Saturday, April 22, 2023

April 23 Radio History

Roy Orbison 1936-1988

➦In 1936...singer Roy Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas. His biggest hit was “Oh, Pretty Woman,” which stayed at No. 1 for three weeks in 1964. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and died of a heart attack on Dec. 6, 1988, in Madison, Tenn., at age 52.

➦In 1976...Flashback...

➦In 1995...Radio, TV sportscaster and personality Howard Cosell died of a heart embolism at age 77 (Born Howard William Cohen  March 25, 1918). He was most prominent and influential on radio, television and print media from the early 1960s into the mid 1980s.

Cosell was an union attorney in NYC and 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'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 2004…Bill Brundige, a member of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame and a fixture on Southland radio and television stations for three decades, died at age 89.

Bill Brundige
Brundige served as play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Angels baseball team, of the Pacific Coast League. He also worked with Bob Kelly on Los Angeles Ram broadcasts and Chick Hearn on Laker broadcasts. Twice he was awarded the Golden Mike as the top sports broadcaster in Southern California.

Born in Chattanooga, Tenn., Brundige served as West Coast sports director for the Armed Forces Radio Network during World War II and received the Helms Athletic Foundation award for his entertainment contributions to the men and women serving in the Pacific.

Later, Brundige was an announcer for baseball's Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators, and football's Detroit Lions. It was Phil Wrigley, owner of the Cubs, who brought Brundige to Southern California to broadcast games for the Angels, a minor league team that had the name long before Gene Autry purchased an American League expansion team that began play in 1961.

He retired after ending a broadcasting career of more than 40 years with a talk show on Anaheim's KEZY.

Lee Majors is 84

  • Actor Lee Majors (“Six Million Dollar Man”) is 84. 
  • Actor Blair Brown is 76. 
  • Actor Joyce DeWitt (“Three’s Company”) is 74. 
  • Actor James Russo is 70. 
  • Director Michael Moore is 69. 
  • Actor Judy Davis is 68. 
  • Actor Valerie Bertinelli is 63. 
  • Actor Craig Sheffer (“One Tree Hill,” ″Into the West”) is 63. 
  • Comedian George Lopez is 62. 
  • Actor Melina Kanakaredes (“The Resident,” “Providence”) is 56. 
  • Drummer Stan Frazier of Sugar Ray is 55. 
  • Guitarist Tim Womack of Sons of the Desert is 55. 
  • Actor Scott Bairstow (“Party of Five”) is 53. 
  • Actor John Lutz (“30 Rock”) is 50. 
  • Musicians Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National are 47. 
  • Wrestler-turned-actor John Cena (“The Marine”) is 46. 
  • Actor-comedian John Oliver is 46. 
  • Actor Kal Penn (“House M.D.,” “Harold and Kumar”) is 46. 
  • Singer Taio Cruz is 40. 
  • Actor Jesse Lee Soffer (“Chicago P.D.,” “Chicago Fire”) is 39. 
  • Guitarist Anthony LaMarca of The War on Drugs is 36. 
  • Actor Dev Patel (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is 33. 
  • Actor Matthew Underwood (“Zoey 101”) is 33. 
  • Model Gigi Hadid is 28. 
  • Musicians Jake and Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet are 27. 
  • Actor Charlie Rowe (“Salvation”) is 27.
  • In 1983..Clarence "Buster" Crabbe, American swimmer (Olympic gold 1932) and actor (Tarzan the Fearless, Flash Gordon), dies of a heart attack at 75
  • In 2007..David Halberstam, American journalist, historian and author (Pulitzer 1964), dies at 73

Twitter Deletes 'Government-Funded' Label From NPR, CBC Accounts

Twitter has removed labels that described prominent news organizations as “government-funded” or “state-affiliated” after NPR and public broadcasters in several countries criticized the labels as misleading and suspended the use of their Twitter accounts.

The NY Times reports the removal of the labels was the latest shift that Twitter has made abruptly and without explanation under the leadership of its owner, Elon Musk.

Twitter made the change one day after it began removing check mark icons from the profiles of thousands of celebrities, politicians and journalists whose identities it had verified before Mr. Musk bought the company for $44 billion in October. Twitter, which automatically responds to press inquiries via email with a poop emoji, did not immediately comment on Friday.

NPR reported that Mr. Musk said in an email that Twitter had dropped all media labels and that “this was Walter Isaacson’s suggestion,” apparently referring to the author and former media executive who is working on a book about Mr. Musk. Mr. Isaacson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NPR said last week that it would suspend all Twitter use after the social network designated the broadcaster “U.S. state-affiliated media.”

No word on if and when NPR will return to the platform.

Bud Light Marketing Exec Takes Leave Of Absence

Alissa Heinerscheid

The Bud Light marketing executive whose team oversaw its disastrous partnership with trans activist Dylan Mulvaney has taken a leave of absence, according to several reports.

Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for the popular beer, will be replaced by Budweiser global marketing VP Todd Allen, AdAge reported on Friday.

