Saturday, July 9, 2022

July 10 Radio History

➦In 1856…Nikola Tesla was born. (Died – 7 January 1943). He was an inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.

Nikola Tesla
Tesla, one of history’s most under-appreciated and under-acknowledged engineers. Credit for his work is often gray and debated, sometimes due to unscrupulous competitors and sometimes due to timing.

Indeed, Tesla is known to have worked on a radio before Marconi, an X-Ray machine before Roentgen, an induction motor around the same time Ferrari claimed his, and experimented to find “small charged particles” years before Thomson was credited with proving the existence of electrons.

Tesla is perhaps best known within engineering circles for his work on AC (alternating current) and his “War of Currents” feud with Thomas Edison (side note: Edison, an employer of Tesla’s for some time, is known in some engineering circles as the man who copied and stole from Tesla).

Even with such challenges and a lifetime of illnesses, Tesla accrued about 300 patents. He died penniless and in debt in his New York apartment on January 7, 1943, at the age of 86. After his death, much of Tesla’s papers and works were impounded by the United States' Alien Property Custodian office. This was despite the fact that Tesla had become a US citizen at 35 years old.

Eventually many of his personal notebooks and works were declared “top secret” by the FBI and shuttered away from public view. Reasons given for doing so were that Tesla had done significant work with various US government agencies. 

Tesla's theories on the possibility of the transmission by radio waves go back as far as lectures and demonstrations in 1893 in St. Louis, Missouri, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the National Electric Light Association.  Tesla's demonstrations and principles were written about widely through various media outlets.  Many devices such as the Tesla Coil were used in the further development of radio.

Tesla's radio wave experiments in 1896 were conducted in Gerlach Hotel (later renamed The Radio Wave building), where he resided.

Tesla died January 7, 1943

In 1898, Tesla demonstrated a radio-controlled boat—which he dubbed "teleautomaton"—to the public during an electrical exhibition at Madison Square Garden.  The crowd that witnessed the demonstration made outrageous claims about the workings of the boat, such as magic, telepathy, and being piloted by a trained monkey hidden inside.  Tesla tried to sell his idea to the U.S. military as a type of radio-controlled torpedo, but they showed little interest.   Remote radio control remained a novelty until World War I and afterward, when a number of countries used it in military programs.   Tesla took the opportunity to further demonstrate "Teleautomatics" in an address to a meeting of the Commercial Club in Chicago, while he was travelling to Colorado Springs, on 13 May 1899.

In 1900, Tesla was granted patents for a "system of transmitting electrical energy" and "an electrical transmitter." When Guglielmo Marconi made his famous first-ever transatlantic radio transmission in 1901, Tesla quipped that it was done with 17 Tesla patents. This was the beginning of years of patent battles over radio with Tesla's patents being upheld in 1903, followed by a reverse decision in favor of Marconi in 1904. In 1943, a Supreme Court of the United States decision restored the prior patents of Tesla, Oliver Lodge, and John Stone.  The court declared that their decision had no bearing on Marconi's claim as the first to achieve radio transmission, just that since Marconi's claim to certain patents were questionable, he could not claim infringement on those same patents  (there are claims the high court was trying to nullify a World War I claim against the U.S. government by the Marconi Company via simply restoring Tesla's prior patent).

Graham McNamee
➦In 1888...Graham McNamee born (Died  – May 9, 1942). He was a radio broadcaster, who originated play-by-play sports broadcasting for which he was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Radio broadcasting of sporting events was a new thing in the 1920s. The announcers were a rotating group of newspaper writers. At the time baseball was America's most popular sport, and the reporters were at the games to write stories about them for print newspapers. Their descriptions were matter-of-fact, boring at best, had a lot of dead air, and were given in the past tense after a play was completed.

In 1923, announcer McNamee was assigned to help the sportswriters with their broadcasts. One day, Grantland Rice, told McNamee to finish the game on his own, and left. McNamee was not a trained sports writer, so he immediately began to describe what he was seeing as it happened, thus originating play-by-play sports broadcasting. He wasn't a baseball expert, but had a knack for conveying what he saw in great detail, and with great enthusiasm, bringing the sights and sounds of the game into the homes of listeners.

With Phillips Carlin, whose voice was so similar that few listeners could tell them apart, he quickly became famous. McNamee had various on-air responsibilities at WEAF, including baseball color commentary culminating in the play-by-play of the 1926 World Series. Over the course of the next decade McNamee worked for WEAF, and for the national NBC network, , when WEAF became the NBC flagship station.

McNamee broadcast numerous sports events, including several World Series, Rose Bowls, championship boxing matches, and Indianapolis 500s. He was broadcast the national political conventions, the presidential inaugurations, and the arrival of aviator Charles Lindbergh in New York City following his transatlantic flight to Paris, France in 1927. He opened each broadcast by saying, "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the radio audience. This is Graham McNamee speaking."

He has been enshrined in the National Radio Hall of Fame, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  He died young on May 9 1942 of a brain embolism at age 53.

➦In 1900...One of the most famous trademarks in the world, “His Master’s Voice”, was registered with the U.S. Patent Office. The logo of the Victor Talking Machine Company, and later, RCA Victor, features the dog, Nipper, looking into the horn of a gramophone machine.

Sometime during the 1890s, English artist Francis Barraud painted a picture of his brother's dog, Nipper, inquisitively listening to a phonograph.

Francis Barraud
Barraud hoped to sell the painting to a phonograph company, but could not find an interested buyer. After receiving a suggestion to change the trumpet of the machine from black to brass, Barraud went to the Gramophone Company's office to borrow a machine to use as a model. In explaining his request, Barraud showed a photograph of his painting. The manager, Barry Owen, liked the painting and asked if it was for sale.

When Barraud replied that it was for sale, Owen agreed to buy the painting if the phonograph could be replaced with a gramophone.

