Saturday, September 9, 2023

Radio History: September 10

➦In 1920
...KNX Los Angeles began broadcasting as 6ADZ. Although KNX received its first formal broadcasting station license on December 8, 1921, the station has traditionally dated its founding to September 10, 1920, starting with broadcasts conducted by Fred Christian over his amateur station, 6ADZ. Christian was a former shipboard radio operator, who later explained that he began the broadcasts in order to provide something to listen to by customers who had constructed receivers from parts purchased at the store. Christian began making broadcasts with a five-watt vacuum-tube transmitter, operating on the standard amateur wavelength of 200 meters (1500 kHz).

KNX - 1925

Initially there were no specific standards in the United States for radio stations making transmissions intended for the general public, and numerous stations under various classifications made entertainment broadcasts. However, effective December 1, 1921, the Department of Commerce, regulators of radio at this time, adopted a regulation that formally created a broadcasting station category, and stations were now required to hold a Limited Commercial license authorizing operation on wavelengths of 360 meters for "entertainment" broadcasts or 485 meters for "market and weather reports" (833 and 619 kHz). By the end of 1922 over 500 stations would be authorized nationwide.

On December 8, 1921, the Electric Lighting Supply Company was issued a broadcasting station license with the randomly assigned call letters KGC, authorizing operation on the 360 meter entertainment wavelength. The station's location was listed as Fred Christian's Harold Way home. The shared 360 meter wavelength required times-haring agreements between an increasing number of stations needing exclusive time periods. On May 4th the Los Angeles Times reported that a total of seven local stations were slated to make broadcasts that day, comprising a schedule that ran from noon to 9:00 p.m., with KGC assigned 2:00-2:30 and 7:30-8:00 p.m.

KNX Request Line Operator

On May 4, 1922, the Electric Lighting Supply Company was issued a broadcasting license for a station with the randomly assigned call letters of KNX, also on 360 meters.  This was technically considered to be a second station in addition to KGC, however, after KGC was formally deleted on June 20, 1922, the Department of Commerce concluded that KGC and KNX were functionally the same station, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) records list December 8, 1921 as KNX's "date first licensed".

The new authorization coincided with preparations for a move to the California Theater, with Fred Christian continuing as station manager. On June 12, 1922 the Los Angeles Times reported that "After more than two months of preparation, the new broadcast station at the California Theater had its opening program Saturday evening at 9:15, sending out a wavelength of 510 meters [588 kHz].

Bob Crane - 1960
KNX's power was raised to 100 watts in early August 1922. In the fall of 1924, Guy Earl, Jr., owner of the Los Angeles Evening Express, arranged for the newspaper's purchase of KNX. The Express made significant upgrades, including increasing the power to 500 watts, and began broadcasting from the Paul G. Hoffman Studebaker building in Hollywood. KNX was one of the last stations to have stayed on the original 360 meter wavelength, and the newspaper engineered a move to 890 kHz. It remained on this frequency until November 11, 1928, when the station was reassigned to 1050 kHz, under the provisions of a major reallocation resulting from the Federal Radio Commission's (FRC) General Order 40.

In early 1928 KNX changed owners and was then operated by the Western Broadcast Company. In 1929 the station's transmitter power was upgraded from 500 to 5,000 watts, followed by an increase to 10,000 watts in 1932. In 1933, the station moved its studios to another part of Hollywood, after being granted permission by the FRC on June 7, 1932, to raise its output to 25,000 watts. The following year, KNX's transmitting power was raised to the nationwide maximum of 50,000 watts, which the station continues presently.

CBS purchased KNX in 1936 and began operating it as its West Coast flagship, which ended CBS's eight-year affiliation with KHJ. In 1938, the CBS Columbia Square studios were dedicated for KNX as well as West Coast operations for the entire CBS radio network. That October, the station carried Orson Welles' celebrated version of The War of the Worlds. In March 1941 the station was shifted to 1070 AM as part of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement assignments, where it has been ever since.

In 2009, KNX adopted the slogan "All news, all the time." It was previously used for 40 years by KFWB, KNX's historic rival in the news radio wars before both became sister stations through the 1995 merger of Westinghouse Electric (KFWB's owner) and CBS. KFWB's format change to news-talk in September 2009 (and currently as a Regional Mexican station) now leaves KNX the only all-news outlet in the Los Angeles area, which is now emphasized in its alternate slogan, "Southern California's only 24-hour local news & traffic station".

On February 2, 2017, CBS agreed to merge CBS Radio with Entercom (now Audacy). The merger was approved on November 9, 2017 and consummated 8 days later.

➦In 1933…Early radio entertainer Jimmy Durante first appeared Eddie Cantor's "Chase and Sanborn Hour" with Eddie Cantor.

➦In 1935…The radio program "Popeye, the Sailor," debuted on NBC Red Network as a 15 minute, three-times-a-week feature. But instead of spinach giving him strength (as in the comics and cartoons), it was the sponsor’s breakfast cereal Wheatena. “Wheatena’s me diet / I ax ya to try it / I’m Popeye the Sailor Man”.

