Saturday, July 1, 2023

Happy 247th Birthday America

The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

The Declaration announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

The Lee Resolution for independence was passed on July 2 with no opposing votes. The Committee of Five had drafted the Declaration to be ready when Congress voted on independence. John Adams, a leader in pushing for independence, had persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document, which Congress edited to produce the final version.

The Declaration was a formal explanation of why Congress had voted to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America" – although Independence Day is actually celebrated on July 4, the date that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved.

Having served its original purpose in announcing independence, references to the text of the Declaration were few in the following years. Abraham Lincoln made it the centerpiece of his policies and his rhetoric, as in the Gettysburg Address of 1863. Since then, it has become a well-known statement on human rights, particularly its second sentence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

This has been called "one of the best-known sentences in the English language", containing "the most potent and consequential words in American history".

R.I.P.: Dick Biondi, Hall of Fame Radio Personality

Dick Biondi (1933-2023)

Legendary Chicago rock disc jockey and personality Richard “Dick” Biondi died early last week, WLS-AM 890 announced in Facebook Saturday night. He was 90.

A native of upstate New York, Biondi spent much of his storied 67-year career in Chicago on stations including WLS, WCFL WMAQ, WBBM and WJMK.

He is credited as one of the earliest radio DJs to play rock music on American airwaves, when the music form was still considered controversial.

July 4 Radio History

➦In 1776...US Congress proclaimed the Declaration of Independence and independence from Great Britain.

➦In 1884...Attorney and radio station manager George W. Trendle was born in Norwalk Ohio. He became co-owner/manager of Detroit radio station WXYZ, and oversaw the creation and development of three classic action/adventure radio series aimed at young audiences, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet and Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, all of which later made a transition to TV.  An avowed penny-pincher, Trendle insisted that the music used on these shows be classical, to avoid paying royalty fees. He died May 10 1972 at age 87.

George W. Trendle
During the 1920s, George W. Trendle had established a reputation as a tough negotiator specializing in movie contracts and leases. Trendle became involved in the Detroit area entertainment business in 1928 when local motion picture theater owner John H. Kunsky offered Trendle 25 percent ownership in exchange for his services.

Trendle and Kunsky formed the Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company in 1929 after purchasing Detroit radio station WGHP. The radio station's call letters were changed to WXYZ.

Trendle was the president and Kunsky was the vice president of the company. Trendle was active as the station manager. Kunsky is rarely mentioned except as co-owner.

WXYZ was initially affiliated with the Columbia Broadcasting System but became an independent station within a year. (WXYZ is now WXYT Detroit)  Trendle's partner, Kunsky, legally changed his name to King in 1936, and the Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company became the King-Trendle Broadcasting Company. WXYZ improved its technical facilities through the 1930s, expanding its studios, raising its daytime power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts in the late 1930s, and increasing nighttime power to 5,000 watts in time for its mandated 1941 move from 1240 to 1270 kHz under the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement.

In 1931, Kunsky-Trendle acquired WASH and WOOD in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The two stations merged facilities, including studios and transmitters, but retained both station licenses. WASH was on the air from 8 a.m. to noon, and WOOD from noon to midnight. WOOD-WASH became an NBC Red affiliate in 1935. King and Trendle decided to drop the WASH license in 1942, keeping the WOOD identification.

In 1946, the newly formed American Broadcasting Company purchased the King-Trendle Broadcasting Company and its radio stations for $3.65 million. This sale was for the broadcast facilities (including WOOD, WXYZ, and the Michigan Regional Network) and a construction permit for what would later become WXYZ-TV (channel 7) but did not include ownership of Trendle's radio programs. The FCC approved ABC's purchase on July 18, 1946. In 1952, Paramount Theaters (owners of Kunsky and Trendle's former chain of Detroit area theaters) acquired ABC, including WXYZ. WXYZ (now using the call sign WXYT) is today owned by CBS, the network Trendle dropped shortly after taking over the station.

Trendle entered into a new partnership with long term business associates H. Allen Campbell and Raymond Meurer. The Trendle-Campbell Broadcasting Company was formed in 1946 and started radio station WTCB in Flint, Michigan. The new radio station went on the air April 26, 1946, with a four-tower 1000-watt broadcast array. The call letters were later changed to WTAC. In 1953, they added UHF television station WTAC-TV affiliated with ABC-TV and DuMont. The TV station went out of business less than a year later because too few TVs at the time were equipped to receive UHF channels. The radio station has changed owners several times and its call sign was changed to WSNL in 1997. The station is currently owned by The Christian Broadcasting System. Three of the four towers were demolished in 2003 to make room for redevelopment of the site. The fourth tower was removed in 2004 after new transmitting facilities were completed in Gaines Township, southwest of Flint.

Penny pinching

The Kunsky-Trendle business venture began at the start of the Great Depression, and Trendle took many cost-cutting moves that earned him a reputation as a penny-pincher. According to Dick Osgood in his book Wyxie Wonderland: An Unauthorized 50-Year Diary of WXYZ Detroit, he was assisted by H. Allen Campbell.

