Saturday, January 27, 2024

Radio History: January 28

Ad for radio appeared in the NY Times Jan. 28, 1926

➦In 1934...Newspaper columnist Walter Winchell, in his newspaper column, paid compliments to a Washington DC disc jockey.

As a result, 30-year-old Arthur Godfrey (right) began receiving offers from talent scouts and producers, and eventually was adored by millions across the country on CBS radio and TV.

His trademark (strumming a ukulele and delivering down-home patter) endeared him to fans for the next 30 years.

➦In 1940...“Beat the Band” made its debut on NBC radio with emcee Garry Moore (below). 

The band was that of Ted Weems and his 14-piece orchestra, who were joined by Elmo “The Whistling Troubadour” Tanner, and Country Washington. One other star of the show was a barber from the Pittsburgh area, who would record many hits for RCA Victor from 1943 right into the 1970s. His name was Perry Como, aged 27

 ➦In 1956...Elvis Presley made his first appearance on national television on “The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show” on CBS. He sang “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Heartbreak Hotel”. After the appearance, sales of “Heartbreak Hotel” skyrocketed; however the national Elvis furor did not erupt until his subsequent appearances on the Milton Berle and Steve Allen TV shows.

➦In 1959...Radio personality Randi Rhodes was born. She is a progressive political commentator, activist and talk radio host. The Randi Rhodes Show is live streamed having been previously broadcast nationally on Air America Radio, Nova M Radio, and Premiere Radio Networks.

Randi Rhodes
Rhodes' radio career began in Seminole, Texas at a country music station. Her next job was in a larger market, Mobile, Alabama. While in Mobile, she was paired briefly with a male DJ (also named Randy) for the "Randy and Randi" morning show. This was her first experience with extemporaneous dialogue other than reading cue cards between records. She used this experience as a spring-board to larger markets. In the late 1980s, she was hired out of that medium market directly to New York City by WAPP "The Apple", owned at the time by Doubleday Broadcasting. While working for WAPP, she took the name "Randi Rhodes," having previously used "Randi St. John".

While teaming with host Perry Stone at Milwaukee's WQFM, Rhodes was suspended in 1987 when their program offended the gay community and led several businesses to cancel ads.

In late September 1992, Rhodes started on WIOD in Miami, working the 8P-11P night shift. The Miami Herald described her as "a chain-smoking bottle blond, ... part Joan Rivers, part shock jock Howard Stern and part Saturday Night Live's 'Coffee Talk' lady. But mostly, she's her rude, crude, loud, brazen, gleeful self."

In 2004, Rhodes joined Air America Radio, bringing The Randi Rhodes Show to a national audience for the first time. In 2007, Rhodes was recognized by the radio industry's well known periodical, Talkers Magazine as Woman of the Year.

Burt Mustin 'Leave It to Beaver' 

➦In 1977..."Burt" Mustin died (Born - February 8, 1884). Over the course of his career, he appeared in over 150 film and television productions. He also worked in radio and appeared in stage productions.

Mustin began his professional acting career at the age of 67 after director William Wyler cast him in the 1951 film noir Detective Story. Known for his dependability and versatility, Mustin went on to establish a career as a well-known character actor and worked extensively in film and television from the 1950s to the 1970s. Before he began a professional career in show business, Mustin did amateur acting and performing. In 1921, he became the first announcer for a variety show broadcast on Pittsburgh's then newly established KDKA radio station. 

➦In 1986...the NASA shuttle orbiter mission STS-51-L and the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-99) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members on board: flight commander Francis Scobee; pilot Michael Smith; Ronald McNair; Ellison Onizuka; Judith Resnik; Gregory Jarvis; and schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, who was to have been the first civilian in space.

The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:39 a.m. EST (16:39 UTC).

The disintegration of the vehicle began after a joint in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The failure was caused by the failure of O-ring seals used in the joint that were not designed to handle the unusually cold conditions that existed at this launch. The seals' failure caused a breach in the SRB joint, allowing pressurized burning gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB aft field joint attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to the separation of the right-hand SRB's aft field joint attachment and the structural failure of the external tank. Aerodynamic forces broke up the orbiter.

The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were eventually recovered from the ocean floor after a lengthy search and recovery operation. The exact timing of the death of the crew is unknown; several crew members are known to have survived the initial breakup of the spacecraft. The shuttle had no escape system, and the impact of the crew compartment at terminal velocity with the ocean surface was too violent to be survivable.

➦In 2003...Stan Martin, a New York City radio personality, died at age 64. He worked at WQEW-FM and WNEW-AM, among others, and hosted the nationally syndicated “Solid Gold Country”.

Martin (right) joined WQXR in 1992 as program director when The NYTimes changed the station's format from classical music and its name from WQXR-AM to WQEW. He eventually became the station manager.

He left in 1998, when The Times leased the station to ABC, for Radio Disney.

His radio career began in 1959 at WDLC in Port Jervis, N.Y. He then worked for several other stations, including WPIX-AM, WHN-AM and WFAN-AM in New York and WPEN-AM in Philadelphia.

After leaving WQEW, Martin was master of ceremonies for cabaret shows in Manhattan and host of a website.

➦In 2015…Well-traveled radio personality Lee “Baby” Sims, who worked for 27 stations in Charleston, Orlando, San Antonio, Hartford, Cleveland, San Diego (twice), San Antonio (three times), Detroit, Los Angeles (four times), Miami, Santa Rosa, San Francisco (twice), Honolulu, and Phoenix, gave up his battle with cancer and killed himself at age 72.

