Saturday, February 6, 2021

February 7 Radio History

Bill Johnstone
➦In 1908... one of the busiest actors in the Golden Age of Radio Bill Johnstone was born in Brooklyn.

Perhaps best remembered as the actor who succeeded Orson Welles as The Shadow (1938-43), Johnstone could also be heard as Inspector Cramer opposite Sydney Greenstreet in Nero Wolfe; Lt. Ybarra on Philip Marlowe; and in the title role on The Whistler. 

From 1950 to 1953, he starred as Lt. Ben Guthrie in the CBS radio police procedural The Lineup.  He died Nov. 1 1996 at age 88.

➦In 1915...comic actor Eddie Bracken was born in Astoria NY.  After becoming a film star in the 40’s he made frequent appearances on network radio, and had two short-lived series under his own name.  On TV he was seen in guest roles over more than 40 years, including serious drama series like Studio One & Playhouse 90.  He died after surgery Nov 14, 2002 at age 87.

➦In 1915...First train-to-station radio message, Binghamton, NY.

➦In 1963...B. Mitchel Reed started at WMCA 570 AM NYC.

Born Burton Mitchel Goldberg in Brooklyn, New York, Reed held a B.S. degree in journalism and an M.A. in political science at the University of Illinois. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he entered the world of radio while teaching political science at his alma mater.

Reed hosted the all-night Birdland Jazz Show at WOV (AM) in New York in 1956. A year later, he landed a job at KFWB in Los Angeles, playing jazz and calling himself "The Boy on the Couch." On January 2, 1958, KFWB became a pioneering Top 40 station known as "Color Radio/Channel 98," and the DJ's were known as "The Seven Swinging Gentlemen." The lineup included Bruce Hayes, Al Jarvis, Joe Yocam, Elliot Field, Bill Ballance, Ted Quillin, and Gene Weed. Reed held the 6-9 P.M. time slot. Under Program Director Chuck Blore, KFWB became the number one radio station in LA.

He was known as "The Fastest Tongue in the West," for the speed in which he spoke to his audience. He left KFWB for WMCA in his home state of New York on February 7, 1963. He soon became part of a team of disc jockeys known as "The Good Guys," among them Jack Spector, a fellow alum from Boys High School in Brooklyn who had graduated two years ahead of him.

March 15, 1963
➦In 1963… the Vee-Jay label released the first Beatles single in the U.S. “Please Please Me.”

Vee-Jay's early releases were at first unsuccessful, but quickly became huge hits once the British Invasion took off in early 1964, selling 2.6 million Beatles singles in a month. Cash flow problems caused by Ewart Abner's tapping the company treasury to cover personal gambling debts led to the company's active demise; Vee-Jay had been forced to temporarily cease operations in the second half of 1963, leading to royalty disputes with the Four Seasons and EMI. The Four Seasons then left Vee-Jay for Philips Records, and EMI's Capitol Records picked up the U.S. rights for both the Beatles and Frank Ifield.

Dick Biondi,  at WLS 890 AM in Chicago at the time and a friend of Vee-Jay executive Ewart Abner, played the song on the radio as early as February 8, 1963.   "Please Please Me" peaked at #35, but did not show up on any of the major national record charts. The label re-issued the single in January 1964 to a much better result: it peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, just behind the group's "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You" released on Capitol Records.

➦In 1964...Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight 101 from London Heathrow lands at New York’s Kennedy Airport as more than 3,000 fans jammed the airport launching Beatlemania in the U.S. The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr arrived for their first U.S. visit (including an appearance two days later on “The Ed Sullivan Show”). The “Fab Four” controlled the top spot on the pop music charts for the next 15 weeks and owned the top of the album charts for 10 weeks.

The “Fab Four”–dressed in mod suits and sporting their trademark pudding bowl haircuts–were greeted by 3,000 screaming fans who caused a near riot when they stepped off their plane and onto American soil.

Two days later, Paul McCartney, age 21, Ringo Starr, 23, John Lennon, 23, and George Harrison, 20, made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Although it was difficult to hear the performance over the screams of teenage girls in the studio audience, an estimated 73 million U.S. television viewers, or about 40 percent of the U.S. population, tuned in to watch. Sullivan immediately booked the Beatles for two more appearances that month.

The group made their first public concert appearance in the United States on February 11 at the Coliseum in Washington, D.C., and 20,000 fans attended. The next day, they gave two back-to-back performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and police were forced to close off the streets around the venerable music hall because of fan hysteria. On February 22, the Beatles returned to England.

The Beatles American TV debut was actually on November 18, 1963 on NBC's  Huntley-Brinkley Report, with a four-minute long piece voiced by Edwin Newman.

On 22 November 1963, the CBS Morning News ran a five-minute feature on Beatlemania in the UK. The evening's scheduled repeat was cancelled following the assassination of John F. Kennedy the same day. On December 10, Walter Cronkite decided to televise the piece again on the CBS Evening News, and the resulting interest led to the rush-release of "I Want to Hold Your Hand".

Eleven weeks before the Beatles' arrival in the U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The nation was in mourning, in fear, and in disbelief. The assassination came after a fifteen-year build-up of Cold War tension. The motivation and identity of the assassin, would be doubted by many Americans for decades even after the Warren Commission issued its report in September 1964. As the U.S. tried to restore a sense of normality, teenagers in particular struggled to cope, as their disbelief began to be replaced by a personal reaction to what had happened: in school essays, teenagers wrote that "then it became real", and "I was feeling the whole world is going to collapse on me", and "I never felt so empty in all my life".

When the Beatles first hit American shores in 1964, radio personalities scrambled to befriend them and scoop other stations.   Media writer Peter Kanze recapped the radio battle for The Beatles in 1989 and it was reprinted recently at

According to Kanze, Rick Sklar was WABC’s Program Director from 1962 through 1976, and he remembered that “WABC never deviated from its standard policy with and artist, including the Beatles.   In order to get played on the station, the artist had to be established first.  Once they made it, fine, but we weren't going be the station to take a chance.  “WABeatlesC” went on the first American Beatles releases, but only because of their track record in England.  I don’t think that it was very significant that WMCA played “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” before we did.  As far as we were concerned, the Beatles weren't known yet.  Once the Beatles were known, though, we always tried to have the exclusive. “

(Courtesy of the WABC Tribute Website  Find out more, visit the Beatles Page: Click Here.)

The “exclusive” or “scoop” (a record that has been obtained first by one radio station in a given area and no other) was all-important in those days, and still is to some extent with superstar performers.  In the case of the Beatles, it was meant to convey the impression that one radio station had a closer relationship to the group than the other.  Hence, newer music, better gossip, etc.

As recounted at, WABC had a huge advantage when The Beatles visited New York City. As the flagship station for the ABC radio network, it had access to lots of high tech equipment. This included wireless RF microphones. During The Beatles first 1964 visit to New York, when they stayed at The Plaza, it was impossible for virtually any of the media to get access to them.

So, during their second 1964 visit when they stayed at the Delmonico Hotel, WABC mounted an all out offensive. The suite above The Beatles was rented by WABC and was used to set up a remote studio. Using those wireless microphones, WABC disc jockeys Scott Muni and Bruce Morrow wandered around the hotel ready to broadcast anything that might have to do with The Beatles. It gave the station a huge edge. And, it didn’t hurt that as many security and hotel staff people as possible were presented with "gifts" from WABC. Needless to say, there were very few places where the WABC people could not roam.

