Saturday, July 29, 2023

D-C Radio: WBIG Fires Don Geronimo Over 'Barbie Girl' Remark

WBIG-FM, the Washington Commanders’ radio partner, fired host Don Geronimo for disparaging remarks he made about a female TV anchor during a Thursday morning broadcast from the team’s training camp.

While hosting “The Don Geronimo Show” on BIG 100, Geronimo, whose real name is Michael Sorce, referred to WUSA-TV sports anchor Sharla McBride as “Barbie girl” as she arrived to cover the team’s second day of camp. He added, “I’m guessing she’s a cheerleader,” and later referred to her as “that chick.”

“After an internal review, Don Geronimo is no longer an employee of WBIG,” Aaron Hyland, iHeartMedia’s D.C. regional president, said in a statement to The Washington Post on Saturday night. “We take matters of this nature very seriously and this behavior does not align with our core values.”

A Commanders spokesperson added, “We were confident that iHeart would address this swiftly and are pleased that they did.”

Following Thursday’s comments, the Commanders prohibited Geronimo and his producer, Crash Young, from broadcasting at the team’s facility Friday. Their taped interview with new Commanders owner Josh Harris that was promoted to run Friday never aired.

“When I heard the comments made about me on their radio show, I felt incredibly insulted and embarrassed,” McBride said in a statement to The Post when asked for comment on Geronimo’s remarks. “In my 17 years as a professional journalist, I have never been disrespected in such a blatant manner while trying to do my job. Their words were sexist and misogynistic. No woman should experience this in the workplace, and I appreciate the Commanders’ swift response in handling this matter.”

The Washington Post reports just last week, Geronimo announced on social media that he re-signed with WBIG through 2026. When reached for comment Saturday, he responded via text: “Under the advice of my representatives I’ve been advised that I can not comment at this time.”

Geronimo, 64, has been a notable figure in local radio for decades, known for his sports broadcasts as well as his raunchy, “guy talk” radio as half of “The Don and Mike Show” with Mike O’Meara on WJFK (106.7 FM). The show garnered a following for off-color stunts, including a nude Olympics that was shown on pay-per-view. As The Post detailed in 1998, the pair prided itself on pushing the envelope, and their act resulted in a handful of lawsuits and complaints, at least a couple of which were resolved with settlements.

In April 2022, the Commanders announced a three-year deal with iHeartMedia D.C., less than a month after parting ways with Audacy’s the Team 980 (WTEM-AM). The deal was touted as a chance to expand the team’s reach on an FM station.

Radio History: July 30

Vladimir Zworykin
➦In 1888...Vladimir Kosmich Zworykin born (Died - July 29, 1982). He was an American inventor, engineer, and pioneer of television technology. Zworykin invented a television transmitting and receiving system employing cathode ray tubes. He played a role in the practical development of television from the early thirties, including charge storage-type tubes, infrared image tubes and the electron microscope.  Zworykin, called the “Father of Television” invented the iconoscope in 1931 while in the employ of RCA, the parent company of NBC.  He died July 29 1982 on the eve of his 93rd birthday.

➦In 1914...John Meston born (Died  — March 24, 1979). He was a scriptwriter best known for co-creating with producer Norman Macdonnell the long-running Western series Gunsmoke. He developed storylines and wrote radio scripts and teleplays for 379 episodes for the series, which was first broadcast on CBS Radio in 1952, and then adapted to the "small screen", as well, airing on television from 1955 to 1975. In addition to his work on Gunsmoke, Meston also served as a writer and editorial supervisor for other radio programs such as Escape, Suspense, Lux Radio Theater, and Fort Laramie; and in the 1970s, he wrote several episodes for two other television series, Little House on the Prairie and Hec Ramsey.

After the war, Meston was hired by KNX Radio in Los Angeles to be an assistant in the station's editing department, and by October 1945, he was promoted to head of that department.

Station KNX by the 1940s already served as the center of West Coast operations for the entire CBS Radio network, so Meston's next career move was a transitional one to CBS, where in 1947, he began working once again as a censor, more specifically in the network's program practices department.

Meston's scripts dominated the radio series' presentations for years.   He died of a cerebral hemorrhage March 24 1979 at age 64.

➦In 1930...The Shadow debuted as the mysterious narrator of the radio program Detective Story Hour, which was developed to boost sales of Street and Smith's monthly pulp Detective Story Magazine.  When listeners of the program began asking at newsstands for copies of "That Shadow detective magazine", Street & Smith decided to create a magazine based on The Shadow and hired Gibson to create a character concept to fit the name and voice and write a story featuring him. The first issue of The Shadow Magazine went on sale on April 1, 1931, a pulp series.

On September 26, 1937, The Shadow radio drama, a new radio series based on the character as created by Gibson for the pulp magazine, premiered with the story "The Death House Rescue", in which The Shadow was characterized as having "the power to cloud men's minds so they cannot see him". As in the magazine stories, The Shadow was not given the literal ability to become invisible.

The introduction from The Shadow radio program "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!", spoken by actor Frank Readick, has earned a place in the American culture.

The Shadow aired first aired on CBS.  It would be a radio favorite for the next 24 years, mostly on Sunday afternoons on Mutual.