Born Gilmore LaMar Simms in Charleston, South Carolina, Simms dropped out of high school at 16 and began jocking at WTMA as “Hot Toddio on the Radio.” Simms, by his own recollection, worked at 35 stations in 22 markets and was fired 25 times because he “never accepted an insult from anyone.”

Lee Simms
While Simms was at KONO in San Antonio, program director Woody Roberts gave him the nickname “Lee Baby.” Simms also worked at WMBR in Jacksonville, WLOF in Orlando, WJBK in Detroit, WSHO in New Orleans, KTSA in San Antonio, WIST in Charlotte (where he doubled as program director), WGCL and WKYC in Cleveland, WPOP in Hartford and WMYQ in Miami.

On February 9, 1971, after spending three years as afternoon host at KCBQ in San Diego, Simms joined KRLA as 9-to-midnight host. He began his first airshift just 15 hours after the 6.6 Sylmar earthquake which killed 65 people and caused $500 million in property damage.

After a few months at KRLA, Simms traded time slots with 6-to-9 host Dave Diamond. Simms briefly worked at KROQ and KTNQ before moving to Hawaii, where he jocked at KKUA, KORL, KDUK and KPOI. In the 1980s he worked at KFOG in San Francisco, WLVE in Miami, KKIS in Concord and KPRQ in Rohnert Park.

In the 1990s, Simms jocked at KOOL in Phoenix and KYA and KISQ in San Francisco. While at KISQ, his show was also heard via syndication on WUBT in Chicago.

Simms retired from radio in 2002.

➦In 2021...Longtime New York City radio personality Harry Harrison died.  Harrison (born September 20, 1930 in Chicago) had been a popular American radio personality for over 50 years. Harrison is the only DJ to be a WMCA "Good Guy," a WABC "All-American," and on the WCBS-FM line-up.

R.I.P.: Former Memphis DJ 'Slick Rick' Buchanan, Found Decapitated

Rick Buchanan (1964-2024)

 A popular former Memphis DJ was found beheaded in his neighborhood home Wednesday afternoon. 

59-year-old Rick Buchanan, also known as "Slick Rick," was found decapitated 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, according to his brother John Buchanan.  "I walked in and found him, and I just called 911," John Buchanan told FOX13

John Buchanan recalled finding the gruesome scene on Wednesday.  "I thought his coat was up over his head like it was cold or something," John Buchanan said. "I ran out and then I ran back in. And, then I realized it was something worse." 

Rick "Slick Rick" Buchanan performed as a DJ in Memphis for decades.   His brother said that things changed for Rick in 2014, when he was shot outside of a club. It became hard for his brother to find work and led the once-popular personality to become more of a homebody. 

The Memphis Police Department was still investigating Rick Buchanan's death, looking for answers as to why and how he lost his life Wednesday night. 

WWE's Vince McMahon Resigns Amid Sex Trafficking Allegations

Vince McMahon, the founder of modern professional wrestling who weathered allegations of sexual misconduct for decades, resigned as executive chairman of TKO Group on Friday.

The Wall Street Journal reports his resignation came a day after a former employee alleged in a lawsuit that McMahon sexually abused her and trafficked her to others inside World Wrestling Entertainment. Last year, McMahon sold WWE to Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor Group to create the merged company TKO Group.

Thursday’s lawsuit by Janel Grant, whom McMahon agreed in 2022 to pay $3 million to keep her quiet about their relationship, contained graphic allegations of abuse that she said began soon after they met in 2019.

Vince McMahon
McMahon denied the allegations, as he announced his departure. “I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name,” he said in a statement Friday. 

Grant alleged that McMahon sexually exploited her—including by sexually assaulting her in the WWE’s offices and trafficking her to other executives and stars—while she worked at the Stamford, Conn., headquarters from 2019 to 2022.

Grant’s lawsuit said that McMahon made promises of employment at WWE and showered her with gifts, but over time McMahon’s sexual demands intensified. He defecated on her head during a threesome, forcibly used sex toys on her and directed her to have sex with John Laurinaitis, an executive who has since left the company, the lawsuit said. 

McMahon also directed her to send explicit photos to a WWE star and attempted to traffic her to the wrestler, who wasn’t named in the suit. People familiar with the matter said it was Brock Lesnar, one of WWE’s top talents. 

This week, Netflix bought the rights to “WWE Raw” and other WWE shows in a deal valued at more than $5 billion. Netflix hasn’t responded to requests for comment. .

NBCUniversal’s USA Network is the current rights holder for “Raw,” with a five-year, $1.325 billion deal through the end of this year.

Media Ready For Massive Layoffs

The year 2024 has witnessed a seismic shift as media industry giants Google, Paramount, and Disney collectively announced a sweeping wave of massive layoffs, sending shockwaves through the business world and a question of the future of journalism.

The Cryptopolitan website reports the news industry is having a rough start to the new year, with media institutions worldwide losing reporting staff as old financial structures that have kept most of the sector viable for decades collapse in plain sight.

The precipitous contraction, which occurred even as the presidential election season heated up and public attention and revenues historically increased, was on full show this month, with the first few weeks of 2024 ushering in a slew of devastating layoffs at news and media organizations coast to coast.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reduced its newsroom by more than 20%; TIME laid off scores of employees; and Business Insider announced an 8% personnel reduction. Meanwhile, hundreds of employees at Condé Nast, Forbes, The New York Daily News, and other publications staged historic walkouts to protest impending job losses.

