Saturday, May 8, 2021

May 9 Radio History

➦In 1914...
Clarence Eugene "Hank" Snow was born (Died at age 85 from heart failure – December 20, 1999). In a career that spanned more than 50 years, he recorded 140 albums and charted more than 85 singles on the Billboard country charts from 1950 until 1980. His number-one hits include the self-penned songs "I'm Moving On", "The Golden Rocket" and The Rhumba Boogie and famous versions of "I Don't Hurt Anymore", "Let Me Go, Lover!", "I've Been Everywhere", "Hello Love", as well as other top 10 hits.

Snow was an accomplished songwriter whose clear, baritone voice expressed a wide range of emotions including the joys of freedom and travel as well as the anguish of tortured love. His music was rooted in his beginnings in small-town Nova Scotia where, as a frail, 80-pound youngster, he endured extreme poverty, beatings and psychological abuse as well as physically punishing labour during the Great Depression. Through it all, his musically talented mother provided the emotional support he needed to pursue his dream of becoming a famous entertainer like his idol, the country star, Jimmie Rodgers.

As a performer of traditional country music, Snow won numerous awards and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

In March 1933, Snow wrote to Halifax radio station CHNS asking for an audition. The rejection letter he received only made him more determined and later that year he visited the station, was given an audition and hired to do a Saturday evening show that was advertised as "Clarence Snow and his Guitar."  Snow's audition with the Canadian division of RCA Victor in Montreal, Quebec, on October 29, 1936 led to the release of his first record with "The Prisoned Cowboy" coupled with "Lonesome Blue Yodel".[2] He signed with RCA Victor, recording for the label until 1981. A weekly CBC radio show brought him national recognition and, he began touring Canada until the late 1940s when American country music stations began playing his records.

Snow moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1949, and "Hank Snow, the Singing Ranger" (modified from his earlier nickname, the Yodeling Ranger), began recording for RCA Victor in the United States in 1949.

A regular at the Grand Ole Opry, in 1954 Snow persuaded the directors to allow a young Elvis Presley to appear on stage. Snow used Presley as his opening act and introduced him to Colonel Tom Parker. In August 1955, Snow and Parker formed the management team, Hank Snow Attractions. This partnership signed a management contract with Presley but before long, Snow was out and Parker had full control over the rock singer's career. Forty years after leaving Parker, Snow stated, "I have worked with several managers over the years and have had respect for them all except one. Tom Parker was the most egotistical, obnoxious human being I've ever had dealings with."

➦In 1929...WJW-AM, Cleveland, Ohio signed-on.

Alan Freed
The station was a staple of the Cleveland airwaves for more than 40 years under its original call letters of WJW.

The station was started in Mansfield, OH as WLBV sin 1926 under the ownership of John Weimer.  The call letters became WJW in 1928, reflecting his initials. He sold it in 1931 to Mansfield Broadcasting Association.

WJW moved to Akron in 1932.  William O’Neill purchased the station in 1943 and moved it to Cleveland.  The station moved from 1210 kHz to 850 kHz and increased its power to 5,000 watts.

During its history, WJW aired Alan Freed's "Moondog" rock'n'roll show.

O'Neil sold WJW on 17 Nov. 1954 to Storer Broadcasting, which teamed it with its local television operation, WXEL.  Storer dropped the ABC radio affiliation in 1957 to become independent, although the station later had a brief affiliation with NBC before becoming independent again.

During the 1960s the "Ed Fisher Show" was immensely popular during a 10-year run, as was the station's adult contemporary format of news, talk, and jazz. Sold to Erie Broadcasting in the fall of 1976, WJW began to highlight talk shows and adult popular music. It had begun separate FM programming in 1965 on a station that eventually passed into separate ownership as WGCL.

WJW was sold 1986 to Booth American Broadcasting, at which time it exchanged its long-familiar call letters for WRMR. In 1990 Booth sold the station to Independent Group Ltd., a local group that owned WDOK.

Today, the station's call sign is WKNR 850 AM and airs sportstalk. The station now has 50Kw-Day, 5Kw-Night.

➦In 1932...WFLA/WSUN, Clearwater, FL, tested first directional AM antenna.

➦In 1937…Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy started their own radio show on NBC. Their initial appearance (December 17, 1936) on the Rudy Vallee show was so successful that the following year they were given regular cast rolls as part of The Chase and Sanborn Hour. Under various sponsors (and two different networks), they were on the air from May 9, 1937 to July 1, 1956. The popularity of a ventriloquist on radio, when one could see neither the dummies nor his skill, surprised and puzzled many critics, then and now. Even knowing that Bergen provided the voice, listeners perceived Charlie as a genuine person, but only through artwork rather than photos could the character be seen as truly lifelike.

Here's audio from a 1944 show...

➦In 1942...Graham McNamee died at age 53 (Born - July 10, 1888). He was pioneering radio sportscaster. He originated play-by-play sports broadcasting for which he was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Radio broadcasting of sporting events was a new thing in the 1920s. The announcers were a rotating group of newspaper writers. At the time baseball was America's most popular sport, and the reporters were at the games to write stories about them for print newspapers. Their descriptions were matter-of-fact, boring at best, had a lot of dead air, and were given in the past tense after a play was completed.

In 1923, announcer McNamee was assigned to help the sportswriters with their broadcasts. One day, Grantland Rice, told McNamee to finish the game on his own, and left. McNamee was not a trained sports writer, so he immediately began to describe what he was seeing as it happened, thus originating play-by-play sports broadcasting. He wasn't a baseball expert, but had a knack for conveying what he saw in great detail, and with great enthusiasm, bringing the sights and sounds of the game into the homes of listeners.

The Babe and McNamee
Over the course of the next decade McNamee worked for WEAF, and for the national NBC network, when WEAF became the NBC flagship station.

McNamee broadcast numerous sports events, including several World Series, Rose Bowls, championship boxing matches, and Indianapolis 500s. He was broadcast the national political conventions, the presidential inaugurations, and the arrival of aviator Charles Lindbergh in New York City following his transatlantic flight to Paris, France in 1927. He opened each broadcast by saying, "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the radio audience. This is Graham McNamee speaking."

➦In 1958…Disc Jockey Alan Freed resigned from 1010 WINS in New York City, claiming his bosses refused to "stand by my policies and principles."

➦In 1958...William Nettles Goodwin died at age 47 (Born - July 28, 1910). He was the announcer and a recurring character of the Burns and Allen radio program, and subsequently The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show on television from 1950-1951. Upon his departure, he was replaced by Harry von Zell.

