Saturday, February 10, 2024

Radio History: February 11

➦1938…'The Big Broadcast of 1938' opened in theaters. It is a Paramount Pictures musical comedy film featuring W. C. Fields, Martha Raye and Bob Hope.

The film is the last in a series of Big Broadcast movies that were variety show anthologies. This film featured the debut of Hope's signature song, "Thanks for the Memory" by Ralph Rainger. He and Leo Robin won the 1939 Oscar for Best Song for the song. In the movie they song was performed by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross.

➦In 1940...  NBC radio presented “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street” for the first time. The famous Blue network series included several distinguished alumni — among them, Dinah Shore and Zero Mostel. The chairman, or host, of “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street” was Milton Cross.

Milton Cross

He would say things like, “A Bostonian looks like he’s smelling something. A New Yorker looks like he’s found it.” The show combined satire, blues and jazz and was built around what were called the three Bs of music: Barrelhouse, Boogie Woogie and Blues.

➦In 1941...Glenn Miller's 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' was released on RCA Records. It was originally recorded as a big band/swing tune and featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade. It was the first song to receive a gold record for sales of 1.2 million copies.

➦In 1949...the private-eye radio drama Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar debuted on CBS Radio, with Charles Russell in the title role.  It amazingly survived five changes in the lead actor during its 13 year run.

➦In 1960...The Payola scandal reached a new level of public prominence and legal gravity, when President Eisenhower called it an issue of public morality and the FCC proposed a new law making involvement in Payola a criminal act, according to History.

Global Audience To View Sunday's Big Game

Sunday's Super Bowl is expected to shatter viewership records in the U.S. and with an assist from the federal government, could be the most watched NFL game ever around the world.

The highly-anticipated match up between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs will be shown in 190 countries with an assist from the U.S. State Department, which is hosting watch parties in more than 30 overseas locations.\

"Basically the entire world is getting access to the Super Bowl," NFL Executive Vice President Peter O'Reilly told Reuters.

"It's a galvanizing event that it brings together those avid fans who are going to watch it at 2 a.m. in Ghana and the casual fan in Australia who may just be coming to our sport but will have the opportunity to experience it and learn the game."

The NFL on Friday continued to push into new markets by announcing it will play a first ever regular season game in Spain in 2025 at soccer side Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium. read more

The league previously announced that it will also venture into South America for the first time next season with a game in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Sao Paulo will be one of five international games next season along with three in London and one in Munich. NFL clubs have agreed to holding up to eight overseas games in 2025.

"We always want to raise the bar, and we're growing in popularity in all of those markets," O'Reilly said.

The NFL is also pushing hard to raise the profile of flag football, a discipline of the sport that is easier to access for women and those outside of the U.S.

Flag football, which requires little protective equipment with play stopping when a defender pulls a flag from the waist of an opponent, is set to make its Olympic debut in Los Angeles in 2028.

Big Game Music: Usher Is Performing At Halftime

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will face off in the 2024 Super Bowl. The largest football game in the U.S. will be held at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 11. But the NFL athletes won't be the only ones playing.

Usher will be the "Superstar" of the Super Bowl 58 halftime show on Sunday.

The eight-time Grammy winner was tapped back in September to headline the halftime show, presented by Apple Music, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, a gig he called "an honor of a lifetime.

A regular NFL halftime normally lasts 13 minutes, but halftime for the Super Bowl lasts longer to accommodate for the setup, show and takedown, in addition to teams' on-field warm-ups.

Still, expect Usher to be on the stage for fewer than 15 minutes.

Reba McEntire
"The Queen of Country Music" Reba McEntire, 68, will sing the national anthem during the pregame.

When Reba McEntire steps up to the mic on Sunday to unfurl the national anthem, betting fanatics will set their stopwatches to time the duration of her performance.

This is not new. Betting on the length of the anthem has been a sport for casual bettors for as long as there have been offshore illegal gambling sites. Thus, a while. This year, the betting line ranges from 86 to 90.5 seconds. The “over” is favored for good reason considering the average anthem performance is one minute and 5 seconds.

”Following the national anthem, rapper Post Malone, 28, will sing "America the Beautiful." A Grammy nominee every year since 2015, he's best known for five-time platinum tracks "Psycho" and "White Iverson," CBS News reports.

The last of the pregame performers, the singer and Oscar-nominated actress will perform "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Audacy Stations Ready For Super Coverage Of The Big Game

As one of the top sports audio providers, Audacy rallies its Kansas City and San Francisco markets home to the big game teams, the Chiefs and the 49ers, as they face off this Sunday for the Lombardi Trophy. As the flagship station of the Chiefs, 106.5 The Wolf (WDAF-FM) is particularly fired up for this prominent moment in the NFL season and pop culture.

“The Chiefs are KC, and the pride for the team is everything not only for Audacy Kansas City but the entire market. Red is the color of the city,” said Roxanne Marati, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Kansas City. “Not only does the partnership mean something to our sports station, but we host the games on our country station, The Wolf, and each brand supports Chiefs content, such as post-game updates from CRN announcer Mitch Holthus to weekend programming on our Rock station, 98.9 the Rock.”