When Emile Berliner visited England in May 1900 and saw the picture, he promptly registered it as a trademark -- in the United States on May 26th and in Canada on July 16th. The Victor Talking Machine Company began to use the painting as a trademark in 1902, and the Gramophone Company in 1909.

The original painting hangs in the offices of EMI, the successor of the Gramophone Company. It is one of the most widely recognized and valuable trademarks in the world.

➦In 1920...Journalist David Brinkley born (Died at age 82 – June 11, 2003). He  was a newscaster for NBC and ABC in a career lasting from 1943 to 1997.

From 1956 through 1970, he co-anchored NBC's top-rated nightly news program, The Huntley–Brinkley Report, with Chet Huntley and thereafter appeared as co-anchor or commentator on its successor, NBC Nightly News, through the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, Brinkley was host of the popular Sunday This Week with David Brinkley program and a top commentator on election-night coverage for ABC News. Over the course of his career, Brinkley received ten Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Following a medical discharge from the Army, he worked for United Press International in several of its Southern bureaus. In 1943, he moved to Washington, D.C., looking for a radio job at CBS News. Instead, he took a job at NBC News, became its White House correspondent, and in time began appearing on television.

➦In 1944...a radio show of international intrigue 'The Man Called X', starring Herbert Marshall, debuted on CBS radio.  It was an espionage radio drama that aired on CBS and NBC from July 10, 1944, to May 20, 1952. The radio series was later adapted for television and was broadcast on the "small screen" for one season, 1956-1957.

➦In 1950…Radio's 'Your Hit Parade' made it's debut on American TV.  From 1950 to 1959, it was sponsored by American Tobacco's Lucky Strike cigarettes. During this 24-year run, the show had 19 orchestra leaders and 52 singers or groups. Many listeners and viewers casually referred to the show with the incorrect title The Hit Parade.

After 15 years as a radio favorite, "Your Hit Parade" started a nine-year run on television – the first eight years on NBC, the last year on CBS – while continuing on radio until 1955.

  ➦In 1954…Following his success on the air in Cleveland, DJ Alan Freed moved to 1010WINS in NYC. 1010WINS remained Top40 until April 19, 1965—long after Freed left and three months after he had died—when it became an all-news outlet.   Freed was the first disc jockey and concert producer of rock and roll; he introduced the phrase "rock and roll" on mainstream radio in the early 1950s and helped bridge the gap of segregation among young teenage Americans, presenting music by black artists (rather than cover versions by white artists) on his radio program, and arranging live concerts attended by racially mixed audiences.  In 1956, Freed hosted "Alan Freed's Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party" on CBS Radio from New York.

➦In  1962…Telstar 1 launched. Telstar is the name of various communications satellites. 

The first two Telstar satellites were experimental and nearly identical. 

Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on July 10, 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures, telephone calls, fax images and provided the first live transatlantic television feed. Telstar 2 was launched May 7, 1963. 

Telstar 1 and 2, though no longer functional, were still in orbit as of October 2013.

➦In 1989...Mel Blanc died from heart disease (Born May 30, 1908). He was a voice actor and radio personality.

After beginning his over-60-year career performing in radio, he became known for his work in animation as the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, the Tasmanian Devil, and many of the other characters from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoons during the golden age of American animation. He voiced all of the major male Warner Bros. cartoon characters except for Elmer Fudd, whose voice was provided by fellow radio personality Arthur Q. Bryan, although Blanc later voiced Fudd, as well, after Bryan's death.

He later voiced characters for Hanna-Barbera's television cartoons, including Barney Rubble on The Flintstones and Mr. Spacely on The Jetsons. Blanc was also the original voice of Woody Woodpecker for Universal Pictures and provided vocal effects for the Tom and Jerry cartoons directed by Chuck Jones for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, replacing William Hanna. During the golden age of radio, Blanc also frequently performed on the programs of famous comedians from the era, including Jack Benny, Abbott and Costello, Burns and Allen and Judy Canova.

Having earned the nickname The Man of a Thousand Voices, Blanc is regarded as one of the most influential people in the voice acting industry.

Blanc began his radio career at the age of 19 when in 1927, he debuted as a voice actor on the KGW program The Hoot Owls, where his ability to provide voices for multiple characters first attracted attention. He moved to Los Angeles in 1932, where he met Estelle Rosenbaum (1909 - 2003), whom he married a year later, before returning to Portland. He moved to KEX in 1933 to produce and co-host his Cobweb And Nuts show with his wife Estelle, which debuted on June 15.

With his wife's encouragement, Blanc returned to Los Angeles and joined Warner Bros.-owned KFWB in Hollywood, in 1935. He joined The Johnny Murray Show, but the following year switched to CBS Radio and The Joe Penner Show.

Blanc was a regular on the NBC Red Network show The Jack Benny Program in various roles, including voicing Benny's Maxwell automobile (in desperate need of a tune-up), violin teacher Professor LeBlanc, Polly the Parrot, Benny's pet polar bear Carmichael, the tormented department store clerk, and the train announcer.

By 1946, Blanc appeared on over 15 radio programs in supporting roles. His success on The Jack Benny Program led to his own radio show on the CBS Radio Network, The Mel Blanc Show, which ran from September 3, 1946, to June 24, 1947. Blanc played himself as the hapless owner of a fix-it shop, as well as his young cousin Zookie.

Blanc also appeared on such other national radio programs as The Abbott and Costello Show, the Happy Postman on Burns and Allen, and as August Moon on Point Sublime. During World War II, he appeared as Private Sad Sack on various radio shows, most notably G.I. Journal. Blanc recorded a song titled "Big Bear Lake".

