Saturday, May 2, 2020

May 3 Radio History

➦In 1904...Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby born (some sources list May 2 – Died from heart attack October 14, 1977).

He was he first multimedia star, Crosby was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses from 1931 to 1954.  His early career coincided with recording innovations that allowed him to develop an intimate singing style that influenced many male singers who followed him, including Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes, and Dean Martin. Yank magazine said that he was "the person who had done the most for the morale of overseas servicemen" during World War II.   In 1948, American polls declared him the "most admired man alive", ahead of Jackie Robinson and Pope Pius XII.  Also in 1948, Music Digest estimated that his recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated to recorded radio music.

Crosby won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Father Chuck O'Malley in the 1944 motion picture Going My Way and was nominated for his reprise of the role in The Bells of St. Mary's opposite Ingrid Bergman the next year, becoming the first of six actors to be nominated twice for playing the same character. In 1963, Crosby received the first Grammy Global Achievement Award.  He is one of 33 people to have three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in the categories of motion pictures, radio, and audio recording.  He was also known for his collaborations with longtime friend Bob Hope, starring in the Road to... films from 1940 to 1962.

Crosby influenced the development of the postwar recording industry. After seeing a demonstration of a German broadcast quality reel-to-reel tape recorder brought to America by John T. Mullin, he invested $50,000 in a California electronics company called Ampex to build copies. He then convinced ABC to allow him to tape his shows. He became the first performer to pre-record his radio shows and master his commercial recordings onto magnetic tape. Through the medium of recording, he constructed his radio programs with the same directorial tools and craftsmanship (editing, retaking, rehearsal, time shifting) used in motion picture production, a practice that became an industry standard.[10] In addition to his work with early audio tape recording, he helped to finance the development of videotape, bought television stations, bred racehorses, and co-owned the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.

On September 2, 1931, Crosby made his nationwide solo radio debut. Before the end of the year, he signed with both Brunswick and CBS Radio. Doing a weekly 15-minute radio broadcast, Crosby became a hit.

His first commercial sponsor on radio was Cremo Cigars and his fame spread nationwide. After a long run in New York, he went back to Hollywood to film The Big Broadcast. His appearances, records, and radio work substantially increased his impact. The success of his first film brought him a contract with Paramount, and he began a pattern of making three films a year. He led his radio show for Woodbury Soap for two seasons while his live appearances dwindled. His records produced hits during the Depression when sales were down. Audio engineer Steve Hoffman stated, "By the way, Bing actually saved the record business in 1934 when he agreed to support Decca founder Jack Kapp's crazy idea of lowering the price of singles from a dollar to 35 cents and getting a royalty for records sold instead of a flat fee. Bing's name and his artistry saved the recording industry. All the other artists signed to Decca after Bing did. Without him, Jack Kapp wouldn't have had a chance in hell of making Decca work and the Great Depression would have wiped out phonograph records for good."

His social life was hectic. His first son Gary was born in 1933 with twin boys following in 1934. By 1936, he replaced his former boss, Paul Whiteman, as host of the weekly NBC radio program Kraft Music Hall, where he remained for the next ten years. Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day), with his trademark whistling, became his theme song and signature tune.

Crosby's vocal style helped take popular singing beyond the "belting" associated with Al Jolson and Billy Murray, who had been obligated to reach the back seats in New York theaters without the aid of the microphone. As music critic Henry Pleasants noted in The Great American Popular Singers, something new had entered American music, a style that might be called "singing in American" with conversational ease. This new sound led to the popular epithet "crooner".

During the Second World War, Crosby made live appearances before American troops who had been fighting in the European Theater. He learned how to pronounce German from written scripts and read propaganda broadcasts intended for German forces. The nickname "Der Bingle" was common among Crosby's German listeners and came to be used by his English-speaking fans. In a poll of U.S. troops at the close of World War II, Crosby topped the list as the person who had done the most for G.I. morale, ahead of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, General Dwight Eisenhower, and Bob Hope.

The biggest hit song of Crosby's career was his recording of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas", which he introduced on a Christmas Day radio broadcast in 1941. The song then appeared in his movie Holiday Inn (1942). His record hit the charts on October 3, 1942, and rose to No. 1 on October 31, where it stayed for 11 weeks. A holiday perennial, the song was repeatedly re-released by Decca, charting another sixteen times. It topped the charts again in 1945 and a third time in January 1947.

The song remains the bestselling single of all time.   According to Guinness World Records, his recording of "White Christmas" has sold over 100 million copies around the world, with at least 50 million sales as singles. His recording was so popular that he was obliged to re-record it in 1947 using the same musicians and backup singers; the original 1942 master had become damaged due to its frequent use in pressing additional singles. Although the two versions are similar, the 1947 recording is more familiar today.

➦In 1910...Norman Lewis Corwin born (Died at age 101 – October 18, 2011) . He was a writer, screenwriter, producer, essayist and teacher of journalism and writing. His earliest and biggest successes were in the writing and directing of radio drama during the 1930s and 1940s.

Corwin was among the first producers to regularly use entertainment—even light entertainment—to tackle serious social issues. In this area, he was a peer of Orson Welles and William N. Robson, and an inspiration to other later radio/TV writers such as Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, Norman Lear, J. Michael Straczynski and Yuri Rasovsky.

Corwin was a major figure during the Golden Age of Radio. During the 1930s and 1940s he was a writer and producer of many radio programs in many genres: history, biography, fantasy, fiction, poetry and drama.

In the early 1930s, he became involved with radio broadcasting. He first worked as the radio editor of the Springfield MA Republican  and subsequently began broadcasting his own radio program. The date of his first broadcast has been reported as early as 1931. As radio editor of the Republican, he became known for his column "Radiosyncracies," which he published under the pseudonym 'Vladimir Shrdlu.' He also worked as a news commentator over WBZ and WBZA.  In June 1935, Corwin accepted an executive position in Cincinnati at station WLW. By 1937, Corwin was hired to host a poetry program called "Poetic License" on New York station WQXR, which led to his being hired by the CBS Radio Network to produce and direct cultural programs. He remained with CBS until 1949.

Rosemary Rice
➦In 1925...Rosemary Rice born (Died from a stroke at age 87 – August 14, 2012). Rice was best known for her role as Katrin Hansen, the oldest daughter in the television series, Mama, which aired on CBS from 1949 to 1957.  She provided the opening voice narration for Mama through her character.

Rice's acting career began during junior high student in Montclair, when she was cast in her first Broadway production, later attending New York's Professional Children's School. She appeared in twelve plays and musicals on Broadway.  Her Broadway credits included the 1943 production of The Naked Genius, a play written by Gypsy Rose Lee, as well as Dear Ruth and Junior Miss.

