Saturday, February 11, 2023

February 12 Radio History

➦In talent show host Ted Mack was born William Edward Maguiness in Greeley Colorado. Mack died July 12, 1976 at age 72.

Mack succeeded Major Bowes as host of The Original Amateur Hour for the period 1948-52 on radio, and until 1970 on TV.  His discoveries include Gladys Knight, Pat Boone, & Teresa Brewer.  He also hosted TV’s Ted Mack Family Hour, a show similar to Ed Sullivan.

The Original Amateur Hour began on radio in 1934 as Major Bowes' Amateur Hour, and ran until the 1946 death of its creator, Major Bowes. Mack, a talent scout who had directed the show under Bowes, revived it in 1948 for ABC Radio and the DuMont Television Network.

The show lasted on radio until 1952 and until 1970 on television, where it ran on all four major networks, ending as a Sunday afternoon CBS staple. A success in the early days of television, the program set the stage for numerous programs seeking talented stars, from The Gong Show to Star Search to American Idol to America's Got Talent.

➦In 1909...singer/producer Barry Wood was born in New Haven Conn. He was the singing star of radio’s Lucky Strike Hit Parade in the early 40’s just ahead of Frank Sinatra, and went on to perform in lesser-known radio shows.  In the TV era he was host of several shows including Places Please & Backstage with Barry Wood, and producer for The Bell Telephone Hour & Wide Wide World.   He died July 19 1970 at age 61.

➦In 1910...Longtime radio announced Ken Roberts born (died at age 99 June 19, 2009).  He was known for his work during the Golden Age of Radio and for his work announcing the daytime television soap operas The Secret Storm, Texas and Love of Life, each for a two-decade span.

Ken Roberts
His first announcing job was at WMCA in New York lasting three weeks. Next at WLTH in Brooklyn. In an interview for the book The Great American Broadcast, Roberts told Leonard Maltin that he had started at the Brooklyn station in 1930, where his responsibilities included answering phones and sweeping the floors, in addition to on-air roles playing piano and reading poetry.

During the 1930s and 1940s, at the height of the radio era, Roberts' voice appeared widely in live programming to introduce programs, moderate game shows and do live reads for commercials. Despite his Errol Flynn-like good looks and the frequent broadcasts featuring his voice, as often as several times each day, few listeners knew who he was or would have recognized him in public.

Radio credits include The Shadow (including the 1937-38 season on the Mutual Broadcasting System with a 22-year-old Orson Welles starring in the role of Lamont Cranston), the comedy Easy Aces, along with soap operas Joyce Jordan, M.D. and This is Nora Drake. In 1941, he achieved his goal of hosting his own quiz show, with Quick As a Flash on the Mutual network.

He also announced or hosted a number of game shows, such as What's My Name? and the parody It Pays to Be Ignorant, in which he would pose questions to actors portraying contestants such as "Who came first: Henry I or Henry VIII?" that would be answered incorrectly. At various times, he performed on eponymous programs for Fred Allen, Milton Berle, Victor Borge and Sophie Tucker.

In 1941, he achieved his goal of hosting his own quiz show, with Quick As a Flash on the Mutual network.

➦In 1912..Bigtime radio announcer Del Sharbutt was born in Cleburne Texas.

Del Sharbutt
His first appearance on radio was in 1929 as a singer on WBAP in Fort Worth, Texas.  He became a staff announcer for CBS Radio in 1933, and is best remembered as spokesman for Campbell’s Soup (“Mmm mmm Good!”) beginning in the ’30’s.  He was also TV announcer for Your Hit Parade, and worked until retirement in 1976 as newscaster for the Mutual Radio network.  He died April 26, 2002 at the ripe old age of 90.

Old-time radio shows for which Sharbutt was an announcer included The Man I Married, Lavender and Old Lace, Guy Lombardo, Jack Pearl, Ray Noble, Bob Hope, The Song Shop, Hobby Lobby, Myrt and Marge, The Hour of Charm, Melody and Madness, Colgate Ask-It-Basket, Lanny Ross, Amos 'n' Andy, Club Fifteen, The Jack Carson Show, Lum and Abner, Your Hit Parade, The Campbell Playhouse, Request Performance, Meet Mr. McNutley and Meet Corliss Archer.

In 1958,Sharbutt became a disc jockey on 77WABC in New York City. He and another old-time radio announcer, Tony Marvin, began "hosting afternoon record shows in their distinctively deep voices."

He died April 26, 2002 at the ripe old age of 90.

➦In 1915...newscaster/actor Lorne Greene was born in Ottawa.  He was called “The Voice of Doom” as the nightly newsreader on CBC Radio during World War Two.(1939-42)  On TV he starred in Bonanza, Battlestar Gallactica & Code Red. He died Sept 11, 1987 after an operation for a perforated ulcer, at age 72.

Fox Sports Has A New Team In The Super Bowl Broadcast Booth

On Sunday, more than 100 million people will tune into Fox to watch the Eagles take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII. But Richie Zyontz isn’t sweating it, reports The Philly Inquirer.

Zyontz, Fox’s veteran television producer, is leading his seventh Super Bowl broadcast and his 14th overall. But for the first time in more than two decades, he won’t have Joe Buck or Troy Aikman calling the Super Bowl, since they are now the voices for ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Instead, Fox’s new No. 1 NFL crew — play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and analyst Greg Olsen — will make their Super Bowl debut. The duo should be familiar to Eagles fans after they called three Birds games this season, including Philly’s NFC championship game rout of the San Francisco 49ers, where they made a dog of a game watchable and entertaining.

