Saturday, November 25, 2023

Radio History: November 26

➦In 1912...CBS newsman & commentator Eric Sevareid was born in Velva, ND (Died at age 79 from stomach cancer  – July 9, 1992). He was one of a group of elite war correspondents who were hired by CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow and nicknamed "Murrow's Boys". Sevareid was the first to report the Fall of Paris when the city was captured by the Germans during World War II.

Eric Sevareid
Traveling into Burma during the war, his aircraft was shot down, and he was rescued from behind enemy lines by a search and rescue team that had been established for that purpose. He was the last journalist to interview Adlai Stevenson II before his death.

He followed in Murrow's footsteps as a commentator on the CBS Evening News for 12 years, for which he was recognized with Emmy and Peabody Awards.

At the age of 18, Sevareid entered journalism as a reporter for the Minneapolis Journal, while a student at the University of Minnesota in political science. He continued his studies abroad, first in London and later in Paris at the Sorbonne, where he also worked as an editor for United Press. He then became city editor of the Paris Herald Tribune. He left that post to join CBS as a foreign correspondent, based in Paris; he broadcast the fall of Paris, and followed the French government from there to Bordeaux and then Vichy, before leaving France for London and finally Washington.

Bill Baldwin
➦In Bill Baldwin was born in Pueblo Colorado. He became the radio and television voice of hundreds of products, and was a war correspondent for the NBC Blue network in WWII.   He served as national president of the American Federation of Radio & TV Artists (AFTRA) in the early 70’s. As an actor he appeared in a number of TV series, including ‘Hawaii Five-O,’ ‘Ironside,’ ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ and ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’  He succumbed to cancer Nov. 17 1982, nine days short of his 69th birthday.

➦In 1933...singer Robert Goulet was born Stanley Applebaum  in Lawrence, Mass,  but within months his family moved to Northern Alberta.

He worked as disk jockey on Edmonton’s CKUA for two years and was a semi-finalist on CBC TV’s “Pick the Stars” in 1952.  He spent a summer at Vancouver’s Theatre Under the Stars.  In 1955 he became a regular on CBC TV’s Cross Canada Hit Parade. He was awarded a Grammy as the best new artist of 1962.  His best-selling album was the million-selling 1964 release “My Love Forgive Me,” which reached No. 5.

Goulet died awaiting a lung transplant Oct. 30 2007 at age 73.

➦In 1945...the daily radio program, “Bride and Groom”, debuted on the NBC Blue network. It is estimated that 1,000 newly-wed couples were interviewed on the program before it left the airwaves in 1950.

➦In 1962…At EMI's Abbey Road studios in London, the Beatles recorded "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why."

Report: X Could Lose $75M This Year

Elon Musk-owned social media company X could lose as much as $75 million in advertising revenue by the end of the year as dozens of major brands pause their marketing campaigns, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Musk backing an antisemitic post on the platform last week has led several companies including Walt Disney and Warner Bros Discovery to pause their advertisements on the site formerly called Twitter.

Reuters reports X has struck back and sued media watchdog group Media Matters, alleging the organization defamed the platform with a report that said ads for major brands including Apple and Oracle had appeared next to posts touting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.

Internal documents viewed by The New York Times this week list more than 200 ad units of companies from the likes of Airbnb, Amazon, Coca-Cola and Microsoft, many of which have halted or are considering pausing their ads on the social network, the report said.

X said on Friday $11 million in revenue was at risk and the exact figure fluctuated as some advertisers returned to the platform and others increased spending, according to the report.

Advertisers have fled X since Musk bought it in October 2022 and reduced content moderation, resulting in a sharp rise in hate speech on the site, according to civil rights groups.

The platform's U.S. ad revenue has declined at least 55% year-over-year each month since Musk's takeover, Reuters previously reported.

TV Ratings: Macy's Parade Draws Biggest Audience Ever

The 97th annual parade was seen by 28.5 million viewers and earned a hefty 7.2 rating in the 18-49 age demo. Both numbers are up six percent from last year’s parade. It was also the highest-rated entertainment program of the year in both categories across all of broadcast and cable.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the record is particularly impressive at a time when even major live events have witnessed ratings erosion in recent years.

“We’re absolutely thrilled that a record number of people were able to enjoy the parade with their families and friends, and spend the day with us,” said Jen Neal, executive vice president of Live Events and Specials, NBCUniversal Media Group. “We take great pride in bringing the best holiday programming to our audience – across both NBC and Peacock – and there’s no better way to bring in the season than with balloons, marching bands, musical performances and a tradition like no other. A big thank you to Macy’s for being such great partners on this iconic event.”

The New York City parade first took place in 1924 and was first broadcast on radio in 1932. The event was broadcast on television for the first time in 1948. NBC has televised the parade since 1953.

This year’s parade made headlines when it was temporarily halted after a group of about 30 pro-Palestinian protesters were taken into police custody after apparently gluing themselves to the pavement of the parade route.

The National Dog Show, which aired immediately after the parade, drew 11.9 million viewers and a 2.9 rating in the demo across NBC and Peacock. That’s also up from last year’s telecast.

Do You Love Christmas Music? It's Because of Prolactin

Daniel Levitin, an author and musician in Los Angeles and a professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, said research has shown that most people in Western countries use music to self-soothe. “They know that there are certain kinds of music that will put them in a good mood,” he said. “Christmas music is a reliable one for a lot of people.”

