Saturday, December 31, 2022

Here's To A Prosperous 2023!


“Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” 
—Frank Scully

January 1 Radio History

➦In 1923...the very first radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl aired in Los Angeles over KHJ radio — some 42 years before 93/KHJ became Boss Radio.

➦In 1925...Lucrezia Bori and John McCormack of the famous Metropolitan Opera made their singing debuts on radio. The broadcast over New York’s WEAF Radio soon to be the NBC flagship.

➦In 1927...The Blue Network aired its first program.   The Blue Network (previously the NBC Blue Network) was the on-air name of the now defunct American radio production and distribution service, which ran from 1927 to 1945. Beginning as one of the two radio networks owned by the National Broadcasting Company, the independent Blue Network was born of a divestiture in 1942, arising from anti-trust litigation, and is the direct predecessor of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC..see below) - organized 1943-1945 as a separate independent radio network and later TV broadcaster.

The Blue Network dates to 1923, when the Radio Corporation of America acquired WJZ Newark from Westinghouse (which had created the station in 1921) and moved it to New York City in May of that year. When RCA commenced operations of WRC, Washington on August 1, 1923, the root of a network was born, though it did not operate under the name by which it would later become known. Radio historian Elizabeth McLeod states that it would not be until 1924 that the "Radio Group" formally began network operations.

The core stations of the "Radio Group" were RCA's stations WJZ and WRC; the Westinghouse station WBZ, then in Springfield, Massachusetts; and WGY, the General Electric station in Schenectady, New York.

RCA's principal rival prior to 1926 was the radio broadcasting department of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company. AT&T, starting in 1921, had been using this department as a test-bed for equipment being designed and manufactured by its Western Electric subsidiary.

The RCA stations operated at a significant disadvantage to their rival chain; AT&T used its own high-quality transmission lines, and declined to lease them out to competing entities, forcing RCA to use the telegraph lines of Western Union, which were not as well calibrated to voice transmission as the AT&T lines.

Nevertheless, the WJZ network sought to compete toe-to-toe with the AT&T network, which was built around WEAF (today's WFAN). For example, both stations sent announcer teams to cover the 1924 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Promotional material produced in 1943 claimed certain "firsts" in broadcasting by WJZ, such as the first educational music program in April 1922, the first World Series broadcasts in 1922, and the first complete opera broadcast, The Flying Dutchman, from the Manhattan Opera House.

RCA (as well as its consortium partners General Electric and Westinghouse) were to receive a break in 1926, when AT&T made a corporate decision to exit the broadcasting business and focus on its telecommunications business.

The Decatur Review (Illinois) for Sunday, December 12, 1926 reported the following in an article describing a broadcast to be sponsored by the Victor Talking Machine Company and aired the following New Year's Day, January 1, 1927, which is a description of this first Blue Network broadcast—note that it makes it clear that January 1, 1927 marked the debut of the Blue Network:

"TWO BIG NETWORKS: The network to be used for the first concert will consist of a combination of chains of stations affiliated with WEAF and WJZ, New York. It is also announced that this opening Victor program inaugurates a new chain system to be operated by the National Broadcasting Company, with WJZ as the "key" station. This new chain, which will be known as the "blue" network, will allow simultaneous broadcasting from WJZ through WBZ, Springfield and Boston, KDKA, Pittsburgh, and KYW, Chicago. For broadcasting of the first program, therefore, the "blue" network will be joined with the "red" network, as the WEAF chain is designated, as well as other stations in various cities. Following the New Year's night program, the concerts will be given bi-monthly, through the "blue" network (...)

Allegedly, the color designations came from the way the networks were represented on maps, with red lines (or pushpins) denoting the WEAF network circuits, and blue the WJZ circuits.

January 2 Radio History

➦In 1904... Bernardine Flynn born (Died at age 73  – March 20, 1977). She was a radio actress and announcer best known for playing the role of Sade Gook on the long-running comic radio serial Vic and Sade.

Bernadine Flynn
Flynn graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (Class of 1926), moving to Chicago in 1927. In Chicago, Flynn became a radio actress and announcer. She was used as a radio announcer, a rarity for women in the 1920s, as she was known for controlling her emotions. This quality of not becoming emotional was exploited in the Vic and Sade show, where she would play the role of straight man to the comic daffiness.

One of Flynn's earliest activities on radio was on WJZ in New York City. She replaced Virginia Carter in the ingenue's role on the Empire Builders program. The following year, she was heard on Rin Tin Tin. Also in the summer of 1931, she portrayed Mrs. Jones in The Private Affairs of the Jones Family. Sponsored by Montgomery Ward, the show was one of four tested by the company to test audience response. A newspaper story about it related, "Miss Flynn [has] been heard in many dramatic productions from Chicago stories." She was heard in Malik Mystery Drama in 1932.

In 1932, Paul Rhymer chose Flynn to play Sade as the character lacked a sense of humor. Even in the most humorous of situations, Flynn's emotional self-control ensured that Sade would never break character.  The 15-minute program was aired from 1932 to 1945, and in 1946, it was put back on the air as a one-hour show.

Flynn and Durward Kirby co-starred in Daytime Radio Newspaper in 1943. The 15-minute program on CBS had Kirby delivering straight news items and Flynn handling human-interest reports.

➦In 1904...Singer and radio actor James Melton born (Died from pneumonia at age 56 – April 21, 1961)  He was a popular singer in the 1920s and early 1930s, later began a career as an operatic singer when tenor voices went out of style in popular music around 1932–35.

John Melton
Melton usually catered to popular music fans, singing romantic songs and popular ballads in a sweet style. He was born in Moultrie, Georgia but was raised in Citra, FL. In 1920, he graduated from high school in Ocala, and then attended the University of Florida, Vanderbilt University and the University of Georgia. He received vocal instruction from Gaetano de Luca in Nashville from 1923 to 1927 before moving to New York where he studied with Beniamino Gigli's teacher, Enrico Rosati. Melton also worked in dance bands, playing saxophone in a college jazz ensemble and performing with Francis Craig's Orchestra in Atlanta in 1926.

