Saturday, February 24, 2024

Radio History: February 25

➦In 1928.. the Federal Radio Commission issued the first U.S. television license to Charles Jenkins Laboratories in Washington, DC. The first commercial TV license was issued in 1941.

➦In 1943...George Harrison born.  (Died 29 November 2001 from cancer at age 58).  He was an English musician, singer-songwriter, music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of The Beatles.

Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison embraced Indian culture and helped broaden the scope of popular music through his incorporation of Indian instrumentation and Hindu-aligned spirituality in the Beatles' work.

Although the majority of the band's songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contained at least two Harrison compositions. His songs for the group included "Taxman", "Within You Without You", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something".

➦In 1995... at a private party for 1,200 invited guests on the closing night of the Sinatra Desert Classic golf tournament in Palm Springs, Frank Sinatra sang before a live audience for the very last time, at Marriott’s Desert Springs Resort. His closing song was ‘The Best is Yet to Come.’  He died on May 14, 1998.

➦In 2004...The controversy surrounding the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show (Nipple-Gate), aired live on February 1, 2004 and led to the government's crackdown on indecency in radio and television following a surge in audience complaints.

House Judiciary Committee Probes CBS-Herridge Firing

The House Judiciary Committee is calling CBS on the carpet over the firing of veteran reporter Catherine Herridge, who was probing the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, and the subsequent seizure of her personal records, The NY Post is reporting.

In a scathing letter sent to CBS News President Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews on Friday Rep. Jim Jordan, who chairs the committee, demanded the network reveal who at CBS or parent-company Paramount Global “made the decision to terminate” Herridge.

The committee said it also wants to know why her confidential files were “seized” as part of the termination.

“The unprecedented actions of CBS News threaten to chill good journalism and ultimately weaken our nation’s commitment to a free press,” the letter stated.

Herridge — who is the middle of a First Amendment case being closely watched by journalists nationwide — was among just 20 CBS News staffers let go as part of a larger purge of 800 employees at parent company Paramount Global.

A source with knowledge told The Post that the network boxed up all Herridge’s personal belongings except for her notes and files and informed her that it would decide what — if anything — would be returned to her.

Also on Friday, SAG-AFTRA condemned CBS News following a report that the network seized correspondent Catherine Herridge's files after she was laid off earlier this month, but the network is disputing that is what happened. reports Deradline.

Herridge, who was a senior investigative correspondent covering national security and intelligence, was among the 20 or so news division staffers laid off amid a round of cost cutting throughout Paramount Global.

A network source, though, disputed the report that her files had been seized.

A CBS News spokesperson said in a statement, "Catherine's personal belongings were delivered to her home one week ago, and we are prepared to pack up the rest of her files immediately on her behalf – with her representative present as she requested. We are awaiting a response from Catherine and/or her representative to do so. We have respected her request to not go through the files, and out of our concern for confidential sources, the office she occupied has remained secure since her departure."

"This action is deeply concerning to the union because it sets a dangerous precedent for all media professionals and threatens the very foundation of the First Amendment," the union said.

Google News Bias Favors Lefty Media

Google’s already left-leaning news aggregator platform Google News skewed even more off the charts in 2023, according to The NY Post citing a recent analysis.

Media company AllSides’ latest bias analysis found that 63% of articles that appeared on Google News over two weeks were from left-leaning media outlets — a 2% increase from 2022, when 61% of articles on the aggregator were from liberal outlets.

By contrast, the number of right-leaning news sources picked up by Google News in 2023 was 6%, a relative improvement from the paltry 3% the previous year.

After looking at roughly 500 articles curated on Google News’ homepage, AllSides found that 16% come from left-leaning CNN, while 12% came from the equally liberal New York Times.

Of the top 10 news sites Google News aggregates from, eight of them lean left — including Yahoo! News, CBS, Associated Press and NBC, according to AllSides.

Almost All Right Wing News Websites Hit with Declining January Traffic

TheRighting has unveiled its first-ever 2020-to-2024 election year traffic analysis, according to Howard Polskin, President and Founder. 

