Saturday, September 2, 2023

Here's To America's Workers

 Labor Day, is a legal holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Canal Zone, and the Virgin Islands.

Canada also celebrates Labour Day on the same day.

What Labor Day Means

For most people, Labor Day means two things: a day off and a chance to say goodbye to the summer. But why is it called Labor Day? Labor Day is a day set aside to pay tribute to working men and women. It has been celebrated as a national holiday in the United States and Canada since 1894.

"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."

Who started Labor Day?

Like most cultural events, there is still some doubt over its origination. Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor working men and women. But many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday.

Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear however is that the Central Labor Union adopted the Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

In the USA, governmental recognition first came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year,

Still, it wasn't until the May 1894 strike by employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company and the subsequent deadly violence related to it that President Grover Cleveland suggested making Labor Day a national holiday. On June 28th 1894, as a way of mending fences with workers, he signed an act making the first Monday in September a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

There is a tradition of not wearing white after Labor Day. This fashion faux pas dates back to the late Victorian era. The Emily Post Institute explains that white indicated you were still in vacation mode, so naturally when summer ended so did wearing white.

Sources: US Department of Labor, PBS, US Census

Radio History: September 4

➦In 1918...Paul Harvey Aurandt born (Died at age 90– February 28, 2009). Best known as Paul Harvey he was a radio broadcaster for ABC Radio Networks. He broadcast News and Comment on weekday mornings and mid-days and at noon on Saturdays, as well as his famous The Rest of the Story segments. From 1952 through 2008, his programs reached as many as 24 million people a week. Paul Harvey News was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 American Forces Network stations, and 300 newspapers.

Paul Harvey
Harvey was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of a policeman who was killed by robbers in 1921. He made radio receivers as a young boy, and he attended Tulsa Central High School where teacher Isabelle Ronan was "impressed by his voice". On her recommendation, he started working at KVOO in Tulsa in 1933 helping to clean up when he was 14. He eventually was allowed to fill in on the air, reading commercials and the news.

He continued working at KVOO while attending the University of Tulsa, first as an announcer and later as a program director. He spent three years as a station manager for KFBI AM, now known as KFDI, a radio station that once had studios in Salina, Kansas. From there, he moved to a newscasting job at KOMA in Oklahoma City, and then to KXOK in St. Louis in 1938.

Harvey then moved to Hawaii to cover the United States Navy as it concentrated its fleet in the Pacific. He was returning to the mainland from assignment when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He eventually enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces but served only from December 1943 to March 1944.

Harvey then moved to Chicago, where in June 1944, he began broadcasting from the ABC affiliate WENR (now WLS-AM). In 1945, he began hosting the postwar employment program Jobs for G.I. Joe on WENR. Harvey added The Rest of the Story as a tagline to in-depth feature stories in 1946.

On April 1, 1951,  the ABC Radio Network debuted Paul Harvey News and Comment each weekday at 12 Noon". Harvey was also heard originally on Sundays; the first Sunday program was Harvey's introduction. Later, the Sunday program moved to Saturdays. The program continued until his death.

In the latter half of his career, Harvey was also known for the radio series The Rest of the Story, described as a blend of mystery and history, which premiered on May 10, 1976. The series quickly grew to six broadcasts a week, and continued until Harvey's death in 2009.

In November 2000, Harvey signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with ABC Radio Networks. A few months later, after damaging his vocal cords, he went off the air, but returned in August 2001.

His success with sponsors stemmed from the seamlessness with which he segued from his monologue into reading commercial messages. He explained his relationship with them, saying "I am fiercely loyal to those willing to put their money where my mouth is."

➦In 1959...WCBS 880 AM stopped airing “Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin.  The reason? Recent street violence in NYC.

➦In 1961...The short-lived "Carol Burnett-Richard Hayes Show" premiered on CBS Radio. The series was a 20 minute musical variety show. Burnett was also a regular on "The Garry Moore Show" on CBS and singer Hayes had been on Arthur Godfrey's daily radio show.

➦In 1962...The Beatles entered EMI's Abbey Road studios for their first formal recording session, rehearsing "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me."

Radio History: September 3

➦In Alan Ladd was born in Hot Springs Arkansas.  His career began in radio in 1935 and he went on to star in films, of which Shane was the highlight.  When his short stature caused his movie career to wind-down he returned to radio.

He had short term stints at MGM and RKO, but got regular professional acting work only when he turned to radio. Ladd's rich, deep voice was ideal for that medium and in 1936 he ended up being signed by station KFWB as its sole radio actor. He stayed for three years at KFWB, working as many as twenty shows a week.

Depression and alcoholism contributed to his early death Jan. 29 1964 at age 50.

➦In 1939…Two days after Germany invaded Poland, England's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced that Britain and France had declared war on Germany.

➦In 1954...“The Lone Ranger” aired a new episode for the final time on ABC Radio Network. It premiered on WXYZ, Detroit, Michigan, on January 30, 1933. Repeat episodes were aired by ABC in 1955 and on NBC in 1956.

