Saturday, September 25, 2021

September 26 Radio History

In 1887…Inventor Emile Berliner was granted his first patent for what he called the "Gramophone". The patent described recording sound using horizontal modulation of a stylus as it traced a line on a rotating cylindrical surface coated with an unresisting opaque material such as lampblack, subsequently fixed with varnish and used to photoengrave a corresponding groove into the surface of a metal playback cylinder.

In practice, Berliner opted for the disc format, which made the photoengraving step much less difficult and offered the prospect of making multiple copies of the result by some simpler process such as electrotyping, molding or stamping. Soon Berliner was using a more direct recording method, in which the stylus traced a line through a very thin coating of wax on a zinc disc, which was then etched in acid to convert the line of bared metal into a playable groove.

Ted Weems band on set of Fibber McGee & Molly - 1937

In 1901...Bandleader Ted Weems born in Pitcairen, PA (Died at age 61 - May 6, 1963). His work in music was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Weems moved to Chicago with his band around 1928. The Ted Weems Orchestra had chart success in 1929 with the novelty song "Piccolo Pete", which rewarded him with his second Gold Record, and the #1 hit "The Man from the South". The band gained popularity in the 1930s, making regular radio broadcasts. These included Jack Benny's Canada Dry program on CBS and NBC during the early 1930s, and the Fibber McGee & Molly program in the late 1930s.

In 1936, the Ted Weems Orchestra gave singer Perry Como his first national exposure; Como recorded with the band (on Decca Records), beginning his long and successful career.

The first season of the Beat the Band radio show on the NBC Red Network (1940–1941) included Weems and his orchestra as part of the cast.

In 1940, Weems and his orchestra were featured on Beat the Band on the NBC-Red radio network.

In 1908...Saturday Evening Post ad for a Victor 'talking machine'.

In 1919...Actress Barbara Britton born Barbara Maurine Brantingham (Died from pancreatic cancer at age 60 – January 17, 1980). She is best known for her Western film roles opposite Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, and Gene Autry and for her two-year tenure as inquisitive amateur sleuth Pam North on the television and radio series Mr. and Mrs. North.

In 1960…John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon squared off in the first televised presidential debates in American history. The debates was staged at the studios of WBBM-TV in Chicago. The Kennedy-Nixon debates not only had a major impact on the election’s outcome, but ushered in a new era in which crafting a public image and taking advantage of media exposure became essential ingredients of a successful political campaign. They also heralded the central role television has continued to play in the democratic process.

Moderated by newsman Howard K. Smith, the debate was seen on TV by more than 69 million people, while another 17 million heard the debate on radio.

In 1962...Talk-Music radio formats was most-preferred according to a survey released by the CBS radio network released a yearlong survey on the most popular radio features of the day. The survey noted news, interviews, discussions, talks, sports and also had a minimum-to-moderate interest in music but do not tune in primarily for music. It also concluded that rock'n'roll listeners have the lowest education and income levels of all listener groups.

Gary Owens
In 1962...L-A Radio personality Gary Owens started at KMPC 710 AM. Owens had been at Top40 KFWB and KMPC played more middle-of-the rod music as in Frank Sinatra.

He replaced previous host Johnny Grant and remained for the next two decades working the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. shift, M-F.

A gifted punster, Owens became known for his surrealistic humor. Among his trademarks were daily appearances by The Story Lady (played by Joan Gerber); the Rumor of the Day; myriad varieties of "The Nurney Song"; and the introduction of the nonsense word "insegrevious", which was briefly included in the Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary.

His regular on-air radio terms included "krenellemuffin," as in, "We'll be back in just a krenellemuffin." Gary always credited his radio engineer at the end of his broadcast: "I'd like to thank my engineer, Bob Jones, for creebling at the turntables." He also created the previously non-existent colors "veister" and "krelb".

In 1968...Progressive rock radio was making waves with Bill (Rosko) Mercer on the 7p to midnight shift for WNEW 102.7 FM in NYC. Rosko was getting 4 shares on his show and the third highest ratings among teens in the area (WABC and WMCA are #1 - #2).

Says Rosko - “On a progressive rock program, it’s extremely important to think of the programming. Think before you do it, the same as any job requires. People are hungry for proper presentation of music. They don’t want “Ten Years After” or the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” thrown at them. They want it prepared for them. Anyone can play a stack of records at home. It’s a presentation that counts to a large extent.”

Gosden and Correll
In 1972...Radio actor Charles Correll died from a heart attack at age 82. He was the creator & voice of Andy Brown in the radio show “Amos ‘n’ Andy”, and the voice of the Colonel in the TV cartoon Calvin and the Colonel. His Amos ‘n’ Andy co-star, Freeman Gosden, would live another ten years.

For 34 years Amos and Andy held a very singular place in the American old-time radio experience.In its early prime, the early 1930s, it was common for entire towns to be listening to the show. Stores would close, even movie theaters would stop the film while the Amos and Andy show was played instead for the movie audience. The national audience was estimated at 40 million, and that very large audience was made up of Americans of many races and national backgrounds.

In 1983... KMET-FM Los Angeles, once the darling of album rock radio was falling apart. Seems that rival KROQ’s ascendance in the ratings has hurt the station. Gone was longtime program director Sam Bellamy. She believed that KROQ’s New Wave music and format would not have been accepted by her KMET audience even if she had chosen that direction.

Ross and Wilson
In 1983...Talk Radio 77WABC split its morning team of “Ross and Wilson,” as Ross Brittain was fired. At the time. he said his firing came as a complete surprise. “Now I’m a member of the Dan Ingram Home For Unemployed Disk Jockeys.”

In the fall of 1977, Ross Brittain, and Brian Wilson were working at different stations in Baton Rouge, met for lunch at the Frost Top Inn. Two weeks later, the "Nearly-Famous Ross & Wilson Show" debuted in AM Drive on WJBO. A mere eight months later – July 10, 1978 - after taking Baton Rouge radio and the entire city by storm, they did their first morning show for Atlanta's CHR powerhouse, Z-93. Then, just 29 months later, Ross & Wilson were hired to take over Morning Drive on WABC.

In 1983...Jim Nettletown retured to 56WFIL Philadelphia formornings on the oldies-based station.

