Saturday, March 4, 2023

March 5 Radio History

➦In 1927...The newly-authorized Federal Radio Commission held its first meeting.

The FRC existed until its replacement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1934. The Commission was created to regulate radio use "as the public interest, convenience, or necessity" requires. The Radio Act of 1927 superseded the Radio Act of 1912, which had given regulatory powers over radio communication to the Secretary of Commerce and Labor. The Radio Act of 1912 did not mention broadcasting and limited all private radio

Prior to 1927, radio was regulated by the United States Department of Commerce. Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover played a strong role in shaping radio. His powers were limited by federal court decisions, however; in particular, he was not allowed to deny broadcasting licenses to anyone who wanted one.

Herbert Hoover 1930
The result was that many people perceived the airwaves to suffer from "chaos," with too many stations trying to be heard on too few frequencies. Others believed the government simply wanted to control content. (Initially only two frequencies were available for broadcasting with one of these being reserved for "Crop reports and weather forecasts.") After several failed attempts to rectify this situation, Congress finally passed the Radio Act of 1927, which transferred most of the responsibility for radio to a newly created Federal Radio Commission. (Some technical duties remained the responsibility of the Radio Division of the Department of Commerce.)

The five-person FRC was given the power to grant and deny licenses, and to assign frequencies and power levels for each licensee. The Commission was not given any official power of censorship, although programming could not include "obscene, indecent, or profane language." In theory, anything else could be aired. In practice, the Commission could take into consideration programming when renewing licenses, and their ability to take away a broadcaster's license enabled them to control content to some degree.

➦In 1940...The NBC Radio Show 'Fibber McGee & Molly' introduced its on-going comedic gag of opening the overstuffed and clutter closet.

The episode was titled "Cleaning the Closet" with Molly opening the closet looking for the dictionary and is promptly buried in Fibber's "stuff" ("arranged in there just the way I want it"). Cleaning out the closet becomes the show's plot, inventorying much of the contents along the way: a photo album, a rusty horseshoe, a ten-foot pole. After repacking the closet, Fibber realizes the dictionary has been put away too — and he opens the closet again, causing an avalanche.

A staple of the NBC Red Network for the show's entire run and one of the most popular and enduring radio series of its time, the prime time situation comedy ran as a standalone series from 1935 to 1956, then continued as a short-form series as part of the weekend Monitor from 1957 to 1959. The title characters were created and portrayed by Jim and Marian Jordan, a real-life husband and wife team that had been working in radio since the 1920s.

Fibber McGee and Molly, which followed up the Jordans' previous radio sitcom Smackout, followed the adventures of a working-class couple, the habitual storyteller Fibber McGee and his sometimes terse but always loving wife Molly, living among their numerous neighbors and acquaintances in the community of Wistful Vista. As with most radio comedies of the era, Fibber McGee and Molly featured an announcer, house band and vocal quartet for interludes. At the peak of the show's success in the 1940s, it was adapted into a string of feature films; a 1959 attempt to adapt the series to television with a different cast and new writers was both a critical and commercial failure, which, coupled with Marian Jordan's death shortly thereafter, brought the series to an end.

➦In 1957...Rock'n'Roll radio personality Allan Freed appeared on the TV game show 'To Tell the Truth', where he is seen defending the new "rock and roll" sound to the panelists, who were all clearly more comfortable with swing music: Polly Bergen, Ralph Bellamy, and Kitty Carlisle.

➦In 1958...Andrew Roy Gibb born (Died March 10, 1988). He was an English singer, songwriter, performer, and teen idol. He was the younger brother of the Bee Gees: Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb.

Gibb came to international prominence in the late 1970s with six singles that reached the Top 10 in the United States, starting with "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" (1977), followed by three other top 20 singles. Gibb's success was brief due to drug addiction and depression. He died just five days after his 30th birthday.

➦In 1960...Elvis is officially discharged from active duty. Although the official date of release was scheduled for March 23.

1A Threat: FLA Bill Would Require Bloggers To Register With The State

Florida Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary) wants bloggers who write about Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and other members of the Florida executive cabinet or legislature to register with the state or face fines.

News8 TV in Tampa reports Brodeur’s proposal, Senate Bill 1316: Information Dissemination, would require any blogger writing about government officials to register with the Florida Office of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics.

In the bill, Brodeur wrote that those who write “an article, a story, or a series of stories,” about “the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, a Cabinet officer, or any member of the Legislature,” and receives or will receive payment for doing so, must register with state offices within five days after the publication of an article that mentions an elected state official.

If another blog post is added to a blog, the blogger would then be required to submit monthly reports on the 10th of each month with the appropriate state office. They would not have to submit a report on months when no content is published.

For blog posts that “concern an elected member of the legislature” or “an officer of the executive branch,” monthly reports must disclose the amount of compensation received for the coverage, rounded to the nearest $10 value.

If compensation is paid for a series of posts or for a specific amount of time, the blogger would be required to disclose the total amount to be received, upon publication of the first post in said series or timeframe.

Explicitly, the blogger rule would not apply to newspapers or similar publications, under Brodeur’s proposed legislation.