➦In 1930...First broadcast of "Death Valley Days" on NBC Radio.  It was a radio and television anthology series featuring true accounts of the American Old West, particularly the Death Valley country of southeastern California. Created in 1930 by Ruth Woodman, the program was broadcast on radio until 1945 and became from 1952 to 1970 as a syndicated television series, with reruns (updated with new narrations) continuing through August 1, 1975. The radio and television versions combined to make the show "one of the longest-running western programs in broadcast history."

The series was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Borax Company (20 Mule Team Borax, Boraxo) and hosted by Stanley Andrews ("The Old Ranger") (1952–1964), Ronald Reagan (1964–1965), Rosemary DeCamp (1965), Robert Taylor (1966–1969), and Dale Robertson (1969–1970).

➦In 1937...the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA) organized. It was part of the American Federation of Labor. The union was for all radio performers except musicians. The union later became The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) to include TV workers.

➦In 1942...Stage Door Canteen began its three-year run on CBS Radio. It was inspired by the

The Stage Door Canteen which was an entertainment venue for American and Allied servicemen that operated in the Broadway theatre district of New York City during World War II.

The official estimate of attendance on the canteen's opening night was 1,250, with 200 "actresses of varying importance" as hostesses and 75 "'name' actors" as busboys.  In addition to shows, the canteen offered off-duty military personnel opportunities to unwind in various ways, including dancing with hostesses and female entertainers, eating, and writing letters home. Food was provided free. Between 5 p.m. and midnight daily, the canteen served 200 gallons of coffee, and 5,000 cigarettes were smoked.

The CBS Radio series aired through 1945.

Arthur Peterson, Mercedes McCambridge, Helen Behmiller, Henrietta Ledro

➦In 1952...the popular radio soap opera, The Guiding Light, was seen for the first time on CBS-TV. It debuted on NBC radio Jan. 25 1937.  The daytime drama aired its final telecast Sept. 18 2009.

➦ In 1964...WNEW 1130 AM in New York banned all comedy records that “ridicule the United States Government, its processes, institutions, officials, lawmakers and political candidates.” The station said the new policy was triggered by a new album entitled “I’d rather Be Far Right Than President.” - an album that spoofs Republican Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.

Says John Sullivan, vice president and general manager of WNEW -“I would say the situation came to a head because of national conventions and an election year. But the taste level of some of these comedy recordings has grown progressively worse and there is a lot of cheap, badly done stuff in the field. What I resent is that anyone can put something on a record and it is passed off as entertainment. The radio industry should take a look at what it plays.”WNEW plays music from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Steve and Eydie, Dean Martin and other popular non-rock artists.

➦In 1966...WOR 98.7 FM, New York changed it's programming to a Rock format.

The original WOR-FM disc jockeys were Scott Muni (formerly of WABC and WMCA), Murray “the K” Kaufman (formerly of WINS), Rosko (Bill Mercer) and Johnny Michaels.

According to, WOR-FM became extremely popular on college campuses.  It began to carve out an audience that had not been served by radio up until then.  It was achieving decent ratings (for an FM station) without taking audience away from the AM stations by appealing to new listeners.  This was significant.  A Columbia University survey of its undergraduates found that 93% listened to FM as well as AM and that they listened to WOR-FM for 3 1/2 hours daily as compared with AM stations WMCA (1 1/2 hours) and WABC (1 hour). WOR-FM grossed anywhere from $500 to $1000 a week from record company commercials because of its reach into the college campuses.

Even so, owner RKO wasn’t satisfied.  Bill Drake had been consulting RKO’s two West Coast stations; KHJ in Los Angeles and KFRC in San Francisco.  These were both extremely successful AM Top 40 stations built around the “Drake-Chenault” philosophy of playing just the hits while minimizing almost everything else.  In July of 1967 RKO hired Drake to consult its remaining radio properties which consisted of CKLW, Detroit; WRKO, Boston; WGMS, Washington DC; WHBQ, Memphis and, of course, WOR-FM.

The first sense of change came when memos appeared from management dictating to the air staff not to play certain cuts. Next the disc jockeys were removed from the new record listening sessions and not allowed to have input on the playlist. Next the playlist became all singles with only an occasional new record and it had to be from an established artist.

Murray the K had the highest rated FM show in New York; a 4 share on one ratings survey, a 3 on the next. This was higher than many AM shows and a terrific FM rating for New York.  He would have no part of these changes and his protests cost him his job.  He was fired by the station in September 1967.  His parting comment about the changes at WOR-FM was “Who can live with that?  Music has reached a maturity... people in radio are still treating it as if it is for teenie boppers."

Murray had a point. WOR-FM was different from the other RKO properties in that it was FM stereo as opposed to AM.  It had built a solid audience by attracting a different group of people.  Giving up on it after only a year seemed premature. Record companies had found the station highly valuable at influencing sales of rock albums especially of new artists and groups like Cream, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.  The format was noted for playing new records first, often playing new artists that the local AM stations wouldn't play.

➦In 1984...The FCC increased the number of radio and television stations that a company may own from a total of 14 radio stations and 7 TV stations to a new ceiling of 24 radio stations and 12 TV stations.

➦In 2004...Shock personalities Opie and Anthony announced they were joining XM Satellite Radio beginning Oct. 4. They were yanked off the air back in August of 2002 after broadcasting a live account of a couple having sex inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

➦In 2012...Radio programmer on personality Al Brady Law died at age 67.

Chicago Radio: Keith Lawless To Manage Hubbard Radio’s Cluster

Hubbard Radio Chair/CEO Ginny Hubbard Morris, has announced that Keith Lawless was named VP/Market Manager for Hubbard Radio-Chicago. 