➦In 1990…Pauline Frederick died at age 84 from a heart attack (Born - February 13, 1908). She was a journalist for newspapers, radio and television. Her career extended from the 1930s until 1981; she is considered one of the pioneering women in journalism.

Pauline Frederick
In 1931, Frederick set out to get a journalism job and she took an interesting approach: “Because few important men in politics at the time would be interviewed by a woman, she decided to interview the men’s wives”.  Hoping for a job, Frederick sent her articles about these women to the editor of the former Washington Star; however, the editor believing that Frederick was the famous actress Pauline Frederick, hired her to boost his newspaper's circulation. “Though not the Frederick he wanted, the Star’s editor was so impressed by her writing that he bought both of the articles she offered and gave her a job churning out a weekly feature”.

Pauline Frederick's paid journalism career had begun and she started writing articles for the Washington Star. In 1938, with her interest in electronic communications, she accepted a job as a part-time aide assisting in writing scripts for ABC radio reporter H. R. Baukhage. Her journalism career in radio began in 1939, when NBC Radio's director of women's programs, Margaret Cuthhert, heard of Frederick's interviews with diplomats’ wives and thought they would make a good radio feature.

In 1948, Pauline Frederick finally received the opportunity she had been waiting for. Early that year she was the only reporter available to cover a breaking story at the United Nations, and later that same year she was selected to cover the first televised political convention, an experience that gained her instant credibility.  In 1949, after years of struggle, Pauline Frederick became the “first women ever to work full-time for a U.S. television Network,” ABC.

She covered the United Nations for NBC for twenty-one years, reporting daily on the most critical world issues.

➦In 2012…Boston radio sportscaster Carl Beane, for the previous nine years the public address announcer for the Red Sox at Fenway Park, suffered a heart attack while he was driving in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. His car crashed into a tree and a rock wall. He was killed at age 59. The following day's Red Sox game was played with no PA announcements, as a tribute to him.

  • Actor-turned-politician Glenda Jackson is 85. 
  • Guitarist Sonny Curtis of Buddy Holly and The Crickets is 84. 
  • Producer-director James L. Brooks is 84. 
  • Singer Tommy Roe is 79. 
  • Singer-guitarist Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield, Poco) is 77. 
  • Singer Clint Holmes is 75. 
  • Actor Candice Bergen is 75. 
  • Actor Anthony Higgins (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”) is 74. 
  • Musician Billy Joel is 72. 
  • Bassist Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick is 71. 
  • Actor Alley Mills (“The Bold and the Beautiful,” “The Wonder Years”) is 70. 
  • Actor Amy Hill (“Magnum P.I.”) is 68. 
  • Actor Wendy Crewson (“Revenge”) is 65. 
  • Actor John Corbett (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” ″Northern Exposure”) is 60. 
  • Rachel Boston is 39

    Singer David Gahan of Depeche Mode is 59. 
  • Actor Sonja Sohn (“Body of Proof,” ″The Wire”) is 57. 
  • Rapper Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang Clan is 51. 
  • Guitarist Mike Myerson of Heartland is 50. 
  • Actor Chris Diamantopoulos (“Episodes,” ″24″) is 46. 
  • Singer Tamia is 46. 
  • Trombonist Dan Regan of Reel Big Fish is 44. 
  • Singer Pierre Bouvier of Simple Plan is 42. 
  • Actor Rosario Dawson is 42. 
  • Musician Andrew W.K. is 42. 
  • Actor Rachel Boston (“Witches of East End,” ″In Plain Sight,” ″American Dreams”) is 39. 
  • TV personality Audrina Patridge (“The Hills”) is 36. 
  • Actor Grace Gummer (“American Horror Story,” ″The Newsroom”) is 35.

R.I.P.: Tawny Kitaen, Vixen In Whitesnake Music Videos

Tawny Kitaen (August 5, 1961 - May 7, 2021)

Tawny Kitaen, the model-actress who broke out in 1980s music videos for the band Whitesnake and later appeared in movies like 1984’s “Bachelor Party” and 1986’s “Witchboard,” died Friday at her home in Newport Beach, California. She was 59.

The Orange County coroner’s office confirmed the death of the actress, listed as Tawny Finley, but did not provide a cause of death, The Wrap reports.

Kitaen’s two daughters, Wynter and Raine, confirmed the tragic news on Instagram. “We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom. We just want to say thank you for [sic] all of you, her fans and her friends, for always showing her such support and love. You gave her life everyday. We miss her and love her and we know her legacy will live forever.”

The San Diego native got her start as the model on the cover of albums for the metal band RATT as well as in the video for its “Back for More” song. (She had dated the band’s guitarist Robbin Crosby during and after high school.)

She gained even more fame as a video vixen for a series of videos for Whitesnake, including the hits “Here I Go Again,” “Still of the Night” and “Is This Love.” (She was also married to Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale from 1989 to 1991.)

Kitaen capitalized on her MTV fame with acting roles, notably appearing as Tom Hanks’ bride-to-be in the 1984 comedy “Bachelor Party” and as a woman possessed by a Ouija-board spirit in the 1986 cult hit “Witchboard.”

She also made an appearance as an annoying actress who briefly dates Jerry in the 1991 “Seinfeld” episode “The Nose Job.”

Other credits include “Santa Barbara,” “The New WKRP in Cincinnati,” the 1996 thriller “Playback” and 2014’s “After Midnight” with Richard Grieco.

WH Reporter Kristin Fisher EXITS FOX News Channel

Kristin Fisher

Fox News White House correspondent Kristin Fisher announced Friday she is leaving the network, The Hill reports.

Fisher, who has covered the White House since 2019, said on "Special Report" with Bret Baier that her appearance Friday marked “my last live shot on my last day at Fox News, and I’ve had an incredible run.”

She did not clarify on air where she will be going next, but a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill that she will go to CNN to serve as a correspondent covering space.  Both of her parents were astronauts.

“I started out 6 years ago on the early morning weekend shift. I made it all the way to the White House, which is something that has been at the very top of my career bucket list ever since I was a very little girl. But I've just realized that there are a few other things on that list that I would like to try to tick off,” she said Friday on Fox.

“So before I go I just want to thank Fox for trusting me with this beat and for giving me so many opportunities. And Bret, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you, the entire White House team and everybody on the 'Special Report' team as well.”

