Saturday, December 25, 2021

December 26 Radio History

➦In 1921...Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen was born (Died – October 30, 2000).  He was was a radio, TV personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian and writer. In 1954, he achieved national fame as the co-creator and first host of The Tonight Show, which was the first late night television talk show.

Steve Allen
Though he got his start in radio, Allen is best known for his extensive network television career. He gained national attention as a guest host on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. After he hosted The Tonight Show, he went on to host numerous game and variety shows, including his own The Steve Allen Show, I've Got a Secret, and The New Steve Allen Show. He was a regular panel member on CBS's What's My Line?, and from 1977 until 1981 wrote, produced, and hosted the award-winning public broadcasting show Meeting of Minds, a series of historical dramas presented in a talk format.

Allen was a pianist and a prolific composer. By his own estimate, he wrote more than 8,500 songs, some of which were recorded by numerous leading singers. Working as a lyricist, Allen won the 1964 Grammy Award for Best Original Jazz Composition. He also wrote more than 50 books, including novels, children's books, and books of opinions, including his final book, Vulgarians at the Gate: Trash TV and Raunch Radio (2001).

Allen was an announcer for radio KFAC in Los Angeles, then moved to the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1946, talking the station into airing his five-nights-a-week comedy show Smile Time, co-starring Wendell Noble. After Allen moved to CBS Radio's KNX in Los Angeles, his music-and-talk half-hour format gradually changed to include more talk in an hour-long late-night format, boosting his popularity and creating standing-room-only studio audiences.

During a show's segment, Allen went into the audience with a microphone to ad lib on-air for the first time. It became a commonplace part of his studio performances for many years. His program attracted a huge local following, and as the host of a 1950 summer replacement show for the popular comedy Our Miss Brooks, he was exposed to a national audience for the first time.

Allen died at age 78 on October 30th, 2000 after a minor traffic accident caused a blood vessel in his heart wall to rupture.

➦In 1926...WSM, the “WSM Barn Dance” began regular Saturday night broadcasts. Within two years it was renamed the “Grand Ole Opry.”

➦In 1950...The Gillette Safety Razor Company & Mutual radio signed agreements for the radio rights for the next six years to baseball’s World Series and All-Star games. The price tag: a comparatively paltry $6 million dollars.

➦In 1953...The soap opera “Big Sister” was heard for the last time on CBS radio. The 15-minute melodrama had been on the air daily for 16 years. “Big Sister” was the ongoing story of Sue Evans Miller and her relationship with her big sister, Ruth Evans.

➦In 1954...Original  "The Shadow" radio programs lurked around the airwaves for the final time. It originated in 1930 with vigilante crime-fighter Lamont Cranston battling greed and corruption on a weekly basis. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows….”

➦In 1963...Capitol Records rushed released its first single by The Beatles. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, backed with “I Saw Her Standing There”, was released after DJ Carroll James on WWDC in Washington, DC had begun airing an imported copy.  "Hand"  reached #1 on February 1, 1964. The flood of music by John, Paul, George and Ringo had started the British Invasion, changing contemporary music forever.

➦In 1965...Beatle Paul McCartney was interviewed on pirate radio station “Radio Caroline” while spending Christmas at his father’s home in Cheshire, England. Later Paul crashed from the moped he was riding and suffered a five-inch cut to his mouth.

➦In of the true titans of both big-time radio & TV, Jack Benny died of pancreatic cancer at age 80.

His weekly radio show was consistently top rated over a 23 year run ending in 1955.  He appeared regularly on CBS-TV from 1950-65.  He is credited with developing a broadcast format for comedy that is still being widely followed today.

Benny had been a minor vaudeville performer before becoming a national figure with The Jack Benny Program, a weekly radio show that ran from 1932 to 1948 on NBC and from 1949 to 1955 on CBS. It was among the most highly rated programs during its run.

Benny's long radio career began on April 6, 1932, when the NBC Commercial Program Department auditioned him for the N.W. Ayer agency and their client, Canada Dry, after which Bertha Brainard, head of the division, said, "We think Mr. Benny is excellent for radio and, while the audition was unassisted as far as orchestra was concerned, we believe he would make a great bet for an air program." Recalling the experience in 1956, Benny stated that Ed Sullivan had invited him to guest on his program (1932), and "the agency for Canada Dry ginger ale heard me and offered me a job."

With Canada Dry ginger ale as a sponsor, Benny came to radio on The Canada Dry Program, on May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing for six months until October 26, moving to CBS on October 30. With Ted Weems leading the band, Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.

Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did The Chevrolet Program until April 1, 1934. He continued with sponsor General Tire through the end of the season. In October, 1934, General Foods, the makers of Jell-O and Grape-Nuts, became the sponsor strongly identified with Benny for ten years. American Tobacco's Lucky Strike was his longest-lasting radio sponsor, from October, 1944, through to the end of his original radio series.

The show switched networks to CBS on January 2, 1949, as part of CBS president William S. Paley's notorious "raid" of NBC talent in 1948–49. It stayed there for the remainder of its radio run, ending on May 22, 1955. CBS aired repeat episodes from 1956 to 1958 as The Best of Benny.

➦In 1992...NYC's WPAT 93.1 FM changed from beautiful music to down tempo AC. For decades, both the FM and AM stations simulcast a mostly-instrumental beautiful music format under the slogan "Easy 93". (By coincidence, WPAT-FM was at 93.1 and the AM was at 930, making "Easy 93" a reference for both stations.) While both stations enjoyed good ratings and profits, the beautiful music format had begun to lose popularity.

Today,  WPAT-FM – branded "93.1 Amor" – is a radio station that programs a mix of Bachata, Reggaeton and Tropical music. Licensed to Paterson, New Jersey the station is owned by the Spanish Broadcasting System and serves the New York metropolitan area.

➦In 2004...Northeast Iowa broadcaster Dick Petrik died at age 76.  He spent his 41-year career at KOEL in Oelwein. He was the station's first news director in April 1952. He retired in 1992 but remained at the station for another year as a part-time employee

Petrik was the recipient of the Jack Shelley Award, the highest honor given by the Iowa Broadcast News Association. The organization later created the Dick Petrik Outstanding Student Award, which is given annually to a college student whose work shows potential for a career in electronic media.

