Thursday, March 30, 2023

ABC News Loses 50 Staffers In Disney RIF

Disney layoffs have hit ABC News, with the unit expected to lose around 50 staffers total throughout the entire process, an individual with knowledge told TheWrap.

Those laid off include senior vice president of talent strategy and development Galen Gordon, senior vice president of newsgathering Wendy Fisher, vice president of talent strategy and development Mary Noonan, and VP of corporate communications Alison Rudnick as well as ABC News L.A. bureau chief David Herndon, senior executive producer Chris Vlasto and executive editorial producer Heather Riley.

Kim Godwin
ABC News president Kim Godwin said in a memo that, “While these actions are never easy, they are a necessary step to ensure we’re on solid footing for the years ahead as we chart a sustainable, growth-oriented path forward for the entire organization.”

The layoffs come as Disney cuts 7,000 jobs, and executives aren’t exactly safe. On Wednesday, Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter was laid off and the entire unit was folded into Disney.

Godwin also outlined the new structure, which includes Katie den Daas – who has been leading the London bureau – taking over as vice president of Newsgathering. She will oversee the domestic and international teams. Michael Kreisel, who will manage the domestic bureau chiefs aside from the DC bureau and NewsOne, will report to den Daas. NewsOne will continue to be headed by Al Prieto. Jonathan Greenberger will lead the DC bureau and political coverage, while Kirit Radia will oversee the London bureau, all other international bureaus and teams worldwide. Den Daas will transition in the coming weeks to New York, with a new London bureau chief to be announced soon.

Russia Holding WSJ Journalist In Custody

Russia’s main security agency said Thursday it had detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich for what it described as espionage.  

Evan Gershkovich
WSJ reports Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen and member of the Journal’s Moscow bureau, was detained in the city of Yekaterinburg, around 880 miles east of Moscow, on Wednesday while on a reporting trip.  

The Federal Security Bureau said Mr. Gershkovich, “acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”

Gershkovich is accredited to work as a journalist in Russia by the country’s Foreign Ministry.

“The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich,” the Journal said. “We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family.”

Authorities took Mr. Gershkovich to Moscow, where he appeared in court with a state-appointed defense attorney and was ordered held in custody until May 29, said the press service of the court, according to state news agency TASS.

In Russia, espionage trials are often conducted in secret and it is rare for a court to acquit a defendant. Trials can take months to unfold.  Gershkovich’s detention and charge on the allegation of espionage mean the case is likely to become a high-level diplomatic issue. 

Mickey Playing Hard Ball With FL Governor

Disney has thrown a curve in the oversight game between the company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis concerning Walt Disney World's special taxation district.

Board members picked by the governors to oversee the governance of the former Reedy Creek Improvement District have had their powers muted as the board's predecessors passed restrictive covenants.

The board created by DeSantis is considering legal action, reports Fox Business.

Florida lawmakers passed a bill in February giving the governor effective control over a board overseeing municipal services and development in a special district encompassing the Walt Disney World resort.

But before the takeover by DeSantis's appointees, Disney pushed through changes to the special tax district agreement that limited the board's action for decades, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

FL Gov. DeSantis
"All agreements signed between Disney and the district were appropriate and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida's Government in the Sunshine law," Walt Disney World resort said in a statement to Reuter.

State Republicans last year targeted Disney after it publicly clashed with DeSantis, over a law restricting discussion of LGBTQ issues in classrooms.

Disney's then-chief executive officer, Bob Chapek, publicly voiced disappointment with the measure, saying he called DeSantis to express concern about it becoming law.

Chapek stepped down from the position in November, with former CEO Bob Iger returning.

The legislation ended Disney's virtual autonomy in developing 25,000 acres in central Florida where its theme parks are located.

TV Ratings: Men's Hoops Good For CBS, TBS

The episode of “60 Minutes” that followed Sunday’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament was the top-ranked prime-time program, its second consecutive win, scoring 9.291 million viewers, its largest audience since Jan. 8.

The CBS newsmagazine — consisting of reports on advancements in artificial prosthetics technology; newsletter authors Ina and David Steiner, who were stalked and harassed by eBay employees; and a profile of basketball analyst Charles Barkley — followed a 39-minute runover of the network’s coverage of Miami’s 88-81 victory over Texas in the Midwest Regional final in the Eastern and Central time zones.

The Jan. 8 edition of “60 Minutes” featured Prince Harry’s first American television interview in connection with the release of his memoir, “Spare,” and averaged a season-high 11.215 million viewers.

The only other prime-time programs between March 20 and Sunday to average more than 7 million viewers also had ties to the college basketball tournament, according to The L-A Times citing live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen.

