Saturday, June 3, 2023

June 4 Radio History

➦In 1917
...CBS News correspondent Charles Collingwood born (Died – October 3, 1985).  He was  an early member of Edward R. Murrow's group of foreign correspondents that was known as the "Murrow Boys". During World War II he covered Europe and North Africa for CBS News. Collingwood was also among the early ranks of television journalists that included Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid, and Murrow himself.  Retiring from CBS in 1982, he died from cancer Oct 3, 1985 at age 68.

➦In 1942…Songwriter Johnny Mercer founded Capitol Records with financial help from songwriter and film producer Buddy DeSylva and the business acumen of Glenn Wallichs, owner of Wallichs Music City. Mercer raised the idea of starting a record company while golfing with Harold Arlen and Bobby Sherwood and with Wallichs at Wallichs's record store.

It was Wallichs, Capitol's manager, who invented the art of record promotion by sending free copies of new releases to disc jockeys.

Clem McCarthy

➦In 1962...Pioneeering sportscaster Clem McCarthy died at age 79 (Born - September 9, 1882.  He also lent his voice to Pathe News's RKO newsreels. He was known for his gravelly voice and dramatic style, a "whiskey tenor" as sports announcer and executive David J. Halberstam has called it.

Boston Radio: Fred Toucher Returns To The Sports Hub

Fred Toucher returned to WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” program Friday, revealing that he had checked himself into an alcohol treatment facility after posting alarming, since-deleted comments on social media over Memorial Day weekend.

The Boston Globe reports Toucher, who had been absent from the air all week until Friday, explained what happened at the top of the show at 6 a.m. and elaborated further in the 8 a.m. hour, saying he was in a dark place but that he never had any intention of harming himself.

“As you know, I’m going through a divorce,” said Toucher, who has received treatment for alcohol dependency in the past and also has dealt with throat problems and show tumult over the past several months. “The reason I bring that up is that half the time I live alone, without my kids, all right. So then there was the whole throat thing with the possible cancer, and I was out of work for five weeks, and there was a lot of time alone.

“And towards the end of that, I started getting … feeling … really dark. Exploring dark stuff on the Internet. My mood was shifting into being very dark. I knew something was going to happen.”

Toucher said he called his father Wednesday to come stay with him. His father planned to fly in Sunday.

Fred Toucher
“Sure enough, on Saturday, I relapsed completely and all that darkness comes out,” said Toucher. “For some reason I tweet something that is in my mind at the time probably very clever and very dark humor — and ‘Ooh, what is he talking about? — that in the light of day I realized was not clever at all and was stupid and actually freaked some people out.

“So what I did was, I said, ‘All right, here’s what I can do. I can stay home, and the likely scenario for this will be that I will read this again, I will become embarrassed, and I will drink, and that will just make things a thousand times worse.’ And it will just feed on itself until something really bad happens.”

So Toucher checked himself into a detoxification facility.  He said that when a patient checks into detox, the stay must last 72 hours. Because he checked in over the holiday weekend, he said, his first two days there did not count.

“Was it fun? It was the worst five days of my entire life,’’ he said. “I got out [Thursday] morning. Toucher said he appreciated how many listeners reached out and expressed concern.

R.I.P: Cynthia Weil, Iconic Pop Lyricist

Cynthia Weil, who with her writing partner and husband, Barry Mann, formed one of the most potent songwriting teams of the 1960s and beyond, churning out enduring hits like the Drifters’ “On Broadway” and the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’,” signature tunes of the baby boomer era, died on Thursday at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 82, reports The NYTimes.

Her death was confirmed on Friday by her daughter Jenn Mann, who did not specify a cause.

“​​We lost the beautiful, brilliant lyricist Cynthia Weil Mann,” the chart-topping singer and songwriter Carole King wrote in a statement posted on social media.

Recounting the friendship and rivalry that she and her former husband and songwriting partner, Gerry Goffin, shared with Weil and Mr. Mann (a friendship memorialized in Broadway’s “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” from 2014), King added, “The four of us were close, caring friends despite our fierce competition to write the next hit for an artist with a No. 1 song.”

Weil and Mr. Mann, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, notched their first hit — “Bless You,” recorded in 1961 by Tony Orlando.

The pop and rock explosion of the 1960s was just beginning, thanks in no small part to key contributions from songwriters like themselves, Burt Bacharach, Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond and King, who were part of the star-studded songwriting community centered on the Brill Building, the storied hit factory on Broadway and 49th Street in Manhattan.

Weil and her husband toiled two blocks away, in fact, at 1650 Broadway. It was a humble setting in which to create musical masterpieces.

Those good things included two soaring, almost sepulchral No. 1 singles for the Righteous Brothers: “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’,” from 1964, which in 1999 the music licensing agency BMI ranked as the most played song on radio and television of the 20th century, and “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration,” from 1966.

Another potential hit written for the Righteous Brothers, “We Gotta Get Out of this Place” (1965), ended up in the hands of Eric Burdon’s band, the Animals, who added some grit to it that helped it become an anthem for battle-weary soldiers in the Vietnam War. (“In this dirty old part of the city,” Ms. Weil’s lyrics began, “Where the sun refused to shine, people tell me there ain’t no use in tryin’).

In 1977, Dolly Parton hit No. 1 on the Billboard country chart and No. 3 on the pop chart with the Weill-Mann song “Here You Come Again.” (The song brought Ms. Parton a Grammy Award for best female country vocal performance.) In 1980, the Pointer Sisters hit No. 3 on the pop charts with “He’s So Shy,” which Weil wrote with Tony Snow.

CNN Appoints COO

Chris Licht, Chairman & CEO of CNN Worldwide, has announced the appointment of David C. Leavy as Chief Operating Officer of CNN Worldwide, effective June 20, 2023.

A 23-year veteran of Discovery Inc. and Warner Bros. Discovery, Leavy will assume responsibility over commercial, operational and promotional activities across CNN Worldwide, reporting into Licht.

