Saturday, January 20, 2024

Radio History: January 21

➦In 1919...actress/radio-TV host Jinx (Eugenia) Falkenburg was born in Barcelona Spain. She was a movie actress & popular model before & during World War II , after which she and her husband Tex McCrary were hosts of “Meet Tex and Jinx” a local radio talk show on WEAF, WNBC they conducted from Peacock Alley in New York’s Waldorf Astoria. They also hosted NBC TV’s At Home show, while she was a regular on TV’s charades show Masquerade Party. She died a month after her husband Aug 27, 2003 at age 84.

➦In 1927...the first opera broadcast on a national Radio network occurred. Radio listeners in Chicago, Illinois heard music from Faust.

➦In 1935...WFI-AM in Philadelphia merged with WLIT to become WFIL.

WFIL was formed by a merger of two stations that were launched in 1922. One used the call letters WFI, the other was originally WDAR. Each was owned by a major Philadelphia department store; WFI was operated by Strawbridge and Clothier, while WDAR was run by Lit Brothers.

While operated independently of each other, the two were able to work out amicable share-time agreements (hundreds of other American stations at the time were unable to do so, and frequently engaged in "jamming wars"). Around 1924, WDAR applied for and received the custom call-sign WLIT. By the late 1920s, the two stations were working jointly on various programs, promotions, and sponsorship efforts. In 1935, the two operators agreed to merge with each department store having representation on the new board of directors.

The new call-sign became WFIL, a combination of the two previous identifiers (the fact that the new call letters were close to a phonetic spelling of "Philadelphia" was merely a happy coincidence).

➦In 1938...the legendary deejay known as Wolfman Jack was born Robert Weston Smith in Brooklyn. His unique radio style made him an icon of ’60s radio, broadcasting from XERF, then XERB in Mexico and heard throughout a major part of the U.S.; On TV he was announcer for NBC’s The Midnight Special. He died following a heart attack July 1, 1995 at age 57.

Smith was the younger of two children of Anson Weston Smith, an Episcopal Sunday school teacher, writer, editor, and executive vice president of the Financial World, and his wife Rosamond Small. His parents divorced while he was a child. To help keep him out of trouble, his father bought him a large Trans-Oceanic radio, and Smith became an avid fan of R&B music and the disc jockeys who played it, including "Jocko" Henderson of Philadelphia, New York's "Dr. Jive" (Tommy Smalls), the "Moon Dog" from Cleveland, Alan Freed, and Nashville's "John R." Richbourg, who later became his mentor.

After selling encyclopedias and Fuller brushes door-to-door, Smith attended the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington, D.C. Graduating in 1960, he began working as "Daddy Jules" at WYOU in Newport News, Virginia. In 1962, he moved to country music station KCIJ 1050 AM in Shreveport, Louisiana as the station manager and morning disc jockey, "Big Smith with the Records". He married Lucy "Lou" Lamb in 1961, and they had two children.

Disc jockey Alan Freed had played a role in the transformation of black rhythm and blues into rock and roll music, and originally called himself the "Moon Dog" after New York City street musician Moondog. Freed both adopted this name and used a recorded howl to give his early broadcasts a unique character. Smith's adaptation of the Moondog theme was to call himself Wolfman Jack and add his own sound effects. The character was based in part on the manner and style of bluesman Howlin' Wolf. It was at KCIJ that he first began to develop his famous alter ego Wolfman Jack.

Wolfman Jack played role of a DJ in 'American Graffiti'

According to author Philip A. Lieberman, Smith's "Wolfman" persona "derived from Smith's love of horror flicks and his shenanigans as a 'wolfman' with his two young nephews. The 'Jack' was added as a part of the 'hipster' lingo of the 1950s.

'The Fat Man'

➦In 1946...“The Fat Man” began its 5-year run on ABC radio. J. Scott Smart, who played the portly detective, weighed in at 270 pounds in real life.

➦In 1978... the soundtrack of “Saturday Night Fever” reached #1 on the album charts — a position it held for the next 24 weeks. It sold over 30 million copies world wide, making it the best selling soundtrack album of all time.

➦In 1984...singer Jackie Wilson died at the age of 49. He had been in a coma since his 1975 heart attack during a concert in New Jersey. His funeral was held in Detroit.

➦In industry legend Col. Tom Parker, the immigrant Dutch promoter who guided Elvis Presley to stardom, died in Las Vegas from complications from a stroke. He was 87.

➦In 1996...WYNY 103.5 FM NYC confirmed rumors that they were dropping country.

➦In 1998...WNSR 105.1 FM NYC became WBIX "Big 105"

➦In 2005...College DJ, Dave Plotkin, from Rollins College's WPRK-FM in Winter Park, Florida, set a record for the world's longest continuous broadcast by a single DJ. He stayed on the air for 110 hours.

➦In 2006...after 18 years Bob Kingsley gave up his hosting of the syndicated radio show “American Country Countdown.” He was succeeded by singer Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn, who is still doing it.

➦In 2010...WWRL 1600 AM NYC dropped “Air America” progressive talk format.

➦In 2013...WRXP 94.7 FM NYC becomes Country “NashFM”, soon changing call letters to WNSH.

Jill Eikenberry is 77

  • Opera singer Placido Domingo is 83. 
  • Actor Jill Eikenberry is 77. 
  • Guitarist Jim Ibbotson (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 77. 
  • Singer-songwriter Billy Ocean is 74. 
  • Actor Robby Benson is 68. 
  • Actor Geena Davis is 68. 
  • Actor Charlotte Ross (“NYPD Blue”) is 56. 
  • Singer Marc Gay of Shai is 55. 
  • Actor Karina Lombard (“The L Word”) is 55. 
  • Actor Ken Leung (“Marvel’s Inhumans,” ″Lost”) is 54. 
  • Rapper Levirt of B-Rock and the Bizz is 54. 
  • Drummer Mark Trojanowski of Sister Hazel is 54. 
  • Singer Cat Power is 52. 
  • DJ Chris Kilmore of Incubus is 51. 
  • Singer Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) of the Spice Girls is 48. 
  • Actor Jerry Trainor (“Wendell & Vinnie,” ″iCarly”) is 47. 
  • Singer Nokio of Dru Hill is 45. 
  • Actor Izabella Miko (“Coyote Ugly”) is 43. 
  • Actor Luke Grimes (TV’s “Yellowstone,” film’s “Fifty Shades”) is 40. 
  • Actor Feliz Ramirez (TV’s “Grand Hotel”) is 32.


