Saturday, May 9, 2020

May 10 Radio History

➦In 1922...WHB-AM, Kansas City, Missouri, signed-on.

According to, Sam Adair and John Schilling signed WHB on the air in 1922 from Kansas City.  Cook Paint and Varnish Company purchased the station in 1930.  It was an independent station until becoming a Mutual Network affiliate in 1936.

WHB operated as a daytime-only station until the FCC granted it full-time status in 1946.

Cook sold WHB-AM to Omaha entrepreneur Todd Storz in 1954.  He enjoyed success with a Top 40 pop format on his stations in Omaha and New Orleans.  Storz flipped WHB to the nation’s first 24-hour Top 40 format.  It became Kansas City’s most popular station by the end of the year.

WHB-AM’s 10,000-watt signal made the station one of the most powerful Top 40 stations in the country. It became a model for many stations around the nation seeking to copy the success of the Top 40 format.

Here’s a sample of what WHB sounded like in 1960:

Storz Broadcasting sold WHB to Shamrock Broadcasting in 1985.  The new owner dropped Top 40 for a oldies.  In 1989, KCMO-FM flipped to oldies, drawing away WHB-AM’s listeners.

WHB began simulcasting a farm/country music format in 1993.  It swapped frequencies with KCMO-AM in 1998, giving the station a larger daytime coverage area. (DA50Kw-D, DA5Kw-Night).  WHB had been broadcasting at 710 AM (DA10Kw-Day, DA5Kw-Night).

Union Broadcasting purchased WHB and flipped the station to its current sports format in 1999.

➦In 1929...Radio Personality Scott Muni was born Donald Allen Muñoz in Wichita, Kansas, Muni grew up in New Orleans, joined the U-S Marine Corps and began broadcasting in 1950, reading "Dear John" letters over Radio Guam. After leaving the Corps, he began working as a disc jockey; in 1953 he began working at WSMB in New Orleans. His mentor was Marshall Pearce. In 1955 he took over for Alan Freed at station WAKR in Akron, Ohio, and after that worked in Kankakee, Illinois.  Muni then spent almost 50 years at stations in New York City. He died on September 28, 2004 at the age of 74 in New York City

➦In 1934...Gary Owens born Gary Bernard Altman (Died at age 80 – February 12, 2015). His polished baritone speaking voice generally offered deadpan recitations of total nonsense, which he frequently demonstrated as the announcer on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Owens was equally proficient in straight or silly assignments and was frequently heard on television and radio as well as in commercials.

Gary Owens
Owens started his radio career in 1952 as a news reporter at KORN, Mitchell, South Dakota and two years later was promoted to news director. In 1956, he left KORN for a newscaster job at KMA, Shenandoah, Iowa before moving on to a disc jockey job at KOIL, Omaha, Nebraska. He also worked in Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis, and at KIMN in Denver before relocating to California in 1959, working at KROY in Sacramento and KEWB in Oakland before finally settling in Los Angeles.

Owens moved to KEWB's sister station KFWB in Los Angeles in 1961. From there, he joined the staff of KMPC in 1962, where he remained for the next two decades working the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. shift Monday through Friday.

A gifted punster, Owens became known for his surrealistic humor. Among his trademarks were daily appearances by The Story Lady (played by Joan Gerber); the Rumor of the Day; myriad varieties of "The Nurney Song"; and the introduction of the nonsense word "insegrevious", which was briefly included in the Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary.

Owens moved from KMPC to another Los Angeles station, KPRZ 1150 AM, in the early 1980s, hosting mornings at the "Music Of Your Life"-formatted station.

In the late 1990s, Owens hosted the morning show on the Music of Your Life radio network, where he later had the evening shift and hosted a weekend afternoon show until 2006.

He died Feb. 12 2015 of complications from his life-long diabetes, at age 80.

➦In 1954...Bill Haley and the Comets released the classic "Rock Around The Clock," which became the first rock and roll song to top the charts.

➦In 1972…George Washington Trendle died (Born - July 4, 1884).  He was a Detroit lawyer and businessman best known as the producer of the Lone Ranger radio and television programs along with The Green Hornet and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.

During the 1920s, George W. Trendle was a Detroit, Michigan, lawyer who had established a reputation as a tough negotiator specializing in movie contracts and leases. Trendle became involved in the Detroit area entertainment business in 1928 when local motion picture theater owner John H. Kunsky offered Trendle 25 percent ownership in exchange for his services.

George W Trendle
Trendle and Kunsky formed the Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company in 1929 after purchasing Detroit radio station WGHP. The radio station's call letters were changed to WXYZ.

WXYZ was initially affiliated with the CBS but became an independent station within a year. Trendle's partner, Kunsky, legally changed his name to King in 1936, and the Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company became the King-Trendle Broadcasting Company. WXYZ improved its technical facilities through the 1930s, expanding its studios, raising its daytime power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts in the late 1930s, and increasing nighttime power to 5,000 watts in time for its mandated 1941 move from 1240 to 1270 kHz under the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement.

In 1931, Kunsky-Trendle acquired WASH and WOOD in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The two stations merged facilities, including studios and transmitters, but retained both station licenses. WASH was on the air from 8 a.m. to noon, and WOOD from noon to midnight. WOOD-WASH became an NBC Red affiliate in 1935. King and Trendle decided to drop the WASH license in 1942, keeping the WOOD identification.

In 1946, the newly formed American Broadcasting Company purchased the King-Trendle Broadcasting Company and its radio stations for $3.65 million. This sale was for the broadcast facilities (including WOOD, WXYZ, and the Michigan Regional Network) and a construction permit for what would later become WXYZ-TV (channel 7) but did not include ownership of Trendle's radio programs.

Here is an episode of The Lone Ranger from 1937...

➦In 1982...Top 40 formatted WABC 770 AM, New York City, played it's last record before converting to talk Radio.

WABC ended its 22-year run as a music station with a 9 am–noon farewell show hosted by Dan Ingram and Ron Lundy. The last song played on WABC before the format change was "Imagine" by John Lennon, followed by the familiar WABC "Chime Time" jingle, then a moment of silence before the debut of the new talk format.

In 1959, Harold L. Neal, Jr. was named General Manager of WABC. Neal had been at WXYZ in Detroit. He was charged with making WABC successful in terms of both audience and profits. By 1960, WABC committed to a virtually full-time schedule of top-40 songs played by upbeat personalities during the first week of December 1960. Still, WABC played a few popular non-rock and roll songs as well. WABC's early days as a Top 40 station were humble ones.

