Saturday, December 24, 2022

Peace On Earth...Goodwill To All...


December 25 Radio History

➦In 1931...Lawrence Tibbett was the featured vocalist as radio came to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The first opera  broadcast was “Hansel und Gretel”, heard on the NBC network of stations. In between acts of the opera, moderator Olin Downes would conduct an opera quiz, asking celebrity guests opera-related questions.

The program’s host and announcer was Milton Cross, who stayed with the weekly broadcasts for 43 years.

Arturo Toscanini
➦In 1937...Arturo Toscanini conducted the first broadcast of “Symphony of the Air” over NBC radio.

➦In 1945...Gary Lee Sandy born. Sandy played program director Andy Travis on the television sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.

➦In 1948...92.3 FM NYC frequency signed-on as WMCA-FM. (Today the station is WINS 92.3 FM and is owned by Audacy Communications, simulcasts All-News 1010WINS).

For the next year, it operated daily from 3p-9p, simulcasting WMCA, 570 AM.

The WMCA Happy Face logo
In December 1949, Nathan Straus, president of WMCA, announced he was closing down the station because he was losing $4000 a month.

He had said several times that baseball games were cut short on the FM, deliberately to elicit response from listeners and he had received only 2 letters in regard to this practice during all of the summer of 1949.

Straus cited several reasons for the failure of FM: drifting of receivers, difficulty in tuning them, the union rule that announcers who were simulcast on FM and AM be paid double in New York and he said people could already hear WMCA on AM.

Further, Straus said that he had twice tried to give WMCA-FM away and couldn't.

This announcement drew sharp criticism from Major Edwin Armstrong, the inventor of the FM system of broadcasting, who said that Straus was not giving FM a fair chance.

Straus announced that WMCA-FM would quit permanently on December 31, 1949, but the day before, a group of businessmen and people associated with WIBG in Philadelphia announced their intention of buying WMCA-FM for $7500.

So, WMCA-FM continued its 3p-9p schedule throughout 1950, however the negotiations with the WIBG group fell through.

In late 1950, WHOM 1480 AM, announced that it would purchase WMCA-FM. An agreement was reached and 92.3 became WHOM-FM on February 26, 1951.

By 1975, the station had evolved into a Pop/Rock leaning AC format, with calls of WKTU.

On July 24, 1978, WKTU abruptly switched to an "All Disco" format as "Disco 92", which eventually evolved into more of a Rhythmic CHR by the Fall of 1979.

In the summer of 1984, WKTU became a mainstream CHR.

Then, in July of 1985, after airing the Live Aid concert, the station switched to a mainstream AOR format, featuring new and classic rock as WXRK "K-Rock".

In September 1985, Howard Stern (who had been fired from WNBC earlier that year) joined the station, initially for afternoons and in early 1986 switched to mornings.

In 1987, WXRK had instituted a classic rock format and on January 5, 1996, evolved into an alternative/active rock format.

On April 4, 2005, WXRK debuted a mainstream rock format, encompassing music from the 60's to today.

On December 16, 2005, Howard Stern broadcast his last show on the station, before his anticipated move to Sirius Satellite Radio on January 9, 2006.

On January 3, 2006, 92.3 became an "all-talk" station (with the exception of weekends when it features a rock format) using the "Free FM" slogan and featuring David Lee Roth in mornings. Calls were officially changed to WFNY on January 1. In April 2006, David Lee Roth was replaced with Opie & Anthony.

On May 24, 2007 at 5pm, "K-Rock" returned to 92.3. Calls were changed back to WXRK on May 31, 2007.

On March 11, 2009, 92.3 switched to a CHR format as "92.3 Now FM", with the "K-Rock" format moving to 92.3's HD2 channel.

92.3 changed calls to WNOW on November 8, 2012.

On May 22, 2014 at 2pm, 92.3 re-branded themselves as "92.3 AMP."

Calls changed to WBMP on June 23, 2014.  In 2017, the station was sold by CBS Radio to Entercom (now Audacy).  The format was flipped to Alternative upon the deal closing and calls were changed once again to WNYL.

➦In 1964...In New York, "Murray The K's Big Holiday Show" featured the Zombies, the Nashville Teens, and the Hullabaloos.

➦In 1995...legendary singer/crooner, actor, comedian, and Rat-Pack member Dean Martin died of respiratory failure at age 78.

➦In 2006...the “hardest working man in show business,” urban star James Brown died of pneumonia at an Atlanta hospital. He was 73.

The one-time radio station owner was nicknamed the "Godfather of Soul", died.

➦In 2008... actress & chanteuse Eartha Kitt, best known for her hit songs C’est Si Bon & Santa Baby, who was the 2nd Catwoman on the 1960’s Batman TV series, succumbed to colon cancer at age 81.

