Saturday, May 6, 2023

May 7 Radio History

➦In 1941..."Chattanooga Choo Choo" was recorded by the Glenn Miller Band. The song by Mack Gordon and composed by Harry Warren was featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade. It was the first song to receive a gold record, presented by RCA Victor in 1942, for sales of 1.2 million copies.

➦In 1945...On radio Americans learned that the war in Europe was over...

NY Times 5/7/45

There were two sources of news during the World War II era - newspapers and radio.  Radio was faster, just as the internet and social media are (generally) faster with the news today.

NY Times 5/8/45

On May 7, an Associated Press reporter broke an embargo and sent first word of the German surrender to his wire service, ostensibly to be passed on to newspapers (the news was supposed to be embargoed to allow the leaders of the three Allied nations - the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union - to jointly announce the surrender on May 8.  But radio stations and networks also subscribed to the AP wire, and as soon as the news was reported, it was on the radio - hours before it could be printed in a paper.  Thus began a long period, though short by today's cable news endless coverage standards, of reporting about the end of the first half of the war.

Fox News Warns Dominion About Leaked Tucker Carlson Texts

Fox News all but pointed a finger Friday at Dominion Voting Systems as the source of a now-infamous Tucker Carlson text message suggesting that a mob attack is “not how white men fight,” calling for the Denver company to investigate the leak and warning that they’re in danger of breaching their $787.5 million settlement agreement they forged just last month.

The Wrap reports those warnings came in a letter from Fox lawyers to counsel for Dominion, dated Friday and demanding an answer by Monday regarding stories published this week in the New York Times and Daily Beast. Dominion, which has already cashed the check from its settlement victory, declined to comment Friday.

Fox lawyers reminded Dominion’s that discovery materials are protected by the settlement’s terms.

Disclosing anything now “would not only be a violation of the Order but also a breach of the parties’ Release and Settlement Agreement, which requires return or destruction of all of Fox’s Confidential or Attorneys’ Eyes Only Discovery Material within 30 days of dismissal of the case.”

Finally, Fox asked Dominion to look into its possible role in the leaks and, yeah. They’re gonna need you to work over the weekend.

➤FOX SENDS C&D To Media Matters

Also Friday, Attorneys representing Fox News threatened legal action against the liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America for airing leaked behind-the-scenes clips showing the network’s now-former host Tucker Carlson.

The letter from Fox attorneys is in response to a series of stories published in recent days by MMFA, the liberal pressure group founded by Democratic Party operative David Brock, under the headline “Foxleaks.”

The footage shows Carlson, the highly rated primetime cable host who was dismissed by Fox News on April 24, during commercial breaks making comments denigrating the network.

MMFA’s most recent installment of “Foxleaks” shows Carlson having makeup applied by a Fox News staffer, who is asked by the host if “pillow fights ever break out” in the women’s bathroom.

“That unaired footage is Fox’s confidential intellectual property,” attorneys for Fox News’ parent company, Fox Corp., wrote in their letter to Angelo Carusone, the head of MMFA.

“Fox did not consent to its distribution or publication … [and] does not consent to its further distribution or publication,” the attorneys wrote.

“Fox demands that Media Matters cease and desist from distribution, publication, and misuse of Fox’s misappropriated proprietary footage, which you are now on notice was unlawfully obtained,” the attorneys wrote to Carusone.

When reached by The NY Post, MMFA responded in a statement that “reporting on newsworthy leaked material is a cornerstone of journalism.

Fox News’ lawyers have also asked the Delaware judge who presided over Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against the network to reject a request by media organizations to unseal records from the case, which has been settled.

Biden Defends Son During MSNBC Interview

Joe Biden on Friday defended his scandal-hit son Hunter amid investigations for alleged tax violations and lying on a gun permit, insisting: 'My son has done nothing wrong.' 

The president spoke to MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle in his first one-on-one with a television reporter since February, when he spoke to PBS Newshour. 

It is also the first since announcing his 2024 campaign. Biden was asked about his 53-year-old son, whose business and tax dealings are being investigated by prosecutors. 

Asked how the investigation impacts his presidency, Biden replied: 'First of all my son has done nothing wrong. 'I trust him, I have faith in him,' he said. 'And it impacts my presidency by making me feel proud of him.'

Confused Biden Mistakenly Announces 'Major Press Conference'

President Joe Biden mistakenly told members of the White House press corps that he would be holding a press conference later on Friday, confusing it with an interview he is set to have with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle.

“I’m doing a major press conference this afternoon, so I love you all but I’d like to ask you to leave so we can get down to business,” said Biden after speaking to reporters about April’s jobs report and forthcoming debt limit negotiations with Republicans.

Reporters continued to harangue Biden after he asked them to leave the room and Biden doubled down, responding to their myriad questions by declaring, “We’ll get a chance to talk about all of those things, I promise you.”

CNN’s John King observed that a presidential press conference came as “news to us” as well as the rest of the American press before promising to “get you more information on that as we get it.”

Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher cleared up the president’s comments by confirming with the White House that Biden “misspoke and was referring to his MSNBC interview.”

WBD CEO: Trump "Has To Be On Our Network"


David Zaslav, the CEO of CNN’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, defended the ratings-challenged cable network’s decision to broadcast a town hall with former President Donald Trump next week.

