Saturday, February 27, 2021

February 28 Radio History

➦In 1922...KHQ-AM, Spokane, Washington, signed-on in Seattle. Louis Wasmer founded the pioneer radio station as part of a motorcyle shop he owned. He later re-established the station in Spokane in 1925.

Although the KHQ calls are no longer used on the AM band, they still exist on TV.

The long time frequency of 590 kHz which KHQ used until 1985 is now occupied by KQNT.

The picture to the right is a view of the KHQ's tower on top of the Davenport Building probably from the 1940's based on the age of the automobiles pictured. KHQ was not using the tower at this time.

The KHQ and KGA signs are attached to the Radio Central Building which was being used by those station at that time.

➦In 1966...This is the 54th anniversary of KFRC 610 AM San Francisco flipping from MOR to Top 40.

KFRC - Circa mid '60s
In 1949, RKO-General acquired KFRC. Like most radio stations during the 1950s, KFRC lost ratings and share to television. In February 1966, KFRC flipped to a Top 40 rock and roll music format, and quickly became the dominant station in the region with that format through the 1970s, featuring the tight, carefully programmed sound developed by RKO General's national program director, Bill Drake, formerly of cross-town rival KYA, and program directors Tom Rounds and, later, Les Turpin.

It entered its second "golden era," which coincided with San Francisco’s Summer of Love, and featured legendary disc jockeys Mike Phillips, Ed Mitchell (Who later changed his name to Ed Hepp) , Bobby Dale, Jay Stevens, Sebastian Stone, K.O. Bayley (real name Bob Elliott), Dave Diamond, Charlie Van Dyke, Howard Clark, Dale Dorman, Mark Elliott, Frank Terry, Joe Conrad, Jim Carson, J.J. Johnson, and Bob Foster.

During the Drake era, KFRC was responsible for two memorable concerts.

The station presented several prominent acts at the “The Beach Boys Summer Spectacular” at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in June 1966. On June 10 and 11, 1967, KFRC organized and hosted the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival at the summit of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California. Occurring one week before the more famous Monterey Pop Festival, the well-attended event is regarded as the first rock festival in history.

For several years, KFRC had extended local newscasts on its AM station, under the leadership of news director Bob Safford; however, management decided to curtail news coverage, so Safford and other news staff moved to other news broadcast departments in San Francisco, including KCBS Radio and KGO-TV.

➦In 1969...WABC 95.5 FM starts the  “Love” format.  The station originally went on the air on May 4, 1948 under the call sign WJZ-FM  and in March 1953, the station's call letters were changed to WABC-FM following the merger of the American Broadcasting Company with United Paramount Theatres.

As most FM stations did during the medium's formative years, 95.5 FM simulcast the programming of its AM sister station.

In the early 1960s, however, WABC-FM began to program itself separately from 77 WABC-AM. During the 1962–63 New York City newspaper strike, the station carried an news format for 17 hours daily. Two-and-a-half years before WINS launched its own around-the-clock, all-news format in April 1965, it was the first attempt at an all-news format in the New York market.

WABC's AM personalities, notably Dan Ingram, Chuck Leonard, and Bob Lewis, hosted programs on the FM side which were the total opposites of the Top 40-powered sound for which they were better known on AM. WABC-FM did continue to simulcast its AM sister station during Herb Oscar Anderson's morning drive program.

At the start of 1968, ABC split its radio network into four distinct components targeting specific demographics, one of which was dedicated to FM radio. The following year, WABC-FM and its sister stations: KABC-FM in Los Angeles, WLS-FM in Chicago, KGO-FM in San Francisco, WXYZ-FM in Detroit, KQV-FM in Pittsburg and newly acquired KXYZ-FM in Houston–began carrying an automated, youth-oriented, progressive rock format known as Love.  Click Here for aircheck. Click Here for Part Two.

➦In 1977....Edmund Lincoln Anderson died at age 71 (Born: September 18, 1905).  He was best known to a generation of early radio and television comedy he was known as "Rochester."

Anderson got his start in show business as a teenager on the vaudeville circuit. In the early 1930s, he transitioned into films and radio. In 1937, he began his most famous role of Rochester van Jones, usually known simply as "Rochester", the valet of Jack Benny, on his NBC radio show The Jack Benny Program. Anderson became the first Black American to have a regular role on a nationwide radio program. When the series moved to CBS television in 1950, Anderson continued in the role until the series' end in 1965.

➦In 1983...the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H ended after 11 seasons.  M*A*S*H (an acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) is an American war comedy-drama television series that started aired on CBS in 1972.

It was developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film M*A*S*H, which, in turn, was based on Richard Hooker's 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. The series, which was produced with 20th Century Fox Television for CBS, follows a team of doctors and support staff stationed at the "4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital" in Uijeongbu, South Korea, during the Korean War (1950–53).

The television series was one of the highest-rated shows in U.S. television history.

"Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" was the final episode of M*A*S*H. The episode aired on February 28, 1983, and was 2½ hours long. The episode got a Nielsen rating of 60.2 and 77 share and according to a New York Times article from 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H had 125 million viewers.

"Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" broke the record for the highest percentage of homes with television sets to watch a television series.

➦In 2003...FCC aproved the sale of WEVD 1050 AM to ABC.   The 1050 frequency has a long history prior to this format. Starting in the 1920s as WHN, it played a diversified format. It was renamed WMGM in the late 1940s, continuing the same format until a switch to Top40 in the late 1950s and early 1960s. As WHN again, it played adult standards in the 1960s and country music in the 1970s and 1980s (the format it was best known for). In the late 1980s as WFAN it was the original frequency for the very successful first of its kind all-sports station. Then began a truly convoluted set of ownership, call letter, and format changes from the Spanish language WUKQ to WEVD, a low-rated brokered station in the 1990s, to today's incarnation as WEPN airing ESPN DePortes.

Hubcap Carter
➦In 2004...longtime Dallas radio personality Ken "Hubcap" Carter died at age 60.

Carter, who billed himself as the "semi-legendary almost king of rock 'n' roll," had been suffering from congestive heart disease and diabetes.

Carter, who was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002, began his career in Lufkin. He had been working in radio 43 years.

He got his nickname early in his career for spinning records "real records, like spinning hubcaps."

Carter had worked at several Texas stations and had been news director at WWUN in Jackson, Miss., and the Texas State Network.

He also taught broadcast journalism classes at Texas Christian University and Texas Wesleyan, both in Fort Worth, and was a teacher and coach at North Dallas High School for seven years.

On December 31, 1985, singer Rick Nelson and his band were en route to KLUV's New Year's Eve Sock Hop, hosted by Ken "Hubcap" Carter. The plane crashed near DeKalb, Texas, killing Nelson and his entourage.

➦In 2006...CBS Radio sued Howard Stern and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. with a $218-million lawsuit that alleged Stern misused the company's airtime in a scheme to boost the payment he received when he moved to Sirius in January. CBS contended that while it employed Stern, the host spent more than a year hyping his upcoming switch to Sirius and, as a result, improperly enriched himself, "pocketing over $200 million for his personal benefit" by driving up Sirius' subscriber numbers.

The subscription increase allowed Stern to trigger an early grant of more than 34 million shares of Sirius stock, valued at about $220 million, the suit alleged. That compensation was disclosed by Sirius this year after Stern had signed off CBS' airwaves.

