Saturday, August 8, 2020

August 9 Radio History

➦In newscaster Robert McCormick, for more than 30 years a feature member of the NBC news corps, was born in Danville, KY.

The Depression curtailed his formal education, one day he dropped in at the old Washington DC Daily News in hopes of getting a baseball game pass. Instead, he was hired at 18 as a copy boy. He stayed at the News six years as a sports editor, city editor and columnist. He then became Washington correspondent for Colliers magazine, then a major and influential publication.

Robert McCormick
In 1942, when Colliers refused to send him abroad as a World War II correspondent, he moved to NBC. The following year he became central Pacific correspondent, based first at Pearl Harbor and then at Guam. He roamed much of the Pacific and was shot at by Japanese snipers while covering the conquest of Iwo Jima. Many years later he was shot at by rebels in Angola while covering the rebellion against Portuguese rule.

In this country, Mr. McCormick's assignments included many political conventions. They included the 1948 Democratic and Republican conclaves, the first to be covered by television.

When he returned from Europe in 1955 and to his home in Bethesda, he was assigned first to the State Department and then the Capitol, particularly the Senate. He was praised on the Senate floor when he retired from the network in 1976.

For some time Mr. McCormick struggled with alcoholism. Not only did he win, but he became so interested in the lack of treatment for the disease that he wrote a book about it, "Facing Alcoholism," recently reprinted.

He died of heart failure at age 74.

Rex Stout
➦In 1942...CBS radio broadcasts the debut of "Our Secret Weapon." Our Secret Weapon (1942–1943) was a radio series created to counter Axis shortwave radio propaganda broadcasts during World War II.

Writer Rex Stout, chairman of the Writers' War Board and representative of Freedom House, would rebut the most entertaining lies of the week. Sponsored by Freedom House and Philco, the 15-minute weekly series was broadcast Sundays at 7 p.m. ET through October 18, 1942, then Fridays at 7:15 p.m. ET through its final broadcast October 8, 1943.

"Secret Weapon was designed to whip up and excite the nation to a greater war effort — in industry in buying war bonds, in every avenue toward victory," said series creator Sue Taylor White of Freedom House.

➦In 1945....Radio brought news of the dropping of a second atomic bomb which caused Japan’s surrender ending World War II. The US Air Force exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki, instantly killing an estimated 39,000 people. The explosion came just three days after a similar atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

In 1964...Storer-owned WJBK 1500 AM in Detroit, dropped Top40 music and adopted an easy-listening format.

In 1954, WJBK moved to its current frequency at 1500 AM with 10,000 watts. By this time, Storer Broadcasting owned WJBK-AM-FM and had also signed on WJBK-TV on channel 2 as Detroit's CBS TV affiliate. In 1956, WJBK became the first radio station in Detroit to feature the Top 40 format 24 hours a day; WJBK also published Detroit's first printed survey of the station's most popular songs for distribution at local record stores, dubbed "Formula 45" (which became the station's catchphrase). WJBK's chief competitor in the format during the late 1950s and early 1960s was WXYZ/1270, and the two stations were frequently neck-and-neck in the ratings. 

Since WJBK had retained ownership of the "Jack the Bellboy" name after Ed McKenzie left the station, there were several more "Jack the Bellboy"s at Radio 15 during the late 1950s and early 1960s, including Tom Clay (known for creating a romantic aura on the air), Dave Shafer, Terry Knight and Robin Walker. Other popular WJBK personalities included longtime morning host Marc Avery, midday host Clark Reid and afternoon drive personality Robert E. Lee (who claimed to be an actual descendant of the legendary Confederate Civil War general and opened his show every afternoon with a "Rebel Yell").

In 1962, WJBK was granted 50,000 watts day and 5,000 watts, night.

Then, WKNR "Keener 13" was launched at 1310 AM on Halloween 1963, burying the Motor City's Top 40 competition - including WJBK - in its wake with a shorter playlist and a tighter, more energetic presentation than any other station in the market. WJBK gave up the fight in 1964 and switched to an easy listening music format. In 1966 the station tweaked to an early version of what would today be called Hot Adult Contemporary, featuring a mix of softer Hot 100 chart hits from the likes of the Mamas & the Papas, B.J. Thomas, Nancy Sinatra and Bob Dylan, and select album cuts. Through the changes, ratings remained low. The station made a second attempt at Top 40 in 1969 with a lineup of disc jockeys that included K.O. Bayley, Lee 'Baby' Simms, Tom Dean, Jim Hampton and CKLW mainstay Tom Shannon, but it lasted only a few months.

WJBK made another run at Top 40 format in 1969.  The format lasted only a few months. WJBK dropped Top 40 late in 1969 and became WDEE, airing a country format.  It used a Top 40-style sound to present country sound, driving old-style country competitor WEXL out of the format. WDEE also aired a racy program called “Fem Forum,” in which female listeners called in to share their sexual frustrations.

Today 1500 AM is WLQV and airs religious programming.

➦In 1978...The great 88-day NYC newspaper strike began.  During the strike, leader William J. Kennedy delighted his union's members, but angered managers at The Daily News, The New York Post and The New York Times, by digging in against the newspapers' demands to cut back the number of people operating their printing presses.

➦In 2015...former pro footall star/TV commentator Frank Gifford died one week short of his 85th birthday. A post mortem found that he had been suffering from the football-centered brain injury CTE.  For 27 years he was a commentator for ABC-TV’s Monday Night Football.  From 1986 he was married to TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford.