“He’s the frontrunner, he has to be on our network,” Zaslav said Friday during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Zaslav, who has been instrumental in forcing CNN to ditch the left-leaning commentary that kept Trump from appearing on the network for years, said it was important to give the 2024 Republican candidate for president a forum.

“We are a divided government. We need to hear both voices. That’s what you see. Republicans are on the air on CNN, Democrats are on the air. All voices should be heard,” Zaslav added.

The town hall, to be held Tuesday at 8 p.m. at  St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, will be moderated by CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins.

Zaslav did not address whether the network would have any system in place to censor or cut off Trump, who has cast doubt on his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden and been blamed for inciting the Jan. 6 riots.

A CNN spokesperson told The Post: “Our job despite his unique circumstances is to do what we do best: Ask tough questions, follow up, and hold him accountable to give voters the information they need to sort through their choices.”

Last week, ABC News admitted to editing out statements anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. made about the COVID-19 vaccine during an exclusive interview conducted with the longshot Democratic presidential candidate.

WBD Expects To See Streaming Profit In 2023

Warner Bros. Discovery’s direct-to-consumer streaming platforms will be profitable in 2023, a year earlier than projected, reports The Wall Street Journal.

“We’ve turned the corner on our streaming business,” Chief Executive David Zaslav said on a call with analysts to discuss the media giant’s latest quarterly results, adding that the unit “is no longer a bleeder.”

For the quarter ended March 30, Warner Bros’ direct-to-consumer unit—which includes HBO Max and Discovery+—added 1.6 million subscribers during the first three months of the year and adjusted earnings came to $50 million, compared with a loss of $654 million a year ago.

The segment ended the quarter with 97.6 million subscribers worldwide.

On May 23, the company will launch its new “Max” streaming service, which combines content from HBO and other Warner Bros. library content with the unscripted fare on the Discovery+ service, which will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity for the foreseeable future.

Despite the success of its streaming business, Warner Bros. Discovery revenue fell in the quarter, and it posted a steep loss amid continued softness in the advertising market and a weak slate of films from its movie studio.

Shaq, 50 Cent May Bid for The BET Media Group

Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal, rapper 50 Cent and TV producer Kenya Barris have joined the list of possible bidders for Paramount Global’s BET Media Group, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The three are partnering with New York-based Group Black, CVC Capital Partners and Authentic Brands Group to explore an offer for a majority stake in the business, the newspaper reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Group Black works with advertising agencies to direct spending to Black-owned media. A spokesperson for Paramount declined to comment. Group Black didn’t immediately respond to a request.

BET Media includes Paramount’s Black Entertainment Television cable channel, the BET+ streaming service and VH1, a cable channel that runs a number of programs popular with Black audiences.

Bloomberg reports that while the traditional TV business is struggling, BET is a brand that resonates with viewers, and it works with some of the nation’s top Black entertainers.

Other interested parties include actor and producer Tyler Perry, who is an investor in the BET streaming service, and TV station owner Byron Allen. Allen told Bloomberg TV this week he thought the purchase would be a great opportunity.

Byron Allen
“This is a phenomenal asset, they’re running a process, we’re part of it,” Allen said. “This is something that used to be Black-owned, and now this is the time for it to go back into Black ownership, which is very important.”

While profitable, the BET channel’s sales have declined over the past four years and profits have been flat, according to estimates from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The network faces the same challenges as all traditional TV companies, with audiences flocking to streaming services and canceling their cable and satellite TV subscriptions.

On Thursday, Paramount reported results that disappointed investors, including a dividend cut, and the stock cratered. The New York-based parent of CBS and other channels has been looking to sell assets to reduce debt and invest in its streaming TV business. The company is considering the sale of a majority stake in BET, which its predecessor Viacom acquired from founder Robert Johnson for about $3 billion.

DeSantis Signs Bill Which Enables Voiding Disney Deals

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a bill into law that gives a new board he controls the power to void development agreements its predecessor body signed with Disney - the latest episode in a feud between the conservative governor and the entertainment giant.

Ron DeSantis
Under the bill, which passed the Republican-controlled legislature largely along party lines, the Central Tourism Oversight District Board - whose members are appointed by DeSantis - can cancel any deals signed up to three months before the board's creation.

"Make no mistake about it, the reason why the legislature had to act was not because of anything we did," DeSantis said at a news conference Friday. "It was basically born out of Disney’s arrogance that they would be able to subcontract around the duly enacted laws of the state of Florida. That's wrong."

Walt Disney Co declined to comment.

The legislature formed the board in February to replace the Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District to oversee development in the 25,000 acres surrounding Walt Disney World, effectively wresting control from the company and handing it to DeSantis.

Tucker Carlson Makes First In-Person Speech After Departing Fox

Tucker Carlson 5/4/23
In his first in-person speech after departing Fox News, Tucker Carlson did not hold back when speaking about what he sees are issues undermining America—lack of truth in the media landscape and a “manufactured” national division.

“I think I’m probably the first unemployed person who was ever invited to speak,” he opened his speech after a 15-second standing ovation by a full house at the 1,215-seat Oxford Performing Arts Centre on Thursday.

“When I accepted this speech … I didn’t realize how much free time I would have,” he joked.

Fox announced on April 24 that the two “have agreed to part ways” without explanation, drawing widespread speculation about the circumstances of the departure and what’s in store next for the former anchor. The network’s ratings have dropped significantly since.

