Saturday, July 27, 2019

July 28 Radio History

Rudy Vallee
➦In 1901...Hubert Prior "Rudy" Vallée born (Died – July 3, 1986) He was a singer, actor, bandleader, radio host and was first modern pop stars of the teen idol type.

In 1929, Vallée began hosting The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour, a popular radio show with guests such as Fay Wray and Richard Cromwell in dramatic skits. Vallée continued hosting radio shows such as the Royal Gelatin Hour, Vallee Varieties, and The Rudy Vallee Show through the 1930s and 1940s.

In 1929, Vallée made his first feature film, The Vagabond Lover for RKO Radio. His first films were made to cash in on his singing popularity. While his initial performances were rather wooden, his acting greatly improved in the late 1930s and 1940s, and by the time he began working with Preston Sturges in the 1940s, he had become a successful comedic supporting player. He appeared opposite Claudette Colbert in Sturges's 1942 screwball comedy The Palm Beach Story. Other films in which he appeared include I Remember Mama, Unfaithfully Yours and The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.

In 1955, Vallée was featured in Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, co-starring Jane Russell, Alan Young, and Jeanne Crain. The production was filmed on location in Paris. The film was based on the Anita Loos novel that was a sequel to her acclaimed Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Gentlemen Marry Brunettes was popular throughout Europe at the time and was released in France as A Paris Pour les Quatre ("Paris for the Four"), and in Belgium as Tevieren Te Parijs.

Vallée performed on Broadway as J.B. Biggley in the 1961 musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and reprised the role in the 1967 film version. He appeared in the 1960s Batman television show as the villain Lord Marmaduke Ffogg and in 1971 as a vindictive surgeon in the Night Gallery episode "Marmalade Wine".

He died July 3, 1986 at age 84.

➦In 1910...announcer Bill Goodwin was born in San Francisco. He was for years the announcer on The Burns & Allen Show, and as well was incorporated into the script playing a ladies man.  He was spokesman for Swan Soap and Maxwell House Coffee, among others, on radio; Carnation Evaporated Milk on television.  His last job was on The Bob Hope Radio Show (1953-55.)

Goodwin was known for frequently promoting the item sold by the sponsor of the show (Swan Soap or Maxwell House Coffee, among others, on radio; Carnation Evaporated Milk on television). He was effective on radio in doing "integrated commercials", the first announcer to do so in which the advertisement was deftly woven into the show's storyline. In 1945, Goodwin was the "featured comedian" as a regular on The Frank Sinatra Show and The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. In 1947, he had his own program, The Bill Goodwin Show, a situation comedy, also known as Leave It to Bill, which ran from April 26-December 13, 1947. He was the announcer for the Blondie radio program.

He died following a heart attack May 9 1958 at age 47.

➦In 1914...bandleader Carmen Dragon was born in Antioch Calif.  He conducted the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, and they performed on The Standard School Broadcast, broadcast on NBC radio in the western U.S. for elementary schools from 1928 through the 1970s. The show was sponsored by the Standard Oil Company of California (now the Chevron Corporation), but other than the name there were no commercials. The program featured a high quality introduction to classical music for young people growing up in the 1940s and early 1950s.

In the summer of 1947, Dragon and Frances Langford had a program on NBC. Langford sang, accompanied by Dragon and his 25-piece orchestra. The show began June 5 and ran for 13 weeks as a summer replacement for George Burns and Gracie Allen's program.

Dragon also hosted a regular classical music radio show broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Network well into the 1980s.  Dragon's concert band arrangement of America the Beautiful is played by bands across the country in concerts of patriotic music.

He died Mar 28, 1984 at age 69.

Billboard 7/2/62

➦In 1962...Westinghouse purchased then-Top40 WINS 1010 AM for $10 Million.

The station began broadcasting first during 1924 on 950 kHz as WGBS, named after and broadcasting from its owner, Gimbels department store. It moved to 860 kHz sometime around 1927, to 600 around 1930, settling on 1180 around 1931. The station was bought by William Randolph Hearst in 1932, and it adopted its present callsign (named after Hearst's International News Service) the same year, effective January 15.

It changed its frequency from 1180 to 1000 on March 29, 1941 as part of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement and then eventually to 1010 on October 30, 1943. The Cincinnati-based Crosley Broadcasting Corporation announced its purchase of the station from Hearst in 1945,though it would be over a year before Crosley would take control of WINS, in July 1946.

Crosley sold the station to J. Elroy McCaw's Gotham Broadcasting Corporation in 1953, and soon after WINS became one of the first stations in the United States to play rock and roll music. Alan Freed was WINS earliest famous personality as disc jockey. Freed was followed years later by Murray "the K" Kaufman. Sports broadcaster Les Keiter, a latter-day member of the first generation of legends in that field, served as sports director for a period in the 1950s. Keiter is perhaps best remembered for his recreations of San Francisco (formerly New York) Giants baseball games, which WINS carried in 1958 to keep disconnected Giants fans in touch with their team, who moved west along with the Brooklyn Dodgers the previous year.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, as the transistor radio became popular rock and roll solidified as a genre, thanks in large measure to what became known as top 40 radio. In New York, four stations battled in the category: WMCA, WMGM, and WABC and WINS. While WMCA was only 5000 watts, it was at the bottom end of the dial, which advantages coverage. The other three were all 50,000 watts, but only WABC was both non-directional and a clear channel station. Being lower on the dial than the others, it also had more coverage. Of those three, WINS was the most directional (aimed straight at New York's inner boroughs), with a weaker signal than the others toward the New Jersey suburbs and the Jersey Shore. In 1962, WMGM defected to a beautiful music format under its previous call letters, WHN, while WINS was purchased by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. WMCA became the top-rated top 40 station in the New York area by 1963, then WABC became the dominant Top 40 station in the whole market by 1965. WINS bowed out of Top 40 competition with the song "Out in the Streets", by The Shangri-Las, on April 18, 1965, at around 8 PM.

Truman Bradley
➦In 1974...Truman Bradley died at age 69 (Born - February 8, 1905). He was an actor and narrator in radio, television and film. Bradley began his career in the 1930s as a radio broadcaster. Working at WBBM in Chicago, some considered him "the Mid-West's leading news commentator."

