Saturday, July 23, 2022

July 24 Radio History

➦In 1911...Raymond Edward Johnson born in Kenosha, WI (Died at age 90 – August 15, 2001). He was a radio and stage actor best remembered for his work on Inner Sanctum Mysteries.

Johnson began his career in Chicago, some of his earliest work including a regular role on Edgar A. Guest's dramatic serial Welcome Valley (1932–1937) as Bill Sutter, and was featured on The National Farm and Home Hour in dramatic sketches as the Forest Ranger (a role also played by Don Ameche).

Ray Johnson
While in Chicago, Johnson began working with writer/director Arch Oboler, with roles on his Lights Out series. When both Oboler and Johnson relocated to New York City, the actor was featured in many episodes of Arch Oboler's Plays, notably as the title role in "The Ugliest Man in the World" (repeated five times) and as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in "This Lonely Heart" both from 1939.

While in New York, Johnson landed his most famous role when Himan Brown hired him for Inner Sanctum. From the first broadcast in 1941, Johnson was heard as the series host/narrator, introducing himself as "Your host, Raymond." The "Raymond" character became known for his chilling introductions and morbid puns, and his typical closing, an elongated and ironic "Pleasant dreaaaams, hmmmmmmm?" Johnson departed the series in 1945, when he joined the Army; although replaced for the remainder of the run by Paul McGrath as host, Johnson took the "Raymond" name with him. Johnson later hosted the radio version of the science fiction series Tales of Tomorrow.

He also became a staple on many soap operas, playing romantic leads on Big Sister,  The Guiding Light, Brave Tomorrow and Valiant Lady.

➦In 1933...the first broadcast of “The Romance of Helen Trent” was heard on midwest regional radio before becoming a CBS network staple three months later. The radio soap opera aired on CBS from October 30, 1933 to June 24, 1960 for a total of 7,222 episodes. The show was created by Frank and Anne Hummert, who were among the most prolific producers during the radio soap era.  Helen Trent was played by just two actresses over the years …Virginia Clark (for 11 years) and Julie Stevens (for 16 years).

➦In 1933...during his fourth Fireside Chat, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt showed why the homey, warm, comfortable discussion was, indeed, a fireside chat. The President stopped the discussion on the air (remember, this was radio) and asked for a glass of water, which he then sipped. The fireside chats were a series of evening radio addresses given by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1944. Roosevelt spoke with familiarity to millions of Americans about the promulgation of the Emergency Banking Act in response to the banking crisis, the recession, New Deal initiatives, and the course of World War II.

On radio, he was able to quell rumors and explain his policies. His tone and demeanor communicated self-assurance during times of despair and uncertainty. Roosevelt was regarded as an effective communicator on radio, and the fireside chats kept him in high public regard throughout his presidency.

➦In 1943...the radio program "Foreign Assignment", was first heard.  It was broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting System from July 24, 1943, to January 8, 1944.

With World War II as background, Foreign Assignment related the activities of journalist Barry Brian and his assistant, Carol Manning, who were stationed in France, working for the American Press (a fictitious entity). The program's introduction came with the sound of a teletype printer in the background as the announcer intoned, "... that machine is beating out a story written especially for you; a story unfolded against the screen of actual events that are making the news."   Journalism, however, was a cover, for Brian and Manning were really spies who worked against the Gestapo, leading the way for other radio series in which spies posed as reporters.

➦In 1978...WKTU 92.3 FM NYC changed to disco.

92.3 FM was originally the home of WMCA-FM. But since FM radio was a money-loser in the early days, WMCA sold the station and by 1951 it had become WHOM-FM, owned by Progress Broadcasting Corporation. By the summer of 1975, it experimented with a mellow-rock format and featured Murray the K, Stan Martin, Scott McClennan, Larry Miller and Steve White during the week and with Randy Place, Joe Guarisco, Johnny Michaels and Bruce Fox on weekends. Burkhart-Abrams were later hired as consultants and brought in a tightly formatted AOR that was very short-lived.

But 92.3 hit the big time  when it became a Disco station and was probably one of the major reasons for the demise of "music radio" WABC. The format originally featured such jocks as Paul Robinson, David Mallow, Kenn Hayes, Joe Guarisco and Paco Navarro and eventually included Rosko in the night slot, Maria Milito evenings and Dan Ingram even did an afternoon shift there during 1985, just before another format change.

In July of 1985, WKTU changed call letters to WXRK and became an AOR station with Jay Thomas in mornings, but Howard Stern took over in February of 1986 and Meg Griffin joined around that time as well. By the Fall of 1989, Pete Fornatale followed Stern and the station also featured Flo & Eddie (of Turtles fame) and Alison Steele in overnights. Vin Scelsa also had a weekend show. By late 1991, Dave Herman replaced Flo & Eddie and John Zacherley joined in late '92. But in January of 1996, the station switched to an alternative rock format and hired all new jocks. In 2006, it became "Free FM-WFNY" before returning to the WXRK call letters in 2007 with a CHR format. In late 2012, it became NOW-FM and by 2015 it had become WBMP-FM "Amp Radio".  Today, 92.3 is owned and operated by Audacy Communications, using the call letters WNYL-FM.  It airs an Alternative music format. (H/T to NY Radio Archive)

➦In 1982... KHJ (LA) & KFRC (San Francisco) become 2nd & 3rd stereo AM station.

➦In 2005... Personality Joe O'Brien, who was one of the WMCA Good Guys on WMCA Radio in New York City, was killed at age 90 in a car crash in the Berkshire Hills, NY.

O'Brien began his career in 1935 when he got his first radio job with WMCA-AM. The Good Guys had the same clean-cut hairstyles, wore matching suits and worked together at record hops and personal appearances. They also sang as a group and released an album. During that time, Mr. O'Brien was the No. 1 morning man in New York City.

In 1970 he left for WNBC-AM, where he handled morning duties until he was replaced by Don Imus in 1972.

O'Brien then went to WHUD in Peekskill, N.Y. He retired in 1986, but continued to do weekend specials for WHUD until 2000.

