Saturday, January 28, 2023

January 29 Radio History

➦In 1929...Newspaper gossip columnist Walter Winchell was  first heard on radio.  But it would be more than a year before he got his own show on local New York radio, which led to national success.

Walter Winchell
The show, entitled Saks on Broadway, was a 15-minute feature that provided business news about Broadway. He switched to WJZ,  (later to be renamed WABC, now WCBS-AM) and the NBC Blue (in the '40s to become ABC RadioNework),  in 1932 for the Jergens Journal.

Winchell opened his radio broadcasts by pressing randomly on a telegraph key, a sound that created a sense of urgency and importance, and using the catchphrase "Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press." He would then read each of his stories with a staccato delivery (up to a rate of 197 words per minute, though he claimed a speed of well over 200 words per minute in an interview in 1967), noticeably faster than the typical pace of American speech. His diction also can be heard in his breathless narration of The Untouchables television series as well as in several Hollywood films.

Winchell found embarrassing stories about famous people by exploiting his exceptionally wide circle of contacts, and trading gossip, sometimes in return for his silence. His uniquely outspoken style made him both feared and admired, and his newspaper column was syndicated worldwide. In the 1930s, he attacked the appeasers of Nazism, and in the '50s aligned with Joseph McCarthy in his campaign against communists. The McCarthy connection in time made him deeply unfashionable, his talents did not adapt well for television, and his career ended in humiliation.

➦In 1942...The 1st broadcast of Roy Plomley‘s “Desert Island Discs” was heard on the BBC.  It went on to become the longest running UK radio show.

➦In 1945...Lionel Barrymore took over the host duties temporarily on the “Lux Radio Theatre” on CBS radio. This after longtime host Cecil B. DeMille refused to join the radio performers union.

➦In 1951...Major League Baseball signed a 6 year agreement for radio-TV  rights garnering a million dollars a year.

L-A Radio: KNX Unveils New PM Drive News Team

Audacy has announced the launch of “LA’s Afternoon News” on KNX News 97.1 FM, the iconic Southern California brand’s all-news afternoon show about the stories that matter to millions of Los Angeles and Orange County residents. The show will be heard weekdays from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. PT beginning Monday January 30.

Longtime Los Angeles news personality Rob Archer joins co-anchor Karen Adams and veteran traffic and breaking news reporter Brian Douglas to keep Southern Californians up to the minute on the most relevant local and national news of the day. KNX News senior content director Charles Feldman, host of “KNX In Depth,” expands his role and will contribute live interviews and reporting throughout “LA’s Afternoon News” to add depth and context to the stories being covered.

“Rob, Karen, Brian, and Charles are the perfect team to take afternoons on KNX News to the next level in 2023 and beyond,” said Jeff Federman, Regional President, Audacy Southern California. “They bring enormous reporting experience, perspective and humanity to the news that impacts our lives every day.”

A familiar voice on the Los Angeles airwaves since 1999, Archer joined KNX News in 2015. Before moving to afternoons, he anchored the weekend morning news. He also publishes short stories and poetry, and writes and records music.

Adams has anchored afternoons on KNX News since 2019. She joined the station in 2017 as a street reporter covering the presidential inauguration in Washington, several major wildfires and the 2017 Montecito mudslides. Before KNX, the Edward Murrow Award-winning journalist had stints in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

Douglas joined KNX in 2016 covering traffic as both an anchor and airborne reporter. He has been telling stories on the radio for about 27 years, with stops in New York, Chicago, and Phoenix, and hosted a national afternoon radio show on the Westwood One Radio Network for seven years.

Feldman is co-host of “KNX In-Depth” and served as the station's investigative reporter for several years. He was a CNN investigative correspondent in New York and Los Angeles for two decades before joining KNX, and has won several local and national awards for both his radio and television work.

📻Listeners can tune in to KNX Newsradio (97.1 FM and 1070 AM) in Southern California on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

GMA3 Anchors Sign Exit Agreements with ABC

Amy Robach and T J Holmes

ABC News confirmed Friday evening that “distractions” T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach are officially out at the network following their scandalous affair.

Sources tell Page Six at The NY Post that the deal between the network and their “GMA3” anchors-turned-lovers had been “signed, executed and [was] done” by Friday afternoon.

An ABC News spokesperson later confirmed the news in a statement: “After several productive conversations with Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes about different options, we all agreed it’s best for everyone that they move on from ABC News.

“We recognize their talent and commitment over the years and are thankful for their contributions.”

ABC News President Kim Godwin issued an all-staff email moments before sending the statement out wide, referring to Holmes and Robach’s highly publicized romance as “a distraction.”

“I want to share with you that we’ve reached a decision about T.J. and Amy,” she wrote in the memo.

“I know that this has been a distraction for so many of us, but let’s not forget all the great work that continues to make ABC News the #1 news network in America, and that’s because of you,” she continued.

“I want to thank you again for your patience and professionalism during this time.”

Holmes and Robach — whose entanglement allegedly began while they were training together for the March 2022 New York City Half Marathon — conducted mediation talks with ABC from Los Angeles, where they’ve been staying following a quick getaway to Turks and Caicos, reports The NY Times.

During the “extremely contentious” negotiations, the couple was was reportedly accused of “various forms of misconduct,” including that Robach, 49, once showed up to work “drunk” and alcohol was found in her dressing room.

Their departures end weeks of uncertainty inside ABC about what would become of the anchors, who were abruptly taken off the air in early December.

The departure of the anchors — who until recently had been considered rising stars with the potential to take over the network’s flagship show, “Good Morning America” — is another tough moment for ABC News. Last week, Cecilia Vega, the network’s chief White House correspondent, announced that she was leaving for a correspondent role at “60 Minutes” on CBS.