He was selected by Henry Ford to be the announcer for the Ford Sunday Evening Hour, for which he flew to Detroit, Michigan, each weekend. With his distinctive, authoritative voice, he soon became a radio actor as well as a narrator in numerous movies. In the mid-1940s, Bradley was a newscaster with KERN in Bakersfield, California. He was also the announcer for Red Skelton's program, Burns and Allen Easy Aces, the Frank Sinatra Show and Screen Guild Players.

➦In George Seaton died from cancer at age 68. He invented the cry ‘Hi-yo Silver’ as the first actor to play The Lone Ranger on radio.  Later he would also win Oscars for writing Miracle on 34th Street and The Country Girl.

Margot Adler
➦In reporter Margot Adler, one of the signature voices on NPR for more than three decades, lost her battle with cancer at age 68.   During the mid-1960s, Adler worked as a volunteer reporter for KPFA-FM, the Pacifica Radio station in Berkeley, California. After returning to New York City, she worked at its sister station, WBAI-FM, where, in 1972, she created the talk show Hour of the Wolf , and later another talk show, called Unstuck in Time.

Adler joined NPR in 1979 as a general assignment reporter.  After 9/11, she focused much of her work on stories exploring the human factors in New York City, from the loss of loved ones, homes and jobs, to work in the relief effort.

She was the host of Justice Talking up until the show ceased production on July 3, 2008. She was a regular voice on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She was also co-producer of an award-winning radio drama, War Day.

San Diego Radio: John & Tammy to Continue KSON 'Dream Job'

John and Tammy
Entercom has announced new multi-year contract extensions with on-air hosts John Flint and Tammy Lee. The morning drive duo will remain on KSON 103.7 FM, San Diego’s No. 1 and only country station, weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. PT.

“John and Tammy are one of America’s premiere morning show personalities and are delivering exceptional daily programming with an unmatched country flair,” said Bob Bolinger, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom San Diego. “We are excited that we will have them here for years to come.”

“Tammy and I are beyond thrilled that we are allowed to continue our dream job in America’s Finest City and at one of the most legendary radio stations in America,” said Flint. “Cheers to many more years of palm trees and sunshine.”

“We’re so glad to continue to make San Diego our home,” said Lee. “Like us, San Diego loves country and we can’t wait to continue being this city’s go-to home for the best country music.”

John Flint and Tammy Lee have co-hosted the morning drive on 103.7 KSON since 2011 and have been a team for 19 years. They began working together in 2000 at WWQM-FM in Madison, WI, where they co-hosted the city’s No. 1 morning show. After receiving a 2005 Country Music Award nomination, the duo transitioned to WMAD-FM in Madison where they were on the air from 2006 to 2011.

Listeners can tune in 103.7 KSON 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.

Atlanta Radio: Jeff & Callie Dauler Launching Daily Podcast

Longtime Atlanta radio personality and comedian Jeff Dauler and his wife, Callie, announced the launch of their new podcast this week.

According to Fox-TV5, The Upside Podcast with Callie and Jeff has quickly garnered positive feedback after being released on Tuesday. It has since gained nearly 2,000 5-star reviews and even ranked in Apple Podcast’s top shows less than 24 hours after it was announced.

"I knew we would be successful. I just didn't know we would be this successful this quickly," Jeff told FOX 5's Katie Burk. "The world is craving authentic positivity. It sounds cheesy, but it is truly an honor to be able to brighten people's day, make them laugh and give them some encouragement as they deal with life. The fact that we've grown so quickly just means we can have a positive impact faster."

The Daulers’ new podcast will serve as a creative space to spread the message of gratitude and positivity while still “keeping it real.” They’ll also discuss pop culture and current events, among other popular topics.

"We want to get rid of the idea that kindness and positivity have to be perfect. I'll shout it out from the rooftops right now: We are wildly imperfect, but we want to be better today than yesterday," Callie said.

"Everyone makes mistakes, everyone has bad days, there isn't a single person who is proud of every moment of their life. You can take bad moments and let them be part of a downward spiral into negativity, or you can take the worst moments, reflect on them, own them, find the upside and use them as fuel to do better next time."

Several episodes have already been released, but The Upside Podcast with Callie and Jeff will become a daily show starting August 8, which is the official launch date of their new brand, The Upside. In addition to the podcast, there will also be a weekly newsletter followed by a positivity-inspired line of merchandise, then eventually live shows.

Jeff Dauler has worked in radio for more than 27 years and has been in Atlanta since 2001. Most recently he worked as a co-host of The Jeff and Jenn Show on WSTR Star 94.1. He was let go in May and said being fired is what ultimately led to the creation of The Upside.

Callie, a lifestyle blogger and talent executive assistant to HLN’s Robin Meade, said she’s happy her husband lost his job.

"We've had a dream of creating something positive since we made and gave gratitude journals to all of our wedding guests three years ago. If Jeff hadn't have been fired, we might not have had the courage to dive headfirst into this new chapter."

Memphis Radio: Michaels, Carson Named Entercom OMs

Entercom/Memphis has announced the promotions of  Chris Michaels to Operations Manager for Music stations and Brad Carson to Operations Manager for the Sports Brand.

Michaels also programs HotAC WMC 99.7 FM, Country WLFP 94.1 FM and AC WRVR 104.5 FM. And Carson program Sports WMFS 680 AM / 92.9 FM.

Entercom/Memephis Senior VP/Market Manager Dan Barron reportedly commented, "Please join me in congratulating Chris Michaels and Brad Carson as their titles change to OM/Music Brands and OM/Sports Brands respectively. Chris and Brad have each guided their respective stations to all-time ratings highs while navigating changing market conditions, competitive attacks, personnel adjustments etc. I'm proud and thankful for Chris, Brad and the team that they get to work with every day.

"Radio stations are much more complex today than they were a decade ago; social media, streaming, events and technology make for a never ending set of opportunities and challenges -- the job does not end at 5:30p," he added. "We are in a better position with Chris and Brad guiding the brands and this elevation in title is more reflective of their responsibilities and contributions."