These media corporations have cut billions of dollars in expenditures over the last year, largely in an effort to win over Wall Street. In addition, under profit pressure, they introduced ad-supported tiers, packaged their goods, and boosted the monthly subscription plan rates.

While significant, the recent layoffs are part of a more persistent storm raging through the media sector. Over the last 18 months, most news organizations have been forced to make painful decisions about reducing their employment.

CNN, The Washington Post, NPR, Vice Media, Sports Illustrated, Vox Media, NBC News, CNBC, and other organizations have reduced their reporting staffs. At the local level, layoffs have been practically constant, with media behemoth Gannett laying off hundreds of people and small outlets squeezing out already thin operations.

The newest round of layoffs follows 2023, which was the worst year for job cuts in the journalism business since COVID-19 upended the world in 2020, with almost 2,700 positions lost.

Although every media outlet is confronted with its own set of difficulties, they are all confronted with severe industry headwinds brought about by technological advancements and the internet transformation, which have fundamentally altered the way in which the public obtains news and entertainment.

Big Tech, Media Start 2024 With Fresh U.S. Job Cuts

Big Tech and media companies in the U.S. have kicked off 2024 with fresh plans to cut jobs, signaling the spate of layoffs seen last year will likely continue as firms navigate persistent economic uncertainty.

Reuters summarizes job cuts announced by tech and media companies in January.

DirecTV, Cox Media Group Showdown Looming

DIRECTV is serious about keeping its customers from having to worry about price increases in the near future. 

The reports the company is digging in for another battle over retransmission fees, this time with Cox Media Group (CMG), which currently operates 13 TV stations in nine markets across the United States. When retrans contracts expire, channel owners invariably demand higher fees from distributors, which almost always have to be passed on to the consumers. DIRECTV executives have gone on record about wanting to avoid having to raise prices for their subscribers.

DIRECTV and Cox have until 12 midnight E.T. on Feb. 2 to reach a new deal for the retransmission of Cox-owned stations on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and AT&T U-Verse. If they do not, customers in markets like Atlanta, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Seattle will likely find that they can no longer access select local channels with their DIRECTV service. Stations affiliated with ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, MyNetworkTV, and Telemundo could be affected.

“CMG is proud of our commitment to investing in best-in-class local news and investigative journalism,” Cox Media Group EVP Marian Pittman said. “We’re dismayed that DIRECTV is trying to force a deal that would harm local journalism and broadcast stations. This hurts consumers who rely on our high-quality local news, weather, and entertainment programming.”

Cox has grown so frustrated with the tenor of negotiations that it has issued a press release, calling DIRECTV “anti-competitive” and “anti-consumer” as it tried to lay the blame for the failure to reach a new deal exclusively at the satellite provider’s feet.

“Cox Media Group (CMG) called on DIRECTV to not block its customers’ access to breaking local news and weather, emergency information, live major sports and other entertainment programming provided by CMG’s local TV stations,” the company said in a statement. “DIRECTV has yet to close a new carriage agreement with CMG and appears intent on pulling all of CMG’s local TV stations from its lineup, starting as early as February 2.”

Westwood One Airs Coverage of AFC-NFC Championship Games

Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, America’s largest audio network and the official network audio partner of the National Football League, will present live play-by-play coverage of NFL Conference Championship Sunday.

Coverage will begin with the pregame show at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 28 before the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens meet for the AFC Championship game and the Detroit Lions battle the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. The complete broadcast schedule follows:

SUNDAY, JANUARY 28, 2024: 


Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Twin Brothers Jason and Devin McCourty (analysts), Ross Tucker (sideline reporter)


Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Kust Warner (analyst) and Laura Okmin (sideline reporter)

Scott Graham will host pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for both broadcasts.

The winners will meet in Super Bowl LVIII on February 11, 2024, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

🎧Listeners can hear Westwood One’s NFL broadcasts on approximately 500 terrestrial radio stations nationwide as well as on, SiriusXM, NFL+ and via the NFL App.

L-A Radio: Power DJ Sues Rapper 50-Cent

Los Angeles radio host Bryhana Monegian wants 50 Cent to face the music, alleging in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the “Candy Shop” rapper chucked a microphone at her head during a concert in August.

The LA Times reports Monegain, a midday host for hip-hop KPWR Power 106 FM, filed her lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court. At the center of the complaint was 50 Cent’s Final Lap tour at downtown L.A.’s Arena.

Monegain alleges that 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) threw his microphone “towards a crowded area” after realizing that it was not working during his performance. This caused “the microphone to strike Plaintiff’s face and left wrist,” resulting in “severe and permanent” injuries, the complaint said. After the incident, the lawsuit added, Monegain immediately received care at the Los Angeles General Medical Center emergency department for injuries including a concussion, “laceration over her forehead” and pain in her left wrist.

Monegain, who also complained of “dizziness, headaches, light and sound sensitivity, and nausea,” alleges that she still suffers from her injuries and “emotional distress.”

Video of 50 Cent throwing his microphone off the stage during his Los Angeles show circulated on social media in August. The footage showed the “P.I.M.P.” rapper, 48, swapping and throwing his microphones twice — gently tossing the first one away, then hurling the other into the crowd.

Several outlets including TMZ and PageSix published photos of a bandaged Monegain and her injuries, showing a bloody wound on the radio personality’s forehead. TMZ reported that the rapper was not targeting Monegain but also that she was not supposed to be in the restricted area where he threw his mic. She reportedly told police that the rapper looked directly at her before throwing the device, according to TMZ.