In their first year as Fox’s top broadcast team, Burkhardt and Olsen have gotten positive reviews from both sports media pundits and Eagles fans, who can be especially hard on announcers. Olsen’s development as a broadcaster has been particularly impressive, considering it’s just his second season as a full-time announcer.

“They both have a sense of the game, and I think both are really good at not fighting the crowd when the moment gets big and the noise builds to a crescendo,” Zyontz said of Burkhardt and Olsen. “Joe Buck was brilliant at that, and these guys are great at it, too. It’s kind of an art form.”

The duo was also given something of a reprieve from Tom Brady, who announced Monday he wasn’t planning on joining Fox as its No. 1 NFL analyst until the 2024 season at the earliest. Brady also won’t be part of Fox’s lengthy Super Bowl pregame show, which begins at 11 a.m. Sunday and runs up until kickoff.

It will be their first Super Bowl broadcast, but Burkhardt and Olsen will be surrounded by a veteran cast that includes longtime sideline reporter Erin Andrews, who will be working her fourth Super Bowl for Fox. She’ll be joined by veteran reporter Tom Rinaldi, the former ESPNer who will be covering his first Super Bowl after jumping over to Fox in 2021. Fox NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira will also be on hand to help out the broadcast with controversial penalties and close calls.

As far as Fox’s pregame coverage, expect the usual cast of characters leading up to the game. Curt Menefee will host the 7½-hour Fox NFL Sunday broadcast alongside Terry Bradshaw, with analysis from Howie Long, Michael Strahan, and Jimmy Johnson. The newest addition is Rob Gronkowski, the five-time Pro Bowl tight end who rejoined Fox as a studio analyst this season.

Rihanna Has Criticized The NFL. So Why Play The Super Bowl?

When the Philadelphia Eagles made their first Super Bowl appearance in 1981 in New Orleans, the halftime show was a Mardi Gras celebration featuring the Southern University Marching Band.

1940s big band singer Helen O’Connell sang the National Anthem. Up With People, the singing troupe known for their cloying positivity — Super Bowl staples of the era — blessedly took that year off.

On Sunday, when the Birds face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz., the entertainment will be a little more ambitious, writes Dan DeLuca at The Philly Inquirer.

Chris Stapleton, the bearded baritone who’s the go-to country act on prestige TV events, will sing the National Anthem. Babyface will tackle “America the Beautiful.” Philly’s Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” And Jason Derulo and the Black Keys will play the NFL’s TikTok Tailgate pregame show.

And of course, the halftime show headliner is Rihanna.  According to DeLuca, even in the context of mega acts like The Weeknd, who performed in 2021, or last year’s hip-hop all-star cast, Rihanna qualifies as an extremely good get for “by far the biggest cultural event in America.”

The 34-year-old singer who topped the charts with “SOS” in 2006 and followed it up the next year with “Umbrella,” then produced hit after hit on eight albums released in 11 years.

But though she has a decade’s worth of hits to cram into a 12- to 15-minute performance, few will be of recent vintage. Ever since 2016′s creative left turn (though still hugely popular) album Anti, Rihanna has pretty much ceased making music.

Her only new music this decade has been “Believe It,” a 2020 guest vocal on a PartyNextDoor hit, and the calming Chadwick Boseman tribute “Lift Me Up” from last year’s soundtrack to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

There’s additional thrill in Rihanna being Super Bowl halftime headliner. That’s because, in the past, she’s been critical of the NFL.  In a 2019 expression of solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, she told Vogue that she had no interest in the Super Bowl gig.

“I couldn’t dare do that,” she said. “For what? Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sell out. … There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”

So what changed? Is she getting a giant check? Nope. Believe it or not, Super Bowl performers don’t get paid. (Though production costs which can run over $10 million are covered by the NFL.)

Ever since Michael Jackson in 1993, megastars have played the halftime show. Big names have included Paul McCartney (in 2005, when the Eagles lost to the Patriots) and Prince, as well as Madonna, BeyoncĂ©́, Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, and Justin Timberlake (when the Eagles beat the Patriots in 2018).

They have played for free to receive something more valuable than cash: exposure. For last year’s game, 99 million Americans watched, along with another 109 million around the world. It’s estimated that in various media, 120 million watched the halftime show with Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, and Kendrick Lamar.

The Grammys isn’t music’s biggest night. The Super Bowl is.

Fox 'Soul' To Air Biden Super Bowl Interview

Fox Corp said on Friday its little-known Fox Soul streaming network would broadcast an interview with U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday for the NFL Super Bowl, reports Reuters.

"After the White House reached out to FOX Soul Thursday evening, there was some initial confusion. FOX Soul looks forward to interviewing the president for Super Bowl Sunday," said a spokesperson for Fox.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier in a tweet that Biden has been looking forward to an interview with Fox Soul.

Fox Soul is a streaming channel that describes itself on its website as "unapologetically Black" and is operated by a subsidiary of Fox Corp.

A presidential interview with the network broadcasting the National Football League championship game has been a staple for years.

Conservative-leaning Fox News has been sharply critical of Biden's presidency and Democrats.

The tradition of granting interviews to the network broadcasting the National Football League championship – which for decades has been the highest-rated single broadcast on American television – dates to George W. Bush’s presidency.

Fox has repeatedly leaned on its opinion hosts to conduct the interviews, with Bill O’Reilly tapped for sit-downs with former President Barack Obama in 2011 and 2014, and with former President Donald Trump in 2017. Sean Hannity interviewed Trump in 2020.