➦In 1945...KLS 1310 AM changed its call letters to KWBR and changed its format to focus on an African-American audience. In 1959, it was bought by the owners of Memphis radio station WDIA, and the call letters were changed to KDIA. During the 1960s through the 1980s, the station was the premier soul and funk station in the San Francisco Bay Area. The station helped launch the careers of such musicians as Sly and the Family Stone. Its tagline at that time was "KDIA, Lucky 13."

Appeals Court: Biden Admin Likely Violated 1A By Censoring

A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the Biden administration most likely overstepped the First Amendment by urging the major social media platforms to remove misleading or false content about the Covid-19 pandemic, partly upholding a lower court’s preliminary injunction in a victory for conservatives.

The NY Times reports the ruling, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, was another twist in a First Amendment case that has challenged the government’s ability to combat false and misleading narratives about the pandemic, voting rights and other issues that spread on social media.

The judges wrote that the White House and the Office of the Surgeon General had “coerced the platforms to make their moderation decisions by way of intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences” and “significantly encouraged the platforms’ decisions by commandeering their decision-making processes.”

The appellate court also found that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had used coercion in its interactions with the companies, which took down 50 percent of the material online that the bureau’s agents flagged as troublesome.

“Given the record before us, we cannot say that the F.B.I.’s messages were plainly threatening in tone or manner,” the judges wrote. Nevertheless, “we do find the F.B.I.’s requests came with the backing of clear authority over the platforms.”

The court limited the scope of a preliminary injunction, which prohibited officials from numerous agencies from having practically any contact with the social media companies. Instead, the court narrowed the impact to the White House, the Surgeon General’s Office, the F.B.I., and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The opinion was handed down by Circuit Judges Edith Clement, Jennifer Walker Elrod and Don Willett — all Republican appointees. 

The order is on pause for 10 days pending a Supreme Court appeal. 

News Corp CEO On AI: 'Rubbish In, Rubbish Out'

News Corp CEO Robert Thomson blasted the left-wing bias and inaccuracies spewed out by AI generated content — calling it “rubbish in, rubbish out” — even as he warned the technology threatens to kill thousands more jobs across the news industry, reports The NY Post.

Left-leaning media giants that dominate the news business have churned out stories for years that are not only riddled with errors, but also written with a left-wing slant.

Yet bots like the popular ChatGPT search engine will regurgitate the claptrap as fact, according to Thomson.

“People have to understand that AI is essentially retrospective,” the media executive said during an appearance at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Technology Conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Robert Thomson
“The danger is, it’s rubbish in, rubbish out, rubbish all about,” said the CEO of News Corp — the parent of newspapers including The Post and The Wall Street Journal — adding: “Because it’s distributing — exponentially — potentially damaging content.”

“And so instead of elevating and enhancing, what you might find is that you have this ever-shrinking circle of sanity surrounded by a reservoir of rubbish,” he continued. “So instead of the insight that AI can potentially bring, what it will evolve into, essentially, is maggot-ridden mind mold.”

“We’re clearly doing a lot of tracking of the use of AI and our content, and there are certain AI engines that are churning out content, apparent news, factual content, which is off the political spectrum, which would essentially make Marx and Lenin persona non grata — it’s that left-wing,” Thomson said.

Thomson also demanded that companies that are “training” generative artificial intelligence engines using “archived material” pay the publishers who employ the trusted sources creating the content.

“If you derive benefit from our content, we should derive a benefit or else you’re in danger of undermining the creation of that content,” Thomson said. The rapid development of AI poses a significant threat to a news industry already decimated by the emergence of Big Tech giants like Google and Facebook, he said.

Fox News’ Howard Kurtz: I Hate What Journalism Is Becoming

“It's not easy to keep a television program at number one for 10 years,” said Howard Kurtz, whose show Media Buzz marked its 10th anniversary on Fox News last weekend. “You have to be able to rock and roll.”

Over the last ten years, Kurtz has hosted his show from a rooftop—and from his own basement for a year and a half during the depths of the pandemic, according to Forbes. It was “a great commute,” Kurtz said, but he’s glad to be back in the studio. “We have managed to build up a loyal audience that cares about fairness and journalism,” Kurtz told me. “I love journalism. But I hate when it's becoming, which is a combat sport, in which more extreme views are rewarded.”

In an era of hyper-partisanship, where working for CNN or MSNBC or Fox News is seen by some as an indication of a person’s politics, Kurtz says he remains a straight shooter—and that’s been key to his success. “People get that I’m not pushing an agenda,” he said. “I’m trying my best every week, to be fair, to all guests at all points of view. And I guess in some quarters, that's still a valued commodity.”

When Kurtz left CNN for Fox in 2013, he walked away from Reliable Sources, which was something of an institution at CNN, for the relative unknown of launching a new show on Fox. Last year, after years of struggling to compete with Kurtz’s Media Buzz, Reliable Sources was canceled after 30 years. “I was a little sad to see that franchise disappear,” Kurtz said. “I devoted a good chunk of my life to it.”

