Saturday, July 15, 2023

Radio History: July 16

➦In 1934...the NBC Red radio network premiered the musical drama, 'Dreams Come True'. The show concerned the lives of baritone singer Barry McKinley and his novelist sweetheart.

Harry Chapin
➦In 1981...Harry Forster Chapin died in a traffic accident on the Long Island Expressway after suffering a heart attack (Born -  December 7, 1942).  He was a singer-songwriter, humanitarian, and producer best known for his folk rock and pop rock songs, who achieved worldwide success in the 1970s and became one of the most popular artists and highest paid performers. Chapin is also one of the best charting musical artists in the United States. Chapin, a Grammy Award winning artist and Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, has sold over 16 million records worldwide and has been described as one of the most beloved performers in music history.

Chapin recorded a total of 11 albums from 1972 until his death in 1981. All 14 singles that he released became hit singles on at least one national music chart.  Chapin was best known for “Taxi,” a top-20 hit in 1972, and “Cat’s in the Cradle,” which hit number-one in ’74.

As a dedicated humanitarian, Chapin fought to end world hunger; he was a key participant in the creation of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger in 1977. Chapin is credited with being the most politically and socially active American performer of the 1970s. In 1987, Chapin was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his humanitarian work.

➦In 1990..DJ Rick Dees debuted his TV show "Into The Night" on ABC-TV

➦In 1991…Radio announcer Dwight Weist died of a heart attack at age 81.  He announced on radio shows such as Inner Sanctum Mysteries), Mr. District Attorney, The Shadow and March of Time.  He was known as the "Man of 1,000 Voices." He also narrated countless film documentaries from the 1930s through the 1950s.

➦In 2003…Baltimore radio, TV personality Buddy Dean died from the effects of a stoke at age 78.

The Buddy Deane Show aired on WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland from 1957 until 1964. It was similar to Philadelphia's American Bandstand.

Many top acts of the day appeared on The Buddy Deane Show. Acts that appeared on the show first were reportedly barred from appearing on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, but if they had been on Bandstand first they could still be on The Buddy Deane Show. The rivalry with Dick Clark meant that Deane urged all his performers not to mention American Bandstand or visits to Clark in Philadelphia.

Although WJZ-TV, owned by Westinghouse Broadcasting (now CBS), was an ABC affiliate, the station "blacked out" the network broadcast of American Bandstand in Baltimore and broadcast the Deane program instead, reportedly because Bandstand showed black teenagers dancing on the show (although black and white teenagers were not allowed to dance together until the show was moved to California in 1964). The Deane program set aside every other Friday for a show featuring only black teenagers. For the rest of the time, the show's participants were all white.

Phoebe Cates is 60

  • Singer William Bell is 84. 
  • Actor-singer Ruben Blades (“Fear the Walking Dead”) is 75. 
  • Drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police is 71. 
  • Actor Faye Grant (“Affairs of State”) is 66. 
  • Dancer Michael Flatley (“Lord of the Dance”) is 65. 
  • Actor Phoebe Cates is 60. 
  • Actor Paul Hipp is 60. 
  • Actor Daryl “Chill” Mitchell (“Ed”) is 58. 
  • Actor Jonathan Adams (“Last Man Standing”) is 56. 
  • Actor Will Ferrell is 56. 
  • Actor Rain Pryor (“Head of the Class”) is 54. 
  • Actor Corey Feldman is 52. 
  • Singer-guitarist Ed Kowalczyk (Live) is 52. 
  • Singer Ryan McCombs (Drowning Pool) is 49. 
  • Actor Jayma Mays (“The Millers,” ″Glee”) is 44. 
  • Actor AnnaLynne McCord (“Nip/Tuck”) is 36. 
  • Actor-singer James Maslow (“Big Time Rush”) is 33. 
  • Actor Mark Indelicato (“Ugly Betty”) is 29. 
  • Singer-guitarist Luke Hemmings of 5 Seconds Of Summer is 27.

  • In 1882..Mary Todd Lincoln, American wife of Abraham Lincoln and US First Lady (1861-65), dies of a stroke at 63
  • In 1981..Harry Chapin, American folk-rock singer-songwriter ("Taxi"; "Cat's In The Cradle"), dies in car crash at 38
  • In 1985..Wayne King, Saxophonist and bandleader, known as the Waltz King ("The Waltz You Saved for Me"), dies at 84
  • In 1991..Frank Rizzo, American politician (Mayor-D-Philadelphia, 1972-80), dies of a heart attack at 70
  • In 1999..Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, wife of John F. Kennedy, Jr. (b. 1966)
  • In 1999..John F. Kennedy Jr., Magazine publisher (George), lawyer and son of JFK, dies in a plane crash at 38
  • In 2008..Jo Stafford, American pop singer (The Pied Pipers - "I'll Never Smile Again"; Tommy Dorsey - "Let's Just Pretend"; solo - "You Belong to Me"), dies of heart failure at 90
  • In 2012..Kitty Wells [Ellen Deason], American country singer ("It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels"), dies from complications after a stroke at 92
  • In 2016..Bonnie Brown, American country singer (The Browns), dies at 77

Shocker: All Access Is Ceasing Operations

The radio industry became a community Friday with the stunning and unexpected news that it was losing one of its own.

We learned that All Access was shutting down.  The news came in a posting on its website and in eMails to registered members.

The news was delivered by Joel Denver, Founder, President and Publisher of All Access,  "It is with much sadness that we announce that in our 28th year of operation, ALLACCESS.COM will cease publishing at the close of business at 6p (PT), Tuesday, August 15, 2023".  The reason is financial. According to Denver there has been a "marked decrease in revenues that makes moving forward impossible."