 This new feature, which will be released monthly throughout 2024, examines traffic to 15 right wing news websites from 2020 and contrasts it with their 2024 traffic. TheRighting will also run a similar comparison to the three mainstream news brands it has followed regularly since 2019: CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

In its analysis of Comscore data, TheRighting found significant audience erosion at every news website except one it monitored in the four-year period from 2020 to 2024. The three largest news websites had the smallest audience declines: CNN (-20%), The New York Times (-22%), Fox News (-24%). Almost every right wing news website suffered audience decreases of at least 50%, with three outlets – Breitbart, Townhall and the Washington Free Beacon – each posting drops of 87%. Only Newsmax, among all the news websites surveyed by TheRighting, generated an audience increase (+37%) from January 2020 to January 2024.

“Going forward throughout this critical year, I expect similar or even sharper monthly losses in election year traffic from 2020 to 2024 for a variety of reasons,” said Howard Polskin. “These include consumer news avoidance and its cousin crisis fatigue, as well as the rise of alternative news sources.

“It’s important to note that 2020 was a banner year for traffic because it was the most consequential year in American history this century. Major 2020 events included the pandemic, the civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, and the contentious battle for the presidency between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Unless some unfathomable incident occurs, it’s hard to see how 2024 will come close to producing the same audience levels for most news brands from four years ago.”

CNN 'This Morning' Signs-Off

The “CNN This Morning” crew signed off  Friday for the last time.

The 6 to 9 a.m. show, which replaced “New Day,” is ending. Its name, however, is being transferred to a 5 to 7 a.m. block anchored by Kasie Hunt out of Washington.

Anchors Poppy Harlow and Phil Mattingly showcased the behind-the-scenes crew of the show before signing off. At least some of the “CNN This Morning” staffers are likely to lose their jobs because the network will no longer have an editorial staff for morning news in New York. 

The network’s main newsroom in Atlanta will handle that function for the new “CNN This Morning,” “NewsCentral,” “Newsroom” and “The Bulletin,” though “NewsCentral” will continue to use a New York studio.

Harlow and Mattingly’s future at CNN remains unclear, though in a previous announcement, the network said it was working with them to explore new roles.

FLA Governor Slow To Sign Bill Banning Social Media For Kids

Florida’s Legislature has passed a sweeping social media bill that would make the state the first to effectively bar young people under 16 from holding accounts on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

The NY Times reports the measure — which Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would “be wrestling with” over the weekend and has not yet signed — could potentially upend the lives of millions of young people in Florida.

It would also probably face constitutional challenges. Federal courts have blocked less-restrictive youth social media laws enacted last year by Arkansas and Ohio. Judges in those cases said the new statutes most likely impinged on social media companies’ free speech rights to distribute information as well as young people’s rights to have access to it.

The new rules in Florida, passed on Thursday, would require social networks to both prevent people under 16 from signing up for accounts and terminate accounts that a platform knew or believed belonged to underage users. It would apply to apps and sites with certain features, most likely including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube.

Last year, Utah, Arkansas, Texas and Ohio enacted laws that would require social media platforms to get permission from a parent before giving an account to a minor under 18 or under 16.

Florida’s effort would go much further, amounting to a comprehensive ban for young people on some of the most popular social media apps. It would also bar the platforms from showing harmful material to minors, including “patently offensive” sexual conduct.

Survey: Many TikTok Users Never Post

As TikTok’s popularity in the U.S. continues to increase, a new Pew Research Center analysis finds that 52% of adults on the platform have ever posted a video. And a minority of adult users are responsible for producing the vast majority of content on TikTok (see image below). Additional findings include:

The posting behaviors of younger adults do not stand out dramatically from other age groups. While 18- to 34-year-olds are much more likely to use TikTok in the first place than their older counterparts, around half of users in this age group have ever posted on the site – similar to the share among users ages 35 to 49.

Users who have posted videos on TikTok are more active and customize more of their content. Posters typically follow more users, have more followers themselves and are more likely to have filled out their account bio. They are somewhat more likely to find the content of their algorithmically curated “For You” page extremely interesting.

85% of TikTok users say their “For You” page is at least somewhat interesting, including 40% who call it either extremely or very interesting. Only 14% say it is not too or not at all interesting.

"Despite the fact that more and more Americans are using TikTok, we found that nearly half of U.S. adult users never upload videos, and the most active 25% are responsible for a massive 98% of public content. It's a reminder that most of what we see on TikTok was created by a small segment of the user base, and it might not reflect the average user's experience” said Computational Social Scientist Sam Bestvater.