Trump opted against sitting for an interview in 2018, when NBC held the rights to broadcast the game and the president was mired in a controversy over his criticism of NFL players who opted not to stand for the National Anthem to protest police brutality. MSNBC, the cable news offshoot of NBC News, features liberal anchors during its prime-time hours. predicted the audience watching the Fox TV broadcast of the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs could surpass 100 million people.

Fox News To Promo Gutfeld! During The Super Bowl

FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Gutfeld! is making its Super Bowl debut with a 10-second commercial and a 15-second commercial during this year’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on FOX. Additionally, a 20-second spot will run as a promo on FNC programs.

During the ad, host Greg Gutfeld is joined by regular panelists Kat Timpf and George “Tyrus” Murdoch as well as his dog Gus on a commercial set for Gutfeld!. As taping begins for the commercial touting Gutfeld as the “new king of late night,” props are quickly moved away and taping abruptly ends as since Super Bowl ads “are pricey” amid various humorous moments.

FNC’s late-night program Gutfeld! (weekdays, 11 PM/ET), developed and launched in 2021 by FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, delivered its most-watched year ever in 2022 and continues to upend the genre, becoming the first late-night show to unseat CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in viewers since 2017. Gutfeld! was the number one late-night show from August to December 2022.

During 2022, Gutfeld! commanded nearly 30% of the late-night audience share in 2022, increasing its audience year over year. Gutfeld! finished 2022 as the second most-watched host in late-night television. 

The late-night program averaged 2,040,000 viewers (+28%) and 342,000 (+12%) in A25-54, posting double digit gains since 2021 in both categories and topping NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! in viewers. 

Michael Irvin Files $100M Defamation Suit vs. Marriott Staffer

Michael Irvin has filed a $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott International and a female employee who accused him of misconduct, according to Yahoo! Sports.

NFL Network pulled Irvin from its Super Bowl coverage this week after the allegation surfaced. The Hall of Fame former Dallas Cowboys receiver told the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday that he had a brief interaction with his accuser in the lobby of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel where he was staying Sunday.

Per the lawsuit that was obtained by the News, Irvin accuses Marriott of trying to have him “canceled.” Irvin seeks damages for defamation and wrongfully interfering with a business relationship.

Irvin denied any wrongdoing in the interaction and told the News on Wednesday that he’s “baffled” by the accusation. Irvin’s accuser has not been identified and goes by “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit filed by Irvin on Thursday.

The nature of the allegation is unclear. Phoenix police told the News on Wednesday that there has been no criminal complaint filed against Irvin.

Irvin’s lawsuit lists witnesses who support his claim that no wrongdoing took place during an interaction with his accuser. Irvin told the News that a conversation with his accuser took 45 seconds and included a handshake. Three of Irvin’s witnesses spoke with the News. Marriott has not publicly addressed the lawsuit, and a spokesperson didn’t reply to a request for comment from the News Friday morning.

Per the News’ account of the lawsuit, Irvin states that he was “shockingly woken up by a crew of security” from his hotel room and removed from the property “without any explanation or questions.” Per the lawsuit, Irvin has been banned from all Marriott properties.

A hotel manager then contacted the NFL and informed the league that Irvin had been accused of improper behavior, according to the lawsuit.

Irvin played 12 seasons for the Cowboys from 1988 to '99, winning three Super Bowls. He has worked as an analyst at NFL Network since 2009.

Ex-QB Brett Favre Sues Shannon Sharpe, Pat McAfee

Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has filed defamation lawsuits against Mississippi state auditor Shad White and sports commentators Shannon Sharpe and Pat McAfee. 

The Athletic reports the suits center around allegations that Favre received taxpayer money for speeches he did not give. Favre is also alleged to have conspired with former Mississippi governor Phil Bryant to use welfare funds to construct a new volleyball facility at Southern Miss.

The complaints against Sharpe and McAfee allege both men made defamatory statements about Favre on their platforms “to make headlines and gain audience by sullying Favre’s reputation.”

Brett Favre
The complaint against White, filed Thursday in Mississippi’s Hinds County, alleges he “made egregiously false and defamatory statements” in interviews and media appearances “to further his political career.”

Favre has publicly denied wrongdoing in response to his alleged involvement in a high-profile public corruption case in Mississippi.

Favre, 53, was among 38 people or organizations sued by the state of Mississippi in 2022 to recoup the money it said was fraudulently diverted from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, a federal program that provides grants to states for families in need.

Favre received $1.1 million for speeches he did not give, according to a Mississippi state audit report from May 2020. Additionally, the University of Southern Mississippi, Favre’s alma mater and the school where his daughter played volleyball, received $5 million in welfare funds, and a volleyball facility was later built at the school. Text messages between former Mississippi governor Bryant and Favre show how Bryant guided Favre in his attempts to move the volleyball center project forward, Mississippi Today reported. 

Favre has not been charged with wrongdoing and posted on social media that he did not know where the funding for the volleyball facility came from.

Biden's FCC Nominee Was Responsible For Media Leak

Gigi Sohn
President Biden's beleaguered nominee for the FCC once played a major role in tanking a bipartisan deal on the agency's low-income broadband program, reports Fox News Digital.

In late March 2016 — amid high-stakes negotiations on the agency's Lifeline program — Gigi Sohn, who at the time was a counselor to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, leaked non-public information about the pending bipartisan deal to the media outlet Politico, according to an inspector general report published months later. Sohn's leak, which revealed commissioners has agreed to an annual cap on the amount of money available in the Lifeline program, ultimately caused left-wing furor that tanked the deal. 