The following year, he began singing on New York radio for no pay. He joined "Roxy's Gang", a cabaret group led by Samuel Roxy Rothafel, who worked with the Sieberling Singers. He made records for Victor Records, singing as one of the tenors with The Revelers and for Columbia Records with the same group under the pseudonym of The Singing Sophomores. He frequently sang with popular singer Jane Froman and appeared with her in film as well.

Melton recorded his first songs under his own name for Columbia in the autumn of 1927. On radio, Melton was heard on The Firestone Hour in 1933, on Ward's Family Theater in 1935, The Sealtest Sunday Night Party (1936), The Palmolive Beauty Box Theater (1937), The Song Shop (1938), the Bell Telephone Hour (1940), Texaco Star Theater (1944) and Harvest of Stars (1945). In 1941, a newspaper columnist described Melton as "currently one of radio's busiest singers."  In the thirties, Melton also sang and acted on the Jack Benny Radio Shows.

➦In 1908...announcer Ben Grauer was born in New York City. Grauer's greatest fame lies in his legendary 40-year career in radio. In 1930, the 22-year-old Benjamin Franklin Grauer joined the staff at NBC. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a senior commentator and reporter. He was the designated announcer for the popular 1940s Walter Winchell's Jergens Journal. Perhaps, most importantly, he was selected by Arturo Toscanini to become the voice of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Grauer took over as announcer in late 1942, and remained until the orchestra was disbanded in June 1954. Toscanini said he was his favorite announcer.

In Memoriam: Remembering Those We Lost During 2022

NBC Nightly News pays tribute to the world leaders, athletes, actors, musicians and more that we lost in 2022 – including Queen Elizabeth II, Pelé, Sidney Poitier, Christine McVie and many others.

What Does “Auld Lang Syne” Really Mean?

Historians call it “the song that nobody knows.” And yet we’ve all tried to sing it on New Year's Eve. Here's the real "Auld Lang Syne" meaning.

There are scores of traditional Christmas songs, but New Year’s really just has the one—and we’re willing to bet you don’t even know what it means. Belting out “Auld Lang Syne” while watching the ball drop is a cherished New Year’s tradition. Yet most of us join in without knowing what “auld lang syne” means, what language it is or even what it has to do with New Year’s. We’ll fill you in so you can use the saying in your New Year’s captions with confidence.

What does “auld lang syne” mean?

“Auld lang syne” is the title and key phrase of a 1788 Scottish poem by Robert “Rabbie” Burns, typically sung on New Year’s Eve around the world. The phrase “auld lang syne,” which literally translates to “old long since,” basically means “days gone by” in the Scots language. Or, as Merriam-Webster explains the auld lang syne meaning, “the good old times.”

What is the song “Auld Lang Syne” about?

If the “auld lang syne” meaning has to do with remembering days gone by, the song must reminisce about the good ol’ days, right? Sort of. It’s a bit boozier than that.

The original five-verse version of the poem essentially gets people singing “let’s drink to days gone by,” an appropriate toast for the New Year. That’s right: Sometimes deemed by music historians to be the most famous “song that nobody knows,” “Auld Lang Syne” is a piece of the long oral tradition of getting drunk and belting out a tune.

Where does the term “auld lang syne” come from?

The nostalgic phrase “auld lang syne” appeared in Scottish song as early as 1588, but it was poet hero Burns who gave us the version we prefer to butcher every Dec. 31, perhaps with our mouths stuffed with one of these lucky New Year’s foods.

When Burns turned in the manuscript of “Auld Lang Sine” in 1788, he was quick to cite the Scottish oral tradition as his muse. “The following song, an old song, of the olden times,” he’s said to have remarked, “has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man.”

Burns embellished the old ballad with a few verses of his own, mostly adding lines about drinking, like “we’ll take a cup of kindness yet” and “we’ll take a right good-will draught.” The ballad quickly became a standard for the Scottish New Year celebration of Hogmanay. Next, find out the which lucky New Year’s colors could be of significance to you.

How did “Auld Lang Syne” become so popular?

December 31 Radio History

➦In 1910...Actor Dick Kollmar was born in Rigewood NJ. He starred as 'Boston Blackie' in the long-running radio show, and co-hosted a WOR New York chat show with his wife, gossip columnist Dorothy Kilgallen.  On TV he hosted the series Broadway Spotlight & Guess What. He died Jan. 7 1971, an apparent suicide at age 60.

➦In 1914...Roy Rogers’ sidekick Pat Brady was born in Toledo Ohio. He appeared in more than 100 episodes of TV’s Roy Rogers Show, after hooking up with Roy in films & on radio.   He also sang with the western group Sons of the Pioneers. He died in a car accident Feb. 27 1972 at age 57.

➦In 1920...cowboy actor & narrator Rex Allen was born on a ranch in Arizona. Although he sang on radio’s WLS National Barn Dance, published over 300 songs, and starred in 19 Republic western movies, he is best remembered today for his distinctive narration of dozens of Disney films & TV shows.  He died Dec 17, 1999 just days short of his 79th birthday, after being accidently run over in his own driveway.

➦In 1923...In London,, the BBC began using the distinctive Big Ben chime ID.

➦In 1923...the first transatlantic radio broadcast of a voice occurred between Pittsburgh and Manchester, England.

➦In 1926...KOMO signed on the air in Seattle at AM 980.  Today the longtime Fisher Broadcasting outlet has an all-news format at AM 1000.

KOMO Control circa 1948 (Photos courtesy of

In July 1926, KOMO was founded on Harbor Island as KGFA 980 by two owners: Birt F. Fisher, whose lease on Seattle radio station KTCL was about to run out, and the Fisher brothers of Fisher Flouring Mills, who had been on the island since 1911. (The Fisher Brothers and Birt Fisher were not related.) In preparation for the switch to the new station, Birt Fisher changed KTCL's call sign to KOMO.

