Saturday, July 8, 2023

July 9 Radio History

➦In 1879…Bell Telephone Company founded.

➦In 1933
...Radio producer/voice actor  Dick Orkin was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Orkin was 16 when he began his radio career as a fill-in announcer at WKOK 1070 AM Sunbury PA . After earning his BA in speech and theater from Franklin & Marshall College he attended the Yale School of Drama, then returned to Pennsylvania to become the news director at WLAN 1390 AM Lancaster in 1959. Later he joined the staff of KYW Cleveland. In 1967 Orkin moved to WCFL Chicago and created 'Chickenman', a Batman parody which chronicled the exploits of a crime-fighting “white-winged warrior” and his secret identity as mild-mannered shoe salesman Benton Harbor.

Chickenman’s 250-plus episodes have been syndicated around the world and can still be heard on internet, making it the longest-running radio serial of all time. At WCFL Orkin also produced more than 300 episodes of another popular serial, 'The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy'.

Inspired by the commercial parodies on Stan Freberg and Bob & Ray’s radio shows, Orkin created the Famous Radio Ranch in 1973 to produce his own comedic radio spots. Stationed in California since ’78, the Radio Ranch, currently headed by his daughter Lisa, has produced hundreds of memorable ads for a variety of clients, ranging from Time magazine to First American Bank to the Gap, and garnered more than 200 awards in the process.

Dick Orkin was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2014.  He died December 26, 2017.

➦In 1955..."(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley & The Comets peaked at Number One, where it remained for eight weeks. It was the first rock 'n roll record to hit Number One on the Billboard charts.

Dick Clark

➦In 1956…In Philadelphia, 26-year-old Dick Clark made his debut as host of "Bandstand" on WFIL-TV following the DUI arrest of the show's former host, Bob Horn. The program's name changed to "American Bandstand" when it became a network show on ABC in 1957. Clark relinquished his hosting duties in 1989 to David Hirsch, but the program was cancelled within a matter of months.

➦In 1960…77WABC-AM, New York introduced the WABC MusicChart

➦In 1972....Johnny Donovan started at Musicradio 77 WABC.  

He grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, nicknamed "Sarge," after his father's rank in the United States Army during World War II.

A radio enthusiast from an early age (with an amateur radio station K2KOQ in a corner of the basement), he became a DJ ("Large Sarge") on WHVW in nearby Hyde Park, after helping build the station.

He went on to stations in Kingston (WBAZ) and Binghamton (WENE), New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey (WMID) before landing in New York City, first at WOR-FM, and finally at WABC.

Donovan stayed on at WABC as Production Director and staff announcer when WABC went to a talk format in 1982.

After 44 years of service at both MusicRadio and TalkRadio 77 WABC production guru Johnny Donovan retired in May 2015.

Philly TV: Activist Group Challenging Renewal Of Fox 29

A media-focused public interest group is challenging the renewal of WTXF Fox 29′s broadcast license in a bid to hold the station’s parent company, the Fox Corp., accountable for reporting broadcast on Fox News Channel during the 2020 election, reports The Philly Inquirer.

In a petition filed this week, the Media and Democracy Project alleges that Fox broadcast “knowingly false narratives about the 2020 election” on the Fox News Channel, a cable station. A “good deal of that narrative” was rebroadcast on Fox 29, as well as other local Fox stations, the petition says.

As a result, the Media and Democracy Project is asking for an evidentiary hearing looking at Fox’s conduct. The FCC, it argues, has a duty to “hold Fox accountable and send a strong message that intentional, knowing news distortion will not be tolerated on America’s airwaves.”

In a statement, Fox Television Stations, a subsidiary of Fox Corp., called the filing “frivolous” and “completely without merit.”

“WTXF-TV/FOX 29 News Philadelphia is one of the finest local news stations in the country, broadcasting over 60 hours of local news and locally produced programming every week,” the company said.

While the petition does not directly take issue with Fox 29′s reporting, it notes that the station broadcasts Fox News Sunday, which is produced by Fox News Channel. Doing so, the organization claims, makes the station an “over-the-air extension of Fox News Channel.”

The group says the FCC requires broadcast licensees to abide by certain qualities that prove that they are qualified to operate an over-the-air station. Fox’s reporting during the 2020 election, it argues, violated those qualities.

“The intentional distortion of news, authorized at the highest levels of Fox’s corporate structure, and fabricated by management and on-air personalities, represents a severe breach of the FCC’s policy on licensee character qualifications,” the Media and Democracy Project said in a statement.

Cable networks like Fox News Channel aren’t regulated by the FCC, unlike broadcast stations like Fox 29, which Fox Television Stations has owned and operated since 1995. Its broadcast license is set to expire in August, and as part of the renewal process, the FCC allows petitions to deny the license.

The commission rarely takes up such petitions, and historically has avoided regulating broadcast content and speech for First Amendment reasons, said an FCC official who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the filing. The petition against Fox 29 is similarly unlikely to be taken up, as its reasoning falls outside of the commission’s purview, the official added.