Hours after the leak on March 31, 2016, the FCC approved a Democratic-backed proposal to leave the Lifeline program uncapped in a partisan 3-2 vote. The vote was represented a stark reversal on a deal to cap the program at $2 billion which would have passed in a 4-1 vote and had privately been agreed to earlier in the day before Sohn's leak.

"It turns out that since early this morning, perhaps even late last night, Chairman Wheeler and his staff have been actively working to unwind that bipartisan compromise," former FCC commissioner Ajit Pai said after the vote. "Those efforts started with leaking nonpublic information to the press." 

"The Chairman’s Office then encouraged lawmakers and stakeholders, from the usual gaggle of left-wing, Beltway special interests to former FCC Commissioners, to blast the deal before the votes could be cast—indeed, before they even knew what the deal was," he continued.

Pai said his office had finalized the bipartisan compromise "to modernize the Lifeline program while staying faithful to our core principles" with other commissioners one day earlier, noting it was not an easy agreement to reach and that staff members worked through the night. 

Ajit Pai
"It is one thing to refuse to work toward bipartisan compromise — something that, for some reason, the Chairman wears with a badge of honor that distinguishes him from everyone else, Republican and Democrat alike, who has ever held that seat," Pai stated. "It is quite another thing to launch a political campaign to force a Democratic FCC Commissioner to renege on a bipartisan compromise on her signature issue."

According to the FCC inspector general report on the incident, Sohn worked with Wheeler and his communications director in planning the leak. The report, which had been requested by bipartisan leaders on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, stated that the events preceding the Lifeline vote "were certainly unusual," but couldn't determine the reason behind the leak.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., then-chair of the Commerce Committee, said the report was "yet another indication of increased partisanship and dysfunction at the FCC."

President Biden nominated Sohn to replace Pai, who served as the commission's chairman during the Trump administration, in October 2021. After bipartisan pushback stalled her nomination, Biden renominated her for the spot in January.

Survey: When Do Americans Listen to Podcasts?

Podcasts have long since hit the mainstream. According to data from YouGov Profiles, the majority of Americans now listen to podcasts, with 14% listening once or more a day and another 14% listening every week. While it’s true that 47% of Americans do not listen to podcasts, this is down from 55% in January of 2020.1 And data from the YouGov Media Outlook Report indicates that podcast listening will continue to grow, with 14% of Americans saying they’ll listen to more podcasts in the coming year.

Podcast listening is especially concentrated among younger Americans with 27% of those aged 18-34 listening at least once a day and another 26% listening once or several times a week. This group is followed by those 35-49, 45% of whom listen to podcasts once a week or more. Listenership drops off among older age groups with half (50%) of 50-64-year-olds and 62% of those older than 65 saying they do not listen to podcasts at all.

Unlike media like TV or movies, listening to podcasts leaves consumers’ hands and eyes free, meaning that shows are often enjoyed while engaged in some other activity. So what situations do Americans listen to podcasts in?

NYC Radio Coalition Says Promo Campaign Was Successful

The New York City Radio Committee, a joint partnership of all the major radio broadcasters in New York City, announced the completion of a successful campaign promoting the power of radio. 

Using a “dating app” concept, the innovative campaign focused on reaching advertising agencies and 5advertising executives. The multi-media campaign ran from mid-September to the end of November. More than 2,800 radio spots were broadcast on 21of the most popular stations in NYC. The campaign included digital and social media marketing, trade press, and signage at venues during Advertising Week in New York City.

Chris Oliviero
In total, the campaign garnered over 100 million digital impressions and nearly 6.5 million completed video views. According to independent brand-lift analysis by DYNATA, advertising professionals who saw or heard the campaign were 29% more likely to consider radio for their media campaigns compared to those that had not seen the campaign.

Chris Oliviero, Market President of Audacy New York and Chairman of the New York City Radio Committee stated: "The outstanding results of the campaign prove when we tell our story, with data and creativity, that radio can substantially enhance its position with advertising professionals. While radio continues to earn its place as an essential part of any media plan, we still must communicate our benefits and invite more marketing partners to collaborate together. This innovative multi-platform outreach accomplished just that."

For more information about the campaign go to The New York Radio Committee is a subcommittee of the New York State Broadcasters Association, Inc. This campaign can be adapted to serve other radio markets.

Denver Radio: KALC-FM Raises $1.3M For Children's Hospital

Audacy raised $1.3 million for Children’s Hospital Colorado – a proud member of the Children’s Miracle Network® – during Alice 105.9’s (KALC-FM) “Alice 105.9 Cares for Kids Radiothon™” in Denver. The amount donated during the 22nd annual radiothon brought the overall fundraising total to over $25 million since 2001.

“Alice 105.9 Cares for Kids Radiothon™” was broadcast live on February 8 and 9. Throughout the two-day event, the patients, families and front-line workers shared moments of hope and healing. Several Children’s Colorado patient ambassadors also shared stories of their journeys at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

R.I.P.: Jeff Charles, Longtime East Carolina Radio Sports Voice

Jeff Charles
East Carolina says it won't play its men's basketball at Tulane on Saturday after the death of Pirates radio announcer Jeff Charles while with the team Friday in New Orleans.

Charles was 70-years-old, reports WNCT Radio in Greenville, NC

In a statement Friday, East Carolina said any rescheduling decision was yet to be determined. Tulane listed the American Athletic Conference game as postponed on its schedule as of Friday night.

