Saturday, April 11, 2020

April 12 Radio History

➦In 1924...WLS-AM, Chicago signed-on.

After buying time on radio stations in the early days of broadcasting, Sears Roebuck & Co. in Chicago decided to start its own station.  Its first test broadcasts used the call sign WBBX and then WES (“World’s Economy Store”).  On April 12, 1924, the station became WLS (“World’s Largest Store”).

In its first month, WLS started its “National Barn Dance” program, a live country-music showcase that was the direct predecessor of the Grand Ole Opry.

A Chicago radio manufacturer signed on WENR Radio in 1925. The station entered a time-sharing agreement with WBCN Radio.  An investor bought both stations in 1927. He later sold the licenses to NBC.  The network kept WENR on the air.  It shared a frequency with WLS for decades.  One station would sign off and another would sign on.

Sears sold WLS to the “Prairie Farmer” magazine in 1928.  The radio station became an essential part of agriculture in the Midwest.  Farmers relied heavily on agricultural news, commodity prices and weather reports from WLS.

WENR-WLS boosted power to 50,000 watts in 1932, beaming its programming over much of the nation.  Despite its part-time status, the station built a large amount of goodwill and a huge audience.

In addition to farm programming, WLS offered entertainment and educational programs.  It also made history in news broadcasting. WLS reporter Herb Morrison famously said, “Oh the humanity!” as he watched the 1937 Hindenberg crash in Lakehurst, N.J.  The recorded account aired the next day over NBC.

The station also experimented successfully in many forms of news broadcasting, including weather and crop reports. Its most famous news broadcast was the report of the Hindenburg disaster by Herbert Morrison.



For about 15 years WLS shared it's frequency with WENR as part of the NBC Blue Network. In 1941 WLS changed frequency from 870 to 890 kilocycles with 50 kw of power. The transmitter site was in Chicago's south suburb of Crete, Illinois from 1924 to 1938. In 1938, they moved to it's current location in Tinley Park.

WLS was an NBC Blue Network affiliate during radio’s golden age.  NBC was forced to sell the Blue Network, which became ABC.  In 1954, ABC bought a controlling interest in WENR-WLS, combining the two into WLS.  The network bought WLS outright in 1959.

The ABC era brought a major change.  The staid, conservative WLS that brought Midwesterners a steady diet of farm reports, news and weather, general-interest music and entertainment and the “National Barn Dance” became a Top 40 station at 6 a.m. on May 2, 1960.   ABC created one of the nation’s most influential radio stations in the rock era, attracting millions of listeners each week.

Here’s a sample of a 1962 aircheck featuring Dick Biondi:

By the late 1980s, it was an adult contemporary station during the day and offered talk programming at night. WLS switched to its current full-time news/talk format in 1989.  Cumulus Media now owns the station.

➦In 1935..."Your Hit Parade," debuted on NBC Radio Red Network.

Your Hit Parade aired from 1935 to 1953 on radio, and seen from 1950 to 1959 on television. It was sponsored by American Tobacco's Lucky Strike cigarettes. During this 24-year run, the show had 19 orchestra leaders and 52 singers or groups. Many listeners and viewers casually referred to the show with the incorrect title The Hit Parade.

Each Saturday evening, the program offered the most popular and bestselling songs of the week. The earliest format involved a presentation of the top 15 songs. Later, a countdown with fanfares led to the top three finalists, with the number one song for the finale. Occasional performances of standards and other favorite songs from the past were known as "Lucky Strike Extras."

Listeners were informed that the "Your Hit Parade survey checks the best sellers on sheet music and phonograph records, the songs most heard on the air and most played on the automatic coin machines, an accurate, authentic tabulation of America's taste in popular music." However, the exact procedure of this "authentic tabulation" remained a secret.

Doris Day
The origins of the format can be traced back to the Lucky Strike Dance Orchestra (aka Lucky Strike Orchestra), which aired from 1928 to 1931, sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes. Led by Benjamin A. Rolfe the show was heard on the NBC Red network for an hour at 10 p.m. on Saturdays (with Tuesday and Thursday broadcasts beginning around September 16 and 18, 1930, respectively).

Some years passed before the countdown format was introduced, with the number of songs varying from seven to 15. Vocalists in the 1930s included Buddy Clark, Lanny Ross, Kay Thompson and Bea Wain (1939–44), who was married to the show's announcer, French-born André Baruch. Frank Sinatra joined the show in 1943, and was fired for messing up the No. 1 song, "Don't fence me In " by interjecting a mumble to the effect that the song had too many words and missing a cue.

One source says his contract was not renewed due to demanding a raise and the show being moved to the West Coast.  As he zoomed in popularity he was rehired, returning (1947–49) to co-star with Doris Day.

Hugely popular on CBS through the WWII years, Your Hit Parade returned to NBC in 1947.

Dozens of singers appeared on the radio program, including "Wee" Bonnie Baker, Dorothy Collins, Beryl Davis, Gogo DeLys, Joan Edwards (1941–46), Georgia Gibbs, Dick Haymes, Snooky Lanson, Gisèle MacKenzie, Johnny Mercer, Andy Russell, Dinah Shore, Ginny Simms, Lawrence Tibbett, Martha Tilton, Eileen Wilson, Barry Wood, and occasional guest vocalists.

The radio series continued until January 16, 1953.

➦In 1941...An radio show with the name Life of Riley was a summer replacement show heard on CBS from April 12, 1941, to September 6, 1941. The CBS program starred Lionel Stander as J. Riley Farnsworth and had no real connection with the more famous series that followed a few years later.

The show is not to be confused with The Life of Riley, another radio situation comedy series of the 1940s that was adapted into a 1949 feature film, a 1950s television series, and a 1958 comic book.

➦In 1945...President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died from a massive cerebral hemorrhage at age 63 (Born - January 30, 1882).  Often referred to by his initials FDR, he served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A Democrat, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century.

Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. Roosevelt is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in American history, as well as among the most influential figures of the 20th century.

Roosevelt believed that his administration's success depended upon a favorable dialogue with the electorate — possible only through methods of mass communication — and that this would allow him to take the initiative. The use of radio for direct appeals was perhaps the most important of FDR's innovations in political communication. Roosevelt's opponents had control of most newspapers in the 1930s and press reports were under their control and involved their editorial commentary. Historian Betty Houchin Winfield says, "He and his advisers worried that newspapers' biases would affect the news columns and rightly so." Historian Douglas B. Craig says that he "offered voters a chance to receive information unadulterated by newspaper proprietors' bias" through the new medium of radio.

