Saturday, June 24, 2023

June 25 Radio History

In 1935...Radio personality Ron Lundy was born. Lundy was a popular radio announcer on 77 WABC and WCBS 101.1 FM in New York City from the mid 1960s to his retirement from WCBS-FM in 1997.  He died March 15, 2010.

➦In 1942...'It Pays to Be Ignorant' first aired on Mutual. It was a radio comedy show which maintained its popularity during a nine-year run on three networks.

NYC Radio: Cats Alleges Zucker Took CNN To 'The Sewer'

Billionaire grocery store/media mogul John Catsimatidis tore into ousted CNN boss Jeff Zucker for taking the network 'into the sewer' - as he insisted he is serious about his offer to run the network in return for a $1 salary. 

The 74-year-old revealed to he is eager to turn the network around, and vowed to bring two million viewers back to the struggling channel 'within 12 months'. 

'I don't even want to get paid,' he added. 'If they want to bet on me and share my success and make a ton of money, I'll do it now.'  He revealed that he has begun talks with investors to explore a serious bid for the company, but declined to comment any further. 

Catsimatidis also slated former CEO Jeff Zucker's handling of the company as 'a joke', after reports indicated he may be readying a move to return to his old job. 

Despite a calamitous run culminating in two ousted CEOs in the space of a year, Catsimatidis said he is in a unique position to turn CNN's fortunes around. 

'I bought WABC three years ago, and we brought it from number 28 in the marketplace to the top two or three in the city,' he said.   'So I said to CNN, you have 400,000 (viewers), if I run CNN within 12 months we're back at two million... My specialty is taking broken things and fixing them.'  

The billionaire's offer comes amid reports that CNN's parent company Warner Bros. Discovery could be looking to offload the network following the sacking of CEO Chris Licht.  In a surprise turn of events, ousted CEO Zucker emerged as a potential buyer, insiders revealed this week.

Philly Radio: iHM Mum On WUSL Staffers Trying To Unionize

On-air hosts, disc jockeys, producers, and others at Philadelphia radio station WUSL Power 99-FM are trying to organize a union.

The Philly Inquirer reports a group of 10 employees of the WUSL-FM radio station, which is owned by iHeartMedia Inc., filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on June 20. They are seeking to be represented by the Philadelphia local of the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

“We don’t comment on ongoing organizing, but obviously we are very excited about broadcasters having a voice in the workplace and looking forward to welcoming them to the SAG-AFTRA family,” said Steve Leshinski, Philadelphia executive director for the union.

A spokesperson for iHeartMedia did not respond to a request for comment on the petition.

SAG-AFTRA represents certain groups of radio workers at several other stations in the Philadelphia region including Q102, Total Traffic & Weather Network, 93.3 WMMR, 92.5 XTU, SportsRadio 94WIP, KYW NewsRadio and WHYY. The union represents more than 160,000 members across the country, including actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, and disc jockeys.

Radio stations of all types have undergone economic struggles for years, and staff layoffs have affected radio workforces across the country. In 2020, a round of layoffs at iHeartMedia included an executive and two disc jockeys from Philadelphia, but none of them were from Power 99-FM. The company did a round of layoffs this year as well, which do not appear to have included Philadelphia employees, based on industry reporting.

The petition filed this week does not immediately create a union with a contract. iHeartMedia will have an opportunity to respond to the petition with the NLRB. If the NLRB approves an election, a majority of members who choose to vote would have to elect union representation. If they elect to unionize, collective bargaining would follow. It often takes new unions a year or more to reach a first contract.

Providence Radio: Kim Zandy OUT AT 92 PRO-FM

Longtime radio host Kim Zandy has been let go from WPRO 92 PRO-FM.

In a social media post, Zandy said Friday was her last day on the job after 24 years. “They’ve decided to go in a different direction with my position,” Zandy wrote.

While Zandy said she’s not sure what’s next, she’s grateful for everyone who tuned in over her 24 years behind the mic. “You guys have been fun, encouraging, generous and so much more,” she said. “Thank you for all of it.”

Zandy was best known for co-hosting the “Giovanni & Kim” morning show. The future of the show is unclear at this time.

12 News reached out to Cumulus Providence for more information on Zandy’s departure, but the company declined to comment.

Raleigh Radio: WCMC Adds Tim Donnelly For PM Drive

Capitol Broadcasting Company announces the addition of personality Tim Donnelly to its daily lineup on 99.9 The Fan. Starting in mid-July, Donnelly will host the local weekday 3p-6p show on sports radio station WCMC in Raleigh.

“Tim has a very successful track record in radio. His experience as a college athlete gives him a truly unique perspective,” said Brian Grube, General Manager of Capitol Broadcasting Radio. “This is a robust market for sports. College rivalries dominate the landscape while local pro teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, NC Courage and Durham Bulls unite fans under one umbrella. Tim’s coverage will give listeners a broad understanding of the sports that intersect here, and his expert analysis will pinpoint what’s at stake for fans, teams, and the Triangle.”

Tim Donnelly
Donnelly is a rising star in the sports media industry, having recently led highly-rated daily morning and afternoon radio programs in Norfolk-Virginia Beach and Blacksburg, Virginia. He also fills in as a weekend host on the national CBS Sports Radio network.