The Epoch Times reports the former news host of Fox News’s top-rated “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show said that he agreed six months ago to attend Thursday’s private fundraiser event, which was organized by Rainbow Omega, a faith-based nonprofit that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

During his hour-long speech, Tucker didn’t directly address the situation with Fox News but spoke about America’s political and social issues that he believes can lead to the “end of democracy” and the “enslavement” of the American people.

Amazon is Working on Making Alexa Smarter

Amazon’s Alexa is more than a basic speaker assistant and in upcoming months will become an even more powerful tool for customers. During Amazon’s first-quarter earnings call last April, the company announced it will be working towards making the popular Alexa smarter by developing a more enhanced large language model (LLM). 

Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky says, “We’re continuing to invest in infrastructure to support AWS customer needs, including investments to support Large Language Models and generative AI.”

These deep-learning algorithms have been used in Alexa before. “We’ve had a large language model underneath it, but we’re building one that’s much larger and much more generalized and capable…. I think there’s a significant business model underneath it,” said CEO Andy Jassy.

This time, around Amazon is building a more capable variant to create what it hopes will be better suited and customizable for customers. LLMs are capable of using deep learning algorithms to efficiently identify, summarize, and create content from enormous amounts of text data into a usable format. Its use is rapidly developing a whole new type of tech market with seemingly endless potential uses.

The company recently released a limited preview of its new Amazon Bedrock, which is designed to “build generative AI-powered apps via pre-trained models from startups”. 

As AI establishes a firm footing in the tech world, other companies are also integrating it into their personal assistants. Apple has been reported to be using LLMs to improve Siri, and it’s almost certain Google will follow suit for Assistant, as well as advanced search options.

Beasleys Inducted Into Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame

Beasley Media Group late Company Founder George Beasley and his daughter, Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beasley, were among the inductees honored at the 2023 Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame Gala. The event took place on Wednesday, May 3rd at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.

The duo was simultaneously inducted into the 31st class of the B + C Hall of Fame in recognition of their significant contributions to the broadcasting industry.

“It is very humbling to be a part of such an outstanding class of inductees,” said Beasley Media Group Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beasley. The only thing better would have been to have my late father, George, by my side, to accept this incredible honor together in person.”

Other inductees included Deborah Roberts, ABC News national senior affairs correspondent, and contributing anchor of 20/20, and her husband Al Roker, weather and feature anchor and co-host of the third hour of NBC’s Today Show, Matt Bond, chairman, content distribution, NBCUniversal; Ray Cole, president and chief operating officer, Citadel Communications; Frank Comerford, CRO and President, local sales, NBCUniversal Advertising & Partnerships; Ray Hopkins, president, U.S. Networks Distribution, Paramount Global; Wonya Lucas, CEO, Hallmark Media; Soledad O’Brien, CEO of SO’B Productions and host/producer of Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien; and Rachel Ray, TV food personality and host of the syndicated Rachel Ray.

In addition, Jim Nantz of CBS Sports received the Lifetime Achievement Award and AMC’s The Walking Dead was named the Iconic Series for 2023.

Late past President of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, Jim Thompson, was posthumously honored with the Chairman’s Award for his career achievements and tireless dedication to helping broadcasters in need.

The co-hosts for the evening were Craig Melvin of NBC News and Tracy Wolfson of CBS Sports.

May 6 Radio History

➦In 1911...Frank Brandon Nelson born (Died from cancer at age 75 – September 12, 1986). He was a comedic actor best known for playing put-upon foils on radio and television, and especially for his "EEE-Yeeeeeeeeesssss?" catchphrase.

He made numerous guest appearances on television shows, including The Addams Family, The Jack Benny Program, I Love Lucy, The Real McCoys, and Sanford and Son. He also provided voices for animated series such as The Flintstones, Mister Magoo, The Jetsons, Dinky Dog, and The Snorks.

Frank Nelson
Nelson began his entertainment career in radio, and later moved into television and movies. In 1926, at age 15, Nelson played the role of a 30-year-old man in a radio series broadcast from the then-5,000-watt KOA-AM Dener.  In 1929, Nelson moved to Hollywood, California and worked in local radio dramatic shows, usually playing the leading man. The first sponsored radio show he appeared in to reach a national market was Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, a situation comedy radio show that aired from November 28, 1932, to May 22, 1933, starring two of the Marx Brothers, Groucho and Chico, and written primarily by Nat Perrin and Arthur Sheekman.

Nelson first found fame as the put-upon foil to Jack Benny on Benny's radio show during the 1940s and 1950s. Nelson typically portrayed a sales clerk or customer service worker.

Nelson performed on a number of Hollywood-based radio shows during this time, including Fibber McGee and Molly, and did radio work well into the late 1950s, on the few shows that remained on the air, including dramatic roles on such programs as Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.

Nelson continued to appear on Benny's television show in 1950, doing the same "rude clerk" shtick. His other catchphrase, that would be worked into every routine, would have Benny asking something mundane, such as, "Do these shirts come in a medium?", and Frank would bellow, "Oo-oo-oo-ooh, DO they!" He also appeared on several other radio programs. Nelson's sudden appearances usually led to spontaneous laughter or applause on the part of the audience.

Orson Welles

➦In 1915...George Orson Welles born  (Died – October 10, 1985). He was an actor, director, writer and producer who worked in theatre, radio and film.

