Saturday, December 11, 2021

December 12 Radio History

➦In 1896...Guglielmo Marconi gave the first public demonstration of radio at Toynbee Hall, London.

➦In 1901...Marconi sends first Atlantic wireless transmission

Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi succeeds in sending the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, disproving detractors who told him that the curvature of the earth would limit transmission to 200 miles or less.

The message--simply the Morse-code signal for the letter "s"--traveled more than 2,000 miles from Poldhu in Cornwall, England, to Signal Hill in Newfoundland, Canada.

Born in Bologna, Italy, in 1874 to an Italian father and an Irish mother, Marconi studied physics and became interested in the transmission of radio waves after learning of the experiments of the German physicist Heinrich Hertz. He began his own experiments in Bologna beginning in 1894 and soon succeeded in sending a radio signal over a distance of 1.5 miles. Receiving little encouragement for his experiments in Italy, he went to England in 1896.

He formed a wireless telegraph company and soon was sending transmissions from distances farther than 10 miles. In 1899, he succeeded in sending a transmission across the English Channel. That year, he also equipped two U.S. ships to report to New York newspapers on the progress of the America's Cup yacht race. That successful endeavor aroused widespread interest in Marconi and his wireless company.

Marconi's greatest achievement came on December 12, 1901, when he received a message sent from England at St. John's, Newfoundland. The transatlantic transmission won him worldwide fame.

Ironically, detractors of the project were correct when they declared that radio waves would not follow the curvature of the earth, as Marconi believed. In fact, Marconi's transatlantic radio signal had been headed into space when it was reflected off the ionosphere and bounced back down toward Canada.

Much remained to be learned about the laws of the radio wave and the role of the atmosphere in radio transmissions, and Marconi would continue to play a leading role in radio discoveries and innovations during the next three decades.

In 1909, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in physics with the German radio innovator Ferdinand Braun. After successfully sending radio transmissions from points as far away as England and Australia, Marconi turned his energy to experimenting with shorter, more powerful radio waves.

He died in 1937, and on the day of his funeral all British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) stations were silent for two minutes in tribute to his contributions to the development of radio.

➦In 1913...Longtime CBS correspondent Winston Burdett was born in Buffalo NY.  He was one of the original “Murrow’s boys” who covered Eastern Europe, North Africa and Italy during WWII and afterwards, for 22 years based in Rome. He died May 19, 1993 at age 79.

➦In 1915... Frank (Francis Albert) Sinatra was born in Hoboken, N.J.  As well as an illustrious recording & broadcast career, he won an Oscar in 1953 for his supporting role in “From Here to Eternity.” He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1965. Sinatra died May 14 1998 suffering from a combination of heart & kidney disease, and bladder cancer.  He was aged 82.

➦In 1937...the Federal Communications Commission was upset with NBC radio over a Sunday skit on the Charlie McCarthy Show that starred Mae West.

The satirical routine was based on the biblical tale of Adam and Eve and, well, it got a bit out of hand by the standards of the day. So, following the wrist-slap by the FCC, NBC banned Miss West from its airwaves for 15 years. Even the mere mention of her name on NBC was a no-no.

➦In 1957...KEX, Portland, Oregon Disc Jockey Al Priddy, was fired for playing Elvis Presley's rendition of "White Christmas." He violated the radio station's ban against the song. The station had banned Presley’s interpretations of Christmas carols.

➦In 1968...Actress Tallulah Bankhead died of pneumonia at 65.  She was hostess of NBC Radio’s 90-minute Big Show 1950-52, and the following year, was one of the rotating hosts on NBC-TV’s All-Star Revue.  Her last screen appearances were as the Black Widow on TV’s Batman in 1967.

➦In 1971...The man who headed Radio Corporation of America and put National Broadcasting Company together, David Sarnoff died at age 80.

Throughout most of his career he led the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in various capacities from shortly after its founding in 1919 until his retirement in 1970.

He ruled over an ever-growing telecommunications and consumer electronics empire that included both RCA and NBC, and became one of the largest companies in the world. Named a Reserve Brigadier General of the Signal Corps in 1945, Sarnoff thereafter was widely known as "The General."

Unlike many who were involved with early radio communications, viewing radio as point-to-point, Sarnoff saw the potential of radio as point-to-mass. One person (the broadcaster) could speak to many (the listeners).

When Owen D. Young of the General Electric Company arranged the purchase of American Marconi and turned it into the Radio Corporation of America, a radio patent monopoly, Sarnoff realized his dream and revived his proposal in a lengthy memo on the company's business and prospects. His superiors again ignored him but he contributed to the rising post-World War 1 radio boom by helping arrange for the broadcast of a heavyweight boxing match between Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier in July 1921. Up to 300,000 people heard the fight, and demand for home radio equipment bloomed that winter. By the spring of 1922 Sarnoff's prediction of popular demand for broadcasting had come true, and over the next eighteen months, he gained in stature and influence.

In 1926, RCA purchased its first radio station (WEAF, New York) and launched the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), America's first radio network. Four years later, Sarnoff became president of RCA. NBC had by that time split into two networks, the Red and the Blue. The Blue Network later became ABC Radio. Sarnoff was sometimes inaccurately referred to later in his career as the founder of both RCA and NBC, but he was in fact neither.

Sarnoff was instrumental in building and established the AM broadcasting radio business which became the preeminent public radio standard for the majority of the 20th century. This was until FM broadcasting radio re-emerged in the 1960s despite Sarnoff's efforts to suppress it (following FM's initial appearance and disappearance during the 1930s and 1940s.

➦In 1993...WAQX 104.3 (Q-104) rock format replaces WNCN classic format in NYC

➦In 1995...CBC announces Radio Canada International service to end on March 31

Unkle Roger
➦In 2003...Unkle Roger McCall, a long-time personality on Classic Rock WCMF 96.5 FM, Rochester, New York, was murdered during a gunshot in a suspected robbery attempt.  His killer has never been brought to justice.