CNN has taken a big hit in ratings since the end of the Trump presidency, losing nearly 50 percent of its audience over the first few months of 2021, according to The Washington Post. MSNBC has lost about a fourth of its audience in the same time frame, while Fox's ratings are down 6 percent, the Post reported.

Poll: FOX News Perceived As Mainstream Media

Most Americans consider both Fox News and The New York Times as “mainstream media,” according to The Hill citing a new poll by the Pew Research Center. 

In fact, more than 70 percent of those surveyed by Pew said all three major cable news networks in addition to the Times, The Wall Street Journal and ABC News were part of the "mainstream media."

Pew conducted the poll in mid-March, asking a representative sample of 12,045 U.S. adults which of 13 outlets they considered to be part of the mainstream media, among other questions.

Eighty-seven percent said ABC News and CNN were a part of the mainstream media, while 79 percent said The New York Times was part of the mainstream media. 

The figures were 78 percent for MSNBC, 73 percent for Fox News and 71 percent for The Wall Street Journal.  

Other news organizations that Pew asked about were not seen as mainstream media by majorities of those polled.

For example, just 37 percent said HuffPost was "mainstream media" and only 22 percent and 20 percent said the same of BuzzFeed and Sean Hannity's radio show, respectively. At the same time, well less than half of those polled said those news organizations were not a part of the mainstream media. 

The list was designed, Pew said, to “represent a range of audience size and original platform (i.e., television, print, digital or radio)” which is why outlets like CBS News or The Washington Post were not included.  

The poll comes after years in which former President Trump had a deeply antagonistic relationship with much of the news media, which he often referred to as "fake news."

But a deeper look into the data suggests that familiarity with a given media outlet is more important than its perceived politics for Americans in determining whether it’s mainstream or not.

L-A Times Owner Says Government Needs To Help Industry

Patrick Soon-Shiong

Los Angeles Times owner and biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong says tech companies that post news articles from other sources without paying are “destroying democracy in the long run.”

In an interview published Friday by Bloomberg, Soon-Shiong said the loss of advertising to tech companies and declining revenues are damaging important local journalism and that to save the industry, the government needed to help. In the interview, Soon-Shiong did not specify a specific plan for government intervention but said that tech companies that generate revenue by posting news articles and information from other sources should pay for the content.

“The government needs to step in a little bit,” Soon Shiong said. “I’m not asking the government to do anything drastic, but they have to step in and find a way to support the viability of this whole industry,” Soon-Shiong said. “There has to be a resolution of this inequality of usurping information and destroying, frankly, democracy in the long run.”

The Wrap reports Soon-Shiong warned that government support will not be sufficient to save newspapers “if the industry can’t get enough readers to pay for their subscriptions,” he said. “The platforms have taken away all the advertising dollars. Subscription is going to be the only solution.”

Soon-Shiong’s doomsday predictions come on the heels of this week’s positive news that the Times had selected a new executive editor, ESPN’s Kevin Merida, to lead the troubled newspaper into the future. Merida takes over the top editor post in June, following an exhaustive search that began in December when former executive editor Norman Pearlstine stepped down following a controversial tenure that included accusations of verbal abuse and ethical impropriety. Newsroom staff had also signaled to Times ownership that they had lost faith in Pearlstine and masthead editors, telling Soon-Shiong in a letter last February that the masthead leadership team was “problematic and disappointing” and not “qualified to take The Times to the next level.”

The Times also has suffered major financial setbacks during the pandemic, The Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune lost “north of $50 million” in revenue in 2020. Chris Argentieri, the president of the two papers’ California Times parent company, described the losses as a “catastrophic drop in revenue.” The majority of the losses came from print advertising, though digital advertising and print circulation also sustained some losses.

Report: Streaming Platforms To Get More Ad Dollars

This year’s annual spring ritual known as the upfront, in which advertisers commit to buying commercials for fall programming, is expected to bounce back from a tepid 2020 and show more ad dollars migrating to streaming platforms, the Wall Street Journal reports.

As pandemic restrictions ease, ad spending rebounds and TV production largely returns, this year’s upfront negotiations are poised to look more like those of years past, albeit with an uptick in streaming investments and negotiations taking place earlier than usual in the season, according to marketers and ad buyers.

There is no official start date for ad commitments to be made, and ad buyers talk with sellers year-round, but many negotiations start in earnest after programmers showcase their fall offerings in the spring.

Despite the fact that fewer people are watching traditional cable and broadcast programming, demand for ads in popular shows remains robust. Sellers have been giving advertisers free ads to make up for ratings shortfalls. That gives them less ad inventory to sell, which is driving up prices.

“What last year taught us or demonstrated was that there is still a tremendous demand for the supply of TV and video that exists,” said Carrie Drinkwater, chief investment officer for the ad-buying firm Mediahub, part of Interpublic Group of Cos. “Supply continues to erode and demand is not eroding at the same pace.”

That means spending commitments are expected to increase 4% to 6% from last year even as broadcast and cable TV ratings are likely to decline at least 20% over the same period, continuing the long-term erosion of traditional TV audiences, ad buyers said.

Declining audiences for traditional TV and the steep increase in streaming viewing will embolden some advertisers to shift dollars from broadcast and cable to ad-supported streaming TV services.

Major powers in traditional TV are trying to stay in the game as more viewers eschew cable and broadcast systems. NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Walt Disney Co. ’s Hulu and ViacomCBS Inc.’s Paramount+ offer versions of their streaming services with ads, and an ad-backed version of HBO Max is due from AT&T Inc. next month. ViacomCBS also owns Pluto TV, an entirely ad-supported service.

“We’re absolutely expecting the biggest shift we’ve seen to digital from a percentage standpoint than we’ve ever seen in our history,” said Mark Marshall, president of advertising sales and partnerships at NBCUniversal. The breakdown for viewership is 70% for NBCUniversal’s broadcast and cable channels and 30% for its digital properties, including Peacock and the company’s apps. It expects that split to be 50-50 in the next two years.

Report: Trump's DOJ Tracked Reporters' Phone Records

The Trump administration’s Justice Department got telephone records and attempted to get the email records of three Washington Post reporters who were looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the newspaper reported on Friday.

Bloomberg reports the three reporters, Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller and Adam Entous, who now works for the New Yorker, were informed of the inquiry earlier this week in letters from the department, the Post said, adding that the records were from calls made on work, home and mobile phones from April 15 to July 31, 2017.