Lynda Carter is 71

  • Actor John Aniston (“Days of Our Lives”) is 89. 
  • Comedian Ruth Buzzi is 86. 
  • Actor Mark Goddard (“Lost In Space”) is 86. 
  • Actor Chris Sarandon is 80. 
  • Comedian Gallagher is 76. 
  • Actor Robert Hays (“Airplane!”) is 75. 
  • Actor Michael Richards (“Seinfeld”) is 73. 
  • Actor Lynda Carter is 71. 
  • Director Gus Van Sant is 70. 
  • Country singer Pam Tillis is 65. 
  • Actor Kadeem Hardison (“A Different World”) is 57. 
  • Actor-singer Kristin Chenoweth is 54. 
  • Actor Laura Leighton (“Melrose Place”) is 54. 
  • Actor John P. Navin Junior is 54. 
  • NBA player-turned-actor Rick Fox (“Greenleaf,” “Oz”) is 53. 
  • Actor-singer Jennifer Lopez is 53. 
  • Kristin Chenoweth is 54
    Director Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”) is 51. 
  • Actor Jamie Denbo (“Orange Is The New Black”) is 49. 
  • Actor Eric Szmanda (“CSI”) is 47. 
  • Actor Rose Byrne is 43. 
  • Country singer Jerrod Neimann is 43. 
  • Actor Summer Glau (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) is 41. 
  • Actor Sheaun McKinney (“The Neighborhood”) is 41. 
  • Actor Elisabeth Moss is 40. 
  • Actor Anna Paquin is 40. 
  • Actor Megan Park (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) is 36. 
  • Actor Mara Wilson (“Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Matilda”) is 35. 
  • Actor Sarah Steele (“The Good Fight,” “The Good Wife”) is 34. 
  • Singer Jay McGuiness of The Wanted is 32. 
  • Actor Emily Bett Rickards (TV’s “Arrow”) is 31. 
  • TV personality Bindi Irwin (“Bindi: The Jungle Girl” and “Crikey! It’s the Irwins”) is 24.

  • The Jeffersons' George Jefferson, actor Sherman Hemsley, died on this day in 2012. He was 74.
  • Legendary TV personality Regis Philbin died on this day in 2020. He was 88.

Biden May Scrap Choice for Federal Communications Commission

Gigi Sohn

Gigi Sohn, the Biden administration’s controversial choice to fill an open seat on the Federal Communications Commission has been in Senate confirmation limbo for months, failing to garner enough support to allow Vice President Kamala Harris to cast the tie-breaking vote, reports Fox Business.

The confirmation hurdle Sohn faces isn’t just the GOP in a 50-50 Senate. Her far-left positions have spooked moderate Democrats running in tight races in this year’s midterms who continue to balk at casting a "yes" vote for Sohn, thus forcing the White House to keep her nomination on ice.

In recent weeks, at the urging of progressive advocates of Sohn, the White House has been discussing possibly pushing the vote until after the midterms, which might give the wavering Dems cover to vote for her confirmation in a lame duck session, Fox Business has reported.

But amid that discussion, the White House is also reaching out to other candidates as part of an early-stage vetting process if the administration decides to pull the plug on Sohn, according to one person with direct knowledge of the matter.

It’s unclear if the White House will go through with pursuing another candidate, people with knowledge of the matter say. The FCC is deadlocked 2-2 between GOP and Democratic appointees.

If the White House doesn’t pick a candidate soon and the GOP takes the Senate, the deadlock could remain for the extent of President Biden’s term, thwarting telecommunication policy, including a reprise of net neutrality, which essentially treats internet providers as utilities.

"It’s not clear who will win this one," said one FCC official speaking on the condition of anonymity. "The White House clearly wants the majority on the FCC, but the radicals clearly want Gigi in there."

Sohn is a darling of the progressive left, given her long career and positions as a telecom advocate, government official and academic. She enjoys the support of liberal stalwarts such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

During the Obama administration, Sohn was one of the chief architects of net neutrality, a cornerstone of progressive telecom policy, which was reversed by the free-market types who ran the FCC under former President Donald Trump.

The Biden administration has vowed to reinstall net neutrality if it can get a majority of votes on the FCC.

But getting that majority with Sohn has been an uphill battle, given some of her controversial positions on telecom policies and other issues. For example, she has attacked Fox News as a threat to democracy and said right-leaning broadcaster Sinclair might not be qualified for an FCC license, raising doubts about whether she can follow administrative law as a primarily impartial FCC commission.

Her troubles grew more acute earlier in the year after the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest policy advocacy group, announced its opposition to Sohn over a series of tweets in which she appeared to support defunding the police.

Broader Advertising-Market Decline Feared

Snap Inc.  and Twitter Inc. partly blamed advertising-industry headwinds for their poor quarterly results this week, and The Wall Street Journal reports there are renewing concerns of a broader slowdown in the online-ad market as its largest players are getting ready to report next week.

“We’re seeing the overall advertising pie grow at a slower rate,” Derek Andersen, Snap’s chief financial officer, told analysts Thursday after the parent of popular photo-sharing social-media app Snapchat posted its weakest-ever quarterly sales growth as a public company. Twitter, meanwhile, on Friday reported a surprise revenue decline that it said was due to advertising weakness and uncertainty related to its pending $44 billion acquisition by Elon Musk

Digital companies often are the first to be hit by an ad slowdown since marketers can turn off spending in real time, industry observers said. Other forms of advertising, such as buying TV commercials, are much harder to cancel at a moment’s notice, they said.

In 2020, when the pandemic began, digital advertising was the first to take a hit—and the first to bounce back.

Snap, which posted a $422 million net loss for the second quarter, said it would ’substantially’ reduce its rate of hiring.

Smaller platforms like Snapchat and Twitter also are at risk if marketers shift spending to more established players such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook, MoffettNathanson said in a note Friday. Alphabet and Meta report second-quarter earnings on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Combined, Google and Meta are expected to account for about 50% of worldwide digital ad revenues this year, according to Insider Intelligence.

Worsening macroeconomic conditions aren’t the only challenge that digital-advertising firms have had to deal with in recent months.

They are also dealing with the emergence of a fast-growing competitor: TikTok, the wildly popular video-sharing app from Chinese parent company ByteDance Ltd. With its more than one billion monthly active users, TikTok is projected to generate as much as $12 billion in advertising revenue this year—triple the amount seen in 2021—The Wall Street Journal reported last month.

The ad slowdown is expected to spread, analysts and executives said. Dotdash Meredith, the digital-media arm of Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp., recently said its digital revenue for June was affected by “softening advertiser demand.”

In an interview, Mr. Nathanson said he expects to see some signs of an ad slowdown in the TV business in the next quarter. On Friday, MoffettNathanson analyst Robert Fishman downgraded Paramount Global—the parent of the CBS network, Paramount movie studio and Paramount+ streaming service—citing “the growing risk of lower advertising,” he said in a note to investors.

During a Credit Suisse communications conference last month, Jeff Shell, the CEO of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, said the “scatter market”—the market for ad time bought and sold closer to its airdate—is “definitely weaker than it was last week, last month, last year.”