Arlo Guthrie is 75


  • Actor William Smithers (“Dallas,” ″Peyton Place”) is 95. 
  • Singer Mavis Staples is 83. 
  • Actor Mills Watson (“B.J. and the Bear,” ″Lobo”) is 82. 
  • Actor Robert Pine (“CHiPS”) is 81. 
  • Guitarist Jerry Miller of Moby Grape is 79. 
  • Folk singer Arlo Guthrie is 75. 
  • Bassist Dave Smalley of The Raspberries is 73. 
  • Singer Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys is 68. 
  • Jessica Simpson is 42
    Banjo player Bela Fleck of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones is 64. 
  • Actor Fiona Shaw (“True Blood,” ″Harry Potter” films) is 64. 
  • Drummer Shaw Wilson of BR549 is 62. 
  • Country singer Ken Mellons is 57. 
  • Guitarist Peter DiStefano of Porno for Pyros is 57. 
  • Actor Alec Mapa (“Ugly Betty” ″Half & Half”) is 57. 
  • Actor Gale Harold (“Hellcats”) is 53. 
  • Country singer Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts is 52. 
  • Actor Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) is 50. 
  • Singer Imelda May is 48. 
  • Actor Adrian Grenier (“Entourage,” ″Cecil B. DeMented”) is 46. 
  • Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) is 45. 
  • Actor Gwendoline Yeo (“Desperate Housewives”) is 45. 
  • Actor Thomas Ian Nicholas (“American Pie”) is 42. 
  • Singer Jessica Simpson is 42. 
  • Bassist John Spiker of Filter is 41. 
  • Actor Heather Hemmens (“Hellcats”) is 38. 
  • Rapper-singer Angel Haze is 31. 
  • Singer Perrie Edwards of Little Mix is 29.

  • Cartoon voicist Mel Blanc, who did the voices of the Warner Bros. cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Donald Duck and Elmer Fudd, died on this day in 1989. He was 81.
  • Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago actor Omar Sharif died on this day in 2015. He was 83.

Twitter Deal Collapse Makes Musk a Hot Ticket at Sun Valley

Elon Musk

The collapse of Elon Musk’s Twitter Inc. deal has made the billionaire’s appearance at Allen & Co.’s Sun Valley Conference an even hotter ticket, reports Bloomberg.

Musk is still slated to appear and speak on Saturday, the final day of the event, people with knowledge of the matter said Friday. Some attendees who had planned on leaving the conference early are now extending their stays in order to listen to Musk, other people said, asking not to be identified. Musk did not respond to requests for comment.

Musk on Friday announced he’s scrapping his $44 billion bid to buy Twitter and take it private, alleging the company misrepresented user data. The decision sets the stage for an arduous court brawl. Minutes after the filing landed, the social media company vowed to fight back in court.

The marquee address is typically reserved for the likes of legendary investors such as Warren Buffett. What the Tesla Inc. and SpaceX chief executive officer plans to say to technology and media leaders at the annual retreat in Idaho couldn’t be determined, though attendees will be eagerly watching for any comments by Musk on the Twitter deal. Musk is due to speak late morning local time, the people said.

At the conference on Thursday, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal didn’t respond to a question from Bloomberg on whether he’s worried about Musk walking away from the deal. Twitter Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, also an attendee, said nothing when asked whether a report that the deal could fall apart is accurate.

Twitter Inc. shares dropped late on Friday after Elon Musk said he’s terminating the $44 billion agreement to acquire the social media company.

The stock fell as much as 9% in postmarket trading after a regulatory filing from Musk laid out his case for abandoning the deal. The news sent shares of Tesla Inc., the electric car maker that Musk leads, up as much as 3% while social media peers Snap Inc. and Pinterest slid about 1%.

Tesla Inc. shares rose late Friday after Musk said he’s walking away from his $44 billion bid to buy Twitter Inc., giving investors in the electric-vehicle company a measure of relief that its leader might be slightly less distracted.

Disney Drops Plans To Spinoff ESPN

The Walt Disney Co. has reportedly scrapped a rumored plan to spin off ESPN, reports Benzinga.

What Happened: Disney’s focus on keeping ESPN within its portfolio is the result of efforts by rival companies Amazon  to obtain streaming rights to live sports events for their respective streaming services, according to industry-focused news site Puck citing an unnamed executive.

“This sudden turnaround almost certainly reflects a recognition that live sports, the linchpin of the entire linear ecosystem, will be even more significant to Disney’s bottom line in a world where the streaming landscape is uncertain,” wrote Puck’s Dylan Byers in a report from the Sun Valley Conference 2022 in Wyoming.

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Why It Matters: ESPN became a Disney through the 1996 acquisition of its then-parent company Capital Cities/ABC Inc.

Last October, Puck cited two unnamed sources who claimed there were “conversations happening regularly at Disney about whether or not to spin off ESPN.” The sports media brand is said to be burdened with “zero-to-low-growth business” due to a near-future of diminished subscriber levels and advertiser revenue.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek reportedly grew concerned over “expensive, long-term rights deals that keep the most popular sports programming on linear and off of ESPN+.”

Milwaukee Radio: After 40-Years, Jane Matenaer Exits WTMJ

Jane Matenaer
Jane Matenaer, who has been a major presence on Milwaukee morning radio shows for nearly four decades, worked her last day Friday at WTMJ 620 AM and told the Milwaukee Business Journal she’s not planning to retire.

Matenaer discussed her departure on the air Friday during “Wisconsin’s Morning News” with Vince Vitrano. She expressed her gratitude for the station’s news staff including their generosity.

“It’s been a wonderful, wonderful experience,” Matenaer told the Business Journal.

Matenaer had co-hosted the 620 TMJ morning show with Gene Mueller for about six years until Mueller’s retirement in February. Since then, she has filled in as a show host and anchored news reports with the last one at 10 a.m. on Friday.

Steve Wexler, the vice president and market manager of Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee radio stations, said Friday that Matenaer “let us know that she felt it was time to move on.”

“She has been an important contributor to WTMJ for seven years and a welcome voice in Milwaukee radio for over 40 years,” Wexler said via email. “We are so appreciative of her work, including reporting, anchoring and hosting.”

