Saturday, October 24, 2020

October 25 Radio History

➦In 1937...The soap opera "Stella Dallas" made its debut on WEAF in New York City.

It aired until December 23, 1955. The New York Times described the title character as "the beautiful daughter of an impoverished farmhand who had married above her station in life."

She was played for the entire run of the series by Anne Elstner (1902–1982). Her husband Stephen Dallas was portrayed by various actors.  The series was created and produced by the husband and wife team of Frank and Anne Hummert, based on the 1923 novel Stella Dallas by Olive Higgins Prouty. The 15-minute drama began on October 25, 1937, as a local show on WEAF in New York City, in the wake of the successful movie version starring Barbara Stanwyck, and it was picked up by the NBC Radio network beginning June 6, 1938, running weekday afternoons.

➦In 1959...Chicago-based announcer & host Bob Murphy (not to be confused with sportscaster Bob Murphy) died at age 42.  He was best known nationally for his announcing & substitute hosting on Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club on ABC Radio.

➦In 1984...The summer ratings book…

Los Angeles – KIIS-FM (top-40) gets a 10.0 share. Rival KKHR is up to a 3.0. Talk KABC is up to a 7.9. Easy JOI – 4.4 and Easy KBIG – 4.1. Rock KLOS down to a 3.5 from a 3.9. Nostalgia KMPC at a 3.4 and AC KOST gets a 2.7. Rock KMET is at a #.1, All news KNX and  KFWB are tied at a 2.9.  A/C KFI is up to a 1.8 from a 1.4. KHTZ is at a 2.0.

In New York – WHTZ – 6.6 and rival WPLJ – 5.3.  WRKS gets a 5.4. WOR – 4.7. WINS – 4.4 and Easy WRFM – 3.7. Urban WBLS at a 3.5. WBLS is the “Quiet Storm” at night. WKTU – 3.1. WNBC – 3.0 and Country WHN – 2.9. WNEW AM and WNEW-FM both at a 3.1. WLTW and WYNY are tied at a 2.8. WABC gets a 2.6. WAPP – 2.4 and WMCA – 1.5

Chicago – Top-4- WBBM FM – 5.0. WGN-AM – 11.4 share. Easy WLOO – 6.8.

Boston – Rock WBCN – 8.6. A/C WHDH – 8.4. Top-40 WXKS – 7.5. WBZ – 7.4. Top-40 WHTT – 6.6. Talk WRKO – 4.7

➦In 1984...CKLW Windsor/Detroit is switched to a nostalgia music format.

Out was long-time music director Rosalie Trombley who served in that capacity since CKLW’s influential heyday in the ‘60’s. In the summer ratings book, CKLW dropped again, from a 1.2 to a .7.

Many believe that CKLW started to decline in popularity after Canadian content regulations went into effect. Although having to play some "CanCon" songs that generated little in the way of sales put the station at a competitive disadvantage compared to its U.S.-based competition, CKLW still managed to help break a number of Canadian songs and artists in the United States.

Just as, if not more, responsible for the decline in CKLW's ratings as the 1970s wore on was the rise of FM radio as an outlet for contemporary music, as the station gained a direct FM Top 40 competitor, WDRQ, in 1972, and its listening audience was also fragmented between album oriented rock outlets such as WWWW, WRIF and WABX and adult contemporary stations like WNIC and WMJC.

The Canadian government's initial unwillingness to licence FM frequencies with pop or rock formats stranded Canadian stations on AM while an entire demographic of listeners began the exodus to US-based FM outlets anywhere the signals were in range. For many younger listeners by 1978, CKLW was the station they listened to only if they had an AM-only radio in their cars.

As a result, like many other powerhouse AM Top 40 stations, CKLW evolved during the late 1970s into an Adult Top 40 sound. The station's music softened to the point where by 1982 it gave no airtime to harder-rocking songs like Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", and jingles were initially phased out, with new jingles and a new slogan ("The Great Entertainer") being introduced in 1979.

Dick Purtan joined the station for mornings in 1978, coming over from WXYZ-AM. Largely due to Purtan's popularity, CKLW remained a moderately popular station into the early 1980s, but after Purtan departed at the start of 1983 for FM competitor WCZY, the station quickly tumbled to the bottom of Detroit's Arbitron ratings (its last appearance in the Top 10 was in 1981). In an attempt to go after longtime "full service" powerhouse WJR, CKLW converted to AM stereo in 1982 and even got the rights to broadcast University of Michigan football and NASL soccer.

In 1984, the station's owners (Baton Broadcasting) sold CKLW-AM-FM to Russwood Broadcasting Ltd. Also in 1984, CKLW made an attempt to transfer its CHR format to its FM sister station, big band and jazz standards-formatted CKJY. These hopes were dashed when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) refused to approve the format change on anything more than an "experimental" basis, reasoning that FM was for "fine" music and that Top 40 music belonged on AM.

CLICK HERE for more about CKLW

The final death knell for the "Big 8" came in October 1984, when the station fired 79 staffers (including most of the remaining announcers and Rosalie Trombley), closed its American sales office in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Michigan, and announced that it would soon change format to Al Ham's "Music of Your Life" format of Jazz standards and big-band music and go completely automated.

Morton Downey - 1933
➦In of early radio’s singing stars Morton Downey  died at age 83. In 1930, Downey began making national radio broadcasts after opening his own nightclub (The Delmonico) in New York. He was voted America's "Radio Singer of the Year" in 1932. At the time, Downey was featured nightly on the Camel Quarter Hour radio broadcast.  On February 5, 1945, his transcribed program, Songs by Morton Downey, moved from the NBC Blue Network to the Mutual Broadcasting System. The move came after Blue Network officials adopted a policy "against the use of transcriptions for network originated programs, except where technical difficulties void live broadcasts." As a result of the shift, the number of stations carrying the program more than doubled.

➦In 1987...CBS radio correspondent Cecil Brown, one of Ed Murrow’s “boys” who reported from the Pacific front during WWII, died at age 80. In September 1943, Brown resigned from CBS after being rebuked by CBS news director Paul White for expressing an editorial opinion during an August 25 news broadcast. Brown had stated that "a good deal of the enthusiasm for this war is evaporating into thin air." Announcing his resignation Brown said that he could not subscribe to what he characterized as CBS' policy of "non-opinionated" news.

