Saturday, June 5, 2021

June 6 Radio History

➦In 1938...NBC radio introduced two melodramatic soaps to the daytime airwaves, Stella Dallas and Young Widder Brown, both produced by Frank & Anne Hummert.  Stella Dallas, “the true to life story of mother love and sacrifice,” continued in 15 minute radio bursts until 1955.  ‘Brown’ outlasted it by a year.

Radio soap opera titan Frank Hummert became a partner in a Chicago advertising agency, where in 1930 Anne Ashenshurst was hired as a copywriter and assistant to Hummert.  Together, both before and after their 1935 wedding, Anne & Frank developed and supervised the production of early daytime radio dramas Just Plain Bill, Ma Perkins, Skippy, Backstage Wife and Young Widder Brown.  They later produced Amanda of Honeymoon Hill, Front Page Farrell, John’s Other Wife, Little Orphan Annie, Judy and Jane, Mr. Chameleon, and Our Gal Sunday.   The Hummerts also had longrunning prime time success with Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons, Waltz Time and The American Album of Familiar Music.

➦In 1940...Superjock Larry Lee Blankenburg a.k.a Larry Lujack was born in 1940 in Quasqueton, Iowa, and reared in Caldwell, Idaho. At 18 he joined KCID-AM in Caldwell, adopting the surname of his idol, the Chicago Bears quarterback Johnny Lujack.

After working at stations in Idaho and Washington State, Mr. Lujack joined WCFL in 1967 and moved to WLS four months later. Except for a four-year stint back at WCFL, he remained with WLS for the next two decades.

In 1984 WLS gave Lujack a 12-year, $6 million contract, making him one of the country’s highest-paid radio personalities. (“I am not the least bit excited,” he was reported to have said.) But in 1987, amid declining ratings, the station’s corporate parent, Capital Cities-ABC, bought out his contract.

His honors include membership in the Illinois Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame (“It’s not Mount Rushmore,” he said on learning of his induction) and the National Radio Hall of Fame.

He passed away December 18, 2013.

➦In  1944….Radio covered first news of the Allies’ D-Day Invasion…

War correspondent Wright Bryan gives detail of his flight with paratroopers over occupied France. News and reactions from around the world of the allied invasion. plus more. Some of it is harder to hear for static, but I like the originality of the broadcast, especially Eisenhowers message to occupied Europe. Its like its 1944 and your sitting by the radio listening to it when it happened.

Bryan 1944
William Wright Bryan, a former editor of the Atlanta Journal was the first World War II correspondent to broadcast an eyewitness account of D-Day.  He was the newspaper's managing editor, war correspondent and an NBC radio stringer when he became the first newsman to give a report on the D-Day invasion of France on June 6, 1944.

He covered the invasion from a transport plane dropping airborne troops. When the plane flew back to London, Bryan went on the air and made his broadcast immediately after a one-sentence announcement by the Allied command and tape-recorded statements by King George VI and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

While covering the Allies' further advance across Europe, Bryan was wounded and captured by the Germans and spent six months in hospitals and in a prisoner of war camp in Szubin, Poland. He was freed by Soviet troops in January, 1945.

Bryan died February 15, 1991 of pneumonia at the age of 85

The Allies had gone to extreme measures to protect the location of the invasion including planting fake documents, fake troop placements, and fake announcements. Germany did all it could to try to find out just where the Allies would land. One tactic was to falsely claim the invasion had begun hoping to fool the Allies into revealing the real location.

So it was no surprise that the news organizations were shy to jump on any announcement of a pending invasion. News reports included flash announcements which were deemed immediate and important information received; the other were bulletins which were also important but not deemed as immediate.

On June 3rd there had been a flash announcement that the invasion was under way but within minutes the announcement was withdrawn as the source, the Associated Press, killed the story as false.

When the first announcements started coming in the early morning of June 6, there were cautions attached to the bulletins. NBC reportedly came on the air with announcements around 12:41 AM EST after waiting at least 3 minutes from the time the AP bulletin was received.

➤The music of Harry James and his Orchestra was broadcasting over WOR (Mutual) from the Hotel Astor in New York. Kitty Kallen had just begun singing ironically "In Times Like These" when her song was interrupted right after 12:45 AM for bulletin.  Listen Here. Ned Calmer with CBS broadcast the bulletin around 12:48 AM. CBS waited until a second source, the Independent News Service, also released a bulletin.

➤Later repeats of the bulletins appeared over both networks. Irwin Darlington with CBS broadcast the breaking news. Listen Here.   Over at NBC this bulletin was aired.  Listen Here.

Click Here For Much More.

CBS reporter Darlington was very cautionary in his bulletin announcement reminding listeners of Winston Churchill's warnings of Allied feints and the expected invasion story from the Germans. He also carefully identifies where the information is coming from as well as the actual quotes. They also provide reports from the German DNB and German radio broadcasts.

NBC's bulletin was very formal and straight-forward with little warning that the information could be false. Later cautions came from the summary of news reports they broadcast later. (H/T: Radio Days)

➦In 1955…Bill Haley & Comets', "Rock Around the Clock" hit #1 on radio.

➦In 1962...The Beatles meet their producer George Martin for the first time and record "Besame Mucho" with Pete Best on drums

➦In 1986...1050 CHUM Toronto, the station with North America’s longest-running hit record chart, abandoned its Top-40 format for a mixture of soft rock and oldies. CHUM adopted the Top40 format in 1957 and published its chart for 1,512 consecutive weeks.

Gary U S Bonds is 82

  • Singer-songwriter Gary “U.S.” Bonds is 82. 
  • Country singer Joe Stampley is 78. 
  • Jazz pianist Monty Alexander is 77. 
  • Actor Robert Englund (Freddie Krueger) is 74. 
  • Singer Dwight Twilley is 70. 
  • Playwright-actor Harvey Fierstein is 69. 
  • Actor-comedian Sandra Bernhard is 66. 
  • Actor Amanda Pays is 62. 
  • Record producer and musician Jimmy Jam (The Time) is 62. 
  • Comedian Colin Quinn is 62. 
  • Guitarist Steve Vai is 61. 
    Lisa Brokop is 48
  • Singer-bassist Tom Araya of Slayer is 60. 
  • Actor Jason Isaacs (“Harry Potter” films) is 58. 
  • Bassist Sean Ysealt (White Zombie) is 55. 
  • Actor Max Casella (“Analyze This,” ″Doogie Howser, M.D.”) is 54. 
  • Actor Paul Giamatti is 54. 
  • Singer Damion Hall of Guy is 53. 
  • Guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer of Korn is 52. 
  • Country singer Lisa Brokop is 48. 
  • Singer Uncle Kracker is 47. 
  • Actor Sonya Walger (“Lost”) is 47. 
  • Actor Staci Keanan (“Step By Step,” ″My Two Dads”) is 46. 
  • Jazz singer Somi is 45. 
  • Actor Aubrey Anderson-Emmons (“Modern Family”) is 14.