Commented Morris, “We are pleased to welcome Keith to Hubbard Radio and look forward to watching him put his unique talents and experience to work with our great team in Chicago.”

Keith Lawless
Lawless is a 33 year veteran of the radio industry and spent the last 25 years of his career with Cox Media Group, most recently as Regional Vice President overseeing Houston, TX and Tampa, FL. 

Prior to that and during his tenure, he held the positions of Account Executive, National Sales Manager, General Sales Manager, VP/General Manager and VP/Market Manager. Prior to his time with Cox Media Group, Lawless held various sales and management positions with Clear Channel Communications, Paxson Communications, Reier Broadcasting and Gross Communications. Lawless is a graduate of the University of South Florida.

“Thank you to Ginny Morris for this opportunity,” commented Lawless. “I’m honored to join the Hubbard organization in their 100th year of broadcasting.”

📻Hubbard Radio operates four radio stations in Chicago: WTMX 101.9 FM (The Mix), WDRV 99.7 FM/WWDV 96.9 FM (The Drive) and WSHE 100.3 FM. Chicago is the largest market in the Hubbard Radio portfolio.

Variety Updates Controversial Zucker-CNN Story

The fallout from Tatiana Siegel’s Variety article that has captivated the media industry continues, as Variety quietly added updates to the piece on Friday.

TheWrap reports the article received backlash from many, with some calling for Variety to retract the story that claims former CNN CEO Jeff Zucker has spent the last year courting billionaires to secure funding in an effort to purchase CNN, including The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta, Puck News co-founder John Kelley and Zucker himself.

On Friday afternoon, Variety added updates to the story in order to “reflect new statements from Kelly and Alberta,” a note at the bottom of the page now reads.

Jeff Zucker
“After this article was published, Alberta responded on social media that he met with Licht on seven different days and used ‘zero off-record details or quotes,’” the story says in an updated paragraph.

The update adds that Alberta “also pushed back on suggestions that he had not been honest about the type of story he was writing.”

Variety also added a paragraph to the section about Puck News and Dylan Byers, whose journalistic integrity was questioned throughout the article.

“In an email to Variety following the publication of this article,” the story now reads, “Kelly wrote that ‘we never disclosed my conversations with RedBird because Dylan was intentionally unaware of them.’”

According to the update, Kelly said in his email that Variety’s suggestion that Risa Heller, PR representative to both parties, “served as a backchannel between Puck and Zucker was ‘laughable.’”

Musk Claims X Users Reaches New High

Elon Musk said on Friday monthly users of social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, reached a "new high" and shared a graph that showed the latest count as over 540 million.

Musk's post on X about the user figures comes as the company goes through organizational changes and looks to boost advertising revenue which has dropped in the recent month, reports Reuters.

It is also the latest in a series of comments from X's executives claiming strong traction in usage, after Meta Platforms launched a direct competing platform called Threads on July 5.

Twitter had 229 million monthly active users in May 2022, according to a statement made before Musk's purchase of the firm in October. Musk posted in November that X had 259.4 million daily active users.

Since taking over, Musk has swiftly moved through a number of product and organizational changes. The company rolled out the verified blue tick as a paid service and has started sharing a cut of the ad sales with select content creators on the platform.

Judge Refuses to Dismiss FL Lawsuit Versus Disney

A Florida judge on Friday rejected a Walt Disney Co request to dismiss a lawsuit by an oversight district, a move that could make it harder for the entertainment giant to pursue its own case against Governor Ron DeSantis as part of a yearlong feud.

Reuters reports the ruling allows the oversight district to pursue its case that seeks to void "backroom deals" favorable to Disney that were struck with a prior district board earlier this year. If those deals were voided, the district has said it would nearly wipe out Disney's federal case against DeSantis.

A Disney spokesperson said the decision "has no bearing" on the federal lawsuit seeking to "vindicate Disney's constitutional rights."

The skirmish began last year after Disney criticized a Florida law banning classroom discussion of sexuality and gender identity with younger children. DeSantis, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, has repeatedly attacked "woke Disney" in public remarks.

DeSantis rallied lawmakers to pass bills that reconstituted the district as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and transferred power over the board to the governor from Disney. Lawmakers also retroactively invalidated agreements that Disney reached with the prior board of what was then the Reedy Creek Improvement District on the eve of it being brought under DeSantis's control.

Disney filed its lawsuit in April against the governor in federal court, claiming DeSantis "weaponized" state government against the company for attacking the classroom gender discussion law.

Disney asked the federal court to prevent the state from enforcing the laws directed at the company and to reinstate the development agreements favorable to Disney that were struck with the prior district's board.

Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware, and Jody Godoy in New York; editing by Deepa Babington, Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang

San Antonio Radio: KTFM To Air The Jim Rome Show

Westwood One has announced a new affiliation agreement to expand “The Jim Rome Show” from CBS Sports Radio into the San Antonio market on Alpha Media’s “San Antonio’s Sports Star” KTFM-FM beginning on August 14. 

“The Jim Rome Show” will air weekdays on “San Antonio’s Sports Star” KTFM-FM each weekday from 12 to 2 p.m. CT.

In addition, KTFM-FM will be the new market home of the NFL and NCAA Football broadcasts from Westwood One for 2023.

Westwood One syndicates “The Jim Rome Show” as well as other CBS Sports Radio network programs.