She has led the brand since June 2022. It’s unclear if her replacement will be permanent.

Alissa Heinerscheid was hired to overhaul Bud Light's marketing in June 2022 with the vision of freshening up its image.  But that took a disastrous turn on April 1 when the partnership with Mulvaney was announced, sparking a boycott and knocking $6 billion from the company's

Heinerscheid's team was responsible for Bud Light's widely-lauded Super Bowl ad featuring Miles Teller and his wife Keleigh Sperry, and 'the Bud Light Carry' ad, which shows a woman carrying a round of beers to a table of friends without spilling a drop. 

Those ads were part of Heinerscheid's vision to make the brand more female friendly - something she has described as a 'passion point'. 

But that vision was swiftly cut down on April 3 with the brand's partnership with Dylan Mulvaney, a controversial trans activist with a mass following on social media, which proved to be a step too far for Bud Light's loyal customers. 

Mandy Obrien from Bombards Body Language website comments on the 39-year-rold  Heinerscheid...

Heinerscheid has not commented on the scandal. 

It's Record Store Saturday..All Sales Vinyl

by Felix Richter, Statista

Music lovers around the world will come together on Saturday to celebrate Record Store Day. Conceived in 2007 to highlight the cultural significance of independent record stores and celebrate vinyl record culture, the occasion is now widely honored with live performances, special vinyl releases, artist meet-and-greets and other events taking place at record stores across the globe. One of the original objectives of Record Store Day – keeping vinyl records alive – is no longer a priority though, as they are alive and well.

In fact, vinyl album sales in the United States surpassed CD sales for the first time since 1987 last year. There’s an old adage in Germany reminding people to be nice to others on their road to fortune and fame, because you always meet twice: once on the way up and once on the way down. The same apparently is true for music recording media, as the CD is now awkwardly waving hello to vinyl records, which it once drove to near extinction.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), 41 million vinyl records were sold in the U.S. last year, up from just 1.3 million in 2007, the year that Record Store Day was conceived. In the meantime, CD album sales plummeted from 500 million units in 2007 to just 33.4 million last year, marking the first time in 35 years that vinyl had the upper hand against its digital descendant.
Infographic: Vinyl Sales Surpass CDs for the First Time Since 1987 | Statista
You will find more infographics at Statista

Aside from the usual sales statistics and year-end charts, Luminate’s 2022 Year-End Music Report contained one interesting piece of information that was easily overlooked: 50 percent of vinyl buyers own a record player. What’s even more interesting is the part of the equation that Luminate (formerly Nielsen Music) didn’t mention: 50 percent of vinyl buyers DON’T own a record player.
Infographic: Vinyl Records: A Physical Token in the Digital Age? | Statista
You will find more infographics at Statista

So if a sizeable proportion of vinyl buyers don’t even have turntables to play those records, what are they buying them for? According to IFPI's 2022 Engaging with Music report, there are several reasons for buying vinyl records that have nothing to do with actually playing them. Having asked vinyl buyers from 22 countries for their main reason to do so, IFPI found that wanting to “physically own” the music was the most-cited reason, followed closely by “liking to have physical records to look at”, both possible without a record player. Granted, reasons number three and four, “liking the ritual of playing a vinyl record” and “liking to fully immerse oneself in an album” do require a record player, but five and six, “wanting to support the artists” and “reading liner notes”, certainly do not.

Infographic: From Tape to Tidal: 4 Decades of U.S. Music Sales | Statista 
This all goes to show that even in the digital age, when pretty much anything can be stored in and streamed from the cloud, physical goods still hold value to people, whether it’s to touch them, to look at them or to actually use them the way they were intended. For artists, especially small and independent ones, pressing and selling vinyl records independently not only creates an opportunity to connect more directly with their fans, but it also opens up another revenue stream which many desperately need in the absence of any meaningful streaming renumeration.

Philly Radio: Andre Gardner Inks New Contract with WMGK

Andre Gardner, the afternoon drive host and resident Beatles fanatic at Beasley's classic rock station 102.9 WMGK-FM for the past 21 years, has signed a multiyear contract extension with parent company Beasley Media Group to continue in that role.

“What an honor it is to play you this music we love so much!,” Gardner told fans Thursday in a social media announcement before thanking Beasley Philadelphia Market Manager Joe Bell and WMGK Program Director Bill Weston.

Save for a stint at New York’s 92.3 K-Rock from 1993 to 2002, Gardner has been a staple in the Philadelphia-area radio and rock music scene since the late 1970s. According to his LinkedIn page, Gardner started in 1977 as a high school student working weekend shifts at Trenton’s WPST before moving on to WIFI-92, Sunny 104.5, and Z-106 mixed in with very short stints at stations in Atlanta, Dallas and Fort Pierce, Florida.