Cox Media Group Mum On Ransomware Attack

At least two TV news stations were offline Thursday in what cybersecurity experts say appears to be a ransomware attack on their parent company.

NBC News reports ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando, Florida, and NBC affiliate WPXI in Pittsburgh, which are both owned by the Cox Media Group, were told Thursday by managers to shut down company computers and phones.

CMG has not publicly acknowledged the cyber attack nor commented.  Station websites have since returned online.

"We are only able to communicate with each other over personal phones and text messages," said a WFTV employee who wasn't authorized to speak for the company and requested not to be named.

Both stations were able to still put together local broadcasts, but have been limited in what they can do. The event appeared to be the latest U.S. incident of ransomware, where hackers will infect a network and hold its files hostage while demanding payment, said Allan Liska, an analyst at the cybersecurity company Recorded Future.

“An ‘IT incident’ that spans multiple organizations in a company is almost always a ransomware attack,” Liska said.

Brett Callow, a threat analyst at the cybersecurity company Emsisoft, agreed.

“The most likely cause by far of any incident that involves unplanned and widespread IT disruption is ransomware or the detection of malware that can be used to deploy ransomware,” Callow said. “Basically, the other things which could potentially cause such a shutdown are far less likely.”

In Orlando, managers asked employees not to come into the station on Thursday and again Friday, but said little about what was wrong with the company's computer networks.

"They wouldn't let us say anything on social media about why we weren't on the air," the employee said. "We feel a need to let our viewers know."

In Pittsburgh, the IT network staff began shutting down company servers as a precaution Thursday morning, an employee there said.

"Since then we've been locked out," leaving staff unable to access emails and internal programs used for their broadcasts, the employee said. "It's pretty crippling at the moment."

Hackers have steadily attacked American businesses, schools and hospitals with ransomware for several years. But the problem only recently became an emergency for the federal government after an attack on the U.S.'s largest pipeline company, Colonial, shut down its fuel distribution for five days and caused some gas shortages.

Multiple country music radio stations owned by the Cox Media Group were affected by the ransomware attack that occurred on Thursday. According to Saving Country Radio, the radio stations were still able to broadcast, the live feeds on their websites and streaming networks were disabled, and some stations are unable to update programing or compose news or talk segments due to the cyber attack.

The country radio station affected in the attack include:

  • WWKA 92.3 – Orlando, FL
  • WNGC 106.1 – Athens, GA
  • KWEN 95.5 – Tulsa, OK
  • WHKO 99.1 – Dayton, OH
  • KKBQ 92.9 – Houston/Galveston, TX
  • KTHT 97.1 – Houston/Galveston, TX (Classic country)
  • KKYX 680 AM – San Antonio, TX (Classic country)
  • KCYY 100.3 – San Antonio, TX

Though some of Cox Media’s television stations had returned to normal programming by Thursday evening, many of the company’s radio station streams were still being affected, despite the physical websites remaining online.

Newest SiriusXM Satellite Scheduled To Launch Sunday Morning

SpaceX is set for yet another Falcon 9 rocket launch over the weekend, this time targeting early Sunday for its mission to boost a SiriusXM satellite to orbit, reports Florida Today.

If weather cooperates, the 230-foot rocket will launch during a two-hour window that opens at 12:25 a.m. Sunday. Conditions around Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Launch Complex 40 are expected to be 60% "go," according to a Friday forecast released by the military branch, with potential for showers and storms.

"Showers and storms are expected inland of the spaceport before sunset, with lingering mid- and upper-level convective debris clouds around for the primary launch late-night window," Space Launch Delta 45 forecasters said. "A few Atlantic showers and cumulus clouds in the vicinity cannot be ruled out."

In the event of a 24-hour delay (to early Monday), weather improves to 80% "go."

Packed into the payload fairing is SXM-8, the latest satellite joining SiriusXM's fleet of radio broadcasters. It follows SXM-7, which also flew on a Falcon 9 from the Cape in December but suffered several payload failures after achieving orbit. SiriusXM later said it would file insurance claims on the spacecraft valued at roughly $225 million.

The music-beaming satellite will replace the company’s old XM-4 satellite in geostationary orbit. SXM-8 is the second of two next-generation high power S-band broadcast satellites manufactured by Maxar Technologies for SiriusXM.

The SXM-8 satellite arrived at the SpaceX facility in Cape Canaveral early May. “The satellite, which weighs almost 7,000 kg during launch, is built on Maxar’s 1300-CLASS PLATFORM. SXM-8 is designed to provide service for 15 years or longer,” Maxar shared in a press release. “Once on orbit, SXM-8 will unfurl its large antenna reflector, visualized in yellow in the rendering below. This reflector will allow SiriusXM programming to reach mobile radios, such as those in moving vehicles.”

Last year, on December 13, SpaceX launched SiriusXM’s SXM-7 satellite atop a Falcon 9. The launch was a success, however, SiriusXM and Maxar Technologies revealed problems with SXM-7 in January 27 filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

“During in-orbit testing of SXM-7, events occurred which have caused failures of certain SXM-7 payload units,” SiriusXM said in the report. 

“An evaluation of SXM-7 is underway. The full extent of the damage to SXM-7 is not yet known.”

ESPN Fires Betting Analyst Kelly Stewart For Deleted Tweets

Kelly Stewart
Kelly Stewart, a former Kansas State student and Manhattan native, saw her career as a betting analyst with ESPN come to an end before it began on Friday, reports The Kansas City Star.

Less than a month after ESPN announced that it was hiring Stewart to share her opinions on sports gambling shows such as “Daily Wager” and “SportsCenter,” the network has decided to part ways with her after discovering homophobic tweets that she sent and later deleted nearly a decade ago.