➦In 1954…A year earlier...Bill Haley scored his first national success with an original song called "Crazy Man, Crazy," a phrase Haley said he heard from his teenage audience, again released on Essex. "Crazy Man, Crazy" was the first rock and roll song to be televised nationally when it was used on the soundtrack for a 1953 television show starring James Dean.

In the spring of 1954, Haley and His Comets left Essex for New York-based Decca Records, where they were placed under the auspices of veteran producer Milt Gabler. Their first session, on April 12, 1954, yielded "Rock Around the Clock," which would become Haley's biggest hit and one of the most important records in rock and roll history.  Most music historians agree that the song, featured in the 1955 film "Blackboard Jungle," ushered in the rock 'n' roll era. It hit #1 on June 29, 1955 and stayed there for eight weeks, remaining on the charts for a total of 24 weeks, and has sold more than 25 million copies.

"Shake, Rattle and Roll" followed. it never achieved the same level of historical importance as "Rock Around the Clock" but it predated it as the first international rock and roll hit. It did not attain the Number 1 position on the American charts, but it became Haley's first gold record..

➦In 2002...WTJM 105.1 FM NYC switched call letters to WWPR

➦In 2007...Don Imus was fired from his syndicated program by CBS Radio after a week of controversy brought on by racial remarks broadcast a week earlier about the Rutgers women basketball team.

➦In 2016…Sportscaster Paul Carey died at age 88 (Born - March 15, 1928). His career spanned six decades. He is a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

Paul Carey
Carey was on the original announcing staff of WCEN, Mt. Pleasant when it went on the air August 8, 1949. After completing his college degree in June 1950, Carey returned to WCEN. In 1949, he was part of the first broadcast ever made of a Central Michigan University football game. After returning from serving in the Army in October 1952, he resumed his announcing and sportscasting duties at WCEN. In April 1953, Carey moved to WKNX in Saginaw, Michigan to become the afternoon disc-jockey. He also worked on WKNX-TV and did the first on-camera commercial for that station. During his stay at WKNX, Carey was program director of radio for two years. In June 1956, Carey joined the announcing staff at WJR in Detroit, Michigan and worked there until his retirement in January 1992.

After producing the Detroit Tigers Radio Network from 1964 to 1971, Carey joined Ernie Harwell as a play-by-play announcer for the team in 1973 and spent nineteen seasons calling the games until his retirement after the 1991 season. For sixteen of those years calling Tiger baseball on radio, he also handled the engineering for the broadcasts.

Carey also served as a play-by-play announcer for Detroit Pistons' basketball for six seasons (1969–1973, 1975–76 and 1981–82).

Thanks COVID-19! Podcast Advertising Drops

Consumers are tuning into digital audio differently now that home is the new office. As fewer listeners commute due to the coronavirus pandemic, downloads for podcasts are declining. But there are bright spots, as genres such as science, cooking, health, news and kids’ music see a surge.

Advertising is another story. AdAge reports podcast creators are seeing a rise in media buyers blacklisting shows that discuss coronavirus—a trend first seen with online news publishers. And some brands, particularly those in the retail and service categories, are hitting pause on their digital audio ad spend.

“We are either seeing canceling budgets or postponing campaigns,” says Alexis van de Wyer, CEO at Pandora-owned AdsWizz, the largest programmatic audio exchange in the market. “The type of advertisers is also changing: Auto dealerships, brick-and-mortar stores, sports, casinos—all those categories are getting hammered.”

Van de Wyer says there’s been almost a 30 percent drop in second-quarter bookings, citing recently released research from the IAB. “That is massive,” he says.

Similar to out-of-home, digital audio captures much of its traffic from the 157 million people who make up the U.S. workforce. Of those, nearly 77 percent drove alone to work each day, according to the 2016 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the latest available. “A lot of listening happened during the commute,” van de Wyer says. “We see that almost entirely disappearing.”

U.S. podcast downloads fell each week during the last three weeks of March (down 1 percent, 2 percent and 4 percent, respectively), according to Podtract, which provides measurement data for advertisers. Popular genres also fell, including tech (19 percent), history (17 percent) and sports (10 percent).

The disappearing commute has only somewhat affected traditional radio: 83 percent of those 18 and older said they tuned in the same or more during the pandemic, claims Erica Farber, president and CEO of Radio Advertising Bureau.

Still, consumer behaviors have changed, as people tune into digital audio at various parts of the day versus the typical hours associated with a daily commute. About 80 percent of listening is also now happening in homes, which has prompted a 100 percent surge in use of devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, according to van de Wyer.

Hubbard Rebrands Morning Show As Jubal EXITS

Jeffrey Dubow, Brooke Fox and Jose Bolanos
Hubbard Radio has announced the official rebranding of its syndicated Brooke & Jubal Show.

Chicago Media Watcher Robert Feder reports the show is now 'Brooke & Jeffrey In the Morning. Feder notes Jubal Fresh has been MIA from the show for the past three months.

The rebranded show now features co-host Jeffrey Dubow, along with Brooke Fox, with regular contributor Jose Bolanos.

Brooke & Jubal
“We’re very excited about the new show,” Jeff England, Hubbard Radio Chicago market manager, said in a statement. “We strive to provide outstanding and engaging entertainment for our listeners. Brooke, Jeffrey and Jose will continue to deliver on that goal.”

Feder writes Jeff England, Hubbard's Chicago market manager, said he knew of no reason for Fresh’s unexplained absence from the show since January. Hubbard Radio and Premiere Networks, which syndicates the show to about 50 cities nationwide, including WSHE 100.3 FM.

“We’re very excited about the new show,” Jeff England, Hubbard Radio Chicago market manager, said in a statement. “We strive to provide outstanding and engaging entertainment for our listeners. Brooke, Jeffrey and Jose will continue to deliver on that goal.”

A standup comedian who changed his name from Jubal Flagg in 2018, Fresh had co-hosted the Seattle-based morning show with Fox since 2011. He continues to host a podcast with his wife, Alex Fresh.

Springfield IL Radio: Five RIFFed At Mid-West Family Cluster

Ray Lytle
Ray Lytle, host of a morning show on WMAY 970 AM / 94.7 FM in Springfield, Illinois for nearly three years, was among five people in Illinois dismissed Friday by Mid-West Family Broadcasting as ad revenue has lagged during the COVID-19 outbreak, The State Journal-Register reports.