Jessica Capshaw is 44
  • Actor Cynthia Harris (“Mad About You,” “L.A. Law”) is 86. 
  • Jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette is 78. 
  • Comedian David Steinberg is 78. 
  • Actor Sam Elliott is 76. 
  • Singer Barbara Mason is 73. 
  • Actor Melanie Griffith is 63. 
  • Actor Amanda Bearse (“Married...With Children”) is 62. 
  • Rapper Kurtis Blow is 61. “Today” co-host Hoda Kotb is 56. 
  • Actor Pat Petersen (“Knots Landing”) is 54. 
  • Actor Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”) is 52. 
  • Actor Eric Bana (“Star Trek,” ″The Hulk”) is 52. 
  • News correspondent Chris Cuomo is 50. 
  • Actor Thomas Lennon (new “The Odd Couple,” ″Reno 911!”) is 50. 
  • Bassist Arion Salazar (Third Eye Blind) is 50. 
  • Rapper Mack 10 is 49. 
  • Singer Juanes is 48. 
  • Actor Liz Vassey (“CSI,” ″All My Children”) is 48. 
  • Actor Kevin McKidd (“Grey’s Anatomy”) is 47. 
  • Actor Rhona Mitra (“Nip/Tuck,” “Boston Legal”) is 45. 
  • Actor Jessica Capshaw (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Practice”) is 44. 
  • Actor Ashley Johnson (“The Help”) is 37. 
  • Actor Anna Kendrick (“Pitch Perfect,” ″Twilight”) is 35.

D-C Radio: WAMU GM EXITS Over Toxic Work Environment

The general manager of Washington, D.C.'s NPR affiliate announced Friday in an email to staff that he is stepping down amid allegations of fostering a toxic work environment at the station.

The Hill reports JJ Yore, who served as WAMU general manager for the past six years, was reportedly pushed to resign after an investigative report last week in the DCist, a site owned by WAMU.

The story included claims surrounding Yore’s handling of misconduct and allegations against former transportation reporter Martin Di Caro, who served in the position from 2012-2017.

“This has been a very difficult decision for me,” Yore wrote in the email to staff on Friday, according to The Washington Post. “However, as I have looked back on the past months, I realize that I have not led the station through recent events in a way that has earned and maintained your trust and that trust is essential to our mutual success and to the success of WAMU.

"I regret the sense that I have let you down which is why I feel I must now step aside," he added.

J J Yore
American University holds the license to WAMU.

The school announced that an investigative task force looking into the allegations made by multiple women at the station will be led by WAMU’s chief content officer Monna Kashfi, as well as two other WAMU officials, the DCist reported.

The university also launched an investigation in July around WAMU managing editor Zuri Berry. The inquiry was launched after three women of color indicated they left their positions at the station because of unpleasant interactions with Berry, according to a report last week by, a nonprofit news service covering media.

Since Yore’s tenure started in 2014, the WAMU newsroom has nearly doubled, membership has grown by a third, and station revenue has increased by 70 percent, according to WAMU. He also oversaw the acquisition of DCist in 2018 and the launch of “1A,” the successor to “The Diane Rehm Show,” which is syndicated to more than 300 public radio stations.

WAMU has 70,000 contributing members. It had received “many” inquiries about the harassment allegations, but as of midweek, fewer than 10 have canceled their continuing contributions, according to WAMU spokeswoman Diane Hockenberry.

American University also  announced the following additional personnel and administrative changes at WAMU:
  • During the next four to six weeks, an interim general manager will be identified and installed.
  • The station will add an HR employee relations consultant who has proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces. The consultant will assess past practices within WAMU and between WAMU and AU and provide recommendations on new structures.
  • Monna Kashfi, WAMU’s interim chief content officer, is being named the permanent chief content officer. Kashfi will oversee the WAMU and DCist newsrooms and all programs, podcasts, and content-related activities.
  • The Leadership Team will undergo diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism training. This training will then be expanded to other managers and staff.
  • A task force will be established immediately to review the culture and make recommendations. It will be chaired by the chief content officer, together with two other leaders who will be identified in the coming days. The task force will include staff representatives from across the organization. Following the conclusion of the task force’s work, a search for a permanent general manager will be launched.
  • The new AU assistant vice president for equity and Title IX, scheduled to start by the beginning of September, will conduct listening sessions with WAMU staff.
  • The existing WAMU working group on social media practices will continue its work and provide recommendations in September.

Senior Executives Out As WarnerMedia Restructures

WarnerMedia’s new boss ousted the leadership of HBO Max, the streaming service that launched less than three months ago, as part of a broader overhaul that aims to simplify how the entertainment giant makes and distributes content, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Chief Executive Jason Kilar said on Friday that he is removing WarnerMedia Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt, who oversaw HBO and HBO Max as well as several other cable channels, and Kevin Reilly, who was the unit’s head of content. All of the WarnerMedia production operations are now being rolled into one unit.

The reorganization puts a single person, Warner Bros. Chair and Chief Executive Ann Sarnoff, in charge of all content that will be distributed on the company’s many platforms, from HBO and HBO Max to its cable channels including TNT and TBS. The changes will also mean layoffs, Mr. Kilar said.

Ann Sarnoff
The decision reflects the entertainment industry’s push to slim itself down in a challenging economy and uncertainty over the effects that the coronavirus pandemic is having on television and movie production.

“I realize this is a lot to take in,” Kilar said in a memo to staff. “And none of us should expect the above changes to be easy. That said, we are successfully navigating a pandemic together and I know that, however challenging the above changes may be, we will also successfully navigate them as well.”

Earlier this week, Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal shuffled executive ranks as part of a similar reorganization, and commenced a round of significant layoffs.

The departure of two high-profile executives who were tasked with guiding the much-ballyhooed launch of HBO Max is certain to raise questions about how that platform is faring and whether it would meet the lofty goals AT&T has for it.

Priced at $14.99, HBO Max is more expensive than its rivals including Netflix Inc., Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+ and NBCUniversal’s new Peacock service. While the service has a very large offering of original programming and classic movies and television shows, the higher price tag and consumer confusion over the differences between it and HBO may be making it a hard sell.

About 4.1 million people had activated the new service by the end of June, AT&T disclosed when it released its earnings last month.

In an interview, Mr. Kilar said that he was very pleased with the platform’s start. He also said the decision to remove Messrs. Greenblatt and Reilly shouldn’t be seen as an indictment of their performance at the helm of HBO Max.

NYC Radio: Craig Carton Docu To Air In October

Craig Carton
HBO Sports and StreetSmartVideo will air a documentary about former WFAN sports radio personality Craig Carton in October.

