Saturday, February 5, 2022

February 6 Radio History

➦In 1911
...Ronald Wilson Reagan was born (died June 5, 2004). He was our 40th president from 1981 to 1989. Prior to his presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975.

Reagan was raised in a poor family in small towns of northern Illinois. He graduated from Eureka College in 1932, Reagan drove to Iowa, where he held jobs as a radio announcer at several stations.

He moved to WHO radio in Des Moines as an announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games. His specialty was creating play-by-play accounts of games using only basic descriptions that the station received by wire as the games were in progress. While traveling with the Cubs in California in 1937, Reagan took a screen test that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers studios

➦In 1925…WMCA NYC signed-on on 428.6 meters wavelength (700 kHz) with a power of 500 watts. The station was the 13th radio station to begin operations in New York City and was owned by broadcasting pioneer Donald Flamm. The station's original studios and antenna were atop the Hotel McAlpin, located on Herald Square and from which WMCA's call letters derive. In 1928 it moved to the 570 kHz frequency, sharing time for the next three years with municipally-owned WNYC.

On April 19, 1932, the Federal Radio Commission approved WMCA's application to broadcast full-time on 570 kHz.

Through its early decades WMCA had a varied programming history, playing music, hosting dramas, and broadcasting New York Giants baseball games. In 1943, it was acquired by the Straus family when Edward J. Noble acquired the Blue Network and its owned-and-operated stations from NBC, including WJZ (now WABC) in New York; the Blue Network would later be renamed the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

In 1945, host Barry Gray began dropping music and adding talk with celebrities and later call-in listeners; he is thus sometimes considered "The Father of Talk Radio", and his show lasted on WMCA through several decades and format changes.

WMCA began playing hit music in the late 1950s with a Top 40 format. Among its disc jockey staff were future legends Scott Muni, Frankie Crocker, Harry Harrison and Murray "the K" Kaufman.

Led by program director Ruth Meyer, the first woman to hold the position in New York City radio, this was the era of the high-profile Top 40 disc jockey with an exuberant personality aimed at a certain audience segment. With the advent of the Good Guys format, WMCA became more"on top" of new music and started to become known for "playing the hits."

In the early 1960s, the top 40 format was still young, and the field was crowded in New York City. Two major 50,000-watt stations, WMGM 1050 AM (now WEPN-AM) and WINS 1010 AM, had battled each other for years. Then in 1960, WABC 770 am joined the fray and started featuring top 40 music. Ultimately, it was WMCA's earnest competition with rival WABC that forced WMGM (in early 1962) and then WINS (in spring 1965) to abandon the top-40 format. There was so much attention on the high-profile WMCA-WABC battle that WMGM and WINS were each summarily forced to find a new niche.

➦In 1926..Flashback 97-years and find out what was going on with radio...Click Here

Courtesy of  American Radio History

➦In 1929… the Victor Talking Machine Company merged with Radio Corporation of America to become RCA Victor, and the Canadian subsidiary became RCA Victor of Canada, then the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs (including the famous "Victrola") and phonograph records. The company then became RCA Victor. In absorbing Victor, RCA acquired the New World rights to the famous Nipper/"His Master's Voice" trademark.

In September 1931, RCA Victor introduced the first 33⅓ rpm records sold to the public, calling them "Program Transcriptions". These used a shallower and more closely spaced implementation of the large "standard groove" found on contemporary 78 rpm records, rather than the "microgroove" used for post-World War II 33⅓ rpm "LP" (long play) records. The format was a commercial failure, partly because the new Victrolas with two-speed turntables designed to play these records were exorbitantly priced, the least expensive model retailing for $395.00 in the depths of the Great Depression. The format was abandoned by 1933 and two-speed turntables were no longer offered, but some Program Transcriptions lingered in the Victor record catalog until the end of the 1930s.

➦In 1943…Frank Sinatra made his first appearance as star of CBS radio’s “Lucky Strike Hit Parade.”  Frankie had left the Tommy Dorsey Band just four months prior to beginning the radio program, where he remained the singing star & host for two years.

➦In 1950...“Dangerous Assignment” starring Brian Donlevy found a weekly timeslot on NBC Radio.  The adventure show, set in many international venues, had tested well as a summer replacement six months earlier, and continued for about five years.

That same evening in 1950, also on NBC Radio, “Nightbeat” starring Frank Lovejoy as a newspaper reporter with an eye for human interest stories, began a two-and-a-half-year run.

Paul Harvey

➦In commentator Paul Harvey was arrested for trying to sneak into the Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, to prove that security was lax at this top secret installation. One of his regular topics was lax security, in particular at Argonne National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility located 20 miles west of Chicago. To demonstrate his concern, just after midnight on February 6, 1951, Harvey engaged in an "act of participatory journalism".  Harvey's "escapade" prompted the U.S. attorney for Illinois to asked a grand jury to consider an espionage indictment; Harvey "went on the air to suggest he was being set up"; the grand jury subsequently declined to indict Harvey.

