Saturday, June 27, 2020

June 28 Radio History

➦In 1940...The Quiz Kids was first heard on radio as a summer replacement. Quiz Kids was a radio and TV series of the 1940s and 1950s. Created by Chicago public relations and advertising man Louis G. Cowan, and originally sponsored by Alka-Seltzer, the series was first broadcast on NBC from Chicago  airing as a summer replacement show for Alec Templeton Time.

It continued on radio for the next 13 years. On television, the show was seen on NBC and CBS from July 6, 1949 to July 5, 1953, with Joe Kelly as quizmaster, and again from January 12 to September 27, 1956, with Clifton Fadiman as host.

➦In 1943...the Dreft Star Playhouse debuted on NBC radio. Jane Wyman (the first Mrs. Ronald Reagan) starred in the first broadcast, titled Bachelor Mother. The 21-month series was expensive by radio’s daytime standards, with $3,000 a week budgetted for big name talent.

➦In 1944...The Alan Young Show debuted on NBC radio. It was the summer replacement for the popular Eddie Cantor. The show became a regular in the fall lineup.. on ABC. Young, incidentally, made the switch to TV in 1961. He became a CBS star with a talking horse, of course, of course, named Mister Ed.

➦In 1947…Allen Funt began a lengthy career of catching people in embarassment as “Candid Microphone” began a 15-month run on ABC Radio. It returned to the air on CBS Radio for three months in 1950. The TV version of the concept “Candid Camera” first aired in 1948.

➦In old favorite of radio audiences made the switch to TV.  Amos ‘n’ Andy moved to CBS-TV. Two years later, criticism from the NAACP about ‘stereotyping’ forced the network to drop the show.

➦In 1968...Don Imus got his first radio job. Previously, Imus was a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad.

Don Imus
After hearing a morning disc-jockey, he went to the nearby radio station and persuaded the owner to hire him. Thus he began his career as a radio disc jockey on June 28, 1968 at radio station KUTY in Palmdale, California.

He stayed at the station until 1969 when he left for a job at KJOY, a small radio station in Stockton, California. He was later fired for saying "hell" on air.

After being fired in Stockton, he went to KXOA in Sacramento, California. His on-air pranks, such as calling up a restaurant and ordering 1200 hamburgers to go, made his show immensely popular and boosted ratings.

In 1970, Imus left KXOA for WGAR in Cleveland, Ohio for a $50,000 salary. In 1971, he won his second Billboard Award, this time in the major radio market category. On December 2, 1971, less than three years into his radio career, Imus started his morning show at WNBC in New York City, with a $100,000 per year salary.

Rick Barber
➦In 1997...George Harrison secretly undergoes surgery to have a cancerous lump removed from his throat. The ex-Beatle will eventually succumb to the disease in 2001. He publicly blamed years of smoking for the illness.

➦In 2013…Longtime Denver radio talk show host Rick Barber died Denver following complications as a result of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Barber was 67. He began his radio work in the 1960s as a teenager in Rhode Island. Barber first came to Colorado and KWGN in early 1970s with positions to follow at KWBZ and KDEN.

Following stints in Wyoming and New Mexico, Barber came back to Denver in 1982 and took a seat in the overnight chair on KOA. "The Rick Barber Show" aired for an unprecedented thirty years ending on 850 KOA in early 2012.

➦In 2015…Radio personality Grady "Doctor" Brock died at age 66.  He had stints at WCFL Chicago, WNOE New Orleans and KAAY Little Rock.

Kellie Pickler is 34
  • Comedian-director Mel Brooks is 94. 
  • Comedian John Byner is 83. 
  • Bassist Dave Knights of Procol Harum is 75. 
  • Actor Bruce Davison (“X-Men”) is 74. 
  • Actress Kathy Bates is 72. 
  • Actress Alice Krige is 66. 
  • Jazz singer Tierney Sutton is 57. 
  • Actress Jessica Hecht (“Friends,” ″The Single Guy”) is 55. 
  • Guitarist-violinist Saul Davies of James is 55. 
  • Actress Mary Stuart Masterson is 54. 
  • Actor John Cusack is 54. 
  • Actor Gil Bellows (“Ally McBeal”) is 53. 
  • Actress-songwriter Danielle Brisebois (“All in the Family”) is 51. 
  • Actress Tichina Arnold (“Everybody Hates Chris”) is 51. 
  • Jazz saxophonist Jimmy Sommers is 51. 
  • Actor Steve Burton (“The Young and the Restless”) is 50. 
  • Bassist Tim Nordwind of OK Go is 44. 
  • Bassist Mark Stoermer of The Killers is 43. 
  • Country singer and former “American Idol” contestant Kellie Pickler is 34.

Conservative Political Activist Jack Posobiec Confronted In D-C

Reporter Confronted By Antifa
Political activist and conservative journalist Jack Posobiec for One America News Network was confronted by protesters at a demonstration at the Emancipation Memorial at Lincoln Park, in Washington DC.

According to several media counts, including the Wall Street Journal, the incident happened as hundreds of protesters gathered Friday evening in Lincoln Park in Washington DC at the location of a 144-year-old statue.

Posobiec was blocked by some protesters from filming the event, which he caught live on Periscope. The situation escalated when one protester accused him of “founding the alt-lite” and of being a "literal Nazi.".

Posobiec was flanked by several black men, including the tour guide, who attempted to guide him to safety away from the mob, which continued to swell in numbers following Goggles’ calls to evict him from the park. The park is located on federal, publicly owned land.

Facebook Tightens Controls on Speech

Under mounting pressure from advertisers, Facebook Inc. said it would start labeling political speech that violates its rules and take other measures to prevent voter suppression and protect minorities from abuse.

The new policies were announced Friday shortly after The Wall Street Journal reported that consumer-goods giant Unilever PLC is halting U.S. advertising on Facebook and Twitter Inc. for at least the remainder of the year, citing hate speech and divisive content on the platforms.

Unilever’s move marked a significant escalation in advertisers’ efforts to force changes by the tech companies. In a live stream announcing the changes, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg didn’t mention Unilever or the ad boycott, but said he was “optimistic that we can make progress on public health and racial justice while maintaining our democratic traditions around free expression and voting.”

Facebook has said it doesn’t make policy decisions in response to revenue pressure, and a spokesman said the changes were a follow-up to Zuckerberg’s previous commitment to prepare for coming elections.