Meanwhile, advertising holding companies—which work on behalf of large brands—remain largely upbeat about the overall health of the ad market.

Digital Audio To Account for 1 in Every 8 Media Minutes for Adults

Digital audio listening is expected to comprise 12.7% of US adults’ overall media time this year, according to a new forecast from eMarketer. This comes as a result of a prediction that time spent listening to digital audio will creep up by 3 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes per day.

According to Marketing Charts that figure is averaged among the entire US adults population. If restricting time spent to active digital audio listeners, it increases to a sizable 2 hours and 17 minutes per day.

When limiting the analysis to digital media time, audio will take up 1 in every 5 minutes spent by US adults (20.3% share), per the report. In fact, the 1 hour and 40 minutes spent by US adults listening to digital audio this year, on average, will be more than spent on several digital media activities, according to eMarketer, including:

Digital audio first overtook radio – the medium with the broadest reach in the US – in average time spent in 2020, per eMarketer, and its lead continues to grow. This year the firm predicts that digital platforms will account for almost 55% of total audio time, with the remaining 45% spent with traditional radio.

While digital audio listening time outpaced offline radio by just 3 minutes when it first exceeded it in 2020, this year that gap will have grown to 17 minutes, and by 2024 will have reached 25 minutes.

Nonetheless, radio is expected to account for more than 1 in every 10 media minutes (10.5% share) among US adults this year.

No discussion of digital audio is complete without a reference to podcasts. And on this front, eMarketer expects average time spent by US adults to grow by 15% to more than 23 minutes per day, or 53 minutes among listeners. US adults’ average time spent listening to podcasts will then climb by 2 minutes per day in each of the next 2 years, according to the forecast.

As such, this year podcasts will account for 23.1% share of digital audio time, according to the report, just shy of the 27.4% share of digital audio services ad spending separately predicted by eMarketer. It looks like ad spend share will outpace share of time spent: by 2024, eMarketer predicts that podcasts will account for 26.1% of digital audio time, but 34.2% share of digital services ad spend.

Indy Radio: Pick-Up Crashes Into WFMS Building

A pickup crashed Thursday into the studio of Country WFMS 95.5 FM, according to a Facebook post from the station.

The accident happened about 6 PM Thursday and luckily no one at the station was hurt, a spokesperson for the Indiana State Police said. The driver was said to be in critical condition, ISP said Friday morning.

The driver suffered a medical emergency before the crash and is currently hospitalized, said Scott Zigmond, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Performance Services, the company that owns the pickup the man was driving.

There was "no training manual for what happened," said Chuck Fredrick, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Media Indianapolis, which owns 95.5 WFMS.

Reconstruction of the studio is in the works, Fredrick said. For now, the station will operate out of its support studio.

"This has been a very unfortunate situation, but we here at Cumulus Media Indianapolis have been very blessed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the driver," Fredrick wrote in an email.

Harrisburg Radio: Ken Matthews Apologizes For Profane Comments

Talk Show Host Ken Matthews

Former nationally-syndicated talk hot Ken Matthews has posted an apology after profane and vulgar comments recently leaked on-air during a commercial break.  It incident happened during his Talk Media Network talk show which aired 12N to 3p Eastern.

The network is now in 'Best of..' mode for affiliates until mid-August. 

Matthews syndicated show had been airing since December 2021.  His local show continues to air on home-base WHP 580 AM in Harrisburg, PA. from 3pm to 6pm.

Matthews was a frequent fill-in host for the late Rush Limbaugh.

“I was unaware that most of everything I was discussing with my engineer off the air was being broadcast on the air yesterday,” Matthews wrote in the description of the audio clip. “One of those things was my reading some of Hunter Biden's texts about his mother and other family members in what I thought was a secure communication between my engineer and myself during what I presumed was a commercial break.”

Talk Radio Network issued a statement that read, “Ken Matthews' syndication agreement with Talk Media Network has been terminated. There will be no further comment.”

‘For All Mankind’ Apple TV+’s Most In-Demand Show

“For All Mankind” just beat out “Ted Lasso” to be the most in-demand Apple TV+ original series, with 24.03 times the average series demand, according to Parrot Analytics‘ data, which takes into account consumer research, streaming, downloads and social media, among other engagement, according to TheWrap.

Furthermore, the third season of “For All Mankind,” which premiered on June 10, has exceeded demand for previous seasons. It has managed to consistently grow its demand each season as it expands its audience. Co-created by Ronald D. Moore (“Outlander,” “Battlestar Galactica”), “For All Mankind” imagines a world where the global space race never ended.

Demand for Apple TV+’s “Severance” premiere episodes compared, U.S. (Parrot Analytics)

Apple’s staple hit “Ted Lasso” has had a level of demand well above other Apple TV+ originals, but now falls to No. 2 among the streamer’s originals.

The other eight most in-demand shows on Apple TV+ all have similarly high demand (in the 10-15 times range) speaking to Apple TV+’s well-rounded slate of original content. The platform has consistently put out quality content that attracts a solid level of demand rather than prioritizing a few mega-hits.

“Severance” is the third most in-demand show on Apple TV+ in June. Demand for the show has held up well since its season 1 finale on April 8. It has also seen renewed interest following its 14 Emmy nominations. “Severance” looks set to be another show whose follow-up seasons will continue to grow demand for Apple TV+.

The other Apple series with the highest demand last month span multiple genres. The most recent of these, “Prehistoric Planet,” has ranked among the most in-demand new series in the U.S. Demand for the show has also held up well past its finale on May 27.

July 23 Radio History

➦In 1912...Jackson Beck born (Died at age 92 – July 28, 2004). He was an announcer and actor best known as the announcer on radio's The Adventures of Superman and the voice of Bluto in the Famous era Popeye theatrical shorts.

Jackson Beck
Beck's early radio experience included work at WINS and WHN, both in New York City. Beginning in 1931, he worked with Myrt and Marge, among other roles. In 1934, he was the announcer for The Adventures of Babe Ruth on the radio. In 1943, he took over as narrator of radio's The Adventures of Superman; it was Beck who intoned the familiar prologue "strange visitor from another planet..." He also had recurring roles, voicing an occasional tough guy and also portraying Beany Martin, the Daily Planet's teenage copy boy. On Superman episodes featuring Batman, he played Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred Pennyworth.

He also impersonated Joseph Stalin and other world leaders for The March of Time radio series, starred as The Cisco Kid on radio from 1942 to 1945 and sleuth Philo Vance in a syndicated series from 1948 to 1950, starred in the dramatic anthology Brownstone Theater on Mutual, and served as narrator for the radio adventures of Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

Beck also co-starred in several episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

➦In 1937...Robert Wilbur Morgan born (Died  – May 22, 1998). He was a Top40 radio personality best known for his work at several stations in Los Angeles, California, in particular KHJ-AM.