The group members include Preston Padden, a senior VP at Fox Broadcasting Co. from 1990 to 1997. According to Padden, he had personal communications with Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch that indicate he knew what Fox News was reporting was not true.

Austin TV: Meteorologist Sucker Punched During Road Rage Attack

A video of a violent road rage incident involving an Austin TV meteorologist is making the rounds. The dash cam footage taken on June 26 shows CBS Austin meteorologist Avery Tomasco geting sucker punched by the driver of another vehicle when they pull into a shopping center parking lot. reports CBS Austin shared the footage that shows Tomasco get into a fender bender with a light blue Prius while driving on the MOPAC freeway in Austin in June. Even though Tomasco tells CBS Austin that it was a "minor collision" and wasn't a big deal, he follows the driver of the Prius to get him to pull into a shopping center at Highway 183 and Loop 360 to assess the damage.

"We pull into the shopping center as casual as anything possible," Tomasco tells CBS Austin. 

Dashcam footage shows Tomasco get out of his vehicle to take pictures when the man driving the Prius approaches him. Tomasco tells CBS Austin that the man accuses Tomasco of hitting his vehicle before throwing a punch. Tomasco narrowly avoids the mans fist before the two move out of the camera's view.

Tomasco tweeted about the incident on June 26, saying that he just picked up his daughter from daycare and she was in the car with him at the time. The Prius driver's name wasn't released but a warrant for assault was put out by the Austin Police Department. Tomasco shared the video on Twitter on June 28.

Police: Britney Spears Accidentally Hit Herself

Las Vegas police said Friday they will not file criminal charges in connection with the reported physical altercation between pop star Britney Spears and the Spurs security team protecting Victor Wembanyama.

"The LVMPD has concluded its investigation of the alleged battery that occurred on July 5, 2023, at 11 p.m., in the 3700 block of Las Vegas Blvd,," police wrote in a statement Friday. "No charges will be filed against the person involved."

According to the Associated Press, a video shows Spears accidentally hitting herself in the face after her hand was pushed off Wembanyama's shoulder. TMZ acquired the footage, which shows Spears running up to Wembanyama from behind and tapping on his arm before she was backhanded by security. 

The Spurs organization did not comment.

Fox News Press Pool Contradicts WH Biden Claim

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre's claim that no members of the Biden family were present at the White House in the days leading to the discovery of a bag of cocaine in the West Wing has been contradicted by the Fox News press pool report on one of those very days.

According to the Friday, June 30 pool report, Biden gave remarks in the Roosevelt Room that afternoon, and didn't depart the White House for Camp David until 6:34 p.m., along with First Lady Jill Biden, Hunter Biden, and Hunter's son Beau Biden.

However, Jean-Pierre claimed Friday while angrily responding to a reporter's question about whether the cocaine belonged to a member of the Biden family that they weren't present at the White House on that day.

"They were not here Friday. They were not here Saturday. They were not here Sunday. They were not even here Monday. They came back on Tuesday. So to ask that question is actually incredibly irresponsible. And I'll just leave it there," she said

The White House did not immediately respond to Fox's request for comment.

The illicit drugs were discovered by a member of the Secret Service on Sunday evening near the West Executive entrance, and have prompted questions from the press over who might have brought them into the White House.

One source told Fox News Digital on Thursday that the Secret Service still didn't have any suspects in the investigation surrounding the cocaine, and that it wasn't clear if the culprit would ever be found.

Meanwhile Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Friday said he did not believe any members of the Biden family were involved in bringing cocaine to the White House - but accused the administration of a cover up. The drug was found in the White House grounds on Sunday. 'You know, my guess is it probably isn't Hunter's,' said Cruz, speaking on Friday's episode of his podcast, Verdict. 'I don't know that, obviously. We know that Hunter has a drug problem. We know that he has used cocaine and use crack cocaine in the past. But I doubt Hunter Biden is going in the West Wing all that often and going in that entrance all that often.' The Texas senator speculated that a 'senior Biden official' was responsible.

Megyn Kelly: Public Not Buying Disney 'Wokeness'

Podcaster Megyn Kelly said that The Walt Disney Company’s emphasis on “wokeness” has cost it nearly $1 billion at the box office due to “flops” such as “Lightyear,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Elemental.”

Kelly devoted a segment of Thursday’s SiriusXM podcast “The Megyn Kelly Show” to a YouTube report that claimed the Mouse House lost $900 million on its last eight feature films, several of which include prominent “woke” characters.

“The people are not buying this content,” Kelly said during her podcast on Thursday.

The NY Post reports Kelly noted that media giants Disney, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery have all seen their heads of diversity leave their jobs. In late June, Latondra Newton left her post as chief diversity officer at Disney.

During Newton’s tenure, Disney landed in the middle of the nation’s culture wars by introducing gay, lesbian, transgender, non-binary, and other minority characters into its animated series and films.

The company instituted a slew of other changes, such as outfitting Minnie Mouse with a blue pantsuit instead of her traditional red and white polka-dot dress.

Tucker Talks: Feds In Jan 6 Capitol Crowds

Tucker Carlson

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson shared details of an interview he had with former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, which he said never aired before he was fired from the conservative network in April.