“ESPN has notified me that they terminated my contract due to deleted tweets from 2012,” Stewart wrote on social media. “I know the words I used are unacceptable and hurtful and I am terribly sorry for this lapse in judgment, but I cannot apologize for standing up to the vicious attacks I, and so many other female personalities, endure from anonymous online trolls.”

“While I regret the language I tweeted over a decade ago, I don’t regret standing up for myself against vile, threatening, and misogynistic attacks from men who were threatened by a woman daring to attempt to make a living in the overwhelmingly male sports gambling industry. I believed I had to stand up for myself in order to make it in this industry and I responded to their threats of violence and sexist insults with the most powerful language I could think to use. A decade later, I wish I hadn’t made the decision to respond to their vitriol with my own, but I cannot change my past.”

An ESPN spokesperson confirmed Stewart’s dismissal to the Wichita Eagle on Friday night, but then said “we are not commenting beyond that.”

Images of her deleted tweets that have since resurfaced online contained anti-gay slurs.

Stewart broke onto the sports betting scene over the last decade while living in Las Vegas. She has most recently been an analyst for Bleacher Report and for She has also appeared across multiple other platforms over the years including ESPN Radio in Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Spotify's 'Discovery' Feature Getting Lawmaker's Scrutiny

Spotify is facing a Congressional inquiry about its Discovery Mode program, with lawmakers expressing concerns that it may trigger a financial “race to the bottom” for artists and reduced choice for consumers.

Mediapost reports the program, announced last November and now in pilot stage in Spotify’s Radio and Autoplay formats, offers artists and labels the option of getting priority treatment in recommendation algorithms for some tracks without paying upfront fees — if they agree to receiving a lower, “promotional recording” royalty rate.

On Wednesday, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Hank Johnson Jr. (D-GA), chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, sent an open letter to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek expressing concerns about Discovery Mode and instructing the company to respond to their questions by June 16.

The program “may set in motion a ‘race to the bottom’ in which artists and labels feel compelled to accept lower royalties as a necessary way to break through an extremely crowded and competitive music environment. Depending on how the program is implemented, there is a further concern that accepting lower rates for this boost in Spotify’s algorithm may not even guarantee more airplay if virtually all commercial artists are also doing the same.”

The letter notes that the pandemic has already “devastated incomes” for artists, and further reducing their income could ultimately reduce consumer choice—particularly given that Spotify currently pays artists less than a cent per song streamed, and has challenged a Copyright Royalty Board ruling ordering streaming services to increase their payments to songwriters.

“Core copyright industries like music play an integral role in the U.S. economy, and the vitality of the industry is undermined when artists’ hard work is undervalued,” it adds.

The letter asks for responses to five questions, starting wither whether Spotify intends to make the pilot program permanent, and if so, when that will happen.

USA TODAY Fights FBI Records Subpoena

USA TODAY is fighting a subpoena from the FBI demanding records that would identify readers of a February story about a Southern Florida shooting that killed two agents and wounded three others.

In a motion filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C. asking a judge to quash the subpoena, Gannett, USA TODAY's parent company, said the effort is not only unconstitutional but also violates the Justice Department's own rules. 

"The FBI has failed to demonstrate compliance with the United States Attorney General's regulations for subpoenas to the press – regulations that President Biden himself recently pledged the Administration would follow," Gannett's lawyers wrote in the motion filed on May 28, just a day before the deadline the FBI set for the media company to produce the records.

The subpoena, issued in April, demands the production of records containing IP addresses and other identifying information "for computers and other electronic devices" that accessed the story during a 35-minute time frame starting at 8:03 p.m. on the day of the shooting.

"Being forced to tell the government who reads what on our websites is a clear violation of the First Amendment," Maribel Perez Wadsworth, USA TODAY's publisher, said in a statement. "The FBI's subpoena asks for private information about readers of our journalism."

The subpoena, signed by an FBI agent in Maryland, said the records relate to a criminal investigation. But it's unclear how USA TODAY's readership records are related to the investigation of the Florida shooting, or why the FBI is focusing on the time frame. 

Wadsworth said Gannett's attorneys tried to contact the FBI before and after the company fought the subpoena in court, but she said the FBI has yet to provide any meaningful explanation of the basis for the subpoena. 

The FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment.

DOJ Wants Reporters' eMail Logs

In the last weeks of the Trump administration and continuing under President Biden, the Justice Department fought a secret legal battle to obtain the email logs of four New York Times reporters in a hunt for their sources, a top lawyer for the newspaper said Friday night.

While the Trump administration never informed The Times about the effort, the Biden administration continued waging the fight this year, telling a handful of top Times executives about it but imposing a gag order to shield it from public view, said the lawyer, David McCraw, who called the move unprecedented.

The gag order prevented the executives from disclosing the government’s efforts to seize the records even to the executive editor, Dean Baquet, and other newsroom leaders.

McCraw said Friday that a federal court had lifted the order, which had been in effect since March 3, freeing him to reveal what had happened. The battle was over an ultimately unsuccessful effort by the Justice Department to seize email logs from Google, which operates The Times’s email system, and which had resisted the effort to obtain the information.

The disclosure came two days after the Biden Justice Department notified the four reporters that the Trump administration, hunting for their sources, had in 2020 secretly seized months of their phone records from early 2017. That notification followed similar disclosures in recent weeks about seizing communications records of reporters at The Washington Post and CNN.

Baquet condemned both the Trump and Biden administrations for their actions, portraying the effort as an assault on the First Amendment.

“Clearly, Google did the right thing, but it should never have come to this,” Mr. Baquet said. “The Justice Department relentlessly pursued the identity of sources for coverage that was clearly in the public interest in the final 15 days of the Trump administration. And the Biden administration continued to pursue it. As I said before, it profoundly undermines press freedom.”

Fort Wayne Radio: Classical WBNI To Go Online After Sale

Northeast Indiana Public Radio (NIPR) and Taylor University Broadcasting Incorporated (TUBI) are jointly announcing the sale of 94.1 FM from NIPR to TUBI.

Pending FCC approval, the transfer of ownership will take place later this summer. Currently, 94.1 FM broadcasts classical music using the WBNI call letters. Classical WBNI will continue to be heard throughout the community on, on the WBNI mobile app, on HD radio, and on smart speakers and mobile devices.