Rice's first radio appearance was on Grand Central Station. She enjoyed an active career in radio, appearing in mysteries, comedies and soap operas. Her best known role was as Betty Cooper in the Archie Andrews radio series.Other radio credits included Ma Perkins (as Laura),  The Right to Happiness (as Susan Wakefield), CBS Radio Mystery Theater, NBC Playhouse, Calvacade of America, Playhouse 90, When a Girl Marries (as Kathy), My True Story, Westinghouse Studio One, Young Doctor Malone (as Jill), and Let's Pretend.

In 1949, CBS debuted Mama, an early, live television series adapted from "Mama's Bank Account", a book written by Kathryn Forbes. The series, which was set in San Francisco, California, in the early 20th Century, centered on the life of a Norwegian American family.

➦In 1958...NYC personality Alan Freed faced controversy in Boston when he told the audience, "It looks like the Boston police don't want you to have a good time." As a result, Freed was arrested and charged with inciting to riot, and was fired from his job at 1010WINS.

➦In 1965...Personality The Real Don Steele started at 93KHJ-AM, Los Angeles in what would be a career that lasted decades at the station.  Here's some audio...

Steele became nationally-known as a DJ on radio station KHJ in Los Angeles, where he helped to promote the "ultrahip" Top40 Boss Radio format which began at 3pm on April 27, 1965.

He also appeared on TV as host Boss City and The Real Don Steele TV Show, a show which ran from 1965 to 1975 on KHJ-TV channel 9 in Los Angeles.

When the popularity of AM radio gave way to FM stereo in the 1970s, Steele continued to remain a popular personality at the station. Following the years at 93/KHJ, The Real Don Steele continued to be heard on Los Angeles radio stations, including KIQQ (K-100), KRLA, KCBS-FM and KRTH-FM (K-Earth 101), until his death in August 1997.

➦In 1971...National Public Radio began in the US with 112 affiliates, mostly at colleges and universities, and the afternoon drive show that continues to this day, “All Things Considered.”

➦In 1982...President Ronald Reagan began the traditional of Saturday radio addresses by the Presidents.  While the Mutual Broadcasting Service estimated that as many as 1.5 million people could have been reached by the addresses, few stations carried the broadcasts and citizens seldom provided responses to the radio stations. However, the network news often reported on the speeches and The New York Times often times ran full texts of the addresses.

The growth of the Saturday presidential address is one element in the evolution of presidential rhetoric and a chief executive's drive to reach citizens. When President Ronald Reagan sought to harness his legislative agenda amid congressional and media wrangling.

➦In 1982...Beautiful music WTFM changes to Album WAPP in NYC

➦In 1992...Elizabeth Lennox died at age 98. She was early recording artist during the 1910s.  She was an early radio singer. She recorded cylinders for Thomas Edison.  In addition to her recordings Elizabeth appeared on NBC Radio until she retired from performing.

➦In 2006...Bob Dylan hosted his first show on XM Satellite Radio, playing favorite tracks by Prince, Wilco, Blur, Billy Bragg, Blur, and LL Cool J, among others.

Cheryl Burke
  • Actor Alex Cord (“Airwolf”) is 87. 
  • Singer Frankie Valli is 86. 
  • Sports announcer Greg Gumbel is 74. 
  • Singer Mary Hopkin is 70. 
  • Singer Christopher Cross is 69.
  • Keyboardist David Ball of Soft Cell is 61.
  • Country singer Shane Minor is 52. 
  • Actress Amy Ryan (“Bridge of Spies,” ″The Office”) is 52. 
  • Actor Bobby Cannavale (“Boardwalk Empire,” ″Nurse Jackie”) 50.
  • Bassist John Driskell Hopkins of Zac Brown Band is 49. 
  • Country singer Brad Martin is 47. T
  • V personality Willie Geist (“Today”) is 45. 
  • Actress Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”) is 45. 
  • Actor Dule’ Hill (“Psych,” ″The West Wing”) is 45. 
  • Country singer Eric Church is 43. 
  • Dancer Cheryl Burke (“Dancing With the Stars”) is 36.

Hubbard Radio Makes Cuts In Several Markets

Hubbard Radio has made a number of  COVID-19 related job cuts at ifacilities in several states.

➤In watcher Robert Feder reports 12 staffers are out. Included are evening host Phil Manicki and overnight host Greg Easterling at WDRV 97.1 FM The Drive, plus evening host Brian Middleton and morning show producer and on-air host Robb Rose at WSHE 100.3, 'Eric In The Morning" producer Cynthia DeNicolo and social media manager Melissa “Mel D” Dever were cut  Also out are digital media director Jeff Buti, content production manager Todd Ganz, art director/graphic designer Teddy Harris, receptionist Dale King, promotions manager Heather Torey and public affairs manager Susan Wiencek. There were also departures in engineering, promotions and in digital.

➤In Minneapolis/St. Paul...six on-air hosts at sports 1500 KSTP including Matthew Coller, Ramie Makhlouf, Derek Wetmore, Seth Auger, Jon Harrison and Ross Brendel.  KSTP will curtail its SKOR North digital-first platform due to the economic hits.  Most of the other programming on KSTP will revert to the national ESPN Radio lineup.

Dan Seeman, vice president and market manager for Hubbard Radio in the Twin Cities, wouldn’t share how many employees were affected locally, but did confirm that his company had made cuts.

“It’s all COVID- and economy-related. It’s tough out there right now,” he said. “So much of our business is driven by retail and concerts and festivals and events. It’s hard to convince advertisers to spend money when they’re not open.”

"These last 60 days have been really hard on sports media," said Mackey, content director at SKOR North, in a release. "Especially a new brand like SKOR North, which launched just over a year ago. And a recovery isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. It’s unbelievably frustrating. And great people — here and elsewhere — are now in search of work because of it."

➤In St. Louis...The Post-Dispatch reports Bernie Miklasz has been taken off the air. He was one of 20 employees in Hubbard Radio’s St. Louis operation to be dismissed Friday, it was announced on WXOS’ “The Fast Lane” show. That group includes Dan Bettlach, a producer at the station.  Miklasz spent 26 years as a sports columnist for the Post-Dispatch while also often moonlighting as a sports-talk radio host for numerous stations, including 101.1 FM. In the process he became the most well-connected member of the St. Louis sports media. In 2015 he decided to stop serving two masters and took a lucrative radio offer that included writing online commentary. He then received a five-year extension a little over two years ago, but now figures to be dealing with a severance package instead of planning for new shows.

➤At Hubbard's Country WIL 92.3 FM PD Danny Montana is out also Bud Ford & Jerry Broadway morning show is gone. Before WIL, they co-hosted mornings and then afternoons at iHeartMedia Country KTGX 106.1 FM Tulsa for three years.

Other St. Louis departures: WARH 106.5 The Arch, Aftenoon host Robert Fithen and Evening Host Bryce Jones.

➤In Washington DC... several staffers at WTOP 103.5 fM and WFED 1500 AM. are gone including Zoe Salwen in digital, WFED's Lisa Wolfe and George Moshos in production.