The NY Times reports the healing effects of music have long been studied. Mr. Levitin participated in a 2013 study that concluded that music boosts the body’s immune system and reduces stress.

Levitin said that listening to a song that has not been heard in a long time can transport a person back in time. “That’s the power of music to evoke a memory,” he said. “With those memories come emotions and possibly nostalgia, or anger, or frustration, depending on your childhood.”

For the people who find joy in Christmas music, the brain may increase serotonin levels and may release prolactin a soothing and tranquilizing hormone that is released between mothers and infants during nursing, Levitin said.

Conversely, if negative memories and feelings are associated with Christmas, the same songs could cause the brain to release cortisol, the stress hormone that increases the heart rate, and trigger the amygdala, the brain’s fear center. “There are a lot of people who, when Christmas time comes around, they just want to run home and put their head under the covers and wait it all out,” Mr. Levitin said.

Christmas music, like all forms of music, is powerful. But this genre is perhaps more potent than other forms of music because the holiday season itself is emotionally charged. It represents the ideals that most humans strive for like equality, tolerance, love and tranquillity. “For some of us, that’s an inspiring message,” Mr. Levitin said. “For others of us, it just draws in stark relief how far we are from achieving that.”

Miami Radio: WMIA Flips To The New ''Magic 93.9''

iHeartMedia Miami has announced the debut of the new Magic 93.9, Tus Favoritas de Siempre.

The innovative Magic 93.9 brings a unique blend of content to listeners, as the station will broadcast a fusion of English-language music from the ‘80s and ‘90s anchored by engaging Spanish-language on air personalities including El Gato, Ailyn Luaces, Tony Vargas and Santiago Duarte. It’s a blend that caters to a wide spectrum of listeners in the Miami area, and will feature a variety of hits from Whitney Houston, Marc Anthony, Madonna, Lionel Richie, Shakira, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion and more.

“In Miami, the music of the ‘80s and ‘90s played a significant role in shaping the cultural landscape,” said Enrique Santos, President, iHeartLatino. “The diverse population, including a large Spanish-speaking community, embraced the vibrant sounds of that time. The new Magic 93.9 will be a unifying sound aiming to provide a listening experience you just can’t find anywhere else in the United States.”

“It’s thrilling to bring this format, this sound to South Florida. It’s a station that speaks to both the heart and soul of its audience, offering a unique blend of English and Spanish that resonates deeply with the diverse Hispanic community in Miami,” said Shari Gonzalez, iHeartMedia Miami-Fort Lauderdale Market President.

The station is currently featuring 10,000 songs in a row commercial free.

Full Programming Lineup:
  • El Gato 6am-10am
  • Ailyn Luaces 10am-3pm
  • Tony Vargas 3pm-7pm
  • Santiago Duarte 7pm-Mid
  • Sarykarmen Mid-6am

Reading PA Radio: News/Talk WEEU Sold

Longtime Reading-based radio station WEEU has a new owner. The station confirmed that Treese Media Group has bought the station, according to WFMZ-TV.

The group is run by John and Kristine Treese out of Schwenksville, which is in Montgomery County.

Twilight Broadcasting bought WEEU in 2019 when the Reading Eagle Company filed for bankruptcy. The owner of Twilight said back in March he didn't have the time to operate the station.

WEEU 860 AM (20 Kw, DA2)

In a statement, the owners of the station tell us he's "grateful to the past and present staff that have and continue to produce a high-quality broadcast radio product."

He adds that John has had a long career in broadcast and Treese Media were a "perfect fit" as a local company.

"We are excited for the opportunity to build upon WEEU's almost century-long tradition of service to Berks County and beyond," John Treese said in a statement.

Alex Jones Offered Two Ways Out of Bankruptcy

Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims’ families proposed that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones wind up his bankruptcy by paying creditors at least $85 million over 10 years or undergo an orderly liquidation.

Bloomberg reports the Sandy Hook families, along with an official committee of Jones’ creditors, argued in court papers Wednesday that the 11-month-long bankruptcy case for the right-wing radio host should be brought to a close by February. The creditors laid out a dual-option proposal in light of what they say is Jones’ failure to advance a viable way out of Chapter 11 while continuing to enjoy an extravagant lifestyle costing up to $90,000 a month.

The plan, as described to the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, would allow Jones to undergo an orderly liquidation of his assets or adhere to a 10-year fixed-payment plan with distributions of at least $8.5 million a year. Under the fixed-payment plan, the creditors would agree to release their roughly $1.5 billion in state court judgment awards stemming from Jones’ repeated lies that the 2012 massacre of elementary school students and teachers was a hoax.

Both options contemplate preserving causes of actions against third parties affiliated with Jones and his Infowars program.

“The time has come for Jones to choose whether he is willing to pay his creditors a reasonable portion of what they are owed or would prefer to remain embroiled in costly and time-consuming litigation for years to come,” the group said. “Whatever alternative Jones chooses, the Creditors’ Plan provides a clear path out of the quagmire of these cases.”

Radio History: November 25

Norman Tokar
➦In 1919
...Writer, producer Norman Tokar born (Died from a heart attack at age 59 – April 6, 1979). He directed many of the early episodes of Leave it to Beaver, and found his greatest success directing over a dozen films for Walt Disney Productions, spanning the 1950s to the 1970s.

After a career as an actor on Broadway in the early 1940s, Tokar moved into radio, most notably The Aldrich Family, where he played Henry Aldrich's friend Willie at the microphone and wrote several episodes as well. Tokar then went into television direction on such sitcoms as The Bob Cummings Show and The Donna Reed Show, and the drama Naked City.