“San Antonio is home to many long-time listeners,” said Rome. “Thrilled to be reconnecting with them on 94.1 San Antonio’s Sports Star again. Thank you for the warm welcome back!”

“Jim is still very much at the top of his game,” said Ryan Maguire, Vice President of Affiliate Sales for Westwood One Sports. “This move is not only great for longtime listeners of ‘The Jungle’ but for new ones who will be entertained by Jim’s unique brand of sports entertainment. We’re thrilled that we could work out this new partnership with Alpha Media in San Antonio.”

“Jim Rome returns to San Antonio. The Military City is going to love them some Jim Rome,” said Tim Spence, Director of Sports Operations for Alpha Media San Antonio. “Who's the most your face sports personality in America? It's Jim Rome.  When he says, 'Have a Take, Don't Suck,’ he means it."

Swifties Set Off 2.3 Magnitude ‘Swift Quake’

Taylor Swift fans are reportedly causing some seismic activity.

According to seismologist Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, the newly-coined "Swift Quakes" occurred on July 22 and 23 at Swift's Eras Tour dates at Seattle's Lumen Field — which saw record attendance on Saturday — People reported.

Caplan-Auerbach stated that the Swifties' dance activity caused seismic activity "equivalent of a 2.3 magnitude earthquake," per the outlet.

The Western Washington University geology professor noted the occurrences while moderating a Pacific Northwest earthquake group on Facebook.

"I grabbed the data from both nights of the concert and quickly noticed they were clearly the same pattern of signals," she said. "If I overlay them on top of each other, they're nearly identical."

Caplan-Auerbach pointed out that similar activity occurred in the seaport city with 2011's "Beast Quake," when Seattle Seahawk fans went wild over Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch's incredible touchdown during the NFC Wild Card game against the New Orleans Saints.

However, the Swifties have the NFL fans beat. "The shaking was twice as strong as 'Beast Quake.' It absolutely doubled it."

"The primary difference is the duration of shaking," the professor told CNN. "Cheering after a touchdown lasts for a couple seconds, but eventually it dies down. It's much more random than a concert. For Taylor Swift, I collected about 10 hours of data where rhythm controlled the behavior. The music, the speakers, the beat. All that energy can drive into the ground and shake it."

Riverside Radio: K-Frog Welcomes Guy David To Mornings

Audacy welcomes Guy David as morning show co-host for K-FROG (KFRG-FM / KXFG-FM) in Riverside. David will be heard on “Kelli & Guy” alongside co-host Kelli Green, weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. PT effective immediately.

Guy David
“We're delighted to have Guy David join the K-FROG family as our morning show co-host,” said Michael Valenzuela, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Riverside. “With his genuine passion for country music and Kelli’s infectious energy, we're confident they'll create a dynamic and unforgettable morning show experience for our loyal listeners in Riverside. Together, they'll bring the best of country hits, engaging conversations, and a whole lot of fun to kickstart listeners’ days.”

“With my love of Southern California, Country radio and being at a legendary station around a legendary team, this was too good an opportunity to ignore,” said David. “K-FROG helped me develop my love for Country music years ago and now being a part of the team is a truly special feeling.”

David launched his career at The Bull 107.1 in Fond Du Lac, WI in 2016, where he won Wisconsin’s Best Morning Show by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. In 2017, he joined KYGO-FM in Denver as morning show host, where he was nominated for ACM and CMA Awards. After that, he hosted a current affairs talk show on KSHP 107.1 in Las Vegas.

📻Listeners can tune in to K-FROG (KFRG-FM / KXFG-FM) in Riverside on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Country Hits Place Three Titles On Hot 100 Top Five

Kane Brown released “Heaven,” a love-drunk single that practically radiates romantic bliss, in the fall of 2017. The following May, the track topped Billboard’s Country Airplay chart and climbed to No. 15 on the Hot 100. Despite this success, “we never tried to cross it over” to pop radio, says Martha Earls, who manages Brown. “In what world would you have an almost Diamond-certified single that you didn’t try to take over to pop? It was a different time. Back then, that opportunity just was not there.”

Today, Earls says, conditions are different — she “absolutely would” have promoted “Heaven” to the Top 40 format. “Let’s take it to pop [radio] tomorrow!” she jokes. 

This summer, country singles are finally starting to fare better on the Billboard Pop Airplay chart: Morgan Wallen‘s “Last Night” is at No. 3 on the latest ranking, while Luke Combs‘ “Fast Car” hit lands art No. 4. (They also sit at No. 3 and No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. Jason Alden's controversial song "Try That.." hold the No. 2 slot). “Most Top 40 programmers are protective of pop music sounds,” says Steven Shannon, music director at KZFN in Moscow, Idaho. “It’s unusual to have two country songs out at the same time that are in the Top 20.”

With that in mind, “it’s nice to see more people being open to our format,” adds Chris Kappy, who manages Luke Combs. “I appreciate the fact that people can look at country music just like they look at any other genre.”

In the past, pop radio has flirted with country periodically but never really embraced the genre, suggesting that the success of Wallen and Combs could be another temporary blip. (Pop radio’s arms-length approach to country is part of the reason why, before this year, the last track to top both Country Airplay and the Hot 100 was Lonestar‘s “Amazed” in 2000.) “I guarantee that most Top 40 programmers are resistant” to adding country to their playlists, Shannon says.