Prior to his media career, Donnelly was a decorated athlete, playing quarterback at the University of Delaware. He began at Delaware in 2009 as a preferred walk-on and earned the starting role by his junior year with the Blue Hens.

“I am tremendously excited to join the Capitol Broadcasting Company family and the Triangle sports community,” says Donnelly. “My family and I have connections to North Carolina and the local sports scene. I am thrilled for the opportunity to do what I love in a community that is such fertile ground for sports fans.”

Afternoon drive on 99.9 The Fan will also feature the talents of local favorite Dennis Cox, who will produce the show and take on a larger on-air role alongside Tim. “The market knowledge Dennis brings to The Fan is invaluable,” said Grube. “His love for sports and enthusiasm for Triangle teams shines through every day. His leadership will be critical in shaping the new show, which will move fast, hit hard and deliver unmatched local sports coverage to our passionate fan base.”

Donnelly’s role at Capitol Broadcasting Company will expand beyond afternoon drive on 99.9 The Fan. He will also contribute web content and analysis on and original longform audio content for the Capitol Broadcasting Podcast Network.

2 Senators Urge 7 Automakers To Keep AM Radio

Two U.S. Senators wrote seven major automakers on Friday urging them not to remove AM radio from new vehicles.

Reuters reports Senator Ted Cruz, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, and Democrat Ed Markey, who also sits on the panel, wrote to BMW, Volkswagen, Tesla, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian and Volvo Cars asking them to commit by July 7 to including AM radio in new vehicles.

"Preserving AM radio not only aligns with the growing recognition of its significance but also demonstrates a commitment to public safety and meeting consumer expectations," the senators wrote.

The automakers did not immediately comment. Some have said electric vehicles can cause interference with AM radio.

Ford Motor said last month it would reverse course and not remove AM broadcast radio as a feature in 2024 model vehicles after lawmakers introduced legislation to require them, citing safety concerns about emergency alerts.

Markey said last month the seven automakers had opted to remove AM broadcast radio from their electric vehicles.

Lawmakers say losing AM radio undermines a federal system for delivering key public safety information to the public.

"AM radio covers a wider geographical area than FM radio signals or cell towers and it continues to reliably function during hurricanes, tornadoes, or other severe weather events when other communication networks may face outages," Cruz and Markey said.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing major automakers, said, "mandating AM radios in all vehicles is unnecessary. Congress has never mandated radio features in vehicles ever before."

Automakers pointed to an existing system that distributes warnings across AM, FM, internet-based or satellite radio, and over cellular networks.

Report: Radio Newsrooms See Slight Uptick In Staffing

Local radio newsrooms show slight uptick in personnel.  The typical (median) radio news operation in 2023 had a full-time news staff of two, with the increase being led by non-commercial radio stations which came in with a median of three news people; commercial radio remained at one.

According to the RTNDA, this year’s numbers indicate that overall news staffing has improved since last year. It’s not a lot, but the average radio news operation increased from 3 full-timers to 3.2 while part time remains unchanged at 1.6. However, breaking these results down by market size shows a different picture: While staffing improved across major, medium, and small markets, large markets stations report a full-time staffing decline of 1.1 from last year and a 1.6 decline overall.

The use of a centralized newsroom by multi-station groups has returned to numbers resembling pre-COVID years. Last year’s two-thirds (66.6%) of all multi-station local groups operating with a centralized newsroom represented a surprising 10-point drop. But this year’s report of 79.4% usage is another indication that radio staffing is returning to pre-COVID levels. Or maybe it’s just correcting last year’s aberration.

Chattanooga Radio: WGOW PD, Morning Host Kevin West Retires

Kevin West retires

WGOW Program Director Kevin West announced his retirement from radio broadcasting on Talk Radio 102.3's Chattanooga morning show, "The Morning Press," according to Cumulus Media Chattanooga.

A 43-year radio veteran, West started his radio career in 1979 as a disc jockey at the University of Michigan's campus radio station, with a paying job at WIBM in Jackson, Michigan.

He came to Chattanooga in 1987 as the morning news anchor and street reporter for WGOW-AM and became program director of Talk FM 102.7 before it became Talk FM 102.3.

Along with his broadcasting career, West, who announced his retirement Friday, served in the U.S. Navy, beginning with an on-air enlistment in the Navy Reserves and ending with his retirement as a Navy captain in 2021.

While serving, West deployed to Afghanistan in 2016 and 2017 as the deputy director of public affairs at resolute support headquarters in Kabul and served as commanding officer of the 6th Fleet Public Affairs, 7th Fleet Public Affairs and Navy Public Affairs Support Element Headquarters.

"Kevin has been the trusted voice guiding our stations, audiences and neighbors for over three decades," Scott Chase, Cumulus Chattanooga operations manager, said. "While we will miss him, we know that his energy and community commitment will continue to be a force in Chattanooga."

Philly Radio: John DeBella Vets Radiothon Raises $222K+

WMGK-FM/Philadelphia presented the 17th Annual John DeBella Veterans Radiothon on Friday, June 16 from 6am to 6pm. The event raised an all-time high of $222,749 to benefit the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Center (VMC). Throughout the broadcast, DeBella encouraged listeners to make call-in or online donations. In addition, listeners were able to participate in a series of online eBay auctions on the station website to bid on a variety of items.

