Saturday, December 16, 2023

Radio History: December 17

Katherine Raht, House Jameson

➦In 1902 House Jameson was born in Austin, Texas. Success on Broadway led to a starring role in CBS Radio Network's 'Renfrew of the Mounted', and the part for which he is beloved, playing father over the 14 year run of NBC Radio’s 'The Aldrich Family'.  When the family comedy went to TV in 1949 he was the only radio cast member to move with it.  His many guest appearances on TV through the 1960’s were highlighted by recurring roles on the soaps The Edge of Night and Another World.

He died April 23 1971 at age 68.

➦In 1926...WCBS NYC signed-on (as WABC).

The station's history traces back to 1924, when Alfred H. Grebe started WAHG at 920 AM. WAHG was a pioneering station in New York, and was one of the first commercial radio stations to broadcast from remote locations including horse races and yachting events. Two years later, in 1926, Alfred Grebe changed the station's call sign to WABC (for his Atlantic Broadcasting Company) after concluding a business arrangement with the Ashland Battery Company (which had owned the call sign for a station in Asheville, NC) and moved his studios to West 57th Street, which would not be the last time the station would operate from 57th Street.

In 1928, General Order 40 moved the station's frequency to 970 AM, and the station became a part-time affiliate of the Columbia Broadcasting System, which was looking for a full-time radio presence in New York City (CBS's first flagship was WOR). After a short time broadcasting CBS programming three days a week, CBS president William S. Paley purchased WABC and it became a subsidiary of CBS.

Soon after this purchase the station moved to a new frequency, this time to 860 AM, and would eventually increase its transmitting power from 5,000 to its present 50,000 watts. The station also moved its studios into the CBS headquarters at 485 Madison Avenue (on the corner of 52nd Street).

The station, still operating as WABC, featured a mix of local interest programming, ethnic content and music programs from CBS's national feed.

As time went by, WABC turned more and more to the national programming provided by CBS and its affiliates, and its broadcast day was influenced by CBS's growing interest in news programming.

In 1939, the broadcasting operations were moved across 52nd Street from the headquarters to the new CBS Studio Building. In 1941, WABC moved to the frequency it currently occupies, 880 AM, and changed its call letters to WCBS on November 2, 1946, to identify more closely with its parent network, the Columbia Broadcasting System or CBS, and avoid possible confusion with the rival network of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), which had begun operation in 1943.

As a result, this station had no relation to the longtime ABC radio flagship station on 770 AM that began in 1921 as WJZ, and has operated as WABC since 1953.

➦In 1926...KYA San Francisco, California was licensed.  It signed-on 12/18/1926.

KYA went on the air on December 18, 1926, with 500 watts on 970 kHz from the Clift Hotel in San Francisco. The owners were Vincent I. Kraft of Seattle, who had started KJR-AM  and Frederick C. Clift of San Francisco. It got a license for 1000 watts on 850 kHz in November 1927. Its studios moved to the Warfield Theatre Building at 988 Market Street, but the transmitter stayed at the Clift Hotel.

In November 1928 moved to 1230 kHz as part of a nationwide frequency reshuffling, and joined the Columbia Broadcasting System. The station licensee went bankrupt in August, and KYA was transferred to a new corporation by the end of 1929. Having moved to various locations around the radio dial during the chaotic early days of broadcasting, KYA was assigned permanently to 1260 kHz as a result of NARBA in 1941.

"The Boss of the Bay" - KYA as a Top 40 Rock Station

In the mid-1950s, KYA made its mark as a Top40 station. KYA was for many years the leading Top 40 music radio station in the Bay Area, until the stronger-signalled KFRC switched to the format in 1966.

From time to time, up through 1970, KYA would again beat KFRC in the Arbitron ratings, but KYA's dominance was truly over after the mid-60's.  Former KYA morning man and legendary radio programmer Bill Drake went on to consult KFRC to its ratings success; it was at KYA that Drake first made his mark as program director. KYA was also instrumental in the careers of future sportscaster Johnny Holliday, audio and electronics store pitchman Tom Campbell, Hall of Fame disc jockey and underground radio pioneer Tom Donahue (a/k/a "Big Daddy"), and Tommy Saunders, who retired from KYA's successor, KOIT, in 2006.

Other notable disc jockeys who plied their trade on KYA's airwaves in the 1960s included Les Crane, (air name Johnny Raven), Casey Kasem, Jim Stagg, Bobby Mitchell, Norman Davis, "Emperor" Gene Nelson, Peter Tripp, Tony Bigg, Russ "The Moose" Syracuse, Chris Edwards, Ed Hider, Johnny Holliday, Bill Holley (a cousin of Buddy Holly), Bwana Johnny, and Gary Shaffer. The 1970's saw a staff that included Christopher Cain, Roger W. Morgan, Jay Stone, Scott Thomas, Steve Jordan, Jimmy "Jet" Powers, Gary Mora, and Michael Rivers.

In December 1979, KYA AM & FM flipped to a light album rock format under the title "Easy Rock 93." Within months the AM station would flip again, this time to an oldies format while the FM station would continue the light album rock format as KLHT (K-LITE). Morgan, Mora, and Syracuse would be brought back to revive the station from its heyday. This format would hold until the station was sold in 1983.

KYA's dominance was basically over by the late 1960s when FM stations began playing rock 'n' roll and gained larger audiences.

In mid-2007, Bonneville reached an agreement to sell the 1260 AM frequency to IHR Educational Broadcasting. IHR took over station operations in December of that year under a time-brokerage agreement, and officially closed on the station on February 1, 2008.

In 2007, KOIT-AM, the former 1260/KYA, became KSFB, a Catholic-oriented station owned by Immaculate Heart Radio. Ironically, KYA's chief Top 40 rival in the 1960s and 1970s, KFRC (610 AM), is now the Christian-oriented KEAR (the KFRC call letters would return in January 2009, this time at 1550 AM replacing KYCY and the station is owned by CBS Radio).

On December 10, 2007, a religious format came to 1260 AM; the call sign was changed to KSFB. KSFB is part of one of the largest Catholic radio network in America, and its daily broadcasts include daily mass and rosary.