Gardner was hired as music director and nighttime disc jockey at 94.1 WYSP when the rock station was at the height of its popularity with Howard Stern working morning drive. After five years in that role, he left for K-Rock but returned to Philadelphia after being hired by Buzz Knight to handle afternoon drive for WMGK, where his show has consistently been among the top-rated in his time slot among the key adults 25 to 54 demographic. Up until last year, Gardner spent 20 years as host of the station’s Sunday morning "Breakfast with the Beatles" syndicated program.

“It’s exciting to know that Andre will be with WMGK for the foreseeable future," Bell said via email. "He’s a huge part of the fabric and success of the station."

The Philadelphia Business Journal reports WMGK finished second in the overall ratings among Philadelphia radio stations in March, behind iHeartMedia’s urban adult contemporary formatted 105.3 WDAS-FM. John DeBella hosts the station’s morning drive show and Matt Cord holds down middays.

Dominion Lawsuit: Newsmax Responded Differently Than Fox News

This week’s settlement between Dominion Voting Systems and FOX News puts one chapter of post-2020 election litigation to bed, but Dominion (as well as competitor Smartmatic) has other defamation suits pending, including one against Newsmax. 

The news organization itself reports on the pending case and, in a story by Marisa Herman, lays out the argument that there are stark differences between the FOX News case and its own. She cites a February 2, 2021 appearance by Mike Lindell on Newsmax TV during which anchor Bob Sellers vehemently challenges Lindell’s allegations of voter manipulation, to the point of walking off the set in frustration. 

The story also notes Newsmax’s defense as laid out in court filings. 

The company says, “It reported fairly and accurately on the public statements made by President Trump, his attorneys, and surrogates; It had a right to report on statements made by public figures, including the president; Newsmax reported on both television and online claims by multiple officials and experts that the election was not ‘stolen’ or ‘rigged.’; Newsmax reached out to Dominion, and Dominion did not accept offers to appear on the network; Newsmax published online at least a dozen articles sharing Dominion's response to Trump campaign claims. 

According to those headlines appeared on Newsmax TV; On Dec. 19, 2020, Newsmax published to its website a statement, ‘Facts About Dominion, Smartmatic You Should Know,’ which read, in part, ‘No evidence has been offered that Dominion or Smartmatic used software or reprogrammed software that manipulated votes in the 2020 election.’; Newsmax shared its statement over the course of months during segments related and unrelated to the 2020 election.” Finally, Newsmax adds, “It should be noted that FOX News has never made a statement, even after its settlement, as strong and specific as Newsmax's statement of Dec. 19, 2021.”

Paramount Global Agrees To $167.5M Settlement

Paramount Global has agreed to a $167.5 million settlement of a case stemming from the 2019 merger of Viacom Inc and CBS Corp that created the entertainment company, a filing showed.

The settlement, reached on Tuesday, provides for the dismissal of the case in exchange for the payment to Paramount, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing published on Friday.

CBS shareholders filed three separate suits, which were later consolidated, alleging the company had overpaid for Viacom, clearing the way for media mogul Shari Redstone to reunite the family's media holdings.  One suit also alleged “waste and unjust enrichment in connection with certain aspects of Mr. Ianniello’s compensation awards.” Joe Ianniello was the former CEO of CBS (he took over after Les Moonves’ exit), and left shortly after the Viacom-CBS merger was completed. According to filings, Ianniello received an exit package valued at more than $125 million.

Paramount reached a $122.5 million settlement in March with Viacom shareholders that also stemmed from the merger.

Judge Tells Diamond To Pay Half of What It Owes to MLB Clubs

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Texas overseeing the Chapter 11 restructuring of Sinclair Group’s regional sports networks subsidiary, Diamond Sports Group, has told Diamond to pay half of what it owes to four of the five Major League Baseball franchises to which it had previously withheld TV rights payments for the just-started 2023 baseball season.

The unpaid balances, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez said, will be rendered next month, after the restructuring process resets the individual team fees Diamond must pay.

Teams mentioned in Lopez’s order include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Guardians, Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins. The judge hasn't yet addressed a fifth as-yet unpaid team in Diamond's Bally Sports RSN umbrella, the Cincinnati Reds.

Diamond missed its April 17 deadline to pay the Reds, but it still has until May 1 to render the bill under a grace period.

In his order, Lopez said he was not concerned about the financial stability of the clubs, but rather wanted the process to adhere to restructuring norms, where debtors are ordered to “pay the uncontested and reserve for the disputed portion of it.”

With Bally Sports continuing to show the unpaid teams’ games on its regional sports channels, Major League Baseball had petitioned the court to cut the clubs loose from their TV contracts and let them stream their own games.

Judge Lopez asked both MLB and Diamond to reconvene on May 10. His order seems to forestall the Diamondbacks, Guardians, Rangers and Twins on following through on threats to work with MLB and start their own telecasts.

Diamond Sports Group entered Chapter 11 on March 15, looking to trade equity for around $8 billion of debt relief.

BFA Recognizes Industry Leaders at Annual Breakfast

Wednesday morning, April 19, the Broadcasters Foundation of America held its Annual Breakfast and gave out six Leadership Awards, the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award, and the very special Chairman’s Award.

