Saturday, March 13, 2021

March 14 Radio History

➦In 1912...Lester Raymond Brown born (Died at age 88 – January 4, 2001).  He was a jazz musician who led the big band Les Brown and His Band of Renown for nearly seven decades from 1938 to 2000.  Brown is probably best known for his 50 year association with Bob Hope, on radio, TV & personal appearances.  Also was musical director for Dean Martin for 10 years on TV.

➦In 1922...KSD-AM (now KTRS-AM) signed-on in St. Louis.

KSD-AM Original Studio, 1922
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch launched KSD in 1922, the first St. Louis station to obtain a broadcast license from the Department of Commerce, though WIL claims earlier operation as an amateur station.

KSD Transmitter 1922
According to, first as KSD, and now as KTRS, the station has been on 550 kHz since 1923, which probably gives it the longest record of occupancy on any one frequency of any United States radio station. With its 5000-watt signal and low frequency, KTRS actually has better daytime and nighttime coverage than 50,000-watt clear-channel station KMOX in much of Missouri.

Despite that great coverage, the Post-Dispatch let KSD slip in the 1970s and, on March 19, 1984, it even lost its historic call letters under Gannett ownership. After a short-lived all-news format, on which Gannett pulled the plug just as KSD was beginning to build an audience, KSD went to country and adopted the call letters KUSA. The call letters were restored by EZ Communications when it bought KSD-AM/FM in 1993.

The call letters were switched back to KSD on October 4, 1993.

Newspaper Ad 1936
Unfortunately, the station lost the call letters again when it was sold to the Dorsey Media Group of St. Louis. EZ's successor, American Radio Systems, retained the KSD call letters for use on KSD-FM.

KTRS is  owned by the St. Louis Cardinals and CH Radio Holdings. Actor John Goodman is a part owner of the station.

➦In 1937...The radio "Battle of the Century" started when comedians Fred Allen & Jack Benny locked horns in the ballroom of the Hotel Pierre, exchanging torrid insults that were heard by the second largest audience in the history of radio. The “feud”, incidentally, lasted for the next 12 years.

➦In 1950...Rigdon Osmond Dees III (born March 14, 1950), best known as Rick Dees, is a radio personality, comedian, actor, and voice artist, best known for his internationally syndicated radio show The Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Countdown and for the 1976 novelty song "Disco Duck".

Dees began his radio career at a Greensboro radio station called WGBG while still in high school. He worked for various radio stations throughout the southeastern United States, including WXYC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, WSGN in Birmingham, Alabama, and WKIX in Raleigh, North Carolina.

His introduction to the international entertainment arena began while working at WMPS 680 AM in Memphis, Tennessee, during the disco craze of the late 1970s, when he wrote and recorded "Disco Duck", the award-winning hit that sold more than six million copies. The song can be heard in Saturday Night Fever, in a brief scene in which a group of older people were learning to "move their feet to the disco beat".

While this platinum recording earned him a People's Choice Award, and the BMI Award for record sales in one year, Dees was expressly forbidden from playing the song on the air by station management (rival stations refused to play it for fear of promoting their competition).

Dees was fired from WMPS when he mentioned that his song, "Disco Duck" was almost #1 and his own radio station would not let him play it. The station manager said it was a conflict of interest.

After a 45-day non-compete clause in his contract was satisfied, Dees was hired by RKO Radio to do the morning show at WHBQ AM 560 in Memphis.

The success of Dees at their Memphis radio station, combined with his TV appearances and hit music, motivated station owner RKO General to offer Rick the morning radio show in Los Angeles at 93KHJ AM. Dees helped their ratings, but AM music radio was rapidly losing ground to FM. When KHJ switched to country music, Rick Dees left KHJ, taking a morning position at KIIS-FM in July 1981. In a short time, he turned KIIS-FM into the #1 revenue-generating radio station in America, with an asset value approaching half a billion dollars. Dees garnered many accolades, including Billboard Radio Personality of the Year for ten years in a row.

He began his Weekly Top 40 countdown program, still currently in syndication, in September 1983; the show was created after Dees' station KIIS lost American Top 40 to a rival station over the playing of network commercials.

After 23 years on radio station KIIS-FM, Dees left in 2004 because of a contract dispute, and he was replaced by Ryan Seacrest.

Dees has garnered many accolades, including the prestigious Marconi Award, induction into both the National Radio Hall of Fame, and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall Of Fame. He is an inductee in the North Carolina Music Hall Of Fame, the the Tennessee Radio Hall Of Fame, has received the the Billboard Radio Personality Of The Year award for 10 consecutive years.

➦In 1972...Songwriter/singer Carole King won the “Triple Crown” of the Grammys: album of the year for “Tapestry,” record of the year for “It’s Too Late” and song of the year for “You’ve Got A Friend.” She also won a fourth Grammy that year, for female pop vocal performance for “Tapestry.”

King's major success began in the '60s when she and her first husband, Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits, many of which have become standards, for numerous artists. She has continued writing for other artists since then. King has made 25 solo albums, the most successful being Tapestry, which held the record for most weeks at No. 1 by a female artist for more than 20 years. Her record sales were estimated at more than 75 million copies worldwide. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting. She is the recipient of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first woman to be so honored. She is also a 2015 Kennedy Center Honoree.

➦In 1991...Brad Crandall died at age 63. (Born Robert Lee Bradley; August 6, 1927). He was a radio personality, voice-over announcer, and film narrator, best known for his radio show on WNBC in New York City, which aired from March 1964 to September 1971.  He greatly influence Howard Stern.
Frank Blair
➦In 1995...Frank S. Blair Jr. died at age 79 (Born - May 30, 1915). He was a broadcast journalist for NBC News, known for being a news anchor on the Today program from 1953 to 1975.