Gary Sandy is 77

  • Actor Hanna Schygulla (“Barnum,” ″Casanova”) is 79. 
  • Singer John Edwards of The Spinners is 78. 
  • Actor Gary Sandy (“WKRP In Cincinnati”) is 77. 
  • Singer Jimmy Buffett is 76. 
  • Country singer Barbara Mandrell is 74. 
  • Actor Sissy Spacek is 73. 
  • Blues musician Joe Louis Walker is 73. 
  • Actor CCH Pounder is 70. 
  • Singer Annie Lennox is 68. 
  • Singer Steve Wariner is 68. 
  • Guitarist Robin Campbell of UB40 is 68. 
  • Singer Shane McGowan (The Popes, the Pogues) is 65. 
  • Actor Klea Scott (“Millennium”) is 54. 
  • Guitarist Noel Hogan of The Cranberries is 51. 
  • Singer Dido is 51. 
  • Singer Mac Powell of Third Day is 50. 
  • Country singer Alecia Elliott is 40. 
  • Singer Jess and Lisa Origliasso of The Veronicas are 38. 
  • Actor Perdita Weeks (2018′s “Magnum P.I.”) is 37. 
  • Singer-guitarist Lukas Nelson of Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real is 34.
  • In 1954..Johnny Ace, American rhythm and blues singer, accidentally shoots himself in the head at 25
  • In 1989..Billy Martin (1928-1989) American baseball 2nd baseman (MLB All Star 1956; World Series 1951, 52, 53, 56; NY Yankees) and manager (World Series 1977 NY Yankees), killed in a car accident at 61
  • In 2008..Eartha Kitt, American singer (Santa Baby), dancer, comedian, actress and activist (Catwoman-Batman), dies at 81
  • In 2009..Tony "T-Bone" Bellamy, American rock guitarist (Redbone), dies of liver failure at 63

Merry Christmas Radio 2022


                                          We're Taking Some Time Off

December 24 Radio History

➦In 1818...The Christmas carol Silent Night was first performed at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire on the Salzach river in present-day Austria.

A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had written the lyrics of the song "Stille Nacht" in 1816 at Mariapfarr, the hometown of his father in the Salzburg Lungau region. The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf.

Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the Christmas Eve mass, after river flooding had damaged the church organ.  The church was eventually destroyed by repeated flooding and replaced with the Silent-Night-Chapel. It is unknown what inspired Mohr to write the lyrics, or what prompted him to create a new carol.

Reginald A Fessenden
➦In 1906... Quebec physcist Reginald A. Fessenden sent his first radio broadcast himself playing ‘O Holy Night’ on his violin for telegraph operators and other sailors aboard ships in the Atlantic and Caribbean.

In the late 1890s, reports began to appear about the success Guglielmo Marconi was having in developing a practical radio transmitting and receiving system. Fessenden began limited radio experimentation, and soon came to the conclusion that he could develop a far more efficient system than the spark-gap transmitter and coherer-receiver combination which had been championed by Oliver Lodge and Marconi.

Wireless Station at Brant Rock, MA
On December 21, 1906, Fessenden made an extensive demonstration of the new alternator-transmitter at Brant Rock, showing its utility for point-to-point wireless telephony, including interconnecting his stations to the wire telephone network. A detailed review of this demonstration appeared in The American Telephone Journal.

A few days later, two additional demonstrations took place, which may have been the first audio radio broadcasts of entertainment and music ever made to a general audience. (Beginning in 1904, the U.S. Navy had broadcast daily time signals and weather reports, but these employed spark transmitters, transmitting in Morse code).

On Christmas Eve 1906, Fessenden used the alternator-transmitter to send out a short program from Brant Rock. It included a phonograph record of Ombra mai fu (Largo) by George Frideric Handel, followed by Fessenden himself playing on the violin Adolphe Adam's carol O Holy Night, singing Gounod's Adore and be Still, and finishing with reading a passage from the Bible: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will' (Gospel of Luke 2:14).

He petitioned his listeners to write in about the quality of the broadcast as well as their location when they heard it. Surprisingly, his broadcast was heard several hundred miles away; however, accompanying the broadcast was a disturbing noise. This noise was due to irregularities in the spark gap transmitter used.

➦In 1922...the BBC broadcast the first British radio play. It was entitled, "Truth about Father Christmas".

➦In 1928...the first broadcast of “The Voice of Firestone” was heard on the NBC Blue Radio Network, Monday night at 8:30. “The Voice of Firestone”became a hallmark in radio broadcasting, keeping its same night and sponsor for its entire 27 year run. Beginning September 5, 1949, the program of classical and semi-classical music was simulcast on television.

Lionel Barrymore

➦In 1939...The radio version of the classic “A Christmas Carol” with Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge aired live for the first time on Orson Welles’ Campbell Playhouse on CBS.  On prior Christmasses Barrymore had just read the story beginning in 1934.

➦In 1944...The Andrews Sisters starred in the debut of “The Andrews Sisters’ Eight-to-the-Bar Ranch” on ABC radio. Patty, Maxene and LaVerne ran a fictional dude ranch. George “Gabby” Hayes was a regular guest along with Vic Schoen’s orchestra. The ranch stayed in operation until 1946.

➦In 1948...Perry Como made his television debut when NBC televised the Chesterfield Supper Club 15-minute radio program.

➦In 2006…Frank Nicholas Stanton died at age 98 (Born - March 20, 1908).  He served as the president of CBS between 1946 and 1971 and then as vice chairman until 1973. He also served as the chairman of the Rand Corporation from 1961 until 1967.

Frank Stanton 1939
Along with William S. Paley, Stanton is credited with the significant growth of CBS into a communications powerhouse.

Stanton was revered both as a spokesman for the broadcast industry before Congress, and for his passionate support of broadcast journalism and journalists. Former CBS News President Richard S. Salant – a widely respected news chief and an appointee of Stanton's – praised Stanton as a corporate mentor and statesman.

During the period of McCarthyism, Stanton created an office at CBS to review the political leanings of employees.  Although right-wing journalists considered CBS left-leaning, branding it "the Red Network", CBS maintained a questionnaire inquiring about journalists' political affiliations. At Stanton's direction, employees were required to take an oath of loyalty to the US government.