➦In 2019...Legendary, cowboy hat-wearing radio personality Don Imus, who hosted the radio show Imus in the Morning for nearly 50 years, died. 


  • Singer Abdul “Duke” Fakir of The Four Tops is 86. 
  • “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh is 76. 
  • Keyboardist Bob Carpenter with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is 75. 
  • Beth Behrs is 36
    Bassist George Porter Junior of The Meters is 74. 
  • Humorist David Sedaris is 65. 
  • Drummer James Kottak of Scorpions is 59. 
  • Drummer Brian Westrum of Sons of the Desert is 59. 
  • Drummer Lars Ulrich of Metallica is 58. 
  • Country singer Audrey Wiggins is 54. 
  • Guitarist J (White Zombie) is 54. 
  • Guitarist Peter Klett of Candlebox is 53. 
  • Singer James Mercer of The Shins is 51. 
  • Actor-singer Jared Leto of 30 Seconds To Mars is 50. 
  • Singer Chris Daughtry (“American Idol”) is 42. 
  • Actor Beth Behrs (“The Neighborhood,” “2 Broke Girls”) is 36. 
  • Actor Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”) is 35. 
  • Actor Eden Sher (“The Middle”) is 30. 
  • Singer Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix is 29.

Merry Christmas Radio 2021


Media Confidential returns Monday, December 27

December 25 Radio History

➦In 1931...Lawrence Tibbett was the featured vocalist as radio came to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The first opera  broadcast was “Hansel und Gretel”, heard on the NBC network of stations. In between acts of the opera, moderator Olin Downes would conduct an opera quiz, asking celebrity guests opera-related questions.

The program’s host and announcer was Milton Cross, who stayed with the weekly broadcasts for 43 years.

Arturo Toscanini
➦In 1937...Arturo Toscanini conducted the first broadcast of “Symphony of the Air” over NBC radio.

➦In 1945...Gary Lee Sandy born. Sandy played program director Andy Travis on the television sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.

➦In 1948...92.3 FM NYC frequency signed-on as WMCA-FM. (Today the station is WNYL 92.3 FM and is owned by Audacy Communications, branding as ALT 92.3 FM.)

For the next year, it operated daily from 3p-9p, simulcasting WMCA, 570 AM.

The WMCA Happy Face logo
In December 1949, Nathan Straus, president of WMCA, announced he was closing down the station because he was losing $4000 a month.

He had said several times that baseball games were cut short on the FM, deliberately to elicit response from listeners and he had received only 2 letters in regard to this practice during all of the summer of 1949.

Straus cited several reasons for the failure of FM: drifting of receivers, difficulty in tuning them, the union rule that announcers who were simulcast on FM and AM be paid double in New York and he said people could already hear WMCA on AM.

Further, Straus said that he had twice tried to give WMCA-FM away and couldn't.

This announcement drew sharp criticism from Major Edwin Armstrong, the inventor of the FM system of broadcasting, who said that Straus was not giving FM a fair chance.

Straus announced that WMCA-FM would quit permanently on December 31, 1949, but the day before, a group of businessmen and people associated with WIBG in Philadelphia announced their intention of buying WMCA-FM for $7500.

So, WMCA-FM continued its 3p-9p schedule throughout 1950, however the negotiations with the WIBG group fell through.

In late 1950, WHOM 1480 AM, announced that it would purchase WMCA-FM. An agreement was reached and 92.3 became WHOM-FM on February 26, 1951.

By 1975, the station had evolved into a Pop/Rock leaning AC format, with calls of WKTU.

On July 24, 1978, WKTU abruptly switched to an "All Disco" format as "Disco 92", which eventually evolved into more of a Rhythmic CHR by the Fall of 1979.

In the summer of 1984, WKTU became a mainstream CHR.

Then, in July of 1985, after airing the Live Aid concert, the station switched to a mainstream AOR format, featuring new and classic rock as WXRK "K-Rock".

In September 1985, Howard Stern (who had been fired from WNBC earlier that year) joined the station, initially for afternoons and in early 1986 switched to mornings.

In 1987, WXRK had instituted a classic rock format and on January 5, 1996, evolved into an alternative/active rock format.

On April 4, 2005, WXRK debuted a mainstream rock format, encompassing music from the 60's to today.

On December 16, 2005, Howard Stern broadcast his last show on the station, before his anticipated move to Sirius Satellite Radio on January 9, 2006.

On January 3, 2006, 92.3 became an "all-talk" station (with the exception of weekends when it features a rock format) using the "Free FM" slogan and featuring David Lee Roth in mornings. Calls were officially changed to WFNY on January 1. In April 2006, David Lee Roth was replaced with Opie & Anthony.

On May 24, 2007 at 5pm, "K-Rock" returned to 92.3. Calls were changed back to WXRK on May 31, 2007.

On March 11, 2009, 92.3 switched to a CHR format as "92.3 Now FM", with the "K-Rock" format moving to 92.3's HD2 channel.

92.3 changed calls to WNOW on November 8, 2012.

On May 22, 2014 at 2pm, 92.3 re-branded themselves as "92.3 AMP."

Calls changed to WBMP on June 23, 2014.  In 2017, the station was sold by CBS Radio to Entercom (now Audacy).  The format was flipped to Alternative upon the deal closing and calls were changed once again to WNYL.

➦In 1964...In New York, "Murray The K's Big Holiday Show" featured the Zombies, the Nashville Teens, and the Hullabaloos.

➦In 1995...legendary singer/crooner, actor, comedian, and Rat-Pack member Dean Martin died of respiratory failure at age 78.

➦In 2006...the “hardest working man in show business,” urban star James Brown died of pneumonia at an Atlanta hospital. He was 73.

The one-time radio station owner was nicknamed the "Godfather of Soul", died.

➦In 2008... actress & chanteuse Eartha Kitt, best known for her hit songs C’est Si Bon & Santa Baby, who was the 2nd Catwoman on the 1960’s Batman TV series, succumbed to colon cancer at age 81.

