Saturday, March 14, 2020

March 15 Radio History

➦In 1679...Philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz described binary numbering. In mathematics and digital electronics, a binary number is a number expressed in the base-2 numeral system or binary numeral system, which uses only two symbols: typically "0" (zero) and "1" (one).

The base-2 numeral system is a positional notation with a radix of 2. Each digit is referred to as a bit. Because of its straightforward implementation in digital electronic circuitry using logic gates, the binary system is used by almost all modern computers and computer-based devices.

David Schoenbrun - 1950
➦In 1915...Journalist David Schoenbrun born (Died at age 73 - May 23, 1988), Schoenbrun enlisted in the Army in 1943 and became a World War 2 correspondent covering North Africa through to the liberation of France.

After the war, from 1947 to 1964, Schoenbrun worked for CBS, serving primarily as the network's bureau chief in Paris. He was one of the reporters known as Murrow's Boys.

From the 1960s through the 1980s, Schoenbrun served as a news analyst for WNEW Radio in New York (now WBBR) and other Metromedia broadcast properties, and later for crosstown WPIX Television and its Independent Network News operation. In the mid-1970s.

Schoenbrun is the author of On and Off the Air, a personal account of the history of CBS News through the 1970s.

➦In 1922...WSB-AM Atlanta signed-on.

First Employees Walter Iller, Walter Tison
The call-sign "WSB" carried an infamous history before it was assigned to a land-based broadcaster in Atlanta.

In very early days of radio licensing, sea-based broadcasters were included in the call-sign assignment system. The first licensee of the call-sign "WSB" was the S.S. Francis H. Leggett. After foundering off the Oregon coast on September 18, 1914, taking a toll of two of the 67 lives aboard, the call "WSB" was reassigned to the Firewood, the name of which forms a grim coincidence with its fate: the ship burned off the coast of Peru on December 18, 1919, with 28 persons on board, all of whom were saved.

Because superstitious seafarers objected to being issued a call "used by that ship which went down with all hands last month", "tainted" calls like "WSB" were quietly issued to unsinkable land stations.

Lambdin Kay, First GM
Originally on 740 kHz until the 1936 FCC band plan, WSB was the fourth radio station in the South, behind the first AM station, WBT 1110 AM in Charlotte, licensed in December, 1920... WNOX 990 AM in Knoxville, Tennessee licensed in November, 1921... and WWL 850 AM in New Orleans, licensed 13 days before WSB in March, 1922.

They, among others, are all considered "clear channel" stations. That designation is given to frequencies on which only one or two stations are assigned to a frequency that allows full power transmission day and night.

The WSB broadcast call sign stands for "Welcome South, Brother". Founded by the Atlanta Journal newspaper (once a competitor of the Atlanta Constitution, now merged), the station began broadcasting on March 15, 1922, just a few days prior to Constitution-owned WGM 710 AM (eventually swapped to WGST 640 AM.

➦In 1956...Elvis Presley signed a management deal with Colonel Tom Parker.  Their partnership was uniquely successful, Elvis being an entirely new force in popular music, and Parker an entrepreneurial genius able to market him.

A carnival worker by background, Parker moved into music promotion, earning the courtesy rank of ‘Colonel’ from a grateful singer Jimmie Davis, who had become governor of Louisiana. After discovering the teenage Tommy Sands, Parker talent-spotted the unknown Elvis Presley, and skillfully maneuvered himself into position as his sole representative with control over much of his private life. Within months, he had won Presley a recording contract with the prestigious RCA Victor record label, made him a star with his first single Heartbreak Hotel, negotiated lucrative merchandising deals, made plans for TV appearances as well as a new career as an actor in film musicals.

➦In 1964... Pioneering radio deejay Alan Freed indicted by Federal Grand jury for income tax evasion. On January 23, 1986, Freed was part of the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. In 1988, he was also posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.  On December 10, 1991, Freed was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

➦In 1971...CBS announced the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show.

From 1948 until its cancellation in 1971, the show ran on CBS every Sunday night from 8–9 p.m. E.T., and is one of the few entertainment shows to have run in the same weekly time slot on the same network for more than two decades (during its first season, it ran from 9 to 10 p.m. E.T.).

Virtually every type of entertainment appeared on the show; classical musicians, opera singers, popular recording artists, songwriters, comedians, ballet dancers, dramatic actors performing monologues from plays, and circus acts were regularly featured. The format was essentially the same as vaudeville and, although vaudeville had undergone a slow demise for a generation, Sullivan presented many ex-vaudevillians on his show.

It was at the time the longest-running variety show in television history. (The final show aired June 6, 1971; Sullivan died of esophageal cancer three years later at age 73.

➦In 1972...Robert W. Morgan of Los Angeles radio station 93KHJ played Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love" for 90 minutes straight. Police eventually raided the station fearing foul play, but discovered a publicity stunt instead.  Morgan was best known for his work at several stations in Los Angeles, in particular KHJ-AM. Morgan also did morning drive at KMPC-AM, KIQQ-FM and KMGG-FM, and finished his career at KRTH-FM, where he retired for health reasons in 1997. He died from lung cancer on May 22, 1998.

➦In 1976...WCFL 1000 AM abruptly dropped its Top 40 format in favor of The World's Most Beautiful Music, leaving WLS once again as Chicago's only AM Top 40 station. Station management released all disc jockeys who did not have "no cut" clauses in their contracts with the official explanation of the format change as "being more in keeping with the labor movement". Larry Lujack, still under contract with the station, stayed on at WCFL playing easy listening music until moving back to WLS in September 1976.  This format won few listeners from FM beautiful music stations such as WLOO, and by 1978 had been replaced by a gold-based adult contemporary format.