Top 40 WINS was the No. 1 music station and WMCA, which did a similar rock leaning top 40 format, was also a formidable competitor, while WABC barely ranked in the Top Ten. Fortunately for WABC, the other Top 40 outlets could not be heard well in certain New York and New Jersey suburbs, since WINS, WMGM, and WMCA were all directional stations. WABC, with its 50,000-watt non-directional signal, had the advantage of being heard in places west, south, and northwest – a huge chunk of the suburban population – and this is where the station began to draw ratings. Early in 1962, WMGM, owned by Loew's, which then owned MGM, was sold to Storer Broadcasting. Upon its sale, WMGM reverted to its original WHN call letters and switched to a MOR music format playing easy listening and, unlike WNEW which played limited amounts of soft rock and roll, absolutely no rock and roll except maybe Ray Charles or Bobby Darin. WHN was considered MOR because it was vocal based and played about 75 to 80% vocals and the rest instrumentals.

(Note:  Musicradio 77 WABC History segments were compiled by Ellis b. Feaster. Feaster is now morning host on Contemporary Christian WPOZ 88.3 FM in Orlando, FL. Thanks for the work Ellis!)

Sam Holman was the first WABC program director of this era. Under Holman, WABC achieved No. 1 ratings during much of 1962, after WMGM reverted to WHN. By the summer of 1963, WMCA led the pack, with WABC at No. 2 and WINS slipping to third place. It has been said, but is difficult to verify, that WMCA dominated in the city proper, while WABC owned the suburbs. This would be consistent with WMCA's 5,000-watt directional signal, although WMCA had the benefit of a lower frequency than WABC.

Then, Hal Neal hired Rick Sklar as the program director. Sklar would go on to become a member of the Radio Hall of Fame and be credited as one of the pioneering architects of the Top 40 format.

Under Sklar, the station went to the shortest playlist of any contemporary music station in history; the number one song was heard about every hour and 15 minutes. Top 5 songs were heard almost as often. Other current songs averaged once to twice per airshift. The station played about 9 current hits per hour and several non-current songs. The non-currents were no more than 5 years old and the station played about 70 of them totally.

WABC was known by various slogans, "Channel 77 WABC", then "77 WABC", and later "Musicradio WABC". Also, like WMCA did, WABC played no more than two songs in a row and there was heavy talk and personality between every song. The station averaged 6 short commercial breaks per hour but they were short and no more than 3 ads in a row. Voiceovers by the live airpersonality on the air were often part of the commercial.

WABC Daytime Coverage Map
Early 1960s disc jockeys included Dan Ingram, Herb Oscar Anderson, Charlie Greer, Scott Muni, Chuck Dunaway, Jack Carney, and Bob Lewis, but the best known WABC DJs are the ones that followed them in the mid-1960s and 1970s: Harry Harrison, Ron Lundy, Jim Nettleton, Radio Hall of Fame members Dan Ingram and "Cousin Brucie" Bruce Morrow, Chuck Leonard, Bob Cruz (a Dan Ingram sound alike), Frank Kingston Smith, Roby Yonge, George Michael, and Johnny Donovan. Also heard on WABC was sportscaster Howard Cosell, who would continue into 770's all talk format years with a late night program.

Especially in the afternoons and evenings, WABC was the station that teenagers could be heard listening to on transistor radios all over the New York metropolitan area. Due to its strong signal, the station could be heard easily over 100 miles away—as far as the Catskill Mountains, Pocono Mountains and outlying areas of Philadelphia.

WABC's ratings strength came from its cumulative audience. Most listeners didn't stay with WABC for long periods of time, as the station had some of the shortest "time spent listening" (or TSL) spans in the history of music radio—an average listener spent about 10 minutes listening to WABC. It was the price paid for a short playlist, and numerous commercials between songs, but what WABC lacked in TSL it more than made up for with its sheer number of listeners.

The end of the 1970s found FM radio beginning to overtake AM music stations in most markets. In June 1975, an FM station on 92.3, owned by the San Juan (Puerto Rico) Racing Association flipped to Soft Rock and became known as Mellow 92 WKTU. That station had very low ratings and had no effect on WABC. But on July 24, 1978, at 6 PM, WKTU abruptly dropped its Soft Rock format in favor of a disco-based top 40 format known as "Disco 92". By December of that year, WABC was unseated, as WKTU became the No. 1 station in New York City. The first "disco" ratings saw WKTU with 11 percent of the listening audience—a huge number anywhere, let alone in a market the size of New York City—and WABC dropping from 4.1 million listeners to 3 million, losing 25 percent of its audience practically overnight.

After this initial ratings tumble, WABC panicked and began mixing in several extended disco mixes per hour and sometimes played two back-to-back. Some of the disco songs ran in excess of eight minutes. What regular listeners heard was a major change in sound. While the station continued playing non-disco and rock songs about a third of the time, familiar format had seemed to disappear and as a result, WABC began to lose its identity.

For much more on Musicradio 77WABC:  Click Here

Lindsey Shaw
  • Singer Henry Fambrough of The Spinners is 82. 
  • Actor David Clennon (“thirtysomething”) is 77. 
  • Filmmaker Jim Abrahams (“The Naked Gun,” “Airplane!”) is 76. 
  • Singer Donovan is 74. 
  • Singer Graham Gouldman of 10cc is 74. 
  • Singer Dave Mason is 74. 
  • Actor Mike Hagerty (“Friends”) is 66. 
  • Sports anchor Chris Berman is 65. Actor Bruce Penhall (“CHiPs”) is 63. 
  • Actress Victoria Rowell (“The Young and the Restless”) is 61. 
  • Singer Bono of U2 is 60. 
  • Drummer Danny Carey of Tool is 59. 
  • Actor Darryl M. Bell (“A Different World”) is 57. 
  • Model Linda Evangelista is 55. 
  • Rapper Young MC is 53. 
  • Actor Erik Palladino (“ER”) is 52. 
  • Singer Richard Patrick of Filter is 52. 
  • Actor Lenny Venito (“Kevin Can Wait”) is 51. 
  • Actor Dallas Roberts (“Dallas Buyers Club,” ″The Good Wife”) is 50. 
  • Actress Leslie Stefanson (“The Hunted,” ″The General’s Daughter”) is 49. 
  • Actor Todd Lowe (“True Blood,” ″Gilmore Girls”) is 48. 
  • Actress Andrea Anders (“Joey”) is 45. 
  • Bassist Jesse Vest of Tantric and of Days of the New is 43. 
  • Actor Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live,” ″Kenan and Kel”) is 42. 
  • Singer Jason Dalyrimple of Soul For Real is 40. 
  • Drummer Joey Zehr of The Click Five is 37. 
  • Actress Lindsey Shaw (“Pretty Little Liars”) is 31. 
  • Actress Lauren Potter (“Glee”) is 30.