➦In 1965... Los Angeles radio personality Gary Owens (right) KMPC 710 AM was signed to be the voice of Roger Ramjet, humorous super hero of a new animated TV series.

Owens performed several other voices on the show in addition to the leading character. Roger Ramjet is a super astronaut who fights assorted evildoers with the help of a high- powered “proton” energy pill.

➦In 1966...the final “Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” TV show (co-starring son Rick Nelson) aired on ABC.  The show launched October 8, 1944 on CBS, it moved to NBC in October 1948, then made a late-season switch back to CBS in April 1949. The final years of the radio series were on ABC (the former NBC Blue Network) from October 14, 1949 to June 18, 1954.

In total 402 radio episodes were produced.

In an arrangement that exemplified the growing pains of American broadcasting, as radio "grew up" into television, the Nelsons' deal with ABC gave the network the option to move their program to television. The struggling network needed proven talent that was not about to defect to the more established and wealthier networks like CBS or NBC. The show moved to TV in 1952.

The Nelsons' sons, David and Ricky, did not join the cast until the radio show's fifth year (initially appearing on the February 20, 1949 episode, ages 12 and 8, respectively). The two boys were played by professional actors prior to their joining because both were too young to perform.

➦In 1970... WMCA NYC announced the hiring of Los Angeles talk host Bob Grant to do a daily show starting September 22. The station had also recently announced it was going full-time talk radio ending a long run of playing Top40 music.

➦In 1972...Radio personality Mike Kelly of Cleveland's WIXY 1260 AM spent 21 days, 3-hours and 58-minutes on a ferriswheel at nearby Cedar Point  Amusement park.

➦In 1976...The FCC ordered radio station KOIL 1290 AM and sister KEFM in Omaha off the air. Licenses for the two stations, plus WIFE 1300 AM in Indianapolis and KISN in Vancouver Washington were revoked by the FCC on grounds of misconduct by operator Don Burden – board chairman and majority stockholder of Star Broadcasting. It was the FCC’s most severe action to date. Revoking the license meant he couldn't sell his stations.

Burden (left) was charged with a long list of violations, including running phony contests on the air, billing advertisers twice, and giving free airtime to some political candidates.

R.I.P.: Iconic Jimmy Buffett Died From Cancer

UPDATE 1:30 PM:   Beloved “Margaritaville” singer Jimmy Buffett died of cancer, according to a new report. After the musician was diagnosed with skin cancer four years ago, the disease progressed to lymphoma. This was the 76-year-old’s cause of death, according to TMZ. “He lived his life in the sun, literally and figuratively,” a source told the outlet Friday, noting that Buffett had been on hospice since Monday.

Earlier Story..

Legendary musician and entertainer Jimmy Buffett died on Friday night at age 76.

His  death was announced by his family on social media just months after he was forced to pull the plug on his shows following a series of hospitalizations.

“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” the tropical rocker’s loved ones said in a statement on Instagram.

“He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.

Buffett began his musical career in Nashville, Tennessee, during the late 1960s as a country artist and recorded his first album, the country-tinged folk rock record Down to Earth, in 1970. 

During this time, Buffett could be frequently found busking for tourists in New Orleans. Fellow country singer Jerry Jeff Walker took him to Key West on a busking expedition in November 1971.

Buffett then moved to Key West and began establishing the easy-going beach-bum persona for which he is known. He started out playing for drinks at the Chart Room Bar in the Pier House Motel. Following this move, Buffett combined country, rock, folk, calypso and pop music with coastal as well as tropical lyrical themes for a sound sometimes called "gulf and western" (or tropical rock).

During his career,  Buffett made far more money from his tours than his albums and became known as a popular concert draw. He released a series of albums during the following 20 years, primarily to his devoted audience, and also branched into writing and merchandising. In 1985, Buffett opened a "Margaritaville" retail store in Key West, and in 1987, he opened the Margaritaville Cafe.

The “Margaritaville” hitmaker leaves behind his wife, Jane Slagsvol, whom he’s been married to since 1977, as well as his three children: Savannah, Sarah, and Cameron.

SiriusXM Radio: Visits Margaritaville

SiriusXM announced today that it will pay tribute to the legendary artist Jimmy Buffett on his exclusive SiriusXM channel Radio Margaritaville.

SiriusXM’s Radio Margaritaville is currently celebrating Jimmy Buffett’s life and legacy by featuring all Jimmy Buffett music.

Radio Margaritaville hosts, Kirsten Winquist and JD Spardlin, are hosting a live call-in tribute show today from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET where fans and subscribers can call in and remember Buffett. In addition, Radio Margaritaville will encore some memorable Jimmy Buffett Key West Concerts on Radio Margaritaville throughout the weekend, including the ‘Second Wind Tour’ from Saturday February 4th at the Key West Theater in Florida Today at 5:00 pm ET.

Additionally, SiriusXM will be airing a previously unreleased Jimmy Buffett songs from his upcoming album including “Bubbles Up,” “My Gummie Just Kicked In” featuring Paul McCartney playing bass and “Like My Dog” which were a few of the last songs Jimmy worked on. Fans will hear this very special track throughout the weekend.

