Saturday, April 9, 2022

April 10 Radio History

Harry Morgan
➦In 1915
...Actor Harry Morgan was born Harry Bratsberg (Died at age 93  – December 7, 2011)  His career spanned six decades.

Morgan's major roles included Pete Porter in both December Bride (1954–1959) and Pete and Gladys (1960–1962); Officer Bill Gannon on Dragnet (1967–1970); Amos Coogan on Hec Ramsey (1972–1974); and his starring role as Colonel Sherman T. Potter in M*A*S*H (1975–1983) and AfterMASH (1983–1984). Morgan appeared in more than 100 films.

Morgan also hosted the NBC radio series Mystery in the Air starring Peter Lorre in 1947.

➦In 1922...WBT Charlotte, NC signed-on.

The station actually dates back  to December 1920, when Fred Laxton, Earle Gluck and Frank Bunker set up an amateur radio station in Laxton's home. Four months later, the station received an experimental license as 4XD. The trio decided to go commercial in 1922, and incorporated as the Southern Radio Corporation.

On April 10, the station signed on as the first fully licensed radio station south of Washington, D.C. WSB in Atlanta was the first station in the Southeast to actually broadcast, a month before WBT. However, the Commerce Department only authorized WSB to broadcast weather reports until it received its license a few months after WBT.

In 1925, the original owners sold WBT to Charlotte Buick dealer C.C. Coddington, who promoted both the radio station and his auto dealership with the slogan "Watch Buicks Travel." Coddington built a transmitter at a farm property he owned on Nations Ford Road in south Charlotte, where it remains today. He sold WBT to the two-year-old CBS network in 1929; CBS wanted to make WBBM in Chicago full time on 780 AM, which was a shared frequency with KFAB in Omaha, Nebraska and in order to do that they moved KFAB to 1110 AM. That was accomplished by directionalizing the signal of WBT. A series of power increases brought WBT to its current 50,000 watts.

New FCC regulations forced CBS to sell the station to Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, forerunner of Jefferson-Pilot, in 1945, though it remained a CBS affiliate.

For much of its history, WBT aired a variety of programming including news, sports, soap operas, and musical programs such as "Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks." Smith, best known for writing the song that became the Deliverance theme "Dueling Banjos", went to work at WBT at age 20 at the invitation of station manager Charles Crutchfield. He played guitar and fiddle for musical programs on WBT before getting his own show. Crutchfield believed that Charlotte, not Nashville, could have ended up being the country music capital because of the station's early "Briarhoppers" and "Carolina Hayride" shows, which may have inspired The Grand Ole Opry.

WBT's Grady Cole

Grady Cole was WBT morning host for 32 years, replaced in 1961 by Ty Boyd, who hosted the morning show until 1973, playing such artists as Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee and Petula Clark. Then he moved to WBTV. He returned to WBT in 2008 to co-host the morning show while its regular hosts took time off.

WBT was the number one station in Charlotte for many years; among its employees were Charles Kuralt and Nelson Benton. But by 1970, WBT was down to number nine, and national advertising representative Blair Radio Network wanted ratings to improve. Jefferson Standard did not like the idea of change, but Blair enlisted Mel Goldberg to research what programming Charlotte needed. Even Crutchfield gave in, and WBT let go 28 staffers and spent $200,000 on changes that included new studios. It also canceled many programs that advertisers supported but which didn't attract enough listeners.
WBT's H.A. Thompson

Henry Boggan
On March 15, 1971, WBT switched to adult contemporary music during the day; Rob Hunter and H. A. Thompson were new DJs. Bob Lacey started at WBT in 1972 with a nighttime talk show "Lacey Listens". Two years later, WBT had reached number one again, reaching the highest Arbitron numbers on record to this day. Around the same time, the station dropped its longtime affiliation with CBS Radio and joined ABC. WBT won Billboard adult contemporary station of the year in 1976 and 1978. In 1979, "Hello Henry" Boggan began his nighttime talk show.

WBT made changes to its format on December 10, 1990, hoping to attract more women. The station dropped James K. Flynn, Thompson and Tom Desio, generating numerous protests.

Don Russell had hosted "Russell & Flynn" in the morning; the show was renamed "Russell & Friends." John Hancock became midday host, and WBTV personalities Mike and Barbara McKay began an afternoon program. Boggan, whose show had run in the afternoon, returned to his evening slot, replacing Desio, but was sometimes pre-empted by sports programs.

John Hancock
Lincoln Financial Group bought Jefferson-Pilot in 2006. The merged company retained Jefferson-Pilot's broadcasting division, renaming it Lincoln Financial Media. In January 2008, Lincoln Financial sold WBT-AM-FM and WLNK to Greater Media of Braintree, Massachusetts. It sold its three television stations, including WBTV, to Raycom Media--thus breaking up Charlotte's last heritage radio/television cluster. Greater Media had long wanted to expand into the fast-growing Charlotte market; its owner had wanted to buy WBT after hearing its signal at night on Cape Cod.

On July 19, 2016, Greater Media announced that it would merge with Beasley Media Group. Because Beasley already had the maximum number of stations in the Charlotte market with 5 FM's and 2 AM's, WBT-AM-FM and WLNK were spun off to a divestiture trust, eventually going to a permanent buyer.

On October 18, 2016, Entercom announced that it would purchase WBT AM/FM and WLNK, plus WFNZ.  Upon the completion of the Greater/Beasley merger on November 1, Entercom began operating the stations via a time brokerage agreement, which lasted until the sale was consummated on January 6, 2017.

On November 5, 2020, Urban One agreed to a station swap with Entercom (now Audacy) in which they would swap ownership of four stations in Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. to Entercom in exchange for their cluster of Charlotte stations, including WBT and WBT-FM. As part of the terms of the deal, Urban One took over operations via a local marketing agreement on November 23

➦In 1930...WRAK 1400 AM Williamsport, PA signed-on. The FCC assigned the call letters.

➦In 1943...The Falcon radio series premiered on the NBC Blue Network, continuing on NBC and Mutual until November 27, 1954. Some 70 episodes were produced.

➦In 1967…The 13-day strike by the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (AFTRA) ended.

➦In 1970…Effectively estranged from his bandmates, Paul McCartney issued a press release indicating he was leaving The Beatles.

The press release took the form of a Q&A in which McCartney discussed his new solo album and, with Lennon's exit still being withheld from the public (for business reasons), matters pertaining to the Beatles' immediate future. While McCartney did not state that the group had broken up, he talked of his "break with the Beatles" and having no plans to work with the band in the future; he also ruled out the likelihood of ever writing songs with Lennon again.