“Ray is awesome,” said Mike Paterson, president of the company, which has several stations in Springfield and Rockford.

“Every person that was let go from our company today is a fantastic person,” he said. But he said that for the sake of stations and shareholders, “we had to make some really hard decisions.”

With many local businesses experiencing revenue drop to 10 percent during stay-at-home orders, he said, there is “no way they can advertise.”

Lytle said Paterson delivered the news after Friday’s morning show.

In a Facebook post, Lytle said he appreciated having been able to do the show on the “legendary radio station.”

He lauded his co-workers, and also noted that he’s not the only one to lose a job during the nation’s health emergency.

“Unfortunately this ... virus ... is changing the landscape in which we all live,” he wrote. “However we are strong. I have confidence that we will come back stronger than ever.

“I am joining the ranks of almost 20 million people affected by the economics of this pandemic. To anybody else out there who has been recently terminated ... you are all special and worthy.”

Lytle, 50, has been a broadcaster for more than 30 years, including time on WYMG, WQLZ and WTAX in addition to WMAY. He had a show called “Morning Disaster” on WQLZ, and has also done syndicated and internet programs.

He said he’s planning to continue on the internet.

PA Radio: Seven Mountains To Acquire Billtown Area Translator

Seven Mountains Media, the parent company of WCFT 106.5 Fm in Bloombusrg PA has agreed to buy the tiny FM translator from Family Life Ministries, The Press-Enterprise reports.

Seven Mountains intends to relocate the tanslator, where it will be used to bring a little “FM revitalization” to one of two AMs the company is acquiring in the Williamsport market.

For $100,000, the company led by President Kristin Cantrell is grabbing W234AQ at 94.7 MHz.

Thanks to geography, the FM translator covers only Muncy. But that’s set to change. The tower is set to move further west, to cover Montoursville, just east of Williamsport.

And it will rebroadcast either WLYC-AM in Williamsport or WEJS-AM in Jersey Shore.

WEJS is a news/talk station that now uses W281AR at 104.1 MHz in Williamsport. However, programming could shift to W234AQ, with 104.1 MHz instead used to rebroadcast WLYC.

That station is FOX Sports Williamsport and uses W224AI at 92.7 MHz in Loyalsock to reach areas east of central Williamsport. Thus, W234AQ would give the sports talker added coverage.

Colorado Springs Radio: KATC Rebrands As Cat Country

CUMULUS MEDIA announces that Country radio station KATC-FM in Colorado Springs launched this week as newly rebranded Cat Country 95.1.

The station, previously known as 95.1 NASH FM, kicked off the next generation of Colorado Springs’ best Country music on Monday, April 8th with The Cat Country Morning Show with Wendy & Bo, a new morning show featuring co-hosts Wendy Labree and Bo Jaxon. The show airs weekdays on Cat Country 95.1 from 5:00am-10:00am. Following Wendy and Bo in Middays is Michelle Rodriguez, whose weekday show airs from 10:00am-3:00pm. KATC Program Director Mike Dylan continues as host of Afternoons, with Nights with Elaina and The Blair Garner Show capping the weekday schedule. Cat Country 95.1 also launched its new website this week at:

Scott Jones, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Colorado Springs, said: “We’re thrilled with the rebrand and the instant caffeinated energy the Cat gives us. Our listeners will love Wendy and Bo’s creativity and community-focused personalities in the morning and Michelle turns middays into her own personal playground. It’s gonna be fun!”

Mike Dylan, Program Director, KATC-FM, said: “I am a huge fan of each of these air personalities and am excited about what we can bring to Colorado Springs with the new Cat Country 95.1.”

Apple, Google Partner On Smartphone Coronavirus Tracking

Apple Inc. and Google will build software together that would alert people if they were in contact with someone infected with the coronavirus, an unprecedented collaboration between two Silicon Valley giants and rivals.

The Wall Street Journal reports the project, which is certain to raise privacy concerns, offers the most concrete technological solution to date for governmental authorities searching for ways to at least partially lift the lockdown orders that have swept the nation. The companies are by far the world’s biggest smartphone software providers, with billions of users world-wide.

The companies said jointly Friday that the “contact tracing tools” they are developing would be built into smartphones, using existing Bluetooth technology that tracks whether phones have passed within a certain distance of one another. If a user tests positive for the coronavirus and chooses to participate in the system, other phones will be able to search through their location data to determine whether they passed close enough for long enough to risk a potential exposure within the past 14 days.

Those unknowing individuals—provided they, too, have opted in—would receive a notification on their own phones, according to draft documents posted by the companies, such as, “ALERT: You have recently been exposed to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. Tap for more information.”

Apple and Google will release next month the first versions of software for the alert apps, which could be developed by public-health authorities, among others.

The private effort wasn’t coordinated in advance with the White House task force that is looking at potential tech solutions to curb the spread of the virus, according to a person familiar with the matter. President Trump said Friday that the technology raised privacy concerns, telling reporters: “It’s very interesting but a lot of people worry about it in terms of a person’s freedom. We’re going to take a look at that, a very strong look at it.”

The initiative would turn the smartphones in Americans’ pockets into pandemic tracking devices.

Drew Brees To Sign With NBC After NFL Playing Days

TMZ Graphic
Drew Brees will still be on your TV screen when his playing days with the New Orleans Saints are done, just not in the format you are accustomed to seeing.

Brees will join the NBC broadcast team, where he will be groomed as an eventual replacement for Cris Collinsworth on "Sunday Night Football," according to a report by the New York Post. The contract is set to begin upon Brees' retirement, reports.

“Like all NFL fans, we look forward to watching Drew continue his Hall of Fame career this fall, and we are confident his post-playing career will be just as successful,” NBC Sports spokesman Greg Hughes told The Post.

According to the report, Brees is expected to start as both a game analyst for Notre Dame football broadcasts on Saturdays and a studio analyst for "Sunday Night Football."

The 41-year-old signed a two-year, $50 million contract last month, signaling his return for his 15th season as the Saints quarterback and 20th NFL season overall. He is the NFL's all-time leader in virtually every major statistic, including passing yards (77,416) and passing touchdowns (547).

Chatter first started circulating about the networks' interest in Brees shortly after the Saints lost to the Vikings 26-20 in the NFC wild-card round Jan. 5, when Brees had yet to announce he was returning for the 2020 season.

Last week, the New York Post reported ESPN was pursuing Brees for a future role in its "Monday Night Football" broadcast, offering something in the range of $6 million annually. The Post's Friday report said Brees' deal with NBC is "competitive" with ESPN's offer.