San Francisco is also anticipating this friendly head-to-head off the field. “In the world of sports, there’s nothing bigger than the NFL. Therefore, there’s simply nothing bigger than having your home team in the Big Game. It’s as huge of an opportunity as you could ask for, and we’ve completely owned it,” said Stacey Kauffman, Regional Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy San Francisco. “The Bay Area’s hunger for a championship winner has grown more and more ravenous with each year’s failure. It feels like we’re due, it’s our time. Our hosts, clients, and listeners are all locked in, supporting the Niners’ quest for their sixth title.”

Audacy has been on  Radio Row all week, huddling San Francisco, Kansas City and New York stations to broadcast live coverage. Along with 95.7 The Game’s “Steiny and Guru” airing February 8 and 9 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT, 610 Sports Radio’s (KCSP-AM) “Cody and Gold” will air all week from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT and WFAN Sports Radio 101.9/66’s (WFAN-AMFM) will have their morning show, “Boomer & Gio,” with Boomer Esiason and Gregg “Gio” Giannotti onsite all week.

CBS Sports Radio also had its a morning show , “Maggie & Perloff,” plus midday show host Jim Rome, afternoon show host Zach Gelb, and overnight host Amy Lawrence present to cover the big game.

The San Francisco and Kansas City markets have game plans if they come out Sunday with a victory. A win from the Chiefs will shut down the city on Wednesday, February 14, with schools dismissed for a celebratory parade that Audacy stations will be on-site to cover. As for San Francisco, if the 49ers claim their first title in 30 years, there will be a slew of festivities. There will be station visits from legendary former players, including Jerry Rice joining “The Morning Roast with Bonta Hill & Joe Shasky,” and a parade with 95.7 The Game placards and signs lining the route, with similar championship coverage to the Warriors titles.

đź“»Listeners can tune in to the big game on 106.5 The Wolf (WDAF-FM) — the radio home of the Chiefs in Kansas City on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via X, Facebook and Instagram.

Coverage of the big game will also be available nationwide through Audacy’s partnership on Westwood One and locally on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, 105.7 The Fan and The Bet in Baltimore, WEEI in Boston, WGR 550 in Buffalo, 670 The Score in Chicago, 92.3 The Fan and 98.5 WNCX in Cleveland, 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, The Fan Upstate in Greenville, Sports Radio 610 in Houston, 560 Sports in Miami, WWL in New Orleans, WFAN in New York, Sports Radio 94WIP in Philadelphia, 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, Sports Radio 910 The Fan in Richmond, 97.3 The Fan in San Diego, 106.7 The Fan and The Team 980 in Washington DC and KFH Radio and KNSS in Wichita.

CBS Sports To Air Its 22nd Super Bowl Broadcast

CBS Sports will televise its 22nd Super Bowl, the most of any network, on Sunday. The game is guaranteed to be the most-watched event in television this year, and it will generate hundreds of millions in advertising revenue and provide a huge promotional platform for CBS and its parent company, Paramount.

However, The NY Times reports the storied CBS Sports division is confronting a wave of change. Its longtime chairman, Sean McManus, is departing in April. The division has lost the rights to one of its signature properties, Southeastern Conference college football games. Deep-pocketed tech giants are getting aggressive about live sports programming, with companies like Amazon (N.F.L. football on Thursday nights) and Netflix (W.W.E. wrestling) entering the field. And Paramount is widely considered an acquisition target, with a number of suitors circling the company.

It all leaves CBS Sports facing a number of challenges — which company leaders say they can handle by sticking to what they know.

“No matter what happens in the future to the company, sports will increasingly be more important each and every year,” Mr. McManus said.

CBS Sports has long been one of the elite players in American broadcasting. Its understated coverage, narrated over the decades by broadcast booth legends like Pat Summerall, John Madden, Verne Lundquist and Jim Nantz, has stood in stark contrast to rowdier competitors like ESPN and Fox. CBS has televised golf’s Masters tournament with limited commercial interruption and stately hushed tones going back to the 1950s.

And CBS has plenty of major sporting events in its foreseeable future. The network’s N.F.L. rights are locked up through 2033, for about $2 billion a year. The rights to the men’s college basketball tournament are tied up for another eight years, for around $750 million a year. And many PGA Tour events are signed through 2030 for hundreds of millions annually.

That’s because even as traditional television ratings are plummeting and more people migrate to streaming, live sporting events still thrive on broadcast networks. Recent N.F.L. playoff games on CBS set ratings records.

NFL Is Transforming The Media Business With Streaming

The NFL isn’t just the most popular sports league in the U.S., it’s also the most valuable with the highest-rated programming and the priciest ad time.

In 2021 the league signed an estimated $110 billion worth of media deals covering 11 years, which reportedly was nearly double the value of its previous contracts, according to CNBC.

“If you’re the most valuable content on those platforms, you’re going to be the bulk of their investment. And that’s what we are,” said Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer for the NFL.

An average of nearly 18 million people tuned in to watch football games across TV and digital platforms during the 2023 regular season, the highest since 2015 and the second-highest ever, according to the NFL.

The pinnacle of the NFL’s popularity is the Super Bowl, the biggest television event of the year. Of the 30 most-watched broadcasts of all time in the U.S., 22 have been Super Bowl games, according to Nielsen.

The NFL’s move to ESPN in the late 1980s catapulted the rise of cable TV. Now, its jump into streaming is having ripple effects across the media and tech landscape.

“Media is 60% of the revenue of the NFL,” said Robert Kraft, principal owner of the New England Patriots. “If we don’t stay fluid and in tune with what the times are, then we’d have a real issue.”