Morgan also did morning drive at KMPC-AM, KIQQ-FM and KMGG-FM, and finished his career at KRTH-FM, where he retired for health reasons in 1997. He died from lung cancer on May 22, 1998.

As a youth growing up in Galion, Ohio, Morgan's interest was piqued while listening to his favorite DJs on Cleveland's top forty giant KYW which would eventually lead to his first on-air job was at Wooster College in 1955 on WWST & WWST-FM, for an initial salary of $1 per hour.

In 1959 Morgan moved from college radio to KACY Port Hueneme, California where he hosted the over night show called Kegler's Spare Time with Bob Morgan live from the Wagon Wheel Bowl before moving on to a succession of brief stints beginning in 1961 at KTEE Carmel as the second half of a two-man classical music announcer on KTEE with Bob Elliott, a Marine Corps Heavyweight Champion who later went on to radio fame as "K.O. Bailey," then a short time later as the morning drive DJ and mid-day board op for the Arthur Godfrey Show at KMBY, Monterey, then a jump to KOMY Watsonville, then back to KMBY Monterey followed in 1962 at "K-MAKE", KMAK, Fresno where he first worked with program director Ron Jacobs. This was followed in 1963 by an eight-month stay at KROY Sacramento before finally landing his first major-market job in 1964 at KEWB, San Francisco. It was here that he met and worked with his lifelong friend "The Real" Don Steele.

On April 27, 1965 the careers of Morgan, Steele and programmer Ron Jacobs would gain superstar status almost overnight when they joined the staff of 93KHJ-AM, Los Angeles. Programming genius Bill Drake along with a staff of talented DJs called "Boss Jocks" had transformed a sleepy giant into the city's most dominant radio station.

It was here that Morgan enjoyed his greatest on-air success as one of the original "Boss Jocks" on 93/KHJ which dominated the Top 40 radio market in Southern California from 1965 to 1973.

Morgan's signature, "Good Morgan Boss Angeles!" to his devoted morning drive time audience would stay with him until the end of his career. It was also Morgan that voiced much of the "Boss Radio/93 KHJ station promos and imagery. It was also during this time that Morgan co-produced and narrated the 48-hour History of Rock and Roll in 1969, a definitive on-air encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. It was the first-ever "rock-umentary" aired worldwide as a definitive history of the Rock & Roll genre—a "rockumentary," as producers Drake and Gene Chenault would call it—that would stretch from the early 1950s to 1989.

In 1970 Morgan made a surprise move from Los Angeles to WIND Radio Chicago where he remained in the morning slot until finally being enticed back to his KHJ morning show in 1972.

Until his departure from KHJ in October 1970, Morgan had commanded unparalleled radio ratings in Los Angeles. Morgan's return to his former time slot in L.A., which saw a significant spike upward for KHJ until he departed just a year later.

Robert W Morgan
In 1973, Morgan and Steele walked out of KHJ and joined Bill Drake six months later at KIQQ-FM, Los Angeles. The ratings were sub-par, though, causing Morgan to leave the morning slot a year and a half later for weekends and fill-in slots at the prestigious KMPC Los Angeles. He stayed at KMPC until 1984. After a short stint at KMGG, Morgan returned to KMPC.

Morgan was heard in 1973 on Saturday night segments of the long-running NBC Radio program Monitor, an attempt to freshen that program's image. While with KMGG, he was at one time heard as a substitute host of American Top 40. During the mid to late 70s, Morgan also did his own one-hour radio weekly special highlighting one artist or group per show. "Robert W. Morgan's Special of the Week" was often played on radio stations that also carried Casey Kasem's American Top 40 as the same company, Watermark, distributed both.

The year 1992 would signal the twilight years of Morgan's distinguished radio broadcast career when he signed on as morning show host of "oldies" K-EARTH 101, where he again enjoyed solid ratings in the Los Angeles market before announcing in May 1997 that he was suffering from lung cancer. According to L.A. radio personality Bob Shannon, Morgan told his listeners, "It could have something to do with the two-packs-a-day cigarette habit I had for the last 35 years."

In an emotional on-air statement, Morgan stated that he was taking some time off to fight the disease full-time. His friend and colleague Don Steele died, also of lung cancer, in August 1997. Morgan continued to do broadcasts from his home studio until 1998.

He died from cancer May 22, 1998 at age 60. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame the following year.

➦In 1940..John Donald Imus Jr. born.  Imus was radio personality, television show host, recording artist, and author. He is known for his radio show Imus in the Morning which aired on various stations and digital platforms nationwide until 2018. A former railroad brakeman and miner, Imus attended broadcasting school in the 1960s and secured his first radio job in 1968 at KUTY in Palmdale, California. Three years later, he landed the morning spot at WNBC in New York City before his firing in 1977.

Don Imus 1970
Imus was born in Riverside, California, the son of Frances E. and John Donald Imus, Sr., and the older brother of former talk show host Fred Imus.

He served in the Marine Corps as a bugler from 1957 to 1960.

Imus was a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad. Upon winning a talent contest at Johnny Otis's nightclub, he began working as a singer/songwriter, managed by Otis. In 1966, Imus enrolled at the Don Martin School of Radio and Television Arts and Sciences in Hollywood after seeing a newspaper advert; he was thrown out for being "uncooperative", but studied enough to obtain a broadcasting license as required by the FCC.

After hearing a morning disc-jockey, he went to the nearby radio station and persuaded the owner to hire him. Thus he began his career as a radio disc jockey on June 28, 1968 at radio station KUTY in Palmdale, California. He stayed at the station until 1969 when he left for a job at KJOY, a small radio station in Stockton, California. He was later fired for saying "hell" on air.

After being fired in Stockton, he went to KXOA in Sacramento, California. His on-air pranks, such as calling up a restaurant and ordering 1200 hamburgers to go, made his show immensely popular and boosted ratings. He was inspired to pursue a career in radio by listening to California radio personality Don MacKinnon.

After a stint at WGAR 1220 AM in Cleveland, Ohio, Imus moved to New York City and WNBC radio in December 1971. During this first stint at WNBC 660 AM, Imus recorded three record albums, two for the RCA Victor label (1200 Hamburgers to Go, including some of his more popular humor from KXOA, WGAR and WNBC broadcasts, and One Sacred Chicken to Go with Anthrax, a primarily studio-created album centering on his satirical character, The Right Rev. Dr. Billy Sol Hargis) and one for the Bang label (This Honky's Nuts, an album of his stand up comedy act at the Manhattan nightclub "Jimmy's".  There was also a 1973 RCA Victor single, "Son of Checkers," issued by Imus. The single reached #123 in the Record World survey.