That salary would be nearly double what former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo made in his first contract with CBS, at three years, $10 million.

Report: CBS Sports To Part With NFL Analyst Dan Fouts

Dan Fouts
CBS addressed its top NFL broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo by signing Romo to a 10-year, $180 million extension this offseason.

The network is now addressing its No. 2 team, USAToday reports.

According to multiple reports, CBS is letting go of color commentator Dan Fouts, who has teamed with play-by-play man Ian Eagle for the last several seasons. Fouts, 69, is a pro football Hall of Famer who put together a decorated 15-year career, all with the San Diego Chargers.

After retiring in 1987, Fouts first joined CBS as an analyst. In 2000, he joined ABC's "Monday Night Football" booth alongside Al Michaels and Dennis Miller. He called college games with Keith Jackson for a time and returned to CBS in 2008.

Former San Diego Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts poses with his Hall of Fame ring during the Hall of Fame Game.

Both the New York Post and Miami Herald reported that CBS was targeting Charles Davis, who is currently the analyst on Fox Sports' No. 2 broadcast alongside Kevin Burkhardt.

Lawmakers Hear S-O-S From Media

A group of Democratic senators wants local news outlets to receive coronavirus stimulus money in "any future coronavirus relief package" that the Senate passes, according to the website JustTheNews.

"Local news is in a state of crisis that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic," the senators wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"For over a decade, there has been a steady succession of local outlets closing down, reporters being laid off, production schedules cut, and resources tightened as the growth of social media and technology platforms has concentrated critical advertising revenue in the hands of a few. But the current public health crisis has made this problem worse," read the letter.

The senators wrote that "local journalism has been providing communities answers to critical questions, including information on where to get locally tested, hospital capacity, road closures, essential business hours of operation, and shelter-in-place orders."

Recent media reports indicate that local news organizations, especially newspapers, are "slashing staff and publishing less frequently as the already-battered businesses try to weather the COVID-19 storm."

According to the letter, some "local papers and local broadcasters have lost even more of the advertising revenue they rely on from these businesses" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting received $75 million “for stabilization grants to maintain programming services and to preserve small and rural public telecommunication stations” in the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill called the CARES Act that passed in March.

Former presidential candidates Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) signed the letter along with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).

Additional Cuts Unveiled At The Chicago Tribune

Tribune Publishing, the parent company of the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, Orlando Sentinel, and the Baltimore Sun, late Thursday said it was asking employees across the company to take pay cuts ranging from 2 percent to 10 percent.

Unionized shops within the company are being asked to take a 4.5 percent pay cut, according to The NY Post citing a source.

Chief executive Terry Jimenez, in a memo to 5,000 staffers, said the company “will permanently reduce base pay from 2 percent to 10 percent for employees who have an annual base salary of $67,000 or more. These reductions will be on a sliding scale with those earning more taking a steeper cut.”

“I will be foregoing my salary for two weeks in addition to a 10 percent reduction in my base salary, totaling a 13.8 percent pay reduction,” he said.

Jimenez said the company will also be offering an undisclosed number of buyouts. Employees who opt for a buyout can avoid the pay cut, but must make up their minds by April 17 and exit the company by April 29.

The survivors’ pay cuts will take hold on April 19.

“Despite strong readership and engagement to the work we are doing, the current business climate poses challenges for everyone. Along with most of our industry peers, we are experiencing a negative business impact as a result of the pandemic,”said Jimenez.

“This is particularly true in our print advertising business, where most of the local businesses that we partner with are effectively shut down. In the wake of these revenue declines, we must take drastic actions to better position ourselves for the future.”

S-I Fires Pay Cut Complainer

Sports Illustrated has fired one of its highest-paid writers after he complained about coronavirus-related pay cuts that were revealed by the magazine’s publisher last month.

Grant Wahl
The NY Post reports Grant Wahl, one of the preeminent soccer journalists in the country, was making more than $350,000 a year but was getting hit with a 30-percent pay cut as part of cost cuts last month that included the firing of 31 people at Maven, the magazine’s publisher since last fall, according to sources. The blood-letting resulted in about 6 percent of the staff at SI being let go.

Prior to his axing on Friday afternoon, Wahl had been blasting management for the cuts in a series of Instagram posts in recent days. Management struck back, branding him an ingrate in a memo that was circulated to staffers.

“We’ve decided to direct what would have been this person’s salary into additional severance pay and health benefits for those laid off who need it most,” Jim Heckman, CEO of Maven, said in the memo obtained by The Post.

“To complain about a personal pay cut when 31 others had lost their jobs is incomprehensible in light of the sacrifices others made to help limit layoffs and maintain liveable salaries for our staff,” said the memo. “Such a me-first attitude is not part of the tradition and culture Maven is committed to maintaining.”

Although the memo did not reveal the writer’s name, a source close to the situation said it referred to Wahl. The memo said the fired staffer was paid “over $350,000 last year to infrequently write stories that generated little meaningful viewership or revenue.”

Sales Vet Bob McCurdy EXITS Beasley Media Group

Bob McCurdy
Beasley Media Group’s VP of Corporate Sales, a veteran media executive, is departing, as he has announced his retirement, according to the Radio-TV Business Report.

“After 45 glorious, exciting and rewarding years in this amazing business, I am retiring to focus on my health,” said Bob McCurdy.

Without elaborating, Beasley said that McCurdy has been battling “a serious medical issue” for the past two years.

“Bruce (Beasley), Brian (Beasley) and Caroline (Beasley) have been amazing throughout this entire ordeal and I will be forever grateful,” McCurdy said. “Beasley is a great company. I have loved working with everyone and want you to know that you have made the past five years of my career extremely rewarding and satisfying. Good luck, be the best and continue to hustle!”

Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley commented, “Bob’s thoughtful insight, professional wisdom and unlimited dedication have been truly instrumental to our company’s success since joining [the company] in June 2016. He has been a trusted confidant, a valued advisor and an incredible ambassador on behalf of our organization and the radio industry. It has been an absolute privilege to have him on our team.”

Handwritten 'Hey Jude' Lyrics Fetches $910K At Auction

Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics to The Beatles’ hit song “Hey Jude” sold for $910,000 on Friday, nine times its original estimate, auction house Julien’s Auctions said.

A vintage bass drumhead with The Beatles’ logo that was used during the English band’s first North American tour in 1964 was another top item, selling for $200,000.