Campbell was an advertising salesman for the Hearst organization whom Trendle hired to find sponsors for his radio programs. Campbell is credited with signing Silvercup Bread as the first sponsor for the Lone Ranger series. This was a big account and helped to bring the show to nationwide syndication. Apparently, Campbell's contributions to the business were significant. He continued working for Trendle for the next twenty years and eventually became one of Trendle's business partners.

Campbell reportedly kept a set of books to show employees that the company was losing money and could not afford to pay higher salaries. Trendle and Campbell often responded to employee requests for salary increases by downplaying their value to the company and threatening to fire them. This threat was particularly effective during the Depression.

Trendle specified the music on WXYZ shows should be non-copyrighted classical so that the music was royalty-free. This is the reason that the William Tell Overture was adopted as the Lone Ranger theme and The Flight of the Bumble Bee became the theme for the Green Hornet show.

New programming

Fran Striker
In June 1932, Trendle decided to drop the network affiliation to operate WXYZ as an independent station. His station would produce its own radio drama series and broadcast locally produced music programs rather than pay for syndicated programs. Jim Jewell was hired as the station's dramatic director and supplied the actors from his own repertory company, the "Jewell Players." Freelance radio writer Fran Striker was hired to write many of these programs. The earliest dramatic radio series included Thrills of the Secret Service, Dr. Fang, and Warner Lester, Manhunter. Striker wrote many of the scripts and eventually became head of WXYZ's script department.

Late in 1932, Trendle began discussing ideas to create a new radio series with a cowboy as the hero. He wanted a mysterious hero who would have the same type of appeal as Zorro or Robin Hood. The target audience included children, so Trendle insisted on a wholesome hero with high moral standards. Trendle worked out the basic concept of a masked vigilante, a lone Texas ranger with a big white horse, in staff meetings with Jim Jewell and studio manager Harold True. Then it was turned over to Fran Striker to flesh out the details and provide the scripts. His contributions included silver bullets and an Indian companion. The result was The Lone Ranger, which began broadcasting January 30, 1933, on WXYZ and the seven other stations of the Michigan Regional Network.

Fred Foy (far right) during a broadcast of THE LONE RANGER at WXYZ, Detroit. At left are  John Todd (Tonto) and Brace Beemer (the Lone Ranger)

The Lone Ranger was an almost immediate hit. In May, a free popgun was offered to the first 300 listeners to send a written request; the station received nearly 25,000 replies. In July, the Lone Ranger made a public appearance at a park and a crowd estimated at 70,000 gathered.

By the beginning of 1934, the show was syndicated to WGN, Chicago, and WOR, Newark. Other stations soon followed. The live broadcasts were transmitted over telephone lines to the other stations. When the Mutual Broadcasting System was created in 1934, WXYZ became a charter member and the Lone Ranger program was featured on the Mutual Network. Although WXYZ dropped out to join NBC Blue about a year later, contractual obligations kept The Lone Ranger on Mutual until 1942, during this period The Lone Ranger was produced at WXYZ but heard in the Detroit area over Mutual's new affiliate, CKLW. It then switched to the NBC Blue Network, which became ABC in 1943. The popularity of the series rapidly grew and it was eventually heard on 249 radio stations nationwide.

➦In 1913...Radio, TV personality Virginia Graham was born in Chicago.

In the 1940’s she wrote scripts for such radio soap operas as Stella Dallas, Our Gal Sunday, and Backstage Wife. She hosted her first radio talk show in 1951. She succeeded Margaret Truman in 1956 as co-host of the NBC radio show Weekday, teamed with Mike Wallace. She was hostess of TV talk shows from the 50’s to the 70’s that are considered forerunners to today’s daytime TV. She was best known for the nationally syndicated ‘Girl Talk’ on ABC from 1963-1969, ‘The Virginia Graham Show’ from 1970-1972, and guesting on other talk shows, including a dozen appearances on ‘The Tonight Show.’

She died following a heart attack Dec 22, 1998 at age 85.

➦In 1916...the woman tried for treason after WW II as notorious broadcaster Tokyo Rose, Iva Toguri D’Aquino was born in Los Angeles.  She was one of at least a dozen women who did Japanese propaganda broadcasts from Radio Tokyo.   The post-war trial convicted her on just one innoquous charge not involving treason, while she claimed to have subtly subverted the Japanese war effort, and was eventually pardoned by President Ford.  She died Sept. 26 2006 at age 90.

➦In 1929...WOWO-AM, Fort Wayne, Indiana lost its transmitter due to a fire.

WOWO resumed broadcasting the next day, as operations were moved across the street until damages could be repaired. In November 1929, the station held a grand opening of the rebuilt studios.

➦In 1958...WKBW 1520 AM, Buffalo, changed its format to "Top 40".

July 3 Radio History

➦In 1913...Dorothy Mae Kilgallen born (Died – November 8, 1965). She was a journalist, radio host  and television game show panelist.

