Saturday, January 7, 2023

January 8 Radio History

KGO Building 1926

➦In 1924...After several late-night test broadcasts, using the experimental call letter 6XG, radio station KGO signed on the air from General Electric's Oakland, electrical facility (the original two-story brick building, constructed specifically for the station on East 14th Street, still exists on the site), as part of a planned three-station network comprising WGY in Schenectady, New York, and KOA in Denver, Colorado.

The General Electric Company had been one of the giants of the electrical industry since its founding by Thomas A. Edison in the nineteenth century. After conquering the worlds of power generation and electric lighting, the company became one of the pioneers in the radio field as a partner with Westinghouse in the new RCA manufacturing conglomerate. As a major early manufacturer of radio receivers, they, like Westinghouse, saw the value in operating broadcast stations to promote the sale of radio receivers. General Electric constructed and operated WGY at its manufacturing facility in Schenectady, New York in 1922.

With the success of WGY, General Electric began making plans to build two other high-powered radio stations. One station was to cover the mountain and plains states, while the third was to be heard on the Pacific Coast. They immediately began investigating the San Francisco area as a base for the Pacific station, because of its location midway along the coast, and because of the ample supply of musical talent in the area. Originally, General Electric announced plans to build the station on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, and had drawn up plans for several ornamental antenna structures to be built there. However, they finally settled on a site in Oakland, at a G. E. power transformer manufacturing facility there, located at East 14th Street and 55th Avenue. At the time, what is now known as East Oakland was only sparsely populated, and G. E. had just completed their sprawling plant on a 24-acre site earlier that year.

Construction was begun on the studio and transmitter buildings in June of 1923, about a year before the company's third station, KOA in Denver, was begun. The license was applied for and the call letters KGO assigned. Those call letters had previously been held by a radio store in Altadena, near Los Angeles. That station had gone off the air after less than a year of operation.

Meanwhile, newspapers in the area were heralding the coming of a great new super-station to the Bay Area. The "Examiner" headlined, "Plans Ready for Biggest Radio in the West". It announced that the new thousand-watt station would be strong enough to "throw the human voice one third around the world ... more powerful than any station west of Schenectady, New York," referring to G. E.'s eastern operation.

NYC Radio: Family Feud Brews At WEPN 98.7 FM ESPN

Michael Kay

ESPN Radio New York host Michael Kay threatened to call his boss to get a producer of another show fired after Kay did not appreciate what was said about his show, reports Mediaite.

The DiPietro & Rothenberg show’s producer, Ray Santiago, got himself into hot water on Friday and aggravated Kay, who hosts The Michael Kay Show, after Santiago blasted Kay’s show about their fall in the ratings. On Friday’s show, Kay played the audio for his co-hosts, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg, to hear Santigao’s hot take about the afternoon show.

“I mean, I got to throw this out there. Is it the fear that this show is now on the rise, and that show’s kinda going in the other direction lately?” Santiago said. “There’s a lot of personal shots being taken there.”

“I think it’s getting a little, little personal over there, and if I’m gonna keep taking shots, maybe they should take a couple as well,” Santiago added.

Those comments did not sit well with Kay, and he had the YES Network camera focus on just him. Kay decided to threaten the producer’s job.

“Do you realize, Ray, that all I’d have to do is make one phone call, and you would be on the unemployment line,” Kay angrily said.

Kay doubled down that he was ready to get on the phone and call a boss and get Santiago fired for blasting The Michael Kay Show‘s ratings.

“One phone call, which I’m considering making, and you will be fired!” Kay shouted. “Do you realize that?”

Kay also told his bosses at ESPN Radio, owned by Good Karma Brands, that he would not help cross-promote their morning show, DiPietro & Rothenberg.

Cable News, C-Span Get Boost From Speaker Balloting

Live coverage of Representative Kevin McCarthy’s struggle to clinch the House speakership — and the grueling internecine fight in the Republican Party — has translated into bigger-than-usual ratings for cable news, according to The NYTimes citing Nielsen data.

And C-SPAN, the low-fi cable network beloved by the Congressional cognoscenti, has gotten a major boost in attention for its round-the-clock coverage of the House floor, now the site of a political battle for the ages.

For CNN and MSNBC, the spectacle in Washington has proved a New Year’s gift after a brutal 2022, when both networks saw their audiences plummet as Americans moved on from the Trump era and the peak of the pandemic.

As McCarthy’s losing efforts mounted on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, CNN edged Fox News in the key demographic of viewers ages 25 to 54, a highly unusual victory against its perennially higher-rated rival.

In those daytime hours, losing ballot after losing ballot, both CNN and MSNBC lured audiences far bigger than their weekday average. MSNBC said it was on pace for the network’s highest rated week in the past 6 months, at least among daytime viewers in the 25-54 age demographic.

