue his legacy.”

Salt will succeed Gary Craig, who recently announced his retirement after spending over 35 years with the station. Prior to joining 96.5 TIC FM, Salt served as co-host of morning show “Karson & Kennedy” on sister station WWBX Mix 104.1 FM in Boston for seven years.

Listeners can tune in to 96.5 TIC FM (WTIC-FM) in Hartford on air, as well as nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

KY, IN Radio: Ashley Wilson New Regional iHM Director

iHeartMedia announced today that Ashley Wilson has been named Director of Country Programming for the Kentucky-Indiana region.

She will oversee the country programming for the region’s five country stations, including WAMZ 97.5, Kentuckiana’s #1 For Country in Louisville and WBUL 98.1 The Bull, Lexington’s Better Country.

Ashley Wilson
As Director of Country Programming for the Kentucky-Indiana region, Wilson will work closely with the programming staff and talent for the region’s five country stations to deliver unique, effective opportunities to reach listeners through iHeartMedia’s unmatched assets, including on-air, online, social media promotions, personality endorsements and live event integrations. She will be based out of Louisville and will report to Michael Jordan, Region Senior Vice President for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana Region.

“I am thrilled to find someone from within the company with her skill set, experience and creativity,” said Earl Jones, iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana Region President. “We are looking forward to having Ashley join our team and for her to lead and contribute to our country brands continued growth and excellence.”

“Ashley is becoming a leader in her field and we are fortunate to bring her to our region,” said Michael Jordan, Regional Senior Vice President of Programming, iHeartMedia. “She brings a lot to the table and will be a valuable asset to our team.”

Wilson is a seasoned media veteran and has been with iHeartMedia since 2017. She most recently served as the day-to-day Program Director for 101.1 WNOE, New Orleans’ Country Station. In addition, she has held various on-air and programming roles in Jacksonville, Florida and stations across North Carolina. Wilson is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

iHeartMedia To Trade Publicly Starting July 18

iHeartMedia, Inc. today announced that its Class A common stock has been approved for listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Upon listing, iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock will trade under the ticker “IHRT.”

As previously announced, iHeart had been evaluating all paths to achieve a listing of its Class A common stock on a recognized U.S. stock exchange following emergence from its restructuring process. iHeartMedia has determined that a listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market is the optimal strategy for iHeartMedia and all of the company’s stakeholders.

As a result, the Company has requested the withdrawal of its previously filed registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. iHeartMedia’s management team will be meeting with investors the week of July 15 in advance of a listing date of July 18, 2019.

“This is an exciting time for our company and an important step in the evolution of iHeartMedia. Our listing on the NASDAQ will provide greater liquidity for existing shareholders, allow us to diversify our investor base, and give us improved access to public capital markets in the future,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of iHeartMedia, Inc.

Rickey Smiley To Debut a New Morning Show

Today on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, Rickey Smiley was formally introduced as the successor to the morning anchor position.

Joyner, who is retiring at the end of the year, acknowledged that Smiley has established himself as a trusted leader on-air and in the community with his current show, captivating audiences with his authentic humor but also his unique perspective on topics important to his audience. Smiley also announced that Eva Marcille and Gary Wit Da Tea would be among the on-air cast members joining him to broadcast out of the Dallas studios beginning January 2020. .

Ricky Smiley
Joyner reflected on his accomplishments and the future, “I’m happy to see the landscape of Urban AC morning radio continue to expand with Rickey, and I’m proud of the doors the Tom Joyner Morning Show opened. Twenty-five years ago, there was no template for a syndicated Urban radio show and we worked hard to prove that we could successfully produce and market a national platform that would entertain, inform and empower African-American listeners. We broke some ground, raised the bar for what audiences expected from Black radio all while partying with a purpose. Yeah, we’ve done a lot but there’s still a lot left to be done. I’m confident that Rickey’s activism along with his love for radio, the community, and HBCUs, will pick up where we left off.”