Unilever, whose many household brands include Dove soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Lipton tea, joins a growing list of companies that are boycotting Facebook for varying lengths of time, including Verizon Communications Inc., Patagonia Inc., VF Corp., North Face, Eddie Bauer and Recreational Equipment Inc.

“Based on the current polarization and the election that we are having in the U.S., there needs to be much more enforcement in the area of hate speech,” Luis Di Como, Unilever’s executive vice president of global media, said.

“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society,” Unilever said. The ban also will cover Instagram.

Coca-Cola Co. went further than most advertisers, announcing on Friday that it was pausing its global ad spending on all social-media platforms for at least 30 days—including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Snap Inc.

“There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media,” Coca-Cola Chief Executive James Quincey said in a statement.

'The Simpsons' Nonwhite Characters Won’t Be Voiced by White Actors

Animated TV comedy “The Simpsons” is ending the use of white actors to voice characters of color, producers said on Friday, Reuters reports.

“Moving forward, ‘The Simpsons’ will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” they said in a brief statement.

The statement did not elaborate but the move follows years of public pressure about the Fox television show’s Indian convenience store character Apu, who is voiced by Hank Azaria.

Azaria said earlier this year that he would no longer play the character, which has been criticized as a negative portrayal of Indian-Americans.

Azaria has also voiced the Simpsons characters of Black police officer Lou and the Mexican-American Bumblebee Man. Harry Shearer has played Dr. Hibbert, who is Black.

Friday’s statement did not say whether Apu or the other characters would remain on the series.

Bumbling Homer Simpson, housewife Marge, troublemaker Bart, prodigy Lisa and baby Maggie, have captured the changing face of America for more than 30 years in the longest-running scripted show on U.S. television.

Friday’s announcement comes amidst a widespread reckoning for U.S. pop culture about racism following mass protests this month over the killings of Black Americans by police.

June 27 Radio History

➦In 1907...John McIntire was born in Spokane.

John McIntire - 1941
He was best known for replacing Ward Bond, upon Bond’s sudden death, as the star of NBC-TV’s western Wagon Train from early 1961 to the series’ end in 1965. He also replaced Charles Bickford, upon Bickford’s death in 1967, as ranch owner Clay Grainger on NBC-TV’s The Virginian for four seasons.  A graduate of USC, McIntire began acting in radio in the early 30’s on the syndicated Tarzan and the Diamond of Asher, where he met his future wife, Jeanette Nolan. McIntire worked on countless Suspense CBS radio programs from the early 1940s, as well as scores of other shows. He was a key announce voice on the CBS program The March of Time.

He died on January 30, 1991 from emphysema and lung cancer, at age 83.

➦In 1949…Gene Autry recorded "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." His recording of the song hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart the week of Christmas 1949. It sold 2.5 million copies the first year, eventually selling a total of 25 million, and it remained the second best-selling record of all time until the 1980s
Gene Autry

➦In 1984....The FCC effectively deregulated U.S. commercial TV by removing most programming requirements and ending any necessity for a station to adhere to a minimum amount of news and local programming.

➦In 1995...Former WMMS engineer William Alford wass sentenced to 10 days & $1,000 fine for cutting an audio feed of Howard Stern's broadcast on WNCX  from Cleveland.

Stern had arrived on the Cleveland airwaves less than two years earlier, and in that time took his syndicated program on rival WNCX from an Arbitron ranking of thirteen to number one.  As promised, Stern held a party for his fans on the streets of Cleveland – a "Funeral" for his local rivals, much like similar events held in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia – and broadcast it nationwide.

During the now infamous broadcast, WMMS engineer William Alford snipped a broadcast wire used for the Stern show's satellite feed.  Stern continued on with the program over a phone line as engineers worked to quickly patch together the severed broadcast wire.

Alford was subsequently caught, arrested and later sentenced to ten days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Station management initially claimed that Alford acted alone, however WMMS Promotions Director Heidi Klosterman – working under the name Heidi Kramer – later pled guilty to a felony charge of attempted disruption of a public service and a misdemeanor of receiving stolen property; Greg Smith, a former Klosterman colleague, pled guilty to a misdemeanor of breaking and entering.

➦In 2005...WRAL 101.5 FM became the first commercial station in North Carolina and only the second commercial station in the nation (after WUSN in Chicago) was the first to utilize the "multicasting" capabilities of HD Radio technology to broadcast multiple digital channels

➦In 2017...Pandora Media’s co-founder and chief executive, Tim Westergren, announced he was stepping down at CEO of the internet music service.

Julia Duffy is 69

  • Singer Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys is 78. 
  • Actress Julia Duffy (“Newhart”) is 69. 
  • Actress Isabelle Adjani is 65. 
  • Country singer Lorrie Morgan is 61. 
  • Writer-director J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” ″Alias”) is 54. 
  • Singer Draco Rosa (Menudo) is 51. 
  • Actor Edward Fordham Jr. (“Battle Creek”) 50. 
  • TV personality Jo Frost (“Supernanny”) is 50. 
  • Actor Yancey Arias (“Kingpin”) is 49. 
  • Actor Christian Kane (“The Librarians”) is 48. 
  • Actor Tobey Maguire is 45. 
  • Singer Leigh Nash of Sixpence None The Richer is 44. 
  • Christian rock singer Zach Williams is 42. 
  • Reality star Khloe Kardashian is 36. 
  • Actor Drake Bell (“Drake and Josh”) is 34. 
  • Actor Sam Claflin (“Hunger Games” films) is 34. 
  • Actor Ed Westwick (“Gossip Girl”) is 33. 
  • Actor Matthew Lewis (“Harry Potter” films) is 31. 
  • Actress Madylin Sweeten (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) is 29. 
  • Singer Lauren Jauregui of Fifth Harmony is 24. 
  • Singer H.E.R. is 23. Actor Chandler Riggs (“The Walking Dead”) is 21.

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Rundown: Texas Says "On Second Thought..."

Texas Coronavirus Cases Over Time
➤TEXAS GOV. PAUSES REOPENING AS CORONAVIRUS CASES, HOSPITALIZATIONS RISE: Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday paused reopening in his state, which was among the earliest to begin to lift the coronavirus shutdowns, as cases of the virus and hospitalizations in Texas continue to rise. Abbott also reimposed a ban on elective surgeries in some places, as hospitalizations more than doubled in two weeks.