The on-air charisma between Holmes and Robach had been a staple of their early-afternoon talk show. But their careers were upended in late November when The Daily Mail reported that the anchors, both of whom were married, had been having an affair.

“GMA3,” a syndicated offshoot of “Good Morning America,” premiered in 2018. Ms. Robach, who had been with ABC News since 2012, and Mr. Holmes, there since 2014, teamed up as the show’s co-hosts in 2020.

TV Ratings: CNN This Morning Can't Get Traction

CNN just notched its lowest ratings in 9 years across all its day parts for the week of Jan. 16 through January 22, 2023, according to Nielsen averaging just 444,000 viewers in primetime, 93,000 in the all-important demo and 417,000 in viewers and 80,000 in the demo for total day. It’s the first time since May 2014 that the network failed to reach 450,000 viewers, according to The Wrap.

By comparison, during the same period Fox News drew 1.4 million viewers and 176,000 in the demo while MSNBC notched 629,000 total viewers and 69,000 in the demo. In primetime, Fox News had 2 million viewers, 256,000 in the demo and MSNBC had 943,000 viewers and 91,000 in the demo.

Some especially troublesome news out of this week’s Nielsen numbers is that Licht’s primary programming move, “CNN This Morning,” also suffered the lowest week since its launch just three months ago. It averaged just 331,000 viewers while “Fox & Friends” had nearly 1 million and “Morning Joe” drew 760,000.

Licht hand-picked CNN’s Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins to host the rebooted morning show. But so far that trio is failing to grow its audience. An individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap exclusively last week that EP Eric Hall was being reassigned to “CNN Tonight,” hosted by Laura Coates, signaling that Licht is aware that the show needs to perform better.

Insiders also told TheWrap that even hosts Lemon, Harlow and Collins “seem to be growing frustrated” over the direction.

MSNBC's Morning Joe continued to struggle among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults age 25-54, even losing to ratings-challenged CNN among the critical category. Fox News averaged 176,000 viewers among the key demo compared to 80,000 for CNN and a dismal 69,000 for MSNBC.

CNN will soon be launching a revamped daytime slate and anchor trios that aim to take a “fresh approach” to its daytime programming through two new programs.

The network will host a standalone weekday 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Eastern block anchored by John Berman, Kate Bolduan and Sara Sidner out of CNN’s New York studios, while the subsequent 1 p.m.–4 p.m. Eastern standalone program will be hosted by Brianna Keilar, Boris Sanchez and Jim Sciutto.

"The Five" was the most-watched cable news offering of the week with an average audience of 3.3 million viewers, while "Tucker Carlson Tonight," "Jesse Watters Primetime," "Hannity" and "Special Report with Bret Baier" rounded out the top five. Along the way, Fox News aired 92 of the 100 most-watched cable news telecasts last week.

D/FW Radio: WBAP's Hal Jay Waits For A New Heart

WBAP's Hal Jay

Hal Jay, a Texas Radio Hall of Fame personality who has been with WBAP 820 AM for 42 years is recovering at his home after collapsing with an irregular heart rhythm and is awaiting a heart transplant.

The Dallas Morning News reports Jay has been off the air since Jan. 10 when he collapsed at home from a bout of ventricular tachycardia. He was taken to Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth then transferred to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Jay told listeners he suffered another incident at Baylor a few days later while being visited by friends and colleagues.

“I asked the doctor ‘How sick am I?’ And he said, ‘You’re real, real sick.’ He goes, ‘Your heart’s done,’” Jay told his co-workers and listeners from his hospital bed at Baylor.

Jay suffered a previous heart attack in 2006.

Dr. Shelley A. Hall, chief of heart transplants for Baylor University Medical Center, told WBAP Jay could face a wait of “somewhere from two to six months” for his.

Jay said he is on level four of the national heart transplant waiting list. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, patients categorized as Status 1 and 2 have top priority.

Bruce Collins, WBAP program director, said Wednesday that the station doesn’t have an update but eagerly awaits Jay’s return.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with him,” he said.

Jay managed to keep his sense of humor during his updates to co-hosts Ernie Brown and Brad Barton.

“They asked me if I’m allergic to anything before they started all this, and I said, ‘hospital bills,’” he said.

The Fort Worth native began his broadcast career as a teenager in Liberal, Kan. He worked at stations in Fort Worth and Memphis before joining WBAP in 1981.

If It Weren't for Bad Luck, Jay Leno Wouldn't Have Any Luck At All

On Thursday, the late-night legend, 72, revealed to the Las Vegas Review Journal that he's on the mend again from a Jan. 17 motorcycle accident that broke several bones in his body.

To make matters worse, soon after that interview was published, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that CNBC is canceling the comedian's show, Jay Leno's Garage, after seven seasons of being in the primetime spot, as part of the network's recent shift  to invest more in business news and personal finance content — thus ending Leno's three-decades-long relationship with NBC, following a 22-year stint hosting the Tonight Show.

The comedian, who is prepping for a one-night engagement at the Wynn hotel in Vegas on March 31, explained that he "got knocked off" his vintage motorcycle (a 1940 Indian) after taking it on a test drive, during which he decided to pull over after smelling what he thought was leaking gas.

Leno on the mend
"I turned down a side street and cut through a parking lot, and unbeknownst to me, some guy had a wire strung across the parking lot but with no flag hanging from it,” Leno explained to the journal. “So, you know, I didn't see it until it was too late. It just clothesline[d] me and, boom, knocked me off the bike.

"The bike kept going," he said, noting that until now he has chosen to stay silent about the crash because of the amount of coverage he received from a prior burning accident in November, which left him with severe burns on his upper body — including his face and neck.

The crash comes nearly two months after he was hospitalized for second and third degreee burns when a clogged fuel line blew gas in his face as he and long-time friend Dave Killackey were in the undercarriage of a 1907 White Steam car.