In 1934, Welles got his first job on radio—on The American School of the Air

In 1937, Welles co-founded their own repertory company, the Mercury Theatre. The name was inspired by the title of the iconoclastic magazine, The American Mercury. Welles was executive producer, and the original company included such actors as Joseph Cotten, George Coulouris, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Arlene Francis, Martin Gabel, John Hoyt, Norman Lloyd, Vincent Price, Stefan Schnabel and Hiram Sherman.

Simultaneously with his work in the theatre, Welles worked extensively in radio as an actor, writer, director and producer, often without credit. Between 1935 and 1937 he was earning as much as $2,000 a week, shuttling between radio studios at such a pace that he would arrive barely in time for a quick scan of his lines before he was on the air.

In addition to continuing as a repertory player on The March of Time, in the fall of 1936 Welles adapted and performed Hamlet in an early two-part episode of CBS Radio's Columbia Workshop. His performance as the announcer in the series' April 1937 presentation of Archibald MacLeish's verse drama The Fall of the City was an important development in his radio career and made the 21-year-old Welles an overnight star.

In July 1937, the Mutual Network gave Welles a seven-week series to adapt Les Misérables. It was his first job as a writer-director for radio, the radio debut of the Mercury Theatre, and one of Welles's earliest achievements. He invented the use of narration in radio.

That September, Mutual chose Welles to play Lamont Cranston, also known as The Shadow. He performed the role anonymously through mid-September 1938.

After the theatrical successes of the Mercury Theatre, CBS Radio invited Orson Welles to create a summer show for 13 weeks. The series began July 11, 1938, initially titled First Person Singular, with the formula that Welles would play the lead in each show. Some months later the show was called The Mercury Theatre on the Air.  The weekly hour-long show presented radio plays based on classic literary works, with original music composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann.

The Mercury Theatre's radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells October 30, 1938, brought Welles instant fame. The combination of the news bulletin form of the performance with the between-breaks dial spinning habits of listeners was later reported to have created widespread confusion among listeners who failed to hear the introduction, although the extent of this confusion has come into question.  Panic was reportedly spread among listeners who believed the fictional news reports of a Martian invasion. The myth of the result created by the combination was reported as fact around the world and disparagingly mentioned by Adolf Hitler in a public speech.

➦In 1922...KSL is Utah's oldest radio station, signed-on. The station KSL/KZN began as 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 was 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.

KSL first broadcast

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. It spent time at several frequencies over the years before settling at 1160 kHz in 1941.

The station's owners made their initial foray into FM broadcasting in 1947 when they started the original KSL-FM on the then sparsely-populated FM band at 100.3. After simulcasting KSL for a number of years, the FM station switched to a beautiful music format, a contrast to the then-current KSL format of news and talk interspersed with middle of the road music. The FM station was sold to a private owner in the mid-1970s due to FCC regulations on multiple station ownership, since greatly relaxed. The station, now the adult contemporary KSFI, was reunited with KSL when Bonneville repurchased the station in 2003 in a deal that included classic rock station KRSP-FM (103.5) and then-hot AC KQMB-FM (102.7). In the mid-1980s KSL adopted an all-talk format, completely dropping music programming, aside from its Sunday broadcasts of the Tabernacle Choir.

On September 3, 2005, KQMB was converted to a simulcast of KSL, with the call sign changed to KSL-FM. Since then, the stations have branded as "KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM & 1160 AM," though the AM signal is the main station. FM 102.7's former branding, radio station, call sign, and hot adult contemporary format were later picked up an unrelated station, and an unrelated company licensed to Levan on a lower powered version of the station on 96.7 FM.

➦In 1935...KTM-AM in Los Angeles changed call letters to KEHE (now KABC)

➦In 1937...WLS-AM Chicago reporter Herb Morrison described fiery disaster of zeppelin Hindenburg ("Oh, the humanity!") at Lakehurst, NJ.  Here's a corrected synch of Herb Morrison's recording of the event matched with footage from the Pathe newsreel and the Universal newsreel. Where film isn't available, pictures are substituted.

Some of radio's greatest moments are when the actual event occurs live on the air or while a reporter is recording and the unexpected happens. One such event happened to reporter Herb Morrison on May 6th, 1937 in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The mighty German passenger Zeppelin, Hindenburg, was attempting a mooring. The Hindenburg was one of Nazi Germany's finest airships. It was supposed to reflect the greatness of the German Reich and its leader, Adolf Hitler.

The airship had made this voyage before and friends and family were at Lakehurst waiting for the arrival of the great zeppelin. Reporter Herbert Morrison was there too. The day was rainy and there had been strong thunderstorms earlier. Morrison was recording the event for later rebroadcast. The early part of his recording reflects information about the airship and the day and what is necessary to bring it into mooring under such conditions.

Engineer Charles Nehlsen was manning the Presto Direct Disc recorder. The recorder includes a large turntable with a 16-inch platter, a heavy-duty lathe, which would actually cut into the lacquer disc, and an amplifier. It was important that these recorders be perfectly level and that vibration be avoided. Ultimately, the complete broadcast would be recorded on four 16" Green label lacquer discs.

As the zeppelin arrives, listen as Morrison is describing the mooring when suddenly it bursts into flames. Morrison is shocked, but keeps talking though breaking occasionally overcome by the tragedy unfolding in front of him. Later the broadcast continues after the tragedy as the victims are being brought in and survivors are interviewed.

