Saturday, April 18, 2020

April 19 Radio History

➦In 1924…A year before the "Grand Ole Opry" hit the airwaves from WSM Radio in Nashville, "The Chicago Barn Dance" aired on WLS Radio in Chicago. The country music show was later renamed "National Barn Dance" and continued on the air – on WLS, simulcast on the ABC Radio Network, simulcast on the NBC Radio Network, back to WLS only, then Chicago's WGN Radio – until 1968.

According to Edgar Bill, the first WLS station manager: "We had so much highbrow music the first week that we thought it would be a good idea to get on some of the old time music.  After we had been going about an hour, we received about 25 telegrams of enthusiastic approval.  It was this response that pushed the Barn Dance!"  Indeed, Sears-Roebuck management was aghast by this "disgraceful low-brow music" that was being broadcast on their new station.  When Bill and Agricultural Director Samuel Guard were confronted by the angry executives, they pointed to the audiences overwhelming approval.

The Barn Dance served two distinct audiences.  It targeted the rural farm audiences as well as city listeners that had come from rural communities or those whom had been told about the "good old times."

In November 1925, WLS claimed to be the first to build an audience studio when it moved to larger quarters on the 6th floor of the Sherman Hotel in downtown Chicago.  The theatre was designed to hold 100 people as well as technical and control room facilities. (WLS History)

National Barn Dance continued for more than two decades on WLS.  WLW Cincinnati became the flagship from 1950-60, and Chicago’s WGN took over as host station from 1960-68.

➦In 1943...'Theater of Romance' anthology debuted on the CBS Radio Network as a filler show between 1943 and 1957. It substituted from time to time for such shows as Gunsmoke, Life with Luigi, Lux Radio Theater, and many others. Producers, directors, and actors changed constantly through the years. Even the locale changed from New York to Los Angeles in 1945.

Romance featured such stars as Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck, Shirley Temple, and many other Hollywood stars, often binding the story lines with the films in which the stars were currently being featured. The themed stories often revolved around historical fiction as well, and broadcast before a live audience.

➦In 1965..WINS 1010 AM in New York City flipped from Top40 to become the first All-News radio station.  Two months earlier, personality Murray The K departed WINS...

Billboard Article 2/5/1965

Before 1010 WINS in New York City was “All News, All the Time,” it was one of the country’s first rock-and-roll stations.

WGBS signed on in 1924, owned by Gimbel’s Department Store.  William Randolph Hearst bought it in 1932, changing the call letters to WINS, which referred to Hearst’s “International News Service.”

Crosley bought WINS in 1945, then sold it in 1953 to Gotham Broadcasting Corporation.  WINS started playing rock music. Legendary broadcasters like Alan Freed and Murray “the K” Kaufman were some of the early WINS disc jockeys.  Here’s a sample of WINS from 1960:

Westinghouse bought WINS in 1962.  By that time, WINS was fending off three other stations for New York City’s rock audience.  WMCA, WMGM and WABC all were airing Top 40 and rock music.

WMGM bailed on Top 40/rock in 1962 and flipped to a beautiful music format under its former WHN call letters.

By 1963, WMCA became New York’s No. 1 Top 40 station.  WINS’ ratings slid below WMCA and WABC.

On April 19, 1965, Westinghouse pulled the plug on the Top 40 format at WINS.  The final song was “Out in the Streets” by The Shangri-Las.  WINS became the nation’s third all-news radio station.

Many observers predicted WINS would fail as other early all-news stations had. Westinghouse poured resources into the format and succeeded,  It flipped two other stations, KYW in Philadelphia and KFWB in Los Angeles, to a similar format.

Soon, CBS decided to complete in the all-news arena.  It flipped WINS rival WCBS toward an all-news format in 1967, eventually becoming a full-time all-news station in 1970.  CBS expanded the all-news format to other owned stations around the country, including KNX in Los Angeles and WBBM in Chicago.  NBC tried an all-news approach in the mid 1970s called “News and Information Service,” but it shut down after two years.

In 1995, Westinghouse purchased CBS, making sister stations out of longtime rivals WINS and WCBS in New York.  The two stations continue their all-news formats, but gear them toward different audiences.

WINS has a harder approach, providing more of a headline service.  It has stronger ratings in New York City itself.  WCBS has a more conversational style, which does well with suburban listeners.  Both remain highly-rated stations and are among the nation’s biggest-billing radio stations.

Listening to a WINS broadcast today is not radically different from the station’s early days.  The teletype sound effect, the slogans (“All news, all the time,” “The newswatch never stops,” “Listen 2, 3, 4 times a day,” “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world”) and the basic 20-minute wheel format have remained in place for nearly 50 years.  (H/T: Faded Signals)

➦In 1971...MLB Giants announcer Russ Hodges suffered a fatal heart attack at age 60. Hodges began his broadcasting career in 1934. He was sports editor of WBT, Charlotte, North Carolina until October 1941, when he moved full-time to WOL in Washington, D.C., where he had already been doing play-by-play for the Washington Redskins. He worked for the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators, and Cincinnati Reds before landing in New York City with the New York Yankees and New York Giants, who during much of the 1940s only broadcast home games and shared the same radio team — lead announcer Mel Allen and No. 2 man Hodges.

In 1949, Hodges became a No. 1 announcer when the Giants and the Yankees separated their radio networks to each broadcast a full, 154-game schedule. He would be the voice of the Giants for the next 22 seasons on both coasts.  On October 3, 1951, Hodges was on the microphone for Bobby Thomson's famous Shot Heard 'Round the World.

➦In 2017...Fox News terminated their biggest prime time star Bill O’Reilly over allegations of sexual harassment.

Kate Hudson
  • Actor Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episodes II and III, is 39.
  • Actor/singer Tim Curry, whose roles included Dr. Frank N. Furter in the cult classic movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, turns 74.
  • Actor James Franco turns 42.
  • Actress Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn's daughter, is 41.
  • Actress Ashley Judd, daughter and sister respectively of country singers Naomi and Wynonna Judd, turns 52.

