Saturday, December 5, 2020

December 6 Radio History

➦In 1877...Thomas Edison made his first recording of a human voice. On the recording Edison recited, “Mary had a little lamb. Its fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.”  Edison recordings were made on tin foil and could sustain replaying only a few times.  Nevertheless, Edison’s little machine was an immediate sensation, widely demonstrated and covered by the press.

After the initial excitement around his invention, Edison turned from work on his “talking machine” to improve the electric light bulb.  He would not work on the phonograph again until the late 1880s, when wax cylinders replaced tin foil as his recording medium.

Sound recording instruments before Edison’s did exist, but they were not intended to replay what had been recorded.  Notable among these was Frenchman Leon Scott’s phonautograph.

Inspired by Edison’s work with sound recording, other inventors sought to improve the phonograph. Among the most noted were Alexander Graham Bell and Emile Berliner.  Bell and his associates experimented with disc and cylinder recordings and their graphophone, which employed wax cylinder records, became a popular dictating machine.  Berliner had commercial success with disc records and the machine to play them—the gramophone.

➦In 1923...President Coolidge became the first president to address the American people on broadcast radio  from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.  Coolidge delivered a message about national priorities and the state of the nation to a joint session of Congress. Nowadays, that speech is known as the State of the Union address.

Over the years, technology has greatly changed the way Presidents deliver the State of the Union address. We've moved from broadcast radio to television, and now the Internet. Here's a timeline of some of the digital "firsts" when it comes to the State of the Union address:
  • President Calvin Coolidge in 1923: First radio broadcast of the address
  • President Harry Truman in 1947: First televised broadcast of the address
  • President George W. Bush in 2002: First live webcast on the Internet of the address
  • President Barack Obama in 2011: First to live-tweet the address
While there isn’t an exact number of how many people listened to President Coolidge’s first State of the Union address, the White House Historical Association estimates that his 1925 inaugural address reached more than 23 million radio listeners. In past administrations, reaching that many Americans was practically unheard of.

In 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) spoke on the telephone to the instrument’s inventor, Alexander Graham Bell. Two years later, Hayes had his own telephone in the White House, but the invention was so new that very few homes or offices in Washington had phones, so Hayes had few people to talk to. In fact, the president’s telephone number was "1".

➦In 1943...the prestigious hour-long drama show “Theatre Guild On the Air” began an almost ten-year run, debuting on CBS radio.  For much of its run it was known as “The United States Steel Hour” first on ABC and then NBC radio, before moving to TV in 1953.

➦In 1957... Elvis Presley visited Memphis radio station WDIA 1070 AM where he met two of his music idols, R&B singers Little Junior Parker and Bobby “Blue” Bland.

➦In 1960...Gene Autry was attending the baseball winter meetings hoping to secure a broadcasting contract for KMPC, his Los Angeles radio station. The “Singing Cowboy” wound up as the owner of the expansion Los Angeles Angels (when no one came forward to bid for the team, Autry made a bid of his own). The team became the showpiece for KMPC.

➦In 1963...The Beatles issued their first of seven Christmas recordings featuring several renditions of the traditional carol "Good King Wenceslas" and individual messages from the four, ending with a closing chorus of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Ringo".

➦In 1971… John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band released the single “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” with the Harlem Community Choir, was released in North America.

➦In 1980...BBC Radio aired a telephone interview with John Lennon in which he said he most enjoyed living in New York City because people there left him alone.

➦In 1988... Singer Roy Orbison suffered a fatal heart attack while on a visit to his mother near Nashville. He was aged just 52. His biggest hit was the million-selling No. 1 song “Oh, Pretty Woman.” During his heyday in the early 1960’s he had 27 straight records make the charts. He had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Earlier in 1988 Orbison had joined the superstar collaboration the Traveling Wilburys.

➦In Don Ameche died of prostate cancer at age 85.  The movie star was first a star of bigtime radio, with such program credits as Betty & Bob, Grand Hotel, First Nighter, The (Battling) Bickersons, & the Charlie McCarthy Show.  On TV the Frances Langford-Don Ameche Show ran just one season.

➦In 1994...WRKS NYC changed to a classic soul format

➦In 2003...Pat St. John aired first show on WAXQ NYC.  He began his radio career on Windsor, Ontario's CKLW 800 AM in 1969 and 1970, followed by WKNR 1300 AM in late 1970 to early 1972, followed by WRIF 101.1 FM in  April 1973.

St. John is best known for the 42 years he spent in the New York City radio market working for WPLJ, WNEW-FM, WAXQ and WCBS FM. He can now be heard on SiriusXM Radio '60s on 6 Weekdays 3PM to 7 PM ET and on Classic Rewind Weekends 6PM to midnight ET.  St. John has done television voice-over work, including announcing for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve from 2000 to 2010.

St. John is known for his conversational on-air style interspersed with bits of music trivia, along with "Collectible Cuts" from his extensive record library. He has been called a "walking encyclopedia" when it comes to his knowledge of music. St. John has interviewed many musicians.

➦In 2015…Washington D.C. sports talk host Ken Beatrice, who hosted a call-in show for 23 years, first on WMAL between 1973 and 1995 later on WTEM from 1995 to 2000, died of complications from pneumonia at age 72.

  • Actor Patrick Bauchau (“The Pretender,” “Carnivale”) is 82. 
  • Country singer Helen Cornelius is 79. 
  • Actor James Naughton (“Hostages,” “Planet of the Apes”) is 75. 
  • Ashley Madekwe is 39
    Singer Frank Beverly of Maze is 74. 
  • Actor JoBeth Williams is 72. 
  • Actor Tom Hulce is 67. 
  • Actor Kin Shriner is 67. 
  • Talk show host Wil Shriner is 67. 
  • Drummer Rick Buckler of The Jam is 65. 
  • Singer Tish Hinojosa is 65. 
  • Country singer Bill Lloyd of Foster and Lloyd is 65. 
  • Comedian Steven Wright is 65. 
  • Guitarist Peter Buck of R.E.M. is 64. 
  • Drummer David Lovering of The Pixies is 59. 
  • Guitarist Ben Watt of Everything But the Girl is 58. 
  • Actor Janine Turner (“Strong Medicine,” “Northern Exposure”) is 58. 
  • Director Judd Apatow (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” ″Knocked Up”) is 53. 
  • Keyboardist Ulf “Buddha” Ekberg of Ace of Base is 50. 
  • Actor Lindsay Price (“Splitting Up Together”) is 44. 
  • Actor Ashley Madekwe (”Revenge,” “Salem”) is 39. 
  • Bassist Jacob Chesnut of Rush of Fools is 31.

Seattle Radio: Fitz In the Morning To EXIT KNUC

Hubbard Radio confirms that the Fitz In The Morning Daily show on KNUC 98.9 FM, will be ending in the next few weeks. 

Fitz will focus all of his efforts on Country Top 40 and the creation of new projects. Fitz is only the third host in the 45-year history of Country music’s longest-running national radio show and has just started writing the next chapter in one of the most storied brands in Country Music with 264 affiliates. 