➤In Seattle..KQMV 92.5 personality Justin Barnes and several other staffers.

➤In Phoenix...KSLX Russ Egan is gone from evenings after 5-years.

Significant Layoffs at NBCUniversal Under Examination

Comcast Corp. ’s NBCUniversal is reviewing operations across its portfolio of media and entertainment properties as part of a cost-cutting effort that could result in a significant reduction of staff, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.

NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Shell alluded to the review during Comcast’s earnings call Thursday. Asked how NBCUniversal was positioned to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus, Mr. Shell said,“On costs, the question about whether we’re right-sized on costs given where the environment is headed, the answer is probably no, and we’re addressing that pretty aggressively.”

Jeff Shell
NBCUniversal is the latest media company to take drastic steps as a result of economic fallout from the coronavirus which has halted production of movies and TV, shut down professional sports and caused advertisers to cut spending. Walt Disney Co. has furloughed theme-park workers and cut executive pay. Fox Corp. has also cut executive pay. ViacomCBS Inc. laid off close to 500 people this past week, people close to the situation said. Those cuts were attributed primarily to expense reductions stemming from last year’s merger of Viacom and CBS, ViacomCBS Chief Executive Bob Bakish said in an email to staff.

Although all divisions are being looked at, some areas likely to be under a microscope at NBCUniversal are the theme-parks division and Universal Pictures, both of which have been grounded as a result of the coronavirus.

The company has said Universal Studios’ theme parks would be closed at least through May 31, and its workers have been furloughed.

NBCUniversal, which had about 66,000 full-time employees as of Dec. 31, is one of Comcast’s most vulnerable businesses to the coronavirus pandemic. Comcast’s revenue remained stable in the first quarter because of its growing broadband business. However,On Thursday, the company reported NBCUniversal’s quarterlyfirst-quarter revenue fell 7% to $7.7 billion. compared with the same period last year. Although the broadcast television segment saw revenue grow 9%, overall NBCUniversal was dragged down by its films and theme parks.

Advertising revenue slightly decreased in the quarter, and is expected to be down significantly in the current quarter.

AT&T’s WarnerMedia Absorbs Ad Tech Unit Xandr

AT&T Inc. is combining its WarnerMedia and Xandr business units—which has long been expected by company insiders—in an effort to have a single advertising sales and technology offering across the company, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Xandr has been at the center of AT&T’s efforts to build a so-called advanced advertising business. It aims to use the telecommunications giant’s wireless, broadband and pay-TV customer data to help advertisers reach custom audiences across screens. Xandr also offers digital publishers and TV networks tools to help sell their ad inventory.

AT&T built Xandr in 2018 from existing ad businesses including its advanced TV unit AdWorks and the advertising technology company AppNexus, which it acquired that year.

The Xandr business unit generated $489 million in first-quarter revenue, up nearly 15% year over year, according to AT&T’s earnings report. Some of the revenue booked under Xandr comes from AT&T’s pay-TV businesses including DirecTV.

AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit houses TV networks including TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and CNN as well as various digital properties. It was formed following AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner in 2018.

Bakersfield Radio: Erik Fox Promoted To PD for KLLY

Erik Fox
Alpha Media Bakersfield has announced the promotion of Erik Fox to program director for KLLY Energy 95.3 FM.

Fox’s career includes tenures as the highly rated mid-day show host at KKBB-FM in Bakersfield, CA, Music Director for Energy 95.3 and just recently moving to PM drive on Energy 95.3 (KLLY-FM).

“I’m very excited to take the reins of such an amazing station such as Energy 95.3. I’m grateful to market manager, Jeremy Price, Phil Becker, Danny P and the entire Alpha Bakersfield staff for this opportunity to continue the growth that we’ve already seen with this station. I look forward to working with this great team to take Bakersfield by storm!” remarked Erik.

Alpha Media Bakersfield General Manager, Jeremy Price commented on the announcement, “Erik Fox has shown himself to be one of the hardest working individuals in this industry that I have ever worked with. His love for the music marks a huge step up for the station. And in the year that he has been MD for Energy; our ratings have risen to levels not seen on that station for over half a decade. Individuals committed to local radio like Erik are rare and we are blessed to have him on our team and, in this new capacity, are excited to see him continue to dominate in the ratings.”

'Morning Joe' Goes On the Record With Joe Biden

If Joe Biden was looking for a soft landing place to address sexual assault allegations made by a former Senate staffer, he didn’t find it Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” according to The Associated Press.

The 20-minute interview of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee conducted by Mika Brzezinski was blunt and frequently uncomfortable, a milestone media moment in the 2020 campaign.

The former vice president had faced increased pressure to publicly address the accusations by Tara Reade that he had assaulted her in the early 1990s, which he has consistently denied. During the interview, Biden said “it never, never happened.”

The New York Times, Washington Post and Associated Press have all done ultimately inconclusive investigations of the charges. Biden opponents say others in the media have been slow to report on them.

Much like President Donald Trump concentrates his interviews on Fox News Channel, Biden came to a network stocked with supportive opinion hosts. Brzezinski and her co-host, Joe Scarborough, have been blistering in daily coverage of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

When another MSNBC host, Chris Hayes, discussed Reade’s accusations earlier this week, there was an immediate call for his firing on Twitter by Biden supporters who thought that they didn’t deserve the public airing.

Despite that backdrop, Brzezinski didn’t pull punches. She graphically described the charges against Biden and asked him to “go on record with the American people. Did you sexually assault Tara Reade?”

Biden repeated his denial of the accusation.

Brett Baier: No Doubt 'Huge' Disparity Exists In Biden Coverage

Fox News anchor Bret Baier said there’s no question that there has been a “huge” disparity in coverage between the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and Joe Biden.

Baier spoke with Fox News contributor Guy Benson on Fox News Radio and noted the lingering questions from the former VP’s interview with Mika Brzezinski, including on growing calls to release relevant documents.

He said at one point Democrats would go the “whataboutism” route” given the issues of transparency and the allegations from multiple women against the president.

Benson asked about the media coverage and a “new narrative” that there isn’t a double standard going on, saying, “We lived through this, we covered it very closely, you are never going to convince me that there was anything other than a wildly brazen double standard.”

“If you look back at who said what and how and how the coverage went, I mean, Joe Biden just did 25 interviews before… he was asked one question about it,” Baier said. The disparity is huge.”

Anheuser-Bush InBev Scores 'CornGate' Victory

Anheuser-Busch InBev has scored a major victory in its long-running legal dispute with Molson Coors over Bud Light ads that mocked Miller Lite and Coors Light for using corn syrup, AdAge reports.

Molson Coors sued its larger competitor over the ads that first aired in the 2019 Super Bowl, claiming they were misleading. Molson won some early rounds, including getting a preliminary injunction that forced Bud Light to stop using certain language in ads.