In December, his lease ended, and he took the call letters with him to KGFA. KOMO 980's first broadcast was December 31, 1926. The studios moved to Downtown Seattle in 1927. The station also began a long-running affiliation with NBC Radio that year as well, primarily with the Red Network, but also with the short-lived West Coast NBC Orange Network from 1931 to 1933. Over the following years, KOMO's frequency would go from 980 to 1080, back to 980, down to 920, up to 970, then back to 920, and settled at 950 after the NARBA frequency shakeup in 1941.

Circa 1948

Fisher's Blend Station, owner of KOMO, bought NBC Blue Network affiliate KJR from NBC in 1941. In 1944, KOMO switched frequencies with KJR (then at 1000 kHz) and sold KJR off two years later. At its new frequency, KOMO began broadcasting with 50,000 watts of power from its current transmitter site on Vashon Island in 1948. New studios at the corner of Fourth and Denny, near what is now the Seattle Center, were dedicated in February 1948.

➦In 1928...For the first time Auld Lang Syne was played by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians to bring in 1929, during the band’s annual New Year’s Eve Party at  New York’s Hotel Roosevelt Grill. The event was heard on the CBS radio network, and became the longest running annual special program in broadcast history.

➦In 1940...ASCAP prevented the radio industry from playing any ASCAP-licensed music. The ban lasted for ten months. It was in reaction to a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP, the American Society of Composers and Publishers.

➦In 1943...Singer John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf.  Denver was killed At age 53 on Oct 12, 1997, when his home-built high-performance aircraft he was piloting over Monterey Bay, California. crashed.

Friday, December 30, 2022

R.I.P.: Barbara Walters, Journalist, Trailblazing Anchor

Barbara Walters, who broke barriers for women as the first female co-host of the “Today” show and the first female anchor of a network evening news program, and who as an interviewer of celebrities became one herself, helping to blur the line between news and entertainment, died on Friday. 

She was 93, reports The NY Times.

Her death was reported by ABC News, where she was a longtime anchor and a creator of the talk show “The View.” It did not give a cause or say where she  died.

Walters spent more than 50 years in front of the camera and, until she was 84, continued to appear on “The View.” In one-on-one interviews, she was best known for delving, with genteel insistence, into the private lives and emotional states of movie stars, heads of state and other high-profile subjects.

Walters first made her mark on the “Today” show on NBC, where she began appearing regularly on camera in 1964; she was officially named co-host a decade later. Her success kicked open the door for future network anchors like Jane Pauley, Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer.

Walters began at NBC as a writer in 1961, the token woman in the “Today” writers’ room. When she left NBC for ABC in 1976 to be a co-anchor of the evening news with Harry Reasoner, she became known as the “million-dollar baby” because of her five-year, $5 million contract.

The move to the co-anchor’s chair made her not only the highest-profile female journalist in television history, but also the highest-paid news anchor, male or female, and her arrival signaled something of a cultural shift: the moment when news anchors began to be seen less as infallible authority figures, in the Walter Cronkite mold, and more as celebrities. A disgruntled Mr. Reasoner privately dismissed her hiring as a gimmick.

Gimmick or not, the ABC experiment failed. Chemistry between the co-anchors was nonexistent, ratings remained low, and in 1978 Reasoner left for CBS, his original television home, and Walters’s role changed from co-anchor to contributor as the network instituted an all-male multiple-anchor format. 

Shortly after that she began contributing reports to ABC’s newsmagazine show “20/20.” In 1984 she became the show’s permanent co-host alongside Hugh Downs, her old “Today” colleague.

It was her “Barbara Walters Specials” more than anything else that made her a star, enshrining her as an indefatigable chronicler of the rich, the powerful and the infamous. The specials, which began in 1976, made Walters as famous, or nearly as famous, as the people she interviewed.

FCC Ends 2022 Deadlocked

More than one year ago, President Joe Biden nominated longtime net neutrality proponent and consumer advocate Gigi Sohn to the Federal Communications Commission.

As of today, the full Senate has yet to vote on her confirmation. That failure has left the FCC politically deadlocked with two Republican commissioners and two Democratic ones, according to Wendy Davis at Mediapost.

While the FCC has been able to agree on relatively noncontroversial policies, the political tie at the agency has left it unable to move forward with more contentious issues -- including net neutrality.

President Joe Biden consistently said he supports a return to the former net neutrality rules, which prohibit broadband carriers from blocking or throttling traffic, and from charging higher fees for prioritized delivery.

Steven Tyler Accused Of Rape

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has been accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing an underage girl when she was 16 and he was 25 in the 1970s. 

The Daily Mail US reports Julia Holcomb filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles in the final days of a California law that temporarily lifts the statute of limitations for such claims under a 'look-back' window that ends on Saturday. 

The suit does not name Tyler, identifying him as 'Defendant Doe,' but it quotes directly from Tyler's 2011 memoir describing the relationship. The singer wrote: 'She was sixteen, she knew how to nasty, and there wasn't a hair on it,' Tyler wrote in the book, which names the girl as 'Diana'. 

Holcomb has also previously spoken publicly about her alleged relationship with the rock star. 

The lawsuit alleges she met him in 1973 shortly after her 16th birthday, when she attended an Aerosmith concert in Portland, Oregon and returned to Tyler's hotel room after the show. The suit claims that after discussing Holcomb's age, Tyler 'performed various acts of criminal sexual conduct upon' her.

Fox News Channel Scores 7th Consecutive Year As Cable Leader

FOX News Channel (FNC) notched its seventh year as leader in all of cable television while delivering the third highest-rated year ever in cable news history for 2022 in total day viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. 

