Saturday, April 25, 2020

April 26 Radio History

➦In 1916...Vic Perrin born (Died of cancer at age 73 – July 4, 1989). He was a  radio, film, and television actor, perhaps best remembered for providing the "Control Voice" in the original version of the television series The Outer Limits.  He was also a radio scriptwriter as well as a narrator in feature films and for special entertainment and educational projects, such as the original Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Perrin was a regular performer on many commercial radio programs. In 1941 he became a staff announcer for NBC, staying there for several years before moving to ABC and becoming chief announcer at the Blue Network.  His first credited role came in 1943, when he served as the announcer for "The Last Will and Testament Of Tom Smith", a radio episode of Free World Theatre, which was produced and directed by Arch Oboler.  He narrated too "A Star With Two Names", part of the segment "Behind The Scenes Hollywood Story" of The Hollywood Music Hall radio program. At the same time, he joined Charles Laughton's theatrical repertory group.

Perrin was also a regular guest star on the radio version of Gunsmoke, and he wrote or co-wrote five scripts for that popular Western series between 1959 and 1961.  Perrin was a series regular as well on the anthology radio drama Family Theatre, played Ross Farnsworth on One Man's Family, and was featured as cavalry trooper Sergeant Gorse in Fort Laramie in 1956. He performed too as several characters in Escape, Pete Kelly's Blues, Dragnet, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, and Have Gun – Will Travel. In an uncredited role, he also impersonated Clyde Beatty on The Clyde Beatty Show.

He played supporting roles on TV, many of them as a voicist on cartoons, for more than 30 years.

➦In 1921…Radio stationWEW was the first to broadcast weather news and forecasts.

Saint Louis University established the station 9YK around 1912, using Morse code to communicate seismological and weather information.

Brother George E. Rueppel, assistant director of the Meteorological Observatory at SLU, worked with 9YK before he founded WEW in 1921.

Audio transmissions began at 10:05 a.m. on April 26, 1921; the first voice heard was SLU president Rev. William Robison. The station received radio license #560 to broadcast on 618.6 kHz (wavelength 485 meters) as WEW on 23 March 1922.

➦In 1924...WHO Des Moines is believed to have signed-on, although the actual on-air start date is in dispute.

A WHO memo from June 14, 1951 states that the first broadcast was on April 10, 1924; this is contradicted by Barry Mishkind Database which states that the First Broadcast License was effective on April 10, 1924 (the FCC's records indicate that the license took effect on April 15, 1924) with the first broadcast on April 26, 1924.

In any event, the station was originally owned by Bankers Life, which is now the Principal Financial Group.

After the FRC's General Order 40 reallocated frequencies in 1928, WHO (We Help Others) ended up sharing time on the same frequency with WOC in Davenport.

In 1930, B. J. Palmer, owner of WOC, bought WHO, and the two stations operated together as WOC-WHO until a new 50,000-watt transmitter near Mitchellville began operating on November 11, 1933. (WOC ceased broadcasting that day but returned on another frequency a year later.)

WHO moved from 1000 AM to the current 1040 AM on March 29, 1941, as a result of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement. Today WHO is one of only two 50,000-watt AM radio stations in Iowa (KXEL in Waterloo is the other, however, it is not on a "1928 Band Plan" clear channel like WHO, but is on a NARBA band plan clear channel, dually allocated to The Bahamas (Class I-A) and to Waterloo, IA (Class I-B)), though WHO's signal is non-directional and KXEL's is directional, as are most, but not all Class I-Bs.

Ronald Reagan
WHO was owned by the Palmer family until Jacor Broadcasting purchased the station in 1997; Jacor merged with Clear Channel Communications a year later. WHO and the other Clear Channel radio stations in Des Moines (KDRB, KPTL, KKDM, and KXNO) continued to share a building with WHO-TV until they moved into a new facility in 2005.

For many years, WHO has used an owl as its mascot—an apparent play on its call letters.

United States President Ronald Reagan worked as a sportscaster with WHO from 1932 to 1937. Among his duties were re-creations of Chicago Cubs baseball games as did many radio stations in those days when sports networks had not yet become widespread.

Broadcasting ad 1960
Today, WHO is owned by iHeartMedia airing news/talk.

➦In 1931...The radio comedy Lum & Abner aired for the first time on KTHS in hot Spring, Arkansas. The popular program starring Norris Goff and Chester Lauck, began on NBC from Chicago three months later and continued on various networks for 22 years.  Lum and Abner and their ‘Jot-em Down Store’  hailed from the fictitious town of Pine Ridge, Arkansas. Fictitious, that is, before 1936, when Waters, Arkansas, changed its name to Pine Ridge.

Over the course of its life, Lum and Abner appeared on all four major radio networks: NBC, Mutual, CBS and ABC (formerly NBC Blue).

Ed Wynn
➦In 1932...Early radio comedian Ed Wynn made his debut on radio.  Wynn began his career in vaudeville in 1903 and was a star of the Ziegfeld Follies starting in 1914.

In the early 1930s Wynn hosted the popular radio show The Fire Chief, heard on Tuesday nights, sponsored by Texaco gasoline.

Like many former vaudeville performers who turned to radio in the same decade, the stage-trained Wynn insisted on playing for a live studio audience, doing each program as an actual stage show, using visual bits to augment his written material, and in his case, wearing a colorful costume with a red fireman's helmet.

Wynn was offered the title role in MGM's 1939 screen adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, but turned it down, as did his Ziegfeld contemporary W. C. Fields. The part went to Frank Morgan

➦In 1952...The radio series Gunsmoke first aired on CBS with the episode "Billy the Kid", written by Walter Newman, and ended on June 18, 1961.  Matt Dillon was played on radio by William Conrad and on TV by James Arness. Two versions of the same pilot episode titled "Mark Dillon Goes to Gouge Eye" are in the archives with two different actors, Rye Billsbury and Howard Culver, playing Marshal "Mark" Dillon as the lead, not yet played by Conrad. Conrad was one of the last actors to audition for the role of Marshal Dillon.

