Saturday, October 7, 2023

Radio History: October 8

➦In 1906..William N. Robson born in Pittsburgh (Died at age 88 – April 10, 1995).  Robson spent most of his career involved with radio. His radio debut came in 1936 as director of Big Town. He succeeded Irving Reis as head of the Columbia Workshop.

William Robson
Perhaps the most notable of Robson's productions was Suspense, followed closely by the similarly formatted Escape. Suspense lasted more than two decades on the air with more than 900 episodes broadcast. Ronald L. Smith wrote about Suspense and Escape in his book, Horror Stars on Radio: The Broadcast Histories of 29 Chilling Hollywood Voices: "Both used the same format: a challenging (if anonymous) host introducing a story of murder or perhaps classic horror. Robson favored adaptations of anything from Poe tales to a good yarn in the latest issue of Esquire magazine."

Robson left CBS in 1939 to become director of an advertising firm's radio department, and after the United States entered World War II he helped to prepare broadcasts for the Office of Emergency Management and the War Production Board. He returned to CBS in May 1942 to help the network prepare programs related to the war.

On June 22, 1950, a pamphlet called Red Channels appeared, focusing on the field of broadcasting. Robson was among 151 entertainment industry professionals (erroneously) named in the context of "Red Fascists and their sympathizers".  During the ’50′s he wrote TV dramas, and in 1961 joined The Voice of America, where he was reunited with Edward R. Murrow, and won four Peabody Awards.

➦In 1935...“The O’Neills” first aired.  The serial drama also aired on Mutual, CBS and NBC Red and Blue from 1934 to 1943. Created by actress-writer Jane West, the series was sponsored at various times by Gold Dust, Ivory Snow and Standard Brands.

➦In 1937...The radio series Grand Central Station started a long run long run on the major networks from 1937 to 1954.  Each program opened with an announcer intoning that Grand Central was "the crossroads of a million private lives, a gigantic stage on which are played a thousand dramas daily."

➦In 1944...the first broadcast of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet was heard on the CBS radio network. The show would continue on radio until 1953 and on ABC-TV from 1952 to 1966.

“Hi Mom, Hi Dad, Hi Dave, Hi Ricky.”

Ozzie & Harriet
When Red Skelton was drafted in March 1944, Ozzie Nelson was prompted to create his own family situation comedy. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet 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 amplified 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 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 1956...Yankees pitcher Don Larsen throws a perfect game as New York beats Brooklyn Dodgers, 2-0 in Game 5 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium.  Vin Scully with the call..

➦In 1963..The Beatles song "Love Me Do" was released in Britain.

The Beatles officially broke-up in 1974 when John Lennon signed legal papers in room 1601 at The Polynesian Village Hotel in Disney World in 1974, Florida. 

➦In 1984...Flashback from Radio&Records

Fox News House Speaker Forum Canceled

Three congressmen vying to replace Kevin McCarthy as the next House speaker nixed plans to participate in a televised Fox News candidate forum shortly after the network announced plans for the Monday night special.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) all confirmed Friday afternoon they would not take part in the now-canceled event after an outcry from their colleagues.

Scalise, Jordan, Hern

The program, to be hosted by Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier, would have aired a day before the House Republican Conference is scheduled to hold its own forum of speaker candidates behind closed doors.

The House intends to begin voting for the new speaker on Wednesday of next week after McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted in a floor vote this past Tuesday.

Hern, who has not formally entered the race against Jordan and Scalise, but is considering it, said he would “not be participating in the televised debate” in a post to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“We need to make this decision as a conference, not on TV,” he said.

“The Republican conference needs a family discussion.”

Fox News Wins Tuesday Primetime Kevin McCarthy Ouster

Kevin McCarthy’s removal from his role as Speaker of the House Tuesday led to a bump in cable news viewership, with Fox News winning primetime with 2.68 million viewers. 

McCarthy was ousted from his post with a vote of 216-210 in the chamber, a rebellion led by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz. McCarthy is the first person in U.S. history to be removed from the House speakership. 

Although the news broke of McCarthy’s removal during the 4 p.m. hour, viewership on cable news saw higher numbers for primetime. McCarthy additionally held a long press conference during the 8 p.m. hour on Tuesday, excerpts of which aired on all three cable news channels. 

The Wrap reports Fox News was the No. 1 most-watched cable news channel in primetime Tuesday. MSNBC came in second place with 2.14 million viewers, while CNN lagged behind with 1.21 million viewers, according to Nielsen-live-plus-same-day figures. 

The trend continued in the demo for primetime, with Fox News leading the pack with 337,000 viewers in the key cable demographic among adults 25-54. MSNBC came in second with 261,000 viewers, and CNN came in a close third with 259,000 viewers in the demo. 

  • At 8 p.m., Fox News’ “Jesse Watters Primetime” scored 3.09 million total viewers. MSNBC’s “All in With Chris Hayes” saw 2.13 million total viewers, and CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” saw 1.55 million viewers. 
  • At 9 p.m., Fox News’ “Hannity” scored 2.70 million total viewers. MSNBC’s “Alex Wagner Tonight” came in second with 2.03 million total viewers, and CNN’s “The Source With Kaitlan Collins” finished third with 1.18 million total viewers. 
  • During the 10 p.m. programming hour, Fox News’ “Gutfeld!” nabbed 2.26 million total viewers, with MSNBC’s “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” right on their tail with 2.25 million total viewers. CNN’s “CNN Primetime,” hosted by Abby Phillip, finished third with 902,000 total viewers. 
  • At 11 p.m., MSNBC shot back up to first place with “The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle,” which scored 1.43 million total viewers. Fox News’ “Fox News at Night” followed with 1.23 million total viewers and CNN’s “CNN Tonight” with host Laura Coates came in third with 684,000. 