Pictured left to right:
  • Steven Lanzano, President, Television Bureau of Advertising – Leadership Award
  • Deborah Parenti, President/Publisher, Radio Ink/RBR+TVBR – Leadership Award
  • Scott Herman, Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation
  • Dan Mason, former CEO of CBS Radio and previous Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation – Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award
  • Tim McCarthy, President of the Broadcasters Foundation
  • Jim Doyle, Founder, JDA Media – Leadership Award
  • Debra O'Connell, President, Networks, The Walt Disney Company – Leadership Award
  • Cindy Thompson, who accepted the posthumous Chairman’s Award on behalf of her husband Jim Thompson, who had been President of the Broadcasters Foundation
  • Heidi Raphael, Chief Communications Officer, Beasley Media Group – Leadership Award
  • Jim Thompson, who also accepted on behalf of his father
Not pictured is Julie Talbot, President of Premier Networks, who accepted the posthumous Leadership Award on behalf of Rush Limbaugh.

April 22 Radio History

➦In 1920...Hal March was born in San Francisco (Died at age 49 from lung cancer – January 19, 1970).  In 1944, March first came to note as part of a comedy team with Bob Sweeney. The duo had their own radio show for a time and performed, in the early 1950s, as "Sweeney & March" on CBS Radio.   He also partnered with actor/comic Tom D'Andrea in the early years of television in a series entitled The Soldiers.

He also appeared on Burns and Allen, The Imogene Coca Show and I Love Lucy. He was best known as the host of CBS TV’s $64,000 Question from 1955 to 1958. As a result of the quiz show scandals, the show was canceled and March was out of a job for nearly a decade. He started hosting another show, It’s Your Bet in 1969.

NY Times Radio Listing 4/22/1946

➦In 1946...Tex McCrary and (wife) Jinx Falkenburg debuted an morning show on WEAF 660 AM. The show was called, Hi, Jinx, which evolved into The Tex & Jinx Show.

The McCrary's radio show was broadcast five mornings a week on New York radio station WEAF, and became a hit with critics and the public for tackling controversial issues like the A-Bomb, the United Nations and venereal disease along with talk about theatre openings and New York nightlife. Their guests would be a mix of popular entertainers such as Mary Martin, Ethel Waters and Esther Williams and public figures such as Bernard Baruch, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Truman, industrialist Igor Sikorsky and Indian statesman Krishna Menon.

McCrary wrote the scripts and taught Falkenburg the art of interviewing and the basics of broadcast journalism. Over time she was considered the better interviewer, eliciting candid responses, often from the show's more intellectual guests. Her technique was to ask questions until she understood the answer and so presumably, did all the housewives at home listening to her.  "They developed an audience that was ready to start thinking at breakfast," wrote New York Times columnist William Safire who as a teenager was hired by McCrary to do pre-show interviews of guests.

WEAF later became WNBC and now Sports WFAN.

➦In 1985...Comedian Soupy Sales started at WNBC 660 AM. His program was between the drive time shifts of Don Imus (morning) and Howard Stern (afternoon), with whom Sales had an acrimonious relationship.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Atlanta Radio: WSB Tweaks On-Air Line-Up

95.5 WSB has unveiled an 'evolution' of its weekday on-air lineup, effective May 1.

According to a posting its website. the changes mark a new era for our legendary news/talk brand

Chris Chandler has been named the host of Atlanta’s Morning News, airing 5 a.m.-9 a.m., Monday through Friday. Chandler is a longtime afternoon drive anchor who has established himself as one of the most respected voices in local news.

Mark Arum is moving from his current slot in afternoon drive to 9 a.m.-noon. As a seasoned radio and TV host, Arum has made a name for himself as an entertaining and engaging personality on both television and radio.

The Von Haessler Doctrine will move to 4 p.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Led by Eric Von Haessler and known for its irreverent humor and insightful commentary.

Ken Charles
“95.5 WSB has such a deep roster of talent I am excited to promote Chris to this new role. As part of the process, we took the time to examine the entire station lineup,” said Ken Charles, Director of Branding and Programming for 95.5 WSB. “Additionally, we asked our audience what they expected from WSB. These changes reflect those expectations and leverage our local stars to position the station for the future.”

“It is the honor of a career to step into one of the great heritage radio news programs in the country. Scott Slade can’t be replaced, but I’m committed to maintaining the integrity, consistency, and fairness he brought Atlanta’s Morning News over his legendary run,” said Chris Chandler.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this dynamic change to the weekday lineup,” said Mark Arum. “I’m honored to be handed the keys to what truly is a legacy time slot on 95.5 WSB.”

“After being on in the mornings since 2017, I’m looking forward to the challenge of capturing another audience in afternoons, and I have no doubt listeners will enjoy Mark in the mornings,” said Eric Von Haessler. “I used to come in at 6 a.m., not because I’m a good employee, but because I hate traffic, and not having to deal with that might be what I am most looking forward to.”