“Our Board of Trustees unanimously approved this sale because it allows us to continue to serve the community with 24/7 classical music while obtaining the funds to make essential digital equipment upgrades,” said Peter Dominowski, President and General Manager of Northeast Indiana Public Radio. “It is also important that 94.1 be maintained as a radio service provided by another organization with deep roots in the community.”

TUBI Executive Director, Ross McCampbell, shares, “It is reassuring to see two organizations that have a heart for serving the community at their core work together to create mutual situations where both can do exactly that with more efficiency and impact.”

TUBI, which also owns WBCL, is acquiring 94.1 for its sister station, Rhythm and Praise. This community-minded transaction will allow a first for the Fort Wayne radio market, an Urban Gospel station that covers the entire city and county 24/7 on an easily accessible FM frequency.

Taylor University Broadcasting also owns WBCL-FM, a Christian radio station based in Fort Wayne. Northeast Indiana Public Radio owns WBOI-FM, Fort Wayne's National Public Radio affiliate.

June 5 Radio History

➦In 1910...Radio, TV character actor Herb Vigran was born in Cincinnati.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1939, and with his unique voice was frequently cast in scores of network radio dramas and variety shows, performing with the likes of Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Jimmy Durante.

He appeared in more than 350 TV shows and bigscreen films, most notably in Dragnet, Gunsmoke and I Love Lucy.

He died of complications from cancer Nov. 29 1986 at age 76.

➦In 1956...Elvis Presley appeared on The Milton Berle Show, causing a national uproar with his hip-swiveling performance of "Hound Dog. When Presley appeared next on Ed Sullivan’s show on CBS TV, he was pictured only from the waist up.

➦In 1973…following news that the American Red Cross had run out of money as a result of aid efforts for recent natural disasters, Gordon Sinclair of CFRB in Toronto recorded what would become his most famous radio editorial, "The Americans." While paying tribute to American success, ingenuity, and generosity to people in need abroad, Sinclair decried that when America faced crisis itself, it often seemed to face that crisis alone.

At the time, Sinclair considered the piece to be nothing more than one of his usual items. But when U.S. News & World Report published a full transcript, the magazine was flooded with requests for copies. Radio station WWDC-AM in Washington, D.C., started playing a recording of Sinclair's commentary with "Bridge Over Troubled Water" playing in the background. Sinclair told the Star in November 1973 that he had received 8,000 letters about his commentary.

With the strong response generated by the editorial, a recording of Sinclair's commentary was sold as a single with all profits going to the American Red Cross. "The Americans (A Canadian's Opinion)" went to No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100, making the 73-year-old Sinclair the second-oldest living person ever to have a Billboard U.S. Top 40 hit.

A transcript of the commentary was also recorded by Byron MacGregor, news director of Windsor, Ontario, radio station CKLW-AM Windsor-Detroit, and it became an even bigger hit in the U.S., climbing to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sinclair was said to be annoyed by MacGregor's recording, which was released as a single before Sinclair's authorized version. 

➦In 1977…DJ Charlie Van Dyke did his last show on 93KHJ, Los Angeles.

➦In 1982…DJ Cousin Brucie returned to New York City Radio on WCBS 101.1 FM.

➦In 1998...actress Jeanette Nolan died following a stroke at age 86.  During the golden age of radio she played a variety of characters on such programs as “The March of Time”, “Cavalcade of America“, “The Court of Missing Heirs”, “The Adventures of Mister Meek”, “Life Begins” and “Manhattan at Midnight”.  She appeared in more than 300 television shows, including “Perry Mason” (1957), “I Spy” (1965), “MacGyver” (1985), “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (1955), and as a regular on “The Richard Boone Show” (1963) and “The Virginian” (1962).

Ronald Reagan
➦In 2004...Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer's disease at age 93.  In the '30s, Reagan held jobs as a radio announcer at several radio stations. While at  WHO radio in Des Moines he was  an announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games. His specialty was creating play-by-play accounts of games using only basic descriptions that the station received by wire as the games were in progress.

While traveling with the Cubs in California in 1937, Reagan took a screen test that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers studios. He spent the first few years of his Hollywood career acting in B-grade movies, in the '50s and early '60s, he hosted Death Valley Days & GE Theatre on TV, and who 1n 1980 was elected the 40th President of the U-S.

➦In 2013…Radio personality Don Bowman died at age 75.  He was original host of the syndicated American Country Countdown from 1973 to 1978, During his career, he was a personality at  KDEO-San Diego, KEWB-Oakland-San Francisco, KDWB-Minneapolis-St. Paul, WKDA-Nashville, KRZK-Branson.

Bill Hayes is 96
  • Actor-singer Bill Hayes (“Days of Our Lives,” “Your Show of Shows”) is 96. 
  • News correspondent Bill Moyers is 87. 
  • Country singer Don Reid of the Statler Brothers is 76. 
  • Guitarist Fred Stone of Sly and the Family Stone is 74. 
  • Singer-performance artist Laurie Anderson is 74. 
  • Country singer Gail Davies is 73. 
  • Financial expert Suze Orman (“The Suze Orman Show”) is 70. 
  • Drummer Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden is 69. 
  • Jazz drummer Peter Erskine (Steps Ahead, Weather Report) is 67. 
  • Saxophonist Kenny G is 65. 
  • Singer Richard Butler of Psychedelic Furs is 65. 
  • Actor Beth Hall (“Mom,” ″Mad Men”) is 63. 
  • Liza Weil is 44
    Actor Jeff Garlin (“The Goldbergs,” ″Curb Your Enthusiasm”) is 59. 
  • Actor Ron Livingston (“Sex and the City,” ″The Practice”) is 54. 
  • Singer Brian McKnight is 52. 
  • Musician Claus Norreen (Aqua) is 51. 
  • Actor-singer Mark Wahlberg is 50. 
  • Actor Chad Allen (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”) is 47. 
  • Bassist P-Nut of 311 (three-eleven) is 47. 
  • Actor Navi Rawat (“Numb3rs”) is 44. 
  • Actor Liza Weil (“How To Get Away With Murder,” ″Gilmore Girls”) is 44. 
  • Bassist Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy is 42. 
  • Guitarist Seb Lefebvre of Simple Plan is 40. 
  • Actor Chelsey Crisp (“Fresh Off The Boat”) is 38. 
  • Actor Amanda Crew (“Silicon Valley”) is 35. 
  • Musician Harrison Mills of Odesza is 32. 
  • Musician DJ Mustard is 31. 
  • Actor Sophie Lowe (“Once Upon a Time In Wonderland”) is 31. 
  • Actor Hank Greenspan (“The Neighborhood”) is 11.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Study: Consumers Prefer Podcast Ads To TV Ads

Spotify and MAGNA released a study today, “Digital Audio Expansiveness: Growing Landscape & Opportunities,” showing how closely podcast listening mirrors television viewing habits in the U.S. The growth of digital audio was accelerated in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a majority of people (72 percent) reporting screen fatigue and 42 percent citing this as the primary factor in listening to more digital audio content.