Reuters reports the items were among more than 250 items of Beatles memorabilia offered in an online auction by Julien’s Auctions to mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s breakup.

A drawing by John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono called Bagism, a term they coined to satirize stereotyping, sold for $93,750, while an ashtray used by the Fab Four’s drummer Ringo Starr at the Abbey Road recording studios in London fetched $32,500.

The wooden stage of the small Liverpool venue where the band performed before they rocketed to fame went for $25,600.

Before the sale, Julien’s Auctions music specialist Jason Watkins had described McCartney’s hastily scribbled notes for a 1968 studio recording of “Hey Jude” as very rare and valuable.

“It’s obviously a very iconic song that everyone’s familiar with,” said Watkins. “These handwritten lyrics were used in the studio as a guide when they were recording it.”

The sale had been due to take place online and at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, New York, but it was made online-only due to the coronavirus pandemic, the auction house said.

Country Radio Hall Induction Postponed To September

The Country Radio Broadcasters has announced that the 2020 Country Radio Hall of Fame Induction and Dinner ceremony is rescheduled due to uncertainties surrounding the recent spread of COVID-19. The annual event, initially scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, will take place on Thursday, September 3, at the Westin Nashville.

CRB’s Board President, Kurt Johnson, commented, “For the safety of our Country family attending the ceremony, we are delaying the CRHOF event, and encourage everyone to stay safe. I want to say congratulations to the Class of 2020. While we are sad to hold off an evening celebrating you, it will definitely be all the sweeter when we can gather later. See you then!”

As previously announced, the 2020 Country Radio Hall of Fame inductees include three off-air radio broadcasters and three on-air radio personalities. The off-air honorees are Jim Duncan, Victor Sansone, and George Beasley. The on-air honorees are Tim Wilson, Chuck Edwards, and Mark “Hawkeye” Louis.

The Country Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to the recognition of those individuals who have made significant contributions to the radio industry over a 20-year period, 15 of which must be in the Country format.

Dying Woman Pleas With Alexa For Help

A nursing home patient in Michigan with the coronavirus asked Alexa on an Amazon Echo device for help before she died, her sister said.

NBC News reports LouAnn Dagen died April 4, shortly after she was transferred to a hospital in Grand Rapids. She was 66.

She was one of six residents at the nursing home, Metron of Cedar Springs, which is now called Mission Point, who died after contracting the virus, according to the facility. Thirty-one residents and five staff members at the nursing home have tested positive for the virus, a spokesman for the center said.

Paul Pruitt, director of operations at Metron, said Dagen was a resident at the nursing home for 10 years and "had never been transferred to the hospital prior to the complications that rapidly developed as a result of COVID-19."

"Once those symptoms progressed rapidly, and at the advice of her medical team, she was immediately sent to the hospital," Pruitt said.

The medical examiner's office said Dagen's death was caused by diabetes, hypertension and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to her sister, Penny.

Dagen had two strokes in 2008, which left her paralyzed on her left side, her sister said.

Penny Dagen was unable to visit her sister in person after the nursing home, like others around the country, restricted visitors because of the pandemic. So Alexa became LouAnn Dagen's primary way to communicate with her sister.

It wasn't until Monday that Penny Dagen discovered the recordings from the Amazon device in her sister's room at Metron.

In one of the exchanges, LouAnn Dagen said: "Alexa, help me."

In another, she said: "I am in pain. I have to find a way to relieve it."

She also asked Alexa: "Can you help me cope with pain?" and said: "Oh, Alexa, I'm going to hurt."

Penny Dagen said Thursday through tears: "I just felt bad because I couldn't help her."

April 11 Radio History

➦In 1904...Actor Paul McGrath born in Chicago (Died  at age 74 – 13 April 1978). He was a film, TV, Broadway, and radio actor best known for his radio appearances in the 1940s and 1950s. McGrath was a regular on the soap operas Big Sister and Young Doctor Malone. He also played the host on Inner Sanctum Mystery.  On TV he had recurring roles on The Edge of Night & Guiding Light.

➦In 1907...Paul Douglas Fleischer born (Died from a heart attack at age 59 − September 11, 1959).  He worked originally as an announcer for CBS radio station WCAU in Philadelphia, relocating to network headquarters in New York in 1934.

Paul Douglas
Douglas co-hosted CBS's popular swing music program, The Saturday Night Swing Club, from 1936 to 1939.

He also appeared on the CBS network broadcast of the 1937 World Series between the New York Giants and New York Yankees alongside France Laux and Bill Dyer.

He made his Broadway debut in 1936 as the Radio Announcer in Doty Hobart and Tom McKnight's Double Dummy at the John Golden Theatre.  Douglas began appearing in films in 1949. He may be best remembered for two baseball comedy movies, It Happens Every Spring (1949) and Angels in the Outfield (1951).

Douglas was host of the 22nd annual Academy Awards in March 1950. Continuing in radio, he was the announcer for The Ed Wynn Show, and the first host of NBC Radio's The Horn & Hardart Children's Hour. In April 1959 Douglas appeared on The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show as Lucy Ricardo's television morning show co-host in the episode "Lucy Wants a Career".

In 1955 he appeared in the play "The Caine Mutiny" but his union placed him on probation for allegedly saying, "The South stinks. It's a land of sowbelly and segregation," which offended southern audiences. Douglas claimed that he was misquoted.[4]

Douglas was originally cast in the 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone called "The Mighty Casey", a role written for him by Rod Serling based on his character in Angels in the Outfield. Douglas died the day after production of the episode had been completed. He had been in his last stages of illness during filming, and his severe physical state was apparent on film. (The crew incorrectly assumed that his condition was the result of heavy drinking.) The episode – which was a comedy – was deemed unairable. It was, however, resurrected some months later, and Douglas's scenes were re-shot with Jack Warden.

➦In 1912...John Larkin born (Died from a heart attack at age 52 — January 29, 1965). He was an actor whose nearly 30-year career was capped by his 1950s portrayal of two fictional criminal attorneys — Perry Mason on radio and Mike Karr on television daytime drama The Edge of Night.

John Larkin
After having acted in an estimated 7,500 dramatic shows on radio, he devoted his final decade to television and, from April 1962 to January 1965, was a key member of the supporting cast in two prime-time series and made at least twenty major guest-starring appearances in many of the top drama series of the period.