Fox News, long the No. 1 cable news network, has remained dominant in total viewers this week. And while many conservatives have expressed dismay at the chaos among House Republicans, Fox News still scored big ratings for many of its opinion shows. 

Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, both leading right-wing personalities, have been watched closely by the political class for indications about where their sympathies lie in the running drama.

No channel, though, has enjoyed a bigger bump of cultural clout than C-SPAN, a media property with decades of experience broadcasting Congressional roll calls.

Joe Rogan: With Trump..'Morons Had A King'

Podcaster Joe Rogan said that "the morons had a king" with former President Donald Trump.

Insider reports Rogan commented on a Thursday episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast while speaking to Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy about politics.

The pair discussed newly sworn-in Republican Rep. George Santos, who has generated controversy after reports revealed he fabricated vast swaths of his resume while campaigning.

Rogan said there would be more candidates like Santos in the future and that politics is a "gross, compromised world."

"I mean, who the fuck is gonna sign off on getting rid of all the special interest groups, getting rid of all the lobbyists? No one. So it's like, that's why it was fascinating to see a guy like Trump getting to power because he was such an outsider," Rogan said in a clip published by Mediaite.

Portnoy agreed and said that the political establishment didn't know how to react to Trump as he behaved in a way they did not expect.

"And the morons had a king. There's a lot of morons," Rogan said. "And it doesn't matter what he's saying, like, for them, he represents them."

"'He's not perfect, but at least he's real' – like there's that sort of thought process that he played with," Rogan said while imitating a Trump supporter. 

Despite Rogan's popularity in right-wing circles, he has previously been dismissive of Trump and has claimed that he has turned down multiple requests for him to appear on his podcast.

"I'm not a Trump supporter in any way, shape, or form. I've had the opportunity to have him on my show more than once. I've said no every time," Rogan said in July. "I don't want to help him. I'm not interested in helping him."

Rogan has also expressed support for Trump's biggest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who he said would be a "good president."

Interview Halted After Guest Accuses Fox Of Fear Mongering

Fox News' Laura Ingraham abruptly ended an interview on her show with activist and author Steve Almond after he called out the station for fear mongering and other controversial issues.

USA Today reports Almond, who wrote "Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto," appeared on Ingraham's show Wednesday to discuss Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest during a game earlier this week.  

In his book, he discusses why he no longer watches the game he formerly loved, citing violence, racism and the growing evidence about brain injuries suffered by players.

But when Ingraham interviewed Almond about the NFL and player safety, Almond turned the discussion to criticize her and Fox News.

"I know you're focused on the players, I’m focused on the fans, and what I essentially believe is not that any government ban is going to make football safer, and certainly not some mythic woke mob that you mentioned to try to scare your viewers," he said during the segment.

Ingraham quickly interrupted Almond and began to speak over him: "I'm not trying to scare my viewers, football is not about politics."

"Oh, I think that’s your entire economic model," Almond fired back. "Your entire economic model is to scare your viewers. That’s your whole gig."

The host went on to insist her guest wanted football banned. She also said there were other ways to make sports safer, and referenced baseball and lacrosse.

"You seem to have the belief that football has a history based in racism, and a celebration … of violence," she said. "What I am saying to you is, I don't know what kind of fan base you are going to, but they don't celebrate violence, they are there to enjoy the game."

Almond calmly responded: "I agree with you Laura, I don't think the fans are there to celebrate violence."

Austin Radio: ESPN 102.7 FM Brings Back Jeff Ward

After a long and successful run in drive-time radio, Jeff Ward is bringing his self-described “barstool for thousands” back to radio with “The Jeff Ward Show” each weekday from 11am-2pm on iHeartMedia's ESPN 102.7 Austin K274AX/KBPA-HD2.

His fiercely independent and irreverent style has earned him fans well beyond Austin with his hugely popular “The Jeff Ward Show” podcast. Starting in June of 2021 with 12,000 monthly downloads, his podcast had reached 450,000 downloads in less than one year. In August of 2022, he agreed to an exclusive, two-year partnership with AdvertiseCast.
He’s a five-time winner of the Austin’s Chronicle “Best Of” Reader’s Poll, he’s also been featured on the KVUE (television) special “Austin Icons,” and he’s been a guest panelist on the syndicated political show “Beyond The Beltway.”

In addition to his talk show success, he’s had a long career in academia. With multiple degrees from The University of Texas, he’s held the title of Lecturer in the School of Business at St. Edward’s University, and Adjunct Professor at The University of Texas. Most recently, served on a distinguished panel to discuss the future of sports media, presented by the University of Texas. His “How to sell your ideas” speech has been popular on the speaker’s circuit for years. In addition, he’s served on the Board of the mobile data company Audiodellic, and been the keynote speaker and host of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

His ties to The University of Texas are extensive. He’s been nominated as an Outstanding Young Texas Ex, and while a student at The University of Texas, he was a four-year Letterman in football, a team captain, a member of the Athletics Director’s Academic Honor Roll, a three-time all-conference player, and a two-time All-American. He’s among the top five all-time leading scorers at The University of Texas, and he’s the NCAA record holder for game-winning field goals.