  • In 2002..Peggy Lee, Singer ("Fever"; "Is That All There Is?"), songwriter ("Ma├▒ana"), and actress (Pete Kelly's Blues; Lady and the Tramp), dies of a heart attack at 81
  • In 2019..Maxine Brown, Country music singer (Browns), dies at 87
  • In 2022..Louie Anderson, Comedian, Emmy Award-winning actor (Baskets; Life With Louie; Coming To America), TV game show Host (Family Feud, 1999-2002), and writer, dies of cancer at 68

R.I.P.: Sports Illustrated Announces Mass Layoffs

The future of Sports Illustrated looked dire Friday after the publisher of the diminished outlet announced mass layoffs because its license to use the iconic brand’s name in print and digital was revoked.

The NY Post reports the Arena Group — which had been roiled by reports that the fabled magazine published AI-generated content — admitted to failing to make a $3.75 million quarterly licensing payment to Authentic Brands Group due this week.

As a result, the publicly-traded Arena announced Thursday it would make a “significant reduction” in its workforce of more than 100 journalists.

SI’s unionized workers received a memo Friday telling them “some employees will be terminated immediately, and paid in lieu of the 60-day applicable notice period under the [union contract].”

An Arena spokesman added that the company is in talks with Authentic Brands about regaining the license. Once a weekly publication, SI was reduced to biweekly publishing in 2018 and became a monthly in 2020.

“We hope to be the company to take SI forward but if not, we are confident that someone will. If it is another business, we will support the transition so the legacy of Sports Illustrated doesn’t suffer.

The outlet’s website had a smattering of fresh stories Friday, suggesting a skeleton crew was still employed.

Meanwhile, SI’s annual Swimsuit edition – which launched the careers of supermodels from Cheryl Tiegs to Tyra Banks – has been completed and will be released in the spring, a source close to the situation told The Post. 

Authentic Brands, owned by Canadian billionaire Jamie Salter,  insisted SI “will continue” – though it did not say who would be at the helm.

News media has suffered from major cost-cutting as companies struggle to make the transition to digital from traditional business models such as print.

NBC News, the Washington Post, Conde Nast and other publishers have also shed staff members. Conde Nast this week said it would fold its taste-making music publication Pitchfork under men’s brand GQ.

The Los Angeles Times newsroom guild on Friday walked out for a one-day strike to protest planned cuts meant to offset financial losses that owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and his family have taken since acquiring the paper nearly six years ago.

The Times disclosed Thursday that substantial layoffs were coming due to a widening budget deficit. The one-day strike represents the newsroom’s first union-organized work stoppage in the paper’s 142-year history. More than 100 members of the staff are expected to be affected by the cuts.

How Much Would You Pay For Access to Alexa?

As AI changes up the voice assistant business, Amazon is reportedly looking to start charging a paid fee for Alexa as soon as this Summer.

Business Insider reports that Amazon has plans to revamp Alexa with AI this year, and debut that updated assistant as a paid product in the coming months. The new service, currently called “Alexa Plus,” could arrive as soon as June 30 and is apparently already in testing with thousands of customers with the base technology known as “Remarkable Alexa.”

The problem? Apparently, the new AI-driven service is bad, according to

Amazon employees cited in the report claim that this new form of Alexa is good at having conversations, but is bad at doing anything that’s actually useful. Answers are said to be extremely long and often inaccurate, with AI “hallucinations” also apparently being quite common. A particular pain point appears to be multi-step requests that interact with multiple backend services. A point of friction internally seems to be that longtime Alexa employees are forcing Amazon to keep portions of the original product, which is said to be “bloating” the new version.

As a result, employees are pushing Amazon internally to delay the launch, and many don’t believe customers will actually be willing to pay for the service.

It’s not surprising that Amazon wants to start charging for Alexa, though, as the voice assistant reportedly loses money for the company. With AI being even more expensive for these sorts of products, trying to charge a fee totally makes sense. But, if these employee stories are accurate, it certainly sounds like it would be in Amazon’s best interests to hold off for a while until things, well, actually work.

TV Ratings: Eagles at Buccaneers Draws 29.2M Viewers

  • ESPN’s Two Most-Watched NFL Playoff Games Have Aired in Consecutive Seasons

The Eagles-Buccaneers showdown joins last season’s Super Wild Card Monday night game, which featured the Dallas Cowboys and the Buccaneers in Tom Brady’s final game in the NFL (January 16, 2023), as ESPN’s two most-watched NFL Playoff games. When the final audience is reported, Eagles-Buccaneers is expected to surpass 29 million viewers; last season’s record-setting game drew 31,201,000 viewers.

The 29,179,000 viewers for the Buccaneers’ convincing 32-9 victory, bested ESPN’s viewership for its first eight Playoff games – a Wild Card game each season beginning in 2014 – including company’s inaugural Monday Night Super Wild Card by 26% (Cardinals at Rams, 23.2 million viewers on January 17, 2022). Seven of the eight games also aired on ABC.

Disney’s Third Most-Watched NFL Playoff Game

Extending beyond the ESPN era, Eagles-Buccaneers surpasses an additional 13 (of 14) NFL Playoff games that aired on ABC between 1996 and 2005, when the network was owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. As a result, the 2023 Super Wild Card game is Disney’s third most-watched NFL Playoff game and the most-watched Playoff game which did not feature the Cowboys.