Fitz said, “While I will dearly miss the daily interaction with my Seattle listeners, I’m truly excited to focus my attention on continuing the tradition of CT40 and bringing it into the next decade with fun, captivating new features, emotion, and remembering the stars of yesterday, while introducing the country stars of tomorrow- Taking CT40 into the next 40 years!”

Wheeler Morris, VP/Market Manager for Hubbard Radio Seattle states that “Over the past few years Fitz and his entire team have connected the new 98-9 The Bull with a growing audience and they will be missed.”

Brand/Content Director Scott Mahalick said, “We look forward to writing a new chapter for 98-9 The Bull next year, and are working on plans now. We are glad to continue being the flagship radio station for CT40 with Fitz, and look forward to him playing the HITS for years to come.”

Chicago Radio: Len Kasper Departs MLB Cubs For Dream Job

Len Kasper

In a world dominated by video, Len Kasper loves radio, reports The Chicago Sun-Times.

A self-proclaimed “audiophile,” Kasper shocked the sports-broadcasting world with the announcement Friday that he’s leaving the Cubs’ TV booth on Marquee Sports Network for the White Sox’ radio booth on their new flagship station, WMVP ESPN 1000.

Immediately, fans asked the question: Why on earth would he do that?

It’s a valid one. The Cubs’ audience is much, much larger than that of the Sox. The Cubs have a national following, whereas you wonder if the Sox even have a local one sometimes. And Kasper could have called Cubs games forever on the most popular medium.

Even his former employers, while supportive, wondered how the move would be received.

“In the mix of thoughts was how hard will it be for people to understand, especially for Cubs fans, going from the Cubs to the White Sox and going from TV to radio,” said Crane Kenney, the Cubs’ president of business operations. “For people who don’t know Len well, this will seem incongruous, this doesn’t make any sense.”

It makes perfect sense. It’s his dream job.

“When I was 12, I wanted to be [late Tigers Hall of Fame broadcaster] Ernie Harwell. Ernie was the hero who became a mentor and a good friend. If I have one regret today, it’s that when I got the Marlins job [in 2002], I got a handwritten letter from Ernie; when I got the Cubs job [in 2005], I got a phone call from Ernie. You don’t know how much that means to someone like me.”

That, right there, is the essence of Kasper. He isn’t a “someone like me.” He’s a “someone” young broadcasters strive to be, like he was with Harwell. Kasper has vivid snap shots from his youth in Michigan in the 1980s with Harwell’s soundtrack in the background. Now Kasper can be someone else’s soundtrack and paint the picture of baseball that Harwell painted for him.

The Cubs and Marquee made every effort to keep Kasper. They even asked for an extra day to come up with a more enticing package that Kasper said “blew him away.” But he listened to his gut.

Radio Disney Started The Tween Music Industry

Thirty-six full- and part-time employees at Radio Disney will be laid off as a result of the planned shutdown in 2021. 

Radio Disney Country, which debuted in 2015 as a digital-only platform, will also cease operations. Radio Disney in Latin America, which is separate from the U.S. operations, will not be affected, reports The NY Times.

Started in 1996 as a terrestrial radio station, Radio Disney became a destination for preteens and teenagers, primarily playing pop music and songs popularized by Disney Channel shows. By 2005, the station was available across 97 percent of the United States. In 2009, Radio Disney reached about 30 million listeners a week, a Disney spokeswoman said. That year, it opened a studio in Burbank, Calif., that became its programming headquarters.

In a shift, the network began reaching its audience primarily on digital and satellite platforms instead of over the airwaves in 2014, when the company sold 23 local market stations. (Its last remaining local station, KRDC-AM in Los Angeles, will be sold in 2021.)

In the 1990s, the station largely played popular artists like Britney Spears and ’NSync. It later served as a launching pad for artists early in their careers, including Hilary Duff, Raven-Symoné, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Zendaya.

“Radio Disney was definitely the first and one of the kind of most significant events in the development of the tween music industry,” said Tyler Bickford, an associate professor of children’s literature and childhood studies at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of “Tween Pop: Children’s Music and Public Culture.”

By embracing pop music and mixing it with its live-action shows on the Disney Channel, Disney was able to attract older children around the ages of 11 and 12, Professor Bickford said, contributing to an emerging preteen demographic that Radio Disney worked to cultivate.

D-C Radio: WAMU Staffers Vote to Unionize

A group of employees at WAMU in Washington, D.C., will begin negotiating a contract with licensee American University after voting unanimously to form a union.

All 65 valid mail-in-ballots supported joining the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union, according to Current citing a Thursday press release. Two votes were invalid because they lacked signatures, according to WAMU reporter Ally Schweitzer, a member of the organizing committee.

The 84-employee bargaining unit includes reporters, editors, producers, hosts, audio engineers and other content creators who work in the newsroom, produce shows and podcasts, or produce content for DCist, the news website owned by WAMU. American University is challenging 13 positions in the unit, including grant-funded positions, out-of-state employees paid by a third party, staffers who sometimes take on supervisory roles, and employees “the university believes do not create content for WAMU,” Schweitzer said in an email to Current.

“WAMU’s content creators, as a collective bargaining unit represented by SAG-AFTRA, look forward to advancing our shared beliefs in transparency, accountability, fairness, and most importantly, the truth,” said WAMU Morning Edition host Esther Ciammachilli in the release.

“The university respects the choice of its content staff at WAMU to have union representation,” Beth Muha, assistant VP of human resources at American University, said in a memo to staff. Muha said that negotiating a new contract “can be a lengthy process, so we should not expect to have an agreement in place until sometime in 2022.”

In an Oct. 1 petition to management, employees noted issues at the station including “deeply ingrained internal racism,” high turnover among women of color and disparities in compensation.

ABC Layoffs Hit News Division

ABC News implemented company-wide layoffs on Thursday, as part of an overall restructuring that parent company Disney disclosed in an SEC filing the day before Thanksgiving.

A source familiar with the matter told Mediaite the layoffs affect a percentage of ABC News employees in the low single digits. The layoffs are spread across the news division, and no particular group has been targeted, the source said.

In a memo to employees obtained by Variety, ABC News president James Goldston said coronavirus pandemic created “significant challenges … that have lasted far longer than anyone could have predicted,” and the layoffs are “necessary” to the company’s long-term growth. Goldston also said that all employees affected by the layoffs have been notified, and they will leave ABC News in early 2021.

No further layoffs are expected through the end of the calendar year.

The ABC News staff cuts came the same day as layoffs also hit Disney’s television division. Disney also announced Thursday that it will shut down Radio Disney in early 2021.

ABC News currently has around 1,400 employees. The layoffs come at the end of a rough year for the media industry, with NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News all having announced layoffs in their news divisions in 2020.

In November, The Walt Disney Company disclosed in an SEC filing that around 32,000 employees would be laid off in the first half of the 2021 fiscal year, primarily in the parks division.