In the early 1960s, Tokar’s success working with the juvenile actors on 93 episodes of the TV sitcom Leave it to Beaver encouraged Walt Disney to hire him to direct family features for his studio, which frequently used children in key roles.

WJAX mics at March 1936 news event.
Future FL Gov. Warren Fuller is third person from the right

➦In 1925...City of Jacksonville FL launched a broadcast station. The city appropriated $19,960 to put the station on the air and operate it through 1926. The station manager/engineer, John T. Hopkins was paid $250 a month and his assistant, James Brock made $165. The station, WJAX, made its first broadcast on Thanksgiving 1925 operating on 890 Kc. with 1000 watts using an antenna wire strung between two large tapered towers. WJAX shifted to 880 Kc. in 1928 and 900 Kc. in 1930.(Jacksonville radio historian Billy Williams).   Today, the station is WFXJ, branded as Sports Radio 930 AM and is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.

➦In 1944...The FBI in Peace & War began a 14-year run on CBS Radio. 

➦In 1949..."Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" first appeared on the hit music charts. The song was written by Johnny Marks based on the 1939 story Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer published by the Montgomery Ward Company.

In 1939 Marks's brother-in-law, Robert L. May, created the character Rudolph as an assignment for Montgomery Ward and Marks decided to adapt the story of Rudolph into a song.

The song was first sung by crooner Harry Brannon on New York City radio in early November 1949, before Gene Autry's recording hit No. 1 in the U.S. charts during Christmas 1949. The song was suggested as a "B" side for a record Autry was making. Autry rejected the song. His wife convinced him to use it.

Autry's version of the song also holds the distinction of being the only chart-topping hit to fall completely off the chart after reaching No. 1. The official date of its No. 1 status was for the week ending January 7, 1950, making it the first No. 1 song of the 1950s.

Autry‘s rendition is the most popular, 80 different versions of the song have been recorded, with nearly 20,000,000 copies sold.

➦In 1960...CBS radio axed five daytime serials from the airwaves, including The Second Mrs. Burton (after 14 years), Whispering Streets, Young Dr Malone & Right to Happiness (both after 21 years) and Ma Perkins (after 27 wonderful years.)

NY Times 11/26/60

In 1940, the high point for radio soap operas, there were as many as 45 on the air each day

➦In 1960...“Amos ‘n’ Andy” as played for over 30 years by Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, made their last broadcast on the CBS Radio Network. It aired as a daily serial from 1928 until 1943, as a weekly situation comedy from 1943 until 1955, and as a nightly disc-jockey program from 1954 until 1960.

Show from 1944...

➦In 1968...The Beatles double White album was released in the US. Featuring ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’, ‘Dear Prudence’, ‘Helter Skelter’, ‘Blackbird’ ‘Back In The USSR’ and George Harrisons ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. The album spent 101 weeks on the Billboard chart peaking at No.1.

➦In 1998...Comedian/actor Flip Wilson succumbed to liver cancer at age 64.  He was featured in TV’s Laugh In, and starred in his own two series, The Flip Wilson Show & Charlie and Company.

Amy Grant is 63
  • Actor Kathryn Crosby is 90. 
  • Singer Bob Lind is 81. 
  • Actor-game show host Ben Stein is 79. 
  • Actor John Larroquette is 76. 
  • “Dancing With the Stars” judge Bruno Tonioli is 68. 
  • Singer Amy Grant is 63. 
  • Drummer Scott Mercado (Candlebox) is 59. 
  • Singer Tim Armstrong of Rancid is 58. 
  • Actor Steve Harris (“Friday Night Lights,” ″The Practice”) is 58. 
  • Actor Billy Burke (“Twilight” films) is 57. 
  • Singer Stacy Lattisaw is 57. 
  • Guitarist Rodney Sheppard of Sugar Ray is 57. 
  • Rapper-producer Erick Sermon (EPMD) is 55. 
  • Actor Jill Hennessy (“Crossing Jordan”) is 54. 
  • Actor Christina Applegate is 52. 
  • Actor Eddie Steeples (“My Name Is Earl”) is 50. 
  • Actor Kristian Nairn (“Game of Thrones”) is 48. 
  • Actor Jill Flint (“The Good Wife,” “Royal Pains”) is 46. 
  • Actor Jerry Ferrara (“Entourage”) is 44. 
  • Actor Valerie Azlynn (“Sullivan and Son”) is 43. 
  • Actor Katie Cassidy (“Arrow,” new “Melrose Place”) is 37. 
  • Actor Stephanie Hsu (Film’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” TV’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) is 33. 
  • Contemporary Christian singer Jamie Grace is 32.
  • In 1968..Upton Sinclair, American author (The Jungle), dies at 90
  • In 1973..Albert DeSalvo, American criminal (The Boston Strangler), stabbed to death in prison at 42
  • In 1981..Jack Albertson, American actor (Chico and the Man, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory), dies from colon cancerr at 74
  • In 1998..(Clerow) "Flip" Wilson, American Grammy Award-winning comedian, and Emmy Award-winning writer and TV personality (The Flip Wilson Show), dies of liver cancer at 64
  • In 2012..Earl "Speedoo" Carroll, American doo-wop vocalist (Cadillacs; The Coasters), dies of complications from diabetes and a stroke at 75
  • In 2016..Fidel Castro,Cuban revolutionary, Prime Minister (1959-76) and President (1976-2008), dies at 90
  • In 2016..Ron Glass, American actor (Barney Miller, Frank's Place), dies at 71

Friday, November 24, 2023

Sports Fuels Broadcast TV In October

Total television usage inched up 2% in October, bolstered by a 9.4% increase in broadcast viewing, according to The Guage issued by Nielsen.