With tech giants Alphabet and Amazon, along with NBCUniversal’s Peacock, snapping up digital rights to NFL games, and with the announcement this week that Disney’s ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery are launching a streaming service tailored to sports fans, it’s clear that streaming is poised to be the NFL’s next frontier, despite some backlash from fans.

Sports Shakes Up Media Rights

The sports media world was rocked this week by news Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery had found common ground on creating a new sports streaming joint venture. 

As Yahoo Finance's reports,  this deal protects a group of "old media" mainstays against the new entrants from Big Tech that have begun throwing their weight (and money) around in the world of sports rights fees. 

Moreover, a unified distribution plan may take the "competitive tension out of the mix" when it's time for the major sports leagues to renegotiate their deals, as Solomon Partners' Mark Boidman told Yahoo Finance. 

But as chart shows, when we're talking about sports rights fees in the US we're really (mostly!) just talking about football. 

The NFL is the biggest cost center for every major player except Warner Bros. Discovery, which through its TNT channel is one of the NBA's national broadcast partners alongside ESPN. 

The college sports fees that show up across the spectrum are also heavily tilted towards football, especially at Fox and ESPN. (Paramount, through CBS, and WBD, through Turner, broadcast March Madness.) 

This weekend's Super Bowl will probably break viewership records, but not only — or necessarily — because of Travis Kelce's significant other. As Sportico wrote earlier this year, the NFL "swallowed TV whole" in 2023 with 93 of the top 100 most-viewed events of the year. 

The primacy of the NFL as a cultural and media industry force is barely worth stating at this point. What else would the answer be? 

How hard the league's power brokers choose to use this leverage to squeeze their media partners in the years ahead remains to be seen.

But this week's developments suggest, at a minimum, some media leaders would rather face this pressure together than alone. 

Big Game Advertisers Targeting Women

Women watch the Super Bowl, too, right? And this year a slew of advertisers is expecting it.

CNN reports health and beauty companies, some for the first time, are joining the scrum of beverage, technology and auto brands that have long been a staple of the blockbuster sports event. In a bigger shift, several longtime Super Bowl advertisers, like M&M’S, have spots featuring women who, for a change, aren’t just sipping soda in tight pants.

Blame — or credit — singer Taylor Swift for this. Her much-publicized relationship with Kansas City Chief’s star Travis Kelce offers at least a chance of increased female viewership for this Sunday’s game in Las Vegas. She’s already been credited for a ratings bump for football since their relationship went public last October.

“Taylor Swift’s attendance at the Super Bowl will likely have a significant impact not only on the size of the audience but also its demographic make-up,” according to Paul Hardart, a clinical professor of marketing for New York University’s Stern School of Business.

“Swift boasts a massive, devoted fan base, and her relationship with Kelce adds an intriguing and romantic element to the event, making it even more appealing for brands to associate themselves with her presence,” he previously told CNN.

At least 110 million people (and likely more) are expected to tune-in to this year’s battle between the San Francisco 49ers and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.

So Cardi B plugs Duck Plump lip gloss for L’Oreal NYX Professional Makeup, the first time the brand has advertised on the Super Bowl. The company says the spot “highlights powerful women” and will be “hilarious.” Meanwhile, e.l.f. cosmetics, also a first-time Super Bowl advertiser, reunites (some of) the cast of “Suits” in its spot as the lawyers haul various celebrities into court.

Sony Music Acquires A Stake In The Michael Jackson Music Catalog

In what could be the largest valuation ever of a musician’s music assets, Sony Music Group has closed an agreement to buy half of Michael Jackson‘s publishing and recorded masters catalog in a deal that sources say valued those music assets somewhere above $1.2 billion, according to Billboard

Other sources have suggested it might be as much as $1.5 billion. At those valuations, Sony will pay at least $600 million for its stake of the legendary rights.

That means that the Jackson deal, which closed late last year, is at a bigger valuation than the $1.2 billion that Queen is currently seeking. And whereas the Queen valuation includes, sources say, royalties from income streams beyond the masters and publishing, including from the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, and theatrical productions using Queen’s music, Sony’s deal with the Michael Jackson estate does not include royalties from the Broadway play and other theatrical productions featuring Jackson’s music.

It may not, however, just be Jackson’s music that’s involved in the deal. Sources say the current deal includes non-Jackson-authored songs in his Mijac publishing catalog, which also includes the approximately 250-song Sly & the Family Stone publishing catalog as well as iconic songs written and/or performed by Jerry Lee Lewis, Jackie Wilson, Curtis Mayfield, Ray Charles, Percy Sledge and Dion.

Boston Radio: Audacy Has Deals To Sell Real Estate

Audacy at 83 Leo M Birmingham Parkway

Audacy has aggressive plans to sell more land and office buildings to raise cash and cut its debt load. Since merging with CBS Radio in November 2017, it has closed $224 million in “non-strategic” asset sales, a mix of tower sites, buildings, land and radio stations. 

Earmarked for sales are real estate in or near the Audacy markets of Boston, Portland, Buffalo, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Chicago. The plan, which was drafted prior to the bankruptcy, does not include any proposed station spin-offs.

The latest  sell-off is in Boston,where  has agreed to sell a pair of real estate assets. According to the reports Audacy has a deal with 83 Leo Property Owner LLC, which  will acquire the studio/office building on 83 Leo M. Birmingham Parkway in Boston for $11,120,000 at closing and up to another $7 million when zoning approvals are granted or Audacy vacates the property. Another transaction is the tower site in Needham, MA for Sports 850 WEEI Boston will go to American Tower Corporation for $3.5 million.