Stern had a financial incentive "to do all that he could to help Sirius reach the subscriber targets by the end of 2005 so that he could receive his Sirius stock payment as soon as possible while Sirius' stock was extremely valuable," according to the lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court.

Also named in the breach-of-contract and fraud suit were Stern's production company and his agent, Don Buchwald. In addition to the $218 million in restitution, CBS was seeking unspecified punitive damages.

Stern began broadcasting with Sirius in January under a five-year contract worth more than $600 million. The satellite broadcaster hoped that millions of Stern's fans will subscribe to its service, enticed by ribald material that conventional broadcasters were reluctant to air because of federal decency standards.

"There were no secret negotiations; I spoke about it on the radio," Stern said at a hastily called news conference in New York after rumors of the suit appeared in the New York Post. CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves "has had it in for me for a long time."

Stern's move to Sirius attracted more than 1 million new subscribers, boosting their listeners to 3.3 million. But costs associated with Stern and other content deals have proved high, and the company's losses grew to $311.4 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

The contentious lawsuit was settle a few month later when Stern's new employer, Sirius Satellite Radio Inc, agreed to pay $2 million to CBS Radio in return for the rights to the classic recordings.

➦In 2008...NYC Personality John R. Gambling aired his last show on 77 WABC

➦In 2009...ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey died at the age of 90 (Born - September 4, 1918).

Medal of Freedom 2005
He broadcast News and Comment on weekday mornings and mid-days and at noon on Saturdays, as well as his famous The Rest of the Story segments. From 1952 through 2008, his programs reached as many as 24 million people a week. Paul Harvey News was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 American Forces Network stations, and 300 newspapers

Harvey was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The son of a policeman killed in 1921, Harvey made radio receivers as a young boy. He attended Tulsa Central High School where a teacher, Isabelle Ronan, was "impressed by his voice." On her recommendation, he started working at KVOO in Tulsa in 1933, when he was 14. His first job was helping clean up. Eventually he was allowed to fill in on the air, reading commercials and the news.

While attending the University of Tulsa, he continued working at KVOO, first as an announcer, and later as a program director. Harvey, at age nineteen spent three years as a station manager for KFBI AM, now known as KFDI, a radio station that once had studios in Salina, Kansas. From there, he moved to a newscasting job at KOMA in Oklahoma City, and then to KXOK, in St. Louis in 1938, where he was Director of Special Events and a roving reporter.

Harvey then moved to Hawaii to cover the United States Navy as it concentrated its fleet in the Pacific. He was returning to the mainland from assignment when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He eventually enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces but served only from December 1943 to March 1944.

Harvey then moved to Chicago, where in June 1944, he began broadcasting from the ABC affiliate WENR. In 1945, he began hosting the postwar employment program Jobs for G.I. Joe on WENR. Harvey added The Rest of the Story as a tagline to in-depth feature stories in 1946.

On April 1, 1951, the ABC Radio Network debuted Paul Harvey News and Comment "Commentary and analysis of Paul Harvey each weekday at 12 Noon". Paul Harvey was also heard originally on Sundays; the first Sunday program was Harvey's introduction. Later, the Sunday program would move to Saturdays. The program continued until his death.

➦In 2015…Former Toronto personality Pete Nordheimer  died at the age of 93. He did a split shift on CHUM's original lineup, not unusual for radio in those days, with shows in afternoon drive and late night. Nordheimer was the only original CHUM jock still on the station's lineup into the 1960s. He was doing 1-4 p.m. when he was replaced by Bob McAdorey in August 1961.  Nordheimer was the last of the living original CHUM jocks.

  • Actor Gavin MacLeod is 90. 
  • Singer Sam the Sham is 84. 
  • Actor-director-dancer Tommy Tune is 82. 
  • Actor Frank Bonner (“WKRP in Cincinnati”) is 79. 
  • Actor Kelly Bishop (“Gilmore Girls”) is 77. 
  • Actor Stephanie Beacham (“Beverly Hills, 90210,” ″SeaQuest DSV”) is 74. 
  • Writer-director Mike Figgis is 73. 
  • Madison Beaty is 26
    Actor Mercedes Ruehl is 73. 
  • Actor Bernadette Peters is 73. 
  • Actor Ilene Graff (“Mr. Belvedere”) is 72. 
  • Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is 66. 
  • Actor John Turturro is 64. 
  • Singer Cindy Wilson of The B-52′s is 64. 
  • Actor Rae Dawn Chong (“The Color Purple”) is 60. 
  • Actor Maxine Bahns (“The Brothers McMullen”) is 52. 
  • Actor Robert Sean Leonard (“House, M.D.”) is 52. 
  • Singer Pat Monahan of Train is 52. 
  • Author Lemony Snicket (AKA Daniel Handler) is 51. 
  • Actor Tasha Smith (“Empire”) is 50. 
  • Actor Rory Cochrane (“24,” ″CSI: Miami”) is 49. 
  • Actor Ali Larter is 45. 
  • Country singer Jason Aldean is 44. 
  • Actor Geoffrey Arend (“Madam Secretary”) is 43. 
  • Actor Melanie Chandra (“Code Black”) is 37. 
  • Actor Michelle Horn (“Family Law,” ″Strong Medicine”) is 34. 
  • Actor True O’Brien (“Days of Our Lives”) is 27. 
  • Actor Madisen Beaty (“The Fosters”) is 26. 
  • Actor Quinn Shephard (“Hostages”) is 26. 
  • Actor Bobb’e J. Thompson (“The Tracy Morgan Show”) is 25.

D/FW Radio: Longtime Personality Russ Martin Found Dead At Home

Longtime Dallas-Fort Worth radio host Russ Martin was found dead inside of his Frisco home a little after midnight Saturday, the Frisco Police Department said.

The cause of his death wasn’t known as of Saturday, but police said no foul play is suspected at this point in the investigation, reports The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

A friend of Martin’s had come to check on him and found him unresponsive, the police department said in a news release. Officers responded to the home in Frisco around 12:30 a.m. They pronounced him dead.

Martin was the host of The Russ Martin Show on iHeaert Media's KEGL 97.1 The Eagle. The station shared the news of his death in a statement on Saturday, saying, “It’s with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of 97.1 The Eagle’s Russ Martin.”

Radio hosts on 97.1 paid tribute to Martin during the day, and discussed how they were processing the news. Martin, whose long-running show has been a staple in the lives of many North Texans, was known for being open and honest about his opinions, occasionally going into rants on topics he was passionate about. He spoke about supporting police, firefighters and first responders, as well as protecting animals.

Friends and listeners shared tributes to the radio host on social media Saturday as they mourned his untimely and unexplained passing. It was unclear how old he was, but Sadry believes he was around 60.

Frisco police and the Collin County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating Martin’s death.

Liberty Media Posts 4Q Loss

Liberty Media — the company controlled by billionaire mogul John Malone that houses assets like audio entertainment giant SiriusXM, the Atlanta Braves baseball club and the Formula One racing circuit — has reported its fourth-quarter financials amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Fourth quarter revenue at SiriusXM rose slightly percent to $2.7 billion, compared to a year-earlier $2.61 billion. The Formula One Group, which completed 17 races during its latest season, posted overall revenue of $485 million, against $523 million in 2019.