On 10 April, The Daily Mirror reported on McCartney's departure from the Beatles under the front page headline "Paul Quits The Beatles". Newspapers around the world then interpreted McCartney's remarks as an announcement that the band had broken up

John Lennon was furious, especially since the breakup was announced a week prior to the UK release of McCartney's first solo album. When a reporter tracked down Lennon for his thoughts, he replied, "Paul hasn't left. I sacked him."

➦In 1978...Long John Nebel died (Born John Zimmerman; June 11, 1911). He was an influential New York City talk radio show host.

From the mid-1950s until his death in 1978, Nebel was a hugely popular all-night radio host, with millions of regular listeners and a fanatically loyal following to his syndicated program, which dealt mainly with anomalous phenomena, UFOs, and other offbeat topics.

Long John Nebel
In 1962, WNBC offered Nebel more than $100,000 per year (if not a record sum paid to a radio personality at the time, then very nearly so) to begin broadcasting from their station, and he accepted the offer. He continued there until 1973, when WNBC, facing sliding ratings, decided to switch to a Top40 music format. After a protracted battle with station management, Nebel refused to change the content of his show and resigned from the station in protest.

Nebel was quickly hired by WMCA, where, from 1973 to 1977, he continued his program.   In 1977, Nebel joined the Mutual Broadcasting System and Nebel's show went nationwide, replacing Mutual's national distribution of Herb Jepko's radio talk show.

Nebel's format paved the way for later radio hosts, including Art Bell, George Noory of Coast to Coast AM, Hilly Rose, Jeff Rense, and Clyde Lewis, all of whom have broadcast shows on paranormal topics. Colin Bennett called Nebel the Art Bell of his era.

➦In 1987...Canadian newsman and commentator Dick Smyth ended an 18-year run at CHUM-FM and walked across the street to CFTR-FM.  Earlier in his career, Smythe was 20/20 news director at The Big 8 CKLW in Windsor-Detroit.  Smyth died March 6, 2021.

➦In 1998...Pioneering NYC Radio personality Eddie O'Jay, whose "Soul at Sunrise" was a fixture on WWRL and WLIB in the '60s, died.

Eddie O'Jay
O'Jay was from the old fast-talking school, and the signature phrase most cited Tuesday was the famous "Don't lose your head. You need your head. Your brain is in it. You hear?

His career began in 1951 as a Disc Jockey at WOKY in Milwaukee. From there, he went to WABQ in Cleveland, and WUFO in Buffalo, finally working my way to the "Soul at Sunrise" show on WWRL, WBLS and WLIB in New York City. After a distinguished 27 year career in radio in the United States, he expanded to include an internationally syndicated radio program on "Swazi Music Radio," in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1980.

He's been inducted into the Black Radio Hall of Fame.

While at WABQ, O'Jay discovered a group of five young beginners in the business called The Mascots from Canton and Masilon, Ohio.  O'Jay was asked to manage and direct the group which took hi name, The O'Jays.

George Wilson
➦In 2013…Legendary Top 40 programmer George Wilson Crowell died of complications, at age 84, from a heart attack . He had been living in Albuquerque.  He had survived several heart attacks in 2012.

Wilson gained a huge reputation during the 60s and 70s as PD for WOKY Milkwaukee. He also EVP/Programming  with the Bartell broadcasting and the Star Group.  His background also includes a stint at KIQQ LA in the early ‘80s.

Rochelle Staab, Wilson’s secretary at WOKY Milwaukee, called him “a brilliant Top 40 programmer, a guy’s guy, a tough competitor, and a true friend and supporter”.

She shared his philosophy:

  1. On programming radio: “Play the hits, talk dirty, watch the bottom line.”
  2. On Vegas: “Always split aces and eights at the blackjack table.”
  3. On horse racing: “Bet the closers at Santa Anita.”

Brian Setzer is 63

  • Actor Liz Sheridan (“Seinfeld”) is 93. 
  • Actor Steven Seagal is 70. 
  • Singer Terre Roche of The Roches is 69. 
  • Actor Peter MacNicol (“Numb3rs,” ″Ally McBeal”) is 68. 
  • Bassist Steven Gustafson of 10,000 Maniacs is 65. 
  • Singer-producer Babyface is 64. 
  • Musician Brian Setzer is 63. 
  • Singer Katrina Leskanich of Katrina and the Waves is 62. 
  • Drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander of Primus is 57. 
  • Singer Kenny Lattimore is 55. 
  • Comedian Orlando Jones is 54. 
  • Guitarist Mike Mushok of Staind is 53. 
  • Rapper Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest is 52. 
  • Mandy Moore is 38
    Actor David Harbour (“Stranger Things”) is 47. 
  • Blues singer Shemekia Copeland is 43. 
  • Actor Laura Bell Bundy is 41. 
  • Actor Harry Hadden-Paton (“Downton Abbey”) is 41. 
  • Actor Chyler Leigh (“Supergirl,” ″Grey’s Anatomy”) is 40. 
  • Bassist Andrew Dost of fun. is 39. 
  • Actor Ryan Merriman (“The Pretender”) is 39. 
  • Singer-actor Mandy Moore (“This is Us”) is 38. 
  • Actor Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips”) is 37. 
  • Actor Shay Mitchell (“Pretty Little Liars”) is 35. 
  • Actor Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense”) is 34. 
  • Country singer Maren Morris is 32. 
  • Singer-actor AJ Michalka of Aly and AJ is 31. 
  • Actor Daisy Ridley (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) is 30. 
  • Actor Sofia Carson (“Descendants”) is 29. 
  • Actor Ruby Jerins (“Nurse Jackie”) is 24.

The Blockbuster Discovery, WarnerMedia Merger Has Closed

Discovery Inc. and WarnerMedia closed their megamerger Friday afternoon, adding a new behemoth to the entertainment industry. The two companies will combine television, movie and news operations that draw revenue of nearly $50 billion, forming one of the biggest media companies in the country, reports The NY Times.

The decision by AT&T, WarnerMedia’s parent company, to spin off its entertainment division and merge it with Discovery — in a deal announced in May — will be felt throughout the media world in the months to come. It could push smaller competitors to hunt for deals to beef up in size. And it means that rivals like Netflix, Disney, Amazon and Apple now have a new ferocious competitor for streaming dominance.

David Zaslav
The job of making the merged company a success falls to David Zaslav, the garrulous 62-year-old veteran cable TV executive who has been running Discovery for 15 years. He will take over as chief executive of the new company, which will be called Warner Bros. Discovery in a nod to the Hollywood studio started nearly a century ago.