Raleigh Radio: Change of Heart, WCPE Will Air Modern Operas

The music director of a nonprofit North Carolina classical radio station said on Thursday that the station would reverse course and air several contemporary operas being performed by the Metropolitan Opera this season that the station had originally said were unsuitable for broadcast, citing their “adult themes and harsh language.”

“It was a very hard decision,” Emily Moss, the music director of WCPE, a nonprofit station based in Wake Forest, said in an interview. “It’s been a hard day and a hard week.”

The reversal came after the station faced widespread criticism, according to The NYTimes.

The Met, the nation’s leading opera company, has been staging more contemporary work in recent seasons as part of a push to attract new and more diverse audiences; the company has found that these newer works draw more first-time ticket buyers than the classics do.

But Deborah S. Proctor, the general manager of WCPE, took issue with new works planned for the current season in a survey she sent to listeners on Aug. 31.

“This coming season, the Metropolitan Opera has chosen several operas which are written in a nonclassical music style, have adult themes and language, and are in English,” she wrote. “I feel they aren’t suitable for broadcast on our station.”

In the survey, Proctor cited her problems with several of the Met’s offerings this season.

She described the violence in Jake Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking,” the death row opera that opened the season. She cited the “non-Biblical” sources of the libretto of John Adams’s “El Niño,” and the suicidal themes in Kevin Puts’s “The Hours,” which is based on the Michael Cunningham novel and the Oscar-winning film it inspired. She wrote that “Florencia en el Amazona,” by the Mexican composer Daniel Catán, was “simply outside of the bounds of our musical format guidelines.” And she said that both Anthony Davis’s “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X” and Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” contain “offensive language plainly audible to everyone.”

“We want parents to know that they can leave our station playing for their children because our broadcasts are without mature themes or foul language,” she wrote in the letter. “We must maintain the trust of listeners.”

The Met, which has said it follows Federal Communications Commission guidelines regarding profanity and language, said it was happy with the change of course. “We’re pleased that opera fans in North Carolina will be able to hear all 27 of our scheduled broadcasts this season,” the Met said in a statement

Williamsport PA Radio: Shawn Carey Lands Morning Drive On WILQ

Following the radio retirement of Backyard Broadcasting Operations Manager Ted Minier, which included an extremely successful 22-year run as morning show host on Country 105.1 WILQ/Williamsport, PA, Program Director Shawn Carey, slides out of middays and up to AM drive.

Shawn Carey
Carey’s Corner will air from 5-10AM ET.

“I’m absolutely honored and thrilled to be handed the keys to my new, earlier, on-air roll at Backyard Broadcasting. To be allowed to move to morning drive is something I don’t take for granted. This truly is a rare opportunity to begin the day on such a well-known heritage station like WILQ! Here in the Susquehanna Valley, the over 50-year tradition of WILQ is unmatched and I can’t wait to help that continue. Carey’s Corner is where entertainment and information meet. It will absolutely set the tone for the rest of the day! My heartfelt thanks to owner Van Michael for the chance to wake up Central PA as well as outgoing OM Ted Minier for his steadfast leadership and guidance.”

In other lineup changes on the Q, taking over middays is Production Director Tom Scott, who filled that daypart close to two years ago when Carey recovered from ankle fusion surgery…and Mark Mac leaves the overnight hours to host evenings, 7 to midnight.

Streaming Companies Chase Spanish-Language Sports Rights

Streaming platforms are chasing live sports rights to grow their audiences. Increasingly, those audiences are watching in Spanish.

CNBC reports media companies that were already geared toward Hispanic audiences, like TelevisaUnivision and fledgling Canela Media, are bulking up on sports rights and content, while traditional English-language streamers, like NBCUniversal’s Peacock that features Telemundo content, Disney’s ESPN+ and Amazon’s Prime Video are adding simulcast content in Spanish.

It’s an effort to diversify viewership and advertising opportunities — and to capitalize on a growing Hispanic streaming audience.

“Sports is the pinnacle of premium content that can really help a streaming service,” said Shirin Malkani, co-chair of the sports industry group at law firm Perkins Coie. “If you offer it in Spanish as well as English you may not be doubling your audience but you’re certainly growing it by a large percentage. You are reaching an audience I would argue maybe we haven’t done a great job getting sports content to.”

Hispanic audiences spend nearly nine hours per day consuming media, the majority of which is TV viewership, according to a recent study from Nielsen based on viewership habits from July. The study noted the Hispanic audience has been at “the forefront of cord-cutting,” making it a growing majority of streaming viewership, too.

According to the findings, Hispanic viewers spend more than 50% of their time consuming TV through streaming, eclipsing the general population, at nearly 40%.

Traditional media companies across the board have been doling out cash for sports as live games still command the highest traditional TV viewership. These companies are also fighting to make their streaming outlets profitable, with sports representing a key subscriber driver.

Chief among the value drivers is the rising popularity of soccer in the U.S.

Hispanic audiences have long been loyal fans of the sport, which is now gaining steam in American households, helped of late and in part by the arrival of soccer legend Lionel Messi to Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami.

Disney’s ESPN+ recently bought the rights to Spanish league LaLiga in both languages for an eight-year period.

Leaning into Spanish-language broadcasts allows media companies to not only build up their streaming subscriber bases across various demographics but also opens up new advertising opportunities as ad-based subscription tiers help streaming platforms inch toward profitability.

