Saturday, February 22, 2020

February 23 Radio History

➦In 1904...Print journalist and CBS Radio correspondent William Lawrence Shirer was born in Chicago (Died – December 28, 1993 at age 89).  He was was a journalist and war correspondent. He wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a history of Nazi Germany that has been read by many and cited in scholarly works for more than 50 years.

Originally a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and the International News Service, Shirer was the first reporter hired by Edward R. Murrow for what would become a CBS radio team of journalists known as "Murrow's Boys". He became known for his broadcasts from Berlin, from the rise of the Nazi dictatorship through the first year of World War II (1940). With Murrow, he organized the first broadcast world news roundup, a format still followed by news broadcasts.

➦In 1927...President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill into law that created the Federal Radio Commission, “to bring order out of this terrible chaos.” The president was speaking, of course, of the nation’s then unregulated radio stations. The name was changed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on July 1, 1934. The FRC regulated radio use in the United States from its creation in 1926 until its replacement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1934.

The Commission was created to regulate radio use "as the public interest, convenience, or necessity" requires. The Radio Act of 1927 superseded the Radio Act of 1912, which had given regulatory powers over radio communication to the Secretary of Commerce and Labor. The Radio Act of 1912 did not mention broadcasting and limited all private radio communications to what is now the AM band.

➦In 1970...Jay Reynolds, who generated  huge ratings in PM Drive at WIFE 1310 AM, the market leader at that time in Indianapolis, started at 77 WABC in NYC.

Reynolds did the all-night show for six years - not only the longest consecutive tenure during the station's 21 and a half years with a music format, but nine months longer than the combined time that Charlie Greer spent on the all-night show during his two stints.  He died in March, 1996.

➦In 2010...‘Boss radio’ co-creator died of non-Hodgkins lymphona at age 90.Gene Chenault died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 90.

Chenault, who with his business partner, Bill Drake, reshaped rock radio in the 1960s with prepackaged programming that delivered more music and fewer commercials to hundreds of stations, creating an automated format.

The programming, using reel-to-reel tapes of Top 40 hits, was primarily designed by Drake and marketed and syndicated by Chenault. It raised ratings at station after station and brought a certain big-city sound to many small towns.

The new format gave rise to the stock phrases “boss jock” and “boss radio,” which first took hold at 93KHJ in Los Angeles in 1965. (The word boss was derived from California surfer slang for good, as in “That’s a boss wave.”) Within a year KHJ leapt from 12th to first place in the Los Angeles ratings. Its slogan: “Much More Music.”

➦In 2017…Broadcaster Alan Colmes died from cancer at age 66 (Born-September 24, 1950). He was a radio and television host, liberal political commentator for the Fox News Channel, and blogger. He was the host of The Alan Colmes Show, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show distributed by Fox News Radio. From 1996 to 2009, Colmes served as the co-host of Hannity & Colmes, a nightly political debate show on Fox News Channel.

He developed his radio career in the Northeast, eventually working at stations such as WABC, WNBC, WHN, WMCA and WEVD in New York, WNHC in New Haven, Connecticut, and WEZE and WZLX in Boston.

His radio career took off when WABC hired him for the morning drive time slot. He was billed as "W. Alan B. Colmes," as in the station's call sign. He moved to WNBC in 1987, but his tenure there would be short when NBC announced in 1988 it would close its radio division. When WNBC went off the air for the last time on October 7, 1988, Colmes' was the last voice heard.

CRS: Younger Country Listeners Like Videos and Podcasts

The final day of CRS 2020 featured the presentation Defending Your Audience Share: Exclusive Research Findings, the results of a major study conducted by Futuri Media and the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.

The study was conducted in January 2020 and surveyed nearly 1,400 people who named country as their favorite music format out of a list of seven options. It also broke out those who listen to AM/FM country radio (both terrestrial and streaming), and those who listen to country music but not via AM/FM country radio.

Presented by Daniel Anstandig, Futuri Media’s CEO, and Rob Harder, Director of Programming / Brand Manager for the University of Florida radio properties, the study aimed to answer three questions facing country radio today:
  • How do we defend our country audience and revenue share?
  • How should we extend our country content onto new platforms?
  • How will we transcend our challenges as the country competition landscape changes?

Among the key findings:
  • 76% of AM/FM country listeners would prefer more video content from their favorite country radio station.
  • Country radio listeners are tuning in to nearly the same amount of AM/FM radio as in the past, but 23% plan to listen to more country radio streaming in the next three months.
  • Women 18-34 who listen to broadcast radio tend to be more active on social media than streaming listeners. Throughout the study, data shows that country stations should have a social strategy that targets country fans, especially younger females, with sticky and recyclable content.
  • Country listeners who have listened to a podcast in the last month name music as their favorite podcast topic genre. This number is 30%; the next highest topic genre is news/politics at 11%. Country radio station are great at talking about music; this presents an excellent time-shifted and original podcast content opportunity.
  • Quality station-specific mobile apps present a major engagement opportunity. Younger listeners are more likely to install them, and they’re an opportunity for more connected car listening. Of AM/FM country radio listener respondents, 44% have their favorite station’s mobile app installed on their mobile device, a number that jumps to 48% when looking at the 18-34 demo. And 26% of country fans listen to country music via a connected car platform and are highly likely to listen to country music connecting their mobile device to their vehicle.

For more key findings, including many related to driving revenue, visit

Chicago Radio: WEBG Adds 'Throwback Weekends'

WEBG BIG 95.5, Chicago’s New Country, announced Friday the debut of “Throwback Weekends,” effective immediately. “Throwback Weekends” will broadcast starting at 1:00 p.m. on Friday afternoons.

