Saturday, October 21, 2023

Radio History: October 22

Parker Fennelly
➦In 1891...Parker Fennelly born in Maine (Died – January 22, 1988). He was an actor and playwright who appeared in ten films, numerous television episodes and hundreds of radio programs.

He was a longtime member of Allen’s Alley on NBC’s Fred Allen Show, portraying Titus Moody with a strong “Down East” accent. 

He was much in demand for numerous radio series based in New York, and over a 20 year span on various radio networks.

He died at age 96 on Jan. 22, 1988.

In 1939...the first televised pro football game airedfrom Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. NBC’s flagship, W2XBS, carried the action. Brooklyn beat Philadelphia, 23-14. NBC later changed those experimental call letters to WRCA, and even later, to WNBC.

In 1961... In the midst of a growing “twist” craze, Chubby Checker was on CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Show, performing his original hit from the previous year, “The Twist,” along with his followup “Let’s Twist Again.” The resulting attention helped boost “The Twist” back to #1 by early 1962, marking the only time the same recording has hit the top spot on Billboard’s singles chart in two different years.

In 1969…Paul McCartney appeared in public to deny rumors of his death.

In 1986...NY Personality/Traffic Reporter Jane Dornacker died in a helicopter accident while working for WNBC 660 AM Radio in New York City (which became WFAN in 1988).

Dornacker was aboard during two unrelated crashes of the helicopters leased to WNBC. She survived the first crash, but was killed in the second crash into the Hudson River, which occurred as she was in the middle of a live traffic report.

Her death came shortly after that of her husband, Bob Knickerbocker, orphaning their 16-year-old daughter. The NTSB investigation determined the cause of the fatal crash to have been use of improper parts and poor maintenance on the part of Spectrum Helicopters of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey.

In 1992...Sportscaster Walter Lanier "Red" Barber died (Born - February 17, 1908). Barber, nicknamed "The Ol' Redhead", was primarily identified with broadcasts of Major League Baseball, calling play-by-play across four decades with the Cincinnati Reds (1934–1938), Brooklyn Dodgers (1939–1953), and New York Yankees (1954–1966). Like his fellow sports pioneer Mel Allen, Barber also gained a niche calling college and professional American football in his primary market of New York City.

Red Barber
At the age of 21, he hitchhiked from his home in Sanford, FL to Gainesville, FL and enrolled at the University of Florida, majoring in education. During his first year he worked at various jobs including part-time janitor at the University Club. There in January 1930 Barber got his start in broadcasting.

An agriculture professor had been scheduled to appear on WRUF, the university radio station, to read a scholarly paper over the air. When the professor's absence was discovered minutes before the broadcast was to begin, janitor Barber was called in as a substitute. Thus the future sportscaster's first gig was reading "Certain Aspects of Bovine Obstetrics".

After those few minutes in front of a microphone, Barber decided to switch careers. He became WRUF's director and chief announcer and covered Florida football games that autumn. Then he dropped out of school to focus on his radio work. After four more years at WRUF he landed a job broadcasting the Cincinnati Reds on WLW and WSAI when Powel Crosley, Jr., purchased the team in 1934.

On Opening Day 1934 (April 17), Barber attended his first major league game and broadcast its play-by-play, as the Reds lost to the Chicago Cubs 6–0. He called games from the stands of Cincinnati's renamed Crosley Field for the next five seasons.

Barber had been hired by Larry MacPhail, then president of the Reds. When MacPhail moved on to be president of the Dodgers for the 1939 season, he took the play-by-play man along. In Brooklyn, Barber became an institution, widely admired for his folksy style. He was also appreciated by people concerned about Brooklyn's reputation as a land of "dees" and "dems".

In 1939 Barber broadcast the first major-league game on television, on experimental NBC station W2XBS. In 1946 he added to his Brooklyn duties a job as sports director of the CBS Radio Network, succeeding Ted Husing and continuing through 1955. There his greatest contribution was to conceive and host the CBS Football Roundup, which switched listeners back and forth between broadcasts of different regional college games each week.

For most of Barber's run with the Dodgers, the team was broadcast over radio station WMGM (later WHN) at 1050 on the AM dial.

Prior to the 1953 World Series, Barber was selected by Gillette, which sponsored the Series broadcasts, to call the games on NBC Radio Network along with Mel Allen. Barber wanted a larger fee than was offered by Gillette, however, and when Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley refused to back him, Barber declined to work the Series and Vin Scully partnered with Allen on the telecasts instead. As Barber later related in his 1968 autobiography, Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat, it was O'Malley's lack of support that led to his resigning from the Dodgers later that October.

Soon afterward the crosstown Yankees hired Barber. In 1955 he took his long-running television program Red Barber's Corner from CBS to NBC. It ran from 1949 until 1958.

Under the ownership of CBS in 1966, the Yankees finished tenth and last, their first time at the bottom of the standings since 1912 and after more than 40 years of dominating the American League. On September 22, paid attendance of 413 was announced at the 65,000-seat Yankee Stadium.

Barber asked the TV cameras to pan the empty stands as he commented on the low attendance. Although denied the camera shots on orders from the Yankees' head of media relations, he said, "I don't know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game." By a horrible stroke of luck, that game was the first for CBS executive Mike Burke as team president. A week later, Barber was invited to breakfast where Burke told him that his contract wouldn't be renewed.