McCall was gunned down in December 2003 in his son’s driveway by “just a boy” who disappeared forever under the cover of a darkening night and a sudden snow squall — leaving behind holes in Roger’s stomach, in his family and in a wide circle of close friends, listeners and fellow musicians who knew him as Unk, Unki, Unkle Roger.

Unkle Roger was 52 and despite having a microphone in front of him for 30 years working as disc jockey for WCMF, he had a relatively well-kept secret.  Several years before he was killed, he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was terminally ill.

➦In 2008...Chicago radio personality Spike O'Dell aired his final show on WGN 720 AM. He spent 21 years with the station, 8 of them doing mornings.

Spike O'Dell
Odell’s first radio hosting position was at WEMO-AM in East Moline at the age of 25.  While working at the factory, he disc jockeyed on weekends there as well as doing some fill-in slots. In 1977 Spike took another part-time job with WQUA radio in Moline Illinois. Following this, he obtained a full-time morning position at KSTT-AM, where he affectionately was referred to as “Spike at the Mic”. This proved to be a significant position, as it allowed O'Dell to move, in 1981, to a Major Market Morning Radio spot at WBT-AM in Charlotte, NC. After a brief stint as "morning guy," he returned to KIIK-FM. In 1987, Billboard Magazine awarded Spike “Top 40 Air Personality of the Year” in a Medium Market.

The Billboard magazine award lead to a call from then program director Dan Fabian to interview at WGN-AM in Chicago. In 1987, O'Dell was hired as the afternoon drive host for the station. Spike would go on to work 21 years at WGN. He remained at the top of the ratings in all the dayparts he hosted while at the station. O'Dell moved around a few times during his tenure at WGN, with notable stints in the afternoon, and ultimately, in the morning drive slot. The move to mornings occurred after the untimely death of then host Bob Collins.  O'Dell now enjoys spending time with his 5 grandchildren, golfing, photography, watercolor and acrylic painting, and sleeping late.

During the course of his career, he worked at:

  • 1976-1977 WEMO-AM East Moline
  • 1977-1978 WQUA Moline, IL
  • 1978-1980 KSTT-AM Davenport, IA
  • 1980-1982 WBT-AM Charlotte, NC
  • 1982-1987 KIIK-FM Davenport, IA

1987 WGN-AM Chicago, IL Spike was hired as afternoon host 3-7pm and moved to mornings on February 9, 2000 after Bob Collins was killed in a plane crash.

2008 Final Broadcast of “The Spike O’Dell Show” at the Metropolis Theater.

Ray Briem
➦In 2012...Ray Briem died from cancer at age 82 (Born - January 19, 1930). He was best known as an L-A personality who worked in Los Angeles most of his career, most notably at KABC.  He was noted for his conservative viewpoints, historical knowledge, polished delivery and love of Big Band music. He was especially capable of debating liberal callers and guests, but his shows were not limited to politics. He interviewed a wide range of celebrities primarily from the golden age of radio, music, movies and television. He worked the overnight shift for 27-years. He worked as a nationally syndicated host for a number of years, a time which he has recalled fondly for the variety and quality of callers.

On his overnight program he was able to persuade many news and opinion makers to stay up late, or, if on the east coast, get up early, to make appearances. A frequent guest was Howard Jarvis, the attorney and political activist, who used the show as a platform to promote California's property tax limitation initiative, Proposition 13, in 1978.

Briem received a number of honors, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

➦In 2013…TV quiz host Mac McGarry, host of "It's Academic" on Washington DC's WRC 980 AM for 50 years died of pneumonia at 87. In addition to his hosting duties in Washington, Mr. McGarry emceed the educational quiz show on NBC’s Baltimore affiliate from 1973 to 2000.

With an easy-going baritone that sounded like a throwback to the days of fedoras and big bands, Mr. McGarry thrived well into the Internet age. As host of “It’s Academic,” which launched in 1961 and became the longest-running quiz program in TV history, he liked to describe himself as the area’s most inquisitive man.

He carved a multifaceted career spanning six decades. He covered presidential inaugurations and the start of the Korean War. He also hosted a big-band radio show, was an early TV sparring partner of Willard Scott and appeared with a young Jim Henson and his Muppets.

He was working for a radio station in western Massachusetts before a Fordham classmate, the celebrated baseball announcer Vin Scully, urged him to apply for a summer announcing job at WRC-TV in 1950.  During his first five years at NBC affiliate, he was a general staff announcer, providing voice-overs for all occasions.

He covered presidential inaugurations and the start of the Korean War. He also hosted a big-band radio show, was an early TV sparring partner of Willard Scott and appeared with a young Jim Henson and his Muppets.

Among the many teenage contestants who competed for scholarship money on the Saturday program were future First Lady Hillary Rodham, Washington Post Chairman Donald E. Graham, political commentator George Stephanopoulos, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon, and actress Sandra Bullock.

➦In 2016…Jim Lowe died at age 93 (Born - May 7, 1923).  He was singer-songwriter, best known for his 1956 number-one hit song, "Green Door". He also served as a disc jockey and radio host and personality, and was considered an expert on the popular music of the 1940s and 1950s.

Jim Lowe
Born in Springfield, Missouri, he worked for several radio stations in Springfield, Indianapolis and Chicago, before moving to WCBS in New York City in 1956.

A million-seller and gold record recipient, Lowe's 1956 hit "The Green Door" was written by Marvin Moore and Bob Davie.

Lowe earlier wrote "Gambler's Guitar", a million-selling hit for Rusty Draper in 1953. His most notable run as a disc jockey was with WNEW 1130 AM in New York, from 1964. Lowe also worked at WNBC 660 AM in New York where he was heard both locally and on the coast-to-coast NBC Radio weekend program Monitor.

He retired in 2004 at the age of 81.