While the seasonal uptick in October isn’t unique, this year’s gains were achieved without the benefit of a robust new programming schedule. Without any new scripted programming, the broadcast boost was almost entirely attributable to sports programming.

The robust NFL schedule and the MLB’s World Series were the primary drivers of the 15% rise in sports viewing across broadcast channels, powering October to its third consecutive month of broadcast gains. It was also the largest gain for broadcast since January 2023. The increase in sports viewing also attracted an influx of younger viewers: broadcast viewing among 18-24-year-olds was up 15%. On a year-over-year basis, however, total broadcast viewing was down 5.6% and the sports genre was down by 8%.

Cable benefited from double-digit gains across the news and sports genres (17% and 19%), with news taking the top-genre crown capturing 21.8% of cable viewing. While these gains resulted in 0.9% more viewing, it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the total TV trend, causing a loss of 0.3 share points for the month to land at 29.5%, the smallest share for the cable category to date.

Trending the opposite of broadcast, streaming gave back share for a third consecutive month, although usage was almost flat with September (-0.6%). Without the methodology change noted above, however, the share loss would have only been 0.4 instead of 0.9. While usage was largely stable across platforms, October featured a couple of unique data nuggets:

  • Suits remained the top program, but viewership was down a third from September.
  • Suits remained the top program, but viewership was down a third from September. Netflix, which offers Suits along with Peacock, retained eight of the top 10 streaming titles in October.
  • Disney+ viewing was up 1.5%, and held the other two top streaming titles: Bluey and Elemental.
  • Amazon Prime Video usage was up 1% and continues to peak on Thursdays due to NFL games.

Without the typical rush of new scripted content this fall, it’s likely that we’ll continue to see atypical TV usage trends until mid-to-late first quarter 2024. At that point, it will be interesting to see if usage spikes, which would be a trend break from what we’re accustomed to seeing at that time of year.

TV Sports Facing Big Challenges

This should be an epic time for sports on TV: This week’s Monday Night Football rematch of February’s Super Bowl set a viewership record. The NBA’s first in-season tournament promises to become a lucrative new fixture. College football’s massive conference realignment, and next year’s greatly expanded playoffs, should drive big viewership. Even stodgy old Major League Baseball had a viewer renaissance this summer, thanks to big rules changes that livened and shortened games.

According to Forbes, sports-rights spending is projected to jump from $15.3 billion this year to $22 billion by 2027, according to data released by consultancy Parks Associates at its recent “Future of Video” conference in Los Angeles.

“Sports has never been more valuable,” said sports startup investor John Kosner at the conference. Kosner, a former ESPN senior executive, co-founded Micromanagement Ventures with former NBA Commissioner David Stern.

“It's live, you have to watch it live,” Kosner continued. “Athletes have to rest, so there are natural parts where you can put ads in. Sports is the only (programming) that will offer everybody's attention live, and that's only going to grow in the future. It's not part of the mix, it's going to drive advertising.”

And yet.

Media companies that depend on sports rights to keep audiences tuning in are downsizing fast in a swiftly changing landscape. Not all of them will be able to afford the escalating prices on those rights in the future, or perhaps even continue paying for the ones they’ve already commissioned.

Even Disney, the traditional media giant that owns ESPN and ABC and is best positioned among Hollywood companies to compete for sports rights, filed an SEC 10K document Wednesday saying it will cut program spending across cable, broadcast, and streaming from $33 billion to $25 billion next year. That’s a whopping 24% cut. The company also will produce fewer shows for the same money, as it pays more to cover inflation and new labor contracts.

Hallmark Christmas Movie Outrated Everything On Cable

Scene from 'A Merry Scottish Christmas'

The holiday spirit officially took over the cable airwaves ahead of Thanksgiving, as a trio of brand new Hallmark Christmas movies each debuted to an audience of more than 1.9 million viewers and one film, “A Merry Scottish Christmas,” beat every out cable news program on television last week.

“A Merry Scottish Christmas” was the fourth most-watched cable program last week, Nielsen data shows, scoring 3.33 million viewers for its Saturday night premiere and ranking only below “Monday Night Football”-related coverage on ESPN.

Forbes reports top-10 most watched cable programs last week were rounded out by episodes of “The Five” and Wednesday night's “Jesse Watters Primetime,” all on Fox News.

The Sunday premiere of “Holiday Hotline” on Hallmark had 2.27 million viewers and was the 16th most-watched cable program, and “Navigating Christmas,” which was released Friday night, had 1.97 million viewers in the No. 36 spot.

The films' success pushed Hallmark to become the third most-watched cable channel of the week in primetime, with an average of 1.35 million viewers.

Hallmark fell behind ESPN’s 2 million primetime average viewers and Fox News’ 1.79 million, but the network out-rated MSNBC, CNN and HGTV between 8 and 11 p.m.

In total-day viewership, the Hallmark Channel was the fourth most-watched behind Fox News, MSNBC and ESPN, in that order.