R.I.P.: Little Richard, Rock & Roll Pioneer

Little Richard
Little Richard, a founding father of rock and roll whose fervent shrieks, flamboyant garb, and joyful, gender-bending persona embodied the spirit and sound of that new art form, died Saturday. He was 87.

Rolling Stone reports the musician’s son, Danny Penniman, confirmed the pioneer’s death , but said the cause of death was unknown.

Starting with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956, Little Richard cut a series of unstoppable hits – “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up” that same year, “Lucille” in 1957, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in 1958 – driven by his simple, pumping piano, gospel-influenced vocal exclamations and sexually charged (often gibberish) lyrics. “I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it,” Elton John told Rolling Stone in 1973. “I didn’t ever want to be anything else. I’m more of a Little Richard stylist than a Jerry Lee Lewis, I think. Jerry Lee is a very intricate piano player and very skillful, but Little Richard is more of a pounder.”

Although he never hit the top 10 again after 1958, Little Richard’s influence was massive. The Beatles recorded several of his songs, including “Long Tall Sally,” and Paul McCartney’s singing on those tracks – and the Beatles’ own “I’m Down” – paid tribute to Little Richard’s shredded-throat style. His songs became part of the rock and roll canon, covered over the decades by everyone from the Everly Brothers, the Kinks, and Creedence Clearwater Revival to Elvis Costello.

Many Report 'Employed But Absent From Work'

The April unemployment rate surged to a record 14.7% and payrolls dropped by a historic 20.5 million workers as the coronavirus pandemic hit the economy, wiping out a decade of job gains in a single month, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Employment fell sharply in all broad business sectors last month and across all groups of workers, with particularly large increases in unemployment among women, college dropouts and Hispanics.

The U.S. jobless rate eclipsed the previous record rate of 10.8% for data tracing back to 1948, though it was well below the 25% rate economists estimate was reached during the Great Depression. The job losses due to business closures triggered by the pandemic produced by far the steepest monthly decline on records back to 1939. By comparison, nearly 2 million jobs were lost in one month in 1945, at the end of World War II.

Many economists project April will be the worst single month of job loss during the pandemic, and the pace of layoffs has already shown signs of easing this month. But they say it could still be many months before the labor market returns to a point when U.S. employers consistently add jobs, and it probably will take years for the economy to fully replace the jobs lost in April.

The Labor Department survey of households showed a large number of workers who said they were “employed but absent from work.” Many of those should have been counted as a temporary layoff, which would have caused the unemployment rate to be almost 5 percentage points higher, the department said.

The job losses and high unemployment mark a sharp pivot from just a few months ago, when the economy was pumping out hundreds of thousands of new jobs and joblessness was hovering near 50-year lows. The jobs bust has been widespread.

Leisure and hospitality businesses, among the first to be affected by coronavirus-related shutdowns, saw particularly heavy losses, cutting 7.65 million jobs. The health-care, education, retail and professional services industries all experienced major losses.

Ad Industry Loses 36,400 Jobs During April

Employment in advertising, public relations and related services tumbled by 36,400 jobs in April as the ad industry plunged into a deep recession, AdAge reports.

Ad agencies are cutting staff as they ratchet down into a COVID-induced recession, and history suggests it will be a long slog to bring agency employment back to recent heights.

U.S. ad agency employment tends to peak earlier than the overall U.S. job market in the waning days of a business cycle’s economic expansion before a recession, according to Ad Age Datacenter’s analysis of jobs stats for the past 30 years. Agencies make deep job cuts during downturns. And agency jobs typically are late to recover as the economy rebounds.

The depth of damage to agency staffing in the current downturn is to be determined. But the outlook is dim.

Ad agency staffing in recent years plateaued even as ad spending—propelled by digital—reached new heights.

Agencies, which face growing challenges from major consultancies such as Accenture Interactive and competition from in-house agencies, enter this downturn in a weakened state.

The overall U.S. unemployment rate surged from 4.4 percent in March to 14.7 percent in April, the highest rate since 1939.

The nation last month lost a record 20.5 million jobs—more than one out of eight jobs­—as the economy shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures released May 8.

Report: Scripps Sees Advertising Recovering

During Friday's quarterly conference call, E.W. Scripps President-CEO Adam Symson told Wall Street analysts what he sees in the future for the television industry, TVNewsCheck reports.

“Today, advertising may be down, but audiences are way up. I am confident that as stay-at-home orders are lifted we’ll see the start of a recovery. Auto dealers will need to sell their cars. Air conditioning systems will once again need to be replaced. And, eventually, travel and leisure spending will resume. As businesses return, we will be there to help them reach their customers. And I expect our actions today will benefit us tomorrow,” he said.

While core advertising for the Scripps stations dropped 40% from March to April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EVP-CFO Lisa Knutson said ad pacings are improving sequentially month-over-month, with May pacing ahead of April and June pacing ahead of May. Brian Lawlor, president of local media, later added that it is unusual for June to grow over May if advertising were normal.

Brian Lawlor
Lawlor was also asked by Michael Kupinski of Noble Financial about any regional disparity, or small vs. larger markets. “Yes, there was some regionality to it, Michael, depending on what was happening in the state. Obviously, you think of markets like New York City and Buffalo, where they were especially hard hit. You know, the Midwest — Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin — they were very aggressive in many of their stay-at-home orders, too. And so, those have been restricted. There are other states, like Texas, that fared a little better, where we’re in Corpus [Christi] and Waco. Montana fared a little better. Also, when you get to a smaller market you have a little less national advertising. In markets like those where there were less stay-at-home and local is what drives the station, we were able to hang onto more of the business,” Lawlor said.

While it is still early, with some states reopening businesses, Lawlor expects to know more about the recovery in a couple of weeks. “This past week was very reassuring. We saw quite a bit of business that had been canceled four or five weeks ago reinstate their buys. But I think it’s really going to be on a market-by-market basis,” Lawlor said. “The medical category is one of the first to start to bring money back into the ecosystem as non-elective surgeries and so-forth are one of the first things that are opening back up,” he added.

Scripps has implemented cost savings, including pay cuts for top executives, but it has not repeated the furloughs it used in the 2009 recession. When one investor suggested that the company was missing a chance to reduce staff, Symson disagreed with the premise that Scripps employs more people per station than its peers and reiterated that he has no intention of cutting staff.

