Saturday, March 25, 2023

March 26 Radio History

➦In 1923...Comedian "Bob" Elliott born (Died at age 92 of throat cancer – February 2, 2016).  He was one-half of the comedy duo of Bob and Ray. He was the father of comedian/actor Chris Elliott and grandfather of actress and comedians Abby Elliott and Bridey Elliott. He is most remembered by the character of Wally Ballou, a mild-mannered, but indefatigable radio reporter.

Beginning a career as a radio announcer in the 1940’s, his rise to national recognition began when he was teamed with Ray Goulding on WHDH Boston. Moving to New York the pair appeared on various networks and radio/TV outlets with their unique brand of humor spoofing broadcasting until Goulding’s death in 1990.

➦In 1929...WQXR signed-on as W2XR in NYC.

John Hogan
Now using the call signs WFME began its life as W2XR, owned by inventor John V. L. Hogan, operating at 2100 kHz, which went on the air on March 26, 1929.

Hogan was a radio engineer who owned many patents, and wanted a permit for an experimental station. To avoid interference, the frequency granted in 1934 by the Federal Radio Commission was considerably above the normal broadcasting range, which at that time ended at 1500 kHz. Hogan's permit was one of four construction permits W2XR was licensed as an "experimental broadcast station" on June 29, 1934.

W2XR began to broadcast classical music recordings on 1550 kHz.  His television broadcasts came to naught, but Hogan began to hear from unknown individuals who encouraged him to continue broadcasting music.

In 1936, Hogan and Elliott Sanger formed the Interstate Broadcasting Company, with the intention of turning W2XR into a commercial station at at time when there were already about twenty-five radio stations in New York.

The transmitter, which used a homemade antenna mounted on a wooden pole, was located in a garage in Long Island City, near the Queensborough Bridge, and its 250 watts provided just enough power to reach midtown Manhattan and parts of Queens.  On December 3, 1936, W2XR became WQXR—the cursive form of the letter "Q" mimics the number "2". An FM service, W2XQR, was added in 1939.

The North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement of 1941 formally extended the AM band to 1600 kHz, ending the "high-fidelity" service but keeping all four original stations near their existing dial positions. WQXR was originally slated to move to 1600 kHz as a five-kilowatt class III-A regional station, but was able to persuade the FCC to make it a class I-B station on 1560 kHz instead.

The New York Post approached the company in the early 1940s about purchasing the stations. Sanger said publicly that he would have preferred to sell to The New York Times, and in early 1944, the Times agreed to pay just over $1 million for ownership of Interstate Broadcasting Company.

In 1971, the Times put WQXR up for sale. Many offers were received for the FM station, but none of the bids for 1560 AM were satisfactory to management. When the FCC agreed to waive rules prohibiting stations from simulcasting if they were broadcasting classical music, the Times took WQXR off the market.

WQXR AM circa 1989

In 1992 the station broke away from the FM simulcast for good, changing to a pop standards format, which was inaugurated by a live studio performance by Tony Bennett. The change followed close on the heels of WNEW's switch from standards to business information, and to reflect that heritage, WQXR changed callsign to WQEW. Although successful, the station's advertising revenues were not spectacular, and on December 28, 1998, the Times pulled the plug and LMAed with Radio Disney after entering an 8-year local marketing agreement with Disney. At the end of this agreement in late 2006, ABC/Disney exercised an option to purchase in early January 2007. Disney/ABC officially became the owner of the station on May 24, 2007.

On November 21, 2014, Radio Disney New York filed an application to sell WQEW to Family Radio, who also owns WFME-FM and WNYJ-TV (and who previously owned what is now WNSH, owned by Cumulus Media.  Family Radio bought the station for $12.95 million. The FCC granted the sale on February 10, 2015. As a result, the station went silent the following Tuesday on February 17, 2015, in anticipation of the change of format. The sale was "consummated" on February 20, 2015 and the call sign was changed to WFME.

The station returned to the air on February 27, 2015, broadcasting Family Radio programming, again giving the network full coverage of the New York City market that it lost in January 2013, when Family Radio sold the original WFME to Cumulus Media. In late November 2020, Family Radio announced the sale of the property surrounding WFME's broadcast towers in Queens, but stipulated that the terms included that Family Radio would still use this site until a suitable alternate location for the station was found.  However, no alternate site proved to be immediately available, therefore WFME in early 2021 ended regular programming and began broadcasting a recurring announcement that the station would suspend operations "in just a few days".  Although Family Radio officials expressed a desire to eventually return to the New York airwaves, they noted that there were no immediate plans; listeners were directed to access either WFRS in Smithtown and WFME-FM in Mount Kisco, in addition to the Family Radio webstream.

➦In 1954...Curtis Sliwa born.  He's anti-crime activist, founder and CEO of the Guardian Angels, and Talk 77WABC show host in NYC.

➦In 1996...WPAT 930 AM NYC Market flipped to a Spanish format.  Today,  the station airs brokered programming format. WPAT is owned by Multicultural Broadcasting.

Wally Phillips
➦In 2008…Radio Personality  Walter 'Wally' Phillips died of Alzheimber's disease at age 82 (Born - July 7, 1925).  He was best known for hosting WGN 720 AM's morning radio show in Chicago for 21 years from January 1965 until July 1986, and was number one in the morning slot from 1968 until he left for an afternoon radio slot in 1986.  A pioneer of the radio call-in talk show format, Phillips delighted in a form now banned by the FCC: putting people on the air without their knowledge

Phillips was born in Portsmouth, Ohio. Six years later, after his father's death from tuberculosis, his family (including three siblings) moved to Cincinnati.  Phillips later dropped out of high school to join the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, but he ended up in Georgia in a tow target squadron assigned to fly practice targets for fighter pilots and anti-aircraft artillery.