Top 3 Ranker + Viewership

  1. January 16, 2023 Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31,201,000
  2. January 2, 1999 Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys 30,744,000
  3. January 15, 2024 Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28,619,000

Additional Eagles-Buccaneers Highlights:

  • The audience peaked with more than 32.7 million viewers late in the first half (9-9:30 p.m. ET)
  • Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli generated more than 1 million viewers on ESPN2
  • ESPN’s Super Wild Card Presentation Succeeds Monday Night Football’s Record-Breaking Regular Season
  • ESPN’s Super Wild Card viewership followed a record season for Monday Night Football, generating its best overall viewership in more than 23 seasons and, in the process, airing its four most-watched games since 2000.

Houston Texans at Top-Seeded Baltimore Ravens

ESPN will air its first NFL Divisional Playoff game featuring the AFC South Champion Houston Texans at the AFC’s top-seeded Baltimore Ravens on Saturday, Jan. 20 across ESPN, ABC, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes. 

The added Playoff game is a key component of ESPN and the NFL’s new rights agreement and will continue through the length of the deal. Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Lisa Salters, Laura Rutledge and John Parry will be live from M&T Bank Stadium for the call.

ESPN’s pregame coverage will begin at 2 p.m. with Scott Van Pelt, Ryan Clark, Robert Griffin III, and Marcus Spears from the stadium. More on ESPN’s coverage plans will be announced this week.

S-F, Sactown Radio: Ashley V Lands Two Gigs

Audacy names Ashley V (Vikdal) as midday host of 102.1 Jams (KRBQ-FM) in San Francisco and afternoon host of 106.5 The End (KUDL-FM) in Sacramento. She will be heard weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT on 102.1 Jams and from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT on 106.5 The End beginning January 22.
Ashley V
“Ashley V’s dedication to radio runs deep and it shows,” said Stacey Kauffman, Regional Vice President, Audacy Sacramento. “We’re eagerly looking forward to adding her talent to these local favorites.”

“I’m really excited and grateful for this opportunity to join Audacy,” said Vikdal. “Radio has always been my passion and I can’t wait to continue the journey with such amazing teams here in Sacramento and San Francisco! Big thank you to Complex, Stacey Kauffman and Michael Martin.”

Ashley V joins Audacy after her most recent role at Power 98.3 (KKFR-FM) in Phoenix. Before that, she began her radio career in her hometown of Albuquerque, NM, on heritage station Kiss 97.3 (KKSS-FM) and Z 106.3 (KXOT-FM).

­čô╗Listeners can tune in to 102.1 Jams (KRBQ-FM) in San Francisco on-air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via X, Facebook and Instagram.

­čô╗Listeners can tune in to 106.5 The End (KUDL-FM) in Sacramento on-air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via X, Facebook and Instagram.

Chicago Radio: Ex-Q101 Justin Nettlebeck Sues for Sexual Harassment

Former WKQX Q101 radio host and executive producer, Justin Nettlebeck, has filed a lawsuit against his previous employer, Cumulus Media Inc., alleging sexual harassment and retaliation.

Nettlebeck alleges that he was subjected to pervasive sexual harassment and discriminatory treatment based on his gender during his employment at Cumulus. He claims that after protesting against the discrimination, he faced retaliation from the company which ultimately led to the termination of his employment.

The plaintiff further accuses a former boss at the station of engaging in openly abusive and discriminatory behavior. According to Nettlebeck, the supervisor allegedly made graphic sexual remarks about female employees and used offensive sex-based insults towards him. Nettlebeck alleges that despite reporting this behavior, Cumulus did nothing to discourage or inhibit those actions.

Nettlebeck is represented in the action by attorneys Rafael E. Lázaro and Catherine Roland, of Lazaro Law Group, of Chicago.

Activist Investor Outlines His Initiatives For Disney

Activist investor Nelson Peltz is stating his case for joining Disney’s board/ Peltz’s Trian Fund Management, in formally nominating Peltz and former Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo to the media giant’s board of directors Thursday, made a list of initiatives and performance targets they’d pursue if elected.

In a proxy filing, Peltz and Rasulo promised to “finally complete a successful CEO succession,” alluding to CEO Bob Iger’s consistent delaying of his retirement date and his return after the firing of former CEO Bob Chapek.

Trian also said it will “align management pay with performance,” calling out Iger’s $31.6 million pay package last year while Disney stock was little changed, underperforming the S&P 500 for 2023.

Trian also aims to target and achieve “Netflix-like margins” of 15% to 20% by 2027, with Peltz adding that he thinks Netflix is Disney’s biggest competition.

The proxy battle comes as Iger tries to streamline the sprawling media company to rein in spending and make its Disney+ streaming platform profitable. Iger has instituted broad restructuring, including thousands of layoffs.

Peltz reiterated in a CNBC “Squawk Box” interview Thursday morning that he believes Disney’s current board oversight is “awful.”

Disney has thus far rejected Peltz’s push to join the board.

In the proxy filing, Peltz also touched on the future of ESPN, which he called the “crown jewel” of the company, with the goal of creating a solidified and detailed payback period and business plan for building out the platform. Iger has previously said Disney is prioritizing turning ESPN into the “preeminent” digital sports platform.

Peltz called for a board-led review of studio creativity to “restore leadership accountability” and reclaim the company’s leading box office position.

Peltz and Rasulo aim to execute a clear vision for the brand’s theme parks, targeting “high-single digit operating income growth,” according to the filing.

Who's Performing at the Super Bowl?

Country Music Hall of Famer Reba McEntire, multi-genre crossover sensation Post Malone and R&B star Andra Day will respectively perform the "Star-Spangled Banner," "America The Beautiful" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" at the NFL's Super Bowl 58 on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas.

Previously announced is that Vegas-familiar pop superstar Usher will perform during the Apple Music Halftime Show at the American Football Conference vs. National Football Conference championship showdown.

The "Star Spangled Banner" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" will be produced and arranged by Adam Blackstone, an Emmy Award-winning musical director/producer.

Pre-game show American Sign Language performances will be provided by actor Daniel Durant, who starred in the Academy Award-winning movie "Coda," actress, model and dancer Anjel Pi├▒ero and actor and choreographer Shaheem Sanchez. Sanchez also will perform the ASL version of Usher's halftime show.