TV Ratings: Fox News Sweeps Thursday Evening

Fox News swept to ratings victory in primetime on Thursday, as all three of its hours scored more than four millions viewers. But during daytime, Fox and CNN fought to a stalemate in the coveted 25 – 54 age demographic.

Mediaite reports the primetime victory for Fox was paced by Hannity‘s 4.76 million total, but was also buoyed by strong performances from Tucker Carlson Tonight (4.66 million) and The Ingraham Angle (4.05 million). Notably, Laura Ingraham’s show cracking the four million mark represents a nearly 25% jump from just two days before, when her show had pulled in 3.28 million.

In the demo, the trends were similar, although Carlson led all of cable news with 782,000, with Hannity second at 700,000 and Ingraham boosting her audience from 485,000 earlier in the week to 649,000 on Thursday.

In daytime on Thursday, CNN and Fox News earned a flat-footed tie at 316,000 in the demo, just one day after Fox had broken CNN’s recent win streak. MSNBC trailed far behind the pair at 167,000. However, in total viewers, MSNBC squeaked past CNN for second place with 1.28 million versus 1.23 million. Fox News won daytime overall with a just a hair under two million viewers.

Cord-Cutting Bleeding Getting Worse

Traditional cable and satellite TV providers posted their most massive quarterly subscriber losses in the first three months of 2020, as the COVID-19 tornado started to hit the U.S. economy in March. What’s more, internet-delivered “virtual” TV providers registered a net loss in the period, too.

And, according to Variety, the cord-cutting bleeding is only going to get worse in Q2, as the economic fallout from the coronavirus takes a deeper bite, analysts predict.

The combination of high prices — amid the backdrop of record unemployment — as well as loss of live sports fueled an overall drop of 1.8 million pay-TV subscribers in Q1, per estimates by Wall Street analyst firm MoffettNathanson. That translates into an annual rate of decline of 7.6%, the fastest shrinkage of the sector on record.

“At 63% of occupied households, traditional pay TV penetration has reached a level not previously seen since roughly 1995,” analyst Craig Moffett wrote in a research note Friday. “There are now as many non-subscribing households (46M) as there were pay TV subscribers in 1988.”

As cord-cutting accelerates, the growth of cable networks’ affiliate fees has also been decelerating in the U.S., UBS Securities analyst John Hodulik said in a note Friday.

“We believe the [coronavirus] outbreak could drive modest acceleration in cord-cutting in the lockdown phase but more dramatic declines post-lockdown given the expected recession,” Hodulik wrote. “The absence of sports should pressure sports nets in the near term as distributors balk at paying high fees and post-lockdown if sports (especially professional and college football) do not return in the fall, potentially creating a cord-cutting perfect storm.”

In Q1, the losses disproportionately fell on satellite TV: AT&T shed a whopping 1 million TV subscribers, mostly from DirecTV, while Dish Network dropped a net 413,000, the company’s biggest-ever quarterly loss.

Amid the cord-cutting pain, large media companies — Disney, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia — have launched or are about to launch direct-to-consumer streaming services. Disney Plus, for one, notched 54.5 million customers worldwide as of May 4 less than six months after initial launch. That will be joined by HBO Max later this month and NBCU’s Peacock, which is slated for a national rollout in July.

Gannett Revenue Sinks

USAToday owner Gannett reported a net loss in the first quarter as the spread of the coronavirus reduced advertising spending from businesses hobbled by the pandemic, but the company turned a profit when factoring out one-time occurrences.

The media company, which owns more than 260 daily publications, posted a net loss of $80.2 million, including $78 million due to depreciation and amortization and $34 million in cash charges tied to the company’s recent merger.

Excluding one-time items, Gannett posted adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $99.1 million.

And before the impact of one-time issues, revenue fell 10% from a year earlier to about $939 million.

The results reflect the combination of New Media Investment Group and Gannett after their merger in November, a deal that created the largest U.S. media company by print circulation and one of the largest by digital audience.

Before the pandemic hit, Gannett was “actually pacing ahead of expectations for both revenue and EBITDA,” Reed said on a conference call with investors and analysts.

To offset a sudden drop in revenue from the coronavirus fallout, Gannett suspended its dividend on April 1 and announced plans to implement $100 million to $125 million in cost cuts in addition to previously planned savings tied to the merger.

The fresh round of cuts has included furloughs, job cuts, pay reductions for senior managers and the suspension of nonessential travel and spending. Many other news outlets have taken similar steps in recent weeks.

Gannett’s print advertising revenues fell 21.2% to $268 million in the first quarter, compared with the same period a year earlier. Digital advertising and marketing services revenue rose 1.7% to $136 million. Circulation revenue declined 7.5% to $375 million.

The company’s digital business “has definitely held up better” than print advertising, Reed said on the call.

Paid digital subscriptions to the company’s journalism rose 29% from a year earlier to 863,000 in the first quarter. Online subscriptions are viewed as critical to the success of media companies in the digital age as newspaper dollars decline.

Those digital subscriptions accounted for about $60 million in circulation revenue in the first quarter, Reed said, while print subscriptions accounted for $315 million.

Eliminating some newspaper printing and delivery is "not part of our plan today," Reed told USA Today.

Rochester NY Radio: After 35-Years, Bob Matthews EXITS WHAM

Bob Matthews
Bob Matthews is signing off for the final time on WHAM 1180 AM, ending a 35-year run over the airwaves in greater Rochester. 

Matthews, 73, led off his eponymous show on Friday by announcing that he's stepping away.

"I might as well get it over with," Matthews said off the top. "I figure I've done approximately 8,200 shows over 35 years here on WHAM. "It’s been a pleasure. Didn’t get fired. Didn’t get furloughed. I’ve got to admit the coronavirus got the best of me.

"It’s been very difficult the last two months. It’s been tough talking sports for two hours when there's no sports. I’ll be OK."

Matthews spent a few minutes reminiscing about Rochester's sports heyday, detailing when the area won an award for best minor league sports city in America in the 1980s. He said he loved covering Rochester when it had 11 pro sports teams.

Matthews said WHAM will not be getting another local sports show. His 6-8 p.m. time slot will be replaced by The Savage Nation, a syndicated conservative radio show. Matthews also shared that a regional manager for iHeartMedia asked him to stay.

“I’m a rather recent diabetic, I’m the guy most susceptible to the coronavirus," Matthews said. "I’ve been working at the station. I certainly don’t want to make anybody else sick, and I think they are afraid that they will make me sick.

"The difference is, if I get sick I’ve probably had it, I’m going down for the count. That was a consideration, not a major consideration, but I just don’t want anybody to think that I was fired. I don’t think after 35 years they would fire me.”