Fox News Fires Producer Abby Grossberg

Fox News cut ties with Abby Grossberg Friday citing disclosure of privileged corporate information, after the producer for such hosts as Tucker Carlson and Maria Bartiromo alleged in court filings earlier this week that she was coerced by executives into providing misleading testimony in the $1.6 billion defamation suit that Dominion Voting Systems has levied against the Fox Corp.-backed outlet.

Variety reports Grossberg, who had worked as a senior booking producer for Bartiromo and head of booking for Carlson, alleged in filings in Delaware Superior Court and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that Fox attorneys worked to “coach, manipulate, and coerce Ms. Grossberg to deliver shaded and/or incomplete answers during her sworn deposition testimony, which answers were clearly to her reputational detriment but greatly benefitted Fox News,” according to her Delaware lawsuit.

Abby Grossberg
The now-former Fox News staffer’s allegations raised eyebrows because they were made just as Fox News and its parent, Fox Corp., were set to meet in a hearing in Delaware to find out if the Dominion case will proceed to trial, as many expect. Dominion’s suit has been explosive, with the company alleging that it is owed damages after Fox News aired false claims about the company’s actions and influence on the 2020 election. Depositions released in the case have damaged the credibility of Fox executives and anchors, several of whom expressed skepticism in texts and emails about some of the claims made about Dominion by interviewees on Fox programs.

“Like most organizations, Fox News Media’s attorneys engage in privileged communications with our employees as necessary to provide legal advice. Last week, our attorneys advised Ms. Grossberg that, while she was free to file whatever legal claims she wished, she was in possession of our privileged information and was not authorized to disclose it publicly. We were clear that if she violated our instructions, Fox would take appropriate action including termination,” Fox News said in a statement after being contacted by Variety. “Ms. Grossberg ignored these communications and chose to file her complaint without taking any steps to protect those portions containing Fox’s privileged information. We will continue to vigorously defend Fox against Ms. Grossberg’s unmeritorious legal claims, which are riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees.”

Grossberg also alleged the prevalence of a rough culture within Fox News’ corridors, with women treated badly and Carlson staffers making crude remarks about women and Jews.

Tik Tok May Now Fight Its Battle In U-S Courts

TikTok CEO Shou Chew’s attempts to win over Congressional lawmakers Thursday failed. But the more crucial fight to prevent the short-video app from being punished or banned is likely to play out in the US legal system, reports Bloomberg.

Lawmakers took turns battering Chew with inquiries for more than four grueling hours, repeatedly and often stridently questioning TikTok’s ownership by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd. and asking about China’s ability to access the data of millions of Americans. Chew did little to alleviate those concerns, experts who watched the proceedings said. At one point, asked if ByteDance’s Chinese engineers have access to the data of American users, he said: “It’s a complex subject.”

That places TikTok’s parent in a tougher spot. TikTok executives had internally discussed splitting from ByteDance, but China this week said it would firmly oppose a forced sale. That echoed opposition years ago toward letting even a dash of ByteDance’s secret sauce — its content-recommendation software — end up in foreign hands.

Yet TikTok need not have bothered. It’s unlikely there would be a long list of buyers wealthy or willing enough to take on a US political hot potato worth $50 billion, at a time of escalating US-Chinese tensions and growing scrutiny of large technology platforms, said Caitlin Chin, fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

A Tik Tok Ban Would Impact Music Industry Promotion

If a looming ban of Tik tok in the U-S could withstand a legal challenge — former President Donald Trump’s attempt to ban TikTok and Chinese messaging app WeChat both failed — TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, would be forced to sell the company. President Joe Biden’s administration has encouraged Bytedance to sell TikTok. But it wouldn’t be a straightforward process. China would “strongly oppose” a forced sale, a Ministry of Commerce spokesperson said Thursday, and TikTok is subject to Chinese law on tech exports and would require government approval.

Billboard reports a prompt sale of TikTok, which is reportedly valued at $60 billion, would be the best outcome for the music industry in search of new sources of streaming revenue. TikTok’s revenue rocketed from $4 billion in 2021 to $10 billion in 2022, according to reports. Research firm Omdia projects that TikTok’s ad revenue will climb to $44 billion by 2027 — presumably assuming there are no geopolitical interferences — and surpass the combined video ad revenues of Meta and YouTube. Although TikTok is not a major source of revenue for labels and publishers, rights holders expect to eventually have licensing agreements that give them a share of advertising revenue for user-generated content (like their deal with YouTube).

D-C Radio: WTOP Adds WJLA-TV Weather

Beginning Monday, April 3, 2023, Sinclair Broadcasting-WJLA-TV’s team of experienced meteorologists will begin providing round-the-clock weather reports every 10 minutes on Hubbard's WTOP News.

“WTOP listeners rely on our traffic and weather reports on the 8s. We are excited to begin this partnership with our colleagues at WJLA and bring unprecedented live weather coverage to the D.C. region, especially on those days when it matters most,” said Julia Ziegler, WTOP’s Director of News and Programming.

Throughout the day, listeners will hear directly from WJLA’s team of experienced meteorologists, including Chief Meteorologist Veronica Johnson, Eileen Whelan, Brian van de Graaff, Steve Rudin, Jordan Evans and Mark Pena. WTOP can be heard on 103.5 FM, 107.7 FM and 103.9 FM throughout the Washington DC metro area.