Monegain, who demanded a trial by jury, is seeking an undisclosed amount for damages including medical expenses, legal fees and past and future wage loss.

Houston Radio: Bill Tatar New Regional Promotions Director for Audacy

Bill Tatar
Audacy welcomes Bill Tatar as Regional Promotions Director for its Houston market effective February 5. In this role, Tatar will work closely with Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Audacy Houston, as well as the market’s brand leadership, to proactively manage all events, promotions and contesting for the markets portfolio of brands.

“I have admired Bill’s work in the Houston market for the past 15 years, so I am very excited about him joining our team,” said Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Houston. “He has deep relationships in the market, a tremendous work ethic, and a creative mind that will help take our brands to the next level for both our consumers and partners.”

“I am excited about the possibilities this new opportunity brings, and I look forward to bringing my 30 years of radio experience to Audacy Houston,” said Tatar.

Tatar has 31 years in the radio business, getting his start in 1993 at WNOE in New Orleans. He spent nine years in New Orleans before coming to Houston in 2002 to work for Cox Media. Tatar has served on the board of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame since 2015, is on the Advisory Board of Best Buddies Houston and has earned Volunteer of the Year at Houston PetSet.

Radio History: January 27

➦In 1926...John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, gives the first public demonstration of a television system in London, launching a revolution in communication and entertainment.

According to History, Baird’s invention, a pictorial-transmission machine he called a “televisor,” used mechanical rotating disks to scan moving images into electronic impulses. This information was then transmitted by cable to a screen where it showed up as a low-resolution pattern of light and dark. Baird’s first television program showed the heads of two ventriloquist dummies, which he operated in front of the camera apparatus out of view of the audience.

Baird based his television on the work of Paul Nipkow, a German scientist who patented his ideas for a complete television system in 1884. Nipkow likewise used a rotating disk with holes in it to scan images, but he never achieved more than the crudest of shadowy pictures. Various inventors worked to develop this idea, and Baird was the first to achieve easily discernible images. In 1928, Baird made the first overseas broadcast from London to New York over phone lines and in the same year demonstrated the first color television.

➦In 1927...Some 5 months after NBC was formed, United Independent Broadcasters Inc. began a radio network which consisted of 16 US stations east of the Mississippi. Within 20 months it evolved into CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.

William Paley
With the creation of the "United Independent Broadcasters" network in Chicago by New York talent-agent Arthur Judson. The fledgling network soon needed additional investors though, and the Columbia Phonograph Company, manufacturers of Columbia Records, rescued it in April 1927; as a result, the network was renamed "Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System". Columbia Phonographic went on the air on September 18, 1927, with a presentation by the Howard Barlow Orchestra from flagship station WOR in Newark, New Jersey, and fifteen affiliates.

Operational costs were steep, particularly the payments to AT&T for use of its land lines, and by the end of 1927, Columbia Phonograph wanted out.

In early 1928, Judson sold the network to brothers Isaac and Leon Levy, owners of the network's Philadelphia affiliate WCAU, and their partner Jerome Louchenheim. None of the three was interested in assuming day-to-day management of the network, so they installed wealthy 26-year-old William S. Paley, son of a Philadelphia cigar family and in-law of the Levys, as president. With the record company out of the picture, Paley quickly streamlined the corporate name to "Columbia Broadcasting System".

He believed in the power of radio advertising since his family's "La Palina" cigars had doubled their sales after young William convinced his elders to advertise on radio. By September 1928, Paley bought out the Louchenheim share of CBS and became its majority owner with 51% of the business.

➦In 1927...KXO 1230 AM went on the air in El Centro, CA. It is the oldest station in the Imperial Valley and is probably the oldest in any community between San Diego and Phoenix. In the 1930s, it broadcast at 100 watts on 1500 kilocycles. It was owned by E.R. Irey and F.M. Bowles.

Friday, January 26, 2024

FCC Fines Five Radio Pirates in Florida

A pirate radio station popular in Miami's Haitian-American community has been hit with a steep fine by the FCC.

The FCC says Radio Touche Douce operates illegally from a backyard shed in North Miami. The Miami Herald reports agency is proposing a fine of more than $144,000, the largest amount allowed under FCC regulations.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says pirate radio stations interfere with lawful use of airwaves and can disrupt public safety communications.

Station owner Fabrice Polynice, who has broadcast for 24 years, declined comment on the FCC action. Polynice and the property owners have 30 days to respond to the proposed fine.

The station was continuing its broadcasts last week despite the proposed fine.

The FCC also has proposed four smaller fines in the Miami area.

Penalties of about $358,000 each are proposed against Brindley Marshall, Wilfrid Salomon and Cameron Brown. “All three individuals have been operating pirate radio stations for years and have received multiple warnings to cease their unauthorized broadcasting,” the commission wrote. The dollar figure is the maximum penalty for three days of alleged violations in 2023.  The FCC also proposed a forfeiture of $120,000 against Abdias Datis.

“These operators were not just using the public airwaves unlawfully, they were increasing the risk for harmful interference of authorized users,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement. “That is unacceptable.”

The NALs were approved unanimously by the FCC commissioners.

Walkouts Spread to NY Daily News

Journalists at The New York Daily News walked off the job on Thursday for the first time in more than three decades, according to The NY Times.

Newsroom workers at The Daily News Union, which formed in 2021, are in negotiations for their first contract. The union called a one-day work stoppage to protest staffing cuts, as well as a new policy that requires workers to get advance approval for overtime.

