Saturday, November 18, 2023

Radio History: November 19

➦In 1919...Radio, TV Personality Alan Young was born in England.

He moved to Vancouver at 6, and had his own CBC Radio show by the age of 17.   He got a big break when he was hired as the 1944 summer replacement for Eddie Cantor’s NBC radio show.

He hit the big time in TV as co-star to the talking horse on the Mr. Ed series. He also has done voices for many cartoon characters, notably Scrooge McDuck. Happy 96th Birthday, Mr. Young!

➦In 1933…Radio, TV talk show host, Larry King was born Larry Zeiger in Brooklyn. (Died January 23, 2021)

Larry King
King got his first job in radio in 1957, when the manager of a small station, WAHR (now WMBM 1490 AM) in Miami Beach, hired him to clean up and perform miscellaneous tasks. When one of their announcers quit, they put King on the air. His first broadcast was on May 1, 1957, when he worked as the disc jockey from 9 a.m. to noon. He also did two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast. He was paid $55 a week.

He acquired the name Larry King when the general manager Marshall Simmonds said that his real last name Zeiger was too ethnic and difficult to remember, so Larry chose the surname King, which he got from an ad in The Miami Herald for King's Wholesale Liquor, minutes before air.

He started doing interviews on a mid-morning show for WIOD 610 AM, at Pumpernik's Restaurant in Miami Beach.  He would interview anyone who walked in. His first interview was with a waiter at the restaurant. Two days later, singer Bobby Darin, in Miami for a concert later that day, walked into Pumpernik's as a result of coming across King's show on his radio; Darin became King's first celebrity interview guest.

Circa 1960
His Miami radio show launched him to local stardom. A few years later, in May 1960, he hosted Miami Undercover, airing Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. on WPST-TV Channel 10 (now WPLG). On the show, he moderated debates on important issues of the time.

King credits his success on local television to the assistance of comedian Jackie Gleason, whose national TV variety show was being taped in Miami Beach during this period. "That show really took off because Gleason came to Miami," King said in a 1996 interview he gave when inducted into the Broadcasters' Hall of Fame. "He did that show and stayed all night with me. We stayed till five in the morning. He didn't like the set, so we broke into the general manager's office and changed the set. Gleason changed the set, he changed the lighting, and he became like a mentor of mine."

In 1978, King went national, inheriting the nightly talk show slot on the Mutual Broadcasting System, broadcast coast-to-coast, that had been "Long John" Nebel's until his death, and had been pioneered by Herb Jepko. King's Mutual show developed a devoted audience.

It was aired live Monday through Friday from midnight to 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time. King would interview a guest for the first 90 minutes, with callers asking questions that continued the interview for another 90 minutes. At 3 a.m., he would allow callers to discuss any topic they pleased with him, until the end of the program, when he expressed his own political opinions. That segment was called Open Phone America.

The show was successful, starting with relatively few affiliates and eventually growing to more than 500. It ran until 1994.

For its final year, the show was moved to afternoons. The afternoon show was eventually given to David Brenner and radio affiliates were given the option of carrying the audio of King's new CNN evening television program. The Westwood One radio simulcast of the CNN show continued until December 31, 2009.

➦In 1954…The First practical transistor pocket radio, the Regency TR-1 went on sale.

Earlier in the year, Texas Instruments was looking for an established radio manufacturer to develop and market a radio using their transistors. No major radio maker, including RCA, Philco, and Emerson, was interested. The President of I.D.E.A. at the time, Ed Tudor, jumped at the opportunity to manufacture the TR-1, predicting sales of the transistor radios would be "20 million radios in three years.

One year after the TR-1 release, sales approached 100,000 units. The look and size of the TR-1 were well received, but reviews of its performance were typically adverse.

The Regency TR-1 circuitry was refined from the Texas Instruments drawings, reducing the number of parts, including two expensive transistors. Though this severely reduced the audio output volume, it let I.D.E.A. sell the radio for only a small profit. The initial TR-1 retail price was $49.95 (roughly $443 in year-2016 dollars) and it sold about 150,000 units.

The TR-1 uses Texas Instruments' NPN transistors, hand-picked in sets of four. A 22.5 volt battery provided power. The current drain from this battery allowed 20 to 30 hours of operation.

While the radio was praised for novelty and small size, the sensitivity and sound quality were behind the tube-based competitors. A review in Consumer Reports mentions the high level of noise and instability on certain radio frequencies, recommending against the purchase.

➦In 1957…The local chapter of the Elvis Presley fan club picketed Chicago radio station WCFL 1000 AM (now Sports WMVP) after it banned Presley's records (before the station flipped to Top 40). The station didn’t overturn its no-Elvis policy until almost a decade later.

➦In 1971…Sportscaster Bill Stern died at age 64 (Born - July 1, 1907). In 1984, Stern was part of the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame's inaugural class which included sportscasting legends Red Barber, Don Dunphy, Ted Husing and Graham McNamee. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame (1988) and has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Bill Stern's Sports newsreel was a show about the way Bill Stern broadcast baseball games from 1937 to 1956. Stern made famous the dramatic pause, the over emotional call and exaggerated words.

Bill Stern
Stern began doing radio play-by-play commentary in 1925, when he was hired by a Rochester station, WHAM, to cover football games. Shortly after that, he enrolled at Pennsylvania Military College, graduating in 1930.

NBC hired him in 1937 to host The Colgate Sports Newsreel as well as Friday night boxing on radio. Stern was also one of the first TV boxing commentators.

He broadcast the first televised sporting event, the second game of a baseball doubleheader between Princeton and Columbia at Columbia's Baker Field on May 17, 1939. On September 30, he called the first televised football game.