“This is an exciting time for WSB to enhance the future with our talented team and research to give our listeners more of what they want with this legendary station,” said Jaleigh Long, Vice President and Market Manager for CMG Atlanta Radio.

Fox News Parts Ways With Dan Bongino

Fox News has ended its relationship with Dan Bongino, who hosted the Saturday night show Unfiltered with Dan Bongino. “Folks, regretfully, last week was my last show on Fox News on the Fox News Channel,” Bongino said on his podcast Thursday. “It’s tough. It’s tough to say that. You know, I’ve been there doing hits and working there for ten the show ending was tough. And I want you to know it’s not some big conspiracy. I promise you. There’s no acrimony. This wasn’t some WWE brawl that happened. We just couldn’t come to terms on an extension.”

Forbes reports Bongino’s Canceled in the USA show, which has streamed on Fox’s streaming service, Fox Nation, will end as well. In a statement, Fox News said, “We thank Dan for his contributions and wish him success in his future endeavors.” The last episode of Bongino’s Saturday night program aired on April 15th.

The radio show is not affected
“It’s a sad day,” Bongino said on his podcast, noting that he was given the chance to do one final episode of the show, but he decided not to. “The most important events in my life I learned about on Fox News,” Bongino said, reflecting on his long ties to the network. Fox will air Lawrence Jones Cross Country in place of Bongino’s show this Saturday, and the network says a new schedule will be announced “in the coming weeks.”

Bongino’s show, which aired at 9 p.m. ET on Saturdays, was a ratings success for Fox News, with last Saturday’s episode of Unfiltered—the final episode—drawing 1.179 million viewers. It ranked as the highest-rated show of the day Saturday. For the first quarter of 2023, Unfiltered was the top show in prime time on Saturdays with 1.3 million viewers and 134,000 viewers in the key demographic of viewers 25-54, the group most valued by advertisers.

Proved Wrong, 'Pillow Guy' Has To Pay $5M

Mike Lindell

Mike Lindell has to pay $5 million for losing his "Prove Mike Wrong" 2020 election challenge, an arbitration panel has ruled.

In a decision dated Wednesday, the panel found software developer Robert Zeidman had won Lindell’s 2021 contest challenging experts to prove that data he had was not from the 2020 election, and directed the MyPillow founder to pay him the reward money he'd promised in the next 30 days.

Lindell told NBC News on Thursday that the ruling was “a horrible, wrong decision.”

“It’s all going to end up in court,” he said.

The contest took place in August 2021 at a cyber symposium that Lindell — an outspoken election denier and conspiracy theorist — was hosting in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

'The Pillow Guy'
As part of the symposium, Lindell announced a contest called the "Prove Mike Wrong Challenge" in which participants were asked to find proof that his cyber data was not valid data from the November election, the ruling said. The announcement said: "For the people who find the evidence, 5 million is their reward.”

At a hearing in January, Lindell testified that the cyber experts he hired had convinced him that he "could not lose the contest because the data he had been provided was genuine election data," according to the ruling, which was first reported by The Washington Post.

Among the attendees at the symposium was Zeidman, a Donald Trump voter who was excited to see the evidence Lindell had turned up.

Zeidman “wanted it to be 2020 election data,” said his attorney, Brian Glasser of Bailey & Glasser LLP. 

Floridians Gets Rude 'Test' Awakening

Emergency management officials said an “Emergency Alert” test issued at 4:45 a.m. was sent out by mistake, reports WFTV Orlando.

“The whole of the emergency management community apologizes for this error and steps will be taken to prevent it from occurring again,” officials said

The message, titled “Emergency Alert,” read “TEST – This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. No action is required.”

Officials said the alert was supposed to be sent to televisions, but the contractor sent the wrong technical specifications, which pushed it out over cellphones.

Many took to social media after the alert was sent out to decry the startling message.

Misinformation is also spreading on social media, encouraging people to disable the alerts in the future. But officials urge people not to do that

“It’s our way to communicate to the public, for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, hazardous material events, we encourage everyone to please keep that on,” Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris said.

R.I.P.: April Stevens, '60s Singer

April Stevens, who performed with her brother, Nino Tempo,  died Aprtil 17rth in Phoenix at age 93.

She and her brothe4r  had a No. 1 hit in 1963 with “Deep Purple.”

Born Caroline Vincinette LoTempio, Stevens began recording as a solo artist in the 1950s. She had several hit singles, including “I’m in Love Again,” “Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya, Huh?” and “Teach Me Tiger.” 

In the 1960s, Stevens teamed up with her younger brother, Antonino LoTempio, who took on the stage name Nino Tempo. As April Stevens and Nino Tempo, they scored a No. 1 hit in 1963 with their cover of the pop standard, “Deep Purple,” which won a Grammy Award for Best Rock & Roll Recording that same year. 

They followed the success of “Deep Purple” with singles including “Whispering,” “All Strung Out,” and “The Coldest Night of the Year.”  