An interesting side note is at the moment of explosion, when Morrison is heard yelling "It burst into flames!" the vibrations from the explosion caused the recorder to bounce on the disc creating deep grooves until Engineer Nehlson was able to momentarily lift the lathe from the disc and place it back down. The discs, which are contained at the National Archives reflect the grooves and the force of the explosion.

It was radio news at its finest; news events reported as they happened. The description is brought home to radio's listeners and we in turn grieve for the dead and injured. This event reflected the potential and power of radio broadcasting immediately before and, later, during World War II as the Murrow Boys and others would bring the war home to America via the airwaves.

While the event was not aired live, it did air later. In those days radio reporting of events was always broadcast live only since the networks had policies forbidding the use of recorded material except for sound effects. But Herbert Morrison, the reporter, was not there to report disaster and had no facility for broadcasting live. Instead, he was there at the behest of his radio station, WLS, Chicago, to record a report on the grand airship.

Later that day, Morrison and his sound engineer, Charlie Nehlsen left New Jersey with the transcription discs and headed back to Chicago. The morning after the disaster is when parts of the recording first aired over WLS. Logs of when it first appeared over NBC are not known to exist. It is known that at least five minutes of the recording did broadcast on May 7th at 11:38 AM in the New York area and over the Red Network. It was later in the day that the longer sections were played to a national audience. This was one of the few times that the networks allowed a recording of an event to be broadcast. (Radio Days)

➦In 1944...Fishers Blend radio stations KJR & KOMO in Seattle swapped frequencies.  KOMO was moved to 1000 kc where its power could be increased, while KJR, now at 950, was sold within two years.  With the new frequency, KOMO was broadcasting at 50,000 watts, sending its signal over several states.

➦In the final hours of WWII, the German radio announcer known as “Axis Sally” made her final propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

➦In 2015…Veteran radio newsman/talk show host 63-year-old Ty Wansley died of congestive heart failure.

Ty Wansley
Wansley began in broadcasting as a newscaster in the 1970's at two of St. Louis' powerhouse radio stations, KWK and KATZ. Following several prominent years in his native St. Louis, Wansley was wooed by Sheridan Broadcasting to become the National News Director of the Sheridan Network.

Following his successful stint at the helm of the Sheridan Network, Wansley returned to St. Louis to become National News Director of Amaturo Broadcasting; overseeing the news departments of radio stations in St. Louis,Miami, Houston, and Detroit. In 1979, Wansley moved up the broadcasting ladder as he traveled to Chicago, where he headed the news department of WBMX and WJPC radio.

Wansley most recently was news and information director for three iHeartMedia stations — urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5, urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7 and gospel WGRB AM 1390. He anchored morning news on V103 and WGRB and hosted two weekend public affairs shows, “Chicago Insight” on WGCI and WGRB, and “Chicago Speaks” on V103.

Roma Downey is 63

  • Singer Bob Seger is 78. 
  • Singer Jimmie Dale Gilmore is 78. 
  • Singer and comedian Lulu Roman (“Hee Haw”) is 77. 
  • Actor Alan Dale (“Lost,” ″Ugly Betty”) is 76. 
  • Actor Richard Cox (“Alpha House,” ″American Tragedy”) is 75. 
  • Host Tom Bergeron (“Dancing with the Stars,” new “Hollywood Squares”) is 68. 
  • Actor Roma Downey (“Touched by an Angel”) is 63. 
  • Singer John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants is 63. 
  • Actor Julianne Phillips is 63. 
  • Actor George Clooney is 62. 
  • Child actor turned rodeo star Clay O’Brien (“The Apple Dumpling Gang”) is 62. 
  • Singer-bassist Tony Scalzo of Fastball is 59. 
  • Actor Leslie Hope (“24”) is 58. 
  • Actor Geneva Carr (“Bull”) is 57. 
  • Guitarist Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish is 56. 
  • Guitarist Chris Shiflett of Foo Fighters is 52. 
  • Actor Stacey Oristano (“Bunheads,” ″Friday Night Lights”) is 44. 
  • Actor Adrianne Palicki (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 40. 
  • Actor Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) is 40. 
  • Comedian Sasheer Zamata (“Saturday Night Live”) is 37. 
  • Rapper Meek Mill is 36. 
  • Actor Naomi Scott (2019’s “Aladdin”) is 30.
  • In 2006..Lillian Asplund, last American RMS Titanic survivor (b. 1906)
  • In 2012..George Lindsey, American actor (Andy Griffith Show -"Goober"), dies at 83
  • In 2020..Brian Howe, British rock singer (Bad Company, 1986-93 - "This Love"; "Holy Water"), dies of a heart attack at 66
  • In 2021..Pervis Staples, American gospel vocalist (The Staple Singers -"Uncloudy Day"), dies at 85

Friday, May 5, 2023

Warner Bros Revenue Falls

Warner Bros. Discovery’s revenue fell in the first quarter and the media company posted a steep loss amid continued softness in the advertising market.

The Wall Street Journal reports the company, formed last year as a result of Discovery’s merger with AT&T’s WarnerMedia, posted revenue of $10.70 billion, below analysts’ expectations of $10.75 billion. Adjusted to reflect year-ago results that account for the merger, revenue fell 6% from a year ago.

In the company’s cable-networks business, revenue fell 12% to $5.58 billion, dragged down by a 15% drop in ad sales. The company said the U.S. audience for entertainment networks and news channels continued to shrink and advertising markets were soft.