Denver stated "this was not a decision that was reached lightly nor without earnest tries to find a path forward. It comes on the heels of major changes in the music industry announced in January of this year. These strong financial headwinds also extend to our non-music partners as well. Both downturns have greatly affected how All Access operates. The dollars are just not there to support our operation and staff any longer. 

Joel Denver
That's business.   However, in a personal note, Denver said, "This is without question the saddest and most heartbreaking moment of my professional life to have to tell you that will cease publishing and will be going out of business.” 

All Access website has just over two dozen staff members. It launched in 1995 and has been an essential source of news for the radio and music industries across genres including rock, pop, country and gospel/Christian, with the website providing news, editorial insights, community, industry events and job postings to many in the business for nearly three decades.

In his statement Denver wrote "The goal of All Access has always been to provide cutting edge content for all sectors of our business. We’ve strived to provide the best and most credible NET NEWS coverage, help people find jobs and stay connected. We have been blessed with wonderful partnerships and have created many valuable services for all parts of the radio and music businesses and have the support of nearly 100,000 active users.

"Looking back over nearly three decades of service, we have much to be proud of. We’ve created amazing editorial and service products that will be benchmarks of our success like: All Access Downloads, First Alert, co-creation/presentation of Worldwide Radio Summit and creation/presentation of the All Access Audio Summit, among many others along the way.

"Again, I cannot begin to express my sincerest appreciation and thanks to all of our many thousands of readers, our many amazing partners, wonderful clients, and the incredible All Access staff for your love and devotion to All Access, our mission, and our success for nearly 28 years. I will miss working with all of you.

"Closing All Access doesn’t mean that I am retiring from the business. I will take a moment to catch my breath and focus on new horizons and opportunities.

"I hope that you will give all of our All Access team members a good strong look as well at new opportunities — they are the best of the best, and I will provide a glowing recommendation for all. There is not one person on the All Access team that I wouldn’t hire again. Please reach out to them by visiting our Team Page.

"It has been a true honor to have served the radio and music communities. We have had a blast doing this. We will all miss serving and working with all of you — our readers and clients. I truly wish everyone much success in the future."

The site will remain online for an undetermined amount of time.

TV Ratings: MLB All-Star Game Hits Record Low; However...

Tuesday’s 2023 MLB All-Star Game drew record-low viewership for the second straight year, according to The Athletic citing multiple reports Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:

The game, which saw the National League win for the first time in 11 years, reportedly averaged 7.006 million viewers on Fox. The previous low from 2022 was 7.507 million, which was a 10 percent decline from 2021.

While the total was down, viewership among males ages 18-49 increased six percent and it was also up four percent among males 25-54, according to The Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp. The game also had television’s largest primetime audience since Game 5 of the NBA Finals in June (which drew more than 13 million viewers).

MLB’s All-Star Game remains the most-watched All-Star event across sports, however. The NFL’s Pro Bowl Games averaged 6.28 million viewers this year and the NBA All-Star Game saw 4.59 million.

In 2014 the game drew 11.34 million viewers. Twenty years earlier, it drew 22 million viewers in 1994 (in a different universe, obviously).

Despite Cord Cutting..MLB TV Ratings Are Up

With Major League Baseball starting the second half of the season, the league is seeing rosy numbers in television viewership, digital streaming, attendance, and a shift to a younger age demographic, reports Forbes. While there are multiple factors that affect all these categories, rule changes designed to quicken pace and increase action seem to be a large part of it.

It was impossible to ignore Rob Manfred’s positivity at the halfway point in the 2023 season. In Seattle for the All-Star Game, he said that the 2023 season might be one of the best since he took over as commissioner. By nearly every metric, the league is seeing gains. After nine years of attendance declines, 2023 is well on the way to breaking that trend. While everything from weather to how certain bellwether teams are performing in the standings, when coupled with other metrics, it is starting to look like the addition of a pitch clock, ban on radical shifts, limited throws to first base by pitchers when a runner is on it, and bigger bases is driving more action and removing lulls.

Through July 9th, a 9-inning game has been 26 minutes shorter than 2022 and 32 minutes shorter than when game length peaked in 2021. And while there have been concerns about pitch clock violations affecting game outcomes, 60% of the games thus far this season have had no violations while just 12% have seen multiple offenses. Games are now down to the overall game length for 9 innings seen in 1984.

On top of pace quickening, action has increased. Stolen base attempts have increased to 1.8 per game thus far in 2023, and successful steals are the highest in MLB history. In addition Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) is currently up 7 points compared to 2022. And when it comes to left-handed hitters, they’re feasting. Pulled ground balls and line drives by BABIP is up by 40 points and 33 points respectively.

⚾Local Television Viewership Increasing Despite Consumers Cutting The Cord

Arguably the biggest reason for the rule changes was designed to retain viewers watching via television and streaming, as well as bring new fans in. Manfred said on Tuesday that in a challenging media landscape, the league is seeing viewership trending upward.

“Our national ratings are up and also importantly, our local ratings despite the fact that the local cable audience — the universe of available homes — are down,” Manfred said. “We continue to dominate summer programming in our local markets which is really important.”

Based on data from Playfly Sports, the full-service marketing company MLB works closely wirh, ratings for the 29 U.S.-based regional sports networks (RSNs) is up +3% over 2022 despite the fact that all RSNs have lost between 7-13% in subscribers year-over-year. In a sign that MLB continues to dominate with advertisers, MLB game viewing on RSNs in the 25 MLB markets accounts for +125% more viewing than the top 10 prime entertainment shows combined in those markets. As but one example, in the Cleveland market, Guardians games combine to deliver more viewing than the top 30 prime entertainment shows combined in the same area.

Big gainers are led by the Baltimore Orioles who have seen viewership up +86% over the same point last season (avg of 42.5K vs. 22.9K HHs). Not far behind are the Texas Rangers who are up +82% year-over-year (avg 39.2K vs. 21.5K HHs).