Google Rejects Canadian Olive Branch On News Act

Alphabet Inc.’s Google moved closer to blocking Canadians from viewing news links on its search engine, after it rejected government regulations meant to placate its concerns about an impending online content law.

Bloomberg reports it’s the latest blow to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government and its efforts to compel Google and Meta Platforms Inc. to negotiate payments with local publishers under the Online News Act, due to come into effect on Dec. 19. Google’s move comes about a month after Meta similarly dismissed the regulations and said that it will continue blocking users in Canada from seeing news on Facebook and Instagram to avoid running afoul of the law.

“We continue to have serious concerns that the core issues ultimately may not be solvable through regulation and that legislative changes may be necessary,” Google spokesperson Shay Purdy said by email Friday.

The details of the bill published on Sept. 1 said that both companies can avoid arbitration by agreeing to pay news outlets a minimum of 4% of their annual revenue in Canada in return for carrying links to news articles. Under those terms, Google would be expected to pay about $126 million per year, according to the government’s estimates. The offer was an apparent olive branch to address concerns of uncapped financial liabilities. 

“The result of this exercise is a hybrid model that captures the worst of both worlds, imposing the obligations of a levy without providing any of its certainty, and requiring Google to absorb all of the responsibilities and costs associated with negotiating agreements and disbursing funds while eliminating any flexibility in actual arrangements,” the company said.

Google already threatened to remove links to news, and tested blocking such content for a small percentage of users in Canada earlier this year. On Friday, it went further, implying a block could be imminent as the current regulations would force the company to participate in the mandatory bargaining process while it applies for exemption.

Radio History: October 7

 ➦In 1939…The radio soap drama Kate Hopkins, Angel of Mercy debuted CBS Radio.  It remained on-the-air until April 3, 1942.  The show's initial premise was that after Kate Hopkins' husband died in a fire, she became a visiting nurse to support herself and her young son in the mythical American town of Forest Falls.

➦In 1940…"Portia Faces Life" debuted on the CBS Radio Network after starting in syndication seven months earlier. The program starred veteran radio actress Lucille Wall, who had been on Your Family and Mine and other radio dramas since the mid-1920s.

Stations airing the series included WNAC in Boston, WLS in Chicago, KRLD in Dallas, KGW in Portland, Oregon and KFI in Los Angeles, according to newspaper advertisements.

Portia Faces Life continued on CBS until April 25, 1941. Three days later, it moved to NBC where it continued until March 31, 1944. It then returned to CBS as a summer series from April 3 to September 29, 1944. Heard on NBC from October 3, 1944 to June 29, 1951, the series continued until 1953, according to scripter Mona Kent who wrote every episode.  General Foods remained the sponsor through all 13 years of the radio series.

➦In 1952...“Bob Horn’s Bandstand” aired for the first time on WFIL-TV Philadelphia.  Dick Clark joined in 1955 as a substitute-host, and took over permanently in July ’56.   The program went network on ABC-TV as “American Bandstand” this same date in 1957.

➦In 1966...WOR 98.7 FM New York, which had been airing Top40 music without DJs added personalities to the air. The original WOR-FM disc jockeys were Scott Muni (formerly of WABC and WMCA), Murray “the K” Kaufman (formerly of WINS), Rosko (Bill Mercer) and Johnny Michaels.

Even though the format began on July 30, there were union problems with AFTRA.  RKO did not want to pay FM disc jockeys the equivalent pay of their AM counterparts.  As a result, the station segued from one record to another.

➦In 1970...Intel introduced the computer memory chip.

➦In 1985...Spokane, WA station heard at 590 AM for decades, KHQ signed off.

The station originated in Seattle on February 8, 1922 as the third commercial station in Seattle. The first station licensed was KFC on December 8, 1921, operated jointly by the Northern Radio and Electric Company and the Post-Intelligencer newspaper. Vincent I. Kraft's KJR received a license March 9, 1922, however Kraft had been broadcasting over an Experimental station since 1920. Louis Wasmer launched a new station in late February 1922, it was described at the time as "the third broadcaster".

Wasmer was a former United Wireless Telegraph Company radiotelegraph operator, who opened the Excelsior Motorcycle and Bicycle Co. in 1911, and also sold radio equipment. Wasmer's first license was issued with the randomly assigned call letters KHQ on February 28, 1922.

In May 1925 it was announced that KHQ was temporarily going off the air in order to give Bush & Lane time to "make extensive alterations in the studio", while making a major upgrade in the facilities. Instead, after broadcasting in Seattle for three years, Wasmer moved the station to Spokane.  KHQ was Spokane's fifth radio station, preceded by KFZ, KOE, KFIO (now KSBN) and KFPY (now KXLY), although only KFIO and KFPY were still licensed at the time of KHQ's arrival.

KHQ changed its transmitting frequency a number of times in the mid-twenties, until November 11, 1928, when, under the provisions of a major reallocation resulting from the Federal Radio Commission's (FRC) General Order 40, it was reassigned to 590 kHz which it and its successors have used ever since.

The August 1941 adoption of the Federal Communications Commission's "duopoly" rule restricted licensees from operating more than one radio station in a given market. At this time Louis Wasmer, Inc. owned two Spokane stations: KHQ and KGA. To conform with the FCC order, in 1946 Wasmer sold KHQ to the Cowles Publishing Company, publisher of The Seattle Spokesman-Review newspaper, which used it to launch an FM station (now KISC) and a television station (which still bears the KHQ-TV calls).