Here's an aircheck of WFIL 56 and WIBG 99, spaning the years 1970 thru 1983. A ton of great Philly personalities including George Michael, Long John Wade, Don Wade, John Records Landecker, Don Cannon, Chuck Knapp, Hy Lit, Joe Niagra, Tony Mann, Dick Fennessy, & Jim Nettleton. (Courtesy of Ellis B. Feaster WPOZ Orlando).

Nettleton died in 2009 from cancer.

In 1984…WCAU-TV Philadelphia news and NFL films narrator John Facenda died of lung cancer at the age of 71.

Olivia Newton-John is 73
  • Country singer David Frizzell is 80. 
  • Actor Kent McCord (“Adam 12”) is 79. 
  • “The Weakest Link” host Anne Robinson is 77. 
  • Singer Bryan Ferry is 76. 
  • Actor Mary Beth Hurt is 75. 
  • Singer-actor Olivia Newton-John is 73. 
  • Actor James Keane (“Bulworth,” TV’s “The Paper Chase”) is 69. 
  • Singer-guitarist Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos is 67. 
  • Country singer Carlene Carter is 66. 
  • Melissa Sue Anderson is 59
    Actor Linda Hamilton is 65. 
  • Singer Cindy Herron of En Vogue is 60. 
  • Actor Melissa Sue Anderson (“Little House on the Prairie”) is 59. 
  • Singer Tracey Thorn of Everything But the Girl is 59. 
  • TV personality Jillian Barberie is 55. 
  • Guitarist Jody Davis of Newsboys is 54. 
  • Actor Jim Caviezel (“The Passion of the Christ”) is 53. 
  • Actor Tricia O’Kelley (“The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is 53. 
  • Actor Ben Shenkman (“Royal Pains,” “Angels in America”) is 53. 
  • Singer Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men is 49. 
  • Music producer Dr. Luke is 48. 
  • Jazz trumpeter Nicholas Payton is 48. 
  • Singer and TV personality Christina Milian is 40. 
  • Actor Zoe Perry (“Young Sheldon”) is 38. 
  • Singer-songwriter Ant Clemons is 30.

Poll: Respondents Think Radio Should Pay Performance Fees

A new national poll commissioned by musicFIRST shows that the American public backs bold action to ensure that artists are treated with respect and paid when their songs are played on AM/FM radio, according to a press release.

Dominant corporate broadcasters like iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media have refused to pay artists. While these corporations use music creators’ work to fill their airwaves, and in turn bring in advertisers, they claim they cannot afford to give compensation to the artists. 

The musicFirst release states this is exploitation of the tens of thousands of working-class singers and musicians.

musicFIRST states these same broadcasters then turn to their lobbyists at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to do their dirty work on Capitol Hill to maintain the unjust status quo, claiming that providing fair compensation to artists for their work would harm “local radio.” The truth is that the six largest broadcast conglomerates have wiped out local jobs at the 2,000 radio stations they own across the country.

While most Americans are unaware of these injustices playing out between broadcasters and music creators, once they learn of this issue they not only agree it is unfair, and that music creators deserve to be paid when their music is played, but they support artists and advertisers taking strong action — up to and including boycotting AM/FM radio stations or supporting artists from withholding their music — to force broadcasters to do the right thing.

musicFIRST is supporting the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA), bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Ted Deutch and Darrell Issa in June of this year. If passed, the AMFA would require broadcasters to, would finally, fairly compensate artists when they play their songs on their radio stations, while protecting truly local radio stations by exempting small and noncommercial broadcasters.

One key reason that broadcasters have been able to get away without paying artists for so long is that most Americans simply don’t know it’s happening, according to the musicFIRST poll.

In this survey, only 30% of Americans said they were aware that artists aren’t paid when their music is played on AM/FM radio. Meanwhile, over half reported that they knew that streaming services like Spotify and Pandora do pay artists for streams. 

The NAB is banking on the public remaining in the dark on this issue, according to musicFIRST. Because once they do become aware, Americans overwhelmingly believe it’s unfair that music creators and artists are not paid when their music is played on the radio — by a 2-to-1 margin, 54%-22%. Once average people start speaking up, standing, alongside leading artists and voices in the music industry, the pressure to finally provide fair compensation may be too much for corporate broadcasters to withstand.

By a more than 40-point margin (60%-16%), survey respondents say that artists should be able to withhold their music and not allow radio stations to play their songs if they’re not being paid for it.

In response to polling conducted by musicFIRST regarding a performance royalty on local broadcast radio stations for music airplay, NAB released the following statement on behalf of  President and CEO Gordon Smith:

“NAB strongly opposes a performance fee on broadcast radio, and we applaud the more than 200 bipartisan members of Congress who are standing up for their local radio stations and listeners. Not only would a performance fee upend the century-long symbiotic relationship between radio and the music industry, but it would devastate thousands of radio stations across the country.

“As musicFIRST is well aware, NAB’s door remains open to continue discussions around a holistic solution to this issue that grows the partnership between the music and broadcast industries for another hundred years. It is unfortunate that the record labels’ focus is on gimmicky press conferences and questionable Survey Monkey polling rather than serious conversation.”

FOX News Bans Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani has been banned from Fox News for almost three months. As if the sting of that weren’t painful enough, the “9/11 mayor” learned of his banishment … on the eve of Sept. 11, reports Politico.

Giuliani was slated to appear on “Fox & Friends” to mark the 20th anniversary of the attack. But the night before, host Pete Hegseth called Giuliani to say he’d been cut from the show and apologize.

The ban extends not just to Giuliani, but also to his son Andrew, who has not been on Fox News since he launched his campaign for governor of New York in May despite many requests to go on the network. His team has been frustrated that rival GOP gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin is a frequent guest.

But bookers have told both Giulianis the ban comes from the top, sources said. The former New York City mayor had been a fixture on the network.

“Rudy is really hurt because he did a big favor for Rupert (Murdoch),” a source close to Giuliani said. “He was instrumental in getting Fox on Time Warner so it could be watched in New York City.” In 1996, Giuliani’s administration advocated for Time Warner to carry the newly launched Fox News Channel, intervening in a dispute between Murdoch and the cable provider.

Dominion Voting Systems has separately sued Giuliani and Fox News for allegedly defaming the company with false election claims — in the case of Fox, for allowing guests like Giuliani to make the claims on its network. Fox News has filed to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Dominion failed to show the network acted in malice, the legal standard for proving defamation. Giuliani has argued his claims about Dominion were “substantially true,” while acknowledging he didn’t understand how the company’s voting software works, according to Business Insider.