➦In 1986...Radio programming consultant Bob Hattrick was found stabbed to death at his St. Louis home. Get the news and Flashback to 1986 through the pages of Radio&Records..Click Here

Courtesy of American Radio History
Danny, daughter Marlo Thomas - 1960

➦In 1991..Radio-TV personality Danny Thomas  died of a heart attack at age 76, after five decades in show business.

Doris Day, Danny Thomas
Thomas first reached mass audiences on network radio in the 1940s playing shifty brother-in-law Amos in The Bickersons, which began as sketches on the music-comedy show Drene Time, co-hosted by Don Ameche and Frances Langford. Thomas also portrayed himself as a scatterbrained Lothario on this show. His other network radio work included a stint as Jerry Dingle the postman on Fanny Brice's The Baby Snooks Show, and appearances on the popular NBC variety program, The Big Show, hosted by stage legend Tallulah Bankhead.

Thomas also had his own radio program, The Danny Thomas Show. The 30-minute weekly variety show was on ABC in 1942-43 and on CBS in 1947-48.

As a "starving actor", Thomas had made a vow: If he found success, he would open a shrine dedicated to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. Thomas never forgot his promise to St. Jude, and after becoming a successful actor in the early 1950s, his wife joined him and began traveling the United States to help raise funds to build his dream - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  He fervently believed “no child should die in the dawn of life.” With help from Dr. Lemuel Diggs and close friend, Anthony Abraham, an auto magnate in Miami, Florida, Thomas founded the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1962. Since its inception, St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and around the world, continuing the mission of finding cures and saving children.

➦In 1998...Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys died of lung cancer in Los Angeles. He was 51 and a lifelong smoker.

Joe O'Brien

➦In 2000…Former WMCA Good Guy Joe O'Brien retired.  A Yonkers native, he began his career in 1935 when he got his first radio job with WMCA 570 AM in New York City.

He worked at the station for 34 years and became one of the Good Guys team of disc jockeys in the late 1960's. They played Top 40 hits and became nearly as popular as the music they played.

They had the same clean-cut hairstyles, wore matching suits and worked together at record hops and personal appearances. They also sang as a group and released an album. During that time, Mr. O'Brien was the No. 1 morning man in New York City.

In 1970 he left for WNBC-AM, where he handled morning duties until he was replaced by Don Imus in 1972. Mr. O'Brien then went to WHUD in Peekskill, N.Y. He retired in 1986, but continued to do weekend specials for WHUD until 2000.

O'Brien died in an auto accident July 26, 2005 at age 90.

➦In 2005...Karl Haas died at age 91 (Born December 6, 1913) He was best known as a classical music radio host with a sonorous speaking voice, humanistic approach to music appreciation, and popularization of classical music. He was the host of the classical music radio program Adventures in Good Music, which was syndicated to commercial and public radio stations around the world. He also published the book Inside Music. He was a respected musicologist, as well as an accomplished pianist and conductor.

➦In 2006...Buffalo’s WWKB 1520 AM ended a three-year run as an oldies station with a format change to predominantly syndicated progressive talk. A syndicated overnight show hosted by former WKBW personality Joey Reynolds survived the format change.  The last song played was “Yesterday’s Gone” by Chad & Jeremy.

➦In 2006…Citadel confirmed that it going to acquire 24- radio stations from ABC Radio, but not the radio network. The company was founded in 1984 in Phoenix, Arizona by Larry Wilson as Citadel Associates Limited Partnership. In 1990 it was renamed Citadel Associates Montana Limited Partnership for the purpose of owning and operating stations in Montana that were formerly owned by CALP.

A year later, Citadel Broadcasting was officially incorporated and in 1984 it acquired all of the radio stations owned by its predecessors. Within a decade, Citadel expanded to 26 states. Within that time period, it absorbed all Bloomington Broadcasting radio holdings and 11 stations from Dick Broadcasting Company and also acquired three radio stations from Slone Broadcasting, Inc. and Slone Radio, LLC. In 2000, Liggett Broadcasting sold its radio stations in Michigan, New York, Minnesota, South Carolina, Ohio, and California to Citadel, with Bob Liggett becoming a member of Citadel's Board of Directors. In 2001, Larry Wilson sold Citadel to private equity firm Forstmann Little & Company for $2.1 billion. By that time, the company had grown to 205 stations in 42 markets.

On February 6, 2006, Forstmann Little and The Walt Disney Company agreed to merge Citadel with Disney's ABC Radio.Shares representing 57% of Citadel were distributed to shareholders of The Walt Disney Company following the company's acquisition of 22 stations from ABC Radio.  The company eventually evolved into Cumulus Media.

Ralph Kiner

➦In 2014…baseball Hall of Famer and a NY Met broadcaster for over half-a-century, Ralph Kiner died of natural causes at age 91. After a Hall of Fame baseball career, Kiner entered the broadcast booth in 1961  for the Chicago White Sox.

The following year, Kiner, Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy began broadcasting the games of the expansion New York Mets on WOR-TV9 in New York City. The trio rotated announcing duties. Kiner also hosted a post-game show known as "Kiner's Korner" on WOR-TV. Nationally, he helped call the Mets' appearance in the 1969 and 1973 World Series for NBC Radio. He won a local Emmy Award for his broadcasting work.