According to the book Sports on New York Radio by sportscaster and Westwood One executive David J. Halberstam, Stern's remarkable career flourished despite a physical handicap. In 1935, on his way home from a football game in Texas, the car Stern was in got into an accident, injuring him severely enough that his left leg had to be amputated just above the knee.

Some observers consider Stern's style a blueprint in the 1940s for the style of Paul Harvey, ABC Entertainment Network commentator, who adapted both Stern's newscasting (transforming his Reel One to 'Page One') and his stories about the famous and odd (to Rest Of The Story), although Stern made no effort to authenticate his stories and, in later years, introduced that segment of his show by saying that they "might be actual, may be mythical, but definitely interesting."  Harvey, on the other hand, said he told only stories he had authenticated in some way.

After many years with NBC he switched to ABC, where he lasted until 1956. After retiring from television broadcasting, Stern did radio sports reports and commentaries for the Mutual Broadcasting System in the late 1950s and 1960s.

➦In 1980…the "Sunday Morning Oldies Show" with Roger Ashby debuted on CHUM 1050 AM in Toronto.

Dick Cavett is 87

  • Talk show host Dick Cavett is 87. 
  • Media mogul Ted Turner is 85. 
  • Fashion designer Calvin Klein is 81. 
  • Sportscaster Ahmad Rashad is 74. 
  • Actor Robert Beltran (“Big Love,” ″Star Trek: Voyager”) is 70. 
  • Actor Kathleen Quinlan is 69. 
  • Actor Glynnis O’Connor is 68. 
  • Journalist Ann Curry is 67. 
  • Actor Allison Janney (“Mom,” “The West Wing”) is 64. 
  • Drummer Matt Sorum of Velvet Revolver (and Guns N’ Roses) is 63. 
  • Actor Meg Ryan is 62. 
  • Actor Jodie Foster is 61. 
  • Actor Terry Farrell (“Becker”) is 60. 
  • Actor Erika Alexander (“Living Single,” “The Cosby Show”) is 54. 
  • Drummer Travis McNabb (Better Than Ezra) is 54. 
  • Singer Tony Rich is 52. 
  • Singer Jason Albert of Heartland is 50. 
  • Country singer Billy Currington is 50. 
  • Dancer-choreographer Savion Glover is 50. 
  • Singer Tamika Scott of Xscape is 48. 
  • Rapper Lil’ Mo is 46. 
  • Actor Reid Scott (“Veep,” “My Boys”) is 46. 
  • Director Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) is 44. 
  • Guitarist Browan Lollar of St. Paul and the Broken Bones is 41.
  •  Actor Adam Driver (“Girls”) is 40. 
  • Country singer Cam is 39. Rapper Tyga is 34.
  • In 1971..Bill Stern, American sportscaster (first televised college football game), dies of a heart attack at 64
  • In 1983..Tom Evans, British rock guitarist, bass player, and singer-songwriter (Badfinger - "Come and Get It"; "Without You": "Maybe Tomorrow"), commits suicide at 36
  • In 1992..Bobby Russell, American songwriter ("Honey"; "Little Green Apples"), dies at 52
  • In 1998..Glenn Reeves, American rockabilly singer-songwriter and radio deejay ("Heartbreak Hotel"), dies of cancer at 67
  • In 2004..Terry Melcher, American musician and record producer (b. 1942)
  • In 2014..Ralph "Riff" West, American rock bassist (Molly Hatchet), dies at 64
  • In 2017..Charles Manson, American criminal, murderer and cult leader (Manson Family), dies of natural causes at 83
  • In 2017..Della Reese [Delloreese Patricia Early], American singer and actress (Della Reese Show; Royal Family), dies at 86
  • In 2017..Mel Tillis [Lonnie Melvin Tillis], American country singer (Who's Julie, M-M-Mel), dies of respiratory failure at 85

X Corp To File Lawsuit Against Media Matters

X Corp will be filing a lawsuit against Media Matters and those who attacked social media platform X, Elon Musk said on Saturday in a post on the social media platform, soon after major U.S. companies paused their advertisements on his social media site.

Reuters reports Media watchdog Media Matters earlier this week said it found that corporate advertisements by IBM, Apple, Oracle and Comcast's Xfinity were being placed alongside antisemitic content.

"The split second court opens on Monday, X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company," Musk said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Musk on Wednesday agreed with a post on X that falsely claimed Jewish people were stoking hatred against white people, saying the user, who referenced the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, was was speaking "the actual truth."

"This week Media Matters for America posted a story that completely misrepresented the real experience on X, in another attempt to undermine freedom of speech and mislead advertisers," a statement posted by Musk said.

TikTok Is Facing Its Biggest Threat

TikTok is facing what it views as perhaps its biggest crisis yet, with the world’s most popular app facing an intense backlash over the perception it favors pro-Palestinian and, at times, antisemitic content.

Citing anti-Israel posts that surfaced on TikTok since the Gaza conflict began and a decades-old Osama bin Laden letter that circulated this week, Washington lawmakers have renewed calls to ban the app in the U.S, according to The Wall Street Journal.

TikTok executives view this ban attempt more seriously than previous ones, according to people inside the company, and have rushed to respond to what they view as an inaccurate and unfair narrative.

Top executives set up meetings with Jewish leaders and celebrities to tell them they take their concerns seriously. They published a post that argues it has been fair in moderating pro-Israel and pro-Palestine videos. When a venture capitalist tweeted that his independent research had found TikTok favors pro-Palestinian content—and said he is convinced it explains why more young people are opposing Israel—TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew personally called him to argue the point.