➦In 1976…CBS Radio newsman Allan Jackson died at the age of 60. For over 25 years he was the head anchor at CBS Radio News in New York, reading the 6:00 PM (Eastern) national evening news (then the network’s main news program) and anchoring coverage on much of their “Breaking News” events of the times.  He presided over CBS coverage of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, of the joining of US and Soviet forces in April of 1945, and of V-E Day in May of that year.

➦In 1982...the CBS Radio Network launched its youth-oriented network “Radio Radio“.

➦In 1995...NYC Radio personality Bob Dayton died.

Hired from WIL in St. Louis where he had worked under the air name of "Rockin' Robin Scott", Bob arrived at WABC in 1963. According to the tribute website, He was known for his acerbic wit which ultimately resulted in his firing on August 6, 1965 after his "Happy Birthday Hiroshima" introduction to the Crests "16 Candles".

Dayton might have gotten away with that comment had not the wife of ABC Chairman Leonard Goldenson been listening while she was in her office receiving the "Hiroshima Maidens" who were ladies horribly burned in the bombing. She was furious and that was it for Bob Dayton on WABC; he was fired immediately after his show that day.

He shifted to Los Angeles' KRLA. Bob later returned to New York and worked at two New York radio stations; WPIX-FM and WCBS-FM.

➦In 2005...Radio, TV actor and voiceover artist Mason Adams died at age 86.  Adams was heard on many radio programs during Radio's Golden Age. A notable recurring role was that of Pepper Young in Pepper Young's Family, which aired from 1947 to 1959. He also portrayed the deadly Nazi Atom Man in a classic 1945 serial on the radio version of The Adventures of Superman.

Besides his best known role as Charlie Hume in TV’s Lou Grant series. In the TV era  his voice was heard on commercials all over the dial, notably for Chiffon margarine, Crest toothpaste & Smucker’s preserves.

Pete Fornatale
➦In 2012...Peter "Pete" Fornatale died at age 66. (Born -August 23, 1945).  He was a New York City radio personality and author of numerous books on rock and roll.

He is considered a "pioneer of FM rock," who played an important role in the progressive rock era of FM broadcasting. He was the first person to host a rock music show on New York City's FM band, commencing November 21, 1964 on WFUV.

By broadcasting progressive rock and long album tracks, he was noted for introducing a musical alternative to Top 40 AM radio in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Billboard called his station "a legend, affecting and inspiring people throughout the industry."

He gave early exposure to country-rock bands like Buffalo Springfield and Poco, and did one of the first American interviews with Elton John.  In 1991 he was co-host of "Paul Simon Live in Central Park" and was often called to be an expert guest commentator on PBS specials, including those featuring Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Roy Orbison, Peter, Paul and Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor and others.

➦In 2014…Lee Marshall died at age 67 (Born Marshall Aaron Mayer; November 28, 1949). He was an American professional wrestling announcer formerly of the American Wrestling Association (AWA), World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Women of Wrestling (WOW!)

Marshall was also a longtime radio announcer, working at such stations as KABC and KGFJ (now KYPA) and KBLA and KHJ in Los Angeles, KRIZ in Phoenix and CKLW in Windsor, Ontario, Canada (Detroit).

At CKLW, he was one of the anchors for the station's "20/20 News" updates. Marshall can be heard at 1:31 on this terrific CKLW Radio News video.

Marshall was also the voice of Tony The Tiger between 2005 and 2014.

Melania Trump

  • Actress-comedian Carol Burnett (Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family, Mad About You) is 87.
  • Guitarist-songwriter Duane Eddy is 82.
  • Singer Maurice Williams of Maurice and the Zodiacs is 82.
  • Singer Bobby Rydell is 78.
  • Singer Gary Wright is 77.
  • Actor Ron McLarty (Spenser For Hire) is 73.
  • Drummer Roger Taylor of Duran Duran is 60.
  • Actress Joan Chen (Twin Peaks, Children of the Dragon) is 59.
  • Actor-comedian Kevin James (Kevin Can Wait, The King of Queens) is 55.
  • Keyboardist Jeff Huskins of Little Texas is 54
  • Country bassist Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts is 49.
  • Actor/voicist Channing Tatum (Comrade Detective) is 40.
  • FLOTUS Melania Trump is 50.

ViacomCBS Investors Sue Shari Redstone

ViacomCBS investors are accusing media mogul Shari Redstone of forcing through the merger of CBS and Viacom last year to protect her investment in Viacom, according to a lawsuit seeking class-action status.

The Wall Street Journal reports the 119-page lawsuit, which was filed jointly in Delaware Tuesday by the Bucks County Employees Retirement Fund and the International Union of Operating Engineers of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, is a combined version of earlier complaints filed against ViacomCBS.

The suit said financial advisers, executives and board members at Viacom and CBS conducted “a months-long Kabuki-like negotiation” to ensure that Ms. Redstone would realize her goal to combine the companies on favorable terms to National Amusements, Inc., the holding company controlled by the Redstone family.

Shari Redstone
National Amusements declined to comment on the lawsuit. A spokesman for ViacomCBS said that the complaint is “without merit,” adding that the company intends to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

A redacted version of the lawsuit lays out a version of events that casts Ms. Redstone as a deal-making mastermind who appointed loyalists to the boards of both Viacom and CBS to advance her agenda to combine the two companies.

Viacom and CBS announced their merger last August after two earlier attempts, in late 2016 and 2018, the latter of which resulted in a protracted legal battle between National Amusements and CBS over the future of the company. When the third and ultimately successful merger attempt was announced in 2019, ViacomCBS executives said the combined company would be large enough to compete in a crowded marketplace dominated by large conglomerates and direct-to-consumer streaming companies.

The company’s stock price has plunged since the deal was announced, and is down more than 60% so far this year. ViacomCBS’s major rivals, such as Walt Disney Co. and Discovery Inc., have seen their share prices fall by more than 30% since the start of the year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit said Viacom’s poor performance during the runup to the merger spurred Ms. Redstone to push for a deal. After an attempt to combine Viacom and CBS fell through, Ms. Redstone in 2017 wrote to Rob Klieger, her attorney and a former CBS corporate director, that Viacom was “tanking,” according to the suit. The lawsuit also said Ms. Redstone prevented CBS from engaging in merger discussions that didn’t also include a deal for Viacom.