By now most of the 10,000 teenagers who packed the streets outside of the hotel were listening to WABC on their transistor radios. When WABC disc jockeys Scott Muni and Bruce Morrow asked them to sing WABC jingles as they were playing on WABC, the entire crowd was able to do so in unison.


The power of all of this was best illustrated when Ringo Starr lost his gold Saint Christopher’s medal which was attached to a chain around his neck.

Apparently as he was entering the hotel, an over zealous fan inadvertently snatched it.   Bruce Morrow and Scott Muni learned this while interviewing him over the air at the hotel. WABC listeners also heard this and so did the girl who had the medal, Angie McGowan. She had her mother call Cousin Brucie that night. But, program director Rick Sklar, ever the master promoter, could see the advantages of stretching out this drama a while longer. Even though WABC recovered the medal within a few hours, Rick arranged for the girl to stay overnight, safely secluded with her mother in a hotel room while the station continued to broadcast appeals for the medal's safe recovery. As you would expect, this became a media sensation and WABC held all the cards.

By the time the following evening rolled around, everyone was listening to WABC to see if the medal would ever be recovered. Twenty-four hours after its initial loss and subsequent recovery, WABC reunited the medal with Ringo over the air. It was a publicity bonanza for the station.

➦In 1965...Scott Muni was dropped from the he 77 WABC line-up, according to a Billboard article.

Muni spent almost 50 years at stations in New York City. He became a Top 40 broadcaster at 570 WMCA in the late 1950s, just before the start of their "Good Guys" era. In 1960, he moved to rival Top 40 station 770 WABC.  He did an early evening show called "Scotland's Yard" and was among the first WABC DJs to capture the attention of the teenage audience.

In 1965, when Muni left WABC he did occasional fill-in work for WMCA. Muni had explored some opportunities beyond radio: for a short time he co-hosted a local weekly television show on WABC-TV 7 with Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow.

Muni decided to return to radio, and in 1966, he joined WOR 98.7 FM, one of the earliest stations in the country to program free-form Progressive Rock music. The progressive format did not last at that station.

In 1967 Muni moved to WNEW 102.7 FM.  It's version of the Progressive Rock format really took hold, with WNEW-FM becoming a legendary rock station. Muni stayed there for three decades as the afternoon DJ and sometimes program director. Muni was described by fellow WNEW-FM DJ Dennis Elsas as "the heart and soul of the place". Under assorted management changes during the 1990s WNEW-FM lost its way, and in 1998 Muni ended up hosting a one-hour noontime classic rock program at WAXQ Q104.3, where he worked until suffering a stroke in early 2004.

Muni was known to his listeners by the nicknames "Scottso" or "The Professor", the latter to emphasize his rock expertise.

He died in September 2004 at age 74.

➦In 2014... Scott Shannon aired his last show at WPLJ 95.5 FM in NYC.  Shannon started at WPLJ in 1991 after returning to the east coast from Los Angeles.  This station had also been struggling since its glory days of the mid 1980s, and Shannon became program director and morning drive co-host. At the outset, the station's direct rival was Z100, and used the slogan "Mojo Radio", downplaying the WPLJ call letters.

Shannon brought in co-host Todd Pettengill from Albany NY to form The Big Show, and the WPLJ call letters were re-emphasized. While the station did well in the suburbs, it never caught on in New York and was constantly tweaked during Shannon's tenure. On February 7, 2014, he announced he was exiting WPLJ effective immediately.

On February 25, 2014, WCBS FM announced that Scott Shannon would be hosting a brand new Morning Show entitled Scott Shannon in the Morning in New York starting on March 3.

At the release of the first run of ratings after Shannon took over at WCBS, his show was rated #1. Shannon carried over the "Big Show" name from WPLJ.

  • Garth Brooks is 59
    Saxophonist Brian Travers of UB40 is 62. 
  • Comedian Robert Smigel (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) is 61. 
  • Actor James Spader is 61. 
  • Country singer Garth Brooks is 59. 
  • Keyboardist David Bryan of Bon Jovi is 59. 
  • Comedian Chris Rock is 56. 
  • Actor Jason Gedrick (“Windfall,” ″Boomtown”) is 54. 
  • Actor Essence Atkins (“Half and Half,” ″Smart Guy”) is 49. 
  • Guitarist Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit is 46. 
  • Bassist Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket is 43. 
  • Actor Ashton Kutcher is 43. 
  • Actor Tina Majorino (“Napoleon Dynamite,” ″Veronica Mars”) is 36. 
  • Actor Deborah Ann Woll (“True Blood”) is 36.

Radio’s Digital Sales Rise 11.8%

Years of refining digital strategies paid off for the radio industry in 2020, as digital ad revenue hit $1.1 billion. This accounts for more than 14% of total ad sales, according to research released Friday by the Radio Advertising Bureau and ad-tracking firm Borrell Associates. 

Local radio stations saw digital sales increase nearly 12%, with growth forecast to accelerate 18% this year, the report says.

“The due diligence the radio industry has put into expanding its digital platforms and advertising offerings over the last few years contributed mightily to the 2020 bright spot of digital growth,” RAB President and CEO Erica Farber said. “As broadcasters continue to super-serve their listeners and advertisers, RAB is poised to help in the conversation with its business and professional development offerings to meet the innovation and opportunities ahead in 2021.”

“The pandemic actually delivered a gift to the radio industry last year,” Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell said. “Stations saw very clearly how digital products can be a linchpin, especially when core-product sales are challenging. Digital kept the conversation going.”

“The radio salesperson has transformed into a trusted marketing consultant for their advertisers. With a pulse on the local market and deep knowledge of both radio and digital landscapes, they have the ability to offer the right marketing mix to ensure successful campaigns. The RAB-Borrell Digital Benchmarking Report re-enforces the fact that radio and digital are better together,” said Marketron SVP Product, Jimshade Chaudhari.

The annual report showed that the average station made $290,150 in digital revenue in 2020, and the average market cluster made $1.3 million. The average revenue for the top five performers ranged from $2 million for top-performing clusters in the smallest of markets, to $17.8 million in the largest.

The findings are a part of RAB and Borrell’s ninth annual report, “Defying the Gravity of 2020, Radio’s Digital Sales Rise 11.8%.” It is being released today to RAB members. It analyzes online ad revenue from 3,621 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 944 local radio buyers and a survey of 238 radio managers.

Among the findings:
  • Confidence in stations’ digital strategies reached an all-time high in 2020
  • Eighty percent of stations offer digital sales training at least once a month
  • Eighty-one percent of stations are offering some form of digital services in addition to digital advertising
  • Nearly two-thirds of radio sellers try to include digital offerings in every sales pitch
  • More than half of stations flipped their sponsored events in 2020 to virtual events
The full report is available to RAB members on Click here. A live-video presentation featuring the survey results will be presented by RAB and Gordon Borrell at noon CT on Wednesday, February 10. RAB members and survey participants can register for free here.

FOX Business Cancels Lou Dobbs Show

Fox Corp’s Fox Business Network has canceled “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” a weekday program hosted by the business journalist and vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, the company said on Friday.