“David’s deep operational experience, institutional knowledge and key industry relationships perfectly complements the strengths of our leadership team,” said Licht. 

David Leavy
“He is a strategic, versatile and dynamic executive who will work with myself and the senior leadership team to help transform our business as we get the full programming slate on the air, build out our digital future and grow the CNN brand around the world. Everyone who works with David has seen how his energy, work ethic and collaborative style positively impacts an organization, and I can’t wait for him to join me and the CNN team.”

Leavy currently serves as Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for Warner Bros. Discovery and will maintain public policy and social responsibility oversight on behalf of Warner Bros Discovery going forward.

The NY Post reports The decision by CNN’s corporate overlord to install a chief operating officer could be “the beginning of the end” for network chief Chris Licht, who must answer to a meddlesome boss while being undermined by a newsroom loyal to his predecessor, according to a report on the news channel’s meltdown.

Licht’s year-long reign since taking over for the ousted Jeff Zucker has been plagued by internal turmoil — namely over fired anchor Don Lemon — and behind-the-scenes skullduggery, according to the 9,000-word expose by The Atlantic.

All the while, the ratings continue to hit new lows.

USAToday Names NPR Executive As Editor-In-Chief

USAToday has named Terence Samuel, NPR News’ vice president and executive editor, as editor-in-chief effective July 10.

In his new role, Samuel will help lead the publication through “the next phase of growth and innovation,” according to an announcement from USA TODAY parent company Gannett Co. released Friday.

“USA TODAY has a distinctive and groundbreaking history in American journalism and is uniquely positioned to inform the conversations and tell the stories that impact American life,” Samuel said in the release. "It’s an honor to join such an accomplished group of journalists to help lead this iconic brand into a digital future that is as exciting as it is challenging.”

Terence Samuel
Samuel succeeds Nicole Carroll who stepped down May 1 after more than five years of leading the news organization.

Kristin Roberts, Gannett’s recently appointed chief content officer, said Samuel “will be instrumental in the next phase of growth at USA TODAY.” 

“Terry will accelerate our transformation of USA TODAY, embracing our role and our roots as America's newspaper with the core mission of being nothing less than essential to the readers, viewers and listeners we serve nationwide," Roberts said in the release. 

At NPR News, Samuel oversaw newsgathering for the broadcast network. He has also held senior editorial positions at the Washington Post and National Journal. 

His career in journalism began as a writing fellow at The Village Voice. He went on to work as a reporter at the Roanoke Times, a national correspondent at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and chief congressional correspondent at U.S. News & World Report.

Gannett on Friday also announced that Michael McCarter, who served as USA TODAY’s interim editor-in-chief, has been promoted to vice president of opinion and will continue overseeing standards, ethics, and belonging at the USA TODAY Network.

Gannett Staffers Plan Monday Job Walk-Off

Journalists for the largest newspaper chain in the country will walk off the job next week, in a series of strikes staged in part to protest the leadership of the company’s chief executive, reports The Washington Post.

Hundreds of staffers for 24 Gannett newspapers, including the Arizona Republic, Austin American-Statesman and the Palm Beach Post, say they will not report to work for a day or two starting Monday, forfeiting pay and forgoing assignments ranging from city council meetings to high school sports championship games. At some papers, the strikes begin Tuesday.

Their aim, they say, is to call attention to budget cuts and put pressure on shareholders, who are expected to take up the issue of executive pay at a meeting Monday. Demonstrating journalists want shareholders to take a no-confidence vote against CEO Mike Reed, whom they fault for the company’s financial struggles.

Mike Reed
In a financial filing, the NewsGuild — the union representing more than 50 Gannett newsrooms — writes that Reed has “failed shareholders,” arguing that other newspaper companies are faring better.

“[Journalists] need support and resources to make sure our communities have the local news needed to keep our democracy thriving,” Jon Schleuss, NewsGuild president, said in a statement.

In a company statement, Gannett said “our leadership is focused on investing in local newsrooms and monetizing our content” during a challenging economic climate. “Our goal is to preserve journalism and serve our communities across the country as we continue to bargain in good faith to finalize contracts that provide equitable wages and benefits for our valued employees.”

Gannett also said it was prepared for the anticipated work stoppage and pledged that “no disruption to our content or ability to deliver trusted news.”

Phoenix Radio: KOOL-FM Adds J-D For Mornings

Audacy welcomes J.D. as the new morning show host for BIG 94.5 (KOOL-FM) in Phoenix. “J.D. in the Morning!” will air weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. PT beginning June 5.

“We’re excited to welcome J.D. to set the tone for our weekday programming on BIG 94.5,” said Dave Pugh, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Phoenix. “J.D. is no stranger to this market, and we’re confident he’ll give our listeners a fresh, exciting way to start their mornings.”

“I'm beyond thrilled to be back in Phoenix and joining the team at Audacy,” said J.D. “I have so much history here, and I'm looking forward to making a difference not only for the BIG 94.5 brand but also in the community. I started my radio career here in Arizona, so it feels right to give back to a place that has given me so much. I can't wait to get started with Dave, Larry and Chris on building something BIG!”

J.D. joins BIG 94.5 after previously spending eight years in Boston hosting one of the top night shows for former Audacy station 103.3 AMP Radio. He began his full-time radio career in Arizona doing nights at KZON-FM in Phoenix and grew to become the No. 1 rated night show from 2010 to 2012. In 2013, he joined “The Lady La Morning Show” as a co-host, which was consistently among the city’s top three-rated morning shows and the No 1. cumed morning show.

📻Listeners can tune in to BIG 94.5 (KOOL-FM) in Phoenix on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Nashville Radio: Chase McCabe Promoted To OM For Cromwell

Cromwell Media has announced that Chase McCabe has been named the new Director of Operations and Sports Programming effective July 1, 2023. McCabe currently serves as Program Director/Brand Manager of 102.5/106.3 The Game and 94.9 The Fan, a position he’s held since January 2022.