Hallmark Christmas movies have been a staple of the holiday season for more than a decade and the total number of new original films has risen each year since 2009, when Hallmark put out nine movies. More than 300 Christmas movies and a handful of Hanukkah films have been aired on the brand’s channels since. Hallmark will release a total of 40 brand new movies this holiday season—31 originals through the Hallmark Channel's "Countdown to Christmas" and nine in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries' "Miracles of Christmas" lineup. Nielsen in 2021 estimated that more than 80 million people watch at least a few minutes of a Hallmark movie each Christmas season.

Smart Speaker Owners Listen to More Streaming Audio

“The evolution of audio is partially fueled by new audio technology” was one of five audio megatrends cited in the Audio in Evolution webinar presented by Edison Research and Amazon Ads early this month. The webinar includes data from Edison’s Infinite Dial© reports and Share of Ear® studies, along with never-before-seen findings from a Q4 2022 survey of U.S. adults.

Smart speaker ownership has grown over 400% in the past six years, moving from a niche smart-home product to a mainstream household item found in many American households.

Smart speaker ownership is fueling audio evolution and growth by providing more reach, increasing time spent with streaming audio, and increasing tune-in frequency.

Smart speaker owners are more likely to be streaming audio listeners than non-smart speaker owners: 91% of all US adults who own a smart speaker reported they have listened to streaming audio in the past month, which exceeds non-smart speaker owners by 20%.

Smart speaker owners also spend more time with audio content overall. Smart speaker owners spend nearly 5 hours per day with audio content, which over-indexes non-smart speaker owners by +12%.

Additionally, smart speakers are adding more opportunities for streaming audio tune-in. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of smart speaker owners reported they are listening to streaming audio content more frequently since purchasing their smart speakers.

Download the study or watch the replay of the webinar for more details on the five audio megatrends.

Hall & Oates, Still A Duo, Now In Legal Battle

The number-one selling duo in music history, Hall & Oates, are now in a legal battle.

Musician Daryl Hall of the duo Hall & Oates has filed a lawsuit against his former counterpart, John Oates. According to documents filed on Nov. 16 and 17 in Nashville Chancery Court, Hall filed a suit under the "contract/debt" category as well as a restraining order.

The Nashville Tennessean reports very little information is available about the lawsuit due to its contents being sealed.

According to the available documents, the suit was filed against John Oates as well as his wife Amy J. Oates and another party, Richard Flynn, both co-trustees of The John W. Oates TISA Trust.

The legal filing in Nashville also included the temporary restraining order with a $50,000 bond.

Daryl Hall and John Oates formed the pop duo Hall & Oates in the early 1970s in Philadelphia, PA. The two took the pop genre by storm over the years with recognizable hits "You Make My Dreams (Come True)," "Maneater" and "Rich Girl."

The duo never publicly split up, but in recent years the two have mentioned to several outlets that they have been interested in exploring individual careers and moving away from their original cannon of hits.

Two More Industry Names Facing Sexual Assault Lawsuits

Jimmy Lovine

Jimmy Lovine, Axl Rose Also Named in Sexual Assault Lawsuits Ahead of New York’s Adult Survivors Act Deadline

Digital Music News reports music Industry veteran Jimmy Lovine is being sued by a Jane Doe plaintiff, who alleges multiple inszStances of sexual abuse and a specific incident that took place in 2007, during the time he acted as Chief Executive of Interscope Records.

In a string of sexual abuse lawsuits filed during the last couple of weeks, Co-founder of Interscope Records, Jimmy Lovine, was served a summons ahead of a case due to be filed. The court document, according to multiple sources, reveals that the woman is seeking compensation via damages and consists of allegations that she “suffered as a result of being sexually abused, forcibly touched, and subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of anti-discrimination laws in or around August 2007.”

Lovine will have to respond to the summons in 20 days, or 30 if the summons isn’t served to him in person. A spokesperson for Lovine has released a statement to media outlets: “We are quite shocked and baffled by this alleged claim. This inquiry is the first we’ve heard of this matter. No one has ever made a claim like this against Jimmy Lovine, nor have we been contacted or made aware of any complaint by anyone, including this unknown Plaintiff, prior to now.”

Axel Rose

Of the many complaints filed just this month (as the Adult Survivor’s Act deadline expired), Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose was also served on Wednesday for allegedly sexually assaulting former Penthouse model, Shiela Kennedy.

Kennedy’s filing refers to an incident that took place in a New York City hotel room in 1989, alleging that Rose, now 61, “knocked her to the floor,” dragged her by the hair, restrained her hands, and proceeded to sexually assault her “while he was in a sexual, volatile rage.”

The complaint further states Kennedy has suffered “severe emotional, physical, financial and psychological distress from the assault.” Other disturbing details in the filing narrate, “Kennedy did not consent and felt overpowered. She understood that the safest thing to do was to lie in bed and wait for Rose to finish assaulting her.

Axl Rose’s attorney, Alan S. Gutman, responded with a statement to CNN on Wednesday saying, “Simply put, this incident never happened.”

Unfortunately, as the deadline for New York’s ruling neared expiry, Lovine and Axl are only two in a swarm of music industry professionals and Hollywood celebrities named in sexual assault lawsuits.

Last week, rapper record-producer and actor Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs was accused by ex-partner Casandra Ventura — known professionally as Cassie — of violent behavior, disturbed demands, and sexual assault.