“Today we begin to write an exciting next chapter for both companies as Warner Bros. Discovery, a pure-play storytelling company that brings together the most cherished content, brands and franchises,” Mr. Zaslav wrote to his new employees in an email late Friday afternoon.

Zaslav’s Discovery has been no slouch. The company owns cable networks like Food Network, HGTV and TLC and has the rights to an enormous array of nonfiction programming ranging from the highbrow (natural history programming like “Serengeti”) to low (“My 600-lb. Life” and “My Feet Are Killing Me”).

📺Understand the Turmoil at CNN

  • Chris Cuomo: The star anchor was fired for trying to help his brother, Andrew Cuomo fight off a sexual harassment scandal. He is now seeking $125 million from CNN for wrongful termination.
  • Jeff Zucker Resigns: The network’s president stepped down after failing to disclose a workplace relationship revealed during the Chris Cuomo inquiry.
  • A New Leader: Chris Licht, a veteran television producer who helped create “Morning Joe” at MSNBC, is set to succeed Mr. Zucker.
  • Direction in Flux: WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, is expected to merge with Discovery Inc. in one of the nation’s largest media mergers.
  • The Streaming Race: CNN+, a late arrival at the streaming party, is on a hiring spree. Can it get viewers already overwhelmed with options to pay?

But now Zaslav is entering a much bigger, and more rarefied, position in the entertainment world. Unlike his more understated predecessors at AT&T, he has been bursting with enthusiasm for the last year while coming closer to taking over a powerhouse that will include HBO, CNN, TBS, TNT and the huge film and TV studios of Warner Bros.

Zaslav, one of the highest-paid chief executives in media, earned a compensation package valued at $246.6 million last year.

According to Bloomberg, the merger with AT&T Inc.’s media division gives Discovery Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav control of a huge portfolio of assets, including the cable channels HBO, CNN and TBS, as well as the Warner Bros. film and TV studio. Combined, the new Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. will have projected revenue of $54 billion next year. Here are some of the decisions investors will likely hear about in coming weeks.

The company will hold its upfront presentation in May, revealing a combined brand strategy for advertisers. It will announce a new price for selling its two main streaming services, HBO Max and Discovery+, jointly as a bundle. Eventually the two will be combined, but that could be months away.
While the main leadership team was announced Thursday, one key role has not yet been filled. The company plans to announce a new head of its sports division, a role formerly held by Jeff Zucker, who resigned in February. The company will be a powerhouse in live sports, with broadcast rights to professional basketball, baseball and hockey in the U.S., the men’s college basketball tournament, and the Olympics in Europe, as well as cycling, tennis, motorsports and golf.

Discovery has promised $3 billion in cost synergies that will help reduce the company’s debt load. Much of those savings are expected to come through layoffs in areas like ad sales, engineering, corporate finance and legal. Employees at HBO and Warner Bros. are expected to mostly be spared.

Zaslav, 62, will embark on a listening tour next week that will have him meeting with employees in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Norah O’Donnell Extends ‘CBS Evening News’ Contract

Norah O’Donnell and CBS have secured a deal to keep her at the network and as anchor of “CBS Evening News” through the 2024 election “and beyond,” an individual with knowledge confirmed to TheWrap.  CBS News has not officially confirmed.

Friday night, Puck’s Dylan Byers reported that O’Donnell contract was coming up for renewal and had been subjected to “endless industry gossip” That she would be leaving. “This news should put it to rest for a while, at least,” CNN’s Brian Stelter reported.

“After plenty of rumors to the contrary, Norah O’Donnell is staying home, and set up to finally become the Peter Jennings of CBS—the star that the news division is built around, which in 2022, naturally, means some streaming stuff, too,” Byers said in his report.

When O’Donnell took over as anchor of “CBS Evening News” in July 2019, her debut drew 1.221 million viewers ages 25-54 — the key demographic for news programming — which was down 24% versus the same night in 2018. Her total-viewer decline was much less dramatic, down just 1%, which was also less of a decline than ABC and NBC experienced year to year.

Over the months that followed, ratings continued to nosedive with a double-digit drop, bringing in 5.232 million viewers, 17% less than her predecessor, Jeff Glor, brought in the year before and falling further behind its competitors.

After moving operations to Washington, D.C. in December 2019, ratings began to steadily improve week-to-week, averaging 6.811 million total viewers, 1.443 million of whom were in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25-54.

DWTS Shifts To Disney+

Disney, parent company of both ABC and Disney+, announced Friday that long-running reality hit "Dancing With the Stars" will move from its broadcast home to the streaming service starting with Season 31 in fall of 2022. 

USAToday reports Disney+ has picked up "Dancing" for at least two more seasons, and called it "the first live series to exclusively debut on a streaming service."

“'Dancing with the Stars' has entertained fans for 16 years on ABC, and we are excited to bring this beloved show exclusively to Disney+ as the platform’s first-ever live series,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, in a news release. “The show’s broad appeal, as well as the overwhelming popularity of its Disney-themed competition nights, make Disney+ the perfect home for ‘Dancing with the Stars’ while continuing to expand our demographic reach.”

At its ratings height it was one of the most watched shows on television. It is currently hosted by Tyra Banks and was previously hosted by Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews.

The move represents the first time a truly major broadcast series has made the jump from linear television to a streaming service. Streaming services have previously picked up canceled or flagging series such as "Lucifer," which went from Fox to Netflix, but not many with the status of "Dancing," which averaged 5.4 million total viewers for its most recent season finale.  

The dance competition's big move to streaming comes during a period of rapid change for Disney+, as the relatively new streaming service attempts to boost stalling subscriber growth. The new season of "Dancing" will premiere around the same time Disney+ introduces an ad-supported tier that will be cheaper than its current ad-free plan, available at $7.99 a month or $79.99 annually. The streamer recently diversified its programming by adding distinctly un-family-friendly Marvel shows including "Daredevil" and "The Punisher," and beefing up parental controls. 

The Academy Slaps Will Smith


Will Smith has responded to the Academy’s decision to ban him from events for a decade.

“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” he said in a brief statement to Page Six on Friday.

Smith’s response came minutes after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it was banning him from all of the organization’s events for 10 years for slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.

“The Board of Governors has decided, for a period of 10 years, from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” the Academy said Friday.

The statement continued, “We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast.”

The actor, 53, will keep the Oscar he won this year for his role in “King Richard.”

Rock decided not to press charges and has yet to formally address the matter.

Cumulus Stations To Get Daily Wire Content

Leading conservative news and entertainment media company The Daily Wire and Cumulus Media, a top audio-first media company, today announced a new syndication agreement to deliver Daily Wire digital content to Cumulus radio station websites in key markets across the United States. Under the terms of the deal, Daily Wire breaking news, original reporting, sports, and entertainment coverage by The Daily Wire is now available on more than 50 Cumulus radio station websites, with plans to expand in the coming weeks.