“Throwback Weekends” will feature Country music’s greatest songs from the 80s and 90s, along with the newest Country hits. Leading up to the debut of “Throwback Weekends,” BIG 95.5 is honoring country music’s deep roots by counting down the Top 1,000 Country songs of all time, as ranked by a Blue Ribbon panel of Country experts.

“Throughout the countdown, we’ve heard from country fans all over Chicagoland who want more of Country music’s greatest hits on the radio mixed with best new Country music,” said Lance Houston, Program Director for BIG 95.5.

“We are always listening and are happy to give our listeners more of what they want. We will continue to be No. 1 for new Country music in Chicago, while excited to provide a bigger variety of songs and sounds. Country music has always had a thousand different sounds and we are delighted to celebrate all of them.”

St. Louis Radio: KYKY Revamps, All Music After 7P

Entercom Friday announced a new weekday programming lineup for KYKY Y98, St. Louis’ only hot adult contemporary station.

The station’s morning show will relaunch as “The Wake Up with Jen & Tim,” hosted by Jen Myers and Tim Convy, with contributions from Kevin Berghoff and Lance Hildebrand. “The Wake Up with Jen & Tim” will air weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. CT.

In addition to the morning show, the station promoted Julie Tristan to host of the midday show. Tristan will be heard weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. On-air host Paul Cook will continue hosting Y98’s afternoon drive.

“From day one, Jen, Tim, Kevin and Lance have impressed me with their energy, passion and desire to learn and win, and they have elevated our morning show in a short time,” said Becky Domyan, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom St. Louis. “I’m equally excited about the addition of Julie Tristan to our weekday programming. She has an amazing track record of success in the market. She is an unstoppable talent, and her charitable contributions to the community have been tremendous as well. As the No. 1 creator of live and local audio content, our station aims to serve our community with content and information they rely on, and I’m looking forward to our revamped lineup driving the iconic Y98 to continued success.”

“I’m excited to continue my career in St. Louis, connecting with members of the community on a daily basis,” said Tristan. “I can’t wait to deliver upbeat content to our audience as they tune in during their workdays.”

Julie Tristan is an Emmy-nominated multimedia journalist who has nearly two decades of experience as an on-air personality in radio and television in St. Louis. She has also served as a professional photographer, writer and editor in both industries and founded her own video production company 8 Dogs Video. She also currently serves as a producer and announcer for “Spotlight STL” on KPLR-TV.

New Y98 weekday lineup is as follows.
  • 5:30 a.m. – “The Wake Up with Jen & Tim”
  • 10:00 a.m. – Julie Tristan
  • 2:00 p.m. – Paul Cook
  • 7:00 p.m. – “Y98 Music”
Listeners can tune in to Y98 (KYKY-FM) in St. Louis 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.

Fox's Henry, Regan Defend Cavuto After Trump Attacks

President Donald Trump attacked Neil Cavuto Thursday and Friday, tweeting that the Fox News anchor has “very bad ratings.” However, The Wrap did a review of Nielsen ratings data shows that Cavuto’s 4 p.m. ET show, “Your World,” is seeing immense gains compared to this month last year — while other competitors in that time slot are falling behind their previous numbers.

For February 2020, “Your World” is the eighth highest-rated cable news program in total viewers, bringing in 2.246 million average total viewers. It’s also the ninth highest-rated cable news show in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25-54, bringing in 352,000 total average viewers in that range.

Those numbers are up 45% and 41% from last February, respectively. Last February, “Your World” brought in 1.553 million average total viewers, and of those, 250,000 were in the 25-54 demo.

Meanwhile, several Fox News anchors and pundits have come to the defense of longtime Fox News and Fox Business anchor Neil Cavuto, calling him an "outstanding man" and "utmost journalist" after he faced criticism from President Trump at a rally on Wednesday night.

The Hill reports Fox News anchor Ed Henry replied “Neil Cavuto, from the first day I walked into Fox News Channel, has always been an outstanding man and outstanding journalist, and I want to stand up for him as well.”

Later on Fox Business, "Trish Regan Primetime" host Trish Regan also defended Cavuto, who also serves as senior vice president and managing editor of business news for both Fox News and Fox Business.

“It’s come to my attention the president, while speaking to the crowd in Colorado Springs, said something disparaging against one of my colleagues,” Regan said in addressing viewers directly. “I can tell you that about Neil," she continued. "He is a fair person, a fair guy, and a good man. So I’m disappointed that the president said those things. Because Neil Cavuto is one guy who doesn’t deserve it.”

Last summer, Cavuto said in a closing monologue on his Fox News program that the network doesn't work for Trump after the president said the cable news network "isn't working for us anymore."

"Mr. President, we don’t work for you. I don’t work for you,” Cavuto said on "Your World."

“My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you. Just report on you," he added.

Twitter Suspends 70 Pro-Bloomberg Accounts

Michael R. Bloomberg’s presidential campaign has been experimenting with novel tactics to cultivate an online following, or at least the appearance of one.

But, reports the L-A Times,  one of the strategies — deploying a large number of Twitter accounts to push out identical messages — has backfired. On Friday, Twitter began suspending 70 accounts posting pro-Bloomberg content in a pattern that violates company rules.

“We have taken enforcement action on a group of accounts for violating our rules against platform manipulation and spam,” a Twitter spokesman said. Some of the suspensions will be permanent, while in other cases account owners will have to verify they have control of their accounts.

As part of a far-reaching social media strategy, the Bloomberg campaign has hired hundreds of temporary employees to pump out campaign messages through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These “deputy field organizers” receive $2,500 per month to promote the former New York mayor’s candidacy within their personal social circles, in addition to other, more conventional duties. They receive campaign-approved language that they can opt to post.

In posts reviewed by The Times, organizers often used identical text, images, links and hashtags. Many accounts used were created only in the last two months.

NAB Unveils Election Toolkit for Stations’ Political Coverage

The National Association of Broadcasters Friday announced the launch of its 2020 Election Toolkit, a print and online resource to help local broadcast radio and television stations with their news coverage of the 2020 presidential, congressional and local elections.