"Imus...In The Morning...In The Evening" aired nationally in the fall of 1973, part of NBC Radio's attempt to revive "Monitor", it's long-running weekend magazine. The Saturday night segment rotated popular hosts Imus, Wolfman Jack, and Robert W. Morgan

Imus was fired from WNBC in August 1977 along with several of the station's other personalities, in an effort to revamp the station's sound and boost ratings. In 1978 he returned to Cleveland radio as afternoon drive host on WHK.

In a surprise change of fortune Imus was rehired by WNBC in September 1979, and revived his morning drive show. From 1982 to 1985, the station also employed talk-radio host Howard Stern, and WNBC heavily promoted the pair in print and television ads, which often featured the slogan "If We Weren't So Bad, We Wouldn't Be So Good." Although Stern's show aired later in the day, Imus and Stern often made brief appearances on each other's shows, giving the audience an occasional glimpse of an on-and-off-air rivalry that continued for many years.

During this period, Imus was best known for character Billy Sol Hargis, a radio evangelist whose name was a cross between infamous real-life radio and television preacher Billy James Hargis and real-life Texas fertilizer swindler Billie Sol Estes. As Hargis, Imus touted on-air the merits of the "First Church of the Gooey Death and Discount House of Worship".

Imus was also the utility announcer for Geraldo Rivera's monthly TV series Good Night, America, which aired as a recurring segment of ABC's Wide World of Entertainment program, and he was one of the inaugural video jockeys for the launch of the VH-1 cable network in 1985.

In 1988, WNBC radio was sold to Emmis Broadcasting; on October 7, 1988, WNBC permanently signed off the air and Emmis' WFAN was moved from 1050 AM to WNBC's former spot, 660 AM. Imus in the Morning remained at 660 AM among WFAN's sports programs with his music and comedy bits as the staples of the program and the beginnings of a political forum.

The radio show became nationally syndicated in 1993, and began simulcasting on MSNBC in 1996. He wore his signature cowboy hat during his broadcasts.

Imus won four Marconi Awards, three for Major Market Personality of the Year 1990, 1992 and 1997 and one for Network Syndicated Personality (1994).

Imus retired in March 2018 and died December 27, 2019.

Dick Biondi
➦In 1963...Former Chicago personality Dick Biondi ended his self-imposed exile from radio and joined KRLA 1110 AM in Pasadena, Calif. Both KRLA and KFWB were neck and neck in the overall radio ratings in Los Angeles.

The KRLA line-up is Reb Foster, Casey Kasem, Bob Eubanks, Dick Biondi, Ted Quillin and Bob Hudson.

➦In 1963...New York City is the nation’s largest radio market and competition is fierce. Most of the larger stations were owned by corporations - WOR - RKO, WABC-ABC, WNBC-NBC, WCBS-CBS, WINS-Group W (Westinghouse), WHN-Storer, WNEW-Metropolitan. Each is 50,000 watts and all have rather good signals. There’s another competitor - this one’s only 5,000 watts and is family owned and operated - WMCA 570 AM  - which was owned by the Straus family.

The 1963 ratings placed WMCA on top for the first time ever. The station had adopted a different concept to their DJ lineup - personality and team togetherness and it shows on the air and in person - more than any other station in the United States.

Thanks to program director Ruth Meyer, the WMCA Good Guys were taking New York by storm. The WMCA Good Guys show up at events together, as many as possible - all with their sweatshirts and black pants.  WMCA’s music policy was to play the hits and be the first to jump on music trends.

➦In 1966...Coca-Cola launched the biggest radio spot campaign in its history, featuring top recording artists in an all-out drive for the teen market. Each artist is spotlighted in a different version of the “Things Go Better With Coke” jingle. Coke was the seventh largest radio time buyer in 1965, would now vault to the number one buyer of national radio commercials.

Artists signed by ad agency McCann-Erickson for showcasing include Petula Clark, the Coasters, the Four Seasons, Freddie and the Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Jan and Dean, Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, The Shirelles, The Supremes and Sue Thompson.

The jingle was written by William Backer of McCann-Erickson. Backer says each commercial will strive to retain the artist’s individuality in the recording of each version of “Things Go Better With Coca-Cola.” In that way, the artist’s unique singing style and basis for his appeal is harnessed to capture the listener’s attention.

➦In 1966...KBLA 1500 AM in Burbank, Calif, fired its staff of DJ’s in order to give listeners more music. According to general manager Mel Leeds, the Top-40 station would now be able to play more music than those stations with air personalities. The policy now for KBLA will be to play two-three or more records without DJ interruptions. This is unheard of in top-40 radio. Released by the station were DJ’s Chet Douglas, Larry Tyler, Jim Wood, and Tom Clay.  Leeds says that by eliminating talk, the commercial messages were showcased more dramatically and effectively.  Today, KBLA is a progressive talk format.

➦In 1966...Both WMCA and WABC, New York pulled ‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away” by Napoleon XIV off the air. WMCA says they have received various complaints about the record, which lampooned mental illness. Even though the record is #1 on the WMCA Good Guy survey, they didn't air it! Teens picketed WMCA carrying such signs as “We’re coming to take WMCA Away! Unfair to Napoleon in Everyway.” 77 WABC Program Director Rick Sklar said his station had letters from doctors and institutions saying the record hurt their image.

➦In 1982...The FCC approved stereo transmission for AM Radio. KTSA 550 AM San Antonio started stereo broadcasting.

WCAR - 1926

The station began on September 1, 1922, as WCAR, founded by John C. Rodriguez of the Alamo Radio & Electric Company in September 1922. WCAR was the second radio station in San Antonio, taking the airwaves shortly after WJAE which only lasted a few months. WCAR originally broadcast on 1290 AM, sharing time with WFUL in Galveston. (Before 1923, radio stations in Texas were given call signs beginning with W.) The station's full-time operation was approved April 29, 1933, when the Federal Radio Commission approved WCAR's purchase of WFUL and it was taken off the air. Several years later, WCAR's call letters were changed to KTSA.

In the 1930s, KTSA moved to 550 kHz, increasing its coverage area by going from 1,000 watts to 5,000 watts. KTSA, which was owned by Southwest Broadcasting Company at that time, became an affiliate of the Southwest Network and the CBS Radio Network. KTSA carried the network's schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the Golden Age of Radio.