McCabe began his broadcast career with Cromwell Media as a producer, eventually rising to Assistant PD and PD. McCabe also hosts “Chase & Michelle” each weekday from 9AM-11AM on 102.5/106.3 The Game.

Chase McCabe
“I’m very fortunate to have been to be able to grow into this opportunity under one roof. Our owner, Bud Walters, opened the door for me almost 12 years ago as an intern and I’m honored to continue to be a key member of the Nashville leadership team. I am forever grateful, but none of this could have happened without the great group of people we have here at Cromwell Media,” said McCabe.

Cromwell Media President Bud Walters added, “Chase understands our Cromwell commitment to ‘Nashville’s Best Sports Talk’ on 102.5/106.3 The Game and 94.9 The Fan. For over 12 years he’s been instrumental in the development of our sports reporting. I’m confident that Chase will step up and take charge as he always does. I’m glad to know him and trust his judgement.”

While continuing to oversee Cromwell Media/Nashville’s sports brands McCabe will also serve as the cluster’s second-in-command behind newly appointed General Manager, Shawn Fort.

GM Shawn Fort commented, “Chase and I have developed a great working relationship in the two and half years since I’ve joined Cromwell Media. We share similar visions on how to create compelling sports programming all while driving revenue growth. I’m excited to have Chase as my right-hand man as we move forward together with this new chapter of leadership at Cromwell Media Nashville.”

June Guest Hosts Lined-Up For Backstage Country

Beasley Media Group and Key Networks have announce that Shawn Parr, host of Shawn Parr’s Backstage Country, welcomes an all-star lineup of guest hosts to the new nationally syndicated Country music show in the month of June. Jameson Rogers kicks off the June lineup as guest host of next week’s Shawn Parr’s Backstage Country.

Shawn Parr’s guest hosts in June include these Country artists:
  • Week of June 5th – Jameson Rogers
  • Week of June 12th – Megan Moroney
  • Week of June 19th – Jellyroll
  • Week of June 26th – Michael Ray
Shawn Parr commented: “Every week is unique with this incredible blend of Country artists. You never know what to expect and together we are having so much fun talking music, family, and even throwing in a few surprises - All for their fans!”

Shawn Parr’s Backstage Country, is heard on over 80 U.S. radio stations and in 27 of the top 50 DMA markets. Shawn Parr’s Backstage Country affiliates include Beasley Media Group stations WKLB-FM, Boston, MA; WXTU-FM in Philadelphia, PA; WQYK-FM in Tampa, FL; KCYE-FM, Las Vegas, NV; WSOC-FM, Charlotte, NC; WKXC-FM, Augusta, GA; and WKML-FM, Fayetteville, AR.

Based in Music City, Shawn Parr has been one of Country radio’s brightest personalities for over 35 years and is widely known for his work as the voice of the Academy of Country Music Awards, The Golden Globes, American Music Awards, and many other national television specials.

Shawn Parr’s Backstage Country is available in multiple dayparts on a market-exclusive basis from Key Networks. The four-hour localized Country music entertainment program offers Country stations and their listeners unmatched access to Nashville’s biggest Country music stars, rising stars, and new artists, and showcases the best of Country music in a highly entertaining and PPM-friendly format. 

Paired with Parr’s trademark warmth, wit, and love for Country music, Shawn Parr’s Backstage Country is available to stations Monday-Friday via FTP delivery. The show is customized to air anywhere in a station’s lineup between 6am-Midnight – Mornings, Middays, Afternoons or Nights. In addition, fans will be able to get the latest news, interviews, music and more on-air and through the show’s new website,

To bring Shawn Parr’s Backstage Country and Nashville’s hottest Country stars to your market, visit: or contact Dennis Green, Chief Operating Officer, Key Networks, at 844.KEY.NETS or For advertisers and sponsors, contact Jason Wilberding, President of Sales, Key Networks, at 

Audacy Launches “The PBP: Voices of Baseball” Podcast

Audacy has announced the launch of “The PBP: Voices of Baseball,” a new weekly podcast focused on the art of baseball play-by-play.

These are the broadcasters who facilitate the daily relationship with baseball and its teams; how and why they do it. Host Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score always wanted to be one, and now gets to walk among them, gleaning advice, stories, and tricks of the trade he'll share with listeners. “The PBP: Voices of Baseball” is available on the Audacy app and wherever you get your podcasts.

“The art and skill of baseball play-by-play is how many fans experience the storytelling of sports for the first time. These are the voices fans grow up with, share with their families and their communities, and feel like they know them personally. When we think of the history of our favorite teams, we remember the moments that have defined the game’s history,” said Lena Moss Glaser, Vice President and Executive Producer, Audacy’s 2400Sports. “From Vin Scully to Joe Buck, those moments are soundtracked by distinct voices. We’re so excited to follow along with Matt as he digs into the stories behind the stories and brings us inside the booth.”

The show will launch with ESPN broadcaster Joe Buck as its first guest. Buck served as FOX’s lead play-by-play voice for Major League Baseball from 1996 to 2021, calling 23 World Series and 21 All-Star Games, the most of any play-by-play announcer on network television.

Follow the series here.

June 3 Radio History

➦In 1940...WPG-AM, Atlantic City, New Jersey, consolidated with WBIL-AM and WOV-AM to become the "New" WOV-AM.

WPG, "The Voice Of The World's Play Ground", originally signed on January 3, 1925. Owned by the municipality of Atlantic City, they had no trouble finding public property to house the station.

WPG cost the city $13,000, but since it promised millions of dollars in publicity, the management felt comfortable exaggerating the figure to $50,000.

During the summer of 1927, WPG hired popular announcer Norman Brokenshire, who quickly became a local celebrity tooling around the "World's Play Ground" in a blue-and-orange Packard.