Reuters reports news of the cancellation came one day after Dobbs, 75, was named as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit filed by voting machine maker Smartmatic, which argued that three Fox hosts, including Dobbs, falsely accused the company of helping to rig the election against Trump.

Fox said the move to end Dobbs’ show had been in the works before the lawsuit as part of a revamp following the November U.S. presidential election in which Republican Trump was defeated by Democrat Joe Biden.

“As we said in October, Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes and plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate post-election, including on Fox Business,” a Fox News Media spokesperson said. “This is part of those planned changes.”

On the Smartmatic lawsuit, Fox said on Thursday the network was “proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court.”

The cancellation of Dobbs’ show was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, which said the anchor was unlikely to appear on Fox channels again even though he remains under contract.

Dobbs’ show ran at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern time on Fox Business Network, and he appeared at times as a commentator on Fox News Channel.

Starting Monday, the 5 p.m. show will be called “Fox Business Tonight,” and be repeated at 7 p.m.

In January, Fox announced that Larry Kudlow, a former top economic adviser to Trump, would be hosting a new weekday show on the Fox Business Network.

Dobbs rose to fame as a CNN anchor, becoming a mainstay of television business news. He began hosting his Fox program in 2011, lured by the network’s co-founder Roger Ailes, and was watched by a soon-to-be-very influential fan: Trump, who shared Dobbs’s right-wing values, particularly the anchor’s hard-line stance against unchecked immigration.

Super Bowl 2021 Could Be Jim Nantz’s Last With CBS

Tony Romo and Jim Nantz

Sunday will be the second Super Bowl Jim Nantz calls with ex-Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. It will be Nantz’s sixth Super Bowl overall with CBS Sports. And it could be his last.

Front Office Sports reports “The impasse in contract negotiations between Super Bowl broadcaster Jim Nantz and CBS Sports is attracting the attention of a big possible bidder: ESPN. If Nantz hits free agency this summer, ESPN is interested in possibly making him the face of its NFL and Masters golf coverage, said sources. With ESPN parent Walt Disney Co. poised to land one — if not two — NFL TV packages, Nantz could be on the mic as ABC/ESPN broadcast future Super Bowls.”

According to, the 61-year-old Nantz, whose deal is up in less than a year, is more than just a football voice for CBS. 

As CBS’s top play-by-play announcer for the NFL, PGA Tour/Masters and NCAA basketball, Nantz has won three Emmys and been named National Sportscaster of the Year five times since joining the network in 1985.

When reached for a comment, a CBS Sports spokesperson said “We expect Jim to be at CBS Sports for many years to come.” But complicating matters is this nugget from the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand: “Nantz seeks the same sort of contract as his Super Bowl partner, Tony Romo’s 10-season, $180 million deal.”

Hedging its bets, CBS recently re-signed Ian Eagle, the No. 2 NFL play-by-play announcer at CBS. Per Marchand: “The exact terms of Eagle’s new deal are not known, but it is said to be longer than a standard three-year contract.”

Westwood One S-B Coverage Includes Biden Interview

President Joe Biden will join Westwood One anchor Jim Gray for an exclusive one-on-one interview to air in the network’s Super Bowl LV broadcast on Sunday, February 7. 

The halftime interview will mark Gray’s fifth meeting with a President to air during America’s biggest sporting event. The Emmy-Award-winning broadcaster has previously spoken with President George H.W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, and President Donald Trump for Westwood One’s Super Bowl coverage. Dating back to President Richard Nixon, this will be the tenth consecutive commander in chief that Gray has interviewed in his Hall of Fame broadcasting career.

Westwood One’s pregame coverage of Super Bowl LV from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, will begin at 2:00 PM ET on Sunday, February 7. The Super Bowl LV game broadcast will start at 5:00 PM ET, hosted by Jim Gray, with kick off expected at approximately 6:30 PM ET.

Millions of listeners around the globe will tune in to Westwood One’s Super Bowl LV coverage across more than 600 radio stations nationwide. Fans can also hear the broadcast on SiriusXM and through NFL Game Pass, which is available on and the NFL App. You can find more information on and on the Twitter account @westwood1sports.

The broadcast can also be heard worldwide via the American Forces Radio Network, which provides programming to America’s military forces. The network serves over one million men and women in uniform, Department of Defense personnel, American Embassies and Consulates in over 175 countries and territories, as well as on more than 200 U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and Military Sealift Command ships at sea.

Big Game Ads: Different Strokes For Different Folks

The Super Bowl’s different audiences, defined by the primary reason respondents are tuning in, mean there’s a wide spectrum of affinity for the key categories and the brands advertising during the biggest game of the year.

According to Morning Consult, as might be expected given the demographic makeup of these three viewing groups — those watching for the game, the halftime show or the ads — categories such as retailers and household and personal products resonate least among the game-first audience, while the home care and chemical as well as auto categories do so among halftime show- and ad-first Super Bowl LV viewers.

Not only affinity, but ad content will be important as well this year, in general, ads reflecting our current reality would be significantly more likely to drive purchase likelihood.

2 NY Times Staffers Resign

Two New York Times journalists resigned Friday amid public controversies over their past behavior — with science reporter Donald McNeil and Andy Mills, a producer on the botched “Caliphate” podcast, each stepping down.

McNeil’s resignation came after more than 150 Times staffers reportedly sent a letter to the Grey Lady’s honchos this week demanding he be “disciplined” after it emerged that he said the N-word on a Times-sponsored student trip to Peru in 2019.

Don McNeil
McNeil, who spearheaded the paper’s coverage of COVID-19, admitted in a statement that he used a “racial slur” — though said it was in the context of quoting a student who had asked “whether I thought a classmate of hers should have been suspended for a video she had made as a 12-year-old in which she used” the term.

“To understand what was in the video, I asked if she had called someone else the slur or whether she was rapping or quoting a book title. In asking the question, I used the slur itself.

“I should not have done that. Originally, I thought the context in which I used this ugly word could be defended.

Andy Mills
“It is deeply offensive and hurtful. The fact that I even thought I could defend it itself showed extraordinarily bad judgement. For that I apologize.”

In a statement to staffers about McNeil, top Times editors Dan Banquet and Joe Kahn said, “We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent.”

Meanwhile, Mills had faced his own brewing storm when old allegations that he harassed female coworkers at a former job resurfaced.

In his resignation published online, Mills admitted to bad behavior while working as a producer for the WNYC show “Radiolab” — including giving one colleague an unwanted backrub and pouring a drink on a coworker’s head at a party seven years ago — but said he was stepping down over an “online campaign” that had painted him as a “predator.”

“I look back at those actions with extraordinary regret and embarrassment,” he wrote Friday.

NY Daily News Staffers Form Union

Journalists at The Daily News, the 101-year-old New York tabloid that has fallen on hard times after an ownership change, pay cuts and sweeping layoffs, said on Friday that they had formed a union.

The NY Times reports newsroom employees at the paper, once a significant voice for the city’s working class, have not had representation since the mid-1990s, when its owner, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, effectively broke their affiliation with the Newspaper Guild of New York.

Workers at The Daily News said they had secured the signatures of more than 80 percent of newsroom staff members and had organized under the same union, now called the NewsGuild of New York. They said they had asked the newspaper’s owner, Tribune Publishing, for voluntary recognition.