Making the announcement public, Rickey Smiley shared his excitement, “It’s an honor to continue the legacy of my boss and frat brother Tom Joyner. Not only has he been a friend to my family and me over the years, but we consider him family. Tom’s mentorship has instilled in me valuable wisdom that I will carry with me through this new morning show.”

David Kantor, Reach Media and Radio One CEO, acknowledged the collaboration, “Tom changed the entire urban radio marketplace. He entertained and educated multiple generations of listeners over the last 25 years. While there is and will always be only one Tom Joyner, we are excited that Rickey will be moving to Urban AC in January. Like Tom, Rickey’s talent, community consciousness and commitment to his audience will serve his listeners well.”

Reach Media’s other current morning Urban AC program, The Russ Parr Morning Show, will also continue in syndication into 2020.

Boston Radio: iHM Launches 977 The Beat

iHeartMedia Boston announced today the debut of WKAF The New 97.7 The Beat of Boston.

The New 97.7 The Beat of Boston will broadcast pop and rhythmic hits from the 80s, 90s and 2000s including songs from artists like Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Prince, TLC, and The Notorious B.I.G.

In addition, a variety of popular Boston on-air personalities will join the station. Listeners can tune in to hear Romeo hosting middays, while he retains his PM drive hosting duties on Kiss 108. Boston radio mainstay, KJ will host afternoon drive.

“If you grew up listening to Kiss 108 and JAM’N 945 in the 80s and 90s this station is for you,” said Dylan Sprague, Senior Vice President of Programming for the Boston Region. “With a playlist that is uniquely Boston, The New 97.7 The Beat of Boston is filled with songs that you haven’t heard on the radio in a long time.”

“Programming a station with this much energy and real variety is going to be a blast,” said Chris Tyler, Program Director for 100.7 WZLX and The New 97.7 The Beat of Boston. “The New 97.7 The Beat of Boston will make you feel good as we play the biggest hits throughout the decades and I know it will become a Boston favorite.”

The full program lineup will be announced at a later date.

NYC Radio: 'Have Checkbook, Will Travel' Says WABC Buyer

Billionaire supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis’ media group has bought WABC 770 AM radio in a $12.5 million cash deal and he may be on the prowl for more stations.

John Catsimatidis
Red Apple Media, a subsidiary of Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group, bought the talk radio station from Cumulus Media Inc.

And Catsimatidis, who owns supermarket chain Gristedes is worth $3.1 billion, according to Forbes. He is also the host of WNYM  970 AM radio show “The Cats Roundtable.”

“I grew up with WABC,” Catsimatidis told The NY Post. “It’s an iconic channel. We want to bring it back to being a great station.”

He has no immediate plans to change WABC, however. “We plan to retain the excellent staff and talent working at the station now and look forward to working with them.”

The Greek native also said he in on the prowl for more radio buys. “Have checkbook, will travel,” he quipped, adding that he is in discussions to buy other AM and FM stations, but would not disclose which ones.

Cumulus Media has been trying to pare debt since emerging from its 2017 Chapter 11 bankrukptcy that was the result of a $5 billion buying spree from 1998 to 2013. Radio stations nationally have under pressure due to podcasts, streaming audio and other newer rivals in recent years.

“Consistent with our financial goals, we intend to use the sale’s net cash proceeds to pay down and invest in the company,” said Cumulus CEO Mary Berner.

Cumulus recently sold New York’s WPLJ 95.5 FM to Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation as part of a six-station $103.5 million deal. WPLJ signed off for the last time on May 30.

Catsimatidis is closely identified with the Gristedes supermarket chain and rival D’Agonstino’s which he bailed out with a line of credit. But the supermarkets account for less then 10 percent of his estimated net worth. The bulk of his portfolio’s value comes from real estate, which includes a soon to open ocean front, twin tower, luxury complex in Coney Island and United Refinery, an oil refinery operation.

The Greek-born mogul ran unsuccessfully for NYC mayor in the Republican primary in 2013.

L-A Radio: Cece Valencia Returns To KDAY, KDEY

93.5 KDAY and 93.5 KDEY has announced that Power 106’s Cece Valencia, officially returns to 93.5 KDAY as co-host of the KDAY Morning Show with Cece and Romeo.