She started her career shortly before her 18th birthday as a reporter for the Hearst Corporation's New York Evening Journal. In 1938, she began her newspaper column "The Voice of Broadway", which eventually was syndicated to more than 140 papers. In 1950, she became a regular panelist on the television game show What's My Line?, continuing in the role until her death.

Kilgallen's columns featured mostly show business news and gossip, but ventured into other topics, such as politics and organized crime. She wrote front-page articles on the Sam Sheppard trial and later the John F. Kennedy assassination.

July 2 Radio History

➦In 1916...Radio personality Barry Gray born Bernard Yaroslaw (Died  – December 21, 1996). He is considered "The Father of Talk Radio".

Barry Gray
Initially a disc jockey (a role he portrayed in the 1949 short subject Spin That Splatter), Gray was working for New York's WMCA radio station in 1945 when he, bored one evening with simply spinning music, decided to put the telephone receiver up to his microphone and share his conversation with the listening audience. The caller that evening just happened to be bandleader Woody Herman, one of the most popular celebrities of the day. This spontaneous live interview was such a hit with both his listeners as well as station bosses, that the talk radio format resulted. Gray subsequently began doing listener call-ins as well.

Rival station WOR also saw the attraction of the talk format, and Gray worked an overnight shift there from 1945 to 1948 or 1949.  He also broadcast for WMGM from the Copacabana night club in the late 1940s.  In addition during 1947 he hosted the New York-based show Scout About Town for the Mutual Broadcasting System.

Gray also pioneered in early television, first as the host of The Barry Gray Show on New York's WOR-TV when Channel 9 went on the air in 1949, then more visibly as host of the first Goodson and Todman game show Winner Take All, replacing Bud Collyer in 1951.

In 2002, industry publication Talkers magazine selected Barry Gray as the 8th greatest radio talk show host of all time.  Beginning in 1950 he ran for 39 straight years late-night on WMCA, then moved to WOR until his death Dec. 21 1996 at age 80.

ESPN NFL Coverage, Radio Take The Biggest Hits

Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, Max Kellerman

Jeff Van Gundy, Suzy Kolber, Jalen Rose and Steve Young are among roughly 20 ESPN commentators and reporters who were laid off on Friday as part of job cuts by the network, according to AP News and many media reports.

ESPN had planned this additional round involving on-air talent to prevent further reductions to off-air staff after two rounds of mandated cuts by its corporate owner, the Walt Disney Company.  CEO Bob Iger announced in February that the company would reduce 7,000 jobs either through not filling positions or layoffs.

Friday’s announcement resembled what happened in April of 2017, when reporters and hosts were informed at one time that they would no longer be on the air.

“Given the current environment, ESPN has determined it necessary to identify some additional cost savings in the area of public-facing commentator salaries, and that process has begun. This exercise will include a small group of job cuts in the short-term and an ongoing focus on managing costs when we negotiate individual contract renewals in the months ahead,” ESPN said in a statement. “This is an extremely challenging process, involving individuals who have had tremendous impact on our company. These difficult decisions, based more on overall efficiency than merit, will help us meet our financial targets and ensure future growth.”

  • Van Gundy had been the network’s top NBA analyst since 2007 and recently completed calling a record 17th NBA Finals.
  • Suzy Kolber
    Kolber was a longtime ESPN veteran, including being the co-host of a nightly show when ESPN2 debuted in 1993. She was also the host of ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” show. “Today I join the many hard-working colleagues who have been laid off. Heartbreaking-but 27 years at ESPN was a good run. So grateful for a 38 yr career! Longevity for a woman in this business is something I’m especially proud of,” Kolber said on social media.
  • Rose had also been with ESPN since 2007. He was mainly part of the NBA studio shows but also did a radio show for 11 years and was a co-host when Mike Greenberg’s “Get Up” morning show premiered in 2018.
  • Longtime draft analyst Todd McShay, who also contributed to college football coverage, and analyst Matt Hasselbeck were also laid off.
  • ESPN Radio’s morning show team of Max Kellerman and Keyshawn Johnson as well as afternoon host Jason Fitz were also affected. Kellerman also did an afternoon show on ESPN, but that was unlikely to continue after Pat McAfee signed to bring his show to the network’s airwaves in the fall.

Others include “SportsCenter” anchor Ashley Brewer, college basketball analyst LaPhonso Ellis and baseball writer Joon Lee.

Philly Radio: WMGK's John DeBella Signs-Off

John DeBella, morning host of "The John DeBella Show" on Philadelphia’s 102.9 WMGK, retired Friday after a 48-year-long career in radio.

Of those 48 years, DeBella has spent 41 years working in Philadelphia, and 21 at his home station of WMGK, becoming a familiar voice to local audiences.

"I consider myself a Philadelphian because I’ve lived here much longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. I think my greatest asset is that I just get the audience," DeBella said. 