Carton was convicted of conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud related to a secret gambling addiction in November 2018.

He was subsequently sentenced to 3½ years in prison.

The documentary, titled "Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth," will include Carton's rise and fall in his own words.

“Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time,” Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President of HBO Sports, said in a statement. “Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”

In a press release issued by WarnerMedia, "Carton talks openly about his upbringing in New Rochelle, New York, detailing the childhood trauma he never truly dealt with. He discusses his rise to fame in talk radio that turned him into a star in every market he worked in, culminating back home in New York where he was hired to helm the coveted “drive-time” morning show in the wake of the downfall of Don Imus."

The documentary is scheduled to air on Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Nashville Radio: Jonathan Shaffer Promoted At WGFX

CUMULUS MEDIA announces that it has appointed Jonathan Shaffer to Assistant Program Director for Sports Talk WGFX 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, TN.

Jonathan Shafer
A 14-year veteran of Nashville radio, Shaffer will continue in his role as morning show producer for the station. Prior to joining 104.5 The Zone in 2019, Shaffer was Program Director/Operations Manager for Nashville radio station 650 AM WSM, following four years as Program Director, On-Air Talent and Producer for ESPN 106.7 The Fan for Cumulus Nashville. He holds a B.S. degree in Communication from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Paul Mason, Program Director, 104.5 The Zone/WGFX-FM, said: “Jonathan has demonstrated that he is ready for this challenge. He's earned this opportunity and I look forward to working with him as we move forward toward reaching our goals at 104.5 The Zone."

Jonathan Shaffer commented: "I am proud and honored to be part of such a talented, committed team at 104.5 The Zone. I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to contributing to The Zone's continued success."

Detroit Radio: WWJ Launches Two Community Initiatives

Entercom has announced the launch of “Breaking Down The Barriers,” a two-part community programming initiative on News Radio WWJ 950 AM to celebrate the diversity of the city and its surrounding suburbs. The initiative will include two segments, “Voices of the Community” and “Black Business Minute,” both beginning August 10. “Breaking Down the Barriers” is part of Entercom’s commitment to elevating diverse voices in the communities and across its platforms.

“The diverse citizens of Detroit are an integral part of the fabric of this great city and we’re proud to use our platform to champion their stories,” said Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Detroit. “There are countless cases of business owners and leaders helping residents get through this crisis, and we look forward to employing this series as another way to shine the spotlight on them.”

Hosted by WWJ Traffic Operations Manager Lloyd Jackson, “Voices of the Community” will profile community leaders, activists and residents who are making a difference in their neighborhoods and throughout Detroit. “Voices of the Community” will be available online at

“I look forward to shining a favorable spotlight on the city of Detroit to communicate the current and future positive actions occurring within the community,” said Lloyd Jackson, Traffic Operations Manager, WWJ News Radio 950.

WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas will highlight local businesses in “Black Business Minute.” Black business owners will discuss their companies, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are contributing to the success of Detroit. “Black Business Minute” will air every Monday and Friday at 6:32 a.m., 9:23 a.m., 12:43 p.m., 5:43 p.m. and 7:53 p.m. ET.

“I’m really excited about promoting these black-owned businesses across the metro Detroit area and connecting them with needed resources,” said Vickie Thomas, City Beat Reporter, WWJ News Radio 950.

Jackson joined Entercom in 2017 as Director of Traffic Operations for WWJ News Radio 950. Thomas has served as the station’s City Beat Reporter since 1991.

Paid Streaming Grows as Consumers Head Indoors

With rising COVID-19 cases across the United States, many Americans are spending more time indoors and leaning on entertainment more than ever for information, connection and comfort, reports Billboard.

That’s according to the sixth installment of Nielsen Music/MRC Data’s survey series “COVID-19: Tracking the Impact on the Entertainment Landscape,” which also notes an increased interest in music listening, with the highest percentage of survey respondents yet saying they have added a new audio subscription streaming service over the prior two weeks. Despite mounting fears of the coronavirus, a willingness to return to live events also remains on the uptick, while interest in virtual concerts — and, in particular, opportunities to connect with others through them — has reached its highest level since the start of the pandemic.

Key takeaways from the results of the new report, based on online survey data collected July 8-13 from a representative sample of 1,007 U.S. consumers ages 13 and older.
  • Americans are adding subscription streaming services at a greater rate than ever — but also canceling them more frequently than before.  Though video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu remain the most popular choices during the pandemic, consumers have increasingly turned to music, with 56% of respondents having added a service like Spotify or Apple Music over the past two weeks. That ranks as the highest percentage by far since the first MRC survey was conducted in late March, showing Americans are relying on music more than ever as concerns over job security and contracting the virus also reach new highs. Still, 40% of respondents also said they had canceled an audio or video subscription streaming service over the prior two weeks — the highest total since the start of the pandemic — suggesting services may need to do more to retain their subscribers.
  • Reggae and rock are surging, and country continues to overperform. As genres such as Latin, dance/electronic, R&B/hip-hop and pop continue to trend down, the impressive growth of country music has shown no signs of slowing, with total weekly streams in the genre up a whopping 14.2% since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, reggae — typically a strong performer during the summer months — had the biggest gains in total weekly streams of any genre at 18.3%, suggesting consumers are looking to re-create those relaxing seasonal vibes even as typical outdoor summer activities have been curtailed. Rock, too, rose 1.5%, an increase likely tied to growth in catalog streaming.
  • As consumers spend more time indoors, their use of at-home devices for music listening has experienced an uptick. As lockdown measures increased with the surge in U.S. cases, more consumers reported using at-home devices such as smart speakers (up 6 percentage points to 36%), desktop computers (up 6 points to 33%) and 3D/smart TVs (up 5% to 28%) to listen to music than the last survey period. Meanwhile, the use of mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and laptop computers remained stagnant.

Paid Subs Increase 31 Percent At Gannett

Gannett Co.’s paid digital subscriptions increased 31% year-over-year to 927,000, according to Mediapost citing the publisher’s second-quarter earnings report.