These efforts haven’t yet stalled the narrative. Nikki Haley, rising in the polls in the Republican presidential primary race, said Friday that the appearance of the bin Laden letter on TikTok is justification for banning the app. And lawmakers say the anti-Israel and bin Laden videos should spur new legislative efforts.

All social-media platforms have been flooded with disinformation, gory content and propaganda since the conflict broke out in early October and have struggled to enforce their respective policies against such posts. But TikTok, where a sizable percentage of young people now get their news, has received the most scrutiny.

This crisis is testing TikTok’s Washington-based lobbying operation—which has spent $7.4 million so far this year, on pace to double the amount from last year—and its chief communications officer, Zenia Mucha, a high-profile recent hire who once held the same role at Disney. And it presents the biggest challenge to date for Chew, who endured a hostile Congressional hearing in March.

TikTok is unlike other social-media platforms because it is owned by a Chinese parent company, ByteDance, and thus vulnerable to shifting political winds. 

TWH Manipulating TikTok Narrative On Bidenomics

Influencers are increasingly using TikTok to complain about the economy and their financial future, giving rise to fears among Joe Biden's team that his 2024 election chances could be imperiled by the platform.

Hashtags such as 'Silent Recession' are gaining traction online, which the White House worries is undermining their message about 'Bidenomics' showing positive signs.

Generation Z - those born after 1996 - and Millennials combined could account for as many votes next year as the Baby Boomers and their elders: the groups that have made up a majority of voters for decades.

As a result, the White House is trying to dispel the narrative of a failing economy.

Biden met with about 60 TikTok creators to explain his student loan forgiveness plan, and campaign staff sent videos to key creators, for possible sharing, of young people crying when they learned their loans had been forgiven.

But the student loan promise remains mired in the courts.

The Supreme Court struck down the loan forgiveness program in late June, but his administration has found ways to cancel more than $48 billion in debt since then. It has not, however, received credit for its efforts.

Fox News Digital Hits 32 Months As Top News Brand

FOX News Digital finished October marking 32 consecutive months as the top news brand with multiplatform minutes, according to Comscore. FOX News Digital also led news brands with multiplatform views and saw both monthly and yearly growth with multiplatform views, multiplatform minutes and multiplatform unique visitors. 

FOX News Digital closed out the month reaching 3.4 billion total multiplatform minutes, 1.8 billion total multiplatform views, and 92 million multiplatform unique visitors.* FOX News Digital was also the top news brand with 2.8 average views per visit. 

Additionally, the FOX News Mobile App reached 6.3 million unique visitors in October.**FOX News was once again the most engaged brand on social media in the competitive set in October, with 23.8 million total social interactions, notching the 110th consecutive month FOX News has placed on top, according to Emplifi. 

Albright & O’Malley & Brenner To Present Annual Pre-CRS Seminar

Country Radio Specialists Jaye Albright, Mike O’Malley, Becky Brenner, and Kenny Jay announce their 30th annual Pre-CRS seminar on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, at Nashville’s Omni Hotel.  The Seminar is Co-Sponsored with Big Machine Label Group's BMLG Records

VP/Consulting Partner Becky Brenner says, "Every year we think, 'How can we top last year?' Planning the 30th anniversary pushes us to do even more! This fast-paced event in an intimate setting will feature crucial industry topics with plenty of takeaways to help stations improve their ratings and revenue." 

Greylan James
This year’s seminar will include strategy and highlights from the 2024 RoadMap perceptual, along with a return appearance of Chairman Emeritus Jaye Albright, who will join the partners for a special session.

Guests will also enjoy a performance from new BMLG Nashville artist Greylan James.

ABOUT GREYLAN JAMES:  Since moving to Music City eight years ago, Greylan has become a “celebrated songwriter” (Country Now) earning cuts from some of Country music’s most notable artists including Kenny Chesney, Bailey Zimmerman and more, most recently earning his first No. 1 with Jordan Davis’ smash hit “Next Thing You Know,”  

And now he’s ready to strike out on his own with the recent release of his anticipated debut single “Young Man” (BMLG Records). Greylan will support Scotty McCreery’s CAB IN A SOLO TOUR and Adam Doleac’s WRONG SIDE OF A SUNRISE TOUR in 2024. For a complete list of tour dates and more, visit

The A&O&B Pre-CRS Seminar is free to all radio and industry professionals. 


  • Mike O’Malley: 732-937-5757 -
  • Becky Brenner:  206-595-7086 -
  • Kenny Jay: 612-704-9780 -
  • Jaye Albright: 206-498-6261 -

Cincy Radio: WRRM Flips To Christmas Music

Cumulus Media announces that Cincinnati’s Warm 98.5/WRRM-FM has officially kicked off the Christmas season with a flip to continuous Christmas music, bringing holiday cheer and the season’s best Christmas music to the Tri-State area. The Adult Contemporary station made its annual switch to Christmas music at 4:45pm today with the Andy Williams’ classic, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The station will play continuous Christmas music through Dec. 25th, 2023.

Josh Wolff, Program Director, Warm 98.5, said: “It might be the week of Thanksgiving... but it's officially the start of Christmas in the Tri-State! Warm 98.5’s Christmas music is a Tri-State tradition and listeners have been anticipating the switch for months. We’re proud to deliver and once again be part of their holiday celebration.”

📻To listen to Warm 98.5’s curated soundtrack of the Christmas season 24/7, tune in to Warm 98.5 on-air and online at:, and on the free iHeartRadio mobile app.

Alexa..How Many People Are You Firing? Inc. is cutting hundreds of employees in the division responsible for its voice-activated Alexa assistant, according to a memo sent to employees on Friday.