R.I.P.: Robin Symour, Iconic Detroit Radio Personality

For scores of Metro Detroiters, Robin Seymour shaped many musical memories, according to The Detroit News.

From the pre-rock era and into the 1960s, he was a familiar presence: hosting on WKMH-AM, then hosting "Swingin' Time," a youth-oriented TV dance show.

Decades after the Michigan native left local airwaves, admirers could recall his voice as well as the many songs and artists he introduced.

“He was definitely a very memorable part of many people’s lives,” said Michael Seltzer, a longtime listener who became a friend. “He was one of the most beloved people in our nostalgic Detroit history.”

Seymour died Friday at an assisted living facility in San Antonio, Texas, following a heart attack, relatives said. He was 94.

His death came a year after he authored a book, “The DJ That Launched 1,000 Hits,” which chronicled a trailblazing career.

Following a start on WJBK-AM as a teen, Mr. Seymour headed to WKMH-AM, which later became known as WKNR.

Seymour was also open to playing diverse artists, embracing "sockhops" and catering to youths’ evolving tastes, said his daughter, Deborah Young. “He would always tell you: ‘It’s the kids.’ He loved having the kids call in, be part of the music, be a part of the scene.”

In the 1960s, Mr. Seymour moved to TV and earned renown for “Swingin’ Time” on CKLW-800. The daily broadcast, like “American Bandstand,” showcased entertainers on the small screen with dancing live audiences.

Born March 9, 1926, Mr. Seymour grew up in Detroit, graduated from the city's Central High and attended Wayne State University, according to News archives.

He later served in the Army overseas and worked for Armed Forces Radio, his daughter said.

After returning home, Mr. Seymour started out working for 90 cents an hour at WKMH and had to ride two buses to reach the job in Dearborn, Young recalled.

When “Swingin’ Time” left the air by the early 1970s, the host went into marketing and relocated to California, eventually leading a production company involved in infomercials and promotional videos, Young said.

Over the years, Seymour returned to Metro Detroit for multiple reunions honoring radio greats, including in September, when he also spent hours greeting hundreds of well-wishers while promoting his book, Seltzer said. “That was just a wonderful opportunity to see so many people that loved him.”

FCC Takes Ownership Rules To The Supreme Court

The Federal Communications Commission, backed by the Department of Justice, is asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on what's become a rather lengthy fight over media ownership rules. according to The Hollywood Reporter.

All the way back in 2002, the media regulatory agency reviewed rules as part of a mandate under the Telecommunications Act. The FCC decided that in light of new media sources like the internet, it no longer made sense anymore to maintain a ban on a given company owning a local newspaper and broadcast station in a single market. But the repeal of the ban ran into the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which has since repeatedly put its foot down to attempts at deregulation. "Here we are again," began an opinion last Sept. 23 by Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro, who faulted the FCC for failing to adequately explain how the rule change would lead to more female and minority ownership of media outlets.

The FCC believes that the Third Circuit has overstepped itself by turning a review of rules meant to ensure healthy competition of viewpoints into a test of what best promotes diversity.

In a petition filed on Friday, Solicitor General Noel Francisco leads a team knocking the lower appellate court for having "flouted bedrock administrative-law principles that require judicial deference to agency policy choices, as well as this Court’s repeated FCC-specific admonitions that courts must respect the Commission’s reasonable judgments about what measures will best serve the public interest."

NPR CEO Warns Of Belt-Tightening

NPR will be instituting severe cost-cutting measures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Wednesday internal memo, with a budget deficit looming as high as $25 million through fiscal 2021, The Hill reports.

The COVID-19 crisis, which has wreaked havoc on most of the media industry due to declining ad revenue, has hit NPR's sponsorship and donation revenue particularly hard, according to CEO John Lansing's memo first obtained by The New York Times Thursday night.

The non-com generates much of its revenue outside of government funding from fees and dues provided by member stations across the country, which are also under economic duress.

Despite the sponsorship and donation shortfall, NPR has no immediate plans to cut jobs. The nonprofit media organization currently employs 700 people.

Lansing says the cuts will likely come primarily by freezing new hiring, bonuses and raises, along with scaling back travel, conferences and promotions.

"NPR is taking a significant budget hit because of the economic lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic," NPR said in an official statement. "We do not have a profit motive or shareholders to serve like commercial media, so all of our resources go toward public service."

"Other news organizations are taking some drastic steps right now to deal with their finances," Lansing wrote. "They need to return profits to investors. We don't. But we do need to survive financially, and ensure NPR can continue to serve stations and the public for the coming years, so all of our resources go toward public service."

Medicine, Cleaning Supplies Drove P&G Record Sales

Consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble Co. reported its biggest U.S. sales increase in decades as Americans stocked up on household mainstays like toilet paper, laundry detergent and cough medicine as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the country, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Increased demand in P&G’s home market more than offset steep declines in China, its second-largest market, where closed factories, roads and stores stymied production and kept consumers from buying.

P&G is the first big maker of household staples to report financial results for 2020’s first quarter, when the pandemic ravaged China and spread in earnest through the U.S.

P&G said organic sales, a measure that excludes currency moves and deals, rose 6% for the quarter. Sales rose 10% in the U.S. and fell 8% in China, a far less severe decline than the company said it expected.

Shoppers’ rush to stock up drove much of the increase, the company said. But P&G executives say they believe increased consumption of products like laundry detergent, dishwashing soap and cold medicine will persist after the pandemic passes.

“Consumption of our products is not likely to dissipate,” said Jon Moeller, P&G’s chief financial officer. “We will serve what will likely become a forever altered health, hygiene and cleaning focus for consumers.”

The results “are a direct reflection of the integral role our products play in meeting the daily health, hygiene and cleaning needs of consumers around the world,” CEO David Taylor said.