On October 28, 1940, KTSA played host to the first and only meeting between noted science fiction author H.G. Wells and radio dramatist Orson Welles, which occurred nearly two years after the panic created by Welles' broadcast of The War of the Worlds. An advertisement in the 1949 edition of Broadcasting Yearbook said KTSA had been a CBS affiliate for 20 years, delivering 25.1% more radio families in the daytime and 20.6% more radio families in the nighttime. The ad was aimed at advertisers who might otherwise want to buy time on NBC Red Network affiliate WOAI 1200 AM, which remains KTSA's rival to this day.

For a time the San Antonio Express-News Corporation owned the station. In 1956, Top40 radio pioneer Gordon McLendon bought KTSA. He made it one of the first full-time Top 40 stations in America. KTSA became an overnight sensation because of the music and outrageous promotions. One included a flagpole sitter at the O. R. Mitchell Dodge used car dealership on Broadway, and the KTSA Easter Egg Hunt, which swamped San Pedro Springs Park with thousands of listeners searching for a $1000 KTSA Golden Egg.

In 1957, KTSA got competition from AM 860 KONO 860 AM (owned today by Cox Media Group), which changed to a Top40 format and hired several of KTSA's disk jockeys. By this time, McLendon had successful stations in El Paso (KELP), Dallas (KLIF), and Houston (KILT), and used the El Paso and San Antonio stations as farm teams for his larger markets. Because KTSA was located at 550 on the dial, his station promoted on the air that it played the "Top 55 Hits." Under McLendon ownership, KTSA obtained FCC permission to use the call letters KAKI-FM on KTSA's planned FM station, reportedly to honor San Antonio's military personnel (with "KAKI" meaning "khaki", a type of fabric used in military uniforms). KTSA's call letters were also briefly switched to KAKI. After KAKI-AM-FM letterhead and promotional materials were printed, management learned that the call letters could be pronounced as slang in Spanish for baby feces. AM 550 quickly returned to its KTSA call sign. And plans to put the FM station on the air were scrapped.

McLendon sold KTSA in 1965. The FCC had a rule at that time that a single owner could not own more than seven radio stations nationally. When McLendon bought his eighth radio station, San Antonio was one of his smallest markets. So he sold KTSA to Waterman Broadcasting, with Bernard Waterman as the president. KTSA remained one of San Antonio's most listened-to stations until contemporary music listening switched to FM radio. In 1969, KTSA signed on an FM sister station, 102.7 KTFM (now KJKK).

In the 1980s, the Top40 format moved over to KTFM, while KTSA switched to a full service adult contemporary sound, with some talk programming at night. By 1986, the music had been eliminated and the station became a full-time talk outlet.

In 2000, KTSA and its FM station, then with the call letters KSRX, were acquired by the Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, a division of CBS. Then in 2007, KTSA and its FM station, KJXK 102.7, were bought by Border Media Partners (BMP Radio) for $45 million. On July 27, 2009, Border Media Partners was taken over by its lenders in an "amicable manner," according to an FCC filing. Border Media had not made a debt payment in two years, according to the San Antonio Express-News. This resulted in BMP selling the station to L&L Broadcasting (now Alpha Media) in 2013.

➦In 2010…Daniel Louis Schorr died at age 93 (Born - August 31, 1916). He was a journalist who covered world news for more than 60 years. He was most recently a Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio (NPR). Schorr won three Emmy Awards for his television journalism. Schorr also worked for CBS and was the first on-camera employee hired at CNN.

Woody Harrelson is 61


  • Actor Ronny Cox (“Deliverance,” “RoboCop”) is 84. 
  • Actor Larry Manetti (“Magnum, P.I.”) is 79. 
  • Singer David Essex is 75. 
  • Singer and former Congressman John Hall (Orleans) is 74. 
  • Guitarist Blair Thornton of Bachman-Turner Overdrive is 72. 
  • Actor Belinda Montgomery (“Doogie Howser, MD”) is 72. 
  • Actor Lydia Cornell (“Too Close For Comfort”) is 69. 
  • Actor Woody Harrelson is 61. 
  • Guitarist Martin Gore of Depeche Mode is 61. 
  • Actor Eriq Lasalle (“ER”) is 60. 
  • Drummer Yuval Gabay (Soul Coughing) is 59. 
  • Guitarist Slash of Velvet Revolver and of Guns N’ Roses is 57. 
  • Actor Juan Pope (formerly J. Lamont Pope) (“My Name Is Earl,” ″Family Matters”) is 55. 
  • Alison Krauss is 51
    Model Stephanie Seymour is 54. 
  • Actor Charisma Carpenter (“Veronica Mars”) is 52. 
  • Singer Sam Watters of Color Me Badd is 52. 
  • Singer Dalvin DeGrate of Jodeci is 51. 
  • Musician Alison Krauss is 51. 
  • Drummer Chad Gracey of Live is 51. 
  • Actor-comedian Marlon Wayans (“The Wayans Brothers”) is 50. 
  • Country singer Shannon Brown is 49. 
  • Actor Kathryn Hahn (“Transparent,” “Crossing Jordan”) is 49. 
  • Actor Stephanie March (“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”) is 48. 
  • Actor Shane McRae (“Sneaky Pete”) is 45. 
  • Fiddler David Pichette (Emerson Drive) is 45. 
  • Singer Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child) is 42. 
  • Actor Paul Wesley (“The Vampire Diaries”) is 40. 
  • Actor Krysta Rodriguez (“Smash”) is 38. 
  • Actor Daniel Radcliffe (“Harry Potter” movies) is 33. 
  • Drummer Neil Perry of The Band Perry is 32. 
  • Actor Lili Simmons (TV’s “The Purge”) is 29. 
  • Country singer Danielle Bradbery (“The Voice”) is 26.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Michael Avenatti Loses $250M Fox News Defamation Appeal

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday refused to revive Michael Avenatti's $250 million defamation lawsuit against Fox News Network over its coverage of the 2018 arrest of the now-imprisoned celebrity lawyer and critic of Donald Trump.

Reuters reports the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia rejected Avenatti's claim that his case belonged in a Delaware state court because he added a new defendant from his home state of California, depriving the federal judge who dismissed the lawsuit last August of jurisdiction.

Avenatti sued Fox News, part of Rupert Murdoch's Fox Corp, in November 2020, saying its extensive coverage of his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence, including false statements that he was also charged, was a malicious effort to destroy his reputation.