The study is based on the direct observation of the TikTok accounts and posting behaviors of 869 survey respondents who volunteered to share their account handle for research purposes as part of a survey of U.S. adult TikTok users.

MLB Orioles Announce Broadcast Team

The MLB Orioles have announced the club’s broadcast talent lineup for the 2024 season, headlined by the addition of Major League Baseball radio and television play-by-play announcer BEN WAGNER.

The Orioles will continue to welcome guest analysts throughout the season, including Orioles Hall of Famers MIKE DEVEREAUX and BRIAN ROBERTS, as well as former Orioles BRAD BRACH and DAVE JOHNSON.
  • GEOFF ARNOLD returns for his fifth season with the Orioles broadcast team, serving as the primary play-by-play announcer for the Orioles Radio Network.
  • KEVIN BROWN returns for his sixth season as member of the Orioles broadcast team, and his third as the primary television play-by-play announcer for MASN.
  • SCOTT GARCEAU returns to Orioles broadcasts for his fourth-straight season and 18th year with the club overall. Garceau will appear on both MASN and the Orioles Radio Network in a variety of roles, which will include play-by-play duties and hosting pre- and post-game shows.
  • BRETT HOLLANDER returns as an in-game contributor to both MASN and Orioles Radio Network broadcasts. In his fifth season with the club, Hollander will continue to appear as a play-by-play announcer, in-game reporter, and pre- and post-game show host.
  • ROB LONG will continue to appear on MASN programming as a pre- and post-game show host and in-game reporter. The 2024 season marks his sixth year as a member of the Orioles broadcast team.
  • Former Orioles pitcher BEN McDONALD will again bring his expert analysis to MASN telecasts in 2024. McDonald began making select appearances on MASN and the Orioles Radio Network in 2010 before joining the broadcast team full-time in 2018.
  • MELANIE NEWMAN returns for her fifth season with the Orioles broadcast team. Newman will continue to appear on both MASN and the Orioles Radio Network in a variety of roles, including as a play-by-play announcer, in-game reporter, and pre- and post-game show host.
  • National Baseball Hall of Famer and Orioles Legend JIM PALMER will return for his 32nd season as a MASN analyst and his 61st year as a member of the Orioles organization.
  • BEN WAGNER joins the Orioles broadcast team after spending the previous six seasons as a play-by-play announcer with Sportsnet television and the Toronto Blue Jays Radio Network. Prior to joining the Blue Jays broadcast team, Wagner spent 11 seasons with Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. Wagner will appear on radio and select television broadcasts throughout the year.
The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network will again serve as the exclusive home for all Orioles games for the 18th-straight season. Every regular season game will be carried on one of the network’s two channels – MASN and MASN2 – with the exception of nationally televised games. The entire regular season TV broadcast schedule can be found at

Hearst Baltimore’s 98 Rock FM and WBAL NewsRadio AM/FM will continue as the flagship stations of the Orioles Radio Network. All 162 regular season games will be carried across the 30-plus station network, in addition to pre- and post-game shows and comprehensive Orioles coverage throughout the station’s programming.

Arizona Diamondbacks Launch Streaming

Baseball is back! But Arizona Diamondbacks fans will have to watch this season’s games on a new streaming service — at least for now. The Diamondbacks have announced games will be broadcast via DBACKS.TV, a new broadcast partnership agreement with Major League Baseball (MLB).

“We took time to weigh all of our broadcast options for the upcoming season and how they would each impact our fans,” said D-backs President, CEO & General Partner Derrick Hall in a statement. “MLB Media stepped in last year when we needed them to and ensured a seamless transition for all viewers. They reached more households than our prior partnership, improved production quality dramatically, and offered a top-of-the-line streaming product with no blackouts.”

AZ reports fans can watch the defending NL Champions with the DBACKS.TV package for $100 a year. MLB is also offering viewers a season-long MLB subscription that covers all teams for $200 a year.