Tribune Publishing to Close Hartford Courant's Newsroom

The Hartford Courant’s Broad Street offices, largely empty since March when the pandemic began, will close by the end of the year, executives said Friday.

Vacating the site was a difficult call, publisher and editor-in-chief Andrew Julien said.

“This is a decision about real estate needs amid a difficult and challenging time on both the public health and economic fronts,” he told staff in an email.

“It won’t change the essence of what we do: Delivering the high-impact journalism readers have come to expect from the Courant and crafting creative solutions that meet the needs of our advertising partners,” Julien said.

With the pandemic preventing reporters, editors, photographers and administrative staff from safely returning to the office until 2021, the company will close the offices Dec. 27, he said.

Spokesman Max Reinsdorf said Tribune Publishing, is “constantly evaluating its real estate needs.”

“As we progress through the pandemic and as needs change, we will reconsider our need for physical offices,” he said in an email.

The Courant, which has occupied the site since the mid-1940s, announced in October the newspaper will be printed in Springfield, ending more than 250 years of publication in Hartford. The newspaper is the nation’s oldest continuously published newspaper, beginning as a newsweekly on Oct. 29, 1764.

The Courant had outgrown its State Street home by the mid-1940s and moved to 285 Broad St., the former home of a car dealership. It bought the building for $500,000, the equivalent of $7 million in today’s dollars.

Tribune Publishing has shut other newsrooms: The Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call, The Capital in Annapolis, Md., the Orlando Sentinel and the New York Daily News.

Stevie Nicks Sells Huge Stake In Her Song Catalog

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks closed a deal to sell a majority stake in her publishing catalog late last month, on the heels of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” hitting the Billboard charts for the first time since 1977.

Music publisher Primary Wave purchased an 80% interest in the copyrights, which are valued at about $100 million, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the deal.

The deal, which includes hits “Edge of Seventeen,” “Rhiannon” and “Landslide,” highlights the soaring value of music in the streaming era.  Nicks’ sale coincides with recent buzz around “Dreams” fueled by a viral TikTok video of a man skateboarding while listening to the Fleetwood Mac former No. 1 single. The song, written by Nicks, landed at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October, logging its best-ever week of streams and download sales in the U.S.

Over the past five years, owning the rights to music has become more valuable as revenue from music streaming has grown. Vivendi SA sold a 10% stake in Universal Music Group to Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. for 3 billion euros, equivalent to $3.37 billion, late last year, valuing the world’s largest music company at more than $33 billion. Los Angeles-based investment firm Shamrock Capital Advisors LLC recently bought Taylor Swift’s early recording catalog for over $300 million—about what celebrity talent manager Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings LLC paid for the entirety of Ms. Swift’s former label, Big Machine Label Group LLC, a year and a half ago.

Songwriter catalogs, meanwhile, have been commanding sale prices that amount to 10 to 18 times their annual royalties, compared with eight to 13 times in earlier years, according to people involved in the deals.

The coronavirus pandemic has fueled the frenzy in part because music has proven to be a stable, recession-proof asset that produces returns largely untethered from the broader economy. Older hits are commanding higher prices than they were pre-Covid-19, because they are generally perceived as the safest bet, thanks to a long record, and have seen a surge in streaming during the pandemic.


Afternoon vibe. Lace 'em up! ##Dreams ##FleetwoodMac ##CranberryDreams @420doggface208

♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) - Fleetwood Mac

“Stevie’s music, while exceptionally well known, is still very undercommericalized and undermarketed,” said Primary Wave Chief Executive Larry Mestel. “There’s enormous upside potential for her songs to be reinvigorated and introduced to youth culture.”

Nicks laced up roller skates for her own version of the viral TikTok challenge. In the original, Idahoan Nathan Apodaca lip syncs to “Dreams” after sipping from a bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice while longboarding down the street. The song and various copycat videos were then featured in a commercial by the social video platform.

Nicks is the only woman who has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice: first in 1998 as a member of Fleetwood Mac, and again last year as a solo artist.

Report: WarnerMedia In Talks to Start Streaming

WarnerMedia executives are discussing launching two new streaming services, reports The Information. 

One would be a subscription offering based on content from CNN and could launch next year. Another would be a free service carrying programming from its entertainment cable channels TBS and TNT as well as the Warner Bros. film library, said people familiar with the situation. 

The free entertainment service is very early in the planning and likely wouldn’t launch until 2022, if at all. The two possible services would be in addition to HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s flagship streaming service, which launched last May, and a forthcoming ad-supported version of HBO Max that the company has said will launch next year.

Jason Kilar
The proliferation of new services reflects CEO Jason Kilar’s strategy of shifting Warner away from its historic reliance on cable channels and into the new world of streaming. Cable is declining as a business as consumers cut the cord in favor of cheaper streaming offerings. Kilar, who took the reins of Warner in May, is a pioneer in video streaming, having been the first CEO of Hulu.

A sign of how Kilar is prioritizing streaming over Warner’s traditional businesses came on Thursday, when the company announced it would make all of next year’s film releases available on HBO Max for a month even as they also show in theaters. While the move is designed to deal with the pandemic, which has shuttered theaters, it will give HBO Max a boost.

Most other traditional entertainment companies have launched streaming services to supplement their cable channels—Discovery unveiled its Discovery+ service this week. Disney runs three: Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Others, such as ViacomCBS, run both subscription-streaming services that don’t show ads and free streaming services that are ad supported. Comcast’s NBCUniversal launched Peacock this year with an ad-free version that costs several dollars a month, along with a lower-cost version and a free version that are ad supported.

Warner is moving in the same direction as part of an effort to ensure that it can generate both subscription and advertising revenue. The services it is considering launching are likely to have ads.

December 5 Radio History

➦In 1901...Walter Elias Disney born (Died at age 65 – December 15, 1966).  He was the founder of the Disney entertainment empire and an animator, voice actor and film producer. 

A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Born in Chicago in 1901, Disney developed an early interest in drawing. He took art classes as a boy and got a job as a commercial illustrator at the age of 18. He moved to California in the early 1920s and set up the Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy. With Ub Iwerks, Walt developed the character Mickey Mouse in 1928, his first highly popular success; he also provided the voice for his creation in the early years.

➦In 1902...Guglielmo Marconi transmitted the first readable wireless radio signals 3,200 km across the Atlantic from his station at Glace Bay, Cape Breton to Poldhu in Cornwall, England.

➦In 1906...Radio, TV writer, producer and director William Spier was born in NYC (Died at age 66 - May 30, 1973). He is best known for his radio work, notably Suspense and The Adventures of Sam Spade.

Spier began his career on the editorial staff of Musical America magazine, eventually becoming its chief critic.   His radio career began in 1929, when he produced and directed The Atwater Kent Hour, an hour-long Sunday night presentation of Metropolitan Opera artists.