Failure to file these disclosures or register with state officials, if the bill passes, would lead to daily fines for the bloggers, with a maximum amount per report, not per writer, of $2,500. The per-day fine is $25 per report for each day it’s late.

The bill also requires that bloggers file notices of failure to file a timely report the same way that lobbyists file their disclosures and reports on assessed fines. Fines must be paid within 30 days of payment notice, unless an appeal is filed with the appropriate office. Fine payments must be deposited into the Legislative Lobbyist Registration Trust Fund if it concerns an elected member of the legislature.

For writing about members of the executive branch, fines would be made payable to the Executive Branch Lobby Registration Trust Fund or, if it concerns both groups, the fine may be paid to both related trust funds in equal amounts.

NYC Radio: News Anchor Noam Laden Returns To 77WABC

77 WABC has hired Noam Laden as News Director, host of the daily 5am WABC News Hour with Noam Laden, and top-of-the-hour news anchor during the Sid & Friends Morning Show. A veteran with 20 years of broadcast news experience, Laden is responsible for all WABC news content and distribution, on-air and online.

For Laden, this is a return to WABC Radio, where from 2003 to 2018 he held positions similar to his current roles, including News Director and news anchor during the Imus In the Morning show and co-host on the Geraldo Rivera show. Most recently, Laden was at WOR, where he was morning news anchor and contributor to the morning show.

Noam Laden
“I’m very excited to join the new 77 WABC,” said Laden. “The station has a terrific lineup of hosts, and the ratings are soaring. It’s great to be part of a winning team with passionate owners. We’ve got lots of exciting plans for distribution of our news.”

Matt Meany, Program Director for 77 WABC, stated, “When we decided to expand our news, I knew the person who would help us accomplish that goal was Noam. I’m thrilled that he’s come to WABC to head up our News Department and to host our 5am News Hour.”

The WABC News Hour with Noam Laden is a conversational approach to stories of the day. Laden will dig in with facts on topics relevant to New Yorkers, while keeping an upbeat and relaxed tone that listeners respond to while getting ready to start their day.

“New Yorkers need to be in-the-know first thing in the morning and throughout their busy day,” said Chad Lopez, President of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC. “Our goal at WABC Radio is not only to deliver the news but to include all sides of the story.”

Denver Radio: Audacy Launches 'Front Range Country' On 103-1 FM

Audacy announces the launch of Front Range Country 103.1 (KQKS-HD2), a new station representing Coloradans and the very best of 90s country and more.

The new station will encompass over three decades of country music, centered on hits from stars like Garth Brooks, George Strait, Shania Twain, Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Trisha Yearwood and others, while also including modern stars like Zac Brown, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney and Blake Shelton.

“We’re thrilled to launch Front Range Country 103.1 and add country music to our portfolio for the people of Colorado,” said Micah Goldberg, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Denver. “Whether you’re mending a broken heart or getting ready for a night out with friends, this new station will serve as the perfect blend of music from Country’s most popular era.”

For an audio description of the new station, please click here.

📻Front Range Country (KQKS-HD2) will be heard in Denver on 103.1 and The Audacy App, while Comedy 103.1 will move to (KQMT-99.5 HD2) and The Audacy app.

Report: Fox News At The Crossroads...Trump v. DeSantis

Just how influential Rupert Murdoch remains, whether he still has the ability to make or break political careers, looms large in Republican circles ahead of what portends to be a contentious 2024 presidential primary race. Bloomberg claims the party is split between a zealous base still devoted to Trump and those hankering for a less controversial challenger in the form of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Fox News has shown a clear preference for DeSantis, according to Donald Trump, who has spent recent days attacking the network. “Fox is working overtime for DeSanctus, but they are failing—Look at the Polls. We are MAGA!” the former president posted this week on Truth Social, his social media platform.

Murdoch’s ability to influence the political landscape was the stuff of legend from his native Australia to both sides of the Atlantic. Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair went so far as to say in an official inquiry a decade ago that he was afraid to stand up to him.

Dominion, a voting machine maker, accuses Fox News and Fox Corp. of helping to promote false claims that the company flipped millions of electronic ballots away from Trump in the election as part of a vast conspiracy.

The network and its parent deny wrongdoing and say Fox News was merely reporting “newsworthy” allegations being made by a sitting president, and that Fox is protected by the First Amendment.

The company says Dominion “took an extreme, unsupported view of defamation law that would prevent journalists from basic reporting.”

The lawsuit not only put Murdoch’s media empire under scrutiny, but also reveals that he doesn’t have complete control of some his most high-profile on-air commentators who remain loyal to Trump.

The Murdoch-owned New York Post and the Wall Street Journal have decidedly soured on the former president, pointing out in editorials that he has lost most of the elections he has played a role in since 2018.

That puts the network at a cross-roads — to follow in the footsteps of unabashedly conspiracy-driven outlets like One America News Network or to be a conservative but fact-based news organization.

Twitter’s Revenue Fell About 40% in December

Twitter Inc. reported a drop in revenue and adjusted earnings for the month of December, after many advertisers ditched the social-media platform following Elon Musk’s takeover, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.

In an update to investors, Twitter reported a decline of about 40% year-over-year in both revenue and adjusted earnings for the month, the people said.