Charles had worked as the team's “Voice of the Pirates” for more than 30 years, calling 15 football bowl games and more than 1,000 basketball games.

The school's statement offered no details on Charles' death, while TV station WNCT of Greenville described it only as due to a “medical incident" that required attention from ECU trainers and then emergency personnel. WNCT reported that the team was scheduled to travel back to Greenville on Saturday.

Charles was named the North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year in 2000 and 2013 by the National Sports Media Association. The Ohio native had previously worked at Virginia Tech, Illinois and Furman, as well as serving as sports director at WSB in Atlanta with a nighttime sports talk show.

February 11 Radio History

➦1938…'The Big Broadcast of 1938' opened in theaters. It is a Paramount Pictures musical comedy film featuring W. C. Fields, Martha Raye and Bob Hope.

The film is the last in a series of Big Broadcast movies that were variety show anthologies. This film featured the debut of Hope's signature song, "Thanks for the Memory" by Ralph Rainger. He and Leo Robin won the 1939 Oscar for Best Song for the song. In the movie they song was performed by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross.

➦In 1940...  NBC radio presented “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street” for the first time. The famous Blue network series included several distinguished alumni — among them, Dinah Shore and Zero Mostel. The chairman, or host, of “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street” was Milton Cross.

Milton Cross

He would say things like, “A Bostonian looks like he’s smelling something. A New Yorker looks like he’s found it.” The show combined satire, blues and jazz and was built around what were called the three Bs of music: Barrelhouse, Boogie Woogie and Blues.

➦In 1941...Glenn Miller's 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' was released on RCA Records. It was originally recorded as a big band/swing tune and featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade. It was the first song to receive a gold record for sales of 1.2 million copies.

➦In 1949...the private-eye radio drama Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar debuted on CBS Radio, with Charles Russell in the title role.  It amazingly survived five changes in the lead actor during its 13 year run.

➦In 1960...The Payola scandal reached a new level of public prominence and legal gravity, when President Eisenhower called it an issue of public morality and the FCC proposed a new law making involvement in Payola a criminal act, according to History.

What exactly was Payola? During the hearings conducted by Congressman Oren Harris (D-Arkansas) and his powerful Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight—fresh off its inquiry into quiz-show rigging—the term was sometimes used as a blanket reference to a range of corrupt practices in the radio and recording industries. But within the music business, Payola referred specifically to a practice that was nearly as old as the industry itself: manufacturing a popular hit by paying for radio play.

As the Payola hearings got under way in February 1960, the public was treated to tales of a lavish disk-jockey convention in Miami bought and paid for by various record companies. One disk jockey, Wesley Hopkins of KYW in Cleveland, admitted to receiving over the course of 1958 and 1959 $12,000 in “listening fees” from record companies for “evaluating the commercial possibilities” of records.

Another DJ named Stan Richard, from station WILD in Boston, also admitted to receiving thousands of dollars from various record promoters, and though like Hopkins he denied letting such fees affect his choice of which records to play on the air, he also offered a vigorous defense of Payola, comparing it to “going to school and giving the teacher a better gift than the fellow at the next desk.”

He practically likened it to Motherhood and Apple Pie: “This seems to be the American way of life, which is a wonderful way of life. It’s primarily built on romance—I’ll do for you, what will you do for me?” It was this comment that prompted President Eisenhower to weigh in on February 11, 1960, with his condemnation of Payola.

Dick Clark testifies

But what explains the involvement of Congress in this issue? Technically, the concern of the Harris Committee was abuse of public trust, since the airwaves over which radio stations broadcast their signals are property of the people of the United States. However, 1960 was also an election year, and Rep. Harris and his colleagues on the Subcommittee were eager to be seen on the right side of a highly visible “moral” issue. Though it is widely agreed that the famous 1960 hearings on Payola merely reorganized the practice rather than eradicating it, those hearings did accomplish two very concrete things that year: they threatened the career of American Bandstand‘s Dick Clark and they destroyed the man who gave rock and roll its name, the legendary Cleveland disk jockey Alan Freed.

The Beatles in concert, Washington DC

➦In 1964...The Beatles played their first U.S. concert at the Coliseum Arena in Washington, DC. Tickets ranged from $2 to $4.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Bill Introduced To Ban Sports Betting Ads On Radio, TV

 A first shoe that many in the sports betting industry feared is hovering inches above the Congress floor, as a proposal to ban ads dropped Thursday.

According to The Legal Sports Report Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) has introduced the Betting on our Future Act, which would treat sports betting like cigarettes and ban all advertisements on any medium in the jurisdiction of the FCC including TV, radio and the internet.

This would drastically change the US sports betting industry, as advertising would mostly be limited to snail mail, print media and billboards.

➤Tonko tagets ‘predatory’ sports betting ads

Sportsbooks are using a “variety of predatory tactics,” according to a fact sheet distributed by Tonko, including massive promotions and the use of “risk-free” and “no-sweat” bets to acquire customers.

Paul Tinko
The fact sheet specifically called out DraftKings, and how it spent $500 million in sales and marketing in 2020 and another $400 million in the first half of 2021.

Children and young people are the fastest-growing demographic of gamblers, the sheet continues. Between 60% and 80% of high school students say they have gambled for money already, according to the International Center for Youth Gambling Problems & High-Risk Behaviors.

That sheet also noted that universities and colleges have partnered with sportsbooks. That gives the industry “direct access to a new and impressionable generation of gamblers,” he said.

➤Is federal regulation the best way?