'City Of Lover' Concert Special To Air On ABC

Taylor Swift only got one full headlining show in to promote her “Lover” album before the coronavirus pandemic came down, causing all the stadium shows she had planned for this year to be pushed at least into 2021. Fortunately for fans, Variety reports that lone gig was filmed for posterity, and ABC will air portions of it this month as an hour-long special, the network announced Friday.

“Taylor Swift City of Lover Concert,” which will air May 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, was shot September 9, 2019 at L’Olympia Theater in Paris, a historic hall with a capacity of about 2000. The show was billed as a chance for contest winners from 37 countries to be flown in to see Swift offer live premieres of songs from the “Lover” album, which at that time was only two weeks old.

The special will immediately follow the season finale of “American Idol” and be made available the following day on demand, on Disney+ and on Hulu.

Judge Refuses To Toss Charges In College Admissions Case

Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli
Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have been dealt a setback in their legal case after a judge refused to dismiss charges against the couple as well as other prominent parents accused of cheating the college admissions process, who had argued they were entrapped by federal authorities.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton rejected the defense's bid to toss the indictment over allegations of misconduct by FBI agents. In addition, the judge also denied their attempt to block prosecutors from presenting certain secretly recorded phone calls at trial.

“The Court is satisfied that government’s counsel has not lied to or attempted to mislead the Court or fabricated evidence,” Gorton wrote in his ruling.

Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, are scheduled to go on trial in October on charges that they paid $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits even though neither girl was a rower. They denied paying bribes and said they believed their payments were legitimate donations.

Earlier this week, it was reported that an anonymous source close to Loughlin and Giannulli had believed that the alleged misconduct on the part of federal investigators would ultimately lead to the case being dropped.

The judge’s decision came after he ordered prosecutors to explain iPhone notes written by Singer -- the admitted mastermind behind the admissions cheating scandal -- when he was secretly working with the government in October 2018.

In court documents previously obtained by Fox News, attorneys for the couple argued that the entire case should be thrown out after notes from Singer seemingly showed that agents had urged him to lie in order to implicate parents like Loughlin and Giannulli in committing a criminal act.

The couple’s defense also alleged that the prosecution was withholding this evidence for fear it was exonerating to their clients. However, Variety reported at the time that in a new April 8 court filing, the prosecution denied both that it acted in bad faith and that the evidence is at all exonerating.

May 9 Radio History

➦In 1914...
Clarence Eugene "Hank" Snow was born (Died at age 85 from heart failure – December 20, 1999). In a career that spanned more than 50 years, he recorded 140 albums and charted more than 85 singles on the Billboard country charts from 1950 until 1980. His number-one hits include the self-penned songs "I'm Moving On", "The Golden Rocket" and The Rhumba Boogie and famous versions of "I Don't Hurt Anymore", "Let Me Go, Lover!", "I've Been Everywhere", "Hello Love", as well as other top 10 hits.

Snow was an accomplished songwriter whose clear, baritone voice expressed a wide range of emotions including the joys of freedom and travel as well as the anguish of tortured love. His music was rooted in his beginnings in small-town Nova Scotia where, as a frail, 80-pound youngster, he endured extreme poverty, beatings and psychological abuse as well as physically punishing labour during the Great Depression. Through it all, his musically talented mother provided the emotional support he needed to pursue his dream of becoming a famous entertainer like his idol, the country star, Jimmie Rodgers.

As a performer of traditional country music, Snow won numerous awards and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

In March 1933, Snow wrote to Halifax radio station CHNS asking for an audition. The rejection letter he received only made him more determined and later that year he visited the station, was given an audition and hired to do a Saturday evening show that was advertised as "Clarence Snow and his Guitar."  Snow's audition with the Canadian division of RCA Victor in Montreal, Quebec, on October 29, 1936 led to the release of his first record with "The Prisoned Cowboy" coupled with "Lonesome Blue Yodel".[2] He signed with RCA Victor, recording for the label until 1981. A weekly CBC radio show brought him national recognition and, he began touring Canada until the late 1940s when American country music stations began playing his records.

Snow moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1949, and "Hank Snow, the Singing Ranger" (modified from his earlier nickname, the Yodeling Ranger), began recording for RCA Victor in the United States in 1949.

A regular at the Grand Ole Opry, in 1954 Snow persuaded the directors to allow a young Elvis Presley to appear on stage. Snow used Presley as his opening act and introduced him to Colonel Tom Parker. In August 1955, Snow and Parker formed the management team, Hank Snow Attractions. This partnership signed a management contract with Presley but before long, Snow was out and Parker had full control over the rock singer's career. Forty years after leaving Parker, Snow stated, "I have worked with several managers over the years and have had respect for them all except one. Tom Parker was the most egotistical, obnoxious human being I've ever had dealings with."

➦In 1929...WJW-AM, Cleveland, Ohio signed-on.

Alan Freed
The station was a staple of the Cleveland airwaves for more than 40 years under its original call letters of WJW.

The station was started in Mansfield, OH as WLBV sin 1926 under the ownership of John Weimer.  The call letters became WJW in 1928, reflecting his initials. He sold it in 1931 to Mansfield Broadcasting Association.

WJW moved to Akron in 1932.  William O’Neill purchased the station in 1943 and moved it to Cleveland.  The station moved from 1210 kHz to 850 kHz and increased its power to 5,000 watts.

During its history, WJW aired Alan Freed's "Moondog" rock'n'roll show.

O'Neil sold WJW on 17 Nov. 1954 to Storer Broadcasting, which teamed it with its local television operation, WXEL.  Storer dropped the ABC radio affiliation in 1957 to become independent, although the station later had a brief affiliation with NBC before becoming independent again.

During the 1960s the "Ed Fisher Show" was immensely popular during a 10-year run, as was the station's adult contemporary format of news, talk, and jazz. Sold to Erie Broadcasting in the fall of 1976, WJW began to highlight talk shows and adult popular music. It had begun separate FM programming in 1965 on a station that eventually passed into separate ownership as WGCL.

WJW was sold 1986 to Booth American Broadcasting, at which time it exchanged its long-familiar call letters for WRMR. In 1990 Booth sold the station to Independent Group Ltd., a local group that owned WDOK.

Today, the station's call sign is WKNR 850 AM and airs sportstalk. The station now has 50Kw-Day, 5Kw-Night.

➦In 1932...WFLA/WSUN, Clearwater, FL, tested first directional AM antenna.