But on Friday, a federal appeals court delivered AB InBev a clear-cut victory. “If Molson Coors does not like the sneering tone of Anheuser-Busch’s ads, it can mock Bud Light in return. Litigation should not be a substitute for competition in the market,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals stated in a tersely-worded ruling.

The battle, which came to be known as “Corngate,” began when Bud Light ran three Super Bowl ads as part of its medieval "Dilly Dilly" campaign that called out Coors Light and Miller Lite for using corn syrup. Molson Coors has maintained that the beers use corn syrup in the fermenting process, but that none ends up in the final product.

The appeals court pointed to the fact that the beers list corn syrup as ingredients.

The case was sent back to the district court to decide “whether any question remains for trial, or whether our decision instead wraps up the proceedings.”

From a practical standpoint, the decision won’t have much effect on current advertising, because Bud Light has mostly moved on from the campaign. Both brewers are currently focusing most of their marketing on coronavirus response ads.

Former CBSer David Rhodes Now Consulting For FOX

David Rhodes, the former president of CBS News, has taken on a consulting role that might raise some eyebrows: He’s working again for one of the Murdoch family’s news operations.

Variety reports Rhodes is said to be working on an assignment related to video for News U.K., the British operating unit of News Corp., according to a person familiar with the matter. Rhodes previously served in a senior editorial role at Fox News Channel, which is owned by another Murdoch family holding, Fox Corporation.

Rhodes has held a series of consulting roles since leaving CBS News in early 2019, and has also worked for Spotify and The Los Angeles Times.

The New York Times previously reported that Rhodes was working as a consultant for News Corp., and suggested the move had spurred speculation that Rhodes might be considered for a role at Fox News Media, which is currently run by CEO Suzanne Scott. Under Ms. Scott, the company has moved quickly into digital media and streaming video, while weathering an array of controversies over many of the declarations of Fox News Channel primetime opinion hosts and their overt support of President Donald Trump.

FCC Unveils New Seal

The FCC has updated its official seal ahead of the move to its new offices, featuring new design elements that represent the current state of communications.

RadioWorld reports the design was a result of an agency-wide contest, with the winning design from Umasankar Arumugam voted for by FCC employees and contractors.

The design elements include:
  • Communication technologies, like satellites and broadcast towers, that are currently impacting the industry;
  • Four stars on the outer seal border, which was an element on the original seal of the FCC’s predecessor, the Federal Radio Commission;
  • 18 stars on the shield, representing the current number of bureaus and offices in the commission;
  • The eagle and shield, which identify the FCC as a federal government agency.
The previous iteration of the seal featured a feed line that comes up the middle between a V-configuration of telephone lines. It connects to three horizontal lines, the middle of which connects to two broadcast towers. The other two connect to telephone lines.

May 2 Radio History

➦In 1922... WBAP Fort Worth, TX signed-on.

The station shared time with Dallas stations WFAA and WRR. It was the first station in the United States to have an audible logo signal similar to the NBC chimes, the WBAP cowbell. According to President Herbert Hoover, the station's call letters stood for "We Bring A Program".

On May 15, 1923, the Federal Radio Commission expanded the broadcast band, and WBAP and WFAA moved to 630 kHz. Another expansion moved WBAP to 600 kHz effective April 15, 1927, and this frequency was shared with WOAI in San Antonio. On November 11, 1928, WBAP moved to 800 kHz, and on June 1, 1929, WFAA also moved to 800 kHz, sharing time (and NBC Red network affiliation) with WBAP.

Station owner Amon G. Carter was unhappy with having to share time on 800 kHz with WFAA. In May 1938, Carter Publishing purchased KGKO Wichita Falls (570 kHz) and moved it to Fort Worth as an affiliate of the NBC Blue network (which became ABC), and more importantly as a second frequency to be used when 800 kHz was not available. On March 29, 1941, as a consequence of the Treaty of Havana, WBAP and WFAA moved one last time, to 820 kHz.

Carter eventually sold half of KGKO to A.H. Belo, owners of WFAA, and on April 27, 1947, KGKO was replaced by a second shared frequency between WBAP and WFAA.

The dual frequency sharing arrangement between WBAP and WFAA continued through the 1950s and 1960s, with the stations switching frequencies several times a day. When WBAP changed frequencies, it signaled the change with a cowbell, which became widely associated with the station.

Even though the stations swapped frequencies several times each day, the network affiliations remained constant: NBC network programming stayed on 820 kHz and ABC network programming stayed on 570 kHz. This frequently proved confusing for announcers and listeners alike.

On May 1, 1970, the unique dual split-frequency lives of WBAP and WFAA ended when WBAP paid $3.5 million to WFAA in exchange for sole occupancy of 820 kHz (and the NBC affiliation).

WFAA took on 570 kHz (and the ABC affiliation) full-time. Once the frequency-sharing with WFAA ended in 1970, both stations were free to program musical formats, and WBAP began programming country music.

It also gained the added benefit of 820's clear-channel signal; previously WFAA controlled it during these prime nighttime hours. After a series of network affiliation changes in the late 1970s among WBAP, KRLD and WFAA, WBAP switched affiliations to ABC.

➦In 1928...KPQ-AM, Wenatchee, WA signed-on.
The original license for what would become KPQ was granted in 1927 to radio station entrepreneur Louis Wasmer, who named Seattle as the city of license and chose the call letters KGCL. He sold the not-yet-broadcasting station to a local sporting goods store, who officially changed the calls to KPQ. The store then resold it to Westcoast Broadcasting, who in 1928 "moved out" the station to Wenatchee.

➦In 1932...the first scheduled radio show featuring Jack Benny debuted on the NBC Blue Network. Here's a video clip from 1942.

Jack Benny first appeared on radio as a guest of Ed Sullivan in March 1932. He was then given his own show later that year, with Canada Dry Ginger Ale as a sponsor —The Canada Dry Ginger Ale Program, beginning May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing there for six months until October 26, moving the show to CBS on October 30. Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.

Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did The Chevrolet Program until April 1, 1934 with Frank Black leading the band. He continued with The General Tire Revue for the rest of that season, and in the fall of 1934, for General Foods as The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny (1934–42) and, when sales of Jell-O were affected by sugar rationing during World War II, The Grape Nuts Flakes Program Starring Jack Benny (later the Grape Nuts and Grape Nuts Flakes Program) (1942–44). On October 1, 1944, the show became The Lucky Strike Program Starring Jack Benny, when American Tobacco's Lucky Strike cigarettes took over as his radio sponsor, through the mid-1950s. By that time, the practice of using the sponsor's name as the title began to fade.

The show returned to CBS on January 2, 1949, as part of CBS president William S. Paley's "raid" of NBC talent in 1948-49. There it stayed for the remainder of its radio run, which ended on May 22, 1955. CBS aired repeats of previous 1953-55 radio episodes from 1956 to 1958 as The Best of Benny for State Farm Insurance, who later sponsored his television program from 1960 through 1965.

