Saturday, January 18, 2020

January 19 Radio History


➦In 1903..the first Transatlantic Radio broadcast took place. King Edward VII and President Theodore Roosevelt spoke with one another in a coded radio transmission between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Cornwall, England.

➦In 1905...Anne Hummert Schumacher born  (Died  at age 91 – July 5, 1996) was the leading creator of daytime radio serials or soap opera dramas during the 1930s and 1940s, responsible for more than three dozen series.

With her husband Frank she produced some of radio’s most memorable melodramas, including Our Gal Sunday, The Romance of Helen Trent, Mr Keen Tracer of Lost Persons, Betty & Bob, and Backstage Wife.  The Hummerts also produced several simple down-home musical series, like Waltztime and The American Album of Familiar Music. Their “radio factory” produced as many as 125 series, 61 of them soap operas.

➦In 1908...comic singer Ish Kabibble was born Merwyn Bogue in rural Pennsylvania.  He sang and played trumpet with Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge on radio & record in the 30’s and 40’s. His dim witted characterization was said to be a later inspiration for Jerry Lewis. He died June 5, 1994 at age 86.

➦In 1922..Radio, TV Actor Guy Madison born Robert Ozell Moseley( Died at age 74 – February 6, 1996) was an American film, television, and radio actor. He is best known for playing Wild Bill Hickok in the Western television series The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok from 1951 to 1958.  During his career, Madison was given a special Golden Globe Award in 1954 and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

George Klein
➦In 1923...WMC 790 AM in Memphis, Tennessee sign-on. WMC was first owned by The Memphis Commercial Appeal and its call letters reflect the M and C from its owner's initials. In the 1930s, WMC carried the NBC Radio Red Network, while rival WMPS, owned by the Memphis Press-Scimitar, aired the NBC Blue Network. Starting in the 1930s, the station used a riverboat whistle as its sounder, a nod to Memphis' location on the Mississippi River—a practice that continued well into the 1990s.  The station currently airs ESPN and Fox Sports Radio.

In addition to sports talk shows, WMC-AM features longtime Memphis disc jockey George Klein's weekly tribute program to Elvis Presley. Klein and Presley were close friends and confidantes during the latter's lifetime and the former's long stint on WHBQ-AM.

Now, airing sports the license is currently held by Entercom Communications, which it purchased from CBS in September 2006.

➦In 1927...KGRC-AM (now KONO) San Antonio signed-on. KONO is the fourth-oldest radio station in San Antonio, officially signing on in January 1927. KONO began as a hobby for Eugene Roth in a room over his garage in downtown San Antonio. As the broadcasting industry grew, Eugene Roth's son, Jack Roth, began working with his dad, later inheriting the station. At first, KONO was powered at only 100 watts, broadcasting on 1370 kilocycles and having to share time on the air with other stations. It later moved to AM 1400 before relocating to its current home on AM 860.

In February 1947, an FM station was added, KONO-FM at 92.9 MHz.  The FM station later took the call sign KITY. Eugene Roth served as the president of Mission Broadcasting while Jack was the station's general manager.

In the 1950s, KONO's format was country & western music. In 1957, Mission Broadcasting put Channel 12 KONO-TV (now KSAT-TV) on the air. It was San Antonio's third television station, an ABC Network affiliate.

In the 1960s and 70s, KONO, "The Big 86," was one of the leading Top 40 stations in San Antonio. Some of the on air personnel were Howard Edwards, Don Couser, Woody Roberts, Skinny Don Green, Lee 'Baby' Simms, Dave Mitchell, Johnny Shannon, Charlie Scott, Nick St John and Frank Jolley. KONO won national awards in the 60s for its popularity and creativity. In 1965, Bob Pearson and Howard Edwards were selected as two of the top radio personalities in the country. KONO and its sister station KITY, would remain at 317 Arden Grove, attached to the KSAT 12 building, until the early 1990s, when they moved to a location on NE Loop 410.

In the 1970s, KONO and 550 KTSA battled in the Top 40 format. Although KONO's more recurrent-based style frequently played second-fiddle to the more current-oriented KTSA, it continued to do well. The two stations provided a nice 1-2 punch that made WOAI regret its brief flirtation with the top-40 format in the mid-'70s

KONO began the 1980s with the same recurrent-heavy Top 40 format it had in the 1970s but with a softer sound than before. KONO's days as a true contemporary hits station were numbered, as AM Top 40 stations were rapidly losing audience to FM upstarts. KONO began to evolve to a gold-based Adult Contemporary sound while its Top 40 format on KONO-FM replaced the AC format on sister 92.9 KITY.

Today, KONO AM / FM are owned by Cox Media Group.  860 AM airs a 60s & 70s oldies format, while KONO-FM usually leads the market with its Classic Hits format.

➦In 1943...the FCC endorsed Restricted Radio Operator Permits.

➦In 1998...Rockabilly singer Carl Perkins died. He was 65.

➦In 2000...Actress Hedy Lamarr died in Casselberry FL (Born - November 9, 1914). She was also an inventor who was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

At the beginning of World War II, Lamarr and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, intended to use frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers.  Although the US Navy did not adopt the technology until the 1960s, various spread-spectrum techniques are incorporated into Bluetooth technology and are similar to methods used in legacy versions of Wi-Fi.Recognition of the value of this work resulted in the pair being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

➦In 2005...Clear Channel Radio began its rollout of HD Digital Radio Multicasts in 28 Markets.

➦In 2006...Singer Wilson Pickett died. He was 64.

Boston Radio: Listeners Petition iHM To Rehire WBZ-AM Talent

Following iHeartMedia’s dismissal of several well-known WBZ-AM radio broadcasters earlier in the week, an online petition to the station’s owners calling for the “reinstatement of local programming and voices” has circulated, garnering more than 800 signatures by late Friday night, reports The Boston Globe.

“IHeartMedia is trying to save money by cutting local voices and programming across the board - and we won’t stand for it,” the online petition reads.