Audacy owns five stations in the Boston market, including sports WEEI-FM & AM (93.7, 850), and AC “Magic 106.7” WMJX.

Next year Audacy hopes to fetch $13.0 million for a parcel of land in Portland, OR, where it owns a seven-station cluster that includes adult hits “97-1 Charlie FM” KYCH and classic rock KGON (92.3).

The remaining asset sales are earmarked for 2025 or later, including:

  • Land in Glendale Heights, IL, 30 miles west of Chicago, home to seven Audacy stations including “News Radio 780” WBBM/WCFS (105.9) and adult alternative WXRT (93.1). Estimated price $18.0 million
  • Land in Hamburg, NY, a suburb of Buffalo where it owns six stations including sports WGR (550) and CHR “Kiss 98.5” WKSE. Estimated price: $300,000
  • Land in O’Fallon, MO, 34 miles west of St. Louis, home to six Audacy outlets, including AC KEZK and urban AC “96.3 The Lou” WFUN. Estimated price: $400,000
  • Real property in Minneapolis (estimated price: $5.7 million), along with land in nearby Ramsey, MN ($400,000). Audacy’s three-station Minneapolis cluster includes adult hits “104.1 Jack FM” KZJK and country “102.9 The Wolf” KMNB.

The sell-offs may not end here. Audacy says it continues to “evaluate other opportunities to sell select assets and it expects to add to its pipeline over time.”

Radio History: February 10

Jimmy Durante 1947
➦In 1893
...singer/comedian Jimmy Durante was born in New York City.  His distinctive vocal personality made him a natural star in bigtime radio, and later TV.  He was still headlining a weekly TV show as late as 1969 when he was in his late 70’s (Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters.) Famous for the sign-off, “Good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”  He died of pneumonia Jan 29, 1980 at age 86.

➦In 1925...WTIC-AM in Hartford, CT signed-on with 500 watts of power from the 6th floor of the Travelers 26 Grove St building in Hartford where there were seven studios, most or all with control rooms. The station was licensed to the Travelers Insurance Company ("TIC") and had studios in downtown Hartford.

The 1931 CT State Register shows WTIC, owned by Travelers Broadcasting Service, operating on 1060 Khz with 50,000 watts, the most powerful station in the state.  The transmitter, referred to as "old number one" was the first 50,000 watt transmitter ever manufactured by RCA and has serial number 001. This RCA 50 transmitter was the first high power commercial transmitter to use 100-kilowatt tubes, the first to use mercury-vapor type rectifiers throughout, and the first capable of true 100 percent modulation of its full rated 50-kilowatt carrier output.

By 1941 they had changed frequency to 1080 khz.  WTIC is now owned by Audacy Communications.

WTIC was known for its historic time tone, which is a broadcast of the Morse code letter "V" every hour on the hour since 1943. This makes it one of the oldest continuously broadcasting radio time tones in the world. WTIC employs a GPS master clock system that fires the custom-built time-tone generator shortly before the top of the hour, timed such that the final tone of the sequence occurs precisely on the hour (Even though everything else heard on the station is on a 10-second delay), and listeners have been setting their watches to WTIC for many years. The notes of the sequence were pitched to mimic the famous opening sequence of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, whose "short-short-short-long" rhythm matches that of the Morse code letter "V". The Morse code letter "V" for Victory was selected during the height of WWII.

Bob Steele
WTIC's best-known personality was Bob Steele, who started with the station in 1936 and stayed with WTIC for his entire sixty-six year career, ending with his death on December 6, 2002 at the age of 91.

Steele continued to broadcast a 5:30 - 10:00 AM Monday-Saturday morning show for WTIC for fifty-five years, scaling back to Saturdays only after September 1991; by the time of his last broadcast in November 2002, he was only heard on the first Saturday morning of every month. Despite WTIC's various format changes over the years, Steele's show (which featured musical standards, farm news and prices early in the morning, novelty songs, silly jokes, horrible puns ("...and the weather for Mexico City is chili today, hot tamale") and a regular "Word of the Day" segment - even long after WTIC itself had abandoned music for a focus on news/talk remained unchanged throughout its run, making it perhaps the longest-running radio program in history to have never undergone a significant format change.

➦In 1964...Personality Johnny Holliday started at 1010 WINS.  He hosted the station's final music broadcast in 1965. This led him west to Top 40 giant KYA in San Francisco where in 1965, Holliday was named America's number one disc jockey by the Bill Gavin Radio "Gavin Report." His radio work is featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In connection with the station he hosted record hops and concerts, including co-hosting the final concert by the Beatles at Candlestick Park in 1966.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Disney+ Paid Taylor Swift $75M to Stream ‘The Eras Tour’

Disney paid more than $75 million to Taylor Swift for the rights to stream “The Eras Tour” movie on Disney+, the result of a bidding war that included Netflix and Universal, Puck reported Friday.

According to The Wrap, Disney chief Bob Iger “wanted big announcements for yesterday’s earnings call, and paid big prices to get them,” including the pop star’s concert film, which grossed $261 million worldwide, the newsletter reported Friday, citing two sources familiar with the negotiations.

“Eras Tour” started its streaming as a PVOD title for Universal, where it “did well,” Puck reported. It will be available exclusively on Disney+ next month, on March 15.

