Saturday, April 4, 2020

April 5 Radio History

➦In 1922…KOB-AM Albuquerque, New Mexico signed-on.

Ralph Willis Goddard
The station was founded at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Las Cruces (now New Mexico State University) by Ralph Willis Goddard, and began broadcasting tests in 1919 under the call letters 5XD. On April 5, 1922 the station began regular operation as KOB, a callsign which had belonged to marine radio aboard the Princess Anne before its February 2, 1920 shipwreck on Rockaway Shoals, Long Island.  New Mexico A&M sold the station after Goddard was electrocuted while adjusting the transmitter on December 31, 1928. In 1933 the station moved to Albuquerque, and was later bought by the Albuquerque Journal.

In 1948, Tom Pepperday, owner and publisher of the Journal, signed on KOB-TV, the first television station between the Mississippi River and the West Coast. The stations passed to Time-Life in 1952 and to Hubbard Broadcasting in 1957. Hubbard Broadcasting sold the radio stations in 1986. In order to trade on the well-known KOB calls, the new owners simply added an extra "K" to the radio station's call letters.

KOB was involved in a 38-year-long dispute with New York City station WABC (originally WJZ) over the use of the 770 kHz frequency. KOB was moved there from 1030 to make room for WBZ in Boston. While the Federal Communications Commission requested that WJZ install a directional antenna to allow the stations to interoperate over large areas, the station refused to comply, encroaching on the range KOB was intended to cover. Only after reaching the U.S. Supreme Court was the issue settled, when the FCC assigned KOB to a new license class. KKOB and WABC became sister stations when Citadel Broadcasting purchased ABC Radio in 2007; Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.

➦In 1922…WDZ-AM, Decatur, Illinois signed-on.

WDZ started in the office of the James Bush grain elevator in Tuscola, Illinois. The original call sign was 9JR and the original intent of the station was to broadcast grain reports, making it the first radio station to do so. The station later started mixing some music in with the grain reports.

The radio station's power was increased to 1000 watts in 1939 with a new 252-foot (77 m) tower. During that time, WDZ used remote broadcasts that was unique for a rural station. The station started the use of remote broadcasting equipment which included a truck called, the "WDZ 'White Relay Truck"', equipped with a 100-watt transmitter to relay broadcasts from area locations, and some two-watt, battery operated transmitters that could be worn on the backs of assistants when a program originated from remote sites.   The station was on 1020 kHz in 1941, but changed to 1050 kHz, and has remained there since.

1050 kHz has been a Mexican Clear Channel since 1941 (was a U.S. Clear Channel before 1941), and U.S. operations on Mexican Clear Channels was restricted to 1,000 watts and to daytime operations, only, until the "Rio" treaty took effect in the late 1980s (before 1941, 1020 kHz was a U.S. Clear Channel and that, too, was restricted). After "Rio" took effect, it was a simple matter for WDZ to add night operations with as little as 250 watts, and today the station is indeed operating with its pre-"Rio" maximum daytime power and its post-"Rio" minimum nighttime power. Anything more than 1,000 watts days and 250 watts nights very likely would require installation of a directional antenna system at great capital expense. WDZ is diplexed (i.e., it uses the very same vertical radiator) with co-owned WSOY.

WDZ Performer's Studio
In 1949, the station moved from Tuscola to Decatur.   The relocation of WDZ from Tuscola to the west and to Decatur greatly facilitated the eventual allocation of a station on 1080 kHz in Oak Lawn, suburban Chicago, IL.

WDZ Transmitter Studio
On March 31, 2008, the station switched to a sports radio format as part of the Fox Sports Radio network. Within a year the station switched programming from Fox Sports Radio to ESPN Radio.

WDZ and its sister stations WCZQ 105.5 FM Monticello and WDZQ 95.1 FM, 1340 WSOY 1340 AM and WSOY 102.9 FM Decatur, were sold to Neuhoff Media in February 2009.

Today, WDZ 1050 AM, powers with 1000 Kw-Day, 250 watts Night. and airs ESPN Sports.

➦In 1927...The NBC Orange Network started distributing programs. Also known as the NBC Pacific Coast network it was a National Broadcasting Company radio network in the western United States from 1927 to 1936, before two-way broadcast-quality communications circuits reached the West to relay the larger NBC Red Network and NBC Blue Network.

The Orange Network had its own production and performance staffs on the West Coast. In addition to producing original West Coast works, the Orange Network also had duplicate productions of many eastern shows until the end of 1928. In December 1928, a single broadcast-quality line was completed to San Francisco, and the Orange Network could then carry eastern programming directly, but only one program at a time; from then until 1936, Orange Network fed some programs from Red and some from Blue.

In 1936, a second broadcast-quality circuit was completed, this time to Los Angeles. This circuit also allowed the direction of amplification to be reversed in under 15 seconds, allowing Los Angeles, with its easy access to talent during the Golden Age of Hollywood, to feed broadcast-quality sound to the eastern networks as well. With the opening of the second circuit, the need for the Orange Network disappeared, and the stations on the old Orange Network became the Pacific Coast Red Network, fed by KPO (AM), except KGO (AM), which itself fed a new Western Blue Network made up of stations on the short-lived former NBC Gold Network

➦In 1982…Record World magazine ended publication after 36-years. It was one of the three main music industry trade magazines in the United States, along with Billboard and Cash Box. It was founded in 1946 under the name Music Vendor, but in 1964 it was changed to Record World, under the ownership of Sid Parnes and Bob Austin. It ceased publication on April 10, 1982.