John has been synonymous with Philadelphia radio entertainment for 4 decades. John has served as the Morning Host of WMGK-FM for the past 21 years. He was also a major force, doing mornings from 1982 to 1993 on sister station, 93.3 WMMR-FM.

John DeBella is one of the originators of The Morning Zoo format. His morning show became an unprecedented number-one-rated show in Philadelphia. It achieved the highest ratings in local radio history at that time.

In addition to DeBella’s nationally honored radio career, he is a local EMMY award-winning host & producer. Also, he has co-anchored the Philadelphia Mummers Parade and has won numerous local service and humanitarian awards. In June of 2023, DeBella was named among the finalists for the National Radio Hall of Fame. He was officially inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame this past April.

NYC Radio: WFAN's Craig Carton Exits Radio...For Now

Craig Carton had one professional concern above all others when he returned to WFAN in 2020 after three years away — one of which he spent in prison.

“My single biggest fear was, I could do the greatest radio show I’ve ever done, but does anybody want to hear it?” Carton told Newsday on Friday in a telephone interview en route to his final show at the station.

“Are they willing to listen to it? Are they willing to view me in the same way they viewed me before I got in trouble? In pretty quick order, we learned that the audience was there.”

Carton and his new partner, Evan Roberts, quickly became a hit in the ratings.

“I do take great pride in that, that I was able to do it in morning drive and then do it again in afternoon drive at such a special radio station in New York City,” Carton said.

After nine months of working two jobs — mornings on FS1 and afternoons on WFAN — Carton opted to stick with the former and give up the latter for the sake of a saner lifestyle and quality time with his family, including four children ages 12 to 22.

His recent schedule was unsustainable, but leaving WFAN still was an emotional decision.

SAG-AFTRA Strike Averted For Now

SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood’s biggest union, has agreed to extend negotiations with the studios to allow more time for the two sides to hash out an agreement that could avert a second industry strike, reports The L-A Times.

Hollywood writers have been on strike since May 2, and many have predicted actors would join them on the picket lines.

SAG-AFTRA members had already voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing their leaders to call a walkout as early as Saturday if no deal was reached. The current three-year film and TV contract expires at 11:59 p.m. on June 30.

Fox Settles With Fired Former Producer For $12M

Fox Corp has settled for $12 million a lawsuit by former Fox News producer Abby Grossberg, who had claimed gender discrimination and accused the network's lawyers of pressuring her to make misleading statements in the Dominion Voting Systems case, her lawyer Tanvir Rahman said on Friday.

Reuters reports the deal follows Fox's April 18 agreement to pay Dominion $787.5 million to settle the voting-technology company's defamation suit in Delaware.

A week later, on April 25, Fox announced that it had parted ways with Tucker Carlson, the conservative host whom Dominion had accused of allowing debunked election-fraud claims about the firm to air on his show, while casting doubt on the plausibility of those claims in private messages that emerged in legal filings.

Cable TV Ratings: Fox News Dominates The Top 10

Fox News finished No. 2 in total primetime viewers for the week of June 19, 2023, finishing behind only ESPN, which earned a boost from the College World Series, according to TV Newser

FNC’s 1.53 million viewer average in primetime is -2% from the week prior (June 12, 2023), but its 160,000 average in the primetime demo is +5% from the week before. In addition to finishing No. 2 on basic cable in total primetime viewers, Fox News ranked No. 11 in the primetime demo.

MSNBC, on the other hand, saw its two-week streak as the top-rated cable news network among Adults 25-54 in primetime come to an end.

Disney Accused Of Systematically Paying Women Less

Walt Disney has been accused of systematically underpaying women in California in a lawsuit that alleges the company's female employees in the state earned $150 million less than their male counterparts over an eight year period.

Reuters reports the Friday filing in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeks to persuade the judge to certify a four-year-old civil suit as a class action, covering some 12,500 current or former fulltime female Disney employees who held positions below the level of vice president.

An analysis of Disney's human resource data from April 2015 through December 2022 has found female Disney employees were paid roughly 2% less than male counterparts, the filing said. It was conducted by David Neumark, a University of California Irvine professor and labor economist.

Disney disputes the findings.

"The plaintiffs' assertions about an alleged pay gap between women and men are simply false, which we will demonstrate through the litigation," said Shawna M. Swanson, associate general counsel and head of the employment law function for Disney.

The original suit was filed by LaRonda Rasmussen in 2019, after she learned that six men with the same job title earned substantially more, including one recent hire with several years less experience, who earned $20,000 more, according to the complaint. Nine current or past Disney employees have joined the suit.

Twitter Now Requires An Account To View Tweets

Twitter will now require users to have an account on the social media platform to view tweets, a move that owner Elon Musk on Friday called a "temporary emergency measure".

Users who try to view content on the platform will be asked to sign up for an account or log into an exiting account to see their favorite tweets.

"We were getting data pillaged so much that it was degrading service for normal users!" Musk said in a tweet.

