Saturday, December 2, 2023

Radio History: December 3

➦In 1927...singer Andy Williams was born in smalltown Iowa.   After singing with three siblings in The Williams Brothers quartet on midwest radio as early as 1938, he became a featured soloist on NBC-TV’s Tonight Show, hosted in the early 50’s by Steve Allen.  Later he was host of his own TV series (1962-71) and a number of Christmas specials on NBC.  Most of his 44 albums were featured on MOR radio stations throughout his life.  He succumbed to bladder cancer Sept. 25 2012 at age 84.

➦In 1928…NBC radio gave birth to what would be the longest run of any semi-classical music broadcast.  It began as The Firestone Hour, evolving soon into the 30-minute Voice of Firestone, which aired o Monday evenings for 28-years.  It was also a simulcast on NBC TV beginning in 1949, it moved to ABC in 1954 and ended its almost 35-year run on ABC-TV in 1963.

➦In 1948...Bing Crosby's song "White Christmas" debuted on the U.S. music charts. That was 7 years after it was first sung on a radio show sponsored by the Kraft Company on Christmas Day, 1941.

A Young Paul Harvey
➦In 1950...ABC Radio began airing Paul Harvey news and comment nationwide.

Paul Harvey Aurandt broadcast News and Comment on weekday mornings and mid-days, and at noon on Saturdays on the ABC Radio Network.  He also voiced his famous "The Rest of the Story" segments. From the 1950s through the 1990s, Harvey's programs reached as many as 24 million people a week. Paul Harvey News was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and 300 newspapers.

Harvey made radio receivers as a young boy. He attended Tulsa Central High School where a teacher was "impressed by his voice." On her recommendation, he started working at KVOO in Tulsa in 1933, when he was 14. His first job was helping clean up. Eventually he was allowed to fill in on the air, reading commercials and the news.

While attending the University of Tulsa, he continued working at KVOO, first as an announcer, and later as a program director. Harvey, at age nineteen spent three years as a station manager for KFBI AM, now known as KFDI, a radio station that once had studios in Salina, Kansas. From there, he moved to a newscasting job at KOMA in Oklahoma City, and then to KXOK, in St. Louis in 1938, where he was Director of Special Events and a roving reporter.

Harvey then moved to Hawaii to cover the United States Navy as it concentrated its fleet in the Pacific. He was returning to the mainland from assignment when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He eventually enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces but served only from December 1943 to March 1944.

Harvey then moved to Chicago, where in June 1944, he began broadcasting from the ABC affiliate WENR. In 1945, he began hosting the postwar employment program Jobs for G.I. Joe on WENR.

Harvey added The Rest of the Story as a tagline to in-depth feature stories in 1946.

On April 1, 1951, the ABC Radio Network debuted Paul Harvey News and Comment "Commentary and analysis of Paul Harvey each weekday at 12 Noon". Paul Harvey was also heard originally on Sundays; the first Sunday program was Harvey's introduction. Later, the Sunday program would move to Saturdays.

Harvey died on February 28, 2009, at the age of 90 at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.

➦In 1955...Elvis Presley's first single release for RCA Victor.  No, it wasn’t ‘Hound Dog’ or ‘Heartbreak Hotel.’ The first two sides were actually purchased from Sam Phillips of Sun Records: ‘Mystery Train’ and ‘I Forgot to Remember to Forget.’  RCAVictor called Elvis "The most talked about personality in recorded music in the last 10 years."

NASCAR Makes $8B In Media Deals

Nascar has struck new television and streaming rights deals worth $7.7 billion with media partners including Amazon, Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox as interest in the sport grows. 

The value of Nascar’s new seven-year deals is 40% higher than its prior arrangements, reports The Wall Street Journal citing a person familiar with the situation. 

The new deals, which take effect in 2025 and run through 2031, highlight the wide range of entertainment companies embracing motorsport and the growing popularity of streaming as a way consumers watch races. 

Nascar forged new deals with Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNT cable network and Max streaming service, Comcast’s NBC Sports, Fox and Nexstar’s CW Network. Fox and NBC will carry fewer races than they had in the previous deal. The races that they are no longer carrying will be split between Amazon Prime Video as well as TNT and Max. 

The deals show “the willingness of some of the world’s largest and most respected media companies to make significant investments in America’s leading motorsport,” said Brian Herbst, senior vice president at Nascar.

For Amazon, adding Nascar is the latest evidence of its push into sports as a way to boost the appeal of its Prime Video service. It is already the home of the National Football League’s “Thursday Night Football” package and has expressed interest in National Basketball Association rights whose current deals with Disney’s ESPN and TNT expire after the 2024-2025 season. 

Warner is also seeking to use sports to help its Max direct-to-consumer platform. Its deal with Nascar will allow it to carry races on both TNT and Max. Earlier this year, Max started carrying basketball, Major League Baseball and National Hockey League games that are on TNT. 

For TNT, the Nascar deal also could help it fill the void if it doesn’t reach a deal to renew its package of NBA games or if it carries fewer games under its next deal.

Negotiations for the NBA are expected to heat up in the next several months. Besides Amazon, NBC has also expressed interest in getting a package of games. Apple, which already carries baseball and Major League Soccer, is another potential bidder for NBA games.

Buffalo-Erie-Syracuse Radio: Beth Coughlin New RVP For Cumulus

Cumulus Media
announces that it has promoted Beth Coughlin to Regional Vice President of Cumulus Media in Buffalo, NY, Erie, PA, and Syracuse, NY. Coughlin currently serves as Vice President/Market Manager of Cumulus Syracuse and adds responsibilities for Cumulus Media’s five radio stations in Buffalo, five radio stations in Erie, and extensive digital offerings to her purview.

Prior to joining Cumulus Media in October 2015, Coughlin had over 20 years of broadcast and digital experience, starting with WSYR TV and WUTR TV in Syracuse and Utica, as well as Albany, NY.

Beth Coughlin
Bob Walker, President, Operations, Cumulus Media, said: “We are pleased to expand Beth’s responsibilities over these three key markets for Cumulus. Her deep experience and effectiveness as a leader make her a natural choice for this enhanced role.”