These included Bruce Springsteen pit tickets, a pair of three-day passes for the Power Trip Festival, Guns N' Roses VIP Experience tickets, autographed items from Taylor Swift, Bryce Harper and more. One of the highlights of the radiothon came when ACME Markets donated $30,000 to the VMC as part of their support of the event.

Over the past 17 years, John DeBella has raised over $2,000,000 to benefit the non-profit organization. This year's event marked DeBella's final year hosting as he prepares to officially retire from his radio career on Friday, June 30.

"With this being my last major event at WMGK and the last of my career, I went for the lofty goal of breaking $200,000," said DeBella. "All I could do was hope, knowing that the best we ever did was $176,000. I was shocked at the final total and am incredibly grateful to my listeners. I have been blessed with the greatest audience in radio. This money is going to help a lot of Vets."

Philly Radio: WMMR's Preston & Steve Want Blood

WMMR’s Preston & Steve Show (Nick McIlwain, Kathy Romano, Steve Morrison, Preston Elliot,
Marisa Magnatta, and Caseyboy)

The 18th Annual ‘I Bleed For Preston & Steve’ Blood Drive, held in conjunction with the American Red Cross, collected 1,169 blood donations to benefit individuals in need across the Delaware Valley.

This year’s blood collection surpassed last year’s total by 210 pints and marks the first time the event eclipsed1,000 donations since 2019 (before the pandemic). In addition, 123 of the attendees that participated were first time blood donors.

The daylong live broadcast featured The Preston & Steve Show, Pierre Robert, and Brent Porche. In addition, Nighttime DJ Jacky Bam Bam stayed up all night into the morning to lend a helping hand with Preston and Steve.

Participating donors received the latest Preston & Steve t-shirt as well as a collectible tote bag courtesy of Window Nation. In addition, complimentary Everfresh Juice was served in the recovery area as well as snacks and water.

Many thanks to Live! Casino and Hotel Philadelphia and The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks for serving as location hosts for the blood drive as well as the students of Neumann Media at Neumann University for providing videography and streaming services.

Famed Anchor Tom Brokaw Talks About Cancer Battle

Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw is opening up about living with cancer.

According to a preview of his "CBS Sunday Morning" interview, airing Sunday, the 83-year-old shared he's had "a bad experience" while battling multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.

"I've had a bad experience," Brokaw told longtime friend and "CBS Sunday Morning" host Jane Pauley of his illness. "I kept thinking bad things wouldn't happen to me. But as I grew older, I began to develop this condition. And what you try to do is control it as much as you can."

USAToday reports Brokaw was diagnosed in 2013 with the disease and continued working while he was being treated. He announced the cancer was in remission in 2014.

He announced his retirement from NBC after a 55-year career in January 2021.

"I've had to change my life in some way," he said. "I really had to give up my daily activity with NBC. You know, I had to walk away from them, as they were walking away from me. I just wasn't the same person. And so, for the first time in my life, I was kind of out there, you know, in a place I had never been in my life."

Brokaw holds the distinction of being the only person to helm all three of NBC News' signature shows: "Today," "NBC Nightly News" and "Meet the Press." His first book, "The Greatest Generation," was a huge success, coining a name for the generation of Americans who lived through the Great Depression and fought in World War II.

June 24 Radio History

Alice Faye and Phil Harris
➦In 1904...Bandleader/actor Phil Harris was born in Linton, Indiana.  He was an orchestra leader and a pioneer in radio situation comedy, first with Jack Benny, then in a series in which he co-starred with his wife, singer-actress Alice Faye, for eight years. Harris is also noted for his voice acting in animated films. He played Baloo the bear in The Jungle Book (1967), Thomas O'Malley in The Aristocats (1970), and Little John in Robin Hood (1973).

In 1936, Harris became musical director of The Jell-O Show Starring Jack Benny (later renamed The Jack Benny Program), singing and leading his band, with Mahlon Merrick writing much of the show's music. When he showed a knack for giving snappy one-liners, he joined the cast, portraying himself as a hip, hard-drinking Southerner whose good nature overcame his ego.

He died of heart failure Aug. 11 1995 at age 91.

'A Date With Judy'
➦In 1941..."A Date With Judy" first aired NBC radio.  It was a comedy radio series aimed at a teenage audience which ran from 1941 to 1950.

The show began as a summer replacement for Bob Hope's show, sponsored by Pepsodent and airing on NBC from June 24 to September 16, 1941, with 14-year-old Ann Gillis in the title role. Mercedes McCambridge played Judy's girl friend. Dellie Ellis (later known as Joan Lorring) portrayed Judy Foster when the series returned the next summer (June 23 – September 15, 1942).

Louise Erickson, then 15, took over the role the following summer (June 30 – September 22, 1943) when the series, with Bristol Myers as its new sponsor, replaced The Eddie Cantor Show for the summer. Louise Erickson continued in the role of Judy over the next seven years as the series, sponsored by Tums, aired from January 18, 1944, to January 4, 1949. Ford Motors and Revere Cameras were the sponsors for the final season of the radio series on ABC from October 13, 1949, to May 4, 1950. Richard Crenna costarred on the series.