CBS finished first for the seventh time in nine weeks, averaging 4.88 million viewers. It aired 10 of the week’s top 17 programs, including the highest-rated scripted program, “The Equalizer,” fourth for the week, averaging 6.831 million viewers; the top-ranked comedy, “The Neighborhood,” 10th for the week, averaging 5.679 million viewers; the most popular first-season program, police drama “East New York,” 15th, averaging 5.114 million; and the ratings leader for programs beginning at 10 p.m., “NCIS: Hawai’i,” 17th, averaging 4.982 million viewers.

The only times CBS has not finished first in the past nine weeks were the weeks of Feb. 6, when Fox aired Super Bowl LVII, and March 6, when ABC aired the Oscars.

NBC was second for the second consecutive week, averaging 3.36 million viewers. “Chicago Fire” was its highest-rated program, finishing fifth for the week, averaging 6.777 million viewers.

ABC was third among the broadcast networks for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.84 million viewers. “American Idol” was ABC’s ratings leader program for the fifth time in the six weeks it has aired this season, finishing 11th, averaging 5.253 million viewers. The only interruption to the streak was the week that ABC aired the Oscars.

Fox averaged 2.04 million viewers. The procedural drama “9-1-1” topped its ratings for the third consecutive week, finishing 24th, averaging 4.414 million viewers.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of six CBS scripted programs, “60 Minutes” and alternative series “Survivor”; four NCAA men’s basketball tournament games — three on CBS and one on TBS; two NCAA men’s basketball studio shows — one each on TBS and CBS; five NBC programs — the scripted programs “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med” and “Chicago P.D.” and the two editions of its singing competition “The Voice”; and the ABC singing competition “American Idol.”

BET To Air An Hour of 'The Breakfast Club' Daily

Today, BET announced a partnership with iHeartMedia that will bring the award-winning hit morning show “The Breakfast Club” starring DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God from iHeartMedia New York’s Power 105.1 to BET’s 2023 programming lineup. 

BET will televise a one-hour special edition of “The Breakfast Club” daily Monday through Friday. These specials will feature unrivaled interviews and conversations with celebrities, artists, and thought leaders along with entertainment news and conversations punctuated with The Breakfast Club’s signature blend of honesty and humor. The wildly popular, culture shifting morning show will be available weekdays to millions of fans starting Monday, April 17 at 9 AM ET on BET and VH1. Episodes from the week will all be available to stream every Sunday on BET+.

“The Breakfast Club on BET” marks the brand’s return to producing daily programming for the first time since “106 & Park” in 2014. It also marks the brand’s noteworthy and exciting introduction to daytime television.

“We’re thrilled to partner with iHeartMedia to bring The Breakfast Club and their unique brand of entertainment and cultural commentary to our audiences,” said BET CEO and President Scott Mills. “We recognize the show’s influence and popularity, and we are confident that the partnership will be meaningful to our viewers and to our partners. Hosts Charlamagne and DJ Envy are long time members of the BET and Paramount family, so we couldn’t be more excited to welcome The Breakfast Club home to BET.”

Wake-Up Call: Nashville Community Mourns

Hundreds gathered Wednesday night for the citywide vigil to mourn for the three children and three adults who were killed at The Covenant School in Nashville earlier this week. The crowd of mourners stood shoulder-to-shoulder holding small white candles as speaker after speaker honored the six victims. First lady Jill Biden visited Covenant earlier and stood alongside the rest of the vigil's attendees. Nashville Mayor John Cooper stepped up to the podium first. "Just two days ago was our city's worst day," Cooper said. "... I so wish we did not need to be here, but we need to be here — together as a community."

➤MANIFESTO TO BE RELEASED: Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale’s pre-killing spree manifesto is set to be released to the public after the FBI and its’ highly skilled team of criminal profilers analyze its contents, a Nashville Council Member said. The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit is working “in tandem with” the Metro Nashville Police Department to complete “a very in-depth analysis of certain aspects of the shooter’s life,” Robert Swope said Wednesday.

“The manifesto is going to be released. It’s just a matter of when. There are some incredibly brilliant psychological minds and psychological analysts combing through her entire life,” added Swope, who is a member of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee. Transgender Hale, 28, left behind the manifesto as well as detailed maps of the school she methodically planned to attack, leaving three schoolchildren and three staff dead. The shooter arrived at the Covenant School around 9:54 a.m. Monday, exterior surveillance images show.

➤HALE SAID TO HAVE BEEN 'HEARTBROKEN': Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale was “heartbroken” over the 2022 death of a girl she was “infatuated” with, who had played on the same basketball team in school. Samira Hardcastle told The Post “tomboyish” Hale had been deeply affected by the death of Sydney Sims, who was killed in a vehicle accident in August 2022, according to an obituary. Hardcastle, a classmate of both girls in middle and high school, said, “After Sydney’s tragic death, Audrey was really heartbroken over it … I just feel like she took it differently than some of us did. She was still posting about Sydney almost daily. “What I knew of her was more admiring [Sydney]. Maybe even infatuation. That’s specifically who she really, really looked up to.” Hale, who police said was transgender and had started to identify using he/him pronouns, posted a TikTok in February on a since-deleted account, “iam_aiden10,” dedicated to “Syd”.