Bob Barker is 98


  • Game show host Bob Barker is 98. 
  • Singer Connie Francis is 84. 
  • Singer Dionne Warwick is 81. 
  • Singer-guitarist Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers) is 78. 
  • Mayim Bialik is 46
    Actor Wings Hauser is 74. 
  • Actor Bill Nighy (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) is 72. 
  • Actor Duane Chase (“The Sound of Music”) is 71. 
  • Country singer La Costa is 71. 
  • Gymnast-turned-actor Cathy Rigby is 69. 
  • Singer-percussionist Sheila E. is 64. 
  • Actor Sheree J. Wilson (“Walker, Texas Ranger,” ″Dallas”) is 63. 
  • Guitarist Eric Schenkman of Spin Doctors is 58. 
  • Bassist Nicholas Dimichino of Nine Days is 54. 
  • Actor Jennifer Connelly is 51. 
  • Actor Madchen Amick (“My Own Worst Enemy,” ″Twin Peaks”) is 51. 
  • Actor Regina Hall is 51. 
  • Actor Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory,” ″Blossom”) is 46. 
  • Actor Lucas Hedges (“Boy Erased,” ″Manchester by the Sea”) is 25. 
  • Actor Sky Katz (“Raven’s Home”) is 17.

Scores Feared Dead From Storms

Daily Mail Screenshot 12/11/21

An outbreak of powerful tornadoes left behind destruction and at least four fatalities Friday night and into early Saturday, including a twister that tore through four states, killing at least one, trapping dozens and toppling numerous structures, reports The Washington Post.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said that there were “likely” to be at least 50 deaths, “if not significantly north of that” in an early Saturday morning interview with local TV station WLKY. “The reports are really heartbreaking,” he said, adding that the biggest challenge was determining if the severe weather was “still continuing.”

The “quad-state tornado” was unusually long lasting and strong for the time of year, weather experts said. The twister, which ripped through Monette, Ark., and Mayfield, Ky., on Friday evening is likely to have carved out a 240-mile path; if the tornado remained on the ground without interruption, it will rank as the longest tornado track in U.S. history and the first to cross through four states.

That tornado shredded the roof of Monette Manor nursing home in Northern Arkansas, a 86-bed facility, killing at least one and injuring five, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day said. Authorities in Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee have reported other catastrophic — and occasionally deadly — damage, and weather radar detected debris from a twister for over three straight hours, sometimes lofted over 30,000 feet into the sky.

The National Weather Service had issued tornado warnings for several cities across the Tennessee and Ohio valleys, including Benton, Ky. and Mayfield, Ky., where residents were told to “TAKE SHELTER NOW.” Beshear, who declared a state of emergency, said that the damage would be “some of the worst ... we’ve seen in a long time.”

In Tennessee, the severe weather had killed at least three people as early Saturday, said Dean Flener, spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Two fatalities occurred in lake County and the other in Obion County, he said.

In Edwardsville, Ill., a tornado caved in part of an Amazon distribution warehouse, leaving people inside stranded, Collinsville Emergency Management Agency shared on Facebook. At least a dozen agencies have responded to the scene. Edwardsville police confirmed early Saturday that the facility had partially collapsed.

Rescuers in Monette searched the battered nursing home and found more than 20 people, Day said. The local official, who previously said there were two fatalities, said he doesn’t yet know the extent of the injuries. Communities were difficult because a cell tower appeared to have been taken out, he added.

CNN Producer Indicted For Alleged Abuse Of Underage Girls

John Girffin
\A CNN employee has been charged on Friday accused of luring a mother and her young daughter to come his home to 'train' her to be sexually submissive. 

The Daily Mail reports John Griffin, who worked on the CNN show New Day, was charged with three counts that he used a 'facility of interstate commerce to abuse underage girls.' 

A Vermont grand jury indicted 44-year-old Griffin, from Stamford, Connecticut of attempting to entice the girls to engage in sexual activity.  

'According to the indictment, between April and July of 2020, Griffin utilized the messaging applications Kik and Google Hangouts to communicate with people purporting to be parents of minor daughters, conveying to them, among other ideas, that a 'woman is a woman regardless of her age,' and that women should be sexually subservient and inferior to men,' according to a statement from the Department of Justice on the case.

In June 2020, Griffin told a mom of two girls, aged 9 and 13 that she needed to have her daughters 'trained properly.'

Griffin is alleged to have sent her $3,000 in order to pay for plane tickets so that she could travel with her daughters from Nevada to Boston, according to the indictment. 

After the trio flew to Boston, Griffin collected them at the airport before driving them to his home in Ludlow, Vermont.  Prosecutors say the girl was forced to engage in illegal sexual contact.

Griffin faces 10 years to life in prison if convicted on each federal count. 

'We take the charges against Mr. Griffin incredibly seriously,' a CNN spokesperson said on Friday. 'We only learned of his arrest this afternoon and have suspended him pending investigation.'

Griffin began working with CNN in 2013.

CNN's Chris Cumo Allegedly Bashed Fox' Janice Dean As 'Weather Bitch'

Chris Cuomo schemed to discredit Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, allegedly calling her “that Fox weather bitch” in texts after she criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for transferring COVID-19 patients to nursing homes, reports The NY Post.

Fox’s senior meteorologist Dean lost her mother and father-in-law to COVID in March and April of 2020, and became an outspoken critic of the governor and his deadly policy to allow COVID-19 patients into nursing homes, saying on “Fox & Friends,” “He needs to go to jail!”

According to a source, canned CNN anchor Chris wanted to fight to defend his brother and texted with Andrew’s staff about how to discredit Dean.

The source said Chris allegedly asked in a text to an Andrew Cuomo staffer how he could go after “this Fox weather bitch……Any help painting her as a far right crazy?”

It is also believed he participated in calls with the governor’s staff, including Melissa DeRosa, about how to hit back at Dean by focusing on her political leanings. However, as a meteorologist, she doesn’t usually get involved in politics.

Janice Dean
Michael and Dolores Newman — the parents of Dean’s husband, Sean, known to family and friends as Mickey and Dee — died soon after the then-governor’s controversial policy was announced.

The 83-year-old Mickey, a former firefighter, was in the Grandell Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Brooklyn with dementia. He died on March 29, 2020.

Dean said she was appalled by Cuomo administration’s March 25 directive that nursing homes could not deny admission to someone solely because they had COVID-19. The policy was expanded to cover assisted living facilities on April 7.