Earlier in the week, the station cut ties with overnight host Bradley Jay, A.M. drive news anchor; Deb Lawler, who worked at WBZ for 35 years; sports anchor Tom Cuddy; and John Keller, a political commentator who had done work at the radio station for three decades.

“With this action, WBZ is no longer the station we have come to rely on and trust,” read the petition.

“We understand that more elimination of local programming is imminent; unless iHeartMedia quickly reverses course and reinstates local programming and voices, we will seek other sources for news and programming.”

The petition also threatens to “seek alternatives to products and services advertised on WBZ” unless things change, and urges advertisers to “ensure management know where you stand” by contacting station brass.

Ben Goodman, one of the people spearheading the petition campaign, said in a statement that “New Englanders can live without Necco Wafters, Crown Pilot Crackers, and maybe even Tom Brady - but they can’t live live without trusted local programming on WBZ.”

Goodman, a 30-year-old who works in nonprofit advocacy in Washington, D.C., said he grew up listening to WBZ as a youth in Kennebunk, Maine.

“To me, 'BZ is a New England institution,” he said. “It’s kind of the thing that’s always on in the background.”

Of the petition, Goodman said, “New England is probably the only place where this sort of thing works. It’s a hail mary, but it’s worthwhile.”

A message left with iHeartMedia was not returned Friday night. Earlier in the week, Angel Aristone, a spokeswoman for the company, declined to answer questions about the people who were laid off.

Keller, the political pundit, announced on Twitter earlier this week that he had done his last commentary on WBZ Newsradio 1030 after working for the station for 30 years. He said he hoped people would continue to follow his work on WBZ-TV.

Scott Ferrell To Launch Shows For SportsGrid

Scott Ferrall will launch two new live video streaming programs in his new position with sports wagering network SportsGrid, the national talk show host told Forbes SportsMoney in an exclusive interview.

The announcement comes approximately a week after Ferrall made his final appearance on CBS Sports Radio, where the popular sports talk personality hosted a nationally syndicated program since 2013. In many respects, Ferrall is a natural fit for SportsGrid, the nation’s first free 24-hour audio and video sports wagering network, given his affinity for sports gambling.

Both live programs will be produced from the SportsGrid’s Meadowlands studio beginning on Wednesday, January 29th. The first, Scott Ferrall: Coast to Coast, will feed the ravenous appetites of bettors and sports fans alike with live pre-game and in-game wagering odds, moneylines and statistics. The program, which will stream live weekdays from 4-6 p.m. ET, also features insights and wagering strategies from Ferrall, along with interviews from industry experts. An hour later, Ferrall will return for a second program, In-Game Live, which will run for two more hours from 7-9 p.m.

Ferrall became intrigued in joining SportsGrid after an intense hour-and-15 minute conversation with Louis M. Maione, the network’s president and co-founder.

“The reality of the world is that everyone watches television,” said Ferrall, who has made appearances in the past on MTV, CSI Miami, SNY and ESPN First Take. “I’ve never really felt that people sit around like Little House On The Prairie and listen to the radio around the fire. I think when people get home from work they watch TV…When he asked me if I would be interested in doing television full-time, it sparked a flame in me.”

Ferrall emphasized that his relationship with Entercom New York Senior Vice President Mark Chernoff had little impact on his departure from CBS Sports Radio. The host noted that he has the utmost respect for Chernoff, a feeling the longtime radio executive indicated is mutual between the two.

Just-Ousted Grammys CEO Fires Back

The last thing the Recording Academy wanted, or needed, heading into the 2020 Grammy Awards ceremony next week was more turmoil, reports The LA Times.

Yet that’s precisely what it got late Thursday when the advocacy organization that oversees the annual awards ceremony and accompanying prime-time CBS telecast placed its newly installed president and chief executive, Deborah Dugan, on “administrative leave” amid allegations of misconduct.

In return, Dugan’s lawyer fired back that she is prepared to “expose what happens when you ‘step up’ at the Recording Academy,” a pointed reference to a remark made by former Recording Academy Chief Executive Neil Portnow that was roundly derided as sexist.

Deborah Dugan
The news of Dugan’s exit blindsided many in the music industry as well as those at the 62-year-old organization, which is barely a week from the Jan. 26 Grammy ceremony that will bring thousands of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, record company executives and fans together at Staples Center in Los Angeles to celebrate “music’s biggest night.”

The Recording Academy said its move was necessary despite the impending ceremony because of the seriousness of the allegation against Dugan. The academy’s statement did not detail the allegation, but a New York Times report characterized it as “bullying.”

Dugan retains her title but will remain on administrative leave while the independent investigations are ongoing, an academy spokesperson said. Board chairman Harvey Mason Jr. is serving as interim president.

An academy spokesman said the woman’s complaint about Dugan was filed to the executive committee of the academy’s board of trustees before Dugan herself raised allegations of wrongdoing.

Dugan submitted a memo less than a month ago, reportedly to the organization’s human resources department, detailing her concerns about practices she had discovered including voting irregularities, financial mismanagement, “exorbitant and unnecessary” legal fees and “conflicts of interest involving members of the academy’s board, executive committee and outside lawyers,” according to a New York Times report.

And The 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Award Winners Are...

The second annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards acknowledged the biggest and most innovative podcasts across 30 categories on Friday, January 17. Held at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles, podcasters across a vast variety of genres including comedy, crime, music, sports, news, business and finance, pop culture, food, health and wellness, technology, beauty and fashion and much more were celebrated and honored.

Conan O’Brien’s “Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend” took home the award for Best Comedy Podcast while the captivating “Man In The Window” (L.A. Times/Wondery) stole the show for Best Crime. ABC News’ “The Dropout” scored the big win of the night with Podcast of the Year, a socially voted category, against "Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend," "My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark," "Revisionist History," "Stuff You Should Know," "The Daily," "The Joe Rogan Experience," "The Read," "The Ron Burgundy Podcast" and "The Shrink Next Door."