Gary Sandy is 76


  • Actor Hanna Schygulla (“Barnum,” ″Casanova”) is 78. 
  • Singer John Edwards of The Spinners is 77. 
  • Actor Gary Sandy (“WKRP In Cincinnati”) is 76. 
  • Singer Jimmy Buffett is 75. 
  • Country singer Barbara Mandrell is 73. 
  • Actor Sissy Spacek is 72. 
  • Alecia Elliott is 39
    Blues musician Joe Louis Walker is 72. 
  • Actor CCH Pounder is 69. 
  • Singer Annie Lennox is 67. 
  • Singer Steve Wariner is 67. 
  • Guitarist Robin Campbell of UB40 is 67. 
  • Singer Shane McGowan (The Popes, the Pogues) is 64. 
  • Actor Klea Scott (“Millennium”) is 53. 
  • Guitarist Noel Hogan of The Cranberries is 50. 
  • Singer Dido is 50. 
  • Singer Mac Powell of Third Day is 49. 
  • Country singer Alecia Elliott is 39. 
  • Singer Jess and Lisa Origliasso of The Veronicas are 37. 
  • Actor Perdita Weeks (2018′s “Magnum P.I.”) is 36. 
  • Singer-guitarist Lukas Nelson of Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real is 33.

Friday, December 24, 2021

iHM Launching Martha Quinn Show On Classic Hits Stations

iHeartMedia announced Thursday that Martha Quinn will host “The Martha Quinn Show,” a new midday show launching January 10 that will broadcast across more than 35 iHeartMedia stations, including stations in San Francisco, Seattle, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, St. Louis and more.

“The Martha Quinn Show” will feature original MTV VJ Martha Quinn bringing her signature positivity and her love of all things music to listeners every weekday. It will include her daily benchmark features like Martha’s Mixtape, Totally Awesome News, Martha’s Wellness Shot, and more. Her show will also showcase much of the music that she introduced to the world as an original MTV VJ.

“Martha has such a genuine and uplifting personality and she constantly brings excitement and positivity to listeners,” said Tom Poleman, Chief Programming Officer and President of the National Programming Group for iHeartMedia. “She has an unmatched ability to connect with her audience, not to mention an amazing playlist filled with the songs she helped make famous through the years. We know that listeners across the country will fall in love with Martha Quinn, just as audiences everywhere have for decades.”

“For over five years, I’ve been bowled over by the passion and support of our San Francisco listeners,” said Quinn. “And now I get to bond with music fans all across the country, what an honor! A million thanks to the awesome team at iHeartMedia.”

Martha Quinn, weeks after graduating New York University, was chosen to be one of the world’s first MTV VJ’s in July of 1981. As an interviewer, Martha sat opposite music’s biggest stars including Paul McCartney, Prince, Cher and Van Halen. With Martha, you hear stories about the music you cannot hear from anyone else. Martha includes her listeners in her list of superstars she looks forward to connecting with. Martha joined iHeartMedia in 2016 as the host of The Martha Quinn Morning Show on KOSF in San Francisco. Every day she and her listeners relive the MTV years, and Martha makes it her mission to continue the good vibes of the music with the content she shares.

Cleveland Radio: After 34-Years, Bill Louis To Retire At WNCX

Bill Louis
WNCX 98.5 FM Cleveland personality and program director Bill Louis will soon turn off the mic after 34-years for the last time on Dec. 29.

“Once you hit 30 years doing something, the challenge is trying to change with the times,” said the 64-year-old Louis told The News-Herald.

“We’ve done our best to do that but at some point, you feel that it’s time for somebody else to grab that mantle, the baton and to keep the race running. NCX is a great station and has a great future. I’m proud to have taken it as far as I could, but it’s time to hand it off.”

While retirement has been on his mind for a while, Louis said the “emotional whitewater” of the last two years convinced him the time was right. In addition to losing family and a co-worker just prior to the pandemic, earlier this year fellow WNCX disc jockey and Cleveland’s favorite son Michael Stanley passed away from lung cancer.

“It was the accumulation of all of those things,” said Louis, a prostate cancer survivor. “Then finding out Michael was ill and having to sit on that for six months, that was really difficult.”

Louis’ career in radio broadcasting began when as a construction worker watching “The Prize Movie” he saw a commercial for the Ohio School of Broadcasting. He soon enrolled and before he knew it, he was on-air. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in Cleveland.

Over the next seven years, he would jump from job to job, moving up through various size markets in Atlantic City, Astbury Park, San Antonio and Miami. He then returned to Cleveland, getting a gig at WNCX, which had been on the air for less than 12 months.

In a business not known for job stability, Louis remained at WNCX for more than three decades.

What stood out early on about Louis’ on-air presence was his earnest delivery, quick wit and knowledge not only of the music but of Northeast Ohio’s rock ’n’ roll history.

“Next to the Cleveland Browns, I don’t think there’s anything more universally loved on the North Coast than classic rock,” Louis said. “I had the opportunity to reflect that love. I was at the World Series of Rock shows. I was at the old Agora. I was the fan’s fan, and I think that kind of came through with my point of view.”

Mariah Carey's Christmas Song Surges To The Top

Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is the gift that keeps on giving, reports Yahoo Finance.

The seemingly timeless tune first hit the airwaves in 1994, but it took a whopping 25 years before the track finally reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list in 2019.

The song climbed its way back to that top spot again in December 2020, and just just hit number one for a third time — becoming the first song in the chart’s history to have led in three distinct runs on the ranking, the outlet reported. 

According to music analytics platform Chartmetric, "All I Want for Christmas" has continuously surged in Spotify popularity both post-Halloween and post-Thanksgiving with peaks right around New Year's Eve. 

So far, the song has over 975 million streams on the platform, with a trajectory to cross 1 billion by the New Year, the company added.

This past week alone (Dec. 10-16), Carey's holiday anthem drew 37.6 million U.S. streams (up 16%), 26.1 million radio airplay audience impressions (up 7%) and sold 7,400 downloads (up 7%), Billboard revealed, citing MRC Data.