The letters, according to the Post, did not say when the department approved the move to get the records, but a department spokesman told the paper that it occurred last year, when William Barr was attorney general. The letters also did not say why the Justice Department sought the records.

But in August 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he was stepping up efforts to investigate and prosecute leaks of classified information with help from a new counterintelligence unit at the FBI, working to address a chief concern of then-President Donald Trump.

Sessions, who was a frequent target of Trump’s mockery for much of his tenure, spoke at a previously-planned event, but he pointed out that it took place a day after the Post had published transcripts of phone conversations between Trump and the leaders of Australia and Mexico that January.

“I strongly agree with the president and condemn in the strongest terms the staggering number of leaks undermining the ability of our government to protect this country,” Sessions said then.

The Post said the three reporters had worked on a July 2017 article about reports to Moscow by Russian’s then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak regarding his encounters with Sessions in 2016.

The phone records would have shown calls made and received but not the content of conversations, the Post said. Email records, which the department did not get, would have listed senders and receivers of messages, not the actual messages.

The Justice Department said that regulations had been followed in the matter.

Westwood One Offers Justin Moore Weekend Special

CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One Nashville will celebrate the start of summertime with its annual “Summer Kickoff with Justin Moore” special, airing over the Memorial Day Weekend. Top Country music stars will join Justin to salute to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, and Carrie Underwood are some of the artists who will share their favorite holiday memories and summer activities throughout the special.

The two-hour-long special will be non-exclusive and available for stations to air over the holiday weekend beginning Saturday, May 29 through Monday, May 31, any time between 6:00 a.m. and 12 midnight. For more information contact

R.I.P.: Lloyd Price, "Mr. Personality' R&B Artist

Lloyd Price (March 9, 1933-May 6, 2021)

Lloyd Price, the ‘50s R&B vocalist whose early singles were among the first to attract attention from the nascent rock ‘n’ roll audience, died Thursday. He was 88, reports Variety.

Maxwell Entertainment owner Rickey Poppell posted the news on Facebook, saying, “My friend and Lloyd Price’s manager, Tom Trapani, just called to let me know that our friend, Lloyd, passed away last night. Those of us close to Lloyd have been keeping his declining health issues to our selves for the past five years, while Tom kept me up to date along the way. Lloyd was one of the sweetest, caring and kindest man I’ve ever known, I’ll miss him. My prayers go out to his lovely wife, Jackie.”

The New Orleans-born singer burst onto the national scene in 1952 with his first single, the self-penned “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” for the L.A.-based label Specialty Records. Bearing the distinctive Crescent City “stroll” rhythm – the product of an arrangement featuring pianist Fats Domino and drummer Earl Palmer of Dave Bartholomew’s studio band – it leaped to No. 1 on the national R&B chart.

In an interview with writer Andy Schwartz that prefaced his 1998 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Price noted how his hit broke new ground with listeners who previously hadn’t cocked an ear to black music.

Four more top-five R&B singles succeeded that initial hit, but Price’s career screeched to a halt when he was drafted in 1953. Upon his return from the Army, he discovered that in his absence Specialty had devoted its attentions to a wild piano-pounding singer from Georgia: Little Richard.

Seven other 45s – including the chart-toppers “Personality” (which inspired Price’s professional nickname “Mr. Personality”) and “I’m Gonna Get Married,” from 1959 – reached the R&B top 10 through 1960. The modern soul sound displaced Price, but he continued to record through the ‘60s on his own Double L and Turntable imprints.

In later years, Price diversified into other lines of work – building low-income housing, marketing a line of Southern soul food – but he never gave up performing. He issued a new album, “This is Rock and Roll,” in 2017.

Dropping out of high school to pursue music full-time, Price secured a gig for the Blue Boys on New Orleans station WBOK, home of DJ James “Okey Dokey” Smith.

May 8 Radio History

Arthur Q Bryan
➦In 1899...Arthur Quirk Bryan born (Died from a heart attack at age 60 – November 18, 1959). He is best remembered for his longtime recurring role as well-spoken, wisecracking Dr. Gamble on the radio comedy Fibber McGee and Molly and for creating the voice of the Warner Brothers cartoon character Elmer Fudd

In the late 1920s, Bryan was an announcer at WOR radio in New York City. Contemporary radio listings in a daily newspaper indicate that he was still at WOR as late as September 13, 1931. In October 1931, he began working as an announcer at WCAU in Philadelphia, and in 1933 he moved to Philadelphia's WIP.  By 1934, he was heard on WHN in New York. In 1938–1939, he was a regular on The Grouch Club on the CBS Pacific network and was featured in some short-subject films made by the group.

Bryan's work in animation did not go unnoticed by radio producers. Although his first forays into that medium were accompanied by instructions that he use the Fudd voice, Bryan soon came to the attention of Don Quinn and Phil Leslie, the production and writing team responsible for Fibber McGee and Molly and their supporting characters, two of whom spun off into their own radio hits, The Great Gildersleeve and Beulah. The Gildersleeve character, played by Harold Peary, became series broadcasting's first successful spin-off hit; that plus the onset of World War II (which cost Fibber McGee & Molly their Mayor La Trivia, when Gale Gordon went into the Coast Guard in early 1942, and "The Old Timer" Bill Thompson was drafted almost a year later) nabbed nearly every other remaining male voice.

Bryan was first hired for the new Great Gildersleeve series, to play the part of Cousin Octavia's secretary/assistant, Lucius Llewellyn (using the Elmer Fudd voice), and later one of Gildersleeve's cronies, Floyd Munson, the barber. His work on the series (in Bryan's natural voice) so impressed Quinn and Leslie, that Bryan was added to the cast of their main show, Fibber McGee and Molly, in 1943.

In the early 1940s, Bryan played Waymond Wadcliffe on the Al Pearce & His Gang program on CBS. Bryan starred as Major Hoople (from June 22, 1942 to April 26, 1943) in The Charlotte Greenwood Show. and played Lt. Levinson on radio's Richard Diamond, Private Detective (from September 6, 1950 to June 29, 1951). In the mid-1940s, he had the role of Duke on Forever Ernest.

➦In 1915...John Archer was born in small town Nebraska.  He is best remembered as the radio voice of Lamont Cranston, The Shadow, for a year in the 1940’s.  Later in life, as a resident of Greater Seattle he was a founding member of REPS, the Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound.  He died of lung cancer Dec. 3 1999 at age 84.