Baltimore Radio: MASN Bolsters Orioles Broadcasts

Mid-Atlantic Sports Network bolstered its Orioles broadcasts with the announced additions of two former Orioles and one local radio personality to the network’s in-game television experience.

For select games, the broadcast will include former outfielder Mike Devereaux and pitcher Brad Brach, the former an Orioles Hall of Fame member and the latter having earned his lone All-Star appearance as a member of the Orioles in 2016. Jason La Canfora, who hosts “Inside Access” on 105.7 WJZ-FM, is also joining.

Devereaux and Brach will serve as secondary analysts in the booth for select games, alongside Ben McDonald or Jim Palmer, each of whom is a former Orioles pitchers.

Spotify Mulls Full-Length Music Videos On App

Spotify might soon let you watch music, not just listen to it. Bloomberg sources claim the streaming service is mulling the addition of full-length music videos to its app. The company is reportedly talking to potential partners, but it's not clear who would support the feature or when it might arrive. Spotify has already declined to comment.

Video on Spotify is currently limited to podcasts, 30-second storytelling clips (to help artists talk about their work) and 10-second GIFs that loop while you listen to a given song. The media giant launched a TikTok-like home feed in March, but it's meant more for discovering music and podcasts than video viewing. The company tried using TV content several years ago, such as clips from Comedy Central and ESPN, but it didn't gain much traction.

The concept isn't novel for streaming music services. Apple Music has had music videos for years. Spotify's addition would help it match Apple, though, and might lure audiences who would otherwise watch the videos on YouTube. It would also add content to the new feed and help Spotify draw musically-inclined viewers from social networks like Instagram and TikTok.

Music videos don't generate much direct revenue by themselves. YouTube gives creators a 55 percent share of ad revenue, which on average amounts to $18 per 1,000 views. Artists, labels and others involved then have to split that small amount. The clips supplement audio income, though, and potentially improve exposure for musicians.

There's pressure to find new sources of income, too. Spotify laid off a significant portion of its staff earlier this year, including 200 in its podcast team, as it grappled with both a rough global economy and business missteps. Music videos could improve the company's finances without requiring a large production team, as is the case with podcasts.

NY State Radio: Media One Launches Oldies On WKZA-FM

Jamestown NY listeners wanting a stronger, clearer signal for oldies music will get that wish beginning July 1 as Media One Radio Group‘s WKSN 1340 AM will move to an enhanced music playlist of the 60’s, and 70’s to 106.9 FM WKZA.

In honor of WKZA’s long established “Kiss” brand, by which it has been known since going on the air in 2000, and in addition to the fact WKSN has gone by the “Kissin’” brand for most of its 76 years on the air, the new station will be branded as “Kissin’ Oldies 106.9” according to Media One Radio Group’s General Manager, Andrew Hill.

“We have a deep respect for the radio history in this community and have wanted to broadcast the fun sound of “Kissin’ to a larger audience than our AM signal has been able to provide.” says Hill. 

“After months of research and feedback from listener groups and the business community we’ve recognized the areas beyond Jamestown need a station that services the wants of a powerful Baby Boomer population.“ 

FOX News Media’s Independence Day Celebration to Feature Veterans

In honor of Independence Day, Fox News Media will air its annual Proud American series, featuring “an array of patriotic-themed programming” that highlight stories of American patriotism, including those of U.S. military veterans.

America Military News reports the programming, presented by Tunnel to Towers and Prevagen, will kick off on Sunday with Johnny Joey Jones, veteran and author of Fox News Books’ newest title “Unbroken Bonds of Battle.” Jones will join co-hosts Will Cain and Rachel Campos-Duffy on Fox & Friends Weekend.

Jones, Cain and Campos-Duffy will also co-host Fox & Friends on Tuesday, July 4, when they will be joined by members of the military, including retired Navy Seal and co-founder of Legacy Expeditions, Mike Sarraille.

“Army veteran and barbecue seasoning business owner Jason Murff will also join the plaza for a live grilling demo. Additionally, musical artist Katie Linendoll will perform her hit song ‘Your Hands’ live on the Square,” Fox News Media told American Military News in an email.

Houston Radio: 100.3 The Bull Collects 60,000+ Thank You Cards

America’s birthday is right around the corner, and Audacy Houston knows July 4th is the most patriotic of holidays. For the second year in a row, KILT 100.3 The Bull hosted “10,000 for the Troops,” supported by Kroger, to salute and thank as many service members as possible.

On June 14, The Bull kicked the initiative off with an initial goal to collect 10,000 thank you cards for our heroes at home and globally. As of the final count yesterday, the station has amassed over 60,000 thank you cards from local community members.

“We are incredibly humbled and grateful to announce the overwhelming success of our ‘10,000 for the Troops’ campaign for the second consecutive year,” said Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Houston. “The outpouring of support from our local community has been extraordinary. This campaign aims to demonstrate our gratitude for those who selflessly serve our nation. The sheer number of thank you cards collected is a testament to our immense respect and admiration for our military personnel and the power of local radio to connect and bring together our community for a common cause.”