The toolkit provides broadcasters with resources to identify misinformation online, suggestions about fact-checking statements made by political candidates, tips for helping get out the vote and ideas for social media engagement with citizens. In addition, the toolkit offers scripts for public service announcements about voting in primary and general elections, as well as information about sponsoring debates and candidate forums.

“Broadcasters are the most-trusted source for political news and information, and we take seriously our role in helping educate voters about the issues affecting their communities,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “The election toolkit provides guidance for broadcasters during their election coverage that will educate the electorate, promote civic engagement and build a stronger democracy.”

The toolkit was unveiled in advance of the 2020 State Leadership Conference on February 24, an annual meeting of more than 550 radio and TV broadcasters to discuss legislative and regulatory issues important to the broadcast industry.

Comcast, Fox Look To Bolster Streaming Efforts

NBCUniversal and Fox Corp -- two traditional TV network-based media companies -- are looking to boost streaming efforts in two possible separate deals, according to Mediapost citing reports.

NBCU is in advance talks to buy Walmart-owned streaming service Vudu, while Fox is looking to buy Tubi, a pay TV advertising streaming platform. Both stories were reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The price tag for Tubi is said to be $500 million. Last January, Pluto TV, a similar pay TV, ad-supported service of networks, was sold to Viacom for $340 million.

Walmart bought Vudu -- a service that allows customers to rent or buy individual movies or shows -- for $100 million in 2010

In 2016, Vudu started a free, ad-supported streaming service. Advertisers can target ads based on Walmart’s shopper data which can then run on TV shows and movies on Vudu.

NBCU is starting up its big, broad-based premium Peacock service in April. Vudu could complement this effort. Other media companies have done the same when it comes to combining disparate in-house, individual streaming platforms.

Tubi, a modest service with 25 million monthly active users as of December, has much content focusing on reruns of TV shows and library movies.

Recently, Tubi said it expected to spend $100 million on content in 2020. Tubi’s existing content partners include Warner Bros., Paramount and Lionsgate.

Recently, ViacomCBS said it was also looking to expand its streaming efforts -- around CBS All Access, as well as including content from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET and VH1.

ViacomCBS new broader effort is to compete with bigger, all-encompassing TV services such as Disney+ as well as new services to come -- NBCU’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max.

February 22 Radio History

➦In 1857...German physicist Heinrich Hertz  was born (Died January 1, 1894).  He was first to conclusively proved the existence of the electromagnetic waves theorized by James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light. The unit of frequency – cycle per second – was named the "hertz" in his honor.

Heinrich Hertz
The first successful radio transmission was made by David Edward Hughes in 1879, but it would not be conclusively proven to have been electromagnetic waves until the experiments of Hertz in 1886. For the Hertz radio wave transmitter, he used a high-voltage induction coil, a condenser (capacitor, Leyden jar) and a spark gap—whose poles on either side are formed by spheres of 2 cm radius—to cause a spark discharge between the spark gap’s poles oscillating at a frequency determined by the values of the capacitor and the induction coil.

To prove there really was radiation emitted, it had to be detected. Hertz used a piece of copper wire, 1 mm thick, bent into a circle of a diameter of 7.5 cm, with a small brass sphere on one end, and the other end of the wire was pointed, with the point near the sphere. He bought a screw mechanism so that the point could be moved very close to the sphere in a controlled fashion. This "receiver" was designed so that current oscillating back and forth in the wire would have a natural period close to that of the "transmitter" described above. The presence of oscillating charge in the receiver would be signaled by sparks across the (tiny) gap between the point and the sphere (typically, this gap was hundredths of a millimeter).

In more advanced experiments, Hertz measured the velocity of electromagnetic radiation and found it to be the same as light’s velocity. He also showed that the nature of radio waves’ reflection and refraction was the same as those of light and established beyond any doubt that light is a form of electromagnetic radiation obeying the Maxwell equations.

Hertz's experiments triggered broad interest in radio research that eventually produced commercially successful wireless telegraph, audio radio, and later television.

➦In 1907...Radio, TV actor & producer Sheldon Leonard (died: January 11, 1997 at age 89) was born in New York City.  He was part of the cast of voice actors on the Damon Runyon Theatre radio show (1948-1949). He was part of the ensemble cast of the Martin and Lewis radio show. He also appeared frequently on The Adventures of the Saint, often playing gangsters and heavies. Leonard was also a regular on the radio comedy series The Adventures of Maisie in the 1940s. During the 1950s, Leonard provided the voice of lazy fat cat Dodsworth in two Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoons directed by Robert McKimson.

➦In 1910...Radio actor, announcer Ken Roberts was born Saul Trochman in New York City (Died from pneumonia at age 99 – June 19, 2009). He was known for his work during the Golden Age of Radio, especially on The Shadow, It Pays to Be Ignorant, Quick as a Flash & Easy Ace, sand for his work announcing the daytime television soap operas The Secret Storm, Texas and Love of Life, each for a two-decade span.

Ken Roberts
His first announcing job was at WMCA in New York lasting three weeks. Next at WLTH in Brooklyn. In an interview for the book The Great American Broadcast, Roberts told Leonard Maltin that he had started at the Brooklyn station in 1930, where his responsibilities included answering phones and sweeping the floors, in addition to on-air roles playing piano and reading poetry.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Roberts' voice appeared widely in live programming to introduce programs, moderate game shows and do live reads for commercials. Despite his Errol Flynn-like good looks and the frequent broadcasts featuring his voice, as often as several times each day, few listeners knew who he was or would have recognized him in public radio historian Jim Cox described Roberts' voice as neither "Yankee, Southern, Western or anything else". It was a voice that didn't "irritate anybody" and that "you just naturally liked to hear", making him "one of the leading lights of radio".  Steve Beverly of The Daily Game Show Fix described Roberts as having "what executives called a golden throat", with a familiar voice that was one of broadcasting's most-recognized anonymous voices. He also found time to narrate dozens of theatrical movie trailers and "intermission" segments for traditional and drive-in theaters during the 1940s and 1950s.