In Arizona, another of the Southern and Western states that have been seeing worrisome coronavirus increases, 23 percent of tests conducted over the past seven days have come back positive, nearly triple the national average. There are currently seven states that are seeing more than 10 percent of tests come back positive, the threshold that experts say is concerning. Nevada became the latest state to mandate mask-wearing as its cases rise, with Governor Steve Sisolak ordering that they be worn in public, including in Las Vegas casinos.

Even as cases have been climbing over the past few weeks, the death toll nationally has continued to drop. Experts point to several possible reasons, including: more cases among younger people, who are less likely to get severely sick and die; the development of some treatments; and better infection prevention at nursing homes. There's also a more pessimistic possibility that since deaths usually occur several weeks after infection, the death rate just hasn't started to rise yet.

There have been more than 124,400 deaths as of last night, according to Johns Hopkins University's count, and more than 2,422,000 confirmed cases.

Washington Post 6/26/20
20 Million Estimated Infected: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated yesterday that 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the U.S., some 10 times the 2.3 million confirmed cases. That represents only about six percent of the nation's population, and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told reporters, "It’s clear that many individuals in this nation are still susceptible." The estimate is based on CDC studies of blood samples collected nationwide.

List of Those at Risk for Severe Illness Revamped: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revamped its list of those at high risk of getting severe illness from the coronavirus, creating categories of those at high risk and those who might be at high risk, and making changes that included lowering the obesity threshold, adding pregnant women, and removing those 65 and older as a high risk group.

High Risk: Those at high risk include people with chronic kidney disease, chronic inflammatory lung disease, obesity, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, and weakened immune systems because of organ transplants. The threshold for high risk from obesity was lowered from a body mass index of 40, which is severe obesity, down to 30, the lowest BMI that crosses into obesity from being overweight. The CDC also said people are at increasing risk of severe illness as they get older, but removed people 65 and older as a high risk group.

Might Be at High Risk: Those who might be at high risk include pregnant women, smokers, and those with asthma, high blood pressure, diseases that affect blood flow to the brain, cystic fibrosis, dementia, liver disease, scarred or damaged lungs, Type 1 diabetes, the blood disorder thalassemia, and people who have weakened immune systems, including from HIV.
USAToday 6/26/20

1.48 Million File for Unemployment: The Labor Department reported yesterday that 1.48 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week. That's down 60,000 from the week before and marks the 12th straight week it's dropped. Additionally, the number of continuing unemployment claims fell to 19.5 million, the first time it's been below 20 million in two months. However, it's also the 14th week there have been more than one million new claims, when the record before the pandemic had been 695,000.

➤HOUSE PASSES SWEEPING POLICE REFORM LEGISLATION: The Democratic-led House passed sweeping police reform legislation Thursday in the wake of weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd. But Republicans contend the bill goes too far, and just three GOP House members voted for it. Senate Majority Leader Leader Mitch McConnell said the measure won't pass in the Republican-led Senate, and President Trump's administration said he would veto it. A police reform measure in the Senate led by the Republican majority stalled this week, with Democrats saying it didn't go far enough. There is a basis for compromise, with both bills sharing common elements, including the creation of a national database of use-of-force incidents.They would also restrict chokeholds and set up new training procedures. But the Democratic legislation also includes limiting legal protections for police, and limiting the sending of military equipment to police.

➤COLORADO GOV. ORDERS REOPENING OF PROBE INTO DEATH OF ELIJAH MCCLAIN IN POLICE CUSTODY: Colorado Governor Jared Polis yesterday ordered the state's attorney general to reopen the investigation into the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died in police custody last August after having been put in a chokehold. The probe could potentially lead to the prosecution of three white officers who'd previously been cleared in McClain's death.

Polis said, "Elijah McClain should be alive today, and we owe it to his family to take this step and elevate the pursuit of justice in his name to a statewide concern." Police in Aurora had responded to a call about a "suspicious person" wearing a ski mask and waving his arms as he walked down the street. Police said McClain refused to stop walking and fought back when officers confronted him and tried to arrest him. McClain repeatedly sobbed and begged to be let go, saying at one point, "You guys started to arrest me, and I was stopping my music to listen."

One of the officers put him in a chokehold that cuts off blood to the brain and he was on the ground for 15 minutes as officers and paramedics stood by, before paramedics gave him the sedative ketamine to calm him down. McClain suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and was taken off life support three days later after being declared brain dead. McClain’s sister, Samara McClain, told The Denver Post that her brother was walking to the store to get iced tea for a cousin, and he often wore masks when he was outside because he had anemia and it caused him to get cold easily.

➤CHARGES FILED AGAINST NYC OFFICER WHO USED CHOKEHOLD: Prosecutors filed criminal charges yesterday against a New York City police officer who was seen on cell phone video using a chokehold on a 35-year-old Black man last Sunday, causing him to lose consciousness. Officer David Afanador pled not guilty to charges of strangulation and attempted aggravated strangulation and was released on bail. He could be sentenced to up to seven years behind bars if convicted. Afanador’s lawyer said his client was facing a rush to judgment in the wake of the protests following George Floyd's death. Afanador hs been suspended without pay. The officers were responding to a 911 call about three men harassing people and throwing objects at them. Body camera video shows three men arguing with police and one of them approaching the officers and saying, "You scared?" before an officer tackles him.

➤NASCAR RELEASES PHOTO OF ROPE IN WALLACE'S GARAGE STALL, SAYS 'THE NOOSE WAS REAL': NASCAR officials released a photo yesterday of the rope that was found hanging in the Talladega Superspeedway garage stall of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only Black driver, with President Steve Phelps saying, "As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba. . . . It’s our responsibility to react and investigate, and that’s exactly what we did."

NASCAR asked the FBI to investigate after the rope was found last Sunday, but agents quickly determined the rope had been hanging there since last October, so it wasn't a hate crime against Wallace. NASCAR released the photo after getting criticism that it had overreacted. Phelps also said NASCAR asked every track to check their garages this week, and out of 1,684 garage stalls at 29 tracks, only 11 had a garage door pull-down rope tied in a knot, and the only one tied as a noose was the one found in Wallace's stall. Phelps said NASCAR's investigation is over, and that cameras will be put in garages from now on.

➤NFL CANCELS HALL OF FAME GAME: The NFL yesterday canceled the Hall of Fame game that traditionally opens the preseason because of the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibition game was to be played on August 6th between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Canton, Ohio. The NFL also said it's postponing the 2020 induction ceremonies for a year, with the ceremony to be held in August 2021.