Union representation for newsroom employees took a hit in the 1990s. Mr. Zuckerman forced journalists to reapply for their old jobs when he bought the struggling Daily News, and Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the rival New York Post, managed to publish daily editions even as the paper’s staff members stood on a picket line.

Since 2018, newsrooms operated by the company that have gone union include The Chicago Tribune, The Hartford Courant and The Orlando Sentinel.

At The Daily News, discussions about rejoining the NewsGuild formally started in April, about a month after staff members started working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last summer, with workers continuing to do their jobs away from the office, Tribune Publishing said it had permanently closed The Daily News’s newsroom in Lower Manhattan.

In addition to the newsroom shutdowns, Tribune Publishing permanently cut pay for employees making more than $67,000 annually and instituted three-week furloughs for those making between $40,000 and $67,000.

Tribune Publishing’s largest shareholder, the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, known for slashing costs at the newspapers it controls, has increased its influence over the company. In a letter to the Tribune board in December, Alden proposed buying the remaining shares in the company for $14.25 apiece. That offer is still pending.

CRS 2021: Unveils More Sessions For Its Virtual Experience

Country Radio Seminar has released details on four mentoring breakfasts and four workshops that will take place during CRS 2021: The Virtual Experience. This year’s breakfasts are Programming Mentoring (sponsored by vCreative), Believers (sponsored by Curb Records), Label Mentoring, and Women’s Mentoring (sponsored by NuVoodoo Media), and scheduled workshops are Imaging, Music Scheduling, Awards Submission, and Aircheck.

The Programming Mentoring Breakfast, Imaging Workshop, and Music Scheduling Workshop are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 17. The Believers Breakfast, Label Mentoring Breakfast, and Awards Submission Workshop are scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18. The Women’s Mentoring Breakfast and Aircheck Workshop are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 19.

An overview of each breakfast and workshop along with participating mentors are below:

Wednesday, Feb. 17

👉10:00 a.m.-10:50 a.m. CT Programming Mentoring Breakfast (sponsored by vCreative): This one-on-one session provides the opportunity for attendees to sit down with experienced PDs and Format Leaders, who can help them build their skill set and learn fresh new ideas. Confirmed mentors for the session are Mark Anderson(Entercom), Gail Austin (iHeartMedia), Carletta Blake (WGAR/Cleveland), Kevin Callahan (Entercom), Johnny Chiang (Cox Media Group Houston), Charlie Cook (Cumulus), Gator Harrison (iHeartMedia), John Foxx (WNSH/New York), Steve Geofferies (iHeartMedia), Rod Phillips (iHeartMedia), Jeff Kapugi(WMXQ/DC + WPOC/Baltimore), Mike Kennedy (Entercom), Bruce Logan (Hubbard Radio), Mike Moore(WHKX/Atlanta), Mike Preston (KPLX/Dallas + KSCS/Dallas), Tim Roberts (Entercom), Cindy Spicer (WFUS/Tampa + WQIK/Jacksonville), and Meg Stevens (iHeartMedia).

👉1:00 p.m.-1:50 p.m. CT Imaging Workshop: Station imaging and recorded promos are a key component on any station. For the first time ever, CRS has assembled a group of top imaging professionals to listen to actual submitted station imaging and provide real-time feedback and tips. Experts will take you into their computer and rebuild station promos using their years of experience and expertise. Panelists are Jake Kaplan (97.1 AMP/Los Angeles), Chadd Pierce (Pierce Voice), and Matt Warren (Gorilla Sound) and moderated by Joey Tack(KNCI/Sacramento)

👉2:00 p.m.-2:50 p.m. CT Music Scheduling Workshop: In this workshop, panelists will show off their favorite tips and tricks to scheduling a great log, in an efficient way. Plus, they'll share some of their favorite software features that you may not be using. Panelists are Kristopher Jones (Merge Music Media), Tom Lorino(Throwback Nation Radio), and Bryan ‘B-Dub’ Washington (Hubbard/B-Dub Radio), and the moderator is Brent Michaels (KUZZ/Bakersfield).

Thursday, Feb. 18

👉9:00 a.m.-9:50 a.m. CT Believers Breakfast (sponsored by Curb Records): Organized by Gator Harrison (iHeartMedia) and Lou Ramirez (Warner Music Nashville), the Believers Breakfast will feature Gator Harrison, Russell Dickerson (Triple Tigers), and Chris Tomlin (Capitol Christian Music Group), who will discuss the stability of Faith and the music industry; celebrity with humility; life balance in an industry that’s 24/7; how to stay Faith-centered in a chaotic, divisive world; fatherhood and leading spiritual lives.

👉10:00-10:50 a.m. CT Label Mentoring Breakfast: A unique opportunity to meet and greet with some of the industry’s most inspiring record label executives to create a network, gain knowledge, and connect on everything from mentorship to motivation. Together, they will answer the questions: how can radio, records, and all attendees work together to better the music industry as a whole? What key people can you connect with to help move your career forward? And, how can you implement this new knowledge today? Confirmed mentors for the session are Randy Goodman (SONY), Tony Grotticelli (UMG), JoJamie Hahr (BBRMG), Dave Kelly (BMLG), Laurel Kittleson (Curb), Mandy McCormack (Pearl), and Lou Ramirez (WMN).

👉1:00 p.m.-1:50 p.m. CT Awards Submission Workshop: Submitting for ACM and CMA Awards can be a daunting yet rewarding task! Between choosing the right content to include in the audio and written portions, to archiving content throughout the year, there are many elements to a winning submission. A group of current and past winners have been assembled who will share all their pro tips and tricks to getting nominated and winning these prestigious awards. Panelists are Justin Cole (Entercom), John Shomby (Country Radio’s Coach), and Scott Ward (Scott Ward Voice Pro), and the moderator is Kelly Ford (Entercom).

Friday, Feb 19

👉10:00 a.m.-10:50 a.m. CT Women’s Mentoring Breakfast (sponsored by NuVoodoo Media) will offer attendees the opportunity to approach and chat with some of music’s female “power players.” Confirmed mentors for the session are Stacy Blythe (Big Loud), Marci Braun (WUSN/Chicago), Raffaella Braun (Triple Tigers), Becky Brenner (Albright & O’Malley & Brenner), Shanna “Quinn” Cudeck (WMIL/Milwaukee), Kelly Ford (WNSH/New York), Becky Gardenhire (WME), Holly Hutton (WYCD/Detroit), Beth Laird(Creative Nation), Allison Laughter (Red Light Management), Miranda McDonald (MCA), Ebie McFarland(Essential Broadcast Media PR), Ashley Stegbauer Morrison (WWKA/Orlando), Ashley Sidoti (Valory Music Co.), Lauren Thomas (Sony/Nashville), Tiera (Singer-Songwriter/Apple Music Country Radio Pesonality/Host), Candice Watkins (Big Loud), and Kristen Williams (Warner Music Nashville).

👉11:00 a.m.-Noon CT Aircheck Workshop: Country Radio’s top programmers and consultants will offer a personalized, virtual aircheck and feedback session. Attendees are invited to submit Airchecks to be highlighted and discussed among the panel of experts during the workshop [HERE]. Panelists are Becky Brenner (Albright, O’Malley & Brenner), Kevin Callahan (Entercom), Bruce Logan (Hubbard), Tracy Johnson (Tracy Johnson Media Group), Joel Raab (Joel Raab Associates), and JoJo Turnbeaugh (iHeartMedia).