Continuing for the fifth year since 2019, Jay-Z and Roc Nation will executive produce the Super Bowl's halftime festivities.

Impressively, an average of every four years since the Super Bowl's 1967 inception, a country music favorite has sung the national anthem.

In 2021, Eric Church joined Jazmine Sullivan in a performance, while a year later, Mickey Guyton performed the anthem solo. In 2023, Chris Stapleton was tabbed for the job.

McEntire's assumption of the role in 2024 extends a tradition back 50 years to Charley Pride's performance for Super Bowl VIII at Houston's Rice Stadium.

Since then, country favorites including Aaron Neville (1990 and 2006), Garth Brooks (1993), Faith Hill (2000), The Chicks (2003), Carrie Underwood (2010), Kelly Clarkson (2012) and Luke Bryan (2017) have all been national anthem performers.

Hundreds of Colorado Newspapers Stolen Day Rape Story Published

Stacks of local Colorado newspapers were stolen from their racks Wednesday morning — just hours after a bombshell story detailing a teen’s alleged gang rape at the police chief’s home ran on the front page.

The Ouray County Plaindealer broke the shocking news that three teenagers, including Chief Jeff Wood’s son, were accused of sexually assaulting a drunken girl on the bathroom floor as she faded in and out of consciousness.

Readers who preferred the physical paper didn’t get a chance to read the piece, however, according to Plaindeadler co-publisher Erin McIntyre, who authored the story.

“All of our newspaper racks in Ouray and all but one rack in Ridgway were hit by a thief who stole all the newspapers. From what we know so far, it seems this person put in four quarters and took all the papers at these racks,” McIntyre wrote in a Thursday night newsletter.

“It’s pretty clear that someone didn’t want the community to read the news this week. I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions on which story they didn’t want you to read,” she continued.

A suspect was identified Friday, McIntyre said. The person’s identity will remain under wraps until a citation is handed down, but the co-publisher teased that they weren’t related to Woods or the three accused rapists.

According to the Plaindealer’s reporting, a 17-year-old girl told investigators she was raped more than once at Chief Woods’ home in May during a late-night party with his stepson Nate Dieffenderffer and two other men.

The victim claimed she passed out from heavy drinking in a bedroom, but woke up naked with Dieffenderffer on top of her, raping her.

The police chief’s son restrained her when she tried to fight back and scream as the other suspects, one of whom was laughing, watched, according to court records.

According to the NY Post, Chief Woods was reportedly sleeping in the home during the assault.

R.I.P.: Mary Weiss, Leader Singer of The Shangri-Las Girl Group

Mary Weiss, the lead singer and focal point of the Shangri-Las — one of the truly legendary girl groups of the early 1960s, with hits like “Leader of the Pack,” “Great Big Kiss,” “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” and “Heaven Only Knows” — has died at age 75. She and four New York City Catholic schoolgirl friends that included her older sister Betty and a couple of classmates, twins Mary Ann and Margie Ganser, recorded hits back in the mid-60s.

Mary was only 15 when the newly-formed group was discovered by Red Bird Records producer/songwriter George "Shadow" Morton in 1964. Although the Shangri-Las began the year being photographed in chiffon dresses and high heels, Morton soon cultivated a biker-chick/bad girl image for them, with the group usually appearing live clad in tight pants and black leather vests. 

Their songs featured melodramatic music and lyrics dealing with such themes as love lost, death, and general teenage angst, and often included sound effects, such as seagulls along the beach in 1964's "Remember (Walking in the Sand)", their first hit, and roaring motorcycles, as can be heard in their signature song from that same year, the biker epic "Leader of the Pack." Incidentally, both tracks featured a young session pianist by the name of Billy Joel.

The small Red Bird label eventually folded in late 1966 due to financial problems and the group signed with Mercury Records, but changing musical tastes and litigation over bad contracts led to the group's demise in 1968. Mary went on to work as a secretary for an architectural firm in midtown Manhattan and eventually became a successful commercial interior designer and furniture installer in New York City. She has maintained a very low profile, appearing only twice for group reunions in 1977 and 1989.

After nearly 40 years out of the musical spotlight, Mary has contemplated retiring completely from her current career and made a step in that direction with the 2007 release of her first solo CD, "Dangerous Game", which she has supported with limited touring and an appearance on Conan O'Brien's late night show.

Radio History: January 20


➦In 1896
...legendary entertainer George Burns (right) was born Nathan Birnbaum in New York City. After a lengthy apprenticeship in vaudeville, in 1932 George & wife Gracie became a long running hit in radio, films & then TV with The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show [“Say goodnight, Gracie.”] On Gracie’s retirement he returned to a solo act, winning an Oscar with The Sunshine Boys, followed by another hit film Oh, God! He died Mar 9, 1996 at age 100.

➦In 1920...A US Patent was for a magnetic amplifier was granted to Ernst Alexanderson. Magnetic amplifiers were important as modulation and control amplifiers in the early development of voice transmission by radio. Also, the ability to control large currents with small control power made magnetic amplifiers useful for control of lighting circuits, for stage lighting and for advertising signs. Saturable reactor amplifiers were used for control of power to industrial furnaces. Magnetic amplifiers are still used in some arc welders.  Alexanderson also designed the Alexanderson alternator, an early longwave radio transmitter, one of the first devices which could transmit modulated audio (sound) over radio waves.

He had been employed at General Electric for only a short time when GE received an order from Canadian-born professor and researcher Reginald Fessenden, then working for the US Weather Bureau, for a specialized alternator with much higher frequency than others in existence at that time, for use as a radio transmitter.

Ernst Alexanderson
Fessenden had been working on the problem of transmitting sound by radio waves, and had concluded that a new type of radio transmitter was needed, a continuous wave transmitter. Designing a machine that would rotate fast enough to produce radio waves proved a formidable challenge. Alexanderson's family were convinced the huge spinning rotors would fly apart and kill him, and he set up a sandbagged bunker from which to test them.