He broadcast from the glass-enclosed "Marine Studio" at the Steel Pier and once lowered a mike from the booth to allow the world to hear the ocean waves.

Almost every club and hotel provided a venue for WPG's broadcasts, and in 1929, the station was granted permission to sell commercial time.

In May 1929, the facilities were moved to the newly opened Convention Hall, with the "Neptune" and "Marine" studios, and a listening room, open to the public.

In 1931, under economic difficulties associated with the Depression, WPG joined the Columbia Network. The network leased the station, assumed the operating costs and shared the profits with Atlantic City. The affiliation lasted until 1935 and yielded no profit.

Starting in 1928, WPG shared time with WLWL (later WBIL) from Kearney on 1100 (see below). However, by 1935, WLWL was seeking full-time hours on the frequency.

The Federal Radio Commission (FRC) cited both stations on a failure to reach an agreement on their time-sharing and granted only a temporary license renewal to both of them.

By July 1938, WPG had become a burden to the city government, with the station adding $10,000 to its annual debt.

Despite protests from the Atlantic City business community, the station was sold for $275,000, and 1100 AM was taken over by WBIL.   

Programming on WBIL consisted mainly of Italian language shows.

On January 3, 1940, WBIL was dissolved into WOV.  WOV would eventually become WADO 1280 AM.

Today, Talk WPGG 1450 AM brands itself as WPG.

➦In 1946...Mutual Radio debuted “The Casebook of Gregory Hood” starring Gale Gordon, as a summer replacement series for Sherlock Holmes. ‘Hood’ was popular enough to win its own time slot in the fall, and continued for three years.  A variety of other radio veterans played musical chairs with the title role, including George Petrie, Elliott Lewis, Jackson Beck and Martin Gabel.

➦In 1949...Country entertainer/songwriter Hank Williams made his last appearance on Shreveport’s “Louisiana Hayride” radio show before moving to Nashville.

➦In 1949…Dragnet (with Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday) first aired KFI in Los Angeles.  It went national on NBC Radio a month later and continued through 1957; it began on TV in December 1951.

Jack Webb
Dragnet enacted the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners. The show takes its name from the police term "dragnet", meaning a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects.

Dragnet is perhaps the most famous and influential police procedural drama in media history. The series gave audience members a feel for the boredom and drudgery, as well as the danger and heroism, of police work. Dragnet earned praise for improving the public opinion of police officers.

Actor and producer Jack Webb's aims in Dragnet were for realism and unpretentious acting. He achieved both goals, and Dragnet remains a key influence on subsequent police dramas in many media.

➦In 1975...Radio, TV personality and producer Ozzie Nelson lost his battle with liver cancer at age 69. After leading his own dance band & being musical director for radio’s Red Skelton Show, he got his own radio sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet in 1944, which he transferred successfully to TV in 1952.

➦In 1993...NYC Personality Bob Fitzsimmons died at 53.  He was the morning man on WNEW-AM from 1989 until the station's demise in late 1992.  He began his broadcasting career in 1962 as an assistant to Ted Brown and William B. Williams at WNEW.

He appeared as the character Trevor Traffic with the team of Gene Klavin and Bob Finch.  Bob later appeared on WRKL in Rockland County, NY, WFMJ in Youngstown, Ohio, and WPEN in Philadelphia.  From 1970-73 he was a talk show host for WHN in New  York before returning to WNEW.  Before returning to WNEW in 1989 he was a talk show host and announcer for WABC.

➦In 2005...Infinity Broadcasting changed formats of two of the country's most notable Oldies-formatted stations: WCBS 101.1 FM in New York and WJMK 104.3 FM in Chicago. 

Both stations adopted the "Jack" format while the former Oldies FM stations were moved to online versions. In New York WCBS-FM was renamed "101.1 Jack FM" and in Chicago, WJMK-FM became "104.3 Jack FM.

The "Jack" format experiment at WCBS-FM is widely regarded, inside and outside the industry, as one of the greatest failures in modern New York radio history, as the station fell to the very bottom of the ratings of full-market-coverage FM stations in the New York market.

CBS Radio dropped the Jack Format on HD1 on July 9, 2007 and resumed ‘oldies’ under a Classic Hits umbrella.

On March 9, 2011, CBS announced that on March 14, beginning at 1:04 p.m., WJMK would switch to a classic hits format known as "K-Hits", dropping the Jack FM format and brand. The change marked the station's return to an updated version of the oldies format it dropped in 2005.

➦In 2016…Former WBCN disc jockey Mark Parenteau, who was a force on the Boston airwaves for more than 20 years but saw his career and life go off the rails after he was arrested for having sex with a 14-year-old boy, died after a long illness. He was 66.

Parenteau had one of the most successful radio careers in Boston history, with a 20-year run, first on the former WCOZ then spending 19 years as the afternoon-drive talent on WBCN. But his 2004 arrest for having sex with a minor marked the end of his days on the air.

A Worcester native, Parenteau began his career at 15 on WORC-AM in his hometown. He worked at WLLH in Lowell and WKNR and WABX in Detroit before returning home to Massachusetts, first landing at WCOZ before finally getting his dream job at WBCN.  He also spent some time with XM Satellite Radio in the early 2000's.

During his 19-year reign, Parenteau was instrumental in breaking musical acts like Bob Seger and the J. Geils Band. He pioneered live remote broadcasting techniques and became “The Honorary Dean of Boston Comedy,” spotlighting dozens of up-and-coming comedians on his show.