“The sole reason for the merger was to protect Shari Redstone’s floundering Viacom investment,” the lawsuit said. “Now CBS is saddled with an entity that has long underperformed it in the marketplace.”

Liberty Puts Live Nation Under SiriusXM Umbrella

John Malone's Liberty Media has announcedit was re-attributing its 33 percent stake in Live Nation Entertainment, along with other assets, from its Formula One Group to its SiriusXM tracking stock.

The changes bring the live event and music company stake under the umbrella of audio entertainment giant SiriusXM, while strengthening the liquidity of racing circuit Formula One. The company also said they optimize its asset portfolio and ensure the different parts of the company are in a strong position for potential future deals.

Analysts have wondered if Liberty could eventually look to acquire control of Live Nation, whose stock has been volatile amid the coronavirus crisis.

"The re-attribution, which is based on recent market prices for the publicly traded securities, is effective immediately," Liberty said.

It explained that $1.5 billion of net asset value has been re-attributed from SiriusXM to Formula One Group and vice versa. That includes the entire $2.6 billion Live Nation stake consisting of 69.6 million shares of common stock, intergroup interest, debt and a cash payment of $1.4 billion.

Greg Maffei, Liberty Media president and CEO, said the Formula One group "now has a strengthened balance sheet that positions us to support and enhance the Formula 1 business while also being opportunistic during these challenging times."

He also highlighted how the new setup positions both tracking stocks for potential deal opportunities ahead. "For Liberty SiriusXM, this combines a complementary set of businesses that are established leaders in the live and audio entertainment space," he said. "Both the new Formula One Group and Liberty SiriusXM Group now have currencies with which to complete acquisitions, raise capital and engage in share repurchases, among other things."

NFL Draft: First Round TV Ratings Soar

The NFL Draft dominated Thursday's ratings, setting an all-time high in viewers for the first round amid a sports-starved TV landscape, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Coverage of the draft on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network, plus ESPN Deportes and digital outlets, averaged 15.6 million viewers — a 37 percent improvement over night one of the 2019 draft and an all-time high for the event.

Night one of last year's draft averaged 11.1 million viewers across all three networks (11.4 million including digital outlets). The previous record high for the first night of the draft was 12.4 million viewers in 2014; Thursday's broadcast was 26 percent higher.

The 15.6 million people who watched the draft Thursday is almost as many as the average for actual NFL games last season: Regular-season contests averaged about 16.5 million viewers in 2019.

ESPN's telecast averaged 7.86 million viewers Thursday, up from 4.86 million last year — a gain of almost 62 percent. ABC drew 5.69 million viewers, up 25 percent year to year. NFL Network was steady at 1.72 million viewers. The remaining 400,000 viewers or so came via ESPN Deportes and streaming.

The draft is the biggest sports-related event to air on linear TV since the coronavirus pandemic shut down live competition in mid-March. ESPN also got big ratings on Sunday with the premiere of documentary series The Last Dance, chronicling Michael Jordan's final year with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98. The draft, which continues Friday and Saturday, is being conducted remotely, with coaches, general managers and league officials all having cameras in their homes.

The top three markets for the draft in overnight household ratings were all in Ohio: Columbus — home to Ohio State University, where two of the top three picks played (and overall No. 1 Joe Burrow began his college career before transferring to LSU) — drew a 16.7 rating, followed by Cleveland (15.9) and Cincinnati (15.6). The Cincinnati Bengals chose Heisman Trophy winner Burrow with the first pick.

Portland OR Radio: KUPL Adding The Bobby Bones Show

Bobby Bones and Carrie Underwood
Alpha Media has announced the addition of The Bobby Bones Show to Country KUPL 98.7 FM The Bull In Portland.

The show debuts Monday morning.

"I love Portland. I love the people of Portland. Every time I'm in PDX I beg to be put on the air there. And finally, I get that chance" said Bones.

Alpha Media Executive VP of Content Phil Becker said, "The addition of Bobby Bones to 98.7 The Bull is one we are thrilled to announce. Incorporating Bobby with our team allows Bull fans and Alpha Media clients access to the format's premiere talent. Bobby's work ethic, innovativeness and commitment to his listeners and their lives is something I have admired for years. It's a privilege to be the first one to welcome him to the Pacific Northwest."

Each morning, Bobby Bones and his co-hosts Amy, Lunchbox and Eddie welcome the biggest names in Country music and entertain listeners with their unique mix of pop-culture news and information, crazy stunts and hilarious conversations. Nationally syndicated by Premiere Networks, The Bobby Bones Show broadcasts to over 150 stations and is the #1 Country morning show in the U.S. with millions of weekly listeners. The show recently garnered its second Country Music Association Award for National Broadcast Personality of the Year and third ACM Award for National On-Air Personality of the Year, and earned Bones the title of youngest-ever inductee into the prestigious National Radio Hall of Fame.

Emmis Leaves NASDAQ

Emmis Communications Corporation Friday announced that it will voluntarily delist its Class A Common Stock from the Nasdaq Stock Market, and based upon ownership of its shares by fewer than 300 holders of record, deregister its Class A Common Stock under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and suspend its public reporting obligations.

Jeff Smulyan
Jeffrey H. Smulyan, the Company’s CEO stated, “We’ve undertaken a detailed and thoughtful review of the costs and benefits associated with being a Nasdaq-listed and SEC reporting company. After careful consideration, our Board of Directors unanimously decided to voluntarily delist from Nasdaq and deregister with the SEC as we believe the expected savings of more than $1 Million per year outweigh the advantages of continuing as a Nasdaq-listed and SEC reporting company.”

The Company intends to file a Form 25 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on or about May 4, 2020, in order to delist from Nasdaq. The Company anticipates that the last day of trading on Nasdaq will be on or about May 13, 2020. The Company’s Class A Common Stock may thereafter be eligible for trading on an over-the-counter market, if one or more brokers chooses to make a market for the Company’s Class A Common Stock; however, there can be no assurances regarding any such trading.

On or about May 14, 2020, the Company intends to file a Form 15 with the SEC, at which time the Company anticipates that its obligations to file periodic reports under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), including annual, quarterly and current reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, respectively, will be suspended, and that all requirements associated with being an Exchange Act-registered company will cease 90 days thereafter. The Company still intends to file its annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ending February 29, 2020.