Ricky Nelson
➦In 1940...Eric Hilliard "Rick" Nelson born (Died – December 31, 1985).  He starred alongside his family in the radio and television series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. In 1957 he began a long and successful career as a popular recording artist.

As one of the top "teen idols" of the 1950s his fame led to a motion picture role co-starring alongside John Wayne and Dean Martin in Howard Hawks's western feature film Rio Bravo (1959). He placed 53 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, and its predecessors, between 1957 and 1973, including "Poor Little Fool" in 1958, which was the first #1 song on Billboard magazine's then-newly created Hot 100 chart. He recorded 19 additional Top 10 hits and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 21, 1987.

Nelson began his entertainment career in 1949 playing himself in the radio sitcom series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. In 1952, he appeared in his first feature film, Here Come the Nelsons. In 1957, he recorded his first single, debuted as a singer on the television version of the sitcom, and released the #1 album titled Ricky. In 1958, Nelson released his first #1 single, "Poor Little Fool", and in 1959 received a Golden Globe nomination for "Most Promising Male Newcomer" after starring in Rio Bravo. A few films followed, and when the television series was cancelled in 1966, Nelson made occasional appearances as a guest star on various television programs.

He, his fiancee & 5 others were killed in a plane crash Dec 31, 1985 enroute to a New Year’s Eve performance in Dallas.  Nelson was 45.

➦In 1959...NBC Radio aired the final broadcast of “One Man’s Family” after being on the air 27 years. The Carleton E. Morse creation had completed 3,256 episodes since its beginnings in San Francisco back in 1932.

➦In 1962…Beatles manager Brian Epstein had a chance meeting with engineer Ted Huntly at a London record store. After Epstein related his discouragement about the Decca label rejecting the band, Huntly suggested he send a demo recording of the Beatles to EMI and, in particular, to one of their producers, George Martin.

George D Hay
➦In 1968...George Dewey Hay died at age 72 (Born -November 9, 1895).  He was the founder of the original Grand Ole Opry radio program on WSM-AM in Nashville, Tennessee, from which the country music stage show of the same name evolved

Hay was born in Attica, Indiana. In Memphis, Tennessee, after World War I, he was a reporter for the Commercial Appeal, and when the newspaper launched its own radio station, WMC-AM, in January 1923, he became a late-night announcer at the station. His popularity increased and in May 1924 he left for WLS-AM in Chicago, where he served as the announcer on a program that became National Barn Dance.

On November 9, 1925, he moved on to WSM-AM in Nashville. Getting a strong listener reaction to 78-year-old fiddler Uncle Jimmy Thompson that November, Hay announced the following month that WSM would feature "an hour or two" of old-time music every Saturday night. He promoted the music and formed a booking agency.

The show was originally named WSM Barn Dance, and Hay billed himself as "The Solemn Old Judge."  The Barn Dance was broadcast after NBC's Music Appreciation Hour, a program featuring classical music and grand opera. One day in December 1927, the final music piece on the Music Appreciation Hour depicted the sound of a rushing locomotive. After the show ended, "Judge Hay" opened the WSM Barn Dance with this announcement:

Friends, the program which just came to a close was devoted to the classics. Doctor Damrosch [host of the program] told us that there is no place in the classics for realism. However, from here on out for the next three hours, we will present nothing but realism. It will be down to earth for the 'earthy'. ”  Hay then introduced the man he dubbed "The Harmonica Wizard," DeFord Bailey, who played his classic train song, "The Pan American Blues," named for the crack Louisville and Nashville Railroad passenger train The Pan-American. After Bailey's performance, Hay commented, "For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the Grand Ole Opry."

During the 1930s, he was involved with Rural Radio, one of the first magazines about country music, developing the Opry for NBC and working on the movie Grand Ole Opry (1940). He was an announcer with the radio show during the 1940s and toured with Opry acts, including the September 1947 Opry show at Carnegie Hall. He was featured in Hoosier Holiday, a 1945 film from Republic Pictures, in a cast that also included Dale Evans.

➦In 1982...Personality Ron Lundy aired final regular show at 77 WABC, prior to format change to Talk.

Ron was on the air in New York City starting in September 1965, first on the overnight shift at WABC before shifting to mid-days in 1966. He remained at WABC right up until its last day as a music station on May 10, 1982.

In February 1984, Lundy resurfaced at New York's oldies station WCBS 101.1 FM in the mid-morning slot, following former WABC colleague Harry Harrison. According to program director Joe McCoy, the station created the slot especially for Lundy, reducing other shifts from four hours to three.

Lundy retired from WCBS-FM on September 18, 1997.  He died at the age of 75 in Bruce, Mississippi on May 15, 2010.

Melissa Gilbert is 57
  • Singer Toni Tennille is 81. 
  • Country singer Jack Blanchard is 79. 
  • Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett is 76. 
  • Actor Mark Blankfield (“Robin Hood: Men in Tights,” ″The Incredible Shrinking Woman”) is 73. 
  • Drummer Chris Frantz of Talking Heads and of Tom Tom Club is 70. 
  • Singer Philip Bailey (solo and with Earth, Wind and Fire) is 70. 
  • Joe Bonamassa is 44
    Country musician Billy Burnette is 68. 
  • Drummer Alex Van Halen of Van Halen is 68. 
  • Actor David Keith is 67. 
  • Actor Raoul Max Trujillo (“Mayans M.C.”) is 66. 
  • “The NFL Today” commentator and former NFL coach Bill Cowher is 64. 
  • Actor Melissa Gilbert is 57. 
  • Drummer Dave Rowntree of Blur is 57. 
  • Drummer Del Gray of Little Texas is 53. 
  • Singer Darren Hayes (Savage Garden) is 49. 
  • Singer Enrique Iglesias is 46. 
  • Singer Joe Bonamassa is 44. 
  • Actor Matt Davis (“The Vampire Diaries”) is 43. 
  • Actor Domhnall Gleason (“Peter Rabbit,” ″Unbroken”) is 38. 
  • Drummer Patrick Meese of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats is 38. 
  • Actor Julia Whelan (“Once and Again”) is 37.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Audacy Reports 'Strong, Uneven Ad Recovery'

Audacy, Inc. today reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2021

From David J. Field, President and Chief Executive Officer, Audacy:

“The year has gotten off to an active start as we successfully completed the rebranding of the company to Audacy, reflecting our transformational progress into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every key segment of the dynamic and growing audio market.”