After leaving CBS Brown covered the rest of the war at home, in the United States, for the Mutual Network. When World War II ended, Brown continued to work in broadcast journalism as a correspondent for Mutual, NBC and ABC. He retired from broadcasting in 1967.

➦In 1991...Rock promoter Bill Graham died in a helicopter crash at age 60.

He was killed in a helicopter crash west of Vallejo, CA, while returning home from a Huey Lewis and the News concert at the Concord Pavilion. Graham had attended the event to discuss promoting a benefit concert for the victims of the 1991 Oakland hills firestorm. Once he had obtained a commitment from Huey Lewis to perform, he returned to his helicopter.

Flying in severe weather, with rain and gusty winds, the aircraft flew off course and too low over the tidal marshland north of San Pablo Bay. The Bell Jet Ranger flew directly into a 223-foot high-voltage tower near where Highway 37, which runs between Vallejo, California and Marin County, California, crosses Sonoma Creek. The helicopter burst into flames on impact, killing Graham, pilot and advance man Steve "Killer" Kahn, and Graham's girlfriend, Melissa Gold. The charred remains of the helicopter hung in the tower for more than a day.

Among other events produced by Graham were the Live Aid concert, Amnesty International tour and US Festival.

At times he managed the careers of the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison and Santana.

  • Actor Marion Ross is 92. 
  • Singer Jon Anderson (Yes) is 76. 
  • Singer Taffy Nivert (formerly Danoff) of Starland Vocal Band is 76. 
  • Guitarist Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest is 73. 
  • Actor Brian Kerwin is 71. 
  • Guitarist Matthias Jabs of Scorpions is 64. 
  • Actor Nancy Cartwright (“The Simpsons”) is 63. 
  • Country singer Mark Miller of Sawyer Brown is 62. 
  • Drummer Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers and of Chickenfoot is 59. 
  • Katy Perry is 36
    Actor Tracy Nelson (“Father Dowling Mysteries”) is 57. 
  • Actor Michael Boatman (“The Good Wife,” ″Spin City”) is 56. 
  • Actor Kevin Michael Richardson (“The Cleveland Show”) is 56. 
  • Actor Mathieu Amalric (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Quantum of Solace”) is 55. 
  • Singer Speech (Arrested Development) is 52. 
  • Comedian Samantha Bee (“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” ″The Daily Show”) is 51. 
  • Actor Adam Goldberg (“Saving Private Ryan”) is 50. 
  • Actor Adam Pascal (“Rent”) is 50. 
  • Guitarist Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies is 50. 
  • Actor Persia White (“Girlfriends”) is 50. 
  • Country singer Chely Wright is 50. 
  • Actor Leslie Grossman (“American Horror Story,” “Popular”) is 49. 
  • Classical violinist Midori is 49. Actor Craig Robinson (“The Office”) is 49. 
  • Actor Mehcad Brooks (“Supergirl,” ″Desperate Housewives”) is 40. 
  • Actor Josh Henderson (“Desperate Housewives”) is 39. 
  • Singer Jerome Jones (Romeo) of Immature is 39. 
  • Singer Katy Perry is 36. 
  • Singer Austin Winkler (Hinder) is 36. 
  • Singer Ciara is 35. 
  • Actor Krista Marie Yu (“Dr. Ken”) is 32. 
  • Actor Rachel Matthews (“Frozen 2”) is 27.

Jeff Zucker Ponders His Future At CNN

55-year-old Jeff Zucker's contract at CNN expires next year and he hasn’t committed to extending his deal in meetings with WarnerMedia brass and communications with CNN employees, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Asked about his future in a town hall video chat on Wednesday, Zucker said he loves his job, but added, “The industry is changing, our company is changing, so I have a lot to think about,” according to a recording of his remarks. He added, “I’ll do that at the right time.”

Zucker said he won’t make a decision on whether to stay at CNN until after the election.

If this election is Zucker’s last ride, WSJ reports he would leave CNN after transforming its role in the cable news landscape and becoming one of the most polarizing figures in media in the process. On his watch, the network, once accused of giving Donald Trump too much airtime during his first presidential run, has become a critic of the administration.

Jeff Zucker
CNN, like its rivals in cable news, has enjoyed a major ratings lift during the controversies of the Trump years, especially in election season. The network’s ratings have increased about threefold compared with where they were at the start of 2015, reflecting similar gains at Fox News and MSNBC. CNN has been second in the ratings for most of the year among viewers 25 to 54, the key news demographic for advertisers, but trails rival MSNBC in total viewers and is well behind ratings leader Fox News.

AT&T doesn’t break out CNN’s results separately. WSJ cites a person familiar with the matter as saying the division has generated more than $1 billion in annual profit in recent years. This year is proving more challenging. During the town hall meeting, Zucker said he expects CNN to miss its profit target by between $100 million and $120 million, as digital and international advertising sales suffer during the pandemic.

Some media and finance executives say CNN could be a spinoff target for private-equity investors or blank-check companies known as SPACs.

Though Zucker’s contract doesn’t end until well into 2021, he could leave before then; initial conversations about whether he’ll extend his employment have happened and are expected to deepen after the election, the people familiar with the situation said.

Radio Provides Massive Voter Reach

The latest posting on the  Westwood One blog offers a solution to the problem of TV bursting with political ads and YouTube's being sold out.

  • Nielsen: When TV is sold out, moving money to digital/social does not grow voter reach: A Nielsen analysis found that shifting the same budget from an 80%/20% TV/digital mix to a 70%/30% TV/digital allocation does not increase voter reach. Voter reach is stuck at 79% despite increasing the digital allocation.
  • Adding AM/FM radio to a TV/social/digital buy generates a massive +15% increase in voter reach for the same budget: Keeping the overall budget flat and shifting 20% of spend to AM/FM radio generates huge growth in voter reach (79% to 91%), a +15% increase.
  • AM/FM radio’s superpower is tripling reach among voters who are light TV viewers: Nielsen Media Impact’s voter reach analysis reveals light TV viewer voter reach grew 3X from 17% to 53%. 
  • 38% of voters are light TV viewers and virtually all of them are reached by AM/FM radio: Nielsen Scarborough reports nearly two in five registered voters are light TV viewers. The light TV viewer segment only generates 6% of total TV time spent. AM/FM radio is the solution, reaching 90% of registered voters who are light TV viewers.
  • Connected TV cannot solve for the light TV viewer challenge: A Nielsen voter reach analysis examined a buy with a foundation of linear TV at 68% of the budget, 13% of spend allocated to connected TV, and 20% placed in digital. This media plan generated a 57% voter reach. When 10% of the buy is shifted to AM/FM radio with no increase in budget, voter reach soars from 57% to 80%, a +41% increase with the same budget.

iHM CEO Bob Pittman Talks About VoxNest Acquisition

iHeart Media chairman and CEO Bob Pittman joins “Squawk Alley” on CNBC to discuss the acquisition of VoxNest and that radio is driving the company's podcast side.