TWH Congratulates FOX News' Ed Lewis On Retirement

White House press spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre took time from Friday's briefing to salute FOX News' Ed Lewis, who is retiring.

Lewis is retiring after25 years as photographer for FOX News and 14 years at C-SPAN. In his career. During his career Lewis has covered every President dating back to Ronald Reagan. 

After a round of applause from his colleagues,  White House's KJP thanked Lewis for his dedication and said Lewis was always a joy to work with.

July 1 Radio History

➦In 1897…Three years after the first issue of Billboard Advertising was published, the publication was renamed The Billboard.

➦In 1901...The “mother of the soap opera” Irna Phillips was born in Chicago.  She created at least 10 longrunning daytime dramas, including Painted Dreams, Guiding Light, the Road of Life, The Brighter Day, Woman in White, The Road to Happiness & Young Dr Malone on radio, and Another World, As the World Turns, and Days of Our Lives for TV.  Phillips also consulted on TV’s Peyton Place.   The ‘Queen of the Soaps’ died Dec 22 1973 of undisclosed causes at age 72.

Bill Stern
➦In 1907...Early sportscaster Bill Stern born (Died from a heart attack at age 64 – November 19, 1971). In 1984, Stern was part of the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame's inaugural class which included sportscasting legends Red Barber, Don Dunphy, Ted Husing and Graham McNamee. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame (1988) and has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Born in Rochester, New York, Stern began doing radio play-by-play commentary in 1925, when he was hired by a local station, WHAM, to cover football games.  NBC hired him in 1937 to host The Colgate Sports Newsreel as well as Friday night boxing on radio. Stern was also one of the first televised boxing commentators.

He broadcast the first televised sporting event, the second game of a baseball doubleheader between Princeton and Columbia at Columbia's Baker Field on May 17, 1939. On September 30, he called the first televised football game.

During his most successful years, Stern engaged in a fierce rivalry with Ted Husing of the CBS Radio Network. They competed not only for broadcast position during sports and news events, but also for the rights to cover the events themselves. They both served for many years as their networks' sports directors as well as being on-air stars.

According to the book Sports on New York Radio by sportscaster and Westwood One executive David J. Halberstam, Stern's remarkable career flourished despite a physical handicap. In 1935, on his way home from a football game in Texas, the car Stern was in got into an accident, injuring him severely enough that his left leg had to be amputated just above the knee.

Some observers consider Stern's style a blueprint in the 1940s for the style of Paul Harvey, ABC Entertainment Network social commentator, who adapted both Stern's newscasting (transforming his Reel One to Page One) and his stories about the famous and odd (to Rest Of The Story), although Stern made no effort to authenticate his stories.
➦In 1923...The AT&T webs set-up the first permanent radio network between WEAF New York and WMAF near Boston.

➦In 1934…The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) became the new regulator of broadcasting in the United States. The FCC is an independent agency of the U-S government created to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The FCC serves the public in the areas of broadband access, fair competition, radio frequency use, media responsibility, public safety, and homeland security.

The FCC was formed by the Communications Act of 1934 to replace the radio regulation functions of the Federal Radio Commission.

➦In 1941.. Commercial television broadcasting started as FCC licenses went into effect, allowing broadcasters to transmit programs and advertising. The first channels to receive FCC licenses were WNBT in New York (now WNBC), operated by the National Broadcasting Company; and WCBW (now WCBS), operated by the Columbia Broadcasting System. Any broadcasting before that date was considered "experimental".

Friday, June 30, 2023

ESPN Expected To Jettison 20 On-Air Personalities

ESPN is laying off some of its biggest stars in a purge that is expected to result in around 20 on-air personalities being let go Friday as the network hopes to save tens of millions of dollars, The NY Post has learned.

Some of the top NFL, NBA and ESPN Radio personalities are anticipated to be told that they will no longer be on the network’s many platforms beginning Friday, according to sources. 

ESPN informed all of its employees this morning of the forthcoming cuts on an internal website, according to a memo. The five-paragraph note did not go into many specifics.

At the beginning of Disney’s three rounds of layoffs, sources told The Post that at ESPN, there would be “no sacred cows” when letting go of personnel.

This is expected to be apparent during Friday’s cuts. 

While the likes of Stephen A. Smith, Scott Van Pelt, Joe Buck and some other big names are not at risk, there are expected to be decades-long on-air “talent” let go.

Last week, it was learned the network was scrapping its morning radio show that features Max Kellerman, Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams. Kellerman, who makes in the neighborhood of $5 million a year, and Johnson, who is a year into a five-year, around $18 million deal, are considered in jeopardy, while Williams has a contract that is up at the end of the summer. 