4/21 WAKE-UP CALL: Explosion Called 'Successful Failure'

Daily Mail Graphic 4/21/23

The spectacular explosion of SpaceX's new Starship rocket minutes after it soared off its launch pad on a first flight test is the latest vivid illustration of a "successful failure" business formula that serves Elon Musk's company well, experts said on Thursday.  Rather than seeing the fiery disintegration of Musk's colossal, next-generation Starship system as a setback, experts said the dramatic loss of the rocket ship would help accelerate development of the vehicle.

Images of the Starship tumbling out of control some 20 miles up in the sky while mounted to its Super Heavy rocket booster before the combined vehicle blew to bits dominated media coverage of the highly anticipated launch. SpaceX acknowledged that several of the Super Heavy's 33 powerful Raport engines malfunctioned on ascent and that the booster rocket and Starship failed to separate as designed before the ill-fated flight was terminated.

But SpaceX executives including Musk - the founder, CEO and chief engineer of the California-based rocket company - hailed the test flight for achieving the major objective of getting the vehicle off the ground while providing a wealth of data that will advance Starship's development.

➤BIDEN TO DECLARE TUESDAY: President Biden and his team are preparing to announce his reelection campaign next week, with aides finalizing plans to release a video for the president to officially launch his campaign, according to three people briefed on the plans. Biden and his aides have targeted Tuesday for the release of the video to coincide with the four-year anniversary of his 2020 campaign launch. The people briefed on the plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations, cautioned that the official announcement could be delayed. 

Daily Mail Composite 4/21/23
➤A-G SEEN AS WHISTLEBLOWER'S 'SENIOR' OFFICIAL: Attorney General Merrick Garland is the 'senior' unnamed Biden administration official in the center of a new bombshell IRS whistleblower claim, a source familiar tells According to a letter Wednesday from attorney Mark Lytle, a man serving as a supervising agent on a 'high-profile' criminal tax probe has come forward seeking whistleblower protections while claiming politics are 'improperly infecting decisions' in an investigation. The investigation referred to is reportedly examining matters related to President Biden's son Hunter Biden.

➤YELLEN SAYS IT'S SECURITY FIRST WITH CHINA: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said protecting national security would be the U.S. priority in its relationship with China even if it slows economic growth, taking a hawkish stance as she pushed for more collaboration with Beijing.  In a speech Thursday, Yellen laid out the Biden administration’s vision for its economic relationship with China. The U.S. will remain the world’s dominant economic power, Yellen said, curbing its ties with China in certain areas. But she said the U.S. isn’t trying to prevent China’s economic advancement, adding that many trading and scientific links should remain. Finding the balance with China between defending national security and encouraging economic growth is a central task for Ms. Yellen and the Biden administration. China is the world’s second largest economy, behind only the U.S., and the globe’s largest exporter. Trade between the two countries reached a record last year. 

Birmingham Radio: Spencer Graves Gets Wake-Up Duty At WDXB

Dollar Bill and Spencer Graves

iHeartMedia Birmingham’s WDXB 102.5 The Bull, Birmingham’s #1 For New Country, announced today the debut of the new Spencer Graves Show, effective April 24. Spencer Graves will broadcast weekdays from 5-10am CST.

Spencer takes over for “Dollar” Bill Lawson, who retires after 50 years in Alabama broadcasting. Graves has hosted shows in St. Louis, Wilmington and others, most recently for iHeartMedia WUBL/Atlanta.

“Spencer is an incredible talent and integral to the future success of 102.5 the Bull. He is well-liked and respected by listeners, clients and country artists alike. Alabama, let’s ride!” said Dino Conard, Program Director/102.5 The Bull.

“I’m honored to be given the chance to propel several iconic brands within radio and iHeartMedia and I look forward to taking the reigns at 102.5 the Bull.. Starting as a 17-year-old kid, from the middle of nowhere Virginia, I’ve been fortunate to be on air all over the US. With that said, nothing makes me more excited than being a part of these big changes,” said Graves.

BuzzFeed News Shuts Down

In a move that brings to a close a pioneering era of online journalism, BuzzFeed is shutting down its namesake news division. After beginning as a quirky digital upstart and rising to a Pulitzer Prize-winning operation, it ultimately fell prey to the punishing economics of digital publishing that has laid low many of its peers.

The NY Times reports it’s a sobering end for a publication once seen as a serious challenger to legacy media outlets that had been slow to adapt to the internet. It was also the final chapter of a venture capital-fueled digital period that left an indelible mark on how journalism is produced and consumed.

When BuzzFeed News was foounded in 2011, in the run-up to the next year’s presidential election, it explored stories both slight and serious through listicles and click-bait-style headlines designed to go viral on social media. That mirrored the practice of its parent company, an internet laboratory of sorts that Jonah Peretti started in 2006.

The news operation soon drew attention for its ambitious, sharp reporting, however, and went on to open overseas bureaus and invest in investigative journalism. A number of alumni work for the more established news organizations it sought to disrupt, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, and those newsrooms have embraced many of the practices that BuzzFeed pioneered in search of readers online.