Tampa Bay Times Gets Gov't Loan

The Tampa Bay Times and its related companies received a loan of $8.5 million under the federal government’s program to support businesses harmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The loan is guaranteed by the Small Business Administration and comes under the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed by Congress last month and signed by President Donald Trump.

The program is designed to help smaller businesses keep paying employees during the crisis, and loan amounts are based on a company’s payroll. For the first eight weeks after a loan is made, the government will forgive repayment of expenses for payroll, plus some rent, utilities and mortgage interest.

The crisis hit local businesses hard, and advertising revenues at the Times have fallen by 50 percent. In response, the company reduced newspaper printing and delivery to Wednesday and Sunday and furloughed dozens of employees, mostly in production, delivery and sales.

Even so, the company has said, the expenses saved by those changes will cover only half of the sharp decline in advertising revenue.

The company said it had recalled a few employees from furloughs and it would restore a temporary 10 percent pay cut that had been set to end the first week of June. The 13-week pay cut happened for Times' staff just as the virus was erupting.

But the main impact is that the company can preserve operations at their current level and wait longer for the economy to improve.

“This loan gives us more time to ride out the crisis before we have to make even more changes,” said Times chairman and CEO Paul C. Tash. “It makes a big difference, and we are grateful for it.”

The loan was made through Hancock Whitney Bank, where the Times keeps its business accounts. Hancock is a preferred lender under the SBA program. A portion of the loan will go to other Times affiliates, including Florida Trend magazine and Tampa Bay Newspapers, a group of weekly newspapers in Pinellas and Pasco counties.

Taylor Swift Cancels All 2020 Tour Dates

Pop megastar Taylor Swift canceled her entire 2020 live appearance calendar Friday.

The axed 2020 calendar included Swift's North America debut of "Lover Fest," her stadium-size traveling music festival accompanying the 2019 album of the same name. Lover Fest planned to stop for two nights in Los Angeles and Foxborough, Massachusetts, respectively.

Prior to COVID-19, Swift plotted to spend much of summer 2020 performing overseas, with dates previously scheduled in Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom, among others. The decision impacts 16 concerts listed on Swift's website.

Swift joins a list of virtually all Nashville entertainers and live events impacted by COVID-19. Concerns regarding the virus halted tours Tours from top names in country and Americana last month, with some joining Swift in canceling or postponing summer dates.       

Philly Radio: 92 XTU Launching Series Of Mini-Concerts

Beasley Media Group Philadelphia’s Country Station, 92.5 XTU, has teamed up with Country’s top artists to present the Superstar Mini Concert Series. Big Machine National Recording Artist, Lady Antebellum will officially kick-off the on-going series on Tuesday, April 21 at 4pm (local time) with a concert replay at 8pm.

Each mini concert will be exclusively heard on the air on Tuesdays and Fridays at 4pm (local time) with a concert replay at 8pm (same day) on 92.5 XTU.

The series, part of Beasley Media Group’s We Are All in This Together Community of Caring Initiative, will feature country’s hottest artists performing several songs on the air. In addition, they’ll talk about their music, share what they’ve been up to and reflect on how COVID-19 has impacted their lives.

Lucky listeners will also have the opportunity to participate in special private virtual “Meet & Greet” experiences with their favorite artists.

The Superstar Mini Concert Series will be promoted on the air as well as on other platforms.

Upcoming Artists will also include: Dustin Lynch, Tim McGraw, Kane Brown, Brett young, Lee Brice, Chris Janson, Justin Moore, Brad Paisley, Carly Pearce, Chris Lane and many more.

We’re feeling the lack of live music in our souls right now,” said XTU Program Director Mark Razz.

“We are hoping to fill that void with your favorite artists coming on and giving you a taste of the live concert experience. We’re providing a connection with them for a few songs and hopefully we’ll all be back together soon.”

Sacramento Radio: It's The End For Mollie Kendrick

Mollie Kendrick
Entercom hasannounced the addition of Mollie Kendrick to KUDL 106.5 The End, Sacramento’s only top 40 station, as afternoon show host. ‘The Mollie Kendrick Show’ can be heard weekdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT, effective immediately.

“‘The Mollie Kendrick Show’ brings a new and fresh perspective to afternoons in Sacramento that we are excited to have on 106.5 The End,” said Stacey Kauffman, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Sacramento. “Mollie’s conversational style and unrivaled realism will resonate with 106.5 The End listeners.”

“I’m honored to be joining a team of such talented people at 106.5 The End who are as dedicated to the craft as I am,” said Kendrick. “I’m excited to connect with listeners in the afternoon as Sacramento’s new BFF and to work with Rayne [Brand Manager, 106.5 The End], Vince Richards [Operations Manager, Entercom Sacramento], Stacey Kauffman and the whole Entercom Sacramento team.”

Mollie most recently served as morning show host for Cities 97.1 in Minneapolis since 2019. She also previously hosted various dayparts on stations in Fort Collins, CO, including KUAD-FM, where she won Best Midday Show for a major market from the Colorado Broadcasters Association in 2015.
Listeners can tune in to 106.5 The End (KUDL-FM) in Sacramento on air, as well as nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Chicago Radio: WGN To Air Paul Harvey's 'Rest Of The Story'

Paul Harvey 1918-2009
Legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey, a familiar and trusted voice beloved by millions across the country, returns to the airwaves once again on WGN 720 AM Radio beginning Monday, April 27, for a limited time.

The station will air Harvey’s program “The Rest of the Story” on the Bob Sirott Show, heard weekdays 5am – 9am.

Created and penned by his son Paul Harvey, Jr, “The Rest of the Story” combined a historical vignette with a surprise ending delivered with Harvey’s trademark pregnant pause and signature phrase, “And now you know…the rest of the story!” It originally premiered as its own series in 1976.

“Paul Harvey’s radio adventure made him one of the most influential personalities in history,” said Executive Vice President of WGN America and WGN Radio Sean Compton. “It’s an honor for WGN Radio to re-introduce his amazing body of work to those of us who miss him and to a younger generation which didn’t have the privilege of growing up with him.”