Within a few days of the filing, Diddy settled the rape and assault lawsuit. However, his attorney Ben Brafman emphasized that the decision to settle ‘is in no way an admission of wrongdoing’ and doesn’t ‘in any way undermine his’ client’s ‘flat-out denial of the claims.’

What Will Americans Buy on Black Friday?

Anna Fleck, Statista

Black Friday falls on the fourth Friday of November each year, with Cyber Monday following just three days later. The two shopping days are some of the busiest of the year in the United States, with an estimated $19.6 billion raked in over the 2021 Thanksgiving weekend in e-commerce revenue alone.

U.S. shoppers keen to make the most of discounted prices were asked in a Statista survey which items they were planning on buying. As the following chart shows, clothing, electronics and shoes are among the most popular choices this year.

Infographic: What Will Americans Buy on Black Friday? | Statista
You will find more infographics at Statista

In terms of other shopping behaviors, the same survey found that where 41 percent of U.S. respondents said they would be shopping via online stores, 28 percent were undecided and 25 percent planned on heading to brick-and-mortar shops.

Billboard Music Awards Viewership Spikes in Digital Debut

2023 Billboard Music Awards content garnered more than 293 million cross-platform views in its first 48 hours, dick clark productions announced Wednesday (Nov. 22). The show, making its debut in a digital format, was the No. 1 social program across all of TV and streaming on Sunday and jumped 47% in year-over-year social engagements.

Billboard Music Awards content was distributed via BBMAs and Billboard social channels, as well as via Harmony, Penske Media’s proprietary livestreaming platform, which syndicated BBMAs programming across sites including Billboard, Variety, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone, IndieWire and WWD.

The 2023 Billboard Music Awards was the No. 1 social program across all of TV and streaming on Nov. 19, according to Social Content Ratings. It also ranked No. 1 in total interactions (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube); No. 1 in earned interactions (Cross-platform Key Opinion Leader + Organic Twitter) and No. 1 in total video view counts (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube).

The BBMAs saw increased social engagement on show day (up 47% year over year) and throughout the duration of the campaign (up 43% year over year), according to ListenFirst.

R.I.P.: Phil Quartararo, Record Executive

Phil Quartararao (1956-2023)

Record executive Phil Quartararo, who kick-started the careers of Paula Abdul and the Spice Girls died Wednesday. He was 67.

Known as “Phil Q,” Quartararo’s career in the music industry spanned five decades.

During the 1980s he helped to break U2 on pop radio while he was senior vice president of promotion at Island Records, according to Billboard. He handled the Spice Girls’ marketing plan during the 1990s while serving as the CEO of Virgin Records America, and he worked with Madonna, Coldplay, Faith Hill, Green Day and The Smashing Pumpkins, the music website reported.

“I loved helping an artist’s dream come true,” Quartararo said during a 2021 interview. “I cannot press upon you the satisfaction of doing that.”

A native of Brooklyn, New York, and a graduate of Syracuse University, Quartararo began his career in the radio promotion department of A&M Records in 1977, according to Variety.

He later worked in the promotion departments at RCA, Island and Artist Records. He moved to Virgin Records’ U.S. division in 1986, rising to the role of president/CEO until he left the company in 1997, the entertainment news website reported.

According to The New York Times, Quartararo helped “turn Virgin into EMI’s crown jewel,” generating most of EMI’s $5.9 billion in yearly sales.

After leaving Virgin Records, Quartararo was named president of Warner Bros. Records, Variety reported. He held the post until 2002 and then was named president of EMI’s distribution division.

Quartararo was also president of Rhythm Nation Records from 2016 until 2019, and then joined The Hello Group entertainment company as president and chairman, Variety reported.

“Phil believed in me like no other,” Abdul said in a statement. “His ceaseless support for me during my time at Virgin was unparalleled. I will miss him.”

Radio History: November 24

➦In 1890... French inventor Edouard Branly coined the term "radioconductor"; the first use of the word "radio".

Experiments with tubes of metal filings, as reported in "Il Nuovo Cimento" in 1884, led to the development of the first radio wave detector, the coherer, by Branly some years later. It was the first widely used detector for radio communication. This consisted of iron filings contained in an insulating tube with two electrodes that will conduct an electric current under the action of an applied electrical signal. The operation of the coherer is based upon the large electrical contact resistance offered to the passage of electric current by loose metal filings, which decreases when direct current or alternating current is applied between the terminals of the coherer at a predetermined voltage. The mechanism is based on the thin layers of oxide covering all the filings, which is highly resistive. The oxide layers are broken down when a voltage is applied of the right magnitude, causing the coherer to "latch" into its low-resistance state until the voltage is removed and the coherer is physically tapped.

The coherer became the basis for radio reception, and remained in widespread use for about ten years, until about 1907. British radio pioneer Oliver Lodge made the coherer into a practical receiver by adding a "decoherer" which tapped the coherer after each reception to dislodge clumped filings, thus restoring the device's sensitivity. It was further developed by Guglielmo Marconi, then replaced about 1907 by crystal detectors.

Irene Wicker

➦In 1905...Ireene Wicker born (Died at age 81  – November 17, 1987). She was best known to young radio listeners in the 1930s and 1940s as “The Singing Lady”, which was the title of her radio program. She added the second 'e' in her first name on the advice of an astrologer.

Her radio show was first sponsored by the Kellogg Company, beginning in 1931. Her show was promoted as America’s first radio network program for children. Despite the title of her show, The Singing Lady, most of it involved Wicker telling adaptations of stories for children, ranging from fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen through to Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. Also in the 1930s and early 1940s, she portrayed Jane Lee on the serial Judy and Jane on NBC-Blue.