During Friday's announcement of the Voxnest acquisition, Pittman stated,  “The addition of iHeart’s offerings to Voxnest will ensure critical mass for the (podcast) platform and accelerate its growth. As we continue to invest in podcasting and lead the industry, we anticipate this acquisition will have an important impact on iHeart’s ability to more fully monetize its podcast inventory, and will also benefit the other podcast publishers that are part of the Voxnest network and the advertisers who are using it.”

According to Voxnest, the advertising technology capabilities it brings to the table include dynamic ad insertion; content targeting to listeners based on demographics, territories, devices and interests; programmatic podcast buying across audio platforms; and a full podcast analytics platform.

Biden Breaks All-time TV, Digital Spending Record

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign has spent more money on television and digital advertising than any other presidential candidate in American history, with more than a week left to go before Election Day, reports The Hill.

Biden’s campaign has spent more than $582 million on television advertising since launching his campaign last year, according to data from the nonpartisan firm Advertising Analytics. In just the last week, Biden’s team spent $45 million on air.

The figure surpasses former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who spent heavily during the Democratic presidential primary in a bid to capture Super Tuesday votes.

And it easily surpasses President Trump, whose campaign has spent $342 million in the last two years, according to the firm.

Biden’s campaign has another $57 million in television time reserved over the final 10-day sprint to November. Pro-Biden groups will spend tens of millions more, while Trump’s campaign and pro-Trump outside groups have more than $50 million in advertising booked.

The two sides dropped $160 million on television and digital ads in just the past seven days. Trump spent slightly more than Biden on Facebook and Google advertising, the data shows — $14 million versus about $12.7 million.

Biden, Trump and their allies have run more than 100,000 advertisements per week since the beginning of October, according to counts maintained by the Wesleyan Media Project. The two sides have aired the most ads in the Phoenix, Charlotte, N.C., and Des Moines, Iowa, media markets, in the heart of three swing states that Trump won in 2016.

Radio's Caroline Beasley Named Chairman Of BMI's Broad

BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) has announced the election of Caroline Beasley, CEO, Beasley Media Group, LLC as Chairman of the BMI Board of Directors. Beasley, who joined the Board in 2014, most recently served as Vice Chairman of the BMI Board. She succeeds Michael J. Fiorile, Chairman of the Dispatch Printing Company, who has been elected Presiding Director of the BMI Board.

"It is truly an honor to have the privilege of serving as Chair of the BMI Board of Directors," said Beasley. "Many thanks to Michael Fiorile for his innovative vision, tireless collaboration and insightful leadership over the past several years in his role as Chairman of the organization. I look forward to working together with the Board, Mike O'Neill and the outstanding BMI team to continue to serve the evolving needs of music creators, publishers and licensees in today's dynamic marketplace."

Caroline Beasley
Beasley was named Chief Executive Officer of Beasley Media Group, LLC in January 2017. Previously, she held several senior-level positions within the company since 1994, including Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary. In addition, she has served as a Director of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. since she joined the company in 1983.

Beasley most recently served as past Joint Board Chair of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Board of Directors and is a past Chairman of the NAB Radio Board. In addition, Beasley is a member of the Broadcasters Foundation of America Board of Directors and serves on the FCC Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

In addition, the BMI Board of Directors has extended Mike O'Neill's contract as President & CEO for six years, through the end of 2026.  

"BMI has achieved groundbreaking success under Mike's leadership," said Fiorile. "During his tenure, the Company set revenue and distribution records year after year, while making significant strides to protect copyright and safeguard the value of music. I, along with our Board of Directors, have no doubt that Mike is the right person to continue to lead the charge towards a modernized music licensing landscape that will benefit everyone involved. He truly leads by example, which encourages the entire BMI team to do their best every day for the songwriters, composers, publishers and business communities we are privileged to serve." 

Mike O'Neill
Under O'Neill's leadership, BMI has reported its highest-ever revenue and distributions to its affiliated songwriters, composers and publishers. Notably, BMI became the first music rights organization in the world to deliver more than $1 billion in public performance royalties to its affiliates. Additionally, O'Neill spearheaded BMI's historic victory over the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure the continued practice of fractional licensing. He has also overseen exponential growth year-over-year in both signing up tens of thousands of new songwriters and composers to the Company and processing trillions of performances, adapting to the seismic digital shift in how music is consumed. Most recently, O'Neill has successfully steered the Company during the global COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing the health and safety of BMI team members while ensuring seamless service to affiliates and licensees and driving historic revenue and royalty distributions.  

The Company also announced that the following six BMI Board members have been re-elected to three-year terms, expiring in 2023: Greg Ashlock, President, iHeartMedia Markets Group; Rebecca Campbell, Chairman, Direct to Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company; Dave Lougee, President and CEO, TEGNA, Inc.; Mike O'Neill, President and CEO, BMI; Mark Pedowitz, Chairman and CEO, The CW Network; and Perry Sook, Chairman, President and CEO, Nexstar Media Group, Inc.

Continuing in their terms on the BMI Board of Directors are: Susan Davenport Austin, CFO, Grace Church School; Amador Bustos, President and CEO, Bustos Media Holdings, LLC; Bill Hoffman, President, Hoffman Communications, Inc. and Retired President, Cox Media Group; Catherine Hughes, Founder and Chairperson, Urban One, Inc.; Phil Jones, Retired President, Meredith Corporation Broadcast Group; Jerry Kersting, Former President, Tribune Broadcasting and past EVP/CFO, Clear Channel Radio; Paul Karpowicz, Retired President, Meredith Local Media Group; Ginny Morris, Vice President, Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. and Chair and CEO, Hubbard Radio, LLC; and Neil Smith, President, GNS Media, LLC.