Other gainers include:

  • Pittsburgh Pirates: up +73% YOY (52.5K vs. 30.3K HHs)
  • Cincinnati Reds: up +40% YOY (38.7K vs. 27.7K HHs)
  • Tampa Bay Rays: up +33% YOY (68.0K vs. 51.1K HHs)
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: up +30% YOY (25.5K vs. 19.7K HHs)
  • Seattle Mariners: +25% YOY (75.0K vs. 59.9K HHs)
  • Minnesota Twins: +18% YOY (58.4K vs. 49.6K HHs)
  • Atlanta Braves: up +18% YOY (81.5K vs. 69.3K HHs)

TV Ratings: The ESPYs Scores Primetime Win

The annual award ceremony celebrating excellence in sports, which aired lived Wednesday on ABC at 8 p.m. ET from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, drew in 2.34 million total viewers and nabbed a rating of 0.41 among the key demographic among adults ages 18-49 — the highest of the night — according to TheWrap citing Nielsen live-plus-same-day figures.

While the ceremony boosted ABC to the highest demo rating of the night among the major broadcasters, its total average viewership of 2.31 for the night came in third place, behind NBC and CBS.

Fox earned the second highest ratings of the night — scoring an average rating of 0.34 in the demo — while coming in fourth place in terms of total viewership with 1.75 million viewers. The 8 p.m. airing of “MasterChef” brought in a demo rating of 0.39 and drew in 2.10 million total viewers on average while the 9 p.m. airing of “Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars” scored a 0.28 demo rating and brought in 1.38 total viewers.

CBS came in third place in the demo for the night with an average 0.31 rating, while drawing in the highest total viewership of the night with 3.12 million viewers. At 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., reruns of “The Price Is Right” drew in demo scores of 0.38 and 0.35, respectively, and scored total viewerships of 3.80 million and 3.60 million, respectively. A rerun of “CSI: Vegas” closed out the night with a rating of 0.19 and a total viewership of 1.96 million.

At Mid-Year: Radio Listening Via Streaming Remains at 13%

The most recent Share of Ear® study from Edison Research finds that 13% of all AM/FM radio listening in the U.S. is via the radio station streams, while 87% of listening is done to a traditional, over-the-air radio signal.

Listeners can choose how they consume AM/FM radio content in the U.S., as the programming is now available through a variety of digital apps and devices. Radio listening is possible on their smartphones, computers, smart speakers, and through radio station websites, apps, and third party apps. The largest amount of AM/FM listening goes to the over-the-air (OTA) signals from devices such as car radios and clock radios, but listening to streams as a portion of all radio listening has grown over time. Halfway through 2023, our newest estimate is that listening has held at 13%, the same estimate as we saw at the end of 2022.

As Edison has argued consistently, the fight for the future of audio listening is on the phone and other digital devices. As such, tracking the proportion of all radio listening that happens on devices other than a tradition ‘radio set’ is crucial.

Edison Research’s Share of Ear® study is the only research that measures the entire world of audio in the U.S., looking at platform of listening, time of day, device on which the audio was consumed, the kind of programming, and the location of listening. The Share of Ear service measures what portion of listening to AM/FM content happens on a traditional radio receiver and how much is done on a digital device. The Share of Ear methodology fully represents the U.S. 13+ population, including not only those who are online but also those who are either not online or lightly online.

Disney Seeks Dismissal Of Florida Lawsuit

Walt Disney Co asked a Florida judge on Friday to dismiss a lawsuit by a state oversight board as part of the entertainment giant's effort to pursue its case against Governor Ron DeSantis, the latest development in a year-long feud.

Reuters reports Disney urged Judge Margaret Schreiber in Orlando to dismiss a lawsuit filed in May by the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which controls development around the company's theme parks.

At the end of an hour-long hearing, Schreiber asked both sides to submit by Wednesday proposed orders to resolve Disney's request, but she did not say when she would rule.

The district lawsuit seeks to void "backroom deals" favorable to Disney that the district alleges were struck with a prior district board and in violation of state law.

It's A Hot Labor Summer In Hollywood

Dramatically escalating a bitter labor battle that has already brought Hollywood to a virtual standstill, thousands of striking film and television actors took to the streets Friday to fight for better pay and job protections in an industry that has been upended by the rise of streaming, according to The L-A Times.

On picket lines outside more than a dozen studios and production facilities in Los Angeles and New York, including the Warner Bros., Walt Disney and Sony lots as well as the headquarters of Netflix and Amazon Studios, actors held aloft signs and chanted in unison alongside Writers Guild of America members who walked off the job in May.

As temperatures rose throughout the morning in Los Angeles, so did the number of picketers from SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union.

Sonja Roden, 50, who has appeared as a background actor on shows such as “Westworld” and “Castle,” was among those who gathered outside the Disney lot in Burbank. While the union’s starry A-listers often grab the spotlight, Roden emphasized that the majority of her fellow SAG-AFTRA members are just trying to make a living wage.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the people who make the millions are a very small percentage of the actors in the industry,” she said. “The rest of us are literally living paycheck to paycheck. And we need to be paid fairly. We’re working sometimes 10- to 16-hour days and barely making minimum wage.”

Philly TV: Retired Anchor Jim Gardner Launches Podcast

After more than six restful months following his retirement as the long-time main anchor at 6abc’s top-rated Action News, Jim Gardner is heading back to work, albeit in a new medium.

The Philly Business Journal reports the 75-year-old legendary anchor, who led Action News for 45 years, last month launched a podcast called "More to Explore," which will feature interviews with a wide variety of guests.

He said podcasting has taken him back to his days in radio between 1970 and 1974, when he worked for 1010 WINS in New York City and another station in nearby White Plains, New York, before starting his television career.