Three Icon Awards were also presented to pay tribute to the creators, organizations and podcasts that have made groundbreaking contributions to podcasting's expanding role in today's pop culture. Tenderfoot TV's Payne Lindsey and Donald Albright received the Audible Audio Pioneer Award. The New York Times' "1619" was honored with the Social Impact Award and NPR's "Life Kit" received the Innovator Award presented by Zoom.

Take a look at the full list of 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards winners below and get streaming! (And click here to relive highlights from last year's iHeartRadio Podcast Awards!)

2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Nominees & Winners:

Report: Spotify Interested In Acquiring The Ringer

Spotify Technology is in talks to buy sports and pop-culture outlet the Ringer, according to The Wall Street journal citing people familiar with the matter, a deal that would let the audio streaming giant break into broader digital media and bring a network of more than 30 podcasts under its roof.

Discussions are early, these people cautioned, and may not result in a deal.

Spotify, the largest music-streaming platform by subscribers, has been investing heavily in podcasting, a bet it hopes will keep users more engaged, bring over more listeners from radio and increase profit margins. Last year the company spent $400 million to snap up three podcast companies and struck more than two dozen deals for exclusive or original content.

The streaming giant is in the market for more, according to one of the people, and the potential Ringer acquisition is just one of many possible transactions under consideration.

The Ringer, a sports and pop-culture outlet founded by former ESPN commentator Bill Simmons in 2016, has a podcasting network that attracts more than a 100 million downloads a month. In addition to “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” the Ringer produces “The Watch,” a discussion show about TV and pop-culture; “Binge Mode,” which dives deep into pop-culture franchises; and “The Rewatchables,” a show that breaks down popular movies.

Disney Dropping 'Fox' Branding

In a move at once unsurprising and highly symbolic, the Walt Disney Company is dropping the “Fox” brand from the 21st Century Fox assets it acquired last March, reports Variety story. The 20th Century Fox film studio will become 20th Century Studios, and Fox Searchlight Pictures will become simply Searchlight Pictures.

On the TV side, however, no final decisions have been made about adjusting the monikers of production units 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios. Discussions about a possible name change are underway, but no consensus has emerged, according to a source close to the situation.

Disney has already started the process to phase out the Fox name: Email addresses have changed for Searchlight staffers, with the address replaced with a address. On the poster for Searchlight’s next film “Downhill,” with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell, the credits begin with “Searchlight Pictures Presents.” The film will be the first Searchlight release to debut with the new logo. “Call of the Wild,” an upcoming family film, will be released under the 20th Century banner, sans Fox.

Those logos won't be dramatically altered, just updated. The most notable change is that the word "Fox" has been removed from the logo marks. Otherwise, the signature elements -- swirling klieg lights, monolith, triumphal fanfare -- will remain the same.

All of it added up to specific associations with the word "Fox" in the media landscape that proved to be anathema to Disney's scrupulously maintained family friendly brand.

As one insider puts it, “I think the Fox name means Murdoch, and that is toxic.”

Start Clipping Coupons! Iger's Comp Drops to $47.5M

The Walt Disney Company disclosed Friday that chairman and CEO Bob Iger's compensation package was $47.5 million for the company's latest fiscal year, which ended in September.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the figure compares with $65.6 million in fiscal 2018, which was boosted by a stock package that Iger was awarded as incentive to remain with the company past his originally-planned retirement date. He earned $36.3 million in 2017 and $43.9 million in the year before that.

Disney disclosed the compensation for its top executives in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday afternoon. In the filing, the board wrote that it revised Iger's 2019 compensation "three separate times," after speaking with 11 of the company's top 20 shareholders, including six of its top 10. "Through that feedback, we learned of the concerns about certain aspects of Mr. Iger's employment agreement, including concerns from some shareholders regarding the amount of Mr. Iger's total compensation and the rigor of the performance criteria for Mr. Iger's one-time performance-based equity award," the board wrote in the filing.

2019 was a significant year for the company, as Disney closed its $71.3 billion mega-deal for large parts of the 21st Century Fox entertainment business. It also completely dominated the worldwide box office, with Avengers: Endgame becoming the highest-grossing release of all time, not adjusted for inflation.

Comcast Stock Hits Record-High Price

Comcast’s stock price hit a record high Friday morning following Thursday's official unveiling of its new streaming service, Peacock.

Though Peacock is coming late to the party, following behind streaming services like Disney+ and Apple TV+, optimism pushed Comcast  to a peak of $47.74 on Friday morning. The previous record high was $47.27.

Comcast stock closed at $46.87 on Thursday, ahead of Peacock’s announcement.

The Philly Business Journal reports the Philadelphia-based media giant laid out what will be available on Peacock during a star-studded presentation at 30 Rock. Launching April 15, the streaming platform will offer old favorites, original content and live shows across Comcast’s channels.

The company is also looking toward the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, for which it’s sold more than $1 billion in advertising. The Olympics can be streamed on Peacock, and Comcast is expected to promote the streaming service during the games.

Peacock can also be tied to Comcast’s streaming device, Flex, where customers can add a number of streaming services.

Comcast’s stock price has steadily risen over the last year, up nearly 31% from last January.

January 18 Radio History


➦In 1913...comedian/actor Danny Kaye was born David Daniel Kaminski in Brooklyn.

While most of his impact was on the big screen, he had his own radio show in the 1940’s, and his own TV show in the 60’s.  Surprisingly, he has only two appearances listed for the Ed Sullivan Show.  As a partner in Kaye/Smith Broadcasting he was a co-owner of KJR AM/FM in Seattle & KJRB, Spokane.

He died Mar 3, 1987 at age 74 after a heart attack.

➦In 1914...announcer/actor Rod O’Connor was born in Houston.