David Zaslav
The company owns many ad-supported cable networks including CNN, TNT, TBS, Discovery and TLC. It also has an ad-supported version of its direct-to-consumer streaming services HBO Max and Discovery+.

Chief Executive David Zaslav said the company’s unit that houses its streaming platforms, the direct-to-consumer segment, will be profitable this year, a year earlier than the company had previously forecast. Media companies have broadly been refocusing their streaming businesses on reaching profitability amid mounting losses throughout the sector.

Warner Bros’ direct-to-consumer unit added 1.6 million subscribers during the first three months of the year and posted its first adjusted quarterly profit. The direct-to-consumer segment, which includes HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+, ended the quarter with 97.6 million subscribers.

Revenue from the direct-to-consumer business fell 2% while adjusted earnings, stripping out interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, came to $50 million, compared with a loss of $654 million a year ago.

Chicago Radio: Rosen, Porth Promoted at WSCR

Mitch Rosen and Ryan Porth

Audacy announced leadership promotions for 670 The Score (WSCR-AM) in Chicago. Mitch Rosen has been elevated to the station's vice president and brand manager. Rosen will continue in his role as vice president of BetQL Network.

“Mitch Rosen is The Score and has led his team for nearly two decades of unprecedented success,” said Greg Solk, vice president of programming and operations, Audacy Chicago. “He has a keen eye for talent and has the deepest relationships in Chicago sports media. We are all excited about the future of The Score with Mitch leading the way.”

“The Score has meant so much to me and my family since the day I walked in February of 2005,” said Rosen. “It’s about the people that work so hard every day producing content for our audience and amazing partners. I’m thrilled to continue expanding the role with the Audacy team and grow The Score brand into the future!"

Concurrently, assistant brand manager Ryan Porth has been promoted to program manager, reporting to Rosen. In this role, Porth will assume day-to-day responsibilities of the station’s programming.

“Ryan Porth came into The Score "Cubhouse” in January of 2022 and has fit in like a veteran,” said Rosen. “We are excited about his next step in helping to guide the future of Chicago's sports powerhouse.”

“The Score is a legendary brand in the most passionate sports city in the world,” said Porth. “I'm thrilled to get the opportunity to take the next step with Audacy Chicago and help a talented group we have assembled at The Score continue to grow in a constantly-evolving media landscape.”

Porth joined 670 The Score in January 2022 as assistant brand manager, supporting day-to-day operations. Before joining Audacy, Porth was program director of 102.5 The Game in Nashville from 2016 to 2021 after starting his radio career with the station in 2012. At 102.5 The Game, he was also the executive producer of the Nashville Predators Radio Network.

đź“»Listeners can tune in to 670 The Score (WSCR-AM) in Chicago on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Busch League: It's Not About Diversity, It's About Dollars

The top executive of Bud Light’s parent company Anheuser-Busch has disavowed the embattled company’s ties to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney as sales of the beer crater.

“We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” Michel Doukeris told investors during an earnings call.

The NY Post reports Doukeris went on to decry the “misinformation” spread on social media after Mulvaney last month posted a photo with a Bud Light while in a bathtub on TikTok to her more than 10 million followers.

The company faced immediate blowback from many conservative regions of the country. Calls for a Bud Light boycott have threatened its leading position as the country’s most popular brand.

During the week ended April 22 — the most recent industry data available — Bud Light sales plunged 21% vs. a year ago, accelerating from a 17% slide a week earlier and an initial weekly drop of 6% when the controversy kicked off during the first week of April, according to Nielsen IQ and Bump Williams Consulting.

Doukeris said the company was “providing direct financial support” to delivery drivers, wholesalers, and bar owners who were impacted by the backlash.

He then echoed the flat apology offered up by Bud Light CEO Brendan Whitworth on April 14.

“We will continue to learn, meet the moment in time, all be stronger and we work tirelessly to do what we do best: Bring people together over a beer and creating a future of more cheers,” Doukeris told Fox Business.

Ian Harvie

Meanwhile, trans comedian Ian Harvie, a 54-year-old actor who transitioned from a woman in his 20s, was cast in the Super Bowl ad that aired seven years ago and starred Seth Rogan and Amy Schumer touting an all-inclusive “Bud Light Party.”

This week Harvie said he wasn’t surprised the beer giant is backing away from its tie-up with Mulvaney, who has more than 10 million followers on TikTok.  “It’s not about diversity, it’s about dollars,” Harvie said in an interview with Ad Age published Wednesday. “They looked at [Mulvaney’s] socials and just said, ‘You know what? Here’s a topic that’s hot right now. Why don’t we pay this person to do a promotion?'”

Liberty Media Acknowledges SiriusXM Is Navigating Difficulties

Liberty Media Corporation today reported first quarter 2023 results. Headlines include: Targeting completion of planned split-off of Atlanta Braves Holdings, Inc. and reclassification of tracking stocks to create Liberty Live Group tracking stock by end of second quarter 2023.