“Whatever skills that I learned however many years ago all of a sudden are useful again,” Gardner said. 

“And I'm really enjoying doing that in terms of audio editing and trying to figure out how to take an hour and 15 minutes of material and get it down to 45 minutes. When you're in television news, you're dealing with a minute here, two minutes there, 25 seconds here. If producers are being very tolerant of you, you might be able to do a three-minute piece. Now, I'm able to do 45 minutes.... It’s just an opportunity that I haven't had in years. And it's not just fun, but it's a chance to really delve and explore in ways that television most of the time doesn't allow you to do.”

Radio History: July 15

➦In 1913
... Lloyd Estel Copas born (Died at age 49 – March 5, 1963).  He is known by his stage name Cowboy Copas, and was a country music singer popular from the 1940s until his death in the 1963 plane crash that also killed country stars Patsy Cline and Hawkshaw Hawkins. He was a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Copas was born in 1913 in Blue Creek, Ohio, in Adams County. He began performing locally at age 14, and appeared on WLW-AM and WKRC-AM in Cincinnati during the 1930s. In 1940 he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he performed on WNOX-AM with his band, the Gold Star Rangers.

In 1943, Copas achieved national fame when he replaced Eddy Arnold as a vocalist in the Pee Wee King band and began performing on the Grand Ole Opry. His first solo single, "Filipino Baby", released by King Records in 1946, hit No. 4 on the Billboard country chart and sparked the most successful period of his career.

➦In 1929...“Music and the Spoken Word” debuted on KSL Salt Lake City.  It is still on the air today, the oldest continuous nationwide network broadcast in the world.  It is a 30-minute of inspiring messages and music produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; the music is performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Jocko Henderson
➦In 2000…Radio personality Douglas “Jocko” Henderson - WOV, WADO died.

Henderson began his broadcast career in 1952 at Baltimore station WSID, and in 1953 began broadcasting in Philadelphia on WHAT.  He hosted a show called "Rocket Ship" out of New York radio stations WOV and WADO from 1954 to 1964, which was an early conduit for rock & roll.

He was known for a distinctive style of rhythmic patter in his radio voice, which he had learned from a Baltimore deejay, Maurice "Hot Rod" Hulbert.   Henderson continued on the stations WDAS and WHAT until 1974, as a personality  in Philadelphia and New York as well as hosting concerts in both cities and a TV music program in New York. 

Friday, July 14, 2023

Report: Tucker Carlson Is Creating a New Media Company

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and former White House adviser Neil Patel are seeking to raise funds to start a new media company that would potentially use Twitter as its backbone, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter. 

The new company would be anchored by longer versions of the free videos that Carlson has been posting regularly on Twitter since shortly after his departure from Fox News, but would ultimately be driven by subscriptions, some of the people said.

Carlson and Patel are looking to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the company, the people said. 

Users of Twitter and other platforms would still be able to watch free, shorter versions of his show, interviews and documentaries, but would need to subscribe to watch them in their entirety, the people said. The company would eventually add shows from additional hosts, they said. 

Poll: Cable News Beats Broadcast Networks For Trust

In one of the most unexpected and ground-shaking changes in the media landscape, the three biggest cable TV news outlets are trusted more than the Big Three networks, and it’s not even close..

The Washington Examiner reports Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC all topped ABC, NBC, and CBS in trust, with Fox king of the hill, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey shared with Secrets.

Remarkably, said the pollster, the trust gap is huge between cable and network news, ranging from double to quadruple.

All told, about 70% of the public trusts some news outlet. Nearly 30% said they trust none or just don't know.

Here are the responses to which news outlet likely voters trust most:

That Didn't Take Long..Geraldo Shows-Up On 'The View'

Former Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera talked about his ouster from the Fox News Channel during an appearance on “The View” and his “toxic relationship” with a co-star on “The Five,” reports The Daily Caller.

Rivera announced his departure from the Fox News’ top-rated show, “The Five,” in a June 21 statement, and later revealed he was fired. A week later, he left the network after 23 years.

“I was fired from “The Five.” I had a very toxic relationship with another of the cast members … so I got a call from two of the female executives and they said ‘you’re off ‘The Five,'” Rivera told the “The View” co-hosts. “But there are plenty of other things you can do, I had a year-and-a-half left on my contract. And I said, ‘well, stop it. If you fired me from the number one show then I’m going to quit.’ And that’s basically what happened, but in the interim, in the days that led up to my last day of work, they were so kind to me. They were really so nice and remembering all the things we did together over the 20 odd years.”

Austin Radio: iHM's KVET New Flagship For Texas Longhorns

University of Texas Athletics and LEARFIELD/Longhorn Sports Properties announced Thursday that iHeartMedia Austin will become the new radio home for the Texas Longhorns.

The multi-year partnership will bring fans across greater Austin live game day broadcasts for Longhorns football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, and softball, as well as coaches’ shows and other programming.

iHeartMedia’s KVET-AM 1300 The Zone will become the flagship station, with Longhorns football and men’s basketball programming simulcast on KVET-FM 98.1. Broadcast stations for other sports will be announced at a later date, including Spanish-language broadcasts for football game days.

LEARFIELD’s Longhorn Sports Properties, which manages the Longhorn Radio Network and Texas Athletics’ multimedia rights, negotiated the partnership.

“The move of our network’s flagship radio station to KVET is a huge win for our fans in Austin and central Texas,” said Chris Del Conte, Vice President and Director of Athletics at The University of Texas. 

“The powerful signals of AM 1300 The Zone and 98.1 KVET will give our Longhorn faithful access to crystal clear radio game broadcasts from the northern tips of Williamson County down to the southern regions of Caldwell and Hays counties and out east to our friends in Bastrop and west into the beautiful Hill Country. No matter where you are in that footprint, you’ll get your Horns loud and clear from kickoff, tipoff or first pitch. Then you add the cherry on top to this deal with our network’s partnership with the mighty brand of iHeartMedia, and we’ve hit a home run in every way.”