In Chicago he became announcer for both Don McNeill‘s Breakfast Club and The First Nighter Program. While serving in WWII he met comedian Red Skelton, who offered O’Connor an announcing gig on his Raleigh Cigarette Program in 1945.  He stayed on when Skelton went to television.  O’Connor also worked with some of the biggest names in radio including Art Linkletter, Dennis Day, Rudy VallĂ©e and Danny Thomas.

He died June 5 1964 at age 50 after losing a battle with cancer.

➦In 1929...“New York Daily Mirror” columnist Walter Winchell made his debut on radio, broadcasting a blend of political commentary and celebrity gossip to “Mr. and Mrs. America…” His quick-jabbing, penetrating manner became his trademark. And so did his fedora hat.

He began his career in journalism by posting notes about his acting troupe on backstage bulletin boards. Joining the Vaudeville News in 1920, Winchell left the paper for the Evening Graphic in 1924, and in turn was hired on June 10, 1929 by the New York Daily Mirror where he finally became the author of what would be the first syndicated gossip column, entitled On-Broadway.

Walt Winchell
Using connections in the entertainment, social, and governmental realms, he would expose exciting or embarrassing information about celebrities in those industries. This caused him to become very feared, as a journalist, because he would routinely impact the lives of famous or powerful people, exposing alleged information and rumors about them, using this as ammunition to attack his enemies, and to blackmail influential people. He used this power, trading positive mention in his column (and later, his radio show) for more rumors and secrets.

He made his radio debut over WABC in New York, then a CBS affiliate, on May 12, 1930.

His newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, and he was read by 50 million people a day from the 1920s until the early 1960s. His Sunday-night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people from 1930 to the late 1950s.

Aunt Jenny
➦In 1937...CBS radio introduced listeners to “Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories” for the first time. A complete story was told in five, 15-minute episodes which aired Monday thru Friday each week. Aunt Jenny was played by Edith Spencer (pictured) and later, by Agnes Young. The show continued on radio until 1956 and was sponsored over the years by Spry shortening and Lux soap. Aunt Jenny’s whistling canary, for those of you ready to inquire, was played by animal imitator, Henry Boyd.

➦In 1948... Ted Mack came to television as “The Original Amateur Hour” debuted on the DuMont network. The program continued on different networks for a total 22-year run.  The original, “Original Amateur Hour”, on radio, was hosted by Major Bowes. In the TV version, Mack introduced many up-and-coming stars who later claimed great fame in show biz. Teresa Brewer and Pat Boone are just two of those discoveries.

➦In 1964..Fifty-one years ago today, the Beatles appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time.

The band's breakthrough, and ultimately, pop culture-redefining, first U.S smash, "I Want to Hold Your Hand," entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 45.

The issue was dated Jan. 18, 1964.

The following week, the song rocketed to No. 3. It became the Beatles' first of 20 No. 1s the following week (Feb. 1, 1964).

The Beatles' 20 toppers remain the most by any artist in the Hot 100's history. When Billboard ranked the top acts of the chart's first 55 years this past August, the Beatles ranked at No. 1.

➦In 1971...Canadian AM radio stations were required for the first time to play 30% Canadian music content. Many stations such as CKLG and CKVN in Vancouver ran marathon Beatles or “rock music” specials over the previous weekend before the rules came into effect. CanCon – a contraction of the words Canadian content – requiring that, from 6 a.m. to Midnight, 30% of all music aired on Canadian radio must be by Canadian artists. As originally prescribed, the recorded performances count as Canadian if two of the following four characteristics are met: *Music composed entirely by a Canadian, *Artist is Canadian, *Produced in Canada, *Lyrics written entirely by a Canadian.

➦In 1983...First GUI/mouse computer, the Apple Lisa, was unveiled.

➦In 1985...Cleveland, Ohio was chosen to be the site of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

➦In 2004...Personality Harry Fleetwood died. He aired on WNBC-AM's "Music Through the Night" in 1954. In 1975, he moved to WNCN to host classical music.

➦In 2011…the FCC gave approval to the $28 billion sale of NBC Universal by General Electric to Comcast Corporation.

➦In 2016...founding member of The Eagles guitarist Glen Frey died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. He was 67.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Des Moines Radio: iHM To Restore Sports KXNO, Rehiring Fired Talent

It was shocking when Program Director Andrew Downs as well as on-air talent Heather Burnside, Travis Justice and Sean Roberts of "Morning Rush," along with Chris Williams and Ross Peterson of "Sports Fanatics," were let go on Tuesday from iHeartMedia's Sports KXNO 1460 AM.

The Des Moines Register reports it was equally shocking to see the immediate outpouring of love from listeners and advertisers across the state.

And it was shocking to get the phone call Wednesday that KXnO wanted them all back.

"It’s odd to have the week start the way it did," Downs told the Register, "and then come out with the big thing I always wanted (for) the station to just kind of fall into my lap."

After laying off six employees and canceling two shows on Tuesday, iHeartMedia, KXnO's parent company, will restore those jobs. And the "Morning Rush" and "Sports Fanatics" shows — which were canceled because of the layoffs — will return to the air.

The shows will also get an FM simulcast signal on KDXA 106.3 FM, which Downs called a "game-changer" for a sports radio station.

"So instead of 5,000 watts, we go to 25,000 watts. It’s a game-changer in reach and will only lead to more listeners and more revenue and higher ratings," said Keith Murphy, who co-hosts KXnO's popular "Murph and Andy" show. "This is really like a from-the-ashes type moment. We didn’t just get back to where we were. We’re better off."

The news was first announced on the "Murph and Andy" show's Twitter page.

"When you see just the people that reached out to me, I was like, 'Oh boy,'" KXnO general manager Joel McCrea told the Register. "I just thought about that and went, 'OK, I made a mistake. I’ve got to fix this.'"

The original cuts stemmed from nationwide restructuring by iHeartMedia. McCrea declined to comment on the specifics of how he was able to fit the six employees back into iHeartMedia's restructured look, but he said it was something that had to be done.