In the summer of 1906 Mr. Alexanderson's first effort, a 50 kHz alternator, was installed in Fessenden's radio station in Brant Rock, Massachusetts. By fall its output had been improved to 500 watts and 75 kHz. On Christmas Eve, 1906, Fessenden made an experimental broadcast of Christmas music, including him playing the violin, that was heard by Navy ships and shore stations down the East Coast as far as Arlington. This is considered the first AM radio entertainment broadcast.

Alexanderson and G.E. continued improving his machine, and the Alexanderson alternator became widely used in high power very low frequency commercial and Naval wireless stations to transmit radiotelegraphy traffic at intercontinental distances, until by the 1930s it was replaced by vacuum tube transmitters.

Alexanderson was also instrumental in the development of television. The first television broadcast in the United States was to his GE Plot home at 1132 Adams Rd, Schenectady, NY, in 1927. In 1928, WRGB then W2XB was started as world's first television station. It broadcast from the General Electric facility in Schenectady, NY. It was popularly known as "WGY Television".

Over his lifetime, Mr. Alexanderson received 345 US patents, the last filed in 1968 at age 89. The inventor and engineer remained active to an advanced age, working as a consultant to GE and RCA in the 1950s. He died in 1975 and was buried at Vale Cemetery in Schenectady, New York.

➦In 1933...."The Lone Ranger" He first appeared in 1933 in a radio show conceived either by WXYZ (Detroit) radio station owner George W. Trendle and by Fran Striker, the show's writer.

The radio series proved to be a hit and spawned a series of books (largely written by Striker), an equally popular television show that ran from 1949 to 1957, comic books, and several movies. The title character was played on the radio show by George Seaton, Earle Graser, and Brace Beemer.

Clayton Moore portrayed the Lone Ranger on television, although during a contract dispute, Moore was replaced temporarily by John Hart, who wore a different style of mask. On the radio, Tonto was played by, among others, John Todd and Roland Parker; and in the television series, by Jay Silverheels, who was a Mohawk from the Six Nations Indian Reserve in Ontario, Canada.

➦In 1954... the National Negro Network was formed. Some 40 radio stations were charter members of America's first black-owned radio network founded by W. Leonard Evans, Jr. The network featured a variety of different programming, including a popular soap opera The Story of Ruby Valentine, which was based on CBS's We Love and Learn and As the Twig is Bent, and starred Juanita Hall, Ruby Dee and Terry Carter. The serial was sponsored by, among others, Philip Morris and Pet Milk. Other short-lived series included The Life of Anna Lewis with Hilda Simms, and It's A Mystery Man with Cab Calloway.

Some shows were produced by Calloway and Ethel Waters. Other fare included broadcasts of symphony concerts from black colleges, and programs hosted by black DJs at affiliate stations.

The network drew up plans for several more series, but—with the TV era exploding—fell apart within a year due to inadequate capital.

Peter Tripp
➦In 1959...Peter Tripp’s “Stay Awake Marathon” started. Tripp was a Top-40 countdown radio personality from the mid-1950s, whose career peaked with his 1959 record breaking 201 hour wakeathon (working on the radio non-stop without sleep to benefit the March of Dimes). For much of the stunt, he sat in a glass booth in Times Square. After a few days he began to hallucinate, and for the last 66 hours the observing scientists and doctors gave him drugs to help him stay awake. He was broadcasting for WMGM 1050 AM in New York City at the time. Tripp suffered psychologically, after the stunt, he began to think he was an imposter of himself, and kept that thought for some time.

His career soon suffered a massive downturn when he was involved in the payola scandal of 1960. Like several other disc jockeys (including Alan Freed) he had been playing particular records in return for gifts from record companies. Indicted only weeks after his stunt, it emerged that he had accepted $36,050 in bribes. Despite his claim that he "never took a dime from anyone", he was found guilty on a charge of commercial bribery, receiving a $500 fine and a six-month suspended sentence.

Even his wake-athon record did not endure for long. Other DJs had quickly attempted to beat it (such publicity stunts being common in radio broadcasting at the time) and Dave Hunter, in Jacksonville, Florida, soon claimed success (225 hours). Six years after Tripp's record, it was smashed by high school student Randy Gardner, who lasted 11 days.

After leaving WMGM, Tripp was unable to re-establish himself in the world of radio, drifting from KYA in San Francisco to KGFJ in Los Angeles and finally WOHO in Toledo, Ohio, before quitting the medium in 1967. Returning to L.A., he had more success working in physical fitness sales and marketing. He diversified into freelance motivational speaking, writing and stockbroking before settling into a Palm Springs, California retirement.

Overall he had spent twenty years in broadcasting: he began with WEXL in Royal Oak, Michigan, in 1947 then on to Kansas City, Missouri in 1953 where he worked for KUDL (where he adopted the nickname "The Bald Kid In The Third Row", apparently a description made by a parent upon spotting him among many rows of new-borns in a hospital shortly after his birth) and then WHB (restyling himself as "The Curly-headed Kid In The Third Row"; he was not, in reality, bald) where he pioneered the Top-40 format. It was in 1955 that he landed his ill-fated job with WMGM in New York, presenting "Your Hits of the Week".

Tripp died at the age of 73 following a stroke, leaving two sons and two daughters. His four marriages all ended in divorce.

➦In 1964...the first album by The Beatles was released by the Capitol label. The LP, “Meet the Beatles”, became a huge success and was #1 on the charts within a month. The British Invasion had begun.

➦In 1965...Alan Freed, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, died in Palm Springs, Calif., of cirrhosis of the liver at age 43. Freed was one of the first radio disc jockeys to program black music, or race music, as it was termed, for white audiences. In the 1950s, Freed, called “Moon Doggy” at WJW Radio in Cleveland, coined the phrase, “rock ‘n’ roll,” before moving to WABC in New York. 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Philly Radio: Here's Why Spike Eskin Is Back At 94 WIP

When Rod Lakin first arrived from Phoenix to succeed Spike Eskin as SportsRadio 94 WIP's brand manager in 2021, he quickly realized that his predecessor had the gift of gab, according to the Philly Business Journal.