DBACKS.TV launches this Saturday as the D-backs host the Colorado Rockies. Fans who sign up for the service will get five free spring training games. The dates are below:

  • Saturday, Feb. 24 vs. Colorado Rockies
  • Tuesday, March 5 vs. San Diego Padres
  • Thursday, March 14 vs. Kansas City Royals
  • Sunday, March 17 vs. Los Angeles Angels
  • Monday, March 25 vs. Cleveland Guardians

The D-backs regular season kicks off on March 28 at home against the Rockies at 7:10 p.m.

WBD Earnings Misses Expectations

Warner Bros. Discovery has become the first Hollywood conglomerate to turn a profit for its streaming unit for a full year. In 2023, the company, led by CEO David Zaslav, reported a profit of $103 million, compared with a loss of nearly $2.1 billion for all of 2022 for what it calls its “Direct-to-Consumer,” or DTC, unit.

During the fourth quarter, this segment at WBD, which includes its streaming and premium pay-TV services, posted a loss of $55 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), compared with a year-ago loss of $217 million. Segment revenue grew, helped by subscriber price increases and higher advertising revenue, driven by Max U.S. ad-lite subscriber gains.

WBD on Friday said it generated $3.3 billion in free cash flow during the fourth quarter and ended the year with $6.2 billion in free cash flow, up 86% from a year prior. Yet it missed analyst estimates for revenue and profit, and its shares fell 10%.

For more than year, Zaslav has repeatedly told the investment community that his priority is to boost free cash flow to improve the health of the company and to pay down debt. Warner Bros. Discovery has paid down $12.4 billion in debt in less than two years since announcing the merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia.

He led with that message again on Friday during his company’s earnings conference call.

“Our top priority this year was to get this company on solid footing and on a pathway to growth, and we’ve done that,” Zaslav said. “We said we’d be less than four-times levered, and we are. We’re now at 3.9 times and expect to continue to delever in 2024. We’ve significantly enhanced the efficiency of the organization with a long runway still to go. We said we were going to generate meaningful free cash flow. ... And we’ve exceeded our goal with $6.2 billion for the year.”

Warner Bros. Discovery’s board of directors has been so intent on boosting cash that it last year changed Zaslav’s compensation to tie his bonus to cash flow generation.

So, why did the shares slump Friday, down now 45% in the past 12 months?

Alex Sherman at CNBC opines perhaps investors didn’t like the company’s wishy-washy answer on free cash flow generation in 2024, fearing the positive momentum there could be short-lived.

CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels refused to give guidance, citing the company’s unknown earnings performance with the vicissitudes of the advertising market and increased content spend on Max now that strikes by Hollywood writers and actors are over.

But it’s more likely, given the stock’s consistent underperformance in the past year, that investors simply don’t care about free cash flow in the way Zaslav wants them to.

AT&T Cell Outage Apparently Caused By Software Issue

AT&T Inc. said a widespread outage that took hours to resolve Thursday was caused by “an incorrect process” while expanding the wireless network.

Bloomberg reports the software issue interrupted wireless service for hundreds of thousands of subscribers and prompted the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security to investigate the outage.

“Based on our initial review, we believe that today’s outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack,” an AT&T spokesman said in a statement. “We are continuing our assessment of today’s outage to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve.”

AT&T said all wireless service was restored Thursday afternoon, capping a day of frustration that began in the early hours of the morning New York time. AT&T customers filed more than 1.5 million outage reports on service-tracking website Downdetector.

The federal government began investigating whether the network failure was caused by a cyberattack, according to two US officials familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

The Federal Communications Commission also has been in touch with AT&T to try and ascertain the cause, White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters earlier. “DHS and the FBI are looking into this as well, working with the tech industry, these network providers, to see what we can do from a federal perspective to enhance their investigative efforts to figure out what happened here,” Kirby said.

Radio History: February 24

➦In 1924...WPOW NYC signs-on as WBBR. Judge Franklin Rutherford, successor to the Jehovah Witness founder, Charles Taze Russell, dedicated WBBR, at Rossville in southwestern Staten Island.

Franklin Rutherford
WBBR's programming schedule included programs in several languages, including Yiddish and Arabic.

Judge Rutherford later expanded the radio operations into ownership of at least 7 stations in the United States and Canada, including outlets in the Chicago, Toronto, and Oakland areas.

On August 5, 1928, Rutherford broadcast on a chain of  96 stations, the largest radio network organized till that time, according to New York Radio History.  But, Rutherford's attacks on other religions led many stations to drop his programs, sometimes cutting him off before he was finished.