Blair's radio debut was at WCSC in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1935. Later that year, he joined WIS in Columbia, South Carolina, as a newscaster. In 1937, he became program director at WFBC in Greenville, South Carolina. Several months later, he left there to join WOL in Washington, D.C., in a role that included announcing for the Mutual network.

When NBC radio's Monitor weekend program began in 1955, Blair was one of the first news anchors.

➦In 2008..Melville "Mel" Brandt died at age 88 (Born -  June 18, 1919). He was an actor and NBC staff announcer.  Born in Brooklyn, New York, Brandt joined NBC around 1948. His radio announcing credits included The Adventures of Frank Merriwell, Author Meets the Critics, and The Eternal Light. In 1975, he announced for a syndicated radio program called Faces of Love.

He was one of the stars of the first television soap opera, Faraway Hill, broadcast in 1946 on the DuMont Television Network.  His familiar voice was heard over the second animated version of the NBC Peacock from 1962–75, announcing that "the following program is brought to you in 'living color' on NBC."

  • Betsy Brandt is 48
    Actor Michael Caine is 88. 
  • Composer-conductor Quincy Jones is 88. 
  • Country singer Michael Martin Murphey is 76. 
  • Former Chicago sax player Walt Parazaider is 76. 
  • Actor Steve Kanaly (“Dallas”) is 75. 
  • Comedian Billy Crystal is 73. 
  • TV and radio personality Rick Dees is 71. 
  • Country singer Jann Browne is 67. 
  • Actor Adrian Zmed is 67. 
  • Actor Tamara Tunie (“Law and Order: SVU”) is 62. 
  • Actor Penny Johnson Jerald (“Castle,” ″24″) is 61. 
  • Actor Elise Neal (“All of Us”) is 55. 
  • Actor Gary Anthony Williams (“Boston Legal,” ″Malcolm in the Middle”) is 55. 
  • Actor Megan Follows (“Reign”) is 53. 
  • Drummer Michael Bland of Soul Asylum is 52. 
  • Singer Kristian Bush of Sugarland is 51. 
  • Actor Betsy Brandt (“Breaking Bad”) is 48. 
  • Actor Grace Park (“Hawaii Five-0,” ″Battlestar Galactica”) is 47. 
  • Actor Daniel Gillies (“The Originals,” ″Vampire Diaries”) is 45. 
  • Actor Corey Stoll (“House of Cards” ″The Bourne Legacy”) is 45. 
  • Actor Chris Klein is 44. 
  • Actor Ryan Cartwright (“Kevin Can Wait”) is 40. 
  • Actor Kate Maberly (“Finding Neverland”) is 39. 
  • Singer-keyboardist Taylor Hanson of Hanson is 38. 
  • Actor Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot”) is 35. 
  • Bassist Este Haim of Haim is 35. 
  • Actor Ansel Elgort (“Insurgent,” “The Fault in Our Stars”) is 27.

TV Ratings: Grammys Expected To Set Record-Low

Travor Noah to host the Grammys Sunday

Beyoncé leads the field with nine nominations at “The 63rd Grammy Awards.” “The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah hosts the proceedings from Staples Center in downtown L.A. 5 p.m. CBS; also CBS All Access, Paramount+.

The Weeknd is boycotting the Grammys this weekend, reports The Wrap. But will viewers who do not feel personally snubbed by the Recording Academy also will tune out the latest COVID-era virtual awards show?

Last year, the Grammy Awards on CBS drew 18.792 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, the awards show’s smallest tally since 2008 (17.182 million) — but not technically a record low. The 2020 Grammys’ rating in the key adults 18-49 demo, a 5.4, was the lowest of all time, however.

Dating back to 1988, which is when Nielsen’s electronic records started, three Grammy Awards telecasts have performed worse in total viewers than 2020’s.

To date, the all-time smallest audience for a Grammys telecast is 16.999 million back in 2006. That one aired on a Wednesday, not a Sunday, which is the day of the week we’ve come to expect for the scheduling of major awards shows. The other Grammys broadcast to attract a smaller audience than 2020’s show came 25 years earlier in 1995, when “Music’s Biggest Night” averaged 17.279 million total viewers.

The Grammys didn’t actually air on a Sunday until 2003. Since then, only 2006’s show and 2016’s (24.927 million on a Monday) deviated from the regular Sunday slot. Schedulers have learned their lessons.

Recent history is not predicting good things for Sunday. Two weeks prior to the 63rd Grammys, NBC’s 2021 Golden Globes shed 63% of total viewers from the previous year, plummeting from 18.4 million overall TV viewers to 6.9 million. Its 1.4 rating in the key demo was down 68% from 2020’s 4.7.

Chicago Radio: Mark Giangreco OUT As ABC-7's Lead Sportscaster

Mark Giangreco’s 26-plus-year run as WLS ABC-7′s lead sportscaster — and perhaps his 39-year Chicago TV career — has come to an abrupt end, reports The Chicago Tribune.

Giangreco, 68, has been off the air since the Jan. 28 10 p.m. newscast, on which he joked that anchor Cheryl Burton could play a “ditzy, combative interior decorator” on a reality TV series.

Burton complained to management. That led to Giangreco’s suspension and, ultimately, the exit agreement with the Walt Disney Co.-owned station, the Tribune confirmed Friday. Terms of the separation were not disclosed.

John Idler, president and general manager of ABC-7, announced Giangreco’s departure in a note to staff that steered clear of explaining any of the circumstances behind it.

Cheryl Burton
“Mark Giangreco, who has been as influential on the Chicago sports scene as the athletes he’s covered, is moving on to a new chapter,” Idler said in the note. “During his career, Mark has been there and done that, covering daily highlights and championship play for every major sports franchise in this city.

