Saturday, February 25, 2023

February 26 Radio History

➦In 1919...Mason Adams born (Died - April 26, 2005 at age 86). He was a character actor and voice-over artist.

Adams was heard on many radio programs during Radio's Golden Age. A notable recurring role was that of Pepper Young in Pepper Young's Family, which aired from 1947 to 1959. He also portrayed the deadly Nazi Atom Man in a classic 1945 serial on the radio version of The Adventures of Superman.

Mason Adams
Adams is perhaps most famous for his role as Managing Editor Charlie Hume in the television series Lou Grant, which aired from 1977 to 1982.

During the 1960s, he was ubiquitous as a voiceover actor in television commercials for foods and household products, most notably for Chiffon margarine and Crest toothpaste ("Helps stop cavities before they start"). He also did the vocal part of the television commercials for Smucker's preserves ("With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good!"), a role he resumed in his later years. Beginning in the 1980s, Adams provided the voiceover for Cadbury Creme eggs, which were advertised on television with Adams' catchy slogan, "Nobunny knows Easter better than him [the Cadbury Bunny]."

In addition, Adams was the narrator for Kix commercials in the 1990s as well as a few Dentyne commercials and a few Swanson commercials. He was also the announcer for a 1992 WCBS-TV news promo, as well as a 1986 Lysol commercial. In the early 1990s, he narrated The Discovery Channel series on milestones of aviation called "Frontiers of Flight". In one of the early episodes of Sesame Street, he voiced a cartoon featuring a "jazzy" triangle and a "square" square. He voiced those two, as well as being the narrator, with jazz music in the background.

➦In 1932...Singer Johnny Cash Born (Died September 12, 2003 at age 71).  He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide.  Although primarily remembered as a country music icon, his genre-spanning songs and sound embraced rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal won Cash the rare honor of being inducted into the Country Music, Rock and Roll, and Gospel Music Halls of Fame.

➦In 1951...WMCA-FM changed call letters to WHOM-FM in NYC

FCC Sets Hearing for Standard General, Tegna Deal

The Federal Communications Commission put off consideration of hedge fund Standard General LP’s proposed purchase of broadcaster Tegna Inc., a delay that could kill the $5.4 billion transaction.

Bloomberg reports the agency said in an emailed order Friday it’s concerned that the transaction proposed a year ago might trigger price increases for consumers as TV stations boost charges for cable providers. The deal might also reduce local content on TV stations, the FCC said, and ordered a hearing.

“We’re asking for closer review to ensure that this transaction does not anti-competitively raise prices or put jobs in local newsrooms at risk,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a news release. “We will take the time needed to address these critical questions.”

Shares of Tegna fell as much as 26% to $16.15 in extended trading after the announcement. Standard General is offering $24 a share for the company.

A hearing will take place at a date yet to be chosen and drag out the review, potentially beyond the companies’ time frame for completion. It would take place before the agency’s administrative law judge, who didn’t immediately respond to a telephone call Friday.

Bay Area Radio: Wild 94.9 Morning Host Reported Missing

San Francisco police are asking for the public's help in finding a 54-year-old Jeffrey Vandergrift, host of the morning radio on iHeartMedia's KYLD Wild 94.9 FM.
He was last seen around 10 p.m. Thursday at his home. Police consider JV to be 'at risk'.

"We are deeply concerned, as we know you are, that our own JV has been reported missing by the SFPD." the station said in a statement Friday.

Vandergrift is described as a white man who is about 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, and is bald with brown eyes. He has several tattoos, including on his arms and above his right ear, and was last seen wearing black sweatpants, police said.

Anyone who sees Vandergrift is asked to call 911 and report his location and description.

WBD CEO Calls 2023 A 'Year of Building'

David Zaslav

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) CEO David Zaslav promised 2023 will be WBD's year after the media giant reported fourth quarter earnings results that missed across the board on Thursday, reports Yahoo! Finance.

"This promises to be a very exciting year for our company," he told investors during the company's Q4 earnings call. "The bulk of our restructuring is behind us...we are one company now."

Zaslav, who touted multiple times that the company's strategy "is working," stressed net leverage will be below 4x by the end of this year.

Cord cutting and the drop in ad sales have hit Warner Bros. Discovery hard. Thursday, the company reported its 4th quarter 2022 earnings and reported a $2.1 billion loss. This includes a $1.85 billion write-down and $1.2 billion in restructuring expenses.

This works out to be about $22.8 million lost every day in the 4th quarter of 2022.

The embattled media giant also announced it will be adjusting its $3.5 billion cost-saving synergy targets to $4 billion over the next two years. That will be accompanied by restructuring charges of $5.3 billion.

Zaslav emphasized the company's IP will be a clear driver in its success, announcing a new production deal for multiple "Lord of the Rings" movies, as well as a continued focus on its revamp of the DC Universe.

"DC is the biggest value creation opportunity for us," Zaslav said, referencing the new "Superman" and "Batman" movies set for release in 2025, along with the upcoming "The Flash" film.

He also teased the much-anticipated relaunch of HBO Max/Discovery+ this spring, saying more details will be released at a press event scheduled for April 12. Zaslav also confirmed recent reports that Discovery+ will keep running as a standalone streaming service alongside the soon-to-launch combo platform.

WBD's Zaslav: CNN Making 'Real Progress'

CNN’s recent embrace of Republican guests is a sign the embattled network is “making real progress” in its effort to lure back viewers with a refreshed image, according to WarnerBros. Discovery boss David Zaslav.