Michael Avenatti
A week later, after Fox News moved the case to federal court from Delaware Superior Court, Avenatti added correspondent Jonathan Hunt as a defendant over the same alleged defamation, and soon tried moving the case back.

In Thursday's 3-0 decision, Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell said Avenatti had a right to amend his original complaint, but that his maneuver wasn't necessary and the trial judge had power to stop Avenatti's "manipulation" of the case.

"Avenatti had already accused Fox News and its other hosts of repeating substantively identical statements," she wrote. "The fact that Avenatti discussed Hunt in the initial complaint without naming him as a defendant also supported a finding of improper purpose."

Avenatti, 51, became famous representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in legal battles against Trump, the former U.S. president.

He is serving five years in prison after being convicted of embezzling from Daniels and trying to extort Nike Inc (NKE.N), and last month pleaded guilty in an unrelated case to five counts of wire fraud and obstruction. 

OAN Loses Another Carrier and May Be Headed Toward Oblivion

The other shoe appears ready to drop for One American News Network (OAN), which lost its biggest pay TV carriage provider, DirecTV, back in April. reports the controversial far right cable network, known for its reporting of conspiracy theories and its avid support for former president Donald Trump's "Big Lie" about bogus 2020 election fraud, has a deal with its last major MVPD partner, Verizon Fios, that expires on July 30.

"Our negotiation with OAN has been a typical, business-as-usual carriage negotiation like those that routinely happen between content distributors and content providers. These negotiations were focused on economics, as they always are, but OAN failed to agree to fair terms," Verizon said in a statement emailed to Next TV Thursday.

"Since we were unable to reach an agreement, effective July 31, 2022, we will no longer have the rights to provide our customers with this programming, and it will be removed from the Fios TV lineup," Verizon added. "Our company has long advocated for providing customers with the ability to choose what content they want to watch, and our Fios TV platform offers a wide and diverse choice of programming options, including a la carte options, that strive to meet our millions of customers' various content needs and preferences."

Beyond Verizon Fios TV, which finished the first quarter with around 3.56 million remaining subscribers, One America News has carriage via Alaskan cable operator GCI and through small virtual MVPD Vidgo. These remaining outlets likely provide less than 200,000 subscribers combined, however. 

OAN does deliver its programming through free live streaming service KlowdTV, and OAN is now selling itself via a live-streaming 24/7 direct-to-consumer app for $4.99 a month, $53.85 a year. Also, OAN has begun distributing itself as a digital sub-channel. 

Last week, OAN announced that it's now available as a sub on WOSC-CD channel 61.8 in the Pittsburgh DMA.

After DirecTV's majority owner, AT&T, announced in January that it wouldn't renew its deal with OAN, One America News personality Dan Ball urged viewers to dig up dirt on AT&T Chairman Bill Kennard, "whatever it is." 

Twitter Misses Earnings Expectations

Twitter Inc. reported a surprising decline in revenue that the social-media company blamed on advertising weakness and uncertainty related to its pending $44 billion acquisition by Elon Musk.

The Wall Street Journal reports Twitter’s results follow rival social-media company Snap Inc. posting its weakest-ever quarterly sales growth because of “increasing competition for advertising dollars that are now growing more slowly.”

Twitter, in its news release Friday, cited “advertising industry headwinds associated with the macroenvironment as well as uncertainty related to the pending acquisition of Twitter.” The company won’t host an earnings conference call because of the pending transaction, which the company is suing Mr. Musk to complete.

Twitter’s revenue fell to $1.18 billion from $1.19 billion a year ago, and was below the average analysts’ estimate of $1.32 billion on FactSet. The company reported a loss of $270 million, or 35 cents a share, compared with year-ago earnings of $65.6 million, or 8 cents a share.

Advertising revenue rose 2% from a year earlier to $1.08 billion. In the first quarter, advertising revenue grew 23%.

The number of Twitter’s monetizable average daily active users increased to 237.8 million from 229 million in the first quarter and 206 million a year ago. U.S. users–who make up the company’s biggest market–grew to 41.5 million from 39.6 million in the first quarter and 37 million a year ago. The company said the increase was driven by product improvements and global conversation around current events.

Earlier this week, Delaware Chancery Court’s chief judge granted Twitter’s request to fast-track its lawsuit against Mr. Musk. A five-day trial is scheduled for October despite opposition from the billionaire’s lawyers, who argued that a trial should take place on or after Feb. 13 of next year.

Musk has said his primary reason for backing out of the deal is a lack of faith in Twitter’s estimate that less than 5% of its monetizable daily active users are spam or fake accounts. He has said that estimate is probably too low.

Twitter has said for years in its securities filings that the number of fake and spam accounts on its platform could be higher than its estimates. The company said in its lawsuit against Mr. Musk that he has buyer’s remorse over the fall in share prices since he agreed to the deal in April.

In a recent court filing, Musk’s team said they became concerned about Twitter’s user numbers after the company disclosed in its April earnings report that it had overstated its user base for nearly three years through the end of 2021 because of an error in how it accounted for people linked to multiple accounts. The revision reduced the number of monetizable daily active users by 0.9% for the fourth quarter of last year.

CNBC reports Given the pending acquisition by Musk, Twitter said it will not provide forward-looking guidance for the third quarter. It’s also not hosting a conference call with analysts to discuss the earnings results.

Wake-Up Call: Jan 6 Committee Says Trump Refused Pleas

The January 6th House committee showed in its hearing last night (July 21st) that while the U.S. Capitol was being attacked by his supporters, then-President Donald Trump refused pleas from everyone, including White House aides, congressional Republicans, and even family members to call them off. Instead, he sent out a tweet that one of the night's witnesses, Matthew Pottinger, then-Deputy National Security Advisor, described as "fuel being poured on the fire" that blasted Vice President Mike Pence for not blocking the electoral count. It was some three hours after the start of the violence before Trump finally put out a video in which he urged his supporters to go home, while calling them "very special."

The committee showed during the hearing, the first in prime time since the initial hearing last month and the final one for now, that during the Capitol attack, Trump watched it all unfold on TV in the White House instead of taking any action to stop it. At one point, he asked for a list of senators so he could call them to urge them to stop the certification of the electoral votes. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the committee, charged that Trump didn't act because the mob's actions were causing what he wanted, a delay in the certification of the election, stating, "President Trump didn’t fail to act. He chose not to act." Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria contended that Trump finally issued the video telling his supporters to go home after he knew the National Guard had been summoned and the effort to stop the electoral vote count would fail.