Iger did, in fact, announce the streaming news on the company’s Wednesday afternoon earnings call. The streaming version will be known as “Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version),” with the entirety of the concert film plus the song “Cardigan” and four additional acoustic songs.

The tour broke a massive record in December, becoming the first to gross over $1 billion. It broke Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” record, and set the mark in a mere eight months. During its theatrical run, “The Eras Tour” became the top selling concert film of all-time.

Putin Wants A Swap For Return of WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich

Evan Gershkovich Bring Detained For Nearly a Year

Russian leader Vladimir Putin said a prisoner exchange would probably lead to the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, but he declined to give a time frame for the deal and said Gershkovich was caught committing espionage in Russia.

The Wall Street Journal reports Gershkovich has been detained since March 2023 on an espionage allegation that he, the Journal and the U.S. government vehemently deny. In a two-hour interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Putin said a prisoner swap was being discussed between the U.S. and Russia. Such talks have led to swaps in the past “and probably this is going to be crowned with success as well,” Putin said. “But we have to come to an agreement.”

Putin didn’t say who, specifically, Moscow was demanding in return for Gershkovich or other U.S. citizens now detained in Russia. But he made clear reference to Russian operative Vadim Krasikov, now serving a life sentence in Germany for gunning down a Chechen Ă©migrĂ© in a Berlin park in 2019. Putin called Krasikov, whom he did not refer to by name, a Russian patriot.

AL Radio: FCC Denies Translator Only Authority To Victimized Station

WJLX in Jasper, AL has had its request for temporary authority for translator-only broadcasting denied by the FCC.

The AM station was forced to go silent a week ago after thieves stole its 200-foot radio tower and other equipment from transmitting building.

WJLX had sent a landscaping crew to the site last Friday morning for spring cleaning, only to find the 200-foot radio tower gone. When a crew member called the station’s general manager to break the news, he was in disbelief.

“What do you mean the tower is gone? Are you sure you’re in the right place? I actually used more colorful words than that,” Brett Elmore recounted to NBC News. “He said there’s wires all over the ground and the tower is gone.”

The concrete slab where a 200-foot-tall tower once stood

Not only was the radio tower stolen, but a nearby building was also vandalized. When Elmore heard the door was left ajar, “that’s when reality was starting to set in that something bad had happened.”

The thieves stole every piece of equipment from the building, including a transmitter. Elmore has filed a report with the police.

“There was a meeting yesterday between the owner and our investigators concerning the matter,” Jasper Mayor David O’Mary told NBC News on Thursday. “At this point, we are still lacking information that we have to have to conduct a full-fledged investigation.”

WJLX notified the FCC that its AM station was silent. The station was hoping to continue broadcasting its program through FM radio in the meantime. “We requested a temporary authority to keep the FM translator on until we get the AM back on the air,” Elmore said on Thursday. “But unfortunately, this morning, I was notified the FCC denied our request to stay on air on the FM side, so actually, we’re about to go power down the transmitter.”

WJLX 1240 AM (1 kw)

Despite the setbacks, Elmore has faith WJLX will bounce back.

Bell Media Unveils List of Radio Stations Being Sold

Bell Media is ending multiple television newscasts and making other programming cuts after its parent company announced widespread layoffs and the sale of 45 of its 103 regional radio stations.

In an internal memo to Bell Media employees on Thursday, it said news stations such as CTV and BNN Bloomberg would be affected immediately.

The radio stations being sold are in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada
 BNN Bloomberg reports.

The memo, signed by Dave Daigle, vice-president of local TV, radio and Bell Media Studios, and Richard Gray, vice-president of news at Bell Media, said weekday noon newscasts at all CTV stations except Toronto would end. It is also scrapping its 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts on weekends at all CTV and CTV2 stations except Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

Daigle and Gray said "multi-skilled journalists" would replace news correspondent and technician teams reporting to CTV National News in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, while other correspondent changes would be made in Ottawa.

Earlier in the day, Bell Media's parent company BCE Inc. announced it was cutting nine per cent of its workforce.

The company, in an open letter signed by chief executive Mirko Bibic, said 4,800 jobs "at all levels of the company" would be cut. Fewer than 10 per cent of the total job cuts are at Bell Media specifically.

Daigle and Gray also said W5 will shift from a standalone documentary series to a "multi-platform investigative reporting unit" featured on CTV National News, and other news platforms.

The job cuts mark the second major layoff at the media and telecommunications giant since last spring, when six per cent of Bell Media jobs were eliminated and nine radio stations were either shuttered or sold.

In a separate internal memo, Bell Media president Sean Cohan said the company intends to divest 45 radio stations to seven buyers: Vista Radio, Whiteoaks, Durham Radio, My Broadcasting Corp., ZoomerMedia, Arsenal Media and Maritime Broadcasting. The sales are subject to CRTC approval and other closing conditions.

TV Ratings: Fox News Continues to Dominate Cable News

Fox News continued its strong 2023 ratings run, finishing at the top of both the primetime and total day charts for third straight week.

Fox News averaged 2 million viewers in primetime for the week of January 29 to February 4, besting MSNBC’s 1.2 million viewers and ESPN’s 1 million watchers, according to Nielsen numbers provided by Fox News. The cable news network has won the primetime crown in three of the first five weeks of 2024.

HGTV finished fourth with 853,000 viewers followed by History with 765,000. TBS was sixth with 754,000, followed by Hallmark Channel (681,000), Discovery Channel (642,000), USA Network (622,000) and INSP (617,000).