Stories emerged about the lengths to which the governor and his staff went to cover up the number of virus deaths among nursing home residents in New York.

Dean has worked at Fox since 2004, and has told her in-law’s story on the air to Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Martha MacCallum and Harris Faulkner among others.

Chris Cuomo was fired by CNN last week after information including texts from Chris to Andrew’s staffers released by New York Attorney General Letitia James revealed the anchor had been far more involved that he previously disclosed in work to defend the former governor against sexual harassment claims. It was discussed how to discredit some of Andrew’s accusers.

Amazon Says 'Unexpected Behavior' Source Of Cloud Outage Inc. said Friday automated processes in its cloud computing business caused cascading outages across the internet this week that affected everything from Disney parks and Netflix videos to robot vacuums and Adele ticket sales, according to Bloomberg.

In a highly technical statement, the company said “unexpected behavior from a large number of clients inside the internal network” caused “a large surge of connection activity that overwhelmed the networking devices between the internal network and the main AWS network, resulting in delays for communication between these networks.”

The problems began at about 10:30 a.m. New York time on Dec. 7 and lasted several hours before Amazon managed to fix the problem. In the meantime, social media lit up with complaints from consumers angered that their smart home gadgetry and other internet-connected services had suddenly ceased to work.

AWS is generally a reliable service. Amazon’s cloud division last suffered a major incident in 2017, when an employee accidentally turned off more servers than intended during repairs of a billing system. Still, the latest outage reminded the world how many products and services are centralized in common data centers run by just a handful of big tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

There is no easy fix to the problem. Some analysts believe companies should duplicate their services across multiple cloud computing providers so no one crash puts them out of commission. Others say a “multi-cloud” strategy would be impractical and could make companies even more vulnerable because they would be exposed to everyone’s outages, not just AWS’s.

Las Vegas Radio: Show Bit May Cost Beasley Media $20K

A radio talk show stunt that aired EAS tones on a Las Vegas radio station may cost Beasley Media Group $20,000, reports RadioWorld.

The rules of the Federal Communications are strict: No transmission of false or deceptive emergency alert system tones or EAS simulations are allowed.

But in September 2020, the commission said, Beasley station KDWN 720 AM apparently aired them during “The Doug Basham Radio Show,” a paid programming block, in the absence of an emergency, authorized test or qualified PSA.

The tones were also carried on the HD2 signal of KKLZ 96.3 FM and on an FM translator

According to the FCC, Beasley acknowledged the incident, said the station hadn’t previewed the clip and that “immediately after” transmission, KDWN’s board operator “confronted Basham and informed him that the broadcast was impermissible.” The board op also notified KDWN’s program director.

The commission now has issued a notice of apparent liability. “The prohibition on such transmissions has been in place for many years, and the commission has repeatedly made its requirements clear,” it wrote.

The base forfeiture in such cases is $8,000, but the FCC more than doubled the proposed amount, citing “the number of transmissions at issue, the amount of time over which the transmissions took place, the stations’ sizeable audience reach, and the serious public safety implications of the apparent violations” as well as other factors.

Beasley has 30 days to pay or to respond explaining why it thinks the penalty shouldn’t stand.

Judge Rules Taylor Swift Can't Shake Off Lawsuit

A federal judge on Thursday denied a request by Taylor Swift to throw out a copyright infringement suit accusing her of stealing lyrics in her 2014 hit song “Shake It Off,” and ordered that the case could go to trial reports The NYTimes.

The lawsuit was filed by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, the writers of the 2001 song “Playas Gon’ Play” by the R&B group 3LW. A trial would test whether parts of Ms. Swift’s song, including versions of the phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate,” are similar enough to the earlier song to meet the legal threshold for copyright infringement.

Judge Michael Fitzgerald, of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, denied Ms. Swift’s request for a summary judgment on Thursday. The case will go to trial unless a settlement is reached.

In the decision, Judge Fitzgerald said Ms. Swift’s legal team had made “a strong closing argument” but had failed to show that the issues in the case could not be resolved by a jury.

Other defendants in the case include the producers Max Martin and Shellback; the music publishers Sony and Kobalt; Big Machine Label Group; and Universal Music Group.

Marina Bogorad, a lawyer for the songwriters, said in an email, “Our clients are extremely satisfied with this decision, especially because it reinforces the notion that their unique self-expression based on the deeply rooted cultural heritage cannot be simply snatched away without proper attribution.”

The songwriters first filed the lawsuit against Ms. Swift in September 2017. Judge Fitzgerald dismissed the case in 2018, but it was returned to his court by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The lyrics under review in Ms. Swift’s song include “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/ And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” These lines are being tested against “Playas, they gon’ play/ And haters, they gonna hate,” from the song by 3LW, an all-female R&B trio popular in the early 2000s.

In his 2018 original ruling, the judge said the lyrics under debate were “too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative” to be protected under the Copyright Act.

“In the early 2000s, popular culture was adequately suffused with the concepts of players and haters to render the phrases ‘playas … gonna play’ or ‘haters … gonna hate’ standing on their own, no more creative than ‘runners gonna run,’ ‘drummers gonna drum,’ or ‘swimmers gonna swim,’” he wrote in his February 2018 order.

D-C Radio: WMAL Raises $393K+ For The Fisher House

Cumulus has announced that News/Talk WMAL 105.9 FM , raised $393,622 last Thursday and Friday, December 2nd and 3rd in the annual two-day WMAL Operation Fisher House Radiothon benefiting the Fisher House Foundation. 

The total amount raised exceeded amount raised through the 2020 Operation Fisher House Radiothon by $25,000. 

WMAL listeners have donated nearly $8 million dollars over the last 19 years to support the efforts of the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing to families of injured military members who are undergoing treatment. 

Group homes at Bethesda, Walter Reed, the VA, Dover AFB, and more than 60 locations across the country provide a comfortable place for loved ones to live while remaining close to their injured family members.

This year’s fundraising event was held from Thursday, December 2nd through Friday, December 3rd, and featured popular WMAL hosts’ interviews with families of injured veterans that have benefited from the donations made in past WMAL Operation Fisher House Radiothons. 