The NY Post reports Zaslav highlighted CNN’s centrist push during the parent company’s earnings call — while making no mention of recent turmoil at the network over “CNN This Morning” anchor Don Lemon’s sexist remarks.

David Zaslav
“We are already seeing a more inclusive range of voices and viewpoints, as demonstrated last month, when over 70 Republicans came on our air during their congressional speaker election process, a first in a very long time, and we intend to continue advancing on this balanced strategy,” Zaslav told analysts Thursday.

“We must get it right. Nowhere is this more important, in my view, and it isn’t going to happen overnight, and I believe we are on the right path,” Zaslav added.

Zaslav and CNN president Chris Licht have made sweeping changes at the network over the last year — including an overhaul of its programming lineup, the troubled relaunch of its morning show, the firing of longtime anchor Brian Stelter and a round of layoffs.

“Chris Licht and the team are focused on building an asset for the long term across cable and digital that is worthy of that great global brand,” he said.

Under Licht’s direction, CNN recently added a segment from HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” to its primetime lineup on Friday nights. The network has also reportedly approached NBA legend Charles Barkley about a potential hosting gig.

So far, the overhauled “CNN This Morning” has failed to resonate with viewers. As The Post reported, turmoil has engulfed the show, with Lemon clashing with co-anchors Kaitlin Collins and Poppy Harlow.

WBD Wants Out Of Regional Sports Deals

Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. is informing the professional-sports teams whose games are carried on three of its regional sports networks that it wishes to cease operating the channels and exit the business, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.

The three regional sports networks were inherited by Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. when it acquired control of the WarnerMedia assets from AT&T Inc.  The channels—which are still branded as AT&T SportsNet—serve teams in Pittsburgh, Houston, Colorado and Utah—and carry baseball, basketball and hockey. 

In a letter sent Friday from the unit’s president Patrick Crumb teams were warned that “the business will not have sufficient cash to pay the upcoming rights fees,” people familiar with the letter said. The teams were also told that Warner Bros. Discovery “will not fund our shortfalls,” they said.

The letter proposes that AT&T SportsNet transfer ownership of the networks and programming rights to the teams for no purchase price consideration beyond a release by the teams of any future claims against the networks.

WBD Sues Paramount Over 'South Park' Episodes

HBO Max operator Warner Bros Discovery Inc. accused Paramount Global of conspiring with the creators of South Park to keep some of the show’s content out of HBO’s more than $500 million deal for exclusive streaming rights to the cartoon comedy series, according to Bloomberg.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in New York state court, Warner alleged a “multi-year scheme” by Paramount to divert content in a “blatant” attempt to prop up its own streaming service, Paramount+, with help from South Park Digital Studios and MTV Entertainment Studios. HBO is seeking more than $200 million in damages.

Paramount, which owns the Comedy Central channel where South Park shows are first broadcast, sought to “unfairly take advantage of Warner/HBO by breaching its contract and stealing its content,” according to the lawsuit.

HBO Max announced in October 2019 it had won the exclusive streaming rights to South Park, with all 23 seasons of the show available on the service and three new seasons to debut 24 hours after premiering on Comedy Central. HBO said the deal, which ran from June 2020 to June 2025, included payments of about $1.7 million for each of the 333 episodes.

Cincy Radio: MLB Reds, WLW Renew Through 2027

The Cincinnati Reds and iHeartMedia have renewed 700WLW as the flagship for the Reds Radio Network through 2027.

“Listening to Reds games on 700WLW has been an inherent part of a Reds fan’s experience for generations,” said Karen Forgus, Reds senior vice president of business operations. “We are extremely proud to continue this tradition with 700WLW through iHeartMedia, whose innovation has kept 700WLW the powerhouse go-to in the region for news, traffic, and sports.”

WLW aired the first radio broadcast of a Reds game in 1924 under the direction of WLW founder and future Reds owner Powel Crosley, Jr. Since 1969, WLW has served as the Reds’ flagship station.

“We are thrilled to announce this five-year radio partnership extension, as 700WLW continues to be the Flagship Station in the Reds Radio Network,” said iHeartMedia Cincinnati president DJ Hodge. “iHeartMedia Cincinnati is proud to continue this long partnership with Major League Baseball’s first franchise, our hometown Reds, and are thrilled to be able to continue to be the place that Reds fans throughout the region can turn to for all of the exciting action, as well as bringing fans the pre-game and post-game shows throughout the season.”

The Reds on Radio broadcast is led by veteran producer Dave Armbruster along with play-by-play announcer Tommy Thrall and former Reds pitcher Jeff Brantley serving as analyst. Joining Thrall in the booth on occasion is former Reds pitcher Chris Welsh.

“Having 162 regular season games and the majority of spring training games easily accessible on our vast radio network is so important to our fans,” said Forgus. “Radio provides the daily continuity that Reds baseball is built upon, and the excellent production and content provided by 700WLW make listening entertaining and informative.”

The Reds Radio Network is the third largest in Major League Baseball with 115 affiliate stations.

FCC Gets Super Bowl Half-Time Show Complaints

Super Bowl Half-Time Performance

The FCC has received at least103 formal complaints about Fox’s Super Bowl LVII broadcast, the majority of which were pegged to Rihanna’s bombshell halftime-show performance, reports The L-A Times.

The complaints are an assortment of grievances about the “Umbrella” singer’s “rude, obscene ‘performance‘” that described her sexualized lyrics and her background dancers’ gyrating choreography as offensive or inappropriate.