L-A Radio: iHM 'Retires' Mark Wallengren, Ted Ziegenbusch At KOST

Mark Wallengren
Radio personality Mark Wallengren, who has worked at KOST 103.5 FM since 1985, and Ted Ziegenbusch, who has worked at the station for several decades without interruption since its founding in 1982, were among the purge of on-air talent at iHeartMediam reports The Orange County Register.

“I have some sort of important news,” Wallengren announced via Facebook video shot Thursday. “I didn’t know it, but yesterday, yesterday evening at 7 am, I realized – or I was told – that I did my last show at KOST 103.5 after 35 years.

“And let me tell you, what an incredible race,” he continued. “What an incredible journey, what incredible memories I have. I was allowed to work there, raise a family, travel around the world, make friends with amazing friends like you. And it’s done.

“But I mean, even if I couldn’t go to the radio and say goodbye, or you know, having some sort of retirement, it’s OK.” It’s a weird and crazy business. “

Ziegenbusch also announced on Facebook that he had also been “retired” by the station. He had worked at the station from 1982 to 2000 as host of his late-night Love Songs program, which had gone on for three years in the mid-2000s, and had been there constantly in a variety of roles from 2009 to Wednesday.

Teddy Ziggy
“I was the last remaining original KOST staff member who was hired in 1982 and I was still working at KOST until January 15, 2020,” wrote Ziegenbusch. “It was a wonderful trip!”

Angel Aristone, executive vice president of communications for iHeartMedia, said in an email that she could not comment on specific talent or markets on the air, but made a general statement about the layoffs this week.

“We are modernizing our business to take advantage of the significant investments we have made in new technologies and to align our operational structure to match the technological activities in which we currently find ourselves,” she wrote. “This is a new step in the successful transformation of the business as a 21st century multiplatform media company, and we believe it is essential to our future – it continues to build on and adds to our competitiveness, our effectiveness and our efficiency with all our main constituencies.

Providence Radio: Doug MacGunnigle To Program N/T WPRO

Doug MacGunnigle
CUMULUS MEDIA announces that it has promoted Doug MacGunnigle to Program Director for Providence, RI, News/Talk WPRO 99.7FM / 630AM and for sister News/Talk WPRV 790 AM. 

MacGunnigle was previously Assistant Program Director for WPRO, a position he has held since October 2017. In his new role, MacGunnigle will be working with newly named Operations Manager for Cumulus Providence, Mary Ellen Kachinske.

Holly Paras, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Providence, said: “Doug MacGunnigle is a tremendous asset to our News/Talk stations. With 20 years’ experience in Providence radio, Doug knows the market and stations inside and out. He was the natural choice to lead WPRO and WPRV moving forward.”

Mary Ellen Kachinske, Operations Manager, Cumulus Providence, noted: “Doug is perfectly positioned to lead WPRO and WPRV with his intelligence, great instincts and deep knowledge of the station and market.”

MacGunnigle commented: “I grew up listening to WPRO, and it is truly an humbling honor to be given an opportunity to lead this legendary radio station. I look forward to helping bring these stations into the future, while continuing to protect and grow WPRO’s legacy as one of the great News/Talk stations in the country.”

Portland OR Radio: Nick & Kristen Land At Country KWJJ

Nick and Kristen
Entercom has announced Nick and Kristen as hosts of the new morning show on Country KWJJ 99.5 The Wolf. The “Nick and Kristen” show will air weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. PT, beginning Wednesday, January 22.

“Nick and Kristen’s accessible sound, positivity and family friendly approach will resonate not only with new country fans but the entire Portland community,” said Kim Martinez, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Portland. “Their show will bring the trials of a married couple to life in funny, creative and interactive ways. Their unique take on the topic of the day, deep relationships within the local community and accessible personalities make them the perfect choice to wake up with on the Wolf.”

“We are so thrilled to work alongside Kim Martinez and Scott Roddy [Program Director and Operations Manager, 99.5 The Wolf],” said Nick and Kristen. “Both are dynamic and inspiring leaders in our industry who elevate their staff and their stations. We’re equally as excited to share our lives and bring the best new country to Portland.”

Prior to joining Entercom, Nick and Kristen served as on-air hosts for KOIT-FM in San Francisco for the last three years. They previously held the same roles for KNTY-FM in Sacramento, CA. The couple met ten years ago in Las Vegas where Kristen served as an anchor for sister station News Talk Radio 840 AM (KXNT-AM) and Nick served as an on-air personality for sister station 98.5 KLUC (KLUC-FM). 

Listeners can tune in to 99.5 The Wolf (KWJJ-FM) in Portland 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.

FL Radio: Ashley Allegretto To Manage Cumulus Cluster

Ashley Allegretto
CUMULUS MEDIA announces that it has promoted Ashley Allegretto to Vice President/Market Manager for Cumulus Fort Walton Beach, FL.

Allegretto rises from her current position as Regional Sales Manager, Digital for Cumulus Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, a position she has held since May 2014. She joined Cumulus Fort Walton Beach in 2007 as Account Executive/Recruitment Specialist.

Pete DeSimone, Regional Vice President, CUMULUS MEDIA, said: “We are thrilled to promote Ashley Allegretto to lead this cluster. Her passion for this community and her understanding of how to use our brands and our digital assets to help clients grow their businesses make her an effective leader.”

Allegretto commented: “I am grateful to Mary Berner, Bob Walker and Pete DeSimone for the opportunity to lead the incredible team we have assembled in Fort Walton Beach. Over the past 13 years I have seen firsthand the positive impact that our radio stations can have for local businesses and organizations in our community. I am eager to build on our past accomplishments and lead this group into our next round of success.”

CUMULUS MEDIA owns and operates five radio stations in Fort Walton Beach, FL, including: NASH FM 105.5/WYZB-FM (Country); NewsTalk 1260/WFTW-AM (News/Talk); 99 Rock/WKSM-FM (Rock); Coast 93.3/WNCV-FM (AC); and Z96/WZNS-FM (CHR).