WBBR started off on a frequency of 1230 AM in 1924, then moved to 1100 later that year. In 1925, the station moved to 720 AM, unauthorized. In 1927, WBBR moved again to 1170, and in 1928 to 1300 - in both instances, sharing time with other stations.

In 1941, WBBR's license was transferred to the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society, the religion's publishing arm, and in March of that year, WBBR (and its share-time partners) moved to 1330 AM. In 1946, power was increased to 5000 watts.

In 1957 the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society sold its station to H. Scott Killgore's Tele-Broadcasters Of New York Inc. for $133,000.  Call letters were changed to WPOW on May 1, 1957, the religious talks and placid string and organ music disappeared, and the new station embarked on a series of changes that would repeatedly make it something of a pioneer in New York area radio.

On the morning of September 5, 1957, WPOW became the first New York station to play a form of rock music during most of its daily schedule.

The remainder of WPOW's schedule was filled with easy-listening music, paid religious programs including "Glad Tidings Tabernacle" and "The Hebrew Christian Hour".

Under its share-time arrangements, WPOW often broadcast at unusual times, occasionally signing on at 3a and then leaving the air while the morning drive-time audience was at its peak.

In February 1958, the station moved to foreign-language programming, mostly Spanish but also including some Polish, French, Armenian and Byelorussian.

In July 1959, Killgore sold WPOW for $250,000 to John M. Camp, an Illinois-based advertising agent and broker of religious broadcast time.  In 1973, Camp purchased share-time station WHAZ in Troy NY and starting operating it as a daytimer, opening up Monday nights for WPOW.

In 1979, WPOW's other share-time station on 1330 AM, WEVD, was sold to Salem Media, and became WNYM.  In the early 1980's, Salem bought out WPOW for $4 million, most of that sum simply for the Staten Island real estate.

On December 31, 1984, WPOW signed off without ceremony, and the last time-sharing arrangement in New York AM radio came to an end.

Today, the WBBR call letters are being used by Bloomberg on 1130 AM. The WPOW calls are being used by Beasley Broadcasting for one of its FM's in Miami. And WPOW's 1330 AM frequency in NYC is occupied by religious WWRV, 1330 is a Spanish Christian music and teaching station and serves the New York area. It is owned by Radio Vision Cristiana Management.

➦In 1942...the Voice of America (VOA) began broadcasting.

Voice of America (VOA) is a U.S. government-funded international multimedia Agency which serves as the United States federal government's official institution for non-military, external broadcasting, the largest U.S. international broadcaster. VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in more than 40 languages which it distributes to affiliate stations around the globe. It is primarily viewed by foreign audiences, so VOA programming has an influence on public opinion abroad regarding the United States and its leaders.

VOA was established in 1942, and the VOA charter (Public Laws 94-350 and 103-415) was signed into law in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. The charter contains its mission "to broadcast accurate, balanced, and comprehensive news and information to an international audience", and it defines the legally mandated standards in the VOA journalistic code.

VOA uses shortwave transmitters (many located in Greenville North Carolina).

➦In 1987...Radio, TV host/personality Larry King suffered a major heart attack and then had quintuple-bypass surgery. Since then, King has written two books about living with heart disease. Mr. King, You're Having a Heart Attack and How a Heart Attack and Bypass Surgery Changed My Life.

➦In 1987...Radio Personality Jim Connors died at age 47.  He was killed in a car crash on I-95 in Greensville County, Virginia.

Jim Connors earned thirteen Gold records for discovering artists during his career including Harry Chapin and his hit song "Taxi". Chapin later went on to write "W*O*L*D," a song inspired by Connors' life. This song was based on a phone call Harry overheard while in studio with JC at WMEX-Boston. The men began discussing what life as a "jock" is like, which was Harry's inspiration for the hit song.

Friday, February 23, 2024

DC Radio: WAMU Announces Layoffs

The Washington, DC-area NPR affiliate WAMU shut down local news site DCist on Friday morning, immediately following an all-staff meeting where employees were informed layoffs would be imminent.

Station general manager Erika Pulley-Hayes made the announcement to staffers during a roughly 10-minute meeting — during which no questions were taken — that the shift was necessary as part of a new content strategy that was developed over the last year, to focus more on audio.