Here are the top findings:
  • 60% of podcast listeners listen to a new episode of their favorite podcast within a day while 58% of TV viewers watch a new episode of their favorite TV show in the same time span.
  • 75% of respondents said they frequently relisten to podcast episodes, which closely mirrors the 74% of respondents who reported rewatching their favorite TV shows.
  • While podcast listening behavior may mirror TV watching habits, reception of advertisements differs between the mediums. 43% of respondents say that they’re receptive to podcast ads compared to a paltry 17% who reported being receptive to TV ads.
“We’ve seen massive growth in this space as consumers are increasingly spending more time with digital audio and podcasts as part of their media diets,” said Jon Gibs, Global Director and Principal Data Scientist, Spotify. “At the same time, they’re more open to the ads in podcasts than they are in other mediums like television. This is an amazing opportunity for advertisers to connect with new consumers or deepen their relationships with existing audiences.”

Additional key findings include:
  • Visually-focused industries (retail, auto, entertainment etc.) reign supreme: Surprisingly, 50% of digital audio listeners are more open to ads from visually focused industries, compared to non-visually focused industries (41%).
  • Audio is a multi-tasking friendly medium: 92% of people participated in other activities while listening to digital audio, compared to 84% while watching digital video.
  • Positive moods lead to higher receptivity to digital audio: Positive moods like romantic (65%), excited (51%), curious (48%) and happy (40%) led to higher receptivity to advertisements, and when people are in positive moods, listeners are also more likely to trust the product advertised.
  • Podcast listeners are more open to discovery. 35% of podcast listeners are actively seeking out new podcasts, compared to just 27% of TV show watchers who are looking for new content.
“There’s no doubt the pandemic changed consumption habits and we’re clearly seeing audio and podcast listening are extremely popular right now,” said Kara Manatt, SVP, Intelligence Solutions, MAGNA. “We found it particularly interesting that people are more receptive to ads on audio. Brands should ensure they are leveraging more audio and podcasting to keep up with consumption trends and consider targeting based on moods given the impact positive moods have on listening patterns.”

NYC Radio: Longtime Reporter John Montone Retires At 1010WINS

1010 WINS radio legend John Montone is calling it a career after decades of covering New York.

“It’s a very emotional day for me,” Montone said Thursday.  "Today is the day that I retire,” he CBS-TV2 NYC.

Montone has telling stories from the streets with a New York swagger and also making guest appearances here on CBS2, but now he’s is hanging up his microphone and retiring a voice that’s as distinctive as the city itself.

“You remember, John, there was always a time in radio where everybody had to have those great pipes, the great voice, and you are the antithesis of that,” CBS2’s Dick Brennan said.

“Well, I think the voice breaks through. I agree with you when you think about the voices of the ’50s and the 1960s, the “real radio voices” and “This is the news.” I never wanted to be like that. I was much more conversational,” Montone said.

Montone says radio has an intimacy that no other medium can match, and now he will pass the baton to others, opting himself for fishing and pickleball.

“You know, they say that ballplayers who retire, they look at the other guys and how they’re playing the game, do you think, like, when you’re sitting there on LBI, you’re gonna be like, ‘ah, I would’ve done that story that way,'” Brennan said.

“I do that already,” Montone said, laughing. “Once in a while, I’ll look up and say, ‘Did he really say that? That’s ridiculous.’ I do that. Not when you’re on, Dick.”

Montone says it’s New Yorkers who made him what he is, and his microphone was their megaphone.

“When people came up to me on the street, the first thing they saw was the microphone and then maybe they knew it was me, and I always said to them what I’ll say now — ‘Thank you for listening,'” Montone said.

Montone says he will continue to do a Facebook Live show at 8:05 a.m. every day.

S-F Radio: KCBS Morning Anchor Stan Bunger Sets Retirement

Stan Bunger

KCBS morning news anchor Stan Bunger, who has been a voice of calm on the radio across Northern California for more than 40 years, announced this week he's retiring.

Bunger's final day on the air is June 11, reports

"It is just time," Bunger told listeners Tuesday morning. "It is time to let the listeners know ... there will be someone else in this chair and it will go on. People will adjust. "

Bunger also shared news of his departure on Twitter: "Rumors are true: I have an expiration date. I'm making it public this morning. ... It's been a spectacular honor and privilege but I'm ready for what's next in life. Including sleeping in!"

Many were quick to comment, thanking Bunger for his tireless news updates and expressing sadness over his departure. 

"You're a legend, Stan!" wrote Anne Makovec, a KPIX-TV news reporter. "Your voice will be missed. Congrats and ENJOY!"

"Stan - You will indeed be missed," wrote Bay Area meteorologist Jan Null, who has been a guest on KCBS countless times over the years. "Lots of great interviews with you over the years, All the best in the next phase of your life."

The Bay Area native began anchoring the 5:30-10 a.m. weekday morning show for the radio station owned by Entercom Communications in 2000, replacing Al Hart. Bunger previously worked at KCBS from 1982 to 1992 and was on the air from Candlestick Park when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck during the 1989 World Series. 

He left KCBS in 1992 for a job in Dallas before returning to the Bay Area in 1995 to host a KRON-TV news show covering the tech industry. 

Bunger was born in San Francisco and raised in San Jose, where he graduated from Leigh High School, before attending West Valley College in Saratoga and later San Francisco State University, where he received a B.A. in Radio and Television, according to Bunger's bio on the KCBS news site.