WCFL was sold April 3, 1978 to the Mutual Broadcasting System, which was then a subsidiary of the Amway Corporation. The history of the first and longest-lived labor radio station was over; after nearly 52 years, the "Voice of Labor" had been stilled.  The station began to identify itself as "Mutual/CFL." A magazine-type news/talk format was adopted, with sports talk in the evening hours and Larry King overnight, but ratings remained low. In 1982 WCFL changed to an MOR format playing standards and non rock hits of the '50s and '60s mixed in with some softer rock and roll oldies and soft '70s and '80s AC cuts and even a few currents. By the end of 1983, ratings were still low so WCFL evolved into an Adult Contemporary format

Today, the station airs ESPN Sports as WMVP-AM.

➦In 1982...KGB-AM in San Diego CA changes call letters to KCNN (now KPOP)

➦In 2010... Retired Air Personality Ron Lundy WABC 770 AM, WCBS 101.1 FM NYC Lundy died of a heart attack at age 75 in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Born as Fred Ronald Lundy June 25, 1934).  He had recently been recovering from a previous heart attack after being dehydrated.

Lundy was born June 25, 1934 in Memphis, Tennessee, the only child of Fred Sr., a railroad engineer, and Mary Lundy. He served in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from high school.

Following the completion of his military stint, he returned to his hometown and attended a local radio broadcasting school on the G.I. Bill. At the same time, he worked across the street at WHHM-AM, where he got his first on-air experience one night when he substituted for the regular disc jockey who failed to report for his shift. This resulted in Lundy being hired as a full-time radio announcer by Hodding Carter for WDDT-AM, the latter's new station in Greenville, Mississippi.

After a stop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at WLCS-AM, Lundy was brought to WIL-AM in St. Louis, Missouri in 1960 by Dan Ingram, who was the station's program director until the middle of the next year. Nicknamed the "Wil' Child", Lundy had a style which was described as a combination of "country and crawfish pie" by Bob Whitney, who also played a major role in the appointment.

Lundy was reunited with Ingram at WABC 770 AM in 1965. He made his New York radio debut on September 1, working the overnight shift as "The Swingin' Nightwalker."

Beginning in May 1966, he became the midday fixture at the station for the next sixteen years.  With his catchphrase "Hello, Love–this is Ron Lundy from the Greatest City in the World," he usually preceded Ingram's afternoon drive time program, and sometimes when Ingram was running late to the studio, Lundy would keep going until Dan arrived, doing impressions of The Shadow, where he would play Margo Lane and Lamont Cranston. The two best friends hosted "The Last Show" before WABC's format conversion from music to talk radio at noon on May 10, 1982.

In February 1984, Lundy resurfaced at New York's oldies station WCBS 101.1 FM in the mid-morning slot, following former WABC colleague Harry Harrison. According to program director Joe McCoy, the station created the slot especially for Lundy, reducing other shifts from four hours to three.

In June, 1997, Lundy's WCBS-FM show was awarded the 1997 "BronzeWorld Medal" at the New York Festivals Radio Programming Awards for the "best local personality".

Lundy retired from WCBS-FM on September 18, 1997. (Click Here to listen, courtesy of

During Ron's final show, he rests his hand on Dan Ingram's shoulder
Upon retiring from radio, Ron and his wife Shirley moved to the small town of Bruce, Mississippi.

Lundy's voice made two cameo appearances during his career. The first one was in an early scene in Midnight Cowboy, when Joe Buck, hearing a Lundy WABC broadcast while listening to his portable radio, realized that the bus he was riding soon approached New York City. The other was in Starship's 1985 hit "We Built This City."

Lundy was inducted the St. Louis Hall Radio Hall of Fame on January 1, 2006.

➦In 2015...longtime jazz radio host Robert "Bob" Parlocha died at age 76 (Born - April 18, 1938). He was an American jazz expert who was best known as a radio host and programmer. He was also a professional saxophone player and gourmet cook. He was in wide syndication with his nighttime jazz show Jazz With Bob Parlocha. He was best known for his 16-year run at Bay Area station KJAZ-FM (1978-94).

➦In 2018....iHeartMedia, the biggest U.S. radio broadcaster, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a decade after a private-equity-led buyout left it with billions in debt.

➦In 2019...Longtime Baltimore traffic reporter 'Detour Dave' Sandler Jr., died

Trump Wants To Meet With Broadcasters

President Donald Trump has requested to meet with top broadcast TV executives and the Ad Council next week to discuss COVID-19, according to AdAge citing two people familiar with the situation.

While the exact agenda of the meeting, which is expected to take place on Monday, is unclear, it is expected Trump will ask TV networks and the Ad Council help develop messaging around the coronavirus pandemic. This likely will include requesting broadcasters for commercial time on their networks.

A spokeswoman for the Ad Council declined to comment.

The Ad Council has been an important part of key events in American history. The organization helped support nonmilitary war efforts during World War II, with more than $1 billion in labor hours and media time and space had been donated to the council's campaigns. It has created long-running campaigns for the American Red Cross, the United Way and the U.S. Forest Service, as well as recruitement efforts for the Peace Corps.

Beasley Media Implements Prevention Policy At Stations

Beasley Media Group has implemented a companywide Coronavirus prevention policy in an effort to ensure the health and safety of its employees, advertisers and the communities it serves.

“After careful deliberation, we have taken precautionary measures that are currently being implemented across all of our markets,” said Beasley Media Group Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Beasley.

“The challenges we face are extraordinary, but the moment is not unique. At our core, our company exists to serve our employees, advertisers and our communities and keep them safe and informed during times exactly like this. Broadcasters are at our best during uncertain times. We will continue to strive to be at our very best in the coming days, weeks and months.”

For the period beginning Monday, March 16th and ending Tuesday, March 31st Beasley Media Group will enact the following company policies:

Over the next two weeks, most full-time employees will be asked to telework. While some full-time employees will be needed in the office, they will be expected to follow CDC guidelines in an effort to maintain a safe and clean work environment.