Facebook Launches Zoom Competitor

Facebook announced Friday it’s making a big push into live videoconferencing, capitalizing on millions of people stuck home globally amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Washington Post reports the new service, called Messenger Rooms, allows users to conference with up to 50 people at a time — similar to Zoom, Houseparty and other videoconferencing services that have seen their businesses boom over the past few weeks.

In a live-streamed announcement, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg billed it as another way Facebook can keep people connected.

“Video presence isn’t just about calling someone,” he said. “It is starting to be a fundamental building block of a private social platform with lots of new use cases.”

Videoconferencing has become a necessity during the pandemic, as workers telecommute and families use video to stay in touch. It has even become a destination for happy hours and dance parties.

Zoom, in particular, has benefited. The videoconferencing company recently said the number of people participating in Zoom calls on a single day grew from 10 million at the end of December to more than 300 million people now. The free version of Zoom limits group calls to 40 minutes until you sign up for a paid subscription, but it can accommodate 1,000 people.

Facebook’s Messenger Rooms is in some ways more limited than Zoom — it must be started from Facebook or Messenger, though others who join don’t need a Facebook account. It’s limited to a total of 50 people.

But Facebook said Messenger Rooms will be free and won’t have a time limit. The new Facebook feature also allows people to drop in and join other rooms, or come and go as they please (though you can restrict who has access to your rooms) — much like the newly popular Houseparty app.

Report: More Trimming At The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Philadelphia Inquirer offered voluntary buyouts to 55 guild members in sales, Poynter learned via a memo on Friday. And according to Poynter, another voluntary buyout offer was made to full-time newsroom employees 65 and over after some employees expressed interest in such an offer.

The memo, from publisher and CEO Lisa Hughes, notes the Inquirer lost 25% of sales revenue, or $13.5 million, between 2017 and 2019, “without a significant reduction in sales staffing. So this move is part of a reorganization that was planned and aligns with our strategy for an integrated, multi-platform sales organization. Unfortunately, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will mean an additional estimated revenue loss of 20% this year and have accelerated this reorganization and necessitated more severe cuts than originally anticipated. If about 20 people do not voluntarily apply for the (voluntary separation program) in the Sales department, layoffs on the sales team are likely to follow.”

The buyout offers in the newsroom came after some employees inquired about them, the memo notes.

“A handful of staffers in our newsroom had expressed interest in a potential buyout, so we worked with the Guild leadership to make an offer available to a small percentage of eligible newsroom employees,” Stan Wischnowski, executive editor and senior vice president, told Poynter in an email. “To be clear, the newsroom’s involvement in this program is not tied to a targeted number or potential layoffs.”

The Inquirer is owned by the nonprofit Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Last month, Lenfest gave $2.5 million to several Philly newsrooms to help cover the coronavirus. The Inquirer got $250,000.

Wife Of CNN's Chris Cuomo Treated Herself To Clorox Baths

Cristina Cuomo
Experts are warning the public about alternative remedies Cristina Cuomo says she and her family used during their fight against the novel coronavirus, USAToday reports.

The Cuomo family has been hit hard by COVID-19, which first struck CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, then Cristina and recently their 14-year-old son, Mario. The couple share two other children.

Cristina Cuomo's recommendations, including baths using disinfecting Clorox bleach, which the cleaning product company has specifically warned against,  have received criticism from medical experts.

On CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time" Friday, Chris Cuomo did not mention his wife during an opening monologue ridiculing President Donald Trump floating the idea of studying injection of disinfectants as a treatment for coronavirus during a Thursday briefing. On Friday, Trump said he was being sarcastic.

"Instead of selling us on a well-thought-out plan to reopen so we can get on the page, what are federal officials doing today? Warning us not to poison ourselves with household cleaners. Why? Because of what Trump said and meant," Chris Cuomo said at the start of Friday's show. "Heaven forfend, this president just take responsibility, just take it back. Trump floated it seriously, not sarcastically, and now he’s trying to spin it. It's the same thing every time. Double down on dumb."

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert and one of Cuomo's interview guests, said the president's "disinfectant remark really gave me a chill" because of the toxic properties when taken internally. But he issued a broader warning about unproven treatments.

"My e-mail inbox gets all kinds of suggestions from well-intentioned people about all kinds of interesting ideas they have for treatments," he said. "None of those have been studied carefully, so we need to be very circumspect about what it is that we do in order to try to prevent these infections as well as threat them. We need to be conservative and rest on the science."

Cristina Cuomo, the founder of the health and wellness platform The Purist , recently shared health updates on her family's recovery on her blog, crediting a number of unconventional methods with their improvement.

Toronto Radio: CHBM Launches 'COVID-Free Fridays'

From commercials to news headlines to an inbox full of emails from every service provider you’ve ever dealt with, audiences – for most are now entering their sixth or seventh week of social distancing – have been inundated with an overwhelming amount of messaging, often riffing on a plethora of what have become pandemic memes in these “unprecedented” and “uncertain” times.

Feeling that fatigue set in themselves, CHBM boom 97.3 FM Toronto staff have launched “Covid-Free Fridays,” committing to two hours of up-tempo music and good news every Friday morning, without mention of the ongoing pandemic.

“A couple of us were talking last week about Covid and how we’re drowning in it,” program director Troy McCallum told Broadcast Dialogue. “Commercials, News, Social Media… basically everywhere we turn it’s everywhere and it’s just too much – we need a break…it’s a chance for our audience to escape with Stu Jeffries and get the weekend off to a good start.”

The two-hour commercial free block launched yesterday, accompanied by new imaging. Canadian Traffic Network (CTN) reporters were also asked to adjust their sponsors and reports.

McCallum says response on the station’s social media and via text affirmed their suspicions that listeners were ready for a reprieve from the last few months of pandemic-dominated content.

R.I.P.: Jerry Bishop, 'Judge Judy' Announcer, Radio Host

Jerry Bishop
Jerry Bishop, the former L.A. morning drive disc jockey who served as the announcer on Judge Judy since the syndicated program's start in 1996, has died. He was 84, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Bishop died Tuesday of heart disease in Los Angeles, his family announced.