"WMAL's partnership over the last 19 years has been incredible," said Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation Ken Fisher. 

"Their generous audience has given nearly $8 million, having a tremendous impact on military and veteran families. We are forever grateful." Bill Hess, Program Director, WMAL, and VP/NewsTalk, Cumulus, commented: “The stories are compelling and inspiring, and the response from our WMAL listeners demonstrates the strong relationship between our talent and listeners. It’s the perfect start to the holiday season”.

December 11 Radio History

➦In 1899...The fame of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi took a leap forward on this day when William Preece, the Chief Electrical Engineer of the British Post Office, gave a public lecture in London called "Telegraphy without Wires", praising the Italian's ideas. Marconi had left his native Italy earlier in the year believing that his work was unappreciated by his countrymen. Aged 21, he thought he would have more success in the United Kingdom.

Preece became involved when he was alerted by a Customs officer at Dover who found electrical apparatus in Marconi's case. The Post Office man became fascinated by the Italian's experiments and they formed a friendship which led to Preece's lecture. From then on Marconi's fame grew, culminating in the first transatlantic radio communication in December 1901. It was transmitted from Poldhu in Cornwall, England, and received at St John's Newfoundland. An excited Marconi later wrote about the experience:

"I placed the single earphone to my ear and started listening. The receiver on the table before me was very crude – a few coils and condensers and a coherer; no valves, no amplifiers, not even a crystal.

➦In 1936... King Edward VIII, decided to abdicate the British throne.  He made the announcement in a worldwide radio broadcast.

He famously said, "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love."

He added that the "decision was mine and mine alone ... The other person most nearly concerned has tried up to the last to persuade me to take a different course".

Edward departed Britain for Austria the following day; he was unable to join Simpson until her divorce became final, several months later. His brother, the Duke of York, succeeded to the throne as George VI. George VI's elder daughter, Princess Elizabeth (currently Queen), became heir presumptive.

➦In 1944..."The Chesterfield Supper Club," a 15-minute weekday program airing at 7:00 p.m. (ET), debuted on NBC Radio. Initially, Perry Como hosted all the shows. Beginning with the second season, he reduced his schedule to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while Jo Stafford hosted Tuesdays and Thursdays. In 1948, Peggy Lee took over the Thursday broadcast. In September 1949, the show aired weekly and it was extended to 30-minutes.

➦In 1954...Allan Waters purchased 10-year old Toronto radio station CHUM 1050 AM from patent medicine king Jack Part, for shares Waters held in Part’s companies, and $500 a month.

CHUM was a 1000 watt daytime-only station, which Waters built into a 50,000 watt top 40 juggernaut.

Less than three years after Waters acquired the station, and soon after bringing the new full-time transmitter online, a major programming change was made. On May 27, 1957, at 6 AM, Waters switched the station to a "Top 50" format that had proven itself popular in some U.S. cities; Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up" was the first song played. "1050 CHUM" pioneered rock and roll radio in Toronto, and was noteworthy for hosting many noteworthy rock concerts including, among others, visits to Maple Leaf Gardens by Elvis Presley (1957) and the Beatles (1964, 1965, and 1966).

The station rose in popularity in Toronto in the late 1950s and early 1960s; though it never supplanted perennial Toronto ratings champ CFRB at the top of the ratings chart, it was still a major broadcasting powerhouse with a particular appeal to the teen market. As the station became more successful, it also built yet another new transmitter in Mississauga, Ontario (a few miles west of the current Toronto city line) along the Lake Ontario shoreline, and raised its power once again to its current 50,000 watts around the clock.

➦In 1964...Soul and gospel singer 33-year-old Sam Cooke was shot to death. He  died at the Hacienda Motel, in Los Angeles. Answering separate reports of a shooting and of a kidnapping at the motel, police found Cooke's body, clad only in a sports jacket and shoes but no shirt, pants or underwear. He had sustained a gunshot wound to the chest, which was later determined to have pierced his heart. The motel's manager, Bertha Franklin, said she had shot Cooke in self-defense after he broke into her office residence and attacked her. Her account was immediately disputed by Cooke's acquaintances.

Sam Cooke
The official police record states that Franklin fatally shot Cooke, who had checked in earlier that evening. Franklin said that Cooke had broken into the manager's office-apartment in a rage, wearing nothing but a shoe and a sports coat, demanding to know the whereabouts of a woman who had accompanied him to the motel. Franklin said the woman was not in the office and that she told Cooke this, but the enraged Cooke did not believe her and violently grabbed her, demanding again to know the woman's whereabouts. According to Franklin, she grappled with Cooke, the two of them fell to the floor, and she then got up and ran to retrieve a gun. She said she then fired at Cooke in self-defense because she feared for her life. Cooke was struck once in the torso.

According to Franklin, he exclaimed, "Lady, you shot me," before mounting a last charge at her. She said she beat him over his head with a broomstick before he finally fell, mortally wounded by the gunshot.

➦In 1985...General Electric Corp., long eager to enter the broadcasting business, announced it would purchase RCA Corp., parent of the NBC radio and the television network, for $6.28 billion in cash.

RCA has been the subject of takeover talk for months, fueled by the improved fortunes of NBC and the wave of mergers and acquisitions that has taken place in the broadcast industry.

A takeover of RCA meant that all three national networks have been the subject of merger activity this year. American Broadcasting Cos. is being acquired by Capital Cities Communications. CBS successfully fought off a takeover by cable entrepreneur Ted Turner but, in the process, was forced to take on substantial debt and sell off a number of assets.

Ironically, RCA was organized in 1919 by Westinghouse and General Electric as a means of entering the new field of radio broadcasting. The company was spun off by the two in 1930.

➦In 1991...Robert Q. Lewis died at age 71 (Born Robert Goldberg; April 25, 1920).  He was a radio and television personality, game show host, and actor.

Robert Q Lewis
Lewis is perhaps best known for his game show participation, having been the first host of The Name's the Same and regularly appearing on other Goodson-Todman panel shows. He also hosted and appeared on a multitude of television shows of the 1940s through the 1970s.