"At no time in our history has the value of high-quality journalism been as clear as it is right now, at this intersection of a global pandemic and a nation in turmoil over systemic racism and inequality,” stated Michael Reed, Gannett Chairman-CEO.

Audiences have turned to Gannett’s publications “in record numbers since the beginning of the pandemic,” he added.

However, like many other publishers, revenue took a hit, due to the public-health crisis.

The second quarter was “significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Reed stated. Revenue fell 28% from a year earlier to $767 million.

The company did see “sequential improvement to revenue each month during the quarter and successfully realized over $125 million of incremental expense savings during the quarter,” Reed noted.

Gannett’s digital advertising and marketing services revenue fell 27% to $104 million, compared to the same quarter in 2019.

Print advertising revenue went down 45% to $188 million. Circulation revenue declined 14% to $342 million.

The media company reported adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $78 million.

In November 2019, New Media acquired Gannett, and changed its company name to Gannett Co. The $1.1 billion merger created the largest U.S. media company by print circulation — it owns more than 260 daily publications, including USA Today.

August 8 Radio History

➦In 1933...singer Joe Tex was born Joseph Arrington, Jr. in Baytown Texas. This soul and Disco singer-songwriter was most popular during the 1960s and 1970s leading the Joe Tex Band. His style of speaking over music, which he called “rap”, made him a predecessor of the modern style of music. His hits include I Gotcha, Hold What You’ve Got, Skinny Legs and All, and Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman. He died following a heart attack Aug 13, 1982 just days after his 49th birthday.

➦In 1952...Robin Quivers, famous sidekick to Howard Stern, was born.

Robin Quivers
In 1979 after military service, Quivers returned to her hometown of Baltimore where she studied at the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland and worked in a hospital.  She landed her first job in the radio industry with a newscasting position at WIOO 1000 AM in Carlisle, PA, followed by WCMB 1460 AM in nearby Harrisburg. She then moved back to Baltimore for a consumer reporter role at WFBR, where she also read newscasts with morning disc jockey Johnny Walker.

In March 1981, radio personality Howard Stern started his new morning program at WWDC in Washington, D.C.. He wanted an on-air newscaster to riff with him in the studio on the news and current affairs.   That was when station program director Denise Oliver played Quivers a tape of Stern interviewing a prostitute on the air.  She "had never heard anything like it...I just said, 'where do I sign? I’ll do anything just to meet this guy!'"

➦In 1952..WMCA 570 AM NYC banned singer Rosemary Clooney's latest hit 'Botch-A-Me.

➦In 1963..."Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen was released and some radio stations thought it contained obscene lyrics.

➦In 1966...WABC moved to 1330 Avenue of the Americas

➦In 1982...WNBC-AM, New York City began broadcasting in AM Stereo.

➦In 1986...legendary DJs, Bobby Ocean and Dr. Don Rose aired their last shows on KFRC 610 AM, San Francisco.
From 1973 until 1986, Dr. Don Rose (Born Donald Rosenberg July 5, 1934–March 30, 2005) was KFRC's morning air radio personality.

With earlier experience at WQXI 790 AM in Atlanta and WFIL 560 AM in Philadelphia, he was known for his one-liners and sound effects. One of Rose's characteristic "sound bite" mannerisms around this time period was to state the words "that's right" in a continuous fashion that was intended to sound "crazy", or funny, which also served to represent the overall morning zoo radio format, style and "feel" of his show. Rose revealed in a Risky Business 1980s television interview that he earned in excess of $300K a year, still incredible compensation by today's radio personality standards.

With Dr. Don as anchor, and a supporting cast that included Bobby Ocean, Rick Shaw, Dave Sholin, Harry Nelson, Bay Area Hall of Fame inductee Don Sainte-Johnn, "Marvelous" Mark McKay and John Mack Flanagan, KFRC was "Station of the Year" four times by Billboard Magazine. Rose was considered by many to be the king of radio in the Bay Area during the last decade of AM's musical dominance. KFRC program directors during this period included Michael Spears, Les Garland, Gerry Cagle and Mike Phillips.

KFRC was known for its award-winning news department. It covered Bay Area news stories with tight writing, use of natural sound, short sound bites, live reports. Some of the best news anchors and reporters worked at KFRC in the '70s and '80s including Jo Interrante, Dave Cooke, Paul Fredricks, John Winters, Vikki Liviakis, Robert McCormick, Dave MacQueen, Stephen Capen, Mike Sugerman, Ken Bastida, John Evans, Joanne Greene, Jane Dornacker, and reporter, anchor and later News Director William Abbott. Known for his unique, confident style, would end each report with the station's signature, "This is William Abbott, KFRC 20/20 News".

Among the disc jockeys at KFRC during the 1980s were, in addition to Ocean and Rose, Chuck Geiger, future AT&T Park public-address announcer Renel Brooks-Moon and future Los Angeles radio programmer Jack Silver, who would be the last voice heard when KFRC ended its Top 40 era. Technically, Don Sainte-Johnn was the last Air Personality on KFRC (with all respect to Programmer Jack Silver, who was a manager, not considered Air Talent for KFRC). Sainte-Johnn had been specifically hired for KFRC as an Air Personality.

With the decline of the Top 40 format by mid-decade, KFRC's programming was flipped at 6 AM on August 11, 1986, to an adult standards format, and was known as "Magic 61", while still broadcasting in stereo. The last song to be played before the change was "Lights" by Journey, which had also been used in KFRC's TV advertising. Today, 610 AM is home to KEAR, a non-commercial traditional Christian radio station. KEAR is the flagship station of Family Radio,

➦In 2002...New York's WNNY 1380 AM changes call letters to WLXE. Today 1380 AM is home to WKDM,  an ethnic brokered radio station owned by Multicultural Broadcasting and airs programming in Mandarin Chinese,

➦In 2017...singer/songwriter/guitarist/actor Glen Campbell died at age 81, three years after moving into an Alzheimer’s long-term care home. He was best known for a series of hit songs in the 1960s and 1970s, and for hosting his own music and comedy variety show on CBS television, from January 1969 through June 1972.

He released more than 70 albums in a career that spanned five decades, accumulating over 45 million record sales worldwide.