Bishop was born on Oct. 19, 1935 in Hartford, Connecticut, where he began his radio career. Following a stint at WRKO in Boston, he moved to California, starting in San Diego and then Los Angeles. Beginning in 1965, he had stints at KLAC, KFI, KKDJ, KIIS and KGIL in Los Angeles. He also worked at KFMB in San Diego. Bishop also did voiceover work for Miller Coors, Budweiser, Burger King, NBC and ABC. He was one of the off-camera announcers for The $10,000 Pyramid in the 1980s.

H also had a 15-year run as the voice of the Disney Channel before joining the syndicated Judge Judy.

"Jerry Bishop has been the voice of our program for 24 years," Judy Sheindlin said in a statement. "Everybody loved him. He had a golden heart and generous spirit. I adored him and will miss him."

Born Gerald Blume on Oct. 19, 1935, in Hartford, Connecticut, Bishop earned his degree in broadcast journalism from Emerson College in the 1950s. He started out at WDRC in Hartford before coming to California.

R.I.P.: Harold Reid, Founding Member Of The Statler Brothers

Harold Reid
Harold Reid, a member of the legendary country group The Statler Brothers, died Friday following a long battle with kidney failure.

He was 80, according to CMT.

A statement on the band’s website reads, “He is and will always be loved by his family, friends and millions of fans. His singing, his songwriting and his comedy made generations happy. He has taken a piece of our hearts with him.”

The quartet’s bass singer and comedian, Harold Reid was born on August 21, 1939, in Augusta Country, Virginia. He was a founding member of the singing group that gradually evolved into The Statler Brothers, which took its name from a brand of facial tissues. The quartet traveled frequently with Johnny Cash starting in 1964 and enjoyed a major crossover single with “Flowers on the Wall” in 1965.

However the Statler Brothers truly hit their stride with their first charting single for Mercury Records, 1970’s “Bed of Rose’s,” which was written by Harold Reid. He also co-wrote “The Class of ’57” with his younger brother and bandmate Don Reid. That 1972 single won a Grammy and they continued to chart on Mercury Records through 1990.

The band cultivated a comic presence on record and on the road with their alter egos, Lester “Roadhog” Moran & His Cadillac Cowboys. But as the Statler Brothers, their biggest radio hits include 1978’s “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine” (their first No. 1, also written by Don and Harold Reid) as well as “Elizabeth,” “My Only Love,” and “Too Much on My Heart,” all No. 1 singles written by bandmate Jimmy Fortune. Philip Balsley rounded out the most recognizable lineup of the Statler Brothers, formed after Lew Dewitt’s departure due to ill health in 1982.

The Statler Brothers charted 66 singles on the Billboard country airplay chart between 1965 and 1990. They received nine CMA Awards for Vocal Group of the Year and two ACM awards in the same category. The group’s Top 10 singles co-written by the Reid brothers include “The Official Historian on Shirley Jean Berrell,” “How to Be a Country Star,” “(I’ll Love You Even) Better Than I Did Then,” “Don’t Wait on Me,” “Whatever,” “Guilty,” and “Sweeter and Sweeter.”

While they were embraced by Nashville, the group kept their home base in Staunton, Virginia. After their hit streak at radio came to an end, the Statler Brothers starred in a highly-rated TNN variety series from 1991 to 1997.

The band retired from the road in 2002. They were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the ACM’s 2015 Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award.

April 25 Radio History

➦In 1874...Guglielmo Marconi born (Died – 20 July 1937).  He was an Italian inventor and electrical engineer, known for his pioneering work on long-distance radio transmission, development of Marconi's law, and a radio telegraph system. He is credited as the inventor of radio, and he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy".

Marconi was also founder of The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in the United Kingdom in 1897 (which became the Marconi Company). He succeeded in making an engineering and commercial success of radio by innovating and building on the work of previous experimenters and physicists

His father was a wealthy landowner and his mother was a member of Ireland’s Jameson family of distillers. Marconi was educated by tutors and at the Livorno Technical Institute and the University of Bologna.

Marconi 1901
In 1894 Marconi became fascinated with the discovery by German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz of “invisible waves” generated by electromagnetic interactions. Marconi built his own wave-generating equipment at his family’s estate and was soon sending signals to locations a mile away. After failing to interest the Italian government in his work, Marconi decided to try his luck in London.

The 22-year-old Marconi and his mother arrived in England in 1896 and quickly found interested backers, including the British Post Office. Within a year Marconi was broadcasting up to 12 miles and had applied for his first patents. A year later, he set up a wireless station on the Isle of Wight that allowed Queen Victoria to send messages to her son Prince Edward aboard the royal yacht.

By 1899 Marconi’s signals had crossed the English Channel. The same year, Marconi traveled to the United States, where he gained publicity offering wireless coverage of the America’s Cup yacht race from off the coast of New Jersey.

Marconi joined the Italian Fascist party in 1923. In 1930, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini appointed him President of the Royal Academy of Italy, which made Marconi a member of the Fascist Grand Council.

Marconi died in Rome on 20 July 1937 at age 63, following a series of heart attacks, and Italy held a state funeral for him. As a tribute, all radio stations throughout the world observed two minutes of silence on the next day.  His remains are housed in the Villa Griffone at Sasso Marconi, Emilia-Romagna, which assumed that name in his honor in 1938.

In 1943, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision on Marconi's radio patents restoring some of the prior patents of Oliver Lodge, John Stone Stone, and Nikola Tesla.  The decision was not about Marconi's original radio patents and the court declared that their decision had no bearing on Marconi's claim as the first to achieve radio transmission, just that since Marconi's claim to certain patents were questionable, he could not claim infringement on those same patents.

➦In 1908...Edward Roscoe Murrow born  at Polecat Creek, near Greensboro, NC (Died from lung cancer at age 57 – April 27, 1965), He was a broadcast journalist and war correspondent. He first gained prominence during World War II with a series of live radio broadcasts from Europe for the news division of CBS. His live, shortwave broadcasts relayed on CBS electrified radio audiences as news programming never had: previous war coverage had mostly been provided by newspaper reports, along with newsreels seen in movie theaters; earlier radio news programs had simply featured an announcer in a studio reading wire service reports.