“This new deal expands our partnership with Daily Wire to include yet another Cumulus distribution platform,” said Suzanne Grimes, Executive Vice President Corporate Marketing, Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One. “Our listeners now have a new way to engage with high quality content from The Daily Wire, in real time, on our Cumulus local stations’ websites.”

“We’re excited to bring our breaking news coverage and original reporting to millions of new readers through our partnership with Cumulus Media,” said Daily Wire co-founder and co-CEO Jeremy Boreing. “The syndication of our content will ease the strain on local newsrooms and enable even more Americans to access our news, commentary, and content offerings through a seamless user experience.”

Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Daily Wire already partner to deliver “The Ben Shapiro Radio Show” to key markets across the country, reaching 250 million Americans each month. Last year, Westwood One and Daily Wire announced they were expanding broadcast programming offerings with the addition of “The Michael Knowles Show” from 5 – 6 p.m. ET.

Joe Davis Succeeds Joe Buck On Fox Baseball

FOX Sports ushers in a new era as it readies to take the field for its 27th Major League Baseball season. Friday, Brad Zager, President of Production/Operations and Executive Producer named award-winning, ace broadcaster Joe Davis to FOX MLB’s lead play-by-play position – becoming the new voice of MLB’s premier events.

“It’s been amazing to watch Joe’s continued growth over the years developing into one of the elite broadcasters in all of sports,” said Zager. “As an integral part of our coverage over the last several years, his transition onto baseball’s biggest stage is a natural fit and we couldn’t be more excited to have him as the new voice of MLB on FOX.”

Davis, tapped in 2017 to succeed Vin Scully, legendary voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, joins first-ballot Hall of Famer and Emmy Award winner John Smoltz in the network’s lead booth. The pair, alongside Emmy Award-winning reporters Tom Verducci and Ken Rosenthal, are on deck to present FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2022 MLB All-Star Game, MLB at Field of Dreams Game and MLB Postseason – including its 25th Fall Classic. Davis’ first appearance in his new role is set for Saturday, May 28 on FOX.

Additionally, he will continue his role for local Dodgers telecasts on SportsNet LA.

“If you had asked me when I was 10 what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would’ve told you ‘Call the World Series.’ So when I say this is a dream-come-true, I really mean it,” said Davis. “One of the best parts about this is the team I get to work with. Obviously Smoltzy…I’ve had a blast getting to know John and building such a comfort together in the booth these last few years. He, Kenny and Tom along with our producer Pete Macheska and director Matt Gangl are all superstars – the absolute best at what they do. They’ve been so welcoming to me through the years as I’ve worked more and more with their group. It’s all about the people you’re with, and I’m really lucky in that regard.”

Davis joined FOX Sports in 2014 as a play-by-play announcer for the network’s MLB, college football and college basketball coverage. He has been in the booth for FOX Sports’ Division Series coverage since 2017 and called a Championship Series game alongside Smoltz during the 2019 and 2020 MLB Postseasons, respectively.

“Having worked with Joe before, finding our chemistry in the booth is already well underway and I’m looking forward to our partnership over the next several years,” said Smoltz. “I had the opportunity to work with the very best at FOX Sports in Joe Buck, and I feel fortunate to get to continue with another exceptionally talented ‘Joe’ in Joe Davis.”

At just 24 years old, he made the impressive leap to national television – joining ESPN in 2012 as an announcer, ultimately lending his call to college baseball, basketball, football, hockey and softball games. Davis also appeared in spot duty for MLB contests on ESPN Radio. In 2013, Davis was assigned to the network’s broadcast of the Poinsettia Bowl, becoming the youngest person to ever announce a bowl game for ESPN (25).

Denver Radio: Jerry Schemmel Returns To KOA Broadcasts

iHeartMedia Denver announced Friday that veteran sports broadcaster Jerry Schemmel has returned to the KOA Colorado Rockies Radio Network, effective immediately. Schemmel shares play-by-play and color analyst duties with Jack Corrigan for all 162 Colorado Rockies games and returns to KOA for his eleventh season following a two-year hiatus.

Jerry Schemmel
“I am elated to be coming back to the KOA Colorado Rockies Radio Network booth,” said Schemmel. “I couldn’t be happier to be working with Jack Corrigan and Producer, Jesse Thomas. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get back at it.”

“We are delighted to welcome Jerry back to KOA’s Colorado Rockies broadcasts,” said Brenda Egger, President of iHeartMedia’s Denver Region. “Jerry’s voice is synonymous with sports in Colorado, and it’s an honor to have him call Rockies’ games alongside Jack Corrigan.”

Schemmel is one of the most-recognizable voices in Colorado broadcasting. In addition to the Colorado Rockies, Schemmel has spent 18-years as the play-by-play announcer of the Denver Nuggets. And most recently, he has served as the radio voice for the University of Northern Colorado Football and Basketball. Schemmel also hosts and produces “Amazing Americans,” a nationally-syndicated weekend radio show.

KOA has been the radio rightsholder and flagship station of the Colorado Rockies since the team’s inception in 1993. Game broadcasts air on KOA 850 AM and 94.1 FM and stream live on the iHeartRadio app within the Denver metropolitan area. Outside of Denver, KOA’s Colorado Rockies broadcasts air on a network of over 40 radio stations across the Western United States.

MLB Network Adds Melanie Newsman As PbP Voice

MLB Network announced that play-by-play broadcaster, host and reporter Melanie Newman has joined its on-air roster appearing across its programming. 

Newman’s MLB Network role is in addition to her broadcast work covering the Baltimore Orioles for MASN and the Orioles Radio Network, which she will again continue this season. 

As part of her new responsibilities, Newman will regularly do play-by-play for “Friday Night Baseball” on Apple TV+ this season, plus host MLB Network studio programs. With MLB Network producing in partnership with Apple, Newman is set to do play-play-play for the New York Mets at Washington Nationals tonight at 7 p.m. ET on Apple TV+, alongside Chris Young, Hannah Keyser and Brooke Fletcher. With her role on “Friday Night Baseball,” Newman is the second woman to lead play-by-play duties for a national broadcast team, after Suzyn Waldman held that role for The Baseball Network in 1994 and 1995.

Melanie Newman
Newman contributed to MLB Network in 2021, when she called the MLB Network Showcase telecast featuring the Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox last August. Newman also served as the play-by-play broadcaster for the first-ever, all-female MLB broadcast when the Orioles visited the Tampa Bay Rays in the MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube last August, which MLB Network produced. Viewers can follow Newman on Twitter via @MelanieLynneN and on Instagram via @melanielynnen.