In addition, the company has instituted a “no work-related travel” policy.

To limit public traffic at the radio stations, the stations will not be allowing listeners to pick up contest prize awards. Market managers will have the discretion to make limited exception instances where prizes are time limited.

Beasley Media Group will be cancelling and/or postponing events and appearances for the next two weeks to ensure not only the safety of its employees but the communities they serve.

The company will continue to evaluate and update policies as circumstances dictate.

Adams Radio Group Issues Virus Guidelines

The Adams Radio Group has mandated that all personnel that can work from home do so starting immediately.

"I want to thank my General Managers, engineers and others within our company for being very proactive in guiding the planning for our company," said Adams Radio CEO, Ron Stone. "Incredible talent always steps up when faced with a crisis and our management has done just that. We are committed to supporting our workforce family and their families as well as the communities we serve."

"The time for us to act is now. In taking these actions, our priorities are to ensure the well-being of our work family and clients and to continue delivering the messages of our clients to help minimize as much as possible the disruption of their businesses, and ours, by providing the communities we serve with up to date information on the virus. We have taken appropriate steps to provide our employees with the assets required to work from home without disruption to the excellent broadcast products we deliver to our listeners and communities."

"Sales, programming, administrators and engineers will all be following this guidance as implemented by local management. This policy is effective immediately and will continue until it is safe for our employees to return to normal activities. We have not received notice that anyone employed by Adams Radio has been in contact with the virus and we are doing our part to keep it that way".

"Further, we have also expanded restrictions on visitors to our buildings. We will be utilizing electronic means for all meetings with clients. Distribution of prizes, etc. to winners of contests will be discontinued until person to person interaction is safe again. Adams Radio is committed to the safety of our employees, listeners and clients. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and update our guidance when appropriate."

"We recommend that everyone, clients and listeners, follow the advice the Center for Disease Control and Prevention."

Detroit Radio: Jim Johnson Returns To WOMC for Mornings

Entercom has named Jim “JJ” Johnson as morning show co-host for Classic Hits WOMC 104.3 FM Detroit’s greatest hits. Johnson will return to his morning show roots where he will join JoAnne Purtan as co-host of “JJ and JoAnne,” weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. ET, beginning March 16. Johnson will also continue serving as the station’s midday show host, weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET.

“Jim Johnson is one of the most well-known radio personalities in Detroit, with over 40 years of experience exclusively in the market,” said Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Detroit. “Jim and JoAnne have great chemistry on air together and I look forward to Jim bringing his humor and passion for music to mornings on 104.3 WOMC.”

“So this is what full circle feels like?,” said Johnson. “I couldn’t be more excited to return to morning radio. I have been fortunate to have spent 31 successful years waking up with the city I love. Now I get to do it again with one of the most iconic names in radio history, JoAnne Purtan. JoAnne is an incredible and professional broadcaster who weaves seamlessly through video, audio and real life as well as anyone I’ve ever worked with. I can’t wait to get started.”

Johnson has over 40 years of radio experience, including 31 as a morning show host for WCSX-FM, WRIF-FM and WLLZ-FM in Detroit. He joined 104.3 WOMC in 2011 as a midday show host.

House Passes Aid Package

President Donald Trump on Friday declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, freeing up money and resources to fight the outbreak, and then threw his support behind an aid package in Congress that is on track to provide direct relief to Americans, The Associated Press reports.

From the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency,” unleashing as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the crisis.

Trump also announced a range of executive actions, including a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities with drive-through locations, as Washington tries to subdue the new virus whose spread is roiling markets, shuttering institutions and disrupting the lives of everyday Americans.

As the House prepared to vote late Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi trumpeted the hard-fought package that will provide free testing, sick pay for workers, enhanced unemployment benefits and bolstered food programs.

“We did what we said we were going to do: Put families first,” said Pelosi, flanked by Democratic lawmakers, including many freshmen. The House passed the bill after midnight on a bipartisan vote, 363-40. It now goes to the Senate.

Trump’s tweet of approval instilled fresh energy in the package, all but ensuring that wary Republicans would join with a robust vote.

Fox News Goes Live 24/7

Fox News said Thursday it is pulling overnight repeats common across all cable news networks and will offer live coverage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic instead starting on March 16.

The Hill reports the changes that add four hours of live programming include "Fox News @ Night" with Shannon Bream being expanded one hour to run until 1 a.m., with chief breaking news correspondent Trace Gallagher anchoring from then until 4 a.m. EDT. The network's live broadcast day usually begins with "Fox & Friends First" at that time.

Fox will also add four hours of live programming on weekends with two-hour editions of "Fox Report" with Jon Scott on Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT.

The network said in a memo on Thursday that it will be "reducing the staff footprint" at its New York City headquarters and other bureaus starting Monday, with the goal to "limit personal interaction" due to the coronavirus outbreak and protect the health and safety of its employees.

The directive from CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace also says studio audiences for live shows such as "The Greg Gutfeld Show" will be canceled while shows will rely more on Skype interviews to limit the number of people coming in and out of its headquarters.

The measures come amid the closures of numerous government buildings and the cancellation of

Fox News joins a number of other media outlets that have instructed some employees to work from home if possible due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Fox Business Puts Trish Reagan On Hiatus

The Fox Business show hosted by Trish Regan is going on hiatus after controversial comments she made on the air Monday about the coronavirus.

The hiatus also applies to another host, Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery, who has her own program on the Fox Corp.-owned network. That move was related to staffing needs.

“Fox Business’ prime-time programs ‘Trish Regan Primetime’ and ‘Kennedy’ will both be on hiatus until further notice,” Fox wrote in a statement. “Due to the demands of the evolving pandemic crisis coverage, we are deploying all resources from both shows for staffing needs during critical market hours. Fox Business will run long form programming in prime time for the foreseeable future.”