Born in Tulsa, Harvey moved to Chicago in the 1940s and originated his broadcasts from the city for more than five decades. WGN Radio was Harvey’s longtime radio home in Chicago, and his programs aired on more than 1,000 stations nationwide. His news and commentary resonated with Americans in large cities and small towns throughout the country.

Bob Sirott and Paul Harvey crossed paths in 1988 when Sirott interviewed the broadcaster for a profile that aired on the CBS news magazine program “West 57th."

TM Studios Offers FREE Commercial Jingles

Dallas-based TM Studios has created two FREE ready-to-air commercial jingles for use by any radio station. They are specifically designed to help local advertisers present appropriate branding and messaging during the COVID-19 crisis.

“A challenging by-product of this time is a drop in local ad spending,” said Greg Clancy, GM/VP Creative at TM. “These jingles share positive messages and can be used to create goodwill for station advertisers. It’s a great creative tool to get businesses reengaged with local radio advertising.”

The jingles are sung campaigns featuring the lyrics We’re Better Together and We Have Each Other.  They can be used for any business category.

“I believe part of the reason local advertisers are holding back is that they don’t know what to say on the air right now,” added Chris Stevens, VP Affiliate Management. “These jingles give advertisers a chance to address the community, maintain brand awareness, and build positive emotional equity.”

The free jingles are from a new division of TM Studios, TM Commercial. TM Commercial is a ready-to-air library of sung jingle campaigns for almost any local business category. Every jingle has its own unique music style and vocal campaign, and each jingle can be customized with a client name. Originally planned for a summer launch, TM is bringing this to market now to help stations drive local ad revenue.

Download all the mix outs of the free jingles, with unlimited use, at

For more information, email

R.I.P.: Gary McSpadden, Gospel Singer

Gary McSpadden
American gospel music legend, singer, producer, and pastor Gary McSpadden has died at the age of 77 in Tulsa after battling cancer.

McSpadden’s wife wrote in a statement on the Faith And Wisdom Church Facebook page that he had been fighting pancreatic cancer along with other complications and died on the morning of April 15.

“As most of you know Gary and I have been in Tulsa at the Cancer Treatment Center of America. Gary has been battling cancer along with other complications over the last several weeks,” his wife wrote in the statement.

“Due to extenuating circumstances with COVID-19, we are working on plans for a celebration of life at a later date. We will be communicating those plans as they develop.”

McSpadden was a former member of The Oak Ridge Boys, The Imperials, The Gaither Trio, and Gaither Vocal Band, with musical roots in quartet music and southern gospel.

The Texas singer was inducted three times into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame, in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

April 18 Radio History

➦In 1925...Robert Francis Hastings born (Died from pancreatic cancer at age 89 – June 30, 2014). He  was a radio, film, and television character actor. He also provided voices for animated cartoons. He was best known for his portrayal of annoying suck-up Lt. Elroy Carpenter, on McHale's Navy.

Bob Hastings
Hastings started in radio on "Coast-to-Coast on a Bus" (NBC). Hastings served during World War II in the United States Army Air Corps. After serving in World War II as a navigator on B-29s, he played the role of Archie Andrews in a series based on the Archie comic book series on NBC Radio from 1945-53. Archie Andrews was sponsored by Swift & Company food products.

Hastings moved to television in 1949.  He is best known for portraying the aide to Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn), the yes-man Lieutenant Elroy Carpenter on ABC's McHale's Navy, humorously called "Carpy" and "Little Leadbottom" by McHale and his men.

After McHale's Navy, Hastings was a regular on the Universal Studios lot, where Universal paid actors during downtime to be on the grounds and talk to tourists. According to an interview, he got along so well with the people that he became one of the few regulars on the tour.

➦In 1939…
Gene Autry recorded his signature song "Back in the Saddle Again" for the first time in Los Angeles for Columbia Records.   It was co-written by Autry with Ray Whitley and first released in 1939. The song was associated with Autry throughout his career and was used as the name of Autry's autobiography in 1976. Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time. In addition to being used as the theme for Autry's radio program, Gene Autry's Melody Ranch,"Back in the Saddle Again" was also used for The Gene Autry Show on television as well as for personal appearances.

It was included in the Autry movie "Roving Tumbleweeds," then became the theme song for his "Gene Autry's Melody Ranch" radio series which aired on CBS from 1940 to 1956.

This is the original pilot episode that debuted on KNX Radio in Los Angeles as a private preview for the Doublemint Gum.

➦In 1944...Arthur W. Ferguson born (Died  – February 19, 2016).  Better known as Charlie Tuna, he began working at age 16 at his hometown's radio station, KGFW. Then, he went to work at KLEO in Wichita, Kansas for a year with the air name "Billy O'Day". He then worked for KOMA Radio in Oklahoma City in 1966, where he took over the "Charlie Tuna" pseudonym from Chuck Riley, who had used it for one show the week prior to Tuna's arrival. Tuna then moved on to WMEX in Boston for the first 9 months of 1967.

In late 1967, KHJ in Los Angeles offered Tuna the 9 to noon slot, where he debuted on Thanksgiving Day 1967. On February 9, 1971, he had just commenced his morning show at 6:00 a.m. when the San Fernando earthquake occurred.

In early 1972 he did mornings at KCBQ in San Diego (during the original presentation of "The Last Contest") and later that year became one of the original DJs at KROQ AM, a new Top 40 station (formerly Country KBBQ). In 1973 be moved to KKDJ as program director and morning personality. He presided over its 1975 call-letter change to KIIS, and broadcast the first show at KIIS-FM as it began its AM/FM simulcast. He also worked at KTNQ, KHTZ (later KBZT), KRLA, KODJ (later KCBS-FM), KMPC, KIKF, and KLAC.