Biden Expected To Stiff Fox On Super Bowl Interview

The White House has yet to agree to have President Biden sit for an interview that would air before the Super Bowl with Fox News, leading anchors on the network said late Tuesday night, according to The Hill.

“The president is going to be out on the road, taking his message to the road. Every year, traditionally, the network covering the Super Bowl gets an interview with the president of the United States,” said Bret Baier, a top anchor at the network, during its coverage of Biden’s State of the Union address. “We have formally asked for that interview, but we have not received an answer yet, whether they are going to officially do it or not … we’re running out of days.”

Fox broadcast network will carry the Super Bowl on Sunday. Biden sat for an interview with NBC last year, which was broadcast as part of the network’s pregame coverage of the game, and CBS the year before.

Ad Environment Pressures News Corp

News Corp. said Thursday it will cut about 1,250 positions, or 5% of its workforce, in the latest round of layoffs that have hit the media and tech industries in recent months, reports CNBC.

Rupert Murdoch’s media company, which owns such names as The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Barron’s and HarperCollins, said the tough marcoeconomic environment and higher interest rates have been hurting the company.

On Thursday the company reported earnings results and said its quarterly revenue decreased 7% to $2.52 billion from the year-earlier period. Media companies, particularly digital media, have been trying to contend with a challenging advertising market.

Study: And The Top Podcast For Misinformation Is...

In a study released on Thursday by the Brookings Institution, Steve Bannon’s podcast 'War Room' was crowned the top peddler of false, misleading and unsubstantiated statements among political podcasts.

The NY Times reports researchers at Brookings downloaded and transcribed 36,603 podcast episodes from 79 political talk shows that had been released before Jan. 22, 2022. When researchers compared the shows’ transcripts against a list of keywords and common falsehoods identified by fact checkers, they found that nearly 20 percent of Mr. Bannon’s “War Room” episodes contained a false, misleading or unsubstantiated statement, more than shows by other conservatives like Glenn Beck and Charlie Kirk.

Overall, about 70 percent of the podcasts reviewed had shared at least one false or misleading claim, the researchers found. Conservative podcasters were 11 times as likely as liberal podcasters to share a claim that fact checkers could refute.

Kirk, a conservative activist and the founder of Turning Points USA, ranked second, with 17 percent of his episodes containing an unsubstantiated or false claim. “The Rush Limbaugh Show” (which ended when Mr. Limbaugh died in 2021) and “The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show” shared third place, while “The Michael Savage Show” ranked fourth.

Valerie Wirtschafter, a senior data analyst at Brookings who led the research, said some falsehoods and errors were expected to slip through on talk shows, where conversations were typically recorded live. “But what does stand out, particularly for a show like Bannon’s ‘War Room’ and a few others, is just how frequently this type of content appears,” she said.

Remembering Burt Bacharach and His Music

One of the most accomplished pop music composers of the 20th century, Burt Bacharach, died Wednesday at age 94. 

Billboard reports the musical maestro behind 52 top 40 hits including “Alfie,” “Walk on By,” “Promises, Promises,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “What the World Needs Now is Love” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?,” Bacharach had an untouchable run in the 1960s and 1970s with a wide range of pop, R&B and soul artists.

Working with lyricist partner Hal David, Bacharach and David were dubbed the “Rodgers & Hart” of the ’60s, with a unique style featuring instantly hummable melodies and atypical arrangements that folded in everything from jazz and pop to Brazilian grooves and rock.

Many of their songs were popularized by Dionne Warwick, whose singing style inspired Bacharach to experiment with new rhythms and harmonies, composing such innovative melodies as “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “I Say a Little Prayer.”

Bacharach’s music cut across age lines, appealing to teens as well as an older generation who could appreciate the Tin Pan Alley feel of some of David’s lyrics. His fresh style could keep the listener off­balance but was intensely moving, defying convention with uplifting melodies that contrasted the often bittersweet lyrics.

CBC Won't Abandon TV, Radio Audiences As It Charts Digital Path

The CBC will continue to provide Canadians with traditional radio and television broadcasts and will delay its move to digital-only service until adequate high-speed Internet is available to all Canadians, said the head of CBC.

Accoring to a posting on the CBC website, Catherine Tait, president and CEO of the CBC, was responding to a report based on an interview she gave to the Globe and Mail newspaper. That article said she plans to move CBC to a digital-only format and abandon radio and TV, but the move isn't likely to happen over the next 10 years. 

"Let's be clear. We are not abandoning anyone who's watching on traditional television or listening on traditional radio," she said Tuesday. 

"We are looking at a two-decade horizon. The BBC president announced a month ago that BBC would be going to digital-only by 2030. That is not the case for CBC. We are a vast country and until we have ubiquity in broadband delivery in this country, we will leave no one behind."

Union Boss: NBC Workers 'Are Fed Up'

Over 200 employees from NBC News and MSNBC walked off the job Thursday in response to recent layoffs that NewsGuild leaders insist broke the law, reports Fox News Digital. 

Lester Holt, Rachel Maddow and other high-paid stars were absent.

Staffers chanted and marched outside NBC’s New York City headquarters at the iconic Rockefeller Center. Scabby the inflatable rat was on hand, angry NBC employees held signs declaring the network stands for "Nothing But Criminals" and New York City comptroller Brad Lander, D., specifically called out MSNBC, NBC's left-leaning cable arm, for failing to practice what it preaches. 

"You can’t have the MSNBC brand be one that’s about progressives and then screw your workers," Lander told the crowd. 