CNN Loses 20-Year Veteran Reporter

Suzanne Malveaux
Longtime CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux is leaving the network after a 20-year run.

Malveaux broke the news to staff in a note obtained by The NY Post, in which she said she approached CNN in the fall of 2022 “about focusing on my family and possibly pursuing some new opportunities,” and that the network “supported me.”

“I’m thrilled one of those projects will be a collaboration with a great-grandson of Nelson Mandela to tell stories and spotlight communities in conflict poised to find peace. Stay tuned,” she continued.

Malveaux, who is the longtime partner of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, first joined CNN in 2003 after previously working as a correspondent for NBC News. They have an 8-year-old daughter together.

“After 20 years of delivering groundbreaking stories for the audiences of CNN, I’ve made the heartfelt decision to put myself and my family first and to pursue my long-desired professional passions: using storytelling to promote wellness, resiliency and social justice,” Malveaux wrote. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunities CNN afforded me.”

“Throughout Suzanne’s 20-year career at CNN, she has brought historic interviews to our audiences, broken news from around the world and mentored countless journalists across multiple bureaus,” a CNN rep said. “We are excited for her and her next chapter and wish her all the best.”

Malveaux is the latest CNN veteran to depart the network, which is in the process of restructuring after a hefty round of layoffs in early December that left hundreds of staffers jobless.  Cuts included prominent CNN correspondents like Barbara Starr, Alison Kosik, Martin Savidge, Alex Field, Mary Ann Fox and Chris Cillizza, among others

A rep told the Washington Post, which first reported the news, that Malveaux’s departure was unrelated to the layoffs.

Atlanta Radio: Kara Smith Named Integrated SM For Cox Media

Cox Media Group/Atlanta names Kara Smith as Integrated Sales Manager for its cluster there, including 95.5 WSB, B98.5, 97.1 The River and Kiss 104.1, effective January 6. Smith is a 20-year media veteran and comes to CMG after serving the last five years as Local Sales Manager at WCPO-TV, Bounce Network, Scripps Digital in Cincinnati. She began her career as Account Executive in 2003 at Citadel in Knoxville, TN. Smith graduated from the University of Georgia.

Kara Smith
"I'm thrilled to have Kara join the winning sales team at CMG Atlanta. Her motivation, expertise in media, and work ethic will be a winning combination to lead this team to the next level. I know she will have a positive impact on our local clients and team," said CMG/Atlanta radio Director of Sales Kris Hackett Lucas.

"I am honored to join the Cox Media Group in my hometown of Atlanta. I grew up listening to these distinguished CMG radio stations. It's a dream come true to now represent them. I look forward to serving and leading this talented team, as we serve the business community of greater Atlanta," added Smith.

R.I.P.: Dick Chapin, Longtime Lincoln-Based Broadcaster

Dick Chapin (1922-2023)
A radio legend who spent more than 30 years at the helm of Stuart Broadcasting (based in Lincoln, NE) has died.

Dick Chapin passed away Thursday in Lincoln. He was 99 years old and would have turned 100 on March 20th.

According to the Nebraska Broadcasters Association, Chapin got his start in broadcasting in March 1953, joining KFOR as an account executive. By September 1953, he was named General Sales Manager and the following year was named General Manager of KFOR Radio and Television.

In 1958, he was elected Vice President of Stuart Investment Company, the parent company of Stuart Broadcasting Company, owners of KFOR and KFRX.

Under Chapin’s management and direction, Stuart Investments added KSAL-AM and KYEZ-FM Salina, Kansas; KOEL-AM/FM Oelwein, Iowa; KWTO-AM/FM Springfield, Missouri; and KRGI-AM/FM Grand Island.

When Stuart Broadcasting was purchased by DKM Broadcasting in late 1985, Chapin was named president of DKM Broadcasting Midwest.

He formed Chapin Enterprises, his own media brokerage firm, in 1989. He also went into station ownership purchasing radio station KSYZ in Grand Island which he helped manage and later sold in 1999.

January 7 Radio History

➦In 1904...The Marconi Company made a proposal that there be an international radio distress signal in Morse Code.

“C.Q.D” meant “Stop Sending and Listen” although many eventually thought it to mean “Come, Quick, Danger”. The code was replaced in 1908 by “S.O.S.” because it was quicker to transmit by wireless radio and could not be misinterpreted.

➦In 1924...composer George Gershwin began work on the incomparable score of “Rhapsody in Blue” (he completed it some three weeks later). George was only 26 years old at the time.

➦In 1927...First established commercial telephone service between North America and Europe.