He worked at KBIG 104.3, where he hosted a long-running morning show Charlie Tuna in the Morning which aired from 5 to 10 am. His last full-time morning show aired on September 17, 2007, when the station flipped to a non-rhythmic-based adult contemporary format, as 104.3 My FM. He returned to radio February 9, 2008 when he became the weekend personality on Los Angeles oldies station K-Earth 101. CBS on August 27, 2015 began down sizing their stations in Los Angeles, at which point Charlie moved on to expand his syndicated radio business with

Tuna served as announcer for Casey Kasem on his 1980s television program America's Top 10, and occasionally filled in for Kasem on his radio programs American Top 20 and American Top 10. He co-hosted Your Good Time Oldies Magazine from 1992 to 1995, and he produced and hosted 52 weekly episodes of Back to the 70s, which were rerun at radio stations across the country until 2008.

Tuna had a year-long run in 2009 of a 5-hour classic hits daily and weekend show, syndicated through United Stations Radio Network in New York. He joined Black Card Radio in Los Angeles in 2010 as host of a 5-hour weekend show Charlie Tuna - The 70's, which is distributed nationally and internationally, and later added a 5-hour daily and weekend show for all radio formats. He moved his radio station voice imaging business to Black Card Radio later that year. In 2011 he introduced the syndicated "Charlie Tuna's Hollywood Minute", 4 to 5 top entertainment stories each day. Tuna reunited with United Stations Radio Network in New York in 2013 to do the ad sales for his Black Card Radio shows.

Tuna broadcast approximately 6,000 radio shows from 1971 through 1996 on the American Forces Radio Network.

➦In 1960...The 3M Company purchased the bankrupt Mutual Broadcasting System for $1.24M. MBS had 443 affiliates, easily the most of any network at the time.  In July 1966, 3M sold the network to a privately held company, Mutual Industries, Inc., headed by John P. Fraim.  Upon Mutual Industries's acquisition of Mutual, it was renamed to "Mutual Broadcasting Corporation". See below...

➦In 1999...Last broadcast of the Mutual Broadcasting System

On September 29, 1934, four AM radio stations—WXYZ in Detroit, WGN in Chicago, WOR in New York, and WLW in Cincinnati—agreed to form a cooperative, program-sharing radio network. WGN and WOR controlled the operation (first dubbed the Quality Group), and the Mutual Broadcasting System was incorporated in Illinois one month later. When WXYZ (which had contributed the popular western adventure program The Lone Ranger) withdrew to join the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) network in 1935, Canadian station CKLW in Windsor, Ontario (serving the Detroit market), replaced it. (The Lone Ranger remained on Mutual until 1942 under contractual obligation.)

After a year on the air, the new network carried 40 hours of sustaining (non-advertiser-supported) programs and 20 hours of commercial programming per week. The network’s first coast-to-coast broadcast came in September 1936, and by 1940 Mutual had 160 affiliates, nearly 20 percent of the stations then on the air. As Mutual’s stations in rural areas often had less power than the affiliates of the older national networks, many stations held primary affiliations with the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) or NBC and only a secondary relationship with Mutual. Nevertheless, Mutual had more affiliates than any other network—a record it held into the 1980s.


Mutual ended its cooperative operation in 1952 when the network was purchased by General Tire and set up in New York. In the late 1950s network ownership changed several times, often within months, and none of its owners had sufficient funding to move Mutual into television. On at least two occasions, a shortage of funds threatened to close network operations, and Mutual filed for bankruptcy in 1959. The number of employees dropped to only 50, compared with 350 at its peak in the 1940s. The network faced a scandal when it was discovered that one short-term owner had secretly accepted money from a Caribbean country in return for favourable comment on the air, and Mutual lost 130 of its affiliates.

Ownership changes continued as the network shifted its headquarters from New York to Washington, D.C., in 1971. In 1972 Mutual began special network feeds to African American and Spanish-programmed stations with news and sportscasts.

One of the few primary network programs outside of news and sports that Mutual initiated during this era became one of the most successful in its history: the first nationwide, all-night call-in show, which launched on November 3, 1975, with Herb Jepko as host.  Jepko, who had run a telephone talk show out of KSL in Salt Lake City for years, so determinedly avoided controversy that some callers simply talked about the weather where they lived.

Jepko was briefly succeeded by Long John Nebel, before Mutual tapped a local talk show host at WIOD in Miami. Larry King made his network premiere on January 30, 1978; by the turn of the decade, he was being carried by 150 stations and credited with attracting many new affiliates to Mutual.  King continued his Mutual call-in show for years, even as he began appearing on television in the mid-1980s. From 1970 through 1977, Mutual was the national radio broadcaster for Monday Night Football.

In 1977 then-owner Amway bought Mutual’s very first outlet owned and operated by the company, WCFL in Chicago, followed in 1980 by the purchase of WHN in New York. Mutual also signed a contract with Western Union to use its satellite facilities, thus becoming the first radio network to employ satellite distribution. Aided by its satellite network, Mutual served 950 affiliates by 1979, but the number slowly declined.

Mutual was purchased by Westwood One in 1985. In its last 15 years Mutual largely produced newscasts. Westwood One closed Mutual on April 18, 1999, but its newscasts continued under the marketing name of CNN Radio. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

➦In 2012…Forever young Dick Clark died following a heart attack at 82. He had suffered a significant stroke in 2004.

In 1945, Clark began his career working in the mailroom at WRUN 1150 AM (now silent) in Rome, NY, that was owned by his uncle and managed by his father. Almost immediately, he was asked to fill in for the vacationing weatherman, and within a few months he was announcing station breaks.

While attending Syracuse, Clark worked at WOLF-AM, then a country music station. After graduation, he returned to WRUN for a short time where he went by the name Dick Clay.  After that, Clark got a job at the television station WKTV in Utica, New York.  His first television-hosting job was on Cactus Dick and the Santa Fe Riders, a country-music program. He would later replace Robert Earle (who would later host the GE College Bowl) as a newscaster.