The series was so popular CBS developed a rival program Meet Corliss Archer featuring Janet Waldo, which also enjoyed a long run and proved to be equally successful.

➦In 1945.
..the 'Fitch Bandwagon Mysteries' starring Dick Powell as hardboiled detective Richard Rogue debuted as a summer replacement show on NBC radio.

The Fitch Bandwagon aired on NBC from 1938-1948. It was sponsored by the F.W. Fitch Shampoo Company, an Iowa-based manufacturer of hair care products. It aired on Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m.

The Fitch Bandwagon had three different incarnations over its decade on the radio.

Beginning with its premiere in fall 1938 through spring 1945, it was a bandstand style show. Freddy Martin, Jan Savitt, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, and other top bandleaders appeared and played popular tunes.

From fall 1945 through spring 1946, it was a musical variety show starring Cass Daley and co-starring Francis “Dink” Trout and Henry Russell. Popular bands performed between skits.

The Fitch Bandwagon is best remembered for its final two seasons, from fall 1946 through spring 1948, as a situation comedy show starring real-life husband and wife Phil Harris of The Jack Benny Program and movie star Alice Faye.

➦In 1960…One of radio's longest running soap operas, "The Romance of Helen Trent" ended.

The Romance of Helen Trent aired on CBS from October 30, 1933 to June 24, 1960 for a total of 7,222 episodes. The show was created by Frank and Anne Hummert, who were among the most prolific producers during the radio soap era.

The storyline revolved around a 35-year-old dressmaker who fascinates men as she works her way up to become the chief Hollywood costumer designer. Helen was played by three different actresses (Virginia Clark, Betty Ruth Smith and Julie Stevens). Virginia Clark did the role for 11 years, and Julie Stevens portrayed Helen for 16 years.

Stevens, who had recently finished playing the title role on the radio soap Kitty Foyle, was only 22 when she joined the cast. She continued in the role from 1944 to the show's cancellation in 1960.

Friday, June 23, 2023

New Population Estimates Highlight Increase in National Median Age

The nation’s median age increased by 0.2 years to 38.9 years between 2021 and 2022, according to Vintage 2022 Population Estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Median age is the age at which half of the population is older and half of the population is younger.

“As the nation’s median age creeps closer to 40, you can really see how the aging of baby boomers, and now their children — sometimes called echo boomers — is impacting the median age. The eldest of the echo boomers have started to reach or exceed the nation’s median age of 38.9,” said Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division. "While natural change nationally has been positive, as there have been more births than deaths, birth rates have gradually declined over the past two decades. Without a rapidly growing young population, the U.S. median age will likely continue its slow but steady rise.”

A third (17) of the states in the country had a median age above 40.0 in 2022, led by Maine with the highest at 44.8, and New Hampshire at 43.3. Utah (31.9), the District of Columbia (34.8), and Texas (35.5) had the lowest median ages in the nation. Hawaii had the largest increase in median age among states, up 0.4 years to 40.7.

No states experienced a decrease in median age. Four states — Alabama (39.4), Maine (44.8), Tennessee (39.1), West Virginia (42.8), and the District of Columbia (34.8) — had no change in their median age from 2021 to 2022.

The median age of the nation’s 3,144 counties or equivalents ranged from 20.9 to 68.1 in 2022. About 75% (2,357) had a median age at or above that of the nation, down from 76% and 2,374 counties in 2021. Roughly a quarter (787) had a median age below the national median age in 2022, 17 more than in 2021 when 770 counties had median ages under the then 38.7 national median age. Fifty-nine percent (1,846) of U.S. counties experienced an increase in median age between 2021 and 2022, up from 51% or 1,590 counties between 2020 and 2021.

In 2022, seven counties had median ages at or above 60: Highland County, Virginia (60.0); Charlotte County, Florida (60.2); Jefferson County, Washington (60.4); Harding County, New Mexico (60.5); Jeff Davis County, Texas (61.7); Catron County, New Mexico (62.1); and Sumter County, Florida (68.1). Of the counties with resident populations at or above 20,000, Jasper County, South Carolina, and Blaine County, Idaho, had the largest increases in median age between 2021 and 2022, both seeing their median age increase by 1 year to 46.3 and 45.9, respectively. Also notable: Barnstable County, Massachusetts, where the median age increased by 0.7 to 55.6 between 2021 and 2022.

FCC Nominee Backs Net Neutrality Regulations

On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a congressional hearing to consider nominations for the Federal Communications Commission. The commission has been at a 2-2 political standstill since 2021.

The hearing comes as the FCC reaches more than two and a half years with a two-two deadlock between Democrats and Republicans. Gigi Sohn, President Biden's first nominee for the fifth spot, withdrew from consideration in March following three Senate hearings.

The hearing offered no great surprises, nor a sense of when the Senate may vote on the nominees. But the nominees, and Senators, gave hints on where they stand on a range of topics relevant to the broadband industry, according to LightReading.