Using radio, the American Telephone and Telegraph Co hosted a two-way conversation between New York and London. The two parties on the line were Walter S Gifford, the president of AT&T, in NY, and Sir Evelyn Murray, the Secretary of the General Post Office, which managed the British telephone system at the time.

➦In 1939...comedian Red Skelton was given his first national starring vehicle as ‘Avalon Time’ debuted on the NBC Red radio network.

➦In 1940...Gene Autry’s "Melody Ranch" debuted on the CBS Radio Network. It stayed on the air for 16 years.

➦In 1941...The NBC Blue Radio Network debuted "The Squeaky Door". The show was later became known as "Inner Sanctum." Raymond Edward Johnson was ‘Raymond your host’ for the first 4 seasons.  Thereafter an even more malevolent (but nameless) host was portrayed by Paul McGrath until the final Sanctum show in October 1952.

Nikola Tesla
➦In 1943...Inventor Nikola Tesla, best remembered for his design of the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system and his contributions to the invention of radio communication, died of a coronary thrombosis at the age of 86.

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

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

1901 Newspaper Article

In 1900, Tesla was granted patents for a "system of transmitting electrical energy" and "an electrical transmitter." When Guglielmo Marconi made his famous first-ever transatlantic radio transmission in 1901, Tesla quipped that it was done with 17 Tesla patents.

This was the beginning of years of patent battles over radio with Tesla's patents being upheld in 1903, followed by a reverse decision in favor of Marconi in 1904. In 1943, a Supreme Court of the United States decision restored the prior patents of Tesla, Oliver Lodge, and John Stone.  The court declared that their decision had no bearing on Marconi's claim as the first to achieve radio transmission, just that since Marconi's claim to certain patents were questionable, he could not claim infringement on those same patents  (there are claims the high court was trying to nullify a World War I claim against the U.S. government by the Marconi Company via simply restoring Tesla's prior patent).

➦In 1949...Radio personality Bill Gable was born.  Hegot his start in radio as a teenager in Allentown, PA and went on to work in the biggest markets in North America, including Detroit-Windsor at CKLW (The Big 8) in the 1970s.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Google Working On Continuous Cross-Device Listening

Google is working on a media playback feature that will enable consumers to jump from one device to the next as they move throughout their day.

The feature should make it easier to target ads under privacy regulations, reports Mediapost.

The devices, which will link to each other through several types of technology, will identify the last piece of audio content played, so users will have the ability to start playing a podcast or some other type of media in the car and resume the playback on their phone, on the go or on their TV in their home.

The company described in a blog post that it uses a combination of signals such as Bluetooth Low Energy, Wi-Fi, and ultra-wideband (UWB), along with the nearby device feature that identifies the proximity of the devices.

As the user moves their physical location, these media notifications will pop up on their phone or other devices asking if the user would like to transfer the audio over to a nearby device.

Google is working with Spotify and YouTube Music to use these notifications to help users enjoy the content they are streaming, on the most optimal device available to them.

Google’s work with Spotify will enable users to easily switch playback between any Spotify Connect device from Android’s media player.

Google and Microsoft have been working on this type of technology for years, which will allow them to identify a specific sequence of devices that likely belongs to the same person through a sign-in and opt-in method, similar to the way each of the companies independently targets advertisements.

Wake-Up Call: Ukraine Shoots-Down Holiday 'Cease-Fire'

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered his armed forces to observe a unilateral 36-hour cease-fire in Ukraine this weekend for the Orthodox Christmas holiday, the first such sweeping truce move in the nearly 11-month-old war. Kyiv indicated it wouldn’t follow suit. Putin did not appear to condition his cease-fire order on Ukraine’s acceptance, and it wasn’t clear whether hostilities would actually pause on the 1,100-kilometer (684-mile) front line or elsewhere. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the Russian move as playing for time to regroup its invasion forces and prepare additional attacks.

At various points during the war that began Feb. 24, Russian authorities have ordered limited, local truces to allow civilian evacuations or other humanitarian purposes. Thursday’s order was the first time Putin has directed his troops to observe a cease-fire throughout Ukraine.

➤UKRAINE TO GET MORE ARMOUR: The U.S., France and Germany have said they will send dozens of armored infantry vehicles to Ukraine, a significant deployment of Western support at a critical juncture in its war against invading Russian forces. President Biden said Thursday that the U.S. would provide Bradley Fighting Vehicles, a tracked vehicle that resembles a tank but with a smaller gun, fulfilling months of requests from Kyiv. The Bradleys are part of a new military-aid package—which officials said they expected to outline formally Friday—that would include other munitions, vehicles and weaponry.  Germany, meanwhile, said it would send Marder infantry vehicles, and France said it would send AMX-10 wheeled armored vehicles.

FTC Considers Banning Non-Competes

In a far-reaching move that could raise wages and increase competition among businesses, the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday unveiled a rule that would block companies from limiting their employees’ ability to work for a rival.