Chief Executive Musk, who completed his acquisition of Twitter last October, is working to stabilize the company’s finances, which also have been challenged by high-cost debt. Twitter is responsible for repaying some $13 billion of debt that helped pay for Mr. Musk’s purchase of the company, with annual interest payments estimated at more than $1 billion.

The company recently made a first interest payment to a group of banks that lent the $13 billion, the people said.

One way that Musk intends to boost Twitter’s revenue is through the sales of paid subscriptions to users, which allows them to edit tweets and access subscriber-only features on the platform. Musk’s new subscription plan relaunched on Dec. 12 after a fumbled initial November rollout.

As a public company in December 2021, Twitter didn’t publicly release monthly financials. For the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2021, Twitter reported $1.57 billion in revenue, with net income of $182 million.

The company recently said some advertisers are returning to the platform. Musk has said that he expects Twitter to break even in 2023. “Twitter still has challenges, but is now trending to breakeven if we keep at it,” he said in a tweet in February.

John Malone, Charter Directors Agree to $87.5M Settlement

John Malone and his former colleagues on Charter Communications Inc.’s board agreed to a $87.5 million settlement of claims the billionaire unfairly benefited from the $79 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable he helped finance, according to Bloomberg.

The accord disclosed Friday in a Delaware court filing resolves an investor’s lawsuit against directors of the second-largest US cable company over their handling of the 2016 deal. The money will come from insurance covering directors named in the suit and will go into Charter’s coffers, not to the shareholder who filed the case.

Investor Matthew Sciabacucci accused the directors of allowing Malone, then on the board, to reap unfair tax benefits from stock he got in the merger through a side deal. Malone has been called the “cable cowboy” because of his extensive holdings in the industry.

Charter agreed to settle Sciabacucci’s claims “to avoid the burden, expense, disruption, and distraction of further litigation,” according to court filings. The directors said they aren’t admitting any wrongdoing as part of the deal.

The case had been set for trial last month before Delaware Chancery Court Judge Sam Glasscock III, but it was canceled.

Paramount Global Settles Investors' Lawsuit

Paramount Global settled an investor lawsuit tied to the controversial 2019 merger of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. that created the company, agreeing to pay $122.5 million.

Bloomberg reports the settlement with Viacom investors was reached on Feb. 27, according to a securities filing Friday. The plaintiffs alleged that Viacom’s directors — including Chairman Shari Redstone — violated their fiduciary duty to shareholders when they pushed for the merger. The Redstone family owned the majority of the voting shares in both companies for decades and still controls Paramount.

The accord only settles part of the long-running fight over the joining of the two businesses. CBS investors continue to press claims over the combination in a separate Delaware case. The company is also engaged in litigation with insurance carriers. At issue there is at least $200 million in coverage provided by 17 different companies, according to court filings. A motion to dismiss that case was denied last month.

New York-based Paramount owns TV networks including CBS, MTV and Nickelodeon, as well as the Paramount Pictures film studio.

The Paramount settlement is the latest twist in more than six years of corporate battles at the companies. The combined firm operated as ViacomCBS until it changed its name to Paramount Global last year.

TV Ratings: Fox Business Dominates During February

FOX Business Network (FBN) trounced CNBC across Business Day and Market Hours, for the entire month of February 2023, according to Nielsen Media Research. 

 In addition, the network claimed three of the top 10 programs on business television including Kudlow (weekdays, 4 PM/ET), which marked one year as the top business program, along with Varney & Co. (weekdays, 9 AM-12 PM/ET), and The Evening Edit (weekdays, 5 PM/ET).

Continuing as the number one market program on television for a full year, Kudlow saw a 50% advantage in total viewers as it outperformed CNBC for the 17th straight month. The show drew in 299,000 total viewers compared to Closing Bell’s 200,000. Stuart Varney’s signature market analysis program Varney & Co. followed closely behind, outpacing Squawk on the Street/TechCheck by 39% with an average of 282,000 total viewers.

Notably, Maria Bartiromo’s signature pre-market program Mornings with Maria (weekdays, 6-9AM/ET) bested CNBC’s marquee program Squawk Box, closing out the month 118,000 viewers across the live three-hour program. Additionally, the program saw 25% growth in the 25-54 demo year-over-year.

FBN’s Business Day programming (9:30AM-5PM/ET) drew in 218,000 total viewers compared to CNBC’s 196,000. Many of FBN’s core Business Day programs, including CAVUTO: Coast to Coast (weekdays 12-2PM/ET; 180,000 P2+) anchored by Neil Cavuto and The Claman Countdown (weekdays, 3 PM/ET; 162,000 P2+) with Liz Claman notched year-over-year advantages. Making Money with Charles Payne (weekdays, 2 PM/ET) earned 149,000 P2+ and The Big Money Show netted 155,000 total viewers. During the critical Market Hours (9 AM-4 PM/ET), FBN programming was up with 210,000 total viewers, outpacing CNBC’s 197,000 by 7%. FBN drew in 135,000 total viewers and 14,000 A25-54 in Total Day viewership (6AM-6AM/ET).