Beth Coughlin commented: “I am delighted to be working with the Cumulus teams in Buffalo and Erie. We will continue to serve advertisers and community partners with the strength of heritage stations, leveraging our powerful marketing platforms of audio and digital. I am proud to join these talented teams!”

📻Cumulus Media owns and operates five radio stations in Buffalo, including: Hot 98.9/WBBF-AM/W255DH-FM (CHR); 103.3 The Edge/WEDG-FM (Rock); 97 Rock/WGRF-FM (Classic Rock); Talk 1270/WHLD-AM (News/Talk); and 104.1 WHTT/WHTT-FM (Classic Hits).

📻Cumulus Media owns and operates five radio stations in Erie, including: Z102.3/WQHZ-FM (Classic Rock); CBS Sports Radio – Erie 96.3FM and 1260AM/WRIE-AM (Sports); Classy 100/WXKC-FM (AC); 104.3 The Vibe/WXKC-HD2 FM (Urban); and NASH FM 97.9/WXTA-FM (Country).

📻Cumulus Media owns and operates four radio stations in Syracuse, including: SGNL Syracuse (Triple A); 95X/WAQX-FM (Alternative); 93Q/WNTQ-FM (CHR); and The Score 1260/WSKO-AM (Sports).

Detroit Radio: Jim Johnson Hangs-Up The WOMC Headphones

JJ Retires at WOMC

A longtime staple of the Detroit radio airwaves is calling it a career after half a century at the mic.

Jim “JJ” Johnson, host of WOMC’s “JJ and JoAnne Morning Show,” finished his final show on Friday after announcing his plans to retire earlier this year.

Johnson started his career on 104.3, then known as WEXL, but became well known in Detroit as a morning show host on WWWW-FM and then as a longtime morning host on “JJ and The Morning Crew,” first on Detroit’s WRIF, followed by WLLZ-FM and WCSX-FM. Johnson has spent the last 13 years at 104.3 WOMC.

“Growing up, I was the kid hiding under the covers with a pocket transistor radio, so my parents couldn’t hear, listening to the greats on CKLW and Keener 13, dreaming that one day I might be able to do that,” Johnson said in a release earlier this year. “I have been so fortunate to have realized that dream and have been able to live it in my hometown my entire career. It’s really the people I have worked for and worked with that made it possible and most importantly, our loyal listeners. To quote a friend, ‘Detroit audiences are the greatest rock and roll audiences in the world” $%*#, I’ve known that for 52 years.’”

During his final show on Friday, Tim Allen and Bob Seger were among the special callers who phoned in to wish him well.

Right-Wing X Users Push For Disney+ Cancellations As Disney Pulls Ads

Hours after Elon Musk told companies to "go f***" themselves for pulling their advertisements from X over concerns about antisemitism—and called out Disney CEO Bob Iger by name—a group of right-wing users on the social media platform have called for Disney+ subscribers to cancel their accounts.

Forbes reports multiple right-wing accounts on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, called on subscribers to Disney’s streaming service Disney+ to cancel their subscriptions, with the X account End Wokeness posting instructions for cancellation with the caption: “Stop giving money to people that hate you.”

Those calls follow Disney’s decision earlier this month to suspend its advertising on the social media platform, joining a growing list of companies including Apple, IBM, Lionsgate and Xfinity, following the release of a scathing report that found advertisements on X alongside pro-Nazi posts, and after Musk endorsed a post widely condemned as antisemitic.

Disney’s decision to stop running ads on X could cost the social media platform millions of dollars, while X users’ calls for a boycott of Disney+ would have to reach many of its 146 million subscribers (as of August) to have an equivalent effect.

Speaking at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit on Wednesday, Musk accused advertisers that left the platform of “blackmailing” him with money and crudely told them to “go f**k themselves,” while addressing Iger in the crowd, saying, “hi Bob.”

Iger, also speaking at the summit, said he has “a lot of respect for Elon and what he’s accomplished,” but took exception with Musk’s endorsement of the post on X, saying: “By him taking the position that he took in quite a public manner, we just felt that the association with that position and Elon Musk and X was not necessarily a positive one for us.”

Walmart Drops Advertising On Social Platform X

Walmart said on Friday it is not advertising on social media platform X, one of the latest brands to say it has dropped the Elon Musk-owned site, reports Reuters.

"We aren't advertising on X as we've found other platforms to better reach our customers," a Walmart spokesperson said.

X, formerly known as Twitter, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The platform has struggled to retain advertisers since Musk acquired the company in October 2022, and faced a fresh exodus in recent weeks over rising concern about antisemitic content.

Earlier this month, Musk agreed with an X user who falsely claimed members of the Jewish community were stoking hatred against white people, saying the user was speaking "the actual truth."

The user had also referenced the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, which purports that Jewish people and leftists are engineering the ethnic and cultural replacement of white populations with non-white immigrants that will lead to a "white genocide."

Musk apologized for his post during an interview at a New York Times DealBook event on Wednesday, but hurled expletives against advertisers that suspended their ads, accusing them of "blackmail."

An executive at a major ad-buying agency, who declined to be named, said X ad sales representatives appeared frustrated in the aftermath of Musk's outburst against brands and did not have much to say in conversation.

Newsom-DeSantis Debate Draws 4.75M Viewers

The Thursday debate between California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Fox News — the talk of the political world this past week — delivered a decent bump in the channel’s ratings, reports The Los Angeles Times.

Billed as the “The Great Red State vs. Blue State Debate,” the event moderated by Fox News host Sean Hannity averaged 4.75 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.

The number was more than double the November average for “Hannity,” which was 2.3 million viewers, as the debate pulled in people who do not typically watch his nightly diatribes against liberals and the Biden administration. The figure also accounted for 73% of the viewers watching cable news in the 9 p.m time slot.

The event faced stiff competition, up against a close, high-scoring “Thursday Night Football” contest between the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks streaming on Amazon, and the finale of “The Golden Bachelor” on ABC, the most-watched TV program of the night.

The highly anticipated match-up staged in a suburb outside Atlanta was unusual for TV news, with DeSantis, a contender for the 2024 Republican nomination for president, facing off against a sitting governor who has repeatedly stated he is not running for national office.