The Atlanta Braves recorded virtually unchanged quarterly revenue at $35 million, and the Liberty SiriusXM Group saw revenue rise to $2.18 billion, compared to $2.06 billion in 2019.
Attributed to Liberty SiriusXM Group
  • SiriusXM reported strong full year 2020 results
  • SiriusXM self-pay net subscriber additions of 909,000 for the year
  • Revenue of $8.04 billion in 2020
  • Full year net income of $131 million; diluted EPS of $0.03 or $0.25, excluding $976 million non-cash impairment charge
  • 2020 adjusted EBITDA(2) hit record $2.58 billion, up 6%
  • SiriusXM capital returns totaled $1.81 billion in 2020
  • SiriusXM confirmed 2021 guidance
  • Liberty Media’s ownership of SiriusXM stood at 76.4% as of January 29th
  • From November 1st through January 31st, Liberty repurchased 2.4 million LSXMA/K shares for total cash consideration of $99 million
  • Balance sheet improvements at Liberty SiriusXM Group
  • In November 2020, amended Live Nation margin loan and reduced number of underlying shares pledged from 53.7 million to 9.0 million with $200 million currently undrawn
  • In February 2021, increased capacity under SiriusXM margin loan from $1.35 billion to $1.75 billion with $875 million currently undrawn
Attributed to Formula One Group
  • F1 successfully completed 17 race calendar in 2020
  • Planning for record 23 race calendar in 2021, beginning in Bahrain on March 28th
  • Average TV viewers per race was 87.4 million
  • Social media followers increased 36% to 35 million; fastest growth in social engagement compared to all other major sports with a 99% increase
  • Liberty Media Acquisition Corporation (“LMAC”) completed its IPO on January 26th for gross proceeds of $575 million
  • Sponsor’s 20% interest in LMAC attributed to Formula One Group
Attributed to Braves Group
  • Braves received numerous performance accolades in 2020, including Freddie Freeman as National League MVP
  • Battery development generated a solid $5 million of operating income and $18 million of net operating income (“NOI”)(2) in 2020
  • 97% of Battery tenants currently open
“We want to thank our employees and management teams who did a tremendous job navigating and operating in an extremely challenging 2020. SiriusXM posted very strong annual results and returned over $1.8 billion in capital to shareholders. Formula 1 successfully completed a 17 race season with solid viewership. We welcome Jennifer Witz and Stefano Domenicali in their new CEO roles,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Media President and CEO.

Liberty Media continues to monitor and assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations, wholly-owned businesses and various investments. 

The global spread of COVID-19 prompted many countries throughout the world to take aggressive actions, including imposing travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders, closing public attractions and restaurants, and mandating social distancing practices. As a result, the start of the 2020 F1 season was delayed until the beginning of July 2020 and the Major League Baseball season was delayed until the end of July 2020. In addition, in mid-March 2020, Live Nation suspended all large-scale live entertainment events but has continued to host alternative types of concerts and live events in various global locations that are compliant with local safety standards. Liberty Media and our portfolio companies will continue to comply with the recommendations of various government agencies and focus on the safety of our employees, partners and customers. Liberty Media, SiriusXM, Formula 1 and Braves Holdings are in compliance with all debt covenants as of December 31, 2020.

NFL Denies Disney Deal For MNF

Disney and the NFL have reached a broad agreement on a new media rights deal that will see ESPN renew “MNF” and ABC return to the Super Bowl rotation for the first time since ‘06, according to Sports Business Journal citing sources. Contracts still have not been signed, but the two sides have smoothed over enough differences that a deal is very close at hand.

Sources said Disney is expected to pay an increase of up to 30% from its current deal, which based on an average of $2B per year would equate to around $2.6B. An agreement comes after news leaked last week of a stalemate between the two sides, which initially were so far apart in price that some ESPNers questioned whether to cut a deal.

When reached for comment, NFL Media VP/Communications Alex Riethmiller said, “The report is incorrect and as we don’t negotiate through the media, there will be no further comment.” ESPN declined to comment.

The increase that Disney will pay is far below the other networks -- as Fox, CBS and NBC all are seeing the average annual value of their contracts double. ESPN is paying the highest rights fee in the current deal and the increase aligns Disney’s NFL package closer to its broadcast competitors.

Disney will pay more than other media companies for its “MNF” package, and the network will retain the highly coveted highlight rights, which provide year-round programming for ESPN’s studio shows. An undetermined number of regular-season games will be simulcast on ABC, which will produce a Super Bowl for the first time since ‘06.

Report: Amazon In The Mix For TNF

The NFL is closing in on new deals with ABC/ESPN, CBS, Fox and NBC, the most interesting aspect of the forthcoming agreement is the continued likelihood that Amazon will have a big stake in the “Thursday Night Football” package, reports Andrew Marchand at The NY Post.

In December, The Post reported that is where everything was trending on deals that will well surpass $100 billion. On Friday, the Sports Business Journal said the NFL and Disney had a broad agreement that would include the extension of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” as well as Super Bowls on ABC in what will be eight to 10 years. The NFL said the report was incorrect.

According to Marchand, wherever the deal stands, exactly, there very well could be an official announcement as soon as next week.

In 1993, Fox paid $400 million per year to swipe the NFC package from CBS. It was somewhat out of nowhere. And, in doing so, it helped Fox join NBC, ABC and CBS as a major network.

The Amazon part of the ensuing deal is the most interesting. The more exclusivity it has, the likelier the NFL will receive more money.

Fox currently owns the Thursday Night package, which was in the hands of CBS and NBC previously. None of them wanted it this time around.

If Amazon receives national exclusivity for Fox’s 11 games, then how high will the current $650 million per year for the Thursday Night package grow?

If the NFL somehow receives $1 billion-plus, then that would be quite a feat considering none of the previous owners wanted it. If the NFL Network still simulcasts the games, then the value for Amazon would go down.

Pittsburgh Radio: MLB Pirates To Air On KDKA-FM and KDKA-AM

Entercom and the Pittsburgh Pirates have announced today a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension. 

KDKA 93.7 The Fan will continue to be the Pirates flagship radio station, as it has since 2012, airing all Spring Training and regular season baseball games.

New to the partnership, Entercom will now air all Pirates weekday afternoon games on both sister stations Newsradio KDKA 100.1 FM and 1020 KDKA-AM. Entercom will also simulcast a select number of games, including Opening Day and the Pirates home opener across all three frequencies – 93.7 FM, 100.1 FM and 1020 AM.

“The Pirates and KDKA are part of the fabric of our city. We are thrilled to be able to carry on that tradition while ushering in a new era of expanded reach of Pirates programming,” said Michael Spacciapolli, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Pittsburgh. “This expanded partnership allows us to leverage the Pirates brand and great package of game programming on KDKA News Radio 100.1 FM and 1020 AM to raise further awareness of the new KDKA simulcast.”

“This expanded coverage is a homecoming for us and our fans. Ever since the nation’s first ever baseball game, a Pirates game versus the Philadelphia Phillies, was broadcast on KDKA in 1921, KDKA and the Pirates have been synonymous with each other,” said Travis Williams, President, Pittsburgh Pirates. “This agreement honors that true Pittsburgh tradition of day games on the KDKA-AM airwaves, but also that same sense of innovation from more than a century ago as we look to bring even more Pirates programming to fans across the cluster of Entercom Pittsburgh stations.”