Matenaer, 62, has been one of the leading Milwaukee morning show personalities since her 25-year stint at WMYX-FM (99.1) that ended in May 2009. She followed that with about five years at WDLB-FM (93.3) before joining WTMJ radio in 2015 and being named as Mueller’s co-host in December 2015.

As for her next move, Matenaer said she’s “looking at some options” but had no specific information to share other than that it will be in the media industry.

Latino Media Network Formally Files To Acquire 18 Stations

Friday, Latino Media Network (LMN) announced its formation. Founded by social entrepreneurs Stephanie Valencia and Jess Morales Rocketto and backed by several Latino luminaries, they also announced their first major deal with Univision to acquire a set of radio assets to reach nearly a third of the US Latino population.

In one of the largest capital raises of a Latina owned & operated startup in the U.S with over $80m in capital raised from a diverse set of investors, Latino Media Network will be a media company serving the Latino community, owned by Latinos for Latinos. Its mission is to help Latinos make sense of the world and their place in it by inspiring, informing and celebrating Hispanics through an audio focused multimedia network. The network will embrace cultural pride by telling Latino stories, addressing community concerns and talking about opportunities for a better future.

To coincide with its launch, LMN also announced that they have signed a definitive agreement with TelevisaUnivision to purchase 18 radio stations in 10 cities from coast to coast in a $60 million all cash deal. This deal is one of the largest single acquisitions of stations by a Latino owned and operated company in history.

George Soros
LMN has secured equity investments from leading Latino investors, and debt financing for the acquisition from Lakestar Finance LLC, an investment entity affiliated with Soros Fund Management LLC.

“As Latinos drive population growth in the United States they continue to navigate the ocean of information on what is happening in the world and their place in it. With minority media on the decline, now is the time to be investing in more resources to create content for Latinos by Latinos. Through the unique combination of creative content and new and existing media platforms to serve our community, we can embrace cultural pride and collectively empower Latinos,” said LMN Founder Stephanie Valencia. “I want to thank TelevisaUnivision for the great work they have done building these stations in Latino communities and entrusting us to grow them moving forward.”

“Our company, and these stations, are for our community,” said LMN Founder Jess Morales Rocketto. “We believe in the power and reach of radio and it remains a main source of media for a significant number of our community. We hope to create relevant content for radio and other audio platforms with content that our community can trust and rely on. Latino Media Network is going to ensure that the Latino community continues to be served with the news and information that local communities deserve.”

The 18 stations in the deal are a combined set of AM and FM stations in the largest US markets, and 8 of the top 10 Latino markets, reaching 33% of U.S. Latinos: LA, NYC, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio, McAllen, Fresno, and Las Vegas. These stations primarily consist of sports, entertainment and music programming.

The 18 stations in the deal are a combined set of AM and FM stations in the largest US markets, and 8 of the top 10 Latino markets, reaching 33% of U.S. Latinos.  The stations included are:
  • New York - WADO-AM 1280
  • Los Angeles - KTNQ-AM 1020
  • Chicago - WRTO-AM 1200
  • Dallas  - KFLC-AM 1270; KFZO-FM 99.1
  • Houston - KLAT-AM 1010
  • Miami - WAQI-AM 710; WQBA-AM 1140
  • Fresno - KOND-FM 107.5; KRDA-FM 92.1; KLLE-FM 107.9
  • Las Vegas - KLSQ-AM 870; KISF-FM 103.5; KRGT-FM 99.3
  • San Antonio - KXTN-AM 1350
  • McAllen - KGBT-AM 1530; KGBT-FM 98.5; KBTQ-FM 96.1
Transition of the stations will happen following FCC approval and a one year transition agreement between TelevisaUnivision and Latino Media Network, which is expected to conclude in Q4 of 2023. LMN is in the process of recruiting outstanding talent and will make an announcement about the senior management team later this year. LMN intends to retain current TelevisaUnivision employees who work at the stations included in this acquisition.

July 9 Radio History

➦In 1879…Bell Telephone Company founded.

➦In 1933
...Radio producer/voice actor  Dick Orkin was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Orkin was 16 when he began his radio career as a fill-in announcer at WKOK 1070 AM Sunbury PA . After earning his BA in speech and theater from Franklin & Marshall College he attended the Yale School of Drama, then returned to Pennsylvania to become the news director at WLAN 1390 AM Lancaster in 1959. Later he joined the staff of KYW Cleveland. In 1967 Orkin moved to WCFL Chicago and created 'Chickenman', a Batman parody which chronicled the exploits of a crime-fighting “white-winged warrior” and his secret identity as mild-mannered shoe salesman Benton Harbor.

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

Inspired by the commercial parodies on Stan Freberg and Bob & Ray’s radio shows, Orkin created the Famous Radio Ranch in 1973 to produce his own comedic radio spots. Stationed in California since ’78, the Radio Ranch, currently headed by his daughter Lisa, has produced hundreds of memorable ads for a variety of clients, ranging from Time magazine to First American Bank to the Gap, and garnered more than 200 awards in the process.

Dick Orkin was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2014.  He died December 26, 2017.

➦In 1955..."(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley & The Comets peaked at Number One, where it remained for eight weeks. It was the first rock 'n roll record to hit Number One on the Billboard charts.

Dick Clark

➦In 1956…In Philadelphia, 26-year-old Dick Clark made his debut as host of "Bandstand" on WFIL-TV following the DUI arrest of the show's former host, Bob Horn. The program's name changed to "American Bandstand" when it became a network show on ABC in 1957. Clark relinquished his hosting duties in 1989 to David Hirsch, but the program was cancelled within a matter of months.

➦In 1960…77WABC-AM, New York introduced the WABC MusicChart

➦In 1972....Johnny Donovan started at Musicradio 77 WABC.  

He grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, nicknamed "Sarge," after his father's rank in the United States Army during World War II.