Stanton and Paley "found it expedient to hire only those who were politically neutral", not wishing to take a position against the FCC and Congress, nor to jeopardize profit by "taking a stand against the vigilantes".

According to radio historian Jim Cox, "CBS and the blacklisting became synonymous".   CBS, in response to the culture of blacklisting, instituted a "purge of its own", as had Hollywood and president Truman; Paley was more responsible for policy setting, and Stanton its main executor.

Radio producer William N. Robson was one victim of the CBS purge; initially reassured by Stanton that his listing in the anti-Communist Red Channels pamphlet would not mean the end of his career with CBS, Robson eventually found the executive office of CBS non-responsive to his inquiries, and his earnings collapsed.   Good Night, and Good Luck, a 2005 movie portraying this era, left Stanton out of the film as a character, partly because Stanton was still living and might have objected to his portrayal.

Stanton played a role in the infamous controversy involving Arthur Godfrey, CBS's top money-earner in the early 1950s. Godfrey insisted that the cast members of two of his three CBS shows, a group of singers known as the "Little Godfreys," refrain from hiring managers.

When one singer, Julius LaRosa, hired a manager following a minor dispute with Godfrey, the star consulted with Stanton, who suggested that he fire the popular LaRosa, then a rising star, on the air – just as he'd hired him on the air in 1951. Godfrey did so on October 19, 1953, without informing LaRosa before the airing. The move caused an enormous backlash against Godfrey. Stanton later told Godfrey biographer Arthur Singer that "Maybe (the recommendation) was a mistake."

➦In 2009...Former radio personality and pioneering TV sports highlights host George Michael lost his long battle with leukemia at age 70.  With ‘George Michael’s Sports Machine’ in the 1980’s he is credited with inventing the hyper-clip-style format of shows like ESPN & TSN’s SportsCenter.

Michael was born George Michael Gimpel in St. Louis, Missouri on March 24, 1939. He grew up near Tower Grove Park in the city's south side, and graduated from St. Louis University High School. While attending Saint Louis University, he worked as a Midwest promoter for several record labels such as Scepter and Motown. It was also during this time when he made his radio broadcasting debut on a one-hour Sunday night show at midnight on WIL, which invited individual SLU students to be the hosts every week. He earned a full-time job as a disc jockey at the station after he was judged to be the best of the group.

His first radio job outside of his hometown was in 1962 at WRIT in Milwaukee, where he worked the 6-to-10 pm shift until he was reassigned to 5-to-9 am morning drive time in early 1964.  His next stop was at KBTR in Denver later in 1964, working under the name "King" George Michael for the first time. He earned the nickname due to his success in "ruling" evening radio.

He became one of the original Boss Jocks at WFIL in Philadelphia when its new Top 40 rock and roll format debuted on September 18, 1966.  He served as music director and evening deejay for the next eight years. WFIL, which was popularly known as "Famous 56" after the transition, ended WIBG's listener ratings dominance and became the city's most popular station by the summer of 1967.

Michael was the first Philadelphia rock and roll radio personality to read the scores of local high school football and basketball games on the air. He also helped to start the career of Howard Eskin by hiring him to be his engineer.  Decades later, Eskin would be a contributor to The George Michael Sports Machine.

On George's last WFIL show (on September 6, 1974) he played "When Will I See You Again" by the Three Degrees for the first time ever on any radio station. The playing of this on his show broke the song into the mainstream, and within two months was a huge international hit, reaching number one in the U.K., and number two in the United States. George was personal friends with the owners of Philadelphia International Records and the song's writers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The aircheck of this can be heard on WFIL's tribute site, where he says,"I don't know if this song will be a hit".

Michael, noted for his energetic style, was hired by 77 WABC in New York City; his first on-air stint there was on the evening of September 9, 1974.  Michael now not only was entering the nation's largest media market; he also succeeded radio legend "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, who had jumped to competitor WNBC.

Several incidents from Michael's radio stint there have been chronicled in Morrow's autobiography.  Even though he was reunited with Dan Ingram and Ron Lundy (colleagues from his WIL days in St. Louis), Michael's time at WABC, which ended on November 17, 1979, was mostly frustrating because he was no longer a music director who had any influence on a playlist which was much shorter than the ones with which he was more familiar.  One of the highlights during his time at the station occurred when he anchored its coverage of the New York City blackout of 1977 after the music format was temporarily suspended for the night.

His first experience in sports broadcasting also came in 1974 when he was a TV announcer for the Baltimore Orioles on WJZ-TV.  He declined an offer to work for the ballclub full-time in order to accept the WABC position.  As part of the deal to bring him to New York, Michael also worked for WABC-TV as the weekend sports anchor and a color commentator on New York Islanders telecasts for several seasons, paired mainly with Tim Ryan.   He served as an occasional substitute on ABC American Contemporary Network's Speaking of Sports show whenever Howard Cosell, the primary commentator, was on vacation or assignment.

➦In 2011...NYC Talk personality Lynn Samuels died from a heart attack at age 69.

Lynn Samuels
She began her radio career at WBAI in 1979, where in addition to her on-air work she was music director and an engineer and producer. Walter Sabo, in a tribute on the Alex Bennett program (hosted by Richard Bey) on December 27, 2011, stated that Lynn first worked for WOR on Saturdays from 4–6 p.m. "for quite some time".

Samuels was heard on Talkradio WABC from 1987 until 1992, 1993 until 1997, and 1997 until 2002, including two breaks in which she was fired and then rehired. Her third and final dismissal in 2002 was allegedly due to budget cuts.