Report: Fox News CEO Called Trump Fact-Checking ‘Bad For Business’

Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott blasted the network’s fact-checking of then-President Donald Trump’s false election fraud claims as “bad for business” in an email shortly after the 2020 presidential election, according to Forbes citing citing a court presentation from Dominion Voting Systems, which has portrayed Fox News as a network in turmoil after the election as it moves forward with its $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit.

Scott reportedly told prime time programming executive Meade Cooper in an email dated December 2, 2020 that the fact-checking “has to stop now,” arguing the reporting showed “a lack of understanding” about what Fox News’ audience wanted.

Suzanne Scott
The message came shortly after Fox News correspondent Eric Shawn appeared on Martha MacCallum’s show and lambasted a truck driver who claimed in a largely uncritical interview with Sean Hannity that he took part in vote “dumps”—a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement: “This is not about fact checking - the issue at hand is one host calling out another.”

The email came weeks after Scott privately said, “I can’t keep defending these reporters who don’t understand our viewers and how to handle stories,” blaming them for a loss of 25,000 Fox Nation streaming service subscribers—a spokesperson later said the exchange had to do with “the tone and delivery of the correspondent.”

Dominion Voting Systems reportedly showed the messages in a slideshow in court last week as an April 17 trial start date looms in its defamation case against Fox News—though both sides have pushed for resolving the lawsuit through a pretrial summary judgment.

Fox News admonished Dominion in a statement for a “continued reliance on cherry-picked quotes without context to generate headlines in order to distract from the facts of this case,” calling the lawsuit an attack on the free press.

According to the Statement from Fox: “These documents once again demonstrate Dominion’s continued reliance on cherry-picked quotes without context to generate headlines in order to distract from the facts of this case. The foundational right to a free press is at stake and we will continue to fiercely advocate for the First Amendment in protecting the role of news organizations to cover the news.”

AI Radio Launches Digital Voice Tracking

Super Hi-Fi, the global leader in AI-powered radio experiences for digital music services and radio broadcasters, has announced a partnership with ElevenLabs, the world’s leading text-to-audio AI software, to use AI to make fully customized and personalized radio experiences available to global audiences.

To experience the power of this partnership, a live radio station, called “AI Radio”, is now available as a real-time example of how powerful and entertaining these AI-driven music experiences can be. Streaming content 24-hours per day, the station is completely autonomous; created and managed exclusively by AI using Super Hi-Fi’s MagicStitch™, ElevenLabs’ Prime Voice AI and ChatGPT. The station and a request for a product demo for broadcasters and music services can be found now at

With this partnership, Super Hi-Fi will integrate ElevenLabs’ voice creation tools directly into Super Hi-Fi’s production platform, enabling their global customers to create incredibly realistic voices that can be used as DJs, read personalized news, provide localized weather bulletins, or for advertising, all through the same interface that they currently use to manage their radio experiences.

“We’re incredibly excited to work with ElevenLabs to help broadcasters and streaming music services offer their listeners totally custom, fully branded, and localized experiences all dynamically generated by AI,” said Zack Zalon, CEO of Super Hi-Fi. “To be able to instantly design and generate amazingly realistic voices, combined with our existing ability to mix, assemble, and deliver a radio station with maximum quality and scale, opens the door to use cases that will delight listeners like never before.”

Customers of Super Hi-Fi will now be able to offer their audiences radio content that is powered by a seamless combination of narration composed via ChatGPT and audio spoken by ElevenLabs’ next generation AI voices, woven together by Super Hi-Fi’s patented AI automated production suite.

D-C Radio: The Fan Inks Multi-Year Extension With Nationals

Audacy’s 106.7 The Fan (WJFK-FM) has announced a multi-year extension to its flagship broadcast and digital partnership with the Washington Nationals. As part of the extended partnership, Nationals baseball will continue to be heard on 106.7 The Fan and streamed digitally via the Audacy app for fans within the Nationals broadcast territory.

“Opening Day is finally here and we’re thrilled to celebrate the return of baseball season by extending our partnership with the Washington Nationals,” said Ivy Savoy-Smith, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Washington D.C. “We’re looking forward to continuing to serve as the home for everything Nats for the foreseeable future and give the team’s fans a front row seat to the action on the field and top storylines throughout the year.”

Beyond game broadcasts, 106.7 The Fan will welcome Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo on “The Sports Junkies” every Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. ET, with additional player interviews and features set to be showcased via the expanded reach of “Nats Insider” hosted by Nationals broadcaster Dan Kolko. “Nats Insider” segments will not only air on 106.7 The Fan, but across multiple local Audacy stations and programs throughout the region.