Despite a bout with Bell's palsy, which left him with slightly slurred speech, Kiner continued broadcasting for 53 seasons.

Mike Farrell is 83


  • Actor Mamie Van Doren is 91. 
  • Actor Mike Farrell is 83. 
  • NBC news anchorman Tom Brokaw is 82. 
  • Actor Gayle Hunnicutt is 79. 
  • Singer Fabian is 79. 
  • Crystal Reed is 37
    Actor Michael Tucker (“L.A. Law”) is 77. 
  • Actor Jon Walmsley (“The Waltons”) is 66. 
  • Actor-director Robert Townsend (“The Parent ‘Hood”) is 65. 
  • Actor Kathy Najimy (“Veronica’s Closet,” ″King of the Hill”) is 65. 
  • Drummer Simon Phillips of Toto is 65. 
  • Actor Barry Miller (“Saturday Night Fever,” ″Fame”) is 64. 
  • Actor Megan Gallagher (“Millennium”) is 62. 
  • Country singer Richie McDonald of Lonestar is 60. 
  • Vocalist Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses is 60. 
  • Singer Rick Astley is 56. 
  • Bassist Tim Brown of the Boo Radleys is 53. 
  • TV host Amy Robach (“Good Morning America”) is 49. 
  • Actor Josh Stewart (“Criminal Minds,” ″Third Watch”) is 45. 
  • Actor Ben Lawson (“Designated Survivor”) is 42. 
  • Actor Crystal Reed (“Teen Wolf”) is 37. 
  • Actor Anna Diop (“24: Legacy”) is 34. 
  • Singer Tinashe is 29.

Cleveland Radio: "Boomdaddy" To Host PM Drive On WTAM

iHeartMedia’s Newsradio WTAM 1100, The Big One, announced Friday the debut of "The Bloomdaddy Show". Bloomdaddy will broadcast weekdays from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

David Blomquist, known as Bloomdaddy, has been the morning show host at WWVA 1170 in Wheeling, West Virginia, for the past 17 years. His popular morning show grew into syndication to stations in Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Akron, and Parkersburg, West Virginia. Bloomdaddy will now call WTAM 1100 his home.

David Blomquist
The newly created Cleveland-centric, issues-based afternoon show with Bloomdaddy, will feature broadcasting veteran Carmen Angelo, news reports from Julie Holiday, and regularly scheduled traffic reports from Olivia Muzica.

“We’re thrilled to introduce Bloomdaddy to WTAM and the city of Cleveland,” said Keith Hotchkiss, President of iHeartMedia Cleveland. “His passion for sports, his quest for information, and his commonsense approach to talk radio is the perfect combination for afternoon drive on the legendary WTAM.”

“I’m thrilled to launch this new show on a station that means so much to Cleveland,” said Bloomdaddy. “From the minute I turned the mic on at WTAM, it’s felt like home. I look forward to having impactful conversations with my new radio family and learning even more about this incredible city.”

Before entering into the world of radio, Bloomdaddy spent 15 years as a morning television anchor and reporter in the Ohio Valley and Charleston, West Virginia. He is the father of three boys and created his radio name to honor his sons: “Bloom” for Blomquist and “Daddy” because that’s his #1 job. In his free time, you’ll find him on a baseball field or with a fishing pole in his hand. And his favorite food is pizza or anything straight from the garden…dirt and all.

NBC Talks Politics, Human Rights in Beijing Olympics

NBC's Mike Tirico during opening coverage

During the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Olympics on Friday, hosts and experts on U.S. network NBC spoke in stark terms about China's alleged rights violations and Russia's conflict with Ukraine, directly addressing the geopolitical tensions underpinning the Games, reports Reuters.

Coverage of the political backdrop comes as human rights groups and lawmakers have pressured NBC and broadcasters around the world to incorporate China's treatment of minority Muslim Uyghurs and crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong into the coverage of the Olympics.

NBC featured China experts who discussed the status of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in China's northwest region of Xinjiang, among other controversies facing the host country.

Those experts joined host Mike Tirico in an interview from the opening ceremony stadium. Savannah Guthrie co-hosted the broadcast from NBC Sports headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

The opening ceremony culminated with Uyghur cross-country skier Dinigeer Yilamujiang lighting the Olympic cauldron, a "stunning decision," by the host nation as other countries have deemed China's treatment of the Uyghurs to be genocide, Guthrie said. read more

"It's so striking and so provocative by (Chinese president) Xi Jinping, and a real message," Guthrie said.

China denies allegations of genocide or other human rights abuses, and says its camps in Xinjiang provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

Throughout the opening ceremony, NBC turned to experts to explain the gravity of Western governments' and human rights groups' allegations against China for its treatment of ethnic minorities.

"They allege that this is a massive program of social engineering aimed at suppressing Muslim Uyghur culture, language, tradition, identity," said Andy Browne, editorial director of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum and one of two China experts hired by NBC for its broadcast. "They allege a host of human rights abuses, forced labor, coercive birth control practices, indoctrination, and that this all adds up to a form of cultural genocide."