CRS 2021: The Virtual Experience will be held Tuesday, Feb. 16, through Friday, Feb. 19. The expanded, four-day CRS 2021: The Virtual Experience agenda will offer attendees more than 14 educational sessions, four morning networking events, two lunchtime performances, four interactive workshops, “Bob Kingsley’s Acoustic Alley” featuring Thomas Rhett and Guests, and, for the first time in CRS history, a New Faces of Country Music® ticket with every registration.

Registration for CRS 2021: The Virtual Experience is $199 per person and is available for purchase at Country Radio Broadcasters have also made available an Unemployment, Student, and Young Professional rate (here). Registrants will need to select the rate they are applying for as the registration type to be considered for the discounted rate. Contact Ashley Bourque at (615) 329-2615 or for any questions about the application.

R.I.P.: Jerry Lubin, Pioneering Detroit FM Broadcaster

Jerry Lubin
Jerry Lubin, a pioneer of underground radio best known for his years at Detroit’s freeform WABX-FM, died Thursday morning in Los Angeles. 

He was 80, reports The Detroit Free Press.

Lubin had been hospitalized since Jan. 25 with COVID-19 although a cause of death has not yet been officially declared.

The Detroit native made his name as one of the progressive station’s “Air Aces” from 1968 through the early '70s, part of a local radio career that included stints at WRIF-FM, WWWW-FM and again at WABX, before wrapping up at WLLZ-FM in the 1980s.

As part of the early 'ABX crew, Lubin was a preeminent on-air voice during a fertile, explosive chapter in Detroit rock, as music, politics and activism swirled in a hip, heady brew.

Lubin and his colleagues struck an antiestablishment tone, taking the word-on-the-street to the airwaves while forging a sense of community on the Detroit scene.

Like his fellow “Air Aces” at WABX — Dave Dixon, Dan Carlisle, Larry Miller and others — Lubin had plenty of freedom, making his own playlist choices and operating with just one programming rule: Listen to the guy right before you, so you’re not transitioning shifts with the same songs.  

While rock was the station’s core, Lubin delighted in straying far outside assumed lines. The WABX library had 8,000 records, he said, “and all of them got played on the air.”

Lubin left WABX by 1972 and took up with the station that would become WRIF. But he soon became disenchanted by that outlet’s evolving direction — too restrictive for his taste — and watched dismayed as the library was abruptly winnowed down to a selection of commercially acceptable records.

After a short time in San Diego, Lubin returned to Detroit in 1974 for a gig at the rock station known as W4. He returned to WABX from 1977 to 1979 and worked at WLLZ in the 1980s.

His time in broadcasting ended as he took a job with the U.S. Postal Service.

February 6 Radio History

➦In 1911...Ronald Wilson Reagan was born (died June 5, 2004). He was our 40th president from 1981 to 1989. Prior to his presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975.

Reagan was raised in a poor family in small towns of northern Illinois. He graduated from Eureka College in 1932, Reagan drove to Iowa, where he held jobs as a radio announcer at several stations.

He moved to WHO radio in Des Moines as an announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games. His specialty was creating play-by-play accounts of games using only basic descriptions that the station received by wire as the games were in progress. While traveling with the Cubs in California in 1937, Reagan took a screen test that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers studios

➦In 1925…WMCA NYC signed-on on 428.6 meters wavelength (700 kHz) with a power of 500 watts. The station was the 13th radio station to begin operations in New York City and was owned by broadcasting pioneer Donald Flamm. The station's original studios and antenna were atop the Hotel McAlpin, located on Herald Square and from which WMCA's call letters derive. In 1928 it moved to the 570 kHz frequency, sharing time for the next three years with municipally-owned WNYC.

On April 19, 1932, the Federal Radio Commission approved WMCA's application to broadcast full-time on 570 kHz.

Through its early decades WMCA had a varied programming history, playing music, hosting dramas, and broadcasting New York Giants baseball games. In 1943, it was acquired by the Straus family when Edward J. Noble acquired the Blue Network and its owned-and-operated stations from NBC, including WJZ (now WABC) in New York; the Blue Network would later be renamed the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

In 1945, host Barry Gray began dropping music and adding talk with celebrities and later call-in listeners; he is thus sometimes considered "The Father of Talk Radio", and his show lasted on WMCA through several decades and format changes.

WMCA began playing hit music in the late 1950s with a Top 40 format. Among its disc jockey staff were future legends Scott Muni, Frankie Crocker, Harry Harrison and Murray "the K" Kaufman.

Led by program director Ruth Meyer, the first woman to hold the position in New York City radio, this was the era of the high-profile Top 40 disc jockey with an exuberant personality aimed at a certain audience segment. With the advent of the Good Guys format, WMCA became more"on top" of new music and started to become known for "playing the hits."

In the early 1960s, the top 40 format was still young, and the field was crowded in New York City. Two major 50,000-watt stations, WMGM 1050 AM (now WEPN-AM) and WINS 1010 AM, had battled each other for years. Then in 1960, WABC 770 am joined the fray and started featuring top 40 music. Ultimately, it was WMCA's earnest competition with rival WABC that forced WMGM (in early 1962) and then WINS (in spring 1965) to abandon the top-40 format. There was so much attention on the high-profile WMCA-WABC battle that WMGM and WINS were each summarily forced to find a new niche.

➦In 1926..Flashback 95-years and find out what was going on with radio...Click Here

Courtesy of  American Radio History

➦In 1929… the Victor Talking Machine Company merged with Radio Corporation of America to become RCA Victor, and the Canadian subsidiary became RCA Victor of Canada, then the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs (including the famous "Victrola") and phonograph records. The company then became RCA Victor. In absorbing Victor, RCA acquired the New World rights to the famous Nipper/"His Master's Voice" trademark.

In September 1931, RCA Victor introduced the first 33⅓ rpm records sold to the public, calling them "Program Transcriptions". These used a shallower and more closely spaced implementation of the large "standard groove" found on contemporary 78 rpm records, rather than the "microgroove" used for post-World War II 33⅓ rpm "LP" (long play) records. The format was a commercial failure, partly because the new Victrolas with two-speed turntables designed to play these records were exorbitantly priced, the least expensive model retailing for $395.00 in the depths of the Great Depression. The format was abandoned by 1933 and two-speed turntables were no longer offered, but some Program Transcriptions lingered in the Victor record catalog until the end of the 1930s.

➦In 1943…Frank Sinatra made his first appearance as star of CBS radio’s “Lucky Strike Hit Parade.”  Frankie had left the Tommy Dorsey Band just four months prior to beginning the radio program, where he remained the singing star & host for two years.

➦In 1950...“Dangerous Assignment” starring Brian Donlevy found a weekly timeslot on NBC Radio.  The adventure show, set in many international venues, had tested well as a summer replacement six months earlier, and continued for about five years.

That same evening in 1950, also on NBC Radio, “Nightbeat” starring Frank Lovejoy as a newspaper reporter with an eye for human interest stories, began a two-and-a-half-year run.