The NY Times reports the proposed rule would ban provisions of labor contracts known as noncompete agreements, which prevent workers from leaving for a competitor or starting a competing business for months or years after their employment, often within a certain geographic area. The agreements have applied to workers as varied as sandwich makers, hairstylists, doctors and software engineers.

Lina Khan
Studies show that noncompetes, which appear to directly affect roughly 20 percent to 45 percent of U.S. workers in the private sector, hold down pay because job switching is one of the more reliable ways of securing a raise. Many economists believe they help explain why pay for middle-income workers has stagnated in recent decades.

Other studies show that noncompetes protect established companies from start-ups, reducing competition within industries. The arrangements may also harm productivity by making it hard for companies to hire workers who best fit their needs.

The F.T.C. proposal is the latest in a series of aggressive and sometimes unorthodox moves to rein in the power of large companies under the agency’s chair, Lina Khan.

The public will be allowed to submit comments on the proposal for 60 days, at which point the agency will move to make it final. An F.T.C. document said the rule would take effect 180 days after the final version was published, but experts said it could face legal challenges.

The agency estimated that the rule could increase wages by nearly $300 billion a year across the economy. Evan Starr, an economist at the University of Maryland who has studied noncompetes, said that was a plausible wage increase after their elimination.

NYC Radio: Michael Kay Considers Retiring From Daily Show

Michael Kay’s run on New York sports radio could be coming to a close, The NY Post is reporting.

Kay is seriously contemplating retiring from his WEPN 987. FM ESPN New York show after more than two decades on the air, according to sources.  When reached, Kay and ESPN declined comment.

At the end of September, Kay’s multi-million dollar contract with ESPN New York runs out and, while there have been talks about an extension, Kay, according to sources, has told ESPN officials his expectation is to step away. Many of them believe he is not bluffing.

Nonetheless, ESPN continues to pursue an extension and there is a chance that it could make it so worth his while he remains on the program that bears his name with partners Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg.

However, with his 62nd birthday next month, a wife, two young kids and another full-time job as the TV voice of the Yankees, this doesn’t appear to be a negotiating ploy.

NYC Radio: WEPN 98.7 FM ESPN Radio Goes Local

WEPN 98.7 FM ESPN New York radio began 21 years ago, and for 21 years many have suggested that for the station to succeed, it must focus more on local than national programming.

Starting this week, the station as made a big move in that direction, going mostly local from 6 a.m. to midnight, the exception being Mike Greenberg’s show from 10 a.m. to noon.  And Greenberg is an avid Jets fan who grew up in Manhattan, so even that is a partial victory for local listeners.

“It goes to our mission statement: Serve fans anytime, anywhere,” Scott McCarthy, vice president of ESPN Audio, told Newsday.

“It's sort of baked into our DNA to always be looking at that and trying to figure out what we could be doing better or differently to serve fans.”

For years, ESPN New York has struggled to compete in ratings with WFAN, in part because of its reliance on national shows, which always are a tough sell in this area.

McCarthy said after looking at the “competitive landscape,” against WFAN and beyond, executives decided at last to change the mix.

Automakers Show Off In-Car Entertainment Options at CES

What started out as a novelty offered by Elon Musk to Tesla owners has turned into table stakes in the next generation of electric vehicles.

Reuters reports automakers from Sony Honda to Hyundai are introducing ways at the CES 2023 technology trade show this week to reshape the in-car entertainment experience, including offering video games during the rides. They are positioning themselves to take advantage of the time people spend in their cars as a source of potentially lucrative, recurring revenue.

"This is a field which can be deployed very quickly," Dirk Hilgenberg, head of Volkswagen AG's CARIAD software unit, told Reuters at CES. "You could just host the third-party app for a streaming service, or generate joint platforms. You guarantee certain volumes, you guarantee certain revenue."

While car radios have been an entertainment staple in vehicles for decades, Tesla vehicles have reset consumer expectations with the ability to watch popular video streaming services, such as Netflix, YouTube and Hulu, while the vehicle is parked and charging.

Other automakers have followed suit. In October, BMW announced a partnership with AirConsole to bring casual gaming into its vehicles. Stellantis last year announced plans to add Inc's Fire TV for Auto to its new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs.

In Las Vegas, South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor Co said it would use technology developed by Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O), a company whose chips power PC gaming, to stream games in cars.

TV Ratings: College Bowls Attract Viewers

For the first time in the 15-week-old 2022-23 television season, NFL programming did not top the prime-time ratings, reports The L-A Times.

A College Football Playoff semifinal on ESPN, Georgia’s 42-41 victory over Ohio State on Saturday night, averaged 21.736 million viewers, the most among prime-time broadcast and cable programs, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Wednesday.