Twitter Verifications Disappearing

Twitter’s legacy blue checkmarks, which used to signify that a verified notable person was using the account, are now gone, with new owner Elon Musk preferring to include the icon in a paid subscription service instead.

Bloomberg reports the move has already spurred confusion. Celebrities, government officials and other notable users that choose not to pay $8 per month for Twitter Blue, the premium version, have lost the familiar check next to their names on the app. Users immediately shared screenshots of their previous checkmarked profiles or offered other means of verification.

“This is an authentic account representing the New York City Government,” posted @NYCGov, providing a link to a government website for verificaiton.

“No you’re not. THIS account is the only authentic Twitter account representing and run by the New York City Government,” replied @NYC_GOVERNMENT.

Even the Pope lost his check. But some celebrities, inexplicably, retained theirs. “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t,” the author Stephen King tweeted. LeBron James, the athlete who previously said he wouldn’t pay for a subscription, also has a blue check by his name.

Larry Elder Announces GOP Bid For President

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, who sought to replace the California governor in a failed 2021 recall effort, announced Thursday he is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

AP News reports Elder, 70, made the announcement on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and followed up with a tweet.

“America is in decline, but this decline is not inevitable. We can enter a new American Golden Age, but we must choose a leader who can bring us there. That’s why I’m running for President,” he wrote.

The long-shot candidate joins a Republican field that includes former President Donald Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has said he plans to seek reelection.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this month announced that he would not seek the GOP nomination in 2024.

Smith Pushes Back On Critics For Travis Podcast Interview

Stephen A. Smith sent a message to everybody who was upset that he had Clay Travis on his podcast.

Smith hosted the OutKick founder on his Audacy “Know Mercy” podcast earlier this week, and the two opinionists had a wide-ranging conversation that included their thoughts on cancel culture and whether or not Donald Trump would be the likeliest Republican candidate to defeat Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election.

There was some backlash on social media and sports blogs to the idea that Smith, an ESPN talent, “platformed” Travis, who has been persistently critical of ESPN as a company and personally mocked a number of on-air talents who work there for skewing too “woke.”

“I watched the reaction to my conversation with Clay Travis, obviously a successor to Rush Limbaugh on his radio show. You’ve got a lot of people writing stories and alluding to problems because I sat down and had a conversation.”

Fox Drops Australian Defamation Lawsuit

Fox Corp Lachlan Murdoch dropped a defamation lawsuit against an Australian news site over an opinion piece he said accused him of complicity in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, saying the defendant was trying to generate publicity.

Reuters reports Murdoch's lawyer in Australia said his client was confident he would have won the suit against online publisher Private Media and its site Crikey, but wanted to stop it from re-airing claims from a separate U.S. lawsuit involving Fox and the events of Jan. 6, which Fox paid $785.5 million to settle three days earlier.

"Mr Murdoch ... does not wish to further enable Crikey's use of the court to litigate a case from another jurisdiction that has already been settled, and facilitate a marketing campaign designed to attract subscribers and boost their profits," the lawyer, John Churchill, said in a statement.

A lawyer for Private Media, Michael Bradley, said Murdoch had discontinued his Federal Court claim without warning and that Murdoch would pay Private Media's costs. He declined to say how much those costs were.

"It's complete vindication of their stand on the principle of press freedom," Bradley said in an email, referring to Crikey and its employees.

Tupelo Radio: Stan Allen Is Ready To Sign-Off

The voice  off Stan Allen voice has been coming through the north Mississippi airwaves for more than four decades, but after next week, a longtime disc jockey will be signing off.

Stan Allen started his radio career at WCPC in Houston, Mississippi, after serving in the United States Army. At WCPC, he was featured in “The Group”, students from Ole Miss who showcased their singing and dancing skills. In fact, Allen was the first black member of “The Group”.

From there, the station manager recruited Allen to work an on-air shift and he never looked back.

“Had no intention, never thought about it, but God has a plan,” Allen said.

Stan Allen
After WCPC, Allen worked at stations throughout north Mississippi, Arkansas, and Memphis, before coming back to Tupelo, eventually landing at The Pulse 580 AM / 104.3 FM.

In 2001, Allen battled and eventually beat cancer. However, his cancer and the treatments left him hearing impaired. But that didn’t stop him from inspiring listeners, playing the hits, and meeting newsmakers, artists, and faithful fans.

Through the years, Allen has won numerous awards and accolades, and now, at 64 years of age, he said it’s time to slow down.

“I will spend time with my wife, and my grown children; they’re older. I will take some time for me,” Allen said.

While he will be missed on the airwaves, Allen wanted everyone to know that he will still be around and part of the community he has called home all his life.

Allen’s final day on air will be next Friday. A reception honoring his work and contributions to the community takes place Tuesday evening at “Char Cutie” on Clayton Avenue in Tupelo.