On a total day basis, Fox News averaged 1.3 million viewers, followed by MSNBC (794,000 viewers), ESPN (547,000), HGTV (445,000) and CNN (434,000), said Nielsen. 


“World News Tonight with David Muir” ranked as the No. 1 newscast on all of broadcast and cable in Total Viewers (8.082 million), Adults 25-54 (1.096 million) and Adults 18-49 (762,000) during the week of Jan. 29, 2024, based on Live + Same Day Data from Nielsen Media Research. “World News Tonight” outdelivered “NBC Nightly News” (6.746 million, 1.009 million and 668,000, respectively) by 1.336 million Total Viewers, by 87,000 Adults 25-54 and by 94,000 Adults 18-49.

“World News Tonight” increased its lead over “NBC Nightly News” week to week in Total Viewers (+10% – 1.336 million vs. 1.212 million) and Adults 25-54 (+14% – 87,000 vs. 76,000).

“World News Tonight” widened its Total Viewer advantage over “NBC Nightly News” year to year by 7% (1.336 million vs. 1.243 million).

“World News Tonight” stood as the No. 2 program of the week in Total Viewers (8.082 million) on all of broadcast and cable.

2/9 WAKE-UP CALL: High Court Likely To Reject Trump Ballot Ban

The Supreme Court appeared likely to reject an attempt to remove Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot. Justices across the ideological spectrum suggested that Congress, not individual states, must set the standards before a presidential candidate can be disqualified for engaging in insurrection. Colorado’s Supreme Court, invoking a U.S. constitutional provision enacted after the Civil War, barred the former president from the state ballot after finding he engaged in insurrection by inciting his followers to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Trump appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court expedited its proceedings ahead of Colorado’s March 5 primary election. A ruling in his favor likely would end similar efforts playing out in a variety of states. Meanwhile, a special counsel investigation found that President Biden was sloppy in holding on to classified material but yielded no criminal charges.

  • What Trump's lawyers say: Allowing states to take him off the ballot – as Colorado and Maine have moved to do – would be anti-democratic and violate the rights of the tens of millions of Americans who want to vote for the GOP frontrunner.
  • But on the other side: Allowing him to run again after he refused to accept his 2020 loss − which led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol − would violate an anti-insurrectionist provision of the Constitution.
  • Here’s the issue: Whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, a provision added after the Civil War to keep government officials who sided with the Confederacy from returning to power, applies to Trump. The provision bars people who took an oath to support the Constitution from holding office again if they engaged in insurrection.

➤DOJ GIVES BIDEN DOC PASS: The Justice Department notified President Joe Biden it wouldn’t pursue criminal charges for his handling of classified documents, which were found at his former office in Washington, D.C., and his home in Delaware, but the report contained multiple comments that may reinforce public concerns about the 81-year-old president's age and memory. In a report made public Thursday, special counsel Robert Hur said charges would not have been warranted even if department policy didn't foreclose criminal charges against a sitting president. "Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen," according to the report, which noted in particular classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan. 

Special Counsel Robert Hur described President Biden as a "sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory," and said he would bring no criminal charges against the president despite finding evidence he "willfully" retained and disclosed classified materials. Despite the lack of an indictment, plenty of people are calling the report highly damning of the president's mental state. Biden could not recall when his son Beau died, or the year he left the vice president's office, in interviews with the special counsel.

➤TRUMP DEMANDS CHARGES BE DROPPED: Former President Trump told Fox News Digital that "deranged" Special Counsel Jack Smith needs to "immediately" drop all charges against him in his classified records case following the decision not to bring charges against President Biden for his retention of sensitive national security documents. Trump spoke exclusively to Fox News Digital after Special Counsel Robert Hur's report was made public. Hur did not recommend criminal charges against Biden for mishandling and retaining classified documents — and stated that he wouldn't bring charges against Biden even if he were not in the Oval Office. 

➤U-S SENATE TO DEBATE AID PACKAGE: The Democratic-controlled Senate cleared a critical hurdle toward passing a $95 billion national security-focused bill.  Lawmakers voted 67-32 to debate the measure that is aimed at fortifying Ukraine, Israel and other allies—an issue that has divided Republicans for months. Even if the measure ultimately clears the Senate, it faces a tougher battle in the Republican-controlled House, where GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump holds more sway to discourage Ukraine support. Separately, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the popular commander in chief of the armed forces, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhniy, as part of Kyiv’s war-effort reboot. In Russia, the sole antiwar candidate in the coming presidential election was disqualified after authorities ruled that some of his ballot signatures were invalid.

President Holds Hastily Arranged Press Conference

President Joe Biden gave a rare, unexpected press conference Thursday night in which he blamed his staff for mishandling classified documents and snapped at reporters’ questions.

The Daily Caller reports the president delivered remarks Thursday evening in response to a special counsel report on his handling of classified documents. Biden’s special address comes after Special Counsel Robert Hur concluded his investigation by declining to press charges despite stating that Biden had, in fact, mishandled classified documents.

Biden pinned the findings on his staff. “I take responsibility for not having seen exactly what my staff was doing,” he said.

“Things that appeared in my garage, things that came out of my home, things that were moved, were moved not by me, but my staff, but my staff,” he continued.