Radio Margaritaville was created by Jimmy himself and launched on SiriusXM in 2005. It is one of SiriusXM’s longest running artist channels, having brought Jimmy’s music to fans nationwide for 18 years running. The channel is available to listeners nationwide in their cars (channel 24) and on the SiriusXM App.

“Jimmy Buffett was one of the most influential and beloved artists in music and his passing is a profound loss for fans around the world. We will honor his amazing legacy and celebrate his extraordinary body of work on SiriusXM and Radio Margaritaville by continuing to share his music and giving his legions of fans a place to share their memories of Jimmy,” said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, SiriusXM.

TV Ratings: 5 Million+ Watched Bob Barker Tribute

CBS’ “The Price is Right” Bob Barker tribute and the second round of live qualifiers episode for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” scored the highest viewership of this week’s broadcast TV programming.

Picking up from last week’s first live shows of the season, the Tuesday and Wednesday airings of “America’s Got Talent” drew in 5.51 and 5.0 million viewers, respectively, according to The Wrap citing Nielsen live-plus-same-day figures. The two episodes stand as the most-watched programs across primetime from last Friday to Thursday, per TheWrap’s weekly broadcast TV ratings breakdown of the top 10 highest-rated and most-watched programs of the week.

Behind the NBC reality competition show was CBS’ Thursday airing of “The Price Is Right: A Tribute to Bob Barker,” which scored the third highest viewership of the week with 4.33 million total viewers as the Drew Carey-hosted special honored the over 50 year career of the TV legend.

This week’s most-watched primetime programs:

  1. “America’s Got Talent,” NBC (Tuesday at 8 p.m.) – 5.51 million total viewers
  2. “America’s Got Talent,” NBC (Wednesday at 8 p.m.) – 5.0 million total viewers million total viewers
  3. “The Price Is Right: A Tribute to Bob Barker,” CBS (Thursday at 8 p.m.) – 4.33 million total viewers
  4. Nebraska vs. Minnesota, Fox (Thursday at 8 p.m.) – 3.49 million total viewers
  5. NFL pre-season game, CBS (Friday at 8 p.m.) – 3.44 million total viewers
  6. “NCIS,” CBS (Monday at 8 p.m.) – 3.42 million total viewers
  7. “Big Brother,” CBS (Wednesday at 8 p.m.) – 3.33 million total viewers
  8. “American Ninja Warrior,” NBC (Monday at 8 p.m.) – 3.30 million total viewers
  9. “NCIS: Hawaii,” CBS  (Monday at 8 p.m.) – 3.30 million total viewers
  10. “FBI,” CBS (Tuesday at 8 p.m.) – 3.22 million total viewers

Football games took the fourth and fifth slots on the top viewership list, with Thursday’s Nebraska vs. Minnesota game on Fox scoring 3.49 million total viewers while last Friday’s NFL pre-season game on CBS totaled 3.44 million total viewers.

ABC’s August 27 coverage of the Little League Baseball World Series Championship game drew 2.94 million viewers to finish fifth for the week. The game, won by El Segundo, California, over Curacao, was the most-watched on ESPN platforms since 2015. Overall, ESPN’s 38-game slate averaged more than 1 million viewers, up 22 percent from last year, according to ESPN.

Nashville Radio: Big Joe Dubin Returning To The Game

Long time Nashville radio and television personality “Big Joe” Dubin is returning to 102.5/106.3 The Game. 

Dubin will join 102.5/106.3 The Game’s Director of Operations and Sports Programming, Chase McCabe, as co-host of The Chase & Big Joe Show weekdays from 9AM-11AM starting Tuesday, September 5th. 

While being an original host on 102.5/106.3 The Game, Dubin also worked at WKRN-TV (Ch.2) and WSMV-TV (Ch. 4). Dubin was also previously announced as the color analyst for MTSU football games which will air on the Game’s sister station, 93.3 Classic Hits and can be seen Friday nights on Fox 17’s Football Frenzy Live for high school football.

“This is a surreal moment for me.” Said McCabe. “After being able to watch Joe on TV, intern with him and then produce his shows on The Game, I am thrilled to be able to finally co-host with him. Joe is one of my mentors who always taught me to laugh and we will be doing a lot of that each week day. I’m so glad to have him back on the team.”

“I am just so grateful for the opportunity to come back and work with some fantastic and talented people at 102.5 The Game and Cromwell Media.” Added Dubin. “The opportunity to do a show with Chase and many other things we have planned, I cannot wait to get started.”

Nashville General Manager Shawn Fort commented, “I am so excited that Joe is re-joining our broadcast team. I can’t wait to see “Big Joe on the Go” again doing great things for Cromwell Media, our clients and our community. Welcome back home, Joe!”

📻102.5/106.3 The Game’s line up will continue to feature Robby & Rexrode with Robby Stanley & Joe Rexrode from 6AM-9AM, Caroline, Willy & DMase with Caroline Fenton, Willy Daunic and former Titans Wide Receiver Derrick Mason from 11AM-2PM and Stillman & Co. with Jared Stillman from 2PM-6PM.