“I remember hearing him with some of the shows, including with [former morning show host Angelo Cataldi], coming on specifically to talk Sixers,” Lakin said of Eskin's on-air cameos. “And I remember just talking to him [and saying], 'You could be a host.'”

So when it became clear last year that Jon Marks would be departing his role as afternoon drive co-host at WIP, Lakin zeroed in on Eskin, who had moved on to become vice president of programming at New York sister sports talk station WFAN and CBS Sports Radio. On Wednesday, less than a month after Marks' final broadcast, parent company Audacy announced that Eskin will rejoin WIP to co-host the afternoon drive shift from 2 to 6 p.m. with Ike Reese and Jack Fritz.

Rod Lakin
Lakin said he couldn’t shake the idea of Eskin being a prominent host. He said even if you remove the fact that he is the son of Howard Eskin — who famously held down the afternoon drive shift for more than a quarter century — that he served as WIP brand manager and Audacy sports talk format captain nationally, the case for Eskin was extremely compelling.

“Here's somebody who's a multimedia star that runs the biggest Sixers podcast in the city — probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, independent team-focused podcast in the country,” Lakin said of the "Rights to Ricky Sanchez" podcast that Eskin co-hosts with Los Angeles-based screenwriter Michael Levin. “And so by virtue you have somebody that's one of the biggest, if not the biggest Sixers voice in the city, which I thought was a real opportunity for WIP.”

Adding Eskin’s 76ers savvy to Reese’s expertise with the Eagles and Fritz’s background as a Phillies podcaster will give the show a well-rounded knowledge base, Lakin said.

Lakin also noted that Eskin has a “deep and special bond” with incumbent afternoon co-host Ike Reese and served as a mentor for Fritz, who will move from producer to co-host of the show. In addition, Lakin said Eskin is a cultural fit and understands WIP and the city’s fanbase, having grown up here and worked in the city for much of the past 25 years as both a host and manager.

Lakin confirmed it was his idea to pursue Eskin for the opening. As for why Eskin chose to leave his management role at WFAN to become a host in Philadelphia, Lakin deferred to Eskin, who was not made available for comment by Audacy. Eskin did make an appearance Wednesday on the afternoon show to express his excitement about teaming with Reese and Fritz.

Guild Walks At L-A Times

Los Angeles Times newsroom guild leaders called for a one-day walkout Friday to protest planned cuts to offset steep financial losses that owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and his family have absorbed since acquiring the paper nearly six years ago.

The Times disclosed Thursday that substantial layoffs were coming due to a widening budget deficit. The walkout represents the newsroom’s first union-organized work stoppage in the paper’s 142-year history.

Management has not publicly disclosed the number of newsroom positions that will be eliminated, but knowledgeable people said the plan is to lay off at least 100 journalists, or about 20% of the newsroom — the largest staff cut since the paper was owned by Tribune Co.

The looming cuts have sparked widespread anxiety in a newsroom already shaken by last week’s abrupt departure of editor-in-chief Kevin Merida who stepped down amid tensions with Soon-Shiong, in large part, over Merida’s fears that the magnitude of the proposed cuts would hamper the paper’s progress toward strengthening its journalism to become a sustainable enterprise, according to the knowledgeable people.

The proposed layoffs will mark the third round of cuts since June, when more than 70 positions, or about 13% of the newsroom, were let go.

“The company and the Guild are currently in discussions about how to proceed,” newsroom managers said in a message sent to the newsroom Thursday. “We believe our shared goals are to preserve as many jobs as possible and maintain areas of coverage that better represent the communities we serve and that our readers have shown us are vital to the business.”

This week, Soon-Shiong and other managers asked the union’s bargaining unit to relax provisions in its contract intended to protect journalists with seniority from layoffs. If the union agreed to that, the company would offer affected employees a buyout package in advance of any layoff, managers said.

Soon-Shiong wants to make cuts while also retaining the younger and diverse staff members who have joined the paper in recent years as the organization has prioritized its efforts to boost the number of journalists of color to better reflect the community that it serves.

Black Information Network Promotes Thompson, Ingram

BIN: Black Information Network, the 24/7 comprehensive national audio news network dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news with a Black voice and perspective, announced today that Chris Thompson has been elevated to Senior Vice President of News and Programming, and Angela Ingram has been elevated to Senior Vice President of Public Engagement.

In this newly created role, Thompson will oversee news, content, and operations for the Black Information Network. Thompson previously served as Vice President of Network Operations. As Senior Vice President of Public Engagement, Ingram will lead BIN’s efforts to build more meaningful public and private sector partnerships and lead the network’s engagement efforts for both the national BIN platform as well as in all local BIN markets. Ingram’s role as Senior Vice President of Public Engagement will also include her continued work with iHeartMedia Chicago.

“Chris and Angela have been integral to the growth and success of the Black Information Network, and these new and expanded roles reflect their leadership. Chris has worked with closely with our newsroom since day one and unifying our news and programming operations under his direction will enable us to grow and strengthen our network, podcast, and digital content at a faster pace,” said Tony Coles, President of BIN: Black Information Network. “I am equally excited about Angela’s new role, which will enable the Black Information Network to work even closer with leaders in government, business, and non-profits to improve our content, coverage, and impact.”

Boise Radio: FCC Fines Townsquare $500K For Program I-D Failure


Two Idaho radio stations will pay a total of $500,000 and have admitted violating federal law by airing a political program for more than a year without telling listeners that they’d been paid to do so.

BoiseDev reports Keep Idaho Red show, which ran on KIDO-AM Boise and KLIX-AM Twin Falls last year. The hour-long show featured former Idaho GOP Chair Tom Luna and former Ada County GOP Chair Victor Miller interviewing prominent Idaho Republicans and others. The show didn’t feature disclosures required by federal law and that the show wasn’t included in either station’s political disclosure file.

The FCC launched an investigation into the show.