“He has been widely recognized for reporting sports with both passion and insight. I want to thank Mark for his many contributions to ABC 7 and our viewers. I’m sure you will all join me in wishing him the very best.”

Idler forwarded a note to “colleagues and friends” from Giangreco, which similarly avoided details.

ABC-7 management, through the station’s spokeswoman, refused additional comment. Giangreco also declined to discuss his exit.

Giangreco had 18 months remaining on a contract that, when he signed in 2019, was reputed to keep him the nation’s highest-paid local TV sportscaster despite a dip in pay from the roughly $1 million-per-year compensation he previously earned.

With his ABC-7 run behind him, Giangreco will weigh his career options. It was not immediately clear when or whether Giangreco, who also has been absent from his regular appearances on WMVP 1000AM′s weekday afternoon “Waddle & Silvy” program, will return to radio. There might be other opportunities as well, but it’s not known to what degree his negotiated separation restricts him.

Boston Radio: WEEI Taps Andy Gresh For New Midday Show

Andy Gresh
Entercom has announced Andy Gresh as midday show co-host for WEEI 93.7 FM / 850 AM) in Boston. Gresh will join co-host Rich Keefe on “Gresh & Keefe,” weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, effective Monday March 15.

“Andy Gresh has a vast amount of experience covering the Boston sports scene, making him a perfect addition to our midday programming,” said Mark Hannon, Regional President, Entercom Boston. “We’re excited to team him up with WEEI’s Rich Keefe to bring listeners a dynamic midday show that will reflect what sports fans are talking about day in and day out.”

“I'm excited to be back on the radio in Boston,” said Gresh. “I think people know I'm pretty familiar with this time slot, but It's time to present something new and fresh, with energy, focus and fun. Rich Keefe and I have always had a cool relationship that I truly believe that will translate through the speakers.”

Gresh started his career at WPRO-AM in Providence, RI in 1997 working behind the scenes before becoming the co-host in morning drive on 790 The Score in October 1997. He remained there until 2008, while also working part-time for New York sister station WFAN 101.9 FM / 660 am, as well as ESPN Radio and Sirius/XM. 

After spending most of 2008 at ESPN Radio, he joined the original staff of Mad Dog Radio at Sirius/XM in 2009. 

Other on-air roles include midday host for Hartford sister station 1080 WTIC News Talk (WTIC-AM) and 98.5 The Sports Hub, as well as pre-game, halftime, and post-game analyst on the New England Patriots radio network. Gresh has also been a college football color analyst for various networks since 2007, and has provided sports commentary and analysis since the early 2000s for television entities like CSNNE and SNY.

Listeners can tune in to WEEI (WEEI-FM/AM) in Boston 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.

Report: ‘The Talk’ Under Internal Review

Sharon Osbourne

CBS is currently reviewing “all matters” related to Sharon Osbourne’s defense of Piers Morgan on “The Talk” this week and the subsequent backlash, The Wrap reports.

“We are committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace. All matters related to the Wednesday episode of ‘The Talk’ are currently under internal review,” the network said in a statement Friday.

Osbourne came under fire earlier this week after her public defense of longtime friend Piers Morgan led to an on-air meltdown and an emotional conversation with co-host Sheryl Underwood about race on Wednesday.

In the run-up to the episode, Osbourne voiced support for Morgan on social media after the “Good Morning Britain” commentator was called out for his disparaging statements about Meghan Markle.

Osbourne then said on-air that she felt as though she was “about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist.” She further pushed back when Underwood, who is Black, attempted to explain how Morgan’s treatment of Markle could be interpreted as racist and sexist.

Osbourne later apologized in a lengthy statement on Twitter, writing, “I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive & allowed my fear & horror of being accused of being racist take over.”

“Please hear me when I say I do not condone racism, misogyny or bullying,” she wrote. “I should have been more specific about that in my tweet. I will always support freedom of speech, but now I see how I unintentionally didn’t make that clear distinction.”

For his part, Morgan said Osbourne was “shamed and bullied” into walking back her comments and called for an apology from the other “The Talk” co-hosts on behalf of himself, citing their “disgraceful slurs against ME.”

Bay Area Radio: MLB A's Games To Air On KNEW

The Oakland A’s have announced that all 162 regular season games will be broadcast on KNEW Bloomberg 960 AM during the 2021 season, which is set to begin on Thursday, April 1. 

Every A’s game this season will also be broadcast on A’s Cast on iHeartRadio, the Club’s 24/7 audio streaming station and official home of A’s audio content. The A’s Cast station is free for fans in the Bay Area and can be accessed in one click at Fans outside of the Bay Area can access on-demand content, including the pre and postgame shows, for free at

Ken Korach will return for his 26th season with the A's and his 16th as the team's lead radio announcer, pairing with Vince Cotroneo, who will begin his 16th season with the Club. Ray Fosse will also make special appearances throughout the season.

The A’s daily live sports talk show, A’s Cast Live, hosted by Chris Townsend, will air prior to the start of every weekday evening game this season. Fans can also listen to the A’s Total Access Pregame Show with Chris Townsend one hour before first pitch, plus the A’s Clubhouse Postgame Show immediately following every game.

A’s games can be heard on 960 AM and KOSF-HD2 FM 103.7. A’s fans outside the Bay Area can continue to catch games on the A’s Radio Network, which includes KHTK–AM 1140 in Sacramento and 12 additional radio affiliates throughout Northern California.

Spanish-language broadcasts will be available for 60 of the A’s home games this season on KIQI (1010 AM, San Francisco) and KATD (990 AM, Pittsburg). Amaury Pi-González returns for his 28th season with the A’s and 44th season overall in MLB; he will be joined by Manolo Hernández-Douen, who will begin his 13th season as an A’s analyst.