Tulsa Radio: Five Griffin Stations On the Move

The five Griffin Communications-owned radio stations, which were purchased from The E.W. Scripps Company in 2018, have officially moved locations to the Griffin Communications Media Center, located at 303 N. Boston Ave. in the Tulsa Arts District in Downtown Tulsa.

The stations, including KFAQ Talk Radio (1170 AM), KHTT KHits (106.9 FM), KVOO (98.5 FM), KXBL Big Country (99.5 FM) and KBEZ The Drive (92.9 FM), are now in the same building as News On 6, Tulsa CW and other Tulsa-based Griffin properties.

“We are very excited to bring these stations home,” said David Griffin, Griffin Communications chairman and CEO. “Combining radio with our TV stations, billboards, websites and digital products deepens our commitment to the Tulsa market and provides an unmatched footprint. Additionally, it provides these radio stations with new state of the art studios and synergy opportunities so that they can continue to serve Green Country with exceptional content and broadcasting capabilities.”

The Griffin Communications Media Center is a 57,000 square foot broadcast facility featuring a state-of-the-art high definition news studio and green technology, including 32 geothermal wells reducing the site’s environmental impact. The Tulsa Arts District, located in the northern section of downtown Tulsa, is a diverse, culturally robust district with rich history that has transformed into a creative and community-driven area home to retail, restaurants, galleries, museums, parks, businesses and even a historic music venue.

NAB Announces Executive Moves

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith announced today that NAB Chief Operating Officer Chris Ornelas will be departing the organization Feb. 1 to become general counsel for Beasley Media Group, where he will oversee all legal matters for the multiplatform media company, including its 64 radio stations. Ornelas will be replaced by Curtis LeGeyt, NAB's current executive vice president, Government Relations, Smith said.

Chris Ornelas
Ornelas joined NAB in May 2010 as executive vice president and chief strategy officer. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2011. Prior to joining NAB, Ornelas served as Gordon Smith’s chief counsel on communications and technology policy during Smith’s tenure as a U.S. Senator from Oregon. Ornelas’s career also includes nearly a decade of communications law practice in the Washington offices of law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer.

LeGeyt joined NAB in October 2011 as senior vice president and legislative counsel, and later took on the role of senior vice president, public policy. He was promoted to executive vice president, government relations in July 2015. Prior to joining NAB, LeGeyt served as senior counsel to then Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy. LeGeyt also worked on antitrust litigation and merger reviews with the Howrey LLP law firm in Washington, and as a management consulting associate with Putnam Associates.

Curtis LeGeyt
“I’m grateful for the remarkable accomplishments that NAB has made on behalf of our radio and TV members over the last decade, and Chris Ornelas and Curtis LeGeyt have been instrumental in that success,” said Smith. “I will miss Chris Ornelas’s wise counsel, good humor and strategic guidance of ‘Team NAB’ as our COO. He’s been a selfless servant, a trusted colleague and a loyal friend during my years on Capitol Hill and at NAB. I’m so proud that Chris has a new opportunity to shine even brighter as Beasley Media’s new general counsel.”

Smith called the promotion of LeGeyt as successor to Ornelas “a recognition of Curtis’s superb management skills, the victories that NAB Government Relations has delivered on Capitol Hill, and his dedication to the mission of NAB and local broadcasting. Given the respect and admiration that Curtis commands among his NAB colleagues and peers in Washington, I’m pleased to reward him with this promotion and am confident in this choice.” Smith said NAB “is fortunate to have a deep reserve of talent in all of our departments, as reflected by today’s announcement.”

Coldplay To Inaugurate Entercom's HD Radio Sound Space

Entercom Thursday day announced that multiple award-winning band Coldplay will perform at the inaugural RADIO.COM Live event series in front of a small audience of KROQ (KROQ-FM) listeners. 

The performance will mark the grand opening of the new HD Radio Sound Space, a state-of-the-art entertainment hub which will host live broadcasts, music and custom events from the heart of Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile on Wilshire Boulevard. RADIO.COM, the exclusive digital home for all Entercom content across its portfolio of 235 stations, will stream the special performance live nationwide starting at 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET on January 17.

“We’re honored Coldplay will kick off the RADIO.COM Live event series at the grand unveil of the HD Radio Sound Space,” said Pam Russo, Senior Vice President and General Manager, RADIO.COM. “We are excited to offer fans exclusive access to this once-in-a lifetime performance, live via the RADIO.COM app and website nationwide as well as on select HD Radio stations. This is the first of many events that we will be hosting live from the heart of the city and we are looking forward to giving fans everywhere insider access.” 

“We are excited to reveal the HD Radio Sound Space during our first RADIO.COM Live event. This unique project has taken our team almost two years to plan and complete,” said Jeff Federman, Regional President, Entercom. “The HD Radio Sound Space is situated right on Wilshire Boulevard. The huge fishbowl windows make it extremely accessible to fans, the community and commuters to engage with our talent, artists and partners.”

This inaugural 2020 performance – and the many more to follow throughout the year – is sponsored in partnership with HD Radio, the leading standard in digital radio broadcast technology. The HD Radio Sound Space program has been in existence since February 2017 and was originally located in the World Famous KROQ studios performance space on Venice Boulevard, that also launched with a grand opening performance by Coldplay. The partnership is a natural fit given HD Radio’s more than 4,200 digital broadcast programs on air. HD Radio enables listening for local radio stations across the U.S. with digital broadcasts offering extra local FM and AM channels for even more music, news and sports for radio listeners to enjoy with crystal-clear sound – all 100% subscription-free.