A radio enthusiast from an early age (with an amateur radio station K2KOQ in a corner of the basement), he became a DJ ("Large Sarge") on WHVW in nearby Hyde Park, after helping build the station.

He went on to stations in Kingston (WBAZ) and Binghamton (WENE), New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey (WMID) before landing in New York City, first at WOR-FM, and finally at WABC.

Donovan stayed on at WABC as Production Director and staff announcer when WABC went to a talk format in 1982.

After 44 years of service at both MusicRadio and TalkRadio 77 WABC production guru Johnny Donovan retired in May 2015.

Eric Sevareid
➦In 1992…News correspondent and commentator Eric Sevareid died of stomach cancer at age 79 in Washington, D.C.   He was one of a group of war correspondents who were hired by CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow and nicknamed "Murrow's Boys." Sevareid was the first to report the Fall of Paris in 1940, when the city was captured by German forces during World War II.

Traveling into Burma in the Pacific theater in 1943, his transport aircraft was shot down, and he was rescued from behind enemy lines by a U.S. Army Air Forces search and rescue team.

Sevareid followed in Murrow's footsteps as a commentator on the CBS Evening News for thirteen years, for which he was recognized with Emmy and Peabody Awards.

➦In 2004...longtime Cleveland deejay Bill Randle succumbed to cancer at age 81.  He had been instrumental in introducing Elvis Presley, along with the likes of Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, Rosemary Clooney, Johnnie Ray, Sarah Vaughan and Fats Domino to the national music scene.

Bill Randle
He was born William McKinley Randle Jr. on March 14, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan. He hosted a popular show on WJLB-AM radio (now WDTK) called The Interracial Goodwill Hour, featuring rhythm and blues music and hot jazz. Curiously enough, Randle almost did not survive early radio. One Thanksgiving, he played an unusual version of "Silent Night" sung by gospel and blues artist Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Many persons called in to complain and the station manager, longtime radio and television fixture Sidney Andorn fired Randle. The next morning, WERE owner Ray T. Miller, the chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, rehired Randle after he learned he had so many listeners to Randle's program, and fired Andorn instead.

As a pioneering disc jockey at radio station WERE in Cleveland, Ohio he helped change the face of American music.

In the 1950s, Time Magazine called Bill Randle the top DJ in America. His popularity and huge listening audience allowed him to bolster the careers of a number of young musicians, including the Four Lads, Bobby Darin, and Fats Domino. Nicknamed "The Pied Piper of Cleveland", a 1955 musical documentary film was made about him titled The Pied Piper of Cleveland: A Day in the Life of a Famous Disc Jockey. The film includes a Cleveland concert at Brooklyn High School on October 20, 1955 featuring Pat Boone and Bill Haley & His Comets with Elvis Presley as the opening act. It is the first film footage of a Presley performance.

While working in Cleveland, Randle would travel back to Detroit for some radio programs. In the late 1950s, Randle would fly back and forth from Cleveland to New York where he produced radio shows in both markets (at WERE and WCBS-AM, respectively). He sat alongside other top DJs of the era including Carl Reese, Phil McLean and Howie Lund.

Many songs that Randle championed on-air ended up as commercial hits, the most successful of which was an edited 45 rpm single of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's "Battle Hymn of the Republic." That version, which Randle suggested to and arranged with Columbia Records (then owned by CBS and a sister property to WCBS-AM) was an unlikely hit in 1959; it ended up on the Billboard charts for 11 weeks and reached as high as #13 on Billboard's "Hot 100" that autumn.

Bill Randle - 1992

During the 1970s and 1980s, Randle resurfaced on several different Cleveland radio stations, even hosting a talk show on WBBG 1260 AM in 1977. In the 1990s, Randle joined the airstaff of the now-defunct WRMR 850 AM, anchoring the "Big Show" on Sunday afternoons and an late-afternoon program.

➦In 2016…Longtime New York City radio personality Vaughn Harper, died at age 71.

Vaughn Harper
As one of the deejays mentored by Frankie Crocker on WBLS, Harper entered radio in 1976. In May 1983, WBLS hired Champaine, an African American woman deejay, and together Harper and Champaine developed a quiet storm late night format patterned after the successful show which had been introduced by WHUR jock Melvin Lindsey in 1976. Others took to the format but WBLS had greater reach and more listeners. The Harper/Champaine quiet storm program became a staple that lasted thru station changeovers and garnered a following in the New York Market. With a deep, mellifluous voice, listeners said Harper sounded romantic, eliciting a peaceful respite at the end of the day.

In 1979 along with his co-horts Ken Webb, Johnny Allen, and Frankie Crocker, WBLS reached #1 in the Billboard Radio rankings as rated by Arbitron.

In 1993 Harper suffered a stroke and spent years effecting a comeback. In his absence, Champaine hosted Quiet Storm II on WBLS.  Harper left WBLS for WWRL in 1997. Reading live ads upon returning to radio in 1998 had improved his delivery to his pre-stroke professionalism and at WBGO-FM he felt the energy returning to his program. Listeners will get a certain energy from me he promised.

Harper rejoined WBLS and continued as a radio host until 2008.