Palm Beach Radio: Meghan Lane Joins WRMF For Afternoons

Meghan Lane
Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach and 97.9 WRMF announced Friday the appointment of Meghan Lane to join afternoons beginning April 3. Having grown up in Palm Beach County, the former Gracie Award Winner and ten-year radio veteran returns to her roots to create great afternoon content along cohost, Jeff Miles.

WRMF Brand Content Director Randi West said, “I am beyond thrilled for the next era in WRMF afternoons! Meghan Lane is the perfect addition to our brand and I can’t wait to expand on the Meghan and Miles brand.” “Meghan checks all the boxes! Smart, funny and irreverent. I can’t wait for her to get started.”

She previously co-hosted mornings on WAPE-FM in Jacksonville.

LIV Golf Claims PGA Sabotaged TV Deals

A PGA Tour Inc. executive unlawfully pushed broadcasters to turn their backs on potential LIV Golf streaming deals, the Saudi-backed upstart claimed in its ongoing antitrust fight with the US legacy tour, reports Bloomberg.

LIV Golf, which debuted last year, lured several prominent golfers from the PGA Tour, including Phil Mickelson and Cameron Smith, with hefty sponsorship payments, touching off an acrimonious legal battle that has splintered the world of professional golf. LIV now claims that Thierry Pascal, senior vice president of international media for the PGA Tour International, coaxed broadcasters to snub the upstart.

“Based on Tour documents and other sources, LIV believes Mr. Pascal used illegal means to dissuade numerous broadcasters in international markets from signing broadcast contracts with LIV and even from reporting about LIV events in their news content,” LIV’s lawyers said Thursday in a court filing.

FCC Fines NYC Pirate Station $2M+

The FCC is using a new law to fine a pirate radio station operating in New York City for more than $2 million. For 15 years, Impacto 2, which has been operated by two brothers, has broadcast Ecuadorian news, culture, sports, and talk-radio on 105.5 FM in Queens. The feds have tried to shut it down repeatedly, but have never succeeded, according to Vice News.

“The Commission proposed the maximum penalty allowable, $2,316,034, against brothers César Ayora and Luis Angel Ayora for pirate radio broadcasting in Queens, New York,” a news release stated. The FCC also said it was trying to seize $80,000 in equipment from a man broadcasting pirate radio in Eastern Oregon. 

The Ayoras have been on the FCC’s radar since 2008 when they started broadcasting Impacto 2 for the Ecuadorian community in Queens: "The brothers César and [Luis] Angel Ayora in September 2008 founded the first Ecuadorian FM radio station in New York City. . . The station never sleeps, because a team of communication professionals are working for you 24 hours a day," their website, which is currently down, said. The station is broadcast over the internet and has moved around the FM spectrum several times over the years. 

Philly Flyers Voice Steve Coates Retires

Steve Coates is retiring after 43 years as a Philadelphia Flyers radio and television broadcaster, reports The Philly Business Journal.

Known to generations of Flyers fans simply as Coatesy, he began his broadcast career with the team in 1980 as a radio color commentator along with legendary play-by-play man Gene Hart.

Coates, 72, served as studio host on Flyers telecasts on Channel 29 (WTAF-TV) and Channel 57 (WGBS-TV) between 1984 and 1991 and then spent six seasons as the radio color analyst on WIP-AM.

He switched over to television in 1999 and spent the next 16 seasons at NBC Sports Philadelphia either as a color commentator or between-the-benches reporter for the Flyers. He then moved back to radio, working with play-by-play man Tim Saunders on 97.5 the Fanatic and 93.3 WMMR for the last nine seasons.

TV Ratings Steady Y2Y For NCAA March Madness

The NCAA March Madness mens' college basketball tournament has seen strong double-digit percentage national TV advertising gains, according to MediaPost citing an estimate, as the initial five days of viewership maintain the levels of a year ago.

Eight days of the tournament -- through the Sweet Sixteen round (March 15-March 23) -- has seen an estimated 22% increase in advertising revenues to $457.7 million in national TV advertising on four networks, according to

The data includes national linear TV, national time-shifted, local, video-on-demand (VOD) and OTT.

Nielsen viewing data shows that for the first two days of the tournament -- Thursday and Friday --  the men's college basketball Tournament posted its best result ever for all games on CBS, TNT, TBS, and truTV -- 9.2 million, with Thursday games at 8.4 million and Friday's games at 9.3 million.

The first five days of the event (March 15-19) scored a Nielsen average 9.04 million average viewership -- a virtual tie with a year ago, when it was 9.12 million over the same time period.

Top-paying advertisers this year so far include AT&T Wireless ($27.5); Progressive Insurance ($14.7 million); Geico ($15.2 million); Capital One ($13.6 million); and Buick ($13.5 million) Some 5,032 mostly national and regional airings

A year ago for the similar time period, national TV ad spend was at $373.8 million.

March 25 Radio History

➦In 1918...Sports personality Howard Cosell born (died at age 77 -  April 23, 1995). He  was prominent and influential on radio, television and print media from the early 1960s into the mid 1980s. Cosell was widely known for his blustery, confident personality said of himself, "Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff. There's no question that I'm all of those things."

In 1993, TV Guide named Howard Cosell The All-Time Best Sportscaster in its issue celebrating 40 years of television. In 1996, he was ranked #47 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time

After the WW2, Cosell began practicing law in Manhattan, primarily union law. Some of his clients were actors, and some were athletes, including Willie Mays. Cosell's own hero in athletics was Jackie Robinson, who served as a personal and professional inspiration to him in his career. Cosell also represented the Little League of New York, when in 1953 an ABC Radio manager asked him to host a show on New York flagship WABC featuring Little League participants. The show marked the beginning of a relationship with WABC and ABC Radio that would last his entire broadcasting career.