There's An iPhone for Almost Every Wallet

by Felix Richter, Statista

When Apple unveiled its latest line of smartphones at a virtual event last week, not only did the company introduce more models than ever before at a single event, namely four, but it also kept more of the older models around than many had anticipated. Apart from the iPhone 11, which was expected to remain available as an entry-level model, Apple also extended the shelf life of the 2018 iPhone XR, which remains on sale as an alternative to the iPhone SE.

As the following chart shows, Apple now has an iPhone for (almost) every wallet, starting with the budget-friendly iPhone SE from $399 and ending with the top-of-the-line 512GB 12 Pro Max for $1,399 in the United States.
Infographic: An iPhone for (Almost) Every Wallet | Statista
For many years, Apple had been criticized for catering exclusively to the high-end market, a strategy that made it extremely difficult for the company to gain traction in emerging markets. In light of slowing smartphone sales in mature markets, Apple has lately adjusted its strategy towards offering a more complete range of phones. Keeping previous years’ models around for a reduced price has become the company’s primary strategy of attracting cost-conscious buyers, with the iPhone SE the only notable exception.

R.I.P.: Keith Rush, Father Of NOLA Talk Radio

Keith Rush - 1978
Keith Rush, a pioneer of New Orleans talk radio whose conservative politics earned him a dedicated and sometimes controversial following, died Thursday. He was 89, according to WWL-TV4.

Considered by many to be a father of talk radio in New Orleans, Rush’s broadcasting career spanned 60 years. He remained a presence up until recently, hosting programs on the internet until 2016.

Best known for his conservative brand of political talk on WSMB 1350 AM throughout the 1970s and 80s, Rush’s conservative views often made news, as did his interviews with newsmakers. He would frequently give elected officials an open microphone and airtime on his popular radio show.

Rush first joined the staff of WSMB in 1955, when the station was known for music rather than a talk format. He left after a few years, then returned for a second stint from 1962 to 1966. When he returned a third time, in 1968, he was given what was considered the prime shift – 3 to 7 p.m.

Rush was later reassigned to middays, a move he said was considered a demotion. In the 1970s he found his niche during the time period, becoming a stalwart of local radio. For years, Rush’s 10 a.m. broadcast followed the hugely popular Nut and Jeff morning radio show, hosted by Roy Roberts and Jeff Hug on WSMB.

His New Orleans broadcasting career began on WWEZ-AM as a country music disc jockey. Through the 1950s, he booked country performers on the legendary “Louisiana Hayride,” a live concert and radio broadcast, much like Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. “Hayride” originated from KWKH in Shreveport. Among the performers Rush booked for the show were Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and George Jones.

In February 1955, Rush booked Presley, then 20, for a concert at the Jesuit High School auditorium in New Orleans, one of Presley’s first appearances in the city.

According to Rush’s wife Rachel and family friend Matthew Dillon, Presley performed in two shows that night, at 7:30 and 9 p.m. Tickets cost $1 and the total attendance for both shows was 54 people. Presley was paid $75 for his performance, Keith Rush later said.

In later years he hosted talk shows on WTIX-AM, WARB-AM and WASO-AM.

October 24 Radio History

➦In 1861…The transcontinental telegraph line across the United States was first completed.

Rudy Vallee
➦In of radio’s first “really big shows” The Fleishmann Hour starring Rudy Vallee was broadcast for the first time over NBC radio. Actually, the Rudy Vallee show had several different titles over the years, all of which were referred to by the public as The Rudy Vallee Show. Megaphone-totin’ Rudy and his Connecticut Yankees band were mainstays on radio into the late 1940s.

➦In 1930...Jiles Perry "J. P." Richardson Jr. born (Died – February 3, 1959). He was known as The Big Bopper, he was a musician, songwriter, and disc jockey. His best known compositions include "Chantilly Lace" and "White Lightning", the latter of which became George Jones' first number-one hit in 1959. He was killed in a plane crash in Iowa in 1959, along with fellow musicians Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens and the pilot Roger Peterson. The accident was famously referred to as "The Day the Music Died" in Don McLean's 1971 song "American Pie".
J.P. Rochardson 'The Big Bopper'

Richardson worked part-time at Beaumont, Texas radio station KTRM (now Gospel KZZB). He was hired by the station full-time in 1949 and quit college. He soon was promoted to supervisor of announcers at KTRM.

In March 1955 he was drafted into the United States Army and did his basic training at Fort Ord, California. He spent the rest of his two-year service as a radar instructor at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

Richardson returned to KTRM radio following his discharge as a corporal in March 1957, where he held down the "Dishwashers' Serenade" shift from 11 am to 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday. One of the station's sponsors wanted Richardson for a new time slot, and suggested an idea for a show. Richardson had seen college students doing a dance called The Bop, and he decided to call himself "The Big Bopper". His new radio show ran from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, and he soon became the station's program director.

From the Dick Clark Sarturday Night Show on ABC-TV in 1958...

Richardson is credited for creating the first music video in 1958, and recorded an early example himself.

➦In 1989...Hank Ballard, Bobby Darin, the Four Tops, the Four Seasons, Holland-Dozier-Holland, the Kinks, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, the Platters, the Who, plus Simon & Garfunkel were all inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

➦In 2002...Atlantic Records producer/engineer Tom Dowd died of emphysema. In his 77 years he’d recorded albums by many top artists including: Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Cream, Lulu, Chicago, The Allman Brothers Band, The J. Geils Band, Meat Loaf, Sonny & Cher, Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, Kenny Loggins, Dusty Springfield, The Drifters and Otis Redding.

➦In 2003...Radio Personality-Programmer, Dean Anthony died from cancer at age 68. He programmed WHLI-AM, Long Island for 22 years.

Dean Anthony (undated  photo)
Anthony played country music at WJRZ (later WWDJ) in Hackensack, N.J., from 1970 until 1971 when he began a 10-year stint at WTFM New York. During a labor strike at WTFM in 1981, Anthony picked up part-time work at WHLI Hempstead, N.Y. He stayed there 22 years, twice being named program director of the year by Barnstable Broadcasting.

He was so well-liked that WHLI held a 10-hour tribute to him on the fifth anniversary of his death.

Anthony was also one of the original jocks during the '60's hey days of NYC radio at WMCA (Aircheck: Click Here) . Known by his listeners as 'Dean-O On The Radio' he was an original "WMCA Good Guy" who welcomed the Beatles, Rolling Stones, plus the entire Motown and British Invasion into the "Big Apple", as well as into the USA.