➤KENTUCKY DERBY TO BE RUN WITH SPECTATORS: Churchill Downs officials announced yesterday that the Kentucky Derby will be run with spectators in the stands on its rescheduled date of September 5th. While they were able to get approval to have spectators, there will be strict guidelines for reduced crowd capacity. Fans will also be encouraged to wear masks, practice social distancing when possible, and wash or sanitize their hands frequently. Because of the revamping of the schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Derby, which is traditionally the first of the Triple Crown races, is going second. The Belmont Stakes, which is usually the last race, was run first last weekend, with favorite Tiz the Law winning, and the Preakness, which is usually held second, will go last this year on October 3rd.

➤NBA'S VINCE CARTER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT AFTER 22 YEARS: Vince Carter officially announced his retirement yesterday (June 25th) after a record 22-year NBA career, the longest in league history. The news wasn't a surprise, since the 43-year-old Carter had said repeatedly during this season that it would be his last. Carter appeared in 1,541 games, third-most all-time behind Robert Parish and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and played for Toronto, New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento, and Atlanta for his final two seasons. He scored 25,728 career points, 19th in NBA history.

Philly Radio: Chuck Damico Named PD For the Phanatic

Beasley Media Group announces Chuck Damico has been named Program Director  at WPEN 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.

Damico has worked in a variety of positions at the Philadelphia-based radio cluster since 1994. The South Jersey native most recently has been serving as the PD at sister-station WBEN 95.7 FM and Assistant Program Director (APD) at WMMR-FM. Previously, he worked as the Promotions Director at the legendary rock station.

Chuck Damico
In addition to his new programming duties at the Fanatic, he will continue to serve as the APD at WMMR-FM as well as consult with BEN-FM until a permanent replacement is announced.

“Chuck was the perfect person to take the helm at The Fanatic,” said Vice President and Market Manager Joe Bell.” He is an outside the box thinker who knows the market, the listeners, the staff and is a life-long Philly sports fan! He will do a great job taking the station to the next level and beyond!”

“I’m very excited and thankful for the chance to join the 97.5 The Fanatic team,” said Damico. “We have an opportunity to not only do great, entertaining radio, but also make a real difference in the City of Philadelphia – Home of the Greatest Sports Fans in the World!”

“Chuck is a proven winner in the market and highly respected among his peers in the company,” said Beasley Media Group Chief Content Officer Justin Chase. “I’m very happy that he decided to take on this new challenge at the Fanatic.”

Eric Camille, who has been filling in as the Interim Program Director at the Fanatic, will continue serving as Assistant Program Director and Operations Manager of the station.

Miami Radio: Entercom Resigns Sports Host Marc Hochman

Entercom has announced a new multiyear contract extension with on-air personality Marc Hochman. 

The host will continue to be heard on “Hochman and Crowder” alongside co-host Channing Crowder on WAXY AM 790 The Ticket, the flagship station of the Miami Heat, weekdays from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. Hochman will also continue to be heard from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET via simulcast on sister station 560 The Joe WQAM, the radio home of the Miami Dolphins, University of Miami Hurricanes and Florida Panthers.

Mark Hochman
“Marc is a staple in the Miami sports media scene and brings a dynamic repertoire to our weekday sports talk programming on both The Ticket and The Joe,” said Keriann Worley, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom South Florida. “With four flagship partnerships between the two stations, the lack of live sports has created a unique challenge in programming, but Marc and Channing have continued to inform, entertain and engage with listeners. We look forward to more in the years to come.”

“I couldn't be more thrilled to continue hosting afternoon drive along with Channing Crowder,” said Hochman. “This is, without question, the most fun I've ever had doing radio. I'm so grateful that Miami has really embraced our show over the years and I can't wait to continue doing it for many years to come.”

Hochman joined WQAM as an afternoon drive host in 2013 after spending the previous 10 years as Executive Producer of “The Dan Le Batard Show” AM 790 The Ticket. “Hochman and Crowder” has been heard on both stations via simulcast since 2019.

Listeners can tune in to AM 790 The Ticket (WAXY-AM) in Miami on air, as well as nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

560 The Joe WQAM (WQAM-AM) can be heard on air in Miami, as well as nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Report: New Morning Show Part Of ESPN Radio Shake-Up

Keyshawn Johnson is headed to mornings on ESPN Radio as part of a shake-up that could leave Mike Golic without a chair, The NY Post reports.

According to Andrew Marchand at The Post, ESPN and Johnson are in agreement on a contract that will directly impact the current morning team of Trey Wingo’s and Golic Sr.’s ESPN’s futures.

Johnson’s partner or partners are still undetermined. He’s expected to begin in mid-August, but that could be impacted by the pandemic.

ESPN declined comment.

Both Wingo and Golic have contracts that end at the conclusion of this year. The third member of the Golic and Wingo morning team is Mike Golic Jr.

Golic Jr. is under contract past this year and is expected to remain on a revamped lineup, likely in the afternoon or evenings.

Meanwhile, Golic’s old radio partner, Mike Greenberg, is moving closer to an early afternoon slot to add to his TV duties as the host of “Get Up.”

Network executives have discussed slicing an hour off of the Dan Le Batard program that currently runs from 10-1 p.m., according to The Post citing sources, and having Greenberg work 12-2 p.m., but Le Batard, who has two years remaining on his deal, may still hold onto his full three hours with Greenberg moving into a 1-3 p.m. It is undetermined.

Hovering over all ESPN’s moves is the pandemic that has already impacted the network’s plans. ESPN and its parent company, Disney, have been affected greatly and, though there has been a hope that July would be a turning point, the renewed infection rate around the country may cause ESPN to kick more decisions further down the summer, according to Marchand.

ESPN New York’s Peter Rosenberg and Chris Carlin are two names that have been mentioned for mornings, as well. Rosenberg would be a bit more complicated because, besides his Michael Kay duties, he is already on a morning show with WQHT Hot 97. Hot 97 owns a station option on Rosenberg’s contract for next year.

Facebook Looks to Contain Advertising Boycott

Facebook Inc. is working to persuade its top advertisers not to pause spending on the social network, as it tries to keep a boycott from a handful of marketers from turning into a widespread revolt, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Facebook executives in emails and calls with advertisers and ad agencies over the past week have conveyed that they are taking seriously the concerns of civil-rights groups about the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation on its platform. But they are also maintaining that business interests won’t dictate their policies, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Mark Zuckerberg
“We do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure,” Carolyn Everson, vice president of Global Business Group at Facebook, said in an email to advertisers last weekend that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”

Facebook executives are also vowing to invest more to tackle hate on the platform including continuing the development of artificial-intelligence technology that can detect hate speech, according to the email.