David Field
“We are in the midst of a strong, albeit uneven, advertising recovery reflecting the nature of our business mix. First quarter digital revenues grew 17% and national revenues rebounded to prior year levels, but local ad revenues remained behind as many of our customers continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Because the local radio advertiser base is weighted toward later-stage recovery categories including restaurants, concerts and entertainment, movies, travel, and theme parks, we anticipate a strong recovery of local advertising across these businesses during the third and fourth quarters.”

“Our second quarter pacings are up more than 60% over 2020 reflecting massive improvements across all segments of our business from the depressed levels of the prior year. In another strong sign of recovery, our average local customer spending levels are now exceeding their average 2019 spending levels. Total local ad spending is down because of a decline in the number of customers with a significant majority of those inactive accounts concentrated in later-stage recovery business categories.”

“During the quarter, we announced and completed the acquisition of Podcorn, the country’s #1 podcast influencer marketplace hosting over 44,000 podcast creators, substantially bolstering our customer product offerings. We also announced a multi-year agreement with BetMGM making them a preferred sports betting partner of the Company.”

“We are emerging from the pandemic as a meaningfully stronger and better positioned company with significantly enhanced growth potential and are excited by the opportunities ahead as we continue to drive innovation and development of new products, content, and capabilities.”

First Quarter Summary

  • Net revenues for the quarter were $240.8 million, down 19% compared to $297.0 million in the first quarter of 2020
  • Digital revenues were $49.8 million, up 17% compared to the first quarter of 2020
  • Our events business, which pre-COVID contributed 3% of our first quarter revenues, continued to be significantly disrupted and our event revenues for the quarter were down 98% compared to the first quarter of 2020
  • Total operating expenses for the quarter were $249.0 million, down 13% compared to $285.7 million in the first quarter of 2020
  • Operating loss for the quarter was $8.2 million, which included a non-cash impairment charge of $0.6 million, compared to operating income of $11.4 million in the first quarter of 2020
  • Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $10.3 million, compared to $34.5 million in the first quarter of 2020
  • In March, we issued $540 million of 6.75% senior secured second-lien notes and refinanced our 7.25% senior unsecured notes and paid down $117 million of our first-lien debt
  • Liquidity at the end of the first quarter was $220.8 million, up from $160.2 million at year end, comprised of $169.3 million of available revolver capacity and $51.5 million of cash on-hand

Recent Company Developments

  • Entercom Rebrands as Audacy. On March 30th, we announced the transition to a new brand name, Audacy, reflecting our transformation into a scaled, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with a leadership position in virtually every segment of the growing audio market. Audacy’s stock ticker officially changed from ETM to AUD on April 9th.
  • Podcasting Star Power. Our Cadence13 studio entered into an exclusive podcast partnership with global superstar Demi Lovato, renowned singer, actress, and activist. C13Originals expanded its partnership with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author Jon Meacham to launch Shining City Audio, a history-focused podcast studio co-venture. C13Features, Cadence13’s pioneering scripted studio, unveiled the first three feature-length fictionalized audio “movies for your ears,” slated to launch within the next year, with more to follow. Cadence13 is working closely with Endeavor Content on its initial C13Features slate, leveraging their relationships, and working jointly to develop film and television projects based on the IP. Pineapple Street Studios launched two original docuseries, My Fugitive and Stay Away from Matthew MaGill, with exclusive binge windows on Audacy. Pineapple Street Studios also created the hit original docuseries Welcome to Your Fantasy, launched Netflix’ Behind the Scenes: Shadow and Bone, and Hulu’s Your Attention Please companion podcasts. Finally, Audacy announced a distribution partnership with “The Rich Eisen Show.”
  • Acquisition in Podcasting. We acquired Podcorn, the nation’s #1 podcast influencer marketplace, for $14.6 million in cash and a performance-based earn out over the next three years. Podcorn’s marketplace includes over 44,000 creators and has facilitated thousands of podcast ad campaigns. Podcorn creates an infrastructure for enabling direct podcaster and advertiser relationships, surfacing the most relevant matches to scale native branded content, drive higher ROI for brands, and enhance how podcast creators monetize their content. The acquisition fills an industry-wide gap in helping brands of all sizes tap into the hard-to-access micro-influencer community.
  • Partnership with BetMGM. We reached a multi-year, multi-platform agreement with BetMGM, a leader in the mobile sports betting space. The deal provides BetMGM with priority access to Audacy assets and will showcase their expansive digital offerings to the millions of sports fans across the country who tune in daily to Audacy’s portfolio of broadcast stations, podcasts and shows. This alliance comes only months after the announcement of a landmark, multi-year partnership with Fan Duel designating them as the “Official Sportsbook of Audacy”. That non-exclusive transaction remains the single largest advertising deal in the history of the radio industry and provides Fan Duel with the dominant position across the spectrum of Audacy’s distribution channels.

Jacobs Media Strategies Dives Deep Into Radio, Media Usage

During a webinar Thursday, Jacobs Media Strategies revealed the results of Techsurvey 2021.  The annual survey results were compiled from 42,000 respondents.  They represent mostly P1 listeners to over 400 participating radio stations.

The presentation led with the well-known Techsurvey media usage pyramid:   

The pyramid shows that 29%, nearly a third of radio fans also listen to podcasting as part of their media diet, and a bit of growth from the 2020 report.

Other key takeaways: the Covid-19 era has resulted in an increase of media usage among the survey respondents:

However, heavy AM/FM listening is trending downward bit by bit over four years (2018 – 2021), from 48% to 43%:

As for why they are listening less.  The 2021 results point to "lifestyle changes":

As to why respondents listen to radio:  Radio is seen as a friendly and free music habit with easy access:

Respondents also value radio's "local" appeal:

Jacobs Media also found that radio fans find 'personality' more of a draw than the music itself:

The survey also found that listeners CHR and HotAC format valued personalities the most:

➤For more results, click here for Jacobs Media's Techsurvey 2021.

U-S Moms Rely On Smart Speakers

Forty-six percent of U.S. moms own a smart speaker, up from 33% last year, according to the Moms and Media 2021 study just released by The Research Moms of Edison Research. The latest installment of the annual report shows just how much U.S. moms look to voice assistants and mobile tech as they spend more time at home with kids and share work and school spaces.

Sixty-three percent of U.S. moms now use voice-operated personal assistants of any kind, including smart speakers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. Of those moms who own a smart speaker, they own an average of 2.7 of the devices.