Rihanna, 35, who also surprised viewers by revealing that she was pregnant with her second child during the performance, did not dance much during the highly anticipated concert but sang a medley of her hits, including “B— Better Have My Money,” “Where Have You Been,” “Only Girl (In the World),” “We Found Love” and “Work.” The soaring performance was Rihanna’s first since 2016 and has been praised by fans, but also elicited the ire of conservative pundits.

And her white-clad background dancers — who have been compared to sperm, clouds and pillows — used body language that was enough to upset audiences across the country who did more than just tweet their gripes. A fraction of the football game’s viewers (113.1 million average but 118.7 million for halftime) likened Rihanna’s set to pornography and lamented the decline of decency, according to the list of complaints posted on the FCC’s website.

“Inappropriate touching and dance moves, very raunchy for a family to watch. Little kids do not need to see this,” said one complaint from Rockton, Ill.

“The performance was very over sexualized and there were many instances where Rihanna had her background dancers doing very explicit dances,” wrote a viewer from Lone Tree, Colo. “On top of all this 4 of the songs she chose to sing were about sex. This is supposed to be a family friendly show but we look at this and wish we were given a heads up for explicit content prior so we could get our child out of the room.”

February 25 Radio History

➦In 1928.. the Federal Radio Commission issued the first U.S. television license to Charles Jenkins Laboratories in Washington, DC. The first commercial TV license was issued in 1941.

➦In 1943...George Harrison born.  (Died 29 November 2001 from cancer at age 58).  He was an English musician, singer-songwriter, music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of The Beatles.

Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison embraced Indian culture and helped broaden the scope of popular music through his incorporation of Indian instrumentation and Hindu-aligned spirituality in the Beatles' work.

Although the majority of the band's songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contained at least two Harrison compositions. His songs for the group included "Taxman", "Within You Without You", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something".

➦In 1995... at a private party for 1,200 invited guests on the closing night of the Sinatra Desert Classic golf tournament in Palm Springs, Frank Sinatra sang before a live audience for the very last time, at Marriott’s Desert Springs Resort. His closing song was ‘The Best is Yet to Come.’  He died on May 14, 1998.

➦In 2004...The controversy surrounding the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show (Nipple-Gate), aired live on February 1, 2004 and led to the government's crackdown on indecency in radio and television following a surge in audience complaints.

The situation prompted tighter control over content by station managers which made Stern feel "dead" creatively.

On this date, Clear Channel dropped The Howard Stern Show from its station after it and Viacom were fined for content the FCC deemed indecent.

 The situation culminated on October 6, 2004, when Stern announced the signing of a five-year deal with Sirius Satellite Radio, a subscription-based satellite radio service exempt from the FCC's broadcast regulations, starting in 2006. It is a move that has been regarded as the start of "a new era of radio." Stern's final live show on terrestrial airwaves aired on December 16, 2005.

➦In 2014…Radio, TV personality Jim Lange died of an apparent heart attack at age 81 (born: August 15, 1932).

Friday, February 24, 2023

San Diego Radio: Audacy Promotes Scotty Roddy To RVP/Country

Audacy has promoted Scotty Roddy to Regional Vice President of West Coast Country Programming. 

In this role, Roddy will have programming oversight of Audacy’s west coast country brands, including 106.5 The Wolf (WDAF-FM) Kansas City, KMLE Country 107.9 (KMLE-FM) in Phoenix, K-FROG (KFRG-FM) in Riverside and 100.7 The Wolf (KKWF-FM) in Seattle.

Scotty Roddy
Roddy will also add additional day-to-day Brand Manager responsibilities for 103.7 KSON in San Diego, where he will oversee content strategy, talent, operations and branding for the station. He will continue as Brand Manager of 99.5 The Wolf (KWJJ-FM) in Portland.

“Scott has proven leadership skills with extensive experience growing some of our leading country brands alongside our leadership team,” said Tim Roberts, Country Format Vice President, Audacy. “We’re very excited for him to take this next step in his career and continue elevating our country portfolio.”

“The country audience activates better than any other genre,” said Roddy. “The opportunity to learn from the best leaders in the format like JR Ammons, Heather Froglear, Brooks O'Brien and Drew Bland, while growing the Audacy west coast country footprint is once in a career. My sincere gratitude to Tim Roberts, Kim Martinez, Michael Valenzuela, Doug Abernethy, Jeff Federman, Dave Richards and Jeff Sottolano.”

Receiving his FCC license on his 14th birthday, Roddy has had a lifelong passion for audio. The CMA/ACM Award-winning programmer has led teams in St. Louis, Seattle, Portland and Indianapolis over the course of his career and joined Audacy in 2019.

TV Ratings: 'Young Sheldon' Helps CBS Win The Week

With the NFL season over, “Young Sheldon” became the first scripted program to top the weekly prime-time ratings in the 22nd week of the 2022-23 television season.

The CBS comedy averaged 7.304 million viewers, one of three programs airing between Feb. 13 and Sunday to top 7 million viewers, according to The L-A Times citing live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen. The CBS crime drama “FBI” was second for the week, averaging 7.197 million and the CBS action drama, “NCIS” finished third, averaging 7.053 million.

NFL programming dominated from the start of its season through the Super Bowl. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the top-ranked prime-time program each of the first seven weeks of the television season. An NFL postgame show on Fox led the ratings for the eighth week. “Sunday Night Football” topped the rankings five of the next six weeks, only interrupted by NBC’s Thanksgiving night NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots.

ESPN’s coverage of Georgia’s 42-41 victory over Ohio State in a College Football Playoff semifinal on New Year’s Eve was that week’s ratings leader, while NFL games finished first each of the next four weeks.