Disney versus Charter: Pay-TV Ecosystem Is 'Broken'

Cable giant Charter Communications and Disney are in a battle over contract fees that has left millions of people without access to U.S. Open, college football and potentially "Monday Night Football," with the NFL's season starting in just days.

On Thursday, Disney said that the two companies have been in ongoing negotiations but yet to agree to a new deal. That resulted in Charter's customers losing access to its networks, including broadcaster ABC and pay-TV channels such as ESPN and FX, according to CNBC.

Charter's Spectrum TV service has roughly 14.7 million customers across 41 states, with some of its top TV markets being New York, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta.

These sorts of battles, which can lead to so-called blackouts for pay-TV customers, are common in the industry. But, in the age of streaming, this one is different.

"This is not a typical carriage dispute," Charter CEO Chris Winfrey said Friday on a call with investors.

Early Friday, Charter executives called the pay-TV ecosystem "broken." They said they pushed for a revamped deal with Disney that would see Charter cable customers receive access to Disney's ad-supported streaming services like Disney+ and ESPN+ at no additional cost.

This seemed to be the sticking point as Charter said it accepted Disney's request for higher fees, although Charter executives didn't provide specifics on the negotiations as they remain hopeful to get a deal done.

Charter To Disney: No Mas

Letting ESPN, ABC and other Disney broadcast and cable operations go dark just as college football begins, is the next big inflection point in the entertainment industry’s thorough reshaping, according to David Bloom writing for Forbes.

In the past, a fight right before the season between a cable TV service and a major content provider with NFL and college football generally led to a quick capitulation by the cable operator, and higher fees for the content provider.

That is, until this week, when No. 2 cable provider Charter said no mas. Instead of continuing to limp into irrelevance amid rampant and accelerating cord-cutting, Charter said it wanted a new kind of deal from its biggest content supplier.

That Charter proposal would include access to not just 18 traditional Disney cable and broadcast networks (and Disney’s skein of owned & operated local stations) but also the ad-supported versions of its direct-to-consumer services, which include Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ in the United States.

The two companies spent Friday issuing dueling public pronouncements. Disney said its DTC operations have more and different content than its linear channels. Charter, Disney said, refused to offer a deal “that reflects market-based terms.”

In part that’s true, but that market is changing fast, for the worse. Charter needs to figure out what its cable business will look like going forward. What counts as “market-based” these days is getting harder to define.

Indeed, much of Disney’s most popular content already either also or only streams on Disney services. Linear hits such as Abbott Elementary, Grey’s Anatomy, and Reservation Dogs may run first on ABC or FX, but quickly show up online.

Selling cable bundles just matters less these days. Yet Hollywood, led by Disney, keep trying to jack up fees there to make up for continuing losses in their streaming services.

Rather than just going along with more fee hikes, Charter suggested that without a new kind of deal, it will move forward without ESPN, ABC or other Disney channels on its cable bundle, a near-unthinkable statement just a couple of years ago. Though Charter carefully worded the threat, the cable provider signaled it doesn’t want to explain higher fees for less popular Disney content to its remaining cable customers.

Entertainment Stocks Drop

Shares of several U.S. entertainment companies including Fox Corp and Warner Brothers Discovery Inc were dragged down on Friday by a dispute between media heavyweight Disney and cable provider Charter Communications over television distribution fees, according to Reuters.

Disney on Thursday night blocked its cable channels, including ESPN and ABC, from being shown on Charter's Spectrum network after the two companies failed to secure a distribution agreement. Spectrum is the second largest U.S. cable provider, serving 14.7 million homes across large markets such as New York and Los Angeles.

The dispute soured investor sentiment on the sector, which has also been grappling with the Hollywood writers and actors strike over wages and other issues which have raised doubts about whether companies will have enough content in coming months.

Shares of Disney dropped 2.65% to a three-year low while Charter lost 3.4%. Warner Brothers Discovery Inc fell 10%, Fox Corp shed 6%, Paramount Global dropped 8%, while Comcast Corp, the largest U.S. cable provider, was down nearly 3%.

"The drop in Disney this morning looks to be tied to the company's ongoing contract negotiations with Charter Communications," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B Riley Wealth. "Another source of concern sits with the ongoing strikes with both actors and writers in Hollywood."

Charter said Disney rejected its proposal for a new distribution deal that takes into account the rise of competing low-cost streaming services, which has fueled cord-cutting among its customers. The cable provider said it pays Disney $2.2 billion in annual programming costs, excluding advertising.

"Disney - so far - has insisted on a traditional long-term deal with higher rates and limited packaging flexibility," Charter said in a presentation published on Friday.

Disney said on Thursday it has reached successful deals with pay TV providers across the country and that the rates and terms it sought with Charter "are driven by the marketplace."

SacTown Radio: CapRadio Plagued By Financial Issues

CapRadio this week announced it laid off 12% of its staff and canceled four music shows because of ongoing financial issues. 

Management on Wednesday laid off nine employees based in Sacramento and three employees in Chico who worked at North State Public Radio, which CapRadio operates. 