ESPN released the following statement:
“Given the current environment, ESPN has determined it necessary to identify some additional cost savings in the area of public-facing commentator salaries, and that process has begun. This exercise will include a small group of job cuts in the short-term and an ongoing focus on managing costs when we negotiate individual contract renewals in the months ahead. This is an extremely challenging process, involving individuals who have had tremendous impact on our company. These difficult decisions, based more on overall efficiency than merit, will help us meet our financial targets and ensure future growth.”

Fox News Bids A Fond Farewell To Geraldo Rivera

Fox News Channel celebrated the iconic career of Geraldo Rivera Friday during his last appearance on the network.

"Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy called for everyone in the building to give Rivera a standing ovation as he announced the longtime Fox News personality. 

"I am honored, I love Fox, I love the people at Fox, I always will," Rivera said, after he watched a video montage featuring his longtime Fox News and FOX Business colleagues.  "I’ll never let anyone separate us, but I am beyond grateful for this," he continued. "This is so deeply affecting, I love you for it. Thank you."

Fox News Digital notes Rivera, who has more than 50 years of experience as a broadcaster, joined Fox News Channel as a war correspondent in 2001 and recently served as co-host of cable news’ most-watched program "The Five." 

Before joining "The Five," he was a correspondent-at-large for Fox News Channel, where he provided live coverage and commentary on breaking news stories, including terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other historic events. Rivera’s career took a turn following the attacks of September 11, 2001, when the native New Yorker walked away from a high-paying CNBC gig and joined Fox News because he wanted to work as a war correspondent. He did 11 assignments in Afghanistan and 11 in Iraq along with multiple trips to other battle-torn areas. 

Rivera accomplished just about everything in the television industry, from hosting newsmagazine-style "Good Night America," the groundbreaking daytime talk show "Geraldo," "Rivera Live" on CNBC, to over two decades at Fox News. Along the way he’s become friendly with everyone from Michael Jackson to Donald Trump, had roles on TV, and even first presented the historic Zapruder film of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

Rivera has received more than 170 awards for journalism, including the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, three national and seven local Emmys, two Columbia-Dupont and two additional Scripps Howard Journalism Awards.

NYC Radio: Scott Shannon Talks With WOR's Mark Simone

WOR late morning talker Mark Simone caught-up Thursday with Scott Shannon. Mark and Scott talked about Ryan Seacrest taking over for Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune. They also talked about Taylor Swift's tour earning a billion dollars, plus more.

Object Hits Country's Kelsea Ballerini During Concert

Kelsea Ballerini

“Don’t throw things, you know?” Kelsea Ballerini’s plaintive request during a recent concert shouldn’t be that hard to follow.

In the latest bout of singers being pelted by concert fans, the country star was hit in the face by a bracelet thrown by someone in the audience at her Wednesday night show in Boise, Idaho.

The L-A Times reports the musician was struck while performing her song “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too),” a video posted on Twitter showed. Ballerini held her face as she stepped away from the microphone before asking her violinist to assess the damage. She briefly began to strum her guitar again before hastily exiting the stage.

The “This Feeling” artist later returned to the stage to finish her set and deliver a message to the audience:

“Can we just talk about what happened?” Ballerini said in a fan video posted on TikTok. “All I care about is keeping everyone safe. If you ever don’t feel safe, please let someone around you know. If anyone’s pushing too much or you just have that gut feeling, just always flag it.”

“Hi. I’m fine. Someone threw a bracelet, it hit me in the eye, and it more so just scared me than hurt me,” she wrote alongside a photo of her performance. “We all have triggers and layers of fears way deeper than what is shown, and that’s why I walked offstage to calm down and make sure myself, band and crew and the crowd all felt safe to continue. That’s all I ever want, is for shows to feel like a safe place for all of us.”

She ended her speech by simply stating the obvious, “Don’t throw things, you know?”

There May Be A Second Strike In Hollywood

SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood’s largest union which represents about 160,000 performers, has been in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of the studios, since June 7, according to The L-A Times.

Despite tensions, guild leaders said Saturday that talks with the studios have been “extremely productive.” But key differences remain, and the union is still under heavy pressure from guild members to hold the line in bargaining.

That was underscored this week when more than 300 actors signed a letter saying they are prepared to strike if the union can’t secure a “transformative deal.”

Although a strike could happen as early as Saturday, sources say the sides could still agree to extend talks to allow more time to reach a deal.

Here are four key issues that the two sides are haggling over, including residuals over streaming.

ESPN: Hot Dog! It's The July 4th Holiday

The annual tradition continues this Fourth of July, as the 2023 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest will air live on Tuesday, July 4 from the iconic corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues on Coney Island.

ESPN has exclusive live broadcast rights from 10:45 a.m. ET to the conclusion of the event. This marks the 20th consecutive year ESPN has televised the event, and will continue to do so at least through 2029.

Coverage of the women’s competition begins at 10:45 a.m. ET on ESPN3. The men’s competition airs at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Re-airs of the competitions occur across ESPN networks throughout the day, with one of those being at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Again hosting the event will be the dynamic duo of SportsCenter Anchor John Anderson and Major League Eating President Rich Shea for the second-straight year. On-site reporting will be Renee James.  