Lander said New York City pensions belonging to teachers, firefighters and other city workers have invested heavily in NBCUniversal and "shareholders are not happy" with the way employees are being treated. Lander also accused the Comcast-owned company of "union busting" and "unfair labor practices" while standing outside the entrance to NBC’s 30 Rock. 

"If you want to consider yourself, in this day and age, a responsible company, then you will respect your workers' right to organize, you won’t interfere when they do, won’t commit unfair labor practices," Lander said. "Companies really show who they are when they fire people without cause when they’ve got a union organizing in place. That’s an unfair labor practice." 

NewsGuild president Jon Schleuss rallied the crowd by noting that journalists are supposed to hold the powerful to account and sometimes that includes their own employers. 

"NBC is breaking the law, and we are here to hold them to account," Schleuss said before leading a raucous chant. 

Wake-Up Call: Tent Cities Sprout To Shelter Quake Victims

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing mounting criticism from earthquake survivors and opposition parties over the country’s poor construction record and what they say has been an inadequate response to one of its worst natural disasters. A three-month state of emergency officially went into force in Turkey, enabling the government to take swift security and financial measures in areas stricken by a pair of earthquakes on Monday. The death toll in Turkey and Syria reached 21,447, with tens of thousands still missing. Key Developments:

  • Turkish Anger Turns to Erdogan Over Quake Delays, Weak Buildings
  • Azeri Oil Exports From Turkey May Not Resume Until Next Week
  • Turkish Donors Order Container Homes for Earthquake Survivors
  • Turkey Assets Stop Skid as Investors Weigh Post-Disaster Risks
  • Erdogan Vows Building Blitz to Renew Quake-Hit Areas Within Year
  • Turkey Risks Inflation Surge, Budget Breach as Quake Costs Mount

The rescue of several survivors from the rubble of buildings in Turkey lifted the spirits of weary search crews on Friday, four days after a major earthquake struck the country and neighboring Syria. Cold, hunger and despair gripped hundreds of thousands of people left homeless by the tremors, the deadliest in the region for decades. Several people were rescued from the rubble of buildings during the night, including a 10-year-old boy saved with his mother after 90 hours in the Samandag district of Hatay province. Also in Hatay, a seven-year-old girl named Asya Donmez was rescued after 95 hours and taken to hospital, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

But hopes were fading that many more would be found alive in the ruins of thousands of collapsed buildings in towns and cities across the region.

➤MIKE PENCE SUBPOENAED FOR TRUMP INVESTIGATION: Former Vice President Mike Pence has been subpoenaed by the special counsel who is investigating former President Donald Trump’s involvement in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, ABC News reported. Special counsel Jack Smith was appointed in November to oversee the investigation into the effort by former president and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election. As of last night, there was no comment on the report from the vice president.

➤FILING INCREASE FOR BENEFITS: Worker filings for unemployment benefits rose last week but remained historically low. Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, increased by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 196,000 last week, the Labor Department said. That reflects a tight job market—in some sectors. Restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes and child-care centers are staffing up postpandemic, more than offsetting layoffs in the tech industry. Meanwhile, the steepest fourth-quarter home-price declines were in the West, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Westwood One To Air 50th Super Bowl Broadcast

CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One, America’s largest audio network and the official network audio broadcast partner of the National Football League (NFL), will present comprehensive live coverage and play-by-play of Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, February 12, 2023, when the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs face the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Super Bowl LVII will be the 36th consecutive year and the 50th time overall Westwood One will broadcast America’s biggest sporting event.

Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties for the Super Bowl for the 13th straight year, with Super Bowl XXXIV MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner returning for the fifth consecutive year as lead analyst. Former NFL referee turned rules analyst Gene Steratore will also join the radio broadcast booth for this year’s Super Bowl. For the fourth time, Laura Okmin will patrol the sidelines, along with former defensive lineman Mike Golic, who returns for his second Super Bowl with Westwood One’s broadcast crew.

Scott Graham will anchor Westwood One’s pregame, halftime, and postgame show coverage, his 14th Super Bowl with the network. Former offensive lineman and Super Bowl 50 champion Ryan Harris will provide pregame, halftime, and postgame analysis.

Gameday coverage will begin at 2:00 p.m. ET, with “Super Bowl Preview,” co-hosted by Scott Graham, Mike Golic, and Kurt Warner, followed by “Super Bowl Insider” at 3:00 p.m. ET with Scott Graham, Jason McCourty, and Ian Rapoport. Live coverage from the stadium will kick off at 4:00 p.m. ET with “Super Sunday,” and the Super Bowl game broadcast will begin at 5:00 p.m. ET, with kickoff expected just after 6:30 p.m. ET.

Westwood One’s Complete Broadcast Schedule:

Activist Peltz Makes Nice With Disney, Ends Board Challenge

Activist investor Nelson Peltz on Thursday ended his quest for a board seat at Walt Disney Co  after Chief Executive Bob Iger laid out plans to fix the home of Mickey Mouse, cheering investors.

"The proxy fight is over. This is a win for all shareholders," a spokesperson for Peltz's Trian Fund Management said.

Nelson Peltz
Reuters reports the decision came only hours after Disney reported earnings that topped Wall Street expectations and Iger outlined a corporate restructuring that included 7,000 job cuts and addressed many of Peltz's criticisms.

After weeks of trading increasingly personal barbs, Peltz extended an olive branch to Disney saying he congratulated the company and its CEO on new "operating initiatives" that dovetail with his thinking.