In 1935, Roberts was one of the founders of the American Guild of Radio Announcers and Producers, one of the predecessors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)

➦In 1918...Longtime announcer Dominick George "Don" Pardo was born in Westfield, MA (Died– August 18, 2014 at age 96). His career spanned more than seven decades.

Don Pardo
Pardo was hired for his first radio position at NBC affiliate WJAR in Providence in 1938.

He joined NBC full-time as an in-house announcer in 1944, remaining on the network staff for 60 years. The radio programs on which he worked as an announcer include Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator, the sci-fi shows X Minus One and Dimension X. During World War II, Pardo worked as a war reporter for NBC Radio.

For more than 30 years, Pardo was one of the rotating announcers on the KFOG San Francisco radio show "Ten at Ten", appearing at 10 a.m. and in syndication with Dave Morey on KFOG HD Radio.

In the early 1950s, he served as announcer for many of RCA's and NBC's closed-circuit color television demonstrations.

Pardo made his mark on game shows for NBC as the voice of the original The Price Is Right from 1956 until it moved to ABC in 1963. Pardo's next show was Jeopardy!, which he announced from 1964 until the original version of the series ended in 1975. This early version was hosted by Art Fleming. The current syndicated version of Jeopardy! has been hosted by Alex Trebek and since 1984 has been announced by prominent long time announcer, Johnny Gilbert. Pardo also announced New York–based NBC game shows such as Three on a Match, Winning Streak, and Jackpot!, all three of which were Bob Stewart productions.

Pardo squeezed in many other assignments at NBC, including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (until 1999), WNBC-TV's Live at Five and NBC Nightly News.

Pardo was the on-duty live booth announcer for WNBC-TV in New York and the NBC network on November 22, 1963, and he was the first to announce to NBC viewers that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas.

Best remembered as the announcer for the first 39 years of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ he uniquely scored a 70 year career as announcer for NBC Radio & TV. He made weekly flights from his Arizona retirement home to New York to work live on SNL.

WOR's First Control Room
➦In 1922...WOR-AM signed on. WOR began broadcasting on February 22, 1922, using a 500-watt transmitter on 360 meters (833 kc.) from Bamberger's Department Store in Newark, New Jersey. Louis Bamberger's sale of radio sets to consumers explained their affiliation with the station. The WOR call sign was reissued from the U.S. maritime radio service.

The station initially operated limited hours, sharing time with two other stations, WDT and WJY, which also operated on 833 kc. WOR changed frequency to 740 kc. in June 1923 and shared time with WJY until July 1926, when WJY signed off for good and WOR received full use of the frequency. In December 1924, WOR acquired a studio in Manhattan.

On June 17, 1927, as a result of General Order 40, WOR moved to 710 kc., the channel it currently occupies (unlike most stations, it was not affected by NARBA in 1943). Later in 1926, WOR moved from its New York City studio on the 9th floor of Chickering Hall at 27 West 57th Street to 1440 Broadway, two blocks from Times Square.
John B. Gambling 1930

WOR was first a charter member of the CBS Radio Network, being one of the 16 stations that aired the first CBS network program on September 18, 1927.   In partnership with Chicago radio station WGN and Cincinnati radio station WLW, WOR formed the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1934 and became its New York flagship station. Mutual was one of the "Big Four" national radio networks in the United States during the 1930s–1980s.

In 1941, the station changed its city of license from Newark to New York City. However, for all intents and purposes it had been a New York City station since it signed on, and had actually moved its studios across the Hudson two years after signing on.

From the 1930s to the early 1980s, WOR was a free-flowing full-service station.

There was an emphasis on news reports and talk programs, but music was played also, usually a blend of pop standards and adult contemporary tunes.

Election Coverage 1933
WOR played several songs per hour weekday mornings from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again afternoons from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. They also played about a dozen songs per hour on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Milton Berle
In ratings books, WOR was classified as a MOR/Talk station rather than a News/Talk station until 1984. From 1983 to about 1985, WOR gradually stopped playing music altogether, evolving into its current talk format.

Past notable hosts were Ed and Pegeen Fitzgerald, Arlene Francis, Patricia McCann, Long John Nebel, Bernard Meltzer, Barry Farber, Jean Shepherd, Bob and Ray, Jack O'Brian, Bob Grant and Gene Klavan.

WOR introduced live, on-air, helicopter traffic reports with pilot reporters "Fearless" Fred Feldman and later George Meade. From 1945 to 1963, Dorothy Kilgallen and her husband Dick Kollmar (1910–1971) co-hosted WOR morning show Breakfast With Dorothy and Dick.

The station was known for its detailed, 15-minute news reports on the hour. Noted newsmen such as Henry Gladstone, Harry Hennessey, John Wingate, Lyle Vann, Peter Roberts, and Roger Skibenes were the backbone of the news department.

Bob and Ray (left)
WOR's most renowned program was morning show Rambling with Gambling, which aired continuously from March 1925 to December 2013 across three generations of hosts: John B. Gambling, John A. Gambling, and John R. Gambling.

Today, WOR is owned by iHeartMedia and airs a talk format.

➦In 1954…Don McNeill's Breakfast Club began a simulcast on ABC-TV.  The simulcast ended on February 25, 1955 having failed to make a successful transition to TV.