Suzi Quatro is 73

  • Actor Irma P. Hall (“Soul Food”) is 88. 
  • Singer Ian Hunter is 84. 
  • Singer Eddie Holman is 77. 
  • Actor Tristan Rogers (“General Hospital,” ″The Young and the Restless”) is 77. 
  • Actor Penelope Wilton (“Downton Abbey”) is 77. 
  • Bassist Too Slim of Riders in the Sky is 75. 
  • Singer Suzi Quatro is 73. 
  • Singer Deniece Williams is 73. 
  • Singer Dan Hill is 69. 
  • Actor Suzie Plakson (“How I Met Your Mother”) is 65. 
  • Actor Scott Valentine (“Family Ties”) is 65. 
  • Guitarist Kerry King of Slayer is 59. 
  • Bassist Mike Gordon of Phish is 58. 
  • TV journalist Anderson Cooper is 56. 
  • Country singer Jamie O’Neal is 55. 
  • Singers Ariel and Gabriel Hernandez of No Mercy are 52. 
  • Actor Vik Sahay (“Chuck”) is 52. 
  • Singer Lyfe Jennings is 50. 
  • Actor Arianne Zucker (“Days of Our Lives”) is 49. 
  • Actor Nikki M. James (“The Good Wife”) is 42. 
  • Actor Josh Segarra (“Chicago P.D.”) is 37. 
  • Actor Lalaine Dupree (“Lizzie McGuire”) is 36. 
  • Actor Anne Winters (“13 Reasons Why,” “Grand Hotel”) is 29.
  • In 1933..Bob Fitzsimmons, NY radio DJ (WNEW AM/WABC AM/WHN AM), dies at 53
  • In 1997..Dennis James, Wrestling announcer and TV host (PDQ), dies at 79
  • In 2011..Andrew Gold, American rocker ("Lonely Boy"), and songwriter (Thank You For Being A Friend; The Final Frontier), dies in his sleep of heart failure at 59
  • In 2016..Muhammad Ali, American boxer (world heavyweight champion 1964-7 74-8), dies of respiratory illness at 74
  • In 2021..F. Lee Bailey, American criminal defense attorney (Sam Shepard; Boston Strangler; Patty Hearst; OJ Simpson), dies at 87

Friday, June 2, 2023

Fox News Channel to Reveal New Weekend Prime-Time

FOX News Channel (FNC) will debut a new weekend primetime lineup beginning Saturday, June 3, announced Megan Albano, Senior Vice President of The Five & Weekend Programming. 

The Big Saturday/Sunday Show will become The Big Weekend Show, airing at 7 PM/ET on Saturdays and Sundays while FOX News Saturday Night will premiere at 10 PM/ET. Additionally, The Next Revolution will end its 9 PM/ET Sunday run, as Steve Hilton steps back from hosting a weekly show to focus on his new California non-partisan policy organization launching next week. Hilton will remain a contributor across all FOX News Media platforms while Trey Gowdy’s Sunday Night in America will move to 9PM/ET.

In making the announcement, Albano said, “We are excited to launch a new dynamic weekend line-up that will further solidify our position as the number one cable news network for more than two decades. We thank Steve Hilton for his show’s contributions and look forward to continuing to feature his valuable insights across our daytime and primetime programming.”

Starting this Saturday, FNC’s weekend primetime lineup will commence at 7 PM/ET with The Big Weekend Show. Previously known as The Big Saturday Show and The Big Sunday Show, the program features a rotation of network hosts and contributors discussing the news of the day. Formerly airing at 5 PM/ET, that timeslot will now feature encore presentations of The Five & Fox News Saturday Night followed by The FOX Report with Jon Scott, which will remain at 6 PM/ET on weekends.

TV Ratings: ‘Succession’ Finale Grabs Big Audience

Sunday’s series finale of “Succession” garnered a series-high 2.9 million viewers across Max and linear telecasts, topping the previous high for the series, 2.75 million for the April 30 episode, according to a statement from the streaming service’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.

The live-plus-same-day viewership for the 9 p.m. HBO broadcast of the 88-minute fourth-season episode was 896,000, while the total gross viewership, which includes encore broadcasts, was about 962,000, according to Nielsen.

There were 20 prime-time entertainment programs on the five major English-language broadcast networks between May 22 and Sunday to average more than 2.9 million viewers, according to The L-A Times citing live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen.

The top two prime-time programs and three of the top four in the latest prime-time weekly ratings were cable telecasts of NBA conference finals games. TNT’s coverage of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference was the week’s top-ranked prime-time program, with the Boston Celtics’ buzzer-beating 104-103 victory over the Miami Heat Saturday averaging 8.711 million viewers, the most for a Game 6 of an Eastern Conference finals on TNT and the most on any network in 11 years.


NBA playoff coverage made TNT the top-ranked cable network for the sixth consecutive week, averaging 3.117 million viewers. ESPN’s coverage of Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference finals helped it to its fifth consecutive second-place finish, averaging 1.776 million viewers.

The Denver Nuggets’ May 22 series-clinching 113-111 victory over the Lakers averaged 8.211 million viewers, second for the week and the most for a Game 4 of a conference finals series on ESPN since 2015. Miami’s Game 7 victory Monday averaged 11.9 million viewers, the most for an Eastern Conference finals game on TNT and third-highest for any NBA game on TNT.

Fox News Channel was third among cable networks for the fifth consecutive week, averaging 1.33 million viewers, and first in prime time among cable news networks for the 119th consecutive week.

MSNBC was fourth among cable networks for the sixth consecutive week following third- and second-place finishes, averaging 1.136 million viewers, 3.1% less than its 1.127-million average the previous week. CNN was 17th among cable networks, averaging 412,000 viewers.

The cable prime-time top 20 consisted of four NBA playoff games — three on TNT and one on ESPN; three NBA pregame or postgame shows — two on TNT and one on ESPN; five Fox News Channel weeknight political talk shows — three broadcasts of “Hannity” and two of “Fox News Tonight,” hosted by Trey Gowdy; three MSNBC political talk shows — “The Rachel Maddow Show” and the Wednesday and Thursday editions of “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell”; Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules”; TNT’s coverage of Game 4 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference finals; History’s “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch”; and the first segment of USA Network’s “WWE Raw.”