Larkin developed a distinctively resonant voice perfectly suited to radio, the prime entertainment venue in American homes during the Depression 1930s. By the latter part of the decade, when he was in his mid-twenties, Larkin had worked for a number of stations, including KCKN and WHB in the Kansas City, later, in Chicago, where he became known for versatility in performing announcing and hosting duties in addition to acting in front of the microphone for numerous scripted shows, including Vic and Sade, one of network radio's most popular programs of the 1930s, and the one for which he received his first major credit as a radio actor.

Following military service in World War II, he became one of the radio's top dramatic voices. He was offered, in 1947, the title role in CBS Radio Network's three-and-a-half-year-old afternoon crime serial, Perry Mason which, as was the case with all radio daytime dramas, consisted of an 11-minute script, broadcast Monday through Friday in a 15-minute time slot, including commercials, promos and credits.

Larkin's familiar authoritative voice had soon come to symbolize the Perry Mason radio persona and he remained with the role for eight-and-a-half years until the program's conclusion in December 1955.

➦In 1921...The first known boxing match on radio between Johnny Ray and Johnny Dundee was broadcast live on KDKA, Pittsburgh with sport writer Florent Gibson as announcer.

In 1924...the retailer Sears ended three days of  test transmissions using the call sign WES (for "World's Economy Store"). Sears originally operated its station at the company's corporate headquarters on Chicago's West Side, which is also where the company's mail order business was located. On April 12, 1924, the station commenced officially, using the call letters WLS (for "World's Largest Store"). On April 19, the station aired its first National Barn Dance. The station shared time on the frequency with WCBD until November 11, 1928, at which point it began sharing time with WENR.

➦In 1924...KLO-AM, Ogden, Utah signed-on as KFUR. Its current calls came about in the 1930s in honor of Mt. Lomond located near Ogden. KLO was the flagship of the Interstate Broadcasting Corporation, later the Intermountain Network.  The station trasmits at 1430 AM and airs standards.

Helen Choate, Lon Clark-Master Detective
➦In 1943...Nick Carter, Master Detective first aired on Mutual.  The show was a crime drama based on tales of the fictional private detective Nick Carter from Street & Smith's dime novels and pulp magazines first introduced in 1896. Nick Carter aired in many different timeslots for well over a decade. Between October 1944 and April 1945, it was heard as a 30-minute program on Sunday afternoons at 3pm, sponsored by Acme Paints and Lin-X, with a 15-minute serial airing four or five times a week in 1944 from April to September. In April 1945, the Sunday series moved to 6pm, continuing in that timeslot until June 1946, and it was also heard in 1946 on Tuesday from March to August.

The series finally settled in on Sundays at 6:30pm for broadcasts from August 18, 1946 to September 21, 1952. Libby Packing was the sponsor when the drama aired on Sundays at 6pm (1952-53). In the last two years of the long run (1953-55), the show was heard Sundays at 4:30pm.

➦In 1947...The radio show My Friend Irma aired for the first time.  It became a media franchise that was spawned by a top-rated, long-running radio situation comedy created by writer-director-producer Cy Howard.

The radio show was so popular in the late 1940s that its success escalated the films, television, a comic strip and a comic book that comprise the franchise. Marie Wilson portrayed the title character Irma Peterson on radio, in two films and the television series. The radio series was broadcast on CBS from April 11, 1947 to August 23, 1954

➦In 1973...Norm N. Nite aired his first show on Oldies WCBS 101.1 FM, NYC.  Nite was instrumental in bringing the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame to Cleveland.

Nite began his career as a DJ at WGAR 1220 AM in Cleveland and later at WMJI there. Later he would host shows at WCBS-FM and WNBC in New York City. His historical interest in Rock & Roll led him to compile, as the first volume of "Rock On" describes it, "an exhaustive array of data on more than 1,000 of the most popular artists of the fifties and early sixties.

Subsequently, due to the popularity of this volume, first released in 1974, he authored a second volume in 1978, covering, as described on the dust jacket, "The Modern Years: 1964-Present" with an introduction by Wolfman Jack. In 1985 Rock On Volume 3 was released and billed "Rock On Volume 3 – The Video Revolution: 1978 – Present". During 1988 he narrated the radio program, Solid Gold Scrapbook.

In July 2005 Nite began broadcasting live from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 5, now known as Sirius XM 50s on 5. In February 2014, SiriusXM made a sudden management move to drop live deejays from virtually all of its 50s on 5 programming, ending Nite's broadcasts accordingly without the chance to have a farewell broadcast.

➦In 1976…Apple I The Apple I, also known as the Apple-1, went on sale. It was designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak. Wozniak's friend Steve Jobs had the idea of selling the computer. The Apple I was Apple's first product.

➦In 1985...Oldies WJMK-FM, Chicago held its "Rock 'N' Roll Reunion."  A year earlier WJMK "Magic 104" flipped from AC to oldies. Initially, it was similar to what RKO's 103.5 WFYR, except that WJMK played more '50s and early '60s music. WJMK initially also played '70s and '80s music along with a new song every hour. By early 1985, all songs released after 1972 were dropped.

The station focused primarily on songs released between 1964-1969 with a good amount of '50s music as well. In 1991, the station's moniker was changed from "Magic 104" to "Oldies 104.3".

WJMK dropped the moniker "Oldies 104.3" by 2001, and returned to their former moniker "Magic 104.3".

In 1998, they began to add more '70s music to the format. In 1999, with new competition from the new "Jammin Oldies format of WUBT "The Beat", WJMK added a few disco songs and more '70s and early '80s songs to the playlist.

After WUBT dropped Jammin' Oldies for CHR in 2001, WJMK continued with their oldies format, though they modified the playlist over the years, dropping older music in favor of more recent material.

In 2003, the station once again changed monikers, going from "Magic 104.3" back to "Oldies 104.3" and began airing Dick Bartley's syndicated "Rock and Roll's Greatest Hits" to Saturday nights (which they'd drop at the beginning of June 2004 to return the 70s show "Saturday Night 70s"). By the winter of 2004/05, the station dropped the "oldies" moniker and became known as just "104.3 WJMK".

On June 3, 2005, at 4 p.m., WJMK switched to an adult hits format known as "Jack FM" at the same time veteran oldies station WCBS-FM in New York City made the same switch. The station had a 1980s centric playlist, along with some titles from the 1960s, 1970s, 1990s, and 2000s. It usually had no live DJs.