CapRadio gave three additional workers a final employment date, Interim General Manager Tom Karlo said Friday. Before the layoffs, the NPR member station had 102 positions, according to a posting on their website.

The canceled Saturday music shows are “Mick Martin’s Blues Party,” “Hey, Listen!,” “K-ZAP on CapRadio” and “At the Opera,” the station announced Friday. Three of them aired on CapRadio’s news station, while one ran on the music station. Karlo called the show eliminations unfortunate, but said ending the mixed format of news and music on the same channel could help the station financially. 

In addition to music hosts, the layoffs also included news hosts and staff working in digital, Karlo said. The station plans to pre-record hosts ahead of time and automate voicing with playlists, he added. National programming is scheduled to replace the canceled music shows. 

CapRadio announced the layoffs the same day the board approved the budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year, two months after the year began. Of the $21 million in expected revenue, at least $5 million are one-time funds, according to information Board Treasurer Bena Arao presented during the public meeting Wednesday. Operating expenses are projected at $19.2 million, an increase of 8% compared to the prior year.

To prepare for a revenue drop next fiscal year, Arao said the finance committee recommended layoffs and holding an unspecified number of positions vacant. The cuts will reduce employee costs by $1.3 million for CapRadio and $183,000 for NSPR compared to the previous year, according to the presentation.

Analyst: Apple Potential Acquisition of ESPN 'A Game Changer'

Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives raised eyebrows this week by declaring it a “no-brainer” for Apple to acquire ESPN from The Walt Disney Co. at a potential price of $50 billion.

The tech giant made its biggest move into live sports so far with a 10-year, $2.5 billion streaming deal with Major League Soccer a year ago, and Lionel Messi makes it look like a smarter decision with every highlight-reel goal on Apple TV+.

Apple and ESPN are “the perfect fit,” Ives told CNBC. “Cupertino is looking to go after live sports content as the golden goose. I believe it’s a matter of when — not if — ESPN and Apple get together.”

Apple would get rights to the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL, UFC, the PGA Tour, tennis Grand Slams, Formula 1, and college football’s Big 12 and SEC Conferences — plus ESPN’s first two Super Bowls after the 2026 and 2030 seasons.

During ESPN’s 44-year history, corporate ownership has flipped several times between Getty Oil, Texaco, ABC, Capital Cities Communications, RJR Nabisco and The Walt Disney Co. (Disney currently owns 80%, while Hearst owns 20%).

James Andrew Miller, author of “Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN,” noted Apple would not even have to buy 100% of ESPN for it to be a “game-changer.” With a market capitalization of $2.7 trillion, Apple could make ESPN the favorite for every sports property that comes up for bid, including the NBA and the College Football Playoff.

“Apple has enough change in their couch cushions to fundamentally alter the media rights landscape,” Miller told Front Office Sports.

Radio History: September 2

Amanda Randolph
➦In 1896
...Amanda Randolph born (Died from a stroke at age 70  – August 24, 1967).  She was the first African-American performer to star in a regularly scheduled network television show, appearing in DuMont's The Laytons.

She is best remembered as Kingfish’s mother-in-law in Amos & Andy, both radio & TV. In the late 1930’s she had been featured on the radio soaps Young Dr. Malone, Romance of Helen Trent and Big Sister.  She was one of several actresses to play Beulah on TV, and was a cast member on The Danny Thomas Show.

➦In 1906...Radio actress Barbara Jo Allen was born in NYC.

Barbara Jo Allen
In 1933, Allen (left) joined the cast of NBC's One Man's Family as Beth Holly, followed by roles on Death Valley Days, I Love a Mystery and other radio series. According to Allen, her Vera Vague character was “sort of a frustrated female, dumb, always ambitious and overzealous… a spouting Bureau of Misinformation.”

After Vera was introduced in 1939 on NBC Matinee, she became a regular with Bob Hope beginning in 1941. In the early 1940s, she was a regular on Signal Carnival, a weekly program on NBC-Pacific Red stations.

Allen appeared in at least 60 movies and TV series between 1938 and 1963, often credited as Vera Vague rather than her own name.

She died Sept. 14 1974, just 12 days after turning 68.

➦In 1929...WOR (NYC) ends affiliation with CBS radio network.

➦In 1931...Crosby made his solo radio debut on the radio show, "15 Minutes with Bing Crosby", on CBS Radio Network.

Bing Crosby
In 1923, Crosby had been invited to join a new band composed of high school students a few years younger than himself. Al Rinker, Miles Rinker, James Heaton, Claire Pritchard and Robert Pritchard, along with drummer Crosby, formed the Musicaladers, who performed at dances both for high school students and club-goers. The group did perform on Spokane radio station KHQ, but disbanded after two years.

By 1925, Crosby had formed a vocal duo with partner Al Rinker, brother of singer Mildred Bailey. Bailey introduced Rinker and Crosby to Paul Whiteman, who was at that time America's most famous bandleader. Hired for $150 a week in 1926, they made their debut on December 6 at the Tivoli Theatre in Chicago. Their first recording was "I've Got The Girl", with Don Clark's Orchestra, but the Columbia-issued record did them no vocal favors, as it was inadvertently recorded at a speed slower than it should have been, which increased the singers' pitch when played at 78 rpm. Throughout his career, Crosby often credited Mildred Bailey for getting him his first important job in the entertainment business.