Regan, the host of “Trish Regan Primetime,” said Democrats and the “liberal media” were using the coronavirus to “destroy the president.” She blamed the stock market declines on Donald Trump’s rivals, calling it “another attempt to impeach the president.” While she spoke, the headline “Coronavirus Impeachment Scam” appeared next to her.

Her hourlong program airs weekdays staring at 8 p.m. EST. “Objectified,” a prerecorded interview show, will run in its place.

Fox News also announced it was hiring Dr. Martin Makary, a Johns Hopkins health policy expert and surgeon, as a paid contributor, beginning Saturday on “Fox and Friends Weekend.”

Apple Temporarily Closes Stores

Apple Inc. will close all its retail stores outside Greater China, a dramatic example of how companies are clamping down on business activity to slow the spread of the coronavirus to their employees and customers.

The Wall Street Journal reports the stores would be closed until March 27 in light of the worsening spread of the virus, which according to figures from Johns Hopkins University has killed 5,429 and infected 145,369.

Hourly workers will continue to be paid, and workers across the company will be allowed to work remotely if their jobs permit it, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said in a note on the company’s website.

The note said Apple stores inside Greater China, closed previously, were all open Saturday, highlighting how the coronavirus center of gravity has shifted to Europe and the U.S. China reported 11 new infections and 13 new deaths for Friday.

Bill Gates Says Goodbye To Two Boards

Bill Gates
Microsoft announced on Friday that Bill Gates is leaving the board, effective Friday. Gates is also stepping down from his position on the board of Berkshire Hathaway, CNBC reports.

“I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve – Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway – to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change,” Gates said on LinkedIn. “The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step.”

“With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company,” Gates said. “Microsoft will always be an important part of my life’s work and I will continue to be engaged with Satya and the technical leadership to help shape the vision and achieve the company’s ambitious goals. I feel more optimistic than ever about the progress the company is making and how it can continue to benefit the world.”

Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen, who died in 2018. Gates was CEO until 2000 when Steve Ballmer took over the role. Microsoft’s current CEO, Satya Nadella, took over in 2014. Gates was director of the board at Microsoft until 2014 but began dedicating more of his time to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2008.

WaPo Gives Four Pinocchio's To Biden Video

The Washington Post's fact-checker column awarded four Pinocchios to former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday for a campaign ad that creates "a false narrative that does not reflect the event as it occurred."

The Hill reports the video manipulation distorts President Trump's remarks about the coronavirus.

The campaign ad says Trump referred to the coronavirus as "a hoax" at a campaign rally in South Carolina last month, but Washington Post fact-checker Meg Kelly called the editing of the president's remarks a "blatant" misrepresentation.

"At the 10-second mark [of the ad], the camera shows a tight shot of the president saying 'coronavirus' and then cuts to a wide shot where [Trump] says, 'this is their new hoax.' Both clips are from Trump’s Feb. 28 campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C., but he never said 'coronavirus, this is their new hoax.' Rather, Biden’s ad clipped a large part of Trump’s speech to make it seem as though he had," the article explained.

"Ultimately, the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, the fact that Trump had clarified his comments on the matter before the ad was released, and the blatant way the Biden camp isolated his remarks about the American Dream pushed us to Four Pinocchios," Kelly added. "Campaigns must be willing to make their case without resorting to video manipulation."

Biden's campaign defended the ad.

The Post's fact-checker applies Pinocchios ranging from one to four, with four being reserved for what the column considers the most egregious statements or actions.

Coronavirus has quickly become a central campaign issue, with many political observers arguing that Trump's handling of the crisis is hurting his reelection prospects.

The Trump administration has come under heavy criticism for the pace of its response to the outbreak. A prime-time address from the Oval Office this week by Trump did little to calm markets, which suffered heavy losses the day after his speech.

Seattle Radio: KTTH Host Says Virus Among Homeless Is A Problem

KTTH 770 AM Seattle host Jason Rantz has revealed the concern he and others have about how America's urban homeless encampments could exacerbate the spread of coronavirus.

Rantz told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Friday that homeless people do not have the same access to simple amenities like soap and hand sanitizer, and can sometimes suffer from mental health ailments.

He spoke about one glaring case of a homeless man who broke quarantine and allegedly committed a crime.

Rantz: "We don't need to rewrite entitlements while dealing with coronavirusVideo
"Someone last night was put into a motel in a city nearby Seattle that is supposed to be an isolation site," Rantz said. "They suspect this individual, who was homeless, has coronavirus -- They are waiting for the test. Well, this morning he left the self-quarantine site, went across the street to a 7-Eleven -- which he allegedly robbed -- and then he jumped on to a bus and he left. That is a problem."

Carlson agreed with Rantz's concern, noting that having a "population that leaves needles and garbage everywhere, and defecates on the sidewalk doesn't seem simply disgusting, though it is, it seems dangerous and insane."

He added that the epicenters of the homeless problem are also the three states with the most confirmed cases of coronavirus: Washington, New York and California.

Rantz added that another concern is that the homeless population cannot easily self-quarantine.

Nashville Radio: Grand Ole Opry To Air Without Audience

The circle remains unbroken this weekend as the Grand Ole Opry plans to continue its historic country music broadcast on WSM 650 AM without a live audience, reports The Tennessean.

Opry shows will play without a ticketed audience through April 4, per a news release from the organization. The decision comes as fear of spreading the novel coronavirus continues to postpone live entertainment globally.

"Throughout the Opry's history, various events have led Opry management to make difficult decisions about how to alter the show's format," a statement said.

"The Opry's first priority has always been the safety of our employees, guests and artists who have been key in keeping the show that made country music famous on the air every week for over 94 years."

In closing doors to an audience, the Opry returns to its original barn dance format of nearly 100 years ago, when broadcasters first aired from the National Life and Accident Insurance Co. building in downtown Nashville. Audiences can also listen online at

Also, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has closed its doors for the rest of the month, out of "an abundance of caution" relating to COVID-19.