Entercom is the unrivaled leader in sports radio, reaching three times more people than the leading competitor. Entercom is the #1 sports radio ownership group, which owns and operates 39 all-sports stations across the U.S. Its unparalleled broadcast portfolio reaches nearly 30 million sports fans monthly and boasts the nation’s leading collection of radio play-by-play coverage. Entercom also serves as the flagship home of 41 professional teams and over 50 Division 1 collegiate programs, including the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs, Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls, and University of Michigan and University of Oregon, among others.

Tampa Radio: WPOI Promotes Scott Tavlin

Cox Media Group Tampa has promoted Scott "Scotty the Body'' Tavlin to full-time Morning Show Producer and Midday On-Air Talent on WPOI HOT 101.5 effective immediately. 

Scott will continue to be heard on Miguel & Holly Mornings, and then stay on to host the weekday midday show from 10am - 3pm. Scott replaces long time HOT 101.5 personality Chase Pulido, who was recently promoted to a National Digital Content role within CMG. Scott will also join our CMG Orlando sister station, Country music, K92.3 (Orlando) as their night show host.

Scott started his radio career at CMG Tampa & Hot 101.5 back in April, 2018 as a street teamer where his energetic, outgoing personality and leadership qualities quickly earned the attention of Hot 101.5's Miguel & Holly - who asked him to sit in and learn the "biz" in June, 2018. From there, Scott continued to grow his skills by becoming a fill-in and weekend on-air talent and eventually, he was asked to host on-air shifts on CMG Orlando sister stations POWER 95.3 (WPYO) and K92.3 (WWKA).

"Scott is a star and is such a natural at rocking a crowd and creating relatable connections with our staff, audience, partners and clients," said Director of Branding and Programming, Will Calder. "Scott's story is the perfect example of how talent, hustle and a great attitude can turn dreams into reality!"

"It means the world to think back to being an inexperienced college kid telling everyone in my first interview my grand dreams of being in radio and now living those dreams," said Scott. "Thanks so much to Will Calder, Miguel Fuller, Holly O'Connor, Nate Reed, Steve Stewart, Keith Lawless, Steve Smith, Tim Clarke and everyone who has ever believed in me for presenting me with such an amazing opportunity."

CPAC Orlando: DeSantis Calls Florida An ‘Oasis of Freedom’

Sean Hannity on Broadcast row at CPAC Orlando
Gov. Ron DeSantis declared Florida an “oasis of freedom” from coronavirus restrictions Friday as he kicked off the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando that saw violations of a local mandatory mask rule, The Orlando Sentinel reports

“We are in an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering from the yoke of oppressive lockdowns,’' the governor said. “We look around in other parts of our country, and in far too many places, we see schools closed, businesses shuttered and lives destroyed. And while so many governors over the last year kept locking people down, Florida lifted people up.”

Michael Yaffee WVNN Huntsville
More than 30,600 Floridians have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began with nearly 1.9 million total cases in the state.

For much of the day, CPAC’s attempts to enforce mask policies imposed because of the pandemic led to some tense moments involving people whose adherence to the rule was spotty at best.

YouTube personality Essential Fleccas, registered as news media, was asked to leave after repeated refusals to wear a mask.

The annual conference was shifted to Florida this year after COVID-19 restrictions shut down the event’s traditional Maryland hotel.

Both CPAC and the Hyatt Regency Orlando vowed that mask-wearing and social distancing would be strictly enforced, especially after CPAC made headlines last year when a New Jersey doctor who attended tested positive for the coronavirus shortly afterward.

But non-compliance started early.

Several attendees in line to hear DeSantis pulled theirs down to talk to each other, despite signs reminding people to wear masks and keep six feet apart all around the hotel and conference center.

One person not wearing a mask walked past several Hyatt employees without being directed to put one on. Other Hyatt employees successfully asked people to put on or pull up their masks, and later in the day, they walked around with warning signs and with bags of masks to hand out.

Biden Doesn't Penalize Saudi Crown Prince

Mohammed bin Salman,and the Jamal Khashoggi in a scene from the documentary The Dissident

Despite promising to punish senior Saudi leaders while on the campaign trail, President Joe Biden declined to apply sanctions to the one the US intelligence community determined is responsible for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

CNN reports the choice not to punish Prince Mohammed directly puts into sharp relief the type of decision-making that becomes more complicated for a president versus a candidate, and demonstrates the difficulty in breaking with a troublesome ally in a volatile region.

On Friday, Biden's administration released an unclassified intelligence report on Khashoggi's death, an action his predecessor refused to take as he downplayed US intelligence. The report from the director of national intelligence says the crown prince, known as MBS, directly approved the killing of Khashoggi. But while Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced visa restrictions that affected 76 Saudis involved in harassing activists and journalists, he didn't announce measures that touch the prince. And while a sanctions list from the Treasury Department named a former deputy intelligence chief and the Saudi Royal Guard's rapid intervention force, the crown prince wasn't mentioned.

SiriusXM Radio Adds The Grammy Channel

SiriusXM and the Recording Academy® join forces to celebrate the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards® with the launch of The GRAMMY® Channel.

The GRAMMY Channel will feature a variety of music from this year's nominees across the GRAMMY Awards' 30 Fields, including top nominees Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, Brittany Howard, DaBaby, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, Justin Bieber, Megan Thee Stallion, Phoebe Bridgers, Post Malone, Roddy Ricch, Taylor Swift and more, all leading up to the live broadcast of Music's Biggest Night® on March 14 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. 

Listeners can also expect to hear music from GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Honorees such as Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Salt-n-Pepa, Selena and Talking Heads, as well as exclusive interviews with music's biggest stars from behind the scenes at the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards.  For a complete nominations list, visit

The limited-edition channel will begin March 2 at 12 p.m. ET and run through March 14 on channel 104.  For all information on The GRAMMY Channel please visit:

SiriusXM's The GRAMMY Channel is available to listeners nationwide on SiriusXM radios, on the SiriusXM app and at home with Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant or however they stream in their house.  Streaming access is included for most subscribers. Go to to learn more.

Limbaugh Buried At Undisclosed Location

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has been buried in a private cemetery in St. Louis, his family announced Friday.

Limbaugh’s widow, Kathryn, and his family said a private ceremony with close family and friends was held Wednesday, but they did not say where he was buried.

The family said additional celebrations of Limbaugh’s life are planned in the future, both virtually and in his hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, The Southeast Missourian reported.

Limbaugh died Feb. 17, a year after announcing he had lung cancer.

Limbaugh was a leading voice of the Republican party and conservative movement for decades with a daily radio show that was broadcast on more than 600 U.S. stations for more than 30 years.

February 27 Radio History

➦In 1891...David Sarnoff born (Died: December 12, 1971 at age 80).  He was a businessman and pioneer of American radio and television. Throughout most of his career he led the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in various capacities from shortly after its founding in 1919 until his retirement in 1970.

He ruled over an ever-growing telecommunications and media empire that included both RCA and NBC, and became one of the largest companies in the world. Named a Reserve Brigadier General of the Signal Corps in 1945, Sarnoff thereafter was widely known as "The General."

Sarnoff is credited with Sarnoff's law, which states that the value of a broadcast network is proportional to the number of viewers.

Unlike many who were involved with early radio communications, viewing radio as point-to-point, Sarnoff saw the potential of radio as point-to-mass. One person (the broadcaster) could speak to many (the listeners).