As a result, country executives say they still only consider attempting a pop radio campaign in special cases. But shifts in the music landscape could point to a bigger role for country in the pop airplay mix moving forward. The genre’s audience is surging — country’s consumption has increased by a whopping 20.3% year-over-year in the first 26 weeks of 2023, according to Luminate, making its popularity tough to overlook. (By contrast, pop is up by 7.6%.)

Fox Bet Platform to Shutter

Fox Corp. and Flutter Entertainment Plc plan to wind down their Fox Bet online wagering business starting on Aug. 1, according to Bloomberg citing people familiar with the plans.

Flutter, parent of the competing betting service FanDuel, will keep the customer database and market-access agreements associated with the business, said the people, who asked not be identified since the decision hasn’t been announced. An announcement could come as soon as July 31.

Fox will retain rights to the Fox Bet brand and the related Super 6 promotion. It will also will keep its option to acquire an 18.6% stake in FanDuel.

Online betting was a big potential growth business for Fox, the broadcast business controlled by Rupert Murdoch. The company promoted the brand heavily during football games. 

The broadcaster created Fox Bet with Stars Group, but the relationship changed after Stars was acquired by Flutter. The latter focused on FanDuel and didn’t expand FoxBet as much as Fox Chief Executive Officer Lachlan Murdoch wanted.

Fox has had talks with other sports-betting operators about marketing agreements with its networks, one of the people said.

Huntsville Radio: WWFF-FM Raises $80K+ for Police Officers Families

Cumulus Media announces that Country radio station 93.3 Nash Icon/WWFF-FM in Huntsville, AL, joined the fundraising effort of Nancy Jones, wife of the late Country singer, George Jones, to help the families of two Huntsville police officers who were shot in the line of duty. When Jones learned that Huntsville Police Officer Garrett Crumby tragically passed away and Officer Albert Morin suffered life-threatening injuries from gunshot wounds both men sustained in the line of duty, she stepped up to help.

Nancy Jones, Sam I AM
Jones partnered with 93.3 Nash Icon, Concerts 4 A Cause, The Wounded Blue, and the Von Braun Center to present a benefit concert at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on April 24, 2023. Held in her late husband’s honor, the concert - dubbed “Still Playin’ Possum: Music and Memories of George Jones” and a live auction of autographed guitars and two front-row tickets to the show raised a total of $80,225.50 for The Memorial Fund for Officer Crumby and The Donation Fund for Officer Morin.

The sold-out all-star concert featured live performances from artists including Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Wynonna, Travis Tritt, Jelly Roll, Tanya Tucker, Trace Adkins, Sara Evans, Justin Moore, Jamey Johnson, Joe Nichols, Aaron Lewis, Michael Ray, Uncle Kracker, Lorrie Morgan, Tracy Byrd, Tracy Lawrence, The Isaacs, and Dillon Carmichael.

Nancy Jones commented: "George loved Huntsville, Alabama. And that is why I chose this town. George was supposed to have a show here 10 years ago, and I'm so happy that we got to do what we did."

Sam I Am, Midday Host, 93.3 Nash Icon, remarked: "It was really important to me to help make this event a success. Here in Huntsville, we're a big growing city with small hometown feelings. It's our responsibility to take care of each other."

Radio History: July 29

Florence Freeman
➦In 1911
...Florence Freeman born (Died  at age 88 – April 25, 2000). She was an actress in old-time radio. She was known as a "soap opera queen" for her work in daytime serial dramas.

Freeman's initial job in radio came in 1933 as the result of a challenge. After a friend dared her "to make good as a radio actress", Freeman applied — and was hired — at WOKO in Albany, NY.  She went on to become a member of the casts of a number of serials in old-time radio, including being "the heroine of not one but two serials that ran more than a decade."

In 1949, Freeman won the "Your Favorite Daytime Serial Actress" award from Radio Mirror magazine.

➦In 1914...Theodore Vail, the president of AT&T, succeeded in transmitting his voice across the continental U.S. in July 1914.  It the first test phone conversation between New York and San Francisco.

Peter Jennings

➦In 1938...Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings born (Died from cancer at age 67 – August 7, 2005). He was a Canadian-American journalist who served as the sole anchor of ABC World News Tonight from 1983 until his death from lung cancer in 2005. Despite dropping out of high school, he transformed himself into one of American television's most prominent journalists.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Cumulus Media Q2 Reports 11 Percent Revenue Drop YoY

Cumulus Media Inc. today announced operating results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2023.

Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus Media, said, “Despite continued challenges in the overall market, our second quarter revenue performed in-line with expectations while Adjusted EBITDA exceeded them. As in prior quarters, we generated strong revenue growth in our digital marketing services business, implemented meaningful cost reductions, and further improved our balance sheet by generating cash from operations and reducing our total and net debt to the lowest levels in more than a decade. 

Mary G Berner
"Additionally, we executed a highly accretive and opportunistic tender offer, which resulted in the retirement of approximately 10% of our shares outstanding."

Berner continued, “Our proven track record of strong operational and financial execution in adverse conditions gives us unwavering confidence in our ability to optimize results in the current weak ad market and rebound strongly when the environment improves. In the meantime, we will continue to invest in our digital businesses, further enhance our operating leverage through additional cost reductions, and execute on our strategy to opportunistically deploy capital to maximize long-term shareholder value.”