NBC News, Sky News Team To Challenge CNN International

NBC News has officially announced its partnership with Comcast-owned, UK-based Sky News — in a bid to take on CNN, Page Six is reporting at The NY Post.

Andy Lack and Deborah Turness used the annual NBC News town hall event to unveil the worldwide news network, which will launch in 2020.

The two news bosses — Lack in NYC and Turness in London — showed off a sizzle reel with NBC talent Richard Engel, Keir Simmons and a bunch of other reporters, including Andrea Mitchell and Jacob Soboroff.

And despite it being an election year, Turness, head of NBC News International, said the network will not focus on President Trump — nor Brexit and new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

A source told us that while CNN is rolling back its bureaus, the NBC/Sky network — which has not yet been given a name — will expand from its London base.

The source said: “CNN is pulling back content and bureaus — it’s fair to say NBC and Sky are taking advantage of this.”

When asked about Turness’ comments, the source added: “It will deliver on the promise of a global news network.”

Judge Tosses Covington Kid's WaPo Lawsuit

A $250 million defamation lawsuit filed by Kentucky high school student Nicholas Sandmann against The Washington Post was dismissed by a federal judge on Friday afternoon.

According to The Hill,  Judge William O. Bertelsman ruled that seven Washington Post articles and three tweets focusing on the Covington Catholic High School student, who became the center of a viral confrontation with a Native American elder in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, were protected by the First Amendment and deemed opinion.

“Few principles of law are as well-established as the rule that statements of opinion are not actionable in libel actions,” wrote Bertelsman, a Carter appointee. “The statements that Sandmann challenges constitute protected opinions that may not form the basis for a defamation claim.”

Sandmann’s suit characterized the Post’s coverage as libelous. The judge, however, cited case law that the statements made in the stories on Sandmann must be “more than annoying, offensive or embarrassing.”

Instead, the judge found, the statements must expose the party — in this case Sandmann — to public hatred, contempt and ridicule.

The lawsuit, which called for the Post to pay $250 million in damages, alleged that the paper published "a series of false and defamatory print and online articles" about Sandmann's encounter with the Native American elder in February. The student was among a number of high schoolers in town for a major anti-abortion march.

Lawsuits by Sandmann's legal team against NBC and CNN are still pending. 

R.I.P.: Bill Lowell, Former Northeast Radio Personality

Longtime Northeast radio personality Charles “Bill” William Lowell Jr. has died.

He was 78 and attended Northeast Broadcasting School.

His career stops included WBZ in Boston, WLYN, in Lynn Ma, WHAV in Haverhill,  MA, WPTR, Albany, NY, WAEB, Allentown, PA, WKLX in Virginia, CFOX in Canada, WRKO Boston, MA and finally Fox 93.5 and Cool 102 on Cape Cod.

July 27 Radio History

➦In 1941...WTLC-AM began operation in 1941 as WISH. In 1947, principal owner C. Bruce McConnell sold WISH to Frank H. McKinney and associates for a "stripped price of approximately $500,000."

The owners of WISH radio also started a television station with the same call letters on Channel 8 in Indianapolis. In late 1963 the radio station, along with is sister FM operation, was sold to STAR Broadcasting (Don W. Burden) who changed the call letters to WIFE and WIFE-FM.

WIFE was the ratings leader during the mid and late sixties, sometime garnering as much of a forty share of the Indianapolis radio audience. The station built this audience for "Lucky 13" by playing Top40 along with heavy and frequent contesting such as, "The 100 Thousand Dollar Dream Home", "The 100 Thousand Dollar Cash and Car Give-A-Way", just to name a few.

The hands-on owner, Don W. Burden, hired some major on-air personalities and developed others, dubbed the "WIFE Good Guys" – Big Jack Armstrong, Roger W. Morgan, Reb Porter, Jay Reynolds (later WABC), Joe Light, Jay Hawkins, Buddy Scott, Jim Fox, T.J. Byers, Scott Wheeler, Mike O'Brien, Dan Summers, Steve Miller.

The 24 hour news department was home of news announcers Lyle Dean (later WLS) , Bob Schuman, Dean Sheppard and Paul Casey. During these years, the station was infamous for a billboard near Indianapolis' Weir Cook Airport (now Indianapolis International Airport) which told passing motorists, "While you're away, we'll be here with your WIFE".

After Burden later ran afoul of the FCC, Star Stations of Indiana was denied its license renewal application for WIFE in 1976. The station was ordered off the air, forcing a sale to new ownership and management. An era of frequent call letter changes (WMLF, WTUX, WTLC) and formats (Music of Your Life, Adult Standards, and Urban Oldies) began in 1984 and continued into the 1990s.

In late 1997, then-owner Panache sold the frequency to Emmis Communications and the new owners settled on Urban Gospel. For a two-year period the majority of programming was syndicated from Sheridan Broadcasting and branded as "The Light".

In January 2001, the station was purchased from Emmis by Radio One.

➦In 1974...NBC-TV removed the daily Dinah’s Place from its programming roster. The move brought Dinah Shore’s 23-year association with the Peacock Network to a close.

Dinah Shore
Born Frances Rose Shore (February 29, 1916 – February 24, 1994) was an American singer, actress, radio/television personality, and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1940s. She reached the height of her popularity as a recording artist during the Big Band era of the 1940s and 1950s, but achieved even greater success a decade later, in television, mainly as hostess of a series of variety programs for Chevrolet.

She had a string of 80 charted popular hits, spanning the years 1940 to 1957, and after appearing in a handful of feature films went on to a four-decade career in American television, starring in her own music and variety shows from 1951 through 1963 and hosting two talk shows in the 1970s. TV Guide magazine ranked her at #16 on their list of the top fifty television stars of all time. Stylistically, Shore was compared to two singers who followed her in the mid-to-late 1940s and early 1950s, Doris Day and Patti Page.