An issue set to come up for a vote before the Commission by the end of this year is rulemaking on digital discrimination. Congress in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) required the FCC to "adopt final rules to facilitate equal access to broadband internet access service" within two years. One topic up for debate, and an area of disagreement between the industry and consumer advocates, is whether the FCC should define digital discrimination as solely "intentional" – as preferred by the industry – versus defining it as practices that produce disparate outcomes, as encouraged by some advocacy groups.

Nominees being considered for the open seat on the FCC include Anna Gomez, a senior advisor for international information and communications policy in the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy; incumbent Brendan Carr, one of the two Republicans on the FCC, serving since 2017; and incumbent Geoffrey Starks, who has served on the commission since 2019. The Senate committee also is considering Fara Damelin to be the commission’s Inspector General.

Nominees were pressed on the matter from both sides, first by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who suggested the Biden FCC is "declaring that the Internet is racist" and asked nominees whether they think there must be "clear evidence of discriminatory motive" for companies to be guilty of digital discrimination.

TV Ratings: NBA Finals Game 5 Tops Prime-Time

ABC’s coverage of the 2023 NBA Finals averaged its smallest audience when held during its customary time since 2007, erasing the previous low set a year earlier.

The Denver Nuggets’ five-game victory over the Miami Heat averaged 11.65 million viewers, 5.5% less than the 12.38 million average for the Golden State Warriors’ six-game victory over the Boston Celtics in the 2022 Finals. The series average includes the “Stephen A’s World” alternate presentation of Game 1 on ESPN that averaged 544,000.

Denver’s title-clinching 94-89 victory June 12 averaged a series-high 13.08 million viewers, according to The L-A Times citing live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen. The previous high was 11.91 million for Miami’s 111-108 victory in Game 2 on Sunday, June 4.

ABC’s coverage of the 2023 NBA Finals averaged its smallest audience when held during its customary time since 2007, erasing the previous low set a year earlier.

The Denver Nuggets’ five-game victory over the Miami Heat averaged 11.65 million viewers, 5.5% less than the 12.38 million average for the Golden State Warriors’ six-game victory over the Boston Celtics in the 2022 Finals. The series average includes the “Stephen A’s World” alternate presentation of Game 1 on ESPN that averaged 544,000.

Denver’s title-clinching 94-89 victory June 12 averaged a series-high 13.08 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen on Wednesday. The previous high was 11.91 million for Miami’s 111-108 victory in Game 2 on Sunday, June 4.

The 2023 Finals consisted of two teams that did not match Golden State’s star power or Boston’s longtime national following. ABC has carried the NBA Finals since 2003.

The only other prime-time program between June 12 and Sunday to average more than 5 million viewers was NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which averaged 5.96 million viewers.

NBC was first for the week, averaging 3.79 million viewers, thanks in large measure to the 8.8-million average for its three-hour, nine-minute prime-time portion of Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at the Los Angeles Country Club.

ABC was second after back-to-back first-place finishes, averaging 3.61 million viewers. Its top-rated program outside the NBA Finals coverage was the 8 p.m. Thursday rerun of “Celebrity Family Feud,” which was sixth for the week, averaging 3.34 million viewers. CBS was third, averaging 2.59 million viewers. “60 Minutes” lead its ratings and was fourth for the week — second among non-sports programs — averaging 4.34 million viewers for an edition with three previously broadcast segments that were updated.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of Game 5 of the NBA Finals and its 32-minute pregame show; the NBC series “America’s Got Talent” and “American Ninja Warrior”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; reruns of eight CBS scripted series; episodes of five ABC alternative series and its news magazine, “20/20”; and the June 13 edition of the Fox News Channel political talk show “Hannity.”


The top rated prime-time cable program was “Hannity,” which averaged 2.87 million viewers, 19th overall, airing on June 13, the day former President Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 felony charges in connection with his handling of classified documents and alleged attempts to prevent the government from recovering them.

Fox News Channel won the cable network race, averaging 1.53 million viewers, and returned to first among cable news networks one week after MSNBC ended FNC’s 120-week streak. MSNBC was second, averaging 1.4 million and ESPN third, averaging 1.01 million. CNN finished seventh among cable networks, averaging 640,000 viewers.

Judge Judy Now The Streaming Queen

When Judge Judy Sheindlin ended her hit series, "Judge Judy," in 2021 after 25 years on the air, it seemed she was stepping down from the bench.

But that was far from the case. Instead, she shifted her signature courtroom style to Freevee, Amazon’s ad-supported streaming service, and launched her new series, "Judy Justice," later that year.

"We left on top, which is perfect," Sheindlin told People about the end of "Judge Judy." "Amazon had the confidence in me to say, 'Let's do it in streaming. Let's let you do your thing in a fresh version with new people.' And I'm excited!"

The show quickly became Freevee’s No. 1 original show with more than 150 million viewers over the past two years. The show also earned a second season renewal this year.

Now, Sheindlin has three additional shows coming out on Freevee, continuing to expand her courtroom empire and attempting to make stars out of several family members.

"Judge Judy appeals to audiences due to her ability to be straightforward, genuine and entertaining," Kathy Fielder, president and CEO of Kathy Fielder Design, told Fox News Digital. "She can be brutally honest, and just like reality TV, we know America loves a little, or a lot, of drama. She solves real cases in her courtroom, the cases themselves aren’t actors or scripted."