Linda Stark is 44


  • Singer-actor Ed Ames of The Ames Brothers is 95. 
  • Actor Richard Roundtree is 80. 
  • Singer Dee Dee Kenniebrew of The Crystals is 77. 
  • Actor Chris Cooper is 71. 
  • TV personality-turned-musician John Tesh is 70. 
  • John Tesh is 70
    Country singer David Ball is 69. 
  • Business leader Kevin O’Leary (“Shark Tank”) is 68. 
  • Singer Debbie Sledge of Sister Sledge is 68. 
  • Actor Jimmy Smits is 67. 
  • Actor Tom Hanks is 66. 
  • Singer Marc Almond of Soft Cell is 65. 
  • Actor Kelly McGillis is 65. 
  • Singer Jim Kerr of Simple Minds is 63. 
  • Singer Courtney Love is 58. 
  • Bassist Frank Bello of Anthrax is 57. 
  • Actor David O’Hara (“The District”) is 57. 
  • Actor Pamela Adlon (“Louie”) is 56. 
  • Actor Scott Grimes (“ER,” ″Party of Five”) is 51. 
  • Musician Jack White is 47. 
  • Singer-guitarist Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse is 47. 
  • Actor Fred Savage is 46. 
  • Singer Dan Estrin of Hoobastank is 46. 
  • Actor Linda Park (“Star Trek: Enterprise”) is 44. 
  • Actor Megan Parlen (“Hang Time”) is 42. 
  • Singer-actor Kiely Williams of 3LW (“Cheetah Girls” films) is 36. 
  • Actor Mitchel Musso (“Phineas and Ferb,” “Hannah Montana”) is 31. 
  • Actor Georgie Henley (“The Chronicles of Narnia”) is 27.
  • Actress Isabel Sanford, who played Louise on The Jeffersons, died on this day in 2004. She was 86.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Cleveland Radio: Nick Wilson Returns To Sports WKRK

Nick Wilson
Audacy announced the return of on-air personality Nick Wilson to WKRK 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland. 

Wilson will join the station’s afternoon show alongside co-host Dustin Fox weekdays from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET beginning July 18. Wilson previously served as one of the station’s evening hosts from 2015 to 2018.

“Having Nick back in Cleveland to rejoin our lineup is a great moment for the Fan, the radio home of the Browns and the most local sports talk in Cleveland,” said Tom Herschel, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Cleveland.

“Leaving Cleveland was an impossible decision four years ago,” said Wilson. “It's an honor to be rejoining 92.3 The Fan. Afternoon drive in Cleveland is hallowed ground, and I can't think of a better person to team up with than Dustin Fox. I can't thank Tom Herschel, Andy Roth and the entire leadership group at Audacy Cleveland enough for making my dreams come true again.”

Wilson, an Akron, OH native and Bowling Green State University graduate, rejoins 92.3 The Fan after spending the last four years as an on-air host for WFNZ in Charlotte. During his first stint with the station from 2015 to 2018, Wilson was a part-time anchor before rising to host the “The Nick Wilson Experiment” each weeknight. In 2016, he helped Cleveland sports fans celebrate the NBA championship all night long.

➤Listeners can tune in to 92.3 The Fan (WKRK-FM) in Cleveland on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Wake-Up Call: Former Japanese PM Dies After Being Shot

Daily Mail 7/8/22

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and mortally wounded in an assassination Friday in the city of Nara during a campaign speech ahead of parliamentary elections. Abe was airlifted to the hospital, but AP cited officials as saying he wasn't breathing and his heart had stopped. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the 67-year-old Abe has died. Abe, who is very conservative and is a divisive figure in Japan, was the country's longest-serving leader before stepping down in 2020 because of a chronic stomach condition. 

The alleged gunman was immediately tackled and arrested, and has been identified as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, with reports saying he served in the Maritime Self-Defense Force for three years in the 2000s. Japan has very strict gun laws, and the suspect appeared to have used a homemade gun that was boxy and double-barreled.

➤BIDEN TO REPORTEDLY TAKE EXECUTIVE ACTION ON ABORTION: President Biden will take executive action today to protect access to abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade, according to the Associated Press. The report says the actions are expected to be limited, including formalizing instructions to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to push back on efforts to limit the ability of women to get federally-approved abortion medication or to travel across state lines to get an abortion, and direct agencies to work to educate medical providers and insurers about how and when they are required to share privileged patient information with authorities.

➤CHAUVIN SENTENCED TO 21 YEARS IN PRISON ON FEDERAL CHARGES IN FLOYD'S DEATH: Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced by a federal judge to 21 years in prison for violating George Floyd's civil rights when he kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes in May 2020, leading to his death. Chauvin’s plea agreement called for a sentence of 20 to 25 years for the federal charges to be served concurrent with his 22 1/2-year sentence for his state conviction in Minnesota of murder and manslaughter. Because of differences in parole eligibility in the state and federal systems, Chauvin will serve a little more time in prison than he would have on the state sentence alone. However, he will be put in the federal prison system, where AP says he may be safer and may be held under fewer restrictions than in the state system.

➤IRS COMMISSIONER ASKS WATCHDOG TO PROBE AUDITS OF COMEY, MCCABE: IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig has asked the Treasury Department's internal watchdog to investigate the intensive tax audits that targeted former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, both of whom were targets of Donald Trump’s anger when he was president. Rettig, whose term is set to expire in November, was nominated to the job by Trump. Even though Rettig requested the probe, IRS spokesman Jodie Reynolds said yesterday (July 7th) that it's, quote, "ludicrous and untrue to suggest that senior IRS officials somehow targeted specific individuals" for the audits. The action came after the New York Times reported Wednesday that both Comey and McCabe were targeted for the rare intensive audits of their taxes, Comey in 2019 and McCabe in 2021.

James Caan
A statement posted to The Godfather star’s Twitter Thursday read, “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6. The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy at this difficult time.”

Friends and costars paid tribute to the star on social media, including his Misery director, Rob Reiner, who wrote, “So sorry to hear the news. I loved working with him. And the only Jew I knew who could calf rope with the best of them. Love to the family.

Al Pacino, who starred alongside Caan in The Godfather told The Associated Press, "Jimmy was my fictional brother and my lifelong friend. It's hard to believe that he won't be in the world anymore because he was so alive and daring. A great actor, a brilliant director and my dear friend. I'm gonna miss him."

He was also well known for his roles in Elf, Brian’s Song, The Gambler and Funny Lady.