The Breakfast Club was a long-run morning variety show on NBC Blue Network/ABC radio originating in Chicago, Illinois. The radio program ran from June 23, 1933, through December 27, 1968. McNeil's 35½-year run as host remains the longest tenure for an emcee of a network entertainment program, surpassing Johnny Carson (29½ years) on The Tonight Show and Bob Barker (34⅔ years) on The Price Is Right, albeit split between radio and television, whereas the latter two were television only.

The show  combined music with informal talk and jokes often based on topical events. In addition to recurring comedy performers, various vocal groups and soloists, listeners heard sentimental verse, conversations with members of the studio audience and a silent moment of prayer. McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable radio format

➦In 1956...Elvis Presley enjoyed his first number one hit on Billboard's To 100 singles Chart.

➦In 1982... WABC officially confirmed it would be going to an all-talk format that May.

By early 1981, WABC's cumulative audience was down to 2.5 million—rival WNBC, a perennial also-ran, was by this time beating them with 3 million. Fewer people were tuning into WABC, listeners who had switched to FM were not coming back, and, while still moderately successful, the ship was sinking. Jay Clark tried to improve the time-spent-listening.

The airstaff began saying goodbye with a comment here and there from February into May. Finally, on April 30, it was announced that the switch to all-talk would occur on May 10 at noon.  From May 7 to 9, the departing station air-staffers said their goodbyes one last time.

The official music format ended 10:45 p.m. May 9, 1982. The station aired the Yankee game that day at Seattle. From 2 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. they ran the normal Sunday evening public affairs programs pre-empted due to the Yankee game.

Ross & Wilson played their usual 4 songs and the music ended with a tribute show from 9 a.m. to noon May 10 hosted by Ron Lundy & Dan Ingram. Staffers that departed included Ron Lundy, Dan Ingram, Marc Sommers and Peter Bush. Assistant Program Director Jeff Mazzei left for a similar position at WCBS 101.1FM where he would stay for well over 25 years. Marc Sommers also went to WCBS-FM and eventually Ron Lundy and Dan Ingram would join him there. Johnny Donovan and Mike McKay remained at WABC as staff announcers and producers. Mike McKay did not long survive the transition to talk and Johnny Donovan has some 30 years later since retired from WABC.

➦In 2011...Announced William Lorne "Bill" Nimmo died (born June 18, 1917). He was a television and radio personality whose career spanned seven decades.

In 1947, he landed a job as overnight disc jockey at WLW-AM with his distinctive baritone voice. In 1948 Bill became Cincinnati’s first television star on WLWT-TV serving as an announcer, newscaster, and host of various shows.  Nimmo was Johnny Carson’s first sidekick on TV's 'Who Do You Trust' afternoon game show (before Ed McMahon).

In 1991, Nimmo was inducted into the Cincinnati Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Cumulus Media Reports 4Q Net Revenue Drop

Cumulus Media Inc. today announced operating results for the three months and year ended December 31, 2019.
  • For the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company reported net revenue of $1,113.4 million, a decrease of 2.4% from the year ended December 31, 2018, net income of $61.3 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $213.0 million, a decrease of 9.1% from the year ended December 31, 2018. 
  • For the three months ended December 31, 2019, the Company reported net revenue of $285.5 million, a decrease of 7.7% from the three months ended December 31, 2018, net income of $1.6 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $50.7 million, a decrease of 22.8% from the three months ended December 31, 2018.
  • For the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company reported same station net revenue, excluding the impact of political, of $1,103.2 million, an increase of 1.4% from the year ended December 31, 2018, and same station Adjusted EBITDA, excluding the impact of political, of $206.8 million, an increase of 0.5% from the year ended December 31, 2018. 
  • For the three months ended December 31, 2019, the Company reported same station net revenue, excluding the impact of political, of $282.4 million, a decrease of 1.7% from the three months ended December 31, 2018, and same station Adjusted EBITDA, excluding the impact of political, of $47.9 million, a decrease of 8.0% from the three months ended December 31, 2018.

2019 Highlights
  • Same Station Revenue Growth for Second Consecutive Year, Driven by Industry-Leading Digital Growth of Nearly 60%
  • Same Station Adjusted EBITDA Growth for Third Consecutive Year, Excluding Political
  • Completion of Significantly Accretive M&A and Swap Transactions that Generated $146.5 Million in Gross Proceeds and Created Market-Leading Clusters
  • $220 Million of Debt Paydown, Reducing Net Leverage to 4.7x
  • Over $275 Million of Debt Paydown Since Emergence from Chapter 11 Equating to Approximately $13.75 per Share
Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer of CUMULUS MEDIA, said, “I am very proud of the Company’s 2019 results. On a same station basis, our team has now delivered the second year in a row of revenue growth and, excluding the impact of political, the third year in a row of Adjusted EBITDA growth. This performance was driven in large part by the industry-leading growth of our digital businesses and active cost management across our platforms. 

Mary Berner
"Additionally, we made strong progress against our financial goals during the year, paying down $220 million of debt with cash from operations and highly accretive divestitures, reducing net leverage to 4.7x. This year’s results reflect the success of our consistent focus on key strategies to create value for our investors.”

Berner continued, “Despite a choppy environment and an expected political headwind, fourth quarter revenue finished in-line with the pacing we shared during our last earnings call, and, with some slight favorability on expenses, we delivered Adjusted EBITDA that was somewhat better than we had indicated. As we move into the new year, we are further expanding our delivery of compelling audio experiences and digital offerings that connect and support our advertisers and listeners. And, we are optimistic about 2020 and our continuing ability to drive strong operating and financial performance while aggressively reducing net leverage to below 4.0x.”