The museum, as well as its neighboring facilities Hatch Show Print and the CMA Theater, and tours of RCA Studio B on Music Row, will remain closed through March 31.

Disney+ To Stream 'Frozen 2' Early

As the coronavirus continues to dominate, Disney announced Friday that “Frozen 2” will be available to Disney+ subscribers this Sunday – three months ahead of schedule.

“‘Frozen 2’ has captivated audiences around the world through its powerful themes of perseverance and the importance of family, messages that are incredibly relevant during this time, and we are pleased to be able to share this heartwarming story early with our Disney+ subscribers to enjoy at home on any device,” said CEO Bob Chapek in a news release.

Disney didn’t reference coronavirus in the release, saying only that they wanted to surprise families “with some fun and joy during this challenging period.”

“Frozen 2” will be available internationally on Disney+ in Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday, March 17.

Major ISPs Pledge To Keep American Connected

Top U.S. internet providers including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are pledging to help people maintain internet access during the coronavirus outbreak, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and companies announced on Friday.

The Hill reports the telecom giants are signing onto the FCC's "Keep Americans Connected Pledge," an effort to ensure those affected by the virus and potentially unable to pay their bills due to financial disruption will still have access to the internet as more and more people are asked to work from their computers and phones at home.

"As the coronavirus outbreak spreads and causes a series of disruptions to the economic, educational, medical, and civic life of our country, it is imperative that Americans stay connected," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (R) in a statement. "Broadband will enable them to communicate with their loved ones and doctors, telework, ensure their children can engage in remote learning, and--importantly--take part in the 'social distancing' that will be so critical to limiting the spread of this novel coronavirus."

The FCC said it has been engaged in conversations with the top telecom companies as well as smaller internet providers across the country, many of which signed onto the pledge.

By signing onto the pledge, the companies have agreed to not terminate service to any customers who are unable to pay their bills due to "disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic" over the next 60 days. That includes people whose workplaces have shut down due to the virus or workers who are out of a job as the country dramatically transitions into self-quarantines and away from public gatherings.

The companies have also agreed to waive any late fees and open up their Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

Several Telecoms Upgrading Internet Speeds

Broadband companies are making it easier and cheaper to work at home in the COVID-19 era.

USAToday reports Cable giant Cox said it will upgrade internet speeds for select residential packages for folks working at home and extending support services for loading applications like online classroom support and web conferencing services.

And the Dish Network said it would provide its entire portfolio of 600 MHz spectrum to T-Mobile at no cost for 60 days. "The step was taken as the nation responds to the spread of COVID-19, which has led to the closure of businesses, schools and large gatherings coast to coast."

DISH's 600 MHz spectrum will enhance T-Mobile's network nationwide as wireless users increasingly turn to mobile networks for work and personal use, Dish said.

Both Cox and Dish join companies like Comcast, which previously said it increased the speeds and lowered the cost of its entry-level Internet Essentials' low-income internet service – effective Monday, offering 60 days of free service, to qualified low-income households, which is normally $9.95 monthly.

Furthermore, Comcast is boosting internet speeds for the service to 25/3 megabits per second, from 15/2 Mbps. The company also said Friday it would make hot spots available for free to anyone who needed them, including non-customers and will stop charging overages for people who go over their monthly data caps, effective for the next 60 days.

NY AG Accuses Alex Jones Of Selling Phony Coronavirus Cures

Conspiracy theorist and far-right radio host Alex Jones was ordered by the New York attorney general to stop shilling phony coronavirus cures.

Alex Jones
USAToday reports Attorney General Letitia James’ office sent Jones a cease-and-desist letter Thursday, calling his “latest mistruths” a “serious threat” to Americans’ well-being.

Jones has peddled colloidal silver-infused toothpaste, mouthwash, creams and dietary supplements, among a slew of other products, that he called a “stopgate” against the virus, according to a statement from the attorney general.

He also claimed, the statement said, that the federal government endorsed his toothpaste as a product that “kills the whole SARS-corona family at point blank range.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, colloidal silver may be dangerous – and no studies show its benefits as a treatment for any disease or condition, including COVID-19.

No treatment has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization to cure coronavirus. The National Institutes of Health says there is no scientific evidence to suggest alternative remedies can prevent or cure the illness.

R.I.P.: Keith Olsen, Fleetwood Mac Record Producer

Keith Olsen, a record producer whose slew of hits included the first Fleetwood Mac album with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, whom he helped bring into the band, died from cardiac arrest on Monday at his home in Genoa, Nev.

Keith Olsen
He was 74, according to The NYTimes.

Olsen worked with a roster of successful artists that ran rock’s gamut, including the Grateful Dead, Santana, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake and  Scorpions.

Early in his career he produced “Buckingham Nicks” (1973), a folk-rock album by the then little-known Nicks and Buckingham. The album flopped, but, as many accounts have it, Mr. Olsen played one of the songs for Mick Fleetwood, Fleetwood Mac’s drummer.

Soon after, Nicks told The Observer of London in 2011, Fleetwood had asked us to join Fleetwood Mac, sight unseen. Keith Olsen had played him ‘Buckingham Nicks,’ and told him Lindsey and I came as a pair.”

Olsen produced the 1975 Fleetwood Macalbum with the new lineup. Called simply “Fleetwood Mac” (1975), it had a soft-rock sound that marked a departure from the group’s harder-edged blues roots.

The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard album chart and went platinum many times over.

March 14 Radio History

➦In 1912...Lester Raymond Brown born (Died at age 88 – January 4, 2001).  He was a jazz musician who led the big band Les Brown and His Band of Renown for nearly seven decades from 1938 to 2000.  Brown is probably best known for his 50 year association with Bob Hope, on radio, TV & personal appearances.  Also was musical director for Dean Martin for 10 years on TV.