“You know, a lot of partisans have a hard time grasping this, but I'm the same guy, you know, an ink-stained wretch who came up through newspapers, whether I'm working at CNN, or Fox,” Kurtz said.

“Things weren't quite so polarized when I made the switch in 2013, but a lot of people who dislike Fox don't watch it, or don't watch my show because I am taking the same approach to media and political issues which includes, at times, you know, having to report about negative developments at first CNN and Fox so the idea that I changed teams is just flat wrong.”

“I actually have more freedom at Fox than I had at CNN,” Kurtz said. “Because CNN has a bigger bureaucracy. I pick topics and the guests and I don’t necessarily tell top executives what I’m doing.”

Hearst TV Pulls Local Stations From DISH Network

Despite DISH Network's efforts to negotiate in good faith, Hearst Television, Inc. has forced a channel blackout on DISH TV removing customers' access to 37 local channels in 27 markets. DISH has been in discussions with Hearst for months working to reach an agreement to keep its channels on air for customers. Instead, Hearst is demanding tens of millions of dollars in rate increases that would affect customers, while it devalues its product by making programming available elsewhere, even as viewership declines.

"Hearst continues to raise its prices despite its declining viewership and lower-quality content," said Gary Schanman, executive vice president and group president, video services, DISH Network. "Demanding higher rates for the same entertainment and news just doesn't make sense, especially as Hearst's content is widely available on other platforms. This hurts our customers in their pocketbooks and their ability to watch the programming and content they want. Unfortunately, Hearst, like many other programmers, expects DISH and our customers to foot the bill."

DISH said Hearst's unreasonable demands for its current channels and programming on DISH, along with declining viewership and sharing its content on other platforms, further demonstrates the disconnect between programming providers and distributors. Other recent examples of programmers using the same anti-consumer tactics are Nexstar with DirecTV and Disney with Charter.

"It's a broken system. As programmers continue to hold distributors hostage, customers will end up being impacted the most. We'll continue to negotiate for a fair deal to provide the best value for our customers," added Schanman. "Hearst is an important long-term partner for us, and we hope they'll come to a reasonable agreement and restore their channels for our customers as quickly as possible."

Hearst's action affects viewers of various ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, MNT and IND channels across 27 markets.

­čô║Channels impacted by Hearst's blackout include: Alburquerque, NM (KOAT), Baltimore, MD (WBAL), Birmingham, AL (WVTM), Boston, MA (WCVB & WMUR), Burlington, VT (WNNE & WPTZ),Cincinnati, OH (WLWT), Des Moines, IA (KCCI), Fort Myers, FL (WBBH), Fort Smith, AR (KHBS & KHBSD & KHOG), Greensboro, NC (WCWG & WXII), Greenville, SC (WYFF), Harrisburg, PA (WGAL), Jackson, MS (WAPT), Kansas City, MO (KCWE & KMBC), Louisville, KY (WLKY), Milwaukee, WI (WISN), Monterey, CA (KSBW & KSBWD), New Orleans, LA (WDSU), Oklahoma City, OK (KOCO), Omaha, NE (KETV), Orlando, FL (WESH & WKCF), Pittsburgh, PA (WTAE), Portland, ME (WMTW & WPXT), Sacramento, CA (KCRA & KQCA), Savannah, GA (WJCL), Tampa, FL (WMOR), West Palm Beach, FL (WPBF).

Elon Musk Sues California Over Transparency Rules

Elon Musk's X Corp sued California on Friday over a state law establishing new transparency rules for social media companies, requiring them to publish their policies for policing disinformation, harassment, hate speech and extremism.

Reuters reports X, the social media platform once known as Twitter, said the law known as Assembly Bill 587 violates its free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment and California's state constitution.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Sacramento, California, X said the law's "true intent" was to pressure social media companies into eliminating content the state found objectionable.

By doing so, California is forcing companies to adopt the state's views on politically charged issues, "a form of compelled speech in and of itself," X said.

After buying Twitter for $44 billion last October, Musk, a self-described free speech absolutist, laid off many employees responsible for monitoring and regulating content, and restored some accounts that prior management had banned.

SiriusXM Radio: Cody Alan Launches New Daily Show

The new show, titled Highway Mornings with Cody Alan & Macie Banks, will air weekdays from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s The Highway (channel 56), as well as on the SXM app. Alan will also continue to host CMT’s flagship weekly music TV show Hot 20 Countdown.

Billboard reports Highway Mornings with Cody Alan & Macie Banks will offer the latest in country music, pop culture and entertainment, with Alan and Banks interviewing celebrity guests, chatting with listeners and sharing their own personal stories. The new show follows the exit of former The Highway morning show host Storme Warren, who left The Highway earlier this year to join Garth Brooks’s The Big 615 country station with TuneIn.

“Cody is a well-respected and long-time member of the Country music community and we are thrilled to welcome him to The Highway family,” said SiriusXM senior vp/GM of music programming Steve Blatter in a statement. “Cody’s deep roots and connections in country music will keep our listeners’ fingers on the pulse of Nashville every morning as they tune in to Cody and Macie.”