Last week, CBS averaged 4.19 million viewers to be the most-watched network for the third time in four weeks, a run interrupted only by Fox’s coverage of Super Bowl LVII. CBS did not finish first during any of the first 18 weeks of the season.

NBC was second, averaging 3.24 million and ABC third, averaging 2.79 million.  Fox averaged 2.12 million viewers. Its highest rated program was the 13-minute Daytona 500 post-race show, which averaged 5.073 million viewers, 15th for the week. Fox’s top non-sports program was the season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” 29th for the week averaging 3.708 million viewers. ABC’s programming was led by the season premiere of “American Idol,” 12th for the week averaging 5.269 million viewers.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of 10 CBS scripted programs and its newsmagazine “60 Minutes”; five NBC scripted programs; ABC’s “American Idol” and “America’s Funniest How Videos”; Fox’s Daytona 500 post-race show; and the TNT-TBS simulcast of the NBA All-Star Game.

Despite drawing a record-low audience among available figures, Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game led the week’s prime-time cable programs, averaging a total 4.59 million viewers, 19th overall. The previous low for an NBA All-Star Game was 5.943 million viewers in 2021, when it also was simulcast by TNT and TBS. Figures date back to 1990.

Official viewership for nearly all forms of programming has decreased because of increased viewing of streaming programming, including the same program shown on traditional television.

Orlando Authorities Release Dramatic Arrest Footage

Orlando police released dramatic bodycam footage showing the arrest of a teen suspected of fatally shooting three people Wednesday – including a local TV journalist and a defenseless 9-year-old girl.

“I can’t breathe!” Keith Moses, 19, repeatedly screams as Orange County Sheriff’s Office Deputies take him to the ground. “I can’t breathe!”

The footage shows police units confronting the accused triple-murderer on a residential street and yelling at him to get on the ground.

Moses refuses the commands and raises his arms to his sides before being tackled. “Let me go!” he shouts as deputies slap on handcuffs. “Let me go! I can’t breathe!”

As Moses continues wailing, deputies can be seen retrieving a gun from his pant leg.  “It’s still hot,” one states after retrieving the weapon.

Moses, 19, was traveling in a car with his cousin and a 38-year-old acquaintance named Nathacha Augustin Wednesday morning in Orlando’s Pine Hills neighborhood when the killing spree began.

Cops said he fatally blasted Augustin inside the vehicle around 11 a.m. then fled the area.

Dylan Lyons and Jesse Walden

Four hours later, Moses returned to the scene of Augustin’s murder and coldly shot Spectrum 13 journalists Dylan Lyons, 24, and Jesse Walden as they sat in an unmarked car while covering the initial crime, officials said.

T'Yonna Major
Lyons, who was engaged to be married, was later pronounced dead at a local hospital while Walden, a photographer, survived the attack and continued to improve Thursday.

The homicidal rampage then continued, as Moses marched into another home on a nearby street and began firing at 9-year-old T’Yonna Major and her unidentified mother.

The child – described as a bubbly aspiring gymnast – died from her wounds at a local hospital, while her parent remains in critical condition.

 Lyons was born and raised in Philadelphia but made Central Florida his home, when he enrolled in, thrived in and graduated from UCF.

Detroit Radio: WYCD's Rob & Holly Launching C2C

Holly Hutton and Rob Stone

Audacy and United Stations Media Networks, an independent leader in the creation and marketing of network radio programming and services, are continuing to expand their strategic alliance with the announcement that “Rob and Holly” will be the third daily daypart program to be rolled out into national network distribution by the companies. 

The collaboration, first announced this past October, was established so that Audacy can leverage United Stations’ national distribution platform to expand its reach for its on-air content and talent beyond its own market footprint. The strategic alliance has already put in motion syndication efforts for “Katie & Company” in the country format and “The Ed Lover Experience” for hip-hop and throwback stations. “Rob and Holly” will deliver a daily show in content segments so that affiliates can program their own music, and the show launches nationally on Monday, February 27th.

“Rob and Holly” are a high-energy duo who have been on the air together since 2016, originating on Country 99.5 WYCD in Detroit and now heard on 20 Audacy stations nationwide. “Rob and Holly” ranked first in the Chicago market among adults 18-49 and 25-54, as well as women 18-49 and 25-54 in the weekday 7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. timeslot. The duo also delivered amongst 24-to-54-year-old female listeners, including landing at No. 1 on US99 (WUSN-FM) in Chicago and KMLE Country 107.9 (KMLE-FM) in Phoenix and No. 2 on US101 (WUSY-FM) in Chattanooga. Rob and Holly also ranked first among all listeners 12+ on US101 (WUSY-FM) in Chattanooga. Together, they embrace the country lifestyle and have plenty of personal and entertaining anecdotes that they share on the air. 

SacTown Radio: Classic Hits K-HITS Going Silent

Results Radio has signed an agreement to transfer the license of Sacramento Classic Hit KCCL (101.5 FM, K-HITS) to Oxnard-based Lazer Broadcasting, the owner of several Spanish-language radio stations across California.

The deal was first disclosed in an application filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a transfer of KCCL’s license from Results to Lazer. The valuation of the deal is around $1.9 million, according to The Desk citing people familiar with the matter.

The purchase is expected to get regulatory approval. Upon closure of the deal, KCCL will flip from a classic hits format station to Regional Mexicana and will adopt the “Radio Lazer” moniker.

Officials at Lazer say the purchase is expected to help the Radio Lazer brand further penetrate the Sacramento market. The brand is already used on KBAA103.3 FM in Grass Valley, which reaches the Auburn market but doesn’t penetrate the greater Sacramento region.