In 1952, Clark moved to Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, where he took a job as a disc jockey at radio station WFIL, adopting the Dick Clark handle.  WFIL had an affiliated TV station (now WPVI) with the same call sign, which began broadcasting a show called Bob Horn's Bandstand in 1952. Clark was responsible for a similar program on the company's radio station, and served as a regular substitute host when Horn went on vacation. In 1956, Horn was arrested for drunk driving and was subsequently dismissed. On July 9, 1956, Clark became the show's permanent host.

Bandstand was picked up by the ABC television network, renamed American Bandstand, and debuted nationally on August 5, 1957. The show took off, due to Clark's natural rapport with the live teenage audience and dancing participants as well as the non-threatening image he projected to television audiences. As a result, many parents were introduced to rock and roll music. According to Hollywood producer Michael Uslan, "he was able to use his unparalleled communication skills to present rock 'n roll in a way that was palatable to parents."

Dick Clark interviews William Shatner 1958
In 1958, The Dick Clark Show was added to ABC's Saturday night lineup. By the end of year, viewership exceeded 20 million, and featured artists were "virtually guaranteed" large sales boosts after appearing. In a surprise television tribute to Clark in 1959 on This Is Your Life, host Ralph Edwards called him "America’s youngest starmaker," and estimated the show had an audience of 50 million.

Clark moved the show from Philadelphia to Los Angeles in 1964. The move was related to the popularity of new "surf" groups based in Southern California, including The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. The show ran daily Monday through Friday until 1963, then weekly on Saturdays until 1987. Bandstand was briefly revived in 1989, with Clark again serving as host. By the time of its cancellation, the show had become longest-running variety show in TV history.

Jane Leeves

  • Actress America Ferrera, 36.
  • Actress Melissa Joan Hart, 44.
  • Actress Maria Bello, 53.
  • Actor Eric McCormack, 57.
  • Talk show host Conan O’Brien, 57.
  • Ventriloquist-comedian Jeff Dunham, 58.
  • Actress Jane Leeves, 59.
  • Actor John James, 64.
  • Actor Eric Roberts, 64.
  • Actress Melody Thomas Scott, 64.
  • Actor Rick Moranis, 67.
  • Actor James Woods, 73.
  • Actress Hayley Mills, 74.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Pittsburgh Radio: 'Far Left' Trying To Weaponize FCC

Brendan Carr
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr told KDKA 1020 Radio's Wendy Bell that her name was among those being targeted by what he called a "left-wing" group for investigation.

"We're seeing a coordinated effort among left-wing groups to shut down any speech that doesn't fit with their orthodoxy," he told Bell on KDKA Radio Wednesday.  "It's not very tolerant for viewpoints that don't match their perspective.  We're seeing a coordinated effort to shut down the President's daily Coronavirus briefing and that has spilled over to those of us at the FCC.  And this far-left group filed a petition, asking us to investigate broadcasters that still cover the President's briefing and, more than that, to investigate on-air personalities that don't toe their viewpoint and one of the people that they called out by name was you, Wendy."

"I made it into the paper, which is a shame," Wendy said. "Once my name is somewhere, I'm clickbait. so then you see people take one sentence of something that I say and create a story and a narrative that's false. This is so dangerous."

When asked if there has been an uptick in actions like this, Carr said this activity is new from his perspective.  "This is a sweeping, dangerous attempt to weaponize the FCC against political actors that this particular group has been campaigning against. It's a intolerant perspective," he said.  "The real danger here is this is the same group that pushed for greater government control of the internet, so called net-neutrality. When that was considered a third-rail issue, they worked towards that and achieved it at the end of the Obama administration.

There are five FCC Commissioners. They are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Carr said three of the current Commissioners are of the same political affiliation as President Trump, giving Republicans a majority in the group.

Carr told Wendy that the FCC used to be a "below the fold agency for a long time, but as tech and telecom has taken on a more prominent role in our daily lives, particularly the far-left has this instinct to try to control the messaging; to try to control the information that's available to people and therefore they view the FCC as a political football. They're gonna try to push it and move us around until we do what they want. I mean this particular group wants us to be the ministry of truth as the left sees it."

Carr said the FCC already dismissed the petition.

March PPMs Day 2: D-C, Boston Phoenix, 9 More Markets

Nielsen on Thursday, April 16, 2020 released the second batch of March 2020 PPM data for the following markets:

   7  Washington DC

  10  Boston

  11  Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood

  12  Seattle-Tacoma

  13  Detroit

  14  Phoenix

  15  Minneapolis-St. Paul

  16  San Diego

  18  Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater

  19  Denver-Boulder

  21  Baltimore

  24  St. Louis

Click Here for Topline Numbers for subscribing Nielsen stations.

The Rundown: Trump Gives Three-Phase Guidelines

President Trump on Thursday gave governors three-phase, non-mandatory guidelines to reopening the economy amid the coronavirus crisis in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in cases, saying, "This is a gradual process."

The guidelines acknowledge the same approach won't work everywhere, with tougher restrictions needing to remain in areas that have been harder hit. They also largely track plans governors have already been working on. 

In the first phase, it recommends strict social distancing for everyone in public, with gatherings of larger than 10 people avoided and nonessential travel discouraged. In the second phase, maximizing social distancing is encouraged and gatherings limited to 50 people, with travel resuming. The third phase would be a return to normalcy, with a focus on identifying and isolating new infections. 

Checkpoints for new cases, testing and surveillance over 14 days are recommended before moving from one phase to the next. After initially saying earlier this week that he has ultimate authority to decide when the country can reopen, Trump reversed his stance, telling the governors on a conference call yesterday, "You’re going to call your own shots. We’re going to be standing alongside of you."

Coronavirus patients with severe illness being treated with the antiviral drug remdesivir in a Chicago hospital are seeing rapid recovery from fever and respiratory symptoms, with nearly all of them discharged in less than a week, STAT News reported yesterday. Other trials of the drug are being run at other institutions, and if it's found to be safe and effective, remdesivir could become the first approved treatment against the disease.