Alan added, “I’m thrilled to be joining the SiriusXM family on The Highway. It will be a fresh start in mornings, with Macie Banks returning soon to join me. I plan to lean into my love for country music and my years of strong relationships in Nashville. The new show will be friendly and fun, and continue with an emphasis on artists and authenticity. After all, real life makes the best country songs, and from my experience, the best on air moments too! Also, I’m very excited to be part of The Highway’s rich tradition of passionately introducing fans to country music’s next generation. I can’t wait to get going!”

During his career, Alan has been named the 2021 national on-air personality of the year by the Country Music Association and has twice been named the Academy of Country Music’s personality of the year. After gigs in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, Alan made it to the major leagues at age 23 when he landed at KPLX in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Alan was also a nine-time recipient of the country music director of the year award during his tenure in Dallas.

NFL: 27M Viewed Lions vs. Chiefs

The Detroit Lions’ thrilling 21-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the opening game of the NFL season last night on NBC and Peacock averaged nearly 27 million viewers – ranking as media’s most-watched show since Super Bowl LVII on FOX in February.

Lions-Chiefs registered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) average of 26.8 million viewers across NBC, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms – up 24% from last year’s opener (21.7 million for Bills-Rams) and ranking as the second-largest NFL Kickoff Game audience since Steelers-Patriots in 2015 (just behind the 26.9 million who watched Tom Brady and the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat the Dallas Cowboys on a last-second field goal in 2021).

NBC Sports’ coverage peaked at 29.1 million viewers between 9:15-9:30 p.m. ET in the second quarter, while 27.1 million were watching from 10:45-11:00 p.m. ET as Jared Goff (3 of 3 passing for 40 yards) and David Montgomery (five carries for 23 yards and touchdown) led the Lions’ game-winning scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter.

The Average Minute Audience (AMA) for last night’s live stream via Peacock, NBC Sports Digital platforms, and NFL Digital platforms, was 2.8 million viewers – the second-highest ever for an NBC NFL game, topping three Super Bowls (trailing only Super Bowl LVI in 2022) – and up 60% from last year’s NFL Kickoff Game (1.7 million).

Last night’s game (8:23 p.m.-11:24 p.m. ET) registered a national TV household rating of 12.8/35 – up 19% from last year (10.8/28). The 35 share is NBC’s largest for any regular-season game since debuting the SNF package in 2006.

Viewership figures are based upon live plus same day data from Nielsen and Adobe Analytics.

TOP METERED MARKETS FOR LIONS-CHIEFS (based on 44 markets available):
1. Kansas City 45.5/81
2. Detroit 30.0/62
3. Cincinnati 18.9/44
T4. Minneapolis 16.6/43
T4. Pittsburgh 16.6/40
6. Sacramento 16.3/47
7. Baltimore 16.2/42
8. Denver 16.0/47
9. Cleveland 15.8/39
10. Nashville 15.7/40

NBC Sports’ NFL Kickoff Weekend coverage continues this Sunday, Sept. 10 with the season opener of Sunday Night Football as Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys visit Daniel Jones and the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. This matchup marks the series-high fifth time that the Cowboys and Giants have met in the opening NBC Sunday Night Football game.

Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET with Football Night in America, with SNF kickoff at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock, Telemundo and Universo. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final follows all SNF games, providing analysis of each Sunday game along with highlights and interviews.

Every TV Broadcast Crew For The 2023 NFL Season

It’s a new NFL season on the field and in the booth. A variety of networks will be in charge of televising and streaming the 272 games that make up the 2023 regular season, giving dozens of play-by-play voices, analysts, sideline reporters and studio personalities a chance to step up to the mic.

According to NBC-TV4 NYC, these are the voices that will call this year’s NFL action.

Hurricane Lee Lurks In The Atlantic

Hurricane Lee reached the epitome of tropical cyclone royalty late Thursday — a brutal and beautiful, remorseless and uncontainable Category 5 with winds expected to remain at major-hurricane strength for at least the next five days.

The Palm Beach Post reports the National Hurricane Center dropped Lee’s intensity to a Cat 4 early Friday, noting that it may fluctuate over the coming days, as super hurricanes are capricious in nature.

By the grace of an invisible dip of frigid winds from Canada, South Florida has been promised amnesty from Lee’s pure wrath.

The storm, which has defied even the most extreme wind speed expectations, is predicted to zip around the western edge of the Bermuda High with a boost from the diving jet stream over the U.S. Working together, the two forces will help steer Lee away from the Sunshine State beginning in the middle of next week.

The peak of hurricane season lasts from about mid-August through mid-October with Sunday, Sept. 10, as the pinnacle.

That put Lee in the right spot for ripening, although as the third major hurricane of Category 3 or higher this season, it is 51 days ahead of climatology, said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine Atmospheric and Earth Sciences.

Over those record-warm waters in the main runway between Africa and the Caribbean, Lee was able to strengthen by a remarkable 80 mph in just 24 hours.