Spier was chief of the writers' department and director of development at CBS in 1940, when he was co-producer of Suspense and Duffy's Tavern. In 1947, he won a Mystery Writers of America award for The Adventures of Sam Spade. A 1949 magazine article said Spier "is generally rated radio's top-notch creator of suspense-type dramas."

➦In 1925...WIBX Utica NY signed-on. WIBX 1460 AM would move around the dial until 1948

According to the WIBX website,  at the time WIBX began transmitting, there were about 1,600 radio stations operating throughout the United States. It was estimated that when WIBX signed on the air, only about 19-percent of households actually had radio receivers and it wouldn't be until the late 1930s that radios would be considered standard features in cars. 

Over the years, WIBX's programming would change significantly. In the 1930s, WIBX would become an affiliate of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and would broadcast programs from "the Golden Age of Radio" including dramas, comedies, soap operas, and sports; as well as newscasts which would become the standard for the top and bottom of every hour. In the 1950s, the sports talk program Sportswatch debuted and would continue until 2013, with many legendary hosts that would move on to the national scene. Through the 1960s and 70s, WIBX would become known for its Middle of the Road (MOR) format which would include a mixture of music and personality, sports, nationally syndicated programs and news. In the late-1980s, WIBX dropped music and moved towards the news-talk format that it runs today, that features Rush Limbaugh's nationally syndicated program and its affiliation with Fox News Radio.

Bing Crosby
➦In 1936...Bing Crosby started hosting the Kraft Music Hall radio show on NBC.

The program debuted June 26, 1933 as a musical-variety program featuring orchestra leader Paul Whiteman and served to supplement print advertising and in-store displays promoting Kraft products. During its first year the show went through a series of name changes, including Kraft Musical Revue, until it finally settled on Kraft Music Hall in 1934. Paul Whiteman remained the host until December 6, 1935. Ford Bond was the announcer.

Bing Crosby was host until May 9, 1946. Other entertainers who appeared regularly during Crosby's tenure included Connie Boswell, Victor Borge, and Mary Martin. A review in Billboard magazine commented, "It is a tribute to Bing Crosby, program's highlight, that the Music Hall seems to survive all talent change -- these changes simply pointing up the fact that the show is completely dependent on Crosby."

For the advertising managers at Kraft, it was imperative that advertising and entertainment be kept separate. For this reason, Kraft insisted that an announcer, not cast members, read its commercials.

➦In 1952..Mutual Radio broadcast “The Green Hornet” for the final time. The show left the air after 15 years on Mutual, NBC and ABC. “The Green Hornet” reappeared in 1966, this time on TV.

➦In 1955...Disc-Jockey Alan Freed‘s movie “Rock Rock Rock” (with Connie Francis singing for Tuesday Weld) opened to packed theaters in New York City. Other artists featured were Chuck Berry, LaVern Baker, Teddy Randazzo, The Moonglows, The Flamingos, and The Teenagers with Frankie Lymon.

➦In 1967... Top 40 WMCA 570 AM  was rated by Billboard magazine as the most influential in selling single records in New York.

A typical music meeting is held on Tuesday. Usually on hand - the station’s Program Director - Ruth Meyer, music assistants Joe Bogart and Frank Costa and several WMCA deejays.  WMCA says its policy is to select records that the station believes will become hits or those that are already established hits in other cities. WMCA says “it will not play dirty records.”

➦In 2011...Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith, who in the heyday of Monday Night Football shared the ABC broadcast booth with Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage at age 72.

  • Actor Jeroen Krabbe (“The Fugitive”) is 76. 
  • Amy Acker is 44
    Opera singer Jose Carreras is 74. 
  • Singer Jim Messina (Loggins and Messina, Poco) is 73. 
  • Actor Morgan Brittany (“Dallas”) is 69. 
  • Actor Brian Backer (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) is 64. 
  • Country singer Ty England is 57. 
  • Singer-guitarist John Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls is 55. 
  • Country singer Gary Allan is 53. 
  • Comedian Margaret Cho is 52. 
  • Actor Alex Kapp Horner (“The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is 51. 
  • Actor Kali Rocha (TV’s “Man with a Plan”) is 49. 
  • Bassist Regina Zernay of Cowboy Mouth is 48. 
  • Actor Paula Patton (“Precious”) is 45. 
  • Actor Amy Acker (“Person of Interest,” ″Angel”) is 44. 
  • Actor Nick Stahl (TV’s “Carnivale,” film’s “Terminator 3”) is 41. 
  • Actor Adan Canto (“Designated Survivor”) is 39. 
  • Singer Keri Hilson is 38. 
  • Actor Gabriel Luna (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 38. 
  • Actor Frankie Muniz (“Malcolm in the Middle”) is 35. 
  • Actor Ross Bagley (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) is 32.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Dan La Barard to EXIT ESPN Radio

ESPN and Dan Le Batard have announced that Le Batard will be leaving ESPN early next year to pursue a new opportunity. The ESPN Radio finale of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz will be Jan. 4, the same day Le Batard will host his last episode of Highly Questionable – which will remain on ESPN.

“It was mutually agreed that it was best for both sides to move on to new opportunities and we worked together closely to make that possible,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor. “We thank Dan for his many years and contributions to ESPN and wish him all the best going forward.”

Le Batard said, “Gracias to ESPN for unleashing Papi and Stugotz upon an unsuspecting America, and for lending its substantive credibility to our careening clown car. Can't believe Stugotz finally achieved his dream of becoming a high-priced free agent. I'm forever indebted to Erik Rydholm, Matt Kelliher and their vibrant team for providing a creative oasis across a decade, and for expanding the Le Batard family to include so many brilliant colleagues who have become forever friends, bonded eternally by laughter and love. Want to also extend my gratitude to Chuck Salituro, Jimmy Pitaro, Traug Keller, Marcia Keegan, Connor Schell, Juan Diaz, Mike Foss, Amanda Gifford, Liam Chapman, Megan Judge, Elizabeth Fierman, the Hialeah-soaked crew at Imagina ...and when did this become a droning acceptance speech instead of a quick goodbye? In short, thank you, Disney and ESPN, for a quarter century of absurd blessings. To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one. And that you'll be hearing our laughter again soon enough.”

On Jan. 5, Greeny, with Mike Greenberg, will move to the 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET timeslot, followed by Bart & Hahn which will join the national ESPN Radio lineup from 12 – 2 p.m. every weekday. The show, which features Bart Scott and Alan Hahn, has been a fan favorite on 98.7FM ESPN New York since its debut in January. Both Greeny and Bart & Hahn will be simulcast on ESPN+. 

ESPN’s weekday commentary show Highly Questionable, will continue to be a key part of the network’s television lineup featuring a contributing team, including Elle Duncan, Domonique Foxworth, Israel Gutierrez, Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes, Katie Nolan, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre and Clinton Yates. The show will continue to be produced remotely due to COVID-19, but will be based long term at ESPN’s New York Seaport Studios. Le Batard and his father, Gonzalo "Papi" Le Batard, will host their final episode of Highly Questionable on Jan. 4. 