The cancellation effectively ends his relationship with NBC that has spanned more than 30 years, beginning in 1992 when he took over The Tonight Show from the late, great Johnny Carson (after winning a highly publicized bidding war against David Letterman, who ultimately launched his own competitor show on CBS, which ran for 23 seasons).

Westwood One Sports Airing NFL Conference Games

Cumulus Media’s (NASDAQ: CMLS) Westwood One, America’s largest audio network and the official network audio partner of the National Football League, will present live play-by-play coverage of NFL Conference Championship Sunday, presented by Intuit Turbo Tax. Doubleheader coverage will begin with the pregame show at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 29 before the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles meet for the NFC Championship game and the Cincinnati Bengals battle the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. The complete broadcast schedule follows:

SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 2023: 
  • 2:00 p.m. ET: NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Kurt Warner (analyst), and Ross Tucker (sideline reporter) 
  • 6:30 p.m. ET: AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME  - Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs -  Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Tony Boselli (analyst), and Laura Okmin (sideline reporter) 
Scott Graham will host pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for both broadcasts.

The winners will meet in Super Bowl LVII on February 12, 2023, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Listeners can hear Westwood One’s NFL broadcasts on approximately 500 terrestrial radio stations nationwide as well as on, SiriusXM, NFL+ and via the NFL App.

Twin Cities Radio: Sam Sansevere Joins Carr & Company On KEEY-FM

Sam Sansevere
It was confirmed Friday that Sam Sansevere, most recently a producer for the Justice In The Morning show on AM1130 Twin Cities News Talk, will be joining iHM's Country KEEY 102.1FM.

Chris Carr & Company announced Friday that Sansevere will be the new co-host on the show, coming as McKaila Poppen leaves the station after 10 years, reports Bring Me The News website.

"We are so excited to welcome Sam to the show & the K102 family, as McKaila makes her departure into a new adventure!" the show posted. Poppen announced her departure from K102 on Thursday, saying her last day will be Jan. 31, and saying the decision to leave was hers alone.

Sansevere is the daughter of former KQRS morning show regular Bob Sansevere, the host of "The BS Show" podcast, who tweeted his congratulations.

She said she "fell in love" with K102 after starting as a promotions intern and later joining permanently as a promotions assistant after college.

In 2015 she was appointed as the digital program director and became a regular contributor and permanent producer for Chris Carr & Company, with Carr officiating her wedding in 2019.

Inflation Seems To Be Claiming Usage of Streaming Services

With fears of a recession looming larger every day, and inflation raging for months, it seems people are looking to find ways to save money. They may have found one in cutting their streaming services, reports Forbes.

The newest edition of the quarterly media consumption tracking survey from Attest, a consumer research platform, found that subscription TV services declined from October to December.

Just over 15% of Americans now say they do not use any TV subscription services. That’s up 2.8 percentage points compared to October 2022.

Attest said in a release that the decline could be a result of cost of living increases, which are forcing Americans to make tough choices about where they spend their money. Record inflation rates, which have finally started to come down, led to increases in what people paid for groceries, rent and utilities over the past year.

That means they can no longer afford all the extras they became used to when the economy was in better shape and their dollars could go farther, pre-pandemic.

Of course, other factors could also be impacting the numbers. With Covid lockdowns and long-term quarantines largely a thing of the past, people are no longer trapped inside their houses and starved for entertainment, which sparked a big uptick in subscriptions to top streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ at the start of the pandemic.

Too, streaming subscriptions can be cyclical, with people signing up when a show they want to watch is available and dropping those subscriptions later.

One victor in the fourth-quarter doldrums? Peacock. The service, which reported big gains in subscribers in its most recent earnings period, boosted weekly users by 3.4 percentage points.

And Paramount+, which had the quarter’s most popular show, according to the survey, with Yellowstone and also premiered Top Gun: Maverick, saw a very small increase in weekly users.

Attest found that overall weekly users were down for most subscription services, with Disney+ seeing the biggest hit. Those who used the service at least once a week fell by 5.4%, to 32.3% of respondents.

R.I.P.: Harold Hopson, Longtime Philly Radio Personality

Radio personality  Harold Hopson, known as “The Mighty Burner” who became a prominent figure in the Philadelphia music scene, died on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. 

He was 85, according to The Philly Tribune.

Hopson, who credited Jerry “The Geator” Blavat as one of his mentors, spent a substantial portion of his radio career at WHAT-AM, beginning in 1965. Later, he worked as the president’s assistant at WDAS. After maintaining high ratings, he ventured off into other avenues, including serving as the co-host of the Ed Hurst and Georgie Woods shows and MC of the Miss Black America Show.

Hopson became a manager and producer for jazz musicians like Charles Earland and the Fantastic Johnny C and became acquainted with jazz singer Billy Eckstine. He owned four neighborhood clubs, including the Astro Disc Club in Philadelphia’s downtown and Sonny Hopson’s Celebrity Lounge in Germantown.

His autobiography, “The Untold Story,” which he self-published, says he pressed charges against ABC, CBS and other television stations concerning the underrepresentation of Black coverage in the media.

His son, Harold “Dietz” Hopson, who is also a musician, told the Tribune that his father allowed him to sit around prominent music figures growing up, including the Delfonics. He described his father as someone who would never let you give up on your dreams.  “My dad lived by a code. He was always a respectable and honorable guy who never asked for anything in return,” he said. “He had all of these stories and met a lot of these famous people, and I couldn’t believe that this was the guy I was eating pancakes with.”

January 28 Radio History

Ad for radio appeared in the NY Times Jan. 28, 1926

➦In 1934...Newspaper columnist Walter Winchell, in his newspaper column, paid compliments to a Washington DC disc jockey.