The audience for the game, whose outcome was not decided until Noah Ruggles missed a 50-yard field goal attempt with three seconds to play, was the largest for a prime-time College Football Playoff semifinal since the first year of the playoffs, when an average of 28.27 million viewers watched Ohio State’s 42-35 upset of top-ranked Alabama on New Year’s Day 2015.

Viewership was up 31.7% from the 16.506 million average for Georgia’s 34-11 victory over Michigan in the New Year’s Eve 2021 prime-time semifinal.

ESPN has televised the College Football Playoff semifinals and title game since its inception.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers averaged 17.177 million viewers, third for the week behind the Georgia-Ohio State game and the 11-minute studio show that preceded it and averaged 21.06 million viewers.

NFL programming had topped the prime-time ratings each of the first 16 weeks of the regular season. “Sunday Night Football” led all prime-time programs 14 times. Fox’s NFL postgame show finished first the week of Nov. 7-13. NBC’s coverage of the Thanksgiving night game between the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots finished first the week of Nov. 21-27.

Five nights of bowl coverage plus the “Monday Night Football” game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Indianapolis Colts put ESPN at the top of the network rankings, averaging 7.422 million viewers.

NBC finished second after 12 first-place finishes over the season’s first 14 weeks, averaging 4.27 million viewers. The only other weeks NBC did not win this season came when Fox aired the World Series.

CBS was third, averaging 3.96 million viewers. CBS’ average included a 22-minute overrun of its afternoon NFL coverage into prime time, whose viewership figure was not available. The overrun is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.

ABC was fourth, averaging 2.9 million viewers.

The CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” was the top-rated non-sports program for the 12th time in the season, averaging 9.258 million viewers, eighth for the week behind the Georgia-Ohio State game and the 11-minute studio show preceding it; “Sunday Night Football”; an 8-minute NFL postgame show that preceded “60 Minutes”; two “Sunday Night Football” pregame shows; and “Monday Night Football.”

“Yellowstone” was the most-watched entertainment program for the seventh time in the seven weeks an original episode has aired during its fifth season, with the midseason finale of the neo-Western averaging a combined 9.008 million viewers on Paramount Network and CMT, ninth for the week.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of four college bowl games and two bowl studio shows on ESPN; two NFL games; four NFL pregame shows; one NFL postgame show; “60 Minutes”; “Yellowstone”; two segments of “Dick Clark’s Prime Time New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2023”; “Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party”; “New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash 2023” on CBS; and “The 45th Annual Kennedy Center Honors” on CBS.

Indy Radio: Jeff Smulyan Talks About Radio

Jeff Smulyan

Dave Lindquist, a reported with the Indianapolis Business Journal, has an interesting talk with Emmis Corp. founder Jeff Smulyan about his 2022 memoir “Never Ride a Roller Coaster Upside Down: The Ups, Downs and Reinvention of an Entrepreneur.”

The book—which he wrote at his daughter’s urging—caps a year of tremendous transition for Smulyan, whose roster of former employees includes David Letterman, Mike Pence, Isaac Hayes and Ken Griffey Jr.

Emmis sold four Indianapolis radio stations and Indianapolis Monthly magazine in 2022, ending the company’s four-decade run as a media powerhouse. Although Emmis still owns two radio stations in New York City, the company is now focused on three assets it has in the fields of e-commerce, ergonomics and corporate podcasting.

Lindquist talks with Smulyan about his career, his successes and some of his initiatives that didn’t go so well, including NextRadio—a costly effort to make mobile phones act like smart portable radios that never took off.

R.I.P.: Randy Lemmon, Longtime Houston Radio Host

Randy Lemmon (1961-2023)

Longtime KTRH 740 AM radio host Randy Scott Lemmon has died in New York City, the Houston station announced Wednesday. He was 61.

According to the station, Lemmon died at Mt. Sinai Hospital with complications due to a stroke. The station noted that he was surrounded by his family when he passed.

Lemmon was the host of "Gardenline" for nearly 30 years, giving advice every weekend morning about lawns, gardens, and outdoor living.

Referred to as the Garden Guru for Houston & the Gulf Coast, Lemmon is also known for his schedules and lists, such as his Lawn Fertilization Schedule and his 10 Commandments of Mulch. He has also written several gardening books and was a frequent guest on local television.

Before his radio program, Randy was a television and radio producer for the Texas Farm Bureau and spent nearly a decade at Texas A&M University, his alma mater, producing news and commentary for an agricultural network he created with the College of Agriculture, according to KTRH's news release.

January 6 Radio History

➦In 1838...Morse Code privately demonstrated

➦In Danny Thomas was born Amos Muzyad Yahkoob in Deerfield Michigan.  His broadcast credits began in radio with Baby Snooks, the Bickersons (Drene Time) & The Big Show.  Besides his own successful TV sitcom Make Room for Daddy (later renamed the Danny Thomas Show) he had a hand in producing the Dick Van Dyke Show, the Andy Griffith Show, and the Mod Squad.  He founded St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

He died Feb 6, 1991 after a heart attack, at age 79.