Taylor Swift Claims Half Of The Top 10 Bestselling Albums

Taylor Swift has demonstrated time and time again that she can sell an album like few in the music industry these days. She reminds the world of this ability every time she releases something new, but her selling power doesn’t stop there. Her albums continue to sell thousands of copies every week for months, and sometimes years, which separates her from all of her competitors.

Forbes reports the superstar’s selling prowess is on full display this week in a very special fashion. Swift claims half of all the spots inside the top 10 on the Top Album Sales chart, Billboard’s ranking of the top-selling titles in the U.S.

Swift ranks highest on the Top Album Sales chart with her newest release, which makes sense, as many fans are just getting around to purchasing a copy. 1989 (Taylor’s Version) has only been on the tally for four weeks, and this time around it dips slightly to No. 3, pushed down by new entrants from Dolly Parton and Enhypen. After a month of availability, the set still sold nearly 64,000 copies, according to Luminate.

Just two spaces further down, Swift begins a winning streak, with four albums appearing in a row. That stretch begins at No. 6 with Folklore. That Album of the Year Grammy winner sold just under 20,000 copies—a huge sum for a record that’s been present on the tally for years now.

Swift’s Midnights comes next at No. 7. Her most recent release of all original material sold 19,100 copies in the past tracking period. Lover lands at No. 8 with 17,800 copies purchased by Swifties across the U.S. Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) rounds out Swift’s five top 10 titles on the Top Album Sales chart this time around. That re-release, which came out in mid-2023, sold another 17,200 copies.

Dolly Parton’s ‘Rockstar’ Is Her Biggest Debut Yet

Since Danny Nozell started managing Dolly Parton in 2005, her already legendary career has soared to new heights. But even Nozell, CEO of CTK Enterprises, couldn’t have predicted that Parton would be inducted into the 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and, one year later, that her 30-track set, Rockstar — inspired by the honor — would become the highest-charting album of her nearly 60-year career, reports Billboard.

Parton is joined by such artists as Elton John on “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on “Let It Be,” and John Fogerty on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Long As I Can See the Light,” among others, on the Nov. 17 release, which also contains six originals. Rockstar debuted at a career-high No. 3 on the all-genre Billboard 200, surpassing Parton’s previous high of No. 6 for 2014’s Blue Smoke. With 128,000 equivalent album units, Rockstar also blasted in at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums, Top Rock & Alternative Albums, Top Rock Albums and Top Album Sales charts.

Parton recorded much of the album in secret, not even telling Nozell. “[She] did not tell me until she had finished it and called myself and my staff in to listen to the album,” he says. “I said, ‘What album?’ She said, ‘The rock album.’ She didn’t want to tell me because she was afraid I would start cutting deals before it was done. She knows me well.” 

Podcast Listeners Can't Get Enough Crime

Apple Music , Apple Podcasts and Spotify released their year-end charts this week to give us a sense of what people have been consuming in music and podcasts in this glorious year of 2023. On the music front, Miley Cyrus’ song Flowers was big on both platforms, as was SZA’s Kill Bill. Apple Music saw more hip-hop tracks chart in its top 10 song list than Spotify, as well as J-pop artists. Interestingly, Morgan Wallen’s Last Night was the No.1 song. It didn’t even make it onto Spotify’s top 10.

Ashley Carman at Bloomberg drilled down on the podcast charts, particularly Apple Podcasts’ “ Top New Shows .” The company determines these rankings through a mix of how many followers a show receives, the number of listens it has and the completion rate of episodes.

Here’s that list:

  1. Scamanda
  2. The Retrievals
  3. The Deck Investigates
  4. Murder & Magnolias
  5. Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  6. The Girl in the Blue Mustang
  7. The Coldest Case in Laramie
  8. Murder in Apartment 12
  9. The Girlfriends
  10. Undetermined

Nine out of 10 shows fall under the true-crime category, and 30% come from NBC’s Dateline. (On Spotify, Dateline NBC came in as the 20th most popular show in the US based on the number of unique listeners that consumed at least two minutes or 50% of an episode.)

The people have spoken: they can’t get enough of murders and scams, according to Carman.

Carman chatted with Liz Cole, who oversees the audio unit of NBC News Studios and is the executive producer of Dateline, to get a sense of how she and the team think about competition in the cutthroat space and what makes for a worthwhile story.

“I think that what we look for in the original podcasts is not dissimilar from what we look for in original television,” she said.

NPR Names New Podcast Chief As Network Seeks To Regain Footing

named veteran audio executive Collin Campbell as its new podcast chief on Thursday as part of an effort to stabilize its role as a key player in the increasingly crowded field.

"People who are looking for news and information on topics are just facing a really confusing mix," Campbell said in an interview ahead of the announcement. "You can't sort between the output of a group of journalists that have the goods and have the boots on the ground, and a bunch of people [simply] talking about it. We have to really look at ways to stand out and show what we do and how we do it."

The appointment underscores the moment as one of rapid shifts among the network's executive ranks and heightened competition for both podcast listeners and advertisers. NPR has been an innovative force in podcasting but has seen its leading status ebb with a flurry of entrants into the industry.

Campbell promised that he'd build upon the public radio network's journalistic strengths, seek opportunities to forge stronger connections with listeners to increase audiences and financial support, and leverage the reporting and insights of its hundreds of local member stations.

Campbell was selected by NPR's acting chief content officer, Edith Chapin, after a national search. He will start next month.

After projecting a steep revenue shortfall, NPR embarked on layoffs comprising nearly 10 percent of its workforce earlier this year. It eliminated four podcasts, including the groundbreaking show Invisibilia and other acclaimed series.

Campbell's predecessor, NPR programming executive Anya Grundmann, is departing NPR at the end of this year, though the job has been refashioned. It no longer includes the portfolio of NPR Music.

Philly Radio: 94 WIP Simulcasts with SF's 97.5 The Game

San Fran radio host from KGMZ 95.7 The Game Joe Shasky is at it again, coming after Philadelphians. Shasky and his co-host Bonta Hill on The Morning Roast joined Hugh Douglas and Joe Giglio on Friday's 94WIP Midday Show to discuss the upcoming massive Eagles-Niners game.