Lindsay Sloane is 43
  • Actor Nita Talbot is 90. 
  • Actor Dustin Hoffman is 83. 
  • Actor Connie Stevens is 82. 
  • Country singer Phil Balsley of The Statler Brothers is 81. 
  • Actor Larry Wilcox (“CHiPS”) is 73. 
  • Actor Keith Carradine (“Madam Secretary”) is 71. 
  • Drummer Anton Fig (“Late Show With David Letterman”) is 67. 
  • Actor Donny Most (“Happy Days”) is 67. 
  • Keyboardist Dennis Drew of 10,000 Maniacs is 63. 
  • Actor-turned-investment banker Harry Crosby (“Friday the 13th”) is 62. 
  • News anchor Deborah Norville is 62. 
  • Guitarist The Edge of U2 is 59. 
  • Drummer Rikki Rockett of Poison is 59. 
  • Rapper Kool Moe Dee is 58. 
  • Singer Scott Stapp of Creed is 47. 
  • Country singer Mark Wills is 47. 
  • Guitarist Tom Linton of Jimmy Eat World is 45. 
  • Singer J.C. Chasez of ’N Sync is 44. 
  • Singer Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees is 44. 
  • Actor Tawny Cypress (“Heroes”) is 44. 
  • Singer Marsha Ambrosius (Floetry) is 43. 
  • Actor Lindsay Sloane (“Sabrina the Teenage Witch”) is 43. 
  • Actor Countess Vaughn (“The Parkers,” ″Moesha”) is 42. 
  • Actor Michael Urie (“Ugly Betty”) is 40. 
  • Actor Meagan Good (“Think Like a Man”) is 39. 
  • Guitarist Eric Howk of Portugal. The Man is 39. 
  • Actor Jackie Cruz (“Orange Is the New Black”) is 36. 
  • Singer Shawn Mendes is 22. 
  • Actor Bebe Wood (“The Real O’Neals”) is 19.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Entercom Reports 2Q Revenue Dropped 54 Percent

Entercom Communications Corp. today reported financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2020.

Second Quarter Summary
  • Reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy at large, the broadcasting sector and Entercom’s business, net revenues for the quarter were $175.9 million, down 54%, compared to $380.7 million in the second quarter of 2019
  • Spot revenue declined 65% on a year-over-year basis while digital revenue rose 19%
  • Reflecting the Company’s cost management initiatives implemented to address the pandemic and lower levels of advertising spending, station expenses for the quarter declined 32% to $188.9 million, compared to $277.9 million in the second quarter of 2019 while corporate expenses for the quarter declined 45% to $8.4 million, compared to $15.2 million in the second quarter of 2019
  • Operating loss for the quarter was $45.3 million, which included a non-cash impairment charge of $4.2 million, compared to operating income of $64.8 million in the second quarter of 2019. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was a loss of $20.0 million, compared to income of $87.6 million in the second quarter of 2019
  • Net loss per diluted share for the quarter was $0.40, compared to net income of $0.19 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2019
  • Adjusted net loss per diluted share for the quarter was $0.28, compared to adjusted net income of $0.26 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2019
David J. Field, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “While Entercom generated significant revenue and EBITDA growth prior to the pandemic, second quarter results reflect the impact of the national economic challenges that quickly emerged as many advertisers closed businesses and significantly reduced their ad spend. Given our national leadership position in sports, second quarter top-line results were also significantly impacted by the cancellation of virtually all scheduled sporting events during the quarter. Excluding the impact of cancelled sports play-by-play, second quarter revenues declined 47%. However, after bottoming out in April, we have achieved significant sequential improvement every month through the Summer with third quarter business on books already 30% greater than where the second quarter finished.”

David Field
“The pandemic challenges accelerated our on-going transformation initiatives with a heightened focus on enhancing our business model, accelerating our growth opportunities, more fully integrating our powerful product offerings, and improving our service to both listeners and customers. In this regard, we implemented a range of company-wide initiatives, which lowered second quarter total cash operating expense by approximately $97 million, which exceeded our budget. In addition, we secured our strong liquidity position through an amendment to our credit facility and ended the second quarter with $208 million of cash, up from $189 million at the end of March.”

“Looking ahead, as the country’s #1 creator of original, premium audio content with robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, sports and news, Entercom is strategically well-positioned for future growth and performance. Improving revenue trends combined with enhancements to our business model and active management of our balance sheet will enable Entercom to emerge as an even stronger company and build meaningful shareholder value. I want to thank our team for their resilience, dedication, and exceptional work as they have gone above and beyond to serve our listeners, advertisers and communities under the most challenging of circumstances over the past several months.”

Philly Radio: KYW's Iconic Teletype Sound Is Gone

Longtime Philadelphia listeners know that clickclickclick sound well. For decades, they tuned into KYW Newsradio to listen to local news reported with the sound of a clacking teletype in the background.

But the station has stopped using that sound — an iconic Philadelphia radio noise is gone.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the station’s explanation came with a generous dash of antiquarian whimsy.

“They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986, and our supply finally ran out — so alas, Old Reliable is out of commission until further notice,” Alex Silverman, KYW’s brand manager, said in a statement. “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW Newsradio, and the sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”

Last spring, Entercom's KYW revealed its new jingle, which pops up as the transition for traffic, weather, and breaking news. Although the station had updated its jingle every few years, it had been more than a decade since it was changed so dramatically. The new jingle includes more live instruments, including local string musicians, trumpets, piano, guitar and brass.

KYW stopped broadcasting school closing numbers in 2017, and dozens of people shared their memories of anxiously waiting to hear that “magic snow-day number,” The Inquirer previously reported. The station cited the many ways families were getting this news — school website, texts, social media — without having to tune into the radio as a reason to end this ritual.

When news of the change was reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer late Thursday, Silverman got into a Twitter exchange with Steve Capus, the Bucks County native and Temple University graduate who went on to become president of NBC News and executive editor of CBS News, according to The Philadelphia Business Journal.

Capus responded to the news with "another iconic Philadelphia sound" of booing and added, “Love @KYWNewsradio but don’t like this decision. Feels like a 'New Coke' idea.”