During post-market coverage, FBN’s The Evening Edit with Elizabeth MacDonald continued to crush the competition for the sixth successive month. The program averaged 209,000 total viewers compared to CNBC’s 172,000 and secured double-digit viewer advantages year-over-year in the timeslot. Additionally, The Evening Edit marked FBN’s highest rated 5 PM/ET since January 2021. FBN’s newly launched program, The Bottom Line closed out the month with a 42% advantage over CNBC’s Mad Money/CNBC Special Report (FBN: 180,000 P2+ vs. CNBC: 127,000 P2+). On Saturdays, Barron’s Roundtable (Saturdays, 10-10:30 AM/ET) presented its highest rated month ever with total viewers (88,000 P2+).

Westwood One Sports To Air Championship Basketball

CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One, America’s largest audio network and the official network radio partner of the NCAA, will present a broadcast slate of 20 NCAA Men’s Basketball games from Conference Championship Week as well as three broadcasts of Women’s Championship games.

Westwood One’s postseason basketball coverage tips off on Saturday, March 4th, with the Ohio Valley Conference Championship game, and continues with the broadcasts of the Ivy League, the SEC, and the American Athletic Championship games. Westwood One will also broadcast Selection Sunday, which will reveal the 68-team field for both the men’s and the women’s tournaments. Jason Horowitz will host Selection Sunday coverage with former coach PJ Carlesimo serving as the men’s analyst and Debbie Antonelli as the women’s analyst.

Among the other Championship games Westwood One will broadcast that week are the Pac-12, the Big East, the Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, the Patriot League, Missouri Valley Conference, and West Coast Conference games. The Women’s Conference Championship games include the Big East, the Pac-12, and the Ivy League.

Westwood One is the exclusive audio home of the 2023 NCAA Mens’ and Womens’ Basketball Tournaments.

'Sunday Night Jams' Added At KDAY-LA, 7 More Stations

R Dub!, flanked by KDAY's PJ Butta (Left) and Naythan Rodriguez

 has announced that internationally syndicated hit weekend radio show Sunday Night Slow Jams has signed its newest affiliate, Meruelo Media’s 93.5 KDAY-FM in Los Angeles. With the addition of the popular L.A. Classic Hip Hop station, Sunday Night Slow Jams is now heard in the top three U.S. markets of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. This marks a return for Sunday Night Slow Jams to the Los Angeles market, as the show was part of Hot 92.3 for years.

Sunday Night Slow Jams also welcomes seven additional new station affiliates in the first quarter of 2023, including:
  • WXYY-FM (G100.1), Savannah, GA
  • KXCA-FM (93.7 Heart & Soul), Lawton, OK
  • WZYQ-FM (Star 101), Greenville, MS
  • KTJK-FM (101.7 HD2), Abilene, TX
  • WRLE-FM (94.9 Old School), Dunnellon, FL
  • WAJZ-FM (Jamz 96.3), Albany, NY
  • WGAY-FM (Party 105.7), Key West, FL
Sunday Night Slow Jams, the #1 weekend radio show in America, is heard on well over 200 radio stations from coast to coast and is available to a wide variety of formats in multiple versions for Top 40, Hot AC, Urban, Urban AC, Rhythmic/Hip-Hop, and Classic Hip-Hop stations. Slow Jams currently reaches over three million consumers per week. The show’s Creator, Host and Producer, R Dub!, also produces a weeknight version of Slow Jams, which airs Monday through Thursday from 10PM-12M.

Naythan Rodriguez, Assistant Program Director, 93.5 KDAY, said: "I'm excited to have R Dub! and Sunday Night Slow Jams join the already stellar KDAY programming lineup. He's the perfect addition following the legendary Art Laboe show. Welcome to the KDAY Nation."

R Dub! said: "I think it's every personality's dream to be able to come home and broadcast in the city they grew up in. I listened to KDAY as a kid, and now, being able to join this legendary team is just surreal. I'd like to thank Otto Padron, Keith Cunningham, E-Man, Naythan Rodriguez and the whole Meruelo Media team for being so welcoming."

Dave “Chachi” Denes, Benztown President, said: “Sunday Night Slow Jams and 93.5 KDAY are two storied brands that fit together perfectly! We’re incredibly excited to be working with the terrific team at Meruelo Media.”

March 4 Radio History

In 1877...Emile Berliner, the man behind so many inventions, came up with a thing called the microphone. The Bell System, run by Alexander Graham Bell, came up with a compact way to put Berliner’s microphone on a wooden box, with a crank, an earpiece, a cradle hook for the earpiece and some wires, and called it the telephone.

Pat McGeehan and Red Skelton

➦In 1907...Radio actor and announcer Pat McGeehan was born in Harrisburg PA (Died - January 8, 1988 at age 80 in Burbank, CA).  He was most active during much of radio's classic period of the 1930s and '40s.

For many years, McGeehan was one of a series of announcers who were the brunt of some of Skelton's best known-lines. He also was an actor on the "Maisie," "Stars Over Hollywood" and "Aunt Mary" series and a guest on such programs as "The Jack Benny Program" and the "Fibber McGee and Molly" comedy series.  At his peak, McGeehan did more than 40 shows a week, Mrs. McGeehan said. He was the voice of the "Hour of St. Francis," a Catholic radio show, where he gained worldwide recognition for his recitation of the peace prayer of St. Francis.