The network’s programs continued to break new ratings records throughout the year, resulting in FNC continuing as the number one cable network in primetime and total day in viewers in basic cable for the seventh consecutive year and the highest-rated cable news network for the 21st straight year. 

In primetime, FNC averaged 2,330,000 total viewers, 346,000 in the 25-54 demo and 214,000 in the 18-49 demo. In total day, FNC was the only network to post increases versus 2021, delivering 1,489,000 total viewers, 231,000 in the 25-54 demo and 141,000 in the 18-49 demo. FNC trounced CNN and MSNBC combined in primetime and total day across both categories, finishing the year as the only cable news network to notch more than 2 million in primetime viewers and 1 million in total day viewers. 

FNC programs made up 92 of the top 100 cable news shows during 2022. Notably, CNN saw its lowest-rated year of all time in total day with the younger A25-54 demo and MSNBC saw its lowest rated year of all time for weekend programming. According to data from Nielsen/MRI Fusion, FNC also attracted the most politically diverse audience in cable news with more Democrats, Independents and Republicans tuning into FNC than any other network in total viewers and the younger A25-54 demo. This year, FNC had its second highest share of the cable news audience in its history with 53% in total day in the 25-54 demo. FNC also drew 55% of the primetime audience in total viewers.

The New Year Calls For New Resolutions

As the calendar flips to a new year, more than one-third of Americans (37%) say they will have a goal or resolution that they want to accomplish in 2023; another 17% are unsure. Americans who are setting a goal are confident that they will keep their resolutions: 87% of people who will set an objective say they are very or somewhat likely to keep it throughout next year.

A YouGov poll conducted December 16 - 21 found that about one in five Americans say they have resolved to do each of the following in the new year: improve their physical health (20%), save more money (20%), exercise more (19%), or eat healthier (18%). Other people will focus on being happy (17%) or losing weight (17%). Women are slightly more likely than men to say that in 2023 they resolve to eat healthier (23% vs. 13%), lose weight (21% vs. 12%), or travel (14% vs. 7%).

Wake-Up Call: Sirens Blare In Ukraine

Residents of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv were urged to head to air raid shelters early on Friday as sirens wailed across the city, a day after Russia carried out the biggest aerial assault since it started the war in February.  Shortly after 2.00 a.m. Kyiv's city government issued an alert on its Telegram messaging app channel about the air raid sirens and called on residents to proceed to shelters. Olekskiy Kuleba, governor of Kyiv region, said on Telegram that an "attack by drones" was under way.

➤WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATION: Ten months into Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine, overwhelming evidence shows the Kremlin’s troops have waged total war, with disregard for international laws governing the treatment of civilians and conduct on the battlefield. Ukraine is investigating more than 58,000 potential Russian war crimes — killings, kidnappings, indiscriminate bombings and sexual assaults. Reporting by The Associated Press and “Frontline,” recorded in a public database, has independently verified more than 600 incidents that appear to violate the laws of war. Some of those attacks were massacres that killed dozens or hundreds of civilians and as a totality it could account for thousands of individual war crimes. As Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, told the AP, “Ukraine is a crime scene.”

Rogers' $20B Deal For Shaw Wins Court Approval

Canada’s merger court ruled in favour of Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. in an antitrust case, clearing one of the final hurdles to the union of two of the country’s largest telecommunications firms.

The nation’s antitrust czar failed to prove that the deal would result in substantial harm to competition in the sector, the Competition Tribunal’s three-person panel said in a ruling released late Thursday. The transaction is not likely to lead to “materially higher” prices or a decline in service or innovation, the panel said.

Studios Can Be Sued For 'Deceptive' Movie Trailers

False advertising law now applies to deceptive movie trailers.

Mediapost reports U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled movie studios can be sued under these circumstances. The case involves the 2019 film "Yesterday," about a world without the Beatles.

Two fans of actress Ana de Armas (“Blonde,” “No Time To Die”) rented the movie in January because they saw her in the trailer. The catch? She isn’t in the actual film.

Universal Studios tried to have the case dismissed, but the judge rejected the claim.

Universal argued that movie trailers are protected under the First Amendment, since a trailer is an “artistic, expressive work” that tells a three-minute story. The studio called this “non-commercial” speech.

“Universal is correct that trailers involve some creativity and editorial discretion, but this creativity does not outweigh the commercial nature of a trailer,” Wilson wrote. “At its core, a trailer is an advertisement designed to sell a movie by providing consumers with a preview of the movie.”

R.I.P.: Denny McKeown, Gardening Guru Radio Host

Danny McKeown (1941-2022)

If Midwest gardeners ever needed some know-how, Denny McKeown was their guy.

McKeown was known to many from his Saturday morning radio program, "The Denny McKeown Gardening Show," and from his Blue Ash business, Denny McKeown's Bloomin Garden Centre and Landscape.

He died Sunday at age 81, reports The Enquirer. His show was syndicated across the Midwest, but back home McKeown was always known as Cincinnati's garden guru.

December 30 Radio History

➦In 1911..Actress Jeanette Nolan born (Died at age 86 from a stroke – June 5, 1998). Nominated for four Emmy Awards, she had roles in the television series The Virginian (1962–1971) and Dirty Sally (1974); and in films such as Macbeth (1948).

Nolan began her acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California, and, while a student at Los Angeles City College, made her radio debut in 1932 in Omar Khayyam, the first transcontinental broadcast from station KHJ. She continued acting into the 1990s.

Nolan made more than three hundred television appearances.

➦In 1914...Radio & TV host Bert Parks born (Died at age 77 from lung cancer – February 2, 1992).  He is best known for hosting the annual Miss America telecast from 1955 to 1979.

Parks entered radio broadcasting at age 16, for Atlanta's WGST. Three years later, he moved to New York City and was hired as a singer and straight man on The Eddie Cantor Show, then becoming a CBS Radio staff announcer. Parks was the host of Break the Bank, which premiered on radio in 1945 and was telecast from 1948 to 1957, as well as Stop the Music on radio in 1948 and television from 1949 to 1952.