During Spring Training, weekend home games (March 14, March 27) will be available to fans on Bloomberg 960 AM; all remaining Spring Training games, including home and road games, will be available on A’s Cast.

John Sterling, Michael Kay To Call Yankees Game On YES

Sterling and Kay (Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan)

John Sterling has been calling Yankees games since 1989, but as far as he can recall he never has worked one on television.

Neil Best at Newsday reports that will change on Monday when he joins his former radio partner, Michael Kay, in a reunion of sorts on the YES Network for a game against the Phillies – the first of two consecutive Mondays they will work together.

"It’s just a couple of exhibition games, which as we know mean nothing," Sterling said. "But you can say, ‘Well, are you looking forward to it?’ Of course, I am. It will be wonderful.

"Michael and I have become very good friends over the years. So it’s just like broadcasting with a friend, which is what I hope it sounds like."

Kay was a newspaper reporter when he joined Sterling in 1992, and he was with him for 10 years – and four world championships – until he joined the new YES Network in 2002 as its play-by-play man.

So the two have seen each other regularly at the ballpark over the past 20 years. But YES president John Filippelli suggested having them together again, and Sterling said he loved the idea. (Kay declined to be interviewed by Newsday for this story.)

This TV experience will not be like those, given these unusual times. Sterling will work Monday from YES’ Stamford, Connecticut, studios, while Kay does the game from his home studio.

Last season, Sterling and Suzyn Waldman called games from Yankee Stadium, whether or not the Yankees were actually playing there, and that is the plan entering 2021.

But Sterling hopes for a return to normalcy – and travel – sometime this season. "I’m a tremendous optimist," he said, "so I’m hoping by June or July or so."

OK Livestream: Hot Mic Catches Racist Comments

An Oklahoma online sports commentator is under investigation after he was heard on a live microphone Thursday night directing a racial slur at a girls’ high school basketball team.

The Washington Post reports Norman High girls’ basketball coach Frankie Parks tweeted a clip Friday where the broadcaster from the National Federation of High School Networks can be heard berating players and using a racist slur as they knelt for the playing of the national anthem before a state playoff game.

The broadcaster, identified by The Frontier as Matt Rowan, owns OSPN, the live-streaming platform that broadcast Thursday’s game.

“I hope Norman gets their ass kicked,” he said before launching into a tirade that involved several profanities and the racist comment.

The broadcaster’s remarks drew condemnation from school officials, Norman mayor Breea Clark (D), and former University of Oklahoma football stars Kenny Stills and Gerald McCoy. Norman High players also received broad support on social media, with some rallying around the Twitter hashtag #ThisIsWhyWeKneel.

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA), the state athletic organization which contracted the announcers through NFHS for the state tournament, said it was “made aware that some very offensive, inappropriate comments were made during the NFHS livestream broadcast” and that it had pulled the broadcast team.

The NFHS Network said it is “aggressively investigating the incident and will ensure that any individuals responsible will have no relationship with the NFHS Network moving forward.” In response to questions regarding the identity of the broadcaster who made the comments, it referred The Washington Post to its earlier statement.

iHM Promotes Nicky Sparrow to SVP/Multicultural Sales

Nickey Sparrow
iHeartMedia has named Nicky Sparrow Senior Vice President of Multicultural Sales for the Markets Group. 

Sparrow will report to Julie Donohue, President of Multi-Market Partnerships and will be based out of Jacksonville.

"As the leader in audio, it's important to ensure that our markets represent the growing multicultural communities we all live in and that we continue to reach and connect with diverse audiences," said Donohue. "Nicky continues to demonstrate strong leadership skills and with her expansive experience, expertise in sales and vision for creating an innovative, strategic focus on our multicultural audiences, I am fully confident she is the person to lead our multicultural sales efforts."

"I'm thrilled for this next step in my career," said Sparrow. "I've been with iHeartMedia for more than 20 years, and I can't wait to take my experience and strong relationships with partners and advertisers to further deliver and create innovative and effective multicultural opportunities for our consumers that will not only grow our portfolio of assets, but represent and truly connect with our diverse audiences."

Sparrow is a media veteran with more than 20 years of sales experience, serving in multiple high-level management sales roles across major markets including Jacksonville, New Orleans, Memphis and Tallahassee. She most recently served as the Market President for iHeartMedia Jacksonville where she worked closely with key advertising and marketing partners to create and deliver unique, effective opportunities to reach consumers through iHeartMedia's unmatched assets, including on-air, online, digital assets, personality endorsements and live event integrations. Sparrow began her career at iHeartMedia Mississippi as a sales representative in 1999.

FCC Issues Advisory On Sponsorship I-D Laws

The FCC Friday issued Enforcement Advisory to remind radio stations of their obligations to comply with Sponsorship Identification Laws and placing any shared service agreement such as an LMA or JSA in their online public files.

FCC Call Letter Activity for February 2021

During February 2021, the FCC accepted applications to assigned call signs to, or change the call signs of the following broadcast stations:

The Time Has Come...Time To Spring Forward

Get ready to "spring forward" as people throughout the United States lose an hour of sleep in the early morning of Sunday.

Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 14. While "smart" devices may change time automatically, don't forget to turn manual clocks an hour ahead, from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Daylight saving time (DST) is designed to provide an extra hour of evening sunlight, and it will stay in effect for eight months until Nov. 3, when daylight saving time ends for the year.

According to, Benjamin Franklin, the brainchild of DST, proposed the idea in 1784 as a way to conserve energy, said David Prerau, author of "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time". Ideally, people would spend time outside, enjoying the extra hour of daylight, rather than sit inside, wasting energy on lighting, Franklin reasoned.

However, it's hard to say whether daylight saving translates into energy savings, according to several studies, including a 2007 Department of Energy study and a 1997 study on a residential home in Kansas, Live Science previously reported.