The Daily News, founded in 1919, was once one of the largest newspapers in the country by circulation. But in recent years, the paper has been hollowed out by ownership changes and staffing cuts as it struggled against ever-declining circulation and dwindling revenue.

In 2021, its parent company, Tribune Publishing, was purchased by Alden Global Capital, an investment firm that has bought up hundreds of newspapers across the country, acquiring a reputation along the way for making deep cuts to newsrooms.

About a third of union members have left The Daily News since spring 2022, with membership now at 54 people, according to the union.

The last work stoppage at The Daily News was a five-month strike in 1990 and 1991.

On Thursday, Daily News journalists plan to picket outside a co-working space that now serves at their temporary office. The Daily News permanently closed its newsroom in Lower Manhattan in 2020.

Layoffs Loom At Paramount Global

Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish on Thursday said the media company would undergo layoffs as it strives to become a leaner company that spends less.

Bakish said the entertainment industry has been confronted with a soft ad market, recent dual Hollywood strikes and a “volatile” macroeconomic environment, all while navigating the business’s transition from traditional movies and TV to streaming.

Paramount will look to manage costs it seeks to drive earnings, he wrote in a memo to staff seen by Reuters.

Bob Bakish
“As it has over the past few years, this does mean we will continue to reduce our workforce globally,” Bakish wrote in the memo. The company did not disclose how many jobs it would cut.

Overall, more than 21,000 workers have been let go in 76 tech companies in January, according to The NY Post citing tracking website

The tech sector shed 168,032 jobs in 2023 and accounted for the highest number of layoffs across industries, according to a report by Challenger, Gray and Christmas earlier this month.

Bakish outlined the company’s strategic priorities for the year in the staff memo, even as he acknowledged the media company “remains a topic of speculation.”

David Ellison has expressed interest in acquiring the Redstone family’s holding company, National Amusements, as a way of gaining control of Paramount Global. He is exploring combining his film and television studio, Skydance Media, with Paramount. Neither Ellison nor National Amusements have commented on those reports.

“It’s no surprise that Paramount remains a topic of speculation,” Bakish wrote. “We’re a storied public company in a closely followed industry.”

Chicago Radio: WMVP ESPN Makes Line-Up Changes

WMVP ESPN Chicago has announced a series of upcoming changes to the weekday on-air lineup, including an additional hour of Carmen & Jurko and an extended 30-minute Crosstalk segment with afternoon-drive show, Waddle & Silvy.

Beginning on Monday, January 29, Carmen & Jurko will expand to three hours, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The last half hour will offer fans an outstanding 30 minutes of Crosstalk, a combined segment bringing together Carmen & Jurko and Waddle & Silvy. ESPN Chicago fans will continue to hear four full hours of Waddle & Silvy, the longest running sports talk duo in Chicago, starting at 2:30pm with Crosstalk and extending through 6:30pm.

“We’re excited to offer our fans more of what they love – sports conversations, entertainment, and passion from our ESPN Chicago talent. Carmen and Jurko have been an on-air duo for 15 years, and we are excited to offer fans more of the show. The new programming line-up with Waddle and Silvy live until 6:30 p.m. will take you all the way home on your commute,” said Danny Zederman, director of content, ESPN Chicago.

The weekday lineup, launching January 29:
  • 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. Unsportsmanlike
  • 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Kap and J. Hood
  • 10:00 a.m. to Noon Greeny
  • Noon to 3:00 p.m. Carmen & Jurko
  • 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Waddle and Silvy
  • 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Bleck and Abdalla

Follow along on ESPN Chicago’s social media platforms throughout the day and tune into ESPN 1000, the ESPN Chicago App, and 100.3 HD2 to listen to the live broadcast.

Audacy Report Explores the Future of Audio

Audacy has released “The Future of Audio,” a new series offering a bold look at the innovative shifts and trends redefining how we experience and interact with audio content.

Key takeaways, The Future of Audio is…
  • Human...In an Artificial World: As technology becomes more pervasive, the human connection becomes even more valuable.
  • Tribes of Every Shape and Size: Discover how brands are leveraging AI to understand and connect with consumers on a deeper level, delivering ads that feel less intrusive and more relevant.
  • Your Co-Pilot: Audio is riding shotgun as the most innovative co-pilot in the latest fleet of connected cars. With facial recognition and bi-zonal audio, cars will “read the mood” and serve playlists, stations, and even advertising that fits the moment.
  • Creative AF: Learn how brands and creators are collaborating with AI to deliver authentic content experiences that resonate with audiences like never before.
  • Winning the Attention War: Discover the future of campaign measurement, focused on capturing and measuring attention in meaningful ways. 
  • The Future of AI is Audio: From cloud voice ID to interactive ads, discover how AI is transforming voice assistants into true companions and revolutionizing the advertising landscape.
The full report can be found here.

1/26 WAKE-UP CALL: Trump..I Don't Get Angry, I Get Even'

By the time she made her defiant concession speech in the New Hampshire Republican primary on Tuesday night, Donald Trump had already attacked Nikki Haley’s Indian ethnicity, called her a patsy for China, and amplified a “birther” lie that the former South Carolina governor is ineligible to run for president. Now, as Trump’s sole remaining challenger has rebuffed GOP calls for her to drop out of the race before her home state’s primary next month, Haley faces what analysts say may be a tsunami of political slime. “Nikki knows this and knows there’s nothing she can do about it,” said former Republican campaign guru Rick Wilson, a co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. “South Carolina has the dirtiest politics in America. She is going into a buzzsaw.”