As a result, 30-year-old Arthur Godfrey (right) began receiving offers from talent scouts and producers, and eventually was adored by millions across the country on CBS radio and TV.

His trademark (strumming a ukulele and delivering down-home patter) endeared him to fans for the next 30 years.

➦In 1940...“Beat the Band” made its debut on NBC radio with emcee Garry Moore (below). 

The band was that of Ted Weems and his 14-piece orchestra, who were joined by Elmo “The Whistling Troubadour” Tanner, and Country Washington. One other star of the show was a barber from the Pittsburgh area, who would record many hits for RCA Victor from 1943 right into the 1970s. His name was Perry Como, aged 27

 ➦In 1956...Elvis Presley made his first appearance on national television on “The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show” on CBS. He sang “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Heartbreak Hotel”. After the appearance, sales of “Heartbreak Hotel” skyrocketed; however the national Elvis furor did not erupt until his subsequent appearances on the Milton Berle and Steve Allen TV shows.

➦In 1959...Radio personality Randi Rhodes was born. She is a progressive political commentator, activist and talk radio host. The Randi Rhodes Show is live streamed having been previously broadcast nationally on Air America Radio, Nova M Radio, and Premiere Radio Networks.

Randi Rhodes
Rhodes' radio career began in Seminole, Texas at a country music station. Her next job was in a larger market, Mobile, Alabama. While in Mobile, she was paired briefly with a male DJ (also named Randy) for the "Randy and Randi" morning show. This was her first experience with extemporaneous dialogue other than reading cue cards between records. She used this experience as a spring-board to larger markets. In the late 1980s, she was hired out of that medium market directly to New York City by WAPP "The Apple", owned at the time by Doubleday Broadcasting. While working for WAPP, she took the name "Randi Rhodes," having previously used "Randi St. John".

While teaming with host Perry Stone at Milwaukee's WQFM, Rhodes was suspended in 1987 when their program offended the gay community and led several businesses to cancel ads.

In late September 1992, Rhodes started on WIOD in Miami, working the 8P-11P night shift. The Miami Herald described her as "a chain-smoking bottle blond, ... part Joan Rivers, part shock jock Howard Stern and part Saturday Night Live's 'Coffee Talk' lady. But mostly, she's her rude, crude, loud, brazen, gleeful self."

In 2004, Rhodes joined Air America Radio, bringing The Randi Rhodes Show to a national audience for the first time. In 2007, Rhodes was recognized by the radio industry's well known periodical, Talkers Magazine as Woman of the Year.

Burt Mustin 'Leave It to Beaver' 

➦In 1977..."Burt" Mustin died (Born - February 8, 1884). Over the course of his career, he appeared in over 150 film and television productions. He also worked in radio and appeared in stage productions.

Mustin began his professional acting career at the age of 67 after director William Wyler cast him in the 1951 film noir Detective Story. Known for his dependability and versatility, Mustin went on to establish a career as a well-known character actor and worked extensively in film and television from the 1950s to the 1970s. Before he began a professional career in show business, Mustin did amateur acting and performing. In 1921, he became the first announcer for a variety show broadcast on Pittsburgh's then newly established KDKA radio station. 

➦In 1986...the NASA shuttle orbiter mission STS-51-L and the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-99) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members on board: flight commander Francis Scobee; pilot Michael Smith; Ronald McNair; Ellison Onizuka; Judith Resnik; Gregory Jarvis; and schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, who was to have been the first civilian in space.

The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:39 a.m. EST (16:39 UTC).

The disintegration of the vehicle began after a joint in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The failure was caused by the failure of O-ring seals used in the joint that were not designed to handle the unusually cold conditions that existed at this launch. The seals' failure caused a breach in the SRB joint, allowing pressurized burning gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB aft field joint attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to the separation of the right-hand SRB's aft field joint attachment and the structural failure of the external tank. Aerodynamic forces broke up the orbiter.

The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were eventually recovered from the ocean floor after a lengthy search and recovery operation. The exact timing of the death of the crew is unknown; several crew members are known to have survived the initial breakup of the spacecraft. The shuttle had no escape system, and the impact of the crew compartment at terminal velocity with the ocean surface was too violent to be survivable.

➦In 2003...Stan Martin, a New York City radio personality, died at age 64. He worked at WQEW-FM and WNEW-AM, among others, and hosted the nationally syndicated “Solid Gold Country”.

Martin (right) joined WQXR in 1992 as program director when The NYTimes changed the station's format from classical music and its name from WQXR-AM to WQEW. He eventually became the station manager.

He left in 1998, when The Times leased the station to ABC, for Radio Disney.

His radio career began in 1959 at WDLC in Port Jervis, N.Y. He then worked for several other stations, including WPIX-AM, WHN-AM and WFAN-AM in New York and WPEN-AM in Philadelphia.

After leaving WQEW, Martin was master of ceremonies for cabaret shows in Manhattan and host of a website.

➦In 2015…Well-traveled radio personality Lee “Baby” Sims, who worked for 27 stations in Charleston, Orlando, San Antonio, Hartford, Cleveland, San Diego (twice), San Antonio (three times), Detroit, Los Angeles (four times), Miami, Santa Rosa, San Francisco (twice), Honolulu, and Phoenix, gave up his battle with cancer and killed himself at age 72.

Born Gilmore LaMar Simms in Charleston, South Carolina, Simms dropped out of high school at 16 and began jocking at WTMA as “Hot Toddio on the Radio.” Simms, by his own recollection, worked at 35 stations in 22 markets and was fired 25 times because he “never accepted an insult from anyone.”