"I am very worried about Jalen running around because quarterbacks who scramble have always given us fits with this wide nine front and this secondary being able to cover," Shasky admitted.

Shasky posted a video on X this week stating how he hates Philadelphia and calling the fans "frauds" and attacking 94WIP hosts specifically.

Back in July, Shasky went off calling Philadelphia fans "lower life scumbags more than anyone."

Shasky complained about how the Eagles fans behaved to him during last year's NFC Championship game on the 94WIP Midday Show back in July, following his "scumbag" rant.

"Going into that stadium, hot dogs thrown at us, beers thrown at us," he told Hugh and Joe on July 12th, 2023. "People pushing, grabbing us, come on man. That's scum bag—we're going to a game. We're going to a game."

iHeart Radio Rewinds 2023

The end of the year is almost here and you know what that means – iHeart is releasing our list of most played artists, songs and podcasts of the year in iHeartRewind! 

By tallying the total audience spins (TAS) and streams across iHeartRadio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app, we’ve compiled a list of the top songs, as well as the top artists overall nationwide and by format, which include: pop, country, hip-hop, alternative and R&B.

This year, Taylor Swift took the crown with over 2.8 billion TAS. One of her hit songs, “Anti-Hero” also made the Top 10 most played. However, no song got more listens than “Flowers” by none other than Miley Cyrus.

Following these incredible artists to round-out iHeartRadio’s top five played artists this year were Sza, Morgan Wallen and The Weeknd. As for songs? R&B hit “Creepin” by Metro Boomin featuring The Weeknd and 21 Savage, “Calm Down” by Rema and Selena Gomez, “Die For You” by The Weeknd and “Kill Bill” by Sza rounded out the top five.

Top Overall Artists 2023
  1. Taylor Swift (2.8+ billion)
  2. Sza (2.3+ billion)
  3. Morgan Wallen (2.1+ billion)
  4. The Weeknd (1.89+ billion)
  5. Miley Cyrus (1.87+ billion)
  6. Luke Combs (1.85+ billion)
  7. Metro Boomin (1.4+ billion)
  8. Rema & Selena Gomez (1.2+ billion)
  9. Ed Sheeran (1.1+ million)
  10. Post Malone (1+ billion)

Top Overall Songs 2023
  1. “Flowers” Miley Cyrus (1.4+ billion)
  2. “Creepin’” Metro Boomin featuring The Weeknd & 21 Savage (1.3+ billion)
  3. “Calm Down” Rema & Selena Gomez (1.2+ billion)
  4. “Die For You” The Weeknd (1.11+ billion)
  5. “Kill Bill” Sza (1.1+ billion)
  6. “Sure Thing” Miguel (850.6+ million)
  7. “Last Night” Morgan Wallen (778.8+ million)
  8. “Anti-Hero” Taylor Swift (771.5+ million)
  9. “I’m Good (Blue)” David Guetta & Bebe Rexha (745.9+ million)
  10. “Snooze” Sza (692.7+ million)

By Generation

Radio History: December 2

➦In Ezra Stone was born in New Bedford Mass.  ezra-stone His major acting success was as the teenaged son, Henry, in the popular radio comedy The Aldrich Family. As director he shot that show when it came to TV, as well as The Munsters & Lost in Space. He died at age 76 in an auto accident Mar 3, 1994.

➦In 1932..."The Adventures of Charlie Chan" first aired on the NBC Blue Radio Network. The Chinese detective became even more popular on the movie screen in the 1930s and 1940s.

On radio, Charlie Chan was heard in several different series on three networks (the NBC Blue Network, Mutual, and ABC) between 1932 and 1948.  Walter Connolly initially portrayed Chan on Esso Oil's Five Star Theater.  Ed Begley, Sr. had the title role in NBC's The Adventures of Charlie Chan (1944–45), followed by Santos Ortega (1947–48). Leon Janney and Rodney Jacobs were heard as Lee Chan, Number One Son, and Dorian St. George was the announcer.

➦In 1963...Jay Nelson aired his first morning show on CHUM 1050 AM Toronto.

Born Frank Coxe in Scranton, Pa., Nelson was a disc jockey there before arriving in  Buffalo, where WKBW was riding the crest of rock's surging popularity.

He joined Joey Reynolds, Danny Neaverth, Fred Klestine and a handful of other star disc jockeys who were kings of radio and school record hops. Owing to the station's 50,000 watts of power, their irreverent voices and record selections boomed into homes up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

On weekends Nelson changed into a pith helmet and khakis for his role as host of WKBW-TV's "Jungle Jay Show," a humorous audience participation series that aired on Saturday morning.

The program was a hit with Canadian viewers as well, and it was Nelson's cross-border popularity that earned him the morning job at CHUM.

Nelson had a 17 year run in morning drive at CHUM, finally stepping down in 1980.

Nelson went on to gigs at CITY-TV, CKFM, CKEY, CHFI and CJEZ and was teaching radio at George Brown College in Toronto shortly before his death.

On February 18, 1994, Toronto radio fans were shocked at the news that long-time CHUM morning man Jay Nelson had died.

➦In 1971...Don Imus started at 660 WNBC, New York City.

Imus was a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad. Upon winning a talent contest at Johnny Otis's nightclub, he began working as a singer/songwriter, managed by Otis.  After hearing a morning disc-jockey, he went to the nearby radio station and persuaded the owner to hire him. Thus he began his career as a radio disc jockey on June 28, 1968 at radio station KUTY in Palmdale, California. He stayed at the station until 1969 when he left for a job at KJOY, a small radio station in Stockton, California.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Iger Vows: Disney Messaging Is Out, Storytelling Is In

Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said Wednesday he will no longer tolerate his company’s partners and creative team prioritizing messaging over storytelling.

“Creators lost sight of what their No. 1 objective needed to be,” Iger said at the DealBook Summit in New York on Wednesday. “We have to entertain first. It’s not about messages.”