Q2 Performance Summary: 

Senate Committee OKs AM Radio Act, Ticket Price Disclosures

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approved legislation on Thursday to bar automakers from eliminating AM broadcast radio in new vehicles and require companies like Ticketmaster to put total ticket prices including fees in marketing materials.

Reuters reports the committee acted on a number of bills before Congress heads out on its August recess, approving two bills aimed at tightening privacy protections for children online. The update of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which first became law in 2000, would raise the age of children protected by the measure from 12 and under to 16 and under.

The AM radio bill and the ticket-pricing bill both had strong bipartisan support and both have companion measures in the House of Representatives.

Fees on ticket prices have become an increasing issue. They can comprise 21% to 58% of ticket prices for some events, according to studies from the New York Attorney General's office and Government Accountability Office.

Concert-goers have been annoyed with Ticketmaster for years, and the most recent catalyst for criticism came in November when frustrated Taylor Swift fans battled its website, often unsuccessfully, to buy tickets for the pop star's first tour in five years.

The AM radio bill would direct the Transportation Department to issue regulations mandating AM radio in new vehicles without additional charge.

Senators said this year that at least seven automakers have removed AM broadcast radio from their electric vehicles, including Tesla, BMW and Volkswagen. Ford reversed course in May under pressure from Congress.

Lawmakers say losing AM radio undermines a federal system for delivering key public safety information to the public. The National Association of Broadcasters said the bill "will ensure that the tens of millions of AM radio listeners across the country retain access to local news, diverse community programming and emergency information."

Report: Comcast Cool To A ESPN Partnership

Comcast Corp. officials quashed the idea that the Philadelphia-based tech and media conglomerate could partner on a deal for ESPN following Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger's comments that the company was seeking "strategic partners" for the sports network and subsequent speculation that Comcast would be a strong fit.

On Comcast's second quarter earnings call Thursday, President Mike Cavanagh said that the company taking a stake in ESPN is "very improbable." The Philly Business Journal reports he noted complications around taxes, minority shareholders and general structuring that could arise between the two media giants if they struck a deal for the "Worldwide Leader in Sports."

Mike Cavanaugh
"I’d put aside the probability that there's anything inorganic that's likely to happen around ESPN in particular," said Cavanagh, who is also leading Comcast unit NBCUniversal.

Still, Comcast officials made it clear that the company is banking on live sports, and looking for opportunities to potentially expand its portfolio, especially as a way to increase subscribers for its streaming service Peacock. NBCUniversal's current sports rights include the NFL's "Sunday Night Football," MLB, Premiere League, the Olympics, PGA and in the fall will broadcast Big Ten football. All and more can be streamed — some exclusively — on Peacock.

Comcast has also been widely rumored to have an interest in the rights for the NBA when they come up for bid in 2025.

Live sports are another major asset in the streaming wars.

"Peacock, one of the great drivers of subscription growth has been sports, it adds to the value of the subscription," Cavanagh said. "If you look at the value of rights in sports on Peacock, it's very substantial and would represent a great value to the consumer when you look at sports alone."

R.I.P.: Randy Meisner, Original Eagles Bassist Dies at 77

Randy Meisner 1946-2023

Randy Meisner, founding Eagles bassist and the sky-high voice behind the band’s 1976 Billboard Hot 100 top five hit “Take It to the Limit,” has died at age 77, the band announced Thursday (July 27).

Billboard reports Meisner died Wednesday night due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band,” the band said in the statement. “His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit.’”

Alongside Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Bernie Leadon, Meisner — born in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, in 1946 — was a founding member of the Eagles in 1971. Before forming the band, he played with Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band and was the original bass player for country-rock group Poco in the late 1960s.

Meisner was with the Eagles from their self-titled 1972 debut album through 1976’s Hotel California, before quitting the group in 1977. (He was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit, who had also succeeded Meisner in Poco when he had departed the group to form the Eagles.)

The bulk of the Eagles’ vocal duties went to Henley and Frey, but Meisner sang lead on one of the group’s most enduring hits: “Take It to the Limit,” from the 1975 album One of These Nights, peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100 in 1976 and spent 23 weeks on the chart — the band’s longest-charting hit on the tally. The song is remembered for Meisner’s lofty vocals, especially toward the end of the song when his “aaaahs!” rise to new heights.

7/28 WAKE-UP CALL: Economic Growth Accelerates

Gross domestic product, bolstered by stronger business investment, grew at a seasonally- and inflation-adjusted 2.4% annual rate in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said. The economy has expanded at better than a 2% pace over the past year, following a mild contraction in early 2022. Economic growth is roughly in line with the rate recorded in the decade before the pandemic took hold. The new data suggest the U.S. is steering clear of a recession, despite the Fed pushing interest rates to a 22-year high.

➤HERE WE GO AGAIN: Special counsel Jack Smith leveled new charges against Donald Trump on Thursday - including an allegation that he sought to delete surveillance video - and indicted a second Trump aide for obstruction of justice in the hoarding of classified information. Carlos De Oliveira, an employee of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, is accused of lying about helping indicted aide Walt Nauta hide subpoenaed boxes of classified information around Trump's home, according to a superseding indictment filed in the Florida-based case. The revised indictment said Trump and others sought to erase security video of rooms in which boxes were kept. It said they tried to get another unnamed person to "delete security camera footage at the Mar-a-Lago Club to prevent the footage from being provided to a federal grand jury."