93.5 KDAY Program Director, E-man, said, “Cece is an amazing personality. She has strong roots with artists and music of KDAY and is very involved in the community. Cece is a great talent for both KDAY sales and programming! She brings the perfect energy to complement Romeo for KDAY mornings.”

Cece said, “KDAY is more than a home to me, it’s a dream come! I’m so lucky to be able to play the music that I love on such an iconic station. Romeo is so talented and funny. Waking L.A. up every morning with Romeo is gonna be fun!”

Romeo added, “We’re two personalities that live it and rep it every day! Now the KDAY Nation gets to Wake Up with Cece and Romeo, The KDAY Morning Show!”

San Diego Radio: 'Coach' John Kentera Joins The The Fan

John Kentera
Entercom has announced “Coach” John Kentera as the new midday host for KWFN 97.3 The Fan, San Diego’s Only 24/7, All-Sports FM Station and the flagship station of the San Diego Padres. Coach Kentera will be on air weekdays from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. PT, effective July 1.

“We’re thrilled to add Coach Kentera to 97.3 The Fan’s weekday lineup,” said Bob Bolinger, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom San Diego. “Coach has a rich history in San Diego and is truly beloved by the community, sports fans and advertising partners alike.”

“After over thirty years in the radio business, I look forward to being a full-time member of the 97.3 The Fan team,” said Coach Kentera. “It will be a pleasure to contribute to the continued success of this station alongside an extremely professional group that has the utmost desire to bring top notch sports talk to the beautiful city of San Diego and its loyal fans.”

Kentera, known as “Coach,” has been on the air in San Diego since 1987. In addition to middays, Kentera will continue to host 97.3 The Fan’s pre- and postgame shows for Padres baseball games, “The Fan’s High School Football Show” on Thursday nights in the fall, and serve as the color commentator on “The Fan’s Friday Night High School Football Game of the Week” broadcast. Prior to joining Entercom, Kentera held various roles for XEPRS-AM in San Diego from 2003 to 2015.

Listeners can tune in to 97.3 The Fan (KWFN-FM) in San Diego on air, as well as nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

San Diego Radio: Kat San Andres Adds Magic 92.5 Music Duties

Kat San Andres
Local Media San Diego has appointed Kat San Andres to Music Director for the company's Rhythmic AC XHRM Magic 92.5. She'll remain Music Director and Assistant PD for sister CHR XHTZ-FM (Z90).

San Andres joined Z90 in 2004 as morning show intern. Over the past 15 years, she's worked her way up, including various posts in promotions, before joining the programming department as programming assistant in 2005. Soon after, San Andres was upped to music coordinator, then Music Director and eventually APD.

San Andres said, "I love my family here at Local Media San Diego and am grateful to be embarking on this new adventure, which now includes Magic 92.5. 2Pac, Boyz II Men, SWV, Outkast? This is the music I grew up on. I want to thank Supreme Commander R Dub., OM Joe Lindsay and President/GM Gregg Wolfson for the opportunity. Now if you'll excuse me, I have music logs to do."

Z90 & Magic 92.5 Supreme Commander R Dub added, "Kat's passion for the music and dedication to the company is impossible to go unnoticed; she was a hoo-in for this vital role. She's absolutely flourished at Z90 and we look forward to watching her take Magic 92.5 to new heights."

San Andres fills the Magic Music Director position left open by Lenny Balistreri who remains executive producer of the building's three live morning shows.

Des Moines Radio: Cassidy Manetta New Cumulus Promotions Manager

Cassidy Manetta
Cumulus Media has announced that it has promoted Cassidy Manetta to Promotions Manager for the company’s five radio stations in Des Moines, IA. Manetta joins Cumulus Des Moines from Cumulus Topeka, where she has served as Promotions Director since 2017.

