Saturday, July 24, 2021

July 25 Radio History

Hal Peary
➦In 1908...Harold (Hal) Peary born in San Leanadro, CA (Died  at age 76 – March 30, 1985). He was an actor, comedian and singer in radio, films, television, and animation remembered best as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, a supporting character on radio's Fibber McGee and Molly that moved to its own NBC radio hit, The Great Gildersleeve, the first known spinoff hit in American broadcasting history.

Born as José Pereira de Faria in San Leandro, California, to Portuguese parents, Harold Peary (pronounced "Perry") began working in local radio as early as 1923, according to his own memory, and had his own show as a singer, The Spanish Serenader, in San Francisco, but moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1937. While in San Francisco, he also had "several parts" in Wheatenaville, a program broadcast on NBC's Pacific network beginning September 26, 1932

Peary worked as a disc jockey at radio station WMGM 1050 AM in New York City. Beginning in 1953, he had a one-hour program Monday-Saturday.

➦In 1922...AT&T Western Electric began broadcasting WBAY New York City, the predecessor of WEAF, WNBC, WRCA and the current WFAN.  AT&T broadcast assets within a few years were early NBC properties.

➦In 1925...2XAG (now WGY 810 AM) in Schenectady, NY became the first radio station in the U.S. to broadcast with a 50,000-watt transmitter.

Birthday Boy Scott Shannon with mini-Scott (2018)
➦In 1947...Radio personality-programmer Michael Scott Shannon was born.  Presently hosting the morning show for Audacy's Classic Hits WCBS 101.1 FM in New York City, and host America's Greatest Hits syndicated nationally with United Stations. He has also worked for WHTZ, WPLJ, The True Oldies Channel, and he is the voice for the syndicated Sean Hannity Show.

He began his radio career during an Army stint at WFBS 1450 AM in Spring Lake, North Carolina (later WFBX). From there he moved to WCLS 1580 AM in Columbus, Georgia. After leaving the army, Shannon worked full-time in radio at WABB in Mobile, Alabama, where he acquired the name Super Shan.  After a brief stint at WMPS in Memphis he moved to Nashville, where he was the evening disc jockey at WMAK 1300 AM, later becoming that station's program director.

Shannon left Nashville to take a job as a record promoter with Casablanca Records.  Scott returned to radio in Washington, D.C. as program director of WPGC 95.5 FM, taking that station to the #1 spot in the Arbitron ratings. From there, he moved to WQXI 790 AM in Atlanta. Then, in Tampa, Florida, Scott, along with partner Cleveland Wheeler, he developed the 'morning zoo' radio format while at WRBQ 104.7 FM Q105.

Shannon is particularly known within the radio broadcasting industry for his work on WHTZ 100.3 FM Z100 in New York City in the mid to late 1980's. Along with former disc jockey Ross Brittain of WABC's "Ross & Wilson Show", he founded the "Z Morning Zoo." He was the driving force in helping Z100 go from worst-to-first in New York City within a mere 74 days of signing on the air.

In 1989, Shannon left Z100 for Los Angeles to start up Pirate Radio, KQLZ. Pirate Radio employed a similar Top 40 concept. As the 1990s began, Top 40 radio experienced a decline, and eventually Pirate Radio struggled as well, leading to Shannon's departure.

In 1991 he returned to New York and resurfaced on Z100's biggest rival, WPLJ 95.5 FM. This station had also been struggling since its glory days of the mid 1980s, and Shannon became program director and morning drive co-host. Shannon created a Top 40 format that was geared more toward the adult contemporary audience, brought in co-host Todd Pettengill to form "The Big Show," and the WPLJ call letters were re-emphasized. On February 7, 2014, he announced he was exiting WPLJ effective immediately.

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

Shannon is one of several disc jockeys honored in an exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.  In 2003, he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C., and in 2006 he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago, Illinois.

In September 2010, Shannon was named Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year at the 2010 National Association of Broadcasters' Marconi Radio Awards.

➦In 1999....Broadcast journalist Martin Agronsky, who joined NBC Radio as a foreign correspondent in 1940, and went on to a distinguished career with all three U-S TV networks, died of congestive heart failure at age 84.

Bruce Woodley is 79

    • Singer-guitarist Bruce Woodley of The Seekers is 79. 
    • Drummer Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds is 78. 
    • Bassist Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire is 70. 
    • Guitarist Jem Finer of The Pogues is 66. 
    • Supermodel Iman is 66. 
    • Cartoonist Ray Billingsley (“Curtis”) is 64. 
    • Guitarist Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth is 63. 
    • Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian is 62. 
    • Country singer Marty Brown is 56. 
    • Actor Illeana Douglas is 56. 
    • Actor Matt LeBlanc (“Joey,” ″Friends”) is 54. 
    • Linsey Godfrey is 33
      Actor Wendy Raquel Robinson (TV’s “Grand Hotel,” “The Steve Harvey Show”) is 54. 
    • Cellist Paavo Lotjonen of Apocalyptica is 53. 
    • Actor D.B. Woodside (“24”) is 52. 
    • Actor Miriam Shor (“Swingtown,” ″Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) 50. 
    • Actor David Denman (“Parenthood,” ″The Office”) is 48. 
    • Actor Jay R. Ferguson (“Mad Men”) is 47. 
    • Actor James Lafferty (“One Tree Hill”) is 36. 
    • Actor Shantel VanSanten (“One Tree Hill”) is 36. 
    • Actor Michael Welch (“Twilight” films, TV’s “Joan of Arcadia”) is 34. 
    • Actor Linsey Godfrey (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) is 33. 
    • Classical singer Faryl Smith is 26. 
    • Actor Mason Cook (TV’s “Speechless”) is 21. 
    • Actor Pierce Gagnon (“One Tree Hill”) is 16.

    Tencent Ordered To End Exclusive Music Contracts

    Tencent Holdings Ltd. was ordered to give up exclusive music streaming rights and pay half a million yuan in fines, becoming the latest Chinese internet giant to be brought to heel by regulators.

    Bloomberg reports an official investigation found Tencent’s 2016 acquisition of China Music Corp.’s stakes violated regulations partly because of a lack of reporting to authorities, according to a statement by the anti-trust watchdog on Saturday. The State Administration for Market Regulation required Tencent and its affiliates to waive exclusive music rights within 30 days and handed down a fine of 500,000 yuan ($77,145).

    That deal had help create Tencent Music Entertainment Group, which was formed after the merger of QQ Music and China Music Corp.

    Tencent will make rectification plans with its affiliates including Tencent Music Entertainment within the time limit designated and “faithfully” carry out the SAMR’s order to ensure all requirements are met, the company said in a statement on its official WeChat account.

    The penalty levied on Tencent marks the most-direct hit to Asia’s most valuable corporation from Beijing’s escalating campaign against its tech giants. Fellow internet behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. was fined a record $2.8 billion in April for antitrust violations, while its affiliate Ant Group Co. had to scrap an initial public offering and restructure into a financial holding company. Firms backed by Tencent have also come under scrutiny: food-delivery leader Meituan is facing an anti-monopoly probe while Didi Global Inc., operator of the country’s largest ride-hailing service, was this month ordered off Chinese app stores by cyberspace regulators.