Lee Simms
While Simms was at KONO in San Antonio, program director Woody Roberts gave him the nickname “Lee Baby.” Simms also worked at WMBR in Jacksonville, WLOF in Orlando, WJBK in Detroit, WSHO in New Orleans, KTSA in San Antonio, WIST in Charlotte (where he doubled as program director), WGCL and WKYC in Cleveland, WPOP in Hartford and WMYQ in Miami.

On February 9, 1971, after spending three years as afternoon host at KCBQ in San Diego, Simms joined KRLA as 9-to-midnight host. He began his first airshift just 15 hours after the 6.6 Sylmar earthquake which killed 65 people and caused $500 million in property damage.

After a few months at KRLA, Simms traded time slots with 6-to-9 host Dave Diamond. Simms briefly worked at KROQ and KTNQ before moving to Hawaii, where he jocked at KKUA, KORL, KDUK and KPOI. In the 1980s he worked at KFOG in San Francisco, WLVE in Miami, KKIS in Concord and KPRQ in Rohnert Park.

In the 1990s, Simms jocked at KOOL in Phoenix and KYA and KISQ in San Francisco. While at KISQ, his show was also heard via syndication on WUBT in Chicago.

Simms retired from radio in 2002.

➦In 2021...Longtime New York City radio personality Harry Harrison died.  Harrison (born September 20, 1930 in Chicago) had been a popular American radio personality for over 50 years. Harrison is the only DJ to be a WMCA "Good Guy," a WABC "All-American," and on the WCBS-FM line-up.

Harrison had a number of "trademark" phrases, such as "Morning, Mom", "Every brand new day should be opened like a precious gift", "Stay well, stay happy, stay right here" and "Harry Harrison wishing you the best... because that's exactly what you deserve!” Also, on the last day of every year, Harrison would bring his four children to work with him and at the end of his shift, he would join them in giving listeners New Year's wishes.

Barbi Benton is 73

  • Actor Nicholas Pryor (“Risky Business”) is 88. 
  • Actor Alan Alda is 87. 
  • Actor Susan Howard (“Dallas”) is 81. 
  • Actor Marthe Keller (“Marathon Man”) is 78. 
  • Actor Barbi Benton is 73. 
  • Director Frank Darabont (“The Green Mile,” “The Shawshank Redemption”) is 64. 
  • Guitarist Dave Sharp of The Alarm is 64. 
  • Singer Sam Phillips is 61. 
  • Guitarist Dan Spitz (Anthrax) is 60. 
  • Bassist Greg Cook of Ricochet is 58. 
  • Gospel singer Marvin Sapp is 56. 
  • Singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan is 55. 
  • Musician DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill is 55. 
  • Rapper Rakim is 55. 
  • Actor Kathryn Morris (“Cold Case”) is 54. 
  • Humorist Mo Rocca is 54. 
  • Keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna of Fitz and the Tantrums is 53. 
  • Singer Anthony Hamilton is 52. 
  • Singer Monifah is 51. 
  • Actor Gillian Vigman (“The Hangover” films) is 51. 
  • Keyboardist Brandon Bush (Train) is 50. 
  • Actor Terri Conn (“One Life To Live”) is 48. 
  • Rapper Rick Ross is 46. 
  • Singer Joey Fatone of ’N Sync is 46. 
  • Actor Angelique Cabral (“Life in Pieces”) is 44. 
  • Actor Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) is 44. 
  • Singer Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys is 43. 
  • Actor Vinny Chhibber (“The Red Line”) is 43. 
  • Actor Elijah Wood (“The Lord of the Rings”) is 42. 
  • Rapper J. Cole is 38. 
  • Actor Alexandra Krosney (“Last Man Standing”) is 35. 
  • Actor Yuri Sardarov (“Chicago Fire”) is 35. 
  • Actor Ariel Winter (“Modern Family”) is 25.
  • In 1976..Chris Kenner, R&B singer-songwriter (I Like it Like That), dies at 46
  • In 1986..Christa McAuliffe, Teacher, dies in the Challenger space shuttle disaster at 37
  • In 1986..Ellison S Onizuka, Hawaii, Mjr USAF/astronaut, dies in Challenger disaster
  • In 1986...Francis R Scobee, Wash, USAF/astronaut, dies in Challenger disaster
  • In 1986..Greg Jarvis - Crew of Space Shuttle Challenger (b. 1944)
  • In 1986..Judith Arlene Resnik, Akron Oh, astronaut, dies in Challenger disaster
  • In 1986..Michael J. Smith, Astronaut (51L-Challenger disaster), dies in Challenger at 40
  • In 1986..Ronald E McNair, Astronaut and physicist, dies in Challenger disaster at 35
  • In 2016..Paul Kantner, Rock singer and guitarist (Jefferson Airplane - "Volunteers"), dies following a heart attack at 74
  • In 2021..Cicely Tyson, Stage and screen actress (Roots; The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman), dies at 96

Friday, January 27, 2023

Atlanta Radio: WSB's Scott Slade Decides to Leave Morning Show

WSB's Scott Slade

WSB Radio morning host Scott Slade announced today that he will be stepping down after 32 years at the post.

“This is my decision,” he told Rodney Ho at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Slade doesn’t plan to entirely step away from the station but wasn’t specific about what he will do next. WSB, in a press release, said, “Slade plans to create something new for the 101-year-old station that reflects his passion for listeners and the community.”

“I look forward to sleeping in, spending more time with my family, taking up scuba diving and flying my plane,” he said.

WSB didn’t announce who his replacement is just yet.

“I’ve always considered him the smartest and most well-prepared man in the room,” said Mike McKay, long-time morning traffic reporter for WSB radio and occasional fill-in host for Slade.

Slade, 68, joined WSB in 1984 and took over mornings in 1991. He has been the longest-running morning host in Atlanta radio and helped keep WSB’s morning ratings consistently at or near the top over the past three-plus decades.

He was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame this year and was previously inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2008. He was also nominated for the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2019.