She cited the “ripple effect across media consumption habits” created by the pandemic, a declining advertising market and a difficult philanthropic climate. Pulley-Hayes did not detail in the meeting how many staffers would be laid off, but she spoke to Axios, which reported 15 staffers would be cut.

WAMU acquired DCist in 2018, which at the time it described as a “beloved local news site.”

Axios reports the shift away from digital publishing will allow WAMU to focus on its core radio products, as well as new digital audio opportunities like podcasts and live events, WAMU general manager Erika Pulley-Hayes told Axios."We're making the choice to invest in what we're better at than anyone else in this town, and that's audio," Pulley-Hayes said.

Details: Fifteen positions will be eliminated as part of the changes, but 10 new positions — mostly audio specialists and producers — will be added."We feel like this is the best way for us to engage and build loyalty," said Michael Tribble, WAMU's newly hired chief content officer.
WAMU is planning to launch a new local radio show and hopes to build an app.

Between the lines: Research commissioned by the station's leadership suggested the WAMU brand was stickier than DCist's, both executives explained."Too many media companies fail by trying to be all things to all people, leaving their value proposition diluted and weakened," said Peter Cherukuri, vice chair of WAMU's board of advisers.

Part of the changes also include elevating WAMU's biggest voices, including Kojo Nnamdi, who hosts his own show in addition to "The Politics Hour," a weekly political talk show.

Detroit Radio: All-Black Sports Rap Radio Launching

The Metro Detroit radio market is getting set to roll out another local sports-talk station, with a twist.

Former Detroit sports columnist Rob Parker and three business partners, all former athletes, have reached an agreement to lease WXYT 1270-AM from Audacy and launch the nation's first all-Black lineup of hosts. "Sports Rap Radio" is scheduled to launch in mid-May, and eventually will feature local programming from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with Parker's nationally syndicated show, "The Odd Couple" with Chris Broussard, airing from 7-10 p.m.

Additional hosts will be announced in the coming weeks, Parker said.

"We're working on that," Parker told The Detroit News on Thursday. "It's going to be young people getting opportunities and former athletes, from Detroit or with Detroit ties.

"This is a Detroit radio station. I want to make that clear."

WXYT is one of six stations in the market owned by Audacy, which owns more than 200 stations across the country, and recently had its reorganization plan approved by a judge as the company plans to emerge from bankruptcy.

WXYT is the sister station of 97.1 The Ticket, on the FM dial; that's the only other all-local sports-talk station in town.

WXYT's programming is currently part of the BetQL network, and the station will continue to feature some betting content moving forward. WXYT also will continue to serve as a secondary option to air local games, when there is conflict on 97.1 if the Tigers, Red Wings or Pistons are playing on the same day, at the same time.

Carr Rips FCC Over Race/Gender Scorecard

Federal Communications Commission commissioner Brendan Carr has blasted the decision of his colleagues to move forward with an initiative that would require broadcasters to make public a race and gender scorecard of their employees, a directive he says runs afoul of the Constitution.

Newsmax reports Carr, the senior Republican commissioner on the FCC and former general counsel, wrote a six-page dissenting statement over the agency's decision to "post a race and gender scorecard for each and every TV and radio broadcast station in the country."

Brendan Carr
"In doing so, the FCC caves to the demands of activist groups that have worked for years and across different industries to persuade the federal government to obtain — and most importantly publish — this type of data about individual businesses," Carr wrote. "This is no benign disclosure regime."

He added: "The record makes clear that the FCC is choosing to publish these scorecard for one and only one reason: to ensure that individual businesses are targeted and pressured into making decisions based on race and gender."

Congress requires the FCC to collect race and gender data from broadcasters, via Form 395-B, but it's the decision to publish the data "about specific broadcast stations" over which Carr takes umbrage.

"Instead of confining today's decision to lawful agency action, the FCC chooses a different course — one that violates the Constitution, as the D.C. Circuit has already determined in not one but two separate FCC cases," Carr wrote.

Of the five members on the FCC commission, Carr is one of two Republicans. Democrats took majority control of the commission in September when Anna Gomez was sworn in.

S&P Global Issues Broadcast Outlook For 2024

  • The US broadcast station industry is expected to reach $36.68 billion in total