Daniel Rausch, an Amazon vice president who leads teams working on Alexa and the company’s Fire TV streaming franchise, said the company was “shifting some of our efforts to better align with our business priorities,” including focusing on building capabilities powered by generative artificial intelligence. “These shifts are leading us to discontinue some initiatives, which is resulting in several hundred roles being eliminated.”

Rausch didn’t specify which initiatives would be eliminated, according to Bloomberg.

The Alexa voice assistant powers millions of Echo smart speakers and other devices in homes, but Amazon has struggled to broaden the utility of the software beyond relatively basic tasks like checking the weather and playing music. The rise of seemingly more capable conversational tools like ChatGPT, powered by so-called generative AI, have highlighted the shortcomings of Amazon’s software. Teams at the company are racing to infuse Alexa with more of those capabilities.

Amazon, which avoided mass job cuts for most of its existence, began its largest-ever layoffs about a year ago, ultimately axing 27,000 corporate positions after a hiring spree during the pandemic left the company with too many people. The company deepened the layoffs when it announced another 9,000 layoffs in March, which Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy said would land on the cloud services division, human resources, advertising and the Twitch livestreaming service.

Since then, the company has continued to look for cost cuts, at times leading to more layoffs. Amazon recently eliminated jobs in its music division and video games unit, and shuttered its physical clothing stores.

Rausch said employees in the US and Canada set to be laid off would be informed Friday morning Seattle time. Employees in India will find out next week, and cuts in other countries may follow other timelines to allow for consultations with employee groups or other factors.

Gen Z To Overtake Boomers In U-S Workforce

The number of full-time Gen Z workers in the U.S. is set to surpass baby boomers in the first few months of 2024, according to a new report from Glassdoor Economic Research.

According to Bloomberg, the report, released Wednesday, examined U.S. Census Bureau data, and found that the number of full-time Gen Z and boomer workers in the American workforce is currently about even.

As older workers continue retiring en masse and more young Americans reach working age, Gen Z is set to rapidly overtake the boomer generation, which made up the largest share of the U.S. workforce from the late 1970s until around 2011, according to the report.

Baby boomers are considered to be those born between 1946 and 1964, while Gen Zers are those born from the late 1990s until around 2012.

Gen Xers, born between 1965 and 1980, took over as the dominant working generation in the U.S. in 2012 before they were overtaken by millennials, born between Gen X and Gen Z, in 2018.

Millennials have since remained the dominant working generation, and won’t be overtaken by Gen Z until the early 2040s, the report estimates.

“The coming year will still represent a pivotal moment of cultural change that U.S. companies cannot ignore as Gen Z workers – who care deeply about community connections, about having their voices heard in the workplace, about transparent and responsive leadership, and about diversity and inclusion – make up a rapidly growing share of the workforce,” the report said.

Twin Cities Radio: WCCO Raises $367K+ for Union Gospel Mission

Audacy raised over $367,000 to provide meals and care for those in need through 830 WCCO’s 21st annual “Hunger Mission Radiothon” in Minneapolis. The amount raised during this year’s event, which benefits Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities (UGMTC), brought the overall fundraising total to over $4.3 million since 2003.

"We are simply in awe of the incredible generosity of our fans! This is yet another great example of how live and local radio can truly impact lives,” said Brad Lane, Brand Manager, 830 WCCO. “We’re so proud of our team for helping share these transformative stories from the inspiring work being done at Union Gospel Mission."

“This has been a fantastic day where the community has truly come together and shown their heart. So many generous donors tuned in and donated so we can address the needs of their neighbors experiencing homelessness, hunger and addiction,” said Pam Axberg, Chief Executive Officer, Union Gospel Mission. “We are deeply grateful for the donors who make it possible for us to do this important work and for the opportunity to share our story more broadly.”

“Hunger Mission Radiothon” was broadcast live on November 16 from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CT from the Mall of America Huntington Bank® Rotunda. Throughout the day, 830 WCCO spoke with mission residents, alums and volunteers, all sharing stories about UGMTC's impact on their lives.

Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities provides food, shelter, programs and services for men, women and children experiencing homelessness, hunger and addiction.

830 WCCO’s 21st annual “Hunger Mission Radiothon” is a part of Audacy’s commitment to making a meaningful difference at scale. Audacy uses its reach and personal connection with listeners to advance causes that promote strong mental health and build sound communities.

📻Listeners can tune in to 830 WCCO (WCCO-AM) in Minneapolis on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via X, Facebook and Instagram.

Some LA Times Saffers Block From Covering Israel

The Los Angeles Times has banned more than three dozen reporters and editors from covering the war in Gaza after they signed an open letter condemning Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 massacre, according to The NY Post.

The letter sent on Nov. 9 blasted Israel for killing journalists and called on newsrooms to refer to Israel’s military response as a “genocide,” Semafor reported on Thursday.

“Staffers who signed the letter have been told by the paper’s management that they will not be allowed to cover the conflict in any way for at least three months,” the outlet reported, citing anonymous sources.

The letter also called on newsrooms to use language including “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “genocide” when referring to the Israeli incursion into Gaza — terms that critics say are biased and do not accurately depict the conflict.

Semafor said that roughly a dozen current LA Times staffers signed the letter, but Mediaite reported that LA Times reporter Suhauna Hussain claimed the number was actually closer to “more than three dozen.”

Yes it’s true we’ve been taken off coverage, which in effect removes a great many Muslim journalists and most if not all Palestinians at the LA Times from coverage,” she wrote on X, adding that it was “not true or at least not clear signing letter is a violation of LA Times ethics policy.”

At least 35 journalists have reportedly been killed during Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza and war with Hamas.

Bloomberg Radio Expands Audio Coverage

Bloomberg Media has announced the expansion of its flagship morning program “Bloomberg Surveillance” to include a new radio show hosted by veteran Bloomberg anchor Tom Keene and the appointment of Annmarie Hordern as an anchor of the TV edition.