👮ARIZONA BANS CLOSE RECORDING OF POLICE: Phone video of police actions taken by bystanders has become increasingly common, and has sometimes been used to show police misconduct. But that will become more difficult to do in Arizona, where Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation Wednesday banning recording police within eight feet of law enforcement activity. Violations are a misdemeanor, however only if someone continues to record after being warned about it. The law, which goes into effect in September, has exceptions for people at the center of an interaction with police, anyone in an enclosed structure on private property where police activity is taking place, and occupants of a vehicle stopped by police as long as recording doesn't interfere with police actions. The bill's sponsor, state Rep. John Kavanagh, said the intent it to protect officers from potential harm or distraction from outside the incident they're dealing with. Opponents, including First Amendment experts and news organizations, charge the new law is unconstitutional, lacks specificity, and gives police too much discretion.

➤STUDY..SOCIAL INTERACTIONS TIED TO SENSE OF PURPOSE IN OLDER ADULTS: A new study shows older adults tie a sense of purpose to the people in their lives. The data was collected in Switzerland from retired adults in good health. The average age of a participant was 71.  Adults with a higher sense of purpose tend to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. This is good news for geriatric care and for caring for older adults.

➤TIKTOK SUED OVER DEATHS OF TWO GIRLS PARTICIPATING IN CHALLENGE: TikTok has been sued over the deaths of an eight-year-old girl and a nine-year-old girl who were doing the "blackout challenge" promoted by the social media platform. The challenge encourages users to hold their breath until they pass out. Nine-year-old Arriani Jaileen Arroyo was found hanging in her Milwaukee home in February 2021, and eight-year-old Lalani Erika Renee Walton of Temple, Texas, was also found hanging at her home that same month. The Social Media Victims Law Center, which is representing the parents, said TikTok's algorithm regularly made blackout challenge videos appear on the girls' "for you" pages.

🏑CANADIENS TAKE SLAFKOVSKY FIRST IN NHL DRAFT: The Montreal Canadiens took Juraj Slafkovsky, a member of the Slovakian national hockey team, with the first pick in the NHL draft yesterday at Bell Centre in Montreal. Slafkovsky, who led Slovakia to its first Olympic gold medal months earlier and was named tournament MVP, was the first player from his country to be taken Number 1. One of his countrymen on the gold medal-winning Slovakian team, Simon Nemec, was taken by the New Jersey Devils with the second pick. Rounding out the top five, the Arizona Coyotes took Logan Cooley third, the Seattle Kraken chose Shane Wright fourth, and the the Philadelphia Flyers took Cutter Gauthier fifth.

🎾INJURED NADAL WITHDRAWS FROM WIMBLEDON BEFORE SEMIFINAL MATCH: Second-seeded Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon with a torn abdominal muscle yesterday, one day before his scheduled semifinal match against 40th-ranked Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios now advances to the final, the first time he'll play for the title at a major tournament. He'll play the winner of today's semfinal between top-seeded Novak Djokovic and Number 9 Cam Norrie.

Jabeur, Rybakina to Play for Women's Title: Third-seeded Ons Jabeur will play 17th-seeded Elena Rybakina for the women's title on Saturday after winning their semifinal matches yesterday. Jabeur of Tunisia beat unseeded Tatjana Maria, becoming the first African woman and Arab woman to make it to a Grand Slam singles final. Rybakina defeated 16th-seeded Simona Halep to reach what will also be her first Grand Slam final.

🏀GRINER PLEADS GUILTY AT RUSSIAN TRIAL: WNBA star Brittney Griner pled guilty to drug possession in her trial in Russia yesterday, telling the court she hadn't intended to commit a crime, and had unintentionally had vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage because she'd packed in a hurry. Griner was detained at a Moscow airport in February and has been held since. AP cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying earlier that no action -- including a potential prisoner swap -- could be taken by Russia on Griner's case until the trial was over, and her guilty plea could be an effort to speed up the court proceedings. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Griner’s guilty plea, quote, "will have no impact on any of the negotiations" involving her case.

⚾PADRES PROFAR COLLAPSES AFTER COLLISION WITH TEAMMATE ABRAMS: San Diego Padres left fielder Jurickson Profar collapsed as he was trying to walk off the field after a collision with his teammate, shortstop C.J. Abrams, last night as they both tried to catch a fly ball hit by the San Francisco Giants' Tommy La Stella in the fifth inning. Profar, who never lost consciousness, was then taken off the field on a stretcher and brought to the hospital for further evaluation. Padres manager Bob Melvin said, "No tingle or anything in the arms, but what we're worried the most is probably a concussion at this point." The Padres won the game 2-1.

🏈RAIDERS HIRE MORGAN AS PRESIDENT, FIRST BLACK WOMAN NFL TEAM PREZ: The Las Vegas Raiders announced yesterday (July 7th) that they'd hired Las Vegas attorney Sandra Douglass Morgan to be their new team president, making her the first Black woman to be the president of an NFL franchise. Morgan previously served as chairwoman and executive director of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and has also been director of external affairs for AT&T Services Inc. in southern Nevada and a litigation attorney for an international gaming and hospitality company.

Fiery Interview: Tucker Carlson Brushes Aside Racist Claims

Ben Smith, Tucker Carlson

Fox News host Tucker Carlson swatted away suggested ties to white supremacist ideology when pressed about the rhetoric on his nightly show during a tense interview at an event on Thursday, reports The Hill..

“I’ve never had a white supremacist work for me. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to a white supremacist,” Carlson said during event hosted by Semafor, a new media company founded by journalist Ben Smith and media executive Justin Smith. “I’m not sure what that means. I know it’s a slur and the worst thing that a person can be. I don’t really understand the terms.”

Carlson had been asked by Ben Smith about comments the host has made in recent years on matters of immigration, race relations and demographic changes in the American electorate.

Smith played during Thursday’s event a widely shared clip from one of Carlson’s recent shows, which pulls in an average viewership of more than 3 million people every weeknight, in which the host argues that Democratic politicians are working to “replace” what he called “legacy” Americans with new voters from other countries.