Even so, Franklin's idea spread in the 20th century. In 1908, a city in Ontario, Canada, became the first modern region to officially implement DST, according to Time and Date. The Germans began following DST in May 1916, with the goal of conserving fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe followed suit soon after, and the United States officially adopted daylight saving time in 1918.

March 13 Radio History

➦In 1903...
Charles D. Livingstone was born (died at age 83 - July 28, 1986) He was a favorite director of the two men who put Detroit in the forefront of live radio drama in the '30s and '40s with such programs as "The Lone Ranger," "The Green Hornet" and "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon."

A University of Michigan graduate, Livingstone began his professional career as an actor in stock companies and on Broadway. He joined Detroit radio station WXYZ in 1933, playing minor roles in "Warner Lester" and "The Lone Ranger" and a major part in "Thrills of the Secret Service." George W. Trendle, an attorney, and John H. King, a theater owner, had decided to turn to the infant medium of radio after the stock market crash of 1929.

They found an assortment of writers, actors and directors, and bought WXYZ. Their successes with the "Ranger" and "Hornet" enabled them to expand the shows to WGN in Chicago and WOR in New York. The three stations became the mainstay of the Mutual Network in the mid-1930s.

Livingstone was named the station's dramatic director in 1938 and remained there until 1954, when he went to Hollywood to help film "The Lone Ranger" for television.

                                                ➦In 1922...WRR-AM, Dallas, TX signed-on.

WRR-AM was Texas’ first broadcast station. Owned by the City of Dallas, the original studio and transmitter was located in the Dallas Fire Department central headquarters.

WRR-AM actually dates back to 1921 as the wireless operation of the Dallas Police and Fire Departments.

The station received a formal license as a "land station" from the Bureau of Navigation on August 4, 1921, and was assigned the call letters "WRR".  In later years, the call letters would be said to stand for “Where Radio Radiates”.   According to WRR’s original license, the station operated with a “composite” transmitting system (i.e. “homemade”), and was authorized to operate at a power of up to 100 watts, giving the station an approximate range of 200 nautical miles.

According to DFW Radio Archives, there were often long stretches of time when there were no fire or police calls to broadcast, so to ensure the equipment was indeed working (and perhaps satisfy their own curiosity with the strange new device), the dispatchers started to resort to other means of occupying the airwaves.  They would read articles from the Dallas News or Herald, read letters, and tell jokes.  Soon they had even brought in a phonograph player to place next to the microphone and send music over the airwaves.

A small but growing audience became fascinated by the magically transferred voices and music – these were the very beginnings of radio in north Texas.

WRR soon began to evolve into a “real” radio station.  WRR’s initial license was issued through the Bureau of Navigation and fell into a categorical no-man’s land - while operating as a “broadcast” station, it was licensed as if it were a point-to-point operation.  WRR did not receive a true broadcast license from the Commerce Department's Radio Division until March 13, 1922.

WRR-FM signed on in 1948, playing classical music.  WRR-AM focused on popular music until it switched to all-news in 1975.

Bonneville Broadcasting bought the station in 1978.  It became KAAM.  It became all-sports KTCK in 1994.  Today, Cumulus Media owns “Sports Radio 1310: The Ticket.”

The city kept WRR-FM, which remains on the air as a classical station.  Taxpayers do not sustain WRR.  It operates commercially, depending upon advertising revenue.

➦In 1923...Production of the first radio set incorporating a loudspeaker. All previously produced sets had required the use of headphones, which were considered a nuisance because they were so heavy to wear and messed up hairdos. The new radios were also said to have a “foolproof” design.

➦In 1938...“World News Roundup” aired CBS Radio Network for the first time.

The CBS World News Roundup is the longest-running network radio newscast in the United States. It airs weekday mornings and evenings on the CBS Radio Network.

Robert Trout
It first went on-air on March 13, 1938 at 8 p.m. ET as a one-time special in response to growing tensions in Europe -- specifically the Anschluss, during which Adolf Hitler annexed Austria.

When the show first went on the air it was hosted by veteran radio personality Robert Trout. The first show gave the world the voices of Edward R. Murrow and William L. Shirer. In fact, it was the first time Murrow had ever delivered a news report. During the early years of the war, Murrow's reports from London and Shirer's reports from Berlin were essential listening to anyone trying to keep informed on events unfolding in Europe.

The program was a 38-minute special report from multiple locations around the world as the pre-war crisis mounts. It was the first time that on-the-scene European field correspondents were linked with a central anchor in New York for a national broadcast. A recording of the first episode, as well as some others, is available at the Internet Archive.

From March 13, 2013...

Most broadcast references credit either CBS President William S. Paley or News Director Paul White as coming up with the idea for the show, as a way to trump Max Jordan's NBC coverage of the Anschluss. The previous day, Shirer had flown from Vienna to London at the request of Murrow (the CBS European chief) to give the first uncensored eyewitness account of Germany's takeover of Austria.

It was White who relayed the order to Murrow and Shirer for the first Roundup. The two, Murrow in Vienna and Shirer in London, then had the responsibility of linking up reporters and circuits that same day...a Sunday, when many of the key people would be mostly unreachable.

The format was so successful that it was repeated the following evening, and then revived later that year during the Sudetenland crisis. Eventually, it evolved into a daily show.

As World War II raged in Europe, the Roundup format spawned a weekend edition, The World Today. It was just before one 2:30 p.m. Eastern broadcast, on December 7, 1941, that White and World Today anchor John Charles Daly received word in New York that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. Daly's report at the top of the show, among the first on any radio station or network, is the one most often used in audio retrospectives.


➦In 1956…'Elvis Presley' is the debut studio album by Elvis Presley. It was released on RCA Victor, catalog number LPM-1254, in March 1956.