In a 2018 FBI deposition that became public last month, Giuliani admitted he would push lies about Hillary Clinton on Fox News, referring to it as “throwing a fake.”

Streamers Among Brand Loyalty Leaders

The 2021 annual Loyalty Leaders List, conducted by Brand Keys, found consumers chose to recognize brands with established loyalty bonafides rather than acknowledge new brands. This year’s survey, a cross-category examination of brand loyalty conducted by the New York-based brand loyalty and customer engagement research consultancy, included 1,260 brands in 112 categories.

“This year’s loyalty rankings describe a desperate desire by the consumer for a return to normalcy.” Over the past year loyalty has experienced a COVID-induced medical and marketplace trial-by-fire, the toughest test of customer loyalty we’ve measured in nearly forty years conducting loyalty research,” noted Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president.

Brands As Surrogate For Solace

Brands can act as surrogates for emotional values absent from consumers lives. But brands with high levels of customer loyalty can provide solace too and are six times more likely to fulfill that role in uncertain circumstances, including lockdowns, product shortages, and supply chain SNAFUs. This year, brands like Home Depot, PayPal, Clorox, Hulu, and Purell managed to maintain loyalty leads established during the initial year of the pandemic.

➤2021 Top-20 Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders (#s in parentheses indicate 2020 loyalty rankings):

  1. Amazon: online retail (#1)
  2. Apple: smartphones (#4)
  3. Netflix: video streaming (#2)
  4. Domino’s: pizza (#5)
  5. Amazon: video streaming (#3)
  6. Disney+: video streaming (#7)
  7. Google: search engines (#6)
  8. WhatsApp: instant messaging (#9)
  9. Instagram: social networking (#11)
  10. Nike: athletic footwear (#12)
  11. Home Depot: home improvement retail (#8)
  12. Discover: credit cards (#16)
  13. PayPal: online payments (#13)
  14. Samsung: smartphones (#10)
  15. Apple: tablets (#15)
  16. YouTube: social networking (#17)
  17. Hyundai: automotive (#18)
  18. Hulu: video streaming (#19)
  19. UPS: delivery (#21)
  20. Trader Joe’s: natural food retail (#20)

Loyalty Is Emotional. So Are Consumers. Do This:

“Loyalty is always about connection and expectations,” said Passikoff. Brands that connect emotionally with consumers and can meet consumers’ mostly-emotional expectations, always do better during crises – six times better. The 2021 Loyalty Leaders List proves brands with high levels of customer loyalty can emerge from watershed moments stronger than before.

“Brands that do loyalty right,” declared Passikoff, “Always do better than their competition. And brands that make loyalty and emotional engagement a priority, show up on our Loyalty Leaders List. More importantly, they show up on consumers’ shopping lists.”

Disney+ Hopes Subs Will Spike With New Promo Offer

After dropping its 7-day free trial offer in June 2020 — seven months after its November 2019 launch — Disney+ is again promoting that offer, via a direct-mail piece, according to MediaPost.

The Disney+ direct mail piece, which drives recipients to use a code provided to respond to the offer via an area on the Disney+ site, was sent to an estimated 500,000 U.S. households.

Disney+ discontinued the free-trial offer amid robust subscriber growth, shortly before the debut of its movie version of “Hamilton” on the streamer.

Taking a free trial to watch a specific movie or series, then canceling, is a common practice.

Disney+’s long run of big leaps in paid subscribers has slowed of late, particularly in the U.S.

U.S. slowing was largely behind a smaller-than-expected increase in subscribers in the company’s fiscal second quarter ended April 3. Global Disney+ subscribers rose to 103.6 million in that quarter — up from 103.6 million in fiscal Q2 — but analysts had projected 109 million.

While Disney+ global subscribers had risen to 116 million by the third quarter — beating the 114.5 million expected by analysts — the total included just a 1-million gain in North America, to about 38 million, according to one report.

Increasingly, Disney+’s growth has been driven by India, where its Hotstar streaming subscribers rose by about 12 million, to 38 million, in the six months leading up to July.

This week, Disney CEO Bob Chapek warned during an industry conference that Disney+ “hit some headwinds” in its current fiscal fourth quarter, and is expected to see subscriber gains in the “low single-digit millions.” Some analysts had been projecting growth in excess of 10 million.

Fate Of Singer R Kelly Now In Hands Of Jury

R Kelly
The jury has retired in R. Kelly's sex trafficking trial in New York, after a month of testimony regarding the star's alleged sexual abuse of men, women and underage girls, reports the BBC.

The 54-year-old is facing one charge of racketeering - which positions him as the head of a criminal enterprise that preyed on young women - and eight counts of trafficking girls and women across state lines for prostitution.

Once one of the world's biggest pop stars, Kelly was initially arrested on these charges in July 2019, but his trial was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and scheduling issues with separate cases he faces in other states.

In their closing arguments, prosecutors painted Kelly as a predator who destroyed the lives of people around him.

"He used lies, manipulation, threats and physical abuse to dominate his victims," said assistant US attorney Elizabeth Geddes, adding that his immense wealth and fame allowed him to "hide in plain sight".

Kelly's lawyers sought to attack the credibility of the witnesses who accused him of sexual and physical abuse, saying their stories were manufactured or exaggerated, and casting them as opportunists cashing in on his fame.

"They're monetizing. They know what the game is. They're surviving off of R. Kelly," Deveraux Cannick told the jury.

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not guilty on all counts but refused the opportunity to testify in his defense.

If convicted, he faces between 10 years in prison and a life sentence.

September 25 Radio History

In 1922...WOAI San Antonio signed on the air. At first, it broadcast on 1190 kilocycles with only 500 watts. Over the next several years WOAI was issued permits by the Federal Radio Commission to move the transmitter site and increase its power from 500 to 1,000 watts; then to 2,000 watts, and then 5,000; and finally to 50,000 watts in 1930.\

Meaning of call letters: World Of Agriculture Information.

During The Golden Age of Radio, WOAI was an NBC Red Network affiliate, airing its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows, children's shows and big band broadcasts. For more than four decades, WOAI was owned by Southland Industries, Inc.

Because it went on the air in the earliest days of broadcasting, the station's call sign begins with a "W." Stations in Texas were in the W territory before 1923, when the dividing line became the Mississippi River. From that point, nearly all stations in Texas received "K" call letters. But WOAI has been grandfathered with its unusual call sign.