Shore made her radio debut on Nashville's WSM-AM radio station. Shore decided to return to pursuing her career in singing, moving to New York City to audition for orchestras and radio stations. In many of her auditions, she sang the popular song "Dinah." When disc jockey Martin Block could not remember her name, he called her the "Dinah girl," and soon after the name stuck, becoming her stage name.  Shore eventually was hired as a vocalist at radio station WNEW, where she sang with Frank Sinatra. She recorded and performed with the Xavier Cugat orchestra, and signed a recording contract with RCA Victor Records in 1940.

In March 1939, Shore debuted on national radio on the Sunday afternoon CBS radio program, Ben Bernie's Orchestra. In February 1940, she became a featured vocalist on the NBC Radio program The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, a showcase for traditional Dixieland and Blues songs.

Shore soon became a successful singing star with her own radio show in 1943, Call to Music. She continued appearing in radio shows throughout the 1940s, including Birds Eye-Open House and Ford Radio Show. In early 1946, she moved to another label, Columbia Records.

➦In 1982...Dan Seymour died (Born - June 28, 1914). He was an announcer in the era of old-time radio and in the early years of television and later became an advertising executive

Seymour was once recognized as "Radio's best announcer."An obituary noted, "Seymour was best known as the deep-voiced announcer who startled Americans with a convincing but fictional account of Martians landing on Earth in the War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938."

His first job in radio—announcing came in 1935 at WNAC in Boston, Massachusetts, after his college graduation. While at the station, he was also an announcer for the Yankee Network. In 1936, he resigned and joined CBS in New York City. His first major assignment there was announcing for Major Bowes Amateur Hour.

A significant assignment early in his career was becoming the announcer on We the People, a job that led to a position with the program's advertising agency, Young and Rubicam.

Other programs on which Seymour worked as announcer were The Henry Morgan Show, The Aldrich Family, Songs by Jack Smith, Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories, Sing It Again, Bobby Benson, and Original Gillette Community Sing.

Seymour was one of the producers of You and the News.[

Bob Hope
➦In 2003...singer-actor-comedian Bob Hope died of pneumonia at his home in Toluca Lake, California at the age of 100.

His career in broadcasting began on radio in 1934. His first regular series for NBC Radio was the Woodbury Soap Hour in 1937, a 26-week contract. A year later, 'The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope' began, and Hope signed a ten-year contract with the show's sponsor, Lever Brothers. Hope hired eight writers and paid them out of his salary of $2,500 a week. The original staff included Mel Shavelson, Norman Panama, Jack Rose, Sherwood Schwartz, and Schwartz's brother Al. The writing staff eventually grew to fifteen.

The show became the top radio program in the country. Regulars on the series included Jerry Colonna and Barbara Jo Allen as spinster Vera Vague. Hope continued his lucrative career in radio through to the 1950s, when radio's popularity was overshadowed by television.

In the early days, Hope's career included appearances on stage in vaudeville shows and Broadway productions. He began performing on the radio in 1934 mostly with NBC radio, and switched to television when that medium became popular in the 1950s. He began doing regular TV specials in 1954, and hosted the Academy Awards nineteen times from 1939 through 1977.[21] Overlapping with this was his movie career, spanning 1934 to 1972, and his USO tours, which he conducted from 1941 to 1991.

➦In 2013…Dallas-based radio personality David "Kidd" Kraddick died at age 53 of a brain aneurysm while hosting his Kidd's Kids charity golf event.

Kidd Kraddick
Kraddick received the nickname "Kidd" from a radio producer and used the name on-air from 1978 until his death. He won the Billboard Magazine “Air Personality of the Year” Award three times, received the 1992 and 1997 AWRO "Air Personality of the Year," the Marconi Award for "Radio Personality of the Year", won the first annual 1999 WB Radio Music Award as the "Best Radio Personality in the Country", and also the 2001 "Radio and Records CHR/Pop Personality/Show of the Year."

He moved from Tampa to Dallas in 1984 and took over the night shift on the newly formatted Top40 station KEGL (The Eagle) and established a following. In 1990, Kraddick was named to the Ten Outstanding Young Americans list by the United States Junior Chamber. KEGL changed formats from Top 40 pop/rock to Modern Rock in 1992 and Kraddick was released from his contract.

After eight months off the air, he was hired to a morning position at Top40 KHKS 106.1 Kiss-FM in Dallas-Fort Worth.  He won a 1998 Marconi Award for Major Market Radio Personality of the Year while he was with KHKS and the next year he won Air Personality of the Year at the Radio Music Awards. He began to syndicate the show in 2001 and moved the production to an independent studio in Las Colinas.  He became a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.

In the early 1990s, Kraddick launched two radio oriented businesses. A monthly publication for morning personalities called "The Morning Mouth" and a show prep "sharing service" for air personalities called "BitBoard".  Kraddick subsequently sold both entities; BitBoard is now operated by iHeartMedia and The Morning Mouth is owned and operated by Don Anthony's Talentmasters in Atlanta, Georgia

➦In 2013...Herb Kaplow, for 45 years a Washington correspondent for ABC and NBC who brought an authoritative voice to his wide-ranging reporting, suffered a fatal stroke at age 86.

...Radio talk show host and TV actor Jerry Doyle, best remembered as security officer Michael Garibaldi in the futuristic 90’s series Babylon 5, died of complications from chronic alcoholism, less than 2 weeks after his 60th birthday.  When TV assignments dried up Doyle became a syndicated radio talk host.

Friday, July 26, 2019

DOJ Okays $26B T-Mobile, Sprint Merger

The Department of Justice announced Friday it has reached an agreement on the more than $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, reports CNBC.

As part of the agreement, Sprint will divest its Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint prepaid phone businesses. Sprint and T-Mobile will divest some of their wireless spectrum to Dish Network and make at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail stores available to the company. Dish will also be able to access T-Mobile’s network for seven years.

Makan Delrahim, head of the DOJ’s antitrust division, said without these remedies, the merger would “substantially harm competition.”

“Americans’ access to fast, reliable and affordable wireless connectivity is critically important to our economy and to every American consumer and to their way of life,” Delrahim said in a press conference announcing the agreement.

Delrahim added that the agreement establishes Dish as a “disruptive force in wireless.”

State attorneys general from Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota have signed onto the agreement. However, T-Mobile and Sprint still face an ongoing lawsuit from 13 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia seeking to block the deal on anti-competitive grounds.