Canadian Radio: Rogers To Rebrand News Stations In 5 Markets

Rogers Sports & Media announced Friday that its news radio stations – including Toronto’s CFTR 680 NEWS – will be rebranded under CityNews to “become a powerhouse local news offering in each market.”

The communications and media company says the change is strictly in brand identity only, as loyal listeners will continue to receive the same content from 680 NEWS, CKWX NEWS 1130 (Vancouver), CFFR 660 NEWS (Calgary), CJNI NEWS 95.7 (Halifax), and CKGL 570 NEWS (Kitchener).

“Putting our incredible team and all of our resources behind one brand will help to strongly convey who we are to audiences and advertisers, plus it gives us the opportunity to produce more content for social and digital to better serve each community,” said Julie Adam, Senior Vice President of News and Entertainment at Rogers Sports & Media.

“News plays a pivotal role in our organization, providing an essential service for Canadians and we’re excited to make this move to cement our investment in local news. I am so proud of our News team and grateful for everything they do.”

The rebranding for each station will be taking place in the fall of 2021. Additional details will be shared with each specific market at that time.

In December 2020, Rogers announced a similar rebrand of 1310 NEWS in Ottawa, which became CityNews Ottawa & The Valley, as two local news websites merged into one.

Rogers says the move had a positive effect in the local market, pointing to a 31 percent increase in audience digital listening year-over-year as well as a 37 percent increase in “first preference” choice by local listeners.

“Combining our award-winning news teams builds on the strength and reputation of stations like 680 NEWS and shows our deep commitment to continue delivering the best news to audiences, on any platform, simplifying the choice for consumers with one brand offer,” said Dave Budge, Vice President of News and Information at Rogers Sports & Media.

680 NEWS in Toronto first launched in 1993. To distinguish itself from CHFI-FM, 680 NEWS changed its call letters to CFTR with the “TR” as a tribute to radio pioneer Ted Rogers Sr.

Wake-Up Call: U-S To Ship 25M Vaccine Doses Overseas

President Biden announced yesterday that the U.S. will quickly give an initial donation of 25 million doses of surplus Covid-19 vaccine to other countries through the U.N.-backed COVAX program. The donation will boost the COVAX effort, which has so far shared just 76 million vaccine doses to needy countries. The White House has announced plans to share 80 million doses globally overall by the end of this month, mostly via COVAX. Administration officials say that one-quarter of the U.S. excess supply will be kept in reserve for emergencies, and to share directly with allies and partners. More doses are expected to be shared in the coming months.

➤WHITE HOUSE WARNS COMPANIES TO INCREASE SECURITY AGAINST RANSOMWARE ATTACKS: The White House yesterday warned company executives and business leaders to increase their security against ransomware attacks, after two such attacks in recent weeks disrupted operations at a major meatpacking company and the country's biggest fuel pipeline. National Security Council cybersecurity adviser Anne Neuberger said in a letter to the executives that there's been a significant increase in both the frequency and size of the attacks, writing, "The threats are serious and they are increasing. We urge you to take these critical steps to protect your organizations and the American public." Similarly, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, "Business leaders have a responsibility to strengthen their cyber defenses to protect the American public and our economy."

➤REPORT..AT LEAST 17 POLICE OFFICERS STILL OUT OF WORK WITH U.S. CAPITOL ATTACK INJURIES: At least 17 police officers are still out of work due to injuries they suffered nearly five months ago during the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to CBS News. The report said at least 10 Capitol Police officers were out as of yesterday, as were seven members of the D.C. Metropolitan Police, who also responded to the attack. There were more than 150 officers in all injured that day, 86 Capitol Police officers and 65 members of the Metropolitan Police. The wounds officers suffered included head wounds, cracked ribs and smashed spinal disks, according to Capitol Police Labor Committee Chairman Gus Papathanasiou.

➤POSTMASTER GENERAL DEJOY BEING INVESTIGATED OVER POLITICAL FUNDRAISING: The Justice Department is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over political fundraising, the Washington Post reported yesterday. A spokesperson for DeJoy confirmed the investigation, related to campaign contributions made by employees who worked for DeJoy when he was in the private sector, but he denied any wrongdoing by DeJoy. The Post reported last fall that former employees of a company that had been run by DeJoy said they were pressured to donate to Republican candidates and then reimbursed via bonuses. Encouraging a donation isn't illegal, but reimbursing campaign contributions is.

➤THIRD DEATH AFTER SUNDAY'S MIAMI MASS SHOOTING, NO ARRESTS YET: Miami police said Thursday that a third person had died as a result of Sunday's mass shooting outside a banquet hall in the city. In addition to the two people who'd previously died, 32-year-old Shaniqua Peterson was one of more than 20 people who were injured in the early morning shooting, in which three gunmen opened fire on the crowd outside the hall that had been rented for a concert. No arrests have been announced. Although the three men who arrived in an SUV opened fire indiscriminately before taking off again in the vehicle, police have said they had specific targets, and that it appeared to be related to rivalries between two groups.

➤POLL..LARGE MAJORITY BACK U-S ACTION AGAINST CHINA IF...: A new poll has found that a large majority of American voters support the U.S. taking action against China if evidence is found that proves the Covid-19 pandemic began due to a leak from a lab in Wuhan, China. In the Hill-HarrisX poll, 83 percent of registered voters backed action against China in that circumstance, with support from across party lines -- 87 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Democrats, and 80 percent of independents. Asked about what kind of action should be taken, 30 percent would support a global tax on Chinese products to make up for the worldwide economic damage caused by the pandemic, and 25 percent would back asking China to pay reparations to the families of those killed or affected by the virus. In other potential actions, 18 percent would support travel and financial sanctions on senior Chinese Communist Party leaders responsible for the leak, and six percent would support boycotting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

➤CHILDREN ON TRENDY VEGAN DIETS ARE 1.2 INCHES SHORTER ON AVERAGE:  Eating a plant-based diet might not be the best thing for children. University College London researchers found that kids ages five to ten who followed a vegan diet are an average of 1.2-inches shorter than those who eat meat, and that their bones were found to be smaller and weaker. Study authors say parents should be aware of the risks of vegan diets, and children should be given vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements to reduce potentially long-term health consequences such as bone fractures or osteoporosis later in life.