On Wednesday at 11 p.m., it was a Category 1, 80 mph hurricane. By Thursday at 11 p.m., it was a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds. By 8 a.m. Friday, sustained winds were up to 165 mph.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, Lee was about 500 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. It was moving west-northwest at 13 mph. Its wind speeds are forecast to remain at Category 4 intensity through Wednesday.

Bryan Norcross, the hurricane specialist for Fox Weather, said Lee’s feverish increase to a Cat 5 also reminded him of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew.

“We weren’t expecting that super intensification Thursday,” Norcross said about Lee. “It wasn’t supposed to happen until the weekend.”

The most intense storms can also be unpredictable. Eyewall replacement cycles — where a storm’s contracting eyewall is overtaken by an outer ring of thunderstorms — can temporarily weaken a hurricane.

R.I.P.: Rick Sommers, Longtime NYC Radio Personality

Rick Sommers
Longtime New York City radio personality Rick Sommers has died from COVID 19, complicated by Multiple Sclerosis, on Wednesday September 6th.  He was 63.

Rick’s career began as a college student at WTKO, Ithaca NY. In 1982, he joined Long Island powerhouse WBLI-FM as its afternoon drive personality. But in 1990, New York City beckoned and after a brief stop at WYNY-FM to do country, he joined WLTW-/Lite FM, the city’s top rated adult music station, as a weekend and fill in personality. 

His availability and flexibility got him lots of airtime for more than a decade. He later worked at WNEW-FM before leaving radio to get his Masters in Social Work. In 2009, he joined AFTRA as its Broadcast Liaison, retiring from what became SAG-AFTRA in 2019.

In 2014, Rick and his brother, CBS News Correspondent Peter King, published their book, “Ithaca Radio,” a pictoral history of the place where they began their careers. Most recently, Rick co-hosted the Podcast, “Middle Age Warriors” with Chris Cimino.

Rick is survived by his life partner, Valerie Smaldone, their cat, Bailey, and his brother, Peter King.  Plans are pending for a memorial service to be held later this year.

Radio History: September 9

➦In 1908...Early radio actor, announcer Ed Prentiss born (Died at age 83 – March 18, 1992). He was perhaps best known for portraying the title role on the radio version of Captain Midnight. He was announcer on another kid’s radio favorite, Jack Armstrong the All-American Boy.

He was also the narrator for a number of daily hour of NBC radio soap operas.

➦In 1926... the National Broadcasting Company was created by RCA, the Radio Corporation of America.

NBC is the oldest major broadcast network in the United States. In 1986, control of NBC passed to General Electric (GE), with GE's $6.4 billion purchase of RCA. GE had previously owned RCA and NBC until 1930, when it had been forced to sell the company as a result of antitrust charges.

After the 1986 acquisition, the chief executive of NBC was Bob Wright, who remained in that position until his retirement. He was succeeded by Jeff Zucker. The TV network is currently part of the media company NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, which formerly operated NBCUniversal in a joint venture with General Electric from 2011 to 2013 (and before that, jointly owned by GE and Vivendi). As a result of the merger, Zucker left NBC and was replaced by Comcast executive Steve Burke.

The radio network officially launched Nov. 15, 1926.  On January 1, 1927, NBC formally divided its programming into two networks, called the Red and the Blue. Legend has it that the color designations originated from the push-pins early engineers used to mark affiliates of WEAF (red pins) and WJZ (blue pins), or from the use of double-ended red and blue colored pencils.

The two NBC networks did not have distinct identities or "formats", and, beginning in 1929, they shared use of the distinctive three-note "NBC chimes". The NBC Red Network, with WEAF as its flagship station and a stronger line-up of affiliated stations, often carried the more popular, "big budget" sponsored programs. The Blue Network and WJZ carried a somewhat smaller line-up of often lower-powered stations and sold air time to advertisers at a lower cost. NBC Blue often carried newer, untried programs (which, if successful, often moved "up" to the Red Network), lower cost programs and unsponsored or "sustaining" programs (which were often news, cultural and educational programs). In many cities in addition to New York, the two NBC affiliated stations (Red and Blue) were operated as duopolies, having the same owners and sharing the same staff and facilities.

On April 5, 1927 NBC reached the West Coast with the launching of the NBC Orange Network, which rebroadcast Red Network programming to the Pacific states and had as its flagship station KGO in San Francisco. NBC Red then extended its reach into the Midwest by acquiring two 50,000–watt clear-channel signals, Cleveland station WTAM on October 16, 1930 and Chicago station WMAQ (coincidentally, a CBS Radio Network charter affiliate) by 1931. On October 18, 1931, Blue Network programming was introduced along the NBC Gold Network, which broadcast from San Francisco's KPO. In 1936 the Orange Network name was dropped and affiliate stations became part of the Red Network. The Gold Network adopted the Blue Network name.

In a major move in 1931, RCA signed crucial leases with the new Rockefeller Center management that resulted in it becoming the lead tenant of what was to become in 1933 its corporate headquarters, the RCA Building, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Under the terms of the lease arrangement, this included studios for NBC and theaters for the RCA-owned RKO Pictures. The deal was arranged through the Center's founder and financier, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., with the chairman of GE, Owen D. Young, and the president of RCA, David Sarnoff.