Today, WOAI is currently the westernmost station to have "W" call signs. There are still about two dozen W stations in states west of the Mississippi River.

In 1941, WOAI was moved to clear channel frequency 1200 kHz.

In 1933...The Tom Mix Radio Show was heard for the first time on NBC. The show ran until June 1950.

Thomas Edwin Mix was born Thomas Hezikiah Mix on January 6, 1880 and died October 12, 1940. He was an American film actor and the star of many early Western movies between 1909 and 1935. Mix appeared in 291 films, all but nine of which were silent movies. He was Hollywood's first Western star and helped define the genre as it emerged in the early days of the cinema.

Mix himself never appeared on these broadcasts (his voice, damaged by a bullet to the throat and repeated broken noses, was not fit for radio) and was instead played by radio actors: Artells Dickson (early 1930s), Jack Holden (from 1937), Russell Thorsen (early 1940s) and Joe "Curley" Bradley (from 1944). Others in the supporting cast included George Gobel, Harold Peary and Willard Waterman.

Here's the Tom Mix tie-in to the call sign of Hubbard Radio's WTMX Chicago.

WKBI AM in St. Marys PA went on in 1950. This was the first of a group of stations that would become the Allegheny Mountain Radio Network headed up by Cary Simpson. In 1966, WKBI-FM went on the air Licensed to Ridgeway, Elk County PA's County seat.

In the 70's WKBI-FM changed formats from Top 40 to Country and at that time changed call letters to WTMX in honor of one of Hollywoods early famous cowboys of the silver screen, Tom Mix. Mix was born in Southern Elk county.

WTMX would become WKBI-FM again in 1983.

In Chicago, WCLR changed it's call sign to WTMX in 1989.
(H/T: Jim Linn Jacksonville.)

In 1967...Announcer Bob Hall, Host of Music Til Dawn on WCBS 880 AM died. His program "Music Till Dawn" premiered on April 13, 1953.

In 1975...While performing "Lonely Teardrops" onstage at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, NJ during a Dick Clark oldies revue, Jackie Wilson collapses from a heart attack, bashing his head on the stage and lapsing into a come from which he will remain until his death in 1983. Radio-TV personality Dick Clark paid for Wilson's care, since he himself had no insurance.

Video features Wilson on the TV Show Shindig with Billy Preston on the keyboards.

In 1978…Radio actor Bret Morrison died from a heart attacke at age 66 (Born May 5, 1912). He was best known as the voice of the mysterious crusader for law and order on radio's The Shadow. He was also a popular cabaret singer.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Morrison entered radio during the 1930s while he was still in Chicago High School. He began with The First Nighter Program. In 1937, he was in the cast of Lucky Girl, a Monday-Friday drama broadcast on WGN in Chicago.

Morrison portrayed the Shadow longer than any other actor, spending 10 years in the role in two separate runs. Bill Johnstone played the Shadow until early 1943. Morrison replaced Johnstone in April, 1943, continuing until 1944. John Archer (1944–45) was followed by Steve Courtleigh (1945). Morrison then returned from 1945 until 1954. For many, he was the definitive voice of the Shadow, though his delivery was much less sinister than Orson Welles, who also portrayed the Shadow during its first full year run.

In 1989...Jacor launched CHR "Power 93 The Power Pig" in Tampa.

A year earlier, Jacor Broadcasting bought WFLA-FM 93.3 and its sister station, WFLA-AM 970, and switched the FM’s format and calls to oldies WFLZ “Z93.” The format lasted only about a year.

After a weekend of stunting, including an hour of an urban contemporary micro-format, WFLZ flipped to Top 40 on September 25, 1989 at 8:15 AM to compete against local CHR WRBQ Q105 (the first song under the new format was "Cold Hearted" by Paula Abdul). The station became "Power 93" or "The Power Pig", and aggressively targeted Q105 with promotions such as handing out "Screw The Q" t-shirts at various on the street events.

The station took over first place in 72 days and became one of the most legendary radio stations of all time.

Power Pig WFLZ #1
The first full-time Power Pig on-air lineup in October 1989 included Dr. Don Carpenter and the “Three Little Pigs” – Jack Harris, BJ Harris, and PD Marc Chase – on the morning show.

In middays was long-time Tampa radio vet Dave Mann; afternoons were led by former Q105'er Jon 'Rock N Roll' Anthony, and nights were hosted by Tim and Tom.

The original Beaver Stevens held down 10pm-2am, and Russell ‘The Love Muscle’ handled overnights from 2am-6am. The Pig continued its double-entendres on the weekends, too, with Hot "Dickie" Damn, Booger, Hardin Long, Jason (Mason's illegitimate son) Dixon, Jomama Johnson, Boner, and Brian Christopher.


Ratings for “The Power Pig” took off with listeners 12+ and 18-34 who bought specially-designed T-shirts imprinted with “Screw the Q” on them from the station’s pink-colored mobile unit dubbed “The Pig Van.” Lawsuits ensued and, in the end, Q105 took quite a beating and switched to country in 1993 (Today the station airs Classic Hits). In 1995 WFLZ dropped its aggressive approach and re-imaged itself more mainstream Top 40 as “93.3 FLZ The New Music Revolution” and, in 2000, “The #1 Hit Music Channel”.

➦In 2001…XM Satellite Radio launched fulltime on-air programming. It was set to officially launch on September 12, but due to the September 11 attacks, the kickoff was postponed to the 25th.

On that day, XM began signing subscribers in the Dallas and San Diego area, then slowly worked north and east until subscribing was open to all of U. S. as of November 12th, according to Marlin Taylor, one of XM's original Program Directors.

On July 29, 2008, XM and former competitor Sirius Satellite Radio formally completed their merger, following FCC approval, forming SiriusXM Radio, Inc. On November 12, 2008, Sirius and XM began broadcasting with their new, combined channel lineups. On January 13, 2011, XM Satellite Radio, Inc. was dissolved as a separate entity and merged into Sirius XM Radio, Inc. Prior to its merger with Sirius, XM was the largest satellite radio company in the United States.

In 2003...Bob Murphy called his final MLB NY Mets radio broadcast.

Murphy (September 19, 1924 – August 3, 2004) spent 50 years doing play-by-play of games on television and radio. The Oklahoman was best known for announcing the New York Mets, from their inception in 1962 until his retirement in 2003. He was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick Award in 1994.