Bert Parks
The success of Stop the Music took a toll on the ratings of the popular radio show hosted by satirist Fred Allen, who began spoofing Parks's program with skits mocking the premise of the show, one called Cease The Melody.

With other celebrities, he hosted NBC radio's Monitor during the 1960s.

Parks' first game show was Party Line on NBC (broadcast from New York City NBC flagship station WNBT), which involved viewers calling in to answer questions and win $5 prizes; Party Line ran from June 8 to August 31, 1947, making its one surviving episode the oldest known game show and one of the oldest surviving television shows to have been recorded. Commercial kinescopes did not come out until fall 1947 (co-sponsored by NBC, DuMont, and Kodak), and the only kinescopes known to predate Party Line are a few episodes of Kraft Television Theater from February and June 1947.

Parks is most famous for hosting the Miss America telecast from 1955–79; each telecast ended with Parks singing "There She Is, Miss America", as the winner was crowned. Following the 1979 pageant, he was unceremoniously fired by the organization (he heard a newscast while on vacation) in an attempt to attract a more youthful audience. The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson led an on-air campaign to get Parks rehired, but was unsuccessful. In 1990, for the 70th anniversary of the Miss America pageant (during which Miss America 1991 was crowned), Parks was brought on by host Gary Collins to sing "There She Is" to the new Miss America, Marjorie Judith Vincent. It was the last time Parks performed the song live.

➦In 1917...actress Nancy Coleman born (Died at age 82 – January 18, 2000). After working on radio and appearing on the Broadway stage, Nancy Coleman moved to Hollywood to work for Warner Bros. studios.

Early in her career as an actress, Coleman portrayed Alice Hughes on the radio version of the soap opera Young Doctor Malone.  Coleman also appeared as the lead in the 04/13/1943 episode of "Suspense", entitled "Fear Paints a Picture". On television, she played Helen Emerson on Valiant Lady.

Jack Benny and Fred Allen

➦In 1936...The famous radio feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen began. Good friends in real life, Fred Allen and Jack Benny inadvertently hatched a running gag in 1937 when a child prodigy, violinist Stuart Canin, gave a very credible performance on the Allen show, inspiring an Allen wisecrack about "a certain alleged violinist" who should hide in shame over his poor playing.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

SiriusXM Rings in the New Year

SiriusXM today unveiled its extensive New Year's Eve programming lineup, bringing listeners a limited engagement channel, special channel takeovers, live broadcasts, and more. Countdown to 2023 with SiriusXM as it looks ahead to the new year with countdowns, party jams, and exclusive content featuring the very best in music.

It's about damn time to ring in the new year with Lizzo's new limited engagement channel - Lizzo Radio - featuring non-stop party hits from the GRAMMY Award winner and her favorite artists. For just three days starting on New Year's Eve, turn up Lizzo Radio on SiriusXM's channel 14 and the SXM App for music, personal messages, and stories that will have you feeling good as hell. You'll hear Lizzo's biggest songs and exclusive performances from her unforgettable SiriusXM Small Stage Series concert from last October. The special channel will also include Lizzo's hand-picked favorites by Beyoncé, Prince, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, 21 Savage, Cardi B, SZA and many more. Additionally, listen to Lizzo's entire Small Stage Series concert on SiriusXM's The Heat (Ch. 46) on New Year's Day (January 1) at midnight ET - right after the ball drops.

SiriusXM is also shutting down the year with theUnholy New Year's Eve 2023 special, live in Miami with HITS 1's Mack and co-host Sam Smith on December 31st. There will be exclusive 2022 performances from Lizzo, Charlie Puth, Halsey, One Republic, Cardi B, 5SOS, Avril Lavigne, Chainsmokers, Tate McRae, Lewis Capaldi, Jax, Nicky Youre and more, along with in-studio visits from Ava Max, David Guetta, Jax and Charlie Puth. It's a non-stop party starting at 8pm ET, with SiriusXM listeners checking-in live from across North America on HITS 1 (Ch. 2).

Murdoch Distances Himself From Trump

Former President Donald Trump has already mounted a new run for the presidency, but many of Murdoch’s press outlets are either outright criticizing Trump or flirting with other political leaders, reports The Hill.

And that could hurt Trump’s new bid for the White House, which is already off to a stumbling start amid criticism of him from other Republicans.  

“Trump’s superpower is getting all the coverage. That’s not happening anymore. Fox is not covering him 24 hours a day,” Daniel Cassino, a media expert who wrote a 2016 book about Fox’s influence over American politics, told The Hill earlier this year. “So, it seems that is leading to frustration that he’s not dominating Fox the way he did before.”   

Trump could typically count on several leading hosts at Fox News, and columnists at the New York Post and Wall Street Journal, all owned by Murdoch, during his presidency for supportive or at least sympathetic coverage of his administration and regular attacks on his political enemies.  

But as his first term drew to a close, Trump grew increasingly vocal about his frustrations with Murdoch.  

Things also came to a head on election night 2020 when Fox was the first network to call Arizona for Joe Biden, a decision that infuriated Trump and that led to an effort by officials with his campaign to get Fox to reverse its call.  

After Trump refused to concede, floating unfounded claims about electoral fraud, Murdoch reportedly reached a breaking point with Trump, who complained to the media mogul directly about the Arizona call.

Musk Rips Legacy Media Over The Twitter Files

Twitter CEO Elon Musk slammed "corporate journalism" and "legacy media" in separate tweets about the response to the Twitter Files and claims that his reputation is in trouble, reports Fox News Digital. 

"Why is corporate journalism rushing to defend the state instead of the people?" Musk wrote Tuesday in response to a tweet about a Substack post headlined "In Response to the Twitter Files, Establishment Media Rushes to Defend the FBI," written by Leighton Woodhouse. 