Fans can tune in to the performance on the RADIO.COM website or mobile app. They can also tune in via the following stations on air or livestream on the station’s websites: HFS@104.9 FM (WWMX-HD2) in Baltimore, Alternative Buffalo (WLKK-FM) in Buffalo, NY, ALT 103.7 (KVIL-FM) in Dallas, 96.5 The Buzz (KRBZ-FM) in Kansas City, X107.5 (KXTE-FM) in Las Vegas, KROQ in Los Angeles, 105.5 Triple M (WMMM-FM) in Madison, WI, 104.3 The Shark (WSFS-FM) in Miami, ALT 92.3 (WNYL-FM) in New York, FM 101.9 (WQMP-FM) in Orlando, 94/7 Alternative Portland (KNRK-FM) in Portland, OR, XL102 (WRXL-FM) in Richmond, VA, ALT 94-7 (KKDO-FM) in Sacramento, ALT 949 (KBZT-FM) in San Diego, ALT 105.3 (KITS-FM) and Alice @ 97.3 (KLLC-FM, webcast only) in San Francisco and 107.7 The End (KNDD-FM) in Seattle.

Comcast Unveils Peacock, Will Have Free Option

Comcast’s streaming service will try to lure cord-cutters with exclusive access to new originals, the Olympics, and hit movies and shows. But when Peacock takes flight this spring, the streaming service will give consumers something else they can’t find on Netflix or Disney+.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that unlike many of its rivals, Comcast will offer free and cheaper streaming products supported by advertisements. During an investor presentation Thursday, held in Studio 8H of 30 Rock featuring Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Meyers, the company said it will make a limited version of Peacock free to anyone, while a premium version will cost $4.99 a month. In addition, the Philadelphia company is bundling Peacock Premium to 24 million Comcast and Cox customers for free. Consumers can pay an extra $5 to watch Peacock without ads.

Comcast Xfinity customers will get early access to Peacock on April 15, with the service set to launch nationwide July 15.

Comcast said it expects to reach about 35 million active accounts by 2024. By then, the company estimates Peacock to generate $2.5 billion in revenue.

By making Peacock free for cable customers, Comcast could quickly add tens of millions of users to the service while convincing cord-cutters to stick with Xfinity by bundling broadband with content. The cable and media giant has been losing hundreds of thousands of TV customers quarter after quarter.

“We have one of the most enviable collections of media brands and the strongest ad sales track record in the business,” Steve Burke, chairman of NBCUniversal, said in a statement. “Capitalizing on these key strengths, we are taking a unique approach to streaming that brings value to customers, advertisers and shareholders.”

Comcast enters the streaming wars with a somewhat limited content arsenal. The company boasts of 15,000 hours of movies and shows from the NBCUniversal library on the premium Peacock, from the Friday Night Lights TV series to the Fast & Furious film franchise. Peacock will also carry new originals, including Battlestar Galactica and Saved by the Bell reboots. And it will feature live news, sports, and access to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers hours before they air on TV.

But it won’t have exclusive rights to hit comedies Parks & Recreation and The Office until October and January 2021, respectively.

By comparison, rival Disney has Star Wars and Marvel superheroes at its disposal, while AT&T will combine premium HBO shows with Warner Bros. content such as Friends, one of the biggest streaming hits of all time, when it launches HBO Max in May.

Peacock Premium’s ad-supported tier is cheaper than Netflix ($12.99 for high definition) and Amazon Prime Video ($8.99), neither of which sells ads. Hulu charges $5.99 for its ad-supported service and $11.99 for ad-free streaming.

Newer entrants charge or will bill anywhere from $4.99 a month (Apple TV+) to $14.99 (HBO Max) for their libraries of on-demand movies and shows. Disney+ costs customers $6.99. None of them shows ads.

Peacock will run about five minutes worth of ads per hour of video, Comcast executives said. The company expects to earn roughly $5 a month from each user from ads, using improved data collection and targeting capabilities. In unveiling Peacock on Thursday, NBC announced that the streaming service will launch with State Farm and Target, among others, as initial sponsors, bringing in hundreds of millions of advertising revenue.

Connected TV ad spending is expected to double to $14 billion by 2023, from nearly $7 billion last year, according to the market research firm eMarketer. That’s still a fraction of the $70 billion spent on traditional TV advertising in 2019. But the TV ad pie has been steadily shrinking. It’s expected to drop to more than $68 billion in 2023. Meanwhile, digital ad spending should grow from $34 billion last year to $59 billion in 2023, eMarketer predicts

Grammys Chief Deborah Dugan EXITS

Just 10 days before the 62nd Grammy Awards, Recording Academy President and Chief Executive Deborah Dugan has been placed on leave after an allegation of misconduct, the organization confirmed Thursday to The LA Times.

Debbie Dugan
Dugan took over on Aug. 1 as the first female president of the Recording Academy, which oversees the Grammy Awards. Dugan replaced longtime Recording Academy Chief Executive Neil Portnow, who suggested in 2018 that female artists should “step up” if they wanted to be recognized at the Grammys.

“In light of concerns raised to the Recording Academy Board of Trustees, including a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team, the Board has placed Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan on administrative leave, effective immediately,” according to a statement. “The Board has also retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations of the allegations.

“The Board determined this action to be necessary in order to restore the confidence of the Recording Academy’s membership, repair Recording Academy employee morale, and allow the Recording Academy to focus on its mission of serving all music creators,” the statement continued. “Board Chair Harvey Mason Jr. will serve as interim president and CEO pending the conclusion of the investigation. The Recording Academy Board of Trustees is committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace, music industry and society.”

A source with knowledge of the Recording Academy’s operations told The Times that Dugan “didn’t fit in, from the get-go.”

Some sources contacted by Billboard would not address the specific allegation of misconduct, but allege that, despite a thorough and months-long search for a new CEO, Dugan had not been a good fit almost from the start.

Her relationships within the organization deteriorated rapidly. “Once there were some indications that she was not cooperating with the staff and the board, everything unraveled surprisingly quickly and in a very complex way,” the source says. “It wasn’t like a single incident. It was a series of issues. I think it goes way beyond not just being a good fit.”