➦In 1936...ventriloquist Edgar Bergen kidded around with his little wooden pal, Charlie McCarthy, for the first time on network radio. The ventriloquist act debuted on “The Rudy Vallee Royal Gelatin Hour” on NBC. Soon, Bergen became one of radio’s hottest properties, and was regarded as Vallee’s greatest talent discovery.

➦In 1955...singer/songwriter Carl Perkins wrote “Blue Suede Shoes”. Within 48 hours he had recorded it at Sun Records in Memphis. The track quickly became one of the first to be popular simultaneously on rock, country and rhythm & blues charts.

➦In 1963...Carroll James Jr. became the first American Disc-Jockey to air a Beatles record on radio station WWDC in Washington, DC. That was two months before the Beatles were on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” Carroll played ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, which he’d obtained from his stewardess girlfriend, who brought the single back from the UK.

Carroll James and friends

James won a place in Beatles mythology as the first disk jockey to play the group's records on American radio. But D. L. MacLaughlan, a Beatles researcher at UCLA, has found playlists and top-40 charts from radio stations around the country that predate Mr. James's broadcast by as much as 10 months. The earliest was WLS in Chicago, which began playing ''Please Please Me'' in February 1963. Nevertheless, the Beatles and Capitol considered Mr. James's advocacy helpful, and invited him to be the master of ceremonies at the group's first American concert, at the Washington Coliseum.

James died from cancer in 1997.

➦In 1976...Atlanta television station WTCG-TV, owned by Ted Turner, changed its call letters to WTBS, and was uplinked via satellite, to become the first commercial TV station to cover the entire U.S.   “Superstation” WTBS debuted on four cable systems, available initially in just 24,000 homes.

➦In 1986...Wayne “Danke Schoen” Newton won a $19.2 million defamation judgment against NBC News, which had aired erroneous reports linking Newton to mob figures, reports later proven to be false.

➦In 1987...WPLJ 95.5 FM NYC calls were changed to WWPR ("World Wide Power Radio") and became "Power 95." Rival WHTZ Z100 joked that the "PR" in the calls stood for "Puerto Rican" and that the station planned to flip to a Spanish-language format. The WPLJ call-sign returned the following year, on December 21, 1988, when research indicated that listeners still identified the station as WPLJ and the branding as "Power 95" was dropped.

Richard C Hottelet 1944

➦In 2014…Richard C. Hottelett, who covered the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge for CBS radio, and was the last survivor of “Murrow Boys,” the network’s pioneering World War II radio newsmen who worked under Edward R. Murrow, died at age 97.

➦In 2016…Bob Coburn, Los Angeles radio personality and host of the nationally syndicated show Rockline, lost his battle with lung cancer at age 68.

Tommy Steele is 87
  • Actor Armin Mueller-Stahl (“Shine”) is 93. 
  • Singer-actor Tommy Steele is 87. 
  • Actor Bernard Hill is 79. 
  • Actor Ernie Hudson (“Ghostbusters”) is 78. 
  • Former “Hardball” host Chris Matthews is 78. 
  • Actor-comedian Eugene Levy is 77. 
  • Actor Marilyn Hassett (“The Other Side of the Mountain”) is 76. 
  • Actor Wes Studi (TV’s “Comanche Moon,” “Into the West”) is 76. 
  • Drummer Jim Bonfanti of The Raspberries is 75. 
  • Actor Joel Brooks (“Six Feet Under”) is 74. 
  • Singer Paul Rodgers is 74. 
  • Singer Wanda Hutchinson Vaughn of The Emotions is 72. 
  • Actor Barry Livingston (“My Three Sons”) is 70. 
  • Actor Bill Pullman is 70. 
  • Country singer Sharon White of The Whites is 70.
  • Director-producer Peter Farrelly (“There’s Something About Mary,” ″Dumb and Dumber”) is 67. 
  • Bassist Mike Mills of R.E.M. is 65. 
  • Singer Sara Dallin of Bananarama is 62. 
  • Country singer Tracy Byrd is 57. 
  • Bassist Duane Propes of Little Texas is 57. 
  • Actor Laurie Holden (“The Walking Dead”) is 54. 
  • DJ Homicide of Sugar Ray is 53. 
  • Actor Sean Patrick Thomas (“The District”) is 53. 
  • Actor Claire Forlani (“Meet Joe Black,” ″CSI: NY”) is 52. 
  • Drummer Eddie Fisher of OneRepublic is 50. 
  • Actor Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story”) is 49. 
  • Actor Giovanni Ribisi is 49. 
  • Actor Marissa Ribisi (“Pleasantville”) is 49. 
  • Actor Milla Jovovich (“Zoolander,” ″The Fifth Element”) is 48. 
  • Singer Ben Goldwasser of MGMT is 41. 
  • Singer Mikky Ekko is 40. 
  • Actor Shannon Woodward (“Westworld,” ″Raising Hope”) is 39. 
  • Actor Emma Bell (“The Walking Dead”) is 37. 
  • Actor Vanessa Zima (Film’s “Ulee’s Gold,” TV’s “Murder One”) is 37. 
  • Guitarist Taylor York of Paramore is 34. 
  • Actor Graham Rogers (“Quantico”) is 33. 
  • Actor-singer Nat Wolff (“The Naked Brothers Band”) is 29
  • In 1999..Grover Washington Jr., American jazz saxophonist ("Just The Two Of Us"; "Mr Magic"; "Let It Flow"), dies of a heart attack at 56
  • In 2009..Jennifer Jones, American actress (Farewell to Arms), dies of natural causes at 90
  • In 2010..Captain Beefheart [Don Van Vliet], American rock musician, complications from multiple sclerosis at 69
  • In 2018..Penny Marshall, American actress (The Odd Couple; Laverne & Shirley), and director (Big; Awakenings; A League of Their Own), and producer (Cinderella Man), dies of diabetes complications at 75

R.I.P.: AC/DC Original Drummer Colin Burgess

Colin Burgess (1946-2023)
AC/DC’s original drummer, Colin Burgess, has died at the age of 77, the band announced on its Facebook page Friday night.