The report noted that during an interview with Biden he forgot when term as vice president began and ended and when his son Beau had died. The president shot down claims that he had forgotten his son’s death and responded to language in the report that characterized him as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Once Biden opened up the press conference to questions, reporters began peppering him with inquiries about his memory and mental acuity, which had become a major point of debate after Hur’s report was released.

Documents relating to U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan and handwritten notebook entries concerning sensitive national security matters were recovered by FBI agents at Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, estate. Hur cited the DOJ policy surrounding prosecuting a president to justify his decision not to prosecute President Biden.

The classified documents span from Biden’s career in the Senate all the way to his vice presidency with former President Barack Obama. The handwritten notes Biden took during the Obama administration frequently covered materials from daily briefings and National Security Council meetings.

Tucker Carlson Interviews Putin In Moscow

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, the Kremlin says.

Carlson said earlier on X he wanted to do the interview because "Americans have a right to know all they can about a war they are implicated in".

It's Mr Putin's first one-on-one interview with a Western journalist since the full-scale war in Ukraine.

The interview was release at 6;00PM EST on Thursday, Carlson announced.

Tucker Carlson's visit to Moscow has been reported on voraciously in Russian state media, with near-constant coverage of his every move.

"There are risks to doing an interview like this, obviously, so we've thought about it over many months," Carlson said on his announcement video.

Carlson added that he had paid for the trip to Russia himself, and wanted to do the interview because "most Americans are not informed" on the conflict which is "reshaping the world" - blaming the mainstream media.

Since the war in Ukraine began, he said, Western journalists had interviewed Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky - whom he has previously called a "dictator" - many times.

Westwood One Presents Super Bowl LVIII Game Day Coverage

Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, America’s largest audio network and the official network audio broadcast partner of the National Football League (NFL), will present comprehensive live coverage and play-by-play of Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, February 11, 2024, when the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs meet the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Super Bowl LVIII will be the 51st time Westwood One will broadcast America’s biggest sporting event.

Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties for the Super Bowl for the 14th straight year, with Super Bowl XXXIV MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner returning for the sixth consecutive year as lead analyst. Dean Blandino will also join the radio broadcast booth as rules analyst for this year’s Super Bowl. For the fifth time, Laura Okmin will patrol the sidelines, along with former defensive lineman Mike Golic, who returns for his third Super Bowl with Westwood One’s broadcast crew.

Columbus OH R/TV: Rick Rogala New GM For Tegna's WBNS Radio/TV

TEGNA Inc. Thursday announced that Rick Rogala has been named president and general manager at WBNS, TEGNA’s CBS affiliate serving Columbus, Ohio, effective February 26. 

Rogala will be responsible for the station’s operations across all platforms, as well as community outreach efforts and driving results for advertisers. He will also have oversight for Sports Radio The Fan 97.1, ESPN 1460 Columbus and ONN Radio (Ohio News Network).

During his career, Rogala has been on the leading edge of media convergence, leading stations to record ratings and revenue, building three media facilities, launching innovative, new local programming, and creating a groupwide sales training program.

NYTimes Staffers Complain About LGBTQ Coverage

The New York Times has infighting with progressive staffers complaining about the paper’s coverage once again.

Fox News Digital reports Washington Post media scribe Erik Wemple reported this week hat Times brass deleted internal communications from employees who criticized Pamela Paul's reported opinion piece headlined, "As Kids, They Thought They Were Trans. They No Longer Do."

The piece told the story of Grace Powell, a 23-year-old biological woman who is currently destransitioning from the sex change she began years ago. Paul told the Times that when she was 12 or 13 she "discovered she could be a boy," and at that time came to believe "that the reason she didn’t feel comfortable in her body was that she was in the wrong body. Transitioning seemed like the obvious solution."

According to Powell, she began hormone therapy during her senior year of high school, followed by a double mastectomy the summer before college, where she described herself coming across as "a very effeminate gay man." Looking back, however, the woman feels as though she should have asked more questions about her desire to transition before making the decision.

BoFA To Honor Hearst’s Jordan Wertlieb at Golden Mic Gala

The Broadcasters Foundation of America has announced the presenting speakers at this year’s Golden Mic Award gala and fundraiser, which takes place Monday, March 4, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

David Barrett, Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hearst Television, Michael J. Hayes, Senior Vice President, Hearst Corporation and President, Hearst Television, and Emily Barr, Retired President and Chief Executive Officer, Graham Media Group, will pay tribute to 2024 Golden Mic honoree Jordan Wertlieb, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Hearst.

There will be a special tribute to Phil Lombardo, former long-time Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation, who passed away last month. At the time of his passing, Lombardo held the title of Chairman Emeritus. Lombardo was held in high esteem by the broadcast industry. He worked tirelessly to raise money for the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation.

Entertainment at the gala will be provided by Pete Caldera, well-known to New Yorkers for singing swingin’ standards made famous by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and more. Caldera has a monthly residency at the popular Carnegie Club and has appeared on The Late Show with Steve Colbert

Jacobs Media Launching Weekly Newsletter 'The AI Edge'

Consulting and research company Jacobs Media announced today a new newsletter – “The AI Edge” – focusing on the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence and how it can revolutionize broadcasting. The newsletter will look for AI applications that foster creativity, revenue generation, strengthen relationships, and enhance productivity.

Chris Brunt
“For the past year, broadcasters have been buzzing about AI and its potential impact on the industry,” Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs comments. “Sadly, way too much attention has centered on AI’s potential to replace actual humans and not enough emphasis on the technology’s true power – helping make most aspects of stations function better, more creatively, and more productively. Our goal with this newsletter is to look for the positive ways AI can help broadcasters thrive, showcasing ‘best practices,’ success stories, and creative applications.”