Murphy's broadcasts were known for his optimistic outlook. He would rarely be critical of players and would always strive to emphasize the positive. According to Gary Thorne, who was his partner in the Mets radio booth from 1985 to 1988, Murphy felt that, "the game was to be enjoyed and he sought out the joy in that day's game to bring to the fans."

Murphy, despite his long association with the Mets, never openly rooted for the team from the booth. Listeners knew that he was happier when the Mets won, as evidenced by his mention of a "happy recap" after a Mets win and a "recap" after a Mets loss, but he never referred to the Mets as "we" and, reflecting his love of the game, he would sound equally excited when a good play was made against the Mets as he would when the Mets made a similar play.

From the Mets' first game in 1962 through the post-Tom Seaver days of 1978, on radio and television, the Mets games were announced by the trio of Murphy, along with Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner. Nelson left after the 1978 season and was replaced by Steve Albert. Albert broadcast the Mets for three seasons.

Prior to 1982, the Mets announcers had done television and radio on a rotational system. While two were on TV, the other would take over on radio.

However, in 1982, Murphy was taken out of the television booth, in order to announce the games on radio only. He was joined by Steve Lamar, who also strictly did radio for the Mets. Murphy became known for "painting the word picture;" many say that play-by-play of baseball on radio requires a lot more skill than television, because on radio, the broadcaster must be able to inspire the listener's imagination. For the rest of his career, with the exception of emergency situations, Murphy announced exclusively from the radio booth.

In 2005…Longtime radio personality Jerry Kaye died at age 67. He was part of a powerhouse lineup of disc jockeys that made KJR-AM the dominant station in Seattle in the 1960s. Program Director Pat O'Day hired Kay at a Yakima station in 1957, then brought him to Seattle in 1961 (Kay was born Jerry King, but changed his name when he came to Seattle, because of a competing station with that name as its call letters). He later moved to Chicago's rock giants, WLS-AM and WCFL-AM, returning to the Seattle area to work for such stations as KBSG, KHIT, KSPL and KJR.

In 2010…Radio-TV show announcer Art Gilmore died at age 98 (Born - March 18, 1912). His voice was heard on radio and television programs, children's records, movies, trailers, radio commercials, and documentary films. He also appeared in several television series and a few feature films.

In 1935, he got hired to work as an announcer for Seattle's KOL Radio. In 1936, he became a staff announcer for the Warner Brothers' radio station KFWB in Hollywood and then moved to the CBS-owned station KNX as a news reader. During World War II, he served as a fighter-director U.S. Navy officer aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean.

Leaving the Navy, he decided to become a professional singer and returned to Hollywood. With a group of notable Hollywood radio stars, including Edgar Bergen, Ralph Edwards and Jim Jordan, Gilmore founded Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters in 1966. At the time of his death, he was Chairman Emeritus of PPB.

Gilmore's announcing voice became a part of many classic radio programs. Drawing his inspiration from the radio sports commentators of the 1930s, he became the announcer for Amos 'n' Andy, The Adventures of Frank Race, Dr. Christian, Sears Radio Theater, Stars over Hollywood, The Golden Days of Radio and other radio shows. It was Gilmore who introduced Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong, reminding listeners to request free religious literature at the conclusion of "The World Tomorrow" on radio and television.

With the advent of television, Gilmore heralded The George Gobel Show, The Red Skelton Show, An Evening with Fred Astaire and many others. He narrated 156 episodes of Highway Patrol with Broderick Crawford, 39 segments of Mackenzie's Raiders with Richard Carlson, and 41 episodes of Men of Annapolis. His television appearances included The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Adam-12, Emergency!, Dragnet and The Waltons.

In 2013…News correspondent Lee Thornton died from cancer at age 71 (Born - November 14, 1941). As a journalist and correspondent she worked for CBS, CNN, NPR, and was professor at Howard University and the University of Maryland. She was also the first African American woman to cover the White House. She was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2013.

Lee Thornton started working for CBS in 1974. In 1977, CBS promoted her to report on President Jimmy Carter's Administration and she became the first African American woman to cover the White House. Afterward, she was at a CBS affiliate in Detroit before joining National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" news program as a weekend host in 1982. After hosting NPR news program, she went to Howard University to be a professor of broadcast journalism.

After a brief time at Howard, she went to the University of Maryland, College Park to teach at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism in 1997.

Cheryl Tiegs is 74
  • Newswoman Barbara Walters is 92. 
  • Singer Ian Tyson of Ian and Sylvia is 88. 
  • Polka band leader Jimmy Sturr is 79. 
  • Actor Josh Taylor (“Days of Our Lives,” “Valerie’s Family”) is 78. 
  • Actor Robert Walden (“Lou Grant”) is 78. 
  • Actor Michael Douglas is 77. 
  • Model Cheryl Tiegs is 74. 
  • Actor Mimi Kennedy (“Dharma and Greg”) is 73. 
  • Actor Anson Williams (“Happy Days”) is 72. 
  • Anson Williams is 72
    Actor Mark Hamill is 70. 
  • Actor Colin Friels is 69. 
  • Actor Michael Madsen is 63. 
  • Actor Heather Locklear is 60. 
  • Actor Aida Turturro (“The Sopranos”) is 59. 
  • Actor Tate Donovan (“The O.C.”) is 58. 
  • TV personality Keely Shaye Smith (“Unsolved Mysteries”) is 58. 
  • Actor Maria Doyle Kennedy (“Orphan Black,” ″The Tudors”) is 57. 
  • Actor Jason Flemyng (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” ″The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”) is 55.
  • Actor-singer Will Smith is 53. 
  • Actor Hal Sparks (“Queer as Folk”) is 52. 
  • Actor Catherine Zeta-Jones is 52. 
  • Actor Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (“I Know What You Did Last Summer”) is 48. 
  • Actor Clea DuVall (“Heroes”) is 44. 
  • Actor Robbie Jones (“One Tree Hill”) is 44. 
  • Actor Joel David Moore (“Avatar”) is 44. 
  • Actor Chris Owen (“American Pie” films) is 41. 
  • Rapper T.I. is 41. 
  • Actor Lee Norris (“One Tree Hill”) is 40. 
  • Actor-rapper Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) (“Atlanta,” ″Community”) is 38. 
  • Actor Zach Woods (“Silicon Valley,” ″The Office”) is 37. 
  • Actor Jordan Gavaris (“Orphan Black”) is 32. 
  • Actor Emmy Clarke (“Monk”) is 30.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Positions Eliminated At Several CMG Stations

Layoffs hit Cox Media Group Thursday impacting several markets and stations with diverse formats.