“Greeny’s move will provide fans with a seamless transition from Get Up to Mike’s more in-depth takes on radio. Bart & Hahn has a great following in New York and we’re excited to bring that show to a national audience on a regular basis,” said David Roberts, ESPN senior vice president, production. “Highly Questionable will also continue to build on its success, engaging with fans every weekday afternoon, led by a contributing team of signature personalities.” 

The AM Rundown: Biden Wants Masks Worn For 100 Days

President-elect Joe Biden will ask all Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days after he takes office in order to curb COVID-19 for good, he said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper yesterday. Masks will be required where he has the authority to do so, including in federal buildings and on interstate planes and buses. Otherwise, only states and local governments can require rather than request mask wearing.

Biden also said he has asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to be a chief medical adviser to the new administration.

➤THREE PRESIDENTS LINE UP FOR VACCINE: Three former presidents have volunteered to get vaccinated for coronavirus and tape it for television. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all said they are confident that the vaccine will be safe and effective. A Gallup poll in November showed 42 percent of Americans would not be willing to get vaccinated, even for free.

➤TRUMP REBUKES HIS OWN ATTORNEY GENERAL: President Donald Trump yesterday publicly rebuked his own attorney general, Bill Barr, for admitting in an interview that the Department of Justice and FBI had found no evidence of fraud on a scale that would have changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. "He hasn't done anything. He hasn't looked," Trump said at a White House event. In a statement, the Department of Justice did not dispute the report from The Associated Press but said that the Department is continuing its investigation into allegations of election fraud.

➤IT'S GETTING COMPLICATED IN GEORGIA: Two conservative activists named Lin Wood and Sidney Powell are accusing the top Republican Party officials in Georgia of being involved in a conspiracy to steal the election from President Donald Trump, who lost to Joe Biden in the state. Moreover, Wood and Powell are recommending that Republicans boycott the upcoming Senate runoff election. 

And that is a big problem for Republicans in general. Georgia has two runoff elections for U.S. Senate seats coming up, and they couldn't be more important nationally. Republican incumbent Senator David Perdue is running against Democrat Jon Ossoff, while incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler is opposed by the Reverend Raphael Warnock. The outcome could keep the Senate majority in Republican hands or flip it to the Democratic Party.

President Trump is expected at a rally for the Republican candidates tomorrow. Even some of his loyal supporters in the party are worried he'll veer off script and talk too much about election fraud and not enough about Perdue and Loeffler.

Wall Street Journal 12/04/20

➤FIRE BURNING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Bond fire is burning out of control in Southern California and, with strong winds in the forecast, is expected to burn through the weekend at least. About 25,000 residents of several hillside communities in east Orange County had been evacuated by yesterday evening. The fire started Wednesday night in Silverado Canyon, about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

➤IS CHINA CREATING 'SUPER-SOLDIERS?': China has conducted human testing on members of the People's Liberation Army with the goal of developing super-soldiers with "biologically enhanced capabilities," the director of U.S. national intelligence alleged in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. The message conveyed by John Ratcliffe was that China is a dangerous adversary and "intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically." Gene-editing technology is currently being used to develop treatments for human diseases and to enhance food crops, but scientists consider it unethical for use in enhancing human performance.

➤WATCH FOR THE 'CHRISTMAS STAR': If you look up at the sky any night from now until almost Christmas, you'll see Jupiter and Saturn moving closer and closer to each other. On December 21st, the date of the winter solstice, they will get so close that they will appear almost to collide or to merge into one body. That is a rare phenomenon known as a "Christmas star." And it hasn't happened since March 4, 1226. The Christmas star can best be seen through binoculars or a small telescope, scientists at NASA say.

➤FIREBALL CAUSES BOOM, UNNERVING UPSTATE NEW YORK: A big fireball caused a loud boom that rattled windows and was felt from southern Ontario to Virginia midday on Wednesday (December 2nd). According to the American Meteor Society (AMS) in Geneseo, New York, the disturbance resulted in at least 150 reports, seen in wide swaths of the eastern part of North America. There were multiple 9-1-1 calls in central New York after the boom shook windows, though clouds prevented sightings of the fireball. It’s largely believed the fireball was an asteroid.

➤HAAGEN-DAZS CLAIMS THIS IS AMERICA’S FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR: Häagen-Dazs has released its Flavor of 2020 report, and the brand says that vanilla is their most popular flavor this year. Rounding out the top-three most-popular flavors are coffee and strawberry, but in fourth is the brand’s vanilla milk chocolate almond bar. They also say that people searched for “ice cream delivery” 202 percent more this year compared to previous years, and reported doubling their growth during the pandemic. This makes sense as a survey done in July found that 60 percent of Americans chose ice cream as their ultimate comfort food during a troubling year.

➤HERE ARE THE ‘MOST POPULAR’ COSMETIC PROCEDURES AROUND THE WORLD FOR 2020, SAYS MEDICAL TRAVEL COMPANY:  Despite largely staying home, people were still thinking about getting cosmetic procedures in 2020. German-based health consultation resource Qunomedical analyzed internal search data and found that in the U.S., the top 14 searches for cosmetic procedures in 2020 are: Botox injections, liposuction, tummy ticks, Brazilian butt lifts, rhinoplasties, breast enlargement surgeries, hair transplants, lip fillers, mommy makeovers, breast reduction surgeries, facelifts, butt implants, gynecomastia surgeries (breast reduction for men), and beard transplants. The same procedures were the most popular in 11 other countries, but the order of them varied. For example in Canada, Botox was the top searched-for procedure followed by rhinoplasty and hair transplants, while in the U.K., Ireland, and Germany lip fillers topped the list followed by Botox and hair transplants. Qunomedical’s CEO Dr. Sophie Chung says, “Qunomedical has also seen a surge in interest in surgery abroad during lockdown. Along with cheaper flights more people are discovering they can get the same high-quality treatment for a lower price and more privacy away from home.”

➤IS YOUR RESTAURANT’S ‘OUTDOOR’ SETUP SAFE? AN AEROSOL SCIENTIST WEIGHS IN: Data shows that the coronavirus is less-likely to spread in outdoor spaces, due to the ventilation. As a result restaurants were eventually able to open with outdoor dining, but as temperatures have started dropping in many areas of the country lots of restaurants have moved their outdoor dining experiences into tents, or other, more substantial structures than they utilized during the summer months. Dr. Alex Huffman is an aerosol scientist at the University of Denver, and says that when outdoor dining is a viable option (meaning when case numbers are down, so not right now in most of the country), it’s important to consider which kinds of dining setups most effectively minimize risk. The issue when dining out is people are talking and when we do so we exhale tiny droplets that have the potential to infect other people if we happen to have COVID-19. So, the closer we sit to others, and the worse the ventilation in a closed space, the more likely we are to breathe in the droplets of others. Huffman says when it comes to outdoor dining, “[If] you have umbrellas and a heater, I would feel much more comfortable with that.” He adds that with one or two walls there’s a possibility of a crosswind, but three walls make things too risky for his liking, and he notes that fans are not a perfect solution, as they could end up blowing infected air past some patrons. The take-home message: dining in a structure with three or four walls (even tent walls) could be just as risky as dining indoors at a restaurant.