Several advertisers such as ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia Inc., VF Corp. VFC 1.32% ’s North Face, Eddie Bauer and Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) have said they would halt advertising on the platform. Their decisions came after a call from civil-rights groups including the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP last week to pull ad spending from Facebook for the month of July.

The pullback extended to large advertisers Thursday, with telecommunications giant Verizon Communications Inc. announcing it was pausing its Facebook and Instagram advertising.

IFacebook declined to comment.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday joined a Facebook meeting with a group of big advertisers and ad agency-executives, according to people familiar with the conference call. Mr. Zuckerberg listened to advertisers’ concerns and reiterated the company’s principles of neutrality. He said political content can be seen as egregious by one side and not by the other, the people said. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, also joined the client council meeting, which had been scheduled before the civil rights groups called for the boycott and was reported earlier by Business Insider.

News Deserts Expanding

In the last 15 years, a total of 2,100 newspapers have closed, almost one-quarter of the 9,000 newspapers that were being published in 2004.

That’s according to “News Deserts and Ghost Newspapers: Will Local News Survive?,” a new report published Wednesday.

Mediapost reports it is the fourth report on the state of local news produced by the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.At least 1,800 communities that had a local news outlet in 2004 were without one (in print or digital) at the beginning of this year, according to the report. That’s up from 1,300 last year.

Some 200 counties in the U.S. do not have a local newspaper. They are deemed “news deserts.” Half of all counties (1,540) only have one newspaper, usually a weekly. Local digital news outlets are not filling the void: only about 500 community or state new sites exist.

The effects of COVID-19 and the resulting recession could lead to the closure of hundreds more newspapers, the report notes."The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us, yet again, of the vital importance of local news," the report reads. "Interest in and appreciation for local news has surged in recent months, as residents in cities and rural communities have searched for accurate, reliable and comprehensive information about what is occurring in their own neighborhood."

It continues: "Yet, at this very moment, local news organizations, large and small, for-profit and nonprofit, are confronting a dire economic threat to their existence."

The Chicks Rebrand...Dropping "Dixie"

Country music trio Dixie Chicks on Thursday changed its name to simply The Chicks, the latest move in U.S. pop culture to drop associations with the nation’s racist past, Reuters reports.

“We want to meet the moment,” the band said on its website, without further explanation.

The word “Dixie” is associated with the U.S. southern states where chattel slavery was legal and which seceded from the union and fought as the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. This month, country band Lady Antebellum changed its name to Lady A, also because of the associations of the Antebellum period with slavery.

The Dixie Chicks formed in Texas in 1989, and became one of the biggest names in country music. The female band was shunned by country radio stations in 2003 after singer Natalie Maines said she did not endorse the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The band responded in 2006 with the Grammy-winning single “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

Musicians, television shows and movies have all been forced to re-examine the messages they are sending out in the wake of a national reckoning over systemic racism in the United States triggered by mass protests against police brutality against Black people.

The classic Civil War movie “Gone with the Wind” returned to the HBO Max streaming platform on Wednesday, accompanied by an introduction acknowledging the brutality of slavery.

The Texas-bred trio had been going by The Dixie Chicks since sisters Martie and Emily formed the group (and soon added Natalie to the outfit) three decades ago. The trio released a handful of projects before releasing their major label debut, Wide Open Spaces, on Monument Records in 1998. The album went on to earn Diamond status from the RIAA, ultimately selling more than 13 million units. The follow up, 1999’s Fly, went on to sell 11 million units, while 2002’s Home has been certified 6x multi-Platinum, and 2006’s Taking The Long Way has been certified 2x multi-Platinum.

U-S National Anthem Could Be Culural Mob's Next Target

Yahoo music editor Lyndsey Parker argued in a column Wednesday that "it might be time to finally replace" "The Star-Spangled Banner" because of its "blatantly racist" connotations.

The Hill reports Parker cited historians and activists who pointed to the national anthem composer's ties to anti-abolitionists and an often-unheard third stanza about slaves.

Human-rights activist Kevin Powell told Yahoo that Francis Scott Key, a lawyer who prosecuted abolitionists, "did not believe in freedom for all people."

"And yet, we celebrate him with this national anthem, every time we sing it,” Powell said.

Parker drew attention to the third stanza that is not usually performed: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave/And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave/O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

The column comes amid nationwide protests against racial injustice after the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

Parker also points to a story from The Wall Street Journal in which an Afro-Latina student says she asked to sing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” widely known as the Black national anthem, when she was picked to sing The Star-Spangled Banner during graduation. The school approved the change after strong support from the senior class, according to the Journal.

The column came under criticism from some commentators, including former Fox News and NBC anchor Megyn Kelly.

Americans Believe They Are Misunderstood By News Media

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans said in a new poll that they believe news organizations "do not understand people like them."

The Hill reports the findings from the non-partisan Pew Research survey released Thursday include similar results across racial lines, with 58 percent of Blacks, 55 percent of Hispanics and 61 percent of whites agreeing with the statement.

Pew notes that while the percentages are similar, "adults differ when it comes to their views of why the media doesn’t understand them."

"For example, Black Americans are far more likely than the other two groups to feel that the misunderstanding is based on their 'personal characteristics,' defined in the survey as demographic traits such as age, race or gender," reports Pew.

"White Americans, in contrast, are far more likely than the other two groups to say the media misunderstands their 'political views,'" it adds. "Divides also emerge between other demographic groups and by political party when it comes to the question of whether news organizations understand people like them."

Houston Radio: TNCRadio To Target Drivers

TNCRadio.LIVE announced Thursday that some well-known radio personalities along with others have come together to help create a new Internet Radio and Mixed-media company focused on those who spend their day driving the streets of Houston.

TNCRadio.LIVE an Internet Radio station launching July 1, 2020, provides Houston TNC, delivery, repair service and other full-time drivers up-to-the-minute details they need to be safer, smarter, and more successful. They do this by providing accurate and timely traffic, weather, and emergency information along with driver-designed programming throughout the broadcast day.