CNBC reports Iger has recently pushed to improve the quality of Disney films in 2024 and beyond. He is cutting back the number of movies Disney makes to focus on making better films. Earlier this week, he told Disney employees at a town hall that creating hit movies is the best way the company can change perception for investors and employees.

Iger said Disney’s prioritization of messaging over storytelling peaked “while [he] was gone” in 2022, alluding to the 11 months he left his job as Disney’s executive chairman. Iger had been in charge of “creative endeavors” in 2020 and 2021, even while Bob Chapek ran the company as CEO.

“We have entertained with values and with having a positive impact on the world in many different ways. ‘Black Panther’ is a great example of that,” Iger said. “I like being able to entertain if you can infuse it with positive messages and have a good impact on the world. Fantastic. But that should not be the objective. When I came back, what I have really tried to do is to return to our roots.”

Disney has dealt with blowback from Republican politicians, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and critics on social media for including a same-sex kiss in 2022′s “Lightyear” and an openly gay character in 2022′s “Strange World.” 2023′s “Elemental” also includes a nonbinary character.

While Disney has a long history of infusing storytelling with positive morals, Iger acknowledged during Disney’s earnings conference call earlier this month that he believes the company’s storytelling has suffered as the company has increased the number of movies it’s made for both Disney+ and theatrical release. Iger reiterated that he has emphasized to his creative executives and production partners that making engaging stories has to be Disney’s first priority.

RAB Names Mike Hulvey President and CEO, Farber Departs

Mike Hulvey has been named the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the RAB it was announced today by Jeff Warshaw, Chair of the RAB Board and Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Connoisseur Media.

Mike Hulvey, CEO of Neuhoff Media, will assume the RAB leadership post on April 1, 2024. Erica Farber, who has led the organization for nearly twelve years, has decided it is time to step down and pursue other interests including continuing to participate in RAB's Rising Through the Ranks leadership development training and National Radio Talent System, a wholly owned subsidiary of the organization. Under Farber's stewardship, the RAB has reshaped the organization into a full-service integrated membership, business development and training concern as well as forged strong relationships within the advertising marketplace. Additionally, she has diversified and re-invigorated its Board of Directors to ensure the future of the trade association.

Mike Hulvey
Hulvey's selection comes with the endorsement of the RAB Executive Committee and Board of Directors which includes representation from a broad group of radio broadcasters across the US.

According to Warshaw, "Mike is an excellent selection with the relevant skills and expertise to lead the RAB. He has an impressive track record in corporate management and local radio expertise. In addition, as a past chair of the RAB he has a clear understanding of the organization and what the broadcast industry requires from RAB. "He has a tremendous passion for the industry which will serve us all well."

"We thank Erica for her leadership over the past decade in helping to shape an organization that meets the needs of broadcasters today as well as for the future of the audio industry," stated Warshaw. "She's left an indelible imprint on the industry, and we can't thank her enough for her commitment and passion to Radio. It's been an honor and a privilege to work with her."

Mike Hulvey, "I'm honored to take on this responsibility and lead the RAB. It's a privilege to follow an amazing leader such as Erica Farber. I look forward to celebrating her in the coming months while we begin working with our dedicated team and board of directors in support of the mission of the RAB."

Mike Hulvey is a radio lifer. He began producing local shows at age 14, rising to become President and CEO of Neuhoff Media. Mike has served as Chair of the RAB Board, President of the International Broadcasters Idea Bank as well as a member of the NAB Board of Directors. Mike has also joined Dick Van Dyke and Gene Hackman as a Wall of Fame inductee in their hometown of Danville, Illinois.

Mike and his wife Julie have four adult children and one grandchild.

Hulvey will work with Farber to ensure a smooth and successful transition during the next few months as her last day with the RAB will be April 30, 2024.

X CEO Says Musk's Comments Were 'Candid and Profound'

Elon Musk, Linda Yaccarino

X Chief Executive Officer Linda Yaccarino, who oversees the social network’s relationships with advertisers, sent a memo to employees signaling her support of owner Elon Musk after his incendiary comments insulting brands that have backed away from the platform, reports Bloomberg.

“Our principles do not have a price tag, nor will they be compromised — ever,” Yaccarino wrote Thursday, a day after Musk told former advertisers including Walt Disney Co. to go “f—-” themselves. “No matter how hard they try, we will not be distracted by sideline critics who don’t understand our mission.”

Musk at Wednesday’s DealBook conference flung expletives at advertisers who had paused their campaigns in protest of his posts earlier this month supporting an antisemitic conspiracy theory, in which he agreed that Jewish people hold a “dialectical hatred” of white people. At the conference in New York, Musk said the advertisers pulling their money will kill the company.

In the memo, sent Thursday and viewed by Bloomberg, Yaccarino encouraged staff to watch Musk’s appearance at the conference if they hadn’t seen it. Musk’s “interview was candid and profound,” she said. “He shared an unmatched and completely unvarnished perspective and vision for the future.” Earlier, Yaccarino had reposted the specific clip calling out advertisers via her own X account.

Yaccarino’s memo is the the latest example of the CEO openly standing up for X’s owner, despite his comments that alienate the advertisers the company needs in order to continue operating, making her own job harder. The company’s advertising revenue is down more than 60% since Musk’s $44 billion Twitter takeover, in part because of his behavior responding to racist or antisemitic tweets. The platform, renamed X, is still indebted to the banks that helped fund the transaction.

SiriusXM, MLB Extend Broadcasts Through 2028

SiriusXM and Major League Baseball announced today a five-year extension of their broadcasting agreement. SiriusXM has teamed up with MLB to deliver games to fans around the country since 2005, and will continue to air live play-by-play of every regular season and postseason MLB game, as well as select spring training and Spanish-language game broadcasts, through the 2028 season. SiriusXM will also continue to produce the exclusive MLB Network Radio channel, which delivers live, in-depth MLB talk and analysis 365 days a year.

All MLB games are available to SiriusXM listeners in their cars and on the SiriusXM app. Those listening on the SiriusXM app and in vehicles equipped with SiriusXM’s latest generation 360L platform get access to play-by-play channels dedicated to each of MLB’s 30 clubs. This ensures the listener can hear their favorite team’s announcers for every game, whether they are playing at home or on the road.