Cowles sold off its radio interests in 1984. Because of a FCC rule in place at the time that prohibited TV and radio stations in the same market but with different ownership from sharing the same call letters, AM 590 changed its call to KLSN, with the slogan "Listen 5-90".  On December 1, 1986 the station changed its call sign to KAQQ,  which was phonetically similar to the original KHQ call letters.  On New Year's Day 2002 the call letters became KQNT.

➦In 1988....WNBC 660 AM's final broadcast took place and Sports WFAN moved from 1050 AM to 660 AM.

In November 1987, General Electric, which now owned NBC through its purchase of RCA two years earlier, announced that it would sell off the NBC Radio division. In February of that year GE made a multi-station deal with Emmis Communications and, in New York, the WNBC license for 660 was included in the sale. Emmis announced it would move WFAN to the 660 frequency. At the time, WFAN was located at 1050 AM, and had a somewhat marginal signal in portions of the New York area. As the deal only included the license for WNBC and not the station's intellectual property, GE would proceed to shut down the station for good.

On October 7, 1988 at 5:30 pm, the WFAN call letters, studios, programming and staff moved to WNBC's old frequency at 660 AM, which has a much better signal.

Earlier in the day, the station aired a 90-minute retrospective titled "WNBC-The First 66 Years," hosted by Dale Parsons. The program was written and produced by Parsons and his wife, Ginny, who spent nearly six months researching the station's history.

The last voice heard on WNBC was that of the late Alan Colmes, who said "I'm Alan Colmes. Thank you, God bless you, and for the last time, this is 66 WNBC New York. Let's do the countdown." and counted down the seconds to WNBC's demise with the legendary NBC chimes (the notes G-E-C) playing in the background.

Earlier in the day, regular music programming ended at 6 am; Jay Sorenson played "Imagine" by John Lennon followed by the NBC chimes and a 5-second pause.  Although the FCC regards the 660 frequency as the same license dating back to WEAF, and merely changed its calls from WNBC to WFAN on that day, WFAN does not claim WNBC's history. It did, however, sign up Imus to take Greg Gumbel's place in the morning. Imus would remain on the morning drive-time slot for 19 years, until his firing in 2007 for comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team. He moved to WABC near the end of that year.

In the complicated switch that saw WFAN move to the 660 frequency, the 1050 frequency that was formerly the home of WFAN became that of Spanish-language WUKQ, owned by Spanish Broadcasting System. However, SBS already owned an AM station in the market, Newark-based WSKQ at 620 kHz, and at the time, FCC rules stipulated that companies could own only one AM station per market. As a result, SBS received a temporary waiver to run 1050 while exploring the sale of either AM frequency. SBS chose to keep 620 (it is now WSNR), and 1050 was traded to Forward Communications, which owned WEVD, then at 97.9 FM. After that deal was approved, WEVD's call letters and programming moved to 1050 AM, and SBS took over 97.9 as WSKQ-FM. The October NBC-Emmis switch also saw Emmis's WQHT (then at 103.5 MHz) move to 97.1 MHz, which had been the home of NBC's WYNY. Emmis sold the 103.5 frequency to Westwood One, who also acquired the WYNY call letters and its country music format.

In all this, WFAN retired two of the oldest radio call letters from the dawn of commercial radio: WHN and WNBC.

➦In 1996…The Fox News Channel launched on cable system in the U-S.

Friday, October 6, 2023

News Media Files For Greater Access During Trump Trial

C-SPAN, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and Univision are among a group of media organizations that have filed a motion urging greater media access to former President Donald Trump‘s historic upcoming trial for alleged election interference, which will be held in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

TV Newser reports a total of 20 companies from the print, radio, digital, and TV worlds banded together to file this motion, seeking access to the trial scheduled for March 4, 2024.

The motion, filed on Thursday by this media coalition, was a request to record and broadcast the trial by the media, or by the Court publishing its own livestream on YouTube; or releasing video/audio at the end of each trial day.

The former president will spend a lot of time in the courtroom in the upcoming year as he will face 91 felony counts in four criminal cases spread across Washington D.C., New York, Florida, and Georgia.

So far, the Georgia-based case is the only one that will provide access to live proceedings from inside the courtroom. The proceedings will be live-streamed from the Fulton County Superior Court’s YouTube page. This feed will be able to be picked up and used by news organizations.

The Coalition is asking for this exception due to the uniquely high public interest in this case and the unprecedented nature of the trial of a former president. The Coalition advocates this exception as an opportunity for the American public to assess the process and results for themselves in real-time.

Baseball's Most Valuable Fans Are Tuning-In Radio

Taylor Swift isn't the only sports fan worth talking about these days. Katz Radio Group's latest study highlights some impressive box scores for baseball's most engaged and valuable fans - those that tune in to the action on AM/FM radio. Katz surveyed 800 Major League Baseball fans across the country this past week and found that those who listened to games on the radio knocked it out of the park for every aspect of fan engagement.

All of the respondents in Katz’s survey self-identified as MLB fans, either “casual” or “big,” depending on their own perception. Compared to the average MLB fan in the survey, those who tune-in to games on the radio displayed a deep fandom for the sport and the league. They were more likely to be "big fans," (+40%) and wear their pride on their sleeves, quite literally, by sporting MLB-themed clothing often (+47%). Listeners spent more time and money on their MLB passion as well, including going to games in person (+43%). Listeners attended between 2 and 3 games this season, more than the average fan, and were also more likely to go to bars or restaurants to watch games.