May Cable Ratings: Fox Down, 'The Five' Dominates

In May 2023 Fox News ratings felt the impact of the suddenly departed Tucker Carlson, whose last telecast was April 21. For May, Fox News averaged 1.42 million viewers in primetime, a 32% decline from April, when the network averaged 2.08 million viewers. (All ratings are based on live + same day from Nielsen.) In May, Fox News ranked third in primetime viewership behind TNT and ESPN, both had benefited from their month-long coverage of the NBA postseason, according to Brad Adgate for Forbes.

For the total day, in May, Fox News had an average audience of 1.09 million viewers, compared to 1.29 million in April, a fall-off of 16%. Despite the audience decline, May 2023 marked the 27th straight month Fox News has been the top-rated cable news network in daypart.

In April, Tucker Carlson Tonight had been the top rated on cable news averaging 3.06 million viewers. (Carlson’s program aired in the first three weeks of the month.) For the time being, Fox has replaced Carlson’s 8 p.m. show with Fox News Tonight and rotating hosts. In May, the program averaged 1.52 million viewers. Despite a monthly time period decline of 50%, Fox News Tonight ranked seventh among cable programs.

In the wake of Carlson’s dismissal, in May, other top-rated Fox News shows reported month-over-month, double-digit declines in audience. All four, however, still rank as the highest rated programs on cable television.

From TV Newser,  here are the 10 most-watched cable news shows for May 2023, as per live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen.
  1. Fox News | 5 p.m. /The Five: 2,627,000 / 19 telecasts
  2. Fox News | 7 p.m./Jesse Watters Primetime: 2,137,000/ 14 telecasts
  3. Fox News | 9 p.m./ Hannity: 1,914,000 / 15 telecasts
  4. Fox News | 6 p.m. / Special Report with Bret Baier: 1,813,000 / 19 telecasts
  5. Fox News | 11 p.m./Gutfeld! : 1,651,000 / 18 telecasts
  6. Fox News | 10 p.m./The Ingraham Angle: 1,578,000 / 15 telecasts
  7. Fox News | 8 p.m./Fox News Tonight: 1,515,000 / 19 telecasts
  8. MSNBC | 10 p.m. | The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell: 1,485,000 / 19 telecasts
  9. MSNBC | 4-6 p.m. / Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace: 1,421,000 / 20 telecasts
  10. Fox News | 12 p.m. / Outnumbered: 1,416,000 / 19 telecasts

Rocky Relationship Between Sinclair-MLB Unveiled

A simmering dispute between Major League Baseball and Sinclair erupted into public view this week in federal bankruptcy court.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in court that Sinclair’s executive chairman threatened to force its Diamond Sports Group regional sports networks into bankruptcy, potentially hurting the league, if MLB refused to give it baseball game streaming rights.

Manfred made the accusations against David D. Smith, Sinclair’s executive chairman, while appearing at a bankruptcy hearing in Houston for the struggling Diamond Sports, according to The Baltimore Sun citing reports of the hearing.

Diamond, a Sinclair sports network subsidiary that broadcasts MLB, NBA and NHL games, filed for bankruptcy reorganization in Texas in March, burdened by more than $8 billion in debt and struggling as viewers increasingly stream live sports instead of paying for cable television to view matchups.

Reports said the hearing was scheduled to decide whether Diamond Sports, in bankruptcy, should pay a reduced TV contract value for four of the 14 MLB teams for which Diamond holds broadcast rights or, as MLB has requested, pay the full value or give up rights to the teams. The teams under consideration included the Texas Rangers, the Minnesota Twins, the Cleveland Guardians and the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to The Athletic, a sports news website.

Diamond offered to pay full value if it was given direct streaming rights, a strategy MLB outside counsel James Bromley called “blackmail,” The Athletic reported.

Manfred said during the hearing that Smith had met with him in New York to pursue getting streaming rights for all of Diamond’s MLB teams, The Athletic reported. The broadcaster has been going after streaming rights while it was taking losses on the sports networks it bought in 2019 for $10.6 billion from The Walt Disney Co.

6/2 WAKE-UP CALL: Debt Deal Goes To TWH

The Senate passed wide-ranging legislation Thursday that suspends the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling while cutting federal spending, backing a bipartisan deal struck by President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to avert an unprecedented U.S. default. The 63-36 vote reflected support from both Democrats and Republicans, with backers saying the need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit outweighed concern about provisions related to military and domestic spending and energy policy, among other contentious issues. The measure now goes to the president for his signature with several days to spare before Monday, when the Treasury Department has said that the government will run out of money to pay all of its bills.

STUDENT LOAN FOREGIVENESS REPEALED: The Senate approved a bill Thursday that would repeal President Joe Biden's student loan debt forgiveness plan. The breakdown of yeas and nays Thursday largely mirrored that of the day before, when senators for the most part voted along party lines to proceed with a vote on the bill, underscoring their opposition to Biden's plan to forgive up to $20,000 of in student loan debt for tens of millions of borrowers. The plan to erase some borrowers' debt is already stalled because of two cases before the Supreme Court.

➤BIDEN FALLS: President Joe Biden took a dramatic spill Thursday while passing out diplomas to graduates after giving the commencement address at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The president did not appear to sustain any injuries. Gasps from the crowd followed Biden's fall, which came as he handed out the last diploma, forcing him to come down on his hands and knees. Biden, who was helped to his feet by Air Force officials and Secret Service personnel, appeared to trip on a black sandbag that was on the stage. Biden, 80, the oldest president in U.S. history, seemed to be OK and continued to stand as the ceremony concluded a few minutes later.

➤HANNITY INTERVIEWS TRUMP IN IOWA: Former President Donald Trump attended his second town hall event on Thursday ahead of the 2024 presidential election, this time speaking with Fox News host Sean Hannity in front of a crowd in Iowa. Unlike the former president's first panel with CNN, however, Trump was able to speak relatively freely with Hannity, unlike his controversial town hall with CNN's Kaitlan Collins last month, in which the moderator consistently pushed back on Trump's false and misleading claims throughout the night.