“We couldn’t be happier to partner with Audacy in bringing Nationals fans even more of the interviews and exclusive access they love,” said Alan H. Gottlieb, Chief Operating Officer, Lerner Sports Group. “From in-depth interviews with execs and top players, to off-the-field profiles and more Spanish and English bilingual content than ever before, Audacy offers a comprehensive look at our ball club from all angles.”

Local Audacy stations will celebrate Nationals Opening Day on Thursday, March 30 with live broadcasts from inside and around Nationals Park. 106.7 The Fan’s Grant and Danny will be live from Nationals Park’s left-field studio from 10:00 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. ET, while 94.7 The Drive goes live from the center field Team Store from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, and El Zol hosts Patricia & Chepe and WPGC 95.5’s DJ Flexx will provide live hits from the ballpark throughout the morning. Outside the park, 106.7’s BMitch and Finlay and The Team 980’s Chris Russell and Craig Hoffman are live from The Greene Turtle on First St. from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.

YES Network Unveils Direct-2-Consumer Streaming Service

Yankees fans in the tristate area and northeastern Pennsylvania will now have a way to watch the games without needing a cable or satellite subscription, according to The NY Post.

Wednesday, YES Network announced the launch of a direct-to-consumer subscription service that will air all of the content from the channel — including Yankees, Nets and Liberty games.

The platform will be priced at $24.99 per month or $239.99 per year, with early-bird rates of $19.99 per month or $199.99 for a year for anybody who signs up before the end of April.

The product is for customers in YES’ regional territory, so it is not a solution for out-of-market Yankees fans, who remain able to watch the team through MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings.

“We are pleased to introduce a direct subscription option,” YES Network CEO Jon D. Litner said in a statement.

“For more than 20 years, YES has provided fans with a best-in-class sports viewing experience. Fans continue to tune in to and engage with YES in record numbers for the most in-depth and most innovative coverage of our teams and our other award-winning programming.

The emergence of direct-to-consumer options is of growing importance to teams concerned about the drop in subscribers for traditional pay-TV distributors, because sports-TV rights are a crucial revenue driver for local teams that have high expenses, such as player salaries.

Salem Music Network Adds Kim Fritz For Syndication

Salem Media Group, Inc. has  announced that the Salem Music Network based in Nashville, TN has added Kim Fitz to its weekly syndication lineup. The Kim Fitz Show is five hours from 10:00am-3:00pm CT on the Today’s Christian Music Network. The content is also available for daily syndication (Monday- Friday). The content is available for any daypart by FTP download. Kim also provides a weekend show for station use (Saturday-Sunday).

Kim Fritz
Kim was born and raised in Georgia. She started working in radio right out of high school in 2001. She worked at several stations until God guided her to Christian radio. When asked about being on the Salem Music Network team Fitz stated, “Beginning in radio in 2001, I never in a million years would’ve imagined this dream come true. Praying the positivity and joy radiates and helps change lives. Grateful, honored and so thrilled to be part of this incredible team!”

Salem Music Network Nashville Program Director Jayme Summers adds, “I am so excited to have Kim as part of our team. She brings laughter, fun, and the greatest mom advice to our amazing network. Having such a skilled air talent is a gift.”

For more information on adding the Kim Fitz Show to your station, contact Greg Roberson, Affiliate Relations at (615) 312-4229. Salem Music Network’s FTP talent includes: The Kevin and Taylor Show, Keep the Faith with Penny, The Scott and Sam Show, and Pastor Lenny’s Praise Party.

Nearly Nine in Ten Homes Have a Streaming Video Subscription

New survey data from Parks Associates shows that subscription video services are nearly ubiquitous in U.S. homes, with 87% of US internet households having at least one OTT subscription service, and that password sharing is also widespread, with 40% of homes sharing login credentials.

TV Technology reports the data is for 2022 from Parks’ OTT Video Market Tracker online service, which followed 354 independent OTT services in the United States in 2022,

“Despite the dominance of subscription over-the-top (OTT) services, 44% of households continue to watch some form of pay TV, indicating that there is still interest in live/linear and ad-supported forms of content,” said Jennifer Kent, vice president of research at Parks Associates. “As consumers examine their finances out of fear of a recession, free streaming television continues to gain popularity. Savvy, ad-tolerant customers will view advertisements in return for cheaper solutions.”

Other data points include: 
  • 40% of US internet households share or use shared credentials, up from 27% in 2019.
  • 63% of US internet households own a smart TV.
  • Nearly half of OTT subscribers hop between services multiple times over a 12-month period.
  • 48% of subscribers cited content or a specific program as the primary motivation to subscribe to a new service.

Tucson Radio: Bustos Media Acquiring KDRI The Drive

Bustos Media filed an application with the FCC for the acquisition of the assets of Tucson Radio, LLC. The DRIVE is the number two rated station in the market. It offers a large catalogue of music “baby boomers” love and is presented by popular local personalities.