NBC also showed Russian President Vladimir Putin in the stands of the Beijing stadium as the commentators discussed the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has led to fears of war in the region.

The United States and many Western nations staged a diplomatic boycott of the Games, declining to send political delegations to the opening. That stands in sharp contrast to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, which were attended by U.S. President George Bush.

Human rights advocates have shone a spotlight on NBC's coverage because the network's contract to air the Olympics is by far the world's largest. In 2014, Comcast-owned NBCUniversal paid $7.65 billion to extend its exclusive U.S. broadcasting rights for the Olympics through 2032.

Dutch Reporter Dragged Away During Olympic Coverage

Dutch reporter dragged off camera

An incident involving a Dutch reporter in the middle of a live broadcast who was dragged away by Chinese security officials was an isolated event and will not affect foreign media's reporting at the Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Saturday.

Reuters reports the journalist, Sjoerd den Daas, was delivering his live report to public broadcaster NOS on Friday evening during the Games opening ceremony in the Chinese capital when several security officials surrounded him and one of them forcefully dragged him away.

Another security officer attempted to hold his hand in front of the camera as the reporter tried to continue speaking to it.

The broadcaster had to interrupt the link with the reporter, leaving the studio anchor back in the Netherlands confused.

"Obviously we have been in touch with the NOS, the state broadcaster, and it was an unfortunate circumstance," IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said.

"I think someone was being overzealous. He (the reporter) was able to, very quickly afterwards with the help of officials there, do his piece to camera."

Games participants, including media, are restricted to a "closed loop" during the Games, which includes the venues, the media centre and the accommodations.

All participants must remain in that loop for the entire duration of the Games as part of China's health measures to minimize the risk of any coronavirus spread during the Feb. 4-20 Games.

There have been concerns over whether visiting media will be allowed to freely do their job in China during the Games.

Report: Rogan Podcasts 'Purged'

It appears 70 episodes of Joe Rogan's podcast have disappeared from Spotify, reports The Daily Mail. 

Rogan has come in for sharp criticism in recent weeks although there is no direct link between the episodes that were removed and the arguments over COVID. 

Spotify has been the exclusive home of The Joe Rogan Experience since the streaming giant paid $100 million in 2020 but he is accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. 

Musicians Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and India Arie have pulled their music from the platform in protest. 

Rogan himself has also apologized to Spotify over the backlash it's facing. His latest episode was uploaded to Spotify on Friday after a week-long gap. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has defended Rogan and said that he will continue to remain on the platform.

Rogan's return Friday coincided with around six dozen of his podcast mysteriously vanishing from the site.

Some of the episodes that have been removed are from years ago, four of the podcasts from 2010. 

Others taken down from the library of more than 1,700 shows include ones broadcast in 2018 and had nothing to do with Rogan's views on the coronavirus pandemic.

WSJ Graphic
Among the episodes removed are ones containing guests that have proved to be the most controversial, particularly conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of InfoWars.

Jones had been banned by Spotify from appearing in content on the platform for creating 'hate content' but Rogan interviewed him anyway and uploaded the interview to Spotify - earning a swift backlash for letting him spread misinformation.

Rogan's brand often rejects 'political correctness' as he slams 'cancel culture' but his comments and those from his guests have sparked accusations of transphobia and Islamophobia.

The Wall Street Journal reports the Rogan spat has been a rude wake-up call for Spotify as it seeks to become the world’s largest audio company. Like Facebook and YouTube, Spotify started as a tech platform agnostic to what it hosted. But it is now moving toward being a media company that is responsible for what it distributes. The shift means, like it or not, the company is confronting some difficult decisions about content that can spark heated reactions from consumers, employees, artists and podcasters.

Tegna in Advanced Sale Talks With Standard General

Television broadcaster Tegna Inc. is in advanced discussions with one of its largest shareholders, Standard General, about a potential buyout at about $24 a share, according to Bloomberg citing people familiar with the matter.

The deal would be backed by alternative asset manager Apollo Global Management Inc., which is in talks to receive preferred shares in Tegna and won’t have voting rights, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

If negotiations are successful, a deal for McLean, Virginia-based Tegna could be announced in the coming weeks, the people added. No final decision has been made and talks could still fall through, they added.

An offer of around $24 a share would be about a $2-per-share increase on Standard General and Apollo’s previous bid for the company, which was reported by Bloomberg News in September. That bid was later bumped to $22.65 per share, people familiar with the matter said. Media mogul Byron Allen had also teamed up with Ares Management Corp. last year to offer $23 per share for Tegna.

A sale would consummate a years-long takeover saga for Tegna, which owns 64 television stations throughout the U.S. as well as media properties such as the True Crime Network, according to its website. Apollo had been in talks to acquire the company two years ago but ended discussions as the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic upended markets.

Negotiations were rebooted last year, and the parties have been haggling over issues including Tegna’s concerns that regulators would nix any sale given Apollo’s ownership stake in competitor Cox Media Group, Bloomberg News has reported.

Palin Team: NY Times Ignored Fact Checkers

eMails revealed during Sarah Palin’s defamation trial against the New York Times Friday showed the paper’s editors ignored fact checkers before publishing an editorial that linked the former Alaskan Governor to a mass shooting.