Day 3: Jan PPMs Out For Portland, S-A, Orlando, 9 More Markets

Nielsen on Thursday, Feb 20, 2020 released the third batch of January 2020 PPM data for the following markets:

  22  Portland OR

  23  Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC

  25  San Antonio

  27  Sacramento

  28  Pittsburgh

  29  Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo

  30  Las Vegas

  31  Orlando

  32  Cincinnati

  34  Cleveland

  35  Kansas City

  36  Columbus OH

Click Here for topline numbers for subscribing Nielsen stations

CRS Panel: How To Get Get More Women On Country Radio

“2020 needs to be the year of the female artist” at country radio declared David Corey, country brand manager for the Beasley Media Group and program director at WKLB Boston at the launch of the Country Radio Seminar panel All the Singles, Ladies: Breaking Female Artists on Thursday (Feb. 20) in Nashville.

Billboard reports the programmers on the panel, moderated by Katie Dean, MCA Nashville’s senior VP of promotion, were focused on solutions at radio as opposed to rehashing past stats the reflect how dismal the situation is for women country artists.

Among their suggestions:
  • Play more new artists in general— male and female, suggested Nate Deaton, general manager, KRTY San Jose. “I don’t think it’s a female artist problem, its a new artist problem,” Deaton said. “There’s a tremendous lack of new artist airplay for both genres. We’re trying on our catalog and not breaking new artists at radio.” 
  • Stop relying so much on research—or at least make the research playing field level. “Did you really give the song a chance” before soliciting caller research, asks Johnny Chiang, director of operations for Cox Media Group, which includes Houston’s KKBQ. “You need to give it 500-600 spins at least to get a real take.” Corey agreed, noting that songs by female artists often test poorly in caller research because they have not received as many spins as their male counterparts or because they languish in overnights.
  • Ditch the idea that listeners don’t want to hear women—whether as artists or as air personalities. Chiang’s on-air staff at KKBQ is led by all females, but he admits he had to fight to make that happen. “I put the question in our strategic study: ‘Would you listen to four female DJs in a day?’ And the response we got back was ‘Are you nuts? Why are you even asking that question?’”
  • Nashville labels need to sign more female artists. “It’s critical for labels to sign more female artists, Corey said. “If there’s any chance that the radio groups” will commit to playing more women, “we need labels to sign more.”  The combined current country rosters for BBR Music Group, Big Machine Label Group, Sony Nashville, Universal Music Group Nashville and Warner Music Nashville tally 134 acts, according to their websites. Of that amount, 38 —or 28.3 percent— are female solo acts or groups that include females.

CRS: Country PDs Don't Really Know Their Listeners

Do programmers understand radio listeners? Short answer, no. At least according to Mark Ramsey Media’s namesake, who Thursday morning presented CRS 2020’s most talked-about non-music session so far.

According to Chuck Aly at Country-Aircheck, the annual CRS research presentation became what one attendee likened to The Newlywed Game. Repeatedly, Ramsey would present a topic and questions with graphs representing how PDs thought listeners would respond. Repeatedly, listeners seemed to reply, “Wow, I thought you knew me better after all this time!”

Mark Ramsey
The disparity started right off the bat with the very definition of radio. The 152 surveyed PDs said listeners would have a somewhat expansive view of what constituted radio, but less than 10% thought they would identify DSPs – Amazon, Pandora, Spotify– as radio. Surprise! Roughly 40% of the 800 Country radio listeners surveyed consider streaming platforms to be radio. Other disparities: Programmers think listeners spend more time with radio via apps. Listeners use smartphones more and car radios less than PDs thought. TV and video games are much bigger competitors for listeners time with radio than PDs figured.

The differences also offered a fair bit of good news. Radio is more important to listeners than it used to be and PDs figured it would be less important. Listeners believe they are spending more time with radio; programmers assume they are spending less. Of course, that differential circles back around to the broader listener definition of radio as music delivery platforms.

Other takeaways:
  • Overwhelmingly, listeners want music, lots of it, new and classic, balanced by gender and uninterrupted.
  • PDs are way off from listener preference when it comes to pop collaborations. The audience likes them much more than programmers think. 
  • Websites and Twitter have negligible impact.
  • Contests are not compelling.

CRS: Westwood One's Lon Helton Awarded Humanitarian Award

Cumulus Media’s Westwood One syndicated radio host Lon Helton received the Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award at the Country Radio Seminar (CRS).

This prestigious award is named for Tom Rivers, former WQYK PD and host of Westwood One holiday specials in the 1990s. The award, chosen by the CRB Board Of Directors, recognizes an individual in the Country radio industry who has given back to their community.

Lon is one of the founders and advocates of the legendary Country radiothon program, Country Cares For St. Jude Kids, which has raised almost $1 billion for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Last year marked the 30th anniversary of Country Cares For St. Jude Kids, which was started by Lon and Alabama's Randy Owen in 1989.

Lon said, “It is special and humbling to receive the CRB Tom Rivers Humanitarian of the Year award. Tom was a good friend who did so much to help the people and communities where he worked in country radio. It’s humbling because no group of people on the planet give back more that the people of country radio, records and the industry. It was an honor to accept this along with them; they are the true humanitarians of every day and every year.”

For the last 28 years, Lon has hosted Westwood One's Country Countdown USA and Country’s Inside Trak, where he is radio’s best known country star interviewer. He was named The CMA's National Broadcast Personality of the Year in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018, and in 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018, he won that honor from the Academy of Country Music. Lon was inducted into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 2006. He is the Publisher of Country Aircheck and Editor of the Mediabase Country Chart. 

For more information about Lon Helton and Country Countdown USA please contact Bryan Switzer at or 615-727-6987.

Pittsburgh Radio: Kevin Battle Joins KDKA-AM for Mornings

Entercom has announced veteran radio broadcaster Kevin Battle as morning show co-host for News Radio KDKA 1020 AM in Pittsburgh. Battle will join the “The KDKA Radio Morning News with Larry Richert,” weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET, effective March 9.