The merger cannot be finalized until after that case is resolved. The trial is set to begin on Oct. 7, but that date could be pushed back until Dec. 9, given the structural changes to the merger announced today.

The blockbuster tie-up, which was announced more than a year ago, consolidates the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless providers and creates a combined company with an enterprise value of roughly $160 billion.

The deal received comparatively swift approval from the Federal Communications Commission in May after T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to invest in rural broadband development and build new 5G infrastructure.

Charter 2Q Earnings Come Up Short

Cable operator Charter Communications, in which John Malone's Liberty Broadband owns a big stake, on Friday reported a second-quarter pay TV subscriber decline that doubled compared with the year-ago period. And Charter chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge said content companies were in part to blame for the challenges of the pay TV bundle in the streaming video age, because they make too much of their programming available for free.

According to The Holllywood Reporter,  Charter lost 150,000 residential pay TV subscribers in the latest quarter, compared with the loss of 73,000 in the year-ago period. The company added 9,000 small and medium business video customers, compared with 16,000 in the year-ago period.

Overall, Charter lost 141,000 video subscribers, compared with a loss of 57,000 in the year-ago period. As of June 30, Charter had 16.3 million residential and small and medium business video customers.

The broadband business again led the way in the second quarter as Charter recorded 258,000 internet subscriber net additions across the firm's residential and business customers. The company also added 208,000 mobile lines in the quarter.

Charter's second-quarter earnings came in at $314 million, up from $273 million in the year-ago period. The earnings came in below Wall Street expectations. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, another profitability metric, rose 3.3 percent to $4.2 billion. Second-quarter revenue increased 4.5 percent to $11.3 billion.

During a conference call with analysts to discuss the results, CEO Tom Rutledge defended the traditional TV bundle and also warned of “continuous” carriage fights to come.

“There’s still a lot of value in the bundle today,” he said. The issue, as he sees it, is that the price-to-value ratio has been “destroyed by programmers.” As they look to widen their distribution options in a stream-happy marketplace, they are offering “excessive streams” and not helping the cause by allowing password sharing. Therefore, he said, “We look at video as an attribute of our overall customer relationship.”

Given that programmers, who are in an arms race with Netflix and Amazon and others, have continued to ask for rate increases, Rutledge was asked why he doesn’t simply accept higher terms and pass the costs on to customers. (Such a scenario, which would be possible because of hefty profits on broadband service, was also posed to Comcast executives during their earnings call Thursday.)

“I don’t like raising prices to our customers,” Rutledge responded. “Customers don’t know the value, or where the price increase is coming from. They attribute it to us.” The idea of raising rates “and asking people to disconnect is not a very attractive way to manage a video business,” he continued. “On the other hand, if you don’t fight with programmers to maintain some sort of price integrity for your customer, you’ll pass through a lot of product. So it’s a balancing act.”

D-C Radio: Bram Weinstein, Andy Pollin Join ESPN 630

(L-R): Cumulus VP/MM Jake McCann, Bram Weinstein and Andy Pollin, and Program Director Bill Hess
Cumulus Media’s new all-sports radio station, WSBN ESPN 630 announces that it has tapped two veteran Washington, DC, sports broadcast personalities, Andy Pollin and Bram Weinstein, to its on-air team.

Pollin joins ESPN 630 as Sports Update Anchor in mornings, broadcasting local sports updates within ESPN’s “Golic & Wingo Show” weekdays from 6am to 10am. He will also be Features Correspondent for the station. Weinstein joins ESPN 630 as Afternoon Host, anchoring the weekday 3pm to 6pm slot, as well as the ESPN 630’s “Redskins Today” program, airing weekdays at 6pm. “The Bram Weinstein Show” will launch Tuesday, July 30th, with a three-day series of broadcasts from Washington Redskins NFL Training Camp in Richmond, VA.

Pollin was part of the original team at America’s first all-sports station, WFAN/New York, in 1987. Five years later, he returned to his hometown of Washington, DC, where, as Sports Director, he played a key role in the launch of all-sports WTEM Washington. In his 25 years there, Pollin established himself as a major sports voice as he co-hosted the popular “Sports Reporters Show” in afternoon drive, and spent 14 years working alongside Tony Kornheiser, both locally and nationally, on ESPN Radio. Pollin has also served as pre- and post-game host for Redskins coverage and is well known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the team’s history.

Weinstein is a native Washingtonian who has spent more than a decade covering DC sports as a reporter and talk show host, including eight years as a Redskins beat reporter. In addition, he spent seven years as an anchor at ESPN.

Bill Hess, Program Director, Cumulus Washington, DC, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome these DC sports radio icons to ESPN 630 and look forward to sharing news of further additions to our team in the very near future.”

Weinstein said: “I couldn’t be more excited to be doing sportstalk on the radio station where it began in DC. I grew up listening to Ken Beatrice, “SportsCall” and the Redskins on AM 630.”

Pollin said: “After nearly 30 years of doing sports radio in Washington, I’m incredibly excited to join ESPN 630 and restore the frequency’s great history of sports.”

ESPN 630/Washington is currently in the midst of a multi-year deal to broadcast all Redskins games, along with ancillary Redskins programming.

Report: Dan Le Batard To Continue With ESPN

Dan Le Batard will continue on his ESPN Radio and TV shows after meeting face-to-face with the network’s president, Jimmy Pitaro, a source told The NY Post.

The get-together in New York on Thursday was the end of a one-week saga in which Le Batard challenged Pitaro’s “no pure politics” ESPN policy by commenting on President Trump and the “Send her back” chants.

Le Batard called ESPN’s stance “cowardly” and said the network didn’t have the “stomach” for the conversation. Le Batard is paid around $3.5 million, according to sources, to do his national radio show and his TV show called “Highly Questionable,” in which his father is his main sidekick.

Since he made his comments last Thursday, Le Batard and Pitaro have had several conversations leading to Thursday’s encounter. Le Batard missed the first hour of last Friday’s show and the entirety of Monday’s and Thursday’s programs. He is expected to be back on the radio Monday.