Before coming to WMCA, Anthony was program director and afternoon personality at WPGC Washington, D.C., from 1960 to 1964 as Dean Griffith. Prior to that, he was at WGH Norfolk, Va.

➦In 2016...Bobby Vee, the 60’s teen idol who had Hot 100 hits with “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Run to Him” and “Rubber Ball,” died following a five-year bout with Alzheimer’s disease at age 73. In 2013 Bob Dylan called Vee “the most meaningful person I’ve ever been onstage with.”

➦In  2017...Fats Domino, a pioneer of rock & roll, died in his hometown of New Orleans at age 89. A contemporary of Elvis, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, Domino was among the first acts inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, thanks to a titanic string of 11 top ten hits between 1955 and 1960.

  • Adrienne Bailon Houghton is 37
    Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman is 84. 
  • Actor F. Murray Abraham is 81. 
  • Actor Kevin Kline is 73. 
  • Actor Doug Davidson (“The Young and the Restless”) is 66. 
  • Actor B.D. Wong is 60. 
  • Singer Michael Trent of Shovels and Rope is 43. 
  • Drummer Ben Gillies of Silverchair is 41. 
  • Singer Monica is 40. 
  • Singer-actor and co-host of “The Real” Adrienne Bailon Houghton of 3LW (“The Cheetah Girls”) is 37. 
  • Actor Tim Pocock (TV’s “Camp,” film’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) is 35. 
  • Rapper-actor Drake is 34. 
  • Actor Shenae Grimes (“90210”) is 31. 
  • Actor Eliza Taylor (“The 100”) is 31. 
  • Actor Ashton Sanders (“Moonlight”) is 25. 
  • Actor Hudson Yang (“Fresh Off the Boat”) is 17.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Podcasts Facing Unpredictable TSL Expectations

Based on an iHeartRadio survey of podcast listeners conducted between August 31 and September 7 of this year, Podtrac is forecasting 6 in 10 expect to spend the same or more time than last year traveling by car over the holidays, and 8 in 10 plan to spend more time than last year with family.

iHeartMedia Executive VP Hetal Patel thinks that podcast listeners actively looking forward to the holidays can only be good for podcast listening.

"Our survey indicates that three-quarters of podcast listeners are looking for experiences that improve their mood this holiday season," said Patel. "Podcast listening has continued to grow during the pandemic and given the early indicators we are seeing; we expect people to continue listening to podcasts as it provides the enjoyment they crave."

Podtrac's historical data shows some interesting patterns. Wednesdays are consistently the highest podcast listening day of the week with traffic dipping on the weekends and Sunday being the lowest listening day of the week as illustrated by the Q4 2019 data below. This pattern has continued through the pandemic to date.

Podtrac data also shows that October tends to be the highest podcast listening month of the year, with downloads dipping during November and December but not as low as levels earlier in the year.

Podcast listening tends to drop over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays per data from Podtrac, but is above average before and after those holidays, with strongest listening for the season in early January.

Given the surprises that 2020 has held for us so far, we can't be certain what podcast listening will look like during the holidays this year, but signs point to continued growth. "It will certainly be interesting to track the data to determine if the pandemic does have an influence on podcast listening over this holiday season," commented Podtrac CEO Mark McCrery.

Competition Forces Streaming Services To Spend Heavily on Marketing

Most advertisers have pulled back their spending this year, but streaming services are marketing themselves as heavily as ever, according to eMarketer.

In H1 2020, streaming services ran an estimated $1 billion worth of TV advertising, according to TV ad measurement company For comparison, in H1 2019, streaming services ran $328 million on TV ads. Between January and August 2020, video streaming services increased their TV ad spending more than any other category that tracked.

Amazon was the largest ad spender, investing $169.8 million on TV ads for Amazon Prime Video during H1 2020. Several other streaming services relied on TV house ads to promote themselves. Disney-owned networks like ABC, FX, and ESPN used billions of ad impressions to promote Disney+ and Hulu. And NBC used the same tactic for Peacock.

Netflix, which wasn’t among the top 10 streaming services in terms of TV ad spending, pulled back its TV spending by 17.6% in H1 2020, compared with the same time frame a year ago, according to an spokesperson. But Netflix is marketing itself in other ways. One tactic Netflix has tested is making certain movies and shows available for free. In August, Netflix offered about a dozen of its shows for free to nonsubscribers. While movies were wholly available, series were limited to a few episodes. Netflix is trying to use free content to hook in people who aren’t already paying for the service.

Streaming services are also using podcasts for marketing. In July, NBCUniversal was the largest podcast advertiser in the US, according to data from podcast analytics company Magellan AI cited by trade publication Inside Radio. Most of NBCU’s podcast ad spending was used to promote its streaming service, Peacock. Other streamers spending heavily on podcast ads included Quibi and Hulu, which were the sixth- and 12th-largest podcast ad spenders, respectively.

iHM Increases Stake In Voxnest

iHeartMedia today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Voxnest, the leading consolidated marketplace for podcasts and the best-in-class provider of podcast analytics, enterprise publishing tools, programmatic integration and targeted ad serving. 

With this acquisition, iHeartMedia, through Voxnest, will now be able to provide podcast advertisers with additional targetable inventory at scale by allowing the effective and efficient monetization across an entire range of podcast inventory on this one-of-kind programmatic platform. This additional inventory will increase the monetization of iHeartMedia’s full range of podcasts and advance the podcast marketplace for both buyers and sellers. iHeartMedia will also be able to drive greater monetization for creators of podcast content – wherever they currently publish their shows – by connecting Voxnest’s advanced ad technology with multiple publishing platforms across the industry.

Voxnest’s additional advertising technology capabilities include:
  • Dynamic ad insertion;
  • Audience and content targeting to the right listeners based on demographics, territories, devices and interests;
  • Programmatic podcast buying across all audio platforms by providing:
  • Native support of VAST, the industry standard template for audio and video advertising.
  • OpenRTB, a protocol for enabling integrations that connect to all major audio programmatic exchanges.
  • A full podcast analytics platform.
“This is an important addition to the iHeart digital product ecosystem, which includes our SmartAudio suite of data-driven broadcast radio advertising solutions; our position as the No. 1 commercial podcast publisher with massive distribution and promotion across all our broadcast assets; and the iHeartRadio digital platform,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc. “The addition of iHeart’s offerings to Voxnest will ensure critical mass for the platform and accelerate its growth. As we continue to invest in podcasting and lead the industry, we anticipate this acquisition will have an important impact on iHeart’s ability to more fully monetize its podcast inventory, and will also benefit the other podcast publishers that are part of the Voxnest network and the advertisers who are using it.”