Cosell hosted the Little League show for three years without pay, and then decided to leave the law field to become a full-time broadcaster. He approached Robert Pauley, President of ABC Radio, with a proposal for a weekly show. Pauley told him the network could not afford to develop untried talent, but he would be put on the air if he would get a sponsor. To Pauley's surprise, Cosell came back with a relative's shirt company as a sponsor, and "Speaking of Sports" was born.

Cosell took his "tell it like it is" approach when he teamed with the ex-Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher "Big Numba Thirteen" Ralph Branca on WABC's pre- and post-game radio shows of the New York Mets in their nascent years beginning in 1962. He pulled no punches in taking members of the hapless expansion team to task.

Otherwise on radio, Cosell did his show, Speaking of Sports, as well as sports reports and updates for affiliated radio stations around the country; he continued his radio duties even after he became prominent on television. Cosell then became a sports anchor at WABC-TV in New York, where he served in that role from 1961 to 1974. He expanded his commentary beyond sports to a radio show entitled "Speaking of Everything".

Cosell rose to prominence covering boxer Muhammad Ali, starting when he still fought under his birth name, Cassius Clay. The two seemed to have an affinity despite their different personalities, and complemented each other in broadcasts. Cosell was one of the first sportscasters to refer to the boxer as Muhammad Ali after he changed his name and supported him when he refused to be inducted into the military. Cosell was also an outspoken supporter of Olympic sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith after they raised their fists in a "black power" salute during their 1968 medal ceremony. In a time when many sports broadcasters avoided touching social, racial, or other controversial issues, and kept a certain level of collegiality towards the sports figures they commented on, Cosell did not, and indeed built a reputation around his catchphrase, "I'm just telling it like it is."

Cosell's style of reporting very much transformed sports broadcasting. Whereas previous sportscasters had mostly been known for color commentary and lively play-by-play, Cosell had an intellectual approach. His use of analysis and context arguably brought television sports reporting very close to the kind of in-depth reporting one expected from "hard" news reporters. At the same time, however, his distinctive staccato voice, accent, syntax, and cadence were a form of color commentary all their own.

➦In 1943...Comedian Jimmy Durante teamed with radio personality Garry Moore for The Durante-Moore Show. Durante's comic chemistry with the young, brushcut Moore brought Durante an even larger audience. The pair replaced the popular Abbott and Costello following Lou Costello’s heart attack.

"Dat's my boy dat said dat!" became an instant catchphrase. The duo became one of the nation's favorites for the rest of the decade, including a well-reviewed Armed Forces Radio Network command performance with Frank Sinatra that remains a favorite of radio collectors today.

Moore left in mid-1947, and the program returned October 1, 1947 as The Jimmy Durante Show. Durante worked in radio for three years after Moore's 1947 departure.

➦In 1958…Elvis Presley had his famous hair cut short by Army barber James Peterson. The pop icon was assigned to the Second Medium Tank Battalion of the 2nd Armored Division, the "Hell On Wheels" division once led by General George Patton, based at Fort Hood, Texas.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Milwaukee Radio: The Truth Adds Two Local Shows

Good Karma Brands and 1510 WGKB 1510 AM /101.7 W269 DL in Waukesha
101.7 The Truth, the leading black-talk radio station is Milwaukee, is thrilled to announce the addition of two new shows to their lineup, a morning show called “Truth Be Told” featuring dynamic hosts Denise Thomas and Telly Hughes, as well as a new midday show, called “Nothin’ But the Truth” featuring Milwaukee Bucks in-game host Melanie Ricks.

“We’re excited to bring a new lineup of voices to our listeners,” said General Manager, Cherie Harris. “Our new hosts are passionate and knowledgeable about the issues that matter most to the black community. We aim to provide a platform for authentic and unfiltered discussion, and we’re confident that our new lineup will deliver for our partners and fans.”

“Truth Be Told” will be a weekday morning show from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. hosted by Denise Thomas, a top 50 Power Broker by the Milwaukee Business Journal, and Telly Hughes, a two-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster. They will bring their unique perspectives and chemistry to an already strong lineup of unfiltered and authentic black perspectives. In addition, Melanie Ricks will debut her own show called “Nothin’ But the Truth” weekdays from noon to 1 p.m., further enriching the diverse range of voices on the station.

The new lineup on 101.7 The Truth, effective April 3rd:
  • 7 – 9 a.m. Truth Be Told with Denise Thomas & Telly Hughes
  • 9 – Noon The Truth with Sherwin Hughes
  • Noon – 1 p.m. Nothin’ But the Truth with Melanie Ricks
  • 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. The Tory Lowe Show
  • 4 – 6 p.m. The Truth in the Afternoon with Ken Harris
101.7 The Truth recently celebrated 2 years as a station, launching to serve the city of Milwaukee as well as its surrounding communities with local news, entertainment, and community affairs programming 11 hours a day, seven days a week.

Boston Radio: Chris Curtis Suspended At WEEI With No Pay

Chris Curtis, the WEEI on-air personality and producer who used an ethnic slur during Tuesday’s “The Greg Hill Show,’’ has been suspended without pay by the station until next Wednesday.

The Boston globe reports Curtis was on Thursday’s show at the start of its opening 6 a.m. hour and offered a meandering apology before leaving to begin his suspension.

During Tuesday’s show, Hill and co-hosts Courtney Cox and Jermaine Wiggins were discussing Boston’s possible ban of miniature bottles of alcohol, also known as a “nip,” and ranking their favorites.