The NY Post reports the emails were entered as evidence on the second day of the libel trial against the paper after a June 2017 editorial linked Palin’s political action committee to a mass shooting in Arizona that wounded former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and killed six people in 2011.

Jesse Wegman, a member of the paper’s editorial board, wrote in an email that it appeared the Times tried to “sneak” in the link between Palin’s PAC and the shooting in the editorial.

The editorial, titled “America’s Lethal Politics,” suggested a map distributed by Palin’s PAC that featured stylized crosshairs over congressional districts, including Gifford’s, contributed to the shooting. The editorial was corrected hours after it was published.

The evening the opinion piece was published, James Bennet – the former editor of the editorial pages –  emailed editorial section journalist Elizabeth Williamson, who wrote the first draft of the piece, saying that he “really reworked this one,” documents revealed in court Friday showed, the Daily Mail reported. 

Later that night, Williamson received an email from a Times fact checker, who indicated that the paper had previously written about Palin’s PAC’s map in 2010, “months before” the mass shooting in Tucson. The fact checker’s note was apparently ignored.

Just before 11 p.m. after the editorial had been published Wegman emailed Williamson again, writing “The gun rights brigade is having a seizure over the Giffords – Loughner – Palin link.”

The exchanges changed tone the following morning when the editors realized they may have made a mistake. In an email to Wegman, Williamson said that Bennett “would like to check what the truth is here.”

Bennet asked Williamson just after 5 a.m. to start drafting a correction, Politico reported. 

Bennett texted Williamson he felt “lousy’”and that he had “just moved too fast” in publishing the piece. According to court documents, Bennet added the lines about political incitement over which Palin later sued.

Discovery CEO: CNN "Leader In News To the Left"

The boss of CNN’s new parent company said on Friday the network was “the leader in news to the left” – but his communications team soon scrambled to walk back the frank admission, insisting he wasn’t talking about politics.

The NY Post reports Discovery CEO David Zaslav, whose media giant is set to close its merger with CNN’s owner WarnerMedia this spring, made the surprise remark during a discussion about the network’s future – days after the abrupt resignation of the network’s president, Jeff Zucker.

“We have this great entertainment menu, which should keep people in the home, from the kids to the grandparents. Why would they go anywhere else? And then we’re the leader in news to the left,” Zaslav told CNBC on Friday.

David Zaslav
Scrambling to walk back the comments, Discovery’s team said Zaslav often uses the phrases “the left” or “the right” to reference current and future business initiatives. Later in the CNBC interview, Zaslav referred to growth “on the right side of the company,” which he described as including WarnerMedia-owned HBO and a growing portfolio of sports rights.

A Discovery spokesperson told the Post that Zaslav “didn’t finish his thought,” adding that he uses the phrase to organize his conversations around Discovery’s business.

Zaslav made a similar remark during an AT&T and Discovery joint news conference in May 2021, describing the “left side” of the joint company as “everything other than the content.”

CNN’s political stance is a source of frequent scrutiny in the news industry. Under Zucker’s leadership, CNN cultivated an antagonistic relationship with former President Donald Trump and other prominent conservatives.

Last November, Zaslav told Deadline that he would take a “hands-on” approach at CNN and other WarnerMedia properties. Zaslav had a hand in the launch of MSNBC, another left-leaning network, during his time as an NBC executive.

The Discovery CEO also took aim at Fox News, describing the conservative outlet as “much more of an advocacy network than a news network.”

Discovery can’t play any role in CNN’s operations until the deal concludes. Zaslav is expected to name Zucker’s permanent replacement when the merger closes.

Olivia Rodrigo Named Billboard ‘Woman of the Year’

After an epic 2021, Olivia Rodrigo will cap her breakthrough year by being named Billboard‘s 2022 “Woman of the Year.” The honor for the “Drivers License” singer was announced on Friday (Feb. 4), along with details on general public tickets for the live Billboard Women in Music Awards, which will take place on March 2 at the YouTube Theater at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

“Olivia’s trajectory to superstardom is the stuff of pop music legend,” said Hannah Karp, Billboard’s Editorial Director, in a statement. “Her talents as a storyteller and songwriter have made Olivia one of the most authentic and exciting new artists to explode onto the scene in years. Connecting with audiences across generations through emotionally charged songs about heartbreak, jealousy and growing up, she’s achieved absolutely incredible chart success for a debut artist. We are thrilled to celebrate her unique voice and the enormous impact she’s had on fans around the globe in such a short time.”

With her record-breaking, quadruple-platinum debut single “Drivers License,” critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Rodrigo broke through in 2021 with the raw self-expression on her first full-length album, SOUR. The collection was named the No. 1 album of 2021 by Rolling Stone and called  one of the Best Albums of 2021 by The New York Times, landing it at the top of several Billboard year-end lists, including the top Global 200 Artist, top Overall New Artist, top Hot 100 Artist, top Hot 100 Female Artist, and top Hot 100 Songwriter, among others.