The new SiriusXM app, which will begin rolling out on December 14, will offer listeners a more personalized, easy-to-use, lean-back streaming experience that puts discovery at the forefront. A new centralized sports hub ensures fans never have to miss a game, with all the latest live broadcasts, dedicated league and team pages, start of game notifications and more.

12/1 WAKE-UP CALL: After 7 days, Combat Resumes

Heavy fighting was reported in Gaza on Friday as Israel's military resumed combat operations against Hamas after accusing the Palestinian militant group of violating a temporary truce by firing towards Israeli territory. The seven-day pause, which began on Nov. 24 and was extended twice, had allowed for the exchange of dozens of hostages held in Gaza for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and facilitated the entry of humanitarian aid into the shattered coastal strip.

In the hour before the truce was set to end at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT), Israel said it intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza. There was no immediate comment from Hamas or claim of responsibility for the launches. Palestinian media reported Israeli air and artillery strikes across the enclave after the truce expired, including in Rafah, near the border with Egypt.

In Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, a Reuters witness said he could hear heavy shelling and see smoke rising in the east of the town. People were fleeing the area to camps in the west of Khan Younis for cover, he added. The resumption of fighting came with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about to depart Israel. Blinken said on Thursday he told Israeli leaders they must not repeat the scale of destruction and displacement inflicted on the northern Gaza Strip as they prepare a military push farther south to eradicate Hamas. That reflects a shift in tone by the Biden administration toward increasingly stern messages that Israel must comply with international humanitarian law.

➤BIDEN FACES CRITICS IN HIS OWN ADMIN: Joe Biden is facing a wave of internal criticism, NBC reported, with officials in the State Department, USAID and Congress expressing concern at the Israel-Hamas war. With 15,000 Gazans killed in seven weeks of bombardment , many inside the Biden administration feel that the White House should do more to rein-in Israel. Only one person has publicly resigned due to the Gaza onslaught - Josh Paul (right), a director in the State Department's political-military affairs bureau, which oversees U.S. arms transfers. But sources told NBC News that the internal unrest - including statements in open letters from government employees - exceeds anything felt in the last 40 years, including the Iraq War and Donald Trump 's Muslim ban.

➤WHAT DID ISRAEL KNOW AND WHEN DID THEY KNOW IT:  A bombshell report has claimed Israeli intelligence had an intimate understanding of Hamas' October 7 attack blueprint over a year prior, but brushed it off as it was deemed unachievable. In a 40-page document obtained by The New York Times, Hamas laid out a detailed plan to carry out its assault on Israel that ultimately led to the deaths of approximately 1,200 people. The battle plan reportedly did not set a date for the attack, but offered an exhaustive look at the terrorist group's strategy, including a focus on fortifications around the Gaza Strip, while storming key military bases and division headquarters. According to the outlet, the plans within the document were followed by Hamas with chilling precision in the attacks last month, raising questions as to why Israel failed to take steps to prevent it. It is also claimed that officials conceded they could have prevented, or at least diminished, the October 7 attacks had they taken a number of dire warnings from analysts seriously.

➤ISRAEL TO HUNT DOWN HAMAS LEADERSHIP: Israel’s intelligence services are preparing to kill Hamas leaders around the world when the nation’s war in the Gaza Strip winds down, setting the stage for a yearslong campaign to hunt down militants responsible for the Oct. 7 massacres, Israeli officials said. With orders from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s top spy agencies are working on plans to hunt down Hamas leaders living in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar, the small Gulf nation that has allowed the group to run a political office in Doha for a decade, the officials said.

The Wall Street Journal reports the assassination campaign would be an extension of Israel’s decades long clandestine operations that have become the subject of both Hollywood legend and worldwide condemnation. Israeli assassins have hunted Palestinian militants in Beirut while dressed as women, and killed a Hamas leader in Dubai while disguised as tourists. Israel has used a car bomb to assassinate a Hezbollah leader in Syria and a remote-controlled rifle to kill a nuclear scientist in Iran, according to former Israeli officials.

➤STOCKS END NOVEMBER WITH A BANG: The Dow Jones Average rose more than 500 points yesterday to bring the month of November to an upbeat end. The Dow ended up at just over 38,000, its biggest number for the year. Investors were apparently celebrating the expectation that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates for now.

➤TRUMP GAG ORDER REINSTATED: An appeals court yesterday reinstated the limited gag order imposed on Donald Trump by Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the former president’s fraud trial in New York. An attorney for Trump called the new ruling “a tragic day for the rule of law.” The gag order forbids the former president to lob personal insults towards court staff members and his own family. The judge says his chambers have been “inundated” with threats.Hours before the gag order was reinstated, Trump renewed his personal attacks in social media posts referring to the judge’s “Trump Hating wife” and his “very disturbed and angry law clerk.”

➤DeSANTIS GETS UNDER NEWSOM'S SKIN: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis got under Gavin Newsom’s skin on Thursday night when he revealed the California governor’s own father-in-law is among the millions that have fled the blue state in recent years — for the Sunshine State. “So, I was talking to a fella who had made the move from California to Florida, and he was telling me that Florida is much better governed, safer, better budget, lower taxes, all this stuff, and he’s really happy with the quality of life,” DeSantis said during a Fox News debate with his California counterpart. “And then he paused, and he said, ‘You know, by the way, I’m Gavin Newsom’s father-in-law.” 

Steve Wexler To Succeed Hulvey At Neuhoff Media

Neuhoff Media has announced that Mike Hulvey, President and CEO, will be departing from the company next spring, taking on a new role leading the trade association representing America’s broadcast radio industry, the RAB. Former Journal and Scripps broadcast executive and current Leadership Coach at Good Karma Brands, Steve Wexler, will serve as Interim CEO and will begin working with the Neuhoff team in January.

In a professional career that began 40 years ago, Mike grew up in the radio business. He began producing radio shows in high school in 1980, started full-time in the industry in 1984, and has never looked back.