During the war he recruited and worked closely with a team of war correspondents who came to be known as the Murrow Boys.

A pioneer of radio and television news broadcasting, Murrow produced a series of reports on his television program See It Now which helped lead to the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

➦In 1949…An article in LOOK magazine predicted that radio was doomed because if the growing popularity of television.  However, radio reinvented itself as a local service and became bigger than ever, while LOOK disappeared in 1971.

By 1948 it sold 2.9 million copies per issue. Circulation reached 3.7 million in 1954, and peaked at 7.75 million in 1969. Its advertising revenue peaked in 1966 at $80 million. Of the leading general interest large-format magazines, Look had a circulation second only to Life and ahead of The Saturday Evening Post, which closed in 1969, and Collier's, which folded in 1956.

Look ceased publication with its issue of October 19, 1971, the victim of a $5 million loss in revenues in 1970 (with television cutting deeply into its advertising revenues), a slack economy and rising postal rates. Circulation was at 6.5 million when it closed.

Don Wilson
➦In 1982...Announcer/personality Don Wilson died of a stroke at age 81. (Born September 1, 1900). He was an announcer and actor in radio and television best remembered best as the rotund announcer and comic foil to the star of The Jack Benny Program.

Wilson began his radio career as a singer over Denver radio station KFEL in 1923.  By 1929, he was working at KFI, and shortly afterwards for Don Lee at KHJ, in Los Angeles. In a 1978 appearance on Tomorrow with Tom Snyder, Wilson claimed he was fired from KHJ because he had bought a Packard from Earle C. Anthony, the business arch-rival of Cadillac dealer Don Lee and owner of KFI and KECA.

Though best known for his comedy work with Benny, Wilson had a background as a sportscaster, covering the opening of the 1932 Summer Olympics.

➦In 1995…Arthur Fleming Fazzin died from pancreatic cancer at age 70 (Born - May 1, 1924). He was an actor and television host. He is most notable for being the original host of the television game show Jeopardy!, which aired on NBC from 1964 until 1975.

After leaving the Navy, Fleming became an announcer at a radio station in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Here, he first shortened his name to "Art Fleming". His radio career later took him to Akron, Ohio, and back home to New York. He was the first announcer to deliver the slogan "Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should" for Winston cigarettes.

Art Fleming On 'Jeopardy' set
His first television role was as a stunt double for Ralph Bellamy in the detective series Man Against Crime.  Fleming also appeared in many television commercials. He was first spotted by Merv Griffin on a commercial for Trans World Airlines. Griffin thought Fleming was "authoritative, yet warm and interesting", and Fleming was invited to audition for the role of host for a quiz show Griffin was developing. Fleming (an actor with no prior TV quiz show experience) was initially skeptical, but his agent encouraged him to "act like a game show host" at his audition, and Fleming ultimately won the job. The show was Jeopardy!, which Fleming hosted from March 30, 1964, to January 3, 1975, and again from October 2, 1978, to March 2, 1979. Although often described as the "host" of the program, announcer Don Pardo's introduction of him announced, "and here's the star of Jeopardy!, Art Fleming." As "the world's greatest quiz show's" first host, Fleming earned two Emmy Award nominations. While he was host of Jeopardy!, Fleming never missed a taping.

Throughout his career, Fleming starred in about 5,000 episodes of television programs and 48 motion pictures. He also hosted a radio version of College Bowl for CBS Radio from 1979 to 1982. He hosted the NBC radio weekend magazine Monitor during 1972.

It was reported that Fleming was asked to reprise his role as Jeopardy! host when Merv Griffin began developing a revival of the show in 1983. He declined, later stating in 1989 that he did not like the direction the show had gone in moving the show to Hollywood (being partial to his native New York, he felt that the Hollywood setting made the show dumber and less realistic).  As a result, Alex Trebek took the position instead and has hosted the program ever since.

From 1980 to 1992, Fleming hosted a daily radio talk show on KMOX in St. Louis, which continued until his retirement.

Renee Zellweger
  • Actress Lynn Hamilton (The Practice, The Waltons, Sanford & Son) is 90.
  • Actor Al Pacino (Godfather Saga, Angels in America) is 80.
  • “Dancing With The Stars” judge Len Goodman is 76.
  • Bassist Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revival is 75.
  • Singer Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA is 75.
  • Keyboardist Michael Brown of The Left Banke is 71.
  • Country singer-songwriter Rob Crosby is 66.
  • Actor/voicist Hank Azaria (Brockmire, The Simpsons, Ray Donovan, Huff, Mad About You) is 56.
  • Actress Renee Zellweger (Shake, Rattle & Rock) is 51.
  • Fox TV sportscaster Joe Buck is 51.
  • TV personality/actress Christina McLarty (Guilty Pleasures, The Young & the Restless) is 39.
  • Actor Sean Harmon (NCIS) is 32.
  • Actress Jayden Rey (“The Conners”) is 11

Friday, April 24, 2020

AT&T's Stephenson Retiring, Stankey To Be New CEO

After serving 13 years as AT&T’s Chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, 60, will retire as CEO but will serve as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors until January 2021 to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

The AT&T Inc.  Board has elected AT&T President and Chief Operating Officer John Stankey as CEO effective July 1, 2020, and a member of the Board of Directors effective June 1, 2020.

Stankey's selection as AT&T's next CEO completes the final phase of a succession planning process that AT&T's Board began in 2017, which included a thorough evaluation of internal and external candidates. Most recently, the HR Committee — led by AT&T Director Beth Mooney, comprised entirely of independent directors and supported by outside consultants — engaged in an extensive five-month search process to ensure that the company's next CEO possessed the vision, experience, talent and leadership qualities necessary to deliver on AT&T's strategic plans. Those qualities in our new CEO are important for our future and essential during these challenging economic times.

John Stankey
"Leadership succession is one of the Board's most important responsibilities," Mooney said. "After an extensive evaluation, it was clear that John Stankey was the right person to lead AT&T into the future.”

Stankey, 57, has served as president and COO since October 2019. He joined AT&T in 1985 and has more than 30 years of accomplished leadership spanning nearly every area of AT&T’s business, from corporate strategy and technology, to operations and media and entertainment. Stankey has served in a variety of roles, including: CEO of WarnerMedia; CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group; Chief Strategy Officer; Chief Technology Officer; CEO of AT&T Operations; and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions.