"What sets Judge Judy apart is not only her incredible ratings … but also her cultural impact. People are drawn to her authenticity and relatability. In a world of celebrities, viewers are craving something real, and Judge Judy delivers just that," said Dhomonique Murphy, founder of the Right Method.

6/23 WAKE-UP CALL: Doomed Crew Never Knew What Hit Them

A deep-sea submersible carrying five people on a voyage to the century-old wreck of the Titanic was found in pieces from a "catastrophic implosion" that killed everyone aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday, ending a multinational five-day search for the vessel. A robotic diving vehicle deployed from a Canadian ship discovered a debris field from the submersible Titan on Thursday morning on the seabed some 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic, 2 1/2 miles beneath the surface, in a remote corner of the North Atlantic, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger told reporters.

The doomed Titanic sub would have imploded and killed its crew so fast the five people aboard “never knew it happened,” an expert in submersibles told The Post. Expert Ofer Ketter said the implosion would occur within a millisecond, if not a nanosecond, if something breached the hull of the vessel to cause a loss in pressure.

Debris that rescuers found near the Titanic shipwreck in the North Atlantic was “consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber” of the OceanGate Expeditions craft, according to the Coast Guard. The men aboard the Titan submersible, which was on a trip to the Titanic wreck, were OceanGate founder and CEO Stockton Rush; Paul-Henry Nargeolet, considered a leading authority on the Titanic; Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, members of one of Pakistan’s richest families; and British aviator and explorer Hamish Harding. Even before the debris field was discovered, hopes of finding the group alive had dimmed due to the difficulties involved in finding and retrieving the submersible and the limited oxygen supply on board.

➤NAVY DETECTED SOUND OF IMPLOSION: A top secret military acoustic detection system designed to spot enemy submarines first heard what the U.S. Navy suspected was the Titan submersible implosion hours after the vehicle began its mission, officials involved in the search said. The Navy began listening for the Titan almost as soon as the sub lost communications, according to a U.S. defense official. Shortly after the submersible’s disappearance Sunday, the U.S. system detected what it suspected was the sound of an implosion near the debris site discovered Thursday and reported its findings to the commander on site, U.S. defense officials said. “The U.S. Navy conducted an analysis of acoustic data and detected an anomaly consistent with an implosion or explosion in the general vicinity of where the Titan submersible was operating when communications were lost,” a senior U.S. Navy official told The Wall Street Journal in a statement. “While not definitive, this information was immediately shared with the Incident Commander to assist with the ongoing search and rescue mission.” The Navy asked that the specific system used not be named, citing national security concerns.

Canada Forces Google, Facebook to Pay For News LInks

 The Canadian Parliament has passed a law that will require technology companies to pay domestic news outlets for linking to their articles, prompting the owner of Facebook and Instagram to say that it would pull news articles from both platforms in the country.

The NY Times reports the law, passed on Thursday, is the latest salvo in a push by governments around the world to force big companies like Google and Facebook to pay for news that they share on their platforms — a campaign that the companies have resisted at virtually every turn.

With some caveats, the new Canadian law would force search engines and social media companies to engage in a bargaining process — and binding arbitration, if necessary — for licensing news content for their use.

The law, the Online News Act, was modeled after a similar one that passed in Australia two years ago. It was designed to “enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news marketplace and contribute to its sustainability,” according to an official summary. Exactly when the law would take effect was not immediately clear as of Friday morning.

Soros Management Among Groups Acquiring Vice Media

Vice Media is set to be acquired by a group of its lenders including Fortress Investment Group and Soros Fund Management, capping off a sale process for a once thriving digital-media company that failed in a difficult environment for publishers.

The Wall Street Journal reports a group of Vice Media’s lenders led by Fortress and Soros offered $225 million to take over the company, which filed for bankruptcy last month. On Thursday, Vice filed a notice of an amended bid from the lender group that showed its takeover would value the company at $350 million.

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Vice was soliciting outside bids, but no offers that the company considered superior emerged, the company’s co-chief executives said.

“While we received multiple bids for the company, none of the other bids rose to the level of being deemed a superior bid,” Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala, Vice’s co-CEOs, said Thursday. 

The winning bid needs to be approved by a bankruptcy court. Vice is scheduled to have a hearing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York on Friday about its sale to Fortress and Soros.

Disney's Woke Diversity Chief Walks

Walt Disney Company Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Latondra Newton will be leaving her position, reports Fox Business. 

"I'm writing to share the news that Latondra Newton has decided to leave The Walt Disney Company to pursue other endeavors," an employee value proposition and chief human resources officer said in an internal company note obtained by FOX Business. "Latondra has led the company’s strategic diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including partnering with stakeholders across the enterprise to amplify stories of the world by people around the world."

"[Newton] has been dedicated to ensuring every person sees themselves and their life experiences represented in a meaningful and authentic way," the memo continued. "I know you all join me in thanking Latondra for her many contributions, including the lasting impact she has had on our employees and our culture."

Newton has been with the company since 2017 and has led Disney's diversity, equity and inclusion programs for six years. 

Disney's diversity initiatives, under Newton's leadership, have proved divisive as the company has sought to position itself as a progressive and inclusive company.

Last year, Disney axed gendered language such as "boys and girls" in their park greetings to promote gender inclusivity.