    Beijing has sought to curtail the growing influence of China’s powerful internet corporations over every aspect of Chinese life from online shopping to chatting and ride-hailing.

    Tencent Music has long held a commanding lead in Chinese music through exclusive rights to a major chunk of Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group Corp.’s catalogs, which it then sublicenses to smaller platforms including those operated by NetEase Inc., Alibaba and Xiaomi Corp. That dominance was weakened when NetEase struck deals to directly license songs from Universal and Sony.

    NBC Sports Adds Maria Taylor To Olympic Coverage

    Maria Taylor at the NBA Finals

    Maria Taylor, a sports reporter who recently left ESPN after failing to reach a contract extension, is joining NBC Sports, the company announced Friday.

    Taylor's first assignment will be covering the Olympics, the network said. She was welcomed on air during NBC's Olympics coverage.

    Taylor left ESPN this week after her contract expired and after she and the network were unable to reach an agreement on an extension, they said in a statement from the company on Wednesday.

    She will have host roles in coverage of the Olympics and the NFL, including becoming a host and contributor for "Football Night in America" and Super Bowls, NBC Sports said.

    Taylor left ESPN weeks after The New York Times reported that colleague Rachel Nichols in a recorded phone call suggested that Taylor was picked to host last year's NBA Finals because the network was under pressure to address its "crappy longtime record on diversity."

    Taylor is Black, and Nichols is white. Nichols apologized to Taylor. The comments were made last year in a leaked phone call and the newspaper published excerpts.

    NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement that Taylor "has excelled in a wide range of roles at marquee events, and will be a powerful addition to our team."

    "We are always looking to improve, and Maria is going to make us better. We are very excited for her to join us right away in Tokyo,” Bevacqua said.

    "Literally, hosting the Olympics, Football Night in America, and the Super Bowl is what I dreamed of when I started in television — and this would not be possible without standing on the shoulders of all of those who came before me and made this path possible. And I plan to pay it forward," Taylor said.

    Opinion: The Maria Taylor Saga Could Haunt ESPN

    Bobby Burack at, relflects on the Maria Taylor Saga at ESPN and writes it is emblematic of the leftist vision for America. (Edited for space full article here.)

    Maria Taylor
    "At some point soon, Maria Taylor’s former bosses at ESPN will sit back and wonder whether they are finally safe. Taylor is gone now. She can’t hurt them anymore, right? Unfortunately, that assumption would be incorrect. Taylor’s entire plan — which ended with her leaking the private conversation of a colleague whom she had already beaten out for a job — was not just a reflection of Taylor’s deviousness but of American culture, now controlled monolithically by the Left. There will be more Maria Taylors. And the next one may actually play their hand well.

    "Taylor’s mostly white bosses saw the writing on the wall following George Floyd’s death. They could no longer simply treat people of all colors equally. To stay in power, they had to prove they were not racist, which meant treating employees of certain racial groups better than others.

    "Despite ESPN’s long history of promoting and paying black personalities lucrative salaries, the network couldn’t effectively erase the narrative, promoted by users on social media and the New York Times, that it had let go of Jemele Hill, Cari Champion, and Josina Anderson because of their race and gender.

    "Not only had they offered her 3x the money, but ESPN had also named Taylor the host of its most valued property, the NBA Finals on ABC. Taylor got the job over veteran NBA host Rachel Nichols, who had the assignment written in her contract. Taylor had a contract offer that trailed only Stephen A. Smith and Mike Greenberg, both of whom are nearly 20 years older than she is.

    "Despite all the headaches she gave them, ESPN was willing to make Taylor one of the faces of the network, with a plan to ultimately make her the face of ESPN one day. Taylor responded to all of this by leaking audio of Nichols to portray the employer that had built her up and given her roles she hadn’t earned as misogynistic and racist.

    "But here’s where the Leftist path that Taylor attempted to follow goes awry. There’s never an end. There is always another racist dragon to slay, another dissenting voice to silence. So they keep asking for more."

    China Not Happy With NBCUniversal

    China lashed out at Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal for displaying an “incomplete” map of the country during its broadcast of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony when Chinese athletes appeared, saying the games shouldn’t be politicized, reports Bloomberg.

    “The map is an expression of the national territory, symbolizing national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a spokesperson for the Chinese consulate in New York said in a statement. “We urge the NBC to recognize the serious nature of this problem and take measures to correct the error.”

    Multinationals operating in China have previously found themselves apologizing for the usage of maps that sometimes don’t include Taiwan, Tibet or disputed islands in the South China Sea.

    “Attempts to use the Olympic Games to play political ‘tricks’ and self-promotion to achieve ulterior motives will never succeed,” according to the statement.

    Ties between China and the U.S. have been strained over a series of issues including Hong Kong, human rights in Xinjiang and renewed probes into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. Beijing on Friday said it’s sanctioning seven people and entities, including former U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in retaliation for a Biden administration warning to businesses about working in Hong Kong.

    Tropical Storm Making Beeline For Tokyo

    The Tokyo Olympics, already struggling with an outbreak of Covid-19 among athletes, may face another kind of disaster next week -- a tropical storm.

    Bloomberg reports Tropical Storm Nepartak has formed southeast of Japan and could make landfall north of Tokyo early next week with winds of at least 46 miles (74 kilometers) per hour on U.S. wind scales, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, a U.S. Navy and Air Force forecasting operation in Hawaii.

    “That is really all they need,” said Jim Rouiller, lead meteorologist with the Energy Weather Group. “A tropical storm coming right toward Tokyo.”

    Tokyo is grappling with a surge of coronavirus cases that prompted the government to declare a fourth state of emergency in the capital earlier this month. At least 110 infections linked to the Games have been reported. While the number of cases is small compared to the total number of athletes and staff, it has added to public concern about the safety of the events.Nepartak was about 945 miles southeast of Yokosuka, Japan, and is moving northeastward, the Joint Typhoon Center said. There are currently no warnings or watches issued in Japan. The U.S. uses a different system to measure tropical winds than most other countries.

    NBCUniversal Betting Olympics Can Boost Peacock Streaming

    NBCUniversal, which has aired the Olympics for decades, is showing this summer’s Tokyo Games on its broadcast and cable networks. At least some direct coverage of all 41 competitions except men’s basketball—available to paying Peacock subscribers—will also be aired on the platform’s free, ad-supported tier, which offers a slimmer library of content to its members indefinitely.

    The Wall Street Journal reports NBCUniversal hopes its original programs on Peacock, like the talk show, will add further appeal to draw viewers.

    WSJ Graphic
    NBCUniversal aims to use the sports bonanza to boost a platform that some analysts say has lagged behind competitors, particularly in its content library, as the streaming industry becomes increasingly crowded.