“The investigation revealed that Townsquare failed to provide on-air sponsorship identification announcements for multiple episodes of, and numerous advertisements promoting, a paid-for political program that Townsquare broadcast over the Stations from October 2021 to March 2023,” FCC Media Bureau Chief Holly Saurer wrote in a filing this week. “The investigation further revealed that Townsquare failed over the same period of time to upload records of multiple episodes of the program featuring uses by legally qualified candidates for public office and communicating messages relating to political matters of national importance to the stations’ respective online political files.”

“The format of each episode nominally resembled a news interview/public affairs program produced and presented by the stations,” Saurer wrote. “In fact, however, all episodes of the Program were paid political presentations. Townsquare was paid to broadcast episodes of the Program and related advertisements initially by and on behalf of the Idaho Republican Party, and later by Tom Luna on behalf of a company doing business as Tom Luna and Associates.”

The agency said that a number of episodes of the show featured then-current candidates for office, but KIDO & KLIX didn’t note that in the public file. The agency outlined why it sees that as a problem.

“When broadcasters air paid-for programming without disclosing the program’s sponsor, they can mislead the public,” Saurer wrote.

In addition to the $500,000 fine, Townsquare Media agreed to “implement a comprehensive plan to ensure its future compliance with its sponsorship identification and online political file obligations, submit annual compliance reports to the Bureau through the remainder of the current license terms of the two stations.”

It will also launch a training program in disclosure rules for all of its more than 350 radio stations nationwide. In addition to KIDO and KLIX, New York-based Townsquare owns Boise’s Lite FM, Mix 106, Wow Country 104.3, 103.5 Kiss FM and Power 105.5, and Twin Falls’ Kool Super Hits 96.5, 98.5 The Snake and 95.7 KEZJ.

1/19 WAKE-UP CALL: House OKs Government Funding

The House passed legislation extending government funding into March. The 314-108 vote sends the measure to President Biden’s desk before the weekend deadline, after the Senate overwhelmingly passed the measure earlier in the day. In a replay of recent votes, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.) relied heavily on Democrats; more than 100 Republicans declined to back it. The measure ensures federal workers will remain on the job but does nothing to alleviate underlying political pressures stemming from high U.S. debt levels, record crossings at the southern border and an enduring war in Ukraine. The government has been running on short-term spending laws since Oct. 1, after then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) put a surprise continuing resolution on the floor, only to lose his job when a bloc of Republicans engineered his ouster, in part over that decision.

➤GOP REBELS DRAW REBUKE: A push to punish a handful of the most conservative lawmakers in the House reignited in a closed-door meeting as some Republicans lashed out over their colleagues' disruption of the lower chamber and GOP leaders’ agenda. In a weekly Republican meeting Wednesday, Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, specifically called out the House Freedom Caucus during the meeting’s open mic session. The Freedom Caucus is a group of ultraconservative lawmakers who have often been a roadblock to spending agreements, foreign aid packages and other urgent legislation. House Republicans as a group need “discipline and structure,” Miller said after the meeting, calling for Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., chair of the group, and other right-wing conservatives to be punished for rebelling. The Ohio lawmaker suggested removing them from their committee assignments or cutting off access to campaign fundraising.

➤ISRAEL, U-S RIFT: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it crystal clear Thursday he has no interest in the proposals by the United States, his country’s strongest supporter, for either paring down the Gaza offensive nor the future after the war. In a nationally televised news conference that exposed his growing rift with the Biden administration, Netanyahu seemed to dismiss the notion of a Palestinian state, a condition other Middle East nations have set for normalizing relations. “In the future the state of Israel has to control the entire area from the river to the sea,’’ Netanyahu said, referring partly to territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea that Palestinians envision as their future home.

➤PAKISTAN STRIKES IN IRAN:  The first reported airstrike on Iranian territory in decades shows Tehran’s projection of power has limits. Pakistan strikes against what it said were Pakistani separatists in a border village were a response to an Iranian missile attack—Tehran’s first direct attacks in a neighboring country since the Israel-Hamas war started in October. Iran-backed militant groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthi rebels have attacked Israel and U.S. interests in the Middle East since the Gaza conflict began. After a U.S.-led force struck the Houthis, Iran attacked what it said were Israeli spies in Iraq and terrorists in Pakistan and Syria. The latest blows to the White House plan for a postwar Middle East are the persistent Houthi attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea—a show of Arab support for Palestinian militants in Gaza against Israel.

➤TUCKER FOR VEEP: Donald Trump Jr said former Fox News host Tucker Carlson agrees with Donald Trump on everything and would 'certainly be a contender' to be picked as the vice-presidential candidate. 'Don, is your dad serious about Tucker Carlson? Are those rumors serious?' anchor Rob Finnerty asked on Newsmax's Wake Up America on Thursday morning. 'That clearly would be on the table, right? I mean they're very friendly, I think they agree on virtually all of these things,' Don Jr. said. 'I would love to see that happen. That would certainly be a contender,' the former president's eldest son said, adding that Trump and Carlson agree on 'stopping the never-ending war.'

➤TRUMP DOMINATES POLLS: Trump continues to show dominance in hypothetical matchups with Biden, with a poll showing him leading Biden head-to-head by four points and three points if third party candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are included. Heading into the New Hampshire primary, he also leads in the polls over Republican rivals Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis. According to those close to Trump, he's flying high despite his legal troubles and his friends at Mar-a-Lago are prepared for a November win.

➤TRUMP LAWYERS WARN OF ‘CHAOS’ IF HE’S REMOVED FROM BALLOT: Lawyers for Donald Trump argue that his exclusion from the election ballot in some states would “unleash chaos and bedlam” at election time. The warning is contained in a brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is considering whether to uphold the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling that Trump is ineligible to run in 2024 because the 14th Amendment bans insurrectionists from holding office. Trump’s lawyers also argue that the amendment doesn’t apply because a president is not an officer of the United States. And in any case, they assert, he did not engage in insurrection.