➤TRAFFIC DEATHS UP SEVEN PERCENT LAST YEAR: U.S. traffic deaths were up seven percent last year, the largest increase in 13 years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported yesterday. The rise happened even though people drove fewer miles due to the pandemic, with the NHTSA blaming motorists driving more recklessly on less crowded roads by speeding, not wearing seat belts, or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An estimated 38,680 people died in traffic accidents last year, the highest since 2007.

➤AVENGERS CAMPUS OPENING AT DISNEYLAND: The new six-acre Avengers Campus is opening at Disneyland today, featuring Marvel superheroes. Its highlights include a Spider-Man ride attraction called Web Slingers. Characters from Marvel movies will roam the park and interact with guests, and food being offered includes a cart with shawarma, a reference to a scene at the end of 2012's Avengers when the superheroes eat the Middle Eastern food after saving the world. The Avengers Campus had originally been set to open in July 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic.

➤FAMED ATTORNEY F. LEE BAILEY DEAD AT 87: Famed celebrity attorney F. Lee Bailey, whose defense clients included O.J. Simpson, Patty Hearst and the alleged Boston Strangler, died yesterday at an Atlanta hospital. He was 87. Although Bailey won acquittals for many clients, including as part of Simpson's legal "dream team" in his trial for the death of his wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, he also lost cases, including Hearst's. Bailey argued that Hearst was coerced into participating in armed robberies after the publishing heiress was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist group in February 1974, but she was convicted. Bailey was disbarred in Florida in 2001 and in Massachusetts the following year over the way he handled millions of dollars in stock owned by a convicted drug smuggler in 1994.

🐶PUPPIES ARE READY TO COMMUNICATE WITH HUMANS FROM BIRTH:  Dogs are said to be man’s best friend, and this adds to that argument. University of Arizona researchers found that puppies are born with “human-like” social skills that allow them to communicate with people from a young age, rather than learning to do so later in life. Researchers found that even before they’ve left the litter, puppies can listen to people by following cues such as pointing gestures, but it takes a little longer before they are able to communicate back. Lead study author Dr. Emily Bray adds, “Our findings might […] point to an important piece of the domestication story, in that animals with a propensity for communication with our own species might have been selected in the wolf populations that gave rise to dogs.”

➤DON’T EAT CICADAS IF YOU HAVE SEAFOOD ALLERGIES:  The cicadas of Brood X have emerged from the ground in many parts of the U.S., and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a rather strange warning—you shouldn’t eat the bugs if you’re allergic to seafood. The FDA tweeted Wednesday that people with allergies to things like shrimp should avoid eating cicadas because of their relation to sea creatures. The cicadas, which emerge every 17 years, have already surfaced in several states this year, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana and Tennessee. The plentiful insects have inspired a number of culinary creations that use the cicadas as a main ingredient.

🏀SUNS, NUGGETS ADVANCE IN NBA PLAYOFFS, REIGNING CHAMP LAKERS OUSTED: The Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets are advancing to the second round of the NBA playoffs after winning their first-round match-ups yesterday. The Suns defeated the L.A. Lakers 113-100, led by 47 points from Devin Booker, to oust the reigning NBA champions 4 games to 2. The Nuggets downed the Portland Trail Blazers 126-115 to beat them 4 games to 2. Nikola Jokic had 36 points for Denver, who will take on Phoenix in Round 2.

NBA PLAYOFFS: Results from first-round games yesterday:
  • Denver Nuggets 126, Portland Trail Blazers 115 - Denver wins series 4 games to 2
  • Phoenix Suns 113, Los Angeles Lakers 100 - Phoenix wins series 4 games to 2

🏒NHL PLAYOFFS: Results from second-round games yesterday:
  • Boston Bruins 2, New York Islanders 1 (OT) - Boston leads series 2 games to 1
  • Carolina Hurricanes 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (OT) - Tampa leads series 2 games to 1

🎾DJOKOVIC, NADAL WIN IN SECOND ROUND AT FRENCH OPEN, BARTY WITHDRAWS WITH HIP INJURY: Top-seeded Novak Djokovic and Number 3 Rafael Nadal won their second-round matches at the French Open yesterday, as did eighth-seeded Roger Federer. On the women's side, top-ranked Ash Barty withdrew from her second-round match during the second set with a hip injury that had flared up during training before the tournament. Defending champion Iga Swiatek, who's seeded eighth, won to advance to the third round, as did Americans Sofia Kenin, Jennifer Brady and Coco Gauff.

🏒WINNIPEG'S SCHEIFELE SUSPENDED FOUR GAMES FOR HIT ON MONTREAL'S EVANS: The NHL suspended the Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele for four games yesterday for a hit on the Montreal Canadiens' Jake Evans the night before with 57 seconds left in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series. Evans was removed on a stretcher after the hit in his head and shoulder area that sent him crashing down to the ice just after making an empty-net goal in Montreal's 5-3 win. Evans suffered a concussion and is out indefinitely.

🏌GANNE, REID TIED IN LEAD AFTER U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN'S FIRST ROUND: Megha Ganne and Mel Reid are tied in the lead after the first round of the U.S. Women's Open Thursday, with both shooting a 4-under 67 on the Lake Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Ganne, a 17-year-old high school junior, is the first amateur in 15 years to have a share of the lead after any round at the Open. Three players were tied one shot back: Brooke Henderson, Angel Yin and Megan Khang.

🏀KRZYZEWSKI SAYS RETIRING TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH FAMILY: One day after legendary Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski announced he would be retiring after the coming season, the 74-year-old Hall of Famer spoke in a press conference about the news with his family, friends, and former players in the audience. Krzyzewski, who led Duke to five national titles over 41 seasons, made clear he's retiring to spend more time with his wife and family, including his three daughters and grandchildren, and not because of any changes in the game. He said, "I've been in it for 46 years. You think the game has never changed?" Assistant Jon Scheyer will replace Krzyzewski after next season.

Ransomware Attack Hits Cox Media Group

Live streams for radio and TV stations owned by the Cox Media Group went down early Thurday in what multiple sources have described as a ransomware attack.

The incident impacted the internal networks and live streaming capabilities for Cox media properties, such as web streams and mobile apps. Official websites, telephone lines, and normal programming remained running but some live programming could not go on air as scheduled.