Bustos Media already owns The Voice (KVOI 1030 AM), The Groove (KGTV 106.3 FM), Urbana (KZLZ HD 92.5 FM) and La Poderosa (KZLZ 105.3 FM). Patty Ruiz, the General Manager for Bustos Media in Tucson, will be the GM of the combined stations effective April 1, 2023. KDRI will continue to operate from its downtown studio.

“No other radio station cluster in Tucson will match Bustos’ new range and diversity of listeners,” said Fletcher McCusker, president and founder. “The combined audience will be the most representative of the Tucson market,” McCusker added.

“I am happy to have driven this special format. The listener response has been nothing short of phenomenal. I am also happy to transfer The DRIVE to Bustos so it takes its proud place as the flagship of his radio group,” said Bobby Rich, the Drive’s programmer.

Bustos Media entered into a Management Agreement allowing Bustos to manage the station pending FCC approval.

March 30 Radio History

➦In 1922...KGY-AM, Olympia, Washington, signed-on.

KGY has a long history in Olympia, going back to Saint Martin’s College (now Saint Martin’s University). It was there that Benedictine monk Father Sebastian Ruth began experimenting with radio, and when the FCC first started licensing radio stations, KGY was one of the first stations in Washington State to be licensed. “In fact, the three letter call stations are a heritage, the oldest around,” Kerry said.

In 1939 Nick Kerry’s great-grandfather Tom Olsen, an Olympia native, purchased the business. In 1960 KGY moved to its current location on Marine Drive overlooking Budd Inlet and neighbor to Swantown Marina and Hearthfire Grill.

It was built on pilings and has dramatic views of Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains. “This was the perfect location for an AM tower. The radials went into the saltwater which they believed created a stronger signal,” said Kerry.

Barbara Olsen Kerry ran the stations until the mid-2000s and today the family continues to remain owners, the majority of whom live in Olympia.

➦In 1922...WWL-AM, New Orleans signed-on.

Circa the '50s

After receiving permission from the Vatican, the Jesuits at Loyola University started WWL on March 31, 1922, with a piano recital and a three-minute request to listeners to support construction of a new classroom building on campus.  The advertisement above says the 10-watt transmitter was “made from $400 worth of spare parts from a Government War Surplus Ship.  The studio audience — 20 Loyola students —- gave a spontaneous cheer at [the] conclusion of [the] historic broadcast.”

The advertisement also claims other firsts.  For instance, the 1922 broadcast of a recording of John McCormack singing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” is claimed as the first music broadcast in the South.

Over the years, WWL moved to different positions on the dial and steadily increased its power.  In 1938, WWL boosted its signal to 50,000 watts, sending the sounds of New Orleans across much of North America.

WWL became a CBS affiliate in 1935.  During World War II, Loyola University offered WWL’s facilities to train soldiers in radio operations. The station also produced wartime radio programs.  WWL again allowed the government to use its facilities in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

WWL-AM avoided the turn toward rock in the 1950s and became well known in the region for its broadcasts of local Dixieland jazz bands and big band music.  The Leon Kelner Orchestra was popular for its broadcasts from the Roosevelt Hotel’s Blue Room.  The broadcasts were heard far and wide over WWL’s 50,000-watt signal. The LPB radio history site says comment cards were received from as far away as Finland.

In 1971, the station started a long-running overnight country music show targeted at long-haul truck drivers called “The Road Gang.”

Loyola sold the WWL stations to separate companies in 1989.  WWL-AM and WLMG-FM are now owned by Audacy.-Faded Signals

➦In 1936...Backstage Wife, a soap opera radio program that details the travails of Mary Noble, a girl from a small town in Iowa who came to New York seeking her future, moved fro the Mututal Broadcasting System to NBC Radio.

Vivian Fridell had the title role from 1935 until the early 1940s. It was then taken over by Claire Niesen, who played Mary Noble for 14 years, until the end of the series. Mary's husband, Larry Noble, was portrayed by Ken Griffin, then James Meighan and finally, Guy Sorel. The music was supplied by organist Chet Kingsbury.

The program continued on for the next 23 years. Claire Niesen played the title role for the last 17 years.

➦In 1937...Charles Wesley Leonard born (Died – August 12, 2004).  Known as Chuck Leonard. he was a radio personality at 77WABC during the 1960s and 1970s. His deep voice and smoothness resonated across 38 states for 14 years at ABC.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Tampa Bay Radio: Jack Harris OUT At WFLA Radio

Jack Harris, longtime host of the AM Tampa Bay talk radio show for NewsRadio 970 WFLA, says he has been fired.  

Jack Harris
“After I signed off from my show at 7 a.m. today, iHeartRadio bosses told me that they were cutting back on expenses and had to let me go,” said Harris, 81, who has been with the station off and on since 1970, including the last 29 years. “I didn’t think I was that big of a burden on them. I was making a seventh of what I made three or four years ago.”