➦In 1910...Radio pioneer Lee DeForest conducted an experimental broadcast from New York City.  Radio as we know it was still a decade away. DeForest broadcast a live performance by Enrico Caruso at the Metropolitan Opera.

Lee de Forest (August 26, 1873 – June 30, 1961) was an inventor with over 180 patents to his credit. He named himself the "Father of Radio," with this famous quote, "I discovered an Invisible Empire of the Air, intangible, yet solid as granite,".

In 1906 De Forest invented the Audion, the first triode vacuum tube and the first electrical device which could amplify a weak electrical signal and make it stronger. The Audion, and vacuum tubes developed from it, founded the field of electronics and dominated it for 40 years, making radio broadcasting, television, and long-distance telephone service possible, among many other applications. For this reason De Forest has been called one of the fathers of the "electronic age". He is also credited with one of the principal inventions that brought sound to motion pictures.

He was involved in several patent lawsuits, and spent a substantial part of his income from his inventions on legal bills. He had four marriages and 25 companies. He was indicted in 1912 for mail fraud, but was acquitted.

➦In 1925... the first national radio broadcast of an inauguration occurred when 21 stations aired President Calvin Coolidge taking the oath of office on the East Front of the Capitol. Elected Vice President in 1920, Coolidge first took the oath of office when President Warren Harding died suddenly in 1923.

NY Times radio mention 3/5/1925

After winning election to a full term in 1924, Coolidge followed his predecessor’s example and insisted upon a modest inaugural ceremony. “I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people,” Coolidge said about his governing philosophy. “The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government.” The simple inaugural proceedings did, however, make headlines. The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company installed a series of loud speakers and microphones on the inaugural platform.

The new equipment, operated from a room below the Capitol's steps, enabled people in attendance to better hear the proceedings and allowed those not in the nation’s capital to “listen in” on the day’s events. For the occasion, a radio announcers’ booth was constructed on the inaugural platform. More than 20 radio stations broadcast the proceedings to an estimated 23 million listeners, including many children whose school auditoriums had been fitted with electronic equipment to facilitate the broadcast of the historic event. People who tuned in heard detailed descriptions of the Capitol grounds and the history of past inaugurations.

➦In 1930...“The ole Redhead”, sportscaster Red Barber, began his radio career on WRUF-AM, while attending the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Friday, March 3, 2023

VooDooVision: Broadcast Radio Continues To Hold Its Own

NuVoodoo Media Services Thursday shared results of their VoodooVision nationwide consumer study of better than 5,300 respondents between the ages of 14 and 54. The study, intended to guide marketers through the myriad options available in the digital media and audio entertainment space, is being presented by the company in a series of webinars between now and mid-March.

 The presentation is free to those who reserve a spot at

The VoodooVision consumer study findings reveal that despite the steady increase of Internet-connected infotainment systems in vehicles, broadcast radio continues to hold its own. It remains competitive with podcasts and DSPs (Digital Streaming Providers, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and others) when consumers are in vehicles or public transit during the early morning and late afternoon commutes, and on weekends.

When asked to select a top preference from list of audio entertainment choices, these were the top-ranked choices: 
  • Broadcast FM/AM radio remains the top audio entertainment preference for morning commuters at 19% of the sample, followed closely by podcasts, with streaming coming in at third.
  • The competition is closer during the late afternoon commute, where podcasts and streaming barely eclipse radio as the top choice among commuters at 15% vs. 14% of the sample, respectively.
  • Radio remains competitive as an audio entertainment favorite among listeners on the go during the weekend, sharing the top spot with DSP’s and eking ahead of podcasts.

Inifinite Dial: 75 Percent Listen To Online Audio

The portion of Americans who listen to any kind of online audio, and those who listen to podcasts, have reached record highs, according to The Infinite Dial® 2023 from Edison Research with support from Amazon Music, Wondery, and ART19.

Thursday’s online presentation of The Infinite Dial 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the study, which is the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America. Edison Research Vice President Megan Lazovick, with Edison Research President Larry Rosin, presented the latest research from the annual study, including highlights of trends from 1998 to 2023.

The Infinite Dial findings illuminate the changes over the past quarter of a century as America has gone from dial-up to digital dominance:
  • In 1998, 31% of Americans had internet access, compared with 95% in 2023
  • In 1998, half of households had a computer, compared with 91% of Americans in 2023 who carry a computer with them all the time – a smartphone
  • In 1998, 6% of Americans had ever listened to online audio, compared with 70% of Americans in 2023 who listen to online audio every week
Significant changes in media consumption can also be seen in just the last few years as well.
  • Ownership and usage of digital and smart devices continues to increase: 58% of those in the U.S. age 12+ own wireless headphones, up from 50% in 2021
  • 70% of those in the U.S. age 12+ own a smart television, up from 61% in 2021
  • 36% of the U.S. 12+ population owns a smart speaker, up from 33% in 2021. 
  • Of those who own a smart speaker, 43% have one device, 20% have two, and 38% have three or more
Online audio listening continues to grow: 
  • 75% of Americans 12+ have listened to online audio in the last month 87% of Americans aged 12-54 have listened to online audio in the last month Among U.S. adults age 18+ who have ridden in a car in the last month, 37% are listening to online audio in the car, up from 32% last year
Podcast findings include:

Charlotte Radio: WBT Renews Brett Winterble

Radio One's News/Talk WBT-AM & FM in Charlotte has renewed afternoon host Brett Winterble to a multi-year agreement. He arrived at WBT in February, 2020 from KFMB in San Diego, where he hosted afternoon drive beginning in 2015. Winterble's 20-year career in media encompasses hosting duties in radio and television, including afternoon drive on KFWB in Los Angeles, and producing for talk radio giants like Michael Reagan and Rush Limbaugh.