Le Batard, whose parents emigrated from Cuba, did not name Pitaro when he criticized ESPN last Thursday, but Le Batard made it very personal. He denounced Trump and the crowd for its racism, while blasting ESPN’s policy.

“We here at ESPN haven’t had the stomach for that fight, because Jemele did some things on Twitter and you saw what happened after that, and then, here all of a sudden, nobody talks politics on anything unless we can use one of these sports figures as a meat-shield in the most cowardly possible way to discuss these subjects,” Le Batard said.

On Thursday, Le Batard and Pitaro had a “positive” meeting, a source said. The policy is still intact and Le Batard is still on ESPN with multiple years left on his contract.

Tulsa Radio: Country KVOO Launches New Morning Show

Griffin Communications-owned KVOO 98.5 FM Tulsa’s Country radio station recently announced an all new morning lineup featuring The Amber & Brooks Morning Show from 5-10 a.m. with hosts Amber Glaze and Brooks Williams.

“As the rhythm and sound of Tulsa continues to evolve and thrive, we’ve updated our current KVOO morning lineup to reflect that vibe and Green Country’s unique characteristics,” said Steve Hunter, Griffin Communications director of radio operations. “The addition of Amber and Brooks in the morning brings their inherent energy, comedy, irreverence and honesty to KVOO. We’ve given them the freedom to do what they want, and it shows. This is a big moment for Tulsa and for Country radio.”

Glaze is a self-proclaimed artistic jack of all trades — she's a professional cake designer, stand-up comedian and songwriter among other things. She discovered her passion for radio just five years ago and has been making waves in the industry ever since. She got her start at 105.9 KLAZ in Hot Springs, Arkansas and previously served as a morning co-host alongside Phil Thompson on 104.5 The Fox in Wichita, Kansas. Three years ago, she moved home to Little Rock, Arkansas to create and host Hot Mess in the Morning on 106.7 The Ride KHLR. Glaze received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas, where she studied music and theater.

Williams recently joined KVOO in early 2019 after spending the last nine years at KTTS in Springfield, Missouri. During his time at KTTS, the station won multiple CMAs, ACMs and Crystal awards, including Radio Station of the Year for small markets, which Williams accepted at last year’s Academy of Country Music awards.

This morning lineup shift reflects a broader update in the 98.5 KVOO lineup. Both Glaze and Williams are new additions to Tulsa and the station this year, along with fellow newcomers Nikki Reid and Tanner Messer who host on KVOO from 3-7 p.m. and 7p.m. to midnight, respectively.

“KVOO is Tulsa’s Country radio station so we’re very excited to bring a renewed vigor, along with the best songs and the biggest stars in Country radio today,” Hunter said. “Being a locally-owned station with studios in Tulsa, we’re able to connect directly with Green Country listeners, have fun and share stories. We’ve had a very positive response to the new morning lineup so far and will continue to bring the best country radio in Tulsa.”

Philly Radio: Debbi Calton To Retire From WMGK

Debbi Calton
Beasley Media Group’s Classic Rock 102.9 WMGK-FM announces legendary midday personality Debbi Calton will officially retire on December 6th. She has been on the air at the station in the same daypart for 26 years.

Calton never imagined she would work in radio 40+ years. The trailblazing disc jockey began her radio career at the young age of 19 at a small, daytime AM station in Charlotte, NC. She went on to spend 10 years at former Philly rock station WYSP-FM, before moving to WMGK-FM in 1993.

An early run-in with management at a station over equal pay could have derailed her career. “I was told at that time that I was just a little girl who, until they taught me, didn’t know anything and that I would never work in radio again,” said Calton. “I am extremely grateful for what I learned there (and at all the radio stations I’ve worked at since), but I also deserved equal pay. I’m glad I held my ground at that time. Here I am all these years later, still working in radio…a profession that I love!”

She added, “I have been so fortunate to work in Philadelphia, with such amazing fans, over the past 36 years. I am also grateful for having the best shift ever (9am – 2pm) at WMGK. As a result, I was able to drop my son off at school and pick him up afterward. He’s now 27. This has been an amazing ride!”

What’s next for the beloved radio personality? “Who knows?” said Calton. “My husband is a touring musician, so I’ll hitch along for a few shows, without worry of using up vacation time. I’ll also likely continue work with American Public Television and maybe do some community radio. I’m looking forward to not hitting the snooze button on the alarm. It’s a big transition. I want to thank my WMGK co-workers and the Philadelphia radio audience for embracing me as they have all these years.”

WMGK-FM will feature highlights of Debbi’s career in November, including early airchecks, classic interviews, event coverage, while also posting as many embarrassing photos as she will allow.

The station is actively conducting a search for Debbi’s on-air replacement and is accepting qualified applicant materials at

Fox News Wins Mueller-Time Coverage

The Fox News dynamic duo of Breet Baier and Martha MacCallum cleaned up in the ratings, attracting the biggest audience on television when Robert Mueller appeared on Capitol Hill.

Mediaite reports Fox averaged 3 million viewers during the hearings — with 441,000 in the coveted 25-54 age demographic — and bested second-place MSNBC by more than half a million in total viewers. CNN limped in at sixth place while garnering 1.5 million viewers.

Baier and MacCallum are no strangers to these big moments, having anchored coverage earlier this year during the release of the Mueller report. That coverage brought in 2.8 million viewers for Fox.

The craziest part of MacCallum and Baier's ratings bonanza? They didn't just win cable, they handily beat CBS, NBC and ABC.

The NY Times reports an average of 13 million Americans watched the former special counsel on the major cable and broadcast networks over the seven-and-a-half hours of questioning, according to statistics released on Thursday by Nielsen.

That audience was smaller than the 19.5 million people who watched James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, describe his dealings with President Trump to Congress in June 2017. Mr. Comey proved a surprising and animated witness, offering memorable one-liners (“Lordy, I hope there are tapes”) that attracted about the same audience as Game 2 of that year’s N.B.A. finals.

In terms of ratings, Mr. Mueller’s hearing also fell short of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in September. That broadcast drew an average of 21 million viewers, who watched hours of testimony that probed difficult questions of gender, class and power.