“Very sad to hear of the passing of Colin Burgess. He was our first drummer and a very respected musician. Happy memories, rock in peace Colin,” the band’s post read.

No details were provided about how Burgess died.

A native of Australia, Burgess joined Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Dave Evans and Larry Van Kriedt in 1973 before leaving the band in 1974.

Years later, Burgess would rejoin the band for a few weeks and was at The Music Factory in Lonon in 1980 on the night singer Bon Scott died.

Matthew Perry died from ‘acute effects of ketamine,’ medical examiner says

In 1998, Burgess and other members of the band The Masters Apprentices, who he played with from 1968-1972, were inducted into Australia’s ARIA Hall of Fame.

Not So Happy Holiday For News Media

In recent weeks, Condé Nast, The Washington Post, Yahoo News, Vox Media, and others have made painful cuts to their workforces. Meanwhile, CNN Reports the storied science and technology magazine Popular Science, ceased its print edition. And publications such as BusinessWeek and The Nation reduced production, becoming monthly magazines.

Taken together, media companies have shed thousands of staffers in recent weeks amid what should be the most wonderful time of the year. According to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, news outlets have cut nearly 2,700 jobs this year, the highest number of job cuts in the industry since 2020, the tumultuous year upended by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

While the U.S. economy continues to show its resilience, the unwelcome terminations come amid a particularly arduous business climate for publishers, which have continued to see steep drop offs in social media traffic — once the lifeblood of digital media publications — a relentlessly challenging advertising market and shifting audience habits.

The cuts also come at a poor time, given the state of the information environment and threats to U.S. democracy. At a time when anti-democratic candidates are looking to seize power in election contests from coast to coast, newsrooms are seeing their reach and staffing shrink, if they’re not going belly up entirely.

That lack of accountability means dishonest figures seeking higher office will face less scrutiny and leave the electorate less informed. Look no further than the now-expelled member of Congress, George Santos, for a glimpse into a future in which candidates are not thoroughly vetted by the press before being elected.

Margaret Sullivan, a columnist at The Guardian who previously wrote about media for The WaPo and The NYT, shared worry about the larger consequences the deeper cuts into the news business will have on the country. Sullivan said that it is not only “heartbreaking to see the loss of these jobs,” but stressed that they do broader “damage to society.”

“The loss of journalists contributes to the exponential growth of news deserts in large swaths of the nation — and that’s disastrous when misinformation is rampant,” Sullivan told me. “Democracy needs an informed electorate in order to function and that is tragically dwindling in many regions.”

Megyn Kelly Rips ‘Annoying’ CNN Host Abby Phillip

Vivek Ramaswamy on CNN Townhall

Megyn Kelly took aim at “annoying” CNN anchor Abby Phillip for being “such an interrupter” while moderating a town hall with Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Wednesday.

“Like shut the eff up. Let him make his point,” Kelly said during Thursday’s broadcast of her SiriusXM podcast “The Megyn Kelly Show.”

Kelly criticized Phillip for calling out Ramaswamy while he was claiming that federal law enforcement agents encouraged the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.

Ramaswamy, the biotech mogul, said Jan. 6 was a case of “government entrapment” and that “we know there were federal law enforcement agents in that field” before Congress was overrun by supporters of then-President Donald Trump to prevent certification of former Vice President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Phillip pressed Ramaswamy on his use of the phrase “inside job” to describe the events of Jan. 6.

When Ramaswamy said “we know there were federal law enforcement agents in that field,” Phillip cut him off, saying: “There’s no evidence that there were federal agents in the crowd on Jan. 6.”

Ramaswamy replied that “multiple informants” suggested that some in the crowd were “FBI informants.”

Phillip, the network’s former senior political correspondent and host of the 10 p.m. show “CNN NewsNight,” interjected and the two spoke over each other as she pushed the candidate to cite “evidence” that “the government had a plot … to foment violence on Jan. 6.”

“Don’t put words in my mouth,” Ramaswamy told Phillip. “I’m going to put words in my mouth.”

Ramaswamy alleged that the government “suppressed” video footage showing people “shooting rubber bullets and tear gas into that crowd” before it stormed the Capitol.

CNN’s Clarissa Ward Enters Gaza In Defiance of Ban

Chief international correspondent for CNN Clarissa Ward has become one of the first Western journalists to report from Gaza during the current conflict in defiance of a media ban.

Since 7 October, the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza has been closed, prohibiting journalists from entering. The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza has not permitted journalists to cross since the war started.

However, Ward has made her way in. So far, at least 63 journalists have been killed during the Israel-Hamas, the vast majority killed by Israeli action.

She said: “We enjoyed a very privileged position on this occasion, we did feel relatively safe, we were only on the ground for a matter of hours.”

Reporting on the damage she saw, Ward added: “I can honestly say I don’t think we’ve ever seen it quite on this scale.”

The ban on international reporters has resulted in a reliance on Palestinian journalists, aid and health workers, and social media for updates.

Israel has repeatedly cut off phone communications and internet from Gaza during the war.

Israel has permitted some journalists to enter, but only under the supervision of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

Actress Mayim Bialek Fired As Jeopardy Host


Mayim Bialik confirmed Friday she has been let go as a host of "Jeopardy!"

"As the holiday break begins in Hollywood, I have some Jeopardy! news," the 48-year-old actress wrote in a statement on her Instagram. "Sony has informed me that I will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of Jeopardy"

Fox News Digital reports The "Big Bang Theory" star added that she was "honored" to have been nominated for an Emmy this year for hosting the show and wrote, "I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the Jeopardy! family." 

A representative for Bialik confirmed her departure to Fox News Digital. Representatives for Sony and "Jeopardy!" co-host Ken Jennings did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.

The official "Jeopardy!" Instagram account shared a statement about Bialik's exit on Friday afternoon.

"Mayim Bialik has announced she will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of ‘Jeopardy!'," the post read. "We made the decision to have one host for the syndicated show next season to maintain continuity for our viewers, and Ken Jennings will be the sole host for syndicated ‘Jeopardy!’."