Curtis interjected, “Oh, I’d probably go Mina Kimes,’’ referencing the prominent ESPN NFL analyst and personality who is Korean on her mother’s side. “Nip” is also a slur used against Japanese people.

During his apology, Curtis said without elaboration that he did not mean to say Kimes’s name, but that of actress Mila Kunis.

Chris Curtis
A spokesperson at Audacy, WEEI’s parent company, had suggested on Wednesday that Curtis had simply conflated the two names. Kimes, after becoming aware of the story Wednesday, changed her Twitter profile photo to a picture of Kunis.

“I attempted to bring up Mila Kunis, which was not really that funny, [it was] sophomoric and sexist, but for reasons I don’t understand, I said Mina Kimes,’’ said Curtis. “That was never the intention for me to say her name. It had nothing to do with the subject matter, and it dragged her into a controversy through no fault of her own regarding a slur and her race and it’s not at all what my intention was.

“But it doesn’t matter because of the absolute chaos that my words created for someone who is just doing her job covering the NFL at ESPN.”

Curtis also apologized to the show’s listeners and noted that working at WEEI is “the dream of my life and not a privilege I take lightly.”

He didn’t explain whether he was aware “nip” is a slur or what his attempt at a joke would have meant if it had been about Kunis.

Hot Mix Launches New Show For Radio

Benztown has announced Hot Mix, America’s most trusted Mix show, has launched a new mix show for radio, Hot Mix: Y2K To Today. Designed to supplement the iconic Hot Mix Mainstream (Top 40’s) and Hot Mix Crossover (Rhythmic) shows, Hot Mix: Y2K To Today is programmed for those who love music from the 2000’s to today’s top tracks. 

Hot Mix: Y2K To Today features artists including: NSYNC, Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Rhianna, Drake, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, and Ariana Grande. To hear a sample of Hot Mix: Y2K To Today, click HERE.

All Hot Mix formats offer daily mixes available for any drive or weekend block and come professionally programmed and mixed each week. They are completely customizable with local commercial and station ID breaks and let air personalities customize Hot Mix, host it from the studio, or create a weekly on-location program.

Dave Denes
Dave “Chachi” Denes, President, Benztown, said: “We are super excited to offer this new retro/current version of the legendary Hot Mix brand to Hot Mix affiliates and new affiliates. Younger radio listeners have a very real nostalgia for the more recent hits that shaped and provided the soundtrack for their early years. Best of all, Hot Mix: Y2K To Today has the magic Hot Mix touch that keeps the music hot and the energy high.”

Darin Taoka, Program Director, Hot Mix and Hot Mix: Y2K To Today, said: I’m thrilled to launch our Y2K to Today Hot Mix!! Our Y2K to Today mix is the natural evolution of Hot Mix’s 30-plus years of the hottest party mixes. Now stations can have all the greatest throwbacks and today’s biggest hits all in one awesome mix.”

For more information or to get Hot Mix: Y2K To Today for your station, contact Masa Patterson at Benztown at or (818) 842-4600.

Wake-Up Call: U-S Responds To Iranian Drone Attack

The US conducted airstrikes in Syria Thursday against facilities affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard after a US contractor was killed and five service members injured in an Iranian drone attack, according to the Pentagon. The Iranian assault targeted a coalition base housing American personnel near Hasakah in northeast Syria, officials said. A second US contractor was also injured.

The US military responded to the deadly assault with airstrikes against targets in Syria used by militants affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement Thursday.  “The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against Coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC,” he added. 

Snow Fall Covers Ukraine Tank (NYTimes photo)
➤UKRAINE PREPS COUNTER ATTACK: Ukrainian troops, on the defensive for months, will soon counterattack as Russia's offensive looks to be faltering, a commander said, but President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned that without a faster supply of arms the war could last years. Zelenskiy said Europe must increase and speed up its supply of weapons, again calling for long-range missiles, ammunition and modern aircraft, and impose additional sanctions on Russia.

"If Europe waits, the evil may have time to regroup and prepare for years of war," a clearly frustrated Zelenskiy said on Thursday in a video address to European Union leaders, delivered from a train. At the EU summit, leaders approved a plan agreed by foreign ministers on Monday to send 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine over the next year. They also discussed global food security and sanctions on Russia. The Pentagon says the airstrikes were “proportionate” and carried out in a manner intended to “limit the risk of escalation and minimize casualties.”

➤HEARING DOESN'T LIKE TIK TOK TALK: House lawmakers grilled TikTok’s CEO about potential Chinese government influence over the platform. Shou Zi Chew fielded questions stemming from Washington’s national-security concerns about the short-video app. The House Energy and Commerce Committee was skeptical about his assurances that U.S. users’ data would be protected and that Beijing couldn’t use TikTok or its Chinese owner, ByteDance, to manipulate the content Americans see. The Biden administration has threatened a possible TikTok ban in the U.S. if ByteDance doesn’t sell its stake in the platform. Hours before the House hearing, China said that it would oppose any forced sale and that a TikTok divestiture would involve exporting technology, which Beijing must OK.

During one of the most emotional outbursts, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) confronted Chew about the suicide of 16-year-old Chase Nasca, who died last year after allegedly being exposed to TikTok videos promoting suicide. Nasca’s parents, who have filed a wrongful death suit against TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, were seen in tears as Bilirakis played similar videos for attendees during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing chaired by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).“Mr. Chew, your company destroyed their lives,” Bilirakis railed. Chew described Nasca’s death as “devastating” and “tragic.”

Tik Tok Danger To Teens Main Focus Of Hearing

Tik Tok CEO Chew During Congressional Hearing

U.S. lawmakers at a congressional hearing on Thursday accused TikTok of serving harmful content and inflicting "emotional distress" on young users, grilling the Chinese-owned app's CEO on the company's outsized influence on teens, reports Reuters.