Another source concurs, adding that “when you go in any job, you educate yourself in the past, as well as where you’re at to know how to move forward and I don’t think any of that was done appropriately by her." Academy insiders met with Dugan a number of times to try to "hit the reset button and get on the same page," a sources says, but to no avail.

How her departure may impact the 2020 Grammy Awards ceremony is unclear.

The Grammys will take place at Staples Center on Jan. 26.

Which Tech Company Just Hit $1T In Value? Google It!

Google parent Alphabet became the fourth U.S. company ever to achieve a $1 trillion market value Thursday, punctuating a powerful rally in shares of large internet stocks to start 2020.

The Wall Street Journal reports the search-engine giant joins peers Apple Inc., Inc. and Microsoft Corp. as the only firms to reach the threshold. Apple and Amazon accomplished the feat in the summer of 2018, while Microsoft hit $1 trillion for the first time in April of last year. Amazon never closed above $1 trillion and has fallen well behind Apple and Microsoft, which have rocketed past that level recently.

The massive gains for technology stocks come with Silicon Valley companies ascending to the forefront of the world economy and flexing their muscles in new arenas such as health care and transportation. Despite concerns about stricter regulatory scrutiny, the biggest technology companies have continued soaring in value, highlighting how investors favor firms that steadily improve sales in a world with tepid economic growth and low interest rates.

Google faces investor concerns about antitrust probes into its dominance in advertising and rising costs. Those worries have put Alphabet shares behind the pace of many of its technology peers in the past year, but many investors remain confident the company can continue growing consistently.

Alphabet shares have surged since the company said in early December that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were stepping down from managing the parent company and ceding control to Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai. Analysts have suggested Mr. Pichai could further buoy the stock either by increasing buybacks or potentially instituting a dividend payment for the first time in the company’s history because a chunk of his bonus is tied to share performance.

The Plot Thickens: Player Defensive After Twitter Buzzer Bombshell

Jose Altuve’s representative, Scott Boras, denied a claim the Astros second baseman wore buzzers underneath his jersey as a way to receive signals for what pitches were coming.

The NY Post reports the allegations came from a Twitter user claiming to be Carlos Beltran’s niece, though Beltran’s family denied to ESPN that the user is related to them. This Twitter user made bombshell allegations Thursday that Altuve and teammate Alex Bregman both wore devices to tip them off to pitches as part of Houston’s electronic sign-stealing scandal.

Footage from Altuve’s game-winning homer off Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 of last year’s ALCS — which sent the Astros to the World Series — showed Altuve yelling at his teammates as he finished circling the bases not to rip off his jersey.

“[Altuve] has never been involved in any information with the use of an electronic device that is triggered during the course of the game,’’ Boras told The Post. “Fans need to keep in mind that there are a lot of players who are in the spider web, but they are not the black widow just because they are a member of the team or the league.’’

In a statement to The Post, MLB said the league “explored wearable devices during the investigation, but found no evidence to substantiate it.”

Of Altuve not wanting his shirt torn off, Boras said, “That is the shyness of Jose Altuve.”

Shannon Bream Gets New Multi-Year Deal With Fox News

Shannon Bream has signed a new, multi-year deal to remain at Fox News, the network announced on Thursday.

The “FOX News @ Night” host will continue in her role as the network’s chief legal correspondent in addition to anchoring the highly successful 11 p.m. ET program.

“Throughout her tenure, Shannon has cultivated a relationship with the FOX News audience that is both informative and insightful. Her extensive knowledge of Washington politics and the intricacies of the Supreme Court have led to the ongoing success of ‘FOX News @ Night’ and we are looking forward to further utilizing her expertise throughout 2020 and beyond,” Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace said in a joint statement.

Since joining Fox News in 2007, the Washington, D.C.-based Bream has covered every election and major Supreme Court story, including the battle over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. As Fox News' chief legal correspondent, she leads all news breaking out of the Supreme Court across all of Fox News platforms

“After nearly 13 years at the network, I still feel lucky to walk through the doors at Fox News Channel and deliver the news to our viewers," Bream said. "From breaking down the latest headlines on ‘FOX News @ Night’ to explaining the complexities of the law, I have had the opportunity to report from the front lines of the major stories emanating out of Washington.

“I am ecstatic to continue doing what I love and look forward to an exciting year ahead.”

In addition to her other duties, Bream also hosts the Fox News Podcast, “Livin’ the Bream,” and recently authored “Finding the Bright Side, The Art of Chasing What Matters.”

Bream’s “FOX News @ Night” finished December as a Top 10 cable news program in the key demographic of adults age 25-54, according to Nielsen Media Research.

TWH Press Secretary: Media Refuses To Talk About Economy

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham talk with Lou Dobbs on the Fox Business Network about trade deals, the media's coverage of Trump and impeachment.

Her comments starts at the 5:30 Time Mark:

Meghan McCain Rips NY Times

Meghan McCain blasted The New York Times on Twitter, accusing the newspaper of hating conservative women after it published an op-ed critical of the "The View" co-host.

McCain tweeted at the newspaper saying, “everyone already knows how much you despise red state, pro life, pro #2A conservative women, and wish we would all just go away.”

Megan McCain
The Hill reports the ABC talk show co-host and daughter of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was responding to an op-ed published Thursday entitled “‘The View’ Has a Meghan McCain Problem.”

The piece, authored by Shamira Ibrahim, called McCain the show’s “most polarizing and predictable figure” and her debates with other hosts and guests “just exhausting.”

The outspoken McCain has gotten into her share of on-air squabbles over the past few months, including when she rallied conservative women on social media against co-host Whoopi Goldberg for telling her, “Girl, please stop talking.”

Fellow conservative Abby Huntsman announced on Monday that she was leaving “The View” to assist with her father’s gubernatorial campaign in Utah. She reportedly had a strained relationship with McCain and complained about a troubled culture at the show.