Daily deaths in New York, the epicenter fo the U.S. outbreak, fell to 606 on Wednesday, the lowest in more than a week, but Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "That is still continuing at a really, really tragic rate." Cuomo also said the number of people hospitalized is at its lowest since April 6th, and intensive care admissions and intubations were also down. In the U.S. overall, the death toll is around 31,000 with 650,000 confirmed infections, and worldwide, 140,000 have been killed and 2.1 million infected, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

In other developments:
  • Seven Midwestern governors from both parties announced they will coordinate on reopening their economies, following similar pacts being announced earlier in the week among governors in the Northeast and on the West Coast. The Midwestern states are: Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

ANOTHER 5.2 MILLION FILE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT, SMALL BIZ PROGRAM ALREADY OUT OF MONEY: The federal government reported Thursday  that another 5.2 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the four-week total to 22 million, or about one in seven U.S. workers, amid the coronavirus shutdown. That's the worst stretch on record, and economists said the unemployment rate could reach 20 percent in April, the highest since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, the Paycheck Protection Program, passed by Congress last month as part of its coronavirus rescue bill to help small businesses make payroll, has already reached its $349 billion limit, after being overwhelmed by businesses applying for loans. President Trump has made an emergency request to add another $250 billion, but congressional lawmakers are trying to break a stalemate over it, with Democrats wanting it to include money for hospitals being swamped by coronavirus cases, and for states and local government struggling economically because of the crisis.

NAVY CAPTAIN FIRED OVER CORONAVIRUS WARNING MAY BE REINSTATED: The New York Times reported that Admiral Michael Gilday is reviewing the results of a preliminary investigation into Captain Brett Crozier's removal, and while no decision has been made, he's indicated Crozier could be reinstated. Crozier was removed by then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who resigned days later after blasting Crozier in address to the ship's crew. After leaving the ship, Crozier tested positive for the coronavirus, and a total of 615 crew members of the Roosevelt have also tested positive. One crewmember, 41-year-old Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., has died.

➤PGA TOUR PLANS TO RESUME IN JUNE, WITH NO FANS: President Trump said Thursday that U.S. sports leagues will likely resume in a “made for television” format in the coming weeks as part of efforts to restart the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump said the guidance was based on discussions with top sports executives and commissioners named to an advisory group in the administration’s “Open Our Country” task force. The sports council had its first conference call Wednesday and discussed preliminary plans to resume activities following an industry-wide shut down in mid-March.

The PGA Tour on Thursday revealed its plans to resume its season that's been suspended because of the coronavirus in mid-June, but without any fans at the golf tournaments for at least one month. The Tour is looking to begin again with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, from June 11th to 14th. If they get the go-ahead from government and health officials, there would then be an official tournament every week. Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. "[W]e will resume competition only when . . . it is considered safe to do so under the guidance of the leading public health authorities."

Denver Radio: Jerry Schemmel Joins KKFN

Bonneville Denver announces Jerry Schemmel has been hired by Sports Radio KKFN 104.3 The Fan as an on-air talent. The station will also begin airing Schemmel’s program “Amazing Americans” on Sunday mornings at 7:30 a.m. starting April 26, 2020.

Schemmel is one of the most recognizable broadcasting voices in Denver sports history. He spent the last 10 seasons serving as the radio play-by-play voice of the Colorado Rockies. Prior to that, Schemmel was the radio and television voice of the Denver Nuggets for 18 years. His program “Amazing Americas” features sports interviews focusing on authentic stories of inspiration.

Jerry Schemmel
“There is no more respected figure in Denver media than Jerry Schemmel. He’s a man of the highest integrity and professionalism,” said Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan program director Raj Sharan. “Jerry has served as the soundtrack of so many great Denver sports moments. It’s only fitting that in the year of our 25th anniversary, we welcome back one of the legendary voices in the history of our radio station.”

In addition to his sports broadcasting career, Schemmel spent the 2009 season as head baseball coach at Metropolitan State University of Denver and authored two books, “Chosen to Live” and “The Extravagant Gift.” An avid bicyclist, he rode across the country twice to raise funds for Colorado Children’s Hospital and HaitiChildren.

Schemmel will also make regular appearances on Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan programming to provide analysis on the Rockies and Nuggets. He’ll also contribute content to and the station’s social media channels.

NYC Radio: 'Right vs Left' Debuts On 77WABC

Talkradio 77 WABC New York is now airing “The Right vs. The Left,” special Sunday programming that pits a WABC air personality on the right vs. well-known political commentators and activists on the left to offer listeners opposing sides of a range of current issues. 

This Sunday, WABC morning co-host Sid Rosenberg takes on left-leaning actor Michael Rapaport at 4 p.m. (EDT) and WABC midday co-host Curtis Sliwa spars with The Aggressive Progressive Christopher Hahn at 5 p.m. (EDT).

“At WABC, our goal is to present both sides of the story so that our listeners can get to the truth of every issue,” stated Dave LaBrozzi, Program Director of 77 WABC. “This special program does that in an entertaining joust between two strong, knowledgeable, opinionated yet open-minded personalities. The result is engaging talk radio that pulls in the audience and keeps them there.”

The first edition of The Right vs. The Left aired on WABC last Sunday, with popular morning show host Bernard McGuirk duking it out for the right with Hahn on the left. Overwhelming response from listeners spurred the station to set up the second and third matches, with the possibility of more right vs. left battles in the coming weeks.

“WABC Radio will continue to explore the kind of unique programming that engages listeners,” asserted Chad Lopez, President of Red Apple Media and WABC. “Radio has remained a constant companion and source of vital information for New Yorkers during shelter-in-place, and we’re proud to offer programs that presents both sides.”

Orlando Radio: JVC Expands Shannon Burke Show To NY

Shannon Burke
Shannon Burke, an ‘on-air’ social gathering serving up the best Happy Hour conversation with heavy listener interaction, hot topics of the day, and tons of opinions each weekday from 3pm-7pm on WDYZ 660 AM / 105.5 FM Orlando and WYGC 104.9 FM Gainesville, is expanding.