It's Nikki Haley's turn in the barrel, as the former president and his supporters turn their fire on his last remaining challenger. In his New Hampshire victory speech on Tuesday night, Trump – who faces four felony indictments in federal and state courts – went after his former U.N. ambassador’s character and her appearance, and suggested without evidence that Haley was ripe for a criminal investigation.  “I don’t get too angry," Trump said. "I get even."

➤TRUMP ERUPTS: Donald Trump erupted in a Manhattan courtroom Thursday as a judge sought to restrict his testimony in a case over the costly damages he could face for defaming advice columnist E. Jean Carroll when he denied her sexual assault allegations in 2019. "I don't know who the woman is," Trump said out of turn, as Judge Lewis Kaplan was speaking to a lawyer. "I wasn't at the trial," he added, referring to an earlier civil trial that Trump chose not to attend, in which a jury found him liable for sexually abusing Carroll. "Mr. Trump, keep your voice down," Kaplan admonished. Before long, Trump was interjecting again, although the judge quickly put a stop to it.

What's next with the trial? An anonymous jury will determine what, if any, monetary damages Trump might owe Carroll for two statements he made denying her allegation that he had raped her in a department store changing room in the mid-1990s.

➤U-S WARNED IRAN OF TERROR ATTACK: The U.S. secretly warned Iran that Islamic State was preparing to carry out the terrorist attack early this month that killed more than 80 Iranians in a pair of coordinated suicide bombings, U.S. officials said. The Wall Street Journal reports the confidential alert came after the U.S. acquired intelligence that Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, ISIS-Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, was plotting to attack Iran, they said. American officials said the information passed to Iran was specific enough about the location and sufficiently timely that it might have proved useful to Tehran in thwarting the attack on Jan. 3 or at least mitigating the casualty toll. Iran, however, failed to prevent the suicide bombings in the southeastern town of Kerman, which targeted a crowd that was commemorating the anniversary of the death of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds force. Soleimani was killed in a January 2020 drone attack near the Baghdad airport ordered by then-President Donald Trump.

➤ALABAMA EXECUTES CONVICTED MURDERER:  Alabama on Thursday executed convicted murderer Kenneth Smith, who held his breath in vain as officials asphyxiated him with nitrogen gas, the first use of a new method of capital punishment since lethal injections began in the U.S. four decades ago. Smith, convicted of a 1988 murder-for-hire, was a rare prisoner who had already survived one execution attempt. In November 2022, Alabama officials aborted his execution by lethal injection after struggling for hours to insert an intravenous line's needle in his body. The state has called its new closely watched protocol "the most painless and humane method of execution known to man." It predicted Smith would lose consciousness in under a minute and die soon after, although witnesses on Thursday said it appeared to take several minutes longer. Alabama has touted asphyxiation as a simpler alternative for prison systems that struggle to find either veins or the required drugs for lethal injections.

➤PROSECUTOR TELLS JURY THAT MOTHER OF MICHIGAN SCHOOL SHOOTER IS AT FAULT FOR 4 STUDENT DEATHS: In the trial related to the school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the armed teen, is charged with involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors argue that the shooting, which killed four students, could have been prevented if Jennifer Crumbley had taken action after seeing her son's violent drawings on the same day as the incident. 

The prosecution contends that she was aware of her son's deteriorating mental health and social isolation and knew about his access to a gun.

➤SEATTLE AGREES TO PAY BLM PROTESTORS $10 MILLION IN LAWSUIT STEMMING FROM 2020 RIOTS: The city of Seattle has agreed to pay $10 million to 50 Black Lives Matter protesters who sued the police department, alleging the use of excessive force during the 2020 riots. The settlement, announced by attorneys from both sides, aims to resolve the case and avoid the costs and risks associated with a scheduled three-month trial.

➤ECONOMY JUMPS: The U.S. economy continued to grow at a healthy pace at the end of 2023, capping a year in which unemployment remained low, inflation cooled and a widely predicted recession never materialized. Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, grew at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. That was down from the 4.9 percent rate in the third quarter but easily topped forecasters’ expectations and showed the resilience of the recovery from the pandemic’s economic upheaval. The latest reading is preliminary and may be revised in the months ahead.

🏠HOUSING MARKET JUMPS: Is this the bottom of the housing market?  Last week, the National Association of Realtors said existing home sales for December and all of 2023 tumbled to new lows. On Thursday, though, the Census Bureau's preliminary report for December showed new home sales jumped 8% from November and grew 4% from 2022 to 2023. Is that a good sign? New home sales are just a fraction of existing home sales and can fluctuate significantly from month to month. But still, the 668,000 new homes purchased in 2023 ends a two-year decline. It also points to two key concerns that have bogged down the market struggling with higher mortgage rates: too few buyers and too few homes for sale. 

SUSPECT TO STAND TRIAL IN KILLING OF TV NEWSMAN: Keith Moses right) was found competent to face murder charges for last February’s killing of three people in Pine Hills, including a television reporter, after court-appointed psychologists found no evidence of a mental illness that would prevent his prosecution. Orange County Circuit Judge Leticia Margues heard testimony from two psychologists, Chelsea Bennett and Katherine Oses, who said they believe Moses understands the charges against him and the legal process he will undergo. Both also said he provided vague and often contradictory information throughout their evaluations, including that he hasn’t been in contact with his family even as Oses said jailhouse phone calls showed he has spoken with his mother and grandmother. Along with interviewing Moses, the psychologists reviewed Moses’ court and school records, as well as his mental health history. Although the 20-year-old has reported experiencing auditory hallucinations, Bennett and Oses believe he doesn’t have the sort of mental illness that would keep him from standing trial.