Listeners demonstrated a desire for even more ways to engage with MLB content than the average fan, including listening to baseball podcasts (+71%) and following teams and players on social media (+24%). And they proved to be way more willing to add stakes to their engagement, with +74% more placing bets on MLB action than the average fan.

Play-by-play listeners are engaged with all aspects of the MLB, including the advertisers they hear on-air during games. 72% of listeners notice brands that advertise during game broadcasts, +22% more than the average fan. 66% are more willing to use brands that advertise during their favorite team’s games, +32% higher than the average. And listeners are +33% more likely to say they have a better opinion of brands that sponsor and support their favorite teams.

Of course, MLB fans listen to games on the radio because they are fans, but why radio in particular? Why do more than 7 in 10 of MLB listeners tune in to radio broadcasts of games at least 1x time a week? The answer is built into the nature of the medium, itself. Radio is available on-the-go, reaching fans where and when TV cannot, leading to 91% agreeing that it is a good way to bring the game to them when they can’t be home to watch. And regardless of where they are, they don't seem to feel like they are missing out on the experience, as listeners overwhelmingly acknowledge that their favorite team's radio announcing crew does a great job calling the game.

Chicago Radio: WLS-AM Launches Two Weekday News Programs

Cumulus Media announces that Chicago News/Talk radio station 890 WLS-AM debuts two new one-hour news programs this week, “The Closing Bell” and “PM Chicago,” airing weekdays at 3:00pm and 4:00pm, respectively. The shows are both hosted by 890 WLS-AM news anchor, Bret Gogoel.

When the markets close, “The Closing Bell” begins, every Monday through Friday from 3:00pm-4:00pm on 890 WLS-AM. Host Bret Gogoel takes listeners through a wrap of local, national, and global business news as he chats with Chicago’s small businesses, entrepreneurs, and CEOs. Alongside news anchors Kim Gordon, Nick Gale, and Annie Krall, Gogoel shares the latest tech, consumer, and local business news, and why it matters to Chicagoans and their wallets.

 On the drive home each weekday from 4:00pm-5:00pm, Host Bret Gogoel and the WLS Newsroom team share Chicago’s local news that matters on “PM Chicago.” From politics and education to crime and health, “PM Chicago “shines the spotlight on local stories that are important to Chicagoans, with reports from Kim Gordon, Nick Gale, and Annie Krall.

Stephanie Tichenor, Program Director, 890 WLS-AM, said: " I am delighted to be adding local news and business programs for our listeners in the afternoons. Bret has risen through the ranks at WLS from a part-time board operator to news anchor and host and he is the perfect fit to helm these new offerings.”

Bret Gogoel, On-Air Host, 890 WLS-AM’s “The Closing Bell” and “PM Chicago,” commented: “I'm beyond excited to host The Closing Bell and PM Chicago on WLS. Listeners deserve to hear the latest, unbiased news about their money and their city, and I look forward to providing that on a daily basis.”

K-C Radio: 107.3 FM Becomes All Hit The Vibe

Cumulus Media announces that in a follow-up move to last week’s launch of Kansas City’s Hip Hop and R&B station, Power 105.1/KCJK-FM, it has launched its popular station brand The Vibe today on the 107.3 frequency. The station becomes All The Hits 107.3 The Vibe/KMJK-FM replacing station All The Hits 95.7 The Vibe/KCHZ-FM, a Kansas City staple for 20 years. 107.3 The Vibe concurrently launched its new website today at:

107.3 The Vibe moves to its new home with a new weekday lineup of local personalities, including:
  • Tyler Frye, 6:00am-10:00am
  • Cassiday 10:00am-3:00pm
  • Jagger, 3:00pm-7:00pm
  • Dallace Jade, 7:00pm-Midnight
“Weekends with Roula,” “Carson Daly Download,” and “DJ Kirby Dance Party” will each continue to be heard on the new 107.3 The Vibe.

Donna Baker, Regional Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Kansas City, said: “Adjusting the alignment of these beloved station brands delivers the highest potential audience to reach the entire KC community. The right stations, the right formats, on the right signals with the best local personalities creates even more value for our listeners and advertising partners.”

Jagger, Program Director and On-Air Personality, Afternoons, 107.3 The Vibe, commented: "Excited to move The Vibe to our new home at 107.3 and to help take it to a new level with our great local team! We will continue to be THE hit music station, playing 10 Songs In A Row every hour with the biggest hits, biggest contests and the most winners! We are kicking off our new Era, hooking up our listeners with a private screening of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour movie! All The Hits just got the upgrade, so move with us to 107.3 The Vibe!"

Tyler Frye, new Morning Host, 107.3 The Vibe, added: "Is this real life? I get to wake up KC on our brand-new home, 107.3 The Vibe! I'm excited to kick off The Morning Vibe with Tyler Frye as we give our AMAZING listeners a chance to see Taylor Swift on the big screen for a private screening of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour movie. Taylor has been spending a lot of time in KC lately… maybe she'll show up? A Swiftie can dream! Move with us as we kick off our best Era, All The Hits 107.3 The Vibe!"

'Eras Tour’ Concert Film Crosses $100 Million

Taylor Swift‘s “Eras Tour” concert film is breaking records before it even hits theaters.

Variety reports the movie has surpassed $100 million worldwide in advance ticket sales, according to its official distributor AMC Theatres. These revenues encompass all showtimes, locations and circuits playing “Eras Tour” across the globe, not just AMC locations.