In 1987 NBC sold its remaining radio network operations to Westwood One, which continued using NBC identification for some of its programming until 2014. Beginning in 2016, NBC Radio News has been distributed in conjunction with iHeartMedia.

Elvis outside the Lamar-Airways Shopping Mall in Memphis 1954
➦In 1954...Young Elvis Presley performed at the opening of Lamar-Airways shopping mall in Memphis, and met audience member Johnny Cash for the first time. In November 1954, Presley performed on Louisiana Hayride—the Opry's chief, and more adventurous, rival. The Shreveport-based show was broadcast to 198 radio stations in 28 states.

➦In 1956...Elvis made the first of three appearances on Ed Sullivan's CBS show. (Sullivan had previously announced he would never have such an act on, but ratings prevailed and Sullivan offered Elvis a record $50,000 for the three shows.) With actor Charles Laughton filling in for an ailing Sullivan. Elvis performed "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me Tender," "Ready Teddy," and "Hound Dog."  A record 54 million viewers -- nearly 83 percent of the nation's sets! -- were tuned-in.

➦In 1958...Stereo records and phonographs were introduced.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Philly Radio: Program Vet Mike Kaplan New PD At Alt 104.5 FM

iHeartMedia Philadelphia announced today that Mike Kaplan has rejoined iHeartMedia as Program Director of WRFF ALT 104.5, Philly’s Alternative Rock station,

As Program Director for ALT 104.5, Kaplan will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the station’s music, programming, imaging and branding. He will report to Derrick Corbett, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Philadelphia. Amber Miller stays on board as ALT 104.5’s Assistant Program/Music Director and will continue to hold down the 7:00 p.m. to Midnight air shift.

Mike Kaplan
“We’re excited to add a programmer like Mike with a proven track record of excellence to the Philadelphia cluster, said Derrick Corbett, SVP of Programming. “We’re happy to have him back in the company and can’t wait to watch him grow the ALT 104.5 brand.”

Kaplan is an accomplished multi-formatted Content Director with Programming stops in New Orleans, Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles, where he led iHeart’s KYSR, rebranding as “ALT” and teaming with the now nationally-syndicated THE WOODY SHOW, which rose to the #1 position in morning drive. In 2019 and 2022, Kaplan was named among Radio Ink’s Top 50 Programmers in America.

“I can’t thank Thea Mitchem, Tom Poleman, Brad Hardin, and Derrick Corbett enough for supporting my return to the iHeart family in my beloved hometown of Philadelphia,” said Kaplan. “It feels like coming home in more ways than one, especially collaborating again with The Woody Show. Here’s to leading the dynamic ALT 104.5 team and creating more unforgettable moments!”

Nielsen's Plans To Use Amazon Viewing Data 'On Hold'

Nielsen said it wouldn’t include viewership data for “Thursday Night Football” from’s Prime Video streaming platform in its ratings reports for now, because the move wasn’t approved by the independent body in charge of setting measurement standards. 

The Wall Street Journal calls the decision is a blow to Amazon and the National Football League, which had lobbied Nielsen aggressively to include first-party data for “Thursday Night Football,” and a win for other networks that carry the NFL and fought against the change. 

A spokesman for Amazon declined to comment. The NFL said it supports Nielsen’s efforts to add additional insights to strengthen and provide a more accurate measurement.

“Our work with Nielsen on the integration of first party data sources into its national measurements is ongoing,” said the Media Rating Council, which sets measurement standards and blesses Nielsen data. “MRC has not accredited these, and the official status remains ‘in process.’”

Amazon wanted its data included because its own research showed viewership was nearly 18% higher for “Thursday Night Football” last season than Nielsen’s own numbers. Nielsen currency is what advertisers use to determine commercial rates for programming. 

Nielsen was eager to include Amazon data, saying last month that it would “more accurately reflect the growing impact of streaming” and that measurement needed to evolve. It was to be the first time Nielsen would use a company’s own data along with its independent research to publicly report ratings. 

Networks including Disney’s ESPN, Paramount Global’s CBS, and Fox all publicly expressed concern about Nielsen’s plans to incorporate Amazon data after a Wall Street Journal article on the matter.

Nielsen isn’t closing the door on the concept, saying its goal is to continue moving forward in its plans to eventually incorporate first-party data and addressing the concerns raised by other networks. 

The networks were concerned that not enough analysis was being done before greenlighting the use of Amazon’s own data and that the process was being rushed. The networks also took issue last season with Amazon publicizing its own internal ratings that weren’t given a green light by Nielsen.

Country Artist Zach Bryan Out On-Bond Following Incident

Current Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping folk-country artist Zach Bryan was arrested Thursday evening after what the "I Remember Everything" artist described on social media as an "incident with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol."

The Tennessean reports Bryan was taken to the Craig County Sheriff's Office in Vinita, Oklahoma, upon being detained, he had a mugshot taken at 6:42 p.m. CT after being booked on what was described as an "obstruction of investigation charge, according to the sheriff's office's available online records.