After his dismissal by the Yankees in 1966, Barber retired from baseball broadcasting. The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association inducted Barber into its Hall of Fame in 1973. In 1978, Barber joined former colleague Mel Allen to become the first broadcasters to receive the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. In 1979, he was recognized with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Florida, given a Gold Award by the Florida Association of Broadcasters, and inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. In 1984, Barber was part of the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame's inaugural class which included sportscasting legends Don Dunphy, Ted Husing, Bill Stern and Graham McNamee. Barber was given a George Polk Award in 1985 and a Peabody Award in 1990 for his NPR broadcasts, and in 1995 he was posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

In 1993, TV Guide named Barber the best sportscaster of the 1950s

Sonny Taylor w/Chaka Kahn
In 1999...Radio personality Sonny Taylor, who died at age 59.  He programmed WWRL for four years, starting in 1975. Later, he programmed WRKS and he was a deejay at both WWRL and WNJR, where he started in 1966.

"He was a great jock and a tremendous programmer," says Bobby Jay then of WCBS-FM, whom Taylor convinced WNJR to hire from their alma mater, the School of Broadcasting and Announcing. "I remember his words," says Jay. "He said, 'Don't embarrass me!

Like many radio people, Taylor got around: St. Louis, Chicago, Miami. He spent the '90s at WMMJ in Washington, where he was working until he died.

In 2009...Milton Supman died from cancer (Born - January 8, 1926), known professionally as Soupy Sales, he was a comedian, actor, radio/television personality, and jazz aficionado. He was best known for his local and network children's television show Lunch with Soupy Sales (1953–1966), a series of comedy sketches frequently ending with Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark. From 1968 to 1975 he was a regular panelist on the syndicated revival of What's My Line? and appeared on several other TV game shows. During the 1980s, Sales hosted his own show on WNBC-AM in New York City.

Boston Radio: The Sports Hub, NBA Celtics Extend Deal

The Boston Celtics announced a multi-year broadcast extension with Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub today during the Zolak and Bertrand Show. The station has been the official flagship Station of the Boston Celtics Radio Network since 2013.

Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell will continue to be the voices of the team radio broadcast, building off of more than two decades of their partnership. In addition to the games, 98.5 The Sports Hub will also air Celtics related programming throughout the season, including a weekly call-in from Celtics Head Coach Joe Mazzulla on The Zolak & Bertrand Show each Wednesday during the season.

The Celtics Show with Jim Murray and Chris Gasper can be heard Saturdays at 12:00 p.m. all season. Cerrone Battle will join Joe Murray after many of the weeknight broadcasts for extended postgame coverage. All Celtics interviews and The Celtics Show will be available anytime, on-demand on and The Sports Hub app. Select games during the 2023-24 season will air on ROCK 92.9

“We’ve greatly enjoyed our partnership with The Sports Hub as the radio home of the Celtics for many years,” said Rich Gotham, Boston Celtics Team President. “It’s a great place for Celtics fans and listeners to feed their passion for all things Celtics, and we hope to give them more to be excited about in the coming years.”

“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the Celtics,” said Rick Radzik, Program Director at 98.5 The Sports Hub. “The game broadcasts along with our weekly Celtics content will keep our listeners entertained and informed for years to come.”

“The entire 98.5 Sports Hub Team is thrilled to be continuing this great partnership with the legendary Boston Celtics and are honored to be able to provide coverage of the exciting Celtics games, as well as pre- and post-game analysis to the Boston fans who bleed green,” said Beasley Media Group Boston Vice President and Market Manager Mary Menna.

ESPN Monday Night Football Viewing up 6%

ESPN’s Monday Night Football delivered another record audience in Week 6, as the Dallas Cowboys at Los Angles Chargers (October 16, 8:15 p.m. ET) garnered more than 19.7 million viewers (ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and NFL+). 

The audience of 19,723,000 viewers is ESPN’s fifth most-watched Monday Night Football game (300+ games) and easily the most-watched ESPN MNF Week 6 game, surpassing the Bears-Cardinals in 2006 (14.2 million viewers). The Cowboys-Chargers was up 63% from last year’s week 6 game (Broncos-Chargers).

More on Cowboys-Chargers
  • Peak audience: The audience peaked at 21.8 million in the fourth quarter (11 – 11:15 p.m.)
  • Most Watched Telecast: Monday Night Football was the most-watched telecast of the night overall and across all key demos
  • Season-to-Date: Monday Night Football Up 6%, Averaging North of 15 Million Viewers a Game
  • Season-to-date, Monday Night Football is averaging 15.1 million, up 6% inclusive of all linear games (8 games vs. 7 games), despite the Week 3 presentation of two games vs. last season’s singular game in the same week. Excluding this year’s Week 3, Monday Night Football would be up 14%.
ESPN’s season success is a product of its individual week-to-week success:
  • Week 1: 22.6 million viewers, ESPN’s most-watched Monday Night Football game
  • Week 2 and 3: More than 21.7 million viewers during each of the two hours of overlapping action (8:15 – 10:15 p.m. ET)
  • Week 4: 16.6 million viewers, the most-watched Week 4 MNF game in 14 seasons
  • Week 5: 17.4 million viewers, the most-watched Week 5 MNF game in the ESPN era

Hamas Releases Relatives Of Former NBC Correspondent

Released hostages with Israel Defense Forces on Friday

Two American hostages, Judith Tai Raanan and Natalie Shoshana Raanan, were released by Hamas on Friday.

Israel confirmed the release of the mother and daughter, who are from Illinois and family members of former NBC News correspondent Martin Fletcher.

President Joe Biden thanked the government of Qatar for helping secure their release, and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said the two were receiving "necessary medical treatment."

The Raanans, who are relatives of former NBC correspondent Martin Fletcher, had been staying at a kibbutz in southern Israel when they were taken captive on Oct. 7.