R.I.P.: John Criswell, Former D/FW News Anchor

John Criswell, a longtime anchor at WFAA (Channel 8) and originator of its popular Wednesday’s Child segment, has died, his family confirmed Thursday.

Criswell, 83, died Wednesday in his Carrollton home, reports The Dallas Morning News.

Criswell was a news anchor for WFAA from 1973 to 1990. Criswell anchored nearly every broadcast on the station — morning shows, weekend shows and weekday newscasts at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

He covered several major stories at WFAA, including serving as an anchor for national political conventions, reporting on multiple hurricanes and being an integral part of the station’s coverage of the Delta 191 crash at DFW International Airport in August 1985.

“He was the face of WFAA for a long, long time,” said Bob May, who worked in production at WFAA during Criswell’s time at the station.

Criswell moved to KDFW Channel 4 in 1990 and worked at the station through 1997. At WFAA, he originated Wednesday’s Child in 1980 and Crimestoppers segments.

Before retiring in 1999, Criswell worked in the newsrooms of KTVT-TV in Fort Worth, KDFW-TV and KTXD-TV, both in Dallas.

7/14 WAKE-UP CALL: It's A Cover-Up At TWH

NY Post 7/14/23
The conclusion of an 11-day Secret Service probe that failed to find which White House staff member or visitor left cocaine in the West Wing looks like a whitewash, former federal investigators told The Post Thursday. “This is a cover-up. How can they say they have no leads?” one ex-agent said. “It is a restricted area and they have a log book, you don’t have to be Columbo to figure out who was there.

“Suppose it was anthrax,” the same person raged. “Would they have the same answer?”

“We have a tale of two countries,” another former fed said. “They identified hundreds of people who were in the Capitol building on Jan. 6 after an extensive investigation, but they don’t know who left something in an 8 x 10 room in the White House?” The Secret Service concluded its inquiry Thursday without identifying a suspect, citing “a lack of physical evidence” after FBI forensic testing yielded no fingerprints and insufficient DNA evidence.

➤FDA OKAYS OTC BIRTH-CONTROL PILL: The FDA approved the first over-the-counter birth-control pill. The decision significantly expanding access to contraception among women across the U.S. comes a year after the Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion, leaving the issue to the states to decide. Opill’s manufacturer said it would be available without a prescription by early 2024, but declined to discuss pricing. The FDA approved Opill for prescription use in 1973.

➤FEDS PROBE AI: The FTC is investigating whether OpenAI’s ChatGPT has harmed people by publishing false information about them. The focus is on whether the popular app that generates eerily humanlike content using AI “engaged in unfair or deceptive practices” that could damage people’s reputations. FTC Chair Lina Khan said the agency is concerned that ChatGPT and other AI-driven apps have no checks on the data they can mine. For critics of the FTC, the probe represented another venture into uncharted territory. OpenAI didn’t respond to requests for comment.

➤ARTIFICAL SWEETENER COULD CAUSE CANCER: A World Health Organization agency declared on Thursday that aspartame, an artificial sweetener widely used in diet drinks and low-sugar foods, could possibly cause cancer. A second W.H.O. committee, though, held steady on its assessment of a safe level of aspartame consumption. By some calculations using the panel’s standard, a person weighing 150 pounds could avoid a risk of cancer but still drink about a dozen cans of diet soda a day. The declaration by a W.H.O. agency of a cancer risk associated with aspartame reflects the first time the prominent international body has weighed in publicly on the effects of the nearly ubiquitous artificial sweetener. Aspartame has been a contentious ingredient for decades. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, or I.A.R.C., said it based its conclusion that aspartame was a possible carcinogen on limited evidence from three observational studies of humans that the agency said linked consumption of artificially sweetened beverages to an increase in cases of liver cancer — at levels far below a dozen cans a day. 

SAG-AFTRA Strike Shutters Hollywood

SAG-AFTRA’s national board of directors on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a strike action by tens of thousands of Hollywood actors, widening the scope of labor unrest in an entertainment industry that is already facing numerous headwinds.

The L-A Times reports the vote came after negotiations between the actors’ union and the major studios failed to reach an agreement on a new film and TV contract.

Actors — similarly to screenwriters already on picket lines — have been battling studios for a pact that would deliver far better pay and residuals from streaming and address other issues, including the use of artificial intelligence, that have been roiling the entertainment landscape.

Despite the last-minute involvement of a federal mediator, the 160,000-member union was unable to secure a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios in labor dealings. The old collective bargaining agreement expired Wednesday night without a deal in place.

Union leaders announced the board’s vote at a noon news conference in Los Angeles.

“We are the victims here,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said during a fiery speech. “We are being victimized by a very greedy entity.

The union has been pushing for an increase in minimum wages to counter the effects of inflation. The actors also want increases to streaming residuals — royalties for when TV shows and films are replayed — and for their members to participate in the success of hits. They also want their health and pension plans boosted and desire protections related to the use of artificial intelligence, which has become an increasingly prevalent tool for studios and filmmakers.

Study: What it Means to be a Favorite Station

Katz surveyed 900 radio listeners from across the country earlier this year to take a deeper look at the human connection between radio fans and their favorite station. Listeners invest a lot of time, energy, and interest into their favorite stations - which translates to some good benefits for advertisers!


Katz found that 7 in 10 listeners have a favorite station - from all across the dial, spanning music, news, talk, and sports stations. The connection to their favorite station is emotional, as 77% of listeners say that their favorite station improves their mood, and 60% feel that their favorite station cares about their local community. The feelings run deep as well, as 82% would truly miss their station if it were gone (85% among younger adults 18-34).