"Brett is a consummate professional, a true talent, and a bright and friendly presence both on the air and in the halls of these great radio stations," said Radio One Charlotte Regional Vice President and General Manager Marsha Landess. "We are thrilled that Brett Winterble will be part of the future of WBT for many years to come."

"From the moment I walked into the legendary WBT Radio it felt like home," added Winterble. "I am so thankful for the welcome and support I received from our clients, listeners, and incredible staff over these past 3 years. I am truly honored to continue this relationship with the best creators in the business. I am particularly grateful for the support of Urban One/Radio One, and Marsha Landess, Alfred Liggins, David Kantor, Mike Schaefer, and Kraig Kitchin in helping me to realize this professional dream. I can't wait to see what the future holds for all of us."

Wake-Up Call: Jury Finds Murdaugh To Be The Killer

54-year-old Alex Murdaugh showed no emotion on his face but was shaking as the verdict was read out at the Colleton County courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, after six weeks of harrowing testimony. His surviving son Buster was stony-faced and put his head in his hands. Murdaugh turned to face the 26-year-old and his sister Lynn as he was cuffed and led away. Neither his younger brother John Marvin, who testified earlier this week, nor his elder sibling Randy were in court. Murdaugh whose family has wielded immense judicial power in the region for three generations, brutally shot dead his wife Maggie, 52, and younger son Paul, 22, (inset) at the family's 1,800-acre hunting estate in Moselle on the night of June 7, 2021.

Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison without parole for each murder charge when court is scheduled to reconvene for sentencing at 9:30 a.m. Friday. After the verdict was read, Judge Clifton Newman denied a defense motion to declare a mistrial, saying “the evidence of guilt is overwhelming.”

In six weeks of bombshell testimony, the courtroom has been rocked by not just the evidence, but the antics of lawyers, jurors, witnesses and the Murdaugh clan. Trial watchers have been gripped by the nicknames: Big Red for Murdaugh, PawPaw for Paul, White Boy for a farm truck and and Bo Whoop for a shotgun. Somber evidence has been punctuated with laughter, including when defense attorney Dick Harpootlian aimed a gun at prosecutors and joked, 'tempting,' and when an expelled juror asked the judge if she could fetch her eggs before leaving. The Murdaugh clan have ruffled feathers by passing contraband to the defendant and the legal scion's surviving son is even accused of holding up his middle finger.

➤BATTLE FOR BAKHMUT RAGES: Ukrainian forces clinging to the eastern city of Bakhmut dug new trenches in an attempt to hold back Russian attackers, as the United States said new military aid for Ukraine would be discussed at a meeting with Germany's leader on Friday. Russian forces have been attacking Bakhmut in Donetsk province for months, sometimes in waves and the site has become one of the bloodiest battles of the war. "Fighting is going on in Bakhmut round the clock...The situation is critical," Volodymyr Nazarenko, a deputy commander in the National Guard of Ukraine, told Ukrainian NV Radio.

"They take no account of their losses in trying to take the city by assault. The task of our forces in Bakhmut is to inflict as many losses on the enemy as possible. Every metre of Ukrainian land costs hundreds of lives to the enemy." In the past 24 hours Ukrainian forces repelled more than 85 attacks in the five principal sectors of the Bakhmut front line, the General Staff of the Ukraine Military said on Friday.

➤TENNESSEE RESTRICTS DRAG PERFORMANCES: Republican Governor Bill Lee signed into law a bill to restrict drag show performances in his state. The bill classes drag shows as “adult cabaret performances” that must be shielded from the view of children, along with exotic dancers and strippers. Similar bills are making their way through the legislatures of a dozen other states with Republican elected majorities.

Baltimore Radio: TJ Smith Joins N/T WBAL

WBAL NewsRadio 1090/FM 101.5 announced Thursday that T.J. Smith is the newest addition to the WBAL talk lineup and will host weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Smith is a familiar voice to the WBAL audience, serving as spokesperson for the Baltimore City Police Department from 2015 to 2018, where he appeared regularly on the C4 Show spotlighting unsolved cases. Smith later served as Press Secretary for Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski and ran for mayor of Baltimore City in 2020.

TJ Smith
“As a native Baltimorean who has gone to school, worked, run for office and even suffered loss in the city, I’m very familiar with the feel of the public from west Baltimore to the waterfront,” Smith said. “I couldn’t be more excited to join the WBAL Radio family. I look forward to delivering straight talk and sharing my opinion based on my experience working in government and in law enforcement. I’m ready to ‘tell it like it is’ in a reasonable manner.”