When Owen D. Young of the General Electric Company arranged the purchase of American Marconi and turned it into the Radio Corporation of America, a radio patent monopoly, Sarnoff realized his dream and revived his proposal in a lengthy memo on the company's business and prospects.

His superiors again ignored him but he contributed to the rising postwar radio boom by helping arrange for the broadcast of a heavyweight boxing match between Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier in July 1921. Up to 300,000 people heard the fight, and demand for home radio equipment bloomed that winter. By the spring of 1922 Sarnoff's prediction of popular demand for broadcasting had come true, and over the next eighteen months, he gained in stature and influence.

In 1926, RCA purchased its first radio station (WEAF, New York) and launched the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), the first radio network in America. Four years later, Sarnoff became president of RCA. NBC had by that time split into two networks, the Red and the Blue. The Blue Network later became ABC Radio.

Sarnoff was instrumental in building and established the AM broadcasting radio business which became the preeminent public radio standard for the majority of the 20th century. This was until FM broadcasting radio re-emerged in the 1960s despite Sarnoff's efforts to suppress it.

➦In 1940...Actor Howard Hesseman born. He is best known for his role as anti-disco disc jockey John "Dr. Johnny Fever" Caravella on the television sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati from 1978 to 1982, a role Hesseman prepared for by working as a DJ in San Francisco at KMPX-FM for several months.

He was nominated for a Prime-Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1980 and 1981 for his portrayal of Fever. He reprised the role in nine episodes of The New WKRP in Cincinnati, and also directed several episodes of the 1991-93 series revival.

Murray Kaufman
➦In 1965...Personality Murray the K aired his last show at 1010 WINS-AM.

By the end of 1964, Murray found out that WINS was going to change to an all news format the following year. He resigned on the air in December 1964 (breaking news about the sale of the station and the change in format before the station and Group W released it) and did his last show on February 27 prior to the format change that occurred in April 1965.

A year later, in 1966, the FCC ruled that AM and FM radio stations could no longer simply simultaneously broadcast the same content, opening the door for Murray to become program director and primetime DJ on WOR-FM — one of the first FM rock stations, soon airing such DJs as Rosko and Scott Muni in the new FM format. Murray played long album cuts rather than singles, often playing groups of songs by one artist, or thematically linked songs, uninterrupted by commercials. He combined live in-studio interviews with folk-rock — he called it "attitude music" — and all forms of popular music in a free-form format. He played artists like Bob Dylan and Janis Ian, the long album versions of their songs that came to be known as the "FM cuts". Al Aronowitz quotes Murray as saying about this formula, "You didn't have to hype the record any more. The music was speaking for itself."

WOR switched to an oldies format and Murray the K left New York radio to host programs in Toronto - on CHUM -and on WHFS 102.3 FM in Bethesda, MD in 1972. He returned to New York after his short stint on WHFS on the weekend show NBC Monitor and as a fill-in morning dj, and then in 1972 moved to a regular evening weekend program on WNBC radio where Don Imus was broadcasting; he was joined there by the legendary Wolfman Jack, a year later.

Although it was low-key, Murray's WNBC show featured his own innovative trademark programming style, including telling stories that were illustrated by selected songs, his unique segues, and his pairing cuts by theme or idiosyncratic associations.  In early 1975, he was brought on for a brief stint at legendary Long Island alternative rock station WLIR, and his final New York radio show ran later that year on WKTU-FM after which — already in ill health — he moved to Los Angeles. The syndicated show Soundtrack of the 60s mentioned below was heard in New York City on WYNY-FM. Gary Owens succeeded Murray as its host.

➦In 1984...WRC radio in Washington gave up its iconic 3-letter call and became WWRC.  The station was originally licensed in April 1923 as WRC, whose call letters were a shortened version of the original owner's name, the Radio Corporation of America. The station's original frequency was 469 meters (equal to 640 kc.), and it was shared with another Washington station, WCAP. The time-sharing arrangement between the two stations continued until 1926.

The station moved to 980 AM in 1941. RCA's broadcasting arm, NBC, built companion stations WRC-TV (channel 4) and WRC 93.9 FM in 1947. WRC-FM dropped the call sign in 1974. NBC sold WRC-AM to Greater Media in 1984. At the time, two stations could not share the same three-letter base call sign if they had different owners. As NBC kept WRC-TV and the right to the call sign, 980 AM added a W and became WWRC.

The WWRC call sign was moved from 980 to 570 in 1998, from 570 to 1260 in 2001, and from 1260 to 570 in 2017. 1260 AM branded as "1260 WRC" from 2010 to 2014, although it never had any connection to WRC-TV.

➦In 2003...Fred McFeely Rogers died (Born-March 20, 1928). He was a TV personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was known as the creator, composer, producer, head writer, showrunner and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001).

➦In 2008...Myron Sidney Kopelman died at age 79 (Born-January 23, 1929). He was known professionally as Myron Cope, was a sports journalist, radio personality, and sportscaster. He is best known for being "the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers".

Myron Cope - 1995
Cope was a color commentator for the Steelers' radio broadcasts for 35 years. He was known for his distinctive, nasally voice with an identifiable Pittsburgh accent, idiosyncratic speech pattern, and a level of excitement rarely exhibited in the broadcast booth. Cope's most notable catch phrase was "yoi". Cope was the first football announcer inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

In 1968, Cope began doing daily sports commentaries on what was then WTAE-AM radio in Pittsburgh. His unique nasal voice, with a distinctive Pittsburgh area accent, was noticed by the Steelers' brass, and he made his debut as a member of the Steelers' radio team in 1970.

During Cope's 35-year broadcasting career with the Steelers—the longest term with a single team in NFL history—he was accompanied by only two play-by-play announcers: Jack Fleming, with whom he broadcast until 1994, and Bill Hillgrove.

➦In, voiceover announcer John Harlan died at age 91. He was a staff announcer for ABC Radio, and for TV he announced the game shows Password, Tattletales, Queen for a Day, You Don’t Say, The New Truth or Consequences, American Gladiators and Press Your Luck.  He also was heard working on numerous Bob Hope TV specials.

  • Lindsey Morgan is 31
    Actor Joanne Woodward is 91. 
  • Actor Barbara Babcock is 84. 
  • Actor Howard Hesseman is 81. 
  • Actor Debra Monk is 72. 
  • Guitarist Neal Schon of Journey is 67. 
  • Guitarist Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden is 64. 
  • Actor Timothy Spall (“Sweeney Todd,” ″Enchanted”) is 64. 
  • Keyboardist Paul Humphreys of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark is 61. 
  • Singer Johnny Van Zant (Van Zant, Lynryd Skynyrd) is 61. 
  • Percussionist Leon Mobley of Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals is 60. 
  • Actor Adam Baldwin (TV’s “Chuck”) is 59. 
  • Actor Grant Show (“Devious Maids,” ″Melrose Place”) is 59. 
  • Guitarist Mike Cross of Sponge is 56. 
  • Actor Noah Emmerich is 56. 
  • Actor Donal Logue is 55. 
  • Singer Chilli of TLC is 50. 
  • Keyboardist Jeremy Dean of Nine Days is 49. 
  • Singer Roderick Clark (Hi-Five) is 48. 
  • Bassist Shonna Tucker (Drive-By Truckers) is 43. 
  • Actor Brandon Beemer (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) is 41. 
  • Drummer Cyrus Bolooki of New Found Glory is 41. 
  • Singer Bobby V (Mista) is 41. 
  • Singer Josh Groban is 40. 
  • Banjoist Noam Pikelny of Punch Brothers is 40. 
  • Drummer Jared Champion of Cage the Elephant is 38. 
  • Actor Kate Mara (“American Horror Story”) is 38. 
  • Reality show star JWoww (Jenni Farley) (“Jersey Shore”) is 35. 
  • Actor Lindsey Morgan (“The 100”) is 31.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Entercom Unveils 'Enhanced' Leadership

Entercom announced a new programming leadership structure for its central programming team, positioning the company for further growth and increased capacity for multi-platform premium content development. 