JVC Media has announced the ‘Florida Man Friday Happy Hour’ with Shannon Burke will simulcast each Friday afternoon on JVC’s News/Talk WRCN – 103.9 LI News Radio from 3pm-6pm.

“Now more than ever, our community needs to come together and stay at home to keep their families and loved ones safe.  With that being said, as humans we have the need to socialize and feel like we are still part of the society that we love," said JVC Executive VP of Florida Shane Reeve.   "The ‘Florida Man Friday Happy Hour with Shannon Burke’ is that bit of relief and laughter you need to keep some sense of normalcy in your life.” added Reeve.

Bruce Shepard, Executive VP of JVC NY said, “Consumers are spending less time in cars, at concerts, and other out of home locations.  With consumers hunkered down in their homes with radios and smart speakers playing radio stations, radio wins.   Listeners want interaction, not just a generic playlist fed from a company’s central computer.  JVC gives them that place to just get away from this crisis for just a few hours.”

John Caracciolo, President and CEO of JVC Media added, “ Serenity now!  Yes, news and information is very important in this unprecedented time, but we also need laughs.  As someone a lot smarter than me said, ‘A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.’”

JVC will also make the three hour Florida Man Friday Happy Hour broadcast available for free to any station that would like to participate in this interactive, fun, and exciting programming.

“Chachi Loves Everybody” Podcast Features Radio Leaders

Benztown, a global leader in radio imaging, voiceover, programming and jingles, announces the release of two new episodes of “Chachi Loves Everybody”, a new original podcast produced by Benztown and featuring Benztown President and audio brand builder Dave “Chachi” Denes. The new episodes feature Chachi’s one-on-one interviews with media research and digital marketing innovator Carolyn Gilbert, President/CEO, NuVoodoo Media Services, and radio broadcasting executive, Ron Stone, President/CEO, Adams Radio Group.

“Chachi Loves Everybody” takes listeners with Denes – better known as “Chachi” – as he sits down for candid conversations with Radio’s legends, master brand builders, and innovators in the burgeoning audio space, revealing the true stories behind their successes and their insights into building iconic brands through audio.

In the Carolyn Gilbert episode, Gilbert recounts moving from her hometown of New York City to Penn State University in the early 70’s, breaking into Cincinnati radio and building her first media research company, Critical Mass Media, under Jacor President/CEO Randy Michaels. She also tells some funny behind-the-scenes stories from the early days of consolidation at Jacor through the company’s purchase by Clear Channel and how she went from heading Research at the Tribune Company to building next-generation research and digital marketing company, NuVoodoo, into its leadership position in radio today.

In Ron Stone’s socially distanced video chat with Chachi, he reveals how an accounting job led to ultimately running a radio company, and along the way, building a successful career at Beasley Media Group under the mentorship of founder George Beasley. Stone also talks about buying and selling a radio station, and discusses leading Adams Radio Group during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Heat Is On Dr. Oz For Comments On Mortality Rate

Television doctor and regular Fox News guest Dr. Mehmet Oz drew major outcry for describing what some might consider an acceptable tradeoff for restarting the country despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Mediaite reports that during the Sean Hannity Show on Tuesday night, Oz spoke of how Americans “need our mojo back — let’s start with things that are really critical to the nation.” So he floated the possibility that schools could soon be one of the first institutions to re-open in the country without too much risk of a new outbreak.

“I tell ya, schools are a very appetizing opportunity,” Oz said. “I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing that the opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3% in terms of total mortality.”

“Any life is a life lost,” Oz continued, “but to get every child back into a school where they’re safely being educated, being fed and making the most out of their lives — with a theoretical risk on the backside, that might be a tradeoff some folks would consider.”

The Lancet article Oz was referring to states that “Recent modeling studies of COVID-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2-4% of deaths, much less than other social distancing interventions.”

Those stats are not restricted to children however — as many on social media have suggested — they extend to the entire American population, which boils down to millions of people who might contract the virus.

POTUS Press Attacks 'Undermined Truth And Consensus'

Of the many ways in which the Trump administration has attacked the press, its most effective and dangerous ploy has been to try to destroy the media’s credibility, undermining truth and consensus even as a pandemic threatens to kill tens of thousands of Americans, the Committee to Protect Journalists finds in a report released Thursday.

The report, “The Trump Administration and the Media,” examines stepped-up prosecutions of news sources, interference in the financial independence of some media owners, and the harassment of journalists, particularly at U.S. borders. It shows how the White House’s approach has emboldened authoritarian leaders to silence the press in their own countries.

Reuters photo
Leonard Downie, Jr., the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and former Washington Post executive editor, authored the report, with research from Stephanie Sugars, a reporter for the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. It includes interviews with over 40 journalists, media law experts, academics, and administration officials. Downie also authored CPJ’s 2013 report on the Obama administration.

“Journalists in the U.S. have been largely undeterred by the daily barrage of pressure, insults, and abuse emanating from President Trump,” said Joel Simon, CPJ executive director. “But the president’s attacks on the media have had an impact. They have undermined public trust in journalism as an institution, a dangerous place to find ourselves in the midst of a public health emergency. And they have empowered autocrats around the world who are cracking down on press freedom with unbridled ferocity at a time when truthful information is more than ever a precious commodity.”

CPJ’s report finds that the flow of information is chilled by the president’s threats of legal retaliation and boycotts for critical coverage, as well as by the aggressive prosecution of alleged leakers of sensitive information to the media. The administration has indicted eight government employees and contractors for alleged leaks, plus Julian Assange, whose case has alarming ramifications for the news industry.

The report includes a set of recommendations for the administration, including standing up publicly for press freedom, refraining from actions discrediting the media, improving information accessibility, and ending the practice of bringing espionage charges against those accused of leaking sensitive information to journalists. CPJ today sent a letter to the White House with a copy of the report, recommendations, and a request for a meeting.