➦In 1922...KSD-AM (now KTRS-AM) signed-on in St. Louis.

KSD-AM Original Studio, 1922
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch launched KSD in 1922, the first St. Louis station to obtain a broadcast license from the Department of Commerce, though WIL claims earlier operation as an amateur station.

KSD Transmitter 1922
According to, first as KSD, and now as KTRS, the station has been on 550 kHz since 1923, which probably gives it the longest record of occupancy on any one frequency of any United States radio station. With its 5000-watt signal and low frequency, KTRS actually has better daytime and nighttime coverage than 50,000-watt clear-channel station KMOX in much of Missouri.

Despite that great coverage, the Post-Dispatch let KSD slip in the 1970s and, on March 19, 1984, it even lost its historic call letters under Gannett ownership. After a short-lived all-news format, on which Gannett pulled the plug just as KSD was beginning to build an audience, KSD went to country and adopted the call letters KUSA. The call letters were restored by EZ Communications when it bought KSD-AM/FM in 1993.

The call letters were switched back to KSD on October 4, 1993.

Newspaper Ad 1936
Unfortunately, the station lost the call letters again when it was sold to the Dorsey Media Group of St. Louis. EZ's successor, American Radio Systems, retained the KSD call letters for use on KSD-FM.

KTRS is  owned by the St. Louis Cardinals and CH Radio Holdings. Actor John Goodman is a part owner of the station.

➦In 1937...The radio "Battle of the Century" started when comedians Fred Allen & Jack Benny locked horns in the ballroom of the Hotel Pierre, exchanging torrid insults that were heard by the second largest audience in the history of radio. The “feud”, incidentally, lasted for the next 12 years.

➦In 1950...Rigdon Osmond Dees III (born March 14, 1950), best known as Rick Dees, is a radio personality, comedian, actor, and voice artist, best known for his internationally syndicated radio show The Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Countdown and for the 1976 novelty song "Disco Duck".

Dees began his radio career at a Greensboro radio station called WGBG while still in high school. He worked for various radio stations throughout the southeastern United States, including WXYC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, WSGN in Birmingham, Alabama, and WKIX in Raleigh, North Carolina.

His introduction to the international entertainment arena began while working at WMPS 680 AM in Memphis, Tennessee, during the disco craze of the late 1970s, when he wrote and recorded "Disco Duck", the award-winning hit that sold more than six million copies. The song can be heard in Saturday Night Fever, in a brief scene in which a group of older people were learning to "move their feet to the disco beat".

While this platinum recording earned him a People's Choice Award, and the BMI Award for record sales in one year, Dees was expressly forbidden from playing the song on the air by station management (rival stations refused to play it for fear of promoting their competition).

Dees was fired from WMPS when he mentioned that his song, "Disco Duck" was almost #1 and his own radio station would not let him play it. The station manager said it was a conflict of interest.

After a 45-day non-compete clause in his contract was satisfied, Dees was hired by RKO Radio to do the morning show at WHBQ AM 560 in Memphis.

The success of Dees at their Memphis radio station, combined with his TV appearances and hit music, motivated station owner RKO General to offer Rick the morning radio show in Los Angeles at 93KHJ AM. Dees helped their ratings, but AM music radio was rapidly losing ground to FM. When KHJ switched to country music, Rick Dees left KHJ, taking a morning position at KIIS-FM in July 1981. In a short time, he turned KIIS-FM into the #1 revenue-generating radio station in America, with an asset value approaching half a billion dollars. Dees garnered many accolades, including Billboard Radio Personality of the Year for ten years in a row.

He began his Weekly Top 40 countdown program, still currently in syndication, in September 1983; the show was created after Dees' station KIIS lost American Top 40 to a rival station over the playing of network commercials.

After 23 years on radio station KIIS-FM, Dees left in 2004 because of a contract dispute, and he was replaced by Ryan Seacrest.

Dees has garnered many accolades, including the prestigious Marconi Award, induction into both the National Radio Hall of Fame, and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall Of Fame. He is an inductee in the North Carolina Music Hall Of Fame, the the Tennessee Radio Hall Of Fame, has received the the Billboard Radio Personality Of The Year award for 10 consecutive years.

➦In 1972...Songwriter/singer Carole King won the “Triple Crown” of the Grammys: album of the year for “Tapestry,” record of the year for “It’s Too Late” and song of the year for “You’ve Got A Friend.” She also won a fourth Grammy that year, for female pop vocal performance for “Tapestry.”

King's major success began in the '60s when she and her first husband, Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits, many of which have become standards, for numerous artists. She has continued writing for other artists since then. King has made 25 solo albums, the most successful being Tapestry, which held the record for most weeks at No. 1 by a female artist for more than 20 years. Her record sales were estimated at more than 75 million copies worldwide. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting. She is the recipient of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first woman to be so honored. She is also a 2015 Kennedy Center Honoree.

➦In 1991...Brad Crandall died at age 63. (Born Robert Lee Bradley; August 6, 1927). He was a radio personality, voice-over announcer, and film narrator, best known for his radio show on WNBC in New York City, which aired from March 1964 to September 1971.  He greatly influence Howard Stern.
Frank Blair
➦In 1995...Frank S. Blair Jr. died at age 79 (Born - May 30, 1915). He was a broadcast journalist for NBC News, known for being a news anchor on the Today program from 1953 to 1975.

Blair's radio debut was at WCSC in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1935. Later that year, he joined WIS in Columbia, South Carolina, as a newscaster. In 1937, he became program director at WFBC in Greenville, South Carolina. Several months later, he left there to join WOL in Washington, D.C., in a role that included announcing for the Mutual network.

When NBC radio's Monitor weekend program began in 1955, Blair was one of the first news anchors.