“This morning we were told to shut down everything and log out our emails to ensure nothing spread. According to my friends at affiliate stations, we shut things down in time to be safe and should be back up and running soon,” a Cox employee shared in a private conversation earlier today.

Live streams for some of the impacted TV stations have returned online, according to checks performed by The Record, but most of the Cox radio streams are still offline later in the day.

In the aftermath of the incident, some radio and TV stations had to cancel live programming, according to tweets shared by some Cox program hosts earlier today.

While The Record could not compile an exact list of impacted Cox radio and TV stations, they have been able to confirm issues with streams from News9, WSOC, WSB, WPXI, KOKI, and almost all Cox radio stations.

The Cox Media Group owns 57 radio and TV stations across 20 US markets. A spokesperson did not return a request for comment sent earlier today via email.

Thursday’s incident marks the second time a ransomware group has hit a major media conglomerate in the US. In September 2019, a ransomware gang hit Entercom (now Audacy) taking some radio stations offline.

Ransomware attacks have also temporarily took down The Weather Channel in isolated attacks in 2019.

Vivendi To Sell 10% of Universal Music to Bill Ackman SPAC

Vivendi SE is in talks to sell a 10% stake in Universal Music Group to a blank-check firm backed by billionaire Bill Ackman in a deal that will turn the world’s biggest record company into a publicly held business.

Bloomberg reports the potential transaction would value UMG at 35 billion euros ($42.4 billion) including debt, above the 30 billion-euro valuation ascribed to the business 18 months ago when China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. acquired a stake.

Bill Ackman
Ackman’s special purpose acquisition company, called Pershing Square Tontine Holdings Ltd., raised $4 billion in a July initial public offering -- a record-setting amount for a SPAC. Such firms go public and then find promising companies to merge with.

Vivendi still plans to go ahead with a spinoff of the music business that will lead to a separate listing in Amsterdam, according to a person familiar with the matter. That deal is due to be approved by Vivendi shareholders later this month.

UMG’s roster of artists includes Taylor Swift, Drake and Billie Eilish. The music industry has rebounded from a decade-long slump thanks to surging revenue from streaming services, and Vivendi has sought to unlock more value from UMG -- especially after suffering declines in its advertising and publishing operations.

Going public could give UMG more financial clout to compete with rivals Warner Music Group Corp. and Sony Music Entertainment. Vivendi had originally planned a 2023 IPO for UMG, but said earlier this year that it was now aiming for the business to go public by the end of 2021.

Challenges Remain For Newest Media Giant

Two weeks after AT&T announced it was spinning off WarnerMedia to the much smaller Discovery, executives flocked to the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank for a glimpse of their future — and the man who would lead them there.

The L-A Times reports Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav, the architect of his company’s audacious $45-billion takeover of WarnerMedia, sought during a Tuesday town hall meeting to reassure battle-weary troops that — unlike their current parent, AT&T — Discovery is all about creating programming that audiences crave.

The hard-charging 61-year-old executive stressed his respect for the Turner networks, including CNN, as well as HBO and the Warner Bros. film and TV studio, which has churned out cultural touchstones for nearly a century.

“We’re not coming in here thinking that we know all the answers,” Zaslav told the crowd of about 75 film and TV executives admitted into the studio’s Steven J. Ross Theater, according to a person who saw a video stream, which was watched by hundreds of other WarnerMedia workers around the country. “There’s a ton we don’t know,” Zaslav added, “and there’s certainly a whole bunch that you know that we don’t know.”

David Zaslav
Zaslav’s message was well received but also underscored the myriad challenges he will face if regulators approve Discovery’s effort to buy a company that is more than twice its size.

New York-based Discovery, which owns such popular cable channels as Food Network, HGTV, Animal Planet and OWN, is scrambling to adapt as consumers ditch cable TV for streaming platforms. Discovery derives most of its revenue from cable TV channels. Even after the merger, an estimated 80% of Warner Bros. Discovery’s pre-tax earnings in 2024 will still be tied to its legacy cable channels, research firm MoffettNathanson said in a note.

And Discovery must sit on the sidelines in a fast-changing media environment as the merger moves through the government’s review, which could take more than a year. Discovery has said it hopes to complete the takeover in mid-2022, but for now the companies will continue to operate as separate entities.

The regulatory delay will give competitors Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Comcast and ViacomCBS more time to get traction for their streaming services, which could leave WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and Discovery+ at a disadvantage.

Scooter Braun In Court Battle Over Failed Investment Fund

Music manager Scooter Braun, known for discovering Justin Bieber and making enemies of Taylor Swift, is embroiled in a legal battle with a former business partner over failed plans for a $750-million fund.

Scooter Braun
The L-A Times reports Peter Comisar, a Goldman Sachs partner and former Guggenheim Securities vice chairman, sued Braun, his company Ithaca Holdings and business partner David Bolno for fraud and breach of contract. The suit seeks more than $50 million in damages, according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday.

The litigation stems from a dispute over Scope Capital Management, a now dormant Los Angeles investment firm that the pair would co-own to exploit “the convergence of media, commerce and consumer brands and celebrity association,” according to the lawsuit.

Comisar, a veteran banker, alleged Braun tempted him away from his post at Guggenheim Securities in February 2017 with promises that he had deep-pocketed connections with moguls such as David Geffen who would invest in the fund. According to the complaint, Braun thought of Geffen as his godfather and said the famous music producer had been looking to invest $100 million with him.

Peter Comisar
Nearly a year after Comisar joined the company, tensions erupted. Comisar alleged that Braun stopped funding his salary and reneged on financial commitments, including supporting up to $7 million a year in fund expenses. Comisar said he had brought a team of professionals from Guggenheim Securities with him and Braun would not pay bonuses due to them.

Braun’s efforts to recruit investors such as Jimmy Iovine and Haim Saban were rejected, according to the complaint. The suit further alleges that Braun concealed raising funds from the private equity firm Carlyle Group to invest in another firm, Ithaca Holdings, which would compete with Scope Capital on investments in the entertainment industry. In April, Braun sold Ithaca Holdings for $1.05 billion to South Korea’s HYBE Co., which manages the K-pop group BTS.

Braun, who is seeking to resolve the dispute through arbitration, said in a court petition this week that Comisar’s claim is “unlawful, extortionate, and opportunistic.”