🏀BIG DEAL FOR ANTHONY DAVIS: All-Star forward Anthony Davis is finalizing a new five-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN. The deal is said to be worth $190 million. Davis spent seven seasons with New Orleans before moving to the Lakers in 2019.

🏈JOSH GORDON IS ON AGAIN: Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon, currently on suspension, has been reinstated by the NFL and will be allowed to play in the final two weeks of the regular season, according to Fox Sports. Gordon, who is 29, is considered to be a promising player but he has been suspended no fewer than five times for substance abuse violations.

⚾59 PLAYERS DROPPED: A total 59 players have been cut loose by their teams, apparently as fallout from the pandemic. All became free agents when their teams did not offer them contracts for the 2021 season by Wednesday's deadline. They include Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Junior of the Chicago Cubs, Archie Bradley of the Cincinnati Reds, Adam Duvall of the Atlanta Braves, David Dahl of the Colorado Rockies and Eddie Rosario of the Minnesota Twins. Many of the teams are trying to cut their expenses after a season with no fans in the stands.

🏈NFL DOUBLE-HEADER ON MONDAY: We'd like to explain why there was no Thursday Night Football last night, but it's just so darned complicated. Suffice it to say it's due to the schedule-shuffling made necessary by the pandemic. The good news is that there's a Monday double-header coming up. Washington is scheduled to play the Pittsburgh Steelers starting at 5 PM ET on Fox. And, the Buffalo Bills play the San Francisco 49ers at 8:15 PM ET on ESPN, but they actually will be playing in Glendale, Arizona, home of the Cardinals, because Levi Stadium is out of bounds right now, also due to the pandemic.

Goodbye Radio, Part Of Disney's Focus On Video Streaming


Walt Disney Co. is closing its more than two-decade-old Radio Disney network, a casualty of the company’s growing focus on TV and video streaming, reports Bloomberg.

The network, which aired children’s programming, has been operated by the Disney Channel division. About 36 full- and part-time workers were told Thursday of the decision, which takes effect in the first quarter of 2021.

The cuts reflect the sweeping changes Disney has been making to its businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and shifts in the way people consume media. Over the past four months, the company has restructured management and reduced headcount. Disney’s ABC News division, for example, is letting fewer than 5 per cent of its 1,400 workers.

Radio Disney was founded in 1996 and was carried by as many as 50 stations nationally. The network helped promote the careers of musicians and Disney stars including Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Hilary Duff. The network’s Latin America arm, run separately, won’t be affected by the announcement.

The company also owned some two dozen radio stations, nearly all of which have been sold. The last, KRDC-AM in Los Angeles, will be sold in 2021. The decision also reflects changes in music consumption, with many families subscribing and listening to digital services such as Spotify.

With the coronavirus crushing Disney’s revenue on many fronts, Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek has shuttered several long-running businesses, including the Disney Channel in the U.K. and a chain of English-language schools the company ran in China.

FOX News 'The Five': Juan Williams Tests Positive For COVID-19

Juan Williams, a veteran Fox News personality who co-hosts the popular afternoon talk show “The Five,” tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday and is isolating himself, reports The NY Times citing two people who were briefed on his condition.

Williams appeared in a live episode of “The Five” on Wednesday afternoon at Fox News’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters, appearing on the set with several of his co-hosts, including the popular conservative commentators Jesse Watters and Greg Gutfeld. The hosts, like guests on some other cable talk shows during the pandemic, sat about seven feet apart.

Williams left for vacation on Nov. 18 and returned to the Fox News studios on Monday; he was tested for the coronavirus shortly thereafter. The people familiar with his condition, who requested anonymity to share private discussions, said he received a positive result on Thursday afternoon.

He was absent from Thursday’s 5 p.m. episode of “The Five,” in which the other hosts appeared remotely.

Fox News declined to comment about Williams’s condition, citing employee privacy. But the network said in a statement that the hosts of “The Five” would broadcast from home studios “for the foreseeable future.”

“We will continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our staff,” the statement said. It noted that the network regularly tested its on-air personalities and had mask mandates and daily health checks for all employees who entered its headquarters.

Pay-TV Consumers To Get Sports Rebates

More than $1 billion will soon start to flow back to U.S. pay-TV subscribers in the form of refunds and credits, compensating them for the year’s many pandemic-related sports cancellations, reports Bloomberg.

Pay-TV providers like AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. kept collecting sports-programming fees even as the Covid-19 outbreak canceled sporting events like college basketball tournaments and disrupted pro leagues like the MLB, NBA and NHL.

Now, after months of unwinding insurance settlements, league payments and regional-sports-network fees, the total rebates from RSNs could be as much as $1.1 billion, according to an estimate by Brandon Ross, an analyst with LightShed Partners.

“The only winner is the customer,” said Ross, adding that the payback will vary by market. For example, the math says about $14 for the average Charter video subscriber, Ross said.

Charter intends to credit as much as $218 million back to pay-TV customers for sports-network rebates, according to executives on an Oct. 30 earnings call.

Verizon was the first of the big pay-TV providers to notify customers that repayments were coming in the form of credits on their bills.

AT&T said it will provide “courtesy adjustments” to customers who paid for regional sports channels from April to July. Customers will receive the full amount that the company receives back from the sports networks, according to a spokesman. He couldn’t provide a total value of the refunds.

Satellite-TV provider Dish Network Corp. also said it was giving bill credits to affected subscribers, along with free replacement sports coverage.

December 4 Radio History

➦In 1889...Isabel Randolph born  (Died at age 83 – January 11, 1973). She was a  character actress in radio and film from the 1940s through the 1960s and on TV from the early 1950s to the middle 1960s.

She gained nationwide popularity on the radio show Fibber McGee and Molly (on the air 1935-1959), where she began in various "snooty" roles January 13, 1936, eventually becoming a long-running series character, the pompous Mrs. Abigail Uppington, a snooty society matron whom Fibber addressed as "Uppy," and whose pretensions Fibber delighted in deflating. She stayed with the comedy series for seven years until the show began its eighth season in the fall of 1943.

She also starred as the wife in NBC's soap opera Dan Harding's Wife (on the air January 20, 1936 through February 10, 1939), and was in the cast of two other NBC serials, One Man's Family (on the air 1932-59) during the 1940s.

In the early days of TV her credits include Our Miss Brooks, The Andy Griffith Show, Meet Millie, The Abbott & Costello Show, and Perry Mason.

Even while young, Randolph specialized in middle-aged "grand dame" roles on stage and radio, continuing in these roles when she entered films in 1940

➦In 1915...Newscaster  Alan Jackson was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was the head anchor at CBS Radio News in New York City.