“This enhanced leadership team will supplement our premium content offering throughout our portfolio and ensure we have the premier collection of personalities engaging deeply with our audiences nationwide,” said Pat Paxton, Chief Programming Officer. “It will also allow us to best integrate the innovation of new products and content so we are continuously growing the impact and reach of our offering and super serving our 170 million listeners each month.”

Paxton will continue to lead Entercom’s programming department and will focus day-to-day on the management of its portfolio of market-leading brands. He will also continue to oversee Entercom’s brand research and marketing efforts. Jeff Sottolano, Executive Vice President of Programming, will continue to manage Entercom’s industry leading collection of sports, all-news and news/talk brands. He will also be charged with growing Entercom’s content insights and analytics capabilities and overseeing its network and syndicated content development. 

Dave Richards joins Entercom’s central programming leadership team as Senior Vice President of Programming, segueing from a distinguished local brand leadership career, most recently having served as Senior Vice President of Programming of 99.9 KISW (KISW-FM) in Seattle for the last 19 years and having developed programs like “The Men’s Room” and concepts like KISW’s annual “Live Day.” In his new role, Richards will be responsible for original content ideation, talent development and coaching. He will spearhead Entercom’s efforts to support its expanding business portfolio, which includes RADIO.COM, Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, through the generation of cross-platform content. 

Michael Martin will continue to serve as Senior Vice President of Programming and Music Initiatives and oversee Entercom’s relationships with artists, management and record labels and lead its efforts to collaborate with the artist community on event, digital and social opportunities. 

Entercom also announces the following members of its executive committee, who will collaborate to develop and oversee programming strategy across the company: Pat Paxton; Jeff Sottolano; Michael Martin; Dave Richards; Pam Russo, Senior Vice President and General Manager, RADIO.COM; Bill Smee, Vice President of News; Matt Volk, Vice President of Sports; Nikki Nite, Vice President of Programming and Brand Manager, Entercom Austin; and Reggie Rouse, Urban Format Captain, Entercom, and Brand Manager, Entercom Atlanta.

In the past six months, Entercom has also added new leaders to spearhead multi-platform content leadership in its industry-leading sports and news verticals. Matt Volk, formerly of Comcast/NBC and ESPN, recently joined Entercom in the newly created role of Vice President of Sports and will oversee multi-platform sports content strategy and the development of the “BetQL Audio Network.”  Bill Smee, formerly of NBC, Slate and CNN, joined Entercom in 2020 as its first Vice President of News and leads innovation efforts across its portfolio of market-leading local news and news/talk brands.

Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton Lead With ACM Noms

  • Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton Lead with 6 Nominations
  • Miranda Lambert Receives 5 Nominations
  • Ashley McBryde and Thomas Rhett Each Receive 4 Nominations
  • Four Black Artists are Nominated in a Single Year
  • Making ACM Awards History
  • Producer Jay Joyce Leads Studio Recording Awards with 4 Nominations,
  • Dann Huff Receives 3 Nominations, and busbee (posthumously) Earns 2 Nominations
  • For the First Time Every ‘Single of the Year’ Nomination Features a Female Artist
The Academy of Country Music®, dick clark productions, and CBS announced today the nominations for the 56TH ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS™, honoring the biggest names and emerging talent in the Country Music industry. The 56th ACM Awards® will broadcast live from three iconic country music venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe on Sunday, April 18 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network and will also be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+, ViacomCBS’ upcoming global streaming service.

Kelsea Ballerini and Brothers Osborne appeared live today on “CBS This Morning” to announce this year’s ACM Award nominees for Entertainer of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Duo of the Year, Group of the Year and Single of the Year. “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent Rachel Smith announced additional nominees on

Reigning Female Artist of the Year Maren Morris receives six nominations, with “The Bones” nominated for both Song of the Year and Single of the Year. Maren Morris receives an additional nod for songwriter of “The Bones,” her first time receiving a nomination both as an artist and songwriter for Song of the Year. Maren Morris is also a nominee for Female Artist of the Year, marking the 5th time she has been nominated in this category, and for Music Video of the Year for the first time. In addition, Morris is a nominee for Group of the Year alongside The Highwomen.

Chris Stapleton receives six nominations, including his third nomination for Entertainer of the Year. In addition, Chris Stapleton is a nominee for Male Artist of the Year, an award he was nominated for five times prior and won twice. Stapleton also receives a nod for Song of the Year as both songwriter and artist, for Album of the Year as artist and producer.

Miranda Lambert continues her streak as the most nominated female artist in Academy history with 68 lifetime nominations. Lambert is a five-time nominee for the 56th ACM Awards, with four nominations for “Bluebird.” “Bluebird” is nominated for Single of the Year, Video of the Year, and Song of the Year. Lambert received an additional nomination as songwriter. In addition, Lambert receives her 15th nomination for Female Artist of the Year, a category she’s won nine times.

For the first time in ACM Awards history, four Black artists are nominated for awards in a single year including Jimmie Allen, Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton and John Legend.

Producer Jay Joyce receives four nominations, including two Album of the Year nominations for Ashley McBryde’s “Never Will” and Brothers Osborne’s “Skeletons.”

Every Single of the Year nomination features a female artist, and this was the first nomination in this category for three of the six nominees: Carly Pearce, Ingrid Andress, and Gabby Barrett.

Ashley McBryde receives four nominations, including her first for Album of the Year.

Reigning Entertainer of the Year Thomas Rhett receives four nominations, including his second nomination for Entertainer of the Year.

Reigning Male Artist of the Year Luke Combs is a nominee for Entertainer of the Year and Male Artist of the Year, and first-time nominee for Music Event of the Year for his duet with Eric Church on “Does to Me.” In addition to Music Event of the Year, Eric Church is also a nominee for Entertainer of the Year and Male Artist of the Year.

Luke Combs and Chris Stapleton are both nominees for Entertainer of the Year. A win for either artist in that category will also clinch the coveted Triple Crown Award, which consists of an Entertainer of the Year win, plus wins in an act's respective New Artist (male, female, or duo or group) and Artist (male, female, duo or group) categories.

Ingrid Andress receives three nominations, including her second nomination for New Female Artist of the Year and her first nomination for Single of the Year, with an additional nomination as producer.

HARDY receives three nominations for Songwriter of the Year, New Male Artist of the Year, and Music Event of the Year. Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson are also nominated alongside HARDY for Music Event of the Year for “One Beer,” marking Devin Dawson’s first nomination in the category and Lauren Alaina’s second.

Producer Dann Huff receives three nominations, including his 11th nomination for Producer of the Year.

Reigning Group of the Year, Old Dominion, receives two nominations, including their 6th nomination in the Group of the Year category. Band member Matthew Ramsey receives an additional nomination as songwriter for “Some People Do.”