➦In 1937…Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy started their own radio show on NBC. Their initial appearance (December 17, 1936) on the Rudy Vallee show was so successful that the following year they were given regular cast rolls as part of The Chase and Sanborn Hour. Under various sponsors (and two different networks), they were on the air from May 9, 1937 to July 1, 1956. The popularity of a ventriloquist on radio, when one could see neither the dummies nor his skill, surprised and puzzled many critics, then and now. Even knowing that Bergen provided the voice, listeners perceived Charlie as a genuine person, but only through artwork rather than photos could the character be seen as truly lifelike.

Here's audio from a 1944 show...

➦In 1942...Graham McNamee died at age 53 (Born - July 10, 1888). He was pioneering radio sportscaster. He originated play-by-play sports broadcasting for which he was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Radio broadcasting of sporting events was a new thing in the 1920s. The announcers were a rotating group of newspaper writers. At the time baseball was America's most popular sport, and the reporters were at the games to write stories about them for print newspapers. Their descriptions were matter-of-fact, boring at best, had a lot of dead air, and were given in the past tense after a play was completed.
In 1923, announcer McNamee was assigned to help the sportswriters with their broadcasts. One day, Grantland Rice, told McNamee to finish the game on his own, and left. McNamee was not a trained sports writer, so he immediately began to describe what he was seeing as it happened, thus originating play-by-play sports broadcasting. He wasn't a baseball expert, but had a knack for conveying what he saw in great detail, and with great enthusiasm, bringing the sights and sounds of the game into the homes of listeners.

The Babe and McNamee
Over the course of the next decade McNamee worked for WEAF, and for the national NBC network, when WEAF became the NBC flagship station.

McNamee broadcast numerous sports events, including several World Series, Rose Bowls, championship boxing matches, and Indianapolis 500s. He was broadcast the national political conventions, the presidential inaugurations, and the arrival of aviator Charles Lindbergh in New York City following his transatlantic flight to Paris, France in 1927. He opened each broadcast by saying, "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the radio audience. This is Graham McNamee speaking."

➦In 1958…Disc Jockey Alan Freed resigned from 1010 WINS in New York City, claiming his bosses refused to "stand by my policies and principles."

➦In 1958...William Nettles Goodwin died at age 47 (Born - July 28, 1910). He was the announcer and a recurring character of the Burns and Allen radio program, and subsequently The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show on television from 1950-1951. Upon his departure, he was replaced by Harry von Zell.

➦In 1990…Pauline Frederick died at age 84 from a heart attack (Born - February 13, 1908). She was a journalist for newspapers, radio and television. Her career extended from the 1930s until 1981; she is considered one of the pioneering women in journalism.

Pauline Frederick
In 1931, Frederick set out to get a journalism job and she took an interesting approach: “Because few important men in politics at the time would be interviewed by a woman, she decided to interview the men’s wives”.  Hoping for a job, Frederick sent her articles about these women to the editor of the former Washington Star; however, the editor believing that Frederick was the famous actress Pauline Frederick, hired her to boost his newspaper's circulation. “Though not the Frederick he wanted, the Star’s editor was so impressed by her writing that he bought both of the articles she offered and gave her a job churning out a weekly feature”.

Pauline Frederick's paid journalism career had begun and she started writing articles for the Washington Star. In 1938, with her interest in electronic communications, she accepted a job as a part-time aide assisting in writing scripts for ABC radio reporter H. R. Baukhage. Her journalism career in radio began in 1939, when NBC Radio's director of women's programs, Margaret Cuthhert, heard of Frederick's interviews with diplomats’ wives and thought they would make a good radio feature.

In 1948, Pauline Frederick finally received the opportunity she had been waiting for. Early that year she was the only reporter available to cover a breaking story at the United Nations, and later that same year she was selected to cover the first televised political convention, an experience that gained her instant credibility.  In 1949, after years of struggle, Pauline Frederick became the “first women ever to work full-time for a U.S. television Network,” ABC.

She covered the United Nations for NBC for twenty-one years, reporting daily on the most critical world issues.

➦In 2012…Boston radio sportscaster Carl Beane, for the previous nine years the public address announcer for the Red Sox at Fenway Park, suffered a heart attack while he was driving in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. His car crashed into a tree and a rock wall. He was killed at age 59. The following day's Red Sox game was played with no PA announcements, as a tribute to him.

  • Actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson is 84. 
  • Guitarist Sonny Curtis of Buddy Holly and The Crickets is 83. 
  • Producer-director James L. Brooks is 83. 
  • Singer Tommy Roe is 78. 
  • Singer-guitarist Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield, Poco) is 76. 
  • Singer Clint Holmes is 74. Actress Candice Bergen is 74. 
  • Actor Anthony Higgins (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”) is 73. 
  • Singer Billy Joel is 71. 
  • Bassist Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick is 70. 
  • Actress Alley Mills (“The Wonder Years”) is 69. 
  • Actress Amy Hill (“Magnum P.I.”) is 67. 
  • Actor John Corbett (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” ″Northern Exposure”) is 59. 
  • Singer David Gahan of Depeche Mode is 58. 
  • TV personality Audrina Patridge (“The Hills”) is 35. 
  • Actress Grace Gummer (“American Horror Story,” ″The Newsroom”) is 34.

Friday, May 8, 2020

LiveXLive To Acquire PodcastOne

Digital-media company LiveXLive Media Inc. will acquire PodcastOne parent Courtside Group Inc., the companies said, in a bet that bigger is better amid the coronavirus pandemic and that soaring ad revenue will return to podcasting.

The Wall Street Journal reports the all-stock deal, which will make PodcastOne founder Norman Pattiz a major shareholder in LiveXLive, values the podcast network at $18.1 million as of Thursday’s closing, with the transaction expected to close in June.

LiveXLive, which streams radio, on-demand video and live performances, will now offer podcasts both to its free, ad-supported users and to subscribers. Courtside, founded in 2010, brings via PodcastOne a roster of talent, including Adam Carolla, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Austin, Kaitlyn Bristowe and rapper Tip “T.I.” Harris. Mr. Pattiz, a broadcasting veteran who also founded radio network Westwood One, will join as chairman of the new podcasting unit.

PodcastOne, with a library of more than 300 podcasts, produces over 350 episodes each week and generates over 2.1 billion downloads annually.

The deal, at current stock pricing, is more conservative than many in the fast-growing podcasting space over the past two years. Companies and talent have been fetching a premium when they join media giants Spotify Technology SA, iHeartMedia Inc., Entercom Communications Corp. and E.W. Scripps Co. ’s Stitcher. PodcastOne recorded $27.5 million in revenue in 2019.