Bialik and Jennings were among the rotating guest hosts of the trivia game show following the death of longtime host Alex Trebek. The television personality, who hosted "Jeopardy!" for a record-breaking 37 seasons, died in November 2020 at the age of 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

NFL, College Bowls Highlight Weekend TV

This weekend’s live TV sports offerings kick off with the college football bowl season and a slate of Saturday NFL games.

Seven college football bowl games are scheduled for Saturday, including the Myrtle Beach Bowl (Georgia Southern-Ohio) on ESPN, the Cricket Celebration Bowl (Howard-Florida A&M) on ABC, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Jacksonville State-Louisiana) on ESPN, Avocados From Mexico Cure Bowl (Miami (Ohio)-Appalachian State) on ABC, Isleta New Mexico Bowl (New Mexico State-Fresno State) on ESPN, LA Bowl (UCLA-Boise State) on ABC, and Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl (Cal-Texas Tech) on ESPN.

On the pro football field, NFL Network will air three Saturday games, including the Minnesota Vikings-Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers-Indianapolis Colts, and Denver Broncos-Detroit Lions contests. On Sunday, CBS and Fox will air regional NFL games, while NBC airs its Sunday Night Football game between the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars.

On the hardcourt, college basketball’s top 10-rated teams in action on Saturday include top-ranked Arizona against third-ranked Purdue on Peacock, second-ranked Kansas against Indiana on CBS, and fourth-ranked Houston-Texas A&M on ESPN2. Also in play are No. 6 Baylor-Michigan State (Fox) and No. 9 North Carolina-Kentucky (CBS).

In the ring, Showtime will air a “regular” super middleweight title match between champion David Morrell Jr. and Sena Agbeko. In the octagon, ESPN Plus will distribute the UFC 296 pay-per-view event highlighted by a welterweight championship main event fight between champion Leon Edwards and Colby Covington. 

On the links, NBC will televise weekend coverage of the PNC Championship pro golf event. On the soccer pitch, NBC, Peacock and USA Network will air weekend Premier League action. 

Also this weekend, TV Newser reports legendary TV news anchor-turned sports journalist Bryant Gumbel reunited with his former NBC News colleague Jane Pauley for an upcoming episode of CBS Sunday Morning. Earlier in his career, Gumbel spent seven years alongside Pauley on NBC’s Today — 1982 to 1989. The two recently sat down to talk about their friendship, Gumbel’s career and his future.

Gumbel also speaks with Pauley about Real Sports, his long-running HBO series, which ends next week after 29 years and 320 editions. He says he knew his contract was coming up, and when he asked himself if he could do another three years, the answer was no.

As for Pauley, the CBS Sunday Morning host was the co-anchor of NBC’s Today show for 13 years starting in 1976, first with Tom Brokaw and later with Gumbel. She then anchored Dateline NBC from 1992 to 2003 and served as an on-and-off contributor to Today before joining CBS News in 2014 as a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning. She replaced Charles Osgood as the permanent CBS Sunday Morning host in October 2016, a role she holds to this day.

And Saturday at 9pm on Fox News, ‘One Nation’ host Brian Kilmeade interviews former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who says Congress has ‘work to do’ before his resignation at the end of 2023.

Lawmakers Call On FCC To Renew Diversity Reporting

On December 11, 2023, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks joined Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY-09) to call for the reinstatement of the FCC’s collection of broadcast workforce diversity data.  

Twenty-seven Members of Congress have now joined the call.  In a letter addressed to the FCC, the Members state:

“We write to urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to finish its work to reinstate the collection of broadcast workforce diversity data.  The FCC is required by law to collect this information, and without it, the Commission and Congress are deprived of a key tool to assess the makeup of the media workforce.  In 2021, after nearly 20 years, the FCC took the important step of soliciting comment on how to recommence this important data collection using Form 395-B.  It is now time for the Commission to follow through, and set forth rules for broadcasters to submit workforce diversity data on an annual basis, as Congress intended.”   

“There’s no doubt that information is power, and the collection of data on workforce composition, race and gender at the FCC has been in limbo for over two decades.  I believe it’s time we reinvigorate the simple notion that America’s diversity is its greatest strength,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.

“When our broadcasters reflect the makeup of our communities they’re better equipped to report on the full spectrum of issues that matter to viewers.  And understanding the composition of our broadcast workforce helps achieve that goal.  I’m glad to see the FCC’s commitment to work together to lay the groundwork for a more inclusive media that reflects the diversity of our nation,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen.

“Diversity in our news matters and it’s critical that broadcast networks and newsrooms look like the communities they serve,” said Senator Ben Ray Luj√°n.  “As the public relies on news broadcasts daily, our letter urges the FCC to continue collecting data on broadcast workforce diversity to ensure all stories and perspectives are covered responsibly.”

Signatories of the letter include: Rep. Clarke, Sen. Van Hollen (who, with Congresswoman Clarke and Commission Starks, called for the reinstatement of this rule in 2019), Sens. Luj√°n and Warnock, and Reps. Ramirez, Norton, Mullin, Carson, McGovern, Goldman, Tonko, Soto, Barrag√°n, Frederica Wilson, Costa, Veasey, Ruiz, Al Green, Robin Kelly, Troy Carter, Adams, Vel√°zquez, Nadler, Watson Coleman, C√°rdenas, Horsford, and Jackson Lee. 

SiriusXM, Liberty Merger Plan Boosts Share Price

SiriusXM’s announcement that it planned to merge its stock with Liberty SiriusXM Group, a tracking stock of Liberty Media, helped the SiriusXM share price climb 16.4% to $5.40 this week after it lagged for much of 2023. Friday’s high mark of $5.78 nearly brought the stock back to where it ended 2022, at $5.84 per share. 

Billboard reports the deal, which requires regulatory approval and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2024, “will create value for all stockholders by eliminating the tracking stock structure, enhancing liquidity and allowing former LSXM stockholders to participate directly in the ongoing performance of SiriusXM,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Media president/CEO, in a statement released Tuesday (Dec. 12).