Managing Partner, Tom Kelley said, “This team came together in a remarkable way. We have IT professionals, social media experts, and finance support all focused on the same goal. We are also excited that several radio personalities have joined the team. As a mixed-media information distribution company, we hope to disrupt the Houston Internet Radio market in a way that is positive for our listeners and our advertisers.”

Kelley went on to discuss some of the on-air personalities who have joined the company as partners. Jim Kovacik, Vice President of Programming (formerly, ‘Jimbo,’ 97.9 The Box) has been a ratings leader in the Houston market for years. Author, on-air personality and mixed-media journalist, Shelley Johnson is the Vice President of Business Development. Additionally, Houstonians will recognize the strong and trusted voice of Vice President of Operations, Ron Samuels.

“Combined, that’s nearly 100 years of broadcast experience right there. It is a real ‘Dream Team’ of radio broadcasters moving into the new world of Internet Radio and mixed-media communications. As the market moves to an Internet based format, these radio greats have kept up with the times and made the move as well,” said Kelley.

TNCRadio.LIVE, scheduled to launch July 1, 2020, provides on-going weather, traffic, and emergency information to Houston area drivers. The station is privately owned. TNCRadio.LIVE is a DBA of IMSICO, LLC, a Texas Company and can be accessed via Alexa, a number of Internet Radio Directories or by visiting the company website.

June 26 Radio History

➦In 1909...Thomas Andrew "Colonel Tom" Parker was born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk (Died from a stroke at age 87 -  January 21, 1997).  He was the  was the Dutch-born manager of Elvis Presley. Before managing Elvis, Parker handled the careers of Minnie Pearl, Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow and Tom Mix.

At age 18, Parker had arrived in America by jumping ship, and never held a US passport, even when the 1940 Alien Registration Act would have entitled him to one. This is attributed to his uncertain legal status, possibly connected to police inquiries about a murder in his native Breda. To the puzzlement of overseas fans, he never allowed Elvis to work abroad.

Col.Tom Parker -1969
A carnival worker by background, Parker moved into music promotion, earning the courtesy rank of ‘Colonel’ from a grateful singer Jimmie Davis, who had become governor of Louisiana. After discovering the teenage Tommy Sands, Parker talent-spotted the unknown Elvis Presley, and skillfully maneuvered himself into position as his sole representative with control over much of his private life. Within months, he had won Presley a recording contract with the prestigious RCA Victor record label, made him a star with his first single Heartbreak Hotel, negotiated lucrative merchandising deals, made plans for TV appearances as well as a new career as an actor in film musicals.

When Elvis was drafted into the Army in 1958, Parker was shrewd enough to see that military service would boost his image, and made no attempt to stop his posting to Germany. He also judged correctly that public demand would be whetted by his two-year absence, and he stage-managed a triumphal homecoming rail-tour to Memphis.

But the 1960s would impact hard on Elvis's public and private life. The youth market was suddenly being taken over by The Beatles. The films were starting to look more like low-budget production-line work, however profitable. Also his bachelor live-in arrangement with the teenage Priscilla Beaulieu, against her father's wishes, threatened a possible image crisis, and Parker urged marriage. By the end of the decade, Elvis had gone back on tour, but years of binge-eating and unofficially prescribed drugs had ruined his health, and Parker saw very little of Presley before his death in 1977.

Parker continued to manage the Presley estate, but he had unwisely sold the rights to Elvis's early recordings, which would have ensured a steady income. Meanwhile, his gambling problem increasingly eroded the huge fortune he had built up by claiming between 25% and 50% of Elvis's earnings, and he died worth only $1 million.

Alex Drier
➦In 1916...Alexander M. Dreier born in Honolulu (Died at age 83 – March 11, 2000). He was a news reporter and commentator who worked with NBC Radio during the 1940s, and later with the ABC Information Radio network in the 1960s and early 1970s. As Chicago’s ‘man on the go’ he anchored first at WNBQ and then WBKB-TV’s top rated news in the late 50’s and 60. He later moved to California where he pursued a TV acting career and was a newscaster for KTTV.

➦In 1933…The Kraft Music Hsall Program debuted as a musical-variety program featuring orchestra leader Paul Whiteman and served to supplement print advertising and in-store displays promoting Kraft products.

During its first year the show went through a series of name changes, including Kraft Musical Revue, until it finally settled on Kraft Music Hall in 1934. Whiteman remained the host until December 6, 1935. Ford Bond was the announcer.

Billed as "The King of Jazz", Whiteman was arguably America's first popular music superstar. Whiteman's foresight regarding the coming of the jazz age and his decisions to hire the best jazz musicians was a powerful boost for jazz, swing and blues. Though he was prohibited from hiring black performers, he hired arrangers and composers.

Bing Crosby took over as master of ceremonies January 2, 1936. Crosby was host until May 9, 1946. Other entertainers who appeared regularly during Crosby's tenure included Connie Boswell, Victor Borge, and Mary Martin.

For the advertising managers at Kraft, it was imperative that advertising and entertainment be kept separate. For this reason, Kraft insisted that an announcer, not cast members, read its commercials. Additionally, Kraft commercials were single-product focused during the radio days, short and to the point in order to keep with Kraft's philosophy that quality entertainment.

The Kraft Music Hall continued on NBC radio until 1949 and then on TV for many more years ; the first year as Milton Berle Starring in the Kraft Music Hall, later it was Perry Como‘s Kraft Music Hall for four seasons. From 1967 on, TV’s Kraft Music Hall featured a variety of guest hosts. Bring on the Velveeta and the Philadelphia brand cream cheese!

➦In 1946...Fred Allen's last radio show, his guest is Jack Benny

➦In 1959…"Mad Daddy" Pete Myers broadcast his last show on WHK-AM, Cleveland, Ohio.

Pete Myers 1959
In January 1958, Pete "Mad Daddy" Myers joined WJW-AM  from WHKK 640 AM in Akron. His "Mad Daddy" persona later was adapted by Ernie Anderson for his "Ghoulardi" character on sister station WJW-TV in 1963.

Myers had a brief but meteoric career at WJW, lasting only until May 13, 1958, when he resigned to go to Metromedia's WHK which was establishing itself as the new Top 40 powerhouse in Cleveland.

WJW enforced a 90-day noncompete clause, and "Mad Daddy" could not be heard on WHK until August 10. To keep his name in front of the public while he was off the air, Myers concocted a publicity stunt on June 14, 1958, parachuting from a Piper Cub 2200 feet over Lake Erie, and composing a poem on his way down.