Harris was shocked by the decision and wished that they’d given him one more show to say goodbye to his fans, reports The Tampa Bay Tiimes.

“Just tell them that they have been great to me over the years,” he said of his fans. “They are what I will miss most.”

On Twitter, Ryan Gorman wrote that his “The Ryan Gorman Show,” which has been airing weekdays from 7 to 10 a.m., will take Harris’ time slot. His show will now run from 5 to 9 a.m.

A Possible TikTok Shutdown Has Music Industry Nervous

TikTok has become the dominant platform for burgeoning artists to make a name for themselves; not only via their own short-form videos, but those of others who use their music to soundtrack their own content, reports The L-A Times.

Artists from Doja Cat to Lizzy McAlpine to Ice Spice, to name but a few, have enjoyed meteoric rises thanks in part to the platform, connecting with fans through humor, authenticity or both. The app has also given second life to songs whose moment had seemingly passed — look no further than Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit “Dreams,” which resurfaced on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2020.

Last year, TikTok’s end-of-year report highlighted that all but one of the 14 songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100 were “driven by significant viral trends on TikTok,” from Harry Styles “As It Was” to Jack Harlow’s “First Class” to Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit.”

“In the early days of streaming, people said it would democratize music,” said Bill Werde, who directs Syracuse University’s Bandier music program and publishes the Full Rate No Cap newsletter. “But I don’t think it did, because when you lower that barrier of entry, it becomes very difficult to break through. Major labels, and other companies and artists with substantial marketing budgets, were really advantaged on Spotify.

“TikTok came along though, and really turned that notion on its head,” Werde continued. “Anyone could break on TikTok, and anyone did break.”

In the United States, however, TikTok faces an uncertain future. Earlier this month, the White House endorsed a bill that would give President Biden the authority to ban TikTok in the United States, or force ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the app, to sell to an American company. Government officials have called the app a “national security threat,” citing the potential for China to force Bytedance to turn over the data of its American users, or spread misinformation to turn its citizens against its country.

NFL Makes Streaming Deal For Bars, Other Venues

The National Football League and private-equity firm RedBird Capital Partners are creating a venture to stream NFL games and eventually other live sports and events to commercial establishments such as bars and restaurants, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Starting with the 2023-24 season, the new venture, named EverPass Media, will be the commercial distributor for the NFL’s Sunday Ticket, a subscription-only package popular with sports bars that gives access to all Sunday afternoon games for out-of-market teams, the NFL and RedBird said. 

Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube last year struck a seven-year deal with the NFL for residential rights to Sunday Ticket in a deal valued at $2 billion annually, but it didn’t acquire the commercial rights. Satellite broadcaster DirecTV previously had held the commercial and residential rights for Sunday Ticket for nearly three decades.

The Sunday Ticket commercial rights fees have been valued at $200 million annually. In addition to the rights fee, the NFL’s investment arm, 32 Equity, will take a stake in EverPass Media, the parties said. 

Intimidation? Journalist Matt Taibbi Gets IRS Visit To His Home

The same day journalist Matt Taibbi was voluntarily testifying before Congress in Washington, D.C., an IRS agent showed up unannounced at his New Jersey home, reports Fox Business.

Taibbi has been personally involved with revealing the "Twitter Files," or installments of behind-the-scenes documents new Twitter CEO Elon Musk provided to show how the social media platform previously censored content and users, among other things.

Taibbi testified before the newly Republican-created Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government about what he learned about Twitter on March 9, the same day an IRS agent made an unusual visit to his home.

"What an amazing coincidence," tweeted Michael Shellenberger, who was also involved with Musk and Twitter and also testified that same day.

TV Ratings: Fox News Dominates 2023 1Q, March

FOX News Channel (FNC) finished the first quarter of 2023 as cable’s most-watched network in primetime and total day viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.  Additionally, FNC beat CNN and MSNBC combined with total day and primetime viewers and the A25-54 demo for the seventh consecutive quarter. 

With primetime viewers in cable news, this marked the 85th straight quarter that FNC has been number one. Additionally, FNC won every single weekday hour over the cable news competition with double and triple-digit percent advantages while delivering 98 of the top 100 telecasts in cable news. In total day, FNC delivered 1,364,000 viewers, 174,000 with A25-54 and 111,000 with A18-49. In primetime, FNC netted 2,088,000 viewers, 259,000 in the 25-54 demo, and 171,000 with A18-49. Additionally, FNC’s cable news audience share increased to over 52% across all key dayparts and categories as more Democrats and Independents tuned in to FNC over any other network, according to data from Nielsen MRI Fusion. In primetime, CNN averaged just 124,000 with A25-54, its lowest quarter since 1991. CNN is also down the most in cable news for the first quarter year over year across the board.