Security barriers were erected outside of the Fulton County courthouse on Thursday, as the third indictment looms for former President Donald Trump in Georgia. Footage shows police placing rows of massive bright orange barricades along the sidewalk outside the main entrance of Fulton County courthouse in Georgia, dividing the street and obstructing the stairs to get in. The barricades continue past the courthouse steps and can be seen along a distant intersection. 'Barricades erected outside the Fulton County courthouse now,' Bethea posted on Twitter. 'Looks like preparation for some big legal news…'

➤KJP INSISTS JOE BIDEN WON'T PARDON HUNTER: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was forced Thursday to rule out President Biden handing a pardon to his son Hunter. As recently as Monday, the administration’s chief spokesperson had insisted the president was “never in business with his son” and said Wednesday that “nothing has changed.” But scrutiny from the media and Republicans intensified after Hunter’s probation-only plea deal on tax and gun charges collapsed under scrutiny by a federal judge in Delaware, who raised questions about promises of near-blanket immunity extracted from federal prosecutors as part of the agreement. “Is there any possibility that the president would end up pardoning his son?” Fox News reporter Mark Meredith asked Jean-Pierre during her regular briefing. “No,” the press secretary said flatly and firmly. When Meredith attempted to ask a follow-up question, Jean-Pierre added, “I just said no — I just answered” and called on a different journalist.

Houston Radio: Pepper & Watt Renew With KHMX For Mornings

Audacy Houston has announced contract extensions with Mix 96.5 (KHMX-FM) morning show co-hosts Sarah Pepper and Jessie Watt. The duo are heard on “The Morning Mix, weekdays from 5:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. CT.

“We are overjoyed that Houston will continue to wake up with Sarah Pepper and Jessie Watt on Mix 96.5,” said Melissa Chase, Vice President of Programming, Audacy Houston. “These incredible women encapsulate true selflessness in giving back to our community, along with creating a live and local show that creates joy for our listeners each morning.”

“I am over the moon about signing for another three years in Houston,” said Pepper. Market Manager Sarah Frazier and I have been together for 14 of my 15 years in Houston, and I am beyond excited to continue working with the best market manager in the business. A morning show is only as great as the programmer who advocates on their behalf, and we are so blessed with our captain, Melissa Chase. I have been in this business long enough to know the goods when you have the goods and Jessie Watt is the goods. She is the peanut butter to my jelly and the sprinkles to my ice cream, and even though she makes me dance on TikTok, I can’t imagine doing this show with anyone else.”

Lompoc Radio: Broadcast Vet Reaches Ownership Milestone

Sticks Media is thrilled to announce the acquisition of highly-regarded radio station, KTNK and related FM translator, K279CY, in Lompoc, California, from Cross and Crown Broadcasting. This landmark deal marks Sticks Media’s first radio station acquisition.

Todd Nixon
“This is an extraordinary milestone in my radio broadcasting career of nearly 30 years as my fiance, Liz Hallam and I venture into ownership for the first time,” said Todd Nixon, President of Sticks Media. “We believe in the immense power of radio to connect with local communities, and we are committed to upholding the legacy of this station in Lompoc while fostering innovation and growth in the digital age.”

Nixon continues, “As we start this exciting new chapter for us, we want express our heartfelt gratitude to Michael Day, President of Cross and Crown Broadcasting, for years of commitment to the Lompoc community and love for country music. KTNK has a long-standing history of delivering quality programming and relevant news to their devoted listeners. By acquiring KTNK, Sticks Media aims to amplify that local reach and create new opportunities to engage the Lompoc Valley community.”

The acquisition is subject to FCC approval and Sticks Media expects to close on this transaction in Q4 of 2023. Stay tuned for more updates on the exciting changes and fresh initiatives we have planned for KTNK AM and K297CY.

Edison: Almost 30 Percent of Kids 6-12 Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts already have considerable reach among kids ages 6-12 in the U.S., according to the newly-released Kids Podcast Listener Report from Edison Research and Kids Listen, with sponsors American Public Media, Disney Podcasts, Tumble Media, and Wondery. Forty-six percent of children ages 6-12 in the U.S. have ever listened to a podcast, and 29% of ages 6-12 in the U.S. listened to a podcast in the last month. The percentage of kids ages 6-12 who listened in the last month jumps to 42% if their parents have also listened to podcasts in the last month. 

The Kids Podcast Listener Report utilizes three data sources: A national online survey of parents of kids ages 6-12, a national online survey of kid monthly podcast listeners ages 6-12 that was administered by their parents, and in-home interviews with parents and their child monthly podcast listeners.  

Kid podcast listeners are engaged with the medium. Eighty-seven percent of kid podcast listeners ages 6-12 say they have ever shared something they learned from a podcast with other people. One-quarter (25%) of parents of kid monthly podcast listeners say their child listens to podcasts nearly every day. Seventy-two percent of parents of kid monthly podcast listeners agree that their kids are excited to listen to podcasts, and 74% of parents of kid monthly podcast listeners have followed a kid’s podcast on social media. 

Kid podcast listeners participate in co-listening: Sixty-eight percent of parents of kid monthly podcast listeners ages 6-12 say their children listen with at least one parent, and 54% say their kids listen with siblings.  

Parents use podcasts to foster family connections: Among parents of kid monthly podcast listeners ages 6-12, 72% say it is important for kids podcasts to be able to be enjoyed by the whole family and 71% say it is important for kids podcasts to give parents and their children topics to discuss together. More than two-thirds (68%) of parents of kid monthly podcast listeners say their kids listen to podcasts in the car/truck, and 73% of parents of kid monthly podcast listeners say that podcasts make family car rides more fun. 