Keene, the original creator of “Bloomberg Surveillance” on Bloomberg Radio in 2008, will now lead the new “Bloomberg Surveillance” radio program co-hosted by Paul Sweeney. The program will air daily from 7am – 10am ET on radio, streaming live on YouTube, and will also be available as a podcast. The show will remain focused on economics, finance, investment and international relations and will feature longer news-making interviews and conversations. Bloomberg Radio’s Lisa Mateo and Michael Barr will be daily contributors.

In addition to his key role in “Surveillance”’s morning programming over the past fifteen years, Keene has spent more than two decades providing economic and investment perspective to BTV, and to Bloomberg’s various news divisions. Keene will develop special projects for video and audio, including a new weekly program set to premiere on BTV next year.

Jonathan Ferro will continue to lead the television version of “Bloomberg Surveillance” with Lisa Abramowicz. They will be joined by current “Bloomberg Balance of Power” co-anchor Annmarie Hordern, who will relocate from Washington to New York. Hordern has spent over a decade at Bloomberg breaking news and securing exclusive interviews with world leaders and newsmakers in politics, energy, the Middle East, and more.

“The US morning is such an important moment for us on our platforms,” said David Merritt, Head of Bloomberg Media Editorial. “We aim to provide the best news and analysis for our business-focused audience across video and audio at this pivotal time of day and these changes set us up to continue to grow our influence and reach.”

Charles Payne Admits Being A Rose-Colored Glass Person

'Making Money' host Charles Payne took time from his Fox Business show this week to explains his optimistic outlook on life.

R.I.P.: George Brown, Co-Founder Kool & the Gang

George Brown (1949-2023)

George Brown, a founding member of Kool & The Gang, died Thursday. Brown passed away after battling cancer, a representative for the band told Fox News Digital.

"George Brown, co-founder, drummer, songwriter of Kool & The Gang best known for the worldwide hits ‘Ladies Night,’ ‘Get Down on It,’ ‘Fresh,' 'Celebration,’ ‘Too Hot,’ 'Jungle Boogie,' ‘Joanna,’ died November 16, 2023, in Los Angeles, CA after a battle with cancer. He was 74," the statement said.

In 1964, Brown joined Ricky Westfield, Ronald Bell, Robert "Kool" Bell, Spike Mickens, Dennis Thomas and Charles Smith to create a combination of jazz and funk music.

Radio History: November 18

➦In 1951…Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly  launched one of the most highly-praised TV productions in history. The newsmagazine, documentary "See It Now' debuted on CBS. The aired for more than six years. On that first program, which evolved out of Murrow’s radio (and Columbia Records) series Hear It Now, we saw a live camera shot of the Atlantic Ocean, followed by a live shot of the Pacific, then Murrow said, “We are impressed by a medium through which a man sitting in his living room has been able to look at two oceans at once.”  In April of 1952, See It Now moved into an evening time slot.

➦In 1954...ABC radio and TV banned “Mambo Italiano,” a hit by Rosemary Clooney for so-called “offensive lyrics,” most likely due to the exaggerated Italian vernacular, including the words “goombah” and “gidrool.”

➦In 1963…The Beatles got their first exposure on U-S TV in a feature story on NBC-TV's "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" it included a film clip of the band performing in England.

➦In 1985...Howard Stern returned to the New York radio scene (after his firing by WNBC660 AM). He debuted on WXRK 92.3 FM in the afternoon, but made a permanent switch to mornings 3 months later.

➦In 1987...CBS Inc. announced that it had agreed to sell its record division to Sony Corp. for approximately $2 billion.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Bloomberg: Radio's Bad Year Going To Get Worse

Audacy Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Field made a big bet when his Philadelphia-based company purchased CBS Radio for about $1.5 billion in 2017.

The deal tripled the size of the business started by his father in 1968, making Audacy the second-largest radio-station operator in the US by revenue. In a memo to staff at the time, Field promised big investment in capabilities and people.

“We are also done apologizing about radio,” he said, saying the medium was “massively undervalued.”

Bloomberg's Ashley Carman reports now, six years later, Audacy is struggling under the weight of $1.92 billion in debt and shriveling demand for radio advertising, an industrywide plague. The broadcaster, whose stable of over 220 stations includes 1010 WINS in New York and KNX in Los Angeles, has been in restructuring talks with creditors, according to filings.

The US’s 11,000 or so commercial radio stations — from large operators like Audacy to smaller groups — are suffering from the same headwinds as other traditional media. Stations are losing their grip on younger audiences, and advertisers are tuning out. Fresh sources of revenue, like podcasts and streaming audio, are going to new contenders such as Spotify Technology SA or just failing to make up for the lost radio ad dollars.

“Legacy media is not sexy,” said Larry Rosin, president at Edison Research. “It’s not an exciting thing that looks like the future, and that’s a problem.”

Major radio broadcasters face a steep drop in advertising revenue

Shares of Audacy trade at just 30 cents and were delisted by the New York Stock Exchange. The family’s stake in the business, worth more than $150 million at the time of the merger, has shrunk to just a few hundred thousand dollars. Audacy declined to comment for this article.

The company, previously known as Entercom Communications, is hardly alone. The shares of industry leader IHeartMedia Inc., which has more than 850 stations, are down 60% this year, and No. 3 Cumulus Media Inc. said revenue at its 400 or so stations fell 17% in the third quarter.

With new options like Spotify, people don’t turn to radio to discover new music as much as they used to, according to Jacobs Media. The share of Americans ages 12 and older who listen to radio declined to 82% last year, from 92% in 2009, according to Pew Research.