During an appearance on comedian Russell Brand's podcast on Friday, Carlson said that Sund told him in an interview that federal agents were allegedly in the crowd that was present on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol, according to Newsweek. Supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building at the time in an effort to stop the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Meanwhile, the events that transpired on January 6 continue to be under investigation by the Department of Justice, while some rioters have faced various sentences including jail time.

Carlson said on Friday that he had no idea as he watched the riot on television that "U.S. law enforcement or military agencies had anything to do with it. That never crossed my mind," adding that he is not a "conspiracist" to have such thoughts.

"I never thought that and then I interviewed the chief of the Capitol police, Steven Sund, in an interview that was never aired on Fox by the way. I was fired before it could air... but Steven Sund [who] was totally non-political...I mean this was not some right-wing activist, he was the chief of Capitol police on January 6, and he said, 'Oh yeah, that crowd was filled with federal agents.' Yes, he would know of course because he was in charge of security at the site," the former Fox News host added.

Two More Staffers Exiting CBS News Radio

Craig Swagler

CBS News Radio White House correspondent Steve Portnoy is leaving CBS News after eight and a half years “for a new opportunity.”  Portnoy joined CBS News Radio in February 2015 as a White House correspondent. He joined the organization after a nine-year run as a Washington correspondent for ABC News Radio.

CBS News Washington bureau chief Mark Lima and Paramount podcasting and audio head Steve Raizes informed staff of Portnoy’s exit Friday morning, saying in a memo: “We shared with some of you earlier today that Steve Portnoy has decided to leave CBS News for a new opportunity. We wish Steve all the best in his future endeavors. We are fortunate to have more than a dozen Washington based reporters who contribute to CBS News Radio and know that we are in good hands in continuing to bring impactful journalism to our audience now and in the future.”

Steve Portnoy
Portnoy is the third CBS News Radio correspondent to exit over the past few months. Steve Dorsey and Steve Futterman exited the organization at the end of April, according to TVNewser.

Also exiting CBS News Radio is VP/General Manager Craig Swagler. He told staffers he is relocating to Baltimore to be closer to his family.

“I am incredibly thankful for my time here and all the amazing people I have had the honor to work with at CBS News,” Swagler wrote to staffers in a memo. “There are far too many individuals to name, but I know you all have made the last 22 years one of the most fulfilling parts of my professional journey.

“I grew up at CBS News, and leaving is hard, but new starts are exciting. I will miss all of you and your constant professionalism and dedication to the craft of broadcast news. I am a lifelong listener of CBS News Radio and will always tune in.”

Phoenix Radio: The Gello Show Gets Wake-Up Duty At KMVA

Desert Valley Media Group’s KMVA HOT AC, HOT 97.5 & 103.9 is launching “The Gello Show,” hosted by longtime KKFR Afternoon host Gello, in Morning Drive which debuts Monday July 10th at 6am. 

Gello, most recently at Desert Valley Media’s sister station Power 98.3 & 96.1 (KKFR-FM) is elated to be back on the air in Morning Drive after a very successful run and #1 ranking during his time at 105.1 The Bounce (WMGC-FM) in Detroit, Michigan. “I’ve dreamt about the opportunity to reclaim my position in the realm of morning radio. And now, fate has smiled upon me, giving me the golden opportunity to wake up the slumbering Valley with good energy and gusto, each and every morning!

Reoccupying the coveted morning drive slot in my cherished hometown fills me with unparalleled excitement! Moreover, I am blessed with the unwavering support of DMVG, a media powerhouse renowned for its excellence. Truly, life is good,” said Gello.

Station Program Director, Michael Gallagher, couldn’t be more excited saying, “with an infectious energy and magnetic personality, Gello will captivate Phoenix every morning, igniting a fire within our listeners and delivering an unforgettable start to their day. Gello is the best in the business as it pertains to delivering social media engagement for the station and “The Gello Show”, which is a pre-requisite to anyone looking to join the airstaff at Desert Valley Media.”

Concurrently, Desert Valley Media Group’s leading Rhythmic CHR station, POWER 98.3 & 96.1 (KKFR-FM), has announced the addition of Jonathan Steele, known as J. Steele, to its afternoon show lineup. Effective Monday, July 10th Steele will be taking over as the host of the Afternoon Show on Power 98.3 & 96.1 from Monday to Friday, 3pm- 7pm.

“We are thrilled to welcome J Steele to our airwaves at Power 98.3 & 96.1,” said Jeff Trumper, CEO/President of Desert Valley Media Group. “His extensive experience and leadership skills will undoubtedly elevate our programming and continue to make Power 98.3 & 96.1 the go-to station for the latest in Hip-Hop music and entertainment.”

Detained WSJ Journalist Reportedly In Good Spirits

Evan Gershkovich at his June 22 Arraignment

Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Emma Tucker said reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained by Russia during a reporting trip and accused of espionage, is in "good health and relatively good spirits" considering his dire circumstances. 