Many music industry personalities, writers, and critics began their careers there in the early 1970s to 1980s.  Record World was considered the hipper, faster-moving music industry publication, in contrast to the stodgier Billboard and the perennially-struggling Cash Box. Record World's collapse was the result of discord between the two owners, and a sudden downturn in record sales.

➦In 2005…News anchor Peter Jennings told his ABC-TV audience that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He died four months later.

Peter Jennings
Jennings was born on July 29, 1938, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; he and his younger sister Sarah were the only two children of Elizabeth (née Osborne) and Charles Jennings, a prominent radio broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Peter Jennings started his broadcasting career at the age of nine, hosting Peter's People, a half-hour, Saturday morning, CBC Radio show for kids.

The 21-year-old Jennings started his rise in broadcasting. In 1959, radio CFJR, in Brockville, ON, hired him as a member of its news department; many of his stories, including his coverage of a local train wreck, were picked up by the CBC. By 1961, Jennings had joined the staff of CJOH-TV, then a new television station in Ottawa. When the station launched in March 1961, Jennings was initially an interviewer and co-producer for Vue, a late-night news program. His producers saw a youthful attractiveness in him that resembled that of Dick Clark, and Jennings soon found himself hosting Club Thirteen, a dance show similar to American Bandstand.

➦In 2014…TV and radio host Lynn Hinds died at age 79 from pancreatic cancer. Hinds informed and entertained countless Pittsburghers for two decades.

Hinds was a radio and TV host here from the 1960s until 1983, starting with radio shows on KQV-AM and WTAE-AM.

Lynn Hinds
Retired news director and broadcaster Frank Gottlieb, who worked with Mr. Hinds at WTAE-TV, always made a point to listen to his radio talk shows. "It was appointment radio. It was on the high level of Lynn's intellect. It was back when talk wasn't the same as it is now. It wasn't bombastic all politics, all the time."

Former WTAE news director Joe Rovitto recalls Mr. Hinds as a well-informed host with "phenomenal" interviewing skills. "That made him the ideal host for television. He was exactly what you would want every journalist to be. He was a sponge for information. At the same time, he was one of the most down-to-earth guys."

In 1983, WTAE decided not to renew his contract. At that point he dedicated his life to teaching. He moved to State College and joined the faculty at Penn State University. While he was there, he wrote, produced and hosted "The Pennsylvania Game," a current affairs quiz show that aired on the Pennsylvania Public Television Network.

In 1991, he left Penn State to teach broadcast journalism at West Virginia University. In 1996, he accepted the job of chair of the communications department at Drury University in Springfield, Md., and retired as professor emeritus.

Hinds wrote several books, including "Broadcasting the Local News: The Early Years of KDKA," and "The Cold War as Rhetoric: the Beginnings, 1945-1950."

➦In  2015…Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Lonnie Alexander "Lon" Simmons died at age 91. (Born - July 19, 1923).

Lon Simmons - 1971
He was born in Vancouver, Washington, he began his radio career in Elko, Nevada, calling Elko High School football and basketball games on KELK. He first announced baseball for a semipro league in Marysville, California. After spending three years broadcasting Fresno State sports on KMJ, Simmons landed in San Francisco in 1957 as the sports director at KSFO. That year, he was the color commentator for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League, teaming with play-by-play announcer Bob Fouts, the father of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts.

In 1958, Simmons took over as play-by-play announcer on 49ers radio broadcasts, paired with former 49er Gordy Soltau. Years later, he worked with KSFO disc-jockey Gene Nelson and then with former NFL player and KPIX-TV sports director Wayne Walker. Also in 1958, he became the second announcer for the newly relocated San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball, teaming with lead announcer Russ Hodges, who moved with the team from New York. To complement Hodges' "Bye Bye Baby!" home run call, Simmons created his own, "Tell It Goodbye!" When Hodges retired, Simmons was promoted to lead announcer and teamed with Bill Thompson. This pairing lasted through the 1973 season. Al Michaels and Art Eckman became the Giants radio announcers on KSFO in 1974.

Simmons' most famous call during his first stint with the 49ers came on October 25, 1964, when Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall picked up a fumble by the 49ers' Billy Kilmer and ran it the wrong way, scoring a safety for the 49ers instead of a touchdown for the Vikings (who won the game anyway, by a score of 27-22).

  • Max Gail (actor, Barney Miller's Detective Stanley "Wojo" Wojohowicz) (77)
  • Michael Moriarty (actor, Law & Order) (79)
  • Colin Powell (former U.S. Secretary Of State) (83)
  • Pharrell Williams (musician and producer, of the Neptunes) (45)
  • Agnetha Faltskog (singer, ABBA) (70)
  • Paula Cole (singer) (50)
  • Mike McCready (lead guitarist, Pearl Jam) (54)
  • Greg Mathis (host, the Judge Mathis TV show) (60)
  • Mitch Pileggi (actor, The X Files, Sons of Anarchy) (68)
  • Hayley Atwell (actress, The Duchess, Captain America: The First Avenger) (38)
  • Lily James (actress, Cinderella, Downton Abbey) (31)

Country At Home Show Replaces ACM Awards Show

Country music stars will come together on Sunday with acoustic performances recorded from their homes for a televised special that will replace the annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which were canceled due to the global coronavirus outbreak.

The two-hour “ACM Presents: Our Country” will feature Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Old Dominion and others.

“It will be a night filled with entertainment, hope and reflection, bringing the healing power of music to Americans at a time when they need it most,” organizers said.”CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King will host the show from her home in New York.

“What these guys have done is amazing,” King said in an interview to preview the event.