Their release comes as U.S. and European governments pressure Israel to delay its Gaza ground invasion to allow more time to win the freedom of Hamas hostages, U.S. and foreign officials said. Citizens of 41 countries were killed and went missing during the attack. Separately, Israeli authorities ordered the evacuation of Kiryat Shmona, a city close to the Lebanese border, reflecting Israel’s growing concern that a second front could open up to the north. 

Meanwhile, an outpouring of support from militant Islamist groups for Hamas’s incursion is stirring fears of a resurgence of terrorist acts in the West that, until recently, appeared to be declining.

TV Ratings: Oval Office Address Drew 20.3M Viewers

President Joe Biden‘s Oval Office address on Thursday night drew an estimated 20.3 million people across 10 networksm according to Deadline.

The 15-minute speech, calling for U.S. support for international crises in Israel and Ukraine, compared to the 27.3 million who watched his State of the Union address in February, which was aired on 16 networks.

According to Nielsen, about 65% watched the speech on broadcast networks, and 35% viewed it on cable networks. About 78% of the audience was 55 and older, 16% was 35-54 and 4% was 18-34.

Among major cable news networks, Fox News drew the largest audience for the primetime speech, with an estimated 3.25 million viewers, compared to 2.04 million for MSNBC and 1.31 million for CNN. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 431,000, compared to 332,000 for CNN and 229,000 for MSNBC. Fox News also topped the hour and primetime.

Among broadcast networks, ABC topped with 4.65 million, followed by NBC with 3.57 million, CBS with 3.46 million and Fox Broadcasting with 1.45 million.

Milwaukee Radio: WKLH's Dave Lucszak To Retire In 2024

Dave Luczak, who has been co-hosting the morning show on WKLH-FM 96.5 in Milwaukee since before it was WKLH, told listeners Thursday that he's planning to retire at the end of 2024.

"Much likePat Sajak, who is (retiring after) 40 years as host of 'Wheel of Fortune,' I'm also going to call it a day at the end of next year," Luczak said on "The Morning 'KLH With Dave and Dorene" Thursday.

"After all these years of waking up at 3-something in the morning, it's definitely going to be a change," Luczak said.

You can hear Luczak's low-key "announcement" at about 7 minutes into the clip below.

JSOnline reports Luczak, who turned 65 this month, began hosting the morning show on WMGF-FM, then an adult-contemporary station at 96.5 on the FM dial, with Don Michael Girard on Feb. 13, 1984. (Luczak, who was born in Pittsburgh, and Girard had been a morning show team at a station in Rochester, New York, when they were brought to Milwaukee.)

The Milwaukee station switched to its current classic rock format, and to the WKLH call letters, in January 1986.

While WKLH's format hasn't changed much, the lineup for its morning show has — except for Luczak.

Carole Caine, who joined the morning show as a newsperson in 1985, became co-host a year later when Girard left. "Dave & Carole" was one of Milwaukee's most popular, and longest-running, morning radio shows, until Caine's contract was not renewed in 2015. Other local personalities in the show's mix over the years have included comedian Kevin "KB" Brandt and movie critic and celebrity interviewer Gino Salamone. Salomone left in 2021, after he and the station couldn't come to terms on a contract; Brandt has co-hosted a show on WRNW-FM (97.3), also known as The Game, for the past six years.

Milwaukee Radio Alliance Welcomes Colleen Valkoun as Pres/GM

Milwaukee Radio Alliance, LLC proudly announces the appointment of Colleen Valkoun as its President and General Manager. With over 25 years of experience in the Broadcast Media industry, Colleen brings a wealth of knowledge and a dynamic leadership style to her new role.

Valkoun’s illustrious career in the broadcast industry has seen her rise to the pinnacle of leadership. Her most recent position was as the Area President of iHeartMedia Milwaukee/Madison, where she displayed strategic acumen and an unwavering commitment to the success of her teams and the communities they serve.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, her roots run deep in the city. She is a proud graduate of Milwaukee Vincent High School and an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a degree in Radio, TV, and Film. During her time at UW-Madison, Colleen’s passion for the university extended to her role as a UW Cheerleader and her involvement with the Alpha Phi Sorority.

Colleen Valkoun
Beyond her professional achievements, Valkoun is known for her dedication to community service. She serves on the Make-A-Wish Wisconsin Board, where her commitment to making dreams come true for children facing critical illnesses aligns with the values of Milwaukee Radio Alliance, LLC. She has served on the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Board and is an avid supporter.

“We are thrilled to welcome Colleen Valkoun as the President and General Manager of Milwaukee Radio Alliance, LLC,” said Jim Lewandowski, CEO of Times Shamrock Communications. “Her extensive experience, deep ties to the Milwaukee community, and her passion for broadcasting make her the perfect leader to guide our radio stations, including WLUM-FM, WLDB-FM, and WZTI-AM/FM, into an exciting future.”

“Colleen Valkoun’s appointment reflects a strategic move for Milwaukee Radio Alliance, LLC. Her impressive track record and leadership skills make her the ideal choice to lead these iconic stations. We look forward to witnessing the positive impact of her leadership on the Milwaukee radio landscape.” – Duane Davis, CEO of All Pro Broadcasting.

Trust In Social Media Tanks

Americans’ confidence in social media companies and their executives has plummeted. 

USAToday reports the leaders of social media companies have lost the faith of the American people that they responsibly handle, user privacy, according to a new report on digital privacy views from the Pew Research Center.

Some 77% of Americans have little or no trust that companies will publicly admit mistakes and take responsibility for data misuse, the report found.

Americans also have low expectations that regulators or lawmakers will crack down, with 71% saying they do not believe that social media companies will be held accountable by the government for misdeeds.

This deep-seated distrust is even more prevalent among Republicans and GOP leaners than Democrats and Democrat leaners, according to data Pew shared with USA TODAY.