Prior to Thursday's event, Hannity spoke about CNN's approach to Trump's town hall on his radio talk show, The Sean Hannity Show, and promised that his forum with the former president would look differently than his competing network's.

Judge Rules Against Radio Trade Group Petition

Broadcast radio’s trade group is doubling down on its effort to combine federal rate court proceedings that will determine how most of the country’s songwriters get paid for airplay, according to Billboard.

After a judge on May 26 denied the Radio Music Licensing Committee’s petition to combine rate court proceedings with leading performance rights organizations BMI and ASCAP under a single judge last week, according to a statement from BMI, the RMLC filed an appeal on Wednesday (May 31) at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

According to BMI’s interpretation of Southern District of New York Judge Louis Stanton‘s ruling denying the petition, neither the BMI Consent Decree nor the Music Modernization Act of 2018 justified the RMLC’s joint rate petition. Judge Stanton ordered the RMLC’s rate petition against ASCAP to be assigned to another judge and tried separately.

Just Stanton’s ruling instructs the court clerk to “sever all portions of the RMLC petition which seek the setting by a rate court of an ASCAP reasonable license fee under the ASCAP consent decree and assign them by the standard electronic method of selection of a judge of this court.”

The RMLC’s petition to combine the ASCAP and BMI under one judge who would simultaneously set rates for both performance rights organizations in once proceeding was based on what publishing sources have told Billboard is a wrong interpretation of the Music Modernization Act, which included a provision to moving rate hearings to a rotating roster of Southern District judges.

Having a single judge, instead of bifurcated rate court proceedings, could benefit the RMLC because it would likely pit BMI and ASCAP against each other, vying for a higher rate than the other and arguing over market share. In the past, Judge Stanton has overseen BMI rate trials and Judge Denise Cote has overseen ASCAP rate trials. Music publishing executives say that the MMA intended to keep the two-pronged approach for the PRO rate setting, but with rotating judges, not just the two who have overseen the proceedings up to now.

iHeartMedia CEO Says Radio as ‘Strong As Ever’

iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman was interviewed this week by Lydian Moynihan, who writes The On The Money column for the NY Post.  Pittman weighs in on Burning Man, radio, and why he’s one of the few executives who believes in remote work.

Lydia: Every car in the world can connect to Bluetooth. Now that people have Spotify, Apple Music, and podcasts, why do we still need radio?

Bob Pittman
Actually, radio is as strong as ever. All the new streaming music services replace products that came before – iTunes, CDs, and even cassettes. Radio and music collection services are quite different products. In fact, 80% of Americans agree with the statement ‘I listen to both FM radio and music collections, but at different times, for different reasons.’ We’re not competitive with the music services – we’re synergistic. The consumer uses us both.

When people listen to their music collection they’re trying to unplug from the world – no on-air personalities, no information, no stories, no interviews – just music. When people listen to the radio, they’re joining the world. With us, they’re looking for connection, companionship and someone to hang out with, and that’s our purpose – even though we may also be playing music on some of our radio stations.

Lydia: You’re also competing with big guns like Apple and Spotify and their massive cash war chests? Would you plan to eventually shut down the radio stations and towers? Use the spectrum for other purposes?

Bob: To the contrary – the strength and foundation of our company is our broadcast radio stations. 90% of Americans listen to iHeart broadcast radio stations every month. To put that in context, the biggest TV network reaches less than 40% of Americans and the big streaming music services reach less than 30%. And we use that massive and unique reach of our broadcast radio to build complementary products like the iHeartRadio digital service and our major events like the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the iHeartRadio Music Awards and the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, and it’s why we’re the #1 podcast publisher by a lot. It all starts with using the trusted voices on our broadcast radio stations and creating demand – and with our unparalleled reach we have quite an advantage over the other audio players, regardless of their cash war chests.

Darrell Brown, President of Bonneville International, To Retire

Darrell Brown, the President of Bonneville International Corporation, has announced his retirement beginning August 2023. Tanya Vea is being appointed as Bonneville’s new President and Chief Operating Officer effective August 1, 2023.

Brown’s retirement marks the culmination of a well-respected career spanning decades of leadership in in the broadcast industry. He began his tenure as president of Bonneville in December of 2013. He led the company through multiple deals and acquisitions, including four stations in Denver, four in Sacramento, four in San Francisco, and the KSL Sports Zone in Salt Lake City. Under his direction, Bonneville has maintained the stability of its core broadcast operations while investing in and expanding upon its digital content and advertising capabilities. Brown also demonstrated a willingness to invest significantly in employees, including when he committed publicly to take steps to avoid layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Darrell Brown
Prior to his time at Bonneville, Brown was president of McGraw-Hill Broadcasting Company. His career with McGraw-Hill spanned 28 years where he served in various sales and management roles for ABC and Azteca America television stations, including vice president and general manager roles in San Diego and Denver. During that time Brown also served on the ABC Affiliate Board, including a term as board chairman.

Brown currently serves as board chair for the NAB Leadership Foundation, having previously served on the NAB board of directors. In addition to his business leadership, Brown has consistently provided support to community organizations, including the boards of Primary Children’s Hospital and the Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition. Brown plans to remain in Utah, where he resides with his wife, Lise.

June 2 Radio History

Marconi 1901
➦In 1896...Marconi files full specs for first (radio) wireless patent. He had succeeded the previous year in sending long-wave radio signals over a distance of about two kilometres. And in 1897, Marconi formed a wireless telegraphy company to develop its commercial applications. In 1901, he sent the letter ”S” across the Atlantic from Cornwall, England to a receiving station in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

➦In 1908...Benjamin Franklin Grauer born (Died from a heart attacked at age 68 – May 31, 1977). He was a radio and TV personality, following a career during the 1920s as a child actor in films and on Broadway.