Attributed to Liberty SiriusXM Group
  • SiriusXM reported first quarter 2023 operating and financial resultsFirst quarter 2023 revenue of $2.14 billion; down 2% year-over-year
  • Net income of $233 million, down from $309 million in 2022; diluted EPS of $0.06
  • Adjusted EBITDA(2) of $625 million and free cash flow(2) of $144 million
  • SiriusXM increased full-year adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow guidance on April 27th
  • Liberty Media’s ownership of SiriusXM was 82.9% as of April 25th
  • Issued $575 million of 3.75% LSXMA convertible senior notes and used proceeds, along with cash on hand, to repurchase $591 million aggregate principal of 1.375% cash convertible notes and $112 million aggregate adjusted principal of 2.125% exchangeable senior debentures

Attributed to Formula One Group
  • Announced multiple updates to sponsorship agreements, including extending MSC Cruises as Global Partner, welcoming Puma as Official Provider of F1’s sporting apparel and naming Paramount+ and Liqui Moly as Official Partners
  • Extended agreement with ESPN to broadcast F1 in Latin America and Caribbean through 2025
  • Las Vegas Grand Prix Paddock Building construction at 60% completion with expected occupancy by end of September
  • Formula 1 leverage at quarter-end of 2.2x will trigger permanent reduction in existing Term Loan B margin from 3.25% to 3.00%
  • Formula One Group paid $202 million in exchange for the cancellation of 3.1 million notional FWONA shares underlying intergroup interest held at Liberty SiriusXM Group corresponding to the portion of 1.375% cash convertible notes repurchased

Attributed to Braves Group
  • Braves home opener on April 6th drew 42,000 fans, largest home opener crowd in Truist Park history
Greg Maffei
“We are progressing well on the split-off of the Atlanta Braves and the creation of the Liberty Live Group tracking stock,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Media President and CEO. 

“SiriusXM navigated a difficult auto and ad market backdrop in the first quarter, but we are confident in their improving trajectory for the remainder of the year evidenced by management increasing 2023 adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow guidance. 

The Formula 1 season is underway and fans are tuning in across platforms. Arrangements for the Las Vegas Grand Prix are ramping up, with the Paddock Building construction and track preparations progressing on-time and in-line with our capex expectations. The Atlanta Braves are seeing strong trends in ticket sales and concessions early in the season.”

5/5 WAKE-UP CALL: Gunman's Rampage Ends With 4 Dead In GA

Four people are dead in a small south Georgia town after a 26-year-old gunman killed two relatives, a fastfood employee and then himself on Thursday morning, according to the local coroner. The man, who the Georgia Bureau of Investigation identified as Kentavious White, shot his 50-year-old mother and 74-year-old grandmother before going to a local McDonald's halfway across town and killing a female assistant manager in Moultrie, GA. The McDonald's employee killed was identified as 41-year-old Amia Smith, GBI said in a release later Thursday. GBI said police in Moultrie requested assistance at about 5:50 a.m. after a man and woman were found dead at the McDonald's. Police then reported they were responding after finding two women who had been shot in homes next door to each other, who witnesses identified as White's relatives. One of the women was alive but died later at the hospital, and the other was dead on the scene, GBI said.

🛢OIL PRICES UNDER PRESSURE: Oil prices are under pressure in part because traders don’t think Russia has followed through on cutting production in response to Western sanctions. Moscow keeps pumping and exporting huge volumes of oil to help its beleaguered economy, they say, adding to a global surplus and undermining Saudi Arabia’s effort to bolster the market. West Texas Intermediate futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, are approaching their lowest levels since the run-up to the Ukraine war. Separately, regional-bank shares dropped, despite FDIC assurances that all is well. Investors are wondering how much further the banking turmoil could spread and whether it will spill over to the broader economy.

➤RUSSIAN DRONES ATTACK KYIV: Russian drones attacked the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Thursday evening, the fourth assault in as many days subjecting residents to spasms of gunfire and explosions, and at least one drone was shot down. City authorities had declared an alert for Kyiv and the surrounding area. Residents who had gone to air raid shelters said the drones arrived more quickly than usual after the alerts were declared. Reuters witnesses heard gunfire and repeated heavier explosions near the city center. The attacks started just after 8 p.m. and lasted around 20 minutes. Ukraine's air force said in a statement that it had destroyed one of its own drones after the drone lost control over Kyiv region, probably because of a technical failure. It wasn't clear how many drones in total were destroyed. Russia said on Thursday that the United States was behind a purported drone attack on the Kremlin aiming to kill President Vladimir Putin. Washington and Kyiv denied involvement.

Surging iPhone Sales Ripen Apple Earnings

Apple reported its second straight quarter of declining revenue but said iPhone sales surged due to strong demand in emerging markets, a sign of resilience as the tech giant continues to face economic uncertainty.

The Wall Street Journal reports this is the third time in a decade that the iPhone maker has posted back-to-back quarters of falling revenue. The tech giant’s revenue for the three months ended April 1 was $94.8 billion, down 3% from the year-earlier period. Net income dropped 3% year-over-year to $24.2 billion. Apple exceeded analyst expectations, according to FactSet, of $92.9 billion in sales and $22.6 billion in net income for its fiscal second quarter.

Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in an interview that the company experienced a difficult environment for consumer demand as reflected in declining Mac and iPad sales, but the iPhone did particularly well in developing markets.

“The iPhone is truly a global product and we’re doing well in emerging markets right now,” Maestri said. “That has helped us offset some macroeconomic challenges.”

In particular, Apple logged strong iPhone growth in places such as India, Indonesia, Latin America and the Middle East, Mr. Maestri said. He noted Apple is doing well in places like India in part because of its recent investments in the country, with new retail stores and focus on building up the app-developer community there. Apple’s installment plans and trade-in programs are making its products more accessible in these countries.