Earlier this week, the U.S. ambassador to Moscow was permitted to visit the beloved journalist held at the notorious Lefortovo Prison for the first time since April, reports Fox Business. 

"It was great news for us that the ambassador got in, because we had been requesting – the U.S. government had been requesting consulate access and the Russians kept denying it. Finally, they agreed. This was only the second time the ambassador was allowed in and she was able to report back that he’s in good health and relatively good spirits," Tucker said Friday on "Fox & Friends" during an appearance to mark the 100th day since Gershkovich was detained by Russia. 

Gershkovich was detained March 29 in Yekaterinburg, the fourth-largest city in Russia, and accused of being a spy. The United States has all along asserted that Russia's allegation is ridiculous on its face, as have his colleagues, who describe the 31-year-old, American-born son of Soviet immigrants as a diligent reporter who is being used as a political pawn due to his high profile. 

The Wall Street Journal and the U.S. government vehemently deny the allegation and have called for his immediate release. His arrest is seen as a brazen violation of press freedom that not only poses widespread consequences for journalism and the media, but to governments and democracies everywhere, and part of a wider journalism crackdown by the autocratic Russian Federation.

Threads Explodes To 70M Signups On Day One

Meta’s new Twitter competitor Threads has exploded in growth in its first full day since its public debut Wednesday night, fueled by Instagram’s already massive userbase. The text-based social media platform already has 70 million sign-ups, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday.

As of Thursday afternoon, The Verge reported that users had already posted more than 95 million posts and 190 million likes, reports CNBC based on internal company data it had viewed.

The booming growth is helped along by the fact that Threads is tied to an existing social network, Meta’s Instagram. Users can sign up with their existing handles on Instagram and are able to retain some of their following as others sign up for the app.

Twitter owner Elon Musk appears to have already shown some concern about Threads, as his longtime lawyer Alex Spiro wrote a letter to Meta accusing the company of “unlawful misappropriation” of trade secrets.

“No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee,” Meta’s communications director, Andy Stone, wrote on Threads in response to the letter. “That’s just not a thing.”

Still, growth alone won’t be enough to make Threads an alternative to Twitter that withstands the test of time. The app must also show that it can keep users engaged and coming back.

While Twitter is known for being heavily used by journalists, politicians and academics and is a place where news often breaks, Meta’s Threads could have a much broader audience and focus due to its tie-in to Instagram, which has different use cases as a visual-based platform. Plus, Meta has taken steps to de-emphasize political content on Facebook, a policy which, if carried over to Threads, would set it apart from Twitter.

Many advertisers who are used to working with Meta are also likely to welcome an alternative to Twitter, especially if they view it as more brand safe. The company has said Instagram’s community guidelines will also apply to Threads.

July 8 Radio History

➦In 1954
…Memphis' leading Top40 station of the day earned a historical first when personality Dewey Phillips, played a recording of "That's Alright Mama" by Elvis Presley, a young truck driver and budding musician, marking the first time an Elvis recording was broadcast on the radio.  Phillips played the song a total of 14-times based on strong listener reaction. 

Phillips started his radio career in 1949 on WHBQ, and was the city's leading radio personality for nine years and was the first to simulcast his "Red, Hot & Blue" show on radio and television.

Phillips' on-air persona was a speed-crazed hillbilly, with a frantic delivery and entertaining sense of humor. However, he also had a keen ear for music the listening public would enjoy, and he aired both black and white music, which was abundant in post-World War II Memphis, a booming river city which attracted large numbers of rural blacks and whites (along with their musical traditions). He played a great deal of rhythm and blues, country music, boogie-woogie, and jazz as well as Sun Records artists.

Phillips briefly hosted an afternoon program on WHBQ-TV/13 in the mid-1950s. It mostly consisted of Phillips playing records while he and others clowned around in front of the camera.

Though Phillips was not involved in the payola scandals of the time, he was fired in late 1958 when the station adopted a Top 40 format, phasing out his freeform style. He spent the last decade of his life working at smaller radio stations, seldom lasting long. A heavy drinker and longtime drug user (mainly painkillers and amphetamines, which contributed to his manic on-air behavior), Phillips died of heart failure at age 42.

➦In 1957...Radio Personality Herb Oscar Anderson debuted at 77 WABC (first time, before station flipped to Top40.)

➦In 1960...Storer Broadcasting Company purchased 1010 WINS radio in New York City for $10 million.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Cable News Ratings: Fox News Scores 7 Of 10 Most-Watched Shows

Fox News Channel ended a competitive month of June at the top of both the primetime and total day ratings.

The news network wrested the top spot in primetime from last week’s winner, ESPN, with an average of 1.4 million viewers during the week of June 26 to July 2, according to Nielsen figures supplied by Fox News. MSNBC, which topped the primetime chart during the week of June 5, finished second with 1.1 million viewers, followed by ESPN with 1 million viewers.

The cable news networks topped the total day chart, led by Fox News’s 25th straight consecutive win with 1 million viewers, followed by MSNBC (784,000 viewers) and CNN (457,000). HGTV (432,000 viewers) and ESPN (427,000) rounded out the top five most watched networks in the category, Nielsen reported. 