“You have Lady Antebellum in three different locations with their kids sort of climbing all around them. That was fun,” King said. “Shania Twain, who’s in her barn with a real live horse that’s sort of listening to her play, while the dog is sitting there looking like, ok, is she still singing?”

Reuters reports the telecast will include a special tribute to Kenny Rogers by Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and Lionel Richie, the writer of one of Rogers’ biggest hits, ‘Lady.’ Rogers died March 20 at age 81.

The ACM Awards were to have taken place at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, with days of preceding concerts and events. The show is among the many live events canceled to prevent large gatherings that could spread the novel coronavirus.

The “ACM Presents: Our Country” program will air on U.S. broadcast network CBS and its streaming platform, CBS All Access, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday. CBS is part of ViacomCBS Inc.

'Living Room Concert for America'' Re-Airs Monday

The Elton John-led, star-studded benefit concert that raised more than $10 million to battle the coronavirus will be re-aired on Fox Monday.

Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys performed from their homes on “Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.” The hourlong event originally premiered last Sunday on Fox and iHeartMedia radio stations, and the money raised during the airings will go to Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.

During the initial broadcast, John, 73, proved he can make the best of any situation. The rock icon lamented, "I have to be quarantined in the only house I have ever been in without a piano."

Fortunately for fans, he still managed to put on a show: As the broadcast closed out, John sat down at his sons' keyboard, joking, "I don't normally play a keyboard like this."

He then proceeded to perform an excerpt of his 1974 hit "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" as the credits rolled, which he dedicated to "the incredible heroes" on the front lines of the pandemic.

SiriusXM Radio: Taylor Swift Guests On Hits-1

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift helped launch a new home DJ series on SiriusXM's Hits 1 (Channel 2) Friday, chatting with fans between playing songs from some of today's top artists.  Hits 1 is available free, along with other SiriusXM channels, during a free trial that runs through May 15.

"It's safe to say we are living through unprecedented times right now," Swift said shortly after her set debuted at noon ET. "I hope that all of you are safe and healthy. Obviously we have a lot of time on our hands right now with people being out of school and out of work."

The first song in Swift's home DJ set was Conan Gray's "Maniac."

"Basically I've been obsessed with the new Conan Gray album," she confessed. "So imaginative, so interesting."

"Maniac" was followed by Tones and I's "Dance Monkey," Harry Styles' "Adore You," Justin Bieber's "Intentions" and Halsey's "You Should Be Sad."

During this time when Americans are being urged to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, Swift told fans she's kept busy by cooking, reading and watching lots of movies she hasn't seen before, USAToday reports.

"But mainly I've been online reading, trying to find out ways to help others and just constantly in awe of our first responders and our emergency workers and our health care professionals who are putting themselves in danger every day that they go to work," she said.

“We love to connect fans with their favorite artists, and our home DJ series will bring some of the biggest names in music into our homes as people look for ways to be entertained,” SiriusXM president and CEO Scott Greenstein said in a press release.

Swift, as she wrapped up her hourlong set, had some heartfelt parting advice for listeners. The set will be replayed throughout the weekend on Hits 1, and will also be available on demand.

"A lot of people really are banding together and helping each other," she said. "It's a crazy time right now and you never know who might be struggling, who might be alone. Right now we have to connect with our humanity more than ever before.

"I really, really hope you're quarantining. We will get through this together. I love you guys."

NYC Radio: Sports Talk Is Losing Its Mind

Early morning sports radio and TV hosts have such ridiculous opinions about what happens in the games because the games are on very late, and the hosts have to wake up very early. But there are no games now, so Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti are talking about dogs watching people have sex.

“There is no way that I am gonna have my dog watch me make love to my wife,” is the very first thing Dennis Young at The NYDaily News heard when I turned on WFAN a little after 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The caller, a man named Sal, bragged about his “full-breed boxer,” and Giannotti agreed: “If you’re trying to have sex with a boxer in the bed, it’s not gonna work out.”

By 9 a.m., Esiason was already annoyed by the “CORONA UPDATES” that the station was playing in the mid-morning block. “These COVID updates are filled with nothing but horrific news,” he said.

Like weather or traffic on the twos, the “CORONA UPDATES” or sometimes “COVID-19 UPDATES” are introduced with a little jingle, followed by a brief update on New York City’s cases, death count, and new closures. (In this case, Andrew Cuomo had just closed playgrounds.)

“They gotta do something about those," Esiason said. "There also has to be some news associated with it that isn’t just surrounded by death… They’re so matter of fact, and so hard to take — to come back and try to restart a conversation that we had prior to that is almost impossible.”

One of the show’s producers agreed. “Every other one is a death toll … All these people are dead, now back to sports.” A producer said that they could get rid of the updates if the hosts wanted, but then backtracked and said that they’re mandated by the station. They played until at least 10, but I didn’t catch any on WFAN the rest of the day.

Without sports to analyze, there is little opportunity for shows to differentiate themselves through strength of analysis. Nuance and insight aren’t worth much when there’s no new material. Take that away and you’re left with the same technical issues everyone else is facing, with hosts, producers and guests working remotely.

Cole Gahagan Succeeds Greg Brown At Learfield IMG College

Learfield IMG College longtime President and CEO Greg Brown Friday announced his retirement and the appointment of Cole Gahagan, the company’s former president of content, revenue and enterprise solutions, as the new president and CEO. Following the transition, Brown will serve as co-chairman of the board of directors and advisor to the company.

Greg Brown
“It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to be associated with the great people of this company and the collegiate sports industry for the past 36 years. Learfield IMG College is in good hands with Cole Gahagan and our outstanding employees,” said Brown.