Even as the Crosby and Rinker duo was increasing in popularity, Whiteman added a third member to the group. The threesome, now includdc pianist and aspiring songwriter Harry Barris and were dubbed "The Rhythm Boys". They joined the Whiteman touring act, performing and recording with musicians Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Eddie Lang and Hoagy Carmichael, also appearing together in a Whiteman movie.

Crosby soon became the star attraction of the Rhythm Boys, and in 1928 he had his first number one hit with the Whiteman orchestra, a jazz-influenced rendition of "Ol' Man River".

However, Crosby's reported taste for alcohol and his growing dissatisfaction with Whiteman led to his quitting the Rhythm Boys to join the Gus Arnheim Orchestra.

During his time with Arnheim, the other two Rhythm Boys were increasingly pushed to the background as the emphasis was on Crosby. Harry Barris wrote several of Crosby's subsequent hits including "At Your Command", "I Surrender Dear", and "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams". But the members of the band had a falling out and split, setting the stage for Crosby's solo career.

From 1942...

Before the end of 1931, he signed with both Brunswick Records and CBS Radio. Doing a weekly 15-minute radio broadcast, Crosby quickly became a huge hit.  His songs "Out of Nowhere", "Just One More Chance", "At Your Command" and "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)" were all among the best selling songs of 1931.

➦In 1945…Japan formally surrendered to the United States aboard the USS Missouri, ending World War II, six years and one day after it began.

➦In 1963..."The CBS Evening News" became the first TV network to extend the 15-minutes newscast to 30-minutes. Walter Cronkite was anchor.  The program has been broadcast since July 1, 1941 as 'CBS Television News'. The competing Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC expanded to 30 minutes exactly one week later on September 9, 1963.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Detroit Radio: WFDF 910 AM To Debut Conservative Talk Format

Metro Detroit's WFDF 910 AM Superstation will broadcast a 24/7 lineup of news and conservative talk shows beginning Sept. 5,  reports The Detroit News citing a station announcement Friday. The move comes following stunting with sports shows for three weeks.

The station, which has sparked controversy in recent weeks, said its new programming lineup will spotlight a string of "conservative point of view" shows, including "The Glenn Beck Program," "The Sean Hannity Show," "The Bill O’Reilly Show" and others, officials said in a statement.

The station will also feature local news, weather and traffic from Total Traffic & Weather Network as well as breaking news coverage from ABC Radio, the news release noted.

"For the first time in years, Metro Detroit has an alternative to WJR, with a genuinely conservative point of view," said Kevin Adell, CEO of Adell Media. "We’re excited to launch this new talk station with the biggest names in the format."

Cincy Radio: Longtime WLW Personality Battling ALS

Jim Scott, longtime morning host at WLW
A Cininnati radio legend says he has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, former WLW 700 AM morning radio host Jim Soctt said he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, in spring 2022.

Scott, who retired in 2015 after a 55-year career on the airwaves, explained he began to experience weaknesses in his left arm, hand and right leg three years ago, the same areas where he underwent intense rehabilitation in 1954, at age 12, due to a polio infection. He said he has been hesitant to share the news of his recent diagnosis. But attending a monthly ALS support group taught him not to give up hope and "keep on keeping on."

"I have had a wonderful life, am still having a wonderful life, and I don't have any intention of checking out soon," he wrote.

NEPA's Times-Shamrock Sells Assets To Hedge Firm

Times-Shamrock Communications sold its newspaper group, including The Times-Tribune in Scranton, to publishing giant MediaNews Group effective Thursday, CEO Jim Lewandowski announced.

The sale, revealed during an all-staff Zoom meeting, includes the company's four daily newspapers — The Times-Tribune, The Citizens' Voice, the Republican Herald and The Standard-Speaker — as well as its weekly and periodic newspapers, commercial printing operations, Absolute Distribution Inc. and Times-Shamrock Creative Services.  Included in the sale is the real estate for the printing operation in Scott Township and where publications are based in Hazleton, Tunkhannock and Wilkes-Barre.

It does not include Times-Shamrock's radio or billboard operations, or the Scranton Times Building downtown.

The decision to sell the newspaper group was made by a majority of Times-Shamrock's four voting shareholders, but was not unanimous, publisher emeritus George V. Lynett said. He declined to disclose the sale price, but expressed his immediate family's disappointment.

Colorado-based MediaNews Group is owned by Alden Global Capital, a investment firm with extensive newspaper holdings.The hedge fund has been criticized for gutting newsrooms. 

"I wish the new owners well, but it is a very sad day for my family and me," George V. Lynett said.  He made those remarks on behalf of himself and his children, George V. Lynett Jr., Sheila Stallman, Jimmy Lynett and Sharon Lynett.