SOUR scored the most U.S. audio streams from a female debut album ever and broke the record for the most-streamed album in a week by a female artist in Spotify history during its release week, with over 385 million global streams. All 11 tracks from the album have landed in the top 30 of Billboard’s Hot 100, making Rodrigo the first female artist — and the fourth act overall — to simultaneously chart 11 or more songs in the top 30.

Rodrigo will launch her sold-out 2022 SOUR Tour in the Spring, which will visit more than 40 major cities across North America and Europe.

February 5 Radio History

➦In 1916...Pioneering radio, TV engineer Ernst Alexanderson successfully tested the multiple tuned antenna.  He was a pioneer in radio and television development. Alexanderson designed the Alexanderson alternator, an early longwave radio transmitter, one of the first devices which could transmit modulated audio (sound) over radio waves.  Alexanderson also created the amplidyne, a direct current amplifier used during the Second World War for controlling anti-aircraft guns. During some 45-years working for General Electric,  he was responsible for 322 patents.

➦In 1924...the BBC time signal was first transmitted at 9.30pm, introduced by Sir Frank Dyson, the Astronomer Royal. Ever since that date, equipment at the Greenwich Observatory generates six short “pips” starting at five seconds to the hour and ending exactly on the hour. The pips have been generated by the BBC since 1990 to mark the precise start of each hour.

➦In 1931... Eddie Cantor‘s long radio career got underway as he made his first appearance on Rudy Vallee’s “The Fleischmann Hour” on NBC. By September of 1931 he would be headlining his own variety hour for Chase & Sanborn. The show established Cantor as a leading comedian.

➦In 1940... one of the many Frank and Anne Hummert radio soap operas, ‘Amanda of Honeymoon Hill‘ began it six-year run, the first half on NBC Blue, and then on CBS. It was a 15-minute daily radio soap opera.

➦In 1940...WTIC-FM was one of the two pre-World War II FM stations in Connecticut, signing on the air originally as W1XSO and using a frequency of 43.5 MHz. In December 1941, it became a commercial operation using the call letters W53H. In 1943, the call letters were changed for the last time to WTIC-FM. On April 17, 1948, the station moved to 96.5 MHz where it has remained, and switched to a classical music format. It switched from classical to CHR/Top 40 on May 12, 1977; the first song played as a Top 40 station was "Feels Like The First Time" by Foreigner.

The station's classical music library was donated to the University of Hartford radio station WWUH a few months later.

WTIC 96.5 FM (20 Kw) Red=60dBu Coverage Area

The station switched to its current Hot AC format on June 15, 1994. This was done in order to remove controversial rap music from its playlist.

After the switch, the station's sound has become decidedly softer in subsequent years compared to its past, though this has changed in recent years, as the Hot AC format as a whole has embraced more upbeat music. Since 1977, the station has referred to itself on the air variously as "Hot Hits 96 Tics","96TIC-FM", and "The New 965 TIC-FM".

The original WTIC-FM Top 40 format in the late 1970s consisted of only current hit songs (no oldies) in a high-energy, jingle-heavy presentation designed by consultant Mike Joseph, and it was an instant success. Joseph would later term this formatic approach "Hot Hits" and put it into use at other stations around the United States, most notably WBBM-FM in Chicago.

The station is now owned by Audacy Communications.

➦In 1941...WNYC FM signed on as W39NY and was located at 43.9mc in the early FM band. On September 21, 1943, it became WNYC and in 1946 it moved over to 98.1 on the current FM band. By 1948, it settled on its current position of 93.9 FM.

It has always featured classical and other cultural programming.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 destroyed WNYC-FM's transmitter atop the World Trade Center. The station's studios, in the nearby Municipal Building, had to be evacuated and station staff was unable to return to its offices for three weeks. The FM signal was knocked off the air for a time. WNYC temporarily moved its offices to the studios at National Public Radio's New York bureau in midtown Manhattan, where it broadcast on its still operating AM signal transmitting from towers in Kearny, New Jersey and by a live Internet stream.

Ringo Starr 10/1961 w/"Rory Storm & the Hurricanes"

➦In 1962...Ringo Starr first appeared with The Beatles when he filled in for ailing Pete Best. Starr first met the Beatles in Hamburg, Germany, in 1960, while still performing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. As time went on, they asked him to sit in during sets when original drummer Pete Best was unavailable. By the summer of 1962, producer George Martin had become certain the Beatles needed to replace Best.

➦In 1977... “General Mills Adventure Theater” debuted on the CBS Radio network, with host Tom Bosley. The noble attempt to revive radio drama ended a year later.

➦In 1979...The “Sears Radio Theater” first aired on CBS Radio, with Elliott Lewis producing.  While a  critical success, the 60-minute nightly (Mon-Fri) drama anthology did not attract a large loyal listenership. In January 1980 it moved to the Mutual network for a two-year run as the “Mutual Radio Theater.”

➦In 2017…Retired radio sportscaster Ray Christensen, who did play-by-play for University of Minnesota football games for 50 years (1951-2001), all on WCCO beginning in 1963, died at age 92. He began his career in radio at KUOM in 1949 followed by a position as program and sports director at WLOL. In 1963 he joined WCCO radio where he enjoyed a wide variety of broadcasting opportunities until he retired from full-time broadcasting in 1993.