    Like all major media companies, NBCUniversal is trying to balance its streaming push with the demands of its traditional business, wary that viewership for the former could eat into the latter and affect deals with advertisers. Rivals that are betting on streaming as the future of entertainment and sports—from Walt Disney Co. to AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia—are confronting similar pressures.

    Analysts have said that NBCUniversal could have risked annoying viewers by putting too much high-quality content behind a Peacock paywall or making it exclusive to the service. Such a move would likely also create tensions with cable- and satellite-TV distributors, which pay to carry NBC and the handful of cable channels with Olympics programming, like the USA Network and the soon-to-be-defunct NBC Sports Network.

    “Undoubtedly people who have never used Peacock before will, because they’re interested in the Olympics, and that’s certainly a benefit to the service,” said Wells Fargo & Co. analyst Steven Cahall. “The question is: Can they retain that viewership?”

    Chicago Radio: WLS-AM Host Bill Cameron Sets Retirement

    Bill Cameron, legendary Chicago political reporter and Host of CUMULUS MEDIA’s 890 WLS-AM Sunday evening radio show, Connected to Chicago with Bill Cameron, announces his retirement after a brilliant 51-year career. 

    Cameron’s last day on-air will be Friday, August 20, 2021, which, fittingly, is his 21st anniversary at 890 WLS-AM. He will share stories and insights from his remarkable tenure covering the good, the bad and the ugly of Chicago politics with 890 WLS-AM listeners on The Bruce St James Show from 5:30am-9:00am, and later on The John Howell Show from 4:00pm-7:00pm.

    Cameron, who until the demise of WMAQ Radio was its political editor, is considered the “dean” of radio political reporters in Chicago. He joined the Chicago City Hall beat in 1970. In addition to daily reporting of Chicago politics, he has hosted and produced weekly public affairs programs, including the current Connected to Chicago with Bill Cameron at 7:00pm Sundays on 890 WLS-AM, featuring leading newsmakers and political reporters.

    Cameron’s coverage of Chicago politics began with Mayor Richard J. Daley and includes the “revolving-door administration” of Mayor Jane Byrne, the “Council Wars” of the city’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Rahm Emanuel and now Lori Lightfoot. Bill was also on the scene for many other famous Chicago stories including the tragic plane crashes and train accidents of the ’70s, the grisly mass murders of John Wayne Gacy, and the scandals that have sent so many governors and other politicians to prison. His audio archive of these events plus humor and songs of Chicago politics, have given his work at WLS an added dimension. From this archive, Cameron reported and produced four albums, “Mayor Daley on the Record”, “Remembering Harold”, “Blago’s Greatest Hits” and “Mayor Daley’s Greatest Hits”.

    Cameron is the winner of two Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio & Television News Directors Association, shared in a Peabody Award, and has received numerous AP, UPI, and Gabriel awards for his work. He holds a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Indiana University. The son of an Illinois High School Hall of Fame football coach, Fred Cameron, he has called football and basketball games on radio in addition to working as a trainer and referee in sports.

    Bill Cameron said: “The time has come for me to plan my retirement. I’ve enjoyed covering Chicago politics very much, but half-a-century on the day-to-day beat is probably enough. Time to go visit many more national parks!“

    Stephanie Tichenor, Program Director, 890 WLS-AM, commented: “No matter what the news entailed, you could always count on Bill to bring it to you accurately and without bias. Never swayed by the political winds of the day, Bill’s interviewing and reporting skills will not only be missed by us here at the Big 89 but by Chicago as a whole. We wish him the very best in his retirement.”

    Nick Gale, News Director, 890 WLS-AM, remarked: “Bill is one of the most important cogs in the wheel that moves the needles at WLS. Having covered the City Hall beat since 1970, first with 670 WMAQ and later with WLS, Bill is a walking encyclopedia of political knowledge. Having covered nine mayors, numerous governors, as well as an endless stream of government corruption, his institutional knowledge of the ins and outs of city and state government will be greatly missed. Personally, I'm humbled to have been able to work with him and learn from him. I know I speak for everyone in the newsroom past and present when I say that we wish nothing but the best to the "dean" of Chicago political reporters as he prepares to enjoy a much-deserved retirement.”

    Tampa Radio: WMNF Discloses Rob Lorei Fired Over Ethnic Slur eMail

    Rob Lorei

    More than three months after long-time radio host Rob Lorei was booted from the airwaves, subscribers to WMNF-FM received an unexpected email Thursday afternoon explaining why, reports The Tampa Bay Times.

    Lorei, who helped found the radio station nearly four decades ago, had said earlier that WMNF’s management gave him no reason when he was fired April 9. Around noon Thursday, Will Greaves, president of the station’s board of directors, provided subscribers with one.

    “In November 2020, Mr. Lorei used an ethnic slur towards a listener from a station email account,” the email reads. “When confronted about it, Mr. Lorei confirmed the use of the slur and has since defended it.”

    Reached for comment, Lorei disputed the explanation and said the email in question was from a listener who had defended the actions of a far-right group.

    “People who know me and my long record at WMNF know I would never use an ethnic slur,” Lorei said in a written statement to the Tampa Bay Times. “I did use a political term in an email to a listener who wrote in to downplay the dangers of the Proud Boys on or about January 6th.”

    The term at issue, Lorei said, is “kapo” — a German word used to describe prisoners who aided their captors in Nazi concentration camps. Lorei said he has always understood it to describe an ally of the far right.

    The Proud Boys describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” and have been associated with white nationalist movements. Members of the Proud Boys have been charged in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that delayed the certification by Congress of the 2020 presidential election.

    Lorei said WMNF’s general manager knew about the email exchange at the time and laughed about it, telling him not to contact the person again.

    “I didn’t,” Lorei said. “Three months later, I was fired.”

    In a written statement to the Times, Greaves, the WMNF board president, said the board didn’t learn until April that Lorei had used the word in his email. Lorei was fired immediately. Greaves noted that Lorei’s email was sent two months before the Jan. 6 insurrection.

    “The term Mr. Lorei used in November 2020 was not a political term,” Greaves said. “It was an anti-Semitic racial slur that is highly offensive to any Jewish person.”

    23% of US Broadband Households Own 3+ Smart Home Devices

    Parks Associates research finds 88% of US households have broadband, with an increasing number of connected devices tapping into high-speed connections to deliver safety, security, convenience, and energy-saving use cases. The firm’s latest whitepaper, Smart Products: Building the Modern Home, developed for GE Appliances and released ahead of the TecHome Builder Summit and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) Convention and Trade Show, notes consumers have an average of thirteen connected devices, up from nine in 2016, with smart home device owners being the most prolific buyers.

    Smart home devices are among the newest category of connected devices, and adoption has been growing steadily since 2014. The percentage of US broadband households owning three or more smart home devices increased by over 64% in the past two years, from 14% in 2018 to 23% at the end of 2020. Adoption of smart appliances has also trended upward, with adoption at 13% of US broadband households.