Silverman replied to Capus, saying that he didn’t see the switch as a wholesale change and noting that KYW’s presentation has evolved over the years.

“Have to ask the question – does a canned sound of an obsolete device still fit?” Silverman said. “One’s nostalgia is another’s anachronism, and yet another’s 'what the heck is that?'”

In addition to being KYW’s program director, Silverman has taken on the title of brand manager for the station. With that comes the challenge of adapting an AM all-news station to the challenges of modern radio listeners, who don’t frequent the AM dial as much as their parents and grandparents, have access to more news sources and demand information when they want it. Ratings at the station have sagged in recent years, though it still regularly sits among the top five in overall listeners each month.

So perhaps it is not a surprise that Silverman chose to focus on modernizing KYW’s jingle, logo and teletype.

Day 4: July 2020 PPMs Out for Austin, Nashville, 10 Other Markets

Nielsen on Thursday, August 6, 2020 released the final batch of July 2020 PPM data for the following markets:

 32  Autstin

 38  Raleigh-Durham NC

 39  Indianapolis

 40 Nashville

 42 Milwaukee-Racine

 44  Providence-Warwick-Pawtucket RI

 45  Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News VA

 46  Jacksonville FL

 47  West Palm Beach-Boca Raton FL

 48  Greensboro-Winston Salem-High Point NC

 51  Memphis

 52  Hartford-New Britain-Middletown CT

Click Here to view Topline numbers for subscribing Nielsen stations.

NAB's Gordon Smith Continues On The Mend

Gordon Smith
NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith was initially believe to have suffered a stroke Tuesday. 

An update reveals he did not have a but underwent a procedure for remove a blood clot before actually causing a stroke.

Last evening Smith wrote a letter to his “friends,” in which he expressed his gratefulness for the “outpouring of support” from all.

It was also reported that Smith, Smith was responding well to treatment, was stable and alert, and was resting comfortably.

Smith's open letter follows:

To my friends,

I am so grateful for the outpouring of support from all of you. Your prayers and kind words have meant the world to me and my family. I am delighted to tell you that after a very extensive MRI last night it was discovered that I did have a blood clot, but thanks to the quick medical intervention I received, an actual stroke was averted. As a result, my prognosis is extremely positive and there is no permanent damage. I am so grateful to Sharon for immediately jumping into action and getting me the medical attention needed in order to have this outcome, for Sue Keenom and Karen Wright for all of their help getting information to my medical team, and to the doctors and nurses who took such great care of me.

I am indeed a man blessed for all the prayers that were said on my behalf and for the love that I have felt. Even though I am not often on social media I have been forwarded the many Tweets and postings that have sent well wishes my way and to say I am humbled is an understatement. I look forward to seeing you all soon – if only on Zoom.



The Rundown: Virus Relief Deal On Brink Of Collapse

Talks on a new coronavirus relief package were on the brink of collapse last night after another meeting yesterday led to little progress on reaching agreement between House Democrats and the White House and Senate Republicans. President Trump is considering using executive orders to address evictions and unemployment, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said yesterday, "The President’s first choice is to do a deal. . . . If we conclude tomorrow that there is not a compromise position on the major issues the president has alternatives." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said of what the Democrats want, "We believe the patient needs a major operation while Republicans want to apply just a Band-Aid," while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laid the blame on the Democrats, saying, "Day after day, they’ve stonewalled the president’s team."

The U.S. has had more than 160,104 deaths from the coronavirus as of early this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University's count, an increase of some 1,900 deaths from the same time 24 hours earlier, and more than 4,883,500 confirmed cases.

A study out yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that people with the coronavirus who are asymptomatic are just as contagious as those who show symptoms, backing up what had been suspected. Researchers found that asymptomatic people have about as much of the virus in their nose, throat, and lungs as those with symptoms, and carry that viral load just as long as symptomatic people.

1.2 Million Apply for First-Time Unemployment Benefits: Nearly 1.2 million Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department reported yesterday, down 249,000 from the week before after rising for two straight weeks, but still marking the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people filed for the first time. Before the pandemic hit, it had never been over 700,000 in one week, even during the Great Recession.

U.S. Lifts Warning Against Any International Travel: The State Department yesterday lifted its warning against any international travel because of the coronavirus pandemic that it issued on March 19th, saying that conditions have improved enough in some places to return to issuing country-specific warnings. However, Americans still are restricted from visiting by many countries, including those in the European Union, because of the state of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

Ohio Gov. DeWine Negative for Virus After Positive Earlier in Day: Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine tested negative for the coronavirus yesterday after having tested positive earlier in the day before he was supposed to meet with President Trump. The test DeWine took the second time was a different type that's considered to be more accurate than the rapid-result test that said he was positive. He plans to take another test on Saturday.


New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the National Rifle Association yesterday alleging fraud, as she seeks to shut the powerful gun rights organization down. The lawsuit claims that top NRA executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for personal trips, no-show contracts for associates, and other questionable purposes. James charged the NRA, quote, "has operated as a breeding ground for greed, abuse and brazen illegality." The lawsuit also named the NRA's longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre, and three other current and former executives, with LaPierre accused of spending millions of dollars on private travel and personal security, accepting expensive gifts from vendors, and setting up a $17 million contract without board approval that he'd get if he were to leave the NRA. The NRA's headquarters is in Virginia, but it was chartered as a nonprofit in New York in 1871 and is incorporated in the state.

NRA President Carolyn Meadows called James a "political opportunist" pursuing a "vendetta" with an attack on its members' Second Amendment rights, and announced a countersuit.

➤BIPARTISAN CALLS FOR POSTAL SERVICE TO REVERSE CHANGES DELAYING MAIL, DELIVERIES: Republican and Democratic lawmakers are calling on the U.S. Postal Service to immediately reverse changes to its operations made by the new postmaster general that are causing delays in mail and deliveries across the country, and is causing additional worries ahead of an expected big increase in mail-in voting this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. The cost-cutting changes made last month by the new postmaster general installed by President Trump, Republican fundraiser Louis DeJoy, eliminate overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and require that mail be kept until the next day if distribution centers are running late.