➦In 2017...singer Sonny Geraci, who scored national hits as lead singer of The Outsiders in the 1960s and Climax in the 1970s, died at age 69, four years after suffering a debilitating brain aneurysm.

Barbara Hershey is 74


  • Singer-songwriter Barrett Strong is 81. 
  • Actor David Selby (“Dark Shadows,” ″Falcon Crest”) is 81. 
  • Singer Al Kooper (Blood, Sweat and Tears) is 78. 
  • Actor Charlotte Rampling is 76. 
  • Actor Barbara Hershey is 74. 
  • Actor-director-comedian Christopher Guest is 74. 
  • Actor Tom Wilkinson (“Selma”) is 74. 
  • Actor-comedian Tim Meadows (“Saturday Night Live”) is 61. 
  • Sara Evans is 51
    Actor Jennifer Jason Leigh is 60. 
  • Actor Laura Linney is 58. 
  • Bassist Duff McKagan of Velvet Revolver (and Guns N’ Roses) is 58. 
  • Actor Chris Parnell is 55. 
  • Singer Chris Barron of the Spin Doctors is 54. 
  • Singer Bobby Brown is 53. 
  • Actor Michael Sheen (“Masters of Sex,” ″Frost/Nixon,” ″Twilight” films) is 53. 
  • Actor David Chisum (“Black Box,” ″One Life to Live”) is 52. 
  • Country singer Sara Evans is 51. 
  • Country singer Tyler Farr is 38. 
  • Keyboardist Mark Shusterman of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats is 37. 
  • Actor Darren Criss (“Glee”) is 35. 
  • Actor Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”) is 35. 
  • Keyboardist Kyle Simmons of Bastille is 34. 
  • Actor Jeremy Sumpter (“Friday Night Lights,” ″Peter Pan”) is 33. 
  • Drummer Graham Sierota of Echosmith is 23.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Cyberattack On News Corp, Believed Linked to China

News Corp was the target of a hack that accessed emails and documents of some employees, including journalists, an incursion the company’s cybersecurity consultant said was likely meant to gather intelligence to benefit China’s interests.

The Wall Street Journal reports the attack, discovered on Jan. 20, affected a number of publications and business units including The Wall Street Journal and its parent Dow Jones; the New York Post; the company’s U.K. news operation; and News Corp headquarters, according to an email the company sent to staff Friday.

News Corp said it notified law enforcement and hired cybersecurity firm Mandiant Inc. to support an investigation.

“Mandiant assesses that those behind this activity have a China nexus, and we believe they are likely involved in espionage activities to collect intelligence to benefit China’s interests,” said David Wong, vice president of incident response at Mandiant.

News Corp said in the memo to staff it believes the threat activity is contained. The company has been offering guidance to affected employees.

The company’s investigation indicates that systems housing financial and customer data, including subscriber information, weren’t affected, according to the securities filing and a person familiar with the matter.

Law-enforcement officials and cybersecurity experts say that journalists are often high-priority targets for hackers seeking to gain intelligence on behalf of foreign governments, because they speak to sources who might have valuable or sensitive information. Powerful surveillance tools have been used against journalists and human-rights activists.

Philly Radio: Kevin McCorry To Join KYW As News Director

Audacy has welcomed Kevin McCorry as News Director of Newsradio KYW 103.9 FM / 1060 AM, effective February 28. In this role, McCorry will oversee editorial coverage across the station’s broadcast, digital, and podcasting departments and will be responsible for planning and executing in-depth original multiplatform reporting projects.

Kevin McCorry
“KYW Newsradio's influence and legacy is unmatched in Philadelphia, and its community-focused journalism has only grown stronger over the years,” said David Yadgaroff, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Philadelphia. “We’re happy to welcome Kevin and so excited to see and hear his impact on the continuing evolution of our modern multimedia newsroom.”

“I'm thrilled to lead KYW's news team as it starts a new chapter and grows its capacity for ambitious, original, multimedia journalism,” said McCorry. “As a Philly native, I know that KYW Newsradio holds a special place in the hearts and habits of many people in our region, and the talent in this newsroom is immense. The bottom line for any news operation is trust, and I'm beyond excited to continue to build KYW's trust among more of our region's listeners and readers by bringing my passion for smart, fair, in-depth news and storytelling to this esteemed organization.”

McCorry spent the past decade across town at WHYY where he most recently served as a managing editor, leading a team of multimedia journalists reporting on issues of education, immigration, politics, and the economy, and previously served as the station’s lead education reporter.

“Kevin is a leader who understands implicitly what makes a modern audio newsroom great: the people at the heart of its original reporting,” said Alex Silverman, Brand Manager, KYW Newsradio. “His expertise will help our team build on the iconic legacy of KYW Newsradio and take our agenda-setting local journalism to the next level.”

Zucker Exit May Change Long-Term Plans For CNN+

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav has a long-term friendship with outgoing CNN chief Jeff Zucker, who announced his sudden resignation Wednesday after failing to disclose an office relationship. But, according to CNBC,  his ouster may actually help Zaslav better align CNN with his broader streaming strategy, according to people familiar with his thinking.