The streaming revolution has added serious cash to the singer's pockets. 

According to MRC Data, Carey earns at least 1¢ every time the song plays. In 2019, she made a whopping $1.7 million from streams alone. In 2020, that number grew to $1.9 million. The pop star's projected to make even more this year, as streaming continues to balloon royalty figures, and add passive revenue to artists’ paychecks.

In total, Carey has amassed a reported $60 million-plus in streaming income over the years — which doesn't even include extra cash through album sales, downloads, licensing and other types of royalties. 

It's a cultural phenomenon, too, as the track has inspired a children’s book, an animated film, a new Amazon Music documentary, and lucrative brand deals. 

The Most Disliked Christmas Song Is...

Americans likely have spent the last few weeks hearing Christmas songs almost everywhere they go. While most say they wanted to start hearing Christmas music in November and December, many have at least one song that drives them crazy.

YouGov asked Americans what they think of Christmas songs. The shortlist was based on the top responses to a 2020 survey in which YouGov asked Americans to write in their least favorite Christmas song, as well as outside lists of disliked seasonal tunes. Songs that provoked an opinion in at least half of Americans were ranked by how many said they dislike them. Among the findings: Even the most disliked of well-known Christmas songs are far more liked than disliked.


Among Americans who are familiar with the song and have an opinion on it, the 1953 song “Santa Baby” is the most-disliked Christmas song. One-third (32%) of Americans say they dislike this song, though more than twice as many (68%) say they like it. (Many of these songs have many different recorded versions over the years and our survey didn’t specify which one to rate.)

Another much-maligned Christmas song is the novelty Christmas song “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” The 1979 song is disliked by 31% of Americans who are familiar with it and have an opinion about it. A similar percentage (28%) dislike “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” and a quarter (24%) dislike Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”

Slightly fewer say they dislike “Last Christmas,” “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” (Each is disliked by 22% of Americans) One in five (20%) dislike the 1984 song “Mary, Did You Know,” and 17% feel similarly about “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Little Drummer Boy.”

Least disliked? “Jingle Bells,” which just 16% of Americans say they dislike. About five times as many (84%) say they like the song, among those who know the song and have an opinion on it.

YouGov ranked songs which more than 50% of respondents knew and had opinions on. But there were a few lesser-known songs that were widely disliked by people with an opinion.

Dominick the Donkey” came in with only 24% of Americans who knew it and had an opinion about it. Of these, 43% said they disliked it while 57% said they liked it. Just over a quarter (27%) know “The Christmas Shoes” and have an opinion on it; 32% of this group dislikes it while 68% like it.

More than two in five (45%) are familiar with “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.” The latter proves less popular, with 40% saying they dislike it. Close to three in 10 (27%) dislike “Do They Know It’s Christmas.”

Wake-Up Call: Omnicron Is Now Dominant Variant

The Omicron variant is spreading faster than any coronavirus variant yet, with cases surpassing the worst of the previous Delta wave. Daily cases reached 168,409 on Wednesday, according to The New York Times. There is some evidence that the Omicron causes milder symptoms than previous variants. However, it is so easily transmitted that officials fear it could overwhelm the healthcare system in many communities.
  • Chicago and most of the surrounding towns in Cook County will begin requiring proof of vaccination for customers aged five and older to enter indoor public spaces like bars, restaurants and gyms in the new year. Illinois has recorded its two millionth coronavirus diagnosis since the pandemic began, according to Chicago's NBC Channel 5.
  • New York City has scaled back plans for the traditional New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square. The crowd will be limited to 15,000, a fraction of the usual turnout. Proof of vaccination will be required, and everyone must wear masks. New York State reported 38,835 positive tests yesterday. Of those, 22,208 were in New York City, a far greater daily number than has been recorded before the new variant appeared.
  • United Airlines has canceled more than 100 Christmas Eve flights, citing a shortage of staff and crew due to the omicron variant.
  • Some European nations are imposing stricter restrictions than have been seen in the U.S. so far. Italy and Spain have reimposed rules mandating mask wearing even outdoors. Northern Ireland will shut down nightclubs starting Sunday. COVID-19 cases had been leveling off in Europe until the Omicron variant sent the numbers soaring again.
  • China's government put all 13 million residents of one city under lockdown after a cluster of coronavirus cases was found there. The virus, which is the Delta variant, is believed to have arrived on a flight from Pakistan earlier this month.

Former President Donald Trump is doubling down on his positive comments about the coronavirus vaccine, despite being booed by a recent crowd in Dallas after revealing that he had gotten a booster shot. "The vaccine is one of the greatest achievements of mankind," he told commentator Candace Owens on Fox News. "I came up with a vaccine, with three vaccines. All are very, very good," he said.

➤FORMER POLICE OFFICER GUILTY OF MANSLAUGHTER: The former police officer who drew a gun instead of a Taser and fatally shot a young Black man to death at a traffic stop has been found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter. Daunte Wright, who was 20, was pulled over for having an expired tag and an illegal air freshener. The jury deliberated for 27 hours before returning the verdict yesterday. Kim Potter, then a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, was ordered held without bail before sentencing. Demonstrators, some carrying Black Lives Matter signs, applauded the verdict outside.

➤STOCKS HITS RECORD CLOSE: After a three-day selloff, stocks rebounded yesterday. The Standard & Poor's Index rose 0.62% to close at a record 4,726. The Dow Jones rose 197 points to 35,951. Both show gains for the week. The markets are closed for the holiday today.

➤TRUMP ASKS SUPREME COURT TO WITHHOLD RECORDS: Former President Donald Trump has appealed to the Supreme Court to block the release of White House records demanded by the House committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riot. The House committee in turn has asked the Court to expedite the matter. The committee is investigating the role of the former president and his aides in attempting to overturn the results of the presidential election.

➤5 CHARGED IN CONGRESSWOMAN'S CARJACKING: The FBI has charged five teenagers with carjacking a vehicle owned by a member of Congress in broad daylight. U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon was approached at gunpoint as she left a meeting in Philadelphia on Wednesday. The car was later located in Delaware.