He was fished out the waters shortly thereafter, and handed out copies of the 45 record "Zorro" to hundreds of fans who greeted him when he got to shore.

"Mad Daddy" reached the peak of his popularity at WHK, hosting record hops and live after-midnight shows dressed in a Dracula costume. In July 1959 he moved to WHK's sister station in New York, WNEW 1130 AM, where "Mad Daddy" was not well received. He played it straight as Pete Myers there until 1963, when he moved to 1010 WINS and resumed the "Mad Daddy Show." This show was syndicated to other stations until WINS changed format to all-news in 1965.

As again just Pete Myers, he returned to WNEW once more. Myers lived until October 4, 1968, when he took his own life in New York City.

➦In 1971…WNEW 102.7 FM in New York City became the first radio station anywhere to play Don McLean‘s “American Pie,” in its extended playing time of 8:36.

➦In 1977…Elvis Presley's final concert took place at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Before the show Elvis was presented with a plaque commemorating the 2 billionth Presley record to come out of RCA's pressing plant. He appeared pale, weak, and overweight. He died 51 days later.

➦In 1990...8 Radio stations in Kansas and Oklahoma boycott k d lang, due to her anti-meat ad.

k d lang
LS Radio Inc., a Wichita-based company with seven stations in Kansas and one in Oklahoma, pulled k.d. lang's records Thursday. So did the Shepherd Group, which has three stations in Missouri and one in Montana.

The spot also irritated Larry Steckline, a Wichita broadcaster who owns five country stations in Kansas, the top beef state in the United States. Steckline, a farmer-rancher, said he had ''no problem with her being a vegetarian. . . . My problem is somebody with a name in this industry coming down hard on the number one industry in our state. That's not what I call ladylike.''

Great Empire Broadcasting Inc., another Kansas chain with 10 stations in five states, gathered listener reaction as it considered joining the boycott. Mike Oatman, Great Empire's chief executive officer and general manager of a station in Wichita, reported that 60 percent of the callers favored continuing to play k.d. lang's records and 40 percent favored banning them.

Jeanette McCurdy is 28

  • Jazz pianist Dave Grusin is 86. 
  • Singer Billy Davis Junior of the Fifth Dimension is 82. 
  • Singer Georgie Fame is 77. 
  • Actor Clive Francis (“The Crown”) is 74. 
  • Singer Brenda Holloway is 74. 
  • Actor Robert Davi (“Profiler”) is 69. 
  • Musician Mick Jones of The Clash is 65. 
  • Actor Gedde Watanabe (“ER,” ″Sixteen Candles”) is 65. 
  • Singer Chris Isaak is 64. 
  • Singer Patty Smyth is 63. 
  • Singer Terri Nunn of Berlin is 61. 
  • Singer Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays is 57. 
  • Guitarist Eddie Perez of The Mavericks is 52. 
  • Bassist Colin Greenwood of Radiohead is 51. 
  • Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (“Magnolia,” ″Boogie Nights”) is 50. 
  • Actor Sean Hayes (“Will and Grace”) is 50. 
  • Actor Matt Letscher (“Eli Stone,” ″The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is 50. 
  • Actor Chris O’Donnell is 50. 
  • Actor Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”) is 50. 
  • Keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein of Newsboys is 46. 
  • Country singer Gretchen Wilson is 46. 
  • Drummer Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon is 41. 
  • Singer Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic is 41. 
  • Actor Jason Schwartzman (“Slackers,” ″Rushmore”) is 40. 
  • Actress Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) is 36. 
  • Actress Jennette McCurdy (“iCarly”) is 28. 
  • Singer-actress Ariana Grande is 27.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

BIA Revises Local Radio Advertising Estimates Downward

BIA Advisory Services has reduced its early second quarter 2020 forecast for U.S. local radio advertising due to the impact of the pandemic on the national economy. The new revenue estimate is $12.8 billion, broken down to $11.4 billion for over-the-air revenue and $1.4 billion for digital revenue (including local advertising sold by streaming companies), compared with the $14.3 billion combined forecast earlier this year.

By comparison, in 2019 local radio stations generated $12.8 billion in over-the-air revenue and just over $1 billion in digital. This was a -1.6 percent decrease in total revenue from 2018. The 2020 revenue estimate indicates a -10.7 percent decrease in over the air advertising revenue from 2019. One area of growth for radio is in digital. According to the latest Share of Ear® update from Edison Research, a portion of AM/FM radio listening online hit 10 percent for the first time in May.

“In 2018, we projected that radio’s digital platforms would reach $1 billion by 2019 and last year the industry hit this mark,” said Mark Fratrik, SVP and Chief Economist, BIA Advisory Services. “For 2020, our ad forecast shows that digital sales, including streaming, will stay steady. Then by 2021, Radio online[1] revenue will start to climb back up again. On the over-the-air side, we see a bigger COVID hit, with a steep drop in 2020 and some recovery back by 2021.”

BIA’s analysis reveals the following verticals will spend the most on radio in 2020:
  • Finance/Insurance $2.00 B
  • Retail $1.97 B
  • Automotive $1.50 B
  • Technology $1.30 B
These industries may benefit from the continuing shift in radio listening from the car to the home as at-home audio environment features give consumers multiple opportunities to consume promotions. Streaming has become a major growth opportunity for broadcasters to maintain existing audiences and attract new, younger listeners. BIA’s revenue estimate drops to $12.5 billion when streaming ad revenue is not included.

“Audiences are spending more time on streaming and podcasting in ways they haven’t in pre-pandemic times,” said Rick Ducey, BIA Managing Director. “These new audio habits are likely to take root and grow over time and advertisers will look to all platforms to promote their message. Radio sellers who see and respond to the audience and advertiser acceleration to digital audio with new formats, content and appeal for different demo groups will see better than average performances.”

The Rundown: COVID-19 Deaths Pass 121,000

➤U.S., THREE MOST POPULOUS STATES SET RECORDS FOR NEW DAILY CORONAVIRUS CASES: Amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the South and West, the U.S. and the nation's three most populous states -- California, Texas and Florida -- all reported new coronavirus case numbers Wednesday that set daily records. More than 36,000 new cases were reported for the country, topping the previous one-day record of 34,203 cases on April 25th. California reported 7,149 new cases, far surpassing the previous record from a day earlier of just over 5,000.