Pattiz and LiveXLive Chief Executive Rob Ellin acknowledged the difficult environment—particularly for advertising—brought on by the pandemic and said they were focused on building a bigger and more diversified company.

“This is about, ‘Where are we going to be in three to four years,’ not where we are today,” said Mr. Ellin. “Nobody expects this year to be easy. We’re in this for the long run.”

The companies, both based in Los Angeles, envision cross-pollinating advertisers, subscribers and talent across their offerings, which span from streaming concerts and internet radio to podcasts.

Univision Reports Revenue Increased 8%, Radio Flat

Univision Communications announced financial results for 1Q ending March 31, 2020.

Continuing Operations Results - First Quarter 2020 Compared to First Quarter 20191
  • Revenue increased 8% to $660.4 million from $611.9 million.
  • Income from continuing operations was $11.7 million compared to $36.9 million.
  • Adjusted OIBDA increased 23% to $251.1 million from $204.3 million.
“As our company confronts the current global health crisis, our teams developed and executed a strong employee safety plan while continuing to provide an essential service of informing and entertaining our communities. Our news and entertainment content is experiencing high demand and our service continues uninterrupted at a time when our community depends on us the most.

"Furthermore, we’ve taken measures to strengthen our balance sheet and maintain the health of our company to manage through the impact of this global crisis,” said CEO Vince Sadusky.

“Prior to the crisis, we achieved continued ratings momentum in the important February sweeps period, where we not only expanded our share lead over competitors but with an 18% portfolio ratings growth we also ranked as the fastest growing portfolio of networks in the country, regardless of language. This momentum has continued through the crisis driven by our strong news and entertainment content. As our content strategy propelled our growth across platforms, Univision also enjoyed operational and financial momentum during the quarter with an eight percent increase in
revenue and twenty-three percent increase in Adjusted OIBDA.”

  • Revenue for the first quarter 2020 increased 8% to $660.4 million compared to $611.9 million for the same prior period.  Core revenue for the first quarter 2020 increased 5% to $634.6 million compared to $606.2 million for the same prior period.
  • Revenue for Media Networks segment for the first quarter 2020 increased 9% to $609.3 million, compared to $560.6 million for the same prior period. Media Networks advertising revenue for the first quarter 2020 decreased 2% to $280.3 million, compared to $287.0 million for the same prior period.
  • Media Networks core advertising revenue which adjusts for political and advocacy, including the 2020 election, decreased 8% to $259.4 million from $283.1 million. The decrease was primarily due to declines in our networks and local television businesses due to live sports cancellations and lower volume commitments in March due to COVID-19, partially offset by an increase due to improvement in our ratings and price increases. This decline was partially offset by increases in digital. Within Media Networks, combined local and network TV business core advertising revenue decreased 10%, while our digital business core advertising revenue was up 25%. Political and advocacy revenue was $20.9 million in 2020 compared to $3.9 million in the same prior period.
  • Revenue for Radio segment for the first quarter 2020 remained essentially flat at $51.1 million, compared to $51.3 million for the same prior period. Advertising revenue for the Radio segment for the first quarter 2020 remained flat at $48.8 million in both periods.
  • Core advertising revenue for our Radio segment decreased 7% to $43.9 million from $47.0 million primarily due to declines in ad spending in the retail sector. Political and advocacy revenue was $4.9 million compared to $1.8 million in the prior period.
  • Non-advertising revenue for the Radio segment for the first quarter 2020 decreased to $2.3 million from $2.5 million for the same prior period.

The Rundown: U-S Coronavirus Deaths Pass 75,000

The number of deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus passed 75,000 as of last night, according to Johns Hopkins University's count, more than one-third of them, over 26,000, in New York State. The number of confirmed cases is more than 1,256,000. That milestone came as the White House said yesterday that a member of the military who serves as one of President Trump's valets tested positive for the virus a day earlier. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have both since tested negative. Trump said that some staffers who interact with him closely will now be tested daily, up from weekly testing that was being done, and Pence said both he and Trump will also be tested daily.

The Trump administration has shelved a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provided step-by-step advice for local officials across the country on how and when to reopen businesses, restaurants and other public places amid the pandemic. The Associated Press yesterday cited a CDC official as saying the report was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told it, quote, "would never see the light of day." AP cited a person described as being close to the White House coronavirus task force as saying White House officials haven't offered detailed guidance for how specific sectors should reopen because the virus is affecting different parts of the country differently.

Nearly 3.2 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, bringing the total to some 33.5 million people in the seven weeks since the pandemic began leading companies to close and cut their workforces. That's one in five Americans who were employed in February. While still extremely high, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits for the first time has now fallen for five straight weeks from a peak of nearly 6.9 million in the week ending March 28th.

➤JUSTICE DEPT. DROPS CASE AGAINST MICHAEL FLYNN IN ABRUPT REVERSAL: The Justice Department said in an abrupt reversal yesterday (May 7th) that it's dropping the criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump's first national security adviser. Prosecutors in the case, one of the most high-profile ones brought by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, said Flynn lied to the FBI in January 2017 about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the post-election transition. Flynn pled guilty and cooperated with Mueller in the Russia probe, but then asked to withdraw his plea. Trump praised the decision and charged the effort to investigate Flynn was, quote, "treason." Former top FBI officials who worked on the case and Democrats blasted the decision, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who charged, "Attorney General [William] Barr’s politicization of justice knows no bounds." But Barr denied in a CBS News interview that he was doing the bidding of Trump, saying, "No, I'm doing the law's bidding." The Justice Department said it agreed with Flynn's attorneys that the interview should never have taken place because Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador were "entirely appropriate," and contended the lie he told investigators wasn't "material" to an investigation.

➤ARRESTS MADE OF FATHER AND SON IN GEORGIA KILLING OF BLACK MAN: A white father and son were arrested Thursday (May 7th) and charged with murder in the shooting death of a 25-year-old black man, Ahmaud Arbery, who was running in their neighborhood outside the city of Brunswick.

The arrests of 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and 34-year-old Travis McMichael come two-and-a-half months after Arbery's February death, and after the release of cellphone video of the killing earlier this week sparked outrage and led the state to open an investigation.

The elder McMichael told police at the time of the shooting that he and his son had grabbed guns and chased after Arbery in a truck because they suspected he was a burglar. Arbery's mother has said she believes he was jogging, which he used to regularly do. The father said Travis got out of the truck holding a shotgun and Arbery, quote, "began to violently attack," and was shot as he and Travis fought over the gun.