“Melanie is a terrific broadcaster, who we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with over the last year,” said Marc Caiafa, Senior Vice President of Production. “Having her officially on our team contributing to our programming makes us that much stronger as we start a new season.”

“I’m thrilled to be expanding my role at MLB Network and adding the Friday night games on Apple TV+ to my Orioles work,” said Newman. “These opportunities are very exciting – a dream come true, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Newman, who joined the Orioles’ broadcast team in 2020, became the first woman in franchise history to do play-by-play for a game, when she called the Miami Marlins at Orioles on Aug. 4, 2020, on the Orioles Radio Network. At the time, Newman joined Suzyn Waldman, Jenny Cavnar and Gayle Gardner as women who have handled play-by-play duties in MLB. Since 2020, Newman has served a variety of roles for the Orioles broadcast team, including hosting pre-and post-game coverage, plus in-game reporter duties. Last September, Newman also was part of the first-ever all-female broadcast team for an ESPN baseball broadcast when the Los Angeles Dodgers matched up against the San Diego Padres.

April 9 Radio History

➦In 1860...Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville invented the phonautogram to record sound.

Its  earliest known device for recording sound. Previously, tracings had been obtained of the sound-producing vibratory motions of tuning forks and other objects by physical contact with them, but not of actual sound waves as they propagated through air or other media. It transcribed sound waves as undulations or other deviations in a line traced on smoke-blackened paper or glass. Intended solely as a laboratory instrument for the study of acoustics, it could be used to visually study and measure the amplitude envelopes and waveforms of speech and other sounds, or to determine the frequency of a given musical pitch by comparison with a simultaneously recorded reference frequency.

Apparently, it did not occur to anyone before the 1870s that the recordings, called phonautograms, contained enough information about the sound that they could, in theory, be used to recreate it. Because the phonautogram tracing was an insubstantial two-dimensional line, direct physical playback was impossible in any case.

➦In 1950…Bob Hope began his long association with NBC-TV. Hope's career in broadcasting began on radio in 1934. His first regular series for NBC Radio was the Woodbury Soap Hour in 1937, on a 26-week contract. A year later, The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope began, and Hope signed a ten-year contract with the show's sponsor, Lever Brothers.

Bob Hope

He hired eight writers and paid them out of his salary of $2,500 a week. The original staff included Mel Shavelson, Norman Panama, Jack Rose, Sherwood Schwartz, and Schwartz's brother Al. The writing staff eventually grew to fifteen. The show became the top radio program in the country. Regulars on the series included Jerry Colonna and Barbara Jo Allen as spinster Vera Vague. Hope continued his lucrative career in radio through to the 1950s, when radio's popularity began being overshadowed by the upstart television medium

His first appearance on television came in 1932 during a test transmission from an experimental CBS studio in New York.

➦In 1973...Pat St. John started at WPLJ 95.5 FM, NYC.

St. John was born in Detroit and was raised on the music of Motown. In early 1969, at the age of 18, he landed his first gig as a radio personality on Windsor's CKLW, where he also worked for CKLW's 20/20 news doing newscasts one day a week, and part-time booth announcing on CKLW-TV Channel 9. In late 1970 he moved across the border to WKNR and was then hired in early 1972 at the ABC-owned album-oriented rock (AOR) station WRIF until 1973.

In April 1973, St. John began an almost 15-year stint at New York's WPLJ.

For most of his years at WPLJ he was rated by Arbitron as the most listened to afternoon radio personality in America. He survived the station's transition from AOR to top 40 in 1983, and during that era, continued his Arbitron ratings success with that same ranking.

He left WPLJ in 1987, and returned to his rock roots on WNEW 102.7 FM, which had been WPLJ's rival during its AOR years. He became the station's program director in the early 1990s while continuing his mid-day show until being asked to do morning-drive (which he did from 1994 through 1996) and then moved to afternoons where then followed Scott Muni who moved to mid-days). Pat remained with the station until it switched to a hot talk format in 1998.

Today, St. John works for SiriusXM's 60 On 6 channel, based in San Diego.

➦In 1996...WWRL, WNEW Radio and TV NYC personality Sandy Becker died.

Sandy Becker
Becker was born and raised in New York City.  He held local radio announcing jobs before first reaching public fame on radio as the title character of "Young Doctor Malone".

Originally a pre-medical student at New York University in the 1930s, Becker played the good doctor on radio for a decade.  Then, he started working for Channel 5 TV and became the host of a program featuring Bugs Bunny cartoons, "The Looney Tunes Show" on weeknights from 1955 to 1958. A second Friday night program called "Bugs Bunny Theater" ran from 1956 to 1957. Becker also did television announcing, such as for Wildroot Cream-Oil ads in the television series "The Adventures of Robin Hood."

n the middle of those activities, Becker found his true calling, spun in large part off his knack for entertaining his own three children with his vocal and comic versatility. This led him to his morning show beginning in 1955, and he added a noontime program "Sandy Becker's Funhouse" briefly in 1955. He hosted the syndicated "Wonderama" from 1955-56.

Becker would also host a weekday evening & afternoon children's wraparound show which had him playing comedic characters, performing puppet skits and engaging his viewers in informational segments,contests and interview guest performers and personalities in between the reruns of movie and TV cartoons."The Sandy Becker Show" was seen weekday evening and afternoons from Monday March 30, 1961 to Friday February 16, 1968.

Becker created such characters as double-talking disc jockey Hambone, addled but brilliant Big Professor (who claimed to know the answer to every question in the world), rumpled Hispanic kid's show host K. Lastima, incompetent mad-scientist Dr. Gesundheit, and — showing a remarkable knack for silent comedy — simple-minded Norton Nork, whose routines of earnest bumbling were joined only by musical accompaniment and a droll Becker narration that ended, invariably, with, "That's my boy, Norton Nork — you've done it again!" He also had a real bird in a cage called "Chipper".

Sandy's show was so popular in the NY area that when he began using a version of the Hambone Theme music from an old 78 RPM record by Red Saunders which was recorded in 1952, the Okeh record company re-released the song on a 45 RPM record. Enough kids bought the record that it reached Survey position #22 on local rock radio station WMCA in March 1963. For his show's own theme music, Sandy came to use Guy Warren's "That Happy Feeling" as recorded in 1962 by Bert Kaempfert.

Becker is warmly remembered for the manner in which he handled one of America's deepest tragedies on the air. On November 22, 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Becker went on the air and, quite movingly, attempted to explain to his young viewers what had happened.