Three-quarters of Republicans –  versus 68% of Democrats – doubt companies will face repercussions for misusing or compromising personal data.

Even more of them – 79% versus 75% – say they don’t trust social media companies to not sell their personal information without their consent. 

And the vast majority – 81% versus 76% – of Republicans don’t think companies publicly admit and take responsibility for their mistakes. 

Republicans are even more concerned about how the government uses their data. 

The share who say they are worried about government use of people’s data increased from 63% in 2019 to 77% today. Concern among Democrats has held steady at 65%, Pew said.

Radio History: October 21

In 1908...The first two-sided vinyl record was offered for sale.

The first sound recordings at the end of the 19th century were made on cylinder records, which had a single round surface capable of holding approximately two minutes of sound. Early shellac disc records records only had recordings on one side of the disc, with a similar capacity (both media could hold between three and four minutes by 1910). Double-sided recordings, with one selection on each side, were introduced in Europe by Columbia Records, and by 1910 most record labels had adopted the format in both Europe and the United States; the ability to effectively double the amount of sound on the disc was one major factor in its rising to dominance over the cylinder record which was obsolete by 1912.

There were no record charts until the 1930s, and radio stations (by and large) did not play recorded music until the 1950s (when top 40 radio overtook full-service network radio). In this time, A-sides and B-sides existed, but neither side was considered more important; the "side" did not convey anything about the content of the record.

In 1915...First transmission of speech across the Atlantic Ocean was made by radiotelephone, Arlington, Va., to Paris.

In 1969...Radio personality Roby Yonge aired the infamous “Paul is Dead” show at 77 WABC, NYC.

Originally hired for the 1 - 3 PM shift, Yonge was moved into the overnight shift in August 1969 when Charlie Greer left the station. He was told by program director Rick Sklar in the early fall, that his contract would not be renewed. He subsequently went on the air with the Paul McCartney "death" rumor on October 21, 1969, having heard the rumor from WKNR Detroit radio personality Chris Randall.

Robey Yonge
Stating that he had already been fired and that at 12:39 AM, he would not be "cut" because there was nobody around, Yonge began to speculate on rumors circulating about the possible death of McCartney. He enumerated various "clues" in album cover art which he said had been catalogued by thirty Indiana University Bloomington students. Callers lit up the station switchboard. It was an hour and a half before program director Rick Sklar got Les Marshak in to relieve Yonge. Marshak continued to do Yonge's show until a replacement was hired.

Yonge was hired by WCBS 101.1 FM, where he helped introduce their "Oldies" format in the early'70s. After a few years, he returned to his native Florida, where he served as general manager of Mother WMUM, an early FM rock station in Palm Beach. After the demise of Mother in 1972, Yonge became a morning personality on Y100 WHYI in Fort Lauderdale/Miami. He was fired after the first day on the air, August 3, 1973. He moved to the competitor WMYQ-FM, where he spoke as a commentator with a morning show. In 1987, Yonge did a morning show at WKAT in Miami, then returned in 1993 to do a music/talk show on 790 WMRZ.

Roby Yonge died on July 18, 1997 of an apparent heart attack at age 54.

Frankie Cocker
➦In 2000...NYC Personality Frankie Crocker died from pancreatic cancer.

Crocker began his career in Buffalo at the AM Soul powerhouse WUFO (also the home to future greats Eddie O'Jay, Herb Hamlett, Gary Byrd and Chucky T) before moving to Manhattan, where he first worked for Soul station WWRL and later Top40 WMCA in 1969.

He then worked for WBLS-FM as program director, taking that station to the top of the ratings during the late 1970s and pioneering the radio format now known as urban contemporary.

Frankie Crocker was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2000, and the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2005.

➦In 2014…Veteran Boston radio personality Dale Dorman died at age 71 after a long illness (Born September 2, 1943).

Friday, October 20, 2023

Tony Bruno Sports Radio Network To Launch

Tony Bruno and Jason Jones of Big Mama Radio announced today on the BMR Morning Grind, that Tony Bruno is returning, not only to his own daily show, but has built a 24/7 Sports Station full service Sports Radio Network. After moving to Cape Coral a little over 2 years ago, Tony Bruno, one of the most popular voices in sports talk radio over his four-decade career, is re-launching The Tony Bruno Show from 3p-6p ET, along with daily live programming.

TBSN (TonyBrunoSportsNetwork), will debut October 30th with LIVE programming every weekday with sports talk radio from 7am to 8pm to start. Additional time-slots and weekend programming will be added over the following months.

TBSN is available to listeners nationwide online via and on the “Tony Bruno Sports Network” app for Android and iPhone.

“I want to thank all of my fans who have followed and supported me through the years,” said Bruno. “I am grateful to everyone who has encouraged me to return and who still want to hear my daily fun approach to sports and current affairs, which has been my forté for over five decades in broadcasting; this time, I’m bringing friends! I hear over and over again that fans are tired of X’s & O’s sports radio. I plan to bring back exciting, sports talk radio again, with a Florida flair. What better place to launch a new nationwide sports network than in Florida, a true melting pot of fans from all over the nation.”

TBSN Schedule (for now) (all times are ET)

  • 7am – 10am The Pete Sheppard Show
  • 10am – noon Defo & Lubie
  • noon – 3pm TBA
  • 3pm – 6pm The Tony Bruno Show
  • 6pm – 8pm Martinez & Company

Through his five decades on the air, Bruno has been a prominent sports talk voice on nearly every national radio platform. He was the first voice heard on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio and the only radio host to have ever been featured in the EA Sports Madden game. After retiring from terrestrial radio, Bruno began hosting a once-a-week podcast, which 3 years ago expanded to include live video on & other streaming platforms. He also does a weekly hit on WPHT1210 on the Kayal & Company Show in Philadelphia.