Markets known to be affected are Miami, Jacksonville, San Antonio, Houston, Long Island and Orlando.  Other markets may be added as they become known.

  • In Orlando:  Two programmers are gone...Hildi Brooks at Classic Hits WMMO and Dawn Campbell at Urban WCFB. Also reported to be RIFFed are N/T WDBO's Tony Marino, Darrell Moody and longtime morning anchor Ray Caputo.  
  • In Houston: The morning duo of Dan Gallo and Chuck Akers are no longer at Classic Country KTHT
  • On Long Island: Jeremy Rice is out at program Director art WBLI, adfter 22-years.  He also served as CHR format leader for CMG.  Plus: Dana Parisi from the WBLI morning show and Ted Lindner.
  • In Miami: Operations Manager Jill Strada is gone, as are: Trina & Trick Daddy at WEDR. Also, The company's CHR “Hits 97.3” WFLC is stunting pointing a format change at noon Friday.
  • In San Antonio: Randy Bonillas exits as APD/MD/PM Drive host at Rock 99.5 KISS. Also Jason Skaggs in production, KCYY morning show producer Chris Cardenas, Jered Dey, producer Bill Madison and on-air talent Randy Bonillas.
  • In Tulsa: Ken ‘Gus’ August departs mornings at Classic Rock “103.3 The Eagle” KJSR

Cost, Content Drive Consumers’ Media Choices

Consumers are managing—and paying for—a growing number of entertainment services. As they chase their favorite content and seek to contain costs, people are showing strong interest in ad-supported options. At the same time, subscription fatigue and suboptimal user experiences are causing some consumers to cancel their subscriptions and jump to competitors—or to other forms of entertainment. 

All these issues are driving subscriber churn and posing challenges for media companies vying to retain audiences.

Of the more than 2,000 consumers Deloitte polled for its annual “Digital Media Trends” survey, 46% say that a low enough price is the most important factor in deciding to subscribe to a new paid streaming video service. This is a significantly higher percentage than those who list content as their main consideration. While some consumers have lost income or employment because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are looking to balance costs across multiple paid entertainment services.

Eighty-two percent of consumers subscribe to a paid streaming video service. When asked which factors would motivate them to cancel a paid video, music, or gaming service, respondents most often cite an increase in price, although interesting nuances emerge among different media types.

This cost sensitivity is driving more consumer interest in ad-supported entertainment options that subsidize or remove subscription fees. Among survey respondents, 55% say they now watch a free, ad-supported video service.

The survey also polled consumers about their frustration with media services. Sixty-six percent of people say they are dissatisfied when content they want to watch is removed from a service, and 53% are frustrated by having to subscribe to multiple services to access the content they want. Consumers also face difficulties finding content—a challenge for providers spending billions on new productions. Among respondents, 52% find it difficult to access content across so many services; 49% are frustrated if a service fails to provide them with good recommendations.

These challenges reinforce subscriber churn, which from October 2020 to February 2021 held at a rate of approximately 37% for streaming video services. Churn erodes ROI and customer value, making retention essential. Consumers with greater cost sensitivity may want subscriptions with more pricing options based on usage and ad tolerance as well as an easy way to move between tiers to meet their needs and level of engagement. Meanwhile, a stronger, more customized user experience could make it easier for subscribers to find content that fits their interests.

As they determine their next steps, media companies can ask the following questions:
  • How can we get closer to customers to deliver engaging content, pricing, and advertising?
  • Can we predict churn better, and then use membership perks to entice hesitant subscribers to stay?
  • If younger people are engaging less with traditional video formats, does this represent a potential sea change for our business?
  • How can we best leverage our intellectual property to engage with audiences on other entertainment platforms and attract them to our services?
Entertainment leaders who consider such strategic questions may be better positioned to respond as the industry continues to evolve. By understanding what people’s needs and preferences are now—and where they might be headed—providers can determine the most effective ways to create lasting consumer engagement and fuel long-term growth.

CNN's Chris Cuomo Admits Sexually Harassing Former Boss

A former ABC executive producer has accused Chris Cuomo of sexually harassing her at a 2005 work party after he grabbed her butt in front of her husband and co-workers — and he later called it a “hearty greeting.”

The NY Post reports Shelley Ross, a veteran TV journalist, detailed the incident at an Upper West Side bar in a New York Times op-ed Friday.

Shelley Ross
She said Cuomo sent an email in the aftermath telling her he was “ashamed”.  

Ross said she was working as an executive producer of an ABC entertainment program at the time, but had been Cuomo’s boss on ABC’s “Primetime Live” just prior.

“I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock,” she said.

Cuomo said in a statement regarding the allegations: “As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”

Wake-Up Call: CDC Endorses Vaxx Boosters For 65+, At Risk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday endorsed Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for those 65 and older and other vulnerable Americans, with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signing off on the recommendations from a panel of advisers. In addition to seniors, boosters at least six months past a second Pfizer shot were also endorsed for nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have underlying health problems. Additionally, Walensky included one group the panel had voted against, those ages 18 to 64 who are health-care workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk. The FDA had signed off a day earlier on boosters for similar populations. Boosters for those who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines haven't yet been taken up by the regulators, and doesn't have data on whether it's safe to give those people a Pfizer booster. The U.S. has already authorized third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for certain people with weakened immune systems.

🔫ONE KILLED BY GUNMAN, 12 WOUNDED IN TENNESSEE SUPERMARKET: One person was killed and 12 others wounded, some of them seriously, when a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Collierville, Tennessee, yesterday afternoon. The gunman was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound by a SWAT team that arrived within minutes. The identities of the gunman and the victims weren't immediately released. The shooter's vehicle was in the parking lot of the supermarket, which is located in a suburb about 30 miles east of Memphis.