Elsewhere, Live Nation climbed 9.2% to $93.00 this week thanks in part to an investor note by Morgan Stanley analysts that raised the price target to $110 from $100. Analysts pointed to a “secular shift” in consumer spending on experiences, the company’s increased disclosure about its Venue Nation business and a “highly unlikely” chance the Department of Justice will break up the company following its antitrust probe. Morgan Stanley’s $110 price target implies the stock, which is up 33.4% year to date, has 18% upside after Friday’s close.

Those big gains from SiriusXM and Live Nation, as well as a 4.1% gain from Universal Music Group, one of the index’s most valuable components, helped the Billboard Global Music Index increase 2.2% this week to a record 1,522.78. Nine of the index’s 20 stocks finished the week in positive territory, 10 stocks lost ground and one was unchanged.

KYW Newsradio Concludes 56th Annual Newstudies Program

For the 56th consecutive year, KYW Newsradio (103.9 FM / 1060 AM) in Philadelphia offered a diverse and talented group of high schoolers from across the Greater Philadelphia area the opportunity to participate in the station’s one-of-a-kind Newstudies program. In October and November, students attended sessions in Audacy’s corporate headquarters, where they learned the principles of broadcast journalism from award-winning media and news professionals from KYW Newsradio and other news outlets throughout the city.

The students culminated the program by producing their own news reports that aired on KYW Newsradio. More than 70 students graduated from the program in a ceremony on Saturday, December 9, at Temple University.

“Newstudies is in a class by itself,” said Tom Rickert, Assistant Brand Manager and Director of Podcasts for KYW Newsradio. Rickert also emceed the graduation.

“There’s no other program that gives students an opportunity to learn from top professionals in news and sports media at one of the best broadcasting facilities in the country,” Rickert continued. “And five decades in, we’re reuniting with parents who graduated from Newstudies when they were in high school, who are now watching their teenagers graduate from the same program. We hope to keep investing in the young people of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley for generations to come, and we’re thrilled to be able to work with our partners at the Klein College of Media and Communication to make this happen.”

At Saturday’s graduation, KYW Newsradio awarded the $2,000 Richard Monetti Scholarship to William Bowens of Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School. The yearly scholarship is named for a Newstudies graduate killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and honors a student whose work demonstrates overall excellence.

All 153 Linear TV Channels Ranked by 2023 Viewership

Whoever said linear television is dying did not tell NBC or Fox News Channel. (Though they would also be right.) 

In IndieWire’s now-annual ranking of every TV channel by viewers, NBC pretty comfortably came out on top. 

No fake news here: Fox News was again no. 1 on cable, making it eight years in a row. 

For calendar 2022, they ranked all 126 Nielsen-rated basic cable channels. This year, they upped the ante and added broadcast networks and premium TV channels to the mix; overall that’s 153 channels.

The Top 20

It is no surprise the Top 4 channels of 2023 are the so-called “Big 4” broadcasters: NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox. Even if you stopped watching broadcast television years ago, a lot of (older, primarily) Americans still tune in. 

The medium is ostensibly free (with an antenna) and the channels are very findable within the bundle. 

And broadcast nets carry sports, local news, and late-night TV — what more could you want this side of streaming? 

Hate or love Fox News for the political leanings of (most of) its on-air personalities, you can’t argue with these results. FNC more than doubles MSNBC’s nightly viewership and more than triples CNN’s. Good luck to you, Mark Thompson.

Alex Jones Offers Sandy Hook Families $55 Million

Alex Jones

Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Friday proposed a bankruptcy exit plan that offers to settle with Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims’ families by paying them at least $55 million over 10 years.

Bloomberg reports the amount represents at least $30 million less than what the families had proposed, and is a fraction of the roughly $1.4 billion judges ruled they’re owed in defamation judgments against Jones related to to his lies that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. Jones filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago, after the judgments.

Those who choose to settle with Jones would share in a pot of at least $5.5 million annually over 10 years, according to a Chapter 11 plan Jones filed with the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas on Friday. The plan requires court approval.

Beyond that annual minimum, family members who settle could receive all the disposable income from Jones’ bankrupt Infowars parent company, Free Speech System LLC, plus half of his own income over five years, and then a quarter of his income for the next five years, according to his plan.

In exchange for settling with Jones, Sandy Hook victim families would receive faster payments but wouldn’t be able to continue to chase him down after his plan for the full worth of their litigation claims, according to the proposal.

Families’ Competing Plan

The plan filed Friday contrasts with options laid out last month by victim families, which proposed that Jones wind down his bankruptcy by paying creditors at least $85 million over 10 years, or by liquidating his assets. Jones’ bankruptcy lawyer has called the creditors’ proposal unrealistic.

The Sandy Hook families, along with an official committee of Jones’ creditors, argued in court papers that the bankruptcy case for the right-wing radio host should end by February.

Nashville Unites To Throw A Tornado Relief Concert

Music City is banding together to throw a tornado relief concert, raising proceeds for the Red Cross Tennessee and Hands On Nashville in the wake of devastation from Saturday's tornadoes. "Unplugged for Tennessee" will feature 11 Nashville artists at the Exit/In on Sunday, Dec. 17.

The Tennessean reports then tornadoes hit Middle Tennessee last Saturday, six people were killed, 83 were transported to the hospital, and many businesses and homes were left with significant property damage.

The "Unplugged for Tennessee" benefit event will include performances from HARDY, Nate Smith, Alana Springsteen, Dylan Marlowe, Chayce Beckham, Abby Anderson, Trey Lewis, Graham Barham, Payton Smith, Kylie Morgan, Jay Allen and surprise guests. The host will be Benji Chord, country mu

The concert is produced by Media Farm Agency, which runs the @NashvilleTN Instagram. Matt Wilson, the agency's founder, said, “Nashville always seems to find a way to heal and come together after a tragedy.