Alex Jones Can’t Get Out Of $1.1 Billion He Owes

Alex Jones must still pay the $1.1 billion juries ordered him to pay the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre last year after a court ruled that Jones defamed the families by spreading baseless conspiracy theories that the shooting was staged, a Texas judge ruled Friday.

Forbes reports U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez in Houston ruled Thursday that Jones cannot discharge the debts he owes the families in bankruptcy because those debts arise from “willful and malicious injury by the debtor,” which makes the debts nondischargeable by federal law.

Jones has yet to pay any of the money he owes.

Jones declared bankruptcy last year, which paused payments to the families while hearings proceeded.

After a gunman killed 26 people—20 of whom were elementary school aged children—in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Jones began spreading baseless conspiracy theories on his political talk show that the shooting never happened, that it was staged by gun control advocates and that family members of the victims were actually actors. Jones’ theories, which he espoused for years, led to the families being continually harassed by his viewers and supporters. In a series of cases in Connecticut and Texas, the families successfully sued Jones for defamation and multiple juries ruled that Jones must pay them collectively over $1 billion.

Indy Radio: Jim Denny Announces Retirement at Year-End

Cumulus Media announces that Jim Denny, On-Air Host, Mornings, on Country radio station 95.5 WFMS-FM in Indianapolis, will hang up his headphones at the end of the year as he retires from radio after a successful 35-year run at WFMS. Denny shared the news of his retirement with his loyal listeners this morning. His last day on-air will be Friday, December 15, 2023.

An Indianapolis native, Denny graduated from Cathedral High School and attended Marian University. He started at WFMS in 1988 and was joined by co-host Kevin Freeman in 1996 to form the “Jim & Kevin Show” in mornings. Deb Honeycutt joined the on-air duo 20 years ago and “Jim, Deb & Kevin” remains the WFMS morning show to this day. Denny played a central role during his tenure in the station winning multiple Marconi, CMA, ACM, and other awards. He was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2014.

Christopher “Boomer” Layfield, Operations Manager, Cumulus Indianapolis, and Program Director, 95.5 WFMS, said: “Jim is beloved by WFMS listeners and Country music fans all across central Indiana. It would be hard to overstate his longstanding influence at WFMS and the impact he’s had on our listeners’ lives with community service being among his most passionate tenets. To be able to do a job that you love for such an extended period of time in an area that you’ve always called ‘home’ is uncommon. To do it so successfully, yet humbly, is truly remarkable and worthy of great celebration. Congratulations, Jim!”


Denny commented: “It’s hard to believe that I’ve spent over half my life behind the mic at WFMS. I have met so many wonderful people and have worked with the best of the best. Most importantly, I’m grateful that Hoosiers like Deb and Kevin have gone on this journey with me. God has truly blessed me; I am a WFMS listener for life!”

NY Times Loses Its X Verification Badge

The social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has removed the gold “verified” badge from the New York Times’ account amid ongoing complaints about the news organization from X owner Elon Musk.

The Washington Post reports the badge was the only symbol distinguishing the Times’ 55-million-follower account from impostors amid two major global conflicts in Israel and Ukraine. X has hosted and helped amplify a flood of false information related to the Israel-Gaza war, some of which Musk has personally endorsed.

The badge was removed Tuesday without notice, a person familiar with the change said. The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, CNN, Bloomberg, Vox and other news organizations still had their gold badges as of Thursday afternoon. Times accounts related to coverage of world news, health and other subjects still show “verified” badges.

The move further extends Musk’s attempts to use the social media company he bought with claims of defending free speech to undercut news organizations he dislikes. It also suggests Musk has adopted the kinds of secretive social media tactics he and Twitter’s conservative critics once loudly denounced.

Neither X nor Musk responded to requests for comment.

ESPN’s Profits Dip 20%

Cable doesn’t have a lot of pillars left to lean on, but one of the strongest remaining is live sports. ESPN was rated as the most in-demand cable channel of them all in a September survey, as 74% of respondents identified it as a “must-have” channel.Disney revealed this week that profits at ESPN have dipped by 20% in 2023.
  • ESPN is looking for multiple partners to purchase minority stakes as it pivots to streaming.
  • Cable revenues will continue to dwindle with cord-cutting, demonstrating why distribution of a new ESPN streamer is critical to Disney executives.
According to The Streamable, the popularity of ESPN has remained steady, even as cord-cutting has bitten deeply into the number of customers available to purchase the channel through cable or satellite. The departure of so many thousands of viewers from the cable ecosystem has had an effect, however; Bloomberg reports that ESPN’s profits have dropped by 20% so far in 2023 as compared to fiscal 2022.

In Disney’s last fiscal year, ESPN brought in $2.71 billion of operating income based on sales of $17.3 billion. So far in its fiscal 2023, the channel has accrued $1.48 billion on sales of $13.2 billion. The channel is still profitable overall, but it’s undeniably suffering from the departure of so many users from cable and satellite. The numbers help explain why ESPN is looking to pursue a smaller package of NBA rights when its current deal with the league expires after the 2024-25 season.

The dip in profits from ESPN shows why Disney is so eager to get moving on a direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming version of the channel and its sibling networks that won’t require a cable subscription to access. ESPN is still clearly an in-demand product, but fewer and fewer users are willing to go to traditional access points to watch the channel.

It also clearly outlines why the company is looking to sell minority stakes in ESPN to multiple outlets. Replicating the distribution of the cable model will be critical for Disney if its ESPN streaming service is to succeed; the company essentially forced providers to include ESPN in their base packages, so the channel was in place in hundreds of millions of homes in cable’s heyday.