Jackson began his 33-year career during the Second World War, reading the 6:00 PM national evening news (then the network's main news program) and anchoring coverage of many of the major news headlines of the day. He anchored CBS News's coverage of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, of the joining of US and Soviet forces in April 1945, and of V-E Day in May of that year.

He was one of the first national radio newscasters to announce the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. According to former CBS News Correspondent Dan Rather in his book "The Camera Never Blinks" and in the 2003 book "President Kennedy Has Been Shot", Rather had advised CBS news headquarters in New York from Dallas that there were unconfirmed reports that the President was dead. Jackson was handed a slip of paper reading "JFK DEAD" and immediately went on air with the announcement, reporting Kennedy's death as a fact (which had not yet been confirmed, although it was true that Kennedy was already dead), and playing the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

He died in April 1976 at age 60. from complications after gall bladder surgery.

Deanna Durbin "Something In The Wind" 1947
➦In 1921...Edna Mae Durbin born (Died at age 91 – April 17, 2013), known professionally as Deanna Durbin, was a Winnipeg, Canadian-born actress and singer, later settled in France, who appeared in musical films in the 1930s and 1940s. With the technical skill and vocal range of a legitimate lyric soprano, she performed many styles from popular standards to operatic arias.  However she established genuine radio credentials as a singing star of the popular Eddie Cantor Show.

Durbin made her first film appearance with Judy Garland in Every Sunday (1936), and subsequently signed a contract with Universal Studios. Her success as the ideal teenaged daughter in films such as Three Smart Girls (1936) was credited with saving the studio from bankruptcy. In 1938, at the age of 17, Durbin was awarded the Academy Juvenile Award.

As she matured, Durbin grew dissatisfied with the girl-next-door roles assigned to her, and attempted to portray a more womanly and sophisticated style. The film noir Christmas Holiday (1944) and the whodunit Lady on a Train (1945) were, however, not as well received as her musical comedies and romances had been. Durbin retired from acting and singing in 1949, and withdrew from public life, granting no interviews for the remainder of her life, except for one in 1983. She married film producer-director Charles Henri David in 1950, and the couple moved to a farmhouse near Paris.

➦In 1923...The Eveready Hour premiered on WEAF Radio in NYC  It was the first commercially sponsored variety program in the history of broadcasting.It was paid for by the National Carbon Company, which at the time owned Eveready Battery. The host for many years was the banjo-playing vocalist Wendell Hall, "The Red Headed Music Maker," who wrote the popular "It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo'" (Victor Records). Hall was married on The Eveready Hour in 1924.

In early 1924 The Eveready Hour began to be carried simultaneously by a second station, WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island, and the number of outlets was expanded to a group of Eastern and Midwestern stations "as quickly as WEAF could add stations" to its "WEAF chain" radio network.

On election night, November 4, 1924, the program, hosted by Wendell Hall, was carried by 18 stations, with Will Rogers, Art Gillham, Carson Robison and the Eveready Quartet entertaining between election returns given by Graham McNamee. Joseph Knecht led the Waldorf-Astoria Dance Orchestra. In 1926 the WEAF chain operations were purchased by the Radio Corporation of America, becoming the basis of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in early 1927. The Eveready Hour continued as a featured broadcast on NBC until 1930.

➦In 1932...Walter Winchell premiered his WJZ Radio with the the famous opening:  “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea. Let’s go to press!”

He made his radio debut over WABC (now WCBS-AM) in New York, a CBS affiliate, on May 12, 1930. The show, entitled Saks on Broadway, was a 15-minute feature that provided business news about Broadway. He switched to WJZ (now WABC) and the NBC Blue (later ABC Radio) in 1932 for the Jergens Journal.

Winchell kept that gossip show going on the radio for 23 years.

➦In 1933...The radio soap opera Ma Perkins made the leap from WLW in Cincinnati to  the NBC Red Network.   It aired from 1933 to 1949 and on CBS from 1942 to 1960. Between 1942 and 1949, the show was heard simultaneously on both networks.

During part of its run on NBC, that network's coverage was augmented by use of transcriptions. Beginning April 1, 1935, nine stations broadcast the transcriptions. The program continued with various sponsors until 1960.

"America’s mother of the air" was portrayed by actress Virginia Payne, who began the role at the age of 23 and never missed a performance during the program's 27-year run. Kindly, trusting widow Ma Perkins had a big heart and a great love of humanity. She always offered her homespun philosophy to troubled souls in need of advice.

Ma Perkins is widely credited with giving birth to storytelling.

➦In 1933...Radio, TV host Wink Maertindale born.

➦In 1944...Country entertainer Eddy Arnold record his signature song 'Cattle Call' at the WSM Radio studios in Nashville.

➦In 1944...Beach Boys drummer, keyboardist and songwriter Dennis Wilson was born in 1944. He drowned on Dec. 28, 1983 at 39.  Dennis Wilson interview with Pete Fornatale on WNEW 102.7 FM, New York City from November 1976.

➦In 1954...“Mr. Sandman” by the Chordettes on Cadence Records topped the music charts and stayed there for 7 weeks.

➦In 1954..The NY Supreme Court ruled 1010 WINS radio disc jockey Alan Freed could no longer use the nickname "Moondog." Freed had been sued for infringement by New York street musician Louis T. Hardin, who claimed prior ownership of the nickname.

Freed started calling his show "The Moondog House" and billed himself as "The King of the Moondoggers" while working at WJW In Cleveland in 1951. He had been inspired by an offbeat instrumental called "Moondog Symphony" that had been recorded by New York street musician Louis T. Hardin, aka "Moondog". Freed adopted the record as his show's theme music.

His on-air manner was energetic, in contrast to many contemporary radio presenters of traditional pop music, who tended to sound more subdued and low-key in manner. He addressed his listeners as if they were all part of a make-believe kingdom of hipsters, united in their love for black music. He also began popularizing the phrase "rock and roll" to describe the music he played.

He was one of the organizers of a five-act show called "The Moondog Coronation Ball" on March 21, 1952, at the Cleveland Arena. This event is considered the first rock and roll concert. Crowds attended in numbers far beyond the arena's capacity, and the concert was shut down early due to overcrowding and a near-riot. Freed gained a priceless notoriety from the incident. WJW immediately increased the airtime allotted to Freed's program, and his popularity soared.

In those days, Cleveland was considered by the music industry to be a "breakout" city, where national trends first appeared in a regional market. Freed's popularity made the pop music business take notice. Soon, tapes of Freed's program began to air in the New York City area over station WNJR 1430 (now WNSW), in Newark, New Jersey.

In July 1954, following his success on the air in Cleveland, Freed moved to 1010 WINS in New York City. that's when Hardin, the original Moondog, took a court action suit against WINS for damages against Freed for infringement in 1956, arguing prior claim to the name "Moondog", under which he had been composing since 1947. Hardin collected a $6,000 judgment from Freed, as well as an agreement to give up further usage of the name Moondog. WINS eventually became an around-the-clock Top 40 rock and roll radio station, and would remain so until April 19, 1965—long after Freed left and three months after he had died— when it became an all-news outlet.