➤VACCINE TO PREVENT BREAST CANCER IS BEING TESTED: Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic are in the early stages of testing a vaccine to prevent the most aggressive type of breast cancer, known as triple-negative breast cancer. According to CBS News, the vaccine would work by jumpstarting the immune system and attacking any tumors that contain a specific protein that should not be present unless a woman is lactating. If successful, the vaccine would be given to young women at higher risk for breast cancer. A vaccine is considered the Holy Grail of the war on cancer.

➤REFINERY BLAST MAY PUSH GAS PRICES HIGHER: An explosion at a Texas oil refinery early yesterday is expected to push gas prices even higher over the coming months, according to CNN. The ExxonMobil plant near Houston is one of America's largest refineries, and the damage is expected to take some months to repair. Gas at the pump now averages $3.29 a month, an increase of 47% from a year ago. It may go to $4 this spring.

➤TOYS 'R' US TRIES FOR A COMEBACK: Some shoppers at the American Dream mall in New Jersey are experiencing a jolt of déjà vu. There's a brand new Toys 'R' Us store in the mall, three years after the toy retailer's 735 stores shut down. And, yes, pictures of Geoffrey the Giant loom from the walls. The mall store is a harbinger of toys to come. The revived retailer plans to open 400 mini stores within Macy's department stores next year.

🌲THE HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE:  Christmas trees are common holiday decorations, but did you ever wonder where the tradition began? Fox News reports the tradition of Christmas trees began in the 16th century in Germany. The story goes that Martin Luther was allegedly in awe at the beauty of the stars above the evergreen trees one evening, and tried to recreate the vision for his family at home. In America, the first record of a Christmas tree was from German settlers in Pennsylvania in 1830, but there were community Christmas trees as early as 1747. Many Americans were slow to adopt the tradition, as they viewed Christmas trees as pagan symbols back then. What really made the tradition take off was in 1846 when Queen Elizabeth was illustrated next to a Christmas tree with her family. By the 1890s, Christmas trees ticked up in popularity in the U.S., and the rest is history.

🎅SANTA’S JOURNEY COULD BE GUIDED BY THE NORTHERN LIGHTS:  Santa’s journey could be guided by the Northern Lights this year. Weather experts say a huge solar storm that erupted on the sun on Monday, December 20th, could make the aurora more intense than usual around the North Pole on Christmas Eve. While the aurora might be beautiful, an intense storm such as this can trigger geomagnetic storms that disrupt satellite services and even knock out power grids, though this particular storm is not expected to cause any issues. Daily Mail reports that The Met Office says, “We are seeing a gradual increase in solar activity and associated space weather. This is due to us moving away from solar minimum (late 2019/ early 2020) and towards the next solar maximum (expected around mid-2025). Within the next few years we can expect increasing solar activity, with a corresponding increase in space weather events affecting the near-Earth space environment.” 

NFL TNF: Tennessee Titans 20 S-F 49ers 17.

🏈RUTGERS IS GOING TO THE GATOR BOWL: Rutgers has accepted an invitation to take on Wake Forest at the Gator Bowl on December 31st. The Scarlet Knights will be subbing for Texas A&M, which was forced to withdraw due to COVID-19 cases among its players and staff. In normal times a team needs six wins to go to a bowl game. If an empty slot remains, it goes to the 5-7 team with the highest academic performance rate. Rutgers was 5-7 for the season and had the highest APR among the remaining teams. It will be the first appearance by the Scarlet Knights in a bowl game since 2014.

🏈SAINTS' ROOKIE GETS HIS CHANCE: Rookie quarterback Ian Book may be the last man standing for the New Orleans Saints, or at least the last quarterback standing. He's expected to start in Monday's game against the Miami Dolphins. All three others who have started for the Dolphins this season are unavailable. Taysom Hill is expected to land on the team's COVID-19 reserve list, as is Trevor Siemian, according to Yahoo! Sports. Jameis Winston is on injured reserve.

🏈TAYLOR HEINICKE IS BACK: The Washington Football Team has taken quarterback Taylor Heinicke off the COVID-19 reserve list, just in time for the Sunday match against the Dallas Cowboys that could keep their postseason hopes alive. The team has 15 other players out.

🏀TIMBERWOLVES' TOWNS ON COVID LIST: Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns has entered the NBA's health and safety protocols, the team reported. Six other Timberwolves players are currently on the list. Towns has lost his mother and six other family members to COVID-19.

⚾BELLINGER AND DODGERS HAVE A DEAL: Cody Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to a one-year, $17 million contract before the December 1st lockout that shut down Major League Baseball, according to ESPN. The deal has not been announced because teams are not mentioning players by name during the work stoppage, which will stretch into the new year.

🏈🎄THE NFL CHRISTMAS DAY SCHEDULE: Here's the Week 16 action on Christmas Day.
  • Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers, 4:30 p.m. ET on Fox and the NFL Network
  • Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET on the NFL Network

   Most of the US will not likely have a white Christmas, but some parts of the West Coast have a higher chance than most. A snowy weekend storm is predicted to hit regions near sea level, including in Washington and Oregon, as well as the central Sierra Nevada Mountains. The storm is predicted to follow heavy precipitation in the region today. Snowy conditions are also expected toward the Intermountain West region, including Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. Holiday travel conditions for the rest of the US are expected to remain normal as warmer than usual weather is expected, particularly in the Southern region.

Report: Fox News Crushes CNN, MSNBC

Fox News pulled off a remarkable turnaround in 2021. The long-dominant network began the year with a historic run at third place in the January ratings but has since rebounded in a dramatic fashion, reports Mediaite.

Despite its slow start, Fox is set to finish 2021 – for the sixth year in a row – as the number one channel on basic cable, which will also mark its 20th straight year as the number one network in cable news. Fox News Media’s CEO Suzanne Scott boasted in a statement that it is the only cable news network to show growth in a year in which everyone lost viewers en mass. New programming, a host of new issues to cover, a president to oppose, and the strength of prime time opinion shows appear to have made the difference for Fox in 2021.