Paul Harvey
➦In commentator Paul Harvey was arrested for trying to sneak into the Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, to prove that security was lax at this top secret installation. One of his regular topics was lax security, in particular at Argonne National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility located 20 miles west of Chicago. To demonstrate his concern, just after midnight on February 6, 1951, Harvey engaged in an "act of participatory journalism".  Harvey's "escapade" prompted the U.S. attorney for Illinois to asked a grand jury to consider an espionage indictment; Harvey "went on the air to suggest he was being set up"; the grand jury subsequently declined to indict Harvey.

➦In 1986...Radio programming consultant Bob Hattrick was found stabbed to death at his St. Louis home. Get the news and Flashback to 1986 through the pages of Radio&Records..Click Here

Courtesy of American Radio History

Danny, daughter Marlo Thomas - 1960
➦In 1991..Radio-TV personality Danny Thomas  died of a heart attack at age 76, after five decades in show business.

Danny Thomas and Doris Day 1952
Thomas first reached mass audiences on network radio in the 1940s playing shifty brother-in-law Amos in The Bickersons, which began as sketches on the music-comedy show Drene Time, co-hosted by Don Ameche and Frances Langford. Thomas also portrayed himself as a scatterbrained Lothario on this show. His other network radio work included a stint as Jerry Dingle the postman on Fanny Brice's The Baby Snooks Show, and appearances on the popular NBC variety program, The Big Show, hosted by stage legend Tallulah Bankhead.

Thomas also had his own radio program, The Danny Thomas Show. The 30-minute weekly variety show was on ABC in 1942-43 and on CBS in 1947-48.

As a "starving actor", Thomas had made a vow: If he found success, he would open a shrine dedicated to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. Thomas never forgot his promise to St. Jude, and after becoming a successful actor in the early 1950s, his wife joined him and began traveling the United States to help raise funds to build his dream - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  He fervently believed “no child should die in the dawn of life.” With help from Dr. Lemuel Diggs and close friend, Anthony Abraham, an auto magnate in Miami, Florida, Thomas founded the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1962. Since its inception, St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and around the world, continuing the mission of finding cures and saving children.

➦In 1998...Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys died of lung cancer in Los Angeles. He was 51 and a lifelong smoker.

Joe O'Brien
➦In 2000…Former WMCA Good Guy Joe O'Brien retired.  A Yonkers native, he began his career in 1935 when he got his first radio job with WMCA 570 AM in New York City.

He worked at the station for 34 years and became one of the Good Guys team of disc jockeys in the late 1960's. They played Top 40 hits and became nearly as popular as the music they played.

They had the same clean-cut hairstyles, wore matching suits and worked together at record hops and personal appearances. They also sang as a group and released an album. During that time, Mr. O'Brien was the No. 1 morning man in New York City.

In 1970 he left for WNBC-AM, where he handled morning duties until he was replaced by Don Imus in 1972. Mr. O'Brien then went to WHUD in Peekskill, N.Y. He retired in 1986, but continued to do weekend specials for WHUD until 2000.

O'Brien was killed in an auto accident July 26, 2005 at age 90.

➦In 2005...Karl Haas died at age 91 (Born December 6, 1913) He was best known as a classical music radio host with a sonorous speaking voice, humanistic approach to music appreciation, and popularization of classical music. He was the host of the classical music radio program Adventures in Good Music, which was syndicated to commercial and public radio stations around the world. He also published the book Inside Music. He was a respected musicologist, as well as an accomplished pianist and conductor.

➦In 2006...Buffalo’s WWKB 1520 AM ended a three-year run as an oldies station with a format change to predominantly syndicated progressive talk. A syndicated overnight show hosted by former WKBW personality Joey Reynolds survived the format change.  The last song played was “Yesterday’s Gone” by Chad & Jeremy.

➦In 2006…Citadel confirmed that it going to acquire 24- radio stations from ABC Radio, but not the radio network.

The company was founded in 1984 in Phoenix, Arizona by Larry Wilson as Citadel Associates Limited Partnership. In 1990 it was renamed Citadel Associates Montana Limited Partnership for the purpose of owning and operating stations in Montana that were formerly owned by CALP.

A year later, Citadel Broadcasting was officially incorporated and in 1984 it acquired all of the radio stations owned by its predecessors. Within a decade, Citadel expanded to 26 states. Within that time period, it absorbed all Bloomington Broadcasting radio holdings and 11 stations from Dick Broadcasting Company and also acquired three radio stations from Slone Broadcasting, Inc. and Slone Radio, LLC. In 2000, Liggett Broadcasting sold its radio stations in Michigan, New York, Minnesota, South Carolina, Ohio, and California to Citadel, with Bob Liggett becoming a member of Citadel's Board of Directors. In 2001, Larry Wilson sold Citadel to private equity firm Forstmann Little & Company for $2.1 billion. By that time, the company had grown to 205 stations in 42 markets.

On February 6, 2006, Forstmann Little and The Walt Disney Company agreed to merge Citadel with Disney's ABC Radio.Shares representing 57% of Citadel were distributed to shareholders of The Walt Disney Company following the company's acquisition of 22 stations from ABC Radio.  The company eventually evolved into Cumulus Media.

Ralph Kiner
➦In 2014…baseball Hall of Famer and a NY Met broadcaster for over half-a-century, Ralph Kiner died of natural causes at age 91. After a Hall of Fame baseball career, Kiner entered the broadcast booth in 1961  for the Chicago White Sox.

The following year, Kiner, Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy began broadcasting the games of the expansion New York Mets on WOR-TV9 in New York City. The trio rotated announcing duties. Kiner also hosted a post-game show known as "Kiner's Korner" on WOR-TV. Nationally, he helped call the Mets' appearance in the 1969 and 1973 World Series for NBC Radio. He won a local Emmy Award for his broadcasting work.

Despite a bout with Bell's palsy, which left him with slightly slurred speech, Kiner continued broadcasting for 53 seasons.

  • Crystal Reed is 36
    Actor Mamie Van Doren is 90. 
  • Actor Mike Farrell is 82. 
  • NBC news anchorman Tom Brokaw is 81. 
  • Actor Gayle Hunnicutt is 78. 
  • Singer Fabian is 78. 
  • Actor Michael Tucker (“L.A. Law”) is 76. 
  • Actor Jon Walmsley (“The Waltons”) is 65. 
  • Actor-director Robert Townsend (“The Parent ‘Hood”) is 64. 
  • Actor Kathy Najimy (“Veronica’s Closet,” ″King of the Hill”) is 64. 
  • Drummer Simon Phillips of Toto is 64. 
  • Actor Barry Miller (“Saturday Night Fever,” ″Fame”) is 63. 
  • Actor Megan Gallagher (“Millennium”) is 61. 
  • Country singer Richie McDonald of Lonestar is 59. 
  • Vocalist Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses is 59. 
  • Singer Rick Astley is 55. 
  • Bassist Tim Brown of the Boo Radleys is 52. 
  • TV host Amy Robach (“Good Morning America”) is 48. 
  • Actor Josh Stewart (“Criminal Minds,” ″Third Watch”) is 44. 
  • Actor Ben Lawson (“Designated Survivor”) is 41. 
  • Actor Crystal Reed (“Teen Wolf”) is 36. 
  • Actor Anna Diop (“24: Legacy”) is 33. 
  • Singer Tinashe is 28.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Morgan Wallen: Nowhere To Be Heard, But Album Sales Soar

This past weekend, Country Music artist Morgan Wallen was caught on camera by a neighbor’s Ring camera, using a racial slur outside his home in the Berry Hill area of Nashville. 