    “Connected devices are forming deep integrations in consumers’ lifestyles, with convenience, comfort, and peace of mind the leading drivers of adoption,” said Patrice Samuels, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates. “As their familiarity with smart home products increases, consumers will seek products that target their specific needs, which can range from lawn maintenance and irrigation to independent living and health monitoring. Co-marketing partnerships with brands in other industries such as energy providers, builders, and insurance companies will help expand awareness and distribution and connect consumers with the connected solutions they want and need.”

    Smart Products: Building the Modern Home examines growth of smart home devices, the connected consumer lifestyle, and the future of modern living. The whitepaper notes frequency of use of the smart features of smart home devices is another relevant factor indicating how deeply integrated these products have become in consumers’ lives. More than 70% of smart home device and appliance owners report using the features of their smart home devices always or frequently.

    “Consumers’ consistent engagement with smart home devices and appliances is indicative of the value provided,” Samuels said. “As these factors continue to drive adoption, we anticipate strong growth in both single-family and multifamily residences, so homebuilders and MDU managers and owners would benefit by exploring new ways to integrate connected solutions into their current properties and especially new construction projects.”

    July 24 Radio History

    Raymond Edward Johnson
    ➦In 1911...Raymond Edward Johnson born in Kenosha, WI (Died at age 90 – August 15, 2001). He was a radio and stage actor best remembered for his work on Inner Sanctum Mysteries.

    Johnson began his career in Chicago, some of his earliest work including a regular role on Edgar A. Guest's dramatic serial Welcome Valley (1932–1937) as Bill Sutter, and was featured on The National Farm and Home Hour in dramatic sketches as the Forest Ranger (a role also played by Don Ameche).

    While in Chicago, Johnson began working with writer/director Arch Oboler, with roles on his Lights Out series. When both Oboler and Johnson relocated to New York City, the actor was featured in many episodes of Arch Oboler's Plays, notably as the title role in "The Ugliest Man in the World" (repeated five times) and as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in "This Lonely Heart" both from 1939.

    While in New York, Johnson landed his most famous role when Himan Brown hired him for Inner Sanctum. From the first broadcast in 1941, Johnson was heard as the series host/narrator, introducing himself as "Your host, Raymond." The "Raymond" character became known for his chilling introductions and morbid puns, and his typical closing, an elongated and ironic "Pleasant dreaaaams, hmmmmmmm?" Johnson departed the series in 1945, when he joined the Army; although replaced for the remainder of the run by Paul McGrath as host, Johnson took the "Raymond" name with him. Johnson later hosted the radio version of the science fiction series Tales of Tomorrow.

    He also became a staple on many soap operas, playing romantic leads on Big Sister,  The Guiding Light, Brave Tomorrow and Valiant Lady.

    ➦In 1933...the first broadcast of “The Romance of Helen Trent” was heard on midwest regional radio before becoming a CBS network staple three months later. The radio soap opera aired on CBS from October 30, 1933 to June 24, 1960 for a total of 7,222 episodes. The show was created by Frank and Anne Hummert, who were among the most prolific producers during the radio soap era.  Helen Trent was played by just two actresses over the years …Virginia Clark (for 11 years) and Julie Stevens (for 16 years).

    ➦In 1933...during his fourth Fireside Chat, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt showed why the homey, warm, comfortable discussion was, indeed, a fireside chat. The President stopped the discussion on the air (remember, this was radio) and asked for a glass of water, which he then sipped. The fireside chats were a series of evening radio addresses given by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1944. Roosevelt spoke with familiarity to millions of Americans about the promulgation of the Emergency Banking Act in response to the banking crisis, the recession, New Deal initiatives, and the course of World War II.

    On radio, he was able to quell rumors and explain his policies. His tone and demeanor communicated self-assurance during times of despair and uncertainty. Roosevelt was regarded as an effective communicator on radio, and the fireside chats kept him in high public regard throughout his presidency.

    ➦In 1943...the radio program "Foreign Assignment", was first heard.  It was broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting System from July 24, 1943, to January 8, 1944.

    With World War II as background, Foreign Assignment related the activities of journalist Barry Brian and his assistant, Carol Manning, who were stationed in France, working for the American Press (a fictitious entity). The program's introduction came with the sound of a teletype printer in the background as the announcer intoned, "... that machine is beating out a story written especially for you; a story unfolded against the screen of actual events that are making the news."   Journalism, however, was a cover, for Brian and Manning were really spies who worked against the Gestapo, leading the way for other radio series in which spies posed as reporters.

    ➦In 1978...WKTU 92.3 FM NYC changed to disco.

    92.3 FM was originally the home of WMCA-FM. But since FM radio was a money-loser in the early days, WMCA sold the station and by 1951 it had become WHOM-FM, owned by Progress Broadcasting Corporation. By the summer of 1975, it experimented with a mellow-rock format and featured Murray the K, Stan Martin, Scott McClennan, Larry Miller and Steve White during the week and with Randy Place, Joe Guarisco, Johnny Michaels and Bruce Fox on weekends. Burkhart-Abrams were later hired as consultants and brought in a tightly formatted AOR that was very short-lived.

    But 92.3 hit the big time  when it became a Disco station and was probably one of the major reasons for the demise of "music radio" WABC. The format originally featured such jocks as Paul Robinson, David Mallow, Kenn Hayes, Joe Guarisco and Paco Navarro and eventually included Rosko in the night slot, Maria Milito evenings and Dan Ingram even did an afternoon shift there during 1985, just before another format change.

    In July of 1985, WKTU changed call letters to WXRK and became an AOR station with Jay Thomas in mornings, but Howard Stern took over in February of 1986 and Meg Griffin joined around that time as well. By the Fall of 1989, Pete Fornatale followed Stern and the station also featured Flo & Eddie (of Turtles fame) and Alison Steele in overnights. Vin Scelsa also had a weekend show. By late 1991, Dave Herman replaced Flo & Eddie and John Zacherley joined in late '92. But in January of 1996, the station switched to an alternative rock format and hired all new jocks. In 2006, it became "Free FM-WFNY" before returning to the WXRK call letters in 2007 with a CHR format. In late 2012, it became NOW-FM and by 2015 it had become WBMP-FM "Amp Radio".  Today, 92.3 is owned and operated by Audacy Communications, using the call letters WNYL-FM.  It airs an Alternative music format. (H/T to NY Radio Archive)

    ➦In 1982... KHJ (LA) & KFRC (San Francisco) become 2nd & 3rd stereo AM stations

    ➦In 2005... Personality Joe O'Brien, who was one of the WMCA Good Guys on WMCA Radio in New York City, was killed at age 90 in a car crash in the Berkshire Hills, NY.

    O'Brien began his career in 1935 when he got his first radio job with WMCA-AM. The Good Guys had the same clean-cut hairstyles, wore matching suits and worked together at record hops and personal appearances. They also sang as a group and released an album. During that time, Mr. O'Brien was the No. 1 morning man in New York City.