On March 14, 2011, at 1:04 p.m., after playing "Goodbye to You" by Scandal, WJMK switched to a classic hits format branded "K-Hits", playing hits from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.  Following a montage of songs and pop culture clips from 1966 to 1989, "K-Hits" was launched with "Beginnings" by Chicago

Today, the station is owned by entercom  and airs an Urban format at WBMX, Jamz 104.3.

In 1986...KXA-AM in Seattle WA changes call letters to KRPM.

➦In 1991...Personality Scott Shannon started at WPLJ 95.5 FM.  WPLJ had been struggling since its glory days of the mid 1980s, and Shannon became program director and morning drive co-host.

At the outset, the station's direct rival was Z100, and used the slogan "Mojo Radio," downplaying the WPLJ call letters, but the approach was eventually changed. Shannon created a Top 40 format that was geared more toward the adult contemporary audience, brought in co-host Todd Pettengill (from WFLY Alabany NY) to form "The Big Show," and the WPLJ call letters were re-emphasized.

➦In 1992…The first commercially-licensed station in the U-S, 50,000-watt KDKA 1020 AM in Pittsburgh, ended its 72-year-old 'full-service' music format and flipped to local News/Talk.

➦In 2007...MSNBC stopped the cableTV  simulcast of Don Imus' nationally syndicated radio show.  The change was made after Imus became embroiled in a controversy over racial comments made about the Rutgers women's basketball team.

  • Blue Bloods and NCIS actress Jennifer Esposito turns 47.
  • Actor/dancer Joel Grey, star of Cabaret and actress Jennifer Grey's dad, is 88.
  • Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy, turns 92.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Media Coalition Sends S-O-S To Congress

Combining the interests of local broadcast and local newspaper media outlets, a coalition comprised of the NAB, the News Media Alliance, National Newspaper Association and America’s Newspaper have called on Congress to include what they call “critical support” to local news media in the next stimulus package aimed at businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The four organizations have created a joint summary document that details what it is looking for from Congress. This includes the ability of local media to seek relief under the newly established Paycheck Protection Program and to fund federal advertising spending on local media through directing U.S. government advertising campaigns to local news and media outlets. Specifically, it calls for $5-$10 billion provided to the Department of Human Health and Services, the Small Business Administration and other relevant agencies for direct funding for local media advertising.

Throughout the pandemic, viewers have been turning to local news to keep them informed. However, as the coalition notes, general advertising has declined leading to decreased revenue.

“NAB is proud to join our friends at the News Media Alliance, National Newspapers Association and America’s Newspapers in support of local media,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “In communities across America, local broadcasters and local newspapers provide an indispensable source of credible journalism and community focused information that simply cannot be replaced by other media platforms. We urgently request that policymakers support our effort to preserve advertising-supported local media outlets that are so important to the fabric of daily life.”

iHeartMedia Extends Morning Shows By An Hour

Top iHeartMedia outsourced morning shows including New York’s “Elvis Duran and The Morning Show” and “The Breakfast Club,” Nashville’s “The Bobby Bones Show” and Los Angeles’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” and “Big Boy’s Neighborhood,” will extend their daily airtime for an additional hour+ because of increased listener demand received through daily call-ins and social media feedback during the COVID-19 pandemic.

iHeartMedia also recently released data and insights on how Americans are consuming podcasts during the pandemic, noticing an uptick in the on-demand podcasts category with Top 5 on-demand shows up 9 percent month-to-date, including iHeartMedia’s leading radio personalities like Elvis Duran and The Breakfast Club. In addition, with consumers spending more time at home, iHeartRadio usage across digital platforms has seen an overall increase in smart speakers — for some (sonos) as high as 57 percent, 60 percent on web, 35 percent through smart TVs and social engagement with on air personalities has increased 19 percent.

“Given the amount of positive feedback our stations were receiving from their listeners, our on air talent began asking them if they should stay on air longer in the mornings — and the response was incredible; for example, Elvis Duran received more than 65,000 likes and more than 12,000 comments when he asked his social media followers about extending his morning show,” said Tom Poleman, Chief Programming Officer of iHeartMedia.

“This listener feedback, combined with the data we are seeing with our on demand shows, is a testament to the connection that our radio personalities have with their listeners, and the fact that broadcast radio still holds such a unique place in American culture especially during a time of crisis. These on air voices are a trusted friends with close emotional connections to their listeners, and they inspire their communities; and help them cope with anxiety and concern; and provide entertainment and stress relief.”

Beginning April 7, more than 65 morning shows across more than 50 markets will officially have extend their morning shows by at least one hour. In addition to each station’s regular programming schedules, on air personalities across the country will continue to serve and inform communities during these unprecedented times with the latest COVID 19 facts, with special local market broadcast reports on the latest news provided by iHeartRadio’s 24/7 News Network every hour.

Music Versus COVID Content - Striking the Balance

Everyone’s inside. And according to NuVoodoo Research everyone is adjusting to the “new normal,” which we can only hope is temporary.

One of the adjustments radio programmers face is how much to cater to a pandemic’s stranglehold on lives vs. providing an escape for the masses since they’re bombarded with information elsewhere.

According to PJ Kling, VP Product & Business Development, NuVoodoo has been asking important questions of the audience over the last several weeks in order to help determine these answers. They also keeping track of things like media usage.

One of the biggest questions NuVoodoo is asking now is how much COVID-19 info you should be responsible for relaying. Should we be Coronavirus-free? Should we drop the format and simulcast our sister news station? We asked 1,200 people where the balance was, and it’s definitely in the middle:

A significant 72% overall feel that music stations should remain mostly music-focused, with occasional or hourly updates on local Coronavirus information in your market.

Of course, local stations remain the expert on audience demands.

FCC Commissioner: 'We Are Craving Human Voice"

Evan Cohen for NY Times
Phone calls are making a comeback in the pandemic. While the nation’s biggest telecommunications providers prepared for a huge shift toward more internet use from home, what they didn’t expect was an even greater surge in plain old voice calls, a medium that had been going out of fashion for years, The NY Times reports.

Verizon said it was now handling an average of 800 million wireless calls a day during the week, more than double the number made on Mother’s Day, historically one of the busiest call days of the year. Verizon added that the length of voice calls was up 33 percent from an average day before the outbreak. AT&T said that the number of cellular calls had risen 35 percent and that Wi-Fi-based calls had nearly doubled from averages in normal times.

In contrast, internet traffic is up around 20 percent to 25 percent from typical daily patterns, AT&T and Verizon said.