KCCL 101.5 FM (5.7 Kw)

KCCL first took to the airwaves in 1996 with the call letters KMJE and a soft rock format under the “Sunny 101.5 FM” brand. It eventually swapped call letters with a station on 92.1 FM in the Sacramento market, and became “101.5 K-HITS” in early 2013.

Wake-Up Call: Life Expectancy Is 4-Hours For Ukraine Soldiers

The war in Ukraine entered its second year on Friday with no end in sight, a U.N. vote demanding Russia withdraw its forces and global leaders set to bolster Ukraine aid and impose new sanctions on Moscow and countries supporting its war effort. As fighting raged on in Ukraine's east and south, its allies around the world showed their support on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion. Paris lit up the Eiffel Tower in the Ukrainian flag colors of blue and yellow and people draped in Ukrainian flags, with hands on their hearts, gathered at a vigil in London holding a banner: "If you stand for freedom, stand for Ukraine".

➤Z CALLS FOR VICTORY: Ukraine’s president pledged to push for victory in 2023 as he and other Ukrainians on Friday marked the somber first anniversary of the Russian invasion that he called “the longest day of our lives.” In a defiant video address, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recalled the terror unleashed a year ago by the Russian assault, triggering Europe’s biggest and deadliest war since World War II.  “We survived the first day of the full-scale war. We didn’t know what tomorrow would bring, but we clearly understood that for each tomorrow, you need to fight. And we fought,” he said.

➤FRONT LINE LIFE EXPECTANCY IS 4 HOURS: The average life expectancy for a soldier fighting on the front lines in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut is just four hours, according to an American who is fighting against Russian forces in the Donbas.  Former US Marine Troy Offenbecker detailed the intense fighting, some of the deadliest since Russia launched its invasion a year ago, in an interview with ABC News. Fighting in the war-torn city of Bakhmut has gotten so gory that it’s been dubbed “the meat grinder,” Offenbecker told the outlet. “It’s been pretty bad on the ground,” he said. “A lot of casualties. The life expectancy is around four hours on the front line.” 

The struggle to gain control of the eastern city, which had a prewar population of about 73,000, has been the most persistent fight within the war. In recent weeks, Russian forces have strengthened their attacks in eastern and southern Ukraine ahead of an anticipated large-scale offensive to earn a Russian victory. Russian forces have encircled “fortress Bakhmut” for months, as the city is important to Kyiv because it’s located next to a supply route, but have been met with fierce opposition from Ukrainian troops. 

➤YELLEN CALLS FOR ENDING WAR IN UKRAINE: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Russia ending the war was “the most important thing” for the global economy as she accused officials from Moscow attending a Group of 20 meeting of being complicit in atrocities taking place in Ukraine. Speaking in a closed-door meeting Friday in Bengaluru, India, where G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors are gathered, Yellen reiterated calls to her counterparts to redouble efforts to restrict Russia’s capacity to wage war. “This war has its most devastating effects in Ukraine, but Putin’s weaponization of food and energy has harmed developing countries and created global economic headwinds that have hurt every nation represented in this room,” Yellen said, according to remarks prepared for delivery.

➤U-S READIES MORE AID FOR UKRAINE: The US will send Ukraine another $2 billion in security assistance, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Thursday night. The package, to be issued under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, will build on previous efforts to aid Ukrainian defenses against Russia.  Sullivan confirmed the new assistance during a CNN Town Hall with US Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power. The initiative is intended to finance contracts with delivery dates months or even years away to bolster the nation’s long-term security needs, not for immediate battlefield use. Sullivan added that President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President  Volodymyr Zelenskiy had “deep conversations about precisely what kinds of capacities and what kind of training Ukraine needs to be successful in this effort to take back the territory.” Ukraine has asked repeatedly for fighter jets, which the US has been wary of providing because of the risk of provoking Russia. Sullivan said the two presidents had discussed F-16 warplanes.

➤CHINA CALLS FOR PEACE TALKS: The communist state said it wants to prevent the crisis from getting out of control, noting that dialogue and negotiation are the only viable ways to resolve the conflict, a position paper from the Chinese foreign ministry released on Friday said. On the one-year anniversary of Russia invading Ukraine, China called for a comprehensive ceasefire to the fighting and gradually promotes de-escalation and easing of the situation. 'Conflict and war benefit no one. All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control,' the statement said. The plan issued Friday morning by the Foreign Ministry also urges the end of Western sanctions imposed on Russia, measures to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities, the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians, and steps to ensure the export of grain after disruptions caused global food prices to spike.

Report: 'CNN This Morning' Had Ratings Spike WITHOUT Lemon

Don Lemon’s three-day hiatus from “CNN This Morning” resulted in a 5% increase in viewership for the struggling cable news show, which was thrown into turmoil by the co-host’s sexist remarks about GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley last week.

Viewership of “CNN This Morning” reached a total of 617,000 households on Feb. 17 — the first day of Lemon’s absence. The next day, viewership reached 678,000 total households during the three-hour block this past Monday, according to The NY Post citing data provided by Samba TV, the analytics firm that provides real-time data on audience measurement for streaming services.

“CNN This Morning” attracted an even larger audience on Tuesday, when it drew 709,000 households, according to Samba TV. Lemon returned on Wednesday.

“Following the backlash from his remarks on presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s age, Lemon’s two-day absence from the studio actually appears to have boosted the network’s average ratings,” Dallas Lawrence, a senior vice president at Samba TV, told The Post.