Manetta was previously Digital Media Director and Marketing Director for Julie Manetta Insurance Agency, Inc. in Washington, MI. She was also Promotions Coordinator for 97.1 The Ticket/WXYT-FM in Southfield, MI. Manetta holds a B.A. Degree in Media and Information from Michigan State University and an M.S. Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Eastern Michigan University.

Jack Taddeo, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Des Moines, said: “Cassidy impressed me with her creativity, experience and enthusiasm for all the things radio needs to be doing in an increasingly competitive world. My thanks to Topeka VP/Market Manager Nic Merenda for graciously supporting this internal promotion to the benefit of Cumulus Des Moines.”

“We knew from the first interview that she was destined for great things!” said Cumulus Topeka Vice President/Market Manager Nic Merenda.  “Cassidy is a unique combination of current day social media and marketing savvy, old school work ethic, and a passion for radio!  I am so glad that she can continue her career and contributions within the Cumulus Media family.”

Manetta said: “I have really grown to like Cumulus as a company, its values and the culture created here, so I was excited to hear about the opening in Des Moines. As much as I will be sad to leave Topeka, it was always a goal of mine to take the next step in my career after completing my Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. I can’t wait to bring the knowledge I have gained here in Topeka to the Des Moines market, as well as absorb as much information as they have to offer in this next position.”

Chris Christie Rips NBC's Chuck Todd As 'Complete Ass'

Chris Christie
Chuck Todd of NBC News shouldn't count former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as one of his fans, reports Fox News.

Christie blasted the "Meet the Press" host as a “complete ass” following the second Democratic Party debate on Thursday night.

The Republican shared his thoughts during an appearance on a special live post-debate telecast of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

“And please God, can we say goodbye to Chuck Todd?” Christie asked after listing, in his view, all the losers of the Democratic debate.

Christie's comments about Chuck Todd starting at the 5:40 Time Mark:

The audience was cautious to embrace the remark, while liberal host Colbert only said, “Wow.”

“I mean, the most, the most pretentious know-it-all on network news,” the former governor added. “The guy is just a complete ass.”

“I mean, the most, the most pretentious know-it-all on network news. The guy is just a complete ass.”

During the appearance, Christie also praised Sen. Kamala Harris of California for her performance, saying “Harris tonight proved what I’ve known all along: Prosecutors know how to do that.”

Harris previously served as district attorney in San Francisco and state attorney general of California, while Christie is a former U.S. attorney in New Jersey.

Kantar Forecasts $6 Billion in Political Ad Spending

The 2019-2020 federal election cycle is forecasted to generate $6 billion in political advertising, according to a study by Kantar.

Kantar projects a significant increase in digital ad spending in 2020, with the channel receiving 20 percent of total political ad spend, or $1.2 billion. Kantar’s estimates include spend only on ads sponsored by federal candidates or campaigns, and not by PACs.

The company says broadcast and cable television political ad spending will remain strong, with broadcast attracting $3.2 billion and cable attracting $1.2 billion. Radio ad spending is expected to total $400 million.

“Overall, an extended Democratic primary fight would likely be a short term, second quarter 2020 sugar high,” said Steve Passwaiter, General Manager for the CMAG service at Kantar’s Media division. “In fact, a long primary and a Democratic convention fight would most likely reduce total campaign spending as it would reduce the amount of time the eventual Democratic nominee would have to raise and spend money for the general election.”

Additional considerations for 2020

Kantar notes that based on past results, digital remains a wild card when it comes to media spend. In 2016, the Clinton campaign spent 2.5 percent of its total budget and 6 percent of its media budget on digital. The 2016 Sanders campaign spent 12.5 of its total budget and 25 percent of its media budget on digital. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign spent more than 40 percent of its ad budget on digital in 2016. With such varied strategies, it remains to be seen what will occur in 2020.

Another area of emerging focus in the 2020 election cycle is the Over-the-Top/Connected TV space. The issues of scale that hindered the use of this platform in previous cycles is now in the past, as the universe has expanded beyond D2 and Comcast’s VOD service. Accordingly, political advertisers will be able to air more spots on these platforms and thus extend the reach of their messaging and better connect with younger audiences.