Milwaukee Radio: N/T WTMJ Tweaks Line-Up

Newsradio 620 WTMJ announced today changes to the station, which include a brand-new show hosted by Sandy Maxx and Steve Scaffidi called WTMJ NOW, airing weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon beginning on Tuesday, July 11th. Longtime WTMJ on-air host Greg Matzek moves from sportscaster to co-host of Wisconsin’s Afternoon News.

In addition, Wisconsin’s Morning News with Vince Vitrano and Erik Bilstad will now air from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., with a local news report at 5 a.m.

Emily Dillinger, interim market manager for WTMJ, which is owned by Good Karma Brands, a locally based Milwaukee media company said: “I am looking forward to fun and lively conversation about the news of the day, what it means and why it matters on WTMJ NOW. Both Sandy and Steve are genuinely curious people who also have an infectious energy and the ability to relate to a variety of people, and I’m sure that will resonate with fans across Wisconsin.”

7/7 WAKE-UP CALL: Zuck Takes Aim At Musk

Meta’s stand-alone microblogging app is taking direct aim at Twitter. Threads had 30 million sign-ups so far, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today in a post on the social-media app. Twitter sent a letter to Meta accusing the tech giant of misappropriating trade secrets or intellectual property and hiring Twitter employees to work on Threads. A Meta executive said no ex-Twitter employees are on the Threads engineering team. Threads uses some of Instagram’s infrastructure and allows people to use their IG login, a step that will likely help it gain a following quickly, analysts have said, though how much additional revenue the Facebook and IG parent stands to gain from the new product remains to be seen. User unrest on Twitter has grown since Elon Musk acquired it in October.

➤NEW MUNITIONS HEADED TO UKRAINE: The Department of Defense is expected on Friday to announce that it is sending cluster munitions to Ukraine, after six months of agonizing over the controversial decision. Cluster munitions explode and disperse a series of smaller bombs over a wide area, often killing civilians. More than 100 nations have signed a 15-year-old treaty banning their use, but Ukraine and Russia have both deployed them - and Ukraine's supplies of all types of ammunition are dwindling. When, five days into the war, Jen Psaki, then the White House press secretary, was asked about the Russian use of cluster munitions, she said: 'We have seen the reports. If that were true, it would potentially be a war crime.' The White House has now shifted its position.

➤WAGNER BOSS BACK IN RUSSIA: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who had promised Yevgeny Prigozhin safe passage in exchange for calling off the armed march, said he was no longer in his country. The Kremlin said it wasn’t following Prigozhin’s movements. Speculation surrounds the paramilitary leader’s location; he hasn’t been seen in public since shortly after the revolt. If Prigozhin is in Russia, it could further challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority and raise questions about how someone who brought the country to the brink of civil war remains untouched without powerful backers. Meanwhile, Russian state media showed footage of a raid said to be of Prigozhin’s mansion and offices.

➤NEW TWIST EMERGES IN SNOW AT TWH: A new twist has emerged in the investigation of the cocaine discovered at the White House on Sunday - it was actually found in a different location.  The bag of powder was found in a cubby near the White House's West Executive entrance, not the formal West Wing lobby, NBC News reported citing multiple sources. That entrance - which is in the West Wing but on the floor below the lobby - is also a heavily trafficked area, a description White House officials have used as a way to explain their doubts the culprit will be found.

Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed the idea that the cocaine found at the White House over the weekend belonged to President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. “For it to be Hunter Biden, he left on Friday, he was at Camp David, there is no way, it is inconceivable to think cocaine could sit for a 72-hour-period so I would rule him out at this point,” McEnany said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” on Thursday. The White House temporarily closed on Sunday after Secret Service agents discovered a suspicious white powder that was later determined to be cocaine. 

Twitter Threatens Lawsuit vs Threads

Twitter has threatened to sue Meta Platforms over its new Threads platform in a letter sent to the Facebook parent's CEO Mark Zuckerberg by Twitter's lawyer Alex Spiro.

Meta, which launched Threads on Wednesday and has logged more than 30 million sign ups, looks to take on Elon Musk's Twitter by leveraging Instagram's billions of users.

Spiro, in his letter, accused Meta of hiring former Twitter employees who "had and continue to have access to Twitter's trade secrets and other highly confidential information," News website Semafor first reported.

"Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights, and demands that Meta take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information," Spiro wrote in the letter.

"No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that's just not a thing," Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said in a Threads post.

A former senior Twitter employee told Reuters they were not aware of any former staffers working on Threads, nor any senior personnel who landed at Meta at all.

Meanwhile, Twitter owner Musk said, "Competition is fine, cheating is not," in response to a tweet citing the news.

Since Musk's takeover of the social media platform last October, Twitter has received competition from Mastodon and Bluesky among others. Threads' user interface, however, resembles the microblogging platform.

Wembanyama Claims Spears Grabbed Him from Behind

Spears and Wembanyama

Rookie NBA player Victor Wembanyama has spoken out about the viral incident when his security detail allegedly slapped Britney Spears in the face.