“We’re excited about the growth potential from this unique combination,” said Francesco Baschieri, CEO of Voxnest. “The podcast marketplace has been fragmented, with supply and demand spread across multiple platforms – creating scale challenges for marketers who want to buy podcasts. And despite the massive growth of the podcast industry, with more than 100 million Americans listening to a podcast every month now, podcast creators and networks have not had an effective way to fully monetize their content and brands. With this combination, for the first time there will be one podcast technology platform that can bring together all of the demand sources with the largest supplier of podcast inventory – creating the only podcast technology platform that consolidates all the podcast markets into one, making buying more efficient for buyers and sellers of podcast advertising, and creating a unique benefit for the 10,000+ podcast publishers that are part of the Voxnest network today.”

iHeartMedia owned a minority stake in Voxnest prior to this acquisition.

The Rundown: Final Debate Contentious, But Not Chaotic

NY Times 10/23/20
President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden's second and final debate last night in Nashville was contentious, but didn't have the chaos of their first, in which constant interrupting, mostly by Trump, often made it difficult to follow. Instead, the candidates largely followed the rules and were able to give more informative answers, while still going after each other on issues including the coronavirus, election security, health care, immigration, race, China, and climate change. 

With the country facing a fall surge of the coronavirus, Trump said there were, quote, "some spikes and surges" that "will soon be gone," and repeated a statement he's been making in recent weeks, saying, "We're rounding the corner." Biden instead said the nation is heading for a, quote, "dark winter," stating of the deaths so far, "Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America." 

➤RUSSIAN HACKERS TARGETED U.S. STATE, LOCAL NETWORKS: The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity agency said in an advisory yesterday that Russian hackers have targeted a broad range of networks of dozens of U.S. state and local governments in recent days, and stole data from at least two servers. The warning comes less than two weeks before the election, but officials said they don't have any information that election or government operations have been affected or that the integrity of elections data has been compromised. But it stated, "However, the actor may be seeking access to obtain future disruption options, to influence U.S. policies and actions, or to delegitimize (state and local) government entities."

➤FDA APPROVES REMDESIVIR FOR COVID-19, FIRST DRUG OKAYED: The Food and Drug Administration yesterday approved use of remdesivir for Covid-19, the first drug it's approved for treatment of the new coronavirus. The antiviral drug, which had been authorized for use on an emergency basis since spring, is given to hospitalized patients via an IV. It cut recovery time by five days on average, from 15 days to 10 days, in a large study led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Last week, a large study led by the World Health Organization found the drug didn't help hospitalized Covid-19 patients, but AP noted that study didn't include a placebo group and was less rigorous than previous ones, including the NIH study, that found a benefit. 

That news comes as coronavirus cases have been surging across the country, with data from Johns Hopkins University showing more than 1,100 deaths reported Wednesday, the highest daily toll in more than a month.

➤JUDICIARY COMMITTEE SENDS BARRETT NOMINATION TO FULL SENATE AS DEMOCRATS BOYCOTT: The 12 Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to send Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate for a vote, despite all the Democrats on the committee boycotting the session in protest of the Republican push to install a new justice so close to a presidential election. The Republican-led Senate plans to hold a rare weekend session before an expected final confirmation vote on Monday. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer charged the Republicans are, quote, "conducting the most rushed, most partisan and the least legitimate nomination to the Supreme Court in our nation’s history." 

➤NYC, SEATTLE, PORTLAND SUE OVER JUSTICE DEPT.'S 'ANARCHIST JURISDICTION' LABEL, FUNDING THREAT: New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, filed a federal lawsuit yesterday after the Justice Department recently designated them, quote, "anarchist jurisdictions" and threatened federal funding that goes to them because of it. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan called that administration's actions in a news release announcing the suit "unlawful and an abuse of federal power." The lawsuit says the president can’t add conditions to money Congress has appropriated, that the "anarchist jurisdiction" designation was arbitrary and capricious, and that the administration violated due process and the 10th Amendment, which specifies that powers not given to the federal government are reserved for the states.

: What is so bad about New Jersey? Lifestyle website Best Life looked at a number of factors to determine that New Jersey is the most-hated state in the U.S. They looked at U.S. Census Bureau statistics on population increases or decreases within each of the 50 states, as well as the results of a poll from 2014 that asked each state’s residents whether they believed theirs was the best place to live, among other things. Best Life then used the data to compile a “Hatred Index” of all 50 states. New Jersey was the most-hated state, followed by Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Florida to round out the most-hated top five. The most-loved state was found to be Idaho.

🎅SANTA CLAUS LAYED-OFF BY MACY’S THIS YEAR: Macy’s says Santa Claus won’t be coming to its flagship New York City store this year to greet kids. The pandemic is responsible for disrupting this holiday tradition, which started nearly 160 years ago. The company says that more than a quarter million people come to see Santa at this location each year, making it hard to create a safe environment during the pandemic. Santa also won’t be making appearances at the brand’s Chicago and San Francisco stores. The issue in all the stores is that visitors have to walk in tight quarters through a maze-like Santaland in order to get to take their photo op with Santa—and the area does not allow for social distancing. Instead, Macy’s will be offering a free online experience on its website at the end of November, where families can play games, get a virtual tour of Santa’s workshop and take a selfie with Santa. 

🏈EAGLES DEFEAT GIANTS 22-21 IN COMEBACK WIN: The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Giants 22-21 last night in a comeback win at home from being 11 points down with less than seven minutes left. After scoring a touchdown, the Eagles two-point conversion attempt failed, but then quarterback Carson Wentz threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Boston Scott with 40 seconds left to go ahead by one point. They tried and again failed with a two-point conversion, but Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked and then fumbled on the next possession. Wentz threw for 359 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score.