While the network has stirred its fair share of controversy this year and said goodbye to one of its most well-respected veteran journalists, Chris Wallace, Fox also managed to pull in a surprising, ideologically diverse audience.

According to data from Nielsen/MRI Fusion, Fox News is watched by more Democrats than CNN and by more Independents than both MSNBC and CNN. Data averages from April to August show that while Fox pulled in 62 percent of all conservatives watching cable, 29 percent of all liberals watched Fox – while 46 percent watched MSNBC and 25 percent watched CNN. MSNBC attracted 24 percent of the conservative audience, while CNN only pulled in 14 percent.

Among Independents, Fox attracted 45 percent of the total audience, while MSNBC received 31 percent and CNN raked in 24 percent. While the exact meaning of these numbers is difficult to parse out, they track with a larger trend in media for 2021 – a diminishing interest in political news. Even the Washington Post, which saw interest in its core political stories diminish this year, is looking beyond politics to attract readers and new subscribers.

And while its competitors CNN and MSNBC continued to laser focus on Donald Trump, January 6th, and discord within the Republican Party, Fox News found more fertile subjects for its audience.

Fox noticeably moved away from mentions of Trump. Mediaite’s Colby Hall documented in October that Fox mentioned Trump far fewer times than CNN or MSNBC. The shift was counter-intuitive, as the 45th president had been credited with the so-called Trump bump that drove record viewers and clicks across cable news and digital media during his presidency.

Graphic Courtesy of RoadMN
But it worked for Fox’s audience, which was treated to coverage on a range of other issues from the Covid-19 pandemic, critical race theory, crime, the southern border, inflation, and oppositional coverage of President Joe Biden.

In terms of raw numbers for 2021, Fox averaged 1.3 million in total day viewers, while MSNBC and CNN lagged behind with 919,000 and 787,000 – respectively.

In prime time, Fox averaged 2.3 million viewers, with 374,000 in the key 25-54 age demographic. CNN brought in 1.1 million average total viewers and 276,000 in the demo, while MSNBC pulled in 1.55 million total average viewers and only 220,000 in the demo.

Cumulus Names Jared Merves As SVP/Digital

CUMULUS MEDIA has named Jared Merves to serve as Senior Vice President, Digital, reporting to President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Berner effective January 18, 2022.

In this post, Merves will lead and further shape the Company’s digital strategy with a focus on generating revenue across multiple Cumulus Media platforms and channels.

Jared Merves
Merves has more than 15 years of experience leading innovation and increasing revenue, market share, and profitability across media organizations. A proven leader in digital revenue growth strategies, audience monetization, and branded content, Merves was most recently Chief Revenue Officer of Distributed Media Lab, which had acquired Wundervue, a company he founded to support media companies and advertising agencies in their digital transformation, operations, product development, and growth opportunities. Previously, Merves was Chief Digital Officer of Belo and Company in Dallas. Merves also held significant digital roles at Tegna and

“Jared has been at the forefront of digital media throughout his career and has helped many companies propel their businesses forward through innovation,” said Mary Berner, President and CEO of Cumulus Media. “Digital has been a critical and successful pillar of our business strategy, and Jared brings the experience, creativity and technical expertise to build on that foundation and catapult us to the next level.”

“Cumulus Media is a leading player in the growing market for all forms of audio,” said Merves. “I’m thrilled to be joining such a talented team as we drive accelerated digital revenue and pursue opportunities across the multi-dimensional space.”

Tik Tok Most Popular Website During 2021

TikTok just won’t stop. The video-driven social media app is the most popular site in 2021 — beating out last year’s top favorite Google, according to The NY Post citing a new tech report.

TikTok even beat out other well-known domains that outranked it in 2020, such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix, data from web security company Cloudflare shows.

Cloudflare found that TikTok, which ranked seventh to No. 1 Google in 2020, got a little “help” from the pandemic, boosting the app to the top spot this year.

TikTok and Google flipflopped for the top spot throughout the year — including in October and November, when Google reigned supreme, according to Cloudflare.

But eventually TikTok took over — and outranked, which includes Maps, Translate, Photos, Flights, Books and News, on days like Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Overall in 2021, TikTok was closely followed by Google in second place and Facebook in third. Microsoft and Apple completed the top five spots. Ranked six was Amazon, followed by Netflix, (7) Youtube (8), Twitter (9) and WhatsApp in 10th.

Wildly popular among the younger generation, TikTok has inspired the launch of other platforms, like Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and Triller. In September, the viral app said it hit 1 billion monthly active global users. 

December 24 Radio History

➦In 1818...The Christmas carol Silent Night was first performed at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire on the Salzach river in present-day Austria.

A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had written the lyrics of the song "Stille Nacht" in 1816 at Mariapfarr, the hometown of his father in the Salzburg Lungau region. The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf.

Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the Christmas Eve mass, after river flooding had damaged the church organ.  The church was eventually destroyed by repeated flooding and replaced with the Silent-Night-Chapel. It is unknown what inspired Mohr to write the lyrics, or what prompted him to create a new carol.

Reginald A Fessenden
➦In 1906... Quebec physcist Reginald A. Fessenden sent his first radio broadcast himself playing ‘O Holy Night’ on his violin for telegraph operators and other sailors aboard ships in the Atlantic and Caribbean.

In the late 1890s, reports began to appear about the success Guglielmo Marconi was having in developing a practical radio transmitting and receiving system. Fessenden began limited radio experimentation, and soon came to the conclusion that he could develop a far more efficient system than the spark-gap transmitter and coherer-receiver combination which had been championed by Oliver Lodge and Marconi.

Wireless Station at Brant Rock, MA
On December 21, 1906, Fessenden made an extensive demonstration of the new alternator-transmitter at Brant Rock, showing its utility for point-to-point wireless telephony, including interconnecting his stations to the wire telephone network. A detailed review of this demonstration appeared in The American Telephone Journal.

A few days later, two additional demonstrations took place, which may have been the first audio radio broadcasts of entertainment and music ever made to a general audience. (Beginning in 1904, the U.S. Navy had broadcast daily time signals and weather reports, but these employed spark transmitters, transmitting in Morse code).