As for the eaters themselves, World Champion Joey Chestnut and Top-ranked Female Miki Sudo look to defend their Mustard Belts during the 10-minute, all-you-can-eat contest. Last year, Chestnut ate 63 hot dogs and buns on the men’s side, while Sudo returned to the women’s competition and reclaimed the top spot after eating 40 hot dogs and buns. 

Chestnut set a world record by eating 76 hot dogs and buns in 2021. Sudo’s record is 48 ½ hot dogs and buns. During the competitions, Chestnut and Sudo will have isolation cameras on them on ESPN3. The Sudo camera will begin at 11 a.m. ET. Chestnut at 12:35 p.m. ET.

6/30 WAKE-UP CALL: Affirmative Action Policies Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the affirmative action admission policies of Harvard and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional. The ruling is a massive blow to decades-old efforts to boost enrollment of minorities at American universities through policies that took into account applicants’ race. “Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority opinion, which all five of his fellow conservative justices joined in. Roberts wrote said that both Harvard’s and UNC’s affirmative action programs “unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points.”

When liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to join the U.S. Supreme Court, she was expected to bring a different view on racial matters than Justice Clarence Thomas, its only other Black member and a staunch conservative. That dispute was front and center on Thursday when the two justices publicly battled in sharply worded, dueling opinions as the court, in a blockbuster decision. Such policies have been used by many schools for decades to boost their numbers of Black and Hispanic students. Jackson and Thomas, reflecting a deep divide in the United States, diverged on how race must be treated in the law. Jackson promoted its use to reduce entrenched inequalities. Thomas contended that the U.S. Constitution is colorblind.

Houston Grand Jury Declines To Indict Travis Scott

Travis Scott

A grand jury in Houston declined on Thursday to criminally indict rapper Travis Scott and five others in the 2021 Astroworld concert deaths, capping a nearly two-year police investigation into the deaths and ending with a promise by police officials that they'll go public with their findings, according to The Houston Chronicle

For months, Scott's lawyer maintained that he never believed that the rapper was criminally liable for a concert that left 10 people dead and dozens more injured.

After the grand jury's decision, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner would not elaborate on what the department thinks went wrong during the Astroworld disaster, but said a nearly 1,200 page offense report would be made public after a redaction process and it would speak for itself. 

iHM, Elvis Duran Partner For Podcast Distribution

iHeartMedia, and radio personality Elvis Duran, have announced a partnership to launch the Elvis Duran Podcast Network which will be distributed by iHeartPodcasts. The agreement includes a slate of original entertainment podcasts that will be co-produced by Duran and iHeartPodcasts including a new, original podcast, "Thinking Out Loud with Elvis Duran."

Elvis Duran
Listeners can hear the first episode now, which features a conversation with singer-songwriter Kesha. Additionally, the network will be home to the replay podcast of "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show." The network also includes podcasts featuring popular segments and extended show content from the Premiere Networks-syndicated program, which reaches more than five million monthly listeners on 70 stations, as well as upcoming new podcasts from cast members including Medha Gandhi and others.

"We're excited to launch this network and connect with even more listeners and fans," shared Duran. "I'm confident the audience will love the variety of personalities, including Tommy DiDario and Medha Gandhi, and the entertaining programs that we'll be presenting. I'm also looking forward to sitting down with a wide range of people on my new podcast and taking a deep dive in whichever direction they choose - something I'm not always able to do on my radio show. It's going to be a fun adventure together!"

"Elvis has long been a companion for millions of people across the country every morning as they prepare to start their day - it's truly an art the way he engages and energizes these listeners in a way that very few can," added iHeartPodcasts President Will Pearson. "We couldn't be more excited to be introducing a whole network of shows curated by Elvis himself that are guaranteed to entertain people everywhere throughout the day."

Erie Radio: Brittany Dickson Joins WXKC-FM For Mornings

Brenda and Brittany
Cumulus Media
 announces that it has appointed Brittany Dickson as Co-Host, Mornings, on AC station Classy 100/WXKC-FM in Erie, PA. Dickson will debut on the station’s morning show, “Brenda & Brittany” with current Morning Host, Brenda Savelli, on Monday, July 10th. The dynamic on-air team can be heard weekdays from 6:00am-10:00am.

Dickson returns to Cumulus Media after previous on-air stints at Cumulus-Oklahoma City and Cumulus-Pensacola from 2015-2019. Since early 2020, Dickson has lived in the New York City area working as a remote on-air host in several markets, as well as a freelance writer and social media marketer.

Jim Riley, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Erie, said: “Classy 100 mornings has been an Erie town meeting place for years. We made the decision a year and a half ago to bring back an on-air partner for Brenda. We’ve been pretty picky, but it’s been worth it. We’re confident that, in the tradition of Classy 100 morning shows, the “Brenda & Brittany” show will be a lot of fun and a place that listeners can count on to stay in touch with what’s going on in our hometown!”