Swift’s concert film, which captures her record-breaking stadium tour, opens in theaters on Oct. 13 — to coincide with the pop star’s lucky number — and will screen in 8,500 cinemas across 100 countries.

With this momentum, it’s poised to land one of the biggest debuts of the year. Industry experts believe “Eras Tour” could surpass $100 million in just North America (the current figure for advance ticket sales includes the international box office) during opening weekend, which would be unprecedented business for a concert film. Only five films in 2023 — “Barbie” ($162 million), “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($146 million), “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” ($120 million), “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” ($118 million) and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” ($106 million) — have generated at least $100 million in their domestic debuts.

NFL Defends Taylor Swift Focus

 The NFL has defended its recent coverage of pop superstar Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce amid backlash from fans and even Kelce himself, who said the league is "overdoing it" with its attention toward the duo's rumored romance, according to ESPN.

Swift has attended the Chiefs' past two games, including their 23-20 win over the New York Jets on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium, which was the most watched Sunday show since the Super Bowl with an average of 27 million TV viewers, according to NBC Sports.

The broadcast featured ads for the forthcoming concert film "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" and on several occasions cut to Swift, who cheered on the Chiefs enthusiastically from her luxury box seats, while commentators made references to her song lyrics

The NFL has played along, particularly on its social media accounts. After the Chiefs' win over the Jets, the NFL's Instagram bio read, "chiefs are 2-0 as swifties," while its bio on X read, "NFL (Taylor's Version)."

"We frequently change our bios and profile imagery based on what's happening in and around our games, as well as culturally," the NFL wrote in a statement Wednesday. "The Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce news has been a pop cultural moment we've leaned into in real time, as it's an intersection of sport and entertainment, and we've seen an incredible amount of positivity around the sport."

Kelce opened up on his thoughts about the celebrity coverage by the NFL and its broadcasts on the latest episode of his podcast "New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce," saying he thinks it needs to "calm down."

Asked about the attention placed on him and Swift, Kelce said, "I think it's fun when they show who was at the game. I think it brings a little bit more to the atmosphere, brings a little bit more to what you're watching. But at the same time, I think ..."

His brother then interjected: "They're overdoing it."

Kelce agreed: "They're overdoing it a little bit, for sure, especially my situation. [But] I think they're just trying to have fun with it."

10/6 WAKE-UP CALL: Jim Jordan Gets Speaker Support

Donald Trump endorsed Representative Jim Jordan as the next speaker of the US House of Representatives, giving the nine-term congressman from Ohio the former president’s coveted stamp of approval going into next week’s leadership elections. “Congressman Jim Jordan has been a star long before making his very successful journey to Washington, D.C., representing Ohio’s 4th Congressional District,” Trump said on his social media platform Thursday night. “He will be a great Speaker of the House, & has my Complete & Total Endorsement!”

Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has considered meeting with House Republicans as they prepare for the speaker election. His backing is likely to shore up support among conservative House members, giving the 59-year-old Ohioan the clearest shot at the post second in line to the presidency.  The announcement came hours after Texas Rep. Troy Nehls said Thursday night that Trump had decided to back Jordan’s bid and after Trump said he would be open to serving as interim leader himself if Republicans couldn’t settle on a successor following McCarthy’s stunning ouster.

➤TRUMP: MISTER SPEAKER? Former President Donald Trump revealed Thursday that he would accept a short-term role as speaker of the House “if necessary” to unite the Republican Party. Trump, 77, told Fox News Digital that if Republicans struggle to reach a consensus on a replacement for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), he’d be willing to fill the role for a “30, 60, or 90-day period.”  

“I have been asked to speak as a unifier because I have so many friends in Congress,” the former president said. “If they don’t get the vote, they have asked me if I would consider taking the speakership until they get somebody longer-term because I am running for president.” 

“They have asked me if I would take it for a short period of time for the party, until they come to a conclusion,” he added. “I’m not doing it because I want to — I will do it if necessary, should they not be able to make their decision.”  Trump told Fox that he will travel to Washington and meet with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday, when the GOP conference will hold a candidate forum to discuss potential options for the vacant speakership position.  

➤BIDEN'S ABOUT-FACE ON BORDER WALL:  Despite President Joe Biden’s promise as a candidate not to add to the controversial wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that's long been a signature of Donald Trump, the Biden administration announced it is ... doing just that. Citing "high illegal entry," the Biden administration is bypassing 26 federal laws, including environmental restrictions, to build a new section of the border wall in South Texas. As a presidential candidate, Biden vowed not to build "another foot" of the wall – even saying Thursday he doesn't believe it is effective. But he said he had no choice because Congress did not agree to cancel the funding for it.

➤DeSANTIS THUMPS TRUMP: Gov. Ron DeSantis took his presidential campaign to downtown Tampa on Thursday to accept the endorsement of 60 Florida sheriffs, giving him an opportunity to hammer the parts of his stump speech on preserving law and order. But he also used the event to repeatedly hammer former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president. DeSantis hit Trump on immigration, his conservative bona fides, his campaign expenditures, his proclivity for controversy, his 2020 election loss, his inability to serve two additional terms and more. “Here’s just the reality. If you want to know who’s done more to actually implement and deliver on America First policies, the person that’s done that more than anyone else in these United States is right here,” he said, to loud applause.

➤U-S JET DOWNS TURKISH DRONE:  A U.S. jet fighter shot down a Turkish drone Thursday after it was deemed a threat to U.S. forces in northeast Syria, a person familiar with the episode said. Ankara has been mounting air attacks against Kurdish militants it blames for a bombing attack in the capital on Sunday. The roughly 900 U.S. troops based in Syria have been working with Kurdish-led fighters to battle Islamic State. The Turkish Defense Ministry said that the drone wasn’t theirs. The incident is likely to add to the tensions between Turkey and the U.S., which are NATO allies, over the former’s military strategy in Syria and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ties with Moscow.