Mark Alewine, former overnight host at WSB who worked with him for 24 years, said Slade was a professional, low-key man with no discernible ego. “Despite his popularity and his celebrity,” Alewine said, “he never let it go to his head. He was always a very humble man who enjoyed passing along the success and accolades of the morning show to his colleagues at WSB... There will never be another Scott Slade.”

Jay Leno Injured In Motorcycle Accident, CNBC Cancels Leno's Garage

Jay Leno in his garage

Just months after his fiery accident that left him with severe burns all over his face, Jay Leno is now seemingly out of work, with CNBC reportedly canceling his series Jay Leno's Garage.

Leno, 72, had hosted Jay Leno's Garage since 2014, just months after his final episode of NBC's The Tonight Show aired in February 2014.

The cancellation (via The Hollywood Reporter) would bring an end to a 30-year streak of Leno programs airing on NBCUniversal's networks, since Leno started hosting The Tonight Show in 1992.

The Daily Mail reports Jay Leno's Garage first started as a web series for in 2014, before a special aired on CNBC in August 2014 that prompted an upgrade to full-time series.

Many episodes featured celebrity car fanatics like Leno, with the seventh and final season featuring Brie Larson, Post Malone, Gaten Matarazzo, Kelly Clarkson, Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Pitbull, James Marsden, Danica Patrick, Alfonso Ribeiro, Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias, Tig Notaro, Reggie Watts, Tony Hawk, Mike Rowe, Jim Jefferies, Jeff Dunham and Diego Boneta.

Meanwhile from NBC News...

DirecTV Adding Conservative Channel 'The First'

DirecTV will add The First, a conservative opinion and commentary network, to its lineup after recently dropping right-wing channel Newsmax.

The Wall Street Journal reports the satellite service said Thursday that The First will soon be available to its DirecTV, DirecTV Stream and U-Verse customers at no additional cost through a multiyear agreement. The new channel, which features programs such as “No Spin News” with Bill O’Reilly, will also be available on its DirecTV TV Everywhere websites and apps.

The company didn’t specify when the channel would be accessible to its customers. 

The addition of The First, which initially launched on Paramount’s Pluto TV in 2019, follows DirecTV’s recent move to drop conservative media network Newsmax. That prompted the news organization to accuse DirecTV of politically motivated censorship.

DirecTV said earlier this week that it dropped Newsmax over potential rate increases that would have led to higher prices for customers. Anyone can watch Newsmax free online and on streaming platforms such as Amazon Fire and Roku, DirecTV said. 

“DIRECTV values different viewpoints and perspectives and will always work to preserve expansive choice among a wide variety of entertainment and information services,” DirecTV’s Chief Content Officer Rob Thun said.

The First channel features a lineup of programs such as prime-time series “The Liz Wheeler Show” and “I’m Right with Jesse Kelly.” It also includes the “The Dana Show” with Dana Loesch.

Most Cord Cutters Subscribe to 4 or Fewer Streaming Services

Recently, one of the main complaints against cord cutting is the need to subscribe to 10+ services to get everything. A new survey of over 2,000 Cord Cutters News readers shows most cord cutters pay for 4 or fewer streaming services.

According to our readers, 61.2% pay for 4 or fewer streaming services, 43% pay for 3 or fewer streaming services, and 26.1% pay for 2 or fewer streaming services.

So what would 4 streaming services cost you every month? (Why with ads? Because cable TV has ads also.)
  • Disney+ $7.99 with ads.
  • Paramount+ $4.99 with ads.
  • Discovery+ $4.99 with ads.
  • Netflix $6.99 with ads.
Total Cost: $24.96 a month.

Why no live TV streaming services like FuboTV or Hulu with live TV? In short, our survey shows the majority of cord cutters don’t pay for services like FuboTV or Hulu with live TV. Increasingly if you are not a sports fan, the need for a live TV streaming service is just not there. There is also an argument to be made that the on-demand services listed above offer more content compared to traditional cable TV.

Clearly, the fears that cord cutting would add up to be more than cable TV are just not coming true. According to a report from U.S. News, the average cost of cable TV is now over $200 a month at $217.42.

Wake-Up Call: Economy Growth Slowing

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.9% annual rate last quarter after a year of high inflation. That’s down slightly from a 3.2% annual rate in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said. Consumer spending helped drive the Q4 gain, while the housing market weakened and businesses cut back their spending on equipment. Jobless claims declined last week, pointing to a still-tight labor market even as several large employers—in the tech industry and beyond—announced job cuts.

If the U.S. slips into a mild recession this year, as most economists expect, the entire country will feel it. But some regions would be hit harder than others. USA Today reports The West, in the cross hairs of both the housing and technology slumps, would be most severely impacted, experts say. And the Midwest, relatively insulated from both of those forces, likely would be best positioned to ride out a downturn. The Northeast and South would fight for second and third place on the pain meter, economists say. A sharp banking and finance pullback would be tougher on the Northeast while a deepening housing slide would take a bigger toll on the South, economists say. “The West is most vulnerable and most likely to be hit hardest,” says Adam Kamins, regional economist at Moody’s Analytics.

The tanks the West is sending to Ukraine raise the stakes with Russia. The Kremlin said it sees the weaponry as increasing the direct involvement of Kyiv’s allies in the conflict, despite statements from NATO countries that they aren’t parties to the war. Ukraine is set to receive 14 British Challengers, 31 Abrams tanks from the U.S. and around 100 German-made Leopard 2s. Moscow’s troops probably won’t face them until the spring because the Ukrainians have to learn to operate them. That means time for Russia to prepare, such as strengthening physical defenses like barriers and trenches and pre-emptively attacking Ukrainian positions. Moscow’s tanks are less sophisticated than the Western models, but Russia has many more of them.