“Average viewership the two days following his comments was up 5% compared to the average daily viewership the week before,” Lawrence said.

“In fact, two out of the three most-watched days in the past eight analyzed were the days in which Lemon was absent.”

Samba TV’s numbers contradict those of Nielsen, which showed that viewership of “CNN This Morning” dipped during Lemon’s hiatus.

Chicago Radio: WMVP To Air Full-Day Of NFL Bears Content

 WMVP ESPN 1000 officially takes ownership of the Bears’ radio rights Wednesday, and the station has a full day of programming planned. reports The Sun-Times.

“We’re coming out kicking and screaming and yelling from the rooftops, Hey, we’re the new home of the Chicago Bears,” ESPN 1000 director of content Danny Zederman said.

“Kap & J.Hood” will broadcast from 5 to 9 a.m. at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where they’ll be joined by Bears general manager Ryan Poles at 7:30. “Bleck and Abdalla” will follow from 9 to 11, “Carmen and Jurko” from 11 to 2 p.m., “Waddle & Silvy” from 2 to 6 and Tyler Aki and Jeff Meller from 6 to 8. Each show will have Bears-related surprises.

Bears games have aired on Audacy's WBBM 780 AM since 2000. The move gives ESPN 1000 a big opportunity to increase listenership after getting back into local rights with the White Sox in 2021.

“We’re not looking at the Bears as only 17 regular-season games,” Zederman said. “We’re looking at the Bears as a product that we’re going to talk about and embrace for 365 days a year.”

When the Sox and Bears inevitably play on the same day, the Sox will move to WGN, which carried the team from 2018 to ’20. If a Bears game conflicts with a Sox postseason game, the Bears will also move to WGN.

St. Lous Radio: KYKY To Air MLS St. Louis City SC

Major League Soccer expansion franchise St. Louis City SC announced its radio partners Wednesday, as it prepares to begin its inaugural season in the coming days.

City SC has reached an agreement with Audacy St. Louis, to have its games broadcast on local station KYKY (Y98.1 FM). The partnership also includes plans to air additional City SC-focused programming on KMOX (1120 AM), which is also owned by Audacy.

The team has also partnered with KXOK (102.9 FM) to air Spanish broadcasts of its games. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

City SC begins its 2023 MLS season Saturday with an away match against Austin FC in Austin, Texas. Following its season opener, City SC will play its first home game March 4 at CityPark when it hosts Charlotte FC.

Tom Brady Extends SiriusXM Podcast Deal

Tom Brady is keeping busy in his retirement.  SiriusXM announced that it has signed a multi-year renewal with Brady’s podcast, Let’s Go! with Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray. The show is in its third season.

It will air weekly on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio and SiriusXM NFL Radio channels and podcast versions will be available in the SXM app afterward.

Next year, Brady will have even more on his plate, as he’s set to take over in the booth for FOX Sports with his 10-year, $375 million contract (which also means N.J. native Greg Olsen could be out of a job after working with fellow Garden State native Kevin Burkhardt on the No. 1 NFL broadcast team at FOX).

Bay Area Radio: KGO To Air MLS Earthquake Soccer

Ahead of this weekend’s 2023 Major League Soccer regular season opener, the San Jose Earthquakes have announced that Cumulus Media’s 810 AM The Spread/KGO-AM will be the team’s new English language flagship radio station. The Earthquakes will also continue to be heard in Spanish on La Kaliente 1370 AM/KZSF-AM.

“We’re excited about our growing radio footprint for the 2023 season,” said Earthquakes Chief Operating Officer Jed Mettee. “By moving to 810 AM The Spread, the added signal strength helps us achieve our goal of spreading the sport of soccer throughout Northern California and the western United States. KZSF has been a terrific partner for more than 10 years and we’re looking forward to continuing working in tandem with them to reach our Spanish-language audience.”

Kevin Graham, Program Director of 810 AM The Spread, said: “Cumulus San Francisco is thrilled to continue our partnership with the San Jose Earthquakes for the seventh straight year and broadcast their matches this season on the all-new KGO-AM. With The Spread’s powerful signal and strong digital assets including the station’s app, more Quakes fans in Northern California will be able to listen and engage than ever before.”

Ted Ramey will serve as the primary play-by-play voice for home and away broadcasts for his 10th consecutive year. His resume includes work for soccer, hockey, football, track and field, and CrossFit. He has been a sports broadcasting personality in the Bay Area since 2012 and is also a reporter for KCBS Radio. Ramey has hosted the San Jose Earthquakes’ weekly radio program, The Soccer Hour, since 2016. The Soccer Hour will now air on 810 AM The Spread every Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. PT.

Joe Cannon will serve as the color analyst for home matches for the 10th straight season. He started his Earthquakes playing career in 1999, helped San Jose win its first MLS Cup in 2001, and later captured MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honors in 2002. During his career, Cannon spent seven seasons with the Quakes and still leads the club’s goalkeeping records in games started (171), minutes played (15,561), wins (66) and saves (693).

1370 KZSF “La Kaliente” will be the team’s Spanish-language flagship for the 13th season in a row. 1370 KZSF is a locally owned Spanish-language station that hosts daily sports talk shows and plays a wide variety of pop music.

NYC Radio: Sweeny Murti Gets MLB Digital Gig

Sweeny Murti
Longtime WFAN Yankees reporter Sweeny Murti is back after having left the station last month, but he isn’t leaving baseball. The NY Post reports Murti has joined Major League Baseball, where he will serve in a multimedia role for its social media team as well as on podcasts and other projects, he announced Thursday.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity that will allow me to help promote this wonderful game and tell the stories that bring its great players and personalities closer to you,” he tweeted.