“When Cole joined us in January, I had in my mind transitioning to this new role later in 2020. But with college sports on virtual hold, this lull is an ideal time for the company leadership to transition now so we will be well positioned to serve our partners and sponsor brands on the other side of this national crisis. Cole brings extraordinary experiences to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Brown began with Learfield in 1984 selling sponsorships for the Iowa State Cyclone Radio Network. He grew quickly through the ranks and was named Learfield’s president and CEO in 2009 following the retirement of Founder Clyde Lear. Under Brown’s leadership, the company evolved through organic growth and strategic acquisitions to become one of the leading collegiate sports marketing firms in the nation. Brown oversaw the merger completion between Learfield and IMG College in December 2018. Learfield IMG College now represents more than 1,000 collegiate athletic programs (including nearly 200 multimedia rights relationships), conferences and arenas across the nation as well as a wide array of services to collegiate athletic departments, performing arts centers and event organizers.

Cole Gahagan
“It has been an absolute honor working with and learning from Greg Brown — not just over the last several months — but during the years I observed his leadership and accomplishments from other corners of our sports industry,” said Gahagan. “I’m grateful for his friendship and guidance, and I’m looking forward to continue our working relationship for many years to come.”

He added, “Now more than ever, our Learfield IMG College team has a responsibility to usher the collegiate athletics industry into a new era of growth; leveraging data mining, digital tools and highly compelling content to engage more fans. Over the last several years, we have evolved from serving as an asset creation and sales company to a fully integrated media and tech leader — and we’re only getting started. I’m humbled to now help lead this new charge and am beyond bullish for what lies ahead — both for our people and our partners.”

In his previous role, Gahagan led Learfield IMG College’s media and content teams as well as its collection of businesses, which include its comprehensive collegiate multimedia rights division and affiliated and acquired businesses. Prior to joining the company on Jan. 6, Gahagan was chief commercial officer for Fanatics, Inc. He also was chief revenue officer for Ticketmaster and former senior vice president, development and strategy for Live Nation.

CNN's Brooke Baldwin Reveals COVID-19 Diagnosis

Brooke Baldwin
Brooke Baldwin has joined Chris Cuomo on the roster of CNN on-air talent testing positive for the coronavirus.

The LA Times reports the afternoon anchor announced Friday on her Instagram page she experienced chills, aches and fever on Thursday.

“I’ve been social distancing,” Baldwin said. “Doing ALL the things we’re being told to do. Still — it got me.”

Baldwin, 40, said she has no underlying conditions.

Cuomo, CNN evening anchor and brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, learned on Monday that he had tested positive for the virus and has been doing his nightly program from the basement of his Long Island, N.Y., home.

Cuomo and Baldwin had been coming in to CNN’s New York headquarters on Manhattan’s West Side.

Most TV news anchors have been working remotely at home since New York state was put under a stay-at-home order on March 20.

Two TV news employees have died of complications from the coronavirus — talent executive Maria Mercader of CBS News and audio technician Larry Edgeworth of NBC News.

POTUS spars With CBS Correspondent Over 'Nasty Tone'

President Trump defended his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner on Friday for suggesting the federal stockpile of medical resources was not for states, lashing out at a reporter for asking about the comments and accusing her of having a “nasty tone.”

The Hill reports CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang asked Trump what Kushner meant when he referred to the national stockpile as “our stockpile” and implied it wasn’t for states while appearing at the administration's daily coronavirus press conference the previous day.

“You know what 'our' means? United States of America,” Trump told Jiang, labeling her inquiry as a “gotcha” question. “We take that – ‘our’ – and we distribute it to the states.”

Pressed on why Kushner would assert the stockpile wasn’t for states’ use, Trump said that the federal government “needs it too” and decides which supplies to dole out to state governments.

“Because we need it for the government, we need it for the federal government,” Trump said. “To keep for our country because the federal government needs it too, not just the states.”

“Excuse me, he’s talking about the federal government,” Trump went on, growing angry at the reporter’s question. “It’s such a basic and simple question and you try and make it sound so bad. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

Cha-Ching! Joe Ianniello Lands With $125M Golden Parachute

Joe Ianniello
Former CBS Corp. Chief Executive Officer Joe Ianniello nabbed an eye-popping $125 million in total compensation and severance payments from ViacomCBS in 2019.

Ianniello, who announced he was stepping down in January, was the head of CBS, which merged with sister company, Viacom last December, to form ViacomCBS.

The NY Post reports news of Ianniello’s princely compensation was part of the company’s annual filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, Friday evening.

The filing shows he netted a salary of $2.8 million and $84.7 million in severance payments provided for via an employment contract drawn up during the reign of disgraced CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves, who resigned in Sept. 2018 amid sexual harassment allegations.  Under that contract, Ianniello, who had been Moonves’ right-hand man, was promised a windfall if he was not promoted to CEO of the entire company after Moonves.

It was previously reported that Ianniello would net about $70 million linked to those promises for a total compensation of $100 million. Friday’s filing shows the haul was even larger than previously anticipated, including stock awards valued at $37.4 million.

The filing also reveals that Bob Bakish, the Viacom chief who was named CEO of ViacomCBS, received $8.4 million in total compensation last year. This included $230,000 in salary, $3.1 million in bonuses and $5 million in stock awards.

Milwaukee Radio: Reggie Brown Returns To WKKV As PD

Reggie Brown
iHeartMedia has announced that Reggie Brown has been named Program Director for WKKV V100.7, Milwaukee’s Only Hip Hop and R&B.

As Program Director, Brown will be responsible for the overall branding of V100.7 including on-air, online and community events. In addition, he will continue to broadcast on the station as an afternoon host and will report to Kerry Wolfe, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Milwaukee.