➤DAY, TODD TIED FOR LEAD AFTER PGA CHAMPIONSHIP OPENING ROUND: Australian Jason Day and Brendon Todd of the U.S. are tied at the top of the leaderboard after the opening round Thursday of the PGA Championship, one of men's golf's four majors, at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. At 5-under 65, they were one stroke ahead of nine players behind them tied for second place. Tiger Woods ended the first round three strokes back.

➤66 NFL PLAYERS OPT OUT OF SEASON: A total of 66 NFL players have opted out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic as of yesterday's deadline. Nearly half of them are lineman, 20 offensive and 11 defensive, and there were no quarterbacks. The New England Patriots have the most players opting out, eight, and the Cleveland Browns were next with five players. Only three teams -- the Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers -- have no players opting out.

➤TEXAS TECH FIRES WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH STOLLINGS OVER ABUSE CLAIMS: Texas Tech fired women's basketball coach Marlene Stollings Thursday, one day after a USA Today report on claims of a culture of abuse in her program. Players have made claims of abuse over the past two years that she's been the coach, including being required to maintain a heart rate of at least 90 percent capacity during games, being subjected to demeaning and threatening comments, and being targeted by sexually suggestive behavior from a strength coach who has since resigned. More than half of the players, 12 of 21, left the program over the two years.

➤YELICH HITS INSIDE-THE-PARK HOME RUN IN BREWERS' 8-3 WIN OVER WHITE SOX: Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich hit an inside-the-park home run -- the first of his career -- in the Brewers' 8-3 win over the Chicago White Sox last night. Yelich was able to score the run in the fifth inning after a misplay by Chicago left fielder Eloy Jimenez. The inside-the-park home run was the 30th in Brewers' franchise history.

➤NOTRE DAME WON'T PLAY NAVY FOR FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN 90 YEARS: The Atlantic Coast Conference released its football schedule yesterday for the upcoming coronavirus-affected season, which includes Notre Dame, as the school is giving up its independence for the season to play in the ACC. The schedule shows that Notre Dame will open its season against Duke on September 12th, and won't play Navy for the first time in more than nine decades.

Tia Schuster Named iHM SVP/Programming For NY State

Tia Schuster
iHeartMedia announced Thursday that Tias Schuster has been named Senior Vice President of Programming for Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton.

As Senior Vice President of Programming, Schuster will oversee more than 19 stations across the Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton markets and work closely with the market’s program directors, on-air personalities, digital and sales teams. He will report to Robert Morgan, President for iHeartMedia West New York.

“We are thrilled to welcome Tias back to Upstate, N.Y.,” said Robert J. Morgan, President for iHeartMedia West New York. “He is an experienced leader that brings high energy and innovative thinking to our powerful brands.”

Tias most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Norfolk. Throughout his career, he also served a program director for Mix 100.5 (WDVI) and KISS 106.7 (WKGS) for iHeartMedia Rochester in 2015-2016 and an operations manager and program director for Entercom in Greenville, South Carolina.

“It is great to be back with my iHeartRadio family in Upstate New York.” I’m honored to work alongside the legendary personalities and management in these markets! I want to give a special thanks to iHeartMedia for the opportunity.”

San Diego Radio: Big Day for Rich Eisen

The Mightier 1090 aM (XEPRS) has announced that “The Rich Eisen Show” will be added to their ever-growing primetime lineup in anticipation of getting back on the air in August of 2020. The Rich Eisen Show will air Monday-Friday from 9:00am to 12:00pm and allows Eisen to use his engaging blend of insightful expertise with an offbeat mix of humor and pop culture while continuing to attract the most recognizable names in sports and entertainment.

“1090 is an iconic and historic station where the entire team understands the type of show we are putting out on a daily basis. I am thrilled to be moving forward with them and being part of the re-launch of ‘The Mightier 1090am’ as they are an absolutely perfect fit,” commented Rich Eisen.

The Mightier 1090’s Bill Hagen added, “This exciting move is one of the final pieces of bringing The Mightier 1090 back on-the-air. Rich and his show will be a major focal point of the station. We have created a great blend of lifestyle and sports content for this re-launch. We look forward to getting back on the air very soon.”

Meanwhille,  Peacock and NBC Sports have announced that Eisen, a four-time Sports Emmy studio host nominee and NFL Network’s first on-air talent, will continue his Los Angeles-based The Rich Eisen Show on NBCSN starting Monday, August 17. Beginning on Monday, October 5, the show will stream exclusively on Peacock.

NYC Radio: Ed Yim Named CCO At NY Public Radio

New York Public Radio, home of WNYC, Gothamist, WNYC Studios, WQXR, and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, announced Thursday that Edward Yim has been named Chief Content Officer for WQXR, New York City’s classical music station. His appointment will take effect on September 28th.

In this role, Yim will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategic vision that helps WQXR reach a broader, more inclusive audience, drives digital innovation, bolsters WQXR’s role in New York City’s arts and culture ecosystem, and increases WQXR’s relevance and service to the city’s communities. Collaborating with teams across NYPR, Yim will oversee all of WQXR’s programming and operations, from live broadcasts, podcasts, and digital content, to strategic partnerships, events and community engagement. He will also be responsible for managing the station’s operating budget, and fundraising across NYPR’s diversified revenue base of members, donors and sponsors. Yim will report to NYPR President and CEO Goli Sheikholeslami.

Ed Yim
Yim brings to WQXR over two decades of experience at several of the country’s premier music institutions, including American Composers Orchestra (ACO), where he has served as President and CEO since 2017.

“Ed is a truly dynamic and innovative leader. I’m thrilled to welcome him as we work to advance WQXR’s impact on the classical music and public media landscapes, and deepen its service to our city’s diverse communities,” said Sheikholeslami. “Ed is deeply devoted to this artform, and has strong connections to the nation’s cultural community—its premier music organizations as well as the next generation of composers, performers, and ensembles. His creativity, passion, and commitment will help us increase the reach and relevance of classical music, and build our community of artists, listeners, and supporters—in New York City and worldwide.”