The rise is stunning given how voice calls have long been on the decline. Some 90 million wired phone lines in the United States have ceased using landline phones since 2000, according to USTelecom. Wireless calls replaced much of that calling activity, but the volume of minutes spent on phone calls hasn’t changed much over the past decade as people turned to texting and to apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp, according to wireless carriers and analysts.

New needs are emerging in the crisis. “We’ve become a nation that calls like never before,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, the agency that oversees phone, television and internet providers. “We are craving human voice.”

Entercom Reports Metrics Surge for Podcast Network

Entercom has announced blockbuster audience growth across its Podcast Network, which includes Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, outperforming recent softness in listening reported among other leading podcasters.1

It also announced new record listenership of 28 million listeners worldwide during the month of March.2

Since February 14, listenership for Entercom podcasts is up across virtually every category,3 including:
  • 60% across society and culture podcasts
  • 34% in true crime
  • 27% within news and politics 
  • 26% in music
  • 23% in arts
 The best performing new titles from Cadence13 include:
  • Unlocking Us with Brené Brown, which launched on February 14th and debuted as the No. 1 show in the country4
  • America Dissected: Coronavirus, a leading voice in the crisis conversation, catapulted to be one of the most popular podcasts
 Other highlights since February 14 include:
  • Origins with James Andrew Miller listenership is up 184% in the arts category
  • Hacks on Tap with David Axelrod and Mike Murphy is up 178% in the political talk category
  • Jill on Money is up 80%, as people actively seek financial advice during this tumultuous time
  • Pod Save America has grown 48%, maintaining a strong leadership position in political podcasts
  • The Trypod saw 21% growth, as audiences seek great comedy and entertainment
Pineapple Street Studios also recently launched two new titles to help audiences through these uncertain times. The Kids are All…Home is a show for kids, by kids, leveraging the creativity of young producers all around the globe who are stuck at home, while also helping them make sense of their newly disrupted lives. Doctors’ Log, from Pineapple Street Studios and The Meteor, is an intimate audio diary from Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency physician, who reveals what’s happening in hospitals across the country, sharing stories of heroism and providing vital information for staying safe.

1 Source: Podtrac
2 Source: Triton, March 2020
3 Source: Triton, Society and Culture, News and Politics, Arts percentages represent Feb 14 – April 04 growth, True Crime and Music represent March 20 – Apr 04 growth
4 Source: Apple Podcasts Top Charts

NYC Sees Third Day For Record Deaths

New York had a record number of deaths from the coronavirus for a third straight day, with Governor Andrew Cuomo reporting Thursday that 799 people died on Wednesday. The state, which is the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., has now had 7,067 deaths. But Cuomo said that the shutdowns and social distancing were "flattening the curve," saying there were just 200 new hospitalizations on Wednesday, a third of what it was a day earlier and the lowest daily number since the crisis began.

However, he warned about relaxing the shutdowns, saying it risked cases rising again. The nation's COVID-19 death toll is now more than 16,000, and more than 430,000 people have tested positive, and worldwide, the number of dead is more than 95,000 and confirmed infections reached about 1.6 million.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases and a key member of the White House's coronavirus task force, also said on NBC's Today show yesterday that social distancing is working. He said the nation's death toll now, quote, "looks more like 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000" that U.S. officials had previously estimated. That reflects a projection from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which estimates deaths through early August. Fauci also said that antibody tests have been developed and will be available in "days to weeks," which can show if someone was infected, even if they'd been asymptomatic. He said people who've been infected will likely have immunity, at least for some time, but added that more testing is needed to ensure that's true.

In other developments:
  • Johnson Out of Intensive Care: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved out of intensive care Thursday. His office said he remained hospitalized, and, quote, "will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery." Johnson was in intensive care for three days after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.
  • Utah Requires Visitors to Share Travel Plans: Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued an executive order Thursday requiring adults entering the state to disclose their travel plans. It applies no matter how they enter the state. The governor's office said visitors will get instructions on how to register their travel plans via an automatic text when they arrive in the state.
➤AMERICANS FLYING IN LOWEST NUMBERS SINCE DAWN OF JET AGE: So few Americans are flying amid the coronavirus pandemic that their numbers are the lowest since the dawn of the jet age more than 60 years ago. The Transportation Security Administration screened just 94,931 people on Wednesday (April 8th) down 96 percent from a year ago and the second straight day under 100,000. By comparison, there were 2.3 million screened on March 1st. The last time there was an average of fewer than 100,000 airline passengers a day in the U.S. was in 1954. At that time the first commercial jetliner, was just a few years old. Airlines have drastically cut their number of flights, but most seats are still empty.

➤POLL...72 PERCENT WON'T ATTEND SPORTING EVENTS WITHOUT CORONAVIRUS VACCINE: The sports world may be eager to start up again, but fans are a lot more reluctant to show up for games. A new poll out yesterday from Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business found that 72 percent of those surveyed said they'd wouldn't go to sporting events if they resumed without there being a coronavirus vaccine, something experts have said is at least 12 to 18 months away. Among those who identified as sports fans, 61 percent said they'd wouldn't go to a game without a vaccine. However, 76 percent said they'd watch broadcasts of games without fans in attendance, and with the same amount of interest they had before.

WSJ Graphic

➤6.6 MILLION FILE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT, 16.8 MILLION OVER THREE WEEKS: Data released by the federal government Thursday showed that 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, for a total of a staggering 16.8 million people over three weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic. That 16.8 million amounts to about 10 percent of U.S. workers, and the numbers are expected to go still higher. In its latest unprecedented move to try to support the stunned economy, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it will provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to households, local governments and businesses. Meanwhile, the head of the International Monetary Fund warned the global economy is headed for the worst recession since the Great Depression.

➤DEMOCRATS REFUSE TO APPROVE TRUMP'S SMALL BIZ BOOST REQUEST WITHOUT CHANGES: Congressional Democrats yesterday blocked President Trump's request to add $250 billion more to a program to help small businesses struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, refusing to approve it without modifications that they want. But Republicans refused to accept those demands, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell trying to limit it to just Trump's request. Trying to reach bipartisan agreement is complicated by lawmakers being away from Washington amid the pandemic, meaning more difficult-to-reach unanimous agreement is needed. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the Senate vote a "stunt," blasting the administration for trying to push through the $250 billion request with 48 hours notice and little data behind it. Democrats want $150 billion for state and local governments, $100 billion for hospitals and community health centers, and more money for food stamp programs. They also want half of the additional $250 billion directed to farmers, women, veterans and minority-owned companies.