The move comes after Murti spent three decades at WFAN, where the Middletown, Pa., native began his tenure in 1993 as a producer and on-air anchor before moving into the role of Yankees reporter in 2001.

“Along the way I was so privileged to work on the biggest events in sports with legendary performers and personalities. The highlight of it all was spending the last 2 years talking to you about the New York Yankees,” Murti said last month in announcing his departure.

“Everything good in my adult life truly began when I started as a producer at the FAN in March 1993. More good things are on the way – of that I am sure. I am eager to begin the next chapter.”

“Chachi Loves Everybody” Podcast Releases Two New Episodes

Benztown, a global leader in radio imaging, voiceover, programming, podcasting and jingles, announces the release today of two new episodes of Chachi Loves Everybody, an original podcast produced by Benztown and featuring Benztown President and audio brand builder Dave “Chachi” Denes. 

The first new episode features Chachi’s recent video chat from Benztown’s Los Angeles studios with Buzz Knight, media strategist and head of Buzz Knight Media. Knight also hosts his own podcast, Takin a Walk. He chats with Chachi, telling stories and sharing insights from his successful radio career, including his work as EVP of Strategy and Innovation for Beasley Media Group, which he joined in 2016 upon the closing of the company’s purchase of Greater Media. His passion for great content and winning brands has had an impact on a broad list of outstanding radio properties across the U.S.

The second new episode features Tim McCarthy, an award-winning radio GM and former SVP of ESPN Radio. McCarthy shares with Chachi highlights from his remarkable journey in Talk and Sports radio and reveals his experiences working with top talent and inking major deals. McCarthy joined the Disney Group of radio stations in 1990 serving first as an Account Executive with WPLJ-FM and moving across the hall three years later to become Sales Director for both 77WABC and WPLJ. McCarthy became General Manager for legendary News/Talk station 77WABC in 1999 and presided over the acquisition and start-up of 1560 AM Radio Disney. 

He held the dual roles of GM for 77WABC and 1050 ESPN Radio. In 2010, he was named Senior Vice President of ESPN Radio Group in February 2010 where he drove the play-by-play business by assessing contracts, increasing revenue, and maximizing scheduling opportunities across the stations and network. 

In 2021, McCarthy shifted his focus and efforts to raise charitable donations for the Broadcasters Foundation of America, where he helps develop solutions for former broadcasters who experience hardships through no fault of their own.

To listen to the new podcast episodes, visit:

February 24 Radio History

➦In 1924...WPOW NYC signs-on as WBBR. Judge Franklin Rutherford, successor to the Jehovah Witness founder, Charles Taze Russell, dedicated WBBR, at Rossville in southwestern Staten Island.

Franklin Rutherford
WBBR's programming schedule included programs in several languages, including Yiddish and Arabic.

Judge Rutherford later expanded the radio operations into ownership of at least 7 stations in the United States and Canada, including outlets in the Chicago, Toronto, and Oakland areas.

On August 5, 1928, Rutherford broadcast on a chain of  96 stations, the largest radio network organized till that time, according to New York Radio History.  But, Rutherford's attacks on other religions led many stations to drop his programs, sometimes cutting him off before he was finished.

WBBR started off on a frequency of 1230 AM in 1924, then moved to 1100 later that year. In 1925, the station moved to 720 AM, unauthorized. In 1927, WBBR moved again to 1170, and in 1928 to 1300 - in both instances, sharing time with other stations.

In 1941, WBBR's license was transferred to the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society, the religion's publishing arm, and in March of that year, WBBR (and its share-time partners) moved to 1330 AM. In 1946, power was increased to 5000 watts.

In 1957 the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society sold its station to H. Scott Killgore's Tele-Broadcasters Of New York Inc. for $133,000.  Call letters were changed to WPOW on May 1, 1957, the religious talks and placid string and organ music disappeared, and the new station embarked on a series of changes that would repeatedly make it something of a pioneer in New York area radio.

On the morning of September 5, 1957, WPOW became the first New York station to play a form of rock music during most of its daily schedule.

The remainder of WPOW's schedule was filled with easy-listening music, paid religious programs including "Glad Tidings Tabernacle" and "The Hebrew Christian Hour".

Under its share-time arrangements, WPOW often broadcast at unusual times, occasionally signing on at 3a and then leaving the air while the morning drive-time audience was at its peak.

In February 1958, the station moved to foreign-language programming, mostly Spanish but also including some Polish, French, Armenian and Byelorussian.

In July 1959, Killgore sold WPOW for $250,000 to John M. Camp, an Illinois-based advertising agent and broker of religious broadcast time.  In 1973, Camp purchased share-time station WHAZ in Troy NY and starting operating it as a daytimer, opening up Monday nights for WPOW.

In 1979, WPOW's other share-time station on 1330 AM, WEVD, was sold to Salem Media, and became WNYM.  In the early 1980's, Salem bought out WPOW for $4 million, most of that sum simply for the Staten Island real estate.

On December 31, 1984, WPOW signed off without ceremony, and the last time-sharing arrangement in New York AM radio came to an end.

Today, the WBBR call letters are being used by Bloomberg on 1130 AM. The WPOW calls are being used by Beasley Broadcasting for one of its FM's in Miami. And WPOW's 1330 AM frequency in NYC is occupied by religious WWRV, 1330 is a Spanish Christian music and teaching station and serves the New York area. It is owned by Radio Vision Cristiana Management.

➦In 1942...the Voice of America (VOA) began broadcasting.