Musk has released several installments of the Twitter Files through independent journalists such as Bari Weiss and Matt Taibbi. 

A recent installment detailed the coordination between Twitter and government agencies went way beyond the FBI. 

Musk said in the same thread that he was "open" to the idea of purchasing the Substack platform in response to a tweet from Wall Street Silver, who asked if Twitter should purchase Substack and connect the two platforms. 

"Twitter plus Substack creates instantly massive competition for obsolete legacy corporate media," the account said. 

Musk on Wednesday also responded to a clip posted by CNBC's "Squawk Box" and called out "legacy media." 

In the clip, Axios reporter Hope King said that Musk's reputation was "in danger." 

"All of the macro conditions are against his favor. Market-share for $TSLA is down year-over-year. His reputation with Twitter is impacting his reputation when it comes to all of his companies," she said. 

Musk shot back and said that the legacy media should "worry about its reputation."

Boston Radio: The Sports Hub Extends Winning Streak

In the fall Nielsen Audio ratings, Beasley Media's WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub extended its long reign at the top with some exceptional numbers, while Audacy's WEEI 93.7 FM, which is in the midst of a lineup shakeup, actually posted some of its best ratings in years.

The Boston Globe reports The Sports Hub finished first overall in the men 25-54 demographic with a 19.6 share, covering the period from Sept. 16-Dec. 8.

All of the station’s weekday programs finished first in their respective day parts, with morning-drive “Toucher and Rich” earning a massive 23.4 share.

WEEI finished second in the book with a 9.0, which wasn’t close to the Sports Hub’s overall share but still a good distance ahead of third-place WROR (5.9).

All of WEEI’s weekday programs finished second to Sports Hub shows.

In recent weeks, WEEI has made major changes to its daily lineup. The contracts of longtime hosts Lou Merloni and Mike Mutnansky were not renewed (Merloni will be part of the station’s Red Sox broadcasts), while afternoon-drive cohost Christian Fauria was moved to middays and Rich Keefe was shifted from middays to evenings.

As for specific day parts:

  • “Toucher and Rich” won morning drive with that 23.4 share, while WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” got a 10.9.
  • In middays, The Sports Hub’s “Zolak and Bertrand” drew an 18.9. WEEI’s “Gresh and Keefe” had a 10.9, the same as the station’s morning show.
  • The Sports Hub’s “Felger and Mazz” continued its dominant run of more than a decade with a 20.9, while WEEI’s “Merloni, Fauria and Mego” had a 9.2.
  • In the 6-11 p.m. window, The Sports Hub, which airs “The Adam Jones Show” weeknights as well as Bruins and Celtics broadcasts, pulled a 16.3 share. WEEI’s programming, which included the “Mut at Night” show, had a 5.9.

Jones is expected to move over to WEEI in January as one of its afternoon-drive hosts.

Last fall, the Sports Hub claimed first with a 20.7 share, while WEEI was third with a 5.6.

Edison Research Releases List of Top 10 Findings During '22

Edison Research wrapped-up 2022 by releasing a list of its Top 10 Findings in 2022.

10. Voters who somewhat disapproved of Biden still voted for Democratic House candidates, and opposition to former President Trump played into voter choices  Source: Edison Research Exit Polls

9. The majority of U.S. moms with kids on social media think their kids spend too much time with it. Moms overall think that social media is more harmful than helpful to their children Moms and Media

8. Americans’ time spent listening to audio through a mobile device has now surpassed the time spent listening through a traditional radio receiver  Share of Ear® in Weekly Insights

7. Voice tech is everywhere  Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

6. Radios still dominate the in-car listening environment, even with Gen Z Share of Ear® in Weeky Insights

5. Monthly Podcast Consumption is strong in the U.S. and is consistent across Infinite Dial® countries The Infinite Dial US, The Infinite Dial Australia, The Infinite Dial Canada, The Infinite Dial New Zealand, The Infinite Dial UK

4. Women are influential and engaged podcast listeners The Women’s Podcast Report from Edison Research and SXM Media

3. Latino listeners of Latino-hosted podcasts are more likely to have purchased a product as a result of hearing an advertisement on a podcast The Latino Podcast Listener Report

2. Gen Z represents the biggest growth for share of spoken word audio listening The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

1.The top ten biggest podcasts reach one-third of all weekly podcast listeners in the U.S. Edison Podcast Metrics in Weekly Insights

Tech Titans Lost A Collective $430B During 2022

The nation’s tech titans lost an aggregate total of more than $430 billion as shares of their once-hot companies plummeted this year, reports The NY Post.

Tesla and Twitter boss Elon Musk’s net worth nosedived an eye-watering $132 billion, causing him to lose his title as the world’s richest person.

Musk’s space rival Jeff Bezos lost $84 billion, followed by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who wealth fell $81 billion.

Their losses were nearly double those of Google founders Sergey Brin ($44.6 billion) and Larry Page ($43.4 billion). Microsoft founder Bill Gates dropped $29 billion while the company’s former CEO Steve Ballmer lost $20.2 billion.

Musk has seen his net worth drop from a high of $304 billion in January to $139 billion as of Tuesday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Most of Musk’s wealth is derived from ownership in Tesla stock, which has been in a freefall along with other blue-chip firms listed on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

On Jan. 3, Tesla’s stock cost $400 a share. Since then, the stock price has dropped nearly 70%. As of Tuesday afternoon, Tesla was selling at around $113 a share — down more than 8% from Friday.

Wake-Up Call: Travel Is Still A Mess

Atlanta Constitution-Journal 12/29/22

Travelers who counted on Southwest Airlines to get them home suffered another wave of canceled flights Wednesday, and pressure grew on the federal government to help customers get reimbursed for unexpected expenses they incurred because of the airline’s meltdown. Exhausted Southwest travelers tried finding seats on other airlines or renting cars to get to their destination, but many remained stranded. The airline’s CEO said it could be next week before the flight schedule returns to normal.