“And music is a universal part of the healing process in our city. This benefit came together extremely fast, thanks to the help of our team and our great friends that wanted to make a difference in the lives of those impacted by the storm. We are so thankful for the artists who volunteered so quickly to help and donate their time and talent for such a worthy cause.”

100% of net proceeds from the event will go to charities Hands On Nashville and the Tennessee Region of the American Red Cross, both leaders in disaster response in Middle Tennessee.

Canadian Stalemate Over News Payments

Ottawa will keep pushing Meta to comply with a new law requiring large internet companies to pay Canadian news publishers for their content, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, but the Facebook parent stood by its decision to block news sharing rather than pay.

Reuters reports the government on Friday published final regulations for the Online News Act before enforcement starts Dec. 19. The law requires technology companies with 20 million unique monthly users and annual revenues of C$1 billion ($748 million) or more to compensate Canadian news outlets for publishing links to their pages.

Justin Trudeau
Alphabet's Google and Meta are the only platforms that fall under those criteria in Canada. Google agreed last month to pay C$100 million annually to news publishers in the country. Meta, in contrast, decided to block news on Facebook and Instagram in Canada to avoid the payments.

"We will continue to push Meta, that makes billions of dollars in profits, even though it is refusing to invest in the journalistic rigor and stability of the media," Trudeau told reporters in Vancouver.

Meta said it will stick to its decision. "News outlets choose to use our free services because it helps their bottom line, and today's release of final regulations does not change our business decision," said Rachel Curran, head of public policy for Meta Canada.

The law, part of a global trend, is designed to address Canadian media industry concerns about declining revenue as internet companies elbow news businesses out of the online advertising market.

Meta started blocking news sharing on Facebook and Instagram in August, saying news holds no economic value for its businesses.

($1 = 1.3372 Canadian dollars)

R.I.P.: Long-time Twin Ports, MN Radio Host Jeanne Ryan

Jeanne Ryan

A long-time Twin Ports radio host has passed away. Jeanne Ryan, who had been a mainstay on local radio for nearly two decades, has died.

Northern News Now reports Ryan had been on the air for 15 years on Duluth’s Mix 108 and worked in radio for over 20 years before she retired earlier this year.

Ken Hayes of Townsquare Media says he and Ryan worked together for 17 years and says she left a positive mark on everyone who met her. “Everybody loved Jeanne, that’s the thing you always heard,” said Hayes. “You know I think everyone in the community is sad about it. It’s tough on people that work with her. You know friends and listeners she has touched so many people.”

Mix 108 is having an on-air tribute for Ryan on Monday where her past co-hosts, co-workers, and friends will be sharing stories along with playing some of her favorite music.

The show will run from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Monday.

Radio History: December 16

➦In 1898...Bandleader Lud Gluskin was born in NYC.  He became director of music at CBS in 1937, and his work was heard all over the radio dial on programs originating in Hollywood for the next 15 years.  He led the orchestra for a year or two of Amos ‘n’ Andy, Suspense, My Friend Irma, Life with Luigi, My Little Margie, Sweeney & March, The Philip Morris Playhouse, Campana Serenade, and dozens of lesser-known, lower-budget programs. He died Oct. 13 1989 at age 90.

➦In 1901...Guglielmo Marconi was officially notified by the Anglo-American Telegraph Company that it would take legal action against him unless he immediately ceased his wireless experiments and removed his equipment from Newfoundland.

Anglo-American had a fifty-year monopoly on electrical communications in Newfoundland, that began in 1858, and it was determined to hinder radio telegraphy, which was a serious threat to its transatlantic electric telegraph business operated by submarine cables.

Marconi soon decided to move his base of operations to Cape Breton Island, and was welcomed there on Dec. 26 with open arms.

Eugenia H Farrar
➦In 1907...opera star Eugenia H. Farrar became the first singer to broadcast over the radio, courtesy of inventor Lee De Forrest.  Her performance originated from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York where she sang.  Farrar performed two selections, including “I Love You Truly.”

➦In listeners would soon be freed from their earphones after the first dynamic loudspeaker was designed by Chester Rice and Edward Kellogg.

➦In 1926...In Omaha, Nebraska, the Woodmen of the World Society changed the call sign of it radio station WOAW to WOW. The call sign had become available with the retirement of the steamship Henry J Bibble.

The original operating power was a maximum of 500 watts, with an increase to 1,000 watts in 1927. Later, on October 1st, WOW became affiliated with the Red network of the National Broadcasting Company

In 1928, WOW was forced to share the 590 frequency with Nebraska Weslayan College station WCAJ. WOW was permitted to use the frequency six-sevenths of the time, with the college using the remaining seventh. In 1930, WOW applied for full time use of the frequency, finally winning its battle in 1933.

Friday, December 15, 2023

R.I.P.: Radio, TV Meteorologist John Wetherbee

John Wetherbee (1952-2023)

John Wetherbee, a veteran Georgia TV and radio personality, died of cancer Tuesday at age 71, his family said.

The death was a surprise despite Wetherbee’s ongoing illness, said Georgia News Network director John Clark. The network was using Wetherbee’s daily weather reports for about 100 radio stations.

“I just talked to him last week,” Clark said. “He seemed to be in great shape. He was undergoing treatment. It’s a shock. It really is.”

Rodney Ho at  reports Wetherbee spent more than 30 years in Georgia. He worked for a time as a meteorologist at the CBS-TV affiliate in Atlanta and spent several years at the Atlanta oldies station Fox 97.1 as a mid-day host during the station’s heyday in the 1990s. He started his own weather network in 1997, providing reports to hundreds of stations nationwide over the years.

Wetherbee’s friends said he radiated positivity and care for others. “He’d call different people in radio every week just to see how they were doing,” Clark said. “I never saw him down a single time.”

Spiff Carner, morning co-host at Fox 97.1 during Wetherbee’s tenure, said, “If he moved next door to Mr. Rogers, it would instantly become Mr. Wetherbee’s neighborhood. He was that nice.”

And his nickname was “Big John” because of his 6-foot-9-inch frame.

“We used to tease him that his weather forecasts were so accurate because his head was already in the clouds,” Carner said.