Knoxville Radio: Jody Hamblett New GM For Non-Com WOUT-FM

Jody Hamblett, a seasoned industry professional with over 20 years of public radio experience, has been named the next general manager of WUOT-91.9 FM effective Aug. 14. 

Qualified by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and licensed to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, listener-supported WUOT is a member of NPR and an affiliate of the Public Radio Exchange and American Public Media. It serves listeners throughout East Tennessee and parts of Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia.

Jody Hamblett
Hamblett brings a wealth of experience in managing public radio stations, including her successful leadership at Blue Ridge Public Radio, a 14-station regional network serving western North Carolina, North Georgia, South Carolina, and East Tennessee. Under her leadership listener revenue accelerated by 67% and underwriting revenue increased by 34%. Major giving grew over 30% in one year.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jody Hamblett to WUOT,” said Joseph Mazer, dean of UT’s College of Communication and Information. “With her expertise and accomplishments, Jody is well equipped to drive WUOT’s success and further our university’s land-grant mission by delivering exceptional public radio programming to our communities.”

“I am beyond excited to work with the team at WUOT,” said Hamblett. “The station is positioned for great success and ready to blossom into an essential and trusted source of journalism and content that reflects the region.”

Hamblett joins WUOT from her role as executive director of Greenville Area Parkinson’s Society in Greenville, South Carolina. She has a demonstrated track record of success in management, fundraising and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations in public media, animal welfare and higher education.

Hamblett succeeds Regina Dean, who retired in May after a 30-year career at the helm of WUOT.

Poll: Musk's New X Logo Not Well-Liked

People don’t respond well to social media logos generally, but they really dislike the new Twitter X, according to MediaPost citing a study of 500 people by ad-testing company System1 Group.  

System1 Group used its new Test Your Idea program, which the company developed this year and which is similar to its ad-scoring program Test Your Ad. Both programs measure consumers’ real-time emotional responses to sight, sound and motion, and produce predictive scores indicating potential for short- and long-term profitability.   

The report details Emotional Response – what audiences feel (e.g., happiness, disgust, contempt) and how intensely they feel it.   

The 500 testers evaluated the new X logo against the old Twitter logo and the logos of Reddit, Threads and Truth Social.   

Each respondent saw every logo and the results reflected an overwhelming low Star Rating which predicts the business potential of a given idea. Using a 1 – 5-Star scale, the highest scoring logo from this test--the Twitter bird logo--came in at only 1.5 Stars.  Reddit followed with a 1.4 and Threads was third with a 1.3. Twitter X and Truth Social both scored a 1.0 rating. 

The X logo elicited the highest Emotional Intensity score and drew the highest amount of “disgust” among respondents, per the System 1 assessment. According to the testing service the reason is the one-dimensionality of the white X on a black background, and the absence of “life” elements connoting nature such as a bird, water, or the sun.  

“Based upon how low all the logos tested, I would say that social media has a logo problem,” said John Kearon, Founder & President of System1 Group.

Seattle Radio: Marty Riemer Returns To Air At KPNW

98.9 KPNW, Seattle’s Home for Music Lovers, announces Marty Riemer is returning to the Seattle airwaves each Saturday from 10a-3pm starting this Saturday, July 29, 2023.

“We are thrilled to have Marty join the all-star 98.9 KPNW team and bring his vibrant energy, passion and knowledge back to the PNW,” stated Scott Mahalick, Hubbard Seattle Operations Manager and Content Director.

Marty Riemer
Marty Riemer is a veteran broadcaster, music lover, podcaster and video producer. He is that rare broadcaster who spent all his career – 30 plus years – in one market, Seattle.

Marty’s radio career started when he was 13 at KGRG and he went on to host shows at some of Seattle’s most renowned radio properties: KCMU (the precursor to KEXP), KZOK, KJR, KXRX, and KMTT – The Mountain.

He’s gone on to establish himself in a variety of other media arenas. From one of the first daily live music and entertainment podcasts in Seattle to his award-winning production company, Twisted Scholar, to an annual live comedy festival – “The Marty Riemer Funny Festival”. But, through it all, he has maintained a genuine love for radio and the opportunity to introduce listeners to cool music and is excited to do it again.

“It’s been a while since I’ve experienced FOMO listening to the radio”, Riemer stated. “But as soon as 98.9 KPNW went on the air, and I heard them play a bunch of cool oh-wow songs, and saw who they were hiring, I thought, hey, I’d like to be a part of that. So, I’m thrilled I am, even in a small way. Seattle has needed a station like 98.9 KPNW for a long time.”

Welcome Marty! We are excited to have you at Hubbard Seattle on the new 98.9 KPNW!

Fox Business Host Charles Payne Reveals His Path To Success

During Charles Payne’s town hall Maintaining Unstoppable Prosperity on Fox Business, the host recounted his grandparents purchase of their farm in Alabama in 1951. During an emotional moment, he read the deed to the property and everything that they gave up for the 60 acres of land.

At 17 years old, Payne enlisted in the United States Air Force and went on to serve as a security policeman stationed at Minot Air Force Base in Minot, North Dakota. Payne attended Minot State University and Central Texas College while in the service. In 2007, Payne joined Fox Business as a contributor. In 2014, he became the host of Making Money with Charles Payne.