Disney issued a statement applauding Peltz's decision to end the board challenge. "We have tremendous faith in Bob Iger’s leadership and the transformative vision for Disney’s future he set forth yesterday," the board said.

Trian owns a stake of nearly $1 billion in Disney and had criticized the company for bungled succession planning, overpaying for new assets and runaway costs.

LI Radio: WBAB Inks 4-Year Deal With Roger and JP For Mornings

The top-rated “Roger & JP” radio show with Roger Luce and “JP” Parise inked a new 4-year deal that keeps them on 102.3 WBAB (Nassau-Suffolk, NY) in mornings and on 102.5 The Bone (Tampa, FL) mid-day. Both stations are owned by Cox Media Group.

Since Roger & JP took over mornings on 102.3 WBAB (Long Island) in 2000 and came to 102.5 The Bone (Tampa) in 2015, they have been there for their listeners. That includes mobilizing relief efforts after 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy; helping the community make it through the COVID pandemic; raising funds for Hope For The Warriors; providing toys for sick children and food for military veterans; and much more. Along the way, Roger & JP have demonstrated that don’t do the show just to entertain, but to help their listeners and communities.

February 10 Radio History

Jimmy Durante 1947
➦In 1893
...singer/comedian Jimmy Durante was born in New York City.  His distinctive vocal personality made him a natural star in bigtime radio, and later TV.  He was still headlining a weekly TV show as late as 1969 when he was in his late 70’s (Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters.) Famous for the sign-off, “Good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”  He died of pneumonia Jan 29, 1980 at age 86.

➦In 1925...WTIC-AM in Hartford, CT signed-on with 500 watts of power from the 6th floor of the Travelers 26 Grove St building in Hartford where there were seven studios, most or all with control rooms. The station was licensed to the Travelers Insurance Company ("TIC") and had studios in downtown Hartford.

The 1931 CT State Register shows WTIC, owned by Travelers Broadcasting Service, operating on 1060 Khz with 50,000 watts, the most powerful station in the state.  The transmitter, referred to as "old number one" was the first 50,000 watt transmitter ever manufactured by RCA and has serial number 001. This RCA 50 transmitter was the first high power commercial transmitter to use 100-kilowatt tubes, the first to use mercury-vapor type rectifiers throughout, and the first capable of true 100 percent modulation of its full rated 50-kilowatt carrier output.

By 1941 they had changed frequency to 1080 khz.  WTIC is now owned by Audacy Communications.

WTIC was known for its historic time tone, which is a broadcast of the Morse code letter "V" every hour on the hour since 1943. This makes it one of the oldest continuously broadcasting radio time tones in the world. WTIC employs a GPS master clock system that fires the custom-built time-tone generator shortly before the top of the hour, timed such that the final tone of the sequence occurs precisely on the hour (Even though everything else heard on the station is on a 10-second delay), and listeners have been setting their watches to WTIC for many years. The notes of the sequence were pitched to mimic the famous opening sequence of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, whose "short-short-short-long" rhythm matches that of the Morse code letter "V". The Morse code letter "V" for Victory was selected during the height of WWII.

Bob Steele
WTIC's best-known personality was Bob Steele, who started with the station in 1936 and stayed with WTIC for his entire sixty-six year career, ending with his death on December 6, 2002 at the age of 91.

Steele continued to broadcast a 5:30 - 10:00 AM Monday-Saturday morning show for WTIC for fifty-five years, scaling back to Saturdays only after September 1991; by the time of his last broadcast in November 2002, he was only heard on the first Saturday morning of every month. Despite WTIC's various format changes over the years, Steele's show (which featured musical standards, farm news and prices early in the morning, novelty songs, silly jokes, horrible puns ("...and the weather for Mexico City is chili today, hot tamale") and a regular "Word of the Day" segment - even long after WTIC itself had abandoned music for a focus on news/talk remained unchanged throughout its run, making it perhaps the longest-running radio program in history to have never undergone a significant format change.

➦In 1964...Personality Johnny Holliday started at 1010 WINS.  He hosted the station's final music broadcast in 1965. This led him west to Top 40 giant KYA in San Francisco where in 1965, Holliday was named America's number one disc jockey by the Bill Gavin Radio "Gavin Report." His radio work is featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In connection with the station he hosted record hops and concerts, including co-hosting the final concert by the Beatles at Candlestick Park in 1966.

Holliday moved to Washington, D.C., in 1969, handling morning drive time duties for WWDC until 1978, and sports for WMAL from 1978 to 1991.

➦In 1996...“The New” WKTU officially debuted at 103.5 FM.

At 6 p.m. on February 9, 1996, WYNY, which had dropped it's Country Format,  switched its stunting to a heartbeat sound effect, promoting the launch of a new format coming the following day at Noon. At that time, WKTU was relaunched on 103.5 FM with a dance-based CHR format; WKTU's first song was "Gonna Make You Sweat" by C+C Music Factory.  The station instantly skyrocketed to number one in the Arbitron ratings.

Drag performer RuPaul co-hosted mornings with Michelle Visage, Lisa Taylor and Freddie Colon around this period, further helping their ratings. Sean "Hollywood" Hamilton and Goumba Johnny made their debut at night and after much success were moved to mornings in 1998.

By 2002, the moderate amount of rap played on the station was gone and the station evolved into more of a Rhythmic Hot AC.

➦In 2004...Rick Dees announced he was leaving the morning show at KIIS 102.7 FM, Los Angeles, after 22 years.  The issue was a contract dispute.   Click Here for his final KIIS-FM Show.