“Reggie Brown continues to be the voice of the urban community in Milwaukee and we couldn’t be happier to have him lead V100.7 to new heights,” said Wolfe.

“I’m thrilled to lead the V100.7 team,” said Brown. “I’m excited to continue to bring quality programming and thriving events to our Milwaukee community while continuing to entertain our audience in the afternoons.”

Louisville Radio: Jody Demling Hospitalized With COVID-19

Jody Demling
Longtime Louisville sports personality Jody Demling is hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, according to Cardinal Authority, a website that covers University of Louisville sports and recruiting.

He is on a ventilator, according to Demling’s wife, Angela. But she says doctors are hopeful.

WLKY reports what Angela Demling posted to Facebook Friday:
“Update: I can’t even begin to thank everyone for all outpouring of love, support, and concern for Jody Demling. I apologize if I don’t respond to each one of you but please know I am overwhelmed right now and I can feel the love - as can Jody. I talked to Jody twice this morning as well as pulmonology. They are putting him on a ventilator so he doesn’t have to labor so hard. This is preventative and the doctors are extremely hopeful given his age and health. However, please don’t let up on your prayers. We really need them. Love you all. And thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Demling wears many hats across the Louisville sports landscape. He is the publisher of Cardinal Authority, a sports radio personality who can often be heard on WHAS 840 and WKRD 790 and a horse racing writer for CBS Sports’ website.

April 4 Radio History

➦In 1906...Actress Beatrice Benaderet born (Died at age 62 from lung cancer – October 13, 1968). She was a radio and television actress and voice actress. Born in New York City and raised in San Francisco, she began performing in Bay Area theatre and radio before embarking on a Hollywood career that spanned over three decades. Benaderet first specialized in voiceover work in the golden age of radio, appearing on numerous programs while working with comedians of the era such as Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, and Lucille Ball. Her expertise in dialect and characterization led to her becoming Warner Bros.' leading voice of female characters in their animated cartoons of the early 1940s through the mid-1950s.

Benaderet was then a prominent figure on television in situation comedies, first with The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show from 1950 to 1958, for which she earned two Emmy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress. In the 1960s, she had regular roles in four series up until her death from lung cancer in 1968, including the commercial successes The Beverly Hillbillies, The Flintstones, and her best known role as Kate Bradley in Petticoat Junction. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame honoring her work in television.

In 1926, Benaderet joined the staff of KFRC San Francisco, which was under the new ownership of Don Lee and where her duties included acting, singing, writing, and producing. Initially seeking work as a dramatic actress, she switched to comedy and performed on multiple shows in nine years with the station, in particular the Blue Monday Jamboree variety program, where her castmates included Meredith Willson, Elvia Allman, and future I Love Lucy producer Jess Oppenheimer. She additionally hosted the musical variety show Salon Moderne and gained attention for her work as a female announcer, which had become a rarity in radio in the 1930s.

Benaderet moved to Los Angeles station KHJ in 1936. She made her network radio debut upon being hired by Orson Welles for his Mercury Theatre repertory company heard on The Campbell Playhouse.  The following year she received her first big break in the industry on The Jack Benny Program, where she played Gertrude Gearshift, a wisecracking Brooklyn-accented telephone operator who gossiped about Jack Benny with her cohort Mabel Flapsaddle (Sara Berner).  Intended as a one-time appearance, the pair became a recurring role starting in the 1945–46 season, and in early 1947, Benaderet and Berner momentarily took over the actual NBC switchboards in Hollywood for publicity photos. She performed in as many as five shows daily,  causing her rehearsal dates to conflict with those of The Jack Benny Program and resulting in her reading live as Gertrude from a marked script she was handed upon entering the studio.

Other recurring characters Benaderet portrayed were Blanche Morton on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show; school principal Eve Goodwin on The Great Gildersleeve; Millicent Carstairs on Fibber McGee & Molly; Gloria the maid on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet; and Iris Atterbury on the Lucille Ball vehicle My Favorite Husband, opposite Gale Gordon. Benaderet voiced various one-time parts before joining the main cast as Iris, the neighbor and friend of Ball's character Liz Cooper. The 1950 CBS program Granby's Green Acres, a perceived spinoff of My Favorite Husband, was her one radio lead role and reunited her with Gordon as a husband and wife who abandon city life to become farmers, but it lasted only eight episodes.

Beginning in 1943, Benaderet became Warner Bros.' primary voice of adult female supporting characters for their Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes animated shorts.

Benaderet was Lucille Ball's first choice as Ethel Mertz for the sitcom I Love Lucy; Ball said in a 1984 interview that she had "no other picture of anyone" for the role of Ethel.  However, Benaderet had to turn down the offer since she was contracted to the television adaptation of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, so Vivian Vance was eventually cast. Benaderet guest-starred on the January 21, 1952 first-season episode "Lucy Plays Cupid" as the character of Miss Lewis, a love-starved spinster neighbor.

➦In 1906...John Cameron Swayze born (Died – August 15, 1995), He was a news commentator and game show panelist during the 1940s and 1950s who later became best known as a product spokesman for Timex watches.

Swayze first wanted to be an actor; however workon Broadway ended when acting roles became scarce following the Wall Street Crash of 1929.  Swayze returned to the Midwest and worked for the Kansas City Journal Post as a reporter.

From there he graduated to radio, doing news updates for Kansas City's KMBC in 1940 and, reportedly, an experimental early television newscast. In Kansas City, Swayze broadcast news items prepared by United Press Kansas City bureau overnight editor Walter Cronkite. Four years later, Swayze went farther west, to Los Angeles and Hollywood, where NBC hired him for its western news division before moving him to its New York City news operation in 1947.