Times-Shamrock's nine-member board of directors voted unanimously to recommend the sale to the four voting shareholders, the majority of whom approved it, board chairman Bill Goodspeed said. Those shareholders are George V. Lynett, William R. Lynett, Cecelia Lynett Haggerty and Edward J. Lynett Jr. George V. Lynett opposed the sale.

Goodspeed called the decision "difficult for a lot of people," noting numerous headwinds facing the industry, including declining readership and circulation and advertising revenue.

The former owners and the board felt somebody else would be better at keeping the newspaper assets "healthy and going," Goodspeed said. "As a result, there was not only financial motivation for the sale, but also psychological and emotional motivation."

MediaNews Group is offering employment "to virtually all of the employees, except for a few crossover team members who serve both print and radio, with whom we will be speaking to directly," a document provided to employees notes. It's not clear how many employees won't be offered employment.

The new owners agreed to recognize the unions representing former Times-Shamrock employees.

In April, Times-Shamrock no longer offered a print edition of its newspapers on Mondays, instead releasing a digital version on that one day of the week. The decision was based on rising costs and changing demand from younger readers for electronic publications. In 2021,  the Times-Tribune turned over delivery of the daily paper to the postal service while it looked for new carriers in some locations.

The family that started Times-Shamrock—the Lynetts—have been producing newspapers since 1895 in Scranton. The sale marks the end of local control for the papers, a rarity in the newspaper business in recent years.

The current paper is the result of a 2005 merger between the afternoon Scranton Times and morning Scranton Tribune. The Times was founded in 1870. It struggled under six owners before E. J. Lynett bought the paper in 1895. Within 20 years, the Times was the dominant newspaper in northeastern Pennsylvania, and the third-largest in the state (behind only the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Press). In January 1923, Lynett founded one of Scranton's first radio station, WQAN. The Lynett family still owns the station today under the calls WEJL, which currently airs ESPN Radio.
Members of the family issued a statement about their view of the sale:

CNN Breaking News Expected To Pop-Up On HBO Max

When CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, announced the launch of CNN Max earlier this month, one of the components of the news hub on the Max streaming service was that it would be an open beta for news that would enable experimentation with product features, content offerings, and original storytelling, all with input and feedback from Max subscribers.

According to TV Newser, one of the features being tested is the ability of CNN breaking news alerts to pop up on screen while a viewer is watching one of Max’s numerous content offerings.

The pop-up alert will allow viewers to switch to live news coverage or continue watching their current program. Details of how intrusive the alert will be when it appears on the screen have yet to be divulged.

CNN Max represents a late entrant in the streaming news wars, and the network is playing catch-up in its effort to gain the attention of streamers. CNN Max will feature a full seven-day schedule offering a combination of new and existing programming from CNN and CNN International, and will be included in all Max subscription packages.

Ariana Grande Cutting All Ties With Scooter Braun

Scooter Braun and Ariana Grande

Last week's street talk has become reality.  Last week, news broke that Ariana Grande had split with longtime manager Scooter Braun. This followed news that former SB Projects client Demi Lovato had parted ways with Braun. Since, we also confirmed that Idina Menzel has left the roster.

At first, a source familiar with the situation called news of Grande’s departure “rumors.” They continued to say, “Negotiations have been going on for several months as Scooter steps into his larger role as HYBE America CEO…” 

“Scooter’s team at SB Projects are still handling Ariana as they work through what this new structure looks like,” added the source.

But now, a source close to the situation tells Billboard, “Scooter’s team is spinning the story. Ariana is leaving both Scooter and HYBE. There is absolutely no truth to her staying.”

Last week, sources close to Grande said she was planning to part with Braun on friendly terms, more because she’s “excited to go in a different direction” and because she’s “outgrown him” than because of his C-suite distractions. But this week, Grande unfollowed Braun on social media.

Grande has been with Braun and his SB Projects since 2013, the year she released her breakthrough debut album, Yours Truly. On Friday, she released the 10th-anniversary deluxe digital edition of the album, which includes new live recordings of “Honeymoon Avenue,” “Daydreamin’” and more tracks.

Meanwhile, Braun’s other longtime client, Justin Bieber, remains in his deal. Despite having four years left in his contract, as Billboard reported, Bieber is actively looking at how he might end their relationship with the help of his new music lawyer David Lande.

Analyst: iHeartMedia Lining Up For Better 2024

An analyst says iHeartMedia, limping towards the end of 2023, but the company is set up for great 2024. The broadcast media company is poised to benefit from a rebound in the advertising market and the 2024 U.S. election cycle. However, Mark Holder, Stone Fox Capital remains ultra Bullish on the iHM media stock with plans to continue repaying debt from positive cash flows.

iHeartMedia reported another tough quarter in Q2 2023 with revenues down 3.6%. Outside of the political boost from the mid-terms in 2023, revenues were only down 1.8%.

Holder believes the key is that revenues were only down a minimal amount in the off year for political revenues. The broadcast media space remains tough with revenues down sharply, but the key here is that revenues didn't collapse with podcast revenues helping to offset the declines.

According to Holder: "Even under these tough ad market scenarios, iHeart reported strong cash flows from operations leading to positive free cash flows. Operating cash flows were $57 million while free cash flows were $34 million.