➤AMERICANS SHIFTING ON UKRAINE SUPPORT: The share of Americans across the political spectrum who support sending arms to Ukraine has dropped, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey released Thursday. The poll, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, showed only 41 percent of respondents said they agreed that the United States should provide weapons to Ukraine, down from 65 percent of respondents who said the same in a June 2023 survey.That decline in support for sending weapons to Ukraine extends across parties. Democratic support dropped from 81 percent in June to 52 percent in October. Republican support dropped from 56 percent to 35 percent in the same period. Independent support dropped from 57 percent to 44 percent.

Latino Podcast Listening Jumps 52 Percent Since 2020

Monthly podcast listenership among Latinos increased by 52% since 2020, nearly four times faster than the rate among the general U.S. population, according to the fourth annual Latino Podcast Listener Report. 

The report from Edison Research was commissioned by LWC Studios, Latina to Latina podcast, Libsyn, Latino Media Network, and SXM Media, and was presented today in a webinar. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. Latinos age 18+ are monthly podcast listeners in 2023, a record high, compared with 25% in 2020.

U.S. Latino weekly podcast listeners are highly engaged with podcast ads: Nearly half (49%) of U.S. Latino weekly podcast listeners age 18+ have ever purchased a product or service as a result of hearing an ad on a podcast. Forty-nine percent of Latino weekly podcast listeners say they are more likely to purchase a product they heard advertised on a podcast compared to other places they hear ads.  

Blue-2020 Red 2023

Fifty percent of U.S. Latino weekly podcast listeners age 18+ agree that their opinion of a company is more positive when they hear it mentioned on a podcast they regularly listen to. U.S. Latino consumers control $2.8 trillion in purchasing power – a GDP greater than that of the United Kingdom or India, and the research shows podcasts are an effective avenue to reach them.  

“Investing in Latino podcasts is about more than diversity, equity, and inclusion, it is also smart business decision. There are more Latino podcast listeners than ever, and they are interested in purchasing products from podcast advertisers, paying to subscribe to podcasts, and even buying merchandise from podcasts,” said Gabriel Soto, Senior Director of Research at Edison Research. 

Canadian Publishers Report Sharp Drop In Web Traffic

Small and mid-size publishers across Canada are suffering sharp drops in traffic and revenue as Meta has been locked in a standoff with the government over a law requiring that it pay news organizations for their content, according to a report.

Meta yanked news from Canadian publishers from Facebook and Instagram in August after Canada’s Parliament approved legislation two months prior that calls on Meta and Google to compensate domestic media outlets when they promote their news reports.

The bill — dubbed Bill C-18, or the Online News Act — isn’t set to fully take effect until Dec. 19. Meta, however, has already decided to stop sharing news from Canadian organizations rather than pay up, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We’re literally being completely handicapped from making revenue, which was based on pushing news out on Facebook,” said Khaled Iwamura, the founder and CEO of local news site that serves the Toronto area.

Iwamura told The NY Post that up until August, when Meta started blocking its news links, 30% of’s traffic came from Facebook.

Jeff Elgie, the chief of hyperlocal Ontario media company Village Media, said he has seen its traffic drop by about one-fifth across the company’s 24 websites since Meta’s link blocks began two months ago, according to The Journal.

Elgie isn’t blaming Meta for his losses, and says it’s the Canadian government that’s at fault for not listening to Canadian news executives’ warnings that cracking down too hard on the tech companies would have grave repercussions.

NYC Radio: 77WABC Pays Tribute to Bernard McGuirk

77WABC paid tribute today to morning man Bernard McGuirk, who passed away on this day last year from prostate cancer. 

McGuirk had been co-host of WABC’s Bernie & Sid in the Morning with Sid Rosenberg since April of 2018. The show was credited for helping bring WABC back to the top in New York City. Prior to Bernie & Sid in The Morning, McGuirk had been Executive Producer for the Imus in the Morning Show, where his combination of quick-wit and deep knowledge of politics, economics, and world events made him a welcome on-air contributor.

Sid & Bernie
Today’s tribute aired on 77WABC from 6am to 12noon on an extended Sid & Friends in the Morning Show, the program that launched following McGuirk’s passing, with Rosenberg as the sole host. During today’s tribute, Rosenberg was joined by several of McGuirk’s colleagues, including Warner Wolf and Connell McShane, both of whom did news on the Imus Show, and Carley Shimkus, who was a contributor.

McGuirk and Rosenberg also first met and worked together on the Imus Show. “I am so grateful to have known and worked with Bernie,” said Rosenberg. “Bernie was a phenomenal radio host and an even better person. That’s what I miss most every day.”

Chad Lopez, President of 77WABC and Red apple Media, said, “In Bernie’s memory we are raising awareness of the importance of prostate cancer screening. 77WABC hopes to save lives through Bernie’s legacy.”

Radio History: October 6

➦In 1866...Reginald Aubrey Fessenden born (Died at age 65 – July 22, 1932). He was a Canadian-born radio pioneer, who did a majority of his work in the United States and also claimed U.S. citizenship through his American-born father.  During his life he received hundreds of patents in various fields, most notably ones related to radio and sonar.