Passwaiter cautions a “wait and see” approach when it comes to Super PACs, which can also play a significant role in shaping advertising spend. “Not only do the unlimited ways they can raise money add to the overall total, but they pay a premium for television since they do not qualify for the lowest unit rates. It will be interesting to see if a Democrat uses them in 2020 as most in the primary have rejected this type of support so far,” he said.

Brand advertisers should brace for clutter

With political advertisers investing heavily on local TV particularly in battleground states, the result can be competition and clutter that crowds out brand advertising. Kantar’s analysis of the 2016 election cycle found that during the last three weeks of the campaign season, political advertising totaled 32% of local ad time within the battleground markets studied - an increase of 26% from the beginning of the season. Battleground markets analyzed included Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, non-political advertisers saw their share of Spot TV inventory fall from 77% to 51% - a corresponding decline of 26%. Station promos were the one category that stayed steady at 17%.

The impact of political advertisers’ rising tide hit across all categories. Automotive, which was the highest-spending category, saw the deepest decline, falling to 9% of all ads during the weeks right before the election as compared to 14% at the start of peak political season. However, the telecom, education and medical services sectors saw steeper declines, with education advertising’s share by half to reach just 2%.

 Local news was a particularly significant channel for political advertisers. During the final weeks of the election season, Kantar also found that political advertising took up 43% of available slots on local news in battleground markets, as compared to just 10% at the start of the season.

 Brands seem to typically be responding to the huge influx of political advertising by reducing the number of spots they run rather than ceasing advertising altogether. Specifically, the number of brands advertising on local TV fell 11% from the beginning to the end of the campaign season, even as the number of ads those brands ran fell 26%.

 “This trend indicates that advertisers are trying to at least maintain some presence for their brands during election season, although they are no longer able to run as many ads,” says Jon Swallen, Chief Research Officer at Kantar’s Media division. “Stations may also be trying to make sure they do not shut out local advertisers even as the campaigns drag on.”

Tweets Could Get Warning Labels

Twitter announced a new policy Thursday that could potentially lead to some of President Trump's tweets getting a warning label.

Under the policy, tweets that Twitter deems to involve matters of public interest from people like world leaders and political figures will get a warning label if they violate Twitter rules against things like threatening or abusing others.

The tweet will be obscured by the warning explaining the rule violation, but users will be able to tap through the warning to see the tweet.

The policy, which would apply to tweets that would be removed if they came from a regular person, will apply to all government officials, candidates and similar public figures with more than 100,000 followers.

In addition to the warning, Twitter won't use its algorithms to elevate or promote those tweets.

Twitter wouldn't say if any of Trump's tweets, which some critics have charged violate the social network's rules, played a role in creating the new warning policy. Twitter had until now exempted prominent leaders from many of its rules, which bar things like targeted harassment, threatening violence and hate speech, arguing that allowing the tweets help hold them accountable and encourage discussion.

Report: Music Streaming Continues To Grow, But Slower

Ariana Grande, Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, Post Malone and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s soundtrack for A Star Is Born were some of the big winners of this year’s Nielsen Music mid-year report, which tracked U.S. music consumption between Jan. 4 and June 20, 2019.

According to Billboard, the report shows overall equivalent album units increased by 13% and total on-demand streams exceeded 507.7 billion -- 333.5 billion of which were audio streams and 174.2 billion were video plays, up 27.8% and 39.6% from 2018, respectively. As expected, streaming continued to increase while physical sales continued to decline. Meanwhile, R&B/hip-hop grew in dominance as it accounted for 26.5% of U.S. business thanks to such top-charting artists as Lis Nas X, Post Malone, Khalid and Juice WRLD.

On-demand streaming grew 31.6% over the same period in 2018 -- 507.66 billion streams versus 387.75 billion -- but that growth is at a slower pace than last year: In 2018’s mid-year report, Nielsen Music tracked a 47% increase year-over-year from 2017. This suggests hints at a new trend to watch: while streaming continues to increase in the U.S., that rate of growth is liable to slow as the user base edges towards its saturation point.