➦In 1939...producer/journalist Carlton E Morse, premiered 'I Love A Mystery', which aired afternoon's on NBC's West Coast radio Network.

He is best known for his creation of the radio serial One Man's Family, which debuted in 1932 and ran until 1959 as one of the most popular as well as long-running radio soap operas of the time.

Carlton E Morse
A radio legend, he experimented with television and published three novels. Morse is considered by many to be one of the best radio scriptwriters.

After losing his newspaper job, Morse brought several scripts he had written throughout the 1920s to an interview with NBC. He soon was offered a job at KGO, the San Francisco outlet of NBC's Blue Network, and began his radio career scripting House of Myths. Morse began work on NBC Mystery Serial, which included such episodes as "Captain Post: Crime Specialist" and "Case of the One-eyed Parrot". Other mysteries scripted by Morse included The Witch of Endor, The City of the Dead, Captain Post: Crime Specialist, The Game Called Murder and Dead Men Prowl.

He also did four programs based on San Francisco Police Department files: Chinatown Squad, Barbary Coast Nights, Killed in Action and To the Best of Their Ability. Morse worked closely with San Francisco Police Chief William J. Quinn, who narrated all four series.

"One Man's Family" was a daily soap opera, targeted at housewives, and "I Love a Mystery" was an adventure serial for adolescents and lovers of the macabre. Both are regarded by radio historians as two of the all-time best radio serials.

➦In 1941...a young actor appeared for the first time in a new program on CBS Radio, 'Home of the Brave'. This marked Richard Widmark‘s professional acting debut.  His first film appearance was 6 years later.

➦In 1945...a new mystery drama ‘The Saint’ based on the Leslie Charteris novels, began a Saturday evening run on NBC radio. Vincent Price did not come to the lead role of Simon Templar until 1947 on CBS.

➦In 1957…Elvis Presley made his third and final appearance on CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Show, performing seven numbers over a 20-minute segment. Among them were “Peace in the Valley” and “My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again.” Sullivan called Presley a “fine boy” and said he was easy to work with.

Sullivan demanded that the cameramen shoot Elvis only from the waist up this time. Presley sang seven songs: "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me Tender," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Peace in the Valley" (at the request of the network), "Too Much," and "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again."

Joe O'Brien
➦In 1969...NYC personality Joe O'Brien started at WNBC 660 AM.  A Yonkers native, O'Brien began his career in 1935 when he got his first radio job with WMCA 570 AM in NYC. He worked at the station for 34 years and became one of the Good Guys team of DJs in the late 1960's. They played Top 40 hits and became nearly as popular as the music they played.

For a time, O'Brien was the No. 1 morning man in New York City.

O'Brien handled morning duties until he was replaced by Don Imus in 1972. Mr. O'Brien then went to WHUD in Peekskill, N.Y. He retired in 1986, but continued to do weekend specials for WHUD until 2000.

He died in a car accident in 2005 at age 90.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

D-C Radio: iHM Launches iHeartSports D-C on 1190 AM

iHeartMedia Washington, D.C. today announces the launch of 1190 iHeartSports DC – The DMV’s Best Bet on Sports.  iHM is operating the station as a LMA.

1190 iHeartSports DC covers the entire DMV on WTSD 1190 AM, W284CQ 104.7 FM and 101.1 HD2 and is available as well on and the iHeartRadio App. 1190 iHeartSports DC will feature Fox Sports Radio, Monday through Friday from 6am to 5pm and VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, Monday through Friday from 5pm to 6am and weekends.

“We are excited to announce the launch of 1190 iHeartSports DC,” said Aaron Hyland, Region President for iHeartMedia. “We are thrilled to deliver this incredible lineup of the biggest names in sports talk audio to the DMV including exclusive Washington Commanders content utilizing 1190 AM, 104.7 FM and 101.1 HD2 and iHeartMedia’s unmatched scale and reach.”

Fox Sports Radio’s powerhouse lineup of the best in sports radio will begin each weekday morning with “Two Pro’s and a Cup of Joe” featuring former Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington, followed by Sports Emmy Award-winner Dan Patrick. Then at 12pm it’s “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd before Doug Gottlieb takes over from 3pm to 5pm. VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, educates and entertains sports fans, delivering real-time sports wagering content for both sharp bettors and those brand new to sports betting action. Some of the sports betting industry’s most knowledgeable experts and personalities offer first-class analysis and insights, setting the stage for the day’s biggest events.

1190 iHeartSports DC will feature exclusive content from The Washington Commanders.

On December 30, 2022 New World Radio Group which owns WCRW announced that it would end its "New World Radio" brokered programming; under a three-year local marketing agreement, iHeartMedia will operate the station under the WTSD call sign. 