Carly Pearce receives three nominations, including her first for Single of the Year and Music Event of the Year for her collaboration with Lee Brice on “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” and her first for Female Artist of the Year.

55th ACM Awards host Keith Urban is a double nominee in the Music Event of the Year Category for his collaboration with Thomas Rhett, Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, and Chris Tomlin in “Be A Light” and for his duet with P!nk in “One Too Many.” Urban receives an additional nomination for Producer of “One Too Many.” P!nk’s nomination in this category also marks the singer’s first ACM Award nomination.

Gabby Barrett receives two nominations, including her second nod as New Female Artist of the Year and first for Single of the Year.

Brothers Osborne receives two nominations, including their first for Album of the Year.

Dierks Bentley receives two nominations, including his sixth nod for Video of the Year and seventh nod for Male of the Year.

Kane Brown earns his first ever nominations in the Album of the Year category for “Mixtape Vol. 1” and Video of the Year for “Worldwide Beautiful.”

Luke Bryan receives two nominations, including his ninth nomination for Entertainer of the Year.

Producer busbee receives two posthumous nominations for Music Event and Single of the Year for “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”

Jimmie Allen received his second nod for New Male Artist of the Year.

On the heels of her history-making performance from the 55th ACM Awards in 2020, Mickey Guyton receives her second New Female Artist of the Year nomination.

John Legend receives his first-ever ACM Awards nomination for Video of the Year for his duet with Carrie Underwood on “Hallelujah,” while Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton received a nomination for Music Event of the Year for their duet, “Nobody But You,” marking Gwen Stefani’s first ACM Award nomination.

Overall, this year’s nominations include 14 artists and industry creators receiving their first-ever ACM Awards nominations: Tenille Arts, Spencer Cullum, Travis Denning, Kris Donegan, Alicia Enstrom, Jason Hall, Gena Johnson, John Legend, P!nk, Steve Mackey, Gwen Stefani, Benmont Tench, Chris Tomlin and Kristin Wilkinson.

NYC Radio: WABC Owner Interested In Acquiring NY Daily News

Supporters of the New York Daily News are searching for a local billionaire to save the 101-year-old tabloid from the clutches of Alden Global Capital, The NY Post's Media Ink has learned.

Sources say people close to the paper scanning their rolodexes for potential buyers have reached out to supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis.

And Catsimatidis, the owner of 77WABC Radio and Gristedes supermarkets seems at least open to the possibility.

“If they offer it to me, and the price is right, I’ll buy it,” Catsimatidis told Media Ink on Thursday. “We’re buyers of properties, and that is standard operating procedure on any deal.”

John Catsimatidis
He declined to say if he’s had any contact with Tribune, however. “I can’t say,” he said.

Alden, a New York-based hedge fund headed by Heath Freeman with a reputation for deep cuts at papers it buys, is in the midst of a $630 million bid to gain full control of Tribune, which also owns the Chicago Tribune, the Hartford Courant, the Orlando Sentinel and other papers.

Alden, which currently owns 32 percent of Tribune, has struck a deal up its stake to 100 percent in a bid to take the company private.

Tribune and Alden have, however, shown a willingness to divest properties at the right price, including the Baltimore Sun and other Maryland papers like the Capital Gazette, which will be going to a non-profit headed by hotelier Stewart Bainum, head of the Choice Hotels International.

Catsimatidis famously passed up a chance to buy the Daily News from then-owner Mort Zuckerman in 2015 in part because Zuckerman wanted to unload the pension liabilities owed to the drivers and pressmen as part of the deal. The liabilities were said to be approaching $200 million. Today, the liabilities are estimated to be a still hefty $100 million.

Two years later, Tribune paid $1 for the floundering paper, which was reportedly losing millions.

The News is still believed to be losing millions and its print version, once the biggest-selling US daily post-World War II, no longer ranks among the nation’s top 10 papers by daily circulation.

Knoxville Radio: WMYL Reinstates Morgan Wallen After Listener Poll

There have been reports about intense pressure facing country radio stations to reinstate Morgan Wallen after uniformly banning his music. Digital Music News reports that so far, corporate conglomerates like iHeartMedia and Entercom have blocked that from happening. But now, one major country radio station has broken ranks with the ban: Knoxville, TN-based WMYL, or 96.7 Merle FM.

In the face of an outcry from Wallen fans, WMYL decided to issue a poll to its listeners. In response to the question of whether Morgan Wallen should be reinstated, an overwhelming 92% said yes. WMYL says that more than 35,000 listeners responded to the poll, and that the singer was quickly reinstated after the results came in.

“We were disappointed by the behavior in the video,” WMYL station owner Ron Meredith relayed in a statement. “But we were also uncomfortable with sitting in judgment.”

Accordingly, WMYL simply turned the Wallen question over to its listeners. “We are going to now literally let East Tennessee country listeners vote,” Meredith said ahead of the poll. “If they say no, Morgan’s music stays off 96.7 Merle. If they vote yes, we will play the songs local country listeners want to hear most. That’s the business we are in.”

Within days of Wallen uttering a racial slur outside of his home, the singer found himself removed from nearly every radio station in America.  Wallen was also banned by SiriusXM and Pandora, scrubbed from coveted Spotify and Apple Music playlists, stripped of his eligibility at the American Country Awards, dropped by his agent William Morris Endeavor, and ‘suspended indefinitely’ by his label, Big Loud/Republic (Universal Music Group).

None of that seemed to matter: in spite of the mass-cancellation, or more likely because of it, Wallen’s album sales and on-demand streams surged.  At the time of this writing, Wallen remains the best-selling artist of 2021, though major radio stations are still refusing to reinstate his music.

Day 3: January PPMs For Orlando Portland, 10 More Markets

Nielsen on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2021 released the third batch of January 2021 PPM data for the following markets:

21  Portland OR

23   Charlotte-Gastonia-Rick Hill NC

25   San Antonio

27   Sacramento

28    Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo

29   Pittsburgh

30   Orlando

31    Las Vegas

33   Cincinnati

34  Kansas City

35  Cleveland

36  Columbia OH

Click Here to View Topline Numbers for Subscribing Nielsen Stations.

Wake-Up Call: U-S Makes Airstrike In Syria

The U.S. launched airstrikes yesterday evening on facilities in Syria used by an Iran-backed Iraqi militia. One of the members of the Kataeb Hezbollah militia was killed and several others were wounded, AP reported, citing an Iraqi militia official. The Pentagon said the airstrikes were carried out in retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed a civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. servicemember and other coalition troops. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters, "We said a number of times that we will respond on our timeline," and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said earlier, "The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel." 

The airstrikes were the first military action taken by Biden since he became president last month.

➤HOUSE TO VOTE ON COVID BILL AFTER PARLIAMENTARIAN SAYS CAN'T INCLUDE MINIMUM WAGE HIKE: The Democratic-led House is set to vote today on President Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package, one day after a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian that means the final legislation that reaches Biden for his signature almost certainly won't include a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour. A near party-line vote is expected today on the package, which includes among its provisions $1,400 direct payments to Americans and billions of dollars for coronavirus vaccinations and testing, schools, state and local governments, the hard-hit restaurant and airline industries, and emergency unemployment benefits. The House legislation will include raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2015, more than double the current $7.25. But in the Senate, the parliamentarian said the minimum wage hike can't remain for the legislation to pass through special rules that allows it to avoid a Republican filibuster.