“The WBAL audience has known and respected T.J. for years for his frank and honest dialogue on the issues that matter most to people living and working in Baltimore,” said Jeff Wade, Director of Programming/News Director for WBAL NewsRadio 1090/FM 101.5. “Whether it’s policing, politics, or talking Orioles and Ravens, we can’t think of anyone better suited to sit behind the WBAL microphone weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.”

The show can be heard locally at 1090 AM or 101.5 FM and streamed at and the WBAL Radio smartphone app. Smith joins WBAL’s live and local lineup that also includes C4 and Bryan Nehman weekdays 5:30 to 10 a.m. and Torrey Smith and Dan Joseph from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Tik Tok To Limit Teen Time

With TikTok again facing the possibility of a total ban in the U.S., China-based owner ByteDance says it will implement a default 60-minute per-day usage limit on the app for those under 18 years old.

MediaPost reports when the 60-minute limit is reached, teens under 18 will have to enter a passcode to keep watching, forcing them to make “an active decision” to do so, TikTok’s head of trust and safety, Cormac Keenan, said in a blog post Wednesday,'

For those under age 13, a parent or guardian will have to set or enter an existing passcode to allow another 30 minutes of user time once the first hour is up.  Teens can opt out of the 60-minute default setting. TikTok said it will prompt teens who opt out to set their own daily screen time limits if they spend more than 100 minutes per day on the app. 

UMG CEO Calls For New Streaming Model

Universal Music Group, the world's largest record label, said quarterly revenue from music streaming surpassed 1 billion euros ($1.06 billion) for the first time in the fourth quarter, a milestone that underscores its continued importance to the music business.

Even as Universal Music's chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge lauded the sustained growth of streaming and technology's ability to connect artists with their fans, he used the company's fourth quarter investor call on Thursday to advocate for a new economic model.

"Streaming has evolved in a way that undervalues the critical contributions of many artists as well as the engagement of many fans," Grainge said, adding that the company is working with its partners on new models to ensure continued streaming growth and fair compensation for artists.

Journalists Threatened by ChatGPT

The dramatic rise in artificial intelligence-powered technology like ChatGPT threatens to make journalists obsolete, the boss of one of the world’s largest media companies warned his staff, reports The NY Post.

Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner — who heads the $7.32 billion German parent company which owns American news brands including Politico and Insider — made the shocking claim in a memo sent to employees that touted the benefits and pitfalls of AI.

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to make independent journalism better than it ever was — or simply replace it,” Döpfner wrote in the memo obtained by the UK-publication the Guardian.

Döpfner predicted a “revolution” where the AI tools would be more proficient than humans in the “aggregation of information.”

“Understanding this change is essential to a publishing house’s future viability,” Döpfner wrote.  “Only those who create the best original content will survive.”

Döpfner announced that the company would be making cost cuts that he hopes will advance the goal of improving earnings by around $106 million.

ESPN Wants To Be The Sports Streaming Hub

Disney’s ESPN wants to be the hub for all live sports streaming — even for its competition.

The sports network has held conversations with major sports leagues and media partners about launching a feature on and its free ESPN app that will link users directly to where a live sporting event is streaming, according to CNBC citing people familiar with the matter.

The actual media partners haven’t yet been determined, and there’s no timeline on when such a feature would launch, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Still, ESPN has broached the idea to the major sports leagues and media companies to gauge their enthusiasm, the people said.

While the business terms of the concept could still change, ESPN has considered a model in which it would take a cut of subscription revenue from a user who signed up for a streaming service through the ESPN app or website, two of the people said. If a customer already subscribes to a given service, ESPN would collect no money and just provide the link as a courtesy, people familiar with the matter said.

ESPN may also alert users to games that air on linear TV, cementing its new role as the TV guide of live sports, the people said.

Several owners of regional sports networks have expressed particular optimism about the idea as they try to boost subscription revenue while leagues question the larger industry’s business prospects in a streaming-dominated ecosystem, two of the people said. CNBC previously reported that Sinclair’s Diamond Sports Group is contemplating bankruptcy restructuring after missing a $140 million debt repayment. Warner Bros. Discovery has alerted leagues it plans to exit the RSN business altogether.

Philly Radio: Mike Missanelli Says Beasley is Lying

On the latest episode of Mike Missanelli’s podcast, he answered emails from listeners. 

And according to Philly-based sports blog, Crossing Board, one of those emails was from a person who said they contacted a Beasley executive regarding Mike’s WPEN 97.5 the Fanatic departure, asking why he didn’t get a proper send off. The executive said that Missanelli did indeed have that opportunity, which Mike called a “flat out lie”.

Last September, Missanelli signed a deal with Chicago-based gaming and betting company Rush Street Interactive to serve as a podcaster and brand ambassador for its BetRivers Network.

Jax Radio: Robbie Rose Celebrates 50-Years

Robbie Rose, a Jacksonville radio personality at iHeartMedia's Country 99.1 WQIK, made his debut as a traffic reporter five decades ago.

That makes him the longest-running local radio personality, according to Jax4 TV.