🏈BUCS-RAIDERS GAME MOVED FOR CORONAVIRUS REASONS: The NFL has moved Sunday's (October 25th) game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Las Vegas Raiders from 8:20 p.m. ET to 4:05 p.m. ET in what it called an "abundance of caution" to make sure a game would be available for prime time after Raiders right tackle Trent Brown tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday. The Seattle Seahawks-Arizona Cardinals game has been moved into the nighttime slot. In addition to Brown being out, four Raiders offensive lineman and safety Johnathan Abram were put on the reserve/Covid-19 list Thursday because they'd been in close contact with him. If they remain asymptomatic and test negative each day, they'd be able to play on Sunday.

⚾RECORD-LOW RATING FOR FIRST TWO WORLD SERIES GAMES: The first two games of the World Series on Tuesday and Wednesday between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers drew record-low ratings. The low for any game before this year came the only other time the Rays were in the World Series, in Game 3 of the championship series they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008.

🏒NHL CANCELS WINTER CLASSIC, ALL-STAR WEEKEND: The NHL on Thursday canceled the outdoor Winter Classic, played annually on January 1st, which this year was to be played in Minneapolis with the Wild hosting the St. Louis Blues, and also canceled All-Star Weekend, which had been set for late January to be hosted by the Florida Panthers. They were called off because there was no guarantee fans would be able to attend amid the pandemic. However, the league still is planning to start a new season on or around January 1st, in hopes of each team being able to play a full season. Last season ended in late September after having been suspended for months due to the pandemic.

➤NO. 23 CHOSEN FOR CAR FOR JORDAN'S NASCAR TEAM: The car number for Michael Jordan's new NASCAR team will be -- of course -- 23, the NBA legend's retired uniform number. Jordan also named his team 23XI Racing [pronounced twenty-three eleven], in honor of his number and the car number of his partner, Denny Hamlin. The two announced last month that they'd formed a NASCAR team that will debut next season with driver Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver at NASCAR's top level. Jordan will be the first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup team since 1973.

Spotify Launches Terrestrial Radio Type Morning Show

Spotify’s  streaming music service is starting to resemble terrestrial radio with Thursday’s launch of the company’s first daily morning show podcast, “The Get Up.” Like other morning shows designed for commuters, the new program will be led by hosts and will combine news, pop culture, entertainment and music. But in Spotify’s case, the music is personalized to the listener, reports the show is not a live program, however. Unlike radio morning shows where content is broadcast live and often also involves interactions with listeners — like call-ins or contests — Spotify’s show is pre-recorded and made available as a playlist.

That means you can listen at any time after its 7 a.m. EDT release on weekday mornings.

You can also opt to skip portions of the programming — like the music or some of the chatter — if you prefer.

Another key thing that makes Spotify’s programming different from a radio show is that the music is personalized to the listener. Of course, that’s not always ideal. If you prefer to listen to new music during your commute, but have had been busy streaming oldies on Spotify’s service, your morning show will reflect those trends.

The show itself is hosted by three people: journalist Speedy Morman, previously of Complex; YouTuber Kat Lazo, known for her series “The Kat Call;” and Spotify’s own Xavier ‘X’ Jernigan, head of Cultural Partnerships and In-House Talent.

Trump Releases Unedited Video Of 60 Minutes Interview

President Trump Thursday posted a video of his contentious “60 Minutes” interview -- and he insists it proves he’s “magnificently brilliant,” reports the NY Daily News.

An irritated president sparred with veteran CBS News journalist Lesley Stahl during a 37-minute clip that appears to include the entire interview that will air on national television Sunday.

“Are you ready for some tough questions?" Stahl asked Trump before the interview officially started.

“No, I’m not,” Trump retorted.

He later lashed out at Stahl for ambushing him with questions about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his non-existent health plan.

Trump, who cut short the sit-down, says the full tape will show that a “vicious” Stahl tried to trap him with a gotcha-style interview.

Trump spent large chunks of the 30-minute interview attacking Stahl’s credibility and promoting an unfounded smear aimed at rival Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

“It’s the biggest scandal out there, Lesley,” Trump said. “But you won’t cover it.”

CBS blasted the White House for “disregarding” their agreement by releasing the tape but said the network would not be deterred from “full, fair and contextual reporting” on the Trump White House.

Debate Moderator Welker Earns Praise

Kristen Welker
All eyes were on moderator NBC News' Kristen Welker during the final presidential debate, reports USAToday.

After Fox News' Chris Wallace failed to maintain order during the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, Welker was applauded for Thursday's controlled exchange.

Even Wallace admitted he was "jealous." During Fox News' post-debate coverage, Wallace said: "I would have liked to have been able to moderate that debate and to get a real exchange of views instead of hundreds of interruptions.”

President Trump offered offhand praise of NBC News’s Kristen Welker during the final presidential debate Thursday, despite criticizing the moderator earlier in the day. 

As he accused former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday night of wanting to ban fracking, Trump threw out a compliment to Welker, saying that he respected her handling of the debate. 

“By the way so far I respect very much the way you’re handling this, I have to say,” Trump said, before returning to his criticism of Biden.

Veteran news anchor Dan Rather gave a "tip of the Stetson to Kristen Welker." He called her "a consummate pro on a big and difficult stage."

NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell called her colleague a "total pro. She is thoughtful, tough and in charge. A master class where voters were clearly well served."⁩ 

New York Times reporter Nick Corasaniti said Welker was "flawless," adding that "this should be the tape future debate moderators study and seek to emulate."

The Washington Post's Marissa J. Lang applauded Welker's trailblazing diversity. Welker is the first Black woman to moderate a presidential debate in nearly 30 years. 

"I have been waiting for months to watch a woman of color moderate one of these presidential debates and, boy, @kwelkernbc did not disappoint," Lang tweeted. "Unflappable, smart and in control every step of the way. Expertly done."

Congressman Rips NPR Over Hunter Biden Story

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., sent a scathing letter to NPR president and CEO John Lansing on Friday, condemning the nonprofit media organization for admitting it wouldn’t cover the ongoing scandal surrounding a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden, reports FOX News. 

“Your organization is among a whole host of mainstream media outlets that have proven not to be dedicated to reporting unbiased news to the American people. While other outlets do not receive taxpayer funds, NPR does. Because of such willful neglect, NPR should not receive another cent from the taxpayers,” Duncan wrote to begin the letter.  

Earlier in the day, NPR public editor Kelly McBride explained that her organization decided there are “many, many red flags in that New York Post investigation” that unearthed a laptop allegedly owned by Hunter Biden that contained damning emails, texts and photos and suggested Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had knowledge of, and was allegedly involved in, his son’s dubious foreign business dealings. 