➤UVALDE MASSACRE MADE WORSE BY CRITICAL FAILURES: A fatal delay in the emergency police response to the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting greatly worsened the outcome of the tragedy, according to a report from the U.S. Justice Department. The investigation indicates that 77 minutes passed between the time that the teenage shooter walked into the school and when he was stopped. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed. Three local police officials were singled out for failing to initiate an effective response to an active shooting situation. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that the state has “already adopted and implemented some of the recommendations proposed” in the report.

Fox News Media to Cover New Hampshire Primary

  • Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum to Co-Anchor “Democracy 2024: New Hampshire Primary” on FOX News Channel
FOX News Media (FNM) will provide comprehensive live analysis and reporting ahead of the New Hampshire primary beginning Saturday, January 20th with special coverage emanating from Bedford, New Hampshire.

Kicking off primary day at 6 AM/ET on January 23rd, FOX News Channel’s (FNC) signature programming will broadcast live from the Bedford Village Inn to cover the news surrounding the nation’s first primary state. 

Live shows include, FOX & Friends with Lawrence Jones broadcasting live from a Bedford, NH diner, America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino, The Faulkner Focus with Harris Faulkner, Outnumbered, The Story with Martha MacCallum, The Five, Special Report with Bret Baier, Jesse Watters Primetime and Hannity. Additional contributions in New Hampshire will be made by The Five co-host Jessica Tarlov, Outnumbered co-host Kayleigh McEnany, FNC senior political analyst Juan Williams, FOX News Radio’s Guy Benson along with FNC contributors Katie Pavlich and Marc Thiessen.

At 10 PM/ET, FNC will present a live two-hour special entitled Democracy 2024: New Hampshire Primary co-anchored by chief political anchor and anchor of Special Report Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, executive editor and anchor of The Story. 

With insight from Perino, chief political analyst Brit Hume, Sunday Night in America host Trey Gowdy, FOX Business Network’s Charles Payne and contributor Kellyanne Conway, Baier and MacCallum will break down the real-time returns as results come in. Throughout the evening, America’s Newsroom co-anchor Bill Hemmer will analyze results in real-time on the electronic “Bill-board,” while America Reports co-anchor Sandra Smith will present FOX News Voter Analysis from FNC’s headquarters in New York to showcase results from the primary election. Special programming will continue with Trace Gallagher, who will anchor a New Hampshire primary edition of FOX News @ Night from 12-2 AM/ET, followed by Gillian Turner and Mike Emanuel co-anchoring an extended Democracy 2024: New Hampshire Primary from 2-4 AM/ET.

Leading up the primary, FNC will feature live programming from New Hampshire beginning with Neil Cavuto kicking off coverage on Saturday, January 20th with CAVUTO Live (10AM-12PM). On Sunday, January 21st, Shannon Bream will anchor FOX News Sunday (check your local listings) from Bedford featuring a panel with FNC’s Hume, Baier, MacCallum and The Five co-host Harold Ford Jr. to provide insight on possible outcomes ahead of the primary. That evening, John Roberts and Sandra Smith will helm Democracy 2024: New Hampshire Primary to provide viewers with a close look at the Granite State, days after former President Trump’s win in Iowa.

On Monday, January 22nd, the network will dedicate its live schedule to pre-primary coverage. Live programming from New Hampshire will begin with FOX & Friends from 6-9 AM/ET, followed by America’s Newsroom from 9-11 AM/ET, The Faulkner Focus at 11 AM/ET, Outnumbered at 12 PM/ET, The Story at 3 PM/ET, The Five with co-hosts Dana Perino and Jesse Watters, Special Report at 6 PM/ET, Jesse Watters Primetime at 8 PM/ET and Hannity at 9 PM/ET. Additionally, FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Making Money with Charles Payne will be live from New Hampshire at 2 PM/ET.

FNC will also provide viewers with live reports throughout New Hampshire and updates from candidate headquarters during the primary from FNC correspondents Bryan Llenas, Alexis McAdams and FBN correspondent Madison Alworth. On Tuesday night, Mark Meredith will join the network’s expanded coverage from Iowa and FNC White House correspondent Peter Doocy will report live from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

FNC’s Special Live Programming Originating from Bedford will Include:

Space Coast Radio: Stephen Yasko Promoted to GM At WFIT

Stephen Yasko, a radio veteran with experience at major national operations such as NPR and Pacifica and the founding general manager at Towson University’s WTMD, has been named general manager of Florida Tech’s FM public radio station, WFIT 89.5.

Since October 2022, Yasko has served as WFIT’s program manager. He will succeed Terri Wright, who has served as GM at WFIT for 25 years. She will remain at the station in a part-time capacity.

“Coming from a major market and one of the leading AAA stations in the country, Steve brings a wealth of experience to WFIT, and we are very fortunate to have him,” Wright said, alluding to the “adult album alternative” format featured at WFIT.

A 25-year veteran of public media, Yasko (right) said he is excited to grow the community connections that have been a hallmark of WFIT for decades.

“WFIT is true asset to the Space Coast Community and Florida Tech. The station is a rare gem in the greater public radio community because it relies on the input and dedication of a vast assemblage of listeners, members and volunteers and the philanthropic and business communities to a degree not often found in the media landscape today,” he said. “We’re going to extend our commitment to the community by engaging with nonprofit organizations that enhance the quality of life on the Space Coast and support the musicians and artists contributing to our very special Central Florida culture.”

A native of New Jersey and graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., Yasko spent 13 years as general manager and executive director at WTMD, the station at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. Under his guidance, the station saw a 10-fold increase in revenues and a major strengthening of community, donor and listener engagement.

Before WTMD, Yasko served as marketing director and producer on The Diane Rehm Show, a nationally syndicated program on NPR originating at American University’s radio station, WAMU. He spent the next five years as program operations manager and marketing manager at National Public Radio before a two-year stint as national program director at Pacific Radio Foundation. He began at Towson in 2002.

Yasko came to Florida in 2019 to serve as director of content and audience development at the NPR affiliate in Orlando, WMFE.