    In 1970 he left for WNBC-AM, where he handled morning duties until he was replaced by Don Imus in 1972.

    O'Brien then went to WHUD in Peekskill, N.Y. He retired in 1986, but continued to do weekend specials for WHUD until 2000.

    Lynda Carter is 70

    • Actor John Aniston (“Days of Our Lives”) is 88. 
    • Comedian Ruth Buzzi is 85. 
    • Actor Mark Goddard (“Lost In Space”) is 85. 
    • Actor Chris Sarandon is 79. 
    • Comedian Gallagher is 75. 
    • Actor Robert Hays (“Airplane!”) is 74. 
    • Actor Michael Richards (“Seinfeld”) is 72. 
    • Actor Lynda Carter is 70. 
    • Director Gus Van Sant is 69. 
    • Country singer Pam Tillis is 64. 
    • Actor Kadeem Hardison (“A Different World”) is 56. 
    • Actor-singer Kristin Chenoweth is 53. 
    • Actor Laura Leighton (“Melrose Place”) is 53. 
    • Actor John P. Navin Jr. is 53. 
    • NBA player-turned-actor Rick Fox (“Greenleaf,” “Oz”) is 52. 
    • Actor-singer Jennifer Lopez is 52. 
    • Director Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”) is 50. 
    • Kristen Chenoweth is 53
      Actor Jamie Denbo (“Orange Is the New Black”) is 48. 
    • Actor Eric Szmanda (“CSI”) is 46. 
    • Actor Rose Byrne is 42. 
    • Country singer Jerrod Neimann is 42. 
    • Actor Summer Glau (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) is 40. 
    • Actor Sheaun McKinney (“The Neighborhood”) is 40. 
    • Actor Elisabeth Moss is 39. 
    • Actor Anna Paquin is 39. 
    • Actor Megan Park (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) is 35. 
    • Actor Mara Wilson (“Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Matilda”) is 34. 
    • Actor Sarah Steele (“The Good Fight,” “The Good Wife”) is 33. 
    • Singer Jay McGuiness of The Wanted is 31. 
    • Actor Emily Bett Rickards (TV’s “Arrow”) is 30. 
    • TV personality Bindi Irwin (“Bindi: The Jungle Girl” and “Crikey! It’s the Irwins”) is 23.

      Friday, July 23, 2021

      Darren Davis To Exit iHeartMedia

      Darren Davis, who has been  president of iHeartRadio for nearly eight years, has announced his intention to exit the company after a nearly 30-year run. His current four year contract expires in August 2021.

      Davis started his radio iHM (formerly Clear Channel) career in 1992 at WASH-FM in Washington DC. He became SVP of National Programming starting in 2008, and EVP/GM starting in 2011. He became President of iHeartRadio in 2014. Davis managed iHeartRadio through years of dramatic growth and innovation.

      Darren Davis
      In February 2021, iHM reorganized with the formation of two reporting units: the Multiplatform Group and the Digital Audio Group. In the new structure, Davis was repositioned as Chief Operating Officer of the Digital Audio Group. Conal Byrne, head of the acquired Stuff Media Group and subsequently named President of the iHeartPodcast Network, was named CEO.

      Davis relocated from New York to Nashville last year to oversee the buildout of a new digital headquarters for the company.   Permiere Radio's  The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show and The Bobby Bones Show originate from Music City.

      iHM CEO Bob Pittman and President/COO Rich Bressler made the announcement in a staff memo issued today: 


      We want to share some news with you about Darren Davis, Chief Operating Officer of our Digital Audio Group. Darren, who is a longtime and valued member of iHeart senior management, has decided to step down from his role after nearly three decades with our company, effective January 1, 2022.

      Anyone who knows Darren knows he has a deep love for iHeart and a true passion for our business and our success, and he’ll be continuing with the company as an advisor when he steps down as Chief Operating Officer next January.

      Darren first joined our WASH-FM in Washington, DC as a programming team intern in 1992, and in essence has grown up through our organization – continually taking on new roles and more responsibility and becoming a critically important contributor as part of our senior team. Now, after almost 30 years with iHeart, Darren is looking forward to spending more time on a variety of other projects he’s passionate about, including real estate development, local community projects and traveling with his family. Although his day-to-day operating expertise will be missed, we appreciate all he’s done for our company and are very pleased that he will continue his association with us, albeit on a more limited basis.

      Darren will remain active in his role through the end of the year, and he will be working closely with Conal Byrne, CEO of our Digital Audio Group, through the balance of 2021 to continue our momentum and to effectively organize the Digital Audio Group for the future.

      We know you will join us in thanking Darren for his many contributions to building iHeart, and in wishing him the best of luck on this new path!

      Bob and Rich

      Morgan Wallen Tells Michael Strahan ‘I Was Just Ignorant’

      Morgan Wallen

      Morgan Wallen sat down with Michael Strahan on Friday’s “Good Morning America” to discuss at length his use of the N-word in a video that leaked in February, saying the reason he used the racial slur was ignorance, reports The Wrap.

      “I’m not sure. I think I was just ignorant about it,” the country singer told “GMA” host Strahan. “I don’t think I ever sat down and was like, hey, is this right or is this wrong?”

      The interview comes months after the country music star was recorded using a racial slur. After Wallen and his friends returned home from a night out in Nashville, Wallen’s neighbor was alerted by the noise and began recording, eventually capturing a video of the event.

      Following the video’s release, Wallen apologized in a statement provided to TMZ, saying, “I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”

      Big Loud Records also suspended Wallen’s recording contract “indefinitely” for his actions. “In the wake of recent events, Big Loud Records has made the decision to suspend Morgan Wallen’s contract indefinitely,” the company said. “Republic Records fully supports Big Loud’s decision and agrees such behavior will not be tolerated.”

      Wallen was set to be the musical guest last year on an episode of “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Bill Burr. He was uninvited from the show after he was seen in social media videos partying in Alabama without a mask on — in violation of the pandemic protocols expected of “SNL” performers.

      Influencer Ad Spending Expected to Grow 30 Percent

      Personality-read or Influencer marketing spending in the US is set to grow more than 30% this year and surpass a key milestone. According to eMarkter's inaugural forecast on US influencer marketing spending, the category will exceed $3 billion in 2021 and will surpass $4 billion next year.

      eMarketer defines influencer marketing spending as payments made to influencers or their representatives to promote products and services primarily on social media and other platforms featuring user-generated content. It excludes non-cash payments such as free products or trips and paid media.

      Growth of influencer marketing spend was more modest in 2020 than in recent years. The category grew 14.4% last year, as the pandemic put a strain on many marketers’ budgets. In 2021, we expect influencer marketing spend in the US to grow 33.6% to reach $3.69 billion in 2021. 

      “In the early part of the pandemic, many marketers temporarily paused their influencer marketing campaigns,” said Jasmine Enberg, eMarketer senior analyst at Insider Intelligence. “But as the pandemic also accelerated many new creator-driven social trends, including short video and social commerce, marketers quickly resumed and are now increasing their spending on influencer marketing, as they realize that influencers are their ticket to reach those audiences.”