Sadly, most of Becker's programs were not preserved.

Scott Farrell
➦In 2013…Tampa Bay radio veteran Scott Farrell, who logged more than a dozen years as the midday music host on WFLA 970 AM following a stint at WTCN in Minneapolis, died at the age of 86.

In 1966, the St. Paul, Minnesota native joined 970 WFLA to fill the midday shift and went on to become the morning host, program director, and general manager of WFLA-FM before leaving to do mornings at FM101 WJYW in 1981.

He was a WWII Army vet and earned his degree in broadcasting from Macalester College, a private undergraduate liberal arts college in St. Paul, where he majored in speech and radio. Before moving to Tampa Bay, his early stops included KICD in Spencer, Iowa and WTCN in Minneapolis.

Michael Learned is 83


  • Actor Michael Learned (“The Waltons”) is 83. 
  • Country singer Margo Smith is 80. 
  • Actor Dennis Quaid is 68. 
  • Humorist Jimmy Tingle (“60 Minutes II”) is 67. 
  • Keyboardist Dave Innis of Restless Heart is 63. 
  • Talk show host Joe Scarborough (“Morning Joe”) is 59. 
  • Anne Funke is 37
    Actor Mark Pellegrino (“Dexter”) is 57. 
  • Actor-model Paulina Porizkova is 57. 
  • Actor Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City”) is 56. 
  • Singer Kevin Martin of Candlebox is 53. 
  • TV personality Sunny Anderson (“The Kitchen”) is 47. 
  • Singer Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance is 45. 
  • Actor Keshia Knight Pulliam (“The Cosby Show”) is 43. 
  • Guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes is 42. 
  • Actor Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”) is 42. 
  • Actor Jay Baruchel (“Knocked Up,” ″Tropic Thunder”) is 40. 
  • Actor Annie Funke (“Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders”) is 37. 
  • Actor Jordan Masterson (“Last Man Standing”) is 36. 
  • Actor Leighton Meester (“Gossip Girl”) is 36. 
  • Singer-actor Jesse McCartney (“Summerland”) is 35. 
  • Singer Jazmine Sullivan is 35. 
  • Actor Kristen Stewart (“Twilight”) is 32. 
  • Actor Elle Fanning (“Because of Winn-Dixie”) is 24. 
  • Musician Lil Nas X is 23. 
  • Actor Isaac Hempstead Wright (“Game of Thrones”) is 23. 
  • Singer Jackie Evancho is 22.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Des Moines Radio: Saga Hit With Discrimination Lawsuit

A former employee of Des Moines Radio Group claims her manager harassed and discriminated against female workers, and that the company fired her after she protested to senior executives.

The Des Moines Register reports the ex-employee makes her allegations in a lawsuit filed Feb. 23 against the radio group, which is part of Saga Communications, and several Saga employees.

Michigan-based Saga and its attorneys did not return messages seeking comment. The nine-station Des Moines Radio Group includes top-rated stations KSTZ Star 102.5 and KAZR Lazer 103.3.

The complaint also includes age, sex discrimination and retaliation claims and seeks unspecified damages.

The unnamed plaintiff worked as an advertising account executive from 2014 until she was fired in 2020, according to the complaint. In 2018, she was assigned a new manager, Michael Hope. The woman alleges that Hope showed favoritism toward men and young, attractive women, and would make comments about women's appearance and ability to make sales because of it. He also allegedly steered high-performing sales accounts to male sales representatives, the complaint says.

It alleges that in one-on-one meetings, and later in the general office, Hope frequently touched the plaintiff and other female employees on the arms and shoulders. The plaintiff reports she knows of at least three other women who voiced similar complaints.

The plaintiff claims that after she eventually asked Hope to stop the touching, and refused to ride in a car with him to sales appointments, he reduced her salary by about $7,500 per year, allegedly out of dislike for her "pay structure."

She further claims that in 2020, Hope tried to discipline her for missing sales targets, but that he misstated her sales goals and failed to discipline other coworkers who had performed similarly.

The plaintiff says she complained to station management, which did not discipline Hope.

Chicago Radio: MLB White Sox Announce Broadcast Line-Up

The Chicago White Sox have announced the team’s television, radio and streaming broadcast schedule for the 2022 season. 

White Sox baseball will air and stream on the following networks and platforms: NBC Sports Chicago, WMVP ESPN Radio Chicago (AM-1000/FM-100.3 HD2), WRTO AM-1200/Univision Radio, ESPN, FOX, FS1, TBS, Apple TV+ and NBC/Peacock.

NBC Sports Chicago and the White Sox enter the third year of a multiyear deal that makes it the exclusive regional home of Sox baseball. NBCSCH will televise 153 of the Sox 162 regular-season games, including Opening Day on Friday, April 8 at Detroit (12:10 p.m. CT), the home opener on Tuesday, April 12 vs. Seattle (3:10 p.m.) and three of the four games of the Crosstown Classic against the Chicago Cubs (May 3-4 at Wrigley Field; May 29 at Guaranteed Rate Field).

All White Sox games televised by NBC Sports Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago Plus, including “White Sox Pregame Live” and “White Sox Postgame Live,” will be made available to authenticated subscribers via and the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app. All out-of-market Sox games also are available on MLB.TV via computer, streaming and the MLB app.

The White Sox currently have nine nationally exclusive broadcasts scheduled during the 2022 season across ESPN, FOX, Apple TV+ and NBC/Peacock. The nine games are below:
  • ESPN: May 22 at the Yankees (6:08 p.m.); also available on the ESPN app;
  • FOX: May 28 vs. the Cubs (6:15 p.m.), July 23 vs. Cleveland (6:15 p.m. CT) and July 30 vs. Oakland (6:15 p.m.); also available on the FOX Sports app;
  • Apple TV+: April 15 vs. Tampa Bay (6:10 p.m.), May 6 at Boston (6:10 p.m.) and June 17 at Houston (7:10 p.m.); available on the Apple TV app and;
  • Peacock: May 8 at Boston (10:35 a.m.; also broadcast nationally on NBC); August 21 at Cleveland (11:05 a.m.); available on the Peacock app and
Fans can watch the three Apple TV+ games by connecting to the Apple TV app and using a personal Apple ID (no subscription necessary). All games exclusively streamed on Peacock will require a paid subscription. The May 8 at Boston game will be available free to viewers on NBC.