The L-A Times reports the video was leaked to TMZ and there have been consequences.

In less than 24 hours Wallen’s music was pulled from rotation by radio conglomerates iHeartMedia, Cumulus, Cox Media Group, Entercom and Beasley Broadcasting — a major blow to any artist, but particularly for country artists, who are dependent on the support of country radio. 

His label, Big Loud, suspended his record contract. Cable network CMT is “in the process of removing his appearances from all our platforms,” as is the Country Music Assn. His songs have been removed from curated streaming playlists on Spotify and Apple Music, though his music remains available on the platforms. The Academy of Country Music halted his eligibility for awards and “will expedite the offering of long-planned diversity training resources.” 

And Billboard reports that his booking agent, WME, has dropped him from its roster.

However, Digital Music News reports a quick scan of Spotify’s top 100-streamed tracks reveals actual increases for Wallen’s music. A total of 15 of Wallen’s songs from various albums rank in Spotify’s top 100 tracks, with ‘Wasted On You,” “Sand In My Boots,” and “Somebody’s Problem” all ranking among the 20 most-streamed songs on the platform on Wednesday, February 3rd.

Each of those tracks garnered more than 500,000 plays on Wednesday, with only the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Ariana Grande, Bad Bunny, The Weeknd, SZA, and other pop superstars edging Wallen out in total plays.

In total, a just-released tally from MRC data shows a 339% increase in total song and album sales over the previous day, with more than 22,500 aggregated sales on Wednesday alone.

Morgan Wallen
Those above-referenced songs are just three tracks out of 15 in Spotify’s top 100 alone, with Wallen’s chart positions likely to rise over the coming days. “Wasted On You,” for example, was played more than 561,000 times over the past day, up more than 11% from the weekend. The staying power is even more surprising given that Wallen is nowhere to be found on mega-playlists like Hot Country, which boasts more than 6 million followers.  

That means Wallen isn’t getting many accidental or background listens, but rather more active on-demand plays according to Digital Music News.

But perhaps the more surprising story surrounds Wallen’s recently-released Dangerous: The Double Album. 

Also according to MRC Data, sales of the double album (which includes streaming, downloads, and physical purchases), jumped more than 500% (i.e., 6 times) on Wednesday. In total, Wallen sold more than 7,000 copies on February 3rd, up 511% over sales generated on February 2nd.  The album itself was released on January 8th. Those sales figures include aggregated streams of songs contained on the album, a bulk of which come from platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube.

Twin Cities Radio: WCCO, NBA Timberwolves Extend Broadcast Deal

Entercom and the Minnesota Timberwolves announced an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement today, keeping WCCO 830 AM as the flagship station for NBA Timberwolves basketball. The station has served as the radio home of the team since 2011.

As the radio home of Timberwolves basketball, 830 WCCO will broadcast all of the team’s regular season games, beginning with the 2020-2021 season. Games will also be heard on sister station 102.9 HD2 (KMNB-HD2), via RADIO.COM and the station website.

“This season we are excited to not only expand our distribution, but also try new content platforms that utilize our incredible talent and give fans an insider’s view into the Timberwolves,” said Shannon Knoepke, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Minneapolis. “The Timberwolves are an organization that’s forward-thinking and innovative, and it’s a perfect partner for 830 WCCO and the unparalleled signal coverage we provide to the Upper Midwest.”

“As an organization, our goal is to bring Timberwolves fans programming that's entertaining and innovative,” said Ethan Casson, Chief Executive Officer, Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. “As one of the top stations in the country with a tremendous history of Minnesota basketball, we are thrilled to announce a new partnership that includes new multi-channel distribution and fresh initiatives that will entertain fans for years to come.”

Alan Horton, who recently broadcasted his 1,000th game, is in the midst of his 14th season as the Wolves play-by-play announcer. He will continue to team up with studio host Cal Soderquist to produce the 30-minute pre- and post-game shows, which can be heard on-air and streamed online via RADIO.COM. The agreement also includes additional programming and promotional elements throughout the year with a focus on innovative programming.

New this season, 830 WCCO will expand its coverage of the Timberwolves with special programming featuring both Timberwolves and WCCO personalities, including Chad Hartman, the voice of the Timberwolves from 1990 to 2006, Cory Hepola, Timberwolves analyst Henry Lake, Dave Lee, who has extensively covered Minnesota basketball throughout his career, and Mike Max, long-time Minnesota sports reporter and anchor.

Listeners can tune in to 830 WCCO (WCCO-AM) in Baltimore on air, as well as nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Wake-Up Call: COVID Cases Fall, Deaths Still High

As the U.S. passed 450,000 deaths from the coronavirus early yesterday, daily deaths continue to remain high at more than 3,000 a day, even as the number of cases and hospitalizations continue to fall after the surge of the previous three months that included the holiday season. Experts believe that deaths, which usually trail cases and hospitalizations, will begin declining as early as next week, after the peak in cases hit around the start of the year. However, the declines could be offset if people start to ease up and gather with people again, including this Sunday for the Super Bowl. Additionally, even as vaccine distribution continues to ramp up, mutated variants of the coronavirus from the U.K., Brazil and South Africa are all now known to be in the U.S., against which vaccines may not work as well.

Johnson & Johnson Asks U.S. to Approve One-Shot Vaccine: Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson asked U.S. regulators yesterday to approve its coronavirus vaccine, the first in the world that's just one dose, instead of requiring two shots weeks apart. The Food and Drug Administration is asking its independent advisers to scrutinize the data just like it did for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines before deciding whether to give approval. The panel will meet on February 26th.

 TWH CONSIDERS SENDING FACE MASKS TO EVERY U-S HOUSEHOLD: As part of the ongoing fight against the pandemic, which has been complicated by the emergence of mutated variants of the coronavirus, the administration is considering sending face masks to every U.S. household. NBC News reported that President Biden's Covid-19 team has been discussing the idea and considering the logistics. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said about the idea, "There are a range of options on the table to help protect more Americans from the coronavirus and encourage people to mask up, but no decision has been made." Former President Donald Trump's administration scrapped a plan last year that would have sent 650 million reusable cotton masks to all U.S. households via the U.S. Postal Service starting in April, near the beginning of the pandemic. The idea was rejected because of concern that Americans getting the masks "might create concern or panic." Most of the masks for the initiative were instead given to state and nonprofit organizations.

➤HOUSE REMOVES TAYLOR GREENE FROM COMMITTEES, 11 REPUBLICANS SIDE WITH DEMS: The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted Thursday to remove freshman Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from both her assigned committees, an unprecedented step taken for her past support of racist and violent views, including social media "likes" for violence against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama, and conspiracy theories, including questioning the reality of deadly school shootings and supporting QAnon theories. Eleven Republicans voted with the Democrats in removing Greene, while all the other GOP House members voted against it, although none defended her behavior. Greene spoke from the House floor in her own defense, saying, in contrast to her past social media posts, that she believes 9/11 and mass school shootings were real and no longer believes in QAnon conspiracy theories, while portraying herself as the victim of, quote, "big media companies" like Facebook. She didn't explicitly apologize for past remarks like those about Pelosi being treasonous and subject to death or space rays controlled by the Rothschilds causing wildfires. While Republican members didn't defend Greene's statements, some criticized the Democrats' action, with Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma saying they were setting a precedent by punishing lawmakers for statements made before they were even candidates for Congress.