Rose is on the radio every weekday morning from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. on WQIK’s “Big Show,” where he discusses the daily headlines and interviews guests.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry stopped by the radio station Wednesday, where he declared it “Robbie Rose Day.” The mayor presented Rose with a key to the city, commemorating his decades of public service.

WQIK hosted a party following the Big Show to celebrate Rose’s milestone. Dozens of people were there to congratulate him.

R.I.P.: Roger Davis, Longtime Knoxville Sports Voice

Roger Davis
For the last 20 years, the voice of Roger Davis could be heard on just about every radio sports talk show you listened to around Knoxville.

WVLT-TV reports Davis died Tuesday after battling a sickness for a few days. For shows at 99.1 The Sports Animal and the Tony Basilio Show, the news was especially devastating because it meant a longtime caller and friend’s daily interactions, have come to a halt.

“Knoxville sports radio as a whole lost a very special contributor,” said WNML The Sports Animal’s John Wilkerson who said he heard from Davis almost on a daily basis for the better part of 20 years on the air.

Over at the Tony Basilio Show, the Wednesday morning show was different than any other Basilio had done before. During the three hour show, the longtime host opened the phone lines and fielded dozens of calls for hours of listeners who shared memories and stories about Davis.

“He was in a higher class than most anybody,” said one caller while another said, “If there was ever a first ballot hall of famer for a VFL and caller, it was Roger.”

The impact of Davis clearly stated on the radio as people all across East Tennessee shared their condolences and stories of the longtime Vols fan, but it’s also been visible by the outpouring of donations in the days after his death.

March 3 Radio History

Alexander Graham Bell
➦In 1847
...Alexander Graham Bell born (Died - August 2, 1922). The Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer, and innovator is credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone. He also founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885.

Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. Bell considered his invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.Many other inventions marked Bell's later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils, and aeronautics.

➦In 1885...Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, established American Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1885, which acquired the Bell Telephone Company and became the primary phone company in the United States. This company maintained a monopoly on telephone service in the United States until anti-trust regulators split the company in 1982.

AT&T Corporation was eventually purchased by one of its Baby Bells, the former Southwestern Bell, in 2005 and the combined company became known as AT&T Inc.

WWJ Control

➦In 1922...WWJ-AM, Detroit, Michigan signed-on.

WWJ first signed on the air on August 20, 1920 under the call sign 8MK, and was founded by The Detroit News; the mixed letter/number calls were assigned to the station by the United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation, the government bureau responsible for radio regulation at the time. The 8 in the call sign referred to its location in the 8th Radio Inspection District, while the M in the call sign identified that the station operated under an amateur license. It is not clear why the Detroit News applied for an amateur license instead of an experimental license. As an amateur station, it broadcast at 200 meters (the equivalent of 1500 AM).

8MK was initially licensed to Michael DeLisle Lyons, a teenager, and radio pioneer. He assembled the station in the Detroit News Building but the Scripps family asked him to register the station in his name, because they were worried this new technology might only be a fad, and wanted to keep some distance.

Ty Tyson
The Scripps family were also worried radio might replace newspapers if the medium caught on, so the family financially supported Michael. In fact, most early radio stations were built, for the same reason, by families who owned newspapers – out of concern that radio would put them out of business, on the basis that newspaper readers would find it more timelier to tune to listen to the headlines on radio at any given time than wait to read them in a daily newspaper the next day.

On October 13, 1921, the station was granted a limited commercial license and was assigned the call letters WBL. With the new license, the station began broadcasting at 360 meters (833 AM), with weather reports and other government reports broadcast at 485 meters (619 AM).

On March 3, 1922, for reasons that are not known, the call letters, 'WWJ, were assigned to the station. Some believe the new call letters are an abbreviation for stockholders William and John Scripps, but on page 82 of a book published by the Detroit News in 1922, WWJ-The Detroit News, it stated that "WWJ is not the initials of any name. It is a symbol. It was issued to the Detroit News by the government in connection with the licensing of this broadcasting plant."

Ty Tyson was the original “voice” of the Detroit Tigers was 39 years old that first radio summer of 1927.

Today Newsradio WWJ 950 AM is owned by Audacy.

➦In 1925...KFWB Los Angeles signed-on.  The station was launched by Sam Warner, a co-founder of Warner Brothers. The station launched the careers of such stars as Ronald Reagan and Bing Crosby. The station was the first to broadcast the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Bay Area Radio: Grim Reality..JV Is Not Coming Back

In a social media posting, the wife of missing DJ Jeffrey Vandergrift, who goes by the name "JV" on air, revealed "that personal information has recently been discovered that leads us to believe JV will not be coming back."

Natasha Yi, who is also a KYLD Wild 94.9 host, apologized for her silence over the last several days, but said she and her family have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of public support, reports CBS Bay Area.

Vandergrift was last seen around 10 p.m. last Thursday at his residence.  San Francisco Police announced Friday that the 54-year-old went missing and was believed to be "at-risk."  

JV has had a long history in Bay Area radio, dating back three decades. In the 1990s, Vandergrift, along with Dan "Elvis" Lay and Lance "Hollywood" Otani were part of "The Doghouse" morning team on Wild, one of the most popular Bay Area radio shows at the time.