➦In 1941...the FCC okayed the regular scheduling of TV broadcasts by commercial TV stations to begin on July 1. But the onset in the US of WW2 delayed the effective start television until the end of the decade.

➦In 1960...WLS 890 AM, Chicago, Illinois, flipped its format from Country to Top 40.

WLS had been wholly owned and operated by the radio division of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) since the purchase of its parent company in 1959. Five years earlier WLS was merged with WENR, a station with which WLS had shared its frequency since the 1920s

Mort Crowley was the first on-air voice of the new WLS (6 AM); the first song played was "Alley-Oop" by the Hollywood Argyles, four full weeks before it debuted on the Hot 100. Other notable disc jockeys who worked at WLS over the years include Fred Winston, Art Roberts, Ron "Ringo" Riley, Gene Taylor, Larry Lujack, Dex Card, Clark Weber, Chuck Buell, Kris Erik Stevens, Joel Sebastian, Gary Gears, Jerry Kay, Bob Sirott, John Records Landecker, Yvonne Daniels, Steve Dahl, Garry Meier, Brant Miller, Tom Kent Steve King, and Tommy Edwards. Some of the production directors responsible for the sound of WLS were Ray Van Steen, Hal Widsten, Jim Hampton, Bill Price and Tommy Edwards.

In the 1960s WLS was a major force in introducing new music and recording artists. WLS was voted by broadcasters nationally as "The Station of the Year" in 1967, 1968 & 1969. John Rook was named "Program Director of the Year" in 1968 & 1969 as WLS was estimated attracting 4.2 million listeners weekly by Pulse research.

The WLS News Dept included Lyle Dean, Jeff Hendrix, Catherine Johns, Dick Harley, Harley Carnes, Linda Marshall, Karen Hand, Jim Johnson, Jerry Golden, Jim Wynne, Stan Dale, Bill Guthrie and Les Grobstein was the Stations Sports Director.

For More WLS History: Click Here  and Here.

WLS-AM flipped to a talk format on August 23, 1989 at 7 pm.

In 1963...DJ Dick Biondi did his last show on WLS-AM, Chicago. Here's some audio from a 1962 show.  He returned to WLS 94.7 FM and its Classic Hits format  in November 2006. He has since retired.

➦In 1972...Bruce Springsteen auditioned for Columbia Records’ legendary talent scout John Hammond in his New York office.  Hammond was so impressed that he arranged for Springsteen to perform that evening for other Columbia executives at the Gaslight Club. “The Boss” passed the audition with flying colors, and was signed that night to the Columbia label. His first album was released 8 months later.

➦In 1984...Game Show host and executive Jack Barry was born Jack Barach (Born - March 20, 1918).  He was best known as a game show host.

Barry served as host of several game shows in his career, many of which he developed along with Dan Enright as part of their joint operation Barry & Enright Productions.  His reputation became tarnished due to his involvement in the 1950s quiz show scandals and the ensuing fallout affected his career for over a decade.

Jack Barry
In 1956, Barry and Enright launched Tic Tac Dough and Twenty-One. Both quiz shows were hosted by Barry.  In 1958, a match between challenger Charles Van Doren and champion Herb Stempel was found to have been rigged, with Van Doren's victory having been pre-determined by the producers.

Though Enright and producer Albert Freedman actually carried out the rigging of Twenty-One, Barry admitted in the 1970s and 1980s his role in covering up for the partners. However, Barry himself was apparently not averse to "juicing" a show, even after the Twenty-One and Tic-Tac-Dough debacles left his career in eclipse.

Some years later,Barry borrowed $40,000 from his father-in-law and put a down payment on a Los Angeles-area radio station (KKOP 93.5 FM, Redondo Beach, later renamed KFOX, now KDAY). In later interviews, he stated that he bought the station specifically because it would require him to have a license from the FCC, and that if the FCC would be willing to grant him a license, it would decisively demonstrate that his reputation was no longer "tainted" by the game show scandals.

"Slowly," said a 1984 article in TV Guide that discussed game show hosts, "he began to receive calls: Would he fill in for five weeks on this game show? Yes. Of course."  In December 1968, he resurrected his game hosting career.

Christine Baranski
  • Singer Englebert Humperdinck is 84. 
  • Country singer R.C. Bannon is 75. 
  • Country singer Larry Gatlin is 72. 
  • Singer Lou Gramm of Foreigner is 70. 
  • Actress Christine Baranski is 68. 
  • Singer Angela Bofill is 66. 
  • Actress Elizabeth Berridge (“The John Larroquette Show”) is 58. 
  • Country singer Ty Herndon is 58. 
  • Actress Mitzi Kapture (“The Young and the Restless,” “Baywatch”) is 58. 
  • TV commentator Mika Brzezinski is 53. 
  • Wrestler-actor Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) is 48. 
  • Singer Jeff Gutt of Stone Temple Pilots is 44. 
  • Actress Jenna Von Oy (“Blossom”) is 43. 
  • Actor Gaius Charles (“Grey’s Anatomy”) is 37.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Biden Denies: Joe Says It Ain't So

Joe Biden on Friday categorically denied the sexual assault allegation threatening to disrupt his presidential campaign, breaking weeks of silence on the issue, reports CNBC.

“I’m saying unequivocally that it never, never happened,” Biden said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Tara Reade, a former Senate aide, claims that Biden assaulted her in 1993 when she worked in his office.

Biden’s campaign had previously denied the allegation, but pressure had been mounting for the candidate to address the claim himself. In a statement released just before the interview, Biden cited “the full and growing record of inconsistencies” in the accusations and said: “They aren’t true. This never happened.”

Reade shook up Biden’s presidential campaign in March when she claimed on a podcast that Biden pinned her to a wall and used his fingers to penetrate her in an office building on Capitol Hill when he was a senator from Delaware.

Reade’s brother and a former neighbor have said that Reade discussed details of the alleged assault with them in the 1990s. Several individuals who worked in the Senate office at the time have said that Reade’s allegations do not square with their experience working for Biden.

Reade has said she filed a written complaint at the time, though it has not been located. Many of the records from Biden’s senate office remain under seal at the University of Delaware until Biden retires from public life. In his Friday statement, Biden said the archive does not contain personnel files.

The Rundown: 3.8M More Americans Apply For Unemployment

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic passed 63,000 as of last night, according to the count being kept by Johns Hopkins University. Even as some states are slowly reopening amid those grim numbers, California Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday ordered Orange County beaches closed after people crowded on to them last weekend. The decision drew confusion and accusations of "targeted harassment" from Republicans in the county that was once a GOP stronghold, after administration officials had told police and local officials Wednesday that Newsom planned to order all state beaches closed. Newsom said he never saw that notification and said, "When our health folks tell me they can’t promise that if we promote another weekend like we had, then I have to make this adjustment. I hope it's a very short-term adjustment.”