Oklahoma state law defines "obstruction of investigation" as "willfully delaying or obstructing any public officer in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his office."

A defendant need not use physical force to be charged with obstruction.

Bryan was released on bond.

"Emotions got the best of me and I was out of line in the things I said," continued Bryan about a "moment" he stated was "unlike [him]," for which he later apologized.

On top of the charts:Zach Bryan catapults to Billboard pop, mega-tour headlining superstardom

He ended his statement by noting that he was "trying the best [he could] and that he loved his fans and was "truly sorry" to the officers.

Bryan is an Academy of Country Music award-winning and Country Music Association award-nominated breakout star of 2023, whose just-released self-titled album was released to significant mainstream acclaim.

FCC Now Up To Full Strength

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Anna Gomez, President Biden’s pick for the Federal Communications Commission, ending a lengthy partisan split at the regulatory agency and giving Democrats the power to carry out major agenda items.

The Washington Post reports senators voted 55-43 to confirm Gomez, an FCC veteran who is a communications policy adviser for the State Department. Gomez will take the third Democratic seat on the five-member commission, which oversees broadband and communications regulation.

The move returns the agency to full strength for the first time under Biden, whose initial pick for the FCC role, Gigi Sohn, withdrew after a contentious 16-month confirmation battle. The impasse had left the agency without a Democratic majority for the entirety of Biden’s term until now.

Consumer advocates said the 2½-year delay hampered the FCC’s ability to carry out critical tasks aimed at protecting Americans from potential abuse by the telecom giants, including reinstating the Obama-era net neutrality regulations, which bar internet service providers from blocking or throttling content.

9/8 WAKE-UP CALL: Trump Calls Exclusion Attempt 'Trick'

Donald Trump’s next legal drama is a post-Civil War constitutional amendment barring insurrectionists from office. A left-leaning legal watchdog filed suit yesterday demanding that Colorado’s primary ballot exclude him under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment; other such attempts are expected. Trump, in a Truth Social post Monday, called the disqualification effort a trick to steal the election and said that “almost all legal scholars” doubt the legal basis. Some judicial thinkers question whether state election authorities can enforce Section 3 against a presidential candidate, whether it can be applied to a former president and whether Trump violated the clause.

➤TRUMP AIDE FOUND GUILTY OF CONTEMPT: A jury on Thursday quickly convicted former President Donald Trump’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, of contempt of Congress charges for defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, deliberating for about four hours before returning the guilty verdict. Navarro stood at the edge of the courtroom with his arms crossed when the jury foreperson read the verdict on the two charges. Navarro’s defense lawyers acknowledged he refused to provide information to the panel seeking information about his efforts to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss, and they called no witnesses to testify on his behalf during the trial that opened Wednesday. But they argued Trump had told Navarro not to cooperate and that his few interactions with committee staffers showed his refusal to comply wasn’t willful, as prosecutors were required to prove.

➤BIDEN TOO OLD TO CUT THE MUSTARD: CNN political commentator Van Jones said on Thursday that voters are worried about Joe Biden's age, saying that people asked if the 80-year-old can handle another four years of a 'high stress job.' Jones said that Biden's low approval rating of just 39 percent was a reflection of concerns about his advancing years. A new CNN poll puts Biden neck-and-neck with all the Republican challengers except Nikki Haley, who is beating him, 49 to 43 percent. Biden is tied with Florida governor Ron DeSantis at 47; trails former Vice President Mike Pence 46 to 44; and trails Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina 46 to 44.

Charter CEO: It's Urgent To Resolve Distribution Dispute With Disney

Charter Communications Chief Executive Chris Winfrey said he has a sense of urgency to resolve a distribution dispute with Walt Disney, in remarks on Thursday at a tech conference in San Francisco, reports Reuters.

Charter is locked in a distribution battle with Disney as the second-largest U.S. cable company negotiates with the media conglomerate over how much its channels are worth and how to package them.

“I apologize that our consumers have been put in the middle here, but we felt it was worth it,” Winfrey said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology conference. “It was the right time and that we had to say 'enough is enough' or else we're going to have to move on to a different model.”

ESPN, ABC and other Disney channels disappeared from Charter's Spectrum cable service on Aug. 31, depriving its nearly 15 million video subscribers of access to the U.S. Open tennis tournament, college football and other programming.

Such "carriage disputes" are commonplace in the media world, though this negotiation may shape the future of television in the streaming era.

Winfrey said Charter was responding to rising prices for content, limited flexibility in its programming packages, and fees that its cable subscribers pay that end up subsidizing the streaming services.

Disney issued a statement saying it “stands ready” to resolve the carriage dispute, and “do what’s in the best interests” of Charter’s customers.

As the US Open reaches the men’s and women’s finals, and fans gear up for a weekend of college football and the opening of the NFL season, it’s unfortunate that Charter decided to abandon their consumers by denying them access to our great programming,” Disney said in a statement.