➤HAITIAN MIGRANT ENCAMPMENT IN TEXAS REDUCED BY MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS: The makeshift encampment of Haitian migrants under a bridge in the Texas border town of Del Rio had been reduced in size by nearly two-thirds as of yesterday, with Department of Homeland Security officials saying there were about 4,000 people left. Just days earlier, there'd been nearly 15,000 migrants there. The unnamed DHS officials told journalists says some 1,400 of those evacuated had been sent to Haiti, 3,200 were in U.S. custody and being processed, and seven thousand had returned to Mexico. Food, shelter and medical care were being provided for those who still remained at the encampment and need it.

➤HOUSE JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE SUBPOENAS TRUMP ADVISERS, ASSOCIATES: The House select committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol issued its first subpoenas yesterday, for records and testimony from four advisers and associates of former President Donald Trump who were in contact with Trump before and during the attack. They are: former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows; former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino; former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel; and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. The subpoenas ask the men to produce documents by October 7th and appear at depositions on October 14th and 15th.

Daily Mail graphic 9/24/21

➤PETITO FIANCE LAUNDRIE CHARGED WITH BANK FRAUD: The 23-year-old fiance of Gabrielle Petito, Brian Laundrie, was charged with bank fraud yesterday (September 23rd) for unauthorized use of a debit card. That came as searchers continued to look for Laundrie, who hasn't been seen in 10 days, since before Petito's body was found in Wyoming last weekend. The indictment alleges Laudrie used a debit card and someone's personal ID number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000 during the period in which Petito went missing from about August 30th to September 1st. It doesn't say who the card belonged to. Laundrie has been named a person of interest in the 22-year-old Petito's death.

✈NUMBER OF DISRUPTIVE AIR PASSENGERS DOWN SHARPLY, BUT STILL HIGH: The number of disruptive air passengers is down sharply from early this year, but it's still more than twice the level of late 2020 and has been mostly unchanged over the past three months. The Federal Aviation Administration yesterday cited their use of bigger fines against unruly passengers for the decline. Still, FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson said, "This remains a serious safety threat.” Airlines reported about six incidents of disruptive passengers for every 10,000 flights last week, down about half from February and March, but about the same as late June. About three-quarters of the incidents this year involved passengers refusing to wear face masks.

➤FEDEX HAVING TO REROUTE 600K PACKAGES DAILY DUE TO LABOR SHORTAGE: FedEx is having to reroute some 600,000 packages a day because of a labor shortage, leading to longer delivery times, President and COO Raj Subramaniam told investors during an earnings call this week. Subramaniam stated that the labor shortage was, quote, "the biggest issue facing our business," and a big reason behind the company's seven percent profit decline in the quarter that ended at the end of August. He said the labor problem could last into the holiday season, as FedEx is looking to hire 90,000 employees for the holidays.
➤POLL...VOTERs WANTS BIG TECH REINED-IN BY GOV'T:  Americans don't seem to agree on much these days, but a new poll found that U.S. voters overwhelmingly want Big Tech companies reined in by the federal government. The poll conducted for the Future of Tech Commission found that 80 percent of registered voters agreed the government, quote, "needs to do everything it can to curb the influence of big tech companies that have grown too powerful and now use our data to reach too far into our lives." That included 83 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of Republicans. The poll found that the two biggest policy priorities for voters related to Big Tech are strengthening privacy for users and accountability for the technology companies. There was widespread support for boosting antitrust laws to ensure more competition in tech, but the majority were opposed to breaking up Big Tech companies. Additionally, despite wanting more regulation of Big Tech, the respondents generally had positive opinions of the companies, with Google having an 81 percent favorability, Amazon 74 percent, Apple 67 percent and Facebook 53 percent.

🏫KIDS ARE ONTO SOMETHING: HOMEWORK MIGHT ACTUALLY BE BAD:  Homework is no fun for kids. Many schools dole out ten minutes of homework for each grade level, as was once recommended by the National Education Association (NEA). So, first graders should get just ten minutes of work to do at home while high schoolers should be cracking the books for up to two hours each night. But multiple studies have found that kids are usually getting more homework than that each night. Also, one study found a correlation between homework and strengthened achievement among seventh graders, but another found that, “students who did more hours of homework experienced greater behavioral engagement in school but also more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives.” Further complicating homework is who has access to high-speed internet and who doesn’t-- as millions of households still lack fast, reliable internet. So how can homework be made into a good thing? Some experts say homework should be decoupled from students’ overall grades to take the pressure off, while others say making homework more useful for kids may also come down to picking the right types of assignments, as research has shown that it’s easier to learn material revisited several times in short bursts rather than during long study sessions.

➤THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WHY WE’RE CRAZY FOR PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING: Brands figured it out a while ago-- people love pumpkin spice. Johns Hopkins University researchers say it’s not so much the taste of pumpkin spice that we love so much as the smell and it’s associations. Researcher Jason Fischer explains, “There’s a kind of special access to the memory system in the brain that odor perception has.” Even just reading the phrase “pumpkin spice” can bring forth the scents and memories of fall, which are further enforced when the leaves change colors and other physical signs of fall are present around us. McCormick & Company first released their pumpkin pie spice blend in 1934, and two years ago it was the company’s fourth best-selling retail spice during fall. The researchers add that there’s another factor at play called “the familiarity effect,” which dictates “the more you’ve been exposed to something, the more it ingrains itself in your preferences.” Fisher adds, “So simply by experiencing pumpkin spice every year, over and over again… it takes on that sense of familiarity” and when you add in all the other positive associations with fall, it “can really cause us to find some sort of nostalgic comfort in it.”

➤FAMILIES WHO LISTEN TO MUSIC TOGETHER FORM BETTER BONDS:  It turns out families who listen to music together are less likely to argue. Virgin Media commissioned a poll of 2,000 British adults and found 42 percent think they are closer to their loved ones due to a shared love of music, and 32 percent say they believe it reduces the disagreements they have. Fifty-nine percent of parents even said listening to their kids’ musical influences has helped them understand their children better. Seventy-six percent of parents who remember taking their child to their first concert even say it was one of the best experiences in their life.  

🏈PANTHERS TOP TEXANS 24-9, MCCAFFREY INJURED: The Carolina Panthers topped the Houston Texans 24-9 last night to go 3-0 on the season. But there was a shadow over the win for Carolina, with star running back Christian McCaffrey suffering a hamstring injury early in the second quarter. Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 304 yards and ran for two touchdowns, while the Texans' rookie quarterback Davis Mills was sacked four times and held to 168 yards passing in his first career start. Mills was filling in for an injured Tyrod Taylor.