The company began a public feud with the Republican Party after Disney CEO Bob Chapek took a stand against a Florida bill that prohibits teachers from providing instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade classrooms.

Media Coverage of Titanic Submersible Tragedy Criticized

As news came in this week of the missing OceanGate submersive — a tragedy that led to its five passengers’ presumed death Thursday, per an official statement from the Coast Guard — many online became critical of mainstream media’s emphasis on the tourist attraction’s fatalities in comparison to another tragedy at sea that unfolded just days before: the migrant shipwreck in the Mediterranean that led to hundreds of lives lost.

According to TheWRAP, Many took to social media and accused the 24/7 news cycle of catering more airtime to the Titanic submersible than they were to the hundreds of shipwrecked Egyptian, Pakistani, Syrian and Palestinian migrants off the coast of Greece while en route to Italy. Only 104 passengers survived the June 14 wreckage and over 500 remain missing.

“The role PR and journalism are playing in multiple countries deciding to come together to save billionaires on #OceanGate, while hundreds of migrants drowned, is sickening,” one Twitter user wrote on Thursday, just hours before the U.S. Coast Guard announced it believed the vessel’s passengers died following an implosion and confirmed sub debris. 

Reports of the migrant shipwreck began June 15, and the submersive was declared missing on June 18. While both events mark historic tragedies, many online raised concern that they were not given comparable news coverage in the following days. The debate picked up speed and was trending on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Although I am also guilty of paying close attention to the #OceanGate tragedy, I think it’s important to recognize the bias in our media,” said one Twitter user. Another pointed out the apparent imbalance of resources given to the group of men on the submersive compared to the hundreds of migrants. 

“Why did this Titanic OceanGate receive this much media coverage and global aid? Are the lives of the ridiculously wealthy more valued?,” they questioned.  

2023 Kennedy Center Honorees Unveiled

Dionne Warwick (from left), Barry Gibb, Queen Latifah, Billy Crystal and Renée Fleming

The recipients of the 46th Kennedy Center Honors have been announced.

The award for lifetime artistic achievement will recognize actor and comedian Billy Crystal; celebrated soprano Renée Fleming; singer-songwriter and Bee Gees band member Barry Gibb; actress, singer and rapper Queen Latifah; and singer Dionne Warwick.

NPR reports Queen Latifah said she was beyond grateful for the recognition. "When we started on this journey decades ago, we were often told 'No.' No, you won't be able to leave New Jersey. No, if you rap you can't sing. No, singers can't become actresses. No, actors can't also produce," she said in a statement. "To now be recognized amongst so many multi-hyphenates feels unbelievable, not for just me and my team, but for our community."

Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said in a statement that the honorees each "explored new terrain, stretched artistic boundaries, and most importantly, committed to sharing their gifts with the world."

June 23 Radio History

➦In 1891...Nikola Tesla granted patent 454,622 for the coupled tuned circuit radio-frequency oscillator.

Nikola Tesla
Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before emigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla for a short time as a consultant. His work in the formative years of electric power development was also involved in the corporate struggle between making alternating current or direct current the power transmission standard, referred to as the war of currents.

Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. He tried to put these ideas to practical use in his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission; his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project.

In his lab he also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillator/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He even built a wireless controlled boat which may have been the first such device ever exhibited.

Tesla was renowned for his achievements and showmanship, eventually earning him a reputation in popular culture as an archetypal "mad scientist." His patents earned him a considerable amount of money, much of which was used to finance his own projects with varying degrees of success.  He lived most of his life in a series of New York hotels, through his retirement. He died on 7 January 1943.

Tesla's work fell into relative obscurity after his death, but has experienced a resurgence in interest in popular culture since the 1990s.

Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone
➦In 1905...Mary Livingstone was born Sadye Marks in Seattle.  She was the wife and radio partner of comedian Jack Benny.  They married in 1927, and she joined him in some of his vaudeville routines, though she suffered attacks of stage fright.  The affliction continued when they moved into radio beginning in 1932.  In the mid 1950’s, at the height of his popularity she retired from show business, but lived another thirty years.  She died from cardiovascular disease June 30 1983 at age 74.

Edward P. Morgan 1954
➦In 1910...Edward P Morgan born (Died  – January 27, 1993) was a journalist and writer who reported for newspapers, radio, and television media services including ABC, CBS networks, and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

A native of Walla Walla, Washington, Morgan began his news career with The Seattle Star in 1932. He worked in print journalism for two decades, for United Press International, The Chicago Daily News, and Collier's Weekly before joining CBS as a radio and TV reporter.

From 1955 to 1967, Morgan broadcast an evening radio program of news and commentary, "Edward P. Morgan and the News," that won him the George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's most venerable honor, in 1956.

In 1956, Morgan was based in New York City and working for the ABC Radio Network. He broadcast a professional news report of the collision of the ocean liners S.S. Andrea Doria and S.S. Stockholm off the Massachusetts coast, not telling listeners that his 14-year-old daughter had been aboard the Andrea Doria and was believed to have been killed.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Chicago Radio: Dash Joins B96, Line-Up Tweaked

Audacy has announced a new weekday lineup for B96 (WBBM-FM) in Chicago, effective June 29. 