Stephenson said, “I congratulate John, and I look forward to partnering with him as the leadership team moves forward on our strategic initiatives while navigating the difficult economic and health challenges currently facing our country and the world. John has the right experiences and skills, and the unflinching determination every CEO needs to act on his convictions. He has a terrific leadership team onboard to ensure AT&T remains strong and continues to deliver for customers and shareholders for years to come.”

Later this year, AT&T’s Board will elect an independent director to chair the Board of Directors when Stephenson retires as executive chairman in January 2021.

Music Super Study: Country Music Listener Popularity Jumps

Pop continues to lead consumers’ tastes, Hip Hop/R&B generates polar reactions and Country titles are experiencing an increase in popularity. These are among the major findings of Coleman Insights’ second annual “Contemporary Music SuperStudy,” which the media research firm released Thursday.

The study examines the appetite for contemporary music among 12- to 54-year-olds across the United States and Canada. The firm’s FACT360SM Strategic Music Test platform is utilized to measure the appeal of the most consumed songs of 2019 based on radio airplay, streaming and sales data, as reported by MRC Data/BDSradio.

For the second year in a row, Pop is the best-testing style of music. Despite making up only 18% of the titles tested, Pop songs comprise 34% of the Top 100 Evaluation Average songs in the study. The study also reveals a high level of passion for Hip Hop/R&B titles, as this genre has the second largest portion of the 100 songs with the highest Like A Lot scores. However, the mass appeal of the genre is limited by the fact that many consumers rate these songs negatively. The near-doubling–from 12% to 23%–of Country music in the Top 100 Evaluation Average songs since last year’s study bodes well for this genre.

Additional findings include:
  • Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You” is the most popular title. As one of the most-consumed songs of 2019, “Baby Shark” by Pinkfong made the test list but ranks last in the study in Evaluation Average.
  • Pop and Country are the most popular genres with daily radio listeners, while Pop and Hip Hop/R&B perform best with daily streaming listeners.
  • While the test list is comprised of 2019’s most consumed songs, nearly half the list consists of songs released prior to 2019.
  • The genre composition of the Top 100 titles is Pop (34%), Country (23%), Hip Hop/R&B (19%), Alternative/Rock (12%), Dance/Electronic (8%), Latin (2%) and Other (2%).
  • Post Malone has more songs on the test list than any other artist (10) and claims eight of the Top 100 testing songs.
”We are excited to share this report card on the state of contemporary music,” said Coleman Insights president Warren Kurtzman. “It will give our clients and the audio entertainment industry insights into the tastes of consumers and an objective sense of how those tastes are evolving.”

Coleman Insights will release additional findings and trends from this year’s study over the next four weeks on the firm’s Tuesdays With Coleman blog, at as well as on social media including Facebook and Twitter.

Report: NYTimes To Suspend Printing Sports, Travel Sections

With no major sporting events and barely any travel happening due to the coronavirus, The New York Times plans to stop printing hard copies of those sections in the storied newspaper's Sunday edition and replace them with a section focused on life while sheltering in place, according to citing internal memos and sources.

In a note that will be sent out to employees this week, executive editor Dean Baquet and managing editor Joseph Kahn told employees the Travel section of the newspaper will be replaced with a new section called At Home which will debut on Sunday.

In addition, the Sunday Sports section will no longer be printed separately and will be folded into the front section of the newspaper. Additional travel-related stories could live throughout the paper.

“The extraordinary nature of this moment has driven remarkable changes in our journalism,” the note reads. “It has also caused us to rethink the way we produce traditional elements of the news report and, in particular, the structure of the print newspaper.”

The Times’s average print circulation for weekdays (Monday through Friday) is approximately 443,000 and is 918,000 for Sunday. The sports section usually is combined with the business section of the Times, but is a separate entity on Sundays and Mondays. Travel is printed on Sundays. Sports Monday will still continue to be printed during the pandemic.

In total, the Times had 5,251,000 subscriptions across its print and digital products in over 225 countries at the end of 2019, according to SEC filings.

Verizon Loses 84,000 Pay TV Subs

Telecom giant Verizon on Friday reported that it lost 84,000 net pay TV subscribers for its FiOS consumer video service in the first quarter, compared with a loss of 55,000 in the year-ago period and a loss of 51,000 in the fourth quarter.

According to The Hollywood Reporter the company cited "the ongoing shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings," saying it ended March with 4.07 million consumer video connections.

This earnings season is covering results for companies' first quarter of 2020, which include about a month worth of coronavirus pandemic fallout. Wall Street will listen closely for what management teams say about the financial and operational impact beyond the first quarter though.

Verizon, led by CEO Hans Vestberg, did not say on Friday how many of its users have taken advantage of the telecom giant's deal with Walt Disney's Disney+ streaming service.

 Management had previously said that the deal has exceeded the firm's expectations. Disney said in early February that it had hit 28.6 million subscribers.

The companies' agreement gives some of the phone giant's wireless and internet customers a year of Disney+ for free. The offer applies to Verizon's wireless unlimited customers and new Fios internet and 5G home internet customers. Approximately 17 million Verizon wireless accounts are unlimited, and "a pretty significant number" of those are expected to take advantage of the Disney+ offer, Verizon previously said.

For all of 2019, Verizon lost 225,000 Fios video subscribers in its core consumer unit, compared with 171,000 in 2018. The company. Fios competes with cable and satellite TV services.

The Rundown: Tests Suggest 21% In NY Have Had Coronavirus

NY Times 4/24/20
Antibody testing on blood samples from 3,000 people in New York suggests that the coronavirus is much more widespread in the state than the confirmed positives indicate. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday (April 23rd) that nearly 14 percent of the people tested have antibodies indicating they'd had the virus, and in New York City, which is the epicenter of the U.S. pandemic, 21 percent had antibodies. The sample was small and Cuomo cautioned the data was preliminary, and it's also not yet known how much protection antibodies provide. But the governor said having antibody test information could help in making decisions about reopening the state. Those results came as it was disclosed that 438 people died in New York Wednesday, bringing its total to more than 15,700. Johns Hopkins University's count of the national death toll as of late last night was just under 50,000, at 49,954.