🏀SKY, MERCURY ADVANCE IN WNBA PLAYOFFS WITH FIRST-ROUND SINGLE-ELIMINATION WINS: The WNBA's playoffs got underway last night with the Chicago Sky and the Phoenix Mercury advancing to the second round with wins in their single-elimination first-round games. The Sky beat the Dallas Wings 81-64, and the Mercury defeated the New York Liberty 83-82, getting the win on a free throw by Brianna Turner with less than second to play. As Chicago and Phoenix now move on, the Wings and Liberty are done for the season.

⚾WHITE SOX WIN AL CENTRAL FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2008: The Chicago White Sox clinched the AL Central title with a 7-2 win over the Cleveland Indians yesterday, the first time they've won the division since 2008. It's also the first time Chicago will be going to the postseason for two years in a row. This is the White Sox's first season under 76-year-old Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa.

🏌THOMAS AND SPIETH TO OPEN RYDER CUP FOR U.S.: The duo of Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth will open the Ryder Cup for the U.S. this morning against the European team of Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, both of Spain, at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The other U.S. teams playing this morning will be: Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa against Paul Casey of England and Viktor Hovland of Norway; Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger against Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, both of England; and Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay against Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter of England. Europe has won four of the past five Ryder Cups

⚾TORONTO RELIEVER BORUCKI SUSPENDED THREE GAMES FOR HITTING RAYS' KIERMAIER: Toronto Blue Jays reliever Ryan Borucki has been suspended for three games for intentionally hitting the Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kiermaier with a pitch, MLB announced on Thursday. Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo was suspended for one game, and both were given undisclosed fines. 

Borucki was ejected from Wednesday's game after he hit the centerfielder in the back in the eighth inning. That came two days after Kiermaier picked up a Toronto scouting report that had fallen off catcher Alejandro Kirk’s wristband during a play at the plate and refused to give it back. Borucki denied throwing at Kiermaier and is appealing the punishment.

FCC Could Become Neutered Due To In-Action At TWH

Republicans are poised to become a majority of the Federal Communications Commission at year’s end unless President Joe Biden nominates a chair who can swiftly be approved by the Senate, reports Bloomberg.

Eight months into his administration, Biden hasn’t named anyone to permanently lead the agency. Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel is set to leave at year’s end because her term has expired, and it’s unclear lawmakers will have time to take up nominations during a waning session dominated by high-stakes bills and a looming debt ceiling.

The odd dynamic could see the FCC’s lone remaining Democrat, Geoffrey Starks, serve as acting chairman of a five-member commission with two vacancies. He would control the agenda. But he would need support from at least one of the FCC’s two Republicans for major initiatives that require a vote.

Movement could stall on Democratic goals such as restoring net neutrality rules that bar cable and phone providers from interfering with subscribers’ web traffic but were gutted by Republicans under former President Donald Trump. Efforts to bolster broadband subsidies, making mobile broadband networks more reliable, and halting consolidation of broadcast ownership, could also be delayed.

Biden named Rosenworcel to lead the FCC shortly after he took office. The FCC has been short one commissioner since January when Trump’s Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, left. Now the agency is split along party lines with its membership comprised of two Republicans, Rosenworcel and Starks.

Rosenworcel is serving a holdover period after her term expired last year, and she would need to leave the agency when Congress ends its session unless nominated by the White House to a fresh term and then confirmed by the Senate.

Despite months of speculation, no names have emerged from the White House for the seat held by Rosenworcel, and that vacated by Pai.

Rosenworcel has long been considered a leading contender. On Wednesday, 24 Democratic senators, and an independent who caucuses with them, called on Biden to select her, saying in a letter “there is no better qualified or more competent person” and that the decision to nominate her “can no longer be delayed.”

“It will take months for a different nominee to move through the process, hire staff and begin implementing an agenda, leading to indecision and gridlock,” the senators said in the letter. Rosenworcel will face few obstacles to confirmation since the Senate has approved her before, the lawmakers said.

“The odds are better than even the 1-2 situation occurs,” said Blair Levin, a Washington-based analyst for New Street Research. “To avoid that situation the Biden administration would have to nominate and confirm two nominees by the end of the year, which is difficult.”
A short-handed FCC will be able to do “very little beyond the necessary administrative things, and things that are non-controversial,” Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior counselor at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, said in an interview.

Disney Decides Against Indy Probe Of Allegations At ABC News

Michael Corn, Kim Godwin, Kirsten Crawford

Walt Disney Co. has decided to not pursue an independent investigation into how the network handled sexual-assault allegations against the former top producer of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” The Wall Street Journal reports the show’s executive producer told staffers earlier this week.

Simone Swink, the executive producer of “GMA,” said during a staff meeting on Monday that an outside probe into the departure of Michael Corn as senior executive producer of the top-rated morning news program “is not happening at this time,” according to a recording of the meeting.

ABC News President Kim Godwin told staff last month that she requested an independent probe into the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported. The decision not to move forward with an investigation was disclosed to Godwin, Swink and other top ABC staffers in a meeting last Friday held by Peter Rice, who in his role as Disney’s chairman of general entertainment content oversees the news unit, according to the recording.

“Peter said it was beyond his sphere of influence to ask for an outside investigation of the Walt Disney Company,"  Swink told “GMA” staffers in the Monday meeting.

Asked by a staffer whether the network’s handling of allegations against Corn would be investigated internally instead, Swink said that because the company is in the middle of active litigation, “my understanding right now is that nothing is going to be done.”

ABC is a defendant in a lawsuit filed last month that alleged Corn sexually assaulted a current ABC News staffer and a former staffer in separate incidents. Corn has denied wrongdoing and called the allegations by Kirsten Crawford as fabrications.

When Corn was pushed out of the company in April, neither he nor the network provided a reason for his exit. After the lawsuit was filed, some ABC News staffers were angry that they were unaware of the complaints that had been made against Corn before his departure, people inside the network said.

Godwin, who joined ABC News as its president from CBS in May, told staffers on Aug. 26, the day after the lawsuit was filed, that she had asked her superiors for an independent investigation. “We can’t have us investigating us. We need an independent person,” she told the staff, according to a recording of the conference call. “The process has to be independent.”

Godwin also told the unit that she wouldn’t be “sweeping this under the rug.”

Staffers expressed frustration during Monday’s meeting with the decision not to conduct a probe and with Mr. Rice’s reason for not acting.