Wetherbee was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2014 and more recently, the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame for 2024.

Detroit Radio: Sports Talker Sean Baligian, Axed By WJR

Sean Baligian

For Sean Baligian, who's been on the Metro Detroit airwaves for nearly three decades, today might just be it, and he's at peace with that, after being told Monday that he was a casualty of budget cuts at WJR 760-AM. Monday marked the end of more than seven years at WJR, the latest stop on Baligian's 28-year career in sports-talk radio.

"I can't put it into words," Baligian said this week, over a lunch of salmon and rice, talking about the stress of the business. "The worst part is what it does to your family. I think they're always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and that sucks. You feel like a failure, you really do, like honestly. I know the life that I chose. And I mean it when I say I'm not bitter. This is the road I decided to go down.

"You kind of hope that you're gonna be that guy like Stoney (Mike Stone), I'm gonna get locked in some place. I really thought WJR was that stability I was looking for.

"I really thought to myself, I'm gonna be here till I'm in my early 60s."

FOX News Channel Still Highest-Rated Cable Network on TV

FOX News Channel (FNC) remained cable television’s most-watched network for the eighth consecutive year in 2023, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. 

Through the continued dominance of the hit program The Five, the launch of FNC’s new primetime lineup, coupled with the success of its daytime programming, the network maintained its number one spot in cable news. Additionally, the network had the largest share of the audience in total day (46%) and primetime (48%), capturing nearly half of the cable news landscape. In primetime, FNC delivered nearly 2 million viewers and 214,000 in 25-54 demo, topping CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewership. On a 24-hour total day basis, FNC averaged over 1.2 million viewers and 150,000 in 25-54, with a 153% advantage over CNN in viewers. FNC continued to sweep the competition, winning every hour in the 25-54 demo, as CNN marked the network’s lowest-rated year of all time, the second year in a row with a historic low. Additionally, MSNBC delivered its least-watched year in the primetime demo since 1999.

In commenting on the ratings, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said, “During yet another unprecedented news cycle, cable viewers continued to choose FOX News Channel. From moderating debates to reporting in war zones and many stories in between, I am honored to work alongside this unrivaled team of journalists and opinion hosts as they continue to exceed expectations.”

This year, FNC notched the top six most-watched cable news programs (The Five, Jesse Watters Primetime, Hannity, Special Report with Bret Baier, The Ingraham Angle and Gutfeld!). The network also garnered 13 out of the 15 highest-rated programs in cable news in the 25-54 demo, including The Five, Hannity, Gutfeld!, Jesse Watters Primetime, The Ingraham Angle, Special Report with Bret Baier, Outnumbered, The Faulkner Focus, America’s Newsroom, FOX News @ Night, America Reports, Your World with Neil Cavuto and The Story. FNC also had 12 of the top 15 rated shows in the 18-49 demo.

Green Bay Radio: WIXX-FM Unveils New Morning Host

"Hi, I'm Carson. I'm the new guy."  WIXX-FM ushered in the next chapter of its morning radio show one day early with the debut of new host Carson on Thursday. The Green Bay station had previously been teasing a Friday start.

The Press-Gazette reports “Carson in the Morning” will replace the “Murphy in the Morning” show that ran for 32 years with Jim Murphy (aka Murphy in the Morning) as the host. He retired on Nov. 28 with much fanfare, including a parade of special guests and a proclamation by Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich of “Murphy in the Morning Day" in the city.

Murphy’s longtime co-hosts, Katie Schurk for 20 years and Nick Vitrano for 12 years, continued on as station owner Midwest Communications searched for Murphy’s replacement, but the two then shocked many listeners last Friday when they announced they had made the decision to leave the station. Friday was their last day on the air.

Their sudden departure has fueled much speculation about the changes and sparked thousands of social media comments running the gamut of emotions.

Corey Carter, brand manager for WIXX, has been temporarily filling in on the 5 to 9 a.m. slot this week. On Wednesday, he introduced listeners to Carson and gave them a chance to ask "the new guy" questions.

He will eventually be joined by a co-host. Midwest Communications sent out a job posting earlier this week for the full-time position of morning drive co-host.

“Our long-term morning show has moved on and we need the next superstar to step up and seize the opportunity,” the news release begins.

“We are personality driven and extremely local 24/7. We’re looking for someone with a quick wit, upbeat positive personality and a super supportive team member. Also expected is strong social media content, personal appearances, creative, fresh and local every break."

Carson told listeners he was a listener of “Murphy in the Morning” and appreciated how the chemistry between the three tight-knit co-hosts was such that it made it easy for listeners to feel a part of the show.

“It was like a family. It was like a Thanksgiving dinner or a Christmas get-together every day,” he said.

SiriusXM Launches Refreshed App

Thursday, SiriusXM began debuting its new streaming app within the App Store, on Google Play, on Amazon Fire devices and on web. With discoverability and personalization at the forefront, listeners can quickly and easily find and dive into the content they love across SiriusXM’s 400+ channels and tens of thousands of hours of on-demand content and podcasts. The new SiriusXM app allows fans to go deeper into their passions and get closer to their favorite music, artists, personalities and sports.

Uninterrupted, Live As-It-Happens Premium Audio

The new SiriusXM app puts SiriusXM’s unique content offering at the forefront, including: live human curated music channels, one-of-a-kind celebrity talk shows, and a one-stop destination for the most comprehensive live sports coverage and analysis. From in-studio performances to interviews with the biggest stars to the late game comebacks, listeners using the new app will enjoy upgrades across every content type, including:
  • MUSIC: Discover the perfect soundtrack for every moment with access to SiriusXM’s full music lineup, including its many hosted and exclusive artist, brand and homegrown stations; more than 200 streaming-only music channels; and additional features and functionality such as skips and a new pivot feature that presents listeners with alternative recommendations to quickly and easily jump into content better suited to their vibe. 
  • SPORTS: Access SiriusXM’s unparalleled sports offering and never miss a game with a new centralized sports hub with all the latest live broadcasts, dedicated league and team pages, start of game notifications, local feeds, and more. 
  • TALK & PODCASTS: Dive into talk and podcast programming across comedy, news, entertainment and more with transcription, playback speed adjustment, key moment markers, auto downloads, and an expanded library.