“Something did happen, a little bit, when I was walking with some security from the team to some restaurant,” the NBA star, 19, told ESPN reporters Thursday.

“We were in the hall. There was a lot of people, so people were calling [at] me, obviously. There was one person who was calling me but we talked before with security.”

Wembanyama said that he “couldn’t stop” when a person, who happened to be the “Toxic” singer, was calling him and he said she “grabbed” him from behind.

“I didn’t see what happened because I was walking straight and didn’t stop,” he added.

“That person grabbed me from behind — not on my shoulder — she grabbed me from behind. I just know the security pushed her away.”

NBCUniversal Restructures: Langley To Oversee Movie, TV Production

NBCUniversal movie chief Donna Langley is being elevated to oversee all of film and television production — taking over one of the most important and visible parts of the Comcast Corp.-owned media company.

The L-A Times reports Langley’s promotion on Thursday to chairman of the NBCUniversal Studio Group and chief content officer is part of a broader shakeup that has been in the works since Comcast President Mike Cavanagh began leading the entertainment company following the ouster of former CEO Jeff Shell in April.

US Senate Panel To Vote On Biden FCC Nominee

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee plans to vote next week on President Joe Biden's nominee for a key fifth seat on the FCC, reports Reuters.

Democrats have been stymied since 2021 from gaining a majority on the five-member telecommunications regulator.

Anna Gomez
Anna Gomez, a Democratic telecommunications attorney, currently serves as a senior adviser for the State Department's Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, leading U.S. preparations for the 2023 World Radio Conference. The committee plans to vote July 12 on Gomez as well nominations for new terms for two current commissioners Brendan Carr and Geoffrey Starks.

Since January 2021, the FCC has been deadlocked 2-2, stalling Democrats' efforts to reinstate landmark net neutrality rules revoked under Republican then-President Donald Trump. The open internet laws seek to bar internet service providers from blocking or slowing traffic or offering paid "fast lanes."

In July 2021, Biden signed an executive order encouraging the FCC to reinstate net neutrality rules adopted under Democratic then-President Barack Obama in 2015.

Biden's first nominee for the open seat, former FCC official Gigi Sohn, withdrew in March after three hearings. She blamed industry opponents for scuttling her nomination.

Democrats hold a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate. Sohn faced strong Republican opposition and saw her unsuccessful nomination await a vote for more than 16 months.

The FCC in April voted to propose new rules to periodically reassess existing authorizations for foreign-owned companies to provide telecommunications services in the United States.

Report: Country Music Consumption Is Way Up in 2023

Morgan Wallen isn’t just dominating the Billboard charts in 2023 — he’s also leading a massive spike in the genre’s listenership.

An example" One out of every 10 country tracks streamed so far this year has been by the Big Loud/Republic artist, reports Billboard.

Propelled by Wallen, country music consumption in the United States is up 20.3% year-over-year in the first 26 weeks of 2023, according to Luminate. That’s a huge improvement from the 2.5% growth the genre experienced over the same period in 2022; only K-pop (up 46.2%) and Latin (up 20.6%) have grown more so far this year. With the entire on-demand streaming market up 15% over the first six months of the year, rock (up 11.4%), pop (up 7.6%) and R&B/hip-hop (up 4.9%) lag far behind in terms of growth but still dominate overall market share (25.3% for pop, 24.7% for R&B/hip-hop and 20.1% for rock).

Wallen, who is currently on a sold-out stadium tour, is the single biggest driver in the increase. He alone accounted for 40% of the growth in country consumption this year. Through week 26, Wallen has moved 4.9 million equivalent album units (EAUs), representing 10.4% of all country consumption. (EAUs combine album sales with track sales and streams converted into equivalent album units.) That’s more than double his 4.4% share in the prior-year period. In addition to One Thing at a Time’s dominance, the album’s third single, “Last Night,” remains at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the 13th week.

The Eagles Unveil 'The Long Goodbye Final' Tour

The Eagles have announced their final run after more than five decades of sold-out tours consisting of over 1,000 concerts and 15 million tickets. The Long Goodbye Final Tour — which launches September 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York City — will begin with 13 initial shows throughout September, October, and November across the United States.

“The official farewell tour is currently in the planning stages,” The Eagles shared in a statement, hinting at many more dates to come. “We want to give all our fans a chance to see us on this final round. So, scheduling information will be released as dates are set. The difficulties of booking venues for multiple nights may require us to return to certain cities, depending on demand. But, we hope to see as many of you as we can, before we finish up.”

Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit, with Vince Gill and Deacon Frey, plan to perform as many shows as their audience demands, potentially continuing all the way through 2025.

Elton's Swan Song

Legendary singer and musician Sir Elton John is scheduled to perform the last concert of his farewell tour tomorrow evening, taking the stage in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. The 76-year-old Brit has said he wants to spend more time with his husband and children. 

Dubbed "Farewell Yellow Brick Road"—an homage to his similarly named 1973 album—the global series has become the all-time highest-grossing concert tour, bringing in close to $925M. John, who has grossed just under $2B on tour during his six-decade career, also holds the solo artist record for most tickets sold, at more than 20 million (the current tour has surpassed 5.7 million across more than 330 shows). His swan song began in 2018 but was paused during the pandemic. 