More Users Flock To Twitter

Twitter Inc. posted solid user and revenue growth in its latest quarter, signs that investments to improve civility on its social network and show users more relevant content are working.

But, according to The Wall Street Journal,  the adjustments are coming at a cost: Hiring more workers in areas like technical support and sales and spending on content are eating into Twitter’s profit. Excluding special items, Twitter’s second-quarter profit fell 36% from a year ago to $37 million, or 5 cents a share.

Still, Twitter now has been profitable for seven consecutive quarters, a contrast to years of sustained losses that the company had reported after going public in 2013.

Profit in the June quarter ballooned to $1.12 billion, its largest ever, in connection with a more than $1 billion one-time benefit from a deferred tax asset.

Twitter’s revenue rose 18% to $841 million, helped by stronger advertising sales in the U.S., its largest market. The result exceeded analysts’ projections of $829 million, according to FactSet. However, revenue growth for the current quarter is expected to slow from the first half of the year, which Twitter said was due to shutting down some ad formats to focus on other priorities.

Meanwhile, the number of people who use Twitter daily increased by 5 million from the first quarter to a record 139 million.

Shipping Costs Weigh On Amazon Earnings

Wall Street Journal graphic Inc.’s record quarterly profit streak has ended, as the online retailer faced higher shipping costs, slowing growth from its cloud-computing business and a steeper loss in its overseas retail business.

The Wall Street Journal reports the company’s second-quarter profit rose 3.6% from a year ago to $2.63 billion after more than doubling last quarter. It missed analysts’ consensus estimate. Amazon had posted its best-ever profit the previous four quarters.

Amazon’s profitability was hit in particular by surging shipping costs. The company spent heavily on making one-day shipping the standard for its Prime members.

“It does create a shock to the system,” said Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky in a call with analysts. “We expect we’ll be working through that for a number of quarters, but when the dust settles, we will regain our cost efficiency over time.”

On a positive note, Amazon’s sales growth reignited in the quarter after shrinking over the past four periods. Revenue rose 20% to $63.4 billion—better than analyst estimates—compared with a 17% increase three months earlier.

Alphabet Charts 19% Q-Revenue Jump

Google became the latest technology titan to shake off new threats, delivering strong earnings ahead of looming regulatory peril, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The search giant’s parent, Alphabet Inc., reported revenue of $38.9 billion, up 19% over the same period last year, and $9.2 billion in profits. While that marks slower growth than usual for the Silicon Valley mainstay, it beats bearish analyst prognostications stemming from the company’s unusual earnings miss a quarter earlier.

The results highlight Google’s resilience in old-school internet search, where its dominance remains nearly absolute. Time and again, the franchise has come through for Google as forays into tertiary areas disappoint. Analysts expect Google to continue to pack ever more ads into areas like Maps and YouTube to keep gassing growth, and Thursday’s results demonstrate the rewards of those efforts.

Google also took limited steps toward more disclosure—anathema at a company that still doesn’t detail the financial performance of its YouTube unit some 13 years after acquiring the online-video powerhouse.

Google executives said that the laggard cloud business was on track for $8 billion in annual revenue, though they didn’t say whether it was profitable. On capital expenditures, typically a financial black box, Google detailed an increasing proportion of spending on office costs as it continues to expand rapidly world-wide.

Alphabet stock is the worst-performing this year among large tech peers. Shares bounced back after hours Thursday, up 9%, making up more than half of its loss since last quarter’s disappointing showing.

At 21 years old, Google is hardly a technology up-and-comer any longer, and this year a series of colliding challenges threaten to take a toll. Advertising growth is slowing in the long term, pinched by rising competition and costly changes to important units like YouTube.

NBCUniversal Reports Strong Results Driven By TV Business

Most Americans recognize Comcast Corp. as the nation’s largest cable-TV provider. But the reality is that after almost a decade of big acquisitions — NBCUniversal and Europe’s Sky — and blistering subscriber gains at Xfinity Internet, Comcast’s U.S. cable-television now comprises just 21% of its global corporate revenue.

That incredibly shrinking cable-TV business was a big takeaway from Comcast’s second-quarter earnings performance on Thursday, when the company’s revenues rose 23.6% to $26.9 billion, mostly because of the contribution of Sky. Comcast acquired the European company for $40 billion in late 2018. Net income fell 3% to $3.1 billion.

The Philadelphia Inquirer quotes telecom analyst Craig Moffett of the MoffettNathanson firm in New York City: “If the first thing you think of when you think of Comcast is ‘cable TV,’ then think again. The truth is, cable video is a nothing more sideshow now. Comcast is an [internet service provider] attached to a media and theme parks company.”

In 2011, Comcast bought entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal — which includes the Universal theme parks, cable networks, and NBC broadcast-television business — from General Electric.

Infotainment Systems Significant Distraction For Drivers

Many of the interactive information and entertainment systems turning up in newer cars may be distracting enough to increase the risk for accidents, especially for older drivers, according to Reuters Health citing a new AAA Foundation study.

The systems often require drivers to take their eyes off the road for extended periods for when performing simple tasks such as navigation or radio tuning. And researchers found that the problem is worse for seniors, who looked away from the road for up to eight and a half seconds longer than younger drivers.

“We know from prior work that younger drivers are struggling,” said study coauthor David Strayer, a professor and director of the Center for the Prevention of Distracted Driving at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. “We found that older drivers take their eyes off the road for longer when they are trying to interact with this technology.”

The new findings are particularly important given that there will be increasing numbers of senior drivers on the roads, said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety research and advocacy. And keep in mind, Nelson said, “whether it’s easier-to-see signals or striping on the roads, if it’s good for seniors, it’s good for all of us.”

For the new study, done as a partnership between the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah, researchers tested the visual and cognitive demands of infotainment systems in six 2018 vehicles.

Two groups of participants - between ages 21 and 36 and between 55 and 75 - were asked to use the interactive vehicle technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio and run a navigation program. To do that, they needed to use voice commands as well as touch screens. Some of the more complicated systems used multiple menus and cumbersome voice command functions that made it hard to complete tasks while watching the road.