➦In 2008..Melville "Mel" Brandt died at age 88 (Born -  June 18, 1919). He was an actor and NBC staff announcer.  Born in Brooklyn, New York, Brandt joined NBC around 1948. His radio announcing credits included The Adventures of Frank Merriwell, Author Meets the Critics, and The Eternal Light. In 1975, he announced for a syndicated radio program called Faces of Love.

He was one of the stars of the first television soap opera, Faraway Hill, broadcast in 1946 on the DuMont Television Network.  His familiar voice was heard over the second animated version of the NBC Peacock from 1962–75, announcing that "the following program is brought to you in 'living color' on NBC."

Friday, March 13, 2020

D-C Radio: WTOP Makes Two Key News Hires

Hubbard Radio has announced the addition Craig Schwalb as their new Director of Content Integration and Operations All-News WTOP 103.5 FM.

In addition, Sarah Beth Hensley will be taking over the role of Digital News Director at WTOP. The position became open due to the promotion of Julia Ziegler to Director of News and Programming.

"The addition of our new Director of Content Integration and Operations was incredibly important to me in terms of being able to serve the newsroom most effectively," said Julia Ziegler, Director of News and Programming at WTOP.

"An additional member on the leadership team helps ensure we meet our content evolution and quality control goals, as well as our goals for team training, development and growth."

Craig Schwalb
Craig comes to WTOP from New York City where he most recently served as the program director at WABC from 2014-2019, with oversight of the station's audio and digital products. Craig has also worked as the Program Director at WPRO in Providence, Rhode Island, WRBZ (sports talk) in Raleigh, CBS Radio and at Sirius XM in New York.

In addition to his radio and digital skills, Craig also brings an extensive background in podcasting. As a consultant for ABC News, he worked on podcasts like "Start Here." Craig's experience leading and growing people, along with his news background at both the local and national levels, made him a great fit for WTOP.

"For news and content, D.C. is the epicenter," said Schwalb. "And if you are in D.C. you are listening to TOP. Joining this great station, at this fascinating time, is an absolute honor and a dream come true. Thanks to Joel Oxley, Julia Ziegler, and Greg Strassell for this incredible opportunity."

Sarah Beth Hensley
Sarah Beth Hensley will be taking on the role of Digital News Director upon her return from maternity leave. Sarah Beth joined the WTOP digital team in 2013 as a digital editor. In 2018, she assumed the role of Digital News Manager and has been a part of WTOP's digital evolvement over the last several years.

"In our roles as Digital News Director and Digital News Manager, respectively, I have had the opportunity to work very closely with Sarah Beth and am constantly reminded of her commitment to excellence and dedication to the WTOP mission and vision," said Julia Ziegler, Director of News and Programming at WTOP.

Craig's first day will be this coming Monday, March 16. Sarah Beth Hensley's first day in her new role will be Tuesday, April 14.

KCBS L-A Orginating Local Newscasts For WCBS-TV NYC

With the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City essentially out of commission while it’s cleaned, the network’s flagship affiliate WCBS originated its newscasts from Los Angeles March 12 and 13, 2020, according to Newscast Studio.

DeMarco Morgan, who normally anchors KCBS’s morning and 11 a.m. newscasts solo anchored WCBS’s newscasts at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. eastern time.

Peter King, CBS News Radio
Meanwhile, forecaster Lonnie Quinn delivered weather from the streets of Westport, Connecticut using the station’s mobile weather lab vehicle and live truck.

The back hatch of the vehicle was open with a video panel sitting on the floor of the cargo area, though Quinn didn’t try to use it for his maps — which were instead shown fullscreen.

CBS Broadcast Center is closed down after three employees tested positive for coronavirus. Staffers are working from home while the facility is cleaned.

CBSN New York is originated from WBZ in Boston, as the nationwide feed of CBSN, with sports production moved to Florida.

And for the second day, CBS News Radio morning network newscasts originated from Orlando, anchored by Peter King.

Sports Radio, TV Face Big Problem: No Games To Air

New York Post 3/13/20
Sports TV networks and radio station are facing a big problem: They have virtually no games to put on the air.

In quick succession over the past 24 hours, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball announced they were suspending operations due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, and the NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

Now, their broadcast partners could face significant fallout, The Wall Street Journal is reporting. The networks that carry NBA games will take a substantial hit to advertising revenue and could potentially be on the hook for big rights-fees payments, according to analysts and people familiar with sports-rights deals.

Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN and AT&T Inc.’s Turner, the parent of TNT, together spend about $2.7 billion annually to show NBA games nationally. In addition, regional sports networks owned by media giants such as Comcast Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., among others, air NBA games in local markets.

Comcast also is the NHL’s major broadcast partner. Meanwhile, ESPN, Turner and Fox Corp. ’s Fox all have MLB rights.

The NBA is the most popular of the professional leagues that suspended operations. Losing NBA games will leave a major hole in the TV networks’ prime-time schedules, translating into lower ratings that will harm their ad sales—especially if the season doesn’t resume for the playoffs that normally begin in April, analysts said.

In the last NBA season, TV networks brought in nearly $600 million in ad revenue from NBA games and $972 million from the playoffs, according to research firm Kantar.

Networks’ other major stream of revenue—from the channel-carriage fees paid by cable-TV distributors—also could be impacted. Distributors require some TV programmers to air a minimum number of games; if they don’t, the carriage fees could be cut, according to a report by Rich Greenfield, an analyst for LightShed Partners. Since most of the NBA season is complete, he said, many TV programmers may have met the quota for telecasts.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a streaming-video entrepreneur, called the suspension of the NBA games due to the coronavirus a “black swan event,” adding that the league and its partners are “in new territory.”

The suspension of the major sports leagues could have wider implications for the pay television industry. Cable and satellite TV providers have lost millions of subscribers to cord-cutting over the past several years.