➤U-S DOESN'T HAVE TANKS TO SEND: Despite President Biden’s promise to send 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine on Wednesday, it could take months for the artillery to arrive, according to reports. The NY Post reports that Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh confirmed that the U.S. does not have enough of M1 Abrams tanks in its stockpile to send over to Ukraine at this time. "We just don’t have these tanks available in excess in our US stocks, which is why it is going to take months to transfer these M1A2 Abrams to Ukraine," Singh told the Post. If the tanks were in the Pentagon’s possession, it would take less than a week to get the tanks boxed and shipped. But when using the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI, program, it could take months or years because the government goes through procurement to identify and hire contractors to build the weapons.

Report: FCC Nominee On Board That Supports Online Sex Work

Gigi Sohn, President Biden's pick for a vacant seat on the Federal Communications Commission, is a member of a nonprofit that wants to uphold sex work online, and which honors sex workers including a dominatrix.  

The Daily Mail reports the organization is called the Electronic Frontier Foundation and is designed to protect free speech online.

The group protested against SESTA - a legislation introduced under the Trump administration - that cracks down on sex trafficking in 2017, claiming it would 'censor' sex work. 

Sohn, 61, took her seat on the EFF's board in 2018, two years before the organization honored a sex worker called Mistress Blunt. 

Blunt, who sells her work on OnlyFans and other sites, was celebrated in 2020 with the EFF's 'Pioneer Award'.  

They have since partnered together again to protect sex workers' 'digital rights'. 

Sohn is up for a seat on the FCC for the second time, but the vote on whether or not she'll be sworn in remains in a deadlock.  If she is given the position, she would tip the board's Democratic majority. 

A spokesman for EFF told that Sohn had no role in selecting Blunt for the Pioneer Award. 

Sohn indicated in a February 2022 letter to the acting General Counsel for the FCC that she would step down from EFF if her government appointment was confirmed.

San Antonio Radio: Pedro Escalera Named PD At iHM's KZEP

Pedro Escalera
iHeartMedia San Antonio has announced Pedro Escalera aka Pedro Al Aire has been named Program Director for KZEP 104.5 Latino Hits, San Antonio’s Numero Uno Para HITS, effective immediately. iHeartMedia San Antonio has a strong cross-platform presence and includes a number of iconic brands and franchises — both broadcast and digital — encompassing more than 8 stations comprised of music, talk, and news formats.

iHeartMedia has the leading consumer reach and influence across multiple platforms and delivers more live programming than any other media company. As Program Director, Escalera will be responsible for leading all aspects of the station’s on-air experience, talent, content, programming, and online presence of 104.5 Latino Hits. Escalera will report to Jason McCollim, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia San Antonio & Austin.

“There was no doubt in our minds that Pedro was the perfect fit to lead the 104.5 Latino Hits brand, thanks to his extensive expertise in the Spanish CHR format,” said McCollim.“His unparalleled knowledge of the format made him the clear choice to spearhead this one-of-a-kind brand, unique to San Antonio – and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Escalera joins the iHeartMedia San Antonio from Emmis Austin, where he most recently served as the Program Director & Morning Host of Latino 102.7. The three-time Radio Ink award nominee also served as the evening Talent for AGM’s Fuego 102.9 in Albuquerque, NM.

“iHeartMedia San Antonio is uniquely poised for continued growth and new, incredible opportunities,” said Escalera. “I am grateful to iHeartMedia leadership for entrusting me at the helm of 104.5 Latino Hits in San Antonio. I look forward to leaning into the success already in motion.”

Dee Dee In The Morning Now Heard In 80 Markets

DEDE IN THE MORNING continues to expand with the addition of seven new markets. The show is heard nationwide in nearly 80 markets.

“Charleston is so happy to welcome DeDe in the Morning to our city,” said Steve Crumbley Operations Director, Charleston Radio Group. “Already her energy, her fun, her topicality has turned up mornings in Chuck Town. DeDe will change the face of Morning radio and Charleston!”

“DeDe in the Morning is winning for us on HOT 97-3 in Toledo,” said Mike Mori, Market President, Glass City Radio Toledo, OH and Golden Triangle Radio, Starkville, MS. “When we needed a new morning show for WACR, we didn’t have far to look. It made perfect sense to expand our partnership with DeDe in the Morning to Starkville.”

“Paducah has a new BEAT, and we are so happy to have DeDe in the Morning waking us up with laughter and fun,” said AJ Martin, Program Director for the recently launched Hip Hop station. “In a few short weeks, DeDe and her team have lit-up Paducah.”

DeDe McGuire comments, “I am so blessed and grateful to have seven new radio homes. A BIG THANK YOU my new radio partners for believing in the show. There is no stopping us.”

BuzzFeed To Embrace Open AI for Content

BuzzFeed Inc. shares surged by a record on news that the digital-media company plans to use OpenAI to bolster some of its content creation.

The stock rose by 120% Thursday, bringing BuzzFeed’s market value to nearly $300 million, in its biggest gain since going public via a blank-check merger in December 2021. The news sparked a trading frenzy with more than 190 million shares changing hands.

“AI inspired content” will become “part of our core business” this year, including enhancing the company’s famous quizzes, BuzzFeed Chief Executive Officer Jonah Peretti said in a memo to staff seen by Bloomberg News. He added that breakthroughs in artificial intelligence will be “opening up a new era of creativity.”

BuzzFeed will use OpenAI’s publicly available application programming interface, according to a spokesperson.  The move toward AI-assisted content comes as OpenAI’s viral chatbot faces a barrage of critics and believers alike.

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s artificial intelligence tool, has lit up the internet since its introduction in November, amassing more than a million users within days and touching off a fresh debate over the role of AI in the workplace. Earlier this week, Microsoft Corp. said it’s investing $10 billion in OpenAI.