9 in 10 listeners have programmed their favorite station as a preset in their car - but loyalty goes way beyond a dedicated dashboard button. Katz found that favorite radio stations are part of some serious long term relationships. Fans have been listening to their favorite station for an incredible average of 18 years! Among younger adult listeners, that number is still high at 12 years. And it balloons to a whopping 23 years among older adults. Listeners' emotional investments keep consumers of all ages coming back for more!

Disney Open to Finding An ESPN Partner

Disney is open to potentially selling an equity stake in ESPN and is looking for a strategic partner in the business as it prepares to transition the sports network to streaming, CEO Bob Iger told CNBC Thursday.

The linear TV business has degraded over the past year more than Iger expected, the Disney CEO told CNBC’s David Faber Thursday in an interview at Sun Valley, Idaho. Disney announced yesterday Iger has extended his contract to 2026 as CEO. He returned to run Disney last year after stepping down as CEO in 2020.

Disney has held early conversations with potential partners that could improve an ESPN streaming service by extending its distribution and adding content, Iger said. He declined to name specific partners. Disney currently owns 80% of ESPN. Hearst Communications owns the other 20%.

Disney has held off from putting its prime ESPN content on its ESPN+ streaming service as it continues to make billions of dollars in revenue each year through traditional cable TV. Still, millions of Americans cancel their cable subscriptions each year, and that number has accelerated in recent years.

“The challenges are greater than I had anticipated,” Iger said. “The disruption of the traditional TV business is most notable. If anything, the disruption of that business has happened to a greater extent than even I was aware.”

A broader streaming offering Iger said he had become more certain in his thinking about when ESPN will launch its complete direct-to-consumer offering. He declined to say when that will happen.

Iger’s comments about finding a strategic partner suggest he believes ESPN may function better in a streaming environment if paired with other companies’ sports content. CNBC reported earlier this year that ESPN wants to be a hub for all live sports programming if it can agree to partnerships with other media companies.

ESPN became the crown jewel of Disney’s asset portfolio in the early 2000s by charging increasingly exorbitant amounts to pay-TV providers for the right to carry the network. The popularity of its sports programming, including “Monday Night Football,” allowed it to this.

But in the traditional cable TV business model, ESPN made money per cable subscriber — whether a person watched or not. In a streaming world, only intentional sports fans would buy a service. That increases the importance of putting as much quality programming on the platform as possible — especially if it’s priced more higher than entertainment streaming services.

Boston Radio: The Sports Hub No. 1 With Men 25-54

In the spring, WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub pulled a clean sweep in the Nielsen Audio Ratings, with all of its weekday programming finishing first in their time slots.

The Boston Globe reports the Sports Hub was first overall in the men 25-54 demographic in the Boston market from March 30-June 21, earning an 18.9 share. The Sports Hub finished first on weekends, as well.

Sports station WEEI 93.7 came in fifth with a 5.4 share.

In morning drive (6-10), The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” finished in the top spot with a 21.4 share during a period in which co-host Fred Toucher missed time while dealing with personal matters. WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” finished second (8.6), a notable jump from its share in the winter book (5.7, fifth).

In middays (10 a.m-2 p.m.), The Sports Hub’s “Zolak & Bertrand” claimed first place with 20.3 share. WEEI’s “Gresh and Fauria” was sixth with a 4.6.

The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Mazz” continued its long run of dominance in afternoon drive (2-6 p.m.), earning a 21.1 share to finish first. WEEI’s “Jones and Mego with Arcand” tied for eighth (4.1).

From 6-7 p.m., the Tony Massarotti-hosted “The Baseball Hour” was tops with a 15.7 share. WEEI, which usually has Red Sox pregame coverage in that spot, tied for eighth (3.7).

In the 7 p.m.-midnight window, The Sports Hub, which named Joe Murray its full-time nighttime host on June 12, finished first (17.4), in part due to having Celtics and Bruins playoff broadcasts. WEEI’s programming, which includes “The Rich Keefe Show” and Red Sox broadcasts, took second at 7.2.

In the winter, The Sports Hub took first (19.4), while WEEI tied for eighth (4.0). Last spring, The Sports Hub finished first (21.4). WEEI was fourth (5.2).

Detroit Radio: Lynn Montemayor Named DOS For Beasley

Beasley Media Group promotes Lynn Montemayor to Director of Sales at the company's Detroit-based radio properties. She most recently served as the General Sales Manager of WRIF-FM, WCSX-FM, 105.1 The Bounce, 105.9 Kiss FM, Detroit Praise Network and Motor City Sports Talk The ROAR. Lynn replaces Patti Taylor, who was recently promoted to Vice President and Market Manager of its cluster in Detroit.

Lynn Montemayor
"It brings me immense pleasure to announce Lynn Montemayor as Director of Sales for Beasley Media Detroit," said Beasley Media Group Detroit Vice President and Market Manager Patti Taylor. "Lynn is one of the most passionate and adept leaders I have ever worked with. She is thoughtful and fair, a creative teammate and a tenacious partner. I feel lucky and grateful to be working alongside Lynn in this next chapter of the Beasley Detroit cluster."

"I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on the role of Director of Sales for Beasley Media Detroit," added Montemayor. "I have had the pleasure of working with many great people, both internally and externally, but to lead our current team of Account Executives, this is a humbling honor for me. And with the move of Patti Taylor to Vice President and Market Manager, I have big shoes to follow, but I'm deeply lucky, as there is no one else I would want to be next to getting the job done."

đź“»Beasley Detroit stations include: 101 WRIF, 94.7 WCSX, WMGC (105.1 The BOUNCE), WDMK (105.9 Kiss FM), the Detroit PRAISE Network, and Sports-Talk The Roar (WCSX-HD2).