The hearing, which was TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew's first appearance before Congress, comes at a critical moment for the wildly popular video app that is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech company. Lawmakers are pressuring the Biden administration to ban the app from the country.

U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle quizzed Chew on whether American user data could be accessed by the Chinese government, but also demanded he address examples of harmful content posted on the app.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington, kicked off the hearing saying that within minutes of creating an account on TikTok, the content algorithm promotes self-harm and eating disorder content, and encourages "dangerous" challenges that can put kids' lives at risk.

Like other social media platforms, TikTok has long faced scrutiny over its policing of content on the app. The Center for Countering Digital Hate, a nonprofit that fights hate speech and disinformation, said in a December report that TikTok can "bombard" kids as young as 13 with eating disorder and self-harm content.

Chew told the lawmakers that TikTok takes the mental health of its users very seriously and refers people asking about suicide or death it to the platform’s safety page.

“We aren’t buying it,” Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the committee’s chair and a Washington Republican, said of TikTok’s arguments of why the service is safe.

Rodgers said the app’s wide popularity — used by 150 million Americans — is precisely why it poses such a threat.

NPR Cancels Four Podcasts To Cut Expenses

NPR has canceled four podcast and halted production of the shows amid an effort to cuts costs, which includes the layoffs of 10% of its staff.

The workforce cuts revealed last month have begun this week, CEO John Lansing said in an interview with the network, according to The Wrap.

“We literally are fighting to secure the future of NPR at this very moment by restructuring our cost structure. It’s that important,” Lansing said of a $30 million budget gap. “It’s existential.

The canceled podcasts include seasonal shows “Invisibilia,” “Louder Than a Riot” and “Rough Translation” as well as a comedy show launched last year called “Everyone & Their Mom” — a spinoff of the popular NPR audio series “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”

Lansing said last month the network would lay off around 100 employees, or 10% of its current workforce, as well as dissolve any vacant positions, attributing the cuts to a decline in advertising revenue, specifically for NPR podcasts.

“When we say we are eliminating filled positions, we are talking about our colleagues – people whose skills, spirit and talents help make NPR what it is today,” Lansing wrote in a memo to staff. “This will be a major loss.”

The CEO stated that revenues are likely to fall short by $30 million or even closer to $32 million on the annual budget of roughly $300 million.

Lansing said then that NPR remains committed to podcasting as well as the networks news magazines like “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” NPR’s programming division that produces the podcasts has doubled since 2019.

Baltimore Radio: The Fan's 'Baseball Tonight' Ready For New Season

Audacy announced the return of “Baltimore Baseball Tonight,” the highest-rated pre-game show focused on Baltimore’s professional baseball team, on 105.7 The Fan (WJZ-FM). “Baltimore Baseball Tonight” will launch the new season to coincide with Baltimore’s Opening Day on March 30.

New to the “Baltimore Baseball Tonight” broadcast team is Ryan Ripken, son of baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken will join Bob Haynie, host of the area’s #1 rated midday show, “Vinny & Haynie,” on 105.7 The Fan, Baltimore Hall of Famer Mike Bordick and longtime voice of Baltimore baseball Jim Hunter. The show will provide listeners with in-depth coverage of that night’s game, including pre-game sound from manager Brandon Hyde, detailed analysis of that night’s pitching matchup, a deep dive into the team’s starting lineup as well as news and notes from across Major League Baseball.

“We are thrilled to be bringing ‘Baltimore Baseball Tonight’ back to Baltimore baseball fans,” said Chuck Sapienza, Brand Manager, 105.7 The Fan. “The show was received so well last season, and we look forward to building off that momentum again this season. Adding Ryan to the team brings a critical young voice to the show, and his perspective having been a part of the organization and his deep family ties to the team are invaluable.”

The show will air on 105.7 The Fan prior to all of Baltimore’s weekday games throughout the MLB season. When the team is home, the show will be broadcast on-site at the popular Pickles Pub near Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The first show at Pickles will be on April 6 when Baltimore takes on the New York Yankees in the home opener. In total, “Baltimore Baseball Tonight” will air over 100 times between Opening Day and the World Series.

Ripken is a former Baltimore minor league standout who ultimately reached the AAA level before launching his broadcast career. In addition to co-hosting “Baltimore Baseball Tonight,” Ripken will join various The Fan’s primetime shows each week during the baseball season. He also hosts the popular podcast Off Script with Rip and is a recurring guest on other lifestyle and sports podcasts. During the last year, Ripken has appeared regularly on various 105.7 The Fan programs and has had a regular role on Baltimore’s WBAL-TV giving his take on the Ravens and fantasy football.

📻Listeners can tune in to 105.7 The Fan (WJZ-FM) in Baltimore on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Sounds Profitable Releases 'The Medium Moves the Message' Study

Sounds Profitable has  released the first Sounds Profitable research of 2023 is now available for download. Titled The Medium Moves the Message: A Comparative Assessment of Advertising from Broadcast to Podcast, the study pulls data from a Signal Hill Insights online survey of, quoting the study: “2,002 Americans 18+, to gauge their awareness, consideration, favorability, and other brand measures relative to the largest advertisers in TV, Radio, and Podcasting.”


A big finding of the study is in the age demographics, as broadcast and podcast audiences are pulling apart, especially in younger demographics. Compared against the mean age distribution of the US population, the mean age for podcasts is just under 40, with 44% of the population in the 18-34 demographic. Compare that to those who just watch broadcast and cable television, where 44% of the population is 55+. Nearly a generation of age difference between the two.