Among his personal and professional accolades, John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, had seven consecutive albums reach No. 1 on music charts, and won five Grammys.

Fox Weather Adds Meteorologist Bob Van Dillen

FOX Weather, FOX News Media’s free ad-supported streaming television (“FAST”) weather service, has signed meteorologist Bob Van Dillen as on-air host, announced its president Sharri Berg. Most recently, Van Dillen was the meteorologist for HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade. He will begin his new role on July 10th and will be based at FOX Weather headquarters in New York City.

In making the announcement, Berg said, “We are thrilled to welcome Bob and his experience in the field, combined with his years as co-host on a national show. His relatability and conversation-focused style is a perfect fit for FOX Weather and the FOX Weather team.”

Bob Van Dillen
Van Dillen added, “I've been watching FOX Weather since its launch in 2021, and I’m excited to join the talented group of meteorologists that work on air and behind the scenes. I'm honored for the opportunity to work for a news organization I've watched for decades. To be a part of the FOX family in New York is a dream come true. I can't wait to say, ‘I've got your forecast, right here!’”

For more than 20 years, Van Dillen served as the meteorologist on HLN’s top-rated morning show, Morning Express with Robin Meade. In this capacity, he covered major weather events live including Hurricanes Matthew, Michael and Harvey, as well as Superstorm Sandy, among many others. He has also traveled the country reporting from communities ravaged by tornados. While at HLN he had the opportunity to fly with the Blue Angels, ice climb on a glacier in Alaska, cover numerous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades and report live from the annual Steamboat Weather Summit in Colorado.

New Hampshire: Public Radio Promotes Emily Quick To PD

Emily Quick

New Hampshire Public Radio's Program Director is a familiar voice, Emily Quirk. The promotion makes Emily the leader of live broadcast platforms and live events programming for the statewide public broadcast.

In her new role, she will lead NHPR’s efforts to use radio, the livestream and events to maximize the impact of the organization’s journalism and to grow and diversify NHPR audiences on those platforms.

Emily has been with NHPR for 11 years, and her passion for our local broadcast audience is apparent in everything she’s accomplished as production manager.

July 7 Radio History

➦In 1940...Beatle Ringo Starr born.

➦In 194?...Radio personality Joey Reynolds was born.  Joey Reynolds is the pseudonym of Joey Pinto, long-time radio show host and disc jockey. Reynolds' broadcasting career started on TV in Buffalo at WGR TV 2 and he worked at various stations, including at WNBC.

Joey Reynolds
His first radio job was WWOL in Buffalo with Dick Purtan, then WKWK, in Wheeling, WV. After that, he continued at several venerable stations, including WKBW in Buffalo, New York, WNBC and WOR in New York City, KQV in Pittsburgh, KMPC and KRTH in Los Angeles, WDRC in Hartford, WIXY in Cleveland, and WIBG and WFIL in Philadelphia.

He rose to fame as a Top 40 radio personality during the 1960s and 1970s, amassing large audiences in places such as Hartford, Connecticut, Cleveland, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and his hometown of Buffalo, New York. Reynolds is often regarded as an early progenitor of "shock talk radio", whose sometimes outlandish on and off-air stunts garnered widespread publicity.

Joey Reynolds was in the category of disc jockey, playing music on music intensive radio stations from the very late 1950s until the mid-1980s during his time on Z100 and WFIL. In 1986, he arrived at the former WNBC in New York City doing the afternoon drive, Howard Stern's previous shift. That station was attempting to move into a more talk intensive full service format with music taking a backseat but still heard. Reynolds was basically playing a mix of oldies and adult contemporary cuts along with comedy and personality, and was most notably on the air when the station's traffic helicopter crashed, killing reporter Jane Dornacker.

He exited WNBC at the end of February 1987 and was replaced by the late Alan Colmes.

His next stations were morning shows and at that point Joey had evolved into more of a talk intensive program. He was less a DJ and more like a talk show host. By 1995, Joey was no longer playing music on his shows and in 1996 he arrived at WOR in New York. He has been a talk show host since.

On March 10, 2010, it was revealed that WOR would pick up Coast to Coast AM from Premiere Radio and would cancel "The Joey Reynolds Show." (Coast to Coast had been heard on crosstown rival WABC for several years, before that station dropped the show in favor of an in-house offering from Doug McIntyre, which led Premiere to seek WOR as the new New York affiliate.) Reynolds' last show, which was segregated into the "Final Gay Hour," the "Final Jewish Hour" and "The Final Hour," aired the morning of April 3, 2010.

➦In 1944...legendary radio personality, Bobby Ocean, was born. He worked primarily on the West Coast. As you might expect Bobby Ocean is not his real name.  His real is...Johnny! Johnny Ocean!

However, his first radio job was WDLP, Panama City, FL in 1963 using the name Ray Farrell.

He also used the on-air handles of 'Radio Ray' and 'Captain Turntable'. He first used the name Bobby Ocean at KGB 1360 AM, in San Diego, CA in 1968.