The 20% drop in profits at ESPN has more to do with the state of the cable industry as a whole than it does with ESPN’s specific popularity. But it does underscore the challenges facing the channel and its parent company as Disney prepares to launch a streaming-only version of the ESPN networks that incorporates the content currently available on ESPN+.

FCC Votes To Advance Plan To Reinstate Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to advance a proposal to reinstate landmark net neutrality rules and assume new regulatory oversight of broadband internet that was rescinded under former President Donald Trump.

Reuters reports the commission voted 3-2 on a proposal to reinstate open internet rules adopted in 2015 and reestablish the commission's authority over broadband internet.

The FCC voted in 2017 under Trump to reverse the rules that barred internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization.

The FCC will take public comments before it is expected to vote next year to finalize the plan that is certain to face legal challenges.

The vote comes after Democrats took majority control of the five-member FCC in early October for the first time since President Joe Biden took office. Biden signed a July 2021 executive order encouraging the FCC to reinstate net neutrality rules adopted under Democratic President Barack Obama.

"There is no expert agency ensuring that the internet is fast, open, and fair, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said on Thursday. "Internet access needs to be more than just accessible and affordable. The internet needs to be open."

Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr opposed the move, saying that since 2017 "broadband speeds in the U.S. have increased, prices are down (and) competition has intensified." He argued the plan would result in "government control of the internet."

FNC Interviews Israeli Whose Wife and Daughter Are Missing

On Thursday FOX News Anchor John Roberts, who is anchoring live from Jerusalem this week, conducted a heart wrenching interview with Moshe Leimberg.  His wife and daughter have been missing since dozens of Hamas terrorists infiltrated their Kibbutz at Nir Yitzhak.

Roberts talked this week with Leimberg...

10/20 WAKE-UP CALL: Biden Reports To The Nation

  • 21 Palestinians killed in air strikes in Khan Younis - Hamas
  • Biden stresses need for U.S. to support Israel
  • Death toll rises in West Bank, Lebanon amid fears of wider war
  • U.S. says its ship shoots down missiles fired from Yemen toward Israel

U.S. President Joe Biden asked Americans to spend billions more dollars to help Israel fight Hamas while Israel's defence chief told his troops to be ready to go into the Gaza Strip to destroy the Palestinian militant group. In a televised White House speech late on Thursday that also addressed Ukraine's effort to repel Russia's invasion, Biden said Hamas sought to "annihilate" Israel's democracy. The president also stressed the urgency of getting relief to Palestinian civilians in Gaza who lack food, water and medicine. "We can't ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have opportunity," said Biden, who visited Israel on Wednesday. Israel appeared to be getting closer to a full-scale invasion of Gaza, a densely populated enclave ruled by Hamas. The Israeli military has massed troops and equipment near the Gaza border. "You see Gaza now from a distance, you will soon see it from inside. The command will come," Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told troops gathered at the Gaza border on Thursday.

➤HOSPITAL DEATH TOLL LOWERED: An explosion at a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City late Thursday resulted in casualties and injuries along with displacing Palestinians who were taking refuge there.  Mohammed Abu Selmia, director general of Shifa Hospital, told The Associated Press that dozens were wounded at the Church of Saint Porphyrios but could not give a precise death toll because bodies were still under the rubble. The Holy Orthodox Order of the Holy Great Martyr George confirmed the bombing, adding that more than 500 people were being housed at the church and monastery. "The bombs hit the two church halls where the refugees, including children and babies, were sleeping. Presently, survivors are searching the rubble for other casualties," the order said in a statement Thursday.  The blast comes after an explosion Tuesday that rocked the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, in whose compound many Palestinians had been seeking refuge from the persistent Israeli bombardment. According to a preliminary U.S. intelligence analysis, the death toll was on the "low end" of 100 to 300.

➤AID ON THE WAY: The U.N. and world leaders were pushing to get immediate aid into the Gaza Strip as the humanitarian crisis worsens. Two million Palestinians are trying to flee Israeli airstrikes and struggling to find food, water and fuel. More than 3,785 people have been killed in the enclave in the past two weeks, according to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, after the Israeli military directed residents in the north to move to the south. Israel’s near-total siege was a response to an Oct. 7 attack during which Hamas militants killed at least 1,400 Israelis and took hundreds of hostages. President Biden said that a U.S.-secured deal with Egypt and Israel will send 20 trucks of supplies into Gaza as soon as tomorrow. The effort comes as Israel’s defense minister said a ground assault on the enclave could be imminent. Thousands of airstrikes—targeting Hamas’s leaders, special forces and strategic assets, including intelligence posts and an underground tunnel network—are part of a plan to weaken the U.S.-designated terror group before sending in Israeli troops.

➤POWELL ACCEPTS PLEA DEAL: Sidney Powell accepted a plea deal in a Georgia case stemming from efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Donald Trump’s former legal adviser pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in exchange for no jail time and an agreement to testify for the prosecution. The former president and more than a dozen others are defendants. Powell admitted in open court that she had orchestrated a scheme to access voting equipment in rural Coffee County in hopes of substantiating conspiracy theories that voting machines were flipping votes. The development represented a significant win for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is trying to pit defendants against each other.

➤JORDAN: THIRD TIME THE CHARM?:  Rep. Jim Jordan is planning a third floor vote for House speaker. The Ohio Republican said that he first wanted to talk to the GOP lawmakers who voted against him. Rank-and-file Republican members are losing patience with Jordan after losses on two consecutive ballots. Conservatives opposed a proposal to grant extra powers to Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry. That plan would have given Jordan months to build support for his bid while allowing the House to go ahead with votes expected on Israel and Ukraine aid and crucial government funding. The speaker post opened up two weeks ago, when Kevin McCarthy of California was ousted.