Lewis made his radio debut in 1931, at age 11, on a local radio show, "Dr. Posner's Kiddie Hour". In 1942 he left to enlist in the U.S. Army during the second world war and became a radio operator in the Signal Corps,  After the war, he became an announcer and disc jockey. He had stints WNEW 1130 AM , WNBC 660 AM, both in NYC.  Also KHJ, 1961-62; KFI, 1972-75; KRLA, 1975 in Los Angeles.

Lewis made his radio debut in 1931, at age 11, on a local radio show, "Dr. Posner's Kiddie Hour". He enrolled in the University of Michigan in 1938, where he was a member of the Phi Sigma Delta fraternity. He left to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1942 and became a radio operator in the Signal Corps.

➦In 1992...After 58-years, WNEW 1130 AM, New York City signed-off.  Upon the breakup of the Metromedia Radio network in 1986, WNEW-AM was sold to outside investors.  Over the next couple of years the station changed hands again, ultimately ending up with Michael Bloomberg.  WNEW-AM was shut down on December 15th, 1992, and the Bloomberg Financial Radio was launched.

WNEW ended live programming on December 11, 1992 at 8pm.

Brenda Lee is 77


  • Actor Rita Moreno is 90. 
  • Singer David Gates of Bread is 81. 
  • Actor Donna Mills (“Knots Landing”) is 81. 
  • Singer Brenda Lee is 77. 
  • Singer Paul Beasley of The Blind Boys of Alabama is 77. 
  • Actor Lynda Day George (TV’s “Mission: Impossible”) is 77. 
  • Karla Souza is 35
    Actor Teri Garr is 74. 
  • Actor Bess Armstrong is 68. 
  • Singer Jermaine Jackson is 67. 
  • Bassist Mike Mesaros of The Smithereens is 64. 
  • Bassist Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue is 63. 
  • Actor Ben Browder (“Stargate SG-1”) is 59. 
  • Singer-bassist Justin Currie of Del Amitri is 57. 
  • Bassist David Schools of Widespread Panic is 57. 
  • Actor Gary Dourdan (“C.S.I.”) is 55. 
  • Actor-comedian Mo’Nique is 54. 
  • Actor Max Martini (“The Unit”) is 52. 
  • Rapper-actor Yasiin Be (Mos Def) is 48. 
  • Actor Rider Strong (“Boy Meets World”) is 42. 
  • Actor Xosha Roquemore (“The Mindy Project”) is 37. 
  • Actor Karla Souza (“How To Get Away With Murder”) is 35. 
  • Actor-singer Hailee Steinfeld is 25.

Friday, December 10, 2021

R.I.P.: Michael Nesmith, Monkees Singer, Guitarist

Michael Nesmith, one of the members of the pop rock group the Monkees from the 1960s, has died of natural causes, according to his family. He was 78, reports The Wrap.

Nesmith was known for his green wool hat among the pop idols, and he sang and even wrote some of the group’s more memorable hits. He would continue his music career as a member of the country rock group First National Band after the break up of The Monkees.

“With Infinite Love we announce that Michael Nesmith has passed away this morning in his home, surrounded by family, peacefully and of natural causes,” his family said in a statement via Rolling Stone. “We ask that you respect our privacy at this time and we thank you for the love and light that all of you have shown him and us.”

Nesmith had recently performed in a farewell tour along with the last surviving member of the Monkees Micky Dolenz.

Billboard reports Nesmith was 24 and an up-and-coming musician getting noticed for penning such tunes as “Different Drum” — recorded in 1967 by the Linda Ronstadt-led Stone Poneys — when he was cast as one of the four carefree youngsters living in a California beach house looking to make it in the music world on NBC’s The Monkees.

The brainchild of producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, the comedy was designed to cash in on the popularity of The Beatles by mirroring the zaniness of Help! and A Hard Day’s Night. An immediate hit upon its September 1966 debut, it won the Emmy for outstanding comedy series after its first season and became a pop culture phenomenon.

The Monkees

“The Monkees was the first TV show that had only young people in the lead, with no ‘adult’ figure in sight (no parent, no manager),” Gwen Ihnat wrote in a 2016 article for The A.V. Club. “It was also unusual that the four didn’t have any character names but essentially played themselves: Mike the older leader, Davy the heartthrob, Micky the wacky cutup and Peter the childlike innocent.”

Dubbed the “Prefab Four,” The Monkees each received $400 a week for the show. Nesmith got in after answering an ad in the trades. “Madness!! Auditions,” read a blurb published Sept. 8, 1965. “Folk & Roll Musicians for acting roles in a new TV series. Running parts for 4 insane boys age 17-21.”

Nearly 450 aspiring actor-musicians tried out. Nesmith won over producers with his nonchalant demeanor. He also was very funny — so much so that after test audiences didn’t connect with the pilot, the producers added his and Jones’ screen test, and approval ratings soared.

Report: FCC Majority Remains Elusive For Democrats

FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn

For the entirety of President Biden’s term, the Federal Communications Commission has operated without a Democratic majority, hobbling the party’s ability to carry out its agenda on major issues, including net neutrality and Internet connectivity.

Now, according to Cristiano Lima at The Washington Post,  delays to FCC nominee Gigi Sohn’s confirmation, the appointment that would break the 2-2 split at the agency, mean the deadlock likely will extend into next year. 

Sohn was notably absent from the agenda of a crucial upcoming meeting, held by the panel needed to advance her nomination to the Senate floor. Senate Commerce Committee spokeswoman Tricia Enright said the panel omitted Sohn because lawmakers wanted more time to meet with her, as reported earlier by Politico.

Sohn has emerged as perhaps Biden’s most controversial tech or telecom nominee, facing strong opposition from Senate Republicans. Republicans have pointed to Sohn’s past critical statements about Fox News to claim she’s “hyperpartisan,” a charge Sohn and her allies have pushed back on.

Despite the GOP uproar, Democrats could still advance and confirm Sohn along a party-line vote — if only they could find the time.