“WQXR is one of the most important platforms for music in the world, and it is an honor to help write the next chapter in the station’s storied history,” said Yim. “I have devoted my career to inspiring the joy of music in others, and cultivating a community that is dynamic and curious. I am committed to embracing the rich and varied voices in our field, including those working beyond the traditional boundaries of the Western European canon. And I’m thrilled to join a vital New York City institution that shares these goals.

NBCUniversal Restructures Management

Paul Telegdy
Paul Telegdy has exitied his post as NBC Entertainment chairman as NBCUniversal Thursday unveiled the new centralized structure under Mark Lazarus, Chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. It includes a larger role for Lifestyle Networks president Frances Berwick.

The moves comes amid a misconduct investigation that was spurred by an explosive report by The Hollywood Reporter last week.

Telegdy, the chairman of NBC Entertainment who has overseen hit shows like “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice,” had been earmarked to spearhead one of NBCUniversal’s new business units as Chief Executive Jeff Shell consolidates staff of various broadcast, cable and streaming platforms.

But last Friday’s report, which accused the exec of “presiding over a toxic environment,” put the brakes on that. The report cites over 30 current and former NBC employees, claiming that the Telegdy “mocked gay executives,” used “homophobic and misogynistic slurs” and made “sexual comments about the physical appearance of network talent.”

Even Sharon Osbourne, a former “America’s Got Talent” judge, spoke out against the exec in the report, alleging he threatened her in 2012.

Osbourne claimed that she once told Telegdy that her famous family was thinking about holding a press conference to protest the NBC’s decision to drop her son, Jack, from the show, “Stars Earn Stripes,” after he revealed he has multiple sclerosis.

“He said, ‘Go f–k yourself,’” Osbourne told THR of Telegdy, adding that he told her, “’If you call the press you’ll never work in this town, you f–king witch.’” She said she quit over the dispute. A rep for Telegdy denied Osbourne’s account to THR, reports The NY Post.

The exec also has been embroiled in a public battle with former “America’s Got Talent” judge Gabrielle Union, who accused him of threatening her agent while Union was in the midst of a discrimination suit against the network. Union filed a harassment complaint that accused the network of being “a snake pit of racial offenses,” and claimed she was axed from the show when she complained. Telegdy and NBC have denied the accusations of any threats, and NBC has said an outside investigation did not support her claims.

As part of Thursday’s reshuffle, NBC also elevated Frances Berwick, who currently oversees the Bravo, E! and Oxygen cable networks. A 24-year NBCU vet, who has helped develop “Top Chef,” “Project Runway” and “The Real Housewives” franchise, Berwick will head business operations and deal-making for content across all the company’s entertainment operations. Her marching orders include “mapping out the programming strategy and content spend across the TV entertainment brands,” the company said.

According to Deadline, here are the new divisions in NBCUniversal’s Television and Streaming group that will now report directly to Lazarus:

Frances Berwick
• The Entertainment Business unit will report to Berwick. That includes Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks—USA Network and Syfy. Berwick will have operational oversight of all networks and dayparts and be responsible for commissioning and acquiring content to be optimized across these platforms. Additionally, Berwick’s team will implement windowing and scheduling strategies across the NBC broadcast network and the cable entertainment networks.

• The Entertainment Programming unit will consist of three content groups: scripted programming, unscripted programming, late-night and alternative. It will have oversight of all original entertainment programming for the NBC broadcast network, the cable entertainment networks and Peacock. Leaders for those groups will be named once the Entertainment Programming head is appointed in the second phase of restructuring.  This unit will work in close partnership with the company’s internal studios (Universal Television, UCP, Universal Television Alternative Studios and NBCUniversal International Studios), whose leadership is currently staying intact, as well as outside production companies.

• The Direct-To-Consumer unit will be led by Matt Strauss, who will continue to oversee Peacock, the company’s new streaming service. Peacock will maintain its own separate team within the division, while sharing the programming and acquisition function with the entertainment units in the portfolio. International Networks, run by Ken Bettsteller, and Fandango, run by Paul Yanover, will also report to Strauss.

• NBC Sports will continue to be led by Pete Bevacqua, whose team will work with the entire portfolio on scheduling and sports-related content.

Additionally, the division includes Telemundo Enterprises, led by Beau Ferrari; the NBCUniversal Owned and Operated Stations, led by Val Staab; and Affiliate Relations, led by Phil Martzolf. Both Telemundo and the local station group as well as affiliate relations will continue to report to Lazarus and operate as separate business units within the portfolio.

Comcast Scraps NBC Sky World News

Sky News’ ambitious plan to launch a new global rolling news channel in conjunction with the US network NBC has been abandoned, leaving behind dozens of recently hired journalists and a half-built TV studio in London, reports The Guardian.

Deborah Turness
NBC Sky World News was due to launch this summer and promised to hire hundreds of staff with a brief to challenge the dominance of CNN in the world of global TV news.

The channel was being led by Deborah Turness, the former ITV News editor who moved to New York to run NBC News between 2013 and 2017. Leading reporters from rival outlets, such as Matthew Price of the BBC, were hired across with the promise of building a new station from scratch, complete with its own network of foreign bureaux, only for the project to be “paused” in early April when the pandemic made a launch impossible.

It was to be one of the first transatlantic joint ventures between NBC and Sky, which have both been owned by the US media business Comcast since Rupert Murdoch sold his British television business in 2018.

Andy Lack
After months of uncertainty, staff at NBC Sky World News were told this week that the launch would not go ahead, leaving around 60 employees looking for jobs. Some journalists had left jobs elsewhere during the pandemic to join the startup, while others are concerned about their legal status after moving to the UK on visas tied to their employment at the station.

Although the pandemic and the economic downturn are likely to be blamed for the channel’s failure, employees at the station suggested that the departure in May of the long-term NBC News boss Andy Lack – who had long planned an international TV station to rival CNN – played a key role. He had been a driving force behind the channel’s creation at NBC’s 30 Rock headquarters in New York.