 According to Edison Research Vice President Melissa DeCesare, who is also one of The Research Moms, “The past year during COVID has been about adjustment, especially for moms. The pandemic uprooted everything we knew and were familiar with and it forced a new at-home lifestyle for the entire family. Moms are tasked with keeping it all on track and they do it with help from modern technology. Our 2021 report shows that moms have not only maintained their commitment to devices and mobile tendencies, but they've actually adjusted their habits to better suit their needs during the pandemic."

The latest installment of the annual report includes data from The Infinite Dial® series from Edison Research and Triton Digital, as well as data from Edison Research’s syndicated service The Social Habit.

 Key findings include:
  • Moms are more connected than ever via the Internet: 93% of U.S. moms have Internet access at home, and 81% of moms access the Internet through their cell phone.
  • Moms are spending more time with the Internet: In 2021 U.S. moms report spending four hours and 16 minutes daily using the internet -- 23 more minutes per day than in 2020.
  • More moms are consuming online audio: 82% of U.S. moms are monthly online audio listeners compared with 76% in 2020, and 76% of U.S. moms are weekly online audio listeners compared with 70% in 2020. Moms report 15 hours weekly of online audio listening.
  • More moms are listening to podcasts: 64% of U.S. moms have ever listened to a podcast (up from 57% in 2020) – 40% have listened in the last month and 28% in the last week.
  • Moms are on the move as shown by their devices: 89% of U.S. moms own a smartphone and 68% own a tablet. Sixty-one percent of moms own wireless earphones or headphones, which can facilitate phone calls or audio consumption in an environment where others are also working or learning.
  • Social media keeps Mom connected: 93% of U.S. moms use some type of social networking site. Twenty-six percent use TikTok (up from just 8% last year) and 27% use Twitter (up from 18% last year), the two platforms with the biggest increases year over year. Facebook is still the platform most social media moms say they use most often (58%), but it is not as dominant as years past, down from 69% last year.
  • Half of moms (50%) say social media has helped their children cope during the pandemic. Fifty-eight percent of moms on social media agree that their children have been using social media more often since the pandemic began.
  • Moms also acknowledge the downside of social media for their children: 25% of U.S. moms agree that social media has had a negative impact on the emotional well-being of their children, and 44% agree that their children have relied too much on social media to fill their time during the pandemic.
  • Half of moms (50%) have listened to an audiobook. For the moms who have listened, they average 7.8 books per year.
Click Here to download and view Moms and Media 2021.

iHM Reports Q1 Loss, Tops Revenue Estimates

iHeartMedia reported first quarter revenue fell 9.5% to $706.6 million from $780.6 in 2020. Operating loss was $76 million compared to $1.7 billion in prior-year, which included $1.7 billion of impairment charges. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA declined 27.1% to $102 million from $140 million. The company reported a net loss of $242 million as compared with a net loss of $1.68 billion in the year-ago period.

Broadcast Radio 
  • Revenues decreased 22.3% to $358.5 million from $461.6 million, while Network revenue declined 14.5% to $115 million from $134 million. 
  • Podcast revenue jumped 141.9% to $38 million from $15.8 million.

Digital Audio Group Maintains Strong Growth and Profit Trajectory  
  • Digital Audio Group Revenues were up 70% YoY
  • Podcast Revenue was up 142% YoY, and Digital Revenue excluding Podcast were up 55% YoY
  • Segment Adjusted EBITDA of $40 million increased 141% YoY, and Segment Adjusted EBITDA margins expanded 750 bps YoY
  • Digital Audio Group contributed 22% of the Company's Revenue and 39% of the Company's Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA in Q1
Podcast Continues its Strong Performance for Listeners, Creators, and Advertisers
  • iHeart remains the number one podcast publisher, leading the industry in downloads and unique listeners, further increasing our lead over the 2nd and 3rd largest publishers, according to Podtrac. We are also #1 in podcast revenue and earnings
  • Formed exclusive multi-year podcasting partnership with the NFL, which is expected to generate exceptional podcast content and listener engagement
  • Launched a first-of-its-kind Private Podcast Marketplace for brands
Bob Pittman
"The first quarter outperformed our expectations on all financial metrics as the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn, which is not just a continuation of the positive trends we've seen across the business - we believe it's a validation of our long-term multiplatform product and revenue strategy and the investments we have made in growth areas like podcasting, ad tech and the continued expansion of broadcast radio on digital devices," said Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman. 

"As a company we continue to prioritize identifying new opportunities across the audio, advertising, and data analytics sectors to expand our Total Addressable Market from just the $15B of Radio TAM to include the $160B of Digital TAM, providing us with new revenue opportunities for meaningful and sustainable growth for all our operating segments."

"Our ability to adapt and innovate, as well as our strategic allocation of capital, during the COVID-19 pandemic have set the stage for strong growth in 2021. Our cost management, investments in key areas of growth, and focus on our core-competencies helped us to achieve Adjusted EBITDA of $102 million in the first quarter, and we remain confident that we will be back to 2019 Adjusted EBITDA levels by the end of 2021," added President, COO and CFO Rich Bressler.

Wake-Up Call: 6th Grader Shoots 3 At Idaho Middle School

A sixth-grade girl shot and wounded two students and a custodian at her middle school in Rigby, Idaho, yesterday morning before being disarmed by a female teacher and held by her until police arrived and took the girl into custody. The victims are expected to survive, with the students in fair condition and possibly able to be released as early as today, and the custodian treated and released. Sheriff Steve Anderson said the girl, whose name wasn't disclosed, pulled a handgun out of her backpack and fired multiple times both inside and outside of Rigby Middle School. Anderson said they are investigating where the girl got the gun and her motive.

➤FLORIDA GOV. SIGNS VOTING LAW THAT'S LATEST TO BE BLASTED BY CRITICS: Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new state voting law yesterday, the latest recent law passed by a Republican-led state that creates new voting restrictions and that have been blasted by Democratic critics and voting rights advocates. DeSantis signed the bill at a live event that aired exclusively on Fox News, saying it would prevent fraud and restore confidence in the state's elections. The state has found no evidence of significant fraud, and critics claim the more restrictive voting laws being passed by GOP states make it harder for people to vote, particularly the elderly and people of color. Fox News later said it had booked DeSantis for an interview, not a bill signing, and hadn't asked that the event be exclusive to them.