Another 3.8 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total over the last six weeks since the start of the coronavirus shutdowns to some 30.3 million people, or one in six American workers, by far the worst stretch of job layoffs on record. Economists have forecast the unemployment rate for April could be as high as 20 percent, which would be the highest since it reached 25 percent during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

President Trump claimed yesterday that he's seen evidence giving him a, quote, "high degree of confidence" the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, contradicting the U.S. intelligence community. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence had issued a rare public statement hours earlier that didn't give that assessment, saying they were still examining whether the outbreak began, quote, "through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan." Trump officials have been pushing for U.S. intelligence to determine the outbreak's origins in pursuit of an unproven theory it started because of a lab accident, CNN reported. The intelligence statement did say they'd determined the virus wasn't man-made, which is the near-consensus view of scientists. Scientists and intelligence professionals have said the U.S. may never know the exact origin of the virus, which has widely been blamed on a "wet market" where wild animals were sold in Wuhan.

In other developments:
  • 71 Percent of Federal Inmates Tested are Positive: The Bureau of Prisons has released new data that shows out of 2,700 federal prisoners that were tested systemwide, nearly 2,000 of them were positive for the virus, some 71 percent. Those 2,700 inmates tested represent just two percent of the nearly 150,000 in federal prisons. At least 31 federal inmates have died of the virus. Federal prison employees are also at risk, with 343 having tested positive.
  • NYC Subway Shutting Down Overnight for First Time: New York City's subway system will be shut down overnight daily from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. so that trains and stations can be cleaned. Subway cars will now be cleaned once every 24 hours instead of once every 72 hours. Ridership has plunged 92 percent amid the pandemic, and homeless people have been increasingly staying on the trains. The subway has operated 24 hours a day since October 1904, except for short interruptions due to weather events, blackouts or strikes.
➤MICHIGAN LAWMAKERS REFUSE TO EXTEND EMERGENCY DECLARATION, VOTE FOR LAWSUIT: Michigan's Republican-led Legislature refused Thursday to extend the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration, which is the basis for Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home orders. The lawmakers also voted to authorize a lawsuit challenging Whitmer's authority and actions to fight the virus. But Whitmer responded by issuing orders under one law stating that the emergency still exists, and declaring a new 28-day state of emergency under another law. She accused the Republicans of, quote, "putting their heads in the sand and putting more lives and livelihoods at risk." The lawmakers' challenge of Whitmer came as hundreds of conservative activists, including some carrying assault rifles, protested against the stay-at-home order at the Capitol. Some entered the Capitol building and demanded to be let onto the House floor, which isn't permitted.

➤BALTIMORE HAS EYE IN THE SKY: As of today, Baltimore will be watching its residents via three planes with wide-angle cameras that will record people's movements across some 90 percent of the city. The surveillance is an effort to combat murder and other serious crimes in Baltimore, which holds the grim U.S. record for per-capita homicides. Analysts alerted to a crime will be able to zoom in from the image of the entire city and go backward and forward in time to see the movements of potential suspects and witnesses. They can then let police know within hours where to look for people who traveled to and from the scene of the crime. The system will only be used to investigate murders, non-fatal shootings, armed robberies and carjackings. The American Civil Liberties Union has objected, saying the program infringes on reasonable expectations of privacy regarding movement, impedes the right to gather freely, and results in indiscriminate searches without a warrant. But Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the Supreme Court has ruled there's no expectation of privacy in a public place.

➤LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES CANCELED FOR FIRST TIME: It was announced yesterday (April 30th) that the Little League World Series, which is held each August in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, is being canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The championship tournaments in six other Little League divisions have also been called off. The Little League World Series has never before been canceled since it started being held in 1947.

Study: Smart Speaker Use Increases During Quarantine

New research from The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research finds that 77% of those in the U.S. age 18+ are experiencing a change in their typical routine due to the outbreak of COVID-19 as of April 1, and voice-assistant usage has expanded during these disruptions.

The annual survey, part of the industry’s longest-running public research series about smart speaker consumer behavior in the U.S., captures new data on smart speaker ownership -- now reaching 24% of the U.S. population A18+ (60M) -- and how consumers are weathering the COVID-19 pandemic at the time the survey fielded March 31- April 1, 2020. The full study is available now at

With stay-at-home orders and the closing of nonessential businesses across the country from mid-March to the present, adults in the U.S. are behaving in accordance with regulations. Forty-one percent of U.S. adults say they are staying at home and not leaving unless it is an emergency, and 54% are only going to places they feel safe and/or are necessary.

 The Smart Audio Report measured how those affected by the restrictions are using voice assistants:
  • 36% of U.S. adult smart speaker owners say they are using their device more to listen to music and entertainment since the outbreak, and 52% of 18-34-year-olds say the same.
  • 35% of U.S. adult smart speaker owners are listening to more news and information since the COVID-19 outbreak, and 50% of those ages 18-34 say t he same.
  • Usage of voice commands in general has increased slightly since the COVID-19 outbreak, with 52% of voice-assistant users saying they use voice tech several times a day or nearly every day, compared to 46% before the outbreak.
 “With tens of millions of Americans no longer commuting, smart speakers are becoming even more important as a conduit for news and information,” noted Edison Research SVP Tom Webster, “and this increased usage and facility with voice assistants will likely increase demand for this technology in vehicles once our commutes resume.”

“Our daily routines may have changed, but our need for easy access to reliable journalism remains critical - even more so than ever before, “ said NPR Vice President of New Platform Partnerships Joel Sucherman. “We see that in listening patterns and the continued growth in the number of devices Americans have in their homes.”

Other key findings include:
  • Of those whose voice assistants, more than two-thirds say they ‘make their lives easier’.
  • 46% of smart speaker owners say they use their smartphone voice assistant more since acquiring their smart speaker
  • 59% of smart speaker owners who also use a voice assistant on their smartphone say the tasks they use for each of the devices are mostly different
  • 52% of smart speaker non-owners who use some type of voice commands are likely or very likely to buy a smart speaker in the next six months -- 34% of all smart speaker non-owners say they are likely or very likely to buy a device in the next six months

The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, which debuted in 2017, is a re-ocurring study on trends in Smart Speaker ownership and voice assistant user behavior. A full archive of research from the Report is available

 How This Study Was Conducted
The Smart Audio Report Spring 2020 is based upon a national telephone survey of 1,002 U.S. adults age 18 and older, conducted December 31, 2019 through January 5, 2020, and a national online survey of 1,660 U.S. adults age 18 and older, conducted March 31, 2020 through April 1, 2020.