The recording sessions took place on January 10 and January 11 at the RCA Victor recording studios in Nashville, Tennessee, and on January 30 and January 31 at the RCA Victor studios in New York. Additional material originated from sessions at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, on July 5, August 19 and September 10 of 1954, and on July 11, 1955.

The album spent ten weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in 1956, the first rock and roll album ever to make it to the top of the chart

Stacy Harris
➦In 1973...Stacy Harris died from an apparent heart attack at age 54  (Born - July 26, 1918). He was a Canadian-born actor with hundreds of radio, film and television appearances

Harris was best known for his role as agent Jim Taylor on ABC Radio's This is Your FBI. In 1946, Jerry Devine, that program's producer-director, told newspaper columnist Jack O'Brian: "Stacy has just the sort of voice I need for the quiet authority of the special agent on my show. On top of that, he's a good actor, and it's a combination on radio which can't be beat."

His other roles in radio programs included Batman in The Adventures of Superman, and Ted Blades in The Strange Romance of Evelyn Winters. He was also a member of the casts of Confession, Dragnet,  Pepper Young's Family, Destiny's Trails and Frontier Gentleman

He also appeared in scores of TV series over a 20 year period, including recurring roles in Bonanza, Dragnet, Wagon Train, Zane Grey Theatre, Perry Mason, Laramie & Return to Peyton Place.

➦In 1992…the FCC unleashed a new era in radio ownership.  The rules were changed to allow corporations to own as many as 30 AM & 30 FM stations (the former limit was 12).

➦In 2017...John Andariese, the white-haired, NBA Knicks radio and television analyst whose love of basketball earned him the nickname Johnny Hoops, died  at age 78.

“He was all basketball,” Marv Albert, one of Mr. Andariese’s radio and television partners, said in an interview. “He was in very good shape for a long time, and he was always looking for a game. One of his thrills was on game day at Madison Square Garden — he’d play on the court with Garden employees.”

  • Tracy Wells is 50
    Jazz drummer Roy Haynes is 96. 
  • Songwriter Mike Stoller is 88. 
  • Singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka is 82. 
  • Singer Candi Staton is 81. 
  • Actor William H. Macy is 71. 
  • Comedian Robin Duke is 67. 
  • Actor Dana Delaney (“Body of Proof” ″China Beach”) is 65. 
  • Bassist Adam Clayton of U2 is 61. 
  • Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard is 59. 
  • Drummer Matt McDonough of Mudvayne is 52. 
  • Actor Annabeth Gish (“The West Wing,” ″The X-Files”) is 50. 
  • Actor Tracy Wells (“Mr. Belvedere”) is 50. 
  • Rapper Common is 49. 
  • Rapper Khujo of Goodie Mob is 49. 
  • Singer Glenn Lewis is 46. 
  • Actor Danny Masterson (“That ’70s Show”) is 45. 
  • Musicians Natalie and Nicole Albino of Nina Sky are 37. 
  • Actor Noel Fisher (“Shameless”) is 37. 
  • Actor Emile Hirsch (“Into the Wild”) is 36.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Saga Reports 4Q Net Revenue Jumped 19.1 Percent

Saga Communications, Inc. reported today that fourth quarter and year end 2020 revenue and the related net income continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

  • Net Revenue was $28.8 million for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2020 which was a 19.1% increase over net revenue for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020.  Net Revenue for the fourth quarter in 2019 was $31.8 million.
  • Station operating expense decreased $1.9 million to $21.1 million for the quarter compared to the same period last year.  
  • Station operating income was $9.1 million for the quarter compared to $10.5 million for the fourth quarter last year and operating income was $5.0 million for the quarter compared to $5.4 million for the same period last year.
  • Net income was $2.3 million and diluted earnings per share were $0.38 in the fourth quarter of 2020.  
  • Free cash flow was $5.1 million for the quarter compared to $5.4 million for the same period last year.  

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2020 net revenue was $95.8 million. Revenue of $28.75M (-9.6% Y/Y) Station operating expense decreased $11.1 million to $81.6 million compared to the same period last year.  Station operating income was $20.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $37.0 million for year-end 2019 and an operating loss of -$1.3 million for the year compared to operating income of $18.8 million for 2019.  Net loss for the twelve-month period was $1.9 million which includes a non-cash impairment charge of $5.2 million.  Without the impairment charge the company would have reported Net income of $1.7 million for the period.  Diluted loss per share was -$0.32 and free cash flow was $7.6 million for the year.

The Company's balance sheet reflects $51.4 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2020 and $56.0 million as of March 8, 2021.  The Company's total bank debt remained at $10 million as of year-end 2020. 

Capital expenditures in the fourth quarter were $434 thousand compared to $1.1 million for the same period last year.  For the twelve-month period capital expenditures were $2.3 million compared to $5.7 million for the same period last year.  The Company expects to spend approximately $4.5 – 5.5 million for capital expenditures during 2021.

Google, FB To Oppose Pay-For-News Bill

Lobbyists for Facebook and Google threw their weight against new U.S. legislation that seeks to aid struggling news publishers by allowing them to negotiate collectively against the tech companies over revenue sharing and other deals, reports Reuters. 

U.S. lawmakers introduced the plan in Congress on Wednesday to address a perceived power imbalance between news outlets and the tech giants. Critics accuse the companies of using content to drive traffic and ad revenue to their platforms without fairly compensating the publishers.

The move adds to pressure on the tech firms, which are facing antitrust lawsuits and the threat of more regulation.

Google, which declined comment on the proposal, launched a website here on Thursday asserting it is "one of the world's biggest financial supporters of journalism" by virtue of the ad revenue and content licensing fees it provides to media. Google said its search engine sends readers to publishers' websites 24 billion times per month.