Barring last-minute changes to the meeting’s agenda or the Senate’s legislative calendar, the decision to leave her off the agenda next week leaves lawmakers with little-to-no time to confirm Sohn and lock in a long-sought FCC majority before the end of the year.

That means it would take even longer for the agency’s Democratic leadership to kick into gear its most aggressive proposals, including restoring the Obama-era net neutrality rules that dictate that Internet providers should treat all Web traffic equally. The delay could also have a spillover effect on their efforts to make accessing the Internet easier and more affordable nationwide.

Sohn’s nomination is facing a fresh hurdle: the panel’s top Republican is calling for the committee to pump the brakes and vet her more closely for potential conflicts of interest. 

Republicans have voiced concern over her past role sitting on the board of Locast, a nonprofit television streaming service that shut down after facing allegations it violated copyright laws.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), the top Republican on the Senate’s intellectual property panel, has called Sohn an “anti-copyright activist” and urged Biden to withdraw her nomination.

Sohn addressed the matter at her confirmation hearing. “I take very seriously allegations of bias, and I’ve been working very closely with the Office of Government Ethics to make sure I have no conflicts and I have no predetermined biases,” she said, adding that her work with Locast wouldn’t bias her “in any way.”  

Republicans aren’t satisfied. “The decision to delay the committee’s vote on Ms. Sohn’s nomination highlights the seriousness of the issues surrounding the specific parameters of her ethics agreement,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the ranking member on the Senate Commerce Committee, said Thursday.

“Gigi Sohn is extremely qualified for the position, and the White House continues to strongly back her nomination,” White House spokesman Chris Meagher said. “This is without merit — Gigi has already agreed to very strong ethics protections, and we’re confident she’ll be confirmed.”

Lee Enterprises Rejects Alden Global Offer

Editor and Publisher graphic

Local news publisher Lee Enterprises Inc. said its board had unanimously rejected an unsolicited takeover bid from Alden Global Capital LLC, a New York hedge fund that has become a media-industry consolidator, reports The Wall Street Journal. 

Alden Global on Nov. 22 offered to purchase Lee Enterprises, which has news operations in 77 U.S. markets, for $24 a share in cash, in a deal that would value the Davenport, Iowa-based newspaper company at around $141 million.

Lee’s board two days later approved a shareholder rights plan, also known as a poison pill, that for a year would prevent Alden Global from acquiring more than 10% of the company. In early December, Lee said Alden’s attempt to nominate three directors to its board was invalid because Alden failed to prove it was an eligible shareholder and submitted materials that lacked required information.

“The Alden proposal grossly undervalues Lee and fails to recognize the strength of our business today, as the fastest-growing digital subscription platform in local media, and our compelling future prospects,” Lee Chairman Mary Junck said in a statement.

A personal, guided tour to the best scoops and stories every day in The Wall Street Journal.

Lee’s publications include the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Arizona Daily Star. Alden’s MediaNews Group unit is the publisher of a large portfolio of papers that includes the Denver Post and the San Jose Mercury News.

Alden has shown a large appetite to acquire local-newspaper chains. Earlier this year it purchased Tribune Publishing, owner of the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News.

The hedge fund has become known for a strategy of aggressive cost-cutting, an approach critics say has gutted local outlets and is hastening the news industry’s demise. Alden says that it is trying to help newspapers survive by keeping them financially viable.

If Alden succeeds in its pursuit of a deal with Lee, the hedge fund will be on the hook for a major payment to Berkshire Hathaway Inc., because of a provision in Lee’s deal to purchase Berkshire’s media assets and secure a $576 million loan from the company. The provision requires any acquirer to pay 105% of the unpaid principal balance of the loan, including accrued and unpaid interest.

Wake-Up Call: Jury Finds Jussie Smollett Guilty

Daily Mail graphic 12/10/21

Jussie Smollett was convicted Thursday of staging a hate crime nearly three years after he claimed two Trump-loving bigots beat him up, tied a noose around his neck and doused him in bleach in a misbegotten bid to raise his public profile.  Twelve jurors in Chicago criminal court found the disgraced actor guilty of five of six counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report following testimony from 13 witnesses and more than nine hours of deliberation. 

As the jurors read out the verdict, Smollett, 39, stood huddled with his attorneys and kept his eyes trained on the panelists, remaining stoic as a phalanx of family members, who watched the eight-day trial from the front row of the gallery, sat frozen.

CNN's Don Lemon turned on his old pal hours after his conviction for faking a hate crime - but continued to avoid claims he'd offered the actor inside information about the police probe into his claims. Speaking hours after Smollett was convicted of faking a racist and homophobic hate crime, Lemon said: 'He had to make up too many lies as to why he didn't want to do certain things,' said Lemon on Thursday night. 'To cover. Like another lie - and I guess he got caught up in that because he took the stand himself. 'He got angry with the prosecutor as the prosecutor poked holes in his story - calling the only other witnesses liars.'

Following the verdict, Smollett’s lead defense attorney Nenye Uche said the actor plans to fight the conviction on appeal.

“He’s committed to clearing his name, and he’s one hundred percent confident that he’s going to get cleared by the appellate court,” Uche told reporters.

➤JOSH DUGGAR FOUND GUILTY: Josh Duggar has been found guilty of receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material. KNWA reports that a jury in Arkansas found the former reality TV star guilty on two counts of the charge Thursday, following a six-day trial. Duggar is scheduled to be sentenced in April He faces up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for each count of possessing child sexual abuse material.

➤PFIZER BOOSTER ELIGIBILITY EXPANDED TO 16- AND 17-YEAR-OLDS: Federal health authorities expanded eligibility for a booster shot of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to 16- and 17-year-olds yesterday, after it had previously only been okayed for adults age 18 and up. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both signed off on it for 16- and 17-year-olds who are at least six months past their last vaccine dose. The approval comes as more cases of the new omicron variant continue to be found in the U.S., and data has shown waning immunity months after becoming fully vaccinated, as well as reduced effectiveness against omicron. Both strongly improved after a booster.