“The AI Edge” is a free, weekly newsletter written by Chris Brunt, Jacobs Media’s Director of Digital Revenue and AI – registration is at

“I’ve been studying and working with many broadcast pros for the past year, exploring the different ways we can make the best use of AI,” Chris Brunt notes. “I’m excited for ‘The AI Edge’ to be a conduit for radio and TV organizations with this cutting-edge technology."

“Chachi Loves Everybody” Podcast Releases Two New Episodes

Benztown, a global leader in radio imaging, voiceover, programming, podcasting and jingles, announces the release today of two new episodes of Chachi Loves Everybody, an original podcast produced by Benztown and featuring Benztown President and audio brand builder Dave “Chachi” Denes. The episodes feature Chachi’s recent chats from Benztown’s Los Angeles studios with Dennis Green, Chief Operating Officer, Key Networks and Sun & Fun Media, and Jeff Warshaw, Founder and CEO of Connoisseur Media.

To listen to the new podcast episodes, visit:

Chachi Loves Everybody takes listeners with Denes – better known as “Chachi” – as he sits down for candid conversations with radio’s legends, master brand builders, up-and-comers, and innovators in the burgeoning audio space, revealing the true stories behind their successes and their insights into building iconic brands through audio.

Radio History: February 9

➦In actor Chester H. Lauck was born in Allene Arkansas.  With fellow Arkansan Norris Goff he would create one of radio’s alltime favorite programs, “Lum & Abner,” hillbilly proprietors of the “Jot ‘Em Down Store” in Pine Ridge Arkansas. 

Their idea was a switch on Amos ‘n’ Andy. He died Feb. 21 1980, 12 days after his 78th birthday.

➦In 1934...FCC granted 500kw license to WLW for W8XO.

Powel Crosley studio of radio station WLW

On March 22, 1922, the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation began broadcasting with the call sign WLW and 50 watts of power. Crosley was a fanatic about the new broadcasting technology, and continually increased his station's capability. The power went up to 500 watts in September 1922, 1000 watts in May 1924, and in January 1925 WLW was the first broadcasting station at the 5000 watt level. On October 4, 1928, the station increased its power to 50 kilowatts.  Again it was the first station at this power level, which still is the maximum power currently allowed for any AM station in the United States.

At 50 kilowatts, WLW was heard easily over a wide area, from New York to Florida. But Powel Crosley still wasn't satisfied. In 1933 he obtained a construction permit from the Federal Radio Commission for a 500 kilowatt superstation, and he spent some $500,000 ($9.02 million in 2014) building the transmitter and antenna.

Cooling Pond
It was the first large amplifier used in the United States for public domestic radio broadcasting and was in operation between 1934 and 1939. It was an experimental amplifier and was driven by the radio station's regular 50 kW transmitter. It operated in class C with high-level plate modulation. The amplifier required a dedicated 33 kV electrical substation and a large pond complete with fountains for cooling. It operated with a power input of about 750 kW (plus another 400 kW of audio for the modulator) and its output was 500 kW.

In January 1934 WLW began broadcasting at the 500 kilowatt level late at night under the experimental callsign W8XO.   In April 1934 the station was authorized to operate at 500 kilowatts during regular hours under the WLW call letters. On May 2, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a ceremonial button that officially launched WLW's 500-kilowatt signal.

As the first station in the world to broadcast at this strength, WLW received repeated complaints from around the United States and Canada that it was overpowering other stations as far away as Toronto. In December 1934 WLW cut back to 50 kilowatts at night to mitigate the interference, and began construction of three 50 ft. tower antennas to be used to reduce signal strength towards Canada.

With these three antennas in place, full-time broadcasting at 500 kilowatts resumed in early 1935. However, WLW was continuing to operate under special temporary authority that had to be renewed every six months, and each renewal brought complaints about interference and undue domination of the market by such a high-power station.

The FCC was having second thoughts about permitting extremely wide-area broadcasting versus more locally oriented stations, and in 1938, the US Senate adopted the "Wheeler" resolution, expressing it to be the sense of that body that more stations with power in excess of 50 kilowatts are against the public interest.

As a result, in 1939 the 500-kilowatt broadcast authorization was not renewed, bringing an end to the era of the AM radio superstation. Because of the impending war and the possible need for national broadcasting in an emergency, the W8XO experimental license for 500 kilowatts remained in effect until December 29, 1942. In 1962 the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation again applied for a permit to operate at 750 kilowatts, but the FCC denied the application.

đź“»For more, visit Jim Hawkins WLW Transmitter Page: Click Here.

➦In 1958...the CBS Radio Network first aired “Frontier Gentleman” starring John Dehner.  The classy western production came too late in the OTR era to achieve the success it deserved, and it was pulled from the schedule that November.

➦In 1964...ABC's American Bandstand  moved from Philadelphia to the ABC Television Center in Los Angeles (now known as The Prospect Studios), which coincidentally was the same weekend that WFIL-TV moved from 46th and Market to their then-new facility on City Line Avenue as well as the day before the Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

➦In 1964...The Beatles made the first of three record-breaking appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. The audience viewing the Fab Four on CBS TV was estimated at 73,700,000 (34 percent of the American population).

Ed Sullivan and the Beatles