Also opposing the bill are two technology industry trade groups that Facebook and Google belong to -- the Computer & Communications Industry Association and NetChoice.

Some industry observers say the proposal could disproportionately benefit private equity firms and hedge funds that have snatched up medium and large newspaper chains. Newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune and the Miami Herald are controlled by the likes of Alden Global Capital and Chatham Asset Management.

The bills come not long after Facebook battled with Australia over how much it should pay news publishers for their content. During the fight, Facebook blacked out Australian news pages and only restored them once the government granted concessions.

Wake-Up Call: Biden Wants Vaccines For All By May 1

President Biden said in a prime-time address last night, delivered on the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus being declared a pandemic, that he will make all states allow all adults to be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine by May 1st. However, he warned that actually administering all those vaccines will take time. He also said the administration is planning to launch a nationwide website to help people find vaccinations, addressing the frustrations Americans have been having in trying to get appointments.

In his 24-minute remarks from the White House East Room, Biden reflected back on the losses of life, businesses, financial security, and what he called "the details of life" as we remained separated from each other over the past year. He also looked forward to coming out from the shadow of the virus, telling Americans, "I need you to do your part," in getting vaccinated and urging friends and family members to do the same. He also urged that people continue to follow the guidelines of wearing masks and distancing so our progress is maintained. Biden offered hope that if Americans pull together, we will be able to gather with friends and family for Fourth of July celebrations, saying it would make this Independence Day also begin to, quote, "mark our independence from this virus."

Hours earlier, Biden signed his $1.9 trillion relief package into law, which he also spoke about during his address. It happened one day before had been expected, since the bill arrived at the White House earlier than anticipated. The White House said some people may begin getting direct deposits of their $1,400 direct payments this weekend.

➤THIRD-DEGREE MURDER CHARGE ADDED IN TRIAL OF EX-OFFICER ACCUSED IN GEORGE FLOYD'S KILLING: The judge in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd last May restored a third-degree murder charge yesterday. An appellate court ruling in an unrelated case established new grounds to allow the third-degree charge. Chauvin is already facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. A sixth juror was also added yesterday as jury selection in the case continued for a third day.

➤IMPEACHMENT PROBE LAUNCHED AGAINST CUOMO, MORE LAWMAKERS CALL FOR RESIGNATION: New York state Democrats launched an impeachment investigation against Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday and a majority of state legislators are now calling for his resignation. The heightened actions came one day after a Times Union report that an unidentified aide claimed Cuomo reached under her shirt and fondled her at the governor's mansion last year, the most serious of sexual harassment claims that have been made by several women in recent weeks. 

A lawyer for Cuomo said the state had reported the allegation to the Albany Police Department after the woman involved declined to do so herself. Cuomo has denied the accusation. Cuomo is also facing allegations that his administration hid how many nursing home residents died of Covid-19. In addition to the impeachment probe, a separate investigation of the sexual harassment allegations is being conducted by state Attorney General Letitia James.

➤UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS LOWEST SINCE EARLY NOVEMBER: Labor Department data out yesterday showed that the number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims fell to 712,000 last week, the lowest number since early November. That indicates fewer employers are cutting jobs amid a decline in coronavirus cases and an improving economy as business restrictions are eased. But while the first-time claims number is the lowest in months, it still remains historically high.

➤POLL...77 PERCENT SAY WORST OF PANDEMIC BEHIND US: After a historically devastating year caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a new CNN poll finds that Americans are finally feeling optimistic about the future. More than three-quarters, 77 percent, said the worst of the pandemic is now behind us, higher by 26 percentage points than it's been at any other point in the past year. The pandemic is still named as the top issue facing the country, but 30 percent feel that way now compared to 46 percent who said so in January. There's a wide gap by party, though, with 51 percent of Democrats saying the pandemic is the nation's most important issue compared to just 11 percent of Republicans. The more optimistic outlook comes as cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to fall from their peak in January, and as vaccinations continue to ramp up. But the poll reveals a partisan divide on the vaccines too, with 92 percent of Democrats saying they've gotten at least one dose of a vaccine or plan to get vaccinated, compared to just 50 percent of Republicans. 

➤IS THE FIVE-DAY COMMUTE OVER? NEW DATA SUGGESTS PEOPLE ONLY WANT TO WORK IN THE OFFICE TWO DAYS A WEEK: Some people have been working from home for about a year now, and it seems many don’t want to return to a five-day week of working in an office. A recent poll for Deloitte finds that those who can work from home would choose to continue to do so when restrictions ease, choosing to travel to an office only a couple of days of the week. On average, they said they would like to work in the office just two days a week. Experts predict that flexible working could help widen talent pools as geographical location becomes less important, and Chinese company Ctrip previously found that productivity increased by an average of 13 percent with its pre-pandemic working from home plan. Nicholas Bloom with Stanford Economics said in a 2020 report, “Working from home will be very much part of our post-Covid economy. The sooner policymakers and business leaders think of the implications of a home-based workforce, the better our firms and communities will be positioned when the pandemic subsides.”

➤DICTIONARY.COM ADDS HUNDREDS OF NEW ENTRIES FOR 2021: has updated its database with hundreds of new words, many of which were inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, or the social and cultural movements of the last year. Two of the new words are “cromulent” and “embiggen,” which were inspired by a 1996 episode of “The Simpsons,” during a scene which hinged on the meanings of both of the nonsense words. says “cromulent” means “acceptable or legitimate,” and that “embiggen” means “to make or become bigger.” Another word being added is “supposably,” which comes from the character Joey Tribbiani from the show “Friends.” Other terms added include “hybrid learning,” “superspreader,” and a new definition for the word “Zoom.” Other entries, like “doomscolling” (obsessively checking the internet for bad news) or “sleep hygiene” (trying to maintain our quality of sleep) were directly inspired by habits that many of us were partaking in during lockdown, too. And timely cultural terms being added include: “Critical Race Theory,” “BIPOC,” and “overpolice.”