Reginald Fessenden
Fessenden is best known for his pioneering work developing radio technology, including the foundations of amplitude modulation (AM) radio. His achievements included the first transmission of speech by radio (1900), and the first two-way radio-telegraphic communication across the Atlantic Ocean (1906). In 1932 he reported that, in late 1906, he also made the first radio broadcast of entertainment and music, although a lack of verifiable details has led to some doubts about this claim.

After studies at Bishop University, Fessenden went to work for Thomas Edison, then the Westinghouse labs and the US Weather Service. In 1902, he started his own company to develop his superheterodyne discoveries, and in 1906 accomplished the first two-way radio voice transmission between Scotland and his shore station at Brant Rock Massachusetts.

That Christmas he broadcast the world’s first public program of music and voice transmitted over long distances, from Brant Rock to the ships at sea. He had over 300 patents, and was awarded $2.5 million by the US Radio Trust for his inventions, many of which were used by the US in World War I without his permission.

➦In 1949...Japanese-American broadcaster, Iva Toguri D'Aquino (Tokyo Rose, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10,000 for treason.

Tokyo Rose
Tokyo Rose was a name given by Allied troops in the South Pacific during World War II to all female English-speaking radio broadcasters of Japanese propaganda. The programs were broadcast in the South Pacific and North America to demoralize Allied forces abroad and their families at home by emphasizing troops' wartime difficulties and military losses. Several female broadcasters operated under different aliases and in different cities throughout the Empire, including Tokyo, Manila, and Shanghai.  The name "Tokyo Rose" was never actually used by any Japanese broadcaster, but it first appeared in U.S. newspapers in the context of these radio programs in 1943.

Tokyo Rose ceased to be merely a symbol in September 1945 when D'Aquino, an American-born Japanese disc jockey for a propagandist radio program, attempted to return to the U-S.  Toguri was accused of being the 'real' Tokyo Rose, arrested, tried, and became the seventh person in U.S. history to be convicted of treason.  Toguri was eventually paroled from prison in 1956, but it was more than 20 years before she received an official presidential pardon for her role in the war.

U.S. President Gerald Ford pardoned Toguri in 1977.

➦In 1953...Rocky Fortune, an American radio drama, debuted on NBC Radio beginning in October 1953. The series ended its run in March 1954 after 25 episodes. The program was created by George Lefferts. Frank Sinatra voiced the title role of Rocky Fortune for the entire series.

Rocky Fortune aired Tuesday nights on NBC at 9:35pm Eastern, immediately following Dragnet (and a five-minute John Cameron Swayze newscast). It was a sustaining series, meaning that NBC presented the program without corporate sponsorship.

➦In 1976...“Disco Duck” by Memphis radio personality Rick Dees (and His Cast of Idiots) was certified to be a Gold Record.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Sage Steele: Interviewing Biden ‘the saddest thing’

Former ESPN host Sage Steele said that interviewing President Biden was “the saddest thing” because he seemed confused and “couldn’t finish his sentences.”

“He struggled,” Steele said of the oldest president in US history, who “trailed off” on topics even more than two years ago.

“So forget about politics. I don’t care, I didn’t vote for him,” Steele told Bill Maher on his “Club Ransom” podcast Sunday, admitting she thinks Biden is “a terrible president.”

“However, that made me sad,” she said of his confusion.

“The human aspect of what we’re witnessing right now, to me, is heartbreaking,” she said of the now-80-year-old president facing escalating pressure over his age and a series of gaffes as he runs to stay in office.

Steele told the comedian that she interviewed Biden in March 2021 for a pre-recorded segment ahead of MLB’s Opening Day that year.

Amazon Gives Up Trying To 'Reimagine' Radio

Amazon is pulling the plug on Amp, the audio app it launched last year to let users DJ their own live radio shows complete with a catalog of millions of licensed songs and the ability to engage with callers.

“We’ve made the difficult decision to close Amp,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement emailed to GeekWire on Wednesday. “In creating Amp, we tried something that had never been done before and built a product that gave creators a place where they could build genuine connections with each other, and share a common love for music. We learned a lot about how live music communities interact in the process, which we are bringing to bear as we build new fan experiences at scale in Amazon Music.”

Atlanta Radio: The River Snags Axel Lowe

Cox Media Group  Atlanta has announced that Axel Lowe has been named Morning Host and Assistant Director of Branding and Programming for 97.1 The River (WSRV) in Atlanta.

Lowe is a 30-year radio veteran, shaping rock radio brands in both Atlanta and Cincinnati through his roles as a Program Director and hosting shows in both AM and PM drive. He graduated from The Art Institute and immediately began working in radio right here in Atlanta. He lives in Sandy Springs with his wife Kellye and has two daughters and dog named Georgia.

“Mornings with Axel Lowe” will broadcast live Monday through Friday from 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M on 97.1 The River. Lowe will also serve as Assistant Director of Branding and Programming for the station.

“My first 30 years in Atlanta radio are packed with great memories and lifelong friends and it’s incredible to think that it’s only getting better from here.” Said Axel Lowe. “97.1 The River is the #1 station in Atlanta and the CMG team knows how to have fun and WIN!”

“Axel IS Atlanta radio. He is incredibly talented both as an air personality and radio programmer,” said Emily Boldon, Director of Operations for CMG Atlanta. “We are tremendously excited to have him join The River family.”

“It’s exciting to pair Axel’s expertise with CMG’s commitment to being local, said Jaleigh Long, Vice President and Market Manager, CMG Atlanta Radio. “He is an icon in Atlanta with tremendous depth for classic hits music, connecting with listeners and making an impact in the community.”