The industry’s biggest source of revenue, local and national ads, is in free fall. Audacy said such revenue fell 9.3% in the third quarter, and it expects a similar drop this period. IHeart said on Nov. 9 that broadcast revenue dropped by 6.1% in the third quarter. It expects total revenue to slump by a high-single-digit percentage in the fourth quarter after falling 3.6% in the prior period. Audacy’s overall revenue decreased by 5.6% in the third quarter.

Even with the promise of political advertising next year, the prospects remain grim. “The broadcast marketplace is extremely soft for ’23 and similarly for ’24,” said Lauren Russo, an executive vice president at advertising buyer Horizon Media. “The overall audio ecosystem continues to grow from a streaming and podcasting perspective, but at the expense of broadcasts.”

Audacy’s radio business prior to the pandemic relied heavily on automotive advertisers, which cut spending partly due to supply-chain issues during the pandemic. On the company’s second-quarter earnings call in 2022, Field said auto spending was 40% below 2019 levels, costing the company about $60 million.

One problem: Radio relies on old-fashioned methods of measuring listeners, according to Horizon’s Russo. Online players like Spotify employ technology that targets audiences and tracks ads in a more granular way, boosting their appeal to sponsors.

Report: A Third of U-S Newspapers As Of 2005 Will Be Gone By 2024

The decline of local newspapers accelerated so rapidly in 2023 that analysts now believe the U.S. will have lost one-third of the newspapers it had as of 2005 by the end of next year — rather than in 2025, as originally predicted, sccording to Sara Fisher at Axios.

Why it matters: Most communities that lose a local newspaper in America usually do not get a replacement, even online.

By the numbers: There are roughly 6,000 newspapers left in America, down from 8,891 in 2005, according to a new report from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

"We're almost at a one-third loss now and we'll certainly hit that pace next year," said the report's co-authors — Penelope Muse Abernathy, a visiting professor at Medill, and Sarah Stonbely, director of Medill's State of Local News Project.

Of the papers that still survive, a majority (4,790) publish weekly, not daily.

What's happening: Over the past two years, newspapers continued to vanish at an average rate of more than two per week, leaving 204 U.S. counties, or 6.4%, without any local news outlet.

Roughly half of all U.S. counties (1,562) are now only served with one remaining local news source — typically a weekly newspaper.

Abernathy and Stonbely estimate that 228 of those 1,562 counties, or roughly 7% of all U.S. counties, are at high risk of losing their last remaining local news outlet.

Boston Radio: The Hub's Big Jim Wants No Part Of The Morning Show

Big Jim Murray

A WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub fan favorite who had been floated as a possible replacement for host Rich Shertenlieb on “Toucher and Rich” is adamant that he won’t be switching to the “miserable” morning hours.

The Boston Herald reports Jim Murray, also known as “Big Jim,” says he’s “comfortable and happy” in the afternoons as the third chair on “Felger and Mazz.”

So even if Beasley Media Group offered Murray double the money for him to fill the Shertenlieb role in the mornings, Big Jim says he would pass.

On Wednesday, Murray was asked if he was in the running for the open “Toucher and Rich” role, and if he would start waking up at 3:30 a.m.

“I’ve had a conversation with my agent about it. I told him I’m 100% not interested,” Murray said on Facebook Live during the “Off-Air Show” with Mike Felger.

“Why not?” Felger asked.

“So this is what makes my agent very upset because there’s been another opportunity before,” Murray said. “He’s like, ‘This is what the money is.’ I’m like, ‘Cool. Great. I’m not interested.’ ”

Murray’s agent has called him a “different client” in the past after turning down more money.

“I’m about being comfortable and happy, so yeah, it doesn’t really matter what the money is,” Murray said. “It’d be nice, but I’d be miserable.”

“If I’m ever going to do mornings, it’s going to have to be my thing,” he added. “That’s just a me thing because those hours will destroy your life. I last did them 10 years ago, and that was what I put in my brain at the time — if it were to ever happen again, it’s 100% my terms, my thing, how I want to do it.”

Last week, Shertenlieb left the morning show after a longtime run with Fred Toucher.

Boston Radio: Greg Hill Re-Ups At Sports WEEI-FM

Audacy has announced a multiyear contract extension with WEEI-FM morning show host Greg Hill. Hill will continue to be heard on “The Greg Hill Show” alongside co-hosts Jermaine Wiggins, Courtney Cox and Chris Curtis, weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. ET.

“We are thrilled to extend Greg’s contract and keep the momentum going for his award-winning morning show,” said Mike Thomas, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Boston. “We look forward to having Greg, alongside Jermaine and Courtney, continue to set the tone for our weekday programming and deliver entertaining content for our listeners for the foreseeable future.”

Greg Hill
“I cannot thank Mike Thomas, Mark Hannon and Jeff Sottolano enough for giving me the opportunity to wake up at an inhumane hour every day for many more years,” said Hill.

Hill was named the 2022 Marconi Radio Award winner for Major Market Personality of the Year. The show’s Nielsen ratings are up 60% year-over-year and consistently leads Audacy programming across the country in Twitch viewership.

Hill grew up in Stow, MA, and is a lifelong Massachusetts resident. For nearly three decades, he was the host and namesake of “The Hill-Man Morning Show” on WEEI’s sister station WAAF. Hill has been a Boston fixture since beginning his career at WAAF in 1986 in the promotions department and on-air since 1991. He is active in the sports community and has done regular interviews with prominent sports figures such as Patriots Hall of Famer Ty Law, former NFL quarterback and now football analyst Boomer Esiason, and former Bruin Mike Milbury, among many others. In addition to his work on the radio, Hill and his listeners have been a force in charitable giving. In 2010, Hill launched “The Greg Hill Foundation,” which has accumulated over $27 million in donations distributed to over 9,000 beneficiaries (local families and organizations).