Voice of America (VOA) is a U.S. government-funded international multimedia Agency which serves as the United States federal government's official institution for non-military, external broadcasting, the largest U.S. international broadcaster. VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in more than 40 languages which it distributes to affiliate stations around the globe. It is primarily viewed by foreign audiences, so VOA programming has an influence on public opinion abroad regarding the United States and its leaders.

VOA was established in 1942, and the VOA charter (Public Laws 94-350 and 103-415) was signed into law in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. The charter contains its mission "to broadcast accurate, balanced, and comprehensive news and information to an international audience", and it defines the legally mandated standards in the VOA journalistic code.

VOA uses shortwave transmitters (many located in Greenville North Carolina).

➦In 1987...Radio, TV host/personality Larry King suffered a major heart attack and then had quintuple-bypass surgery. Since then, King has written two books about living with heart disease. Mr. King, You're Having a Heart Attack and How a Heart Attack and Bypass Surgery Changed My Life.

➦In 1987...Radio Personality Jim Connors died at age 47.  He was killed in a car crash on I-95 in Greensville County, Virginia.

Jim Connors earned thirteen Gold records for discovering artists during his career including Harry Chapin and his hit song "Taxi". Chapin later went on to write "W*O*L*D," a song inspired by Connors' life. This song was based on a phone call Harry overheard while in studio with JC at WMEX-Boston. The men began discussing what life as a "jock" is like, which was Harry's inspiration for the hit song.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Futuri Launches AI Created Audio For Radio

Futuri has announced the launch of RadioGPT™ — the world’s first AI-driven localized radio content solution. 

RadioGPT™ combines the power of GPT-3 technology with Futuri’s AI-driven targeted story discovery and social content system, TopicPulse, as well as AI voice tech to provide an unmatched localized radio experience for any market, any format.

RadioGPT™ uses TopicPulse technology, which scans Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and 250k+ other sources of news and information, to identify which topics are trending in a local market. Then, using GPT-3 technology, RadioGPT™ creates a script for on-air use, and AI voices turn that script into compelling audio.

Stations can select from a variety of AI voices for single-, duo-, or trio-hosted shows, or train the AI with their existing personalities’ voices. Programming is available for individual dayparts, or Futuri’s RadioGPT™ can power the entire station. RadioGPT™ is available for all formats in a white-labeled fashion.

RadioGPT™ also generates social posts, blogs, and other content for digital platforms related to the content on the air in real-time. A TopicPulse Instant Video add-on creates AI-driven short videos on hot topics for social use. By adding on Futuri’s POST AI-enabled podcasting system, stations can take broadcast audio and immediately publish it on-demand with POST’s auto-publishing feature.

“As early AI innovators in the broadcast space, it’s only natural that we’re bringing the incredible power of GPT-3 technology, paired with groundbreaking technology like TopicPulse, to radio,” said Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig. “The ability for broadcasters to use RadioGPT™ to localize their on-air content in a turnkey fashion opens up resources for them to deepen their important home-field advantages in new and unique ways. With RadioGPT™, the possibilities are endless. With RadioGPT™, there should never be a ‘liner card’ or ‘sweeper-only’ air shift again. Now everyone can be live and local.”

Spotify's AI DJ Is In The House

The music streaming service unveiled a new feature called "DJ" that uses artificial intelligence to curate your music and offer commentary on music and artists amid a surge of interest in AI tools such as OpenAI's ChatGPT, according to USA Today.

Spotify announced Wednesday the beta rollout of DJ, which it described as "a personalized AI guide." The feature mixes a selection of songs you might like based on data alongside an AI commentator with "a stunningly realistic voice." (Think of a radio DJ.)

The DJ, Spotify said, will know your music taste so well it can choose what to play for you when you hit the button.

The company said the feature combines its existing personalization technology, generative AI through the use of OpenAI technology and an AI voice from its Sonantic acquisition.

The DJ's voice was modeled after Spotify's head of cultural partnerships, Xavier “X” Jernigan, who hosted the service's morning show "The Get Up." Spotify said his voice served as the "first model" for the DJ and said it will continue to iterate. 

To find the feature, go to your Music feed on Home in the Spotify mobile app and tap play on the DJ button. If you want to switch it up, hit the DJ button at the bottom right of the screen. 

Orlando TV: Spectrum Reporter, 9-Year-Old Shot Dead

Spectrum Reporter Dylan Lyons

Dylan Lycon, an Orlando journalist,  and a 9-year-old girl were gunned down Wednesday afternoon by a suspect wanted in an earlier fatal shooting at the same scene, authorities said.

Two others were also wounded, including a second Spectrum News 13 journalist, in the 4 p.m. gunfire on Hialeah Street in Pine Hills, according to Orange County Sheriff John Mina.

The horror began around 11 a.m. when the suspected gunman, 19-year-old Keith Melvin Moses, allegedly shot and killed a 20-year-old woman sitting in a car on the street, Mina said.

Moses allegedly returned to the scene five hours later and fired rounds at a Spectrum News 13 crew who were there reporting on the initial homicide.

Both a News 13 reporter and photographer who were in and near their news van were shot. The 24-year-old reporter, identified by family early Thursday as Dylan Lyons, died. The photographer was hospitalized in critical condition, Mina said.

Moses was detained as a suspect in both those attacks and was formally charged in the killing hours earlier of a woman in her 20s, a shooting that the two journalists were covering when they came under fire, Mina said.

The sheriff described the two journalists as a reporter and a photographer for central Florida cable TV outlet Spectrum News 13, which is owned by Charter Communications.