Kevin Battle
“As we celebrate the centennial of KDKA Radio, the world’s first radio station, we were focused on adding a host that can reflect the energy and pulse of where Pittsburgh is in 2020 and beyond,” said Michael Spacciapolli, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Pittsburgh. “Kevin Battle is the perfect person to join Larry Richert on the KDKA morning show and tell the story of our great city.”

“There have been three morning hosts at KDKA Radio in my lifetime – Jack Bogut, John Cigna, and Larry Richert, and I am thrilled I get to work with one of them,” said Battle. “Larry is part of the fabric of Pittsburgh. I have been a fan of KDKA for a long time and fondly remember listening with my family each morning. I cannot wait to help our listeners start their day off well-informed.”

Battle, a Pittsburgh area native, is a news anchor, journalist and a member of the inaugural staff of “Fox News Headlines 24/7.” Previously, Battle served as Program Director and on-air personality for sister station 105.7 The Fan (WJZ-FM) in Baltimore. He has also held the roles of Director of Marketing and Promotions and on-air personality for WDVE-FM and WRRK-FM in Pittsburgh and news anchor for WNEW-FM (now WDCH-FM) in Washington D.C.

Listeners can tune in to News Radio 1020 KDKA (KDKA-AM) in Pittsburgh 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.

Detroit Radio: Jade Springart New APD, Midday Host At WRIF

Jade Springart
Beasley Media Group announces Jade Springart has promoted to Assistant Program Director and Midday Host at 101 WRIF in Detroit.

Springart has been with the station for the past 12 years. She most recently served as the Music Director and as a weekend on-air personality at WRIF.  In her new position as Assistant Program Director, Springart will be responsible for working in conjunction with WRIF Program Director Jerry Tarrants on the station’s music, on-air content, and production, while also overseeing WRIF’s social media presence. In addition, she will be heard on the air weekdays from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

“This is an amazing opportunity for me to continue working and winning with a brand that I have grown up with,” said Springart.  “It has been a privilege to learn from some of the best in the industry. I’m very grateful for the support of everyone in the Beasley Media Group family and am excited to be able to continue 101 WRIF’s legacy in the active rock format here in the Motor City.”

“Jade not only exudes a strong belief in the RIFF mission but also understands how to achieve it,” said 101 WRIF Program Director Jerry Tarrants. “She has done nothing but work by that example for years. We’re thrilled to have her as part of the team – both as an on-air talent and programming manager now!”

K-C Radio: KCMO Morning Host Pete Mundo Named PD

CUMULUS MEDIA announces that it has promoted Pete Mundo from Assistant Program Director to Program Director of Kansas City News/Talk station KCMO 710 AM. 

Mundo will continue in his role as On-Air Host of “The Pete Mundo Morning Show” on 710 KCMO-AM and 103.7 FM. Mundo was previously a New York City-based On-Air Host/Anchor for Fox News Radio, CBS Sports Radio, Sports Illustrated’s daily platforms, and WFAN Sports Radio. 

Donna Baker, Regional Vice President and Market Manager, Cumulus Kansas City, said: “One of the most fulfilling rewards as a leader is seeing the impact that someone as talented as Pete can make in just two years. Growth of nearly 75% in audience since his arrival is the result of Pete’s daily focus, drive, passion, and hard work. This well-deserved promotion to Program Director is an opportunity to continue to expand the brand of KCMO Talk Radio for years to come.” 

Mundo commented: “My time in Kansas City has not just met, but exceeded expectations both professionally and personally. I’m grateful to Donna Baker, Mike Wheeler, Bill Hess and Doug Hamand for all of their support through these past two years. I’m proud that the morning show has become a destination for Kansas City-area politicos and I’m thrilled to be able to continue to bring a fresh and unique perspective to the rapidly-moving news cycles in Missouri, Kansas and Washington D.C.”

Miami Radio: Zaslow Gets Extension At WAXY The Ticket

Amber Wilson, Jonathan Zaslow
Entercom has announced a new multiyear contract extension with on-air personality Jonathan Zaslow.

The host will remain on WAXY AM 790 The Ticket midday show “Zaslow and Amber” alongside Amber Wilson, weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET. He will also continue to serve as pregame and postgame host for Heat gameday broadcasts, as part of the station’s flagship coverage.

“Jonathan Zaslow is a true Miami sports talent and an original employee of 790 The Ticket,” said Keriann Worley, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom South Florida. “We are thrilled to have him back for more passionate sports talk and lock him into our impressive weekday programming.” 

“I'm happy to continue working with Amber Wilson as we engage with Miami’s passionate sports fans and deliver exceptional content for our listeners,” said Zaslow. “My family and I are grateful for the continued support from Entercom and I look forward to continue growing my career at the Ticket.”

Zaslow joined 790 The Ticket in 2004 and has served as an on-air personality for the station for the last 13 years. This year marks Zaslow’s 10th as a part of the station’s Heat gameday broadcasts. He was heard on every one of the station’s broadcasts during the team’s four consecutive NBA Finals appearances from 2011 to 2014.

Listeners can tune in to AM 790 The Ticket (WAXY-AM) in Miami 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.

Columbia SC Radio: Chris Connors New PD At WLXC

Chris Connors
CUMULUS MEDIA announces that it has appointed radio broadcasting veteran Chris Connors as Program Director of R&B radio station, WLXC Kiss 103.1 FM in Columbia, SC.

Connors joins Cumulus Columbia after more than 19 years with Alpha Media in Columbia, where he was Operations Manager for the six-station group. Prior to that, Connors was Program Director for WMMJ-FM in Lanham, MD, and was Program Director for WFXC and WFXK in Durham, NC. He holds a B.A. degree in Communications, Radio/Television, from Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC.