During the first quarter of 2023, FNC delivered the top 13 programs in cable news in total viewers and the top 15 programs in the younger 25-54 demo. FNC was the number one cable network during total day among Asian viewers and the top cable news network with Hispanic viewers across both primetime and total day.

Dolly and Garth To Host The ACM Awards

The Academy of Country Music, Prime Video, and Dick Clark Productions announced today that global superstars Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks will host the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT/5 p.m. PDT, which will stream live exclusively for a global audience across 240+ territories on Prime Video from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

The Emmy-nominated, star-powered experience will celebrate country music’s biggest stars and emerging talent, and feature unforgettable performances, exclusive collaborations, and unexpected moments that will captivate fans worldwide. The full rebroadcast of the ceremony and performances will stream the next day for free on Amazon Freevee.

Quu Expands Content Partnership to Entire Radio Industry

Quu Inc
. is rolling out its exclusive Content Partnership to the radio industry. This innovative sponsorship drives new, long-term revenue by embedding advertiser messages on vehicle dashboards during station programming.

The Content Partnership, appearing thousands of times a month for clients, is a unique opportunity for advertisers that delivers huge reach and listener engagement.

Broadcasters like Audacy, Beasley Media Group, Radio FM Fargo, and others have successfully sold the Content Partnership to local advertisers during the pilot phase. It works for markets of all sizes – for example, a top 10 market sold an auto dealership a year-long content partnership for $300K. A top 200 market sold the Content Partnership across multiple stations for $90K. Click here for more station success stories.

MIW Adds Two New Board Members

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. (MIW) has announced the addition of two new members to its Board of Directors: Lori Flowers,  Manager, Integrated Marketing and Project Manager for Radio One and Jenna Miller, Integrated Sales Manager for Cox Media Group (CMG), Tampa.

Lori Flowers (right) is responsible for creating marketing opportunities for all Radio One & Reach Media radio stations and nationally syndicated shows. 

Her impressive 20-year career in radio has afforded Lori an opportunity to make her mark in Phoenix, West Palm Beach, Miami, Washington, DC and, most recently, Radio One Atlanta where she served as Marketing Director. L

Jenna Miller oversees sales efforts for two of Cox Media Group Tampa’s music brands and is the point manager for CMG Health Marketing and CMG Research. A Metro Detroit native and graduate of Calvin University, Jenna began her radio career in Detroit in 1998 selling All News, Play by Play, Classic Rock and News/Talk formats. Her experience and business acumen earned Jenna senior account executive positions in New York City for both iHeartMedia Inc. and Audacy Inc. (formerly Entercom Communications).

MIW Board President Ruth Presslaff said, “Both Lori and Jenna share a history with MIW, starting as mentees and now joining us as Board members. They are each accomplished and inspiring professionals who are generously giving back to the betterment of women in the industry, and the industry as a whole. We welcome them wholeheartedly and are thankful for their participation.” To learn more about the organization, please visit

Audacy Promotes Jenna Weiss-Berman To EVP/Podcasts

Audacy has promoted Jenna Weiss-Berman to Executive Vice President of Podcasts, reporting to J.D. Crowley, Audacy’s Chief Digital Officer and President, Podcast and Streaming. 

In this role, Weiss-Berman will oversee Audacy’s podcast network and studios, including Pineapple Street Studios and Cadence13, along with strategy and development of new podcast content and distribution partnerships. She will also collaborate with programming leadership in sports and news in the growth and development of new original podcast content for podcast studio 2400Sports and across Audacy’s 28 local newsrooms in top U.S. markets.

Jenna Weiss-Berman
Max Linsky, co-founder of Pineapple Street Studios, will continue to co-lead the studio alongside Bari Finkel, Pineapple’s Head of Operations and the studio’s first employee.

“As we commit to accelerating our digital growth and enhancing performance, we’re thrilled to expand Jenna’s role to further unify and streamline our content and business efforts across our leading podcast portfolio, enabling even more rapid development of new and original IP and better leveraging our talent across the entire Audacy portfolio,” said Crowley. 

“I'm excited to help bring together the world class podcast businesses that already exist under the Audacy umbrella,” said Weiss-Berman. “We have a real opportunity to build a cohesive podcast brand that is greater than the sum of its parts, and I look forward to all that's ahead.”

Weiss-Berman has been with Audacy since its 2019 acquisition of Pineapple Street Studios. Prior to starting Pineapple Street, Weiss-Berman was head of audio at BuzzFeed and worked in public radio for almost a decade.

Wake-Up Call: Nashville Shocked Beyond Comprehension

The former student of a Christian grade school in Nashville who killed three 9-year-olds and three adults in a shooting spree there was under a doctor's care for an "emotional disorder" and had amassed a collection of guns, the city's police chief said on Tuesday. New details about assailant Audrey Elizabeth Hale, 28, emerged hours after police released harrowing video showing officers storming the Covenant School in the midst of Monday's rampage and conducting a room-to-room search before confronting and fatally shooting Hale.