Grauer's greatest fame lies in his legendary 40-year career in radio. In 1930, the 22-year-old Benjamin Franklin Grauer joined the staff at NBC.  He quickly rose through the ranks to become a senior commentator and reporter. He was the designated announcer for the popular 1940s Walter Winchell's Jergens Journal. Perhaps, most importantly, he was selected by Arturo Toscanini to become the voice of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Grauer took over as announcer in late 1942, and remained until the orchestra was disbanded in June 1954. Toscanini said he was his favorite announcer.

Starting in 1932, Grauer covered the Olympic Games, presidential inaugurations and international events. During his radio career, Grauer covered nearly every major historic event, including the Paris Peace Conference and the US occupation of Japan. Millions remember his NBC coverage of the New Year's celebrations on both radio and TV. Between 1951 and 1969, Grauer covered these events 11 times live from New York's Times Square. He continued covering New Year's Eve for Guy Lombardo's New Year's Eve specials on CBS in the 1970s, with his last appearance on December 31, 1976, the year before both he and Lombardo died. From the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s, Grauer's reports were part of the NBC television network's The Tonight Show, where he worked with Johnny Carson and prior to that, Jack Paar, and Steve Allen. Grauer was also one of NBC Radio's Monitor "Communicators" from 1955 to 1960.

Grauer also was one of five hosts/narrators of "The First Fabulous Fifty", a five-part NBC Radio Network documentary series on the history of the network, featuring soundbites from past NBC programs. The series was broadcast on the occasion of the network's 50th anniversary in the autumn of 1976. Grauer narrated the first installment, which covered the network's first decade on the air, 1926 through 1936.

➦In Walter Tetley was born in New York City.  At age 23 he moved to Hollywood where his radio career as a series of brash teenagers blossomed and lasted more than 25 years, by which time he was in his late 40’s.  His best remembered roles are as Gildy’s nephew Leroy on NBC radio’s The Great Gildersleeve, and as Julius Abbruzio on The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.  He also voiced many popular cartoon characters.  He died at age 60 Sept. 4 1975, four years after a serious MVA had left him confined to a wheelchair.

Charles Farrell, Gil Stratton Jr. "Freddie", and Gale Storm

➦In Gill Stratton Jr. was born in Brooklyn.

While appearing in supporting roles in film in the late 40’s he began working as a radio actor in such shows as Lux Radio Theater, The Great Gildersleeve, and My Little Margie. He worked opposite Judy Garland in the 1950 radio version of The Wizard of Oz, and opposite Shirley Temple in an audio adaptation of The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. In the 1954 television season, Stratton was a regular on the CBS situation comedy That’s My Boy.  That same year he began a 16 year run as sportscaster on KNXT Los Angeles, and over time also covered sports for KNX radio and KTTV.

He died of congestive heart failure Oct. 11 2008 at age 86.

➦In 1932... CKLW first came on the air on June 2, 1932 as CKOK on 540 kilocycles. The Station was built by George Storer and was sold to a group of Windsor-area businessmen led by Malcolm Campbell, operating as "Essex Broadcasters, Ltd." CKOK became CKLW (and moved to 840 kHz) in 1933, when Essex Broadcasters, Ltd. merged with the London Free Press and its station CJGC (now CFPL), and became "Western Ontario Broadcasting", which was co-owned by Essex Broadcasters, and the London Free Press. The "LW" in the callsign is said to have stood for "London, Windsor", considered to be the two chief cities in the station's listening area. When the station's power increased to 50,000 watts, its listening area increased accordingly. In 1934, when London Free Press's station CJGC pulled out of the agreement, the station's ownership became wholly owned by Western Ontario Broadcasters. CJGC later evolved into today's CFPL 980, while CKLW moved from 840 to 1030 kc. in 1934, before settling on its present frequency of 800 kHz in 1941, thanks to a shuffle of frequency allocations.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Audacy Ups Skip Dillard to Format VP/Rhythmic AC -Throwback Formats

Audacy has elevated Skip Dillard to Format Vice President to lead brand and format strategy and execution for the company’s Rhythmic AC and Throwback portfolio. He will continue to serve as Brand Manager of 94.7 The Block (WXBK-FM) in New York.

“It brings us great joy to elevate Skip to Rhythmic AC and Throwback Format Vice President,” said Dave Richards, Senior Vice President of Programming, Audacy. “Since joining Audacy, Skip has demonstrated leadership, vision and excellence in programming prowess in New York and has done a tremendous job spearheading our 50th anniversary of hip-hop program – ‘Hip-Hop Made.”

Skip Dillard
“I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to grow with Audacy,” said Dillard. “Even your challenges become opportunities when you’re working with great people! Thank you to Chris Oliviero, Dave Richards, Susan Larkin and Jeff Sottolano for their leadership and support.”

Skip Dillard joined Audacy in 2021 after 12 years as Vice President of Programming and Operations Manager for WBLS and WLIB in New York. Before joining the company, Dillard also served in a new role as Vice President of National and Community Partnerships for Mediaco's WBLS and WQHT. Dillard’s career began at Hampton University's WHOV-FM as a student, and he volunteered at North Carolina A&T State University's WNAA-FM. Early in his career, he worked as a talent and programmer in multiple radio markets, including Detroit, Buffalo, New Orleans, San Francisco and Washington D.C. In addition to radio, Dillard also served as Top 40 and Urban Managing Editor for Billboard Magazine's “Airplay Monitor” from 2003 to 2004.

He has received numerous honors, including “Radio Ink’s Top Program Directors in America” in 2009, 2011 and 2012, a Certificate of Merit for Community Service - U.S. Congress in 2002, the Living Legend's Foundation honor in 2011 and a Proclamation of Service to New York State and New York City Hall in 2017. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, a northeast board member for Operation Hope and is on the FCC's Communications Equity and Diversity Council.