During 1948, Swayze provided voiceover work for the Camel Newsreel Theatre, an early television news program that broadcast Movietone News newsreels.

At the same time, Swayze proposed and obtained a radio quiz program, Who Said That?. The radio version lasted only a year, but Swayze was an occasional panelist in the television version of the program, which was broadcast on NBC from 1948 to 1955.

NBC, meanwhile, made Swayze the host of its national political convention coverage in 1948, the first commercial coverage ever by television. (NBC Television did broadcast the Republican National Convention from Philadelphia during 1940 on a noncommercial, semi-experimental basis, seen in just three cities: Philadelphia, New York City and Schenectady, NY).

In October 1948, Swayze was a permanent panel member of the quiz show Who Said That? and was referred to as the anchorman in what may be the first usage of this term on television.

Swayze was chosen in 1949 to host NBC's first television newscast, the 15-minute Camel News Caravan. He read items from the news wires and periodically interviewed newsmakers, but he is remembered best for reporting on the Korean War nightly and for his two catchphrases: "Let's go hopscotching the world for headlines" and his signoff: "That's the story, folks—glad we could get together. And now, this is John Cameron Swayze saying good night." Veteran broadcaster David Brinkley wrote in a memoir that Swayze got the job because of his ability to memorize scripts, which allowed him to recite the news when the primitive teleprompters of the time failed to work properly.

➦In 1914.
.. Julia Frances Langford born (Died at age 89 – July 11, 2005). She was a singer and entertainer who was popular during the Golden Age of Radio and also made film appearances over two decades.

While a young girl she required a tonsillectomy that changed her soprano range to a rich contralto. As a result, she was forced to change her vocal style to a more contemporary big band, popular music style. Cigar manufacturer Eli Witt heard her sing at an American Legion party and hired her to sing on his local radio show. After a brief stint in the Broadway musical "Here Goes the Bride" in 1931, she moved to Hollywood appearing on the Louella Parsons' radio show "'Hollywood Hotel' while starting a movie career. While singing for radio during the early 1930s, she was heard by Rudy Vallee, who invited her to become a regular on his radio show.  From 1935 until 1938 she was a regular performer on Dick Powell's radio show. From 1946 to 1951, she performed with Don Ameche as the insufferable wife, Blanche, on The Bickersons.

➦In 1922...WAAB (Baton Rouge La) becomes 1st US radio station with call-letters starting with a "W".

➦In 1964...As the April 4 issue of Billboard magazine demonstrates, the Beatles were simply dominating the American music scene. And during that unforgettable week, their music occupied the top five chart positions — the only time in pop-music history that a single act has accomplished such a feat. With “Can’t Buy Me Love” holding down the top slot, “Twist and Shout” was second and “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me” rounded out the top five.

Even more incredibly, the Beatles held seven additional positions on Billboard’s Hot 100, including “I Saw Her Standing There” at No. 31, “From Me to You” at No. 41, “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” at No. 46, “All My Loving” at No. 58, “You Can’t Do That” at No. 65, “Roll Over Beethoven” at No. 68 and “Thank You Girl” at No. 79.

As if to underscore the awe-inspiring power of Beatlemania during that fabled period, two Beatles tribute acts clocked hits that very same week, including the Carefrees’ “We Love You Beatles” at No. 42 and the Four Preps’ “A Letter to the Beatles” at No. 85. For April 11, 1964, issue of Billboard, the Beatles added two more hits to the Hot 100, including “There’s a Place” at No. 74 and “Love Me Do” at No. 81, giving them a total of 14 hits songs on the Billboard charts at the very same time.

Don Imus
➦In 2007...Don Imus called the Rutgers women basketball team "nappy-headed hos". The comment erupted into a firestorm of condemnation which a week later led to him being fired from his nationally syndicated radio show.

On April 4, 2007, during a discussion about the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, Imus characterized the Rutgers University women's basketball team players as "rough girls," commenting on their tattoos. His executive producer Bernard McGuirk responded by referring to them as "hardcore hos". The discussion continued with Imus describing the girls as "nappy-headed hos" and McGuirk remarking that the two teams looked like the "jigaboos versus the wannabes" mentioned in Spike Lee's film, School Daze; apparently referring to the two teams' differing appearances.

After outrage from the initial reports, Imus dismissed the incident as "some idiot comment meant to be amusing".  He also stated that "nappy-headed hoes" is a term that rap artists use to refer to African-American women.

He said: "That phrase [nappy-headed ho] didn't originate in the White Community. That phrase originated in the Black community. Young Black women all through that society are demeaned and disparaged and disrespected by their own Black men, and they are called that name in Black hip hop."

In response to mounting public censure, Imus issued a statement of apology:

I want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team, which lost to Tennessee in the NCAA championship game on Tuesday. It was completely inappropriate and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry.

On April 9, Imus appeared on Al Sharpton's syndicated radio talk show, Keepin' It Real with Al Sharpton, to address the controversy. Sharpton called the comments "abominable", "racist", and "sexist", and repeated his earlier demand that Imus be fired. Imus said, "Our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far. Here's what I've learned: that you can't make fun of everybody, because some people don't deserve it."

The Rutgers basketball team held a news conference at which coach C. Vivian Stringer stated that the team would meet with Imus to discuss his comments. Several of the players expressed their outrage over his remarks. Team captain Essence Carson said Imus' remarks had "stolen a moment of pure grace from us".