Samuels was also a call-screener for Matt Drudge. In 2002, she joined WLIE for a brief time before being hired by Sirius Satellite Radio in 2003.

➦In 2017...Radio and advertising creator Dick Orkin died at age 84 of a hemorrhagic stroke. Orkin was an award-winning radio advertising creator for close to a half-century, was perhaps best known for his syndicated “Chickenman” spoof, which aired initially on Chicago’s WCFL-AM and later on WLUP-FM.

The serial of 2½-minute-long episodes chronicled the adventures of “the most fantastic crime fighter the world has ever known,” an intrepid if incompetent crime fighter out to save the denizens of the fictitious Midland City (pop. 7,043).

First aired in 1966, “Chickenman” was created in the wake of the success of the 1960s live-action “Batman” TV series, and “Chickenman’s” more than 250 episodes remain popular to this day, continuing to air and be available for downloads.

“There was no one else like Dick,” said Ken Draper, who hired Orkin at two different radio stations and gave the green light to “Chickenman.” “He had his own sense of humor and his own perspective on humor, and it was wonderful and he was a wonderful success, as everybody knows, as a result of that.”

Orkin voiced all of the male characters in the serial, and his voice was well-known in radio ads.

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

Born in Williamsport, Pa., Orkin started his radio career as a fill-in on-air personality at WKOK 1070 AM in Sunbury, Pa.  He also worked for a time as a news director at WLAN radio in Lancaster, where he also worked as a farm reporter. Draper, who previously had tried to hire Orkin to work for him at a station in Portland, Ore., later joined KYW-AM — now WTAM-AM — in Cleveland as its program director, and Draper again reached out to Orkin to try to hire him. This time, he was successful, and Orkin joined KYW, working in its public affairs department.

In 1965, Draper moved to Chicago to take the helm at WCFL-AM. He hired Orkin as the station’s production director.   Orkin left WCFL in 1968 and started Dick Orkin Creative Services.

Orkin was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the Illinois Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Radio Advertising Bureau Hall of Fame.

On January 21, 2010, Orkin wrote to the National Association of Broadcasters, requesting them to remove his name from the Hall of Fame, because he did not wish to share the honor with radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. 

Ryan Seacrest is 48

  • Actor Sharon Farrell (“Hawaii Five-0”) is 76. 
  • Actor Grand L. Bush (TV’s “The Visitor,” film’s “Demolition Man”) is 67. 
  • Actor Stephanie Hodge (“Unhappily Ever After”) is 66. 
  • Bassist-synthesizer player Ian Burden of Human League is 65. 
  • Actor Anil Kapoor (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is 63. 
  • Actor Wade Williams (“Prison Break,” “The Bernie Mac Show”) is 61. 
  • Singer Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs is 59. 
  • Actor Mark Valley (“Boston Legal”) is 58. 
  • Actor Diedrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show”) is 56. 
  • Actor Amaury Nolasco (TV’s “Deception,” “Prison Break”) is 52. 
  • Singer Ricky Martin is 51. 
  • “Twilight” series author Stephanie Meyer is 49. 
  • TV host Ryan Seacrest (“American Idol,” ″Live with Kelly and Ryan”) is 48. 
  • Actor Michael Raymond-James (“Once Upon a Time,” “True Blood”) is 45. 
  • Actor Austin Stowell (“12 Strong”) is 38. 
  • Actor Sofia Black-D’Elia (“Your Honor,” “The Mick”) is 31. 
  • Singer Louis Tomlinson formerly of One Direction is 31.
  • In 2012..Charles Durning, American actor (Fury, Sting, Tootsie), dies from natural causes at 89
  • In 2012..Jack Klugman, American actor (Oscar-Odd Couple, Quincy, Goodbye Columbus), dies at 90

Friday, December 23, 2022

Report: Media Mogul Bloomberg Has A Wish List For Santa

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and media mogul, is interested in acquiring either Wall Street Journal parent company Dow Jones or The Washington Post, a source familiar with his thinking tells Sara Fischer and Mike Allen at Axios.

Bloomberg, 80, wants to be a "friendly buyer" from one of two fellow billionaire moguls — Rupert Murdoch, 91, who controls Dow Jones, or Jeff Bezos, 58, who owns The Washington Post.

Why it matters: This is a media power story worthy of "Succession." Bloomberg wants to expand his media empire and sees Dow Jones as his ideal fit.

But Bloomberg would buy The Post — which is once again losing money, and saddled with rotten staff morale ahead of promised layoffs — if Bezos were interested in selling.

What he's thinking: Bloomberg — who is close to Murdoch, owner of Dow Jones' parent, News Corp. — believes efforts to merge News Corp. and its sister company Fox Corp. will fail, creating a possible opening.  Bloomberg is friendly with, but not close to, Bezos.

The combination of The Wall Street Journal + Bloomberg would instantly create a business-news behemoth.  Or imagine the national clout of The Post, backed by the massive newsroom and business coverage dominance of Bloomberg.

Money is no object: Forbes says Bloomberg is worth $77 billion.

A Post spokesperson told Axios: "The Post is not for sale."  News Corp. didn't comment.

R.I.P.: Thom Bell, 'Sound Of Philadelphia' Producer and Songwriter

Thom Bell (1943-2022)

Thom Bell, 79, the Grammy-winning producer, arranger, and songwriter, who along with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, helped to create The Sound of Philadelphia, which became world-famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s, has died.