      The return of travel is another key element to this year’s strong growth, as it’s a category that invests heavily in influencer marketing.

      Media Monitors' POD Rank Shows Strong 2Q For iHM

      The iHeartPodcast Network had a strong Q2, surging to the highest total number of podcasts for a publisher since Media Monitors began measurement of podcasts in 2020. 

      Likely due to their multi-pronged approach of releasing new podcasts like Drama Queens (#11) and The Office Deep Dive with Brian Baumgartner (#170), new seasons for old-staples like The Ron Burgundy Podcast (#46), and podcast versions of their radio programs including The Bobby Bones Show (#66) and The Breakfast Club (#32).

      NPR remained consistent this quarter with 12 podcasts in the Top 200 including Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (#53), and Throughline (#81). Spotify owned Parcast Network also had a strong quarter primarily due to their slate of True Crime podcasts including: Medical Murders (#138), Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories (#58), and International Infamy with Ashley Flowers (#194).

      The Media Monitors Podcast Listener survey was fielded between June 14th and 30th, 2021. Participants aged 18+ were screened on whether they had listened to a podcast in the last 7 days, then asked to list the podcast titles. Participants were encouraged to consult their podcast app of choice during the survey. These unassisted responses were then individually matched back to unique RSS feeds which were polled to collect information about genre and publisher.

      Talker Dan Bongino Passes Affiliate Milestone

      CUMULUS MEDIA’s The Dan Bongino Show has surpassed the 300-station milestone after just two months on the air. 

      Syndicated by CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One, The Dan Bongino Show has quickly become one of the most influential radio programs and appointment listening for conservative audiences.

      The radio program counts top-market stations including KABC-AM (Los Angeles), WLS-AM (Chicago), WBAP-AM (Dallas), KSFO-AM (San Francisco), KSEV-AM (Houston), WMAL-FM (Washington, DC), KTTH-AM (Seattle), and WJR-AM (Detroit) as well as CUMULUS MEDIA’S new, all-digital station WFAS-AM in the New York metropolitan area among its affiliate base.

      The Dan Bongino Show is a live, daily broadcast hosted by former Secret Service Agent, best-selling author, television commentator, and podcast powerhouse Dan Bongino that debuted on March 24, 2021. With live guests and listener calls, the program showcases Bongino’s natural ability to forge connections and communicate as never before. The program airs live Monday-Friday from 12 to 3 p.m. ET.

      CA Recall: Tide Turning Against Newsom, Talker Larry Elder Leading

      A new Inside California Politics/Emerson College poll released on Thursday reports that Governor Gavin Newsom is rapidly losing ground in the recall election, while radio host Larry Elder has taken a commanding lead among all recall candidates, reports The California Globe.

      According to the poll, which was conducted based on a sampling of 1,000 registered voters in California on a 2.9% margin of error, Governor Newsom now only has about 48% of voters wanting to keep him in office, as compared to 43% of voters willing to vote for his recall. 9% of voters remain undecided.

      Larry Elder
      Contrasted with the May UC Berkeley survey that found that 49% of voters wanted to keep him in office versus 36% wanting to recall him, the new Emerson poll has shown that not only has Newsom lost ground to recall supporters during late Spring and early Summer, but he has also lost a little support.

      The July poll also found that Newsom’s popularity has gone down significantly since May, dipping below the 50% mark for the first time since February. Newsom currently sits at a 49% approval rating, down from 52% two months ago. His disapproval rating has also gone up to 42%, closely mirroring the recall poll percentages.

      When asked about rating the Governor on a wide range of topics from his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to homelessness, the highest percentage chosen for each one by voters was “poor,” the lowest rating possible. In particular, his handling of the homelessness crisis was met with the strongest response, with a whopping 52% of voters ranking his performance as poor, and only 25% saying fair, 16% good and only 7% excellent.

      As for recall candidates, radio personality Larry Elder stormed ahead of the polling with 16%, beating out second-place finishers, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 2018 Gubernatorial candidate John Cox, who both scored a respective 6% of the vote, both down from higher percentages scored in the May Berkeley poll when there were fewer candidates to choose from. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R- Rocklin) and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner came in a distant 3rd, tied with 4% each.

      Elder, who had a brief court battle with Secretary of State Shirley Weber this week over being allowed on the ballot, is now widely seen as the frontrunner.

      Wake-Up Call: 3 States Have 40 Percent Of New COVID Cases

      Just three states -- Florida, Texas and Missouri -- accounted for 40 percent of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. this week, White House pandemic response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters Thursday, with Florida alone accounting for 20 percent of cases. Zients also said that 97 percent of hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people, stating, "The threat is now predominantly only to the unvaccinated." At the same time, Zients shared the good news that the five states that have had the most significant rise in infections -- Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Nevada and Missouri -- are seeing vaccinations rates go up, beating the national average for a second week in a row.

      ➤GARLAND SAYS JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WILL CRACK DOWN ON GUN TRAFFICKING: Amid a surge in gun violence in the country, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday (July 22nd) that the Justice Department will crack down on gun trafficking. He said that will be part of a broader effort against gun violence, including funding community intervention programs. The Justice Department has launched strike forces against gun violence in Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. Experts say there are a number of potential causes for this year's spike in crime, including the pandemic, economic worries, and large gatherings taking place after the many months of lockdowns.

      ➤BIDEN CONDEMNS CRACKDOWN ON CUBAN PROTESTERS, NEW SANCTIONS IMPOSED: President Biden yesterday condemned the crackdown in Cuba on protesters who mounted recent rare demonstrations against the government, and his administration announced new sanctions. Biden said in a statement, "I unequivocally condemn the mass detentions and sham trials that are unjustly sentencing to prison those who dared to speak out in an effort to intimidate and threaten the Cuban people into silence." The new sanctions were imposed on a Cuban government special brigade that the U.S. charges was involved in human rights abuses during the Cuban government crackdown on protests as well as on Cuban military and political leader Alvaro Lopez Miera. Cuba’s Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, which is led to by Lopez Miera, has attacked protesters and arrested or disappeared over 100 of them, according to the U.S. This comes after the White House said earlier this week that Biden had ordered several steps to increase pressure on the Cuban government.

      ➤U-S CARRIED OUT AIRSTRIKES IN SUPPORT OF AFGHAN FORCES: The U.S. has carried out several airstrikes this week in support of Afghan forces who are fighting Taliban insurgents, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Thursday. The strikes show the U.S. intends to continue supporting Afghan forces, at least until the end of the U.S. military withdrawal on August 31st, according to AP. The administration hasn't said whether that support will continue after the U.S. pullout is complete. Meanwhile, the House voted overwhelmingly, 407-16, yesterday to allow thousands more Afghans into the U.S. who worked with Americans in the Afghanistan war, such as translators. The U.S. is allowing those Afghans and their immediate families into the U.S. to protect them from Taliban retaliation. The Biden administration says there are 20,000 applicants so far, but half of them haven't yet completed the initial stages of review for the visas.