The station welcomes Dash (Jordan Orman-Weiss) as afternoon drive host. Dash will be heard weekdays from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. CT.

“We are so thrilled to welcome Dash to the B96 family,” said Molly Cruz, Brand Manager, B96. “As a lifelong Chicagoan, Dash has an authentic love for his city and a deep appreciation of the legendary B96. This new chapter feels like a perfect fit.”

“When my mother would let us take control of the radio dial growing up, we would always spin it down to B96,” said Dash. “It was and still is the cool station. To be from Chicago and now get an afternoon show on a station I've grown up loving…I'm living my dream. Under the leadership and talent that are Molly Cruz and Greg Solk, I know we can create an electric afternoon show listeners won't want to miss!”

Dash joins B96 from Hubbard's WTMX Chicago, where he has been doing nights for the past three years. He also previously served as a Social Media Manager for Second City and on-air talent and Producer for WSHE-FM in Chicago.

The new weekday lineup is as follows.
  • 5:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. CT: “The Morning Mess”
  • 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. CT: Julia Lepidi
  • 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. CT: Dash
  • 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. CT: Bru
đŸ“»Listeners can tune in to B96 (WBBM-FM) on air in Chicago and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

FNC's Bret Baier Trump Interview Scored 2.6M Viewers

Bret Baier’s interview with former President Donald Trump drew an audience of 2.6 million viewers Monday night, making Special Report with Bret Baier the highest-rated show in cable news among viewers 25-54, the key demographic valued by advertisers. The show finished second overall among total viewers—up 50 percent from its average for the month of June.

Forbes reports the interview drew intense interest, as Baier confronted Trump with his election lies about the 2020 presidential election—when Trump insisted that he won re-election, Baier told Trump “you lost the 2020 election.”

Baier also pressed Trump on his time in the White House, why so many of the people he hired to work in his administration had become fierce critics, and how he thought he could bring independent voters to support him given his legal woes, including the federal case accusing Trump of mishandling government documents.

Asked about the documents and why Trump hadn’t simply returned them when he was asked to, the former president said he was “too busy.” The only way the National Archives could get documents back, he said, would be to say “please, please, please, could we have it back?”

Boosted by the Trump interview, which was covered extensively on Fox and the other cable news networks, Fox News Channel won in prime time Monday night, with an average audience of 1.9 million viewers, and 235,000 viewers in the key demo. FNC’s The Five was the highest rated show in cable news among total viewers, with an audience of 2.8 million viewers.

CBS Reporter Talks About His Time Aboard The Titan Submersible

A CBS reporter who last year rode the Titan submersible that vanished off the coast of Canada this week with five people inside told USA TODAY parts of the vessel seemed "less sophisticated" and described the safety features meant to avoid a crisis like the one it's currently facing.

"I was anticipating a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I got it," CBS correspondent David Pogue told USA TODAY's "5 Things" podcast.

Pogue boarded submersible for a CBS report that aired in November alongside OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who is among the five missing passengers on the voyage to tour the wreckage of the Titanic.

Pogue's account has drawn attention not just because it's a rare first-hand look at the experience of being in a submersible, but because of the snags it hit along the way. Pogue told USA TODAY on Tuesday afternoon that the Titan got "lost" for a few hours and couldn't find the wreckage of the Titanic during one of the dives on that trip, but unlike the current situation, it never lost all communication with crews on the surface.

His report also highlighted some of the "jerry-rigged" parts helping the vessel operate.

"There were parts of it that seemed to me to be less sophisticated than I was guessing. You drive it with a PlayStation video controller... some of the ballasts are old, rusty construction pipes," Pogue told USA TODAY. "There were certain things that looked like cut corners."

In a tweet of the report, Pogue linked to video of himself describing the submarine as having as much room as a minivan. Pogue said the vessel was the only five-person sub that could reach Titanic depths.

Rush, CEO of the company that owns the submersible, argued against the description of the Titan as being "MacGyvery" in the CBS report.

Report: ESPN Radio Pulls Plug On Morning Show

ESPN is scrapping its national morning radio show featuring Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Max Kellerman, The NY Post is reporting.

This is part of the restructuring of the company that will include significant on-air layoffs as early as next week, according to sources.

It doesn’t mean that Johnson, Williams or Kellerman will be let go, though Kellerman is in jeopardy as a big-money guy who now is going to be out on radio and has “The Pat McAfee Show” this fall moving into the same time slot as Kellerman’s TV program, “This Just In”

ESPN signed Johnson to a four-year contract worth around $18 million last year, according to sources.

As part of the upcoming layoffs, ESPN is expected to buy out some deals.  This is a corporate way of reducing numbers on the books, while still actually paying people the money they are owed.

ESPN could do that, which could grant Johnson free agency and make him a possible sparring partner for Skip Bayless as a replacement for Shannon Sharpe on FS1’s “Undisputed." Johnson lives in Los Angeles, where Fox Sports is located.

ESPN and Johnson would have to negotiate an agreement to allow this possibility to fully play out.

ESPN could also choose to expand Johnson’s NFL role, especially with “Monday Night Countdown” expected to be hit by layoffs.

Johnson is already a regular on ESPN’s daily program, “NFL Live.”