The cause of death was not immediately available, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Part of Bell’s contribution to The Sound of Philadelphia was its signature lush orchestral arrangements. Bell, Gamble, and Huff were known as “The Mighty Three” when they developed The Sound of Philadelphia.

Dyanna Williams, a longtime music journalist and broadcast personality, announced Bell’s death on her social media accounts Thursday afternoon.

“Beloved songwriter arranger, producer Thomas aka Randolph Bell aka Thom Bell, co-architect of The Sound of Philadelphia with Gamble & Huff. Soundtrack to our lives music The Delfonics The Stylistics The Spinners Deniece Williams Dionne Warwick Johnny Mathis has transitioned,” Dyanna Williams posted Thursday afternoon on Twitter.

Legendary musician and producer Nile Rogers also acknowledged Bell’s death.

“#RIPThomBell He is one of the greatest writers and producers of all time. My condolences go out to his family and friends. He was the architect of the relationship between #BernardEdwards & me as we were the band for the group New York City (I’m Doing Fine Now) a Thom Bell smash,” Rogers wrote on Twitter.

Bell was born in in Jamaica in 1943 and grew up in West Philadelphia with nine brothers and sisters. His parents were both musicians — his mother was a pianist and his father played accordion and Hawaiian lap steel guitar. Bell got his first drum kit at age 4, and studied classical piano.

R.I.P.: Duke Wright, Midwest Communications President/CEO

Duke Wright (1938-2022)

Midwest Communications President/CEO Duey E. ‘Duke’ Wright, Jr., President/CEO of Midwest Communications died earlier this week at the age of 83.

As a young boy, Wright, who at the age of three would sit for hours in his family’s living room mesmerized by the console radio.  It was there that he fell in love with music and the possibilities that radio possessed.  Reflecting on those days, Wright said, “You couldn’t see it, you couldn’t feel it, but you could hear it, and I thought that was pretty neat,” according to a posting on the Midwest Communications website.

In 1958, as his high school teacher persuaded him to pursue business at the University of Wisconsin, Duke’s vision for the future became crystal clear, radio!  Wright could combine his love of music and engineering with his business knowledge to capture a career in radio.

When Wright learned local radio station, WSAU’s original frequency was potentially for sale due to FCC license changes, he contacted the owners, Wisconsin Valley Television Company, in hopes of starting his radio career.  They initially declined his offer, but two weeks later, they agreed to sell the station to the Wright Family for $54,000.  Without the support of his parents, today’s Midwest Communications would not have been possible.  Wisconsin Valley Television Company would keep the WSAU call letters, but the Wrights officially took over 1400 AM.  On August 1, 1958, WRIG signed on the air playing Top 40 music.

The Most Desired Christmas Gifts in The U.S.

by Anna Fleck, Statista

While it may not seem like the most romantic option, the useful gift of money is the most desired Christmas present in the United States this year. According to the latest data from Statista’s Global Consumer Survey (Christmas and Holiday Season: U.S.), when asked which gifts U.S. adults would personally most like to receive this year, 36 percent of men and 46 percent of women said cash or bank transfers. For both groups, vouchers came in second position, followed by clothing, textiles or shoes in third. Respondents could choose multiple options in the poll.

When looking at a breakdown of the data for males and females, however, while there is a fair bit of overlap, some slight differences do emerge. As our chart shows, smartphones, tablets and accessories were a fairly popular choice for both men and women, being selected by 22 percent and 23 percent of the groups, respectively. Women showed slightly more interest in travel-related gifts (19 percent versus men at 14 percent) as well as event tickets (19 percent versus men at 12 percent). Out of the polled options, ‘decoration articles’ were among the lowest scoring gifts, only desired by 7 percent of female respondents and 6 percent of men.

Infographic: The Most Desired Christmas Gifts in The U.S. | StatistaYou will find more infographics at Statista

Wake-Up Call: Nightmare Before Christmas

More than 200 million people were under some type of winter weather warning Thursday, as a powerful winter storm is expected to intensify. Dangerous weather: Temperatures dropped quickly as the Arctic front moved east, bringing life-threatening wind chill. Montana hit -50 degrees.


High winds and snow combined to create whiteout conditions, and flash freezes are a concern in many areas. Governors declared states of emergency as schools canceled classes and cities opened more warming centers and rushed to move homeless people off the streets. President Biden urged the public to heed the warnings of local officials.

  • Deaths: At least three people have died due to storm conditions, according to authorities. Oklahoma police reported three deaths in separate crashes on icy roads.
  • Air travel: Airlines have canceled thousands of flights, disrupting travel during one of the busiest weeks of the year. Time is of the essence if your goal is to make it to your holiday destination.
  • Ground conditions: The storm has also prompted some road closures, and officials are urging people to limit travel. Rail and bus lines have cut service.
  • Delivery delays: FedEx and UPS said the storm could delay deliveries ahead of the holiday weekend. Amazon said it is closing a few Midwest facilities.

➤COMMITTEE RELEASES 1/6 RETPORT: The Jan. 6 House select committee released its long-awaited final report Thursday, capping an 18-month probe of the 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump.  The damning 845-page report was issued three days after the bipartisan committee voted unanimously to refer Trump to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation and possible prosecution over his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.

Among the recommendations is that congressional committees with such authority consider creating a “formal mechanism for evaluating whether to bar” Trump from holding future federal office due to evidence that he violated his constitutional oath to support the U.S. Constitution while engaging in an insurrection.