Consumers who favor podcasts rate brands more favorably on average, as well. When single-channel users were polled - users who only listen to podcasts, radio, or television - only 28% of TV listeners favored brands that supported their favorite content. Radio posted 32%, and podcasting 34%.

Among other findings:
  • Podcasting’s weekly reach 18-34 is nearing that of radio and TV
  • The median age of heavy users of radio and tv is significantly older than that of heavy listeners to podcasts
  • Podcast buys reach net new consumers when added to TV or Radio buys
  • Podcast listeners are more likely to subscribe to premium, ad free content options
  • Podcast listeners are significantly more positive towards the brands that support the medium than Radio listeners or TV viewers
  • The leading advertisers in podcasting perform significantly better in lower-funnel metrics with podcast listeners than the leading advertisers in TV and Radio do with their consumers
  • The addition of podcasts to a multichannel media mix shows significant mid-funnel effects
The research slides are HERE.

Benjamin Hall’s War Memoir Tops NYTimes Best-Seller List

Benjamin Hall

A memoir from Benjamin Hall, the Fox News correspondent wounded by Russian fire in Ukraine, has now topped The New York Times’ Best-Seller List.

It was just over a week ago when Hall published his auto-biography: Saved: A War Reporter’s Mission to Make It Home. His story has been flying off the shelves though, for it has already claimed the Times’ number one spot in their non-fiction category.

On March 14, 2022, Hall was covering the invasion of Ukraine when he was hit by Russian shelling outside of Kyiv. Fox News photojournalist Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova were both killed in the attack, while Hall was left with injuries that cost him his leg, a foot, the use of one of his hands, and he was left blinded in one eye.

According to Mediaite, Hall’s survival and evacuation from Ukraine have been a recurring media interest story as reporters followed his recovery and persistence in maintaining a positive outlook. Hall’s story also offers perspective about the dangers journalists face while covering warzones, and he has been open about the horrors he experienced and witnessed for others.

Westwood One Provides Coverage of Women's Championship

Cumulus Media’s Westwood One the official network audio broadcast partner of the NCAA, will present exclusive live coverage of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship beginning on Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 with the Sweet Sixteen®. Coverage will continue on Sunday and Monday with the Elite Eight® and culminate with the Women's Final Four® on Friday, March 31, and the women’s national championship game on Sunday, April 2, from Dallas.

Westwood One’s broadcast crew for the Women’s Final Four and National Championship will consist of Ryan Radtke as play-by-play announcer, Debbie Antonelli as lead analyst, and Krista Blunk as courtside reporter. This will be Antonelli’s 20th season as lead analyst and 27th season overall with the network. Blunk has been an analyst for the network since 2005 and has served as courtside reporter for the Women’s Final Four every season since 2012.

📻Fans can access the action on AM/FM radio, on SiriusXM, and on 

Additionally, the broadcasts will be available for free via the NCAA March Madness Women’s Basketball app or The Varsity Network app. Fans can also access live audio via Alexa-enabled devices by asking to “Open Westwood One Sports”. TuneIn premium subscribers can also hear all the action live. 

Westwood One’s Complete 2023 NCAA Women’s Tournament Coverage Schedule:

March 24 Radio History

➦In 1925...Utah's oldest radio station KSL took over the airwaves at 1160 AM.

KSL/KZN began life as the radio arm of the Deseret News, a Salt Lake City newspaper also owned by the LDS Church. The station's first broadcast aired on May 6, 1922 as KZN.  The broadcast was a talk by then-LDS Church president Heber J. Grant. In 1924 the station was sold to John Cope and his father, F.W. Cope, who formed the Radio Service Corporation of Utah.  Earl J. Glade (later a four-term mayor of Salt Lake City) joined the station in 1925 and guided KSL's operations for the next fourteen years. John F. Fitzpatrick, publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune (owned by the Kearns Corporation) acquired a quarter interest of KSL for a modest price, as did the LDS Church. This was the Tribune's first business partnership with the LDS Church, though the Church later (re)acquired full interest in the station.

In 1924, it changed its call letters to KFPT for one year and then adopted its current call letters in 1925 after they became available, with the "S" and "L" standing for "Salt Lake." (Until that time the KSL call sign had been used by a radio station in Alaska.) A series of power boosts over the next decade brought the station to its current 50,000 watts (daytime broadcast power) in 1932, with a 50,000-watt transmitter being dedicated October 22 of that year.

Soon after becoming a clear-channel station, KSL joined the CBS Radio Network. It remained with CBS until 2005, when it switched to ABC News Radio. The station would also gain a television counterpart in 1949, the CBS affiliate KSL-TV. (KSL-TV switched to NBC in 1995 after KUTV Channel 2 came under the ownership of CBS, following its acquisition by Westinghouse). They remained subsidiaries of the Deseret News until 1964, when Bonneville International Corporation was formed as the parent company for the LDS Church's broadcasting interests.

➦In 1932... A radio variety show is broadcast from a moving train for the first time, when Belle Baker hosts a show on a train traveling around the New York area. It was broadcast on the New York City station WABC (now WCBS-AM) . She talked first about the weather then, about local news regarding home-towns or stations of the train with the radio.

➦In 1935...Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour first aired locally in NYC on WHN in April 1934.  On March 24, 1935, on NBC, Chase and Sanborn chose this show to fill The Chase and Sanborn Hour. This arrangement lasted until September 17, 1936, when the show moved to the CBS Radio Network. The show remained on CBS for the remainder of its run on radio.

Each week, Bowes would chat with the contestants and listen to their performances.