On April 11, 2007, Steve Capus of NBC News, announced that MSNBC would no longer simulcast Imus in the Morning, effective immediately. The next day, CBS Radio canceled Imus in the Morning, effective immediately. CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves stated:

From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent. There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society. That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision.  Moonves had met with Sharpton and Jesse Jackson shortly before the announcement was made.

  • Robert Downey, Jr. (actor, Ally McBeal, Chaplin, Iron Man, The Soloist, Sherlock Holmes, Due Date) (55)
  • David E. Kelley (writer-producer, Big Little Lies, Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Legal) (64)
  • Christine Lahti (actress, Chicago Hope, Running On Empty, Smart People) (70)
  • Clive Davis (famous record company executive and producer) (88)
  • Natasha Lyonne (actress, Orange is the New Black, Slums Of Beverly Hills, American Pie I & II, But I'm a Cheerleader, Party Monster) (41)
  • Nancy McKeon (actress, The Facts Of Life) (54)
  • Jamie Lynn Spears (actress, Zooey 101, Britney's younger sister) (29)
  • David Blaine (magician) (47)
  • Jill Scott (singer-songwriter-actress) (48)
  • Craig T. Nelson (actor, Parenthood, Poltergeist, Coach,The Incredibles) (76)
  • Kelly Price (singer) (46)
  • Estelle Harris (actress, George Costanza's mother on Seinfeld) (92, disputed)
  • Kitty Kelley (who wrote unauthorized biographies of Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan and the Bush family) (78)
  • Pick Withers (former drummer, Dire Straits) (72)
  • Hugo Weaving (actor, the Lord of the Rings movies, theMatrix movies) (60)
  • David Cross (actor/comedian, Arrested Development, She's the Man, Mr. Show, Men in Black I & II, Alvin & the Chipmunks) (56)
  • Barry Pepper (actor, Saving Private Ryan, Enemy of the State, The Green Mile, Knockaround Guy, We Were Soldiers, 25th Hour, Flags of Our Fathers, Casino Jack, True Grit) (50)

Friday, April 3, 2020

R.I.P.: Bill Withers, Three-Time Grammy Award Winner

Bill Withers, whose soulful hits celebrated love, friendship and other forms of human connection, died Monday from heart complications, his family said.

He was 81 years old, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The singer-songwriter’s iconic tunes, including “Lean On Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lovely Day,” remain as popular as they were when he wrote them in the 1970s. In the ensuing decades, he bowed out of music-making and largely exited from public life.

“As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world,” his family said in a statement. “In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.”

Born July 4, 1938, in Slab Fork, W.Va., and raised in the nearby coal-mining town of Beckley, he was the youngest of six children. Mr. Withers enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and served for nine years—during which he overcame his severe childhood stutter and became interested in writing songs—before making his way to Los Angeles.

There, his self-financed demo tapes led to a record deal with Sussex Records, which released his debut album, “Just As I Am,” in 1971. It yielded the singles “Grandma’s Hands” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which won the Grammy for best R&B song that year. With the album’s success, he began touring with members of the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, a local pop-R&B group whose keyboardist produced his demo recordings.

A year later came his second album, “Still Bill,” with universal anthem and the widely beloved paean to friendship “Lean On Me.” The next single, “Use Me,” became his third million-selling hit.

“Not a lot of people got me,” Mr. Withers said during his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. “Here I was, this black guy playing an acoustic guitar, and I wasn’t playing the gutbucket blues. People had a certain slot that they expected you to fit into.”

In 1975, Mr. Withers signed to Columbia Records, and released “Making Music” that year, with the single “She’s Lonely.” He released three more albums over the next three years, including 1977’s “Menagerie,” which included “Lovely Day,” one of his most enduring feel-good hits. Toward the end of the song, he holds a single note—on the word “day”—for 18 seconds.

Withers collaborated with saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., for the 1981 hit “Just the Two of Us,” which won the Grammy that year for best R&B song.

In 1985, he released his ninth and final studio album, “Watching You Watching Me,” which featured “You Just Can’t Smile It Away” and “Whatever Happens.” Frustrated with music executives, he didn’t re-sign or record with a label after that year, though his musical success continued to grow, with covers, compilations and notable placements in films and elsewhere.

In his relatively brief recording career, he logged 15 top-25 R&B singles.

“Lean On Me” earned him his third Grammy win for best R&B song in 1987 with Club Nouveau’s release of a cover.

Not Unexpected..Unemployment Claims Soar

Nearly 10 million American jobs have been lost in just two weeks, the Labor Department reported yesterday. That stunning number has no parallel in modern history for its size or for the speed with which it occurred. Yet it is probably understated. An unknown number of people have not yet been able to file for benefits because state systems are overwhelmed.

The pain is global. Almost a million people have applied for welfare in Great Britain in the past two weeks. Austria has its highest unemployment since the end of World War II. And, millions of French workers have applied for government subsidies.

Bank of America analysts said yesterday that a recession is inevitable, and will be “deeper and more prolonged” than was evident only two weeks ago.

Worldwide, the number of coronavirus infections has surpassed one million and more than 48,000 lives have been lost. The United States has more cases than any other nation at about 234,000. There are signs that the rate of infection is slowing in Italy and Spain, both hard-hit by the virus.

Unlike the 2008 financial crisis, the American economy has abruptly shuttered in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, instead of a more gradual wind-down. It’s more severe, at least early on, than previous economic slowdowns, and it’s hitting the country’s frontline workers — and those in the lowest income bracket — hardest and quickest.

The unemployment rate is expected to show a hit from the pandemic when the Department of Labor releases its jobs report Friday, with that number expected to increase further in next month’s release. American households, especially those earning less than $50,000 per year, are ill-prepared to handle that spike in unemployment, according to new Morning Consult data.