Nashville police continue to look for a motive in yesterday’s fatal school shooting. They said they’re examining evidence, including writings and hand-drawn maps, that belonged to Audrey Hale, who they said killed three children and three adults at the private Christian academy. The suspect’s target was believed to be Covenant School itself, where Hale was a former student, rather than specific individuals. Police also released body-worn camera footage from two responding officers.

Daily Mail Composite 3/29/23

Katherine Koonce, 60, ran towards the sound of gunfire, a member of Nashville city council has said. He said Koonce was on a Zoom call at the time, and went to help her students. She was found lying dead inside a corridor, which Nashville police chief said indicated she had 'a confrontation' with Audrey Hale, a transgender 28-year-old. Hale shot through the locked glass door at the entrance to The Covenant School at 10:13am on Monday, and the alarm was raised. Hale then began prowling for victims - chosen at random, police said - and was seen on surveillance footage walking through the corridors, assault rifle in hand. Russ Pulley, a member of Nashville city council and a former FBI agent, said Koonce tried to save her students.

Tulsa Radio: Mark Shecterle New VP/MM For Cox Media Group

Cox Media Group (CMG) has announced Mark Shecterle was named the Vice President & Market Manager of CMG Radio in Tulsa, effective April 10. Mark will oversee all of CMG’s radio stations in the market, including K95.5 Tulsa, 102.3 KRMG, Mix 96.5 Tulsa, and 103.3 The Eagle.

Mark Shecterle
Mark launched his 35-year career with Susquehanna Radio in Houston where he held several roles, including VP/GM of Marketing and Sales. His career continued to progress from Director of Sales with Westwood One, General Sales Manager of Radio One, then Vice President of Sales for United States Traffic Network. Most recently, Mark served as the Market Manager for NRG Media in Omaha, NE.

“We’re thrilled to welcome such a talented and experienced individual to our team. Mark is an impactful leader who has a strong track record of building and developing great teams, serving the community, and delivering results,” said Rob Babin, EVP, CMG Radio. “His background and experience make him a perfect match for CMG Tulsa’s high-performing team.”

Lansing Radio: Stephanie McCoy Gets Wake-Up Duty At Duke FM

Duke Wright’s Midwest Communications, Lansing, MI welcomes long time broadcast talent Stephanie McCoy to Classic Country WWDK 94.1 DUKE FM as the new host of morning drive.

MWC Lansing OM Terry Stevens commented, “Stephanie McCoy is a media legend in the Lansing market. She is a perfect fit for The Legends of Country, 94.1 Duke FM. We’re excited to welcome her to our team and look forward to continuing The Duke’s growth in this region.”

Stephanie McCoy
Lansing Market Manager, Mark Jaycox added, “Midwest Communications founder, Duke Wright always talked about the importance of “strong localism” with his radio properties…and in that spirit, we are pleased to welcome another powerhouse talent to our lineup of top-notch radio personalities with the addition of Stephanie McCoy to the 94.1 Duke FM morning drive post. Stephanie’s warm personality, fun demeanor and strong ties to the Mid-Michigan marketplace…combined with her love for Classic Country music, make her a perfect addition to The Duke family.”

Previously, Stephanie had a successful 23 year run hosting Morning Drive at Country WITL and the last two years at WILX TV in Lansing. She joins former long term WITL talent Chris Tyler who recently was promoted to Brand Manager and hosts PM Drive on Duke FM. Stephanie began her new adventure on Monday March 27th.

Knoxville Radio: Joe Dobbins Named PD At WWST, WKHT

SummitMedia LLC today named Joe “JDub” Dobbins as the new Program Director for Star 102.1 (WWST) and Hot 104.5 (WKHT) in Knoxville, Tenn. Dobbins leads the imaging, content, promotions, and branding for the two stations, including promotions, streams, on-demand content, digital assets, and social media.

Joe Dobbins
Dobbins comes to SummitMedia after four years at Alpha Media Lincoln, where he has served as Program Director and air talent for KFRX and WDJX. He has also worked for Cumulus Media Group and Clear Channel, now iHeart Media, in his 19-plus-year career. He will also serve as a WWST on-air personality in Knoxville.

“JDub’s creativity, innovative mindset, and multi-format experience make him perfect to take Star 102.1 to the next level,” said SummitMedia’s Executive Vice President Randy Chase. “Summit is in growth mode. Great talent like JDub is the future of our medium, and we are excited to have him on our team.”

“I’ve entered the transfer portal and trading in the red to suit up in orange,” Dobbins said. “It’s extremely exciting to join SummitMedia and continue to grow as a programmer. WWST is an iconic radio station with a super STAR morning show. I cannot wait to get started.”