Nashville Radio: Paul Williams Adds PD Duties At WKDF

Paul Williams
CUMULUS MEDIA announces that it has appointed Paul Williams as Program Director of Cumulus Nashville Country radio station WKDF 103.3 FM. Williams adds WKDF programming duties after being named Director of Programming for Westwood One Nashville earlier this month. In that role, Williams oversees the marketing, content, and operations for Westwood One’s award-winning, nationally syndicated Country programming, including: The Ty Bentli Show, The Blair Garner Show, Nights With Elaina, American Country Countdown, Country Countdown USA, Country Gold, and With Elaina. 

Williams was most recently Vice President of Marketing & Artist Development for Reviver Entertainment Group in Nashville. He had previously served as an executive at RCA Label Group Nashville and as Operations & Marketing Director for the nationally syndicated Kidd Kraddick Show. Prior to that, he programmed KPLX-FM in Dallas, TX, and spent six years as a liaison to national radio at Universal Studios Orlando radio broadcast center. 

Allison Warren, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Nashville, said: “Charlie Cook and I are pleased to announce that Paul Williams will pick up WKDF Program Director responsibilities effective immediately. Paul's prior experience not only with talent and big brand shows, but building brands and marketing made him the natural choice to lead programming for WKDF.” 

“After Paul joined the company, Allison Warren and I saw an opportunity to have him take on the added responsibility of WKDF,” noted Charlie Cook, Operations Manager/VP Country Formats, CUMULUS MEDIA, adding: “Allison and I appreciate his creativity and we look forward to WKDF’s continued growth under his leadership.”​ 

"What a unique opportunity to lead a radio station in a community you have lived in for over 14 years in one of the craziest times in history,” says Williams. “We’re going to get through this with our Tennessee neighbors then rebound together with music, hope, fun and the larger-than-life Volunteer State spirit.”

CUMULUS MEDIA owns and operates five radio stations in Nashville, including: WGFX-FM (Sports Talk), WQQK-FM (Urban), WSM-FM (Country), WWTN-FM (News/Talk), and WKDF-FM (Country).

Austin TX Radio: KGSR Imports Brooke & Jeffrey For Mornings

Waterloo Media’s KGSR STAR 93.3 FM has announced the addition of the syndicated Brooke & Jeffrey to the station’s weekday morning lineup. Effective Monday, May 4, the top-rated show will air Monday through Friday from 6 to 10 a.m. CT.

Brooke & Jeffrey brings high-energy, laughs and the best in pop culture conversation to listeners every day. The popular program also features phone taps, hilarious skits and listener interaction.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be part of Waterloo Media’s Austin team!” shared Brooke. “Krash Kelly’s energy, expertise and leadership at STAR 93.3 is a real dream for us. This partnership could not be better matched and we can’t wait to get on air to start killing it together.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to take our morning show to the capital of Texas!” said Jeffrey. “We’re extremely grateful to Krash, Rachel, Evan and the entire STAR family for giving us this incredible opportunity. We can’t wait to bring some entertainment and a little morning ‘weirdness’ to one of the coolest cities in the country.”

“I’ve been a fan of the show for years, and seen them do amazing things! I couldn’t be more thrilled to add them to our STAR 93.3 family!” said STAR 93.3 Program Director Krash Kelly.

STAR 93.3’s new weekday lineup:
  • Brooke & Jeffrey 6 a.m. – 10 a.m.
  • Krash Kelly 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Evan 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Rachel Marisay 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Green Bay Radio: John Kuhn Joins WRNW For Late Mornings

WRNW 97.3 FM The Game has announced that former Green Bay fan favorite, John Kuhn, will join the station as a new midday on-air personality. Kuhn will broadcast alongside former Wisconsin Badger Brian Butch on the new “Nine 2 Noon with Kuhn” to discuss the latest “sports and stuff” each weekday morning from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., effective Monday, May 4th.

After playing college football for Shippensburg University, Kuhn was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2005. Kuhn earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Steelers in Super Bowl XL. He earned a second ring with the Green Bay Packers, against his former team, five years later in Super Bowl XLV. He was named to three Pro Bowls, all as a Packer.

“We are thrilled to have John Kuhn part of the team and I can’t wait to see what John and Brian serve up together,” said Colleen Valkoun, Market President for iHeartMedia Milwaukee.

“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the iHeartMedia team and to continue learning and growing in this industry,” said Kuhn. “I look forward to bringing the same energy to the studio that I brought on the playing field during my days as a football player.”

Amazon Reports Sales Soar, Profits Pinched Inc. reported soaring quarterly sales as homebound customers flooded it with online shopping orders.

The Wall Street Journal reports the Seattle-based tech giant said Thursday that revenue rose 26% from a year earlier to $75.5 billion in the three months through March—by far the highest on record for what is usually Amazon’s slowest period of the year. The boom in sales came at a cost, though, as profit fell 29% from a year earlier to $2.5 billion, well short of analysts’ average estimate of $3.26 billion, according to a survey by FactSet. Operating profit for the quarter also missed the estimate Amazon gave in January.

The results reflect the central role Amazon has played during the coronavirus crisis, delivering goods to people stranded at home by government shelter-in-place orders. The surge in online buying taxed Amazon’s fulfillment centers, which saw unprecedented volumes for this part of the year. In response, Amazon temporarily stopped taking inventory for products deemed nonessential and hired 175,000 more staffers for its warehouses and delivery network. Amazon said it ended the quarter with 840,000 employees.

Reuters reports Grocery sales in March were a bright spot for Amazon, which owns Whole Foods Market, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said on a call with analysts. Household staples and home office supplies have been in high demand, while interest in discretionary items like apparel dipped, he said.

Last month, the number of people who streamed video on Amazon for the first time nearly doubled, Olsavsky said. Subscription revenue grew 28% to $5.6 billion in the first quarter.

Still, advertising, a lucrative business in which merchants pay for top placement of their goods on Amazon, was somewhat of a “mixed bag,” Olsavsky said.

Merchants had less reason to sponsor products in March when the company paused accepting non-essential items into warehouses for delivery. Some pulled back on placing ads, the price of which went down; however, strong traffic to Amazon’s websites helped offset the trend, Olsavsky said.

Advertising and other revenue was up 44% in the first quarter to $3.9 billion.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud computing unit, also is seeing demand vary by industry. Hospitality and travel customers quickly and severely cut their spend. Remote education and entertainment services had much higher AWS usage, and overall, revenue increased 33% to $10.2 billion, short of analysts’ estimate of $10.3 billion

Apple Sales Inch Higher Despite Coronavirus, Uncertain Future

Apple Inc. reported a slight uptick in revenue for its latest quarter even as the coronavirus shut down factories and dented sales in China, as the tech giant’s growing services business offset declining iPhone sales.

The Wall Street Journal reports revenue rose 1% in its fiscal second quarter to $58.3 billion, with iPhone sales momentum stalling after Apple closed stores, first in China and then world-wide. Profit fell about 3% to $11.25 billion, or $2.55 a share. Apple’s stock fell slightly in after-hours trading Thursday.