Depending on how extensive government-provided economic stimulus is — to individuals and small businesses in particular — it’s likely that many won’t be able to weather a long economic downturn. Thirty-four percent of adults in the under-$50,000 income bracket said they would run out of savings in three months if someone in their household lost their job, while 18 percent said they have no savings to fall back on at all.

➤WHEN TO EXPECT THOSE TREASURY CHECKS: People who included direct deposit information with their 2018 or 2019 tax returns should receive any payment they are due during the week of April 13. That’s about 60 million of us. But the IRS won’t start issuing paper checks until May 4, according to CNN.

Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin announced yesterday that the IRS will soon have a website that allows taxpayers to enter their direct deposit information if they have not already done so.
The stimulus bill directs that $1,200 be paid to single taxpayers who earn $75,000 or less in adjusted gross income, or couples making $150,000 or less, plus $500 per child.

➤CDC TO RECOMMEND WEARING MASKS: The Center for Disease Control is expected to recommend that all Americans wear cloth masks when they must go out in public while the shutdown lasts. There is a growing belief that it can help prevent spread of the coronavirus infection. The agency is expected to recommend cloth but not surgical masks, which are in short supply.

➤SMALL BUSINESS BAILOUT BEGINS: A massive program to keep people who work for small businesses on the payrolls by funneling taxpayer dollars through their employers started today. The nation’s banks are expected to loan out the money, which will be fully repaid with interest by the government. At a press conference Thursday, Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said the guidelines are posted and the program is ready to go.

➤DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION DELAYED: The Democratic National Convention has been delayed from mid-July until the week of August 17. Milwaukee is still expected to be the host city.

NuVoodoo Reveals Info Listeners Want Most From Music Stations

NuVoodoo Media Services, a data-driven media marketing, programming and content intelligence provider, announces that its ongoing nationwide study to track concern about the spread of COVID-19 and media usage amid the Coronavirus outbreak revealed the topics that radio listeners are most interested in hearing about on their favorite FM music radio stations.

The data was collected by NuVoodoo on March 30 and 31 through over 2,800 interviews in markets across the U.S. with persons 16-54. The top five responses given were: 1) Number of cases around your area; 2) New orders and restrictions from local authorities; 3) Businesses that are open, but helping to keep customers safe; 4) Local people who have COVID-19 (how did they get it?); and 5) Getting the government help you deserve.

Leigh Jacobs, Executive Vice President, Research Insights, NuVoodoo Media Services, said: “In structuring the interview parameters, we pointed it at the information music radio listeners would want from the FM music station they listen to most. In building content, stations should consider this ranking. While the number of cases in their area and new orders from local authorities MUST be front and center, there’s a wide range of other content of interest to huge swaths of listeners.”

Carolyn Gilbert, President and Chief Executive Officer, NuVoodoo Media Services, noted: “FM music radio stations can attract and hold listeners in this time of uncertainty in a very fluid and emotionally charged environment by providing them with timely information their listeners say they most want and need. The concerns people most expressed their interest in hearing about ran the gamut of topics – from basic facts about area COVID-19 cases, new orders and restrictions from local authorities, and information about businesses that are open and helping to keep customers safe, to resources and ideas for making ends meet, working at home, and keeping kids home from school entertained. Across the board, FM music radio has a vital opportunity to serve listeners with lifesaving information and build listenership and loyalty in the process. Radio has always risen to the challenges in good and bad times, and we hope stations and the communities they serve will benefit from this new data.”

As reported by NuVoodoo earlier this week, its separate 7-day sample of over 4,000 persons shows only 20% are still going to jobs outside their homes, while a 36% plurality are working from home and nearly a quarter are laid-off at home. And radio is there for all groups – especially the work-from-home force – where 39% are listening more to radio than they did before the outbreak. In addition to the 39% who are listening more to radio this week, a significant majority is listening as much as they ever did.

Self-reported usage is up across all the media types NuVoodoo explored, including 20% of respondents saying they are listening more to the radio than before the outbreak.

The information from NuVoodoo’s ongoing nationwide study is updated regularly and freely available at:

Disney to Furlough Employees

Walt Disney Co. on Thursday said it would begin to furlough employees “whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time” amid widespread business closures, in the latest sign of the harsh economic fallout from global coronavirus crisis.

The furloughing process will begin April 19, the LA Times reports.

The Burbank-based entertainment giant has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shuttered its theme parks, cruise lines and retail stores, halted film and TV productions and delayed high-profile movie releases including “Mulan.”

Disney, which employs 223,000 people according to its annual report, and is one of the biggest employers in the Los Angeles area, did not say how many people would be out of work because of the decision. The company also did not specify which departments would be affected.

However, the impact is expected to be significant. Disney’s parks and resorts employ more than 170,000 people, alone, many of whom are part time.

Last week, the company said Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando will remain closed “until further notice.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on our world with untold suffering and loss, and has required all of us to make sacrifices,” Disney said in a statement. “Over the last few weeks, mandatory decrees from government officials have shut down a majority of our businesses.”

Disneyland and Walt Disney World have been shuttered since mid-March, when government officials began issuing stricter orders to slow the spread of the virus, putting thousands of people out of work. So far, though, Disney employees have received full pay and benefits during the closures, the company said. Disney has committed to paying workers through April 18. But the latest decision underscores the uncertainty of the situation for businesses such as Disney.

Those affected by the program will remain Disney employees through the duration of the furlough period, Disney said. The company also promised full healthcare benefits, and will cover the cost of employee premiums.