➤BIDEN MARKS 50 MILLION VACCINATIONS SINCE HE TOOK OFFICE: President Biden on Thursday marked the administration of 50 million doses of coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. since he took office a little over five weeks earlier. Speaking at a White House ceremony during which four front-line workers were vaccinated, Biden said his administration is on course to exceed his promise of 100 million vaccine doses being given in his first 100 days in office, and said, "The more people get vaccinated, the faster we’re going to beat this pandemic." Biden said there will be a, quote, "massive campaign to educate people" about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, and stated that a third vaccine, one that requires only one dose from Johnson & Johnson, is likely to get approval very soon, saying, "We have a plan to roll it out as quickly as Johnson & Johnson can make it." But Biden also warned about the variants that are out there and urged Americans to keep wearing face masks and social distancing, saying, "This is not the time to relax."

➤CDC WARNS: COMMON COLD OUTBREAKS TO BE EXPECTED AS SCHOOLS REOPEN: When schools begin reopening for in-person learning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that outbreaks of the common cold could become more commonplace. The CDC looked at data on the reopening of schools in Hong Kong to get an idea of what we might expect here in the U.S. In Hong Kong, schools closed due to COVID-19 from late January to May 2020, and they reopened briefly before closing again in July amid a surge in cases. When schools and child care centers re-opened in October, cases of the common cold surged among children despite the mandatory use of face masks and other measures in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. The researchers think the kids were more susceptible to common-cold-causing rhinoviruses because they had spent the majority of the year away from others outside their household, decreasing the number of chances they had to be exposed to rhinoviruses and ultimately build up immunity. Researchers say other reasons for the rhinovirus outbreaks could be that the things we’ve been doing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus just aren’t as effective against rhinoviruses, for example, it’s known that rhinoviruses are more resistant to certain disinfectants than coronaviruses and influenza viruses are.
➤CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF SAYS HAD INTELLIGENCE ABOUT POSSIBLE CAPITOL ATTACK, BUT NOT SIZE OF IT: Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman testified before a House committee yesterday about the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, saying they had received intelligence warning of the potential for violence and made preparations, but weren't expecting how many people would take part in that day's assault. Pittman said that three days earlier, Capitol Police distributed an internal document warning armed extremists were readying for violence and could invade Congress, and took steps including giving assault-style rifles to agents guarding congressional leaders and having evacuation vehicles for top lawmakers to escape the Capitol if needed. But AP noted that many Capitol Police officers have said they were given little or no information or training for what they'd face that day.

Chatter About Attacking Capitol During Biden Speech: Pittman also said when asked by lawmakers why fencing and National Guard units were still around the Capitol that they are keeping their security posture high because of intelligence that some extremists have discussed plans to attack the Capitol during President Biden's State of the Union-like address to a joint session of Congress, which is likely to take place next month. She said, "We know that members of the militia groups that were present on January 6 have stated their desire that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible, with a direct nexus to the State of the Union."

➤FORECASTERS: ‘AVERAGE’ HURRICANE SEASON MAY NEED TO BE REDEFINED: The 2021 Atlantic basin hurricane season begins on June 1st, but you might be feeling like hurricane season just ended. 2020 had a total of 30 named storms, including three that developed before the official start of hurricane season on June 1st, and last season shattered the record for the most named tropical cyclones in a single year, breaking the previous record set in 2005. All of this is to say a new study suggests that what is considered the “normal” amount of storm activity in the Atlantic basin may need to be redefined. University of Miami researcher Brian McNoldy says “the bar has been raised” for what can be expected in this new normal. He says the number of named storms is rising, as well as the annual average numbers of hurricanes and major hurricanes (considered Category 3 or stronger.) What constitutes “normal” is determined by three-decade spans—a system established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—and the baseline is re-established every ten years. McNoldy says, “If NOAA continues to use a 30-year normal as they’ve always done, then this is just the mental adjustment we make every decade. When the baseline goes up, it means that it takes more activity to be above that new normal.”

EX-U.S. OLYMPICS GYMNASTICS COACH KILLS HIMSELF AFTER CRIMINALLY CHARGED: Former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach John Geddert killed himself on Thursday, hours after he was charged with sexual assault, running a criminal enterprise, and human trafficking by forcing girls to train at his Michigan gym and then abusing them. The 63-year-old, whose body was found at a rest area in Michigan, could have faced years in prison if convicted. Geddert was head coach of the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal. He was charged with using his reputation to commit a form of human trafficking by making money through the forced labor of young gymnasts. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, "The victims suffer from disordered eating, including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault."

🏀TIMBERWOLVES' BEASLEY SUSPENDED FOR 12 GAMES FOR GUN THREAT: The NBA announced yesterday that the Minnesota Timberwolves' Malik Beasley had been suspended for 12 games without pay after he recently pled guilty to a felony charge of threats of violence for pointing a rifle at a family. The Timberwolves said they fully support the decision. A couple and their 13-year-old child who were house-hunting in September pulled up the home where Beasley was living with his wife and their baby and saw the property was roped off. Beasley approached their vehicle and pointed a rifle as he told them to leave. He was sentenced earlier this month to 120 days in jail.

⚾SPRING TRAINING GAMES BEGIN THIS WEEKEND: MLB's spring training games will begin this Sunday, just over one month ahead of opening day, which will be April 1st. Fans will be allowed to attend all games in Arizona and Florida that are played in the 23 spring training ballparks. The average maximum capacity that will be allowed in is 20 percent, with face masks required and tickets sold in pods to help with social distancing between unrelated groups.

🥊MIKE TYSON CRITICIZES HULU MINISERIES ABOUT HIM: Hulu announced yesterday that it has ordered a miniseries called, Iron Mike, about the life of boxing great Mike Tyson, with a press release saying it will explore his, quote, "wild, tragic and controversial life and career." Tyson, who isn't involved in the miniseries, quickly slammed Hulu, writing on Instagram, "Hulu’s announcement to do an unauthorized mini-series of the Tyson story without compensation, although unfortunate, isn’t surprising. This announcement on the heels of social disparities in our country is a prime example of how Hulu’s corporate greed led to this tone-deaf cultural misappropriation of the Tyson life story." Tyson also said that an "authorized" autobiographical project would be announced soon.

🏀NBA INVESTIGATING CLAIM JAZZ EXEC VP MADE BIGOTED COMMENTS DURING MEETING: The Utah Jazz announced yesterday that they are cooperating with an NBA investigation into a claim made by former Jazz player Elijah Millsap that executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey made bigoted comments during a end-of-season meeting in 2015. Millsap, who was at the meeting, made the allegation on social media Wednesday night, claiming the Lindsey, quote, "made bigot remarks in my exit interview while conversing with [head coach Quinn] Snyder 'if you say one more word, I'll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana.'" Lindsey said in response to the allegation, "I categorically deny making that statement," and Snyder told reporters that he, quote, "can't fathom Dennis saying something like that."

🏈REPORT: TEXANS QB WATSON HAS REITERATED WANTS TO BE TRADED: Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson reiterated during a meeting with head coach David Culley last week that he wants to be traded, ESPN's Dan Graziano reported yesterday (February 25th). Culley was hired as Houston's new head coach last month after Bill O'Brien was fired in October.