An additional six contests will co-exist nationally with NBC Sports Chicago’s local broadcast:
  • April 23 at Minnesota (FS1; 3:05 p.m.);
  • April 30 vs. the Angels (FS1; 3:05 p.m.);
  • June 7 vs. the Dodgers (TBS; 7:10 p.m.);
  • August 10 at Kansas City (FS1; 7:10 p.m.; Game 2);
  • August 15 vs. Houston (FS1; 7:10 p.m.);
  • August 24 at Baltimore (FS1; 6:05 p.m.).
ESPN Radio Chicago will air all 162 regular season games and potential postseason games in the second season of its multiyear deal as the White Sox exclusive radio home. In addition to all games airing on AM-1000, fans can listen to the hometown radio call on FM-100.3 HD2 and on the ESPN Chicago app. WRTO/Univision Radio returns for its eighth consecutive year as the club’s Spanish-language radio home, broadcasting all 81 home games and select road games.

Jason Benetti (television play-by-play), Steve Stone (television analyst), Len Kasper (radio play-by-play), Darrin Jackson (radio analyst), Connor McKnight (radio pre/post host/play-by-play), Hector Molina (Spanish radio play-by-play) and Billy Russo (Spanish analyst) make up the White Sox broadcast roster for the 2022 season. Kasper will serve as a member of the television announcing team for approximately 20-25 games, filling in for either Benetti or Stone. McKnight will serve as the radio play-by-play announcer when Kasper is calling games on TV and fill in for Jackson when he is off.

WTTW Chicago Technicians End Three-Week Strike

Two dozen WTTW technicians have ended their three-week strike after agreeing to a new four-year labor contract Thursday afternoon with the Chicago public TV station, reports The Chicago Tribune.

The employees, all members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1220, walked off the job and onto the picket line March 16 after previously failing to reach an agreement, the first such strike in the 67-year-history of WTTW-Ch. 11. The agreement, which runs through July 2025, includes full-time staff hiring guarantees as well as “fair economic gains” in salary, the union said Thursday.

“It’s not a great contract, but it’s fair,” said John Rizzo, business manager for Downers Grove-based IBEW Local 1220. “We’re pleased to get back to work. We’re looking forward to the future and hopefully, rebuilding some of the trust that was lost during this difficult time.”

The striking IBEW workers included camera operators, graphic artists and floor crew responsible for various productions at WTTW, such as “Chicago Tonight,” the station’s signature nightly news program. WTTW continued to produce a shorter version of the show during the strike, with executive producer Jay Smith and other management personnel handling the technical aspects of the live 7 p.m. broadcast.

The technicians had been working without a labor contract since July, when a one-year extension of the previous four-year agreement expired. The issues were job protection and work jurisdiction, according to the union, which alleged WTTW was trying to farm out their long-standing technical duties to news producers and nonunion personnel.

Rizzo said the new agreement protects the size of the bargaining unit, with WTTW committing to hiring five union technicians during the course of the new agreement. At the same time, Rizzo expects to lose more than five members through retirement over the same period.

The station said the average pay rate across the unit before the new contract was $47.75 per hour, and that 91% of technicians made more than $40 an hour. While the technicians gained an undisclosed pay raise in the new agreement, Rizzo said the 23 days without pay during the strike will take years for the workers to make up.

The last Chicago broadcast technicians strike was in November 1998, when hundreds of members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians at the ABC television network, including those at WLS-Ch. 7 in Chicago, walked off the job for 11 weeks.

The IBEW has had labor disputes in the past, but has mostly avoided strikes. A notable exception occurred in 1972, when IBEW workers went on strike for eight weeks against CBS-owned radio and TV stations in markets across the U.S., including Chicago. The major disagreement in that strike was also over jurisdiction and concerns about job losses by union members.

In addition to WTTW, IBEW Local 1220 represents employees at a number of Chicago TV and radio stations including WBBM-Ch. 2, WBBM-AM 780, WCIU-Ch. 26, sports talk station WSCR-AM 670, WGN-Ch. 9 and national cable channel NewsNation, among others.

Rachel Maddow Is Returning to MSNBC

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow plans to return to her desk at the network on Monday after taking a month-long hiatus for a film project, reports The L-A Times.

An MSNBC representative confirmed that Maddow will be back in at the NBCUniversal-owned channel on a full-time basis. She has been off since Feb. 4, with the exception of a brief return for a few nights after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and President Biden’s State of the Union address.

Maddow took the two-month hiatus to work on a film adaptation of “Bag Man,” her podcast and book about Spiro Agnew, who served as vice president during the Nixon administration and resigned in 1973 when he faced bribery charges dating back to his time as governor of Maryland.

Maddow’s return will be welcome by MSNBC executives, who have seen the network’s prime-time ratings sink since the host stepped back. It may only be a brief respite, as Maddow is widely expected to step back from her daily program this summer. MSNBC declined to comment on that possibility.

Maddow agreed to a new contract with NBCUniversal last summer that keeps her at the company through 2024, after she had discussions with CNN about a role on its new streaming service. The company has confirmed that the deal gives her the opportunity to pursue a variety of TV and film projects but has not been specific on how long she is committed to continuing a daily cable TV program.

Maddow has been a favorite of the channel’s politically progressive fans since her program debuted in September 2008. There is no apparent successor for Maddow, which has used veteran host Ali Velshi as a fill-in on most nights during her hiatus.

MSNBC plans to announce the hiring of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki as an on-air host after she steps down from her government role later this spring. Psaki has never been a regular cable news host and is not expected to be Maddow‘s replacement.

Wake-Up Call: Ukraine Pleads For More Weapons

NY Post 4/8/22

As Ukraine readies for an expected new push in eastern Donbas region by regrouped Russian forces, it's calling for more weapons to be sent and warned of more scenes like those in Bucha in other places in Ukraine from which Russia has withdrawn its forces. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said yesterday that despite Russia's pullback from the areas around Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, Ukraine is still vulnerable, and he pleaded for weapons from NATO and other nations to battle the expected Russian offensive. NATO countries have agreed to increase the number of weapons being provided, motivated in part by the reports of atrocities against civilians carried out by Russian forces.

The mayor of Bucha shared more of the horrors in the city while it was occupied by Russian forces, saying investigators had found at least three sites of mass shootings of civilians. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested in his nightly video address that similar scenes to those in Bucha, saying of the northern city of Borodianka "there it is much more horrible." He also said the world should be prepared for what might be found in the southern port city of Mariupol, which has been besieged for weeks, saying Ukrainian authorities expected to find what he called "The same cruelty. The came terrible crimes" there.

Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers in Congress voted yesterday to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and ban importation of its oil, and the administration announced sanctions on Russia's largest military shipbuilding company and its largest diamond mining company. The European Union approved an embargo on coal imports from Russia, and the U.N. General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the organizations leading human rights body, the U.N. Human Rights Council. The move was made by the General Assembly over the war crimes allegations that Russian forces.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed for the U.S. Supreme Court by the Senate yesterday, making her the first Black woman who will sit on the nation's highest court. There were cheers and applause in the Senate chamber as the 51-year-old Jackson was confirmed in a 53-47 vote, with three Republicans joining all 50 Democrats. Jackson watched the vote at the White House with President Biden, with the two hugging after she was confirmed. Jackson will be sworn in after Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer. In addition to being the first Black woman on the high court, Jackson will be the third Black member overall and the sixth woman, and the court will have four women on it for the first time.

➤PALESTINIAN OPENS FIRE IN ISRAELI BAR, KILLING TWO, WOUNDING 10: A Palestinian man opened fire in a crowded bar in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday night, killing two people and wounding 10, in the fourth deadly attack in Israel by Palestinians in three weeks. Israeli security forces tracked the shooter down in a massive manhunt and found him early Friday morning hiding in an Arab neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv, and he was killed in a shootout with them. He was identified as 28-year-old Raad Hazem, from Jenin in the occupied West Bank. President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority, condemned the attack.

➤APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS BIDEN'S FEDERAL EMPLOYEE VACCINE MANDATE: A federal appeals court yesterday upheld President Biden's mandate that all federal employees be vaccinated against Covid-19. The 2-1 ruling by a panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision, and ordered dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the mandate. The ruling said that the federal judge who'd struck down the mandate didn’t have jurisdiction in the case, and those challenging the requirement could have pursued administrative remedies under Civil Service law. Biden issued an executive order for the mandate last September.

➤STUDY..BAD REVIEWS CAN BE GOOD FOR BUSINESS:  Getting bad reviews online is generally considered to not be good for a business, but a new study finds this is not always the case. University of British Columbia researchers found that negative comments have little effect in cases where brand relationships are strong and consumers personally identify with a brand’s products. In some cases, the scientists found negative reviews can actually have positive effects for brands. They found that social proximity (demographic or geographic location) of a negative reviewer plays a role in how consumers respond to a negative review. In the case of three different products, researchers found participants who read a negative review by a socially distant reviewer actually showed higher interest in purchasing the product. Study leader Dr. Lisa Cavanaugh explains, “When consumers personally identify with a brand, they see facets of themselves in that brand. When a reviewer leaves a disparaging comment about an identity-relevant brand, consumers feel compelled to protect that brand, and by extension themselves, by scrutinizing the source of the negative review.”

➤SUGAR SUBSTITUTES MAY INTERFERE WITH LIVER’S ABILITY TO DETOXIFY, RESEARCHERS SAY:  Fake sugar might not be the greatest for your body. Two sugar substitutes, also known as non-nutritive sweeteners, might disrupt the function of a protein that plays an important role in detoxifying the liver and metabolizing certain drugs, a new study suggests. Medical College of Wisconsin researchers say the two non-nutritive sweeteners, acesulfame potassium and sucralose, were analyzed, and both were found to inhibit the activity of a protein in the body known as PGP, which pumps many foreign substances out of cells. Researchers say that in a case where an individual takes blood pressure medications, antidepressants and antibiotics, which are medications that rely on PGP as a primary detoxification transporter, this could be problematic. Researcher Laura Danner added, “With an estimated 40% of Americans regularly consuming non-nutritive sweeteners, it’s important to understand how they affect the body.” Study leader Dr. Stephanie Van Stichelen says, “We observed that sweeteners impacted PGP activity in liver cells at concentrations expected through consumption of common foods and beverages, far below the recommended FDA maximum limits.” Researchers also recommended that findings be further confirmed through preclinical and clinical students, since their study is preliminary.

➤SMOKERS WITH HEART DISEASE COULD GAIN FIVE HEALTHY YEARS BY QUITTING:  Giving up smoking can really add years to your life. Amsterdam University researchers found that for people with heart disease, giving up smoking seems to be as effective as taking three medications for preventing heart attacks and strokes. In these individuals, quitting smoking was also associated with a gain of 4.81 heart-event-free years. Study author Dr. Tinka Can Trier adds, “This indicates that smoking cessation is a very important step towards adding healthy years to one’s lifetime. It is important to remember that the analysis did not even account for the other advantages of giving up the habit—for example on respiratory illnesses, cancer and longevity.”

🏌IM LEADING, WOODS FOUR SHOTS BACK AFTER MASTERS' FIRST ROUND: Tiger Woods finished the first round at the Masters Tournament Thursday with a 1-under 71, four shots behind leader Sungjae Im of South Korea, as he made his return to regular PGA competition for the first time since the February 2021 car crash that severely injured his right leg. When asked if he considered it a victory just to have been able to play in the tournament at Augusta National, Woods said yes, stating, "If you would have seen how my leg looked to where it’s at now . . . to get from there to here, it was no easy task." In second place is Cameron Smith of Australia, just one shot behind Im.

⚾CUBS AND BREWERS KICK OFF MLB SEASON: The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers kicked off the MLB season on Opening Day Thursday, their game becoming the first of the new season after the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox matchup was rained out. The Brewers' Andrew McCutchen got the first hit of the season with a double in the second inning at Chicago's Wrigley Field, and the Cubs' Nico Hoerner had the first home run of the season, a two-run drive in the fifth inning, with the Cubs going on to win 5-4. There were seven games in all yesterday.

🏈TWO MORE BLACK COACHES JOIN FLORES' LAWSUIT AGAINST NFL: Two more Black coaches, Steve Wilks and Ray Horton, joined Brian Flores yesterday in his lawsuit against the NFL that alleges racist hiring practices for coach and general manager positions. The suit says Wilks was discriminated against by the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 when he was hired as a "bridge coach," but wasn't given a meaningful chance to succeed, and that Horton was subjected to discriminatory treatment when he was given a sham interview for the Tennessee Titans head coach position in January 2016. Additionally, Flores added the Houston Texans in the suit to the teams he alleges discriminated against him, saying the team engaged in, quote, "blatant retaliation" after he initially filed his lawsuit several weeks ago by removing him from consideration for its head coaching job. The Cardinals, Titans and Texans denied the allegations.

🏒MATTHEWS BREAKS MAPLE LEAFS' FRANCHISE SEASON GOAL RECORD: Toronto's Auston Matthews broke the Maple Leafs' franchise season goal record with his 55th and 56th in the team's 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars last night. Matthews had been tied at 54 goals with Rick Vaive’s 40-year-old Maple Leafs season record. The 24-year-old from Arizona also broke the record for most goals in a season by a U.S.-born player, which had been 55.