Amazon Reports Biggest Prime Day Event Ever

Amazon has announced the first day of Prime Day, July 11, was the single largest sales day in company history. Over the course of the two-day shopping event, Prime members purchased more than 375 million items worldwide and saved more than $2.5 billion on millions of deals across the Amazon store, helping make it the biggest Prime Day event ever.

“The first day of Prime Day was the largest sales day in Amazon’s history, and Prime members saved more this year than any other Prime Day event,” said Doug Herrington, CEO of Amazon Stores. “Prime is an incredible value, and we’re proud to offer additional value for members through exclusive deals events like Prime Day. Thank you to our Prime members for continuing to shop in our store, and to our employees and independent sellers around the world who delivered for customers this Prime Day.”

Wide Selection across Millions of Deals
  • This year, Amazon offered more deals than any past Prime Day event, with Home, Fashion, and Beauty among the top-selling deal categories, and Fire TV Stick, LANEIGE Lip Glowy Balm, Apple AirPods, and Bissell Little Green Portable Deep Cleaner among the top-selling deals.
  • Amazon’s wide selection is made possible through independent sellers – most of which are small and medium-sized businesses – and this Prime Day was the largest ever for independent sellers in Amazon’s store. Amazon offered more Prime Day deals on small business products than ever before, and this year, small businesses Caraway, True Classic, and TUSHY increased their average daily sales in Amazon’s store by over 18x during the first day of the Prime Day event when compared to 2023 leading up to Prime Day.
  • Prime members purchased millions of Alexa-enabled devices, including Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) with Alexa Voice Remote, which was the best-selling product across all of Amazon worldwide.

Prime Members Save More

Fox Business 'Big Money' Host Runs Marathon While Pregnant

Taylor Riggs from Fox Business

Running a marathon is already a challenge — but what about running 16 marathons and doing it while pregnant?

As she enters her third trimester and wraps up her second year of law school, Fox Business' Taylor Riggs just completed her 16th marathon while 19 weeks pregnant with her first baby.

The co-anchor of The Big Money Show, 37, spoke exclusively with PEOPLE about how she's breaking barriers and paving the way for women to stay fit throughout their pregnancies.

When she found out she was pregnant, Riggs realized that she had already signed up for her next marathon. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm pregnant but I've already signed up for the London Marathon, which is one of the six majors.' I did not want to miss it," she reveals.

Though she was going to be 19 weeks pregnant by the time the marathon came around, Riggs says her doctor gave her the okay.

R.I.P.: Dolly Fortier, Longtime Eastern Iowa Broadcaster

Dolly Fortier
Cedar Valley, Iowa radio icon Dolly Fortier has died.

The 86-year-old broadcaster suffered a heart attack last Wednesday. Her absence was noticeable to her regular listeners on Oldie Cruisin’ KCFI Radio because of a change in programming. 

Fortier officially retired from KWLO Radio in 2008 after a 39-year-career in radio broadcasting. She continued to devote her time to community service, but returned to the broadcast booth after a five-year hiatus in 2013.

Fortier filled the airwaves from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. “Lunchtime with Dolly” quickly became a popular program on KCFI FM 105.1 and AM 1250. Listeners tuned in for Big Band Monday, Girl Tuesday, Whatever Wednesday, Guy Thursday and Featured Artist Friday.

In 2016, she was named Broadcaster of the Year by the Iowa Broadcasters Association.

"I loved radio because I grew up with radio," the quick-witted broadcaster told The Courier. "It's just a fascinating industry. I'm just so grateful to have been a part of it, the local history here, and to meet the people that have been involved in it."

Her radio career began in 1970 as a copywriter and sales coordinator for KWWL-FM, and she later moved to sales. Fortier sat down behind the microphone in 1996 and steadily gained a following of devoted listeners.

Radio History: July 14

➦In 1917...Douglas Edwards born (Died at age 73 – October 13, 1990). He anchored CBS's first network nightly television news broadcast from 1947–1962, which was later to be titled CBS Evening News.

Douglas Edwards
Edwards joined CBS Radio in 1942, eventually becoming anchor for the regular evening newscast The World Today as well as World News Today on Sunday afternoons. Edwards came to CBS, after stints as a newscaster and announcer at WSB in Atlanta, Georgia and WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan.

In the mid-1940s, Edwards was host of the radio program Behind the Scenes at CBS.

In 1947, as CBS's top correspondents and commentators shunned the fledgling medium of television, Edwards was chosen to present regular CBS television news programs and to host CBS's television coverage of the 1948 Democratic and Republican conventions. The term "anchor" would not be used until 1952, when CBS News chief Sig Mikelson would use it to describe Walter Cronkite's role in the network's political convention coverage.

At first, Edwards would be eclipsed by John Cameron Swayze of NBC News's Camel News Caravan, but he would eventually regain his ratings lead. By the mid-1950s, the nightly 15-minute newscast Douglas Edwards with the News was watched by nearly 30 million viewers.

Edwards' last newscast on the evening news was on April 13, 1962. Edwards was replaced by Walter Cronkite, and the program became Walter Cronkite with the News. On September 2, 1963, the program was retitled CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and became the first half-hour weeknight news broadcast of network television and was moved to 6:30 p.m. .

Edwards subsequently moved back to CBS Radio, where he delivered the network's flagship evening newscasts The World Tonight for many years.

➦In 1927...NBC newsman John Chancellor was born in Chicago. He spent most of his career with NBC News. He served as anchor of the NBC Nightly News from 1970 to 1982 and continued to do editorials and commentaries for NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw until 1993.

During the 1976 election he introduced the concept of Red and Blue states, which survives to this day.

He died of stomach cancer July 12 1996, two days shy of his 69th birthday.