"The numbers should only get better in the 2H while 2024, is setting up for blockbuster ad revenues due to a big presidential political cycle. The Q3 adjusted EBITDA target is already $200 million, up from $181 million in Q2.

"The Q4'22 revenues got a huge boost from the election with an estimated boost of $65.8 million, up $55.3 million from the prior Q4. iHeart won't see the boost in 2023, but the company is set for a 2024 where the ad market surely rebounds from the 2023 weakness. The election cycle next year provides an even bigger boost to revenues from the U.S. Presidential election plus the much larger digital audio group led by the podcasting segment.

"With the large debt levels of iHeartMedia, the media company producing positive cash flows are very beneficial. The revenue rebound next year due to the political ad spending will further help the company repay debt.

"iHeartMedia has net debt of $5.15 billion with weighted average cost of debt of 7.2%. Investors clearly want to see the company cut those debt levels and save on the interest expenses now pushing $100 million quarterly.

"The media company produced $57 million in operating cash flows in Q2 and the numbers should only improve in the 2H with the better ad market. Though, the numbers were down sharply from 2022 levels."

Holder's Key Takeaway:

iHeartMedia is struggling now, but the U.S election cycle will provide a timely boost to ad revenues next year. Due to leverage, the stock is very risky providing strong upside, if the business rebounds next year. Of course, the high debt levels leave limited margin of safety for any disruption to the business from a major recession in the next year.

Cable News Ratings: Fox Remains On Top

For the week of August 21, 2023, Fox News Channel remained in its usual position as the most-watched basic cable network and the top-rated cable news network for the full Nielsen week in total viewers and among Adults 25-54.

TV Newser reports FNC extended its lead substantially from the week before, with its week-to-week and year-over-year ratings gains driven by its broadcast of the first Republican primary debate of the 2024 presidential election cycle. More than 11 million viewers watched the primetime debate broadcast live (or within 24 hours of first-air) on Fox News-only, with an additional 1.7 million watching the linear simulcast on Fox Business this past Wednesday, Aug. 23.

For the week, Fox News averaged 2.81 million viewers and 438,000 Adults 25-54 in primetime, No.1 on all of basic cable in both measurements. The 2.81 million is +72% and the 438,000 A25-54 average is a whopping +141% from what Fox averaged the previous week (Aug. 14).

Trump Court Proceedings Will Be Televised

A Fulton County, Georgia judge on Thursday said that all court proceedings in the election interference case against former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants will be live streamed and televised. reports Judge Scott McAfee also said he is following the precedent set by fellow Fulton Judge Robert McBurney; all hearings and trials will be broadcast on the Fulton County Court YouTube channel.

In an order issued Thursday, McAfee said members of the media would be allowed to use computers and cellphones inside the courtroom for non-recording purposes during court proceedings. There will be pool coverage for television, radio and still photography.

The proceedings — especially those involving Trump himself — are expected to attract international attention.

The transparency in the county court stands in stark contrast to federal court. In Monday’s hearing on whether White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows should have his case transferred to U.S. District Court, journalists were barred from bringing cell phones, laptops and cameras into the Richard B. Russell federal building.

If Meadows is successful in his bid to relocate his case, the other defendants could join him. In that event, McAfee’s order might not matter much.

9/1 WAKE-UP CALL: Hard Time For Convicted Proud Boys

Two former leaders of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group were sentenced to more than a decade each in prison Thursday for spearheading an attack on the U.S. Capitol to try to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election. The 17-year prison term for organizer Joseph Biggs and 15-year sentence for leader Zachary Rehl were the second and third longest sentences handed down yet in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

They were the first Proud Boys to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who will separately preside over similar hearings of three others who were convicted by a jury in May after a four-month trial in Washington that laid bare far-right extremists’ embrace of lies by Trump, a Republican, that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Disney Yanks ESPN Off Charter Cable

Walt Disney Co. said customers of Charter Communications Inc. can no longer watch its TV networks because of a contract dispute, depriving millions of viewers of access to the sports network ESPN just as football season gets underway.

Bloomberg reports Charter is the second-largest cable provider in the US with more than 14 million residential video customers for its Spectrum TV service. Many of them live in large cities such as Los Angeles and New York.

Media companies such as Disney have fought with pay-TV providers for years over the value of channels like ESPN and Freeform, often leading to contract disputes and temporary blackouts. The rising cost of TV packages and the number of channels included in those packages has prompted tens of millions of people to stop paying for live TV.

Yet people in the US still rely on live television for the majority of their TV viewing, especially when it comes to sports. Disney has the largest assortment of sports rights in the country and its channels will be in high demand with college football season underway and the National Football League season starting next week.

“We’re committed to reaching a mutually agreed upon resolution with Charter and we urge them to work with us to minimize the disruption to their customers,” Disney said in a statement.

Charter said it was willing to pay a “significant rate increase” despite falling ratings at most of Disney’s networks, but that it wants to give its customers more flexibility in what channels they receive. “The current video ecosystem is broken,” the company said in a statement.