In the 1940s, Wicker was a regular on Deadline Drama on NBC and the Blue Network. In the 1950s, she told stories on Big Jon and Sparkie on ABC radio.

Wicker came to television at WJZ-TV in 1949 with The Ireene Wicker Show in which she told fairy tales. She also had a program, The Singing Lady, on ABC-TV (1948-1950).

➦In 1906...Actor Don MacLaughlin was born in Webster, Iowa.  MacLaughlin originated the role of lawyer Chris Hughes on As the World Turns in 1956, and played the role until his death in 1986.

Prior to TV, MacLaughlin was active on radio, beginning in 1933. He starred as the title character on radio's David Harding, Counterspy in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1945, he joined the cast of The Romance of Helen Trent, in the role of Dwight Swanson, "a rancher who becomes interested in Helen Trent."

Howard Duff
He died at age 79 on May 28 1986.

➦In 1913...Radio-TV-Film actor Howard Duff was born in Bremerton, WA.

Duff's most memorable radio role was as Dashiell Hammett's private eye Sam Spade in The Adventures of Sam Spade (1946–50).With his TV and film career starting to take hold, he ultimately left the program in 1950 at the start of its final season; Stephen Dunne took over the voice role of Spade.

He died following a heart attack July 8, 1990 at age 76.

Early WTAW - undated
➦In 1920...The first radio play-by-play broadcast of a football game was aired by Texas A&M University station 5XB, later known as WTAW in College Station, Texas. The University of Texas defeated Texas A&M, 7-3.  The call letters stood for Watch The Aggies Win.  Today, the calls are used by a locally-owned station at 1620 AM.

➦In 1926...WLAC Nashville signed-on. The call letters were chosen to contain an acronym for the first owner of the station, the Life and Casualty Insurance Company of Tennessee. Studios were located on the fifth floor of the Life and Casualty building in downtown Nashville. In 1928, it became Nashville's CBS Radio affiliate, while its main competitor, 650 WSM, was affiliated with NBC, the other major Radio network in the early days of broadcasting.

The early years of the station featured, as most big-city stations of that time, network programming, local news, studio-orchestra musical features (accompanied by an in-studio pipe organ), farm reports, and some educational programming. Its main competitor in that era, WSM, became known as the radio station where country music essentially developed and became a national phenomenon. When country music became a big business in the late 1940s, WLAC added early-morning and Saturday-afternoon shows in an attempt to steal some of WSM's thunder. Otherwise, the station prided itself as a pillar of the community and placed emphasis on general full-service programs.

➦In 1926...KVI-AM, Seattle, Washington began broadcasting.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving 2023

Thanksgiving Day, annual national holiday in the United States celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people, according to The American holiday is particularly rich in legend and symbolism, and the traditional fare of the Thanksgiving meal typically includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. With respect to vehicular travel, the holiday is often the busiest of the year, as family members gather with one another. 

Thanksgiving Day did not become an official holiday until Northerners dominated the federal government. While sectional tensions prevailed in the mid-19th century, the editor of the popular magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book, Sarah Josepha Hale, campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day to promote unity. She finally won the support of President Abraham Lincoln. On October 3, 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

The holiday was annually proclaimed by every president thereafter, and the date chosen, with few exceptions, was the last Thursday in November. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, attempted to extend the Christmas shopping season, which generally begins with the Thanksgiving holiday, and to boost the economy by moving the date back a week, to the third week in November. But not all states complied, and, after a joint resolution of Congress in 1941, Roosevelt issued a proclamation in 1942 designating the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving TV At Its Best From WKRP

Plenty of beloved TV comedies have great Thanksgiving episodes. The episode of Cheers that devolves into a food fight is an all-timer. Multiple Thanksgiving episodes of Friends are now considered holiday classics. The Simpsons’ “Bart vs. Thanksgiving” is as much of a must-watch every year, at least for me, as A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. More recent sitcoms — like The Office, Bob’s Burgers, Veep, Black-ish, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — have delivered great hat tips to Turkey Day, too.

But, according to, the most quintessential, uproarious Thanksgiving episode of a sitcom remains “Turkeys Away,” the WKRP in Cincinnati masterpiece of bird-dropping pandemonium that first aired in 1978. Four decades later, at least among those of a certain age or those possessing a certain amount of Thanksgiving pop-culture knowledge, it remains a touchstone. That’s partly because the jokes still hold up and partly because it ends with a perfectly quotable mic drop of a last line, spoken by the late Gordon Jump as clueless radio station manager Arthur Carlson: “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

For those who have not seen it, “Turkeys Away” starts off with a straightforward plot that careens abruptly into dark comedy. Mr. Carlson, who runs the station owned by his wealthy, domineering mother, decides he needs to get more involved in day-to-day operations and comes up with an idea for a publicity stunt that will shine more attention on WKRP, which has recently changed formats from easy listening to rock. But he keeps the details of his plan a secret from his employees, with the exception of Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner), the skeezy ad-sales guy who becomes his right-hand man in this Thanksgiving fiasco. As his taste in leisure suits attests, Herb’s judgment is no better than Carlson’s.

In the episode’s second act, as WKRP newsman Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) broadcasts live from the Pinedale Mall, what Mr. Carlson has done becomes clear, in real time, to Les, his colleagues back at the station, and everyone watching WKRP in Cincinnati: Mr. Carlson has chosen to drop 20 live turkeys from a helicopter with a “Happy Thanksgiving from WKRP” banner attached to it, above a busy shopping center parking lot. This … does not go well.