📻Listeners can tune in to WEEI (WEEI-FM) in Boston on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via X, Facebook and Instagram.

NFL Reporter Admits Making Up Coaches’ Comments

Charissa Thompson, a co-host on pregame shows for Fox Sports and Amazon’s Prime Video, acknowledged that she has fabricated comments from NFL coaches while working as a sideline reporter.

The L-A Times reports the admission surfaced earlier this week on the Barstool Sports podcast “Pardon My Take.” Thompson, who first worked as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports from 2007 to 2010, said she would fabricate comments if a coach refused to speak to her or was unable to provide access before halftime ended.

Charissa Thompson
“I didn’t want to screw up the report, so I was like, ‘I’m just going to make this up,’” Thompson said. “Because, first of all, no coach is going to get mad if I say, ‘Hey, we need to stop hurting ourselves,’ ‘We need to be better on third down,’ ‘We need to stop turning the ball over and do a better job of getting off the field.’ Like, they’re not going to correct me on that.”

Whether the coaches cared or not, making up comments is a clear breach of journalistic ethics.

Thompson made a similar admission on a January 2022 podcast she did with fellow sideline reporter Erin Andrews. They both said they improvised when coaches gave them nothing to work with or answered questions with sexist remarks.

Thompson currently is a co-host on Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” pre- and post-game shows. She is also a co-host on “Fox NFL Live,” which airs Sunday mornings. She worked at ESPN before re-joining Fox Sports in 2013.

While people expressed outrage on social media about Thompson’s admission, such a practice is not unheard of in sports reporting.

Gregg Gionnotti, co-host of WFAN radio and the CBS Sports Network morning program “Boomer and Gio,” said on his Thursday broadcast that he did the same thing when he was a radio sideline reporter covering the University of Pittsburgh Panthers.

Diamond Sports Group Will Shut Down After 2024

Diamond Sports Group (DSG) was back in court on Wednesday for yet another hearing in its bankruptcy proceedings. The company filed for Chapter 11 protections in March, and since then has been attempting to plot out a path to satisfying its debts and emerge as a viable business with its 19 regional sports networks (RSNs) and in-market streaming service Bally Sports+, The Streamable reports.

At a Nov. 15 hearing, Diamond got approval from Judge Christopher Lopez on an altered broadcasting deal for the NBA this season, though Sinclair and MLB object.

Lawyers for both Diamond and Sinclair say the former company could liquidate after the next baseball season.

Diamond could agree to a similar deal with the NHL as soon as this week, but MLB will be tougher to convince.

Bay Area Radio: KEXP Seattle To Acquire KREV-FM For $3.75M

KEXP Seattle has purchased San Francisco area KREV 92.7 radio station, and pending FCC approval, “will be taking full ownership and operation” of the station “within the next few months,” according to a Thursday donor email written by KEXP CEO Ethan Raup. KEXP submitted a winning $3.75 million bid for the bankrupt station as part of a bankruptcy auction on Oct. 23.

The Seattle Times reports the revamped Bay Area station is expected to begin broadcasting in the next month or two, a KEXP spokesperson said, pending a few “technical and engineering details.”

When the San Francisco station launches, it will air “more or less the same programming” as KEXP’s 90.3 FM Seattle station, per Raup’s email to donors, with the exception of a new Bay Area local show akin to KEXP’s Pacific Northwest-centric Audioasis that it hopes to introduce within the first six months. Those developing relationships with the local music community “will help us define the evolution of the Bay Area station,” Raup wrote.

KEXP’s spokesperson declined an interview request Thursday but provided the following statement from Raup:

“We’re incredibly excited to explore this opportunity to grow KEXP’s platform both for music fans and artists alike. As we look ahead to taking to the airwaves in the Bay Area, we will work to further build out a sustainable plan to grow our connection between different musical and cultural communities and expand on our existing Bay Area audience — all while remaining firmly rooted in the Pacific Northwest. 

11/17 WAKE-UP CALL: Israel Releases Tunnel Footage

Israel released footage of tunnels at Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital. It is the first evidence to support the country’s claims that Hamas’s vast tunnel network runs underneath the medical facility. With pressure mounting to justify sending in troops, Israel said it was combing through the complex. Hamas denied the claims that it used the hospital as a command center and requested that international organizations review Al-Shifa. 

The Israeli military reported finding the corpse of a female hostage Hamas abducted during its Oct. 7 attacks in a home near the hospital, along with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Al-Shifa’s director said Israeli soldiers had taken dead bodies from the courtyard; the Israeli military declined to comment. Nearby fighting and a lack of electricity have made treating patients significantly difficult, according to hospital staff. An Israeli military official said information relating to Hamas’s estimated 240 hostages had been found on computers and other devices.

➤BODY OF HOSTAGE FOUND: As Israeli forces combed through Gaza City's Al Shifa Hospital for traces of Hamas for another day, the body of one of the approximately 240 people kidnapped in Israel during the Oct. 7 Hamas rampage was recovered in a building nearby, the Israeli military said Thursday. Newborns and hundreds of other patients have suffered for days without electricity and other basic necessities in the hospital. Now, Israel is under pressure to prove its claim that Hamas had turned the hospital into a command center that launched its brutal attack that killed about 1,200 people and provoked Israel's reprisal seeking to dislodge the militant group from Gaza. 

➤CONCERNS GROW ABOUT HAMAS ATTACKS IN US: The FBI is chasing down an increasing number of tips and leads related to threats by the terrorist group Hamas to launch an attack on U.S. soil, FBI Director Christopher Wray said in testimony to Congress yesterday. Since the deadly attack on Israel, Wray said, “We’ve seen a rogue’s gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against America and our allies.” The FBI is seeking reauthorization of an electronic surveillance tool, set to expire at the end of this year.