➤TRUMP SAYS NO TO DEMS' REQUEST TO TESTIFY AT IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Former President Donald Trump said no yesterday to a request from House Democrats to testify under oath at his Senate impeachment trial that will begin next week. Soon after the request from the House managers who will prosecute the case was revealed, Trump adviser Jason Miller called the trial "an unconstitutional proceeding" at which the former president wouldn't testify, and Trump's attorneys separately called the request a "public relations stunt."

➤BIDEN CALLS FOR RUSSIA TO RELEASE NAVALNY, SAYS U.S. 'IS BACK': President Biden visited the State Department yesterday for the first time since taking office, and called for the release from jail of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, saying, quote, "the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions -- interfering with our election, cyber attacks, poisoning its citizens -- are over." Biden also said that he was ending U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's military offensive in Yemen and reversed former President Donald Trump's order to withdraw U.S. troops stationed in Germany. Addressing how his foreign policy would be different from that of his predecessor, Biden called for a return to the, quote, "grounding wire of our global power," saying, "America is back. Diplomacy is back."

➤McKINSEY TO PAY NEARLY $600 MILLION FOR OPIOID CRISIS ROLE: Global consulting firm McKinsey & Company has agreed to pay nearly $600 million for its role in advising businesses on how to sell more prescription opioid painkillers during the country's opioid crisis. Most of the money is in a $573 million settlement reached with 47 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. McKinsey Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader said in a statement, "We deeply regret that we did not adequately acknowledge the tragic consequences of the epidemic unfolding in our communities."

➤OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN SAYS RENEWERS CRITICISM OF 'GREASE' AS SEXIST IS SILLY: ONJ is pushing back against renewed criticism of Grease, the popular, iconic 1978 movie she starred in with John Travolta. The criticism was sparked on Twitter after Grease was re-aired in December in the U.K. on the BBC, with some calling the film "problematic," "sexist," "misogynistic," "rapey," and even displaying "racism" for not having diversity. During an appearance on a podcast earlier this week called, A Life of Greatness, the 72-year-old Newton-John called the criticism "silly," pointing out that the movie was made in the 1970s about the 1950s, and that gender roles were different then compared to today's standards. She continued, "It was a stage play, it's a musical, it's fun. I think everyone's taking everything so seriously. I think we need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are. . . . I think it's just a fun movie that entertains people."

🏈SUPER BOWL 55 PREVIEW: America's unofficial national holiday arrives on Sunday (February 7th), when Super Bowl 55 will pit the Kansas City Chiefs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

WHERE: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, home of the Buccaneers, making the Bucs the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, just 25,000 fans will be allowed in the stadium, and there will be an additional 30,000 cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands. This will be the third Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium, which last hosted the NFL championship game 12 years ago in February 2009.

WHEN AND HOW TO WATCH: CBS will be airing the big game, and their broadcast will include hours of pre-game coverage, including an interview with President Biden, before getting to the main event at 6:30 p.m. E.T. The game will be streamed for free on, the CBS Sports app and CBS All Access.


Chiefs: This will be the fourth Super Bowl for the Chiefs, who will be trying to repeat as Super Bowl champions and win their third NFL title in franchise history, having also won Super Bowl 4 in 1970. The Chiefs had an NFL-best 14-2 record this season, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, last year's Super Bowl MVP, and head coach Andy Reid, in his eighth year with the team. This will be Mahomes' second Super Bowl in just his fourth season in the NFL, and the third for Reid as head coach, whose Philadelphia Eagles lost to the New England Patriots in 2005.

Buccaneers: After an 11-5 season, the Buccaneers will be the first wild card team in the Super Bowl in a decade. This will be Tampa Bay's second Super Bowl, having won in their only other appearance in the NFL championship game in 2003. After joining the Bucs this season after 20 years with the New England Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady will be appearing in his record 10th Super Bowl and trying for his seventh NFL championship, already holding the record for a player with six. Before Brady's arrival, the Bucs hadn't made the playoffs since 2007, and had losing seasons the prior three years. The will be the first trip to the Super Bowl as head coach for Bruce Arians, who is in his second season with Tampa Bay.

ENTERTAINMENT: The Weeknd will headline the halftime show. Country music's Eric Church and R&B's Jazmine Sullivan will sing the National Anthem, and "America the Beautiful" will be performed by R&B singer H.E.R.

COMMERCIALS:  The commercials have become part of the Super Bowl experience, with advertisers ramping up their creativity for the game's huge national audience. This year they'll be paying around $5.5 million for a 30-second spot. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, some brands that normally advertise during the game have decided to skip it this year, including Budweiser, which donated airtime it bought for public service announcements about coronavirus vaccinations, as well as Avocados from Mexico, Coca-Cola, Hyundai and Pepsi. Below is a look at a few of the ads that have already been released.

🏒FIVE NHL TEAMS HAVE POSTPONED GAMES, LEAGUE REVISES COVID PROTOCOLS: The NHL revised its coronavirus protocols yesterday as the Colorado Avalanche became the fifth team to have games postponed because of Covid-19 issues. The New Jersey Devils have games postponed through at least Saturday, the Buffalo Sabres through Monday, the Minnesota Wild through Tuesday and the Avalanche through next Thursday, and the Vegas Golden Knights are resuming play today. So far, 26 games have been postponed. Among the protocols being adjusted, glass panels are being removed from behind benches for better air flow, all meetings will be virtual, and teams will space out locker rooms to have six feet of space between players.

🏀NBA TELLS TEAMS EXPECTING TO SET MARCH 7TH ALL-STAR GAME: The NBA told teams last night that it expects to finalize plans over the next week to play an All-Star Game on March 7th in Atlanta, according to media reports yesterday. There have been ongoing talks between the league and the players union about whether to hold an All-Star Game and if so, how. L.A. Lakers star LeBron James, for one, isn't thrilled with the idea, saying, "I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year. I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game . . . I’ll be there physically if I’m selected . . . but not mentally."

🏀UNDEFEATED BAYLOR PAUSES GAMES DUE TO COVID: Number 2 college basketball team Baylor, which is undefeated so far this season at 17-0, matching their best-ever start, had their next two games postponed by the Big 12 Conference yesterday because of coronavirus protocols. No specifics were given for what tripped the protocols, whether positive tests or contact tracing. Baylor has had previous games postponed in the season because of Covid issues.

🏌NESMITH, HUBBARD TIED IN LEAD AT PHOENIX OPEN AFTER FIRST ROUND: Matthew NeSmith and Mark Hubbard are tied in first place after the opening round of the Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona yesterday (February 4th). They are both at 8-under 63, one stroke ahead of fellow Americans Nate Lashley and Sam Burns. There were 5,000 spectators allowed at the course, the most for a PGA Tour event since the start of the pandemic, but far below the usual number.

🏀HEAT'S BRADLEY TO BE OUT THREE TO FOUR WEEKS WITH CALF INJURY: Miami Heat guard Avery Bradley is expected to be out for three to four weeks with a strained right calf, The Athletic reported Thursday (February 4th), the day after Bradley left the Heat's game against the Washington Wizards after he was hurt. Bradley has played in 10 games this season for the Heat with one start.