By early afternoon on the East Coast, about 90% of all canceled flights Wednesday in the U.S. were on Southwest, according to the FlightAware tracking service.

Wall Street Journal graphic 12/29/22

Rival airlines capped fares in some cities as Southwest cancellations continue. American, Delta and United said they’d keep prices in check and make flights available to throngs of stranded travelers. Southwest today canceled more than 2,500 flights, or 62% of its scheduled departures, according to data from FlightAware. The carrier has canceled close to 11,000 flights over the past several days while struggling to stabilize operations hampered amid severe weather. Yesterday the company said it would trim its flight schedule for the next few days to reposition staff and planes.

➤WAR INTENSIFIES:  Fighting has intensified in Ukraine after the Russian armed forces deployed a fresh wave of troops and armored vehicles on the frontlines late last night amid a barrage of new rocket attacks. The heaviest clashes are taking place around the eastern city of Bakhmut in Donetsk, which Russia has been trying for months to storm at huge cost in lives, and further north in the cities of Svatove and Kreminna, where Ukraine is trying to break Russian defensive lines. A harrowing video circulating on social media (main) purports to show a 'human wave' of Russian soldiers, many of them believed to be mercenaries from the infamous Wagner group, being blown to pieces as they flee through the countryside near Bakhmut in scenes reminiscent of the First World War.

Another sudden death of a top official in Russia’s military supply chain has been reported following a series unexplained deaths in the past week.  Alexei Fedorovich Maslov, former commander in chief of Russia’s ground forces turned special representative for the military corporation Uralvagonzavod — which specializes in battle tanks — was reported to have unexpectedly died at a military hospital on Christmas Day at the age of 70.  The company announced his death and said he "remained faithful" to Russia "until his last day." No explanation surrounding his death has been provided,

➤U-S SLAPS COVIDS TESTING ON TRAVELERS FROM CHINA: The U.S. will require travelers from China to submit a negative Covid-19 test beginning Jan. 5. The concern is Covid’s rapid spread in China, which increases the potential for new variants, health officials said, adding that Beijing has provided limited surveillance data on the surge and declined U.S. offers to provide additional vaccines. Other countries also recently imposed restrictions on travelers from China, which has loosened its strict pandemic controls. (The country’s censors ended their crackdown on some Covid-policy criticism.) Hong Kong also is ending social distancing, obligatory vaccine proof and almost all testing requirements for visitors.

Twitter Hit With Outage

Fears about Twitter’s fragility came to fruition Wednesday evening as the website went down for users around the globe, according to The Information.

User reports of outages spiked significantly around 5 p.m. PT according to the website Down Detector with users reporting difficulty logging onto the website altogether.

It’s the first significant outage at Twitter since the company was acquired by Elon Musk, who slashed budgets and laid off more than half the company, including much of its infrastructure organization.

Many former employees expected the website to go offline as a result of usage spiking during World Cup games in December, The Information previously reported. While the website functioned fine during the games, it faces two big tests to its capacity early next year—on New Years in Japan, when many Japanese users tweet at midnight, and during the Super Bowl on February 12, one former employee told The Information.

The outage comes among significant changes to how Twitter’s infrastructure works. Musk has taken steps to shut down one of the company’s three data centers, in Sacramento, significantly reducing redundancy and increasing the likelihood of an outage, people familiar with the matter told The Information.

It couldn’t be learned what caused the outage on Wednesday.

Report: ESPN+ Hits 24.3M Subs

Subscriptions to ESPN+ have hit 24.3 million, up from 17.1 million at year-end 2021, as predictions of a spinoff by parent Disney continue, according to Mediapost.

Earlier in 2022, Disney's then-CEO, Bob Chapek, fended off pressure from activist investor firm Third Point LLC, led by Dan Loeb, to spin off ESPN+. Loeb argued that such a move would “attract shareholders seeking the respective qualities of each company, allowing the Disney parent multiple to expand as its earnings growth rate increases and the remaining business is no longer haunted by the specter of cord-cutting.”

Disney, which yields substantial revenue from its bundle of ESPN and other cable channels, and ESPN on ABC, does not currently offer livestreamed ESPN coverage through ESPN+ -- presumably in part to protect that bundle. 

At present, ESPN+ is a critical component of the streaming bundle, with Disney+ and Hulu, which has driven much of the company's direct-to-consumer growth -- although Disney's impending acquisition of Hulu shares currently owned by Comcast opens a number of new strategic directions for the company.

'22 Ending With News Desert Expanding

The year 2022 is ending on a depressing note for numerous people in the publishing business, reports Mediapost.

Case in point: the Barberton Herald, a weekly publication that has been serving the Akron, Ohio area for 100 years, is closing this month. 

A front-page editorial explains that local businesses were “hit hard by the pandemic, forcing them to close or cut back on employees and expenses. The Herald lost many advertisers during that period. As revenues went down, costs soared. The rising cost of postage and printing are far too great to overcome. The Herald would have to double the subscription rates and advertising prices to make ends meet.”

Then there is the Commercial-News, a newspaper that has served the Three Rivers area in Michigan for 127 years: It announced earlier this month that it is ceasing publication.

Like the Bremerton Herald, the Commercial News faced decreased revenues and lack of support. 

“The reality became that we could not generate enough revenue to remain viable,” said Dirk Milliman, editor and publisher. “We do not have enough regular advertisers who use our products to promote their businesses,” according to the Commercial News. 

Milliman added, “The prominence of social media has changed the whole dynamic of information sharing, of news and news reporting. And like many small businesses, we never really recovered from the pandemic. Unfortunately, it is just our time.”

Happily, the paper has been acquired by Mike Wilcox, owner of a Southwest Michigan group, and it is publishing news online. But, in general, the climate for local newspapers is “shifting from print to online and print subscriptions and readership dwindling, Clark Burns, publisher of the West Side Leader and South Side Leader, told the Akron Beacon Journal. Those papers plan to increase their coverage of the Bremerton area to fill in for the loss of the Herald. 

Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Debra and Chris Paul are closing two weekly newspapers: The Nutfield News and the Tri-Town Times. But they will still publish the Londonderry Times. 

Journey Infighting Continues For AmEx Access

Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain

In October, Neal Schon filed a lawsuit against fellow Journey member Jonathan Cain. Now, Schon has served Cain with a cease-and-desist letter after he (Cain) performed at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago.

Digital Music News report this latest testament to the Journey members’ evidently rocky relationship just recently came to light in a report from Variety; Schon has also penned several Twitter posts about the dispute. For background, 68-year-old Schon filed the mentioned lawsuit against 72-year-old Cain on October 31st, indicating therein that the two possess 50-50 ownership of a 24-year-old company called Nomota, “through which Journey operates.”

“Nomota’s records also contain financial information necessary for Schon and his representatives to determine the portion of Journey’s profits to which he is entitled as the founder and president of Journey,” the complaint reads. “Schon’s right to Journey profits is being controlled by Cain—Schon’s bandmate, who Schon brought into the band in the 1980s—and despite all of his requests and efforts, Schon has been unable to get full access.”

From there, Schon’s suit alleges that the company’s American Express had “been set up such that only Cain has control of the account and access to its records.”

Much of the concise action centers on the plaintiff’s purported inability to access this AmEx account, and Schon further maintained that “Cain is interfering with” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group by “refusing to respond to booking opportunities, blocking payment to band members, crew, and vendors, refusing to execute necessary operating documents,” and more.

December 29 Radio History

➦In 1891...Thomas A. Edison patented "transmission of signals electrically" (radio).

Wendell Niles, Marilyn Monroe

➦In of the prominent announcers of big-time radio & early TV Wendell Niles was born in Twin Valley Minnesota.

Niles worked on such radio shows as The Charlotte Greenwood Show, Hedda Hopper's Hollywood, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, The Man Called X, The Bob Hope Show, The Burns & Allen Show, The Milton Berle Show and The Chase and Sanborn Hour. On February 15, 1950, Wendell starred in the radio pilot for The Adventures of the Scarlet Cloak along with Gerald Mohr.

Wendell Niles
He began in entertainment by touring in the 1920s with his own orchestra, playing with the Dorsey Brothers and Bix Beiderbecke. In the early 1930s, Niles was an announcer at radio station KOL in Seattle. He moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1935 to join George Burns and Gracie Allen.

He and his brother, Ken, developed one of the first radio dramas, which eventually became Theatre of the Mind.

He toured with Bob Hope during World War II. Among his film credits are Knute Rockne, All American (1940) with Ronald Reagan and Hollywood or Bust (the last Martin & Lewis comedy, 1956) as himself.

Wendell Niles was the announcer for TV's "America's Show Of Surprises"... It Could Be You, and for the Hatos-Hall production Your First Impression. Niles was also the original announcer for Let's Make a Deal during that show's first season in 1963 and 1964; he was later replaced by Jay Stewart.

Niles and his brother, Ken, are the first brothers to have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He died March 28 1994 at age 89.

➦In 1945...Sheb Wooley recorded the first commercial record made in Nashville. The song was recorded at the studios of WSM-AM and released by the Bullet label; but it would be 13 years before Wooley would finally score with a big hit (“The Purple People Eater” was #1 for six weeks in 1958.)

WSM is credited with helping shape Nashville into a recording industry capital. Because of WSM's wide reach, musical acts from all across the eastern United States came to Nashville in the early decades of the station's existence, in hopes of getting to perform on WSM.  Over time, as more acts and recording companies came to Nashville, the city became known as the center of the country music industry. Disc jockey David Cobb is credited with first referring to Nashville as "Music City USA", a designation that has since been adopted as the city's official nickname by the local tourism board.

➦In 1945...The mystery voice of "Mr. Hush" was introduced to the audience of the radio show, "Truth or Consequences", which was hosted by Ralph Edwards.

Ralph Edwards
Born in Merino, Colorado,  Edwards worked for KROW Radio in Oakland, California while he was still in high school.  Before graduating from high school in 1931, he worked his way through college at the University of California, Berkeley, earning a B.A. in English in 1935. While there, he worked at every job from janitor to producer at Oakland's KTAB, now KSFO. Failing to get a job as a high school teacher, he worked at KFRC and then hitchhiked across the country to New York, where, he said, "I ate ten-cent ($2 as of 2014),  meals and slept on park benches".

After some part-time announcing jobs, he got his big break in 1938 with a full-time job for the Columbia Broadcasting System on WABC (now WCBS-AM), where he worked with two other young announcers who would become broadcasting fixtures - Mel Allen and Andre Baruch.

It was Edwards who introduced Major Bowes every week on the Original Amateur Hour and Fred Allen on Town Hall Tonight. Edwards perfected a chuckling delivery, sounding as though he was in the midst of telling a very funny story. This "laugh in the voice" technique served him well when 20th Century Fox hired him to narrate the coming-attractions trailers for Laurel and Hardy movies. He later used the conspiratorial chuckle frequently when surprising someone on his programs.

In 1940, Edwards created the game show Truth or Consequences, which aired for 38 years on radio and television. Contestants were asked to perform (often ridiculous) stunts for prizes of cash or merchandise.

➦In 1958...the first radio broadcast from space occurred when the voice of President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "To all mankind, America's wish for Peace on Earth & Good Will to Men Everywhere".

➦In 1963...Much to the chagrin of the disc jockeys at 50,000-watt 77WABC in New York, the 5,000-watt blowtorch known as WMCA 570 AM and its famed “Good Guys” became the first New York radio station to play the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. It didn’t take long for WABC to get revenge. WABC played the record an hour later and started calling itself the “official” Beatles station (W-A-Beatle-C).