On Christmas Eve 1906, Fessenden used the alternator-transmitter to send out a short program from Brant Rock. It included a phonograph record of Ombra mai fu (Largo) by George Frideric Handel, followed by Fessenden himself playing on the violin Adolphe Adam's carol O Holy Night, singing Gounod's Adore and be Still, and finishing with reading a passage from the Bible: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will' (Gospel of Luke 2:14).

He petitioned his listeners to write in about the quality of the broadcast as well as their location when they heard it. Surprisingly, his broadcast was heard several hundred miles away; however, accompanying the broadcast was a disturbing noise. This noise was due to irregularities in the spark gap transmitter used.

➦In 1922...the BBC broadcast the first British radio play. It was entitled, "Truth about Father Christmas".

➦In 1928...the first broadcast of “The Voice of Firestone” was heard on the NBC Blue Radio Network, Monday night at 8:30. “The Voice of Firestone”became a hallmark in radio broadcasting, keeping its same night and sponsor for its entire 27 year run. Beginning September 5, 1949, the program of classical and semi-classical music was simulcast on television.

Lionel Barrymore

➦In 1939...The radio version of the classic “A Christmas Carol” with Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge aired live for the first time on Orson Welles’ Campbell Playhouse on CBS.  On prior Christmasses Barrymore had just read the story beginning in 1934.

➦In 1944...The Andrews Sisters starred in the debut of “The Andrews Sisters’ Eight-to-the-Bar Ranch” on ABC radio. Patty, Maxene and LaVerne ran a fictional dude ranch. George “Gabby” Hayes was a regular guest along with Vic Schoen’s orchestra. The ranch stayed in operation until 1946.

➦In 1948...Perry Como made his television debut when NBC televised the Chesterfield Supper Club 15-minute radio program.

➦In 2006…Frank Nicholas Stanton died at age 98 (Born - March 20, 1908).  He served as the president of CBS between 1946 and 1971 and then as vice chairman until 1973. He also served as the chairman of the Rand Corporation from 1961 until 1967.

Frank Stanton 1939
Along with William S. Paley, Stanton is credited with the significant growth of CBS into a communications powerhouse.

Stanton was revered both as a spokesman for the broadcast industry before Congress, and for his passionate support of broadcast journalism and journalists. Former CBS News President Richard S. Salant – a widely respected news chief and an appointee of Stanton's – praised Stanton as a corporate mentor and statesman.

During the period of McCarthyism, Stanton created an office at CBS to review the political leanings of employees.  Although right-wing journalists considered CBS left-leaning, branding it "the Red Network", CBS maintained a questionnaire inquiring about journalists' political affiliations. At Stanton's direction, employees were required to take an oath of loyalty to the US government.

Stanton and Paley "found it expedient to hire only those who were politically neutral", not wishing to take a position against the FCC and Congress, nor to jeopardize profit by "taking a stand against the vigilantes".

According to radio historian Jim Cox, "CBS and the blacklisting became synonymous".   CBS, in response to the culture of blacklisting, instituted a "purge of its own", as had Hollywood and president Truman; Paley was more responsible for policy setting, and Stanton its main executor.

Radio producer William N. Robson was one victim of the CBS purge; initially reassured by Stanton that his listing in the anti-Communist Red Channels pamphlet would not mean the end of his career with CBS, Robson eventually found the executive office of CBS non-responsive to his inquiries, and his earnings collapsed.   Good Night, and Good Luck, a 2005 movie portraying this era, left Stanton out of the film as a character, partly because Stanton was still living and might have objected to his portrayal.

Stanton played a role in the infamous controversy involving Arthur Godfrey, CBS's top money-earner in the early 1950s. Godfrey insisted that the cast members of two of his three CBS shows, a group of singers known as the "Little Godfreys," refrain from hiring managers.

When one singer, Julius LaRosa, hired a manager following a minor dispute with Godfrey, the star consulted with Stanton, who suggested that he fire the popular LaRosa, then a rising star, on the air – just as he'd hired him on the air in 1951. Godfrey did so on October 19, 1953, without informing LaRosa before the airing. The move caused an enormous backlash against Godfrey. Stanton later told Godfrey biographer Arthur Singer that "Maybe (the recommendation) was a mistake."

➦In 2009...Former radio personality and pioneering TV sports highlights host George Michael lost his long battle with leukemia at age 70.  With ‘George Michael’s Sports Machine’ in the 1980’s he is credited with inventing the hyper-clip-style format of shows like ESPN & TSN’s SportsCenter.

Michael was born George Michael Gimpel in St. Louis, Missouri on March 24, 1939. He grew up near Tower Grove Park in the city's south side, and graduated from St. Louis University High School. While attending Saint Louis University, he worked as a Midwest promoter for several record labels such as Scepter and Motown. It was also during this time when he made his radio broadcasting debut on a one-hour Sunday night show at midnight on WIL, which invited individual SLU students to be the hosts every week. He earned a full-time job as a disc jockey at the station after he was judged to be the best of the group.

His first radio job outside of his hometown was in 1962 at WRIT in Milwaukee, where he worked the 6-to-10 pm shift until he was reassigned to 5-to-9 am morning drive time in early 1964.  His next stop was at KBTR in Denver later in 1964, working under the name "King" George Michael for the first time. He earned the nickname due to his success in "ruling" evening radio.

He became one of the original Boss Jocks at WFIL in Philadelphia when its new Top 40 rock and roll format debuted on September 18, 1966.  He served as music director and evening deejay for the next eight years. WFIL, which was popularly known as "Famous 56" after the transition, ended WIBG's listener ratings dominance and became the city's most popular station by the summer of 1967.

Michael was the first Philadelphia rock and roll radio personality to read the scores of local high school football and basketball games on the air. He also helped to start the career of Howard Eskin by hiring him to be his engineer.  Decades later, Eskin would be a contributor to The George Michael Sports Machine.