MLB Playoff Ratings Producing Solid Numbers

Baseball’s League Championship Series are producing solid ratings after seeing declines during the first two rounds.

According to AP News citing Nielsen data, the LCS English and Spanish broadcasts for the first two games are averaging 5.2 million, which is even with last year.

The LCS ratings are holding steady despite not having a team from New York, Chicago or Los Angeles — the country's three largest TV markets — in the round for the first time since 2014. The teams with the five best regular-season records are also watching from home.

“I do believe variety is a good thing for our sports. You look at other sports, they have the same mix,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said on ESPN’s “First Take” before the postseason. “We have 30 markets. Everyone has to have a chance to compete.”

Texas' 2-0 victory over Houston in Game 1 of the ALCS on Oct. 15 averaged 7.27 million on Fox, Fox Deportes and streaming. That was the most viewed opening game of the ALCS since 2010 when the Rangers faced the New York Yankees and averaged 8.11 million. It also marked a 28% increase from last year's first game between the Astros and Yankees.

Last Sunday’s game benefitted from a strong lead-in with Fox having an NFL doubleheader. The late afternoon window on Fox averaged 26.09 million, including the New York Jets’ upset win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The early numbers are good news after the wild-card round on ESPN and ABC was down 18% from last year. The Division Series on TBS, Fox and FS1 were off 8.8%.

The wild-card games saw declines because they took place during the middle of the week instead of the weekend, like last year.

This year’s division round featured no series that went the full five games and had two sweeps. This year’s run differential was 3.85 per game compared to last year’s 2.5.

However, the Philadelphia Phillies making the NLCS for the second straight year helped bolster ratings. The Phillies-Atlanta Braves series averaged 4.6 million viewers, making it the most watched NLDS on TBS in eight years.

The Phillies' 10-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Tuesday's second game of the NLCS averaged 5.3 million on TBS, TruTV and Max.

Milwaukee Radio: WTMJ's Jeff Wagner Sets Retirement

WTMJ 620AM conservative talk-radio host Jeff Wagner says he's retiring after more than 25 years on Milwaukee radio. Wagner made the announcement at the start of his show Thursday.

“To have the ability to work on a radio station in your hometown in essentially the same time slot for 25 years, it doesn't happen very often," Wagner told his listeners Thursday.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Wagner, whose show airs weekdays on WTMJ from noon to 3 p.m., said he will sign off for good from the Good Karma Brands-owned station on Dec. 15.

On Thursday's broadcast, he said he plans first to take some time off, but he's "kicking around a few ideas" about being involved in public policy or advocacy issues — or even return to fill-in radio work.

"I'm looking to see what the opportunities are," Wagner said.

A former U.S. attorney and unsuccessful Republican candidate for state attorney general, Wagner began his radio career filling in for conservative talk show hosts on WISN-AM (1130) in 1995, eventually becoming the regular fill-in for WISN's Mark Belling.

Wagner joined WTMJ in July 1998, as a regular host, sitting in for the station's then-morning host Charlie Sykes and hosting his own show on Saturdays. In November of that year, when Sykes returned after a two-month leave, Wagner picked up the noon-to-2 p.m. weekday slot — at the time, opposite Rush Limbaugh's show on WISN — after WTMJ lost the syndicated Dr. Laura Schlessinger show. Wagner's show later was expanded to three hours.

Triton Digital Releases the September 2023 U.S. Podcast Ranker

Triton Digital®, the global technology and services provider to the digital audio, podcast, and broadcast radio industries, announced Thursday the release of its September 2023 reporting period (September 4, 2023 – October 1, 2023), U.S. Podcast Ranker, as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. For the month of September downloads dropped 3.1% compared to August.

Yet again, SiriusXM Podcast Network remained in the #1 spot on the Top Sales Networks Report for the month of September, with 51.5M Average Weekly Downloads and 14.0M Average Weekly Users. Wondery came in again at #2 with 34.6M Average Weekly Downloads and 8.4M Average Weekly Users, followed by Audacy Podcast Network at #3 with 23.5M Average Weekly Downloads and 6.4M Average Weekly Users.

NPR is temporarily excluded from the rankers this month due to a planned data collection migration. They will return to the rankers once the migration is complete.

For this reporting period, the top three podcasts based on downloads included Dateline NBC (NBCUniversal News Group) at #1, Crime Junkie (audiochuck) again at #2, and Morbid (Wondery) at #3.

For listeners, the top three podcasts included Crime Junkie (audiochuck) again at #1, Dateline NBC (NBCUniversal News Group) again at #2, and Morbid (Wondery) at #3.

There were several debuts in the month of September for downloads including The Rich Eisen Show (Cumulus Podcast Network), Dave & Chuck the Freak: Full Show (Beasley Media Group), 5 Things (Wondery), Lovett or Leave It (SiriusXM Podcast Network), and more.

Radio History: October 20

Lee DeForest

In 1906...Radio pioneer Dr. Lee DeForest demonstrated the electrical vacuum radio tube. DeForest disliked the term "wireless" and chose a new moniker, "radio."

In 1902 he and his financial backers founded the DeForest Wireless Telegraph Company. In order to dramatize the potential of this new medium of communication, he gave public demonstrations of wireless telegraphy for businessmen, the press, and the military.