Bowes sent the more talented contestants on "Major Bowes" vaudeville tours, often with several units roaming the country simultaneously. Bowes presided over his radio program until his death on his 72nd birthday, June 14, 1946.

Frank Sinatra was perhaps the best-known alumnus of the Bowes program, having appeared as part of the Hoboken Four quartet. Maria Callas also appeared on the program at age 11, performing as Nina Foresti when she sang a selection from Madame Butterfly.

In 1952, the show, now hosted by Ted Mack, made it to NBC-TV. It would run on various networks until 1970.

➦In 1958...Elvis Presley was finally inducted, starting his day as the King of Rock and Roll, but ending it as a lowly buck private in the United States Army.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Bay Area Radio: Missing San Francisco Radio Host Found Dead

Jeffrey Vandergrift (1969-2023

The San Francisco Medical Examiner on Thursday confirmed the death of 55-year-old Jeffrey Vandergrift, the host of a popular KYLD Wild 94.9 radio morning show who disappeared last month.

The S F Chronicle reports police and firefighters said they pulled human remains from the water near Pier 39 at about 5 p.m. Wednesday evening.

"At this time, we have no evidence of foul play," San Francisco Police Sgt. Adam Lobsinger said in a statement. Law enforcement turned the body, which at that point had not been identified, over to the medical examiner to conduct an investigation. The radio station later acknowledged his death with a somber statement.

"With a heavy heart, we must confirm that the body found near Pier 39 Wednesday afternoon has been identified as our dear friend, family member and colleague, JV," the statement read. "We are devastated to know now that JV is gone. Please keep his wife, Natasha, his family and close friends in your thoughts and prayers. JV, we'll miss you. You are forever a Bay Area icon."

Wednesday's tragic turn of events came roughly three weeks after Vandergrift's wife, Natasha Yi, said she believed her husband would not be coming back. Yi, who is also a host at Wild 94.9, said "personal information" uncovered during the search suggested that Vandergrift would not return.

"I tell you this with incredible pain and sadness in my heart," Yi wrote in a March 1 social media post.

A figure on Bay Area radio airwaves since the 1990s, Vandergrift was known for hosting "The JV Show" weekday mornings from 6 to 10 a.m. He was last seen at about 10 p.m. on Feb. 23, near his home on the 200 block of King Street near Third Street, in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood.

NYC Radio: Official..WFAN Adds Justin Shackil To Yankees Broadcasts

Audacy announces the addition of Justin Shackil to WFAN’s flagship broadcast coverage of New York Yankees baseball, beginning with the upcoming 2023 season.

Shackil will serve as the station’s primary postgame show host for the Yankees Radio Network, and fill in for legendary play-by-play voice John Sterling for approximately 30 games, alongside Suzyn Waldman, during the 2023 season.

“Justin is no stranger to the Bronx and his passion for the pinstripes make him the ideal person to join the iconic duo of John and Suzyn in the booth,” said Chris Oliviero, Market President, Audacy New York. “His contributions to the broadcast last season were terrific and well received, so we're excited to see him return in this enhanced role.”

Justin Shackil
“As someone who made listening, watching and attending Yankee games a major part of their youth, receiving the opportunity to join John and Suzyn in the WFAN radio booth is certainly the 'pinch-me' moment of my baseball broadcasting career,” said Shackil. “I'm grateful to Audacy for this chance, and to the Yankees for trusting me and expanding my role with an organization I value so highly.”

Shackil will also serve as a reporter for 40-plus Yankees games on YES Network this year, and his additional duties for YES include Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty and college basketball play-by-play. He is also a boxing blow-by-blow voice for Matchroom Boxing events on DAZN. Shackil has previously served in a variety of roles for Yankees Productions, including scoreboard host, digital host and reporter, and he currently hosts a podcast via Jomboy Media called “Toeing the Slab” with former Yankee David Cone. Other career highlights include hosting and play-by-play for NBA TV International, anchoring Westwood One Radio’s Olympics coverage, and anchoring on various SiriusXM Radio sports channels. A New Jersey native, Justin is a proud alumnus of Fordham University.

📻Listeners can tune in to WFAN 101.9 FM/ 660 AM in New York on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Boston Radio: WEEI's Chris Curtis Suspended For Slur

UPDATE 11:30 AM:  Chris Curtis, the WEEI on-air personality and producer who used an ethnic slur during Tuesday’s “The Greg Hill Show,’’ has been suspended without pay by the station until next Wednesday.

Curtis was on Thursday’s show at the start of its opening 6 a.m. hour and offered a meandering apology before leaving to begin his suspension.

Earlier Story...

Chris Curtis, an executive producer and on-air personality on WEEI’s “Greg Hill Show,” used a racist slur during Wednesday’s program while the hosts were discussing the possibility of a ban on “nips” — miniature bottles of alcohol — in Boston.

Chris Curtis
During a segment about Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo’s plan to present a proposal to outlaw the small bottles, which often end up as litter, cohost Courtney Cox suggested that the show’s participants rank their favorite nips, according to The Boston Globe.

“Oh yes, that’s a great [topic],” said Hill, as he and Cox immediately mentioned a couple of brands of liquor.

As they were talking, Curtis interjected, “Oh, I’d probably go Mina Kimes.”

“Nip” is a racial slur against people of Japenese descent. The term is a shortened form of Nippon, the Japenese word for the country.

Kimes is a high-profile ESPN personality and NFL analyst who is of Korean descent on her mother’s side.

Hill, Cox, and cohost Jermaine Wiggins did not respond to Curtis and continued with the conversation. After his comment, Curtis glanced at producer Chris Scheim, who was laughing.