The results exceeded analysts’ revised expectations for nearly $55 billion in revenue but fell short of the company’s pre-pandemic projections for more than $63 billion for the three months ended March 28.

In the face of historic economic uncertainty, Apple declined to project sales for its current quarter for the first time since it began providing concrete revenue guidance in late 2003. The omission means Apple can avoid having to revise its sales projections in the coming months—something it did twice in the past two years because of unexpected economic downturns in China.

Sales for Apple’s services segment, which includes iCloud storage as well as its streaming services for music and television shows, were $13.4 billion, compared with analyst estimates of $12.9 billion, according to Reuters citing FactSet data. Cook said Apple had 515 million subscribers to apps and services on Apple’s platform, up by 125 million from one year earlier. Cook said during a conference call with analysts that Apple News reached 125 million monthly active users, up from 100 million in January.

Can Radio Survive Advertising Downturn?

Can radio survive the downturn in ad revenues brought on by COVID-19?

Of course, it can, writes Richard Wagoner for The L-A Daily News

He believes radio itself will survive no matter what. It is free and easily received on an instrument found in more homes and cars than any other. And when it successfully serves the local community, it cannot be duplicated.

He states: the better question is, can radio in its current form survive the downturn in revenues brought on by COVID-19? I’d say no. And InsideMusicRadio’s Jerry Del Colliano agrees.

The problem is that the promised efficiencies of large companies owning many radio stations never offset the massive debt that these companies took on in the name of becoming large. Note the goal was not to become better, just large. They wanted to dominate. To control the market. It was a “sure thing” gamble … that they lost. Instead, they undermined their own successful business model that relied on serving the local audience with top-notch programming.

Indeed, when things hit the fan, they responded by cutting talent. The companies then undercut their own advertising rates in an attempt to attract more advertisers, cheapening their own worth. This required more ads to make up the shortfall, cheapening that worth even more.

Del Colliano says in his April 20 column that “the coronavirus and ensuing economic recession has ripped into the fundamentals of the radio industry,” that radio advertising may be down as much as 65% for the second quarter of this year, and that the drop “is expected to continue through 2020.” Maybe 2021. “There will be some casualties,” he says bluntly.

Albany GA Radio: Cumulus Media Sells Cluster

Cumulus Media has made a deal to sell its cluster of stations in Albany, GA, its smallest market.

InsideRadio reports Rick Lambert and Charles Spencer’s First Media Services is buying country WKAK, urbanAC WQVE, Rock WJAD, AC WEGC and “New/Talk WALG from Cumulus. The deal also includes the Albany, GA-licensed translator W257ED at 99.3 FM which simulcasts WALG. The deal is believed to be worth $450,000.

The purchase will grow the size of First Media Services by 50% and expand the company beyond its home base of West Virginia where it currently owns ten stations.

Cumulus has been shedding assets as part of its post-bankruptcy strategy. The company has so far paid down $275 million of debt since it emerged from chapter 11 in June 2018. Most notable was its move to sell six FMs to Educational Media Foundation for $103.5 million, followed by the $12.5 million sale of talk WABC 770 AM New York.

Abilene TX will now become the smallest marker for Cumulus.

Nielsen Reports Q1 Downside

Nielsen Holdings has  announced its results for the quarter ended March 31, 2020. The company also updated its 2020 guidance to reflect its most recent expectations, incorporating the estimated impact of COVID-19.

Additionally, the Company announced that it remains focused on and committed to the planned separation of Nielsen Global Media and Nielsen Global Connect, with the spin-off transaction now expected to close in early 2021 largely due to temporary shutdowns of government agencies that are necessary to move forward with the separation.

David Kenney
David Kenny, Chief Executive Officer, commented, "During this unprecedented time, our employees have demonstrated tremendous focus, agility and perseverance, partnering closely with clients to provide the measurement and analytics data that is so critical to clients' businesses. Our teams have moved quickly to innovate around new ways of collecting and delivering data that is essential to our clients.  Moving forward, we will leverage these new learnings to drive permanent process improvement and efficiency."

"We delivered solid results in the first quarter, but we saw slowing momentum in Connect as the quarter progressed. This trend continued into April, with increased pressure in both Media and Connect primarily in non-contracted revenue. We quickly implemented cost actions in the first quarter to mitigate the impact, and we are taking additional actions to protect profits and cash flow amidst ongoing economic uncertainty as we plan for a range of scenarios. We remain well-capitalized and are closely managing cash flow and our balance sheet. Our cost actions allow us to continue investing in the key strategic priorities that will drive our long-term growth."

First Quarter 2020 Results
  • Revenues were $1,559 million, down 0.3% on a reported basis, or up 1.5% on a constant currency basis, compared to the prior year.
  • Nielsen Global Media revenues increased 1.9% to $842 million on a reported basis, or 2.6% on a constant currency basis, compared to the prior year.
  • Audience Measurement revenues of $615 million increased 1.7% on a reported basis, or 2.2% on a constant currency basis, primarily due to continued client adoption of Total Audience Measurement and growth in audio which was timing driven, partly offset by pressure in local television measurement.
  • Nielsen Global Connect revenues of $717 million decreased 2.7% on a reported basis, or an increase of 0.3% on a constant currency basis, compared to the prior year. Net loss for the first quarter was $18 million, compared to net income of $43 million in the first quarter of 2019.

AccuRadio Launches Channels Created By Unemployed Radio Talent

AccuRadio, music streaming’s only all-human-curated major music website, recently offered commercial radio programmers who had been displaced by industry cutbacks the opportunity to create a channel of their design for

No longer constrained by commercial concerns, it was an opportunity to build the station they’ve always wanted to program with no limitations. A number of radio professionals submitted ideas and starting on Friday (May 1) AccuRadio will start rolling out these channels.

The first two to debut will be:
  • The Crossing: A Christian channel featuring Pop, Rock and Hip-Hop titles. Developed by veteran San Diego programmer Mark Blackwell who worked at KYXY-FM for nearly 40 years The Crossing will target a younger audience than other Christian radio formats.
  • Country Music SHEroes: Country music fans have expressed the desire to hear more from the great women of Country music and this channel will spotlight all of them from the legends that paved the way to today’s hit-makers and tomorrow’s stars. The channel was created by Ryan McCall a veteran of nearly 30 years at WGLR in Lancaster, WI which can be heard in the Dubuque, Iowa radio market.
In the weeks to come website visitors can look for diverse new channels featuring Generation X focused Alternative, Pure Funk, a channel playing the true Top 40 of the moment and many more unique creations.

Each guest curator who built a channel received a $300 stipend. Once the channels launch on, five $1,000 awards will be awarded to curators based on the following criteria:
  1. Channel with the most listening in its first 30 days
  2. Channel with the most user “favorites” in its first 30 days
  3. Most creative channel
  4. Best single-genre channel
  5. Best multi-genre channel