“This is an unprecedented situation,” ESPN said in a statement. “We have great relationships with our league partners and are confident we can address all issues constructively going forward. Our immediate focus is on everyone’s safety and well-being.”

  • The NBA was the first to take the stunning step of suspending its games amid the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday night, and then on Thursday (March 12th), the rest of the leagues followed in a cascade of announcements, as did the NCAA, which canceled its "March Madness" basketball tournament. 
  • The NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, one week before they were set to begin. The announcement came hours after the conferences began canceling their remaining games. The NCAA also canceled championships in every spring sport, including hockey, baseball and lacrosse. 
  • The NHL suspended its season, with Commissioner Gary Bettman saying the hope is to resume play later and still award the Stanley Cup.
  • Major League Baseball suspended the rest of spring training and delayed the start of its season, which had been scheduled for March 26th, by at least two weeks. 
  • The new XFL canceled the rest of its inaugural season, after completing half of the 10 weeks. The league said it's, quote, "committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years."
  • The PGA Tour canceled the rest of The Players Championship after the opening round was played yesterday, and suspended its other tournaments for the next three weeks. There was no immediate word on whether it would be rescheduled. 
  • The LPGA postponed three tournaments beginning next week.
  • Major League Soccer said it was shutting down for 30 days. The league's suspension of the season begins after it just started on February 29th.
  • IndyCar and NASCAR said they will hold their races this weekend and next, but without fans in the stands.

Disney Theme Parks Suspending Operations

Walt Disney Co will close its theme parks in California and Florida and its resort in Paris from this weekend through the end of the month due to the global outbreak of coronavirus, the company said on Thursday.

Reuters reports Disney Cruise Line will also suspend all new departures starting Saturday through the end of the month, the company said.

“We are proceeding with the closure of our theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort, beginning at the close of business on Sunday, March 15, through the end of the month,” the company said in a statement.

The hotels at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice, the company added.

The company’s theme parks in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo remain closed after being shuttered earlier this year in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which started in China.

Universal Orlando Resort announced that it will also temporarily close its theme parks starting Sunday and remain closed through the end of March as well. Universal Orlando’s hotels and Universal CityWalk were set to will remain open.

No cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, have been reported at the parks in Anaheim, CA, a company representative said in a statement. The announcement coincided with statewide restrictions on public gatherings ordered by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Comcast Corp’s Universal Studios theme park near Los Angeles also will close on Saturday with plans to reopen on March 28, the company said.

It is unusual for Disney to close its theme parks. Brief shutdowns have occurred due to hurricanes and following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

The company estimated in February that the shutdowns of Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland alone would cost $175 million if both remained closed for two months.

NBC Suspends Late-Night Programs

NBC said it would suspend production of its two flagship late-night programs for a period of at least two weeks, the latest bit of fallout around wee-hours TV related to the spread of coronavirus, The NY Post reports.

Starting Friday, “The Tonight Show” and “Late Night” will suspend production through a previously planned hiatus, which had been scheduled for the week of March 23. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make decisions about future shows as we get closer to the start of production,” NBC said in a statement.

Both shows had planned to start broadcasting Monday without a live, in-studio audience, a nod to the new requirements of life under the spread of coronavirus. All of the nation’s late-night programs had made similar decisions, which means every national late-night program will proceed without one of the format’s bedrock elements – a live crowd that can react to all the jokes and sketches, and even influence the host’s actions and tone over the course of a segment or a night.

Rita and Tom Hanks
Coronavirus has also slammed Hollywood.

Release dates for movies are shifting. Fast and Furious 9 from May 22 to April of 2021, No Time To Die from April to November; A Quiet Place 2 from March to TBD and Peter Rabbit 2 from March to August. China has closed its 70,000+ theaters, and Italy, France and Germany have shut many or most as well.

The Falcon and Winter Soldier are no longer filming in Prague, and the release date for the Disney+ show will likely be pushed.  Production for Mission Impossible 7, Riverdale, Survivor and the Amazing Race have been put on hold.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson shared publicly that they have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Australia. "Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches," Hanks began on social media. "Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus, and were found to be positive."

Hanks gave his fans an update last night (March 12th), writing on Instagram, "Hello folks. @ritawilson and I want to thank everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us. We have Covid-19 and are in isolation so we do not spread it to anyone else. There are those for whom it could lead to a very serious illness. We are taking it one-day-at-a-time." He continued, "There are things we can all do to get through this by following the advice of experts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no? Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball. Hanx."

They are reportedly in stable condition at a Queensland hospital and are cooperating with officials.

On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom recommended the cancellation or postponement of gatherings of 250 or more people through at least the end of the month.

Fox News Limits Staffing At Offices, Studios

Fox News said in a memo on Thursday that it will be "reducing the staff footprint" at its New York City headquarters and other bureaus starting Monday, with the goal to "limit personal interaction" due to the coronavirus outbreak and protect the health and safety of its employees.

The Hill reports the memo from Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News, and Jay Wallace, its president and executive editor, also says studio audiences for live shows such as "The Greg Gutfeld Show" will be canceled while shows will rely more on Skype interviews to limit the number of people coming in and out of its headquarters.

 "First and foremost, we are reducing the staff footprint at our headquarters in New York and some of our bureaus and will be instituting telecommuting starting Monday, March 16th for all of those departments capable of doing so," reads the joint memo from Scott and Wallace.

"We have been preparing for this over the last week by implementing test days for multiple departments and have found various measures that work well" including telecommuting, it later adds.

The memo also underscores "extensive sanitizing procedures" that have been put into place "more than two weeks ago which include continuous cleaning and disinfecting" throughout facilities, "especially all shared spaces and common areas where we have instituted commercial-grade treatments."

Fox News will also be "reducing in studio bookings across linear platforms and where possible, shows are being directed to rely on remotes or Skype," with all non-essential business travel" being prohibited since a directive was implemented on Monday.