The report comes weeks after Trump announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024.  “Our country has come too far to allow a defeated President to turn himself into a successful tyrant by upending our democratic institutions, fomenting violence, and, as I saw it, opening the door to those in our country whose hatred and bigotry threaten equality and justice for all Americans,” wrote committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., in a foreword to the report.The committee’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, wrote in her own foreword, “Every President in our history has defended this orderly transfer of authority, except one.”

➤"WITCH HUNT": Donald Trump quickly dismissed the findings of the January 6 report. Trump tried to shift blame, claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had ignored his recommendation for troops to be in used in Washington, D.C. - a claim repeatedly rejected by fact checkers. 'The highly partisan Unselect Committee Report purposely fails to mention the failure of Pelosi to heed my recommendation for troops to be used in D.C., show the 'Peacefully and Patrioticly' words I used, or study the reason for the protest, Election Fraud,' he wrote on Truth Social with a characteristic display of capital letters and misspellings.

TV Philly: Ratings Were Massive For Jim Gardner's Sign-Off

Jim Gardner’s last broadcast as the anchor of Action News was unsurprisingly a massive win for 6ABC (WPVI-TV), with almost four of every five local viewers at the time tuning in to watch the end of a historic career, reports The Philadelphia Business Journal.

ABC said the Wednesday night 6 p.m. newscast was watched by 540,000 people, or 79% of all viewers at the time. The station said its 10 Facebook posts on the day — all Gardner related – earned more than 1.6 million impressions.

After 46 years as the station's main anchor, virtually during all of which 6ABC topped the local television news ratings, Gardner, 74, retired. Longtime 6ABC anchor Brian Taff will take over as Gardner’s official successor at 6 p.m., while Rick Williams assumed Gardner’s 11 p.m. role earlier this year.

In a two-minute monologue at the end of Wednesday's newscast, Gardner defended the American free press from attacks "from elements embedded in our own society" and said "it worries me deeply." He closed by saying Taff would be in the anchor chair Thursday "and I won't be surprised if he's still sitting here decades from now. Funny how that seems to happen at Action News."

FCC Opens Review of Media Ownership Rules

The FCC’s Media Bureau has commenced the 2022 Quadrennial Review of the Commission’s media ownership rules and is seeking comment, as required by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, on whether the media ownership rules remain “necessary in the public interest as the result of competition.”

FCC noted that the Commission has not yet adopted final rules in the 2018 Quadrennial Review, which has been delayed by extensive litigation, but stressed that the agency remains “cognizant of the statutory obligation to review the broadcast ownership rules every four years. Just as the previous (2018) quadrennial review was initiated in December of 2018, we seek to commence this subsequent (2022) review before the end of the 2022 calendar year….Accordingly, the Media Bureau finds that initiating the 2022 Quadrennial Review despite the pendency of the 2018 Quadrennial Review is appropriate in this instance.”

NFL Confirms 'Sunday Ticket' Moving To YouTube TV

After a heated bidding war for NFL Sunday Ticket between major streaming players, the NFL and Google have inked a multiyear deal reportedly valued at $2 billion a year for NFL Sunday Ticket to be offered on YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels.

The deal marks a major shift in sports rights from TV networks and pay TV operations to streaming. The much delayed announcement came after a long bidding war between Amazon, Apple and Google. 

As a result of the deal, the rights to all out of market Sunday afternoon NFL games available in the NFL Sunday Ticket package, which had long been monopolized by satellite provider DirecTV, will now be streamed on YouTube TV & YouTube Primetime Channels.

Canadian Watchdog Yet To Decide on Roger-Shaw Merger

Canada's competition tribunal said on Thursday it had not arrived at a decision regarding the C$20 billion ($14.7 billion) merger between Rogers Communications Inc and Shaw Communications Inc., reports Reuters.

"The Tribunal wishes to advise the public that it intends to provide 24-48 hours notice on its website of the time and date of the issuance of its decision," the competition watchdog said in a notice on its website.

The much-awaited decision on the merger, one of the country's biggest, will put an end to a 20-month-old dispute with the antitrust authority. The agency had blocked the merger on grounds that it would reduce competition.

The companies had proposed selling Shaw's Freedom Mobile Inc to Quebecor Inc (QBRb.TO) to facilitate the merger, but the bureau rejected the plan saying Quebecor was not a viable competitor with the merged entity.

R.I.P.: John McDonald, Portland-Area Radio Host

John MacDonald
Portland-area author and storyteller John McDonald, a fixture on local talk radio for 25 years known for his dry humor and interviewing style, died Tuesday.   He was 78 and had been in poor health for more than a year.

McDonald started his career as a radio DJ in Hancock County, where he developed his own brand of Down East humor. One night, two well-known Maine humorists, Marshall Dodge and Robert Bryan (known for their comedy album "Bert & I"), were performing at a local theater and asked McDonald to join them on stage.

He soon graduated to writing columns, often humorous, first for the Bangor Daily News and later for the Portland Press Herald and other publications.

Crash Barry, another Maine writer and humorist a generation younger than McDonald, said he always marveled as his creative output.

"He was an inspiration because he did columns, wrote books, did radio, all at the same time," Barry said. "And his stage presence was very unique. People loved him."

McDonald is likely best known for his weekly radio show on WGAN, a news and talk station, that ran on Saturdays and Sundays for 25 years. He would conduct interviews with local newsmakers and take calls from loyal listeners.

McDonald was let go from WGAN in April 2020 and started to develop health problems shortly thereafter.