Governor Gavin Newsom cited the Bible as he urged mask-wearing, distancing and handwashing, asking state residents to, quote, "love thy neighbors, like yourself, please." Texas reported 5,551 cases yesterday, breaking the record from the day before of 5,489, and Governor Greg Abbott urged people to stay home because, quote, "the spread is so rampant right now." Florida reported a new daily record of 5,511 cases, up 25 percent from its record set last week. Beyond those three states, Arizona is seeing the highest number of new cases per capita of any state. Overall, at least 26 states are seeing a rise in cases compared to the week before.

There have been more than 121,900 deaths in the U.S. as of last night, according to Johns Hopkins University's count, and more than 2,380,000 confirmed cases.

N.Y., N.J., CT Implement Quarantine for Travelers: After beating down their coronavirus outbreaks that were once the worst in the nation, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey yesterday (June 24th) asked that travelers to their states from states that currently have high infection rates quarantine for 14 days after they arrive. It applies to those coming from states with a positive test rate above 10 per 10,000 residents on a seven-day average, or with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over seven days, and as of Wednesday, those states are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down, and we don't want to see it go up." Back in March, when New York was the epicenter of the nation's outbreak, Florida and Texas both required travelers from the New York tri-state area to quarantine for 14 days.

➤THREE INDICTED ON MURDER CHARGES IN ARBERY'S KILLING: A Georgia grand jury has indicted three white men -- Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. -- on murder and other charges in the February killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was running through their neighborhood, prosecutor Joyette Holmes announced Wednesday. The McMichaels, who are father and son, told police they grabbed their firearms and drove after Arbery when they saw him running through their neighborhood outside the city of Brunswick because they suspected he was a burglar. Arbery's family has said he was out jogging. Bryan said he saw the McMichaels driving by and joined the chase, and it was his leaked cellphone video of Arbery's fatal shooting on May 7th, allegedly by Travis McMichaels, that led to the McMichaels' arrest more than two months after the killing, and then to his arrest as well.

➤APPEALS COURT ORDERS MICHAEL FLYNN'S CASE DISMISSED: A three-judge panel of a federal appeals court ordered in a 2-1 decision yesterday that the criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump's first national security adviser, for lying to the FBI be dismissed.

Michael Flynn
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had refused to immediately dismiss the case after the Justice Department's extraordinary decision in May to drop the prosecution after Flynn had twice pled guilty. He instead appointed a retired federal judge to argue against the Justice Department’s position and to consider whether Flynn could be held in contempt for perjury. But the appeals court decision said Sullivan overstepped, calling his examination of the request "irregular and searching."

Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations during the post-election transition with Russia's ambassador about U.S. sanctions on Russia. In requesting the case's dismissal, the Justice Department said the FBI interview with Flynn should never have taken place because his contacts with the ambassador were "entirely appropriate," and also said the lie he told wasn't "material" to an investigation. The retired judge appointed by Sullivan, John Gleeson, blasted the Justice Department's dismissal request, accusing it of creating a pretext to benefit an ally of President Trump.

➤TRUMP SAYS SOME U.S. TROOPS TO BE MOVED FROM GERMANY TO POLAND: President Trump hosted Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House yesterday, and said that some of the 10,000 U.S. troops he's pulling out of Germany will be moved to Poland. Trump has previously said he will cut the number of troops in Germany from 35,000 to 25,000. Speaking in the Rose Garden, Trump said transferring troops to Poland sends a strong signal against Russian aggression, but also criticized Germany several times, saying it's not meeting its payment pledge to NATO and is buying energy from Russia. Duda's visit was the first by a foreign head of state to the White House since the coronavirus pandemic began.
➤BAYER TO PAY UP TO $10.9 BILLION TO SETTLE ROUNDUP WEEDKILLER LITIGATION: Bayer said Wednesday that it will pay up to $10.9 billion to settle litigation over Roundup weedkiller, made by its subsidiary Monsanto. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed claiming that Roundup causes cancer, and Bayer said the settlement involves about 125,000 claims. Bayer said last year that government regulators haven't found a link between cancer and the Roundup herbicide glyphosate.
➤DISNEYLAND REOPENING POSTPONED: Disney announced yesterday that it's postponing the reopening of Disneyland and its other Southern California theme park, Disney California Adventure, as it waits on guidelines from the state. Disney had planned to reopen them on July 17th. California has said it won't issue guidelines until after July 4th, and Disney said, "Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials." Disney didn't give a new reopening date. The company indicated it still plans to go ahead with reopening Disney World in Florida on July 11th as scheduled.

➤GNC FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY: Health and wellness company GNC has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and plans to close down 800 to 1,200 of its stores, according to USA Today. GNC also said that it will either reorganize or sell itself. The chain has about 5,200 stores in the U.S. and 7,300 around the world. The company was already burdened with debt and planning to close hundreds of locations before the coronavirus pandemic. GMC began in 1935 as a store selling sandwiches and yogurt in Pittsburgh.

➤PGA TOUR TO BE STRICTER ABOUT CORONAVIRUS, SEVERAL PLAYERS WITHDRAW FROM TRAVELERS: PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said Wednesday (June 24th) that there will be extra coronavirus testing and stricter monitoring of protocols to prevent the spread of the virus going forward, after three positive tests this week ahead of the Travelers Championship, which begins in Connecticut today. Player Cameron Champ and caddies Ricky Elliott and Ken Comboy have tested positive since arriving at TPC River Highlands for the Travelers. Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from the tournament despite a negative test because Elliott caddies for him. Graeme McDowell also withdrew despite testing negative because Comboy caddies for him. Brooks' brother, Chase Koepka, withdrew, as did Webb Simpson, despite testing negative, after he just won the RBC Heritage on Sunday. Nick Watney was the first player to test positive, doing so last week.

➤SPORTSWORLD CORONAVIRUS CASES: There were more reports yesterday of people in sports testing positive:
  • NBA: The Indiana Pacers' Malcolm Brogdon and Jabari Parker and Alex Len of the Sacramento Kings said they have tested positive.
  • MLB: Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon tested positive, according to AP, the first MLB player known to have done so. The Denver Post had reported Tuesday that three Rockies players had tested positive.

➤NEW YORK CITY MARATHON CANCELED: The New York City Marathon was canceled Wednesday (June 24th) because of the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out was supposed to be the 50th anniversary of the world's largest marathon. Organizers and city officials decided that it would be too risky to hold the race, with virus concerns for runners, volunteers and spectators. The marathon had been scheduled to take place on November 1st.