➤BLINKEN MEETS WITH UKRAINE'S PRESIDENT, REAFFIRMS U.S. SUPPORT: Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Ukraine Thursday with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, reaffirming U.S. support for Ukraine amid increased tensions between the country and Russia, which recently had a troop buildup on the border. Russia has since pulled back some of those forces, but not all. Blinken emphasized America's commitment to Ukraine's, quote, "sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence," as well as the importance of Ukraine working against widespread internal corruption. Ukraine is hoping for more military aid from the U.S., and strong support for its NATO membership.

➤U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS FALL BELOW 500,000, LOWEST SINCE START OF PANDEMIC: The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment benefit claims fell below 500,000 last week to 498,000, according to the Labor Department's report out yesterday (May 6th), the lowest level since the pandemic began. The first-time claims fell by 92,000 from a revised 590,000 the week before. While down by nearly half from the peak of 900,000 in January, the claims are still well above the approximately 230,000 they were before the pandemic struck in March 2020.

➤WE STARTED SHOWERING LESS DURING THE PANDEMIC AND DON’T PLAN TO CHANGE: The pandemic means many of us are still spending a lot more time at home than we did before March 2020, and as a result, many people are showering less often than they used to. A YouGov survey of British people showed that 17 percent said they’d abandoned daily showers during the pandemic, and many people on Twitter reported the same. Many cite the fact that they’re just not around people that often as the reason, while others note the negative impact daily showers have on the environment. Doctors and health experts have long said that daily showers are unnecessary, and even counterproductive, as washing with soap every day can strip the skin of its natural oils and leave it feeling dry. Andrea Armstrong, an assistant professor of environmental science and studies at Lafayette College says it would take a huge number of people changing their bathing habits to make a difference in carbon emissions, but another expert notes it’s not so much about embracing infrequent bathing as it is fighting against a culture that drills in that we should not smell and that we need to buy products related to bathing if we want to be socially accepted.

➤AS THE SUMMER TRAVEL OUTLOOK IMPROVES, ADDED FEES ARE MAKING A COMEBACK:  It might be safe to travel this summer, and of course, travel fees are poised to make a big comeback. Some are obvious; last month, for example, most major airlines began reinstating penalty charges for some ticket changes. But other fees may come as a surprise. If you’re visiting the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, for example, you’ll have to pay a $30 fee for its Visitors Protection Plan. It covers medical expenses and medical evacuation—whether you need them or not. The revived charges fall into two broad categories: the new ones imposed by countries on international visitors and the fees (new or reinstated) charged by companies such as airlines, hotels, and travel agencies. The Bahamas have a $50 to $70 fee it’s charging for visitors now that it’s calling a health visa, which covers basic medical expenses on the islands. So what happens when the pandemic is over? Travel insurance experts predict countries will institute a strict medical insurance requirement to offset the cost of providing medical care to tourists, or will keep a medical visa requirement, if they have one. But when it comes to travel companies, the fee frenzy is likely just starting. So this year, if you are making travel plans, don’t forget to ask about extra fees.

➤TWITTER REFINES ITS SCOLDING PROMPTS IN ONGOING EFFORT TO MAKE USERS NICER:  Twitter is trying really hard to make its users play nice. On Wednesday the social media site announced that English-language users on the Twitter iOS app (and shortly after on the Android app) may be shown “improved prompts” asking them to rethink their typed-but-not-yet-sent replies in a new set of circumstances. This expands upon their 2020 attempt at doing something similar. Twitter’s Wednesday announcement also says it’s updated the system so that it now takes into consideration between the person writing the reply and the account at which it’s directed. So, replies between two accounts that have long had friendly interactions might be treated differently than a first-time reply directed at an account the user doesn’t follow. The company also claims its system can now more accurately detect profanity, and can (to some extent) distinguish context. Twitter also claims in last year’s tests, “If prompted, 34% of people revised their initial reply or decided not to send their reply at all. After being prompted once, people composed, on average, 11% fewer offensive replies in the future.”

⚾PUJOLS CUT BY ANGELS IN SURPRISE MOVE: The Los Angeles Angels unexpectedly cut Albert Pujols on Thursday, the surprise move coming as the slumping 41-year-old star is batting just .198. Angels manager Joe Maddon said Pujols wants to play first base regularly for another team after he clears waivers, something the Angels were apparently unwilling to allow, saying, "Hopefully he’s going to get that opportunity somewhere else, and believe me, we’re all going to be rooting for him." The three-time National League MVP was in the final year of a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels, after 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols, who's the oldest active MLB player, is fifth in career home runs with 667, and 13th in hits with 3,253.

🏒RANGERS FINED $250K FOR CRITICISM OF NHL'S HEAD OF PLAYER SAFETY: The New York Rangers were fined $250,000 by the NHL yesterday -- believed to be the largely publicly announced fine of its kind in NHL history -- for the team's criticism of the league's head of player safety, George Parros, in which they called for his removal. The Rangers were upset that the Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson was fined $5,000, but not suspended, for punching Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head while he was facedown on the ice, and throwing Artemi Panarin to the ice, injuring him, during their game Monday. The Rangers accused Parros of "dereliction of duty" and called him "unfit to continue in his current role." Commissioner Gary Bettman called the Rangers' comments "unacceptable," saying, "It is terribly unfair to question George Parros’ professionalism and dedication . . . "

🏒PENGUINS' CARTER SCORES CAREER-HIGH FOUR GOALS IN 8-4 WIN: Pittsburgh's Jeff Carter scored a career-high four goals in the Penguins' 8-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres last night (May 6th). The 36-year-old scored three of the goals in the first 25 minutes, and the final one in the third period. This is the first time a Penguins player has scored four goals in a game since Chris Kunitz in 2013.

🏈TEXAS LINEBACKER EHRLINGER FOUND DEAD: Texas linebacker Jake Ehlinger, the 20-year-old younger brother of former team quarterback Sam Ehlinger, was found dead near campus yesterday. Austin police said officers found Ehrlinger after responding to a call just after noon. A cause of death wasn't immediately released and police didn't describe how the officers found him, but said the death isn't considered suspicious. Ehlinger didn't play the last two seasons after joining the team as a walk-on. Sam Ehlinger was a sixth-round pick in the NFL draft last week by the Indianapolis Colts.

➤PFIZER AND BIONTECH TO DONATE COVID VACCINES FOR TOKYO OLYMPICS: The International Olympic Committee said yesterday that Covid-19 vaccine developers Pfizer and BioNTech will donate doses for athletes and officials readying for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Delivery of the vaccines will begin this month to give the recipients time to be fully vaccinated, meaning to be past two weeks after the second shot, before arriving in Tokyo for the start of the games on July 23rd.