➦In 1957...CKWS in Kingston, Ontario played Elvis Presley's newly release Christmas album in its entirety, opening the phones to public comment. Most listeners approve of the album.

➦In 1967...Sportscaster Harry Wismer died at age 54 (Born June 30, 1913). Wismer played college football at both the University of Florida and Michigan State College, his playing career ending at the latter school when he damaged a knee severely during a game against the University of Michigan. He then began broadcasting Michigan State sports on MSC's radio station WKAR in a position arranged for him by Spartans head coach Charlie Bachman.

In 1934, he was hired as the public-address announcer for the Detroit Lions. The Lions were in their first season in Detroit and were owned by George A. "Dick" Richards, who also owned Detroit radio station WJR. Wismer soon began doing a ten-minute daily radio show covering the Lions in addition to his PA duties, while continuing as a student at Michigan State.

Harry Wismer
After the 1936 season, Wismer was encouraged by Richards to abandon his studies and come to work for WJR on a full-time basis as the station's sports director. Among Wismer's WJR duties was serving as play-by-play announcer for the station's Lions broadcasts. He stayed until 1941 when he was hired by the NBC Blue Network, the predecessor to ABC. During the 1940s Wismer was named Sportscaster of the Year three years running by Sporting News magazine.

In 1947, he was named one of 10 outstanding young Americans of the year by the U.S. Jaycees, along with congressman John F. Kennedy, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and physicist Philip Morrison.  However, a subsequent management change at ABC led to a new regime that was hostile to sports, and Wismer became a free-lancer, selling his service to the highest bidder. Wismer became known for an enormous ego and developed a reputation as a "namedropper", preferring to announce the names of celebrities of his acquaintance who were in the audience to the actual game action, and was alleged at times to include them in the crowd of games which he announced when they were in fact elsewhere.

Wismer achieved the height of his fame as the voice of the Washington Redskins. His first game for the Redskins was a most inauspicious one in December 1940, their 73–0 loss to the Chicago Bears' great "Monsters of the Midway" team in the 1940 championship game. At one point Wismer was a 25% owner of the club as well, with the majority of the stock being retained by founding owner George Preston Marshall. However, the relationship between the two had greatly degenerated by the mid-1950s over several issues, not the least of which was Marshall's steadfast refusal to sign any black players. The relationship dissolved in claims, counterclaims, and litigation, and Marshall then set out to destroy Wismer's future as a broadcaster, with some success. Wismer was also involved for a time in the broadcasting of Notre Dame football.

In 1953, Wismer was involved in an early attempt to expand football into prime time network television, when ABC, now with a renewed interest in sports, broadcast an edited replay on Sunday nights of the previous day's Notre Dame games, which were cut down to 75 minutes in length by removing the time between plays, halftime, and even some of the more uneventful plays. (While this format was not successful in prime time, a similar presentation of Notre Dame football later became a staple of Sunday mornings for many years on CBS with Lindsey Nelson as the announcer.)

Also that season was the first attempt at prime time coverage of pro football, with Wismer at the microphone on the old DuMont Network. Unlike ABC's Notre Dame coverage, DuMont's NFL game was presented live on Saturday nights, but interest was not adequate to save the DuMont Network, which had by this point already entered what would be a terminal decline (although it did mount a subsequent 1954 season of NFL telecasts, minus Wismer, which proved to be one of its last regular programs).

➦In 1967...WCBS 880 AM expanded "All News" format to midnight.

By the late 1950s and early 1960s, WCBS had evolved into a Middle of the road (MOR) music and personality format, which included limited talk programming. Personalities included legendary morning host Jack Sterling, Bill Randle and Lee Jordan. Like many MOR stations at the time, WCBS did mix in softer songs by rock-and-roll artists, as its ratings at the time were ordinary compared to the higher ratings at WOR and WNEW, both of which also had MOR formats and more distinct identities. Through it all, the variety show "Arthur Godfrey Time" remained a weekday mid-morning staple.

Eventually, WCBS gained a foothold in local news coverage (WOR and WNEW's strengths) bolstered by its standing as CBS's flagship radio station.

William S. Paley
During the 1960s, CBS chairman William S. Paley was concerned about the station's low ratings, and that concern started a process that would lead to the creation of a news radio format that would become known as "Newsradio 88". This format debuted on August 28, 1967.

Initially, the station ran news in the drive time periods but maintained an MOR format during the midday and overnight hours, and within a couple of years, it ran all-news programming for much of the broadcast day except for overnights. "Newsradio 88" began its transformation into an all-news format in 1970, when the overnight American Airlines-sponsored Music Till Dawn ended in January of that year, and completed the process in 1972, when Godfrey's weekday morning variety show came to an end. The station built a reputation as an all-news powerhouse during the 1970s, and has continued with an all-news format to this day.

➦In 1989...Howard Hoffman and Stephanie Miller first show at WQHT 97.1 FM.

In the fall of 1988, Emmis had purchased WYNY from NBC, as well as the license of WNBC (AM), which would be shut down. On September 22, 1988, at 5:30 p.m., the stations swapped frequencies. WYNY was moved to 103.5 FM, while WQHT's rhythmic contemporary format moved to 97.1 FM and became "Hot 97." After the transition to Hot 97, Stephanie Miller and Howard Hoffman were brought in to do the morning show, J. Paul Emerson stayed on as newsman, with Daniel Ivankovich ("Reverend Doctor D") and brought in as producer.

The last song played on "Hot 103" was Debbie Gibson's "Stayin' Together" and the first song played on "Hot 97" was M.A.R.R.S.' "Pump Up the Volume".

The station started to lean towards top 40 by 1989 due to decreasing ratings.

  • Singer-bassist Chris Hillman (The Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers) is 76. 
  • Singer Southside Johnny Lyon of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes is 72. 
  • Actor Jeff Bridges is 71. 
  • Guitarist Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rossington Collins Band) is 69. 
  • Actor Patricia Wettig is 69. 
  • Lila McCann is 39
    Actor Tony Todd (“Final Destination” films) is 66. 
  • Drummer Brian Prout of Diamond Rio is 65. 
  • Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 65. 
  • Bassist Bob Griffin (The BoDeans) is 61. 
  • Singer Vinnie Dombroski of Sponge is 58. 
  • Actor Chelsea Noble (“Growing Pains,” “Kirk”) is 56. 
  • Actor Marisa Tomei is 56. 
  • Comedian Fred Armisen (“Portlandia,” ″Saturday Night Live”) is 54. 
  • Rapper Jay-Z is 51. 
  • Actor Kevin Sussman (“Ugly Betty”) is 50. 
  • Model Tyra Banks is 47. 
  • Country singer Lila McCann is 39. 
  • Actor Lindsay Felton (“Caitlin’s Way”) is 36. 
  • Actor Orlando Brown (“That’s So Raven”) is 33. 
  • Actor Scarlett Estevez (“Lucifer”) is 13.