➤BILL PASSES FLA HOUSE TO BAN SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THOSE UNDER 16: The Florida House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would ban social media for minors under the age of 16. The bill, known as HB 1, passed Wednesday in a 106-13 vote, with only a portion of Democrats in opposition. A priority for House leadership, the bill is moving to the upper chamber less than three weeks into the Florida legislative session. The bill would require social media platforms to prohibit minors from creating new accounts, terminate existing accounts of those younger than 16 and use age verification for account holders, without a parental permission exemption. The proposal will still have to pass the state Senate before making it to Gov. Ron DeSantis's desk. In that case and barring any legal trouble, it would go into effect in July. But if similar measures in Ohio and Utah are any indication, legal trouble may be difficult to avoid.

Terry Tang Named Interim Executive Editor At LA Times

Los Angeles Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has appointed Terry Tang, editor of the editorial page, as the paper’s executive editor on an interim basis.

Tang, whose appointment takes effect immediately, becomes the first female editor in the paper’s 142-year history.

Soon-Shiong moved quickly to name the new leader to settle a newsroom roiled by substantial layoffs, a one-day strike and the loss of three top editors in the last two weeks. In turning to Tang, a respected journalist who earlier in her career worked at the New York Times, Soon-Shiong selected a leader with whom he had already established trust.

The Times laid off about 120 journalists this week to cut costs to reduce the financial losses the Soon-Shiong family has absorbed since they acquired the organization in 2018 for $500 million. Projections showed another year of heavy losses.

Tang replaces Kevin Merida, who stepped down earlier this month after disagreements with Soon-Shiong over his role as executive editor and the extent of the newsroom cuts.

Terry Tang
Tang, in an interview, said it was too early to say whether she will become the permanent editor.

“The most urgent job now is to reorganize the newsroom — and reset a little bit,” Tang said. “I want to do that job immediately and for however long that it takes.”

The restructuring comes at a challenging time in the news industry as traditional outlets struggle against economic headwinds. The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News and NPR all have shed hundreds of journalists in the last year as print circulation, ratings and advertising revenue fall dramatically. Local news outlets have been particularly hard hit; a recent report found that more than 2,500 journalism jobs were eliminated last year.

Soon-Shiong has maintained his commitment to revitalize The Times. But the paper’s ambitious turnaround plan launched five years ago was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Hollywood strikes last year that significantly reduced advertising spending by major film and TV studios.

Soon-Shiong and his family have covered more than $100 million in operational losses and capital expenses since the acquisition, the owner said. He has pledged to continue to invest in the organization and absorb losses.

Chicago TV: John Schriffen Gets White Sox TV Gig

The Chicago White Sox filled their opening in the television booth Thursday, naming John Schriffen the new play-by-play broadcaster.

The Chicago Tribune reports Schriffen, 39, will call games on NBC Sports Chicago with analyst Steve Stone. He received a multiyear deal.

A meeting with Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Stone last weekend in Scottsdale, Ariz., sealed the deal, with Schriffen and Stone hitting it off “off the bat.” A half-hour meeting turned into a three-hour dinner, Schriffen said.

“The White Sox, specifically, is very exciting for me just because of what the organization is,” he said Thursday on a video conference. “When you look at what Jerry has done for this organization ... he just lives, breathes, sleeps baseball. And when I met with Jerry this past weekend, it was exciting to learn and just feel his passion for the team and just the history of baseball and how much he loves it and our shared passion for it.

John Schriffen
“So the timing is right for me because I’ve done so many things in the course of my career in broadcasting, and the next step for me is to join a team, get to know the team better and really join a community and move to Chicago.”

This is the first play-by-play job for a team for Schriffen, who has worked for ESPN since 2020 and previously worked for NFL Network and CBS Sports. He said one of Reinsdorf’s prerequisites was that he would commit to the Sox job above other duties.

That became a sticking point with former broadcaster Jason Benetti, who shockingly left the team after the 2023 season to work in the Detroit Tigers TV booth. Benetti’s side work calling college football and basketball for ESPN and then Fox Sports was widely praised by critics but took him away from the Sox booth too often for Reinsdorf’s taste.

“I want to be the voice and face of the Chicago White Sox broadcast,” he said. “And the goal is to be there throughout September. It was very clear, and that’s something I talked to Jerry (about) early on. Whoever he hired, he wanted to make sure this was going to be their main priority. And I said, ‘I’m very clear on that.’”

Schriffen has called Major League Baseball, NCAA basketball, football, softball and baseball and the NBA G League and Summer League for ESPN. He came to ESPN in 2020 to provide coverage of the Korea Baseball Organization. He said he has college basketball commitments remaining with ESPN and hopes to continue there in the baseball offseason but wasn’t sure about his future with the network.

Grand Rapids Radio: Jackie Green Exits WHTS Morning Show

 The co-host of a popular morning radio show will leave the show to focus on her mental health.

Jackie Green announced Thursday morning on air that she will be leaving “The Gray and Green Show,” which airs weekdays on Cumulus Media's WHTS 105.3 HOT FM. This will be her last week on the show, reports WOOD-TV8.