Winfrey said Charter wanted to resolve the dispute quickly “because our customers are stuck in the middle.” But he also described an “alternative world” where Spectrum cable no longer carries Disney content, resulting in a smaller package of general entertainment programming that customers “wanted, watch and value,” at a lower price. Under such scenario, sports could be sold separately.

Tri-Cities, TN Radio: Tricia Walker New VP/MM For Cumulus

Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed Tricia Walker as Vice President/Market Manager for Cumulus Tri-Cities, TN (Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol). Walker joins Cumulus Tri-Cities, TN, from Cumulus Beaumont, TX/Lake Charles, LA, where she has been Director of Sales since March 2021. Her new appointment is effective on October 1, 2023.

Prior to joining Cumulus Media, Walker was National Sales Manager for three years at Alpha Media, then was promoted to Sales Manager in 2016. She was previously Senior Sales Executive for East Texas Radio Group and started her media career as an Account Executive for iHeartMedia/Clear Channel Radio in Tyler, TX, and El Paso, TX.

Mark Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Operations, Cumulus Media, said: “I’m extremely pleased with Tricia’s well-earned promotion. I look forward to many successes together with the team in the Tri-Cities.”

Tricia Walker commented: “I’m extremely excited to be joining our Tri-Cities team. Cumulus Media is a great company to be a part of, supporting its employees with many great resources for our success. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to serve our Tri-Cities team, advertisers, and community. I have family in the market and can’t wait to call Tri-Cities home.”

­čô╗Cumulus Media owns and operates four radio stations in the Tri-Cities, TN, market, including: NASH Icon 104.9/WKOS-FM (Country), 640 WXSM-AM (Sports), 910 WJCW-AM (News/Talk), and 101.5 WQUT-FM (Classic Rock).

Richmond Radio: The Fan Snags Michael Phillips For Morning Show

Audacy welcomes Michael Phillips, the reigning Virginia Sportswriter of the Year and longtime guest of SportsRadio 910 The Fan (WRNL-AM) in Richmond, as the station’s new midday host. “MP on the Mic” will air on weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET beginning September 11.

Michael Phillips
“Michael Phillips, for many years, has been highly regarded as the most respected voice of Richmond and Virginia Sports,” Bennett Zier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Richmond. “We are delighted to have MP wear our 910 The Fan jersey for Audacy Richmond.”

“We'll chat about the Commanders, Virginia Tech, UVA, VCU and everything else making news in the world of sports,” said Phillips. “We’ll also bring in guests who are part of the action.”

Phillips moved to Richmond in 2007 and previously served as the Sports Editor and interim Executive Editor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, where he covered the Washington Commanders.

­čô╗Listeners can tune in to SportsRadio 910 The Fan (WRNL-AM) in Richmond on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via X, Facebook and Instagram.

Megyn Kelly Is Staying Put At SiriusXM.

The former Fox News anchor has inked a new multiyear deal to continue hosting The Megyn Kelly Show live on Sirius’ XM Triumph channel through the 2024 election and beyond.

As part of the new pact, she will be conducting a longform interview with former president (and onetime sparring partner) Donald Trump for a special edition of the show on Sept. 14. This marks Kelly’s first sit-down with him since May 2016.

“I’m thrilled to continue my relationship with the great people at SiriusXM who have been tremendously supportive of our show from the start,” Kelly said in a statement. “In an age where conversations are being stifled and news skewed to please the politics of only a small set of people, it is a privilege to work with a company that values free speech and open, respectful, elevated debate.”

Kelly has been without a mainstream TV platform since departing Fox News in 2017. In the years since, she has publicly insisted that she’d prefer to be her own boss and run her own show, as she does with The Megyn Kelly Show. It is and will continue to be produced in collaboration with Red Seat Ventures.

The interview will air live Sept. 14 at noon EDT on “The Megyn Kelly Show” on SiriusXM Triumph channel 111. It will later be available on podcasts.

The feud between Kelly, a former Fox News anchor, and Trump reached its peak in 2015 after the GOP presidential primary debate, when Kelly pressed Trump about his past comments toward women.

Kelly recently signaled she wants to turn the page on Trump, saying in July that she recently spoke with him at the conservative Turning Point USA conference for the first time in years and that the 2015 feud was no longer an issue between them.

MSNBC Slots Jen Psaki In Prime-Time

MSNBC viewers will be getting a twice-weekly dose of Inside With Jen Psaki, starting this fall.

Beginning Monday, Sept. 25 on MSNBC, the former White House Press Secretary and MSNBC host will expand her role with the network by hosting Inside with Jen Psaki on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

This means Rachel Maddow is getting a new lead-in. As for Chris Hayes, the longtime MSNBC host loses Mondays but will continue to host All In With Chris Hayes Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m. ET., according to TV Newser.

In addition to her new Monday, 8 p.m. assignment, Psaki will continue to anchor her flagship program on Sundays at 12 p.m. ET and contribute a regular column for the network’s morning newsletter MSNBC Daily.

Inside with Jen Psaki was the most-watched cable news show in August in the aforementioned Sunday 12 p.m. ET time slot. In August, the show drew its largest monthly audience since launching in March of this year, averaging roughly 931,000 total viewers.