      ➤SOFTWARE COMPANY KASEYA GET DECRYPTION KEY IN RANSOMWARE ATTACK: Florida software company Kaseya said yesterday (July 22nd) that it had gotten a universal decryption key that will work for all of the more than 1,000 businesses and public organizations that were hit in a ransomware attack over the Fourth of July weekend that exploited Kaseya's software. The company wouldn't say how they got the key or whether they paid a ransom for it, with a spokesperson saying only that it came from a, quote, "trusted third party." The Russian-linked ransomware group REvil that was behind the attack disappeared from the internet on July 13th, and it's not known why.

      ➤LEGISLATION WOULD REMOVE TECH COMPANIES' LEGAL PROTECTION IN MISINFORMATION CASES: Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced legislation yesterday that would remove tech companies' Section 230 legal protection in cases in which they allow health misinformation to spread on their platforms, such as vaccine misinformation. 

      Section 230 protects companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google from being sued for content posted on their platforms. The exception under Klobuchar's bill would be when a social media platform’s algorithm promotes health misinformation related to a, quote, "existing public health emergency." In those situations, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would define health misinformation. The law wouldn't apply if posts are shown via what it calls a "neutral mechanism," such as posts ranked chronologically, instead of an algorithm ranking what people see. Klobuchar said, "These are some of the biggest, richest companies in the world, and they must do more to prevent the spread of deadly vaccine misinformation."

      ➤DISAGREEMENT MAY BE A WAY TO MAKE ONLINE CONTENT SPREAD FASTER, FURTHER: If you want a post to spread on social media you’ll want to post something controversial. University of Central Florida researchers analyzed thousands of Reddit posts, and found those labeled controversial by a Reddit algorithm got viewed by nearly twice the number of people and traveled nearly twice as fast when compared to posts not labeled controversial. Researchers say the finding is important as it shows that disagreement may be a powerful way to get people to pay attention to messages. Study co-author Ivan Garibay adds, “There may be an incentive in terms of influence and audience size for a social media user to consistently include controversial and provocative topics on their posts. This benefits the person posting the messages. However, controversial comments can be divisive, which could contribute to a polarized audience and society.”

      ➤WIDESPREAD INTERNET OUTAGES YESTERDAY: There was a widespread internet disruption for about an hour yesterday that caused outages for the some of the world's biggest sites. The outages started to appear around 11:40 a.m. ET, and Akamai, which operates one of the world's largest and most important content delivery networks, reported a problem with its service at about 12:10 p.m. ET. Akamai tweeted at 12:47 p.m. ET that it had fixed the problem and that systems were returning to normal. The company said the issue was due to a bad software update that disrupted the DNS system, which directs users to websites.

      ➤NEW CHIEF FOR U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: Officials announced yesterday that J. Thomas Manger, a former police chief in Maryland and Virginia, had been appointed the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police. The Capitol Police Board, which oversees the force, said Manger had been chosen after a nationwide search. Manger is taking over a force on which morale has plummeted as it deals with the aftermath of the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Manger was police chief in Montgomery County, Maryland, for 15 years, and before that led the Fairfax County, Virginia, police department. He's taking over from Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman, who was elevated after former Chief Steven Sund was forced out immediately after January 6th.

      ➤VIDEO GAME GIANT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SUED BY CALIFORNIA OVER 'FRAT BOY' CULTURE: Video game giant Activision Blizzard has been sued by California labor regulators, who charge the company has a, quote, "pervasive 'frat boy' workplace culture." The suit says female employees at the company that created Call of Duty and World of Warcraft faced sexual harassment, unequal pay, being passed over for promotions, and retaliation for raising concerns. It charges that male employees would, quote, "engage in banter about their sexual encounters, talk openly about female bodies, and joke about rape." Activision Blizzard called the claims in the lawsuit "distorted, and in many cases false."

      ➤STUDY..WATCHING TOO MUCH TV INCREASES YOUR RISK OF SLEEP APNEA:  Spending more than four hours a day in front of the TV increases your risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Harvard Medical School researchers monitored the health and physical activity levels of over 130,000 people for 10 to 18 years. They found that increased levels of sedentary behavior, and corresponding low levels pf physical activity increased the risk of developing OSA. The researchers say people who spend all day sitting down, such as in office jobs, should compensate by getting more exercise during their leisure time. One researcher says, “People who followed the current World Health Organization physical activity guidelines of getting at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week and spent less than four hours per day sitting watching TV, had substantially lower OSA risk.”

      ➤WHEN TO VIEW JULY’S FULL BUCK MOON:  If you want to see the next full moon you’ll want to look up tonight. Called the buck moon and the thunder moon, July’s full moon will appear opposite the sun in Earth-based longitude at 10:37 p.m ET, according to NASA. The moon will appear full now through Sunday morning. The Maine Farmer’s Almanac says this full moon was named by Algonquin tribes in the Northeast for the period when new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads. It’s also known as the thunder moon due to the season’s frequent thunderstorms.

      🏈NFL TEAMS TOLD COULD FACE FORFEITS FOR COVID OUTBREAKS AMONG UNVACCINATED: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell warned all teams in a memo yesterday that teams that have Covid-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated players next season could forfeit games, according to media reports. The memo said no games would be rescheduled in those cases and forfeits could happen instead, with players not getting paid. The memo said, "If a game can’t be rescheduled and is canceled due to a Covid outbreak among non-vaccinated players on one of the competing teams, the team with the outbreak will forfeit and will be deemed to have played 16 games for purposes of draft, waiver priority, etc." If there's a Covid outbreak because of cases in vaccinated players, the memo said, "we will attempt to minimize the competitive and economic burden on both participating teams." The NFL hasn't made vaccinations mandatory, but the league and the players associations are strongly urging them, and the memo ramps up the pressure.

      🏀PARADE HELD IN MILWAUKEE FOR NBA CHAMPION BUCKS: A parade was held in downtown Milwaukee Thursday for the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks, with thousands of fans lining the street to celebrate the city's first NBA title in 50 years. Open-air buses and flatbed trucks carried the Bucks players, including NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. He spoke to cheering fans in the Deer District, which is the area outside the Bucks' Fiserv Forum, declaring, "Milwaukee, we did it baby! We did it!"

      ⚾RAYS GET CRUZ IN TRADE WITH TWINS: The Tampa Bay Rays acquired Nelson Cruz in a four-player trade with the Minnesota Twins last night. The Rays obtained the 41-year-old Cruz, a seven-time All-Star, and minor league player Calvin Faucher from the Twins in exchange for minor leaguer pitchers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman. Cruz's 19 home runs are tied for the second most among designated hitters this season.

      The NBA's New Orleans Pelicans have hired Phoenix Suns assistant Willie Green as their new head coach. This will be the first head coaching position for Green, a former 12-year NBA player who's been an assistant coach for the past five years with the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix, which just lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals.