Zucker’s surprise exit will likely slow down advancement of CNN+, the standalone subscription streaming service Zucker has been building while WarnerMedia is still a part of AT&T. Discovery plans to merge with WarnerMedia at some point in the second quarter of this year.

Key executives at Discovery view CNN’s value as supporting a bulkier flagship product, featuring content from HBO Max and Discovery+, along with streaming sports, said the people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the executives’ perspective are private. They believe there’s less value in CNN+ as its own paid subscription service, said the people familiar with the thinking.

A full offering featuring the best content owned by WarnerMedia and Discovery would rival Netflix and Disney’s bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ as staple streaming services for families looking to replace traditional pay-TV. Discovery announced Thursday it was in talks to add more European sports to Discovery+ through a new joint venture with BT Sport.

David Zaslav
Zucker has spent the past few months hiring people for exclusive CNN+ programming, including former Fox News reporter and anchor Chris Wallace, New York University’s Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway, author-chef Alison Roman and actress Eva Longoria. WarnerMedia hasn’t publicly announced a launch date or price for CNN+. Bloomberg News reported CNN was planning to debut its streaming service in March for $5.99 per month.

Those shows can add value to a combined Warner Bros. Discovery streaming offering. But Zucker’s departure could give Zaslav more freedom to decide how to proceed with CNN’s live programming and CNN+ without having to butt heads with a friend, two of the people familiar with executive thinking said.

Zaslav learned of Zucker’s resignation just hours before Zucker informed CNN’s staff that he was stepping down, sources familiar with executive thinking said. It’s unlikely Zucker will return to run CNN after the merger, one of the sources said.

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar announced Wednesday three current CNN executives — Michael Bass, Amy Entelis, and Ken Jautz — will run the network until the merger closes.

Shares Soar As Amazon Delivers

Amazon on Thursday said revenue climbed 9% in the fourth quarter and the company reported a gain of almost $12 billion from its investment in electric vehicle company Rivian, reports CNBC

Amazon shares popped as much as 14% in extended trading. Should the stock sustain this rally on Friday, it would be the biggest one-day gain since 2012.

Here are the key numbers:

  • Earnings per share (adjusted): $5.80 vs $3.57 expected
  • Revenue: $137.4 billion vs $137.6 billion expected
  • AWS revenue: $17.8 billion vs $17.37 billion expected

Amazon guided for first quarter revenue of between $112 billion and $117 billion, below the average estimate of $120 billion, according to Refinitiv. Operating profit in the fourth quarter will be in the range of $3 billion to $6 billion.

Fourth-quarter sales grew 9.4% to $137.4 billion. That’s Amazon’s first period of single-digit growth since 2017.

Even with the weaker-than-expected sales number and disappointing guidance, Amazon gave investors enough confidence that growth will recover. The market had a very different reaction to Facebook’s results on Wednesday, sending the social media company’s stock to its worst ever drop after its earnings and forecast missed estimates.

Amazon disclosed revenue from its fast growing advertising business for the first time. Advertising services grew 32% year over year to $9.7 billion during the quarter. Previously, Amazon included advertising revenue in its “other” business segment.

“It had been the majority of other revenue,” Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said on a call with reporters. “We’re very happy with ad growth. It continues to drive value.”

While advertising has always been viewed as a tangential business for Amazon, the company has had so much success attracting ad dollars that it’s now third in the U.S. market, behind Google and Facebook. Google reported fourth-quarter ad revenue of $61.2 billion, while Facebook notched ad sales of $32.6 billion in the period.

Amazon’s big profit gain on Rivian is the result of the electric vehicle maker’s IPO in November. Earnings per share, including the Rivian gain, was $27.75 for the quarter.

Amazon is the last of the mega-cap tech companies to report in what’s been a rollercoaster earnings season. Netflix kicked it off in disastrous fashion, with a miss on subscriber estimates. Microsoft, Apple and Alphabet followed by cruising past estimates, all before Facebook’s troubling numbers.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, who succeeded Jeff Bezos last year, said the pandemic continues to pose challenges. Facing a tight labor market, Amazon last year hiked wages to an average of $18 an hour to lure workers and has increased incentives, offering signing bonuses worth as much as $3,000 in some markets.

“As expected over the holidays, we saw higher costs driven by labor supply shortages and inflationary pressures, and these issues persisted into the first quarter due to Omicron,” Jassy said in the earnings statement. “Despite these short-term challenges, we continue to feel optimistic and excited about the business as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The Wall Street Journal reports Amazon said it would raise the price of its Prime membership service from $119 a year to $139, citing higher costs related to wages and transportation, as well as continued expansion of benefits under the membership. The company last raised the program’s cost in 2018. Memberships include access to Amazon’s fast delivery service as well as video streaming and other entertainment.

Some analysts said the increase in price for Prime membership played a significant role in investor enthusiasm for Amazon’s results.

The company’s cloud computing business was one notable bright spot. Revenue at Amazon Web Services climbed almost 40% to $17.78 billion, topping analysts’ estimates.