Steve Wexler
In his new role, Mike will be succeeding Erica Farber as President/ CEO of the RAB, who recently announced she will be stepping away in April 2024. Mike has been a member of the RAB Board of Directors since 2012, serving as Chairman from 2020 to 2022. The RAB provides training, advocacy, and development support for more than 6,000 member stations in the U.S. and more than 1,000 member networks, representative firms, broadcast vendors and international organizations.

“It has been a tremendous honor to work with the Neuhoff family and our team of professionals for all these years,” said Mike Hulvey. “I can’t thank them enough for what we’ve done together. In so many ways, we’ve been able to make a real difference for our listeners, clients, and communities. What a blessing and a privilege it has been.”

Appleton Radio: Otis Day Gets Wake-Up Duty At WKSZ

Woodward Community Media has announced the newest addition to its talent lineup on 95.9 KISS FM, Otis Day. Day will take over weekday mornings from 5 to 9 a.m. starting Monday, December 18th. The hiring marks a return of one of Northeast Wisconsin’s most popular personalities. Day has been working outside of radio since March of 2022.

“Radio is my first love. Before girls, I loved radio. I’m excited to be back with my love and to do it on 95.9 KISS FM is truly an honor. I can’t wait for Northeast Wisconsin listeners to be the stars again. They have so much to say. They’ll be a huge part of mornings on KISS FM,” said Day.

“Otis Dahy brings a unique blend of personality, fun, and authenticity that will mesh perfectly with our current lineup. His infectious energy will keep our audience coming back for more. I am thrilled to welcome him as a valuable member of the KISS FM family,” said Brand Manager, Joe Marroe.

“Woodward is proud to welcome OTIS DAY back into this wonderfully personal, community-based, vibrant medium called radio…and especially at the helm of the morning show on KISS FM. He personifies our core values of teamwork and fun, said Woodward Radio Group General Manager Kelly Radandt.

Canada, Google Strike Deal To Keep News In Search Results

Canada and Google have reached a deal to keep news stories in search results and for the internet giant to pay C$100 million ($73.6 million) annually to news publishers in the country, a Canadian official said on Wednesday.

Reuters reports the deal resolves Alphabet-owned Google's concerns over Canada's online news law that seeks to make large internet companies share advertising revenue with news publishers in the country.

"Following weeks of productive discussions, I am happy to announce that we have found a path forward with Google for the implementation of the Online News Act," Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge said in a statement.

Canada's Online News Act, part of a global trend to make internet giants pay for news, passed in June and the government is finalizing rules that are expected to be released by a Dec. 19 deadline.

Google confirmed that Ottawa had committed to addressing its core issues and that news will continue to be available on its platforms in Canada.

Google had previously said it would block news on its platform, saying said Canada's law was more stringent than the ones in Europe and Australia, and raised concerns about the company being exposed to potentially uncapped liability.

Meta Platforms, the other internet giant that is the target of the law, has already blocked news sharing on Facebook and Instagram over its concerns about the law.

St-Onge said the deal with Google shows that the new law works, and called on Facebook to explain its decision to block news sharing in Canada.

D/FW Radio: KSCS Morning Show Gathers 152K+ Cards For The Troops

Cumulus Media  announces that New Country 96.3/KSCS-FM in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX and morning show hosts, Hawkeye and Michelle Rodriguez of Hawkeye in the Morning, concluded the fifth annual 10,000 for the Troops holiday card drive to send warm, hopeful wishes to U.S. troops serving overseas this holiday season. The station announced today that this year’s campaign collected 152,869 cards, with more expected to arrive in the mail over the next week.

The station has partnered with Support Our Soldiers, a local 501(c)(3) organization based in Fort Worth, TX, to send the holiday cards to “high risk” units/individuals that are either in isolated areas or do not have support coming from home.

The campaign kicked off October 23, 2023, with hosts Mark ‘Hawkeye’ Louis and Michelle Rodriguez starting with the goal of collecting 10,000 cards. This year Community Coffee stepped up as a presenting sponsor and utilized their partnership with select Kroger Stores to be drop-off locations. Listeners and supporters could also mail their cards to the radio station or deliver them to any of the Dallas/Fort Worth Gigi’s Cupcakes or Dave & Buster’s locations. In addition, Averitt, Transportation and Logistics helped station staff deliver all supplies to participating drop-off locations and helped drop off all collected cards to Support Our Soldiers.

EMF Makes Leadership Appointments

Educational Media Foundation (EMF), the parent organization of leading Christian radio networks K-LOVE and Air1, has appointed three to its Executive Leadership Team.

David Pierce has been named Chief Media Officer at Educational Media Foundation. In this role, Pierce oversees content on both K-LOVE and Air1 radio networks and their accompanying music streaming platforms, as well as video streaming platform K-LOVE On Demand. He also oversees AccessMore, the ministry’s podcasting platform, as well as its publishing and film divisions. Pierce joined EMF in 1991 after an impressive career in broadcasting at both KLTY in Dallas and KSBJ in Houston, and since that time has held several leadership roles within EMF including, most recently, Chief Partnership Officer.

Matt Reynolds was named Chief Financial Officer in September 2023. He joined the organization in 2022 and has served in roles of increasing responsibility including Director of Financial Analysis and Treasury, and Vice President of Finance. Prior to joining EMF, Reynolds spent six years at Denison Ministries in Dallas serving in various leadership roles including Chief Financial Officer for the ministry. He is a Certified Public Accountant and serves as EMF treasurer. Reynolds holds both graduate and undergraduate business degrees from Texas A&M University.

Bethany Davis has joined Educational Media Foundation as Senior Vice President of Communications, overseeing communications and marketing operations. Davis comes to EMF with 20 years of experience, including nine years as Senior Director of Communications at Brentwood-based CoreCivic, Inc. Previously, she served as Senior Manager of Public Relations with Varallo Public Relations following nine years at CBS affiliate NewsChannel 5 WTVF in Nashville. She holds a master’s degree in business from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, and a bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Radio History: December 1

➦In 1931...Gene Autry, nicknamed The Singing Cowboy, debuted this weekly show on WLS Chicago.