➦In 1957…Master satirist Stan Freberg debuted a new weekly comedy program on CBS Radio Network in the time slot previously occupied by Jack Benny.

In addition to Freberg, the cast included June Foray, Peter Leeds, and Daws Butler. Billy May arranged and conducted the music. The program failed to attract sponsors and the network cancelled the series after 15 episodes. It was the last U.S. network radio show to devote itself purely to comedy.

➦In 1969...WBZ 1030 AM, Boston increased its talk programming to a full 10 1/2 hours-a-day.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Disney CEO Iger Opens Door To Unloading TV Assets

Disney  CEO Bob Iger opened the door to selling the company’s linear TV assets as the business struggles during the media industry’s transition to streaming and digital offerings.

Iger appeared on CNBC on Thursday, the morning after the company announced it would extend his contract by two years through 2026.

Iger returned to the helm of the company in November after Disney’s board ousted Bob Chapek with a two-year contract through 2024 and plans to find a next successor.

On Thursday, Iger sat down with CNBC’s David Faber to explain his contract extension. The two spoke on site from investment bank Allen & Co.’s annual summer conference at the Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho, often referred to as “summer camp” for billionaires and media moguls.

“After coming back, I realized the company is facing a lot of challenges, some of them self inflicted,” Iger told Faber on Thursday, noting he’s accomplished a lot of work in seven months but there’s more to be done.

When Iger last spoke with Faber in February, soon after announcing a major restructuring at the company, he said he felt “a sense of obligation” to return to Disney and that his preference was to stay for his two-year contract.

“We’ve gotten a lot done very quickly, significant cost reductions and significant realignment of the company,” Iger said. “But dealing head on with some of our biggest challenges.”

The appearance in February came shortly after Disney announced a sweeping restructuring that included thousands of layoffs and billions of dollars cut in spending.

The reorganization warded off a potential proxy fight with activist investor Nelson Peltz.

Disney reorganized into three segments: Disney Entertainment, which includes most of its streaming and media operations; an ESPN division; and a parks, experiences and product unit.

These were some of Iger’s most significant actions in the months after his return. Disney revealed it would cut $5.5 billion in costs, consisting of $3 billion from content, excluding sports, and the remaining amount from non-content costs. The company earmarked 7,000 layoffs.

In addition to looking for his next successor, Iger has been tasked with bringing Disney’s streaming business to profitability. In the last year, media executives across all companies have focused on how to make streaming profitable, particularly after streaming behemoth Netflix lost subscribers early last year and since instituted ad-supported streaming and a crackdown on password sharing to drive revenue.

While the company posted revenue and profit in line with Wall Street estimates last quarter, it saw a loss of 4 million subscribers at its flagship streamer Disney+.

Those subscriber losses were offset by price increases, which Iger said in May weren’t to blame for the lower numbers. Instead, he said it showed room for further increases when it comes to streaming, and pushing customers toward the ad-supported tier, with the aim of reaching profitability.

San Diego Radio: KSON Rebrands As Morgan 103.7

Audacy’s 103.7 KSON in San Diego will celebrate Morgan Wallen’s two highly anticipated and sold-out concerts at Petco Park by renaming the station to “Morgan 103.7: Mandatory Morgan” from 12:01 a.m. PT on July 14 to 11:59 p.m PT on July 16. Every 15 minutes throughout this weekend-long celebration, the station will play Wallen’s chart-topping hits and fan favorites.

“We can’t wait to celebrate Morgan’s weekend in San Diego with our listeners and transform KSON into ‘Morgan 103.7,’” said Scott Roddy, Brand Manager, 103.7 KSON. “Every 15 minutes or more, listeners can expect to hear the infectious sounds of Wallen's music, including his numerous chart-toppers such as “Last Night,” “Whiskey Glasses” and "You Proof.”

On July 14 and 15, the entire KSON on-air team will broadcast live from the venue with a ‘Rollin' Pre-Party’ on the Wonderbus, a double-decker party bus complete with a stage, sound and lights. “John and Tammy: San Diego’s Morning Show” will present live concerts atop the Wonderbus with Frank Ray and Drake Milligan to the over 80,000 fans walking into Petco Park. Since May, the station has run numerous promotions to give listeners a chance to win tickets and pit passes to the upcoming shows.

đź“»Listeners can tune in to “Morgan 103.7: Mandatory Morgan” (KSON-FM) in San Diego on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Trump Supporter Ray Epps Sues Fox News

Roy Epps
Ray Epps, the man at the center of a widespread conspiracy theory about the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing Fox News and its former host Tucker Carlson of defamation for promoting a “fantastical story” that Epps was an undercover government agent who instigated the violence at the Capitol as a way to disparage President Donald J. Trump and his supporters.

The NY Times reports the complaint was filed in Superior Court in Delaware, where Fox recently agreed to a $787.5 million settlement in a separate defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems to combat claims that the company had helped to rig the 2020 election against Mr. Trump.

“Just as Fox had focused on voting machine companies when falsely claiming a rigged election, Fox knew it needed a scapegoat for January 6th,” the complaint says. “It settled on Ray Epps and began promoting the lie that Epps was a federal agent who incited the attack on the Capitol.”

Fox News did not respond when asked for comment. But the network moved quickly to have the venue changed to Federal District Court in Wilmington, Del.

The suit is the latest legal complication for Fox News, which has been fighting lawsuits on a number of fronts related to its coverage of the 2020 election and Mr. Trump’s false insistence that he was cheated of victory. They include a $2.7 billion suit from a second voting technology company, Smartmatic, and two separate claims by Fox Corporation shareholders. Another lawsuit from a former producer for Mr. Carlson, which Fox settled on June 30 for $12 million, alleged that he condoned and encouraged a toxic workplace.

Epps is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.