➤APPEALS COURT REJECT TRUMP'S EFFORT TO KEEP DOCUMENTS FROM JAN. 6TH COMMITTEE: A federal appeals court yesterday rejected former President Donald Trump's legal attempt to prevent the House committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol from getting documents from his administration by claiming executive privilege. Judge Patricia Millett wrote Congress had a, quote, "uniquely vital interest" in studying the events of January 6th and that President Biden had made a "carefully reasoned" determination that the documents were in the public interest and executive privilege should not apply. The judge also wrote Trump also failed to show any harm that would occur from the release of the records.

➤53 KILLED IN CRASH IN MEXICO OF TRUCK SMUGGLING MIGRANTS: There were 53 people killed and at least 54 injured yesterday in a highway crash in southern Mexico of a truck packed with as many as 200 migrants who were being transported by human smugglers. The truck, reportedly carrying mostly migrants from Guatemala and Honduras, tipped over and crashed into the base of a steel pedestrian bridge. Smugglers charge migrants thousands of dollars and then pack them into freight trucks to bring them to the U.S. border or another stop along the way in Mexico.

➤BIDEN HOSTS FIRST DAY OF VIRTUAL 'SUMMIT FOR DEMOCRACY': President Biden spoke to more than 100 leaders yesterday from the White House as he hosted the first day of the inaugural Summit for Democracy, which will conclude tomorrow. Biden expressed alarm at a falling back of democracy around the globe, saying, "Will we allow the backward slide of rights and democracy to continue unchecked? Or will we together -- together -- have a vision . . . and courage to once more lead the march of human progress and human freedom forward?" Biden called it an "inflection point in history," and said that even long-standing democracies, like the U.S., haven't been immune. Other participants cited challenges including corruption and inequality, and increasing concern about disinformation and strengthening autocracies. Biden announced he was launching an initiative to spend up to $424 million for programming around the world that supports independent media, anti-corruption work and more.

➤UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS LOWEST IN MORE THAN HALF-CENTURY: The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plunged 43,000 to 184,000 last week, the lowest its been in more than a half-century. The Labor Department said Thursday that the 184,000 number was the lowest since September 1969, 52 years ago. The four-week moving average, fell below 219,000, the lowest since the pandemic struck the U.S. in March 2020. Weekly claims have fallen steadily for most of the year after reaching a high topping 900,000 during one week in early January.

➤NYC GIVES NON-CITIZENS RIGHT TO VOTE IN LOCAL ELECTIONS: The New York City Council approved a measure yesterday giving non-citizens the right to vote in local elections, meaning mayor, city council, comptroller, public advocate and borough presidents. It will apply to non-citizens who have been lawful permanent residents of New York City for at least 30 days, and those who are authorized to work in the U.S., such as "Dreamers," young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children. It goes into effect starting in early 2023. However, the bill could face legal challenges, with opponents challenging whether the city council has the authority to grant voting rights to noncitizens.

➤POLL INDICATED AMERICANS WANT POLITICAL HOSTILITY TO END:  A new poll out yesterday finds that Americans are tired of the political acrimony in the country, with nearly three-quarters of them, 72 percent, saying it would be good for the country if Americans, quote, "reject political hostility and divisiveness and focus more on their common ground." However, they weren't optimistic about it happening, with only nine percent believing the political rancor between Americans will decrease in the next 10 years, while 42 percent think it will increase. However, there is some good news too. About three-quarters of those surveyed said they value different political perspectives and 45 percent said they have often or sometimes had a constructive conversation about politics with someone holding opposite views in the last 12 months.

➤MOM CHARGED AFTER TELLING DAUGHTER TO HIT OPPOSING PLAYER: A California mother was criminally charged yesterday after she told her basketball player teenage daughter to hit an opposing player during a tournament game last month in the city of Garden Grove. Her daughter punched the other girl in the head, causing the 15-year-old to crumple, quote, "to the floor like a rag doll," according to Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, and she suffered a concussion. The 44-year-old woman, Latira Shonty Hunt, was caught on cell phone video yelling, "You better hit her for that!," after her daughter fell to the ground on a previous play involving the victim. She is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and battery, both misdemeanors, and could face up to a year in jail if convicted. But ABC News cited L.A. defense attorney Richard Kaplan, who's not involved in the matter, as saying it might be hard to get the charges, which he called "a stretch," to stick. He said it would be hard for prosecutors to prove that what Hunt yelled was a command and not just, quote, "an emotional response in a heated moment."

🏈VIKINGS TOP STEELERS 36-28, HOLD OFF COMEBACK ATTEMPT: The Minnesota Vikings held on to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-28 last night, fending off a comeback attempt after they'd been up 29-0 over Pittsburgh late in the third quarter. Minnesota blocked a Steelers touchdown on the final play, preventing Pat Freiermuth from being able to catch a pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone. Vikins quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 216 yards and two touchdowns.

🏈RECENTLY RETIRED BRONCOS STAR DEMARYIUS THOMAS FOUND DEAD AT AGE 33: Former Denver Broncos star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who just announced his retirement in June, was founded dead in his Roswell, Georgia, home yesterday at age 33. Preliminary reports, according to the police, indicated his death might have been caused by a medical issue. The Broncos released a statement early this morning saying they were "devastated and completely heartbroken" and calling Thomas "one of the greatest players in franchise history." Thomas played nine of his 10 NFL seasons in Denver.

🏀LEBRON GETS 100TH CAREER TRIPLE-DOUBLE: LeBron James had his 100th career triple-double last night, reaching the milestone even as his L.A. Lakers fell 105-98 to the Memphis Grizzlies. James had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. He joins Lakers' teammate Russell Westbrook -- the career leader with 189 -- and retired players Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd as the only players in NBA history to have at least 100 career triple-doubles.

🏒BLACKHAWKS' FLEUR NOTCHES 500TH CAREER WIN: Chicago goalie Marc-Andre Fleury notched his 500th career win last night as the Blackhawks shut out the Montreal Canadiens 2-0. Fleury made 27 saves in the game. He joins retired players Martin Brodeur, with 691, and Patrick Roy, with 551, as the only NHL goalies to reach 500 career wins.