From 1940 to 1956, Autry had a huge hit with a weekly show on CBS Radio, Gene Autry's Melody Ranch. His horse, Champion, also had a CBS-TV and Mutual radio series, The Adventures of Champion. In response to his many young radio listeners aspiring to emulate him, Autry created the Cowboy Code, or Ten Cowboy Commandments. These tenets promoting an ethical, moral, and patriotic lifestyle that appealed to youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts, which developed similar doctrines. The Cowboy Code consisted of rules that were "a natural progression of Gene's philosophies going back to his first Melody Ranch programs

Autry is a member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and is the only person to be awarded stars in all five categories on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for film, television, music, radio, and live performance.

➦In 1941...WNEW (now WBBR, NYC) moved to 1130 AM. WNEW had been on 1250 AM and shared time with Newark station WHBI. In March 1941, WNEW and WHBI were both reassigned to 1280. Then, on December 1, 1941, a swap of call letters and frequency took place between WNEW on 1280 and WOV on 1130. WOV moved to 1280 (to later become WADO) and WNEW moved to 1130 and assumed full-time status.

For most of its first 70 years on the air, WNEW was known for its popular adult music selection as well as its staff of radio personalities including Martin Block, Dee Finch, Gene Rayburn, Gene Klavan, Al "Jazzbo" Collins, Ted Brown and William B. Williams. WNEW is credited with pioneering the role of the disc jockey, as well as for developing the modern morning radio show format and debuting the first all-night radio show. In addition to its music and entertainment programming, WNEW featured an award-winning news staff and became "The Voice of New York Sports" for its coverage of New York Giants football team as well as the New York Rangers hockey and New York Knicks basketball.  After years of declining ratings and management changes in the 1980s, WNEW was purchased by Bloomberg L.P. in 1992 and changed call letters to WBBR on December 15.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

MSNBC Shakes-Up Weekend Programming

MSNBC is making big programming changes to its weekend lineup, debuting a new ensemble program “The Weekend” in January and replacing Mehdi Hasan’s show, The Wrap reports

Hasan Out
Although the Sunday “The Mehdi Hasan Show” will be replaced on MSNBC by Ayman Mohyeldin, Hasan will remain at the network as a political analyst and occasional fill-in host. Mohyeldin’s show will expand to four hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

The network is also launching a new ensemble program “The Weekend” hosted by anchors Alicia Menendez, Symone Sanders-Townsend, and Michael Steele on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 – 10 a.m. ET.

The program will premiere on Saturday, Jan. 13, and will be based in Washington, D.C. The show will be executive produced by Kyle Griffin.

According to the network, the new ensemble program aims to “provide thoughtful analysis and coverage from three trusted voices familiar to the MSNBC audience.” The show will encourage conversations on the “state of democracy,” and will feature interviews with relevant newsmakers. 

Symone Sanders-Townsend, Michael Steele and Alicia Menendez

Menendez joined MSNBC in 2019 and most recently anchored MSNBC’s “American Voices with Alicia Menendez” on Saturdays and Sundays. Sanders-Townsend was most recently the host of “SYMONE” on MSNBC and Peacock. Prior to joining the network in 2022, she was a Senior Advisor and Chief Spokesperson to Vice President Kamala Harris. Steele has been an MSNBC political analyst since 2011 and is a frequent fill-in host for MSNBC. He served as the seventh Lieutenant Governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007 and as Chair of the Republican National Committee from 2009 to 2011.

Other changes to MSNBC’s weekend lineup include, Alex Witt expanding her breaking news coverage from 1 p.m. to 4  p.m. He will take over Yasmin Vossoughian’s programming hour, who will remain with the network as a national reporter. 

Jonathan Capehart will move his program to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Katie Phang will also be shifting to Saturdays at noon ET, in an effort to complement “Inside with Jen Psaki” in the same time slot on Sundays. 

In a memo sent to staff on Thursday, MSNBC President Rashida Jones announced the changes and said the lineup shakeup “will evolve our weekend programming to better position ourselves as we head into the presidential election.”

Bay Area Radio: RIFs Hit Cumulus Media KNBR

Two longtime hosts have been let go by KNBR Radio 104.5 FM / 680 AM. Morning-show co-host Paul McCaffrey and nighttime host F.P. Santangelo no longer have those jobs.

Santangelo tweeted about his ouster Wednesday afternoon: “I was informed today that due to budget cuts there will no longer be a 6-10pm show.” Longtime executive Lee Hammer and a morning-show producer, Erik Engle, were let go as well. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reports two sources confirmed that KNBR also parted ways with four members of its six-person digital team: reporter Danny Emerman, who covered the Giants and Warriors; reporter Jake Hutchinson, who covered the 49ers; content creator Austin Scott; and digital-content producer Maureen Mahoney.  

Adam Copeland, who co-hosts the “Tolbert and Copes” afternoon show with Tom Tolbert, became KNBR’s program director this month. After the afternoon show ended Wednesday, Copeland and Tolbert addressed the departures on-air.

Adam Copeland
“It’s been a really difficult day,” Copeland said. “I love the guys we let go of today. I’m looking forward to the future, but I really think we need to tip our cap and applaud the work that those guys have done.”

Said Tolbert: “It’s awful. I’ve been through a few of these and it never gets any easier, because a lot of good people don’t have their jobs. It’s a business; it’s the way that radio is going. It just is what it is. You do the best job you can and move on, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect a lot of people and their families.”

After Copeland and Tolbert signed off, KNBR aired syndicated CBS Sports Radio programming. 

McCaffrey and Brian Murphy have teamed on the “Murph and Mac” morning show for nearly 18 years. “Paulie Mac” has been the sidekick to Murphy, a former Chronicle sportswriter.

Santangelo spent seven seasons as a utilityman in the major leagues. He played for the San Francisco Giants in 1999 and the Oakland Athletics in 2001. This was his second stint as a nighttime host on KNBR.

“I’ll miss talking with you on a nightly basis the most,” Santangelo tweeted. “Hopefully now though, it will be in person after Giants game. Thank you for all your love and support. You guys are the best!”

Santangelo did fill-in work on Giants radio broadcasts this past season. He spent a decade as the color analyst on Washington Nationals telecasts.