Report: Podcast Enthusiasm Dissipates

Hyperbole aside, there is an unmistakably dour vibe now permeating podcast land — and for good reason, according to Bloomberg. Following a prolonged buying spree, some of the industry’s biggest spenders are now pulling back due to growing concerns about the economy and the possibility of weakening advertising sales in audio.

Sirius XM Holdings Inc. has slowed down its dealmaking, and Spotify Technology SA is freezing its US budget for new podcasts, according to people familiar with the situation. Amazon Music has pulled back on new deals and instructed its team to reduce offers that were already on the table but unsigned, said two people who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. In some cases, all three companies are offering smaller upfront payments to new shows and seeking to keep more of the resulting advertising revenue, according to several people familiar with the matter. Shows that used to be able to claim 80% of advertising sales are now often forced to settle for 50%, two people said.

During the boom years, it felt like podcast licensing deals were ever escalating in value. But lately there have been signs that the steep upward trajectory may be tapering off.

Indy Radio: Darlene Park, New VP/MM For Cumulus Cluster

Darlene Park
Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed Darlene Park as Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Indianapolis. 

Park joins Cumulus Media from Bonneville Denver, where she was Director of Sales for the company’s four-station group. Prior to that, she was General Sales Manager for Entercom Denver (Audacy) and was previously General Sales Manager for Clear Channel Chicago (iHeartMedia). Park brings over 25 years’ experience in radio and media sales to Cumulus Media. She currently serves the radio industry as a member of the RAB Sales Advisory Committee.

Dave Milner, President, Operations, Cumulus Media, said: “Darlene Park is a smart and proven leader in our industry. Her skills as a marketing professional, along with her focus on people and culture make her the perfect choice to lead our terrific Indianapolis cluster.”

Darlene Park commented: “I am honored to lead Cumulus Media’s very talented and dedicated team in Indianapolis. This remarkable group of iconic radio stations is focused on delivering great content for listeners and amazing results for clients. It is a privilege to work with these heritage brands and the team that positively impacts our community, listeners and clients.”

đŸ“»Cumulus Media owns and operates six popular radio stations in Indianapolis, including: 104.5 WJJK-FM (Classic Hits), 93.9X/WNDX-FM (Rock), WFMS 95.5/WFMS-FM (Country); 107.9 The Mix/WNTR-FM (AC), 99.5 ZPL/WZPL-FM (CHR), and CBS Sports Radio/WXNT-AM (Sports).

Update: Radio Broadcasting By The Numbers

Every two years, the Federal Communications Commission is required to publish a Communications Marketplace Report that assesses the state of competition across the broader communications marketplace in the United States. Radio World reports the figures include everything from deep dives into the mobile wireless spectrum and cable industry prices to, more relevantly for our readers, a breakdown of annual revenue and programming formats of licensed broadcast radio stations in the country.

Station count

In its report, the commission notes that the number of AM, FM and LPFM radio stations in the United States has remained relatively steady in recent years. This is because new stations are possible only through new allocations and award of licenses, either via auction, in the case of commercial stations, or a comparative system for non-commercial stations.

Top 10 radio station owners

In the report, the FCC lists the top 10 largest radio station owners, ranked by revenue. It says these owners control stations that are not confined to particular geographic regions; rather, their stations are spread across various geographical markets in the United States. As can be seen in the chart below, iHeartMedia continues to saturate U.S. markets with 745 stations, as compared to its runner up, Cumulus Media, with 355 stations. (Terrier Media Buyer is Cox Media Group.)

This data from the commission also shows that  radio revenue never fully recovered from the decline experienced during the recession following the 2008 financial crisis.

Fox News To Remain In NYC's Midtown Manhattan

In a major boost to the Midtown office market, Fox and News Corp signed separate leases to extend their headquarters commitments at 1211 Sixth Ave. through 2042. The leases total nearly 1.2 million square feet in the 44-story, 2 million square-foot tower between West 47th and 48th streets,  reports The NY Post..

News Corp, which owns the New York Post, and Fox Corp. are separate companies controlled by Rupert Murdoch. A proposal to re-merge them into a single entity is under consideration by the two companies.

The blockbuster deal with 1211 Sixth owner Ivanhoe Cambridge, a Canadian pension fund, also includes plans to significantly improve the property. Changes overseen by asset manager Hines are to include a renovated main lobby, upgrades to the outdoor plaza, and creation of a new 47th Street lobby. Work is to start in late 2023.

The combined lease was signed in 2022 but kept under wraps until now. It was Manhattan’s largest last year and the largest in Manhattan in three years.

It’s a huge shot in the arm for Sixth Avenue, which has lost fewer tenants to the far West Side and downtown than have Third and Park Avenues. Several other mid-20th century towers in the West 40s and 50s have also undergone significant improvements, such as Rockefeller Group’s former Time + Life Building at 1271 Sixth.