President Trump suggested during his daily coronavirus briefing Thursday that you could bring light "inside the body" or use an "injection" of disinfectant into people to help fight the virus. After government scientist Bill Bryan spoke about research his team has done that shows the virus, quote, "dies quickest in sunlight," Trump said, "So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous -- whether it's ultraviolet or just a very powerful light . . . supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way . . . " Trump then continued, "I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning?"

Several governors who are facing big budget shortfalls because of the coronavirus pandemic fired back Thursday at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell's suggestion from the day before that they should declare bankruptcy instead of getting federal assistance, which McConnell's office described as "blue state bailouts," meaning for Democratic states. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state has been hardest hit by the pandemic, accused McConnell of "obsessive political bias and anger," and called his comments "vicious," "ugly" and "irresponsible and reckless," saying, "You will see a collapse of this national economy" if states like New York, Michigan, Illinois and California declare bankruptcy. Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland also criticized McConnell's suggestion, saying during a Politico interview, "That’s complete nonsense. These are well-run states. There are just as many Republicans as Democrats that strongly support this."

ANOTHER 4.4 MILLION APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT; HOUSE PASSES LATEST CORONAVIRUS AID PACKAGE: Government data out Thursday (April 23rd) showed that another 4.4 million Americans applied for unemployment last week, bringing the total to 26 million over the past five weeks, increasing towards unemployment levels last seen during the Great Depression. One in six workers have now lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the House passed a nearly $500 million spending package yesterday, the latest aid legislation to provide assistance in response to the economic fallout from the pandemic. It went to President Trump for his signature after having previously been passed by the Senate. The measure provides more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides grants and loans to small businesses to help them keep workers on the payroll. It also provides money for hospitals struggling with their coronavirus caseloads, as well as funding for more testing for the virus.

BENGALS TAKE BURROW WITH NUMBER ONE PICK IN VIRTUAL NFL DRAFT: The NFL draft was held virtually last night (April 23rd) for the first time ever because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the top selection was no surprise, as the Cincinnati Bengals took Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow with the number one overall pick. Commissioner Roger Goodell, team personnel and the players selected were all participating online from their homes, and it went pretty smoothly, with no apparent glitches. The Washington Redskins chose Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the second pick. Rounding out the top five:
3rd -- Detroit Lions took Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah.
4th -- New York Giants chose Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas.
5th -- Miami Dolphins took Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Vin Scully
VIN SCULLY HOSPITALIZED AFTER FALL: Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully has been hospitalized after falling at home. The Dodgers said Thursday (April 23rd) that the 92-year-old fell on Tuesday and was taken to the hospital for observation, but is resting comfortably and is expected to be released soon.

Scully said in a quote posted by the team on Twitter: "I won’t be doing anymore head-first sliding. I never liked it." Scully retired following the 2016 season, after calling Dodgers games for 67 years, beginning when the team was still in Brooklyn. 

TOM BRADY MISTAKENLY WALKED INTO WRONG HOUSE IN TAMPA: Tom Brady has had a couple of hiccups adjusting to his new life in Tampa, with news yesterday that he mistakenly walked into the wrong house earlier this month, after it was reported earlier this week that he was kicked out of a public park after being told he couldn't work out there because of coronavirus stay-at-home orders. According to TMZ, the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback was going to the home of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich's on April 7th when he instead walked into the home next door without knocking, surprising the home owner before he realized he was in the wrong house.

MD Radio: Michael Banks Named MM For WFRE, WFMD

Michael Banks
Connoisseur Media has announced the promotion of Michael Banks to General Manager in Frederick, MD. Frederick is home to Country WFRE 99.9 FM and Newstalk WFMD 930 AM.

“Mike has been the General Sales Manager of our Long Island operation. He was a crucial part of our success, and today we are excited to promote him into this important position” said Jeff Warshaw, CEO of Connoisseur Media.

Banks joined Connoisseur Media in 2016 as General Sales Manager in Long Island. He previously worked two years in Frederick as the General Sales Manager when iHeart held the stations in the Aloha Trust. “I’m excited to get back to Frederick. This is a perfect fit for my family and me. I look forward to working with a world-class staff and once again becoming a leader in the community” said Banks.

EMF Names Jim Houser As Chief Content Officer

The nation’s largest contemporary Christian radio network announced today the hiring of Christian-music veteran Jim Houser as the organization’s first Chief Content Officer.

Houser will join Educational Media Foundation (EMF) in this newly created role, reporting directly to CEO Bill Reeves, and will oversee content for the K-LOVE and Air1 radio networks, which currently broadcast on more than 1,000 signals nationwide.

Additionally, Houser will further develop EMF’s streaming strategy, oversee the upcoming podcast platform, all marketing strategy, and the integration of EMF’s digital assets with its programming initiatives.

Jim Houser
“I could not be more excited about the addition of Jim and his almost 30 years of experience in the Christian music business,” Reeves said. “Jim is widely respected, has an outstanding track record, and his integrity in the industry is second-to-none. His love of broadcasting and its history, married with his ability to strategize around new ideas, makes him the perfect choice to help lead EMF into the future.”

Houser’s career began in college radio and led to an opportunity with national Christian radio ministry, Focus on the Family. While editing Focus’ daily broadcast, Jim and two partners created a weekly syndicated Christian hit music show that quickly became an industry favorite airing in over 300 markets. Next, Houser joined Sparrow Records (now Capitol Christian) in radio promotions, and advanced to marketing and artist development roles. Jim was then recruited to join Creative Trust and rose to Managing Partner, where he led the team growing and supporting the careers of Steven Curtis Chapman, Mary Beth Chapman, Brandon Heath, Britt Nicole and others.

“Radio was my first love,” Houser said, “and in each role throughout my career, I’ve made it a central focus. I’m humbled to be tapped to join the EMF executive team and excited for the opportunity to collaborate with, and serve, the Christian music community, advancing redemptive art and music.”

Houser will begin his new post in May and will divide his time between EMF’s Northern California headquarters and its broadcast studios in Franklin, Tenn. He will oversee the future VP of Radio and VP of Marketing, the radio network Program Directors and additional Directors and Senior Managers.