Witnesses: Pottinger and Sarah Matthews, deputy press secretary in the Trump White House, testified in person last night. Both spoke about how they quit after seeing Trump's tweet during the riot attacking Pence. Matthews also talked about a press office colleague saying during the attack that Trump shouldn't condemn the rioters because it would be, quote, "handing a win to the media" if he were to condemn his supporters.

Secret Service & Bannon: Presented for the first time were recordings of Secret Service radio transmissions from January 6th in which officers protecting Pence at the Capitol were trying to get him to safety. Some of the officers were so concerned that they believed their own lives were at risk as well, and asked for messages to be relayed to their own families telling them goodbye. Toward the end of the hearing, a recording was played of former Trump aide Steve Bannon saying before the 2020 election that Trump would claim victory no matter the facts, and say that the race was stolen if he was behind in the vote count on election night.Although it had been thought that this might be the last public hearing of the January 6th committee, Vice Chair Liz Cheney said last night that there will be more hearings in September.

➤BIDEN TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID, HAS 'VERY MILD' SYMPTOMS: President Biden tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday and was said to be experiencing "very mild" symptoms. The 79-year-old Biden is fully vaccinated and double boosted, and is being treated with the antiviral drug Paxlovid. He is isolating and working, and a video was released of Biden in which he said he was "doing well" and "getting a lot of work done" and offered reassurance, saying, "Keep the faith. It's going to be okay. Biden's physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, said in a letter that Biden had a runny nose and “fatigue, with an occasional dry cough." First lady Jill Biden, speaking to reporters as she arrived for a school visit in Detroit, told reporters she'd tested negative earlier in the day.

➤REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR N.Y. GOVERNOR ASSAULTED AT EVENT: Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican nominee for New York governor, was assaulted at an upstate event at a VFW Thursday by a man who tried to stab him, but he was just minorly injured. Zeldin said in a statement, "I’m OK. Fortunately, I was able to grab his wrist and stop him for a few moments until others tackled him." 

The attacker climbed onto the low stage where Zeldin was speaking outside Rochester and assaulted him. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office took him into custody, and identified him as an Iraq war veteran who was allegedly intoxicated. Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, who Zeldin is running against, condemned the attack in statement.

➤POLIO CASE REPORTED IN N.Y., FIRST IN U.S. IN NEARLY A DECADE: A polio case has been reported in an unvaccinated young adult in New York, the first case of the disease in the U.S. in nearly a decade, health officials said yesterday. The patient, who lives in Rockland County northwest of New York City, has developed paralysis. Health officials said it appeared the person had a vaccine-derived strain of the polio virus, perhaps from someone who got a live vaccine, which is available in other countries, but not the U.S., and spread it. The last polio case in the U.S. was in 2013, in a seven-month-old baby in Texas who'd recently moved to the U.S. from India.

➤EX-OFFICER LANE SENTENCED TO TWO-AND-A-HALF YEARS IN GEORGE FLOYD CASE: Former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison yesterday (July 21st) by a federal judge for violating George Floyd's civil rights. Prosecutors had asked for at least five and 1/4 years in prison, which is at the low end of federal guidelines, but Lane received just slightly more than the 27 months his attorney had requested. Lane was convicted earlier this year of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care. Lane held Floyd’s legs as Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for nearly 9 1/2 minutes in May 2020, leading to his death.

➤MONARCH BUTTERFLIES LISTED AS ENDANGERED: The monarch butterfly has been put on the list of endangered species for the first time, as its numbers have been quickly falling. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature adding the orange-and-black butterfly that's one of the most recognized butterflies in the world to the endangered list puts it two steps away from being extinct. The group estimates that the monarch butterfly population in North America has fallen between 22 percent and 72 percent over 10 years, depending on how it's measured. Nick Haddad, a conservation biologist at Michigan State University, told AP, "What we’re worried about is the rate of decline. It’s very easy to imagine how very quickly this butterfly could become even more imperiled."

🕮MICHELLE OBAMA HAS NEW BOOK, 'THE LIGHT WE CARRY,' OUT THIS FALL: Former First Lady Michelle Obama will have a new book out in November called, The Light We Carry, her first since her 2018 memoir, Becoming, which sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. In the announcement of the book yesterday, Random House Publishing Group said, "In The Light We Carry, Mrs. Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress."

🏈QB MURRAY REACHES DEAL WITH CARDINALS THROUGH 2028 SEASON: Quarterback Kyler Murray has reached a deal with the Arizona Cardinals to stay through the 2028 season, with the team announcing the news yesterday. ESPN reported that the contract could be worth $230.5 million, with $160 million guaranteed. Murray, who won the 2018 Heisman Trophy, was taken by Arizona with the Number 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

🏀RUSSIA LASHES OUT AT U.S. OVER GRINER, SAYS MUST RESPECT RUSSIAN LAW: The spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry lashed out Thursday at the U.S. for characterizing WNBA star Brittney Griner’s being held since February on drug charges as "wrongful detention," saying it shows disrespect for Russian law. Maria Zakharova said, "If a U.S. citizen was taken in connection with the fact that she was smuggling drugs, and she does not deny this, then this should be commensurate with our Russian, local laws, and not with those adopted in San Francisco, New York and Washington." Griner has been jailed since vape canisters containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage at a Moscow airport. She acknowledged during her trial this month that she had them, but said she'd had no intent to break the law. Her trial it set to resume next week.

🏌FURUE IN LEAD AFTER EVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP'S OPENING ROUND: Ayaka Furue of Japan is in the lead after the opening round of the Evian Championship in France at 8-under 63. American Nelly Korda was tied in second place with Brooke Henderson of Canada in the major, both behind by one stroke.

🏀76ERS TO BUILD NEW ARENA IN PHILADELPHIA'S CENTER CITY: The NBA's Philadelphia 76ers announced yesterday that they're planning to build a new arena in Center City, in the Fashion District. The cost of the privately-funded arena is expected to be around $1.3 billion. The 76ers won't be breaking ground for several years, and they don't to be playing in the new arena until the 2031-32 season. The 76ers and the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers currently play at the Wells Fargo Center in south Philadelphia, which opened in 1996.

✞BO JACKSON HELPED PAY FOR UVADLE SCHOOL SHOOTING VICTIMS' FUNERAL: Former NFL and MLB star Bo Jackson helped pay for the funerals of the 19 children and two teachers who were killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May. Jackson revealed that he was one of the previously anonymous donors who covered costs for the families, telling the Associated Press, "I know every family there probably works their butts off just to do what they do. . . . The last thing they needed was to shell out thousands of dollars for something that never should have happened." The 59-year-old Jackson said he felt a personal connection to Uvalde, which he's driven through on drives to a friend's ranch on hunting trips.