Strayer and colleagues compared the amount of time it took younger and older participants to complete a series of tasks and found: calling and dialing took younger people an average of 17.7 seconds as compared to 22.4 in the older group; text messaging took younger people 27.7 seconds to complete versus 33.8 seconds in the seniors; and navigation entry took the younger adults 31.4 seconds, versus 40 seconds in the older group.

Strayer suggests that consumers put at least as much energy into checking out a car’s infotainment system as they would in buying a new phone. “You need to be a smart consumer,” he said. “Make sure you don’t buy a car you can’t use.”

Beyond that, he said, “if your car has features you need to figure out, figure out how to use them before you start to drive.”

NBC Universal To Launch Streaming Service In April

In planning for its NBCU streaming service to start next April, company executives say it will focus on acquired programming, as well as using Sky’s NOW TV streaming technology platform, according to MediaPost.

Stephen Burke, NBCUniversal CEO, spoke to analysts during a Comcast Corp. second-quarter earnings call. Although he didn’t go into too much detail, Burke said: “Our service is very different than Netflix. ... We believe we have a very innovative way of coming into the market that is different from anything else in the market. I would expect the vast majority of the consumption in the beginning would be acquired.”

Right now, he believes around 80% of all Netflix programming is acquired.

Burke says “some” money will be spent on originals. For instance, NBCU will continue comedy “A.P. Bio” for the new streaming service; the show had a run on the linear NBC broadcast network.

He added: “We have a number of originals actually tied to libraries that we currently own.” Also, the new streaming service will benefit from the NBC-produced popular comedy “The Office.”

Former Host Rips MSNBC

Ex-MSNBC host Krystal Ball blasted her former network as “not journalism” and singled out "The Rachel Maddow Show" on Thursday for floating wild “Russian conspiracy theories” that blew up during former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's testimony, according to Fox News.

Mueller's testimony before two House committees Wednesday was largely considered a “disaster” for Democrats and opponents of President Trump despite MSNBC pushing the collusion narrative. Ball -- who now hosts The Hill newspaper's “Rising” --  said on her show she did not mean anything personal when she asked, “Just how much damage has MSNBC, in particular, done to the left?”

The former MSNBC host said “nearly all” of her former colleagues got “swept up in the ratings bubble that was feverish, Russian conspiracy theories” and singled out some anchors she said took things overboard.

“Rachel Maddow, you’ve got some explaining to do,” Ball said before saying that there was a “damning set of facts” related to the Russian probe.

“But, it does not feel like a damning set of facts when, for months, MSNBC built segment after segment, show after show, on building anticipation for a big reveal,” Ball said.

Maddow has dedicated substantial airtime since Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016 to speculating on whether or not Trump colluded with Russia. As a result, her critics have labeled her a conspiracy theorist and viewers turned away in droves when Attorney General Bill Barr's letter initially summarizing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report indicated that a Trump campaign-Russia conspiracy didn’t exist.

The New York Times, which is often criticized for leaning left itself, won’t even allow its reporters on Maddow’s program because she’s considered too liberal even for them.

Ball also mocked the far-left network for allowing New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait to explain a bizarre conspiracy theory that Trump has been a Russian asset since the 1980s.

“Seriously, this is not journalism,” Ball said. “CNN and many other outlets are also clearly not blameless in this hype machine.”

Ball said she singled out her former employer because “they were certainly the worst mainstream offenders” and the entire ordeal has damaged the chances of a Democrat winning the 2020 election.

Philly Could Have No Daily Paper in 5 Years

Top management at the Philadelphia Inquirer has told newsroom staffers they must radically transform  into a “robust digital company,” or else Philadelphia may become another “news desert” — a town without a daily newspaper, according to a story at

“We have fewer than five years to make fundamental changes in our business, our products, our operations and our culture,” the paper’s top managers wrote last month in an urgent, eight-page report sent to all newsroom employees, titled “Unlocking a New Era of Inquirer Journalism.”

Citing plummeting ad revenues and circulation figures, the Inky’s managers wrote, “At our current trajectory, we know that in five years we will be buried under a debt load that will be next to impossible to overcome.” The report was issued after Inky managers met off-site over a period of four months for weekly “intensive half-day sessions” to “identify a common vision for our future.”

It’s a future that, according to the report, looks ominous. “As we enter this pivotal phase of our transformation,” the managers wrote, “we must all contemplate the worst case: What happens if The Inquirer fails?” Then, after discussing the rapid increase of news deserts, the managers wrote, “We must not let this happen in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the First Amendment.”

The dire management report comes just three years after the late philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest supposedly safeguarded the future of the paper by donating the for-profit Philadelphia Media Network, owner of the Inquirer, Daily News, and the former website (now known as, to the nonprofit Institute for Journalism in New Media, which is part of a larger nonprofit, the Philadelphia Foundation.

The five-year plan calls for “driving down legacy costs” — otherwise known as print journalism — and transforming the Inky newsroom into a “more nimble, agile” digital operation, which will obviously require the cooperation of the company’s journalists and other staff.

Meanwhile, the Inky’s latest circulation figures remain in steep decline. As of May 7th, the circulation of the daily Inquirer, which once stood at 373,892 copies in 2002, was down to 101,818. Sunday circulation has dropped over that same period from 747,969 in 2002 down to 201,024. The circulation of the Daily News has dwindled to 19,192. And behind its pay wall the former website had only 30,000 paid subscribers.

Newspaper Circulation Lowest Since 1940

U.S. newspaper circulation reached its lowest level since 1940, the first year with available data.

Total daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) was an estimated 28.6 million for weekday and 30.8 million for Sunday in 2018. Those numbers were down 8% and 9%, respectively, from the previous year, according to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of Alliance for Audited Media data. Both figures are now below their lowest recorded levels, though weekday circulation first passed this threshold in 2013.

Digital circulation for daily newspapers is harder to track. It did rise in 2018, though not enough to fully reverse the overall decline in circulation.

Revenue from circulation was steady in 2018, but ad revenue for newspapers fell 13%, according to an analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Though some national publications have seen growth in revenue and in digital subscriptions over the past few years, the newspaper sector overall continues to face challenges.