A poor businessman and a poorer judge of men, de Forest was defrauded twice by his own business partners. By 1906 his first company was insolvent, and he had been squeezed out of its operation. But in 1907 he patented a much more promising detector (developed in 1906), which he called the Audion; it was capable of more sensitive reception of wireless signals than were the electrolytic and Carborundum types then in use. It was a thermionic grid-triode vacuum tube—a three-element electronic “valve” similar to a two-element device patented by the Englishman Sir John Ambrose Fleming in 1905. In 1907 de Forest was able to broadcast experimentally both speech and music to the general public in the New York City area.

De Forest is credited with the birth of radio broadcasting when on January 12, 1910, he conducted experimental broadcast of part of the live performance of Tosca and, the next day, a performance with the participation of Italian tenor Enrico Caruso from the stage of Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

Arlene Francis

In 1908...Arlene Francis was born in Boston, Massachusetts.  Francis became a well-known New York City radio personality, hosting several programs. In 1938 she became the female host of the radio game show "What's My Name?" although several men appeared as co-hosts over the years, Francis was the sole female host throughout the program's long run (on ABC, NBC and Mutual networks) until it ended in 1949.

In 1940, Francis played Betty in Betty and Bob, an early radio soap opera broadcast.

In 1943, she began as host of a network radio game show, Blind Date, which she hosted also on ABC and NBC television from 1949–52. She was a regular contributor to NBC Radio's Monitor in the 1950s and 1960s, and hosted a long-running midday chat show on WOR-AM that ran from 1960 to 1984.

Francis was a pioneer for women on television, one of the first to host a program that was not musical or dramatic in nature. From 1954-57, she was host and editor-in-chief of Home, NBC's hour-long daytime magazine program oriented toward women, which was conceived by network president Pat Weaver to complement the network's Today and Tonight programs. Newsweek put her on its cover as the "first lady of television". She hosted Talent Patrol in the mid-1950s.

Francis was also a panelist on the weekly game show What's My Line? from its second episode on CBS in 1950 until its network cancellation in 1967, and in its daily syndicated version from 1968–75.

She died May 31, 2001 in San Francisco at 93 after a long bout with Alzheimer’s and cancer.

In 1930...the "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" premiered on the NBC Radio Network.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Research: In-car Listening and Infotainment Systems

Choices, choices. The in-car audio landscape today offers myriad options, including radio receivers, satellite radio receivers, voice-activated speakers, and Bluetooth or aux cord capabilities that allow for listening to smartphones and other content. Increasingly, vehicles are equipped with smartphone-based infotainment systems Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and consumers are moving towards a seamless phone-to-audio experience.

How does the presence of these systems affect the time spent consuming audio in-car?

This week’s insight comes from Edison Research’s Share of Ear dataset, which is based on a one-day listening diary and measures the amount of time those in the U.S. age 13+ spend with all audio. Respondents also answer some demographic and consumer questions, including the presence of audio infotainment in-car systems in the primary vehicle in which they drive or ride.

The graphic below compares the in-car daily audio time for those who don’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Audio in the primary vehicle they drive or ride in, versus those who do have one of the systems.

The top bar shows that among listeners who don’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, they spend the majority of their in-car audio time, 67%, listening to AM/FM radio, including over-the-air and streams. They spend 9% of their audio time streaming, 12% with SiriusXM, 4% with Podcasts, and 8% of their audio time with some other audio source, such as CDs.

The bottom bar shows that those who do have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in their primary vehicles spend twice as much time streaming: 18% of their daily in-car audio time is spent streaming, compared with 9% of daily in-car audio time spent streaming by those without the systems. They also spend more of their daily in-car audio time with podcasts than listeners who don’t have the systems: 7% compared with 4%. Listeners who do have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto spend 46% of their time with AM/FM -- 27% less than those who don’t have CarPlay or Auto.

Even those with these systems choose AM/FM for nearly half of their in-car listening. For many people, even with so many new options, radio and the in-car environment continue to just go together.

Podcasters Are The Most Trusted Media Personalities

Acast, the world’s largest independent podcast company, has released the results of a new research study that shows podcasts are a highly trusted medium among US consumers. According to the study of US consumers, 64% of podcast listeners actively seek out podcasters and create time for their content -the most of any other tested media personality – making the time spent with podcasts highly engaging and intentional.

These findings come at a time when trust in US media has hit an all time low, with half of Americans reported to believe that national news organizations deliberately mislead them, according to research from Gallup and the Knight Foundation. In this era of skepticism and misinformation, podcasters are emerging as the trustworthy figures of the media industry.

In fact, according to Acast’s research, half of podcast listeners trust podcasters, the most of any other tested medium. The second most trusted is YouTubers, with 44% of YouTube consumers saying they trust these media personalities. Notably, with YouTube emerging as a leading platform for podcast consumption, many of these sought-after YouTube personalities are also podcasters.

“Trust in US media has been deteriorating in recent years as a result of socio-political unrest and conflicting coverage by news outlets on the same events. As US consumers have lost confidence in traditional media, they have increasingly turned to podcasters as a source of truth,” said Acast Director of Research and Insights Tommy Walters. “During times of hardship and uncertainty – like the start of the pandemic and the beginning of the war in Ukraine – at Acast we have consistently seen audiences flock to podcasts for deep conversations and analysis over clickbait headlines. When it comes to product endorsements, we have also seen audiences be more trusting of podcaster recommendations than any other form of media.”

For advertisers, podcasting is ripe with opportunity as US consumers say they seek out podcasters above all other media personality types when looking for product endorsements. According to this study, 75% of podcast listeners say they have listened to a podcaster for a product endorsement, compared to the 62% of social media users who have sought out social media creators and just 55% cable viewers who have considered cable TV personalities.

Importantly, this study also revealed that podcasters give quality product and brand endorsements. According to the research, 73% of US consumers who have acted on a podcast endorsement said the podcaster gave a good endorsement and they were happy with what they received.