Feeling left out by all the recent changes, Mr. Carlson decides to launch his own Thanksgiving promotion. With the aid of Herb and Les, the Big Guy turns a routine turkey give-away into a comic catastrophe.

Radio History: November 23

➦In 1887
...Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt in London.

In a 50 year acting career highlighted by four Frankenstein films, he found time to make an impact in horror radio & TV productions.  He is still heard today as the narrator of the annual TV cartoon favorite, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

He died at age 81 Feb 2, 1969 from emphysema.

For his contribution to film and television, Boris Karloff was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 1737 Vine Street for motion pictures, and 6664 Hollywood Boulevard for television.

➦In 1889…In San Francisco, the Palais Royal Hotel installed the first coin-operated machine that, by about 1940, was known as a "jukebox." Juke, at the time, was a slang word for a a disorderly house, or house of ill repute.  The unit contained an Edison tinfoil phonograph with four listening tubes. There was a coin slot for each tube. 5 cents bought a few minutes of music. The contraption took in $1,000 in six months!

John Dehner

➦In John Dehner was born in Staten Island NY.  After starting as a Disney animator & radio deejay, he started playing heavies in films & on radio shows such as Gunsmoke, Suspense, Escape and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar.  He starred in The Hermit’s Cave and Frontier Gentleman on radio, and was Palladin in CBS Radio’s Have Gun Will Travel.  TV series credits include Young Maverick, How the West was Won, Temperatures Rising, the Doris Day Show & the Don Knotts Show.  He died of emphysema & diabetes Feb 4 1992 at age 76.

➦In 1938…Bob Hope recorded his future theme song with actress Shirley Ross.  "Thanks For The Memory," debuted during the movie  "The Big Broadcast of 1938." And in 1996,  Hope set a record for the longest continuous contract in the history of Radio-TV when his last TV special aired. Hope had been with NBC for 60 years.

Hope's career in broadcasting began on radio in 1934. His first regular series for NBC Radio was the Woodbury Soap Hour in 1937, on a 26-week contract. A year later, The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope began, and Hope signed a ten-year contract with the show's sponsor, Lever Brothers. He hired eight writers and paid them out of his salary of $2,500 a week. The original staff included Mel Shavelson, Norman Panama, Jack Rose, Sherwood Schwartz, and Schwartz's brother Al. The writing staff eventually grew to fifteen.

The show became the top radio program in the country. Regulars on the series included Jerry Colonna and Barbara Jo Allen as spinster Vera Vague. Hope continued his lucrative career in radio into the 1950s, when radio's popularity began being overshadowed by the upstart television medium.

His final television special, Laughing with the Presidents, with host Tony Danza helping him present a personal retrospective of presidents of the United States known to Hope, a frequent White House visitor over the years. Following a brief appearance at the 50th Primetime Emmy Awards in 1997, Hope made his last TV appearance in a 1997 commercial.

Hope died July 27, 2003 at the age of 100.

➦In 1959…Alan Freed was dismissed from his daily WNEW-TV show, "The Big Beat," over allegations that he accepted money to play certain records. Freed denied any wrongdoing.

➦In 1962…The Beatles did a ten-minute audition for BBC Television at St. James' Church Hall in London. But the “Beeb” did not like them. Brian Epstein received a rejection letter. They eventually made it on the BBC in 1963.

➦In 1964…The BBC banned  The Rolling Stones after arriving late arriving for two BBC radio shows.  The BBC cited the group for their "unprofessionalism."

➦In 1967…San Francisco radio personality Tom Donahue, inventor of "classic rock" and "deep cut" radio, told Rolling Stone magazine, "Top Forty radio, as we know it today and have known it for the last ten years, is dead, and its rotting corpse is stinking up the airwaves."

➦In 1982...The FCC dropped its controls on duration & frequency of TV ads in the US.

➦In music legend Roy Acuff died of heart failure at age 89. Considered the most influential figure in the history of country music, Acuff rose to fame in the 1930’s when radio was more important than records, so his chart hits were relatively few. But he made country standards of songs like “The Wabash Cannonball,” “The Great Speckle Bird,” “Fireball Mail” and “Night Train to Memphis.”

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

BMI Sells Out to Investment Firm

BMI is being sold to a New Mountain Capital-led shareholder group in a deal that is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2024.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, the buyer announced that as part of the deal BMI’s current shareholders will allocate $100 million of the sale’s proceeds to songwriters and publishers affiliates “in recognition of [their] creativity.” That planned payout will adhere to BMI’s distribution methodologies.

Billboard reports the deal still needs to be approved by the broadcaster shareholders that have long owned the performance rights organization and will also need regulatory approval.

Initially, sources said that the bidding process for BMI had yielded about a $1.7 billion valuation, but sources subsequently said the price tag was more in the range of $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion. Neither New Mountain or BMI would comment on price.

After the deal closes, BMI president and CEO Mike O’Neill and his leadership team will continue to run the organization, according to an announcement.

“Today marks an exciting new chapter for BMI that puts us in the best possible position to stay ahead of the evolving industry and ensure the long-term success of our music creators,” O’Neill said in a statement. “New Mountain is an ideal partner because they believe in our mission and understand that the key to success for our company lies in delivering value to our affiliates.”