BuzzFeed’s plans for OpenAI were reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, which also said that the media company is working with creators to produce content for Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. as part of a deal valued at almost $10 million, according to people familiar with the situation. Meta and BuzzFeed declined to comment on that report.

The Grammys To Salute The Beach Boys

A Grammy Salute to The Beach Boys, the latest in a series of “Grammy Salute” specials, will tape Wednesday, Feb. 8, three days after the 65th annual Grammy Awards are held in Los Angeles. 

Billboard reports the live concert special will feature a star-studded lineup paying tribute to the classic pop/rock group. It will tape at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and will air on CBS later this year. Tickets, starting at $75, are available through Ticketmaster.

The show will tape six weeks after the airing of the previous “Grammy Salute” special; Homeward Bound: A Grammy Salute to the Songs of Paul Simon, aired on Dec. 21.

Since The Beach Boys’ heyday, Brian Wilson has received six more Grammy nominations, winning twice – best rock instrumental performance for “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” (2004) and best historical album for The Smile Sessions (Deluxe Box Set) (2012).

The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 (with Elton John doing the honors). Wilson was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007.

The Beach Boys logged four No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 – “I Get Around” (two weeks in July 1964), “Help Me, Rhonda” (two weeks in May/June 1965), “Good Vibrations” (one week in December 1966) and “Kokomo” (one week in November 1988). Brian Wilson was not involved with the latter smash, which was featured in the Tom Cruise film Cocktail.

The group notched two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 – Beach Boys Concert (four weeks in December 1964) and Endless Summer (one week in October 1974).

The Beach Boys - 1962

The Beach Boys were formed in Hawthorne, Calif., in 1961. The group’s original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson; their cousin Mike Love; and friend Al Jardine. Three of the members are still living – Brian Wilson, 80; Love, 81 and Jardine, 80. Dennis Wilson died in 1983 at age 39. Carl Wilson died in 1998 at age 51.

R.I.P.: Billy Packer, Legendary College Basketball Announcer

Billy Packer (1940-2023)

Longtime college basketball broadcaster Billy Packer, who was a part of 34 Final Fours for NBC and CBS, died Thursday at the age of 82.

“The Packer Family would like to share some sad news,” tweeted his son Mark, who hosts a show on the ACC Network. “Our amazing father, Billy, has passed. We take peace knowing that he’s in heaven with Barb. RIP, Billy.”

Packer — who in 1993 received a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio and Sports Analyst — worked with many of the top play-by-play broadcasters of his era, including Curt Gowdy, Dick Enberg, Brent Musburger and Jim Nantz.

Packer also wrote multiple books. One of his best known was the memoir “Hoops: Confessions of a College Basketball Analyst” in 1985.

Before Packer became a nationally recognized analyst, he had a solid playing career at Wake Forest, helping lead the Demon Deacons to the 1962 Final Four.

In 1972, he began his broadcasting career in Raleigh, N.C. He made his leap to the national level at NBC in 1974 and remained there until 1981.

From there, Packer joined CBS, where he remained until his retirement in 2008. He called every NCAA men’s basketball tournament, including the Final Four, from 1975 to 2008.

January 27 Radio History

➦In 1926...John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, gives the first public demonstration of a television system in London, launching a revolution in communication and entertainment.

According to History, Baird’s invention, a pictorial-transmission machine he called a “televisor,” used mechanical rotating disks to scan moving images into electronic impulses. This information was then transmitted by cable to a screen where it showed up as a low-resolution pattern of light and dark. Baird’s first television program showed the heads of two ventriloquist dummies, which he operated in front of the camera apparatus out of view of the audience.

Baird based his television on the work of Paul Nipkow, a German scientist who patented his ideas for a complete television system in 1884. Nipkow likewise used a rotating disk with holes in it to scan images, but he never achieved more than the crudest of shadowy pictures. Various inventors worked to develop this idea, and Baird was the first to achieve easily discernible images. In 1928, Baird made the first overseas broadcast from London to New York over phone lines and in the same year demonstrated the first color television.

➦In 1927...Some 5 months after NBC was formed, United Independent Broadcasters Inc. began a radio network which consisted of 16 US stations east of the Mississippi. Within 20 months it evolved into CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.

William Paley
With the creation of the "United Independent Broadcasters" network in Chicago by New York talent-agent Arthur Judson. The fledgling network soon needed additional investors though, and the Columbia Phonograph Company, manufacturers of Columbia Records, rescued it in April 1927; as a result, the network was renamed "Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System". Columbia Phonographic went on the air on September 18, 1927, with a presentation by the Howard Barlow Orchestra from flagship station WOR in Newark, New Jersey, and fifteen affiliates.

Operational costs were steep, particularly the payments to AT&T for use of its land lines, and by the end of 1927, Columbia Phonograph wanted out.

In early 1928, Judson sold the network to brothers Isaac and Leon Levy, owners of the network's Philadelphia affiliate WCAU, and their partner Jerome Louchenheim. None of the three was interested in assuming day-to-day management of the network, so they installed wealthy 26-year-old William S. Paley, son of a Philadelphia cigar family and in-law of the Levys, as president. With the record company out of the picture, Paley quickly streamlined the corporate name to "Columbia Broadcasting System".

He believed in the power of radio advertising since his family's "La Palina" cigars had doubled their sales after young William convinced his elders to advertise on radio. By September 1928, Paley bought out the Louchenheim share of CBS and became its majority owner with 51% of the business.

➦In 1927...KXO 1230 AM went on the air in El Centro, CA. It is the oldest station in the Imperial Valley and is probably the oldest in any community between San Diego and Phoenix. In the 1930s, it broadcast at 100 watts on 1500 kilocycles. It was owned by E.R. Irey and F.M. Bowles.