➤BIDEN SIGNS STOPGAP BILL: President Joe Biden signed a stopgap bill to extend government funding into early 2024, averting a government shutdown for now but kicking a politically-divisive debate over federal spending into a presidential election year. The White House confirmed the move in a statement early Friday morning in Washington, less than a day before existing funding would have expired. Biden — in California for a summit of APEC leaders — signed the legislation on Thursday, according to the statement. Facing that Friday night deadline and with the House under new leadership, Congress passed an interim measure with broad bipartisan majorities earlier this week.

➤SENATORS CALL FOR FDIC CHAIR TO RESIGN: Three Republican senators called for FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg to resign. The GOP members of the agency’s board want him to recuse himself from an investigation into its workplace culture. The comments of Sens. John Kennedy (R., La.), Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) and Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) come after the WSJ reported on allegations that Gruenberg had ignored misconduct at the FDIC and revealed that the work environment had driven many female bank examiners to quit over the years. The agency canceled a public board meeting scheduled for today. In a joint statement, FDIC Vice Chairman Travis Hill and director Jonathan McKernan said the investigation must examine all conduct described in the WSJ’s reporting and called for the agency’s general counsel, Harrel Pettway, to recuse himself, too.

➤BIDEN POLLS NOT GOOD: President Joe Biden continues to face negative poll after negative poll in his re-election campaign, with a new survey showing him trailing three GOP rivals by as much as 10 points.  Biden, the oldest president in American history, turns 81 on Monday and already saw a poll today showing a majority of Democrats nationally want to see another Democrat enter the race to primary him.  A poll from Marquette Law School shows the president trailing his predecessor, Donald Trump, by a 52 to 48 margin. However, Trump's not the only GOP hopeful getting the best of Biden.

Former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley leads Biden by a whopping 10 points, 55 to 45.  Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who many saw as Trump's toughest challenger in the Republican Primary, leads him by a 51 to 49 advantage.

ETHCS REPORT: SANTOS COMMITTED CRIMES: The House Ethics Committee released its long-awaited report on embattled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., concluding there is "substantial evidence that Representative Santos violated federal criminal laws." The committee said it would be referring its findings to the Department of Justice as it pursues a criminal case against Santos on charges including money laundering, wire fraud and lying to Congress. Santos blasted the report, which contained over 170,000 pages of documents, testimony from witnesses and financial statements, calling it “biased” and an effort to smear him and his legal team. He also said he will not be seeking reelection in 2024 for a second term.

Advertisers Flee X

The blowback over Elon Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory on X gathered steam on Friday, as several major advertisers on his social media platform cut off their spending after his comments.

The NY Times reports Disney said it was pausing spending on X, as did Lionsgate, the entertainment and film distribution company. Apple, which had been on track to spend $180 million on X last year, also suspended advertising on the platform, a person with knowledge of the situation said. They followed IBM, which cut its spending with X on Thursday.

Musk has been under scrutiny for months for allowing and even stoking antisemitic abuse on the site. That snowballed on Wednesday when the tech billionaire agreed with a post on X that accused Jewish people who are facing antisemitism amid the Israel-Hamas war of pushing the “exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them” and supporting the immigration of “hordes of minorities.”

“You have said the actual truth,” Musk replied.

Jewish groups have compared the statement in the original post to a belief known as replacement theory, a conspiracy theory that posits that nonwhite immigrants, organized by Jews, intend to replace the white race. That idea fueled Robert Bowers, who raged against Jewish people online before killing 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.

On Friday, the White House condemned Musk, 52, for boosting the anti-Jewish conspiracy theory. Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said in a statement that it was “unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of antisemitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust.”

An X spokesman declined to comment on the advertising pauses. Axios reported earlier on Apple’s decision, and Bloomberg reported earlier on the Lionsgate suspension.

Linda Yaccarino, X’s chief executive, posted on the site on Thursday that the company had been “extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination.” But on Friday, Mr. Musk agreed with a post on X that suggested advertisers like IBM were pulling back from the platform to save face.

Milwaukee Radio: Audacy Names Jason Biorson SVP/Market Manager

Audacy has welcomed Jason Bjorson as Senior Vice President and Market Manager of its Milwaukee market. In this role, Bjorson will oversee the market’s portfolio of stations, which includes 99.1 The Mix (WMYX-FM), 1250 AM The Fan (WSSP-AM), 103.7 KISS FM (WXSS-FM), Hot 105.7 (WXSS-HD2) and CHANNEL Q (WXSS-HD3).

Jason Biorson
“I am excited to welcome Jason to lead our Milwaukee cluster,” said Rachel Williamson, Regional President, Audacy. “His experience across radio, video and digital combined with his deep knowledge and relationships throughout the Milwaukee market brings an increased expertise to our cluster and clients.”

“I'm thrilled to join the Audacy Milwaukee team, with some of Milwaukee's most iconic brands and an innovative broadcaster,” said Bjorson. “I've competed with this team and tried to recruit them for years, so I know how much talent is here. I'm looking forward to working with them to win big here in Milwaukee!”

Bjorson is a media veteran with over two decades of experience in the industry. His career in radio includes time at Cox Radio in Jacksonville, FL, and Journal Broadcast Group in Knoxville, TN, where he rose from Account Executive to lead the company’s flagship station, WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee, WI, and The Green Bay and Milwaukee Brewer Radio Networks. He joins Audacy after leading a new business sales team for an HR Tech company in the SAAS space and overseeing advertising sales teams for Spectrum Cable.