R.I.P.: Radio's Jo Interrante Dead At 78

Jo Interrante
The broadcast industry was saddened to learn of the death of Jo Interrante at age 78.

She is best known as a news legend at  KFRC San Francisco, She died Saturday, April 15 after a long illness. She was 78.

She began career as a newscaster on KNUS and KVIL in Dallas. From there, she moved to RKO's legendary KFRC/San Francisco, where she was eventually promoted to News Director. 

In the late 1970s, when the RKO Radio Networks launched, Interrante was named its inaugural VP of Programming. During the 1980's Interrante teamed with Rob Sisco and established IS Inc., to produce the weekly artist profile series MusicStar and The Hot Ones, hosted by John Leader and Dave Roberts. The company also launched and produced John Leader's "Countdown America" and "Countdown USA" that was hosted by Leader and Dave Sholin. Interrante was also an executive with ABC Radio based in Dallas until 2009.

April 21 Radio History

➦In 1940... The radio quiz program, “Take It or Leave It” aired on CBS. Contestants were offered a top prize of $64 by Bob Hawk. Losers left as there were no lovely parting gifts or consolation prizes.

"Take It or Leave It" was a very popular radio quiz show in America during its run. The title was derived from the fact that each time a contestant answers a question correctly, he or she will be asked to either "Take" his/her winnings and walk away, or "Leave" it and proceed with the next question.

The show ran for 10 years on CBS (1940-1947) and NBC (1947-1950), and was hosted by Bob Hawk (1940-1941), Phil Baker (1941-1947), Garry Moore (1947-1949), Eddie Cantor (1949-1950), and Jack Paar (1950). It became the precursor of another American game show called "The $64,000 Question" on NBC Radio.

➦In 1960…Dick Clark testified before a congressional committee investigating payola.

Dick Clark
In 1950, there were approximately 250 disc jockeys in the U.S. By 1957, the number had grown to over 5,000. The increase was partially due to the sheer amount of new records being produced, both by major and indie labels. As the name suggests, a disc jockey was responsible for sorting through all these releases (naturally, the sorting was influenced by payola). These on-air personalities had so much clout with younger listeners, Time magazine called them the “poo-bahs of musical fashion and pillars of U.S. low- and middle-brow culture.”

Aware of their rising status, jocks established flat rate deals with labels and record distributors. A typical deal for a mid-level DJ was $50 a week, per record, to ensure a minimum amount of spins. More influential jocks commanded percentages of grosses for local concerts, lavish trips, free records by the boxful (some even opened their own record stores), plus all the time-honored swag. As Cleveland DJ Joe Finan later described the decade, “It was a blur of booze, broads and bribes.”

Clark admitted that over a period of 28 months he'd had a financial interest in 27 percent of the records he played on his "American Bandstand" TV show. Clark was ordered to sell off some of his conflicting interests, but had his name cleared -- unlike disc jockey Alan Freed, who refused to admit that payola was an illegal or immoral practice.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Fox News' Payout Actually Comes With A Hefty Tax Write-Off

Fox News’s $787.5 million payout to settle wide-ranging defamation claims by Dominion Voting Systems is still the talk of the media world, including the size of that sum.

But more evidence suggests that the eye-popping number — which Dominion and its owner still claim as a win — might not be as costly to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire as it might seem, according to Andrew Ross Sorkin at the NY Times. Fox’s stock has barely budged since the deal was announced on Tuesday.

Fox can take a tax deduction from the settlement, Lever News reports. U.S. tax law allows companies to write off at least some portion of settlement fees as part of the cost of doing business. (There are some exceptions, including for cases involving accusations of sexual harassment or abuse with nondisclosure agreements; Fox News has paid out settlements involving those in the past.)

It is unclear how much Fox will save, though a spokesman confirmed that tax deductibility is at play. Lever News estimated that the company could reap as much as $213 million in tax savings.

That’s likely to further infuriate Fox critics, who already thought that Murdoch and his company got off better than expected. DealBook questioned yesterday whether much will change at Fox News post-settlement, given that the network won’t have to make an on-air apology or suffer potentially embarrassing public testimony by Murdoch or stars like Tucker Carlson.

Newly Found Secret Recordings Played Part In Fox Settlement

The prospect of a fired Fox News producer’s secret recordings being played during trial helped push the conservative network to its $787.5 million settlement of a defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems Inc. over the broadcasting of false 2020 election-fraud claims, reports Bloomberg citing people familiar with the matter.

Abby Grossberg, then a producer for Tucker Carlson’s show, filed a sex and religious discrimination suit last month in which she also alleged that she’d been coerced into giving false testimony during depositions by Dominion’s lawyers. She subsequently provided recordings she’d made on a phone to the voting-machine maker, brief excerpts of which were played during a pre-trial hearing last week.

The unexpected development caused a major headache for Fox’s lawyers, said the people, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The defense feared Grossberg’s testimony — and her recordings — would be used by Dominion’s lawyers against Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and other witnesses expected to be called to the stand during trial.