December 23 Radio History

➦In 1900...Canadian wireless expert Reginald Fessenden, working for the US Weather Service at Brant Rock, Mass. near Boston, broadcast the world’s first voice communications by AM (amplitude modulation) radio wave for a distance of 1.6 km between two 13 metre towers. He asked his assistant, ‘Is it snowing where you are, Mr. Thiessen?’

➦In 1907...the longtime host of ABC radio’s Breakfast Club, Don McNeill was born at Galena Illinois.

In Chicago during the early 1930s, McNeill was assigned to take over an unsponsored early morning variety show, The Pepper Pot, with an 8 a.m. timeslot on the NBC Blue Network. McNeill re-organized the hour as The Breakfast Club, dividing it into four segments which McNeill labeled "the Four Calls to Breakfast."

McNeill's revamped show premiered in 1933, combining music with informal talk and jokes often based on topical events, initially scripted by McNeill but later ad-libbed. In addition to recurring comedy performers, various vocal groups and soloists, listeners heard sentimental verse, conversations with members of the studio audience and a silent moment of prayer. The series eventually gained a sponsor in the Chicago-based meat packer Swift and Company, beginning February 8, 1941. McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable radio format.

He died May 7, 1996 at age 88.

➦In 1922...the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)  began daily newscasts on its radio service in the UK.

➦In station KEX in Portland Oregon began broadcasting. It has been a clear channel 50,000-watt powerhouse at 1190 KHz since 1941.

Some sources show that the station may have originally started broadcasting on 670 kHz. On November 11, 1928, KEX started broadcasting on 1180 kHz under the terms of FCC General Order 40. On March 29, 1941, the station moved to 1190 kHz under the terms of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA).

KEX was an NBC Blue Network affiliate, carrying its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, game shows, soap operas and big band broadcasts during the Golden Age of Radio. In 1945, as the Blue Network became ABC, KEX's affiliation continued. KEX was the first station to give the voice of Bugs Bunny, Mel Blanc, his own show. Blanc's Cobwebs & Nuts program debuted June 15, 1933, and ran Monday through Saturday from 11 p.m. to midnight.

The Oregonian Publishing Company, which owned The Morning Oregonian newspaper, acquired KEX in 1933. From 1934 to 1943, the station's studios were located in The Oregonian Building, in space shared with co-owned KGW, now KPOJ, which was the NBC Red Network affiliate in Portland. Westinghouse Broadcasting expanded to the West Coast in 1944 with its purchase of KEX, then running 5,000 watts, and sharing its frequency with another Westinghouse station, WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In 1948, Westinghouse got the FCC to increase KEX's power to 50,000 watts, day and night. Also in 1948, Westinghouse put KEX-FM on the air at 92.3 MHz (the frequency is now utilized by KGON). KEX-FM mostly simulcasted KEX. But few people had FM radios in those days and KEX-FM was taken off the air in the early 1960s.

Also in the early 1960s, as network programming shifted from radio to television, KEX began airing a mix of middle of the road music, talk, news and sports.

Having reached the FCC's then-limit of seven AM stations, Westinghouse sold KEX to actor and singer Gene Autry's media company, Golden West Broadcasters, in 1967. In 1984, KEX was acquired by Taft Broadcasting. Taft became Citicasters in 1993, which was merged into Clear Channel Communications in 1999. Clear Channel was the forerunner to current owner iHeartMedia, Inc. 

As music listening switched to FM radio stations, KEX cut back on the songs it played till it became a true talk station by the late 1990s.

➦In 1928...a permanent coast-to-coast NBC Radio network was formed. NBC had been formed two years earlier by General Electric, Westinghouse and RCA, with David Sarnoff as its chief organizer.

NBC's network operations were officially launched with a gala broadcast beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern on November 15, 1926. Carl Schlegel of the Metropolitan Opera opened the inaugural broadcast, which also featured Will Rogers and Mary Garden. This broadcast, which included a remote link from KYW in Chicago, was coordinated through WEAF, and carried by twenty-two eastern and Midwestern stations, located as far west as WDAF in Kansas City, Missouri.

On January 1, 1927, NBC formally divided its programming into two networks, called the Red and the Blue. Legend has it that the color designations originated from the push-pins early engineers used to mark affiliates of WEAF (red pins) and WJZ (blue pins), or from the use of double-ended red and blue colored pencils.

The two NBC networks did not have distinct identities or "formats", and, beginning in 1929, they shared use of the distinctive three-note "NBC chimes". The NBC Red Network, with WEAF as its flagship station and a stronger line-up of affiliated stations, often carried the more popular, "big budget" sponsored programs. The Blue Network and WJZ carried a somewhat smaller line-up of often lower-powered stations and sold air time to advertisers at a lower cost. NBC Blue often carried newer, untried programs (which, if successful, often moved "up" to the Red Network), lower cost programs and unsponsored or "sustaining" programs (which were often news, cultural and educational programs). In many cities in addition to New York, the two NBC affiliated stations (Red and Blue) were operated as duopolies, having the same owners and sharing the same staff and facilities.

At this time, most network programs were owned by their sponsors and produced by advertising agencies. The networks had limited control over their schedules, as advertisers bought available time periods and chose which stations would carry a program regardless of what other sponsors might broadcast in other time periods. Networks rented out studio facilities used to produce shows and sold air-time to sponsors. The only network-produced programs were unsponsored programs used to fill unsold time periods (affiliated stations had the option to "break away" from the network to air a local program during these periods) but the network had the "option" to take back the time period if a network sponsor wanted the time period.