      🏒CANADIENS GM SAYS CAPTAIN WEBER TO MISS NEXT SEASON, CAREER MAY BE OVER: Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in a video conference yesterday that team captain Shea Weber won't play at all next season because of a number of injuries, and that the 35-year-old's career may be over. Weber has played 16 seasons with the Nashville Predators and Montreal, including this past season, when the Canadiens lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

      🏀NBA LEGEND BILL RUSSELL TO AUCTION MOST OF HIS MEMORABILIA: NBA legend Bill Russell announced yesterday (July 22nd) that he will be auctioning off most of his memorabilia from his Hall of Fame career. Hundreds of items from Russell's personal collection will be sold, including trophies, rings, basketballs, jerseys and more. Among them are the first and last of the NBA-record 11 championship rings he won with the Boston Celtics, four of his five NBA Most Valuable Player trophies, and his 1956 U.S. men’s basketball Olympic gold medal.

      ViacomCBS Ousts Station Managers In L-A and Chicago

      Jay Howell, general manager of KCBS-TV Channel 2 and KCAL-TV Channel 9 in Los Angeles; and Derek Dalton, the head of WBBM-TV Channel 2 in Chicago, were ousted Thursday after a six-month investigation into alleged wrongdoing within CBS’ stations group, The L-A Times reports

      The moves extend a dramatic management makeover at CBS News and the network’s stations division after a Los Angeles Times investigation uncovered alleged misconduct, racism and misogyny at a handful of CBS-owned stations.

      In April, CBS tossed out Peter Dunn, the head of its flagship New York station, who also had led the group of 28 CBS-owned TV stations for more than a decade. The company also ended the employment of one of Dunn’s top lieutenants, David Friend, who was responsible for the chain’s news operations. Both men have denied wrongdoing.

      CBS on Thursday did not disclose the reasons behind Howell’s and Dalton’s departures but acknowledged the moves were related to an external investigation that has been underway since The Times’ report in late January.

      “The investigation cited painful revelations about experiences that we cannot tolerate today or in the future,” CBS Chief Executive George Cheeks wrote in an email to staff members Thursday, announcing the end of the review and leadership changes in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

      The Times’ series shined a harsh light on an often overlooked corner of the company that lacks the prestige of the CBS television network but remains a vital source of local news for millions of Americans.

      CBS’ stations in Los Angeles have been beset by turnover for years. Current and former employees have long complained about the harsh workplace culture, which they allege has been rife with sexual harassment, favoritism, pay discrimination and ageism.

      CBS manages KCBS and KCAL jointly, and the stations’ audience lags in size behind market leaders KABC-TV Channel 7, KNBC-TV Channel 4 and Spanish-language stations KMEX-TV Channel 34 and KVEA-TV Channel 52.

      Despite their ratings woes, KCBS and KCAL have been an important source of revenue for the company, particularly during last year’s election, according to internal documents shared with The Times.

      The articles also focused on conditions at CBS’ station in Philadelphia. Former executives at KYW-TV Channel 3 alleged that Dunn made racist comments about Ukee Washington, the station’s beloved Black anchor, calling him “just a jive guy.”

      TV Ratings: CNN Event With Biden Struggled For Viewers

      What you don't see on TV: Small Audience for CNN Town Hall

      CNN struggled to attract an audience for its exclusive town-hall event with President Joe Biden on Wednesday night, with the event trailing Fox News’ regular programming in ratings.

      Bloomberg reports the cable news network averaged fewer than 1.5 million viewers from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Eastern, with 306,000 in the 25-54 demographic most sought by advertisers. That compared with 2.7 million for Fox News, with 464,000 in the key demographic, according to Nielsen data shared by the network.

      CNN has seen ratings slide following the 2020 election and its aftermath, which riveted viewers. These days, even booking the president is no guarantee that a large audience will tune in. In total viewers, CNN trailed both Fox News and MSNBC.

      At the event, broadcast from Cincinnati, Biden addressed inflation concerns, saying the problem was unlikely to get out of hand.

      He also alluded to Fox News, saying, “One of those other networks is not a big fan of mine” but that it had recently shifted its stance and was promoting vaccines as a way to curb Covid-19.

      Fox has maintained that its on-air talent has consistently encouraged its viewers to get the shots.

      Twitter Beats Revenue Targets

      Twitter Inc on Thursday reported higher revenue growth than Wall Street had expected, as the social media platform rolled out ad targeting improvements to help brands reach potential customers, reports Reuters.

      Since the start of the year, Twitter has raced to introduce products in new areas like audio-only chat rooms and newsletter publishing in an effort to turn around years of business stagnation and reach its goal of doubling annual revenue by 2023.

      Advertising revenue totaled $1.05 billion, up 87% from the year-ago quarter, and beat Wall Street estimates of $909.9 million.

      Twitter has worked to improve the effectiveness of its ads, introducing 2,500 new topic categories during the quarter to help users find content they're interested in, all of which provides more ad targeting data back to Twitter, the company said on a conference call with analysts.

      Those improvements, along with higher demand from advertisers seeking to reach consumers as countries reopen from pandemic restrictions, helped propel ad revenue, Twitter said.

      Twitter reported 206 million monetizable daily active users (mDAU), its term for users who are served advertising, for the second quarter ended June 30, matching analyst targets of 205.9 million users, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

      Its U.S. user base declined by 1 million over three months from the previous quarter due to a lighter news cycle in the United States, Twitter said, with total users worldwide in line with Wall Street targets.

      Total revenue, which also includes revenue the company earns from data licensing, rose 74% year-over-year to $1.19 billion, beating analyst estimates of $1.07 billion.

      The San Francisco-based company now expects headcount and total costs and expenses to grow at least 30% for the full year, up from its previous guidance of 25%, as it invests in its engineering and product teams.

      Nashville Radio: Talker Phil Valentine Gravely Ill

      Talk show host Phil Valentine is hospitalized with COVID-19, according to his family.  In a statement released Thursday, relatives said Valentine is “in very serious condition” and is suffering from “Covid Pneumonia,” along with other side effects.

      WKRN TV reports he is in the critical care unit of a Nashville area hospital breathing with assistance, but is not on a ventilator.

      Valentine, who hosts The Phil Valentine Show on Nashville’s SuperTalk WWTN 99.7 FM, confirmed July 11 on his Facebook page that he had tested positive for COVID. He spoke about his battle with the virus on his radio show.

      “I think I’m on the other side of it,” Valentine said of the virus, as he described coughing, congestion, and fatigue that “hurts like crap.”

      Valentine had previously expressed his disagreement with mask mandates, stating that hospitals were never in danger of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. He has also been critical of the virus vaccines, voicing his concerns over their safety.

      “Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘Pro-Vaccine’ and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon,” his family wrote in their statement.

      Their statement concluded, “Phil & his family would like for all of you to know that he loves y’all and appreciates your concern, thoughts & prayers more than you will ever know. Please continue to pray for his recovery and PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!”