On George's last WFIL show (on September 6, 1974) he played "When Will I See You Again" by the Three Degrees for the first time ever on any radio station. The playing of this on his show broke the song into the mainstream, and within two months was a huge international hit, reaching number one in the U.K., and number two in the United States. George was personal friends with the owners of Philadelphia International Records and the song's writers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The aircheck of this can be heard on WFIL's tribute site, where he says,"I don't know if this song will be a hit".

Michael, noted for his energetic style, was hired by 77 WABC in New York City; his first on-air stint there was on the evening of September 9, 1974.  Michael now not only was entering the nation's largest media market; he also succeeded radio legend "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, who had jumped to competitor WNBC.

Several incidents from Michael's radio stint there have been chronicled in Morrow's autobiography.  Even though he was reunited with Dan Ingram and Ron Lundy (colleagues from his WIL days in St. Louis), Michael's time at WABC, which ended on November 17, 1979, was mostly frustrating because he was no longer a music director who had any influence on a playlist which was much shorter than the ones with which he was more familiar.  One of the highlights during his time at the station occurred when he anchored its coverage of the New York City blackout of 1977 after the music format was temporarily suspended for the night.

His first experience in sports broadcasting also came in 1974 when he was a TV announcer for the Baltimore Orioles on WJZ-TV.  He declined an offer to work for the ballclub full-time in order to accept the WABC position.  As part of the deal to bring him to New York, Michael also worked for WABC-TV as the weekend sports anchor and a color commentator on New York Islanders telecasts for several seasons, paired mainly with Tim Ryan.   He served as an occasional substitute on ABC American Contemporary Network's Speaking of Sports show whenever Howard Cosell, the primary commentator, was on vacation or assignment.

➦In 2011...NYC Talk personality Lynn Samuels died from a heart attack at age 69.

Lynn Samuels
She began her radio career at WBAI in 1979, where in addition to her on-air work she was music director and an engineer and producer. Walter Sabo, in a tribute on the Alex Bennett program (hosted by Richard Bey) on December 27, 2011, stated that Lynn first worked for WOR on Saturdays from 4–6 p.m. "for quite some time".

Samuels was heard on Talkradio WABC from 1987 until 1992, 1993 until 1997, and 1997 until 2002, including two breaks in which she was fired and then rehired. Her third and final dismissal in 2002 was allegedly due to budget cuts.

Samuels was also a call-screener for Matt Drudge. In 2002, she joined WLIE for a brief time before being hired by Sirius Satellite Radio in 2003.

➦In 2017...Radio and advertising creator Dick Orkin died at age 84 of a hemorrhagic stroke. Orkin was an award-winning radio advertising creator for close to a half-century, was perhaps best known for his syndicated “Chickenman” spoof, which aired initially on Chicago’s WCFL-AM and later on WLUP-FM.

The serial of 2½-minute-long episodes chronicled the adventures of “the most fantastic crime fighter the world has ever known,” an intrepid if incompetent crime fighter out to save the denizens of the fictitious Midland City (pop. 7,043).

First aired in 1966, “Chickenman” was created in the wake of the success of the 1960s live-action “Batman” TV series, and “Chickenman’s” more than 250 episodes remain popular to this day, continuing to air and be available for downloads.

“There was no one else like Dick,” said Ken Draper, who hired Orkin at two different radio stations and gave the green light to “Chickenman.” “He had his own sense of humor and his own perspective on humor, and it was wonderful and he was a wonderful success, as everybody knows, as a result of that.”

Orkin voiced all of the male characters in the serial, and his voice was well-known in radio ads.

Chickenman’s 250-plus episodes have been syndicated around the world and can still be heard on Internet radio, making it the longest-running radio serial of all time.  Orkin also produced more than 300 episodes of another popular serial, The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy.

Born in Williamsport, Pa., Orkin started his radio career as a fill-in on-air personality at WKOK 1070 AM in Sunbury, Pa.  He also worked for a time as a news director at WLAN radio in Lancaster, where he also worked as a farm reporter. Draper, who previously had tried to hire Orkin to work for him at a station in Portland, Ore., later joined KYW-AM — now WTAM-AM — in Cleveland as its program director, and Draper again reached out to Orkin to try to hire him. This time, he was successful, and Orkin joined KYW, working in its public affairs department.

In 1965, Draper moved to Chicago to take the helm at WCFL-AM. He hired Orkin as the station’s production director.   Orkin left WCFL in 1968 and started Dick Orkin Creative Services.

Orkin was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the Illinois Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Radio Advertising Bureau Hall of Fame.

On January 21, 2010, Orkin wrote to the National Association of Broadcasters, requesting them to remove his name from the Hall of Fame, because he did not wish to share the honor with radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. 

Ryan Seacrest is 47


  • Actor Sharon Farrell (“Hawaii Five-0”) is 75. 
  • Actor Grand L. Bush (TV’s “The Visitor,” film’s “Demolition Man”) is 66. 
  • Actor Clarence Gilyard (“Walker, Texas Ranger”) is 66. 
  • Actor Stephanie Hodge (“Unhappily Ever After”) is 65. 
  • Bassist-synthesizer player Ian Burden of Human League is 64. 
  • Actor Anil Kapoor (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is 62. 
  • Sofia Black-D'Elia is 30
    Actor Wade Williams (“Prison Break,” “The Bernie Mac Show”) is 60. 
  • Singer Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs is 58. 
  • Actor Mark Valley (“Boston Legal”) is 57. 
  • Actor Diedrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show”) is 55. 
  • Actor Amaury Nolasco (TV’s “Deception,” “Prison Break”) is 51. 
  • Singer Ricky Martin is 50. 
  • “Twilight” series author Stephenie Meyer is 48. 
  • TV host Ryan Seacrest (“American Idol,” ″Live with Kelly and Ryan”) is 47. 
  • Actor Michael Raymond-James (“Once Upon a Time,” “True Blood”) is 44. 
  • Actor Austin Stowell (“12 Strong”) is 37. 
  • Actor Sofia Black-D’Elia (“Your Honor,” “The Mick”) is 30. 
  • Singer Louis Tomlinson, once a member of One Direction, is 30.