NPR has ignored the scandal surrounding a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden which contained emails revealing his foreign business dealings.

McBride’s justification of NPR’s decision to skip the bombshell story included a quote by managing editor Terence Samuel, who called said his organization didn’t “want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.” 

“Your organization stated that they would not be reporting on the Biden family’s corrupt business dealings because they find the reporting, emails, text messages, and corroborating witness statements to be a ‘distraction.’ Distraction is an interesting word choice since it does not call the Biden news illegitimate or fake,” Duncan continued. “Rather, NPR is fully admitting its legitimacy and is choosing to bow out and exclaim ‘distraction’ since the news is devastating to the Biden campaign and the leftist cause.” 

Duncan accused NPR of not reporting news that would hurt the Democrats since the 2016 presidential election.

AT&T 3Q Revenue Drops Five Percent

AT&T Inc.’s big media bets dragged down results in the latest quarter, as closed movie theaters and pay-television customer losses offset the growth at its core wireless and broadband businesses.

The Wall Street Journal reports the telecom and media giant said Thursday that 8.6 million customers had activated HBO Max, its Netflix-like streaming video service, by the end of September, up from 4.1 million shortly after its May launch. The total still trails rivals Disney+ and Hulu, but AT&T executives said HBO’s user base was growing faster than expected.

“The reason we’re doing HBO Max is because we want to be where the customers want to be,” AT&T Chief Executive John Stankey said Thursday during a call with analysts. “It’s a tough environment, but we’re managing well.”

The wireless business, which remains the heart of AT&T’s profit engine, added 645,000 postpaid phone subscribers. That is more than double the phone connections gain reported by Verizon Communications Inc. during the same period.

AT&T’s pay-TV division continued trending in the other direction, shedding 627,000 video customers. That result was still an improvement over the roughly one million video customers lost in each of the previous two quarters. The unit, which includes DirecTV, has suffered the lion’s share of cord-cutting in recent years, prompting the company to explore a sale of the satellite business.

Overall, AT&T’s quarterly revenue dropped 5% to $42.3 billion. The company attributed a roughly $2.5 billion revenue loss to Covid-19, as theater closures shrank box-office receipts from Warner Bros. movies and wireless roaming fees dried up.

AT&T and media rivals Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp. have started cutting thousands of jobs to offset business lost to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has sapped the advertising market and delayed the release of major movies.

That market pressure prompted WarnerMedia to start a broad corporate shake-up to trim overhead costs and turn the movie-and-film producer into a more unified company. Executives seek to cut the division’s expenses by as much as 20%, according to people familiar with the plans.

AT&T’s overall quarterly profit fell to about $2.8 billion, or 39 cents a share, compared with about $3.7 billion, or 50 cents, a year earlier. The result included about 21 cents of per-share costs tied to the pandemic.

Nexstar Media Group Restructures

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. announced Thursday that effective November 1, 2020 it will combine its two primary operating subsidiaries, merging Nexstar Digital LLC, and Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. creating a new single operating subsidiary. 

As part of the corporate streamlining, Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. will be renamed Nexstar Inc. The new operational structure will align the Company’s national leadership in local content production with management teams that are broadcasting and digital subject matter experts to maximize the value of Nexstar’s content, national reach and significant consumer digital usage across multiple platforms. Nexstar expects a mid-seven figure expense savings in 2021 as a result of the synergies, efficiencies, and streamlined reporting structure resulting from this realignment.

Nexstar Media Group’s three primary businesses – broadcasting, networks and digital – will now be operating divisions under the Nexstar Inc. umbrella. The digital business unit will be led by Karen Brophy who will assume the role of President, Digital with responsibility for Nexstar’s 121 local websites, programmatic, data science, social media, group sales and partnerships as well as the ongoing streamlining of the Company’s ad tech stack to better align Nexstar with today’s digital environment. 

Karen Brophy
Brophy brings to her new role more than 20 years of product and business operations experience, including more than 15 years working with leading media and entertainment corporations. Before joining Nexstar in 2018, she served as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations at Hearst Newspapers where she led key initiatives in video, audience development and business operations. Prior to that, she spent seven years as Vice President of Digital Product at Hearst where she led consumer product, engineering, content strategy and revenue partnerships. She has been a leader in the consumer product sector with prior roles at Yahoo!, Tribune, Spin Media and the New York Times. Brophy also has extensive experience developing enterprise level digital publishing platforms for major media companies such as The Financial Times and Time Inc. Timothy C. Busch will serve as President, Broadcasting overseeing the Company’s 197 television stations and related digital multicast signals which reach 115 markets or nearly 39% of all U.S. television households and Sean Compton will serve as President, Networks overseeing WGN America, AntennaTV, and WGN Radio.

Karen Brophy, Tim Busch and Sean Compton and will report directly to Nexstar Media Group President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Thomas E. Carter. Following a transition period, Gregory R. Raifman, who currently serves as President of Nexstar Digital LLC, will leave the Company at the conclusion of his contract on March 31, 2021.

FOX News' Melissa Francis Is Off The Air

Melissa Francis
Melissa Francis, regularly seen on the popular Fox News midday talk show “Outnumbered,” has been off the air for two weeks and is probably at the end of her six-year run at the network, according to people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment and requested anonymity.

The L-A Times reports, the 47-year-old Francis has not been seen on the program since Oct. 7. A Fox News representative did not comment on her status, saying only that she is still an employee and its daytime programming is being revamped.

“Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes, including to its daytime lineup, and will launch new formats as appropriate after the election,” the representative said in a statement. “These changes are being made independent of any other ongoing matter.”

However, one person close to Francis says she has been fired.

Francis had been working at Fox News without a contract for nearly a year. She had filed a gender-based pay discrimination claim against the company that has been in arbitration, according to one person familiar with the proceedings.

The complaint said Francis was underpaid compared with her male colleagues. A Fox News representative would not comment on the matter, saying it was confidential.

Francis is a former child actress who had a role on the classic 1980s family drama “Little House on the Prairie.” She earned an economics degree from Harvard and went on to be a correspondent and anchor for NBCUniversal’s financial news channel CNBC.

Francis joined Fox Business Network as an anchor in 2012 and started appearing on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” as a recurring co-host in 2014.