Best known for his work at KFRC 610 AM San Fransisco and KHJ 930 AM Los Angeles.

➦In 1949...the program "Dragnet" debuted on the NBC Radio Network.

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

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

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Buffalo Radio: WGRF Adds John Matthews For Middays

Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed John Mathews as On-Air Host, Middays, on Classic Rock 97 Rock/WGRF-FM in Buffalo, NY. He will also serve as Assistant Program Director for 97 Rock and its sister station in Erie, PA, Z102.3/WQHZ-FM.

Mathews joins Cumulus Buffalo from Cumulus Erie, PA, where he previously hosted Afternoons on Z102.3. Mathews has also served as Operations Manager, Program Director, and Assistant Program Director in markets including Baltimore and North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

John Matthews
Jim Riley, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Buffalo-Erie, said: “I’ve worked with John Mathews for many years in Baltimore and nearby Erie and know his work very well. He’s like an encyclopedia when it comes to 97 Rock’s music and the people who made it. John has an incredible ability to weave together music and fascinating stories about the artists. For the listener, it’s a celebration of the greatest music every recorded and exactly what 97 Rock listeners expect during the workday. Mathews loves Buffalo and really appreciates the responsibility that he has to the Buffalo radio audience as he becomes a part of 97 Rock.”

Joe Russo, Program Director, 97 Rock, commented: “John’s programming background and extensive knowledge of Classic Rock made him the perfect choice to carry on the tradition of exceptional storytelling and passion for the music we have at 97 Rock. He has a deep reverence for the music and even though he’s a 30-year veteran of radio, he comes in every day with a youthful exuberance like he’s playing these songs for the first time.”

John Mathews remarked: “I’ve always believed that 97 Rock is one of the greatest Classic Rock stations in the world and it’s a dream to be part of their team. 97 Rock is a world-class radio station, and I am honored to be a part of their stable of legendary DJ’s.”

Mathews – who is already diving head-first into the Western New York culture, attending area events and festivals, and getting to know the people – added: “I’m quickly learning why they call Buffalo ‘the City of Good Neighbors.’ I’ve been welcomed with open arms by 97 Rock listeners, and I’m proud to now call Buffalo home.”

📻To stream 97 Rock, visit:

Threads A Direct Challenge To Twitter

Meta  has officially debuted its Twitter-like messaging app Threads, which the company is pitching as Instagram’s “text-based conversation app.”

CNBC reports Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO and co-founder, announced the debut of Threads on Wednesday, marking the official release of the social networking giant’s new text-focused messaging app. Threads represents Meta’s attempt to capture the wave of users who have left Twitter amid the often unpredictable ownership of Teslaband SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

The Threads app is now available to download for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play online store in over 100 countries, Meta said in a blog post. Threads shares Twitter’s visual aesthetic as a text-based social messaging app in which users can post short messages that others can like, share, and comment upon, according to screenshots of Threads that are available on Apple’s App Store.

People will be able to follow the same Threads accounts that they follow on Instagram and reply to other public posts in a way akin to how people use Twitter.

Zuckerberg said Threads had crossed 5 million sign ups within the first four hours

Although Threads is linked to Instagram, with users able to use their existing Instagram usernames, the messaging service is a separate app that people will need to download.

“Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow,” Instagram said in a description of Threads on the Apple App Store. “Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things — or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world.”

"Let's Do This' Zuckerberg Makes First Post On Threads

With Twitter already on the ropes, Meta's Mark Zuckerberg delivered another blow to Elon Musk on Wednesday, ramping up the tech billionaires' rivalry with the launch of Instagram's much-anticipated companion service Threads, a challenger to Twitter..

Reuters reports much like Twitter, the app features short text posts that users can like, re-post and reply to, although it does not include any direct message capabilities. Posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos and videos up to five minutes long, according to a Meta blog post.

It is available in more than 100 countries on both Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store, the blog post said. Threads is free, although to get a blue tick next of your name you'll have to be subscribed to Meta Verified, the per month subscription service. 

Analysts said investors were salivating over the possibility that Threads' ties to Instagram might give it a built-in user base and advertising apparatus. That could siphon ad dollars from Twitter at a time when the microblogging company's new CEO is trying to revive its struggling business.

While Threads launched as a standalone app, users can log in using their Instagram credentials and follow the same accounts, potentially making it an easy addition to existing habits for Instagram's more than 2 billion monthly active users.

Threads' arrival comes after Zuckerberg and Musk have traded barbs for months and even threatened to fight each other in a real-life mixed martial arts cage match in Las Vegas.

Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion last October, but its value has since plummeted as it faced an exodus of advertisers amid deep staffing cuts and content moderation controversies. Its latest move involved limiting the number of tweets users can read per day.

Zuckerberg, in subsequent Threads posts, addressed those challenges. "I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn't nailed it. Hopefully we will," he wrote.

Brands like Billboard, HBO, NPR and Netflix had accounts set up within minutes of launch, as did celebrities like Shakira and other well-known personalities such as former Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.