➤MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL BANNING TRANSGENDER ATHLETES IN FEMALE SPORTS: Republican Governor Tate Reeves signed legislation yesterday banning transgender athletes from competing in girls and women's sports. Reeves had tweeted earlier this month that the measure would, quote, "protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities." Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, called the legislation "unjust and discriminatory," saying it opens up transgender kids to, quote, "more harassment, abuse and violence." Legal challenges to the new law are expected. Mississippi is the second state to enact such a ban, after Idaho did so last year. At least 20 other states are considering similar legislation.

🏀DUKE OUT OF ACC TOURNAMENT DUE TO COVID CASE: Duke's men's basketball team had to pull out of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament yesterday due to a positive Covid-19 and the quarantining and contact tracing they'll have to do because of it. The ACC announced that Duke's quarterfinal game against Florida State scheduled for last night had been canceled. Duke athletics director Kevin White said the team's season is over, which ends their streak of 24 consecutive NCAA appearances. It was Duke's first positive Covid test all season.

🏀NBA FINES, SUSPENDS LEONARD FOR USING ANTI-SEMITIC TERM: Commissioner Adam Silver announced Thursday that the NBA had fined the Miami Heat's Meyers Leonard $50,000, the maximum allowed, and suspended him for one week after he used an anti-Semitic term while playing a livestreamed video game Monday. The Heat had said Tuesday that Leonard would be away from the team indefinitely. He will also be required to participate in a cultural diversity program. Silver called the comment "inexcusable and hurtful," but also said he believes Leonard is, quote, "genuinely remorseful." Leonard apologized Tuesday, saying he didn't know what the term meant.

🏌GARCIA LEADING AFTER FIRST ROUND OF PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP: Spain's Sergio Garcia is in first place after the opening round of The Players Championship at the TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. He ended the day at 7-under 65, two strokes ahead of American Brian Harman. The first round was suspended because of darkness, with 21 players not able to finish.

🏈TEXANS REACH ONE-YEAR DEAL WITH INGRAM: The Houston Texans have reached a one-year deal with former Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram that's worth up to $3 million, ESPN reported yesterday. Ingram was released by the Ravens in January after two years. The 31-year-old, who won a Heisman Trophy while at Alabama, had previously been with the New Orleans Saints for his first eight seasons.

⚾MLB TESTING OUT RULES CHANGES IN THE MINOR LEAGUES: MLB said yesterday  that it will be experimenting with several rules changes in the minor leagues this season. They will include an automated strike zone, restrictions on defensive positioning, larger bases, restrictions in pitchers' ability to hold baserunners, and on-field timers. The league said the goal is to, quote, "increase action on the basepaths, create more balls in play, improve the pace and length of games, and reduce player injuries."

80M Diverse Americans Listen to Podcasts Weekly

  • Online Audio Listening and Smart Speaker Ownership Show Continued Growth 

Podcasting continues its significant and steady growth while its overall audience is more diverse than ever, according to The Infinite Dial 2021® from Edison Research and Triton Digital. Along with podcasting, smart speaker ownership and online audio consumption showed notable gains in this year’s survey. 

Approximately eighty million Americans – 28% of the U.S. 12+ population – are now weekly podcast listeners, a 17% increase over 2020. The overall monthly podcast listening audience is now more diverse than ever: 57% of monthly podcast listeners are white, 16% Latino, 13% African American, 4% Asian, and 10% of some other background.

 Sixty-two percent of the U.S. 12+ population, around 176 million people, are now weekly online audio listeners, an all-time high for this category. 

One-third (33%) of Americans 12+, approximately 94 million people, now own a smart speaker, an increase of 22% from last year and nearly five times what it was in 2017 (7%). Of those who own a smart speaker, 34% have three or more of the devices in their household.

The Infinite Dial 2021 marks a significant year for the study, as the media measurement was done almost entirely during a time of quarantine or some level of restriction due to Covid-19. The historical data in The Infinite Dial provides pre-Covid trending capability.  

“In the near quarter of a century that the Infinite Dial has been the survey of record for digital audio, the space has never been more vibrant, or more diverse, than it is today,” said Tom Webster, Senior Vice President at Edison Research. “Podcasting, in particular, has made great gains with women and non-White audiences, and truly reflects the diversity of America.” 

“We are pleased to partner with Edison Research to unveil the results of the 2021 U.S. Infinite Dial,” said John Rosso, President of Market Development at Triton Digital. “The results of this year’s study are exceptionally interesting, as they provide insight into Americans’ consumption of radio, streaming audio, podcasts, and usage of smart speakers during a time of unprecedented disruption in our everyday lives.” 

Other findings include:

  • 88% of Americans 12+ own a smartphone, another year of growth from 85% last year. Tablet (51%) and smartwatch (18%) ownership have plateaued, meaning the smartphone is by far most popular device for media consumption. 
  • TikTok usage surged, particularly among 12-34 year-olds. Forty-four percent of 12-34 year-olds are using the service, up from 25% last year – an increase of 76%. 
  •  For the first time in the history of the study, Facebook is no longer named as the social media brand used most often by a majority of social media users, as 47% say it is the platform they use most (down from 54% the year before and 62% in 2016).  
  • One in five Americans 12+ have now watched a live stream of a videogame, and 10% broadcast their own games.  
  • 51% of those age 12+ “frequently” or “sometimes” listen to audio with other people, with this percentage rising to 69% among those age 12-34. 
  •  The percentage of Americans 18+ who have driven or ridden in a car in the last month decreased from 87% in 2020 to 83% this year.