12/15 WAKE-UP CALL: Mortgage Rates Slide

U.S. retail sales unexpectedly rose in November as the holiday shopping season got off to a brisk start amid deep discounting, likely keeping the economy on a moderate growth path this quarter and further alleviating fears of a recession. The rebound in retail sales reported by the Commerce Department on Thursday underscored consumers' resilience, thanks to a strong labor market, and cast doubts on financial markets' expectations for a rate cut as early as next March. The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Wednesday and signaled in new economic projections that the historic tightening of monetary policy engineered over the last two years is at an end and lower borrowing costs are coming in 2024. 

➤E-U- TO TALK MEMBERSHIP STATUS FOR UKRAINE: The bloc also continues to discuss whether to offer Kyiv significant new financial support. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky left Washington two days ago without securing a new commitment for weapons from the U.S. Meanwhile, during an end-of-year audience, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to continue the war in Ukraine, suggesting little likelihood that the conflict he began in February 2022 will end soon

➤'DAYS ARE NUMBERED' FOR HAMAS LEADER: A senior U.S. administration official served warning to the head of Hamas Yahya Sinwar on Thursday evening: Your days are numbered. It did not matter how long it took, the official added, but justice would be served. It came soon after Israel dropped leaflets on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, offering a $400,000 reward for information about the whereabouts of the terror mastermind. 

Yahya Sinwar, head of the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas, pictured in the Gaza Strip in May 2021. A senior administration official said: 'His days are numbered' He added that 38 Americans were killed by Hamas terrorists on Oct 7 and that Americans were still being held hostage. 'I remind you that he has American blood on his hands,' the official told reporters on a briefing call. 'So it doesn't matter how long it takes, but justice will be served.' Israel pounded targets the length of Gaza on Thursday, as it continues its high-intensity bombing campaign.

➤U-S- PRESSES ISRAEL TO WIND DOWN THE WAR: National security adviser Jake Sullivan told Israeli leaders that it was critical to start transitioning the Gaza campaign to more precise, targeted operations and warned that a protracted conflict would further inflame the region and make governing postwar Gaza harder, U.S. officials said. 

Washington wants the fight to end within weeks. President Biden faces a backlash at home for supporting Israel’s campaign to destroy Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization; some Americans want Biden to support a ceasefire. 

The war began after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack that left an estimated 1,200 people dead and hundreds held hostage. The U.S. has said that the Palestinian Authority, which controls parts of the West Bank, should run Gaza and that Israeli-Palestinian peace discussions should resume. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the plan.

➤HOUSE PASSES DEFENSE BILL: In a last-minute sprint to finish the crucial legislation, the House passed an annual defense bill Thursday, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk to approve $886 billion in spending. The National Defense Authorization Act, which Congress is required to pass every year, includes a 5.2% pay raise for troops and authorizes funding for Ukraine. The bill cleared the lower chamber by a bipartisan vote of 310-118 – but not without drama, a major source of which was the reauthorization of a controversial surveillance program. 

➤'NO EVIDENCE': White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre blew up Thursday when pressed by a reporter on President Biden "lying" about past interactions with his son Hunter's business associates, declaring there was "no evidence" the president did anything wrong. Jean-Pierre also lashed out at House Republicans over the vote to approve an official impeachment inquiry against Biden, accusing them of "wasting their time," but the interaction began with New York Post reporter Steven Nelson asking why Biden interacted with so many of his family's business associates, which contributed to the inquiry's launch. 

➤FORMER SPEAKER BASHES TRUMP: Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., bashed former President Donald Trump Wednesday as an “authoritarian narcissist.” Ryan, who led the House under the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019, said at a virtual event hosted by consulting company Teneo that Trump’s tendencies are “where narcissism takes him, which is whatever makes him popular, makes him feel good at any given moment. “He doesn’t think in classical liberal-conservative terms,” Ryan said. “He thinks in an authoritarian way. And he’s been able to get a big chunk of the Republican base to follow him because he’s the culture warrior.” 

➤CRACKDOWN ON OVERPRICED DRUGS: The Biden administration announced yesterday that it is cracking down on pharmaceutical companies that produce overpriced outpatient drugs, from chemotherapy treatments to certain antibiotics. A new law requires drugmakers to pay rebates to the federal government if they increase their prices above the rate of inflation. The money will be used to lower the prices Medicare enrollees pay for the drugs.

➤GM’S ROBOCAR HITS THE SKIDS: General Motors is laying off 900 employees of the subsidiary that builds its GM Cruise driverless “robotaxi.” That is about a quarter of the division’s workforce. Earlier in the week, the company fired nine of what it calls its “key leaders” for Cruise. The company has suspended all Cruise trips on public roads after a pedestrian was injured by one of its driverless cars in San Francisco.

A brief power outage surprised New Yorkers in the wee hours of this morning. Some said they saw smoke pouring from a Con Edison plant in Brooklyn just after midnight this morning, but it was not immediately confirmed as the source of the problem. The power company said it was investigating.

Katz: Radio Listeners Are Big Holiday Shoppers

Regular radio listeners are those consumers who tune in to AM/FM radio at least a few times each week, making them most likely to be exposed to radio ad campaigns - and ideal consumer targets during the holiday season. Katz surveyed 1,000 adults across the U.S. to see just how valuable this listening target is, looking at how their shopping behavior and spend levels compare to both the average adult, and to light and non-listeners of radio.


85% of regular radio listeners participate in the Winter Holiday season. And when it comes to making holiday purchases, they have more robust shopping lists than other consumers. 1 in 5 regular radio listeners feel that they do "a ton" of holiday shopping, +17% more likely than the average adult, and nearly twice (+91%) more than light & non-listeners.

The study found that regular radio listeners are set to spend an average of $626 this holiday season. Regular radio listeners are not only outspending the average adult by +$72, they are planning to spend a whopping +$241 more per person than light and non-listeners of radio.