The video shows Arbery running on the left side of a road with a pickup truck parked in the road in front of him with one man in its bed and the other standing next to the driver's side door. Arbery crosses to pass the truck on the passenger side, then crosses back in front of it. A gunshot is heard, and Arbery and Travis are seen grappling over a shotgun. A second shot is heard as Arbery is seen punching Travis. A third shot is fired, and Arbery staggers and falls face down.

➤NEIMAN MARCUS FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY: Neiman Marcus has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the second major retailer to do so because of the coronavirus pandemic after J. Crew earlier this week, and the first department store chain. The 112-year-old luxury retailer based in Dallas has 43 stores. A spokesperson said yesterday (May 7th) that no mass closings are planned, and the company expects to emerge from bankruptcy by the fall. Neiman Marcus said it's secured $675 million in financing to keep operating during its restructuring.

➤DISNEY WORLD TO REOPEN SOME OF DISNEY SPRINGS: The first return from the coronavirus shutdown at Disney World will take place on May 20th, when some of its Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex will be reopened. Disney Springs Vice President Matt Simon announced the news Thursday (May 7th), saying a, quote, "limited number of shopping and dining experiences" will begin to return with "enhanced safety measures." Those will include enhanced cleaning, masks for employees and guests, and "limited-contact guest services." There also will be limits on capacity, parking and operating hours.

➤BUG EXPERTS: DON'T WORRY ABOUT 'MURDER HORNETS': Bug experts are saying there's no need to freak out about "murder hornets," the Asian giant hornets that it was reported in screaming headlines earlier this week have been found in Washington state. Although the two-inch bugs can kill humans, it's very rare for them to do so. Instead, the real danger is to honeybees, since they destroy entire hives. A big part of the hype is the "murder hornets" nickname, with University of Delaware entomologist Doug Tallamy telling AP: "This is 99 percent media hype and frankly I’m getting tired of it. 'Murder hornet?' Please."

iHM Reports Sharp Decline In March Revenue

iHeartMedia, Inc. late Thursday reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2020.

Financial Highlights
  • Strong financial performance in January and February was followed by a sharp decline in revenue in March resulting from the effects of the coronavirus ("COVID-19") pandemic.
  • Continued audience and revenue growth in podcasting and digital
  • Strong liquidity position and resilient capital structure:
  • Cash balance of $646.8 million as of March 31, 2020
  • Over 90% of long-term debt maturing in 2026 or later
  • Favorable debt terms: no maintenance covenants for Term Loan Facility or Senior Secured Notes
  • Total direct operating expense savings in 2020 are expected to be approximately $250 million
  • Modernization initiatives continue: anticipating $100 million in run-rate savings by 2021 with approximately $50 million run-rate achieved in 2020
  • New cost-saving actions: anticipating an additional $200 million in operating expense savings achieved in 2020
  • New capital expenditure actions: reducing capital expenditures by expected $80 million in 2020
  • CARES Act free cash flow benefit: estimating approximately $100 million reduction in tax-related cash payments in 2020

First Quarter
  • Revenue of $780.6 million, down 1.9% year-over-year driven by effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; excluding political revenue1, revenue decreased 4.8%
  • Digital revenue increased 22.2% year-over-year led by an 80% increase in podcasting revenue
  • GAAP Operating loss of $1,730.8 million, driven primarily by non-cash impairment charges
  • Adjusted EBITDA1 of $140.3 million, down 10.6% year-over-year
  • Cash flows provided by operating activities from continuing operations of $91.5 million, a decrease of $45.1 million or 33.0%

“As America’s #1 audio company, with unparalleled reach both nationally and locally, we play a critically important role in providing companionship, connection and key information to all the communities we serve, and we are incredibly proud of our employees’ commitment to that mission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of iHeartMedia, Inc.

“Although businesses and brands across the country have been impacted, we are working closely with them on their marketing needs and are focused on helping them generate the consumer demand to reopen or ramp up. Our multiplatform offering, our unparalleled reach and our unique data and analytics position us well to benefit as a company from this returning advertising demand.”

“Given the current economic environment, iHeart has taken actions that we believe expand the Company’s financial flexibility and provide sufficient liquidity to operate effectively even in an extended period of economic weakness,” said Rich Bressler, iHeartMedia, Inc. President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer.

“We believe that iHeart's fundamentally strong free cash-generation model, substantial current cash balances, incremental benefits from our cost savings initiatives, and flexible capital structure will enable us to build effectively on our audio market leadership and position us favorably to capitalize on the eventual recovery in advertising demand. With our experienced management team and our unparalleled assets, we are confident in our business and continue our focus on driving shareholder value.”

U-S Moms Relying on Tech More Than Ever During COVID-19

Seventy-two percent of moms in the U.S. agree that technology has been essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Moms and Media 2020” study just released by The Research Moms of Edison Research reveals an unwavering commitment by U.S. moms to devices and technology, highlighted by a dependence on the internet amidst a new, COVID-19 world.

The latest installment of the annual report includes data from The Infinite Dial® series from Edison Research and Triton Digital, and a recent online survey conducted during COVID-19 restrictions. The report highlights how moms with kids under the age of 18 in the household continue to hold tight to their tech tools while sheltering at home, and they are relying on their technology and media to get through the day.

According to Edison Research Vice President Melissa DeCesare, who is also one of The Research Moms at Edison Research, “This virus has turned life upside down and parents have the added pressure of guiding children through this unsettling time. Moms are masters at balancing tasks in normal circumstances but they have found even more capacity to multi-task in this pandemic. Additional responsibilities like distance learning and managing the family dynamic while in isolation are increasing the need for media and technology in the home. This year’s study shows us that moms are meeting these challenges by relying on media, devices and technology to help them get through this new normal.”

Key findings include:
  • Moms rely on devices: 89% own a smartphone, 69% own a tablet
  • Moms depend on voice technology: 33% own a smart speaker, and of those who own at least one smart speaker, 59% own two or more. Sixty-seven percent of U.S. moms use some form of voice operated personal assistant.
  • Moms are using their devices more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working remotely, helping children with distance learning, and keeping in touch with friends and family are driving heavier use of all digital devices.
  • Moms are not the only ones who are increasing their use of devices and technology. With schools closed, children are distance learning at home using new digital platforms in their virtual classrooms.
  • Moms are facilitating distance learning: 54% of moms say they are spending a lot of time helping their children with distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Moms are using social media: 39% agree that social media is the main source for staying up to date on the COVID-19 pandemic in their community. Fifty-six percent of moms say that they are grateful for social media during the pandemic.
  • While it is unknown how long this new normal will last, nearly 4 in 10 moms think their current media habits will stay with them even after it is over.