“I’ve been struggling the last probably year with some mental health problems: depression and anxiety, mainly. I’ve tried a few different courses of therapy. I’ve tried various medications. I’ve tried talking it out every single day. I’ve tried a lot of things,” Green said in her Thursday morning announcement. “What it comes down to at this point is, I’ve got a long road ahead of me to try to get past some mental barriers I have, and I’m struggling on the daily. … I’m not succeeding the way I want to be succeeding on the show.”

Green told listeners she was not getting enough sleep, and waking up early was especially difficult.

“At the end of the day, I just felt like it is better for everybody if I take a step back,” she said.

Co-host Rachael Gray expressed her support for Green.

“We love you. I want you to know that with all of this going on and what you’re going through, we want to be here for you,” Gray said on the show. “And I know that this decision you are making is so difficult.”

Although Green is stepping back from “The Gray and Green Show,” she will not be leaving radio entirely.

“(Green) will be here on the afternoons on 105.3 HOT FM, so you’ll be able to hear Jackie on your way home from work,” Gray said.

ESPN Podcasts to Air Weekday Afternoons on ESPN2

ESPN has announced a new, seasonal content initiative that will expand the reach of its ESPN podcast offerings. Beginning on Monday, January 29, ESPN2 will televise an ESPN video podcast every weekday from 2-3 p.m. ET. The premiering lineup will include: First Draft, The Hoop Collective, The Lowe Post, The Mina Kimes Show and The Elle Duncan Show.

Mike Foss, ESPN Senior Vice President, Production: “This strategic content initiative provides our ESPN podcasts with a tremendous opportunity for continued growth and audience expansion, while simultaneously lending compelling content to our ESPN2 television lineup. The opening slate of podcasts combine timely, in-season sports – First Draft, The Hoop Collective and The Lowe Post – and high-profile ESPN personalities such as Mina Kimes and Elle Duncan.”

The weekday schedule and show descriptions are below.

Peacock Signed Up 2.8M For NFL Streaming-Only Playoff Game

Earlier this month, NBC Universal said the NFL playoff game it streamed (mostly) exclusively on Peacock, its streaming service, was a huge success.

NBC and its parent company, Comcast, backed up that claim by citing ratings — it drew some 23 million viewers — and self-generated statistics about internet usage during the game. Crucially, it didn't say how many people signed up (and paid for) Peacock to watch the game.

The success of the Peacock NFL game means it could cost you extra to watch the playoffs again next season, reports Business Insider.

Peacock signed up nearly 3 million subscribers for the game.

That's according to subscription tracking service Antenna, which says 2.8 million people signed up over a three-day window leading up to the January 13 game. Antenna says that's the biggest sign-up around a "singular programming event" it has ever seen. (It says Disney+ signed up 2.5 million people on its launch day in 2019, though Disney announced 10 million signups. You can read about Antenna's methodology and the possible difference between those numbers here.)

A Comcast rep declined to comment on Antenna's report.

The next big question: How many of those folks will stick around and keep paying after the game — especially because churn is a major issue for streamers? We won't know that answer for a while.

DeDe In the Morning Picks-Up Four New Markets

DEDE IN THE MORNING continues to expand with the addition of four new affiliate stations. The show is heard nationwide in 85 markets, including:
  • WDLT FM 104.1 WDLT Mobile AL, Cumulus Media
  • KMJI FM Magic 93.3 Texarkana AR, Townsquare Media
  • KBXT FM 101.9 The Beat Bryan TX, Brazos Valley Communications
  • WQTL FM Vibe 106.1 Tallahassee FL, Adams Radio Group
“We are so excited to welcome DeDe in the Morning to 104.1 WDLT. She is funny, entertaining, and has immediately connected to Mobile. I have always been a fan and her team already feels like family” said Vincent “Mojo” Wilson, Regional Operations Manager, Cumulus/Mobile & Pensacola

SiriusXM Airing GRAMMYS Channel

The 2024 GRAMMYs are just a week away, and the anticipation is building to a fever pitch. Now, SiriusXM, the Official US Radio Partner of the GRAMMY Awards, is providing the soundtrack to Music's Biggest Night with the return of The GRAMMY Channel for its fourth year.

Now airing on SiriusXM channel 107 and on the new SiriusXM app through Feb. 7, the pop-up channel will feature a variety of music from the artists, albums and songs currently nominated at the 2024 GRAMMYs, including Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Foo Fighters, Jelly Roll, Jon Batiste, Miley Cyrus, Olivia Rodrigo, SZA, Taylor Swift, and more. It all leads up to SiriusXM's live red carpet broadcast from the 2024 GRAMMYs on Sunday, Feb. 4.

The channel will also spotlight Best New Artist nominees like Coco Jones, who was the inaugural artist for SiriusXM and Pandora's Artist Accelerator Program, which puts a spotlight on emerging artists and aims to remove barriers created by today's song-first-driven culture to help artists grow their listener base and build fandom. SiriusXM was the first radio outlet to support Jones' single, "I.C.U.," from her debut EP What I Didn't Tell You, playing it in accelerated rotation beginning October 2022 on SiriusXM's The Heat and Heart & Soul. The Heat has also named Jones a "Future Fire" artist, while Heart & Soul has named the song a "Platinum Pick." Aligning with SiriusXM, Pandora had advanced support of the song across its platform, including exclusive content via Takeover modes running on Women in R&B and Platinum.

Hosted by Trevor Noah, the 2024 GRAMMYs will be broadcast live from Arena in Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on the CBS Television Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Prior to the Telecast, catch the 2024 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, which will stream live on Sunday, Feb. 4, at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT on and on the Recording Academy's YouTube channel.