Critics have likened comments like those to so-called great replacement theory, a racist ideology that suggests white people are being deliberately replaced by minorities. A recent analysis conducted by The New York Times found Carlson has mentioned variations on the replacement theory idea in more than 400 episodes of his show since 2016.

“I have no empathy for people who derive their judgments about anything from 30-second clips on Media Matters,” Carlson said Thursday, referring to the liberal watchdog group that tracks narratives present on Fox News and in other conservative media.

Smith pressed Carlson specifically about a number of staffers that formerly worked on his show who were found to have posted on white supremacist message boards, something Carlson argued at the time he did not know about.

WaPo: Musk’s Deal To Buy Twitter In Peril

Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter is in serious jeopardy, three people familiar with the matter say, as Musk’s camp concluded that Twitter’s figures on spam accounts are not verifiable.

The Washington Post reports Musk’s team has stopped engaging in certain discussions around funding for the $44 billion deal, including with a party named as a likely backer, one of the people said. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the ongoing discussions.

Talks with investors have cooled in recent weeks as Musk’s camp has raised doubts about the recent data “fire hose” — a trove of data sold to corporate customers — they received from Twitter. Musk’s team’s doubts about the spam figures signal they believe they do not have enough information to evaluate Twitter’s prospects as a business, the people said.

Now that Musk’s team has concluded it cannot verify Twitter’s figures on spam accounts, one of the people said, it is expected to take potentially drastic action. The person said it was likely a change in direction from Musk’s team would come soon, though they did not say exactly what they thought that change would be.

The spam accounts are not the only reason Musk might try to wriggle out of the deal. Twitter’s share price has fallen dramatically since his takeover bid in April, leading to the impression that he is overpaying. And Musk also runs two other major companies, Tesla and SpaceX, along with some start-ups.

But the terms of the deal mean it wouldn’t be easy for Musk to walk away. Musk has agreed to complete it unless something major happens to Twitter’s business, and legal experts doubt the bot issue would qualify. Twitter, which initially fought Musk’s takeover bid, would be a weaker company if the deal falls apart than when Musk first bought a stake, and experts expect Twitter to fight to get it done. Twitter itself has said it intends to complete the deal. Even if Musk convinces a judge to let him walk away, he could still be on the hook for the deal’s $1 billion breakup fee

Zaslav: Streaming Wars Entering New Phase

The head of Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. said the media industry will focus on creating fewer, better shows as the streaming TV wars enter a new phase after Netflix Inc.’s surprise loss of customers earlier this year, reports Bloomberg.

“The world has changed and it’s not about how much, it’s about how good,” Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav told reporters Tuesday at Allen & Co.’s Sun Valley Conference in Idaho.

The 62-year-old media mogul addressed changes at the company’s CNN network. The 24-hour news channel posted somewhat tepid ratings during the recent Jan. 6 hearings as it looks to reinvent itself as a channel appealing to both sides of the political aisle under its new CEO, Chris Licht.

David Zaslav
“Chris is doing a great job pivoting CNN, journalism first, America needs a news network where everyone can come and be heard,” Zaslav said. The executive said he was more concerned with repositioning the channel than short-term viewer numbers.

“We’re not going to look at the ratings and in the long run it’s going to be worth it,” he said.

Zaslav is among several high-profile media moguls expected to descend on the mountain resort this week for the annual invite-only conference, where deals are famously hashed out behind closed doors. It’s his first time attending since his company was formed via the merger of Discovery Inc. with WarnerMedia, which was completed in April.

“I think it’s gonna be a great week -- lotta turmoil in the business,” Zaslav said. “But that means, I think, a lot of opportunity.”

He lauded rival Netflix’s experimentation with so-called appointment television, by releasing episodes of hit show “Stranger Things” in installments, rather than making the entire season available for streaming at once.

“I think we’re all going to experiment,” he said. “We gotta create more content that people will pay for before dinner, or they rush home to see. That’s our focus: great storytelling. That’s what Netflix is focused on. If we continue to do great content we’ll do great.”

MN Radio: Lightning Strike Weakens KBLB, WJJY Signals

Signals are weak at Hubbard Country KBLB 93.3 and AC WJJY 106.7 after lightning struck an antenna on top of Mount Ski Gull, near Nisswa, MN.

The Brainerd Dispatch reports Hubbard Radio Station Manager Jeff Hilborn said Thursday, July 7, the antenna that was hit transmits for both KBLB and WJJY, affecting the signal on both stations. It is unclear when the lightning strike happened, as Hilborn said the signal can take time to erode when things like this happen. The severe Memorial Day storm might have been the culprit, but that can’t be said for sure.

“We’ve had transmission failure — or transmitter failure — on one select station; we’ve had tower strikes, etc., but where it actually took out the antenna for both, we’ve never experienced that,” Hilborn said.

With the antenna compromised, both stations are now being transmitted through a studio transmitter link at the Hubbard office in Baxter, though the tower there is only 100 feet tall, compared to the Ski Gull tower’s 400 feet and position on top of the hill.

“FM signals are what they call line of sight,” Hilborn said. “It will just shoot it out as far as it can go, and it goes out in a circular pattern. And so when you get up high on that tower and you shoot it out, the higher you are, the more distance you’re going to get with your signal. And now when we’re doing that there, and we’re doing it on a backup transmitter with a backup antenna, it’s just very, very compromised.”

As of Thursday, Hilborn said he had ordered a new custom-built antenna, which should take about two weeks, or 10 business days, to complete. It then has to be shipped out to the transmitter site and installed. Hilborn estimates about a three-week process to get the new antenna up and signal strengths back to 100%.

In the meantime, the station is acquiring new coaxial cable from Bemidji to string onto the tower. How far up the tower the cable can go will depend on how much cable can be secured. The cable will be hooked up to on-site antennas that were being used by AM stations but will be re-tuned to WJJY and KBLB. The new hookup should strengthen the signal to cover Brainerd and Baxter but will still likely only cover about half of the station’s typical 60-mile radius.