IPhone sales grew about 1.5% to $51.3 billion, well ahead of the $48.7 billion analysts were expecting. Sales for Apple’s flagship product have surged as consumer demand continues to gravitate toward the company’s most-expensive phone, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, accounting for 24% of all iPhone sales, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The iPhone 14 Pro followed closely behind, with 22% of all sales for the quarter, the research firm found.

Charlotte Radio: Mix 107.9 Launches New Morning Ensemble

Radio One, Inc. and WLNK Mix 107.9 welcomed a new era Thursday with the debut of “The Morning Mix with Matt Harris & Friends.” The show will wake up Charlotte daily with a fun, upbeat entertaining mix of locally focused interactive content and information, along with Charlotte’s Best Music Mix.

Matt Harris, best known as half of the legendary “The Matt & Ramona Show,” radio team, has entertained Charlotte listeners for the past 22 years. With Ramona Holloway recently taking on a new position with Radio One, Matt is taking the reins of the new Mix morning show featuring Liz Drabick and JD Hanks. They’ll be joined by special guest appearances by friends of the show throughout the week.

Matt is a Charlotte radio & TV star who currently co-hosts a true crime podcast, “Impact of Influence,” which has over eight million downloads and is very active in the Charlotte community.

Liz Drabick returns to the station that gave her a start in radio over 20 years ago, as “Punky” the intern. Since then, this UNC Charlotte Alum has spent the past two decades working in radio and television in Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC.

JD Hanks and his family are happy to make Charlotte home. He is a Disney Dad to the core with a love for Pop Culture. JD was most recently the Imaging Producer for The Mix Group in Miami, Florida.

Neal Sharpe, WLNK Program Director stated, “I’m excited about the evolution of mornings for Mix 107.9, and Ramona Holloway’s transition into her new role as Community Affairs Manager for the Radio One Charlotte cluster. The Morning Mix with Matt Harris & Friends will feature fun conversation with their unique take on everyday life with Matt as the ringleader.”

The Morning Mix with Matt Harris & Friends can be heard weekdays from 6am – 10am on Mix 107.9, at, on your smart speaker, and worldwide with the Mix 107.9 app.

Memphis Radio: Karen McCrary Mitchell New iHM Market President

Karen McCrary Mitchell
iHeartMedia has appointed Karen McCrary Mitchell as Market President for Memphis.

She joins the Memphis-Tupelo teams from within the company, where she most recently served as the Division Vice President of Digital. McCrary Mitchell began her career at LM Berry Company in 2009 and is a graduate of University of Memphis. She'll report to iHeartMedia Mid-South Area Area President Ronnie Bloodworth.

"I'm excited for what Karen will bring to our team and our community," said Bloodworth.

"I am honored and thrilled to be Market President for Memphis & Tupelo. iHeartMedia is engrained in both communities and my stewardship will embrace our alliances and initiate partnerships to strengthen mutual community interests. It's a privilege to lead this talented team in sharing the iHeartMedia message," added McCrary Mitchell.

She continued, "As the largest audio media company, our dynamic offerings provide access to all. Our seven Memphis radio stations and six Tupelo stations (including Black Information Network) allow our talent to entertain and inform daily. We extend our multi-platform assets across audio, digital, local and national events to our clients and community. I look forward to conveying and extending this across both these unique, and incredible cities."

WI Radio: Jay Philpott New OM For Cumulus Appleton-Oshkosh

Cumulus Media
 announces that it has appointed Jay Philpott as Operations Manager for Cumulus Appleton-Oshkosh, WI. He will also serve as Program Director for Classic Hits station 103.9 WVBO-FM and will be heard on-air as WBVO Afternoon Host. His appointment is effective May 15, 2023.

Jay Philpott
Philpott rejoins Cumulus Media, where he was most recently Program Director and On-Air Host, Afternoons on Love 105/WGVX-FM in Minneapolis, MN, and was also heard on-air for sister station 92 KQRS-FM. Philpott was also part of the Classic Rock 24/7 format for Westwood One. Prior to that, Philpott was Afternoon Drive talent on Cumulus Atlanta’s Rock 100.5/WNNX-FM, and was Operations Manager for Cumulus Charleston, SC. He has held on-air positions for radio stations in markets including Milwaukee, WI, St. Louis, MO, Dallas, TX, Springfield, IL, Baltimore, MD, and Tacoma, WA.

John Rowe, Regional Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Appleton-Oshkosh/Green Bay, said: “Wisconsin is excited to welcome back veteran broadcaster Jay Philpott to the airwaves. Jay knows Wisconsin and will fit perfectly with our outstanding programming team in Appleton.”

Jay Philpott said: “I knew very quickly after speaking to and meeting with John Rowe that rejoining Cumulus in Appleton/Oshkosh was the right move for me. I am thrilled to work with the incredible programming team there, and to continue working with John Dimick and Brian Philips. Coming over from Minnesota for my third tour of Wisconsin radio, I’ll still be wearing purple…but only the stuff related to Prince! Here’s to continue making great radio that our listeners love!”

đź“»Cumulus Media owns and operates five popular radio stations in the Appleton/Oshkosh market, including: 103.9 WVBO/WVBO-FM (Classic Hits), 1280-AM/WNAM-AM (Nostalgia), WOSH 93.9/1490/WOSH-AM (News/Talk), 96.9 The Fox/WWWX-FM (Alternative), and 99.5 PKR/WPKR-FM (Country).