On April 5, 1927 NBC reached the West Coast with the launching of the NBC Orange Network, which rebroadcast Red Network programming to the Pacific states and had as its flagship station KGO in San Francisco. NBC Red then extended its reach into the Midwest by acquiring two 50,000–watt clear-channel signals, Cleveland station WTAM on October 16, 1930 and Chicago station WMAQ by 1931. On October 18, 1931, Blue Network programming was introduced along the NBC Gold Network, which broadcast from San Francisco's KPO. In 1936 the Orange Network name was dropped and affiliate stations became part of the Red Network. The Gold Network adopted the Blue Network name.

In a major move in 1931, RCA signed crucial leases with the new Rockefeller Center management that resulted in it becoming the lead tenant of what was to become in 1933 its corporate headquarters, the RCA Building, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

➦In 1947... Today is the official birth date for the invention of the transistor by scientists John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley in a lab in New Jersey. The trio were honored for this milestone with the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Atlanta Radio: Morning Host Steve Craig Exits The River

Steve Craig

Morning host Steve Craig has left classic hits station WSRV 97.1/The River after a decade there.

His name was taken off the 97.1/The River website schedule Wednesday without explanation, reports Rodney Ho at

Craig confirmed the news via text Wednesday evening. “I’ve had an incredibly successful decade at 97.1/The River working with a pro team delivering a #1 radio station,” he wrote. “For now, I’m looking forward to more flight time and working with my board members at [charity] Angel Flight, along with attending long overdue vacation and family time.”

Indeed, the River ― which launched in 2006 ― has been No. 1 in the Atlanta radio ratings much of 2022, becoming one of the top-performing major market rock stations in the nation.

Craig, 63, joined the Cox Media Group station in December 2012 as afternoon host and music director. He switched to mornings in 2016, swapping with Kaedy Kiely. He also ran a secondary station called The Other Side of the River, which provides deep alternative rock cuts from multiple decades.

He has also been the Atlanta United in-game announcer for many years. And he possesses a professional pilot’s license.

Denver Radio: KBCO's Ginger To Hang-Up The Headphones

KBCO's Ginger

iHeartMedia Denver 97.3 KBCO – World Class Rock, has announced the retirement of Ginger from middays. Ginger’s last day on-air will be Saturday, December 31, 2022.

Ginger has flourished as a beloved companion for radio listeners in the Denver area for 40 years. She has introduced music lovers to countless new songs and artists, many of which are now part of the fabric of their lives. Ginger shared her personal perspective on everything that impacts and delights the Denver community, including cultural events, the beauty of the natural environment, entertainment and music. Denver radio listeners will surely miss hearing her friendly voice and colorful insight daily.

Media Groups Shed $500B In Value

More than $500bn has been wiped off the market value of the world’s biggest media companies this year as investors soured on the streaming revolution, triggering historic share price declines for broadcasting and entertainment group, reports World News Era.

Intensifying competition and rising costs have combined with consumer belt tightening and an advertising slowdown to spark an industry-wide decline.

Media, which for investors spans a broad range of activities from film production to advertising to cable television, has been among the hardest-hit sectors in what is set to be the worst year for global equities since the financial crisis.

“It’s been a perfect storm of bad news,” said Michael Nathanson, media analyst at SVB MoffettNathanson. “I’ve been covering this sector a long time and I’ve never seen such a bad collection of data points before.”

Walt Disney shares, down about 45 per cent, are heading for their biggest annual fall since at least 1974. The shares have come under more pressure in recent days as takings from Disney’s eagerly anticipated Avatar sequel fell short of some estimates in its opening weekend.

Paramount Global has dropped 42 per cent this year and Netflix 52 per cent, while Warner Brothers Discovery has tumbled 63 per cent since its creation this year by the combination of Discovery and AT&T’s WarnerMedia.

Streaming companies tended to cope well with the onset of the pandemic as lockdown restrictions boosted audiences, pushing shares across the sector higher in the stock market boom from March 2020.

But while executives spent tens of billions of dollars on streaming content, viewing options have proliferated while living costs have soared — encouraging financially squeezed households to “churn”, or switch between subscriptions.

Holiday Hits Are More Secular Than Ever

This time every year, enduring favorites by Mariah Carey, Brenda Lee and Bobby Helms rise to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 as Americans turn to holiday streaming playlists and Christmas-focused radio stations. However, these evergreens, celebrating the biggest Christian holiday of the year, are more secular than in years past, reports Billboard.   

It used to be that contemporary takes on traditional songs about the birth of Christ — “Little Drummer Boy,” “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” — were among the most popular holiday songs. Listeners enjoyed Nat King Cole’s “O Come All Ye Faithful” as much as his version of “Deck the Halls.” Kenny Rogers had a popular take on “Mary, Did You Know?,” first recorded in 1991 by Michael English of the Christian group the Gaither Vocal Band. Martina McBride’s rendition of “O Holy Night,” a Christmas carol from the 1840s, was among the top 100 holiday songs.   

In 2022, as streaming playlists drive listening, the top 100 holiday songs are more likely to conjure images of Santa, sleigh bells and cold weather than a baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary. 

Through Dec. 8, religious music had only a 4.4% share of the top 100 holiday songs’ total consumption — tied with 2021 for the lowest since 2010, according to a Billboard analysis of Luminate data. The top religious song since the first week of November, “O Come All Ye Faithful” by Nat King Cole, ranks only No. 50, the lowest for a No. 1 religious song since 2010. “Mary, Did You Know?” by Pentatonix ranks a mere No. 68 and Rogers’ version of the song has fallen to No. 255.