Tammy O’Dell, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Columbia, said: “I am very excited to have Chris join our team. His track record of success, his deep roots in the local community and his knowledge of the Columbia market make him a perfect fit for WLXC. “ 

Connors commented: “We’ve already made ratings history in Columbia, and I’m very fortunate and extremely thankful to have the opportunity to do it again. Big thanks to John Dimick, Kenny Smoov and Tammy O’Dell for entrusting me to lead the Columbia team. No need to pack or move; we’re ready on day one. Make sure your arms and legs are tucked inside the ride and that your seatbelt is securely fastened. This thing is about to take off. Let the fun begin.”

Baltimore Radio: WIYY-FM Morning Hosts Rock WBAL-TV

Justin, Scott and Spiegel Shouldn’t Be On TV, a half-hour TV show featuring Baltimore’s top-rated radio morning show Justin, Scott and Spiegel from WIYY-FM 98 Rock returned this past weekend immediately following Saturday Night Live on WBAL-TV, TV Newscheck reports.

Both WBAL and WIYY-FM are owned by Hearst, which also owns news/talk WBAL-AM.

The Justin, Scott and Spiegel Show is heard every weekday morning from 5 to 10 on WIYY-FM.

“Season one of Justin, Scott and Spiegel Shouldn’t Be on TV delivered market-leading ratings in the adults 25 54 demographic, retaining 78% of the Saturday Night Live lead-in,” said Dan Joerres, WBAL’s general manager.

“I am confident that Season two of the JSS Show will deliver equally impressive results as their listener base has responded so favorably. We are thrilled to continue this natural extension of our partnership with sister station 98 Rock.”

John Baldwin, WBAL’s creative services director said: “We are always looking for crossover opportunities between television and our two sister radio stations. We have a great deal in common, and have been successful in partnering in an ever-increasing number and array of projects. We often complement each other’s efforts.”

Baldwin also said the TV station runs a topical promo for Justin, Scott and Spiegel Shouldn’t Be on TV during Saturday Night Live.

“From a sales perspective, “said Joerres, “this type of natural synergy is another opportunity for both our television and radio sales teams to work together, creating a multiplatform solution for our mutual customers.”

TV Ratings: Debate Scores For NBC, MSNBC

NBC News and MSNBC has made television history with the most-watched Democratic debate ever, averaging nearly 20 million total viewers across the two networks, according to Nielsen Fast National Data.

Wednesday night’s debate was also the top-rated Democratic debate ever in the key A25-54 demo and attracted 13.5 million live stream viewers, surpassing any previously hosted debate this election cycle. NBC News and MSNBC now claim the top two Democratic debates and top three Democratic debate nights.

The ninth DNC-sanctioned debate of the 2020 presidential election, which also marked former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s debut, averaged 19.658 million television viewers, with 5.310 million in A25-54 and 4.257 million in A18-49 across NBC and MSNBC from 9:00-11:00 pm ET.

NBC’s digital performance also exceeded any of the network’s major political live events since the 2016 election. The debate live stream generated 13.5 million live video streams and nearly 22 million video views across all platforms, including,, NBC News NOW on OTT devices, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The digital streams translate to an average audience of 417K viewers.

Users engaged an average of 37 minutes watching the livestream debate via on-net platforms, and 66.5 minutes on average via OTT devices on NBC News NOW, according to Adobe Analytics. Users also spent an average of 37 minutes watching the debate via on-net platforms, according to Adobe Analytics. Across OTT devices, NBC News NOW’s users engaged for 66.5 minutes on average.

The Democrats’ debate Wednesday night proved to be the latest challenge for struggling CNN.

As liberal viewers flocked to NBC and MSNBC for the debate, there weren’t many left for CNN, which averaged a dismal 569,000 viewers from 9-11 p.m. ET.

Key Networks To Syndicate Jesse Kelly Talk Show

Key Networks announces that it will offer a new three-hour morning talk radio program, The Jesse Kelly Show, to radio stations.

Kelly is a Marine veteran, former Congressional candidate and conservative radio and television host.  The Jesse Kelly Show is available for stations Monday through Friday from 9am-Noon EST, beginning April 6, 2020. The show comes on the heels of Key Network’s launch of The O’Reilly Update, one of the most successful launches of a talk radio program in recent memory.

Jesse Kelly
Kelly currently hosts a two-hour version of The Jesse Kelly Show on KPRC 950 AM in Houston, TX, and ‘I’m Right’ on The First TV, a bold, new news and talk channel on Pluto TV. Unafraid to speak his mind, Kelly has a unique ability to connect with and engage his audience across all platforms and topics with insight, knowledge and humor.

Jesse Kelly said: “I love talk radio and I’m beyond humbled that Key Networks realizes that I’m a generational talent. While my background might be more blue collar than other radio hosts, I’m confident my huge ego will help make up for my lack of education. I’m excited to bring something new to stations nationwide.”

Eddie Martiny, President, Houston Region, iHeartMedia, said: “Listeners won’t be able to see that Jesse Kelly stands 6 foot 8, but his towering humor and intellect will absolutely captivate the listening audience. Jesse is an Iraq War veteran who will win the hearts and minds of listeners with the wit of a stand up comic. He’s been featured on most major TV networks, especially Fox News with Tucker Carlson who says ‘Jesse cracks me up’. Jesse is a fresh voice of a rational conservative for a new generation. My listening audience and advertising community in Houston embraced Jesse immediately. Informative, entertaining, but most importantly, unique!”

Dennis Green, Chief Revenue Officer, Key Networks, said: “Talk radio needs fresh, new voices and Jesse Kelly will deliver. The topics of discussion on The Jesse Kelly Show will be broad based, informative and entertaining. It’s time to bring an energy shot to talk radio. It’s time for Jesse.”

Key Networks delivers The Jesse Kelly Show to stations of all market sizes. All network advertising is included with the show, with no additional barter units for stations to run.

For more information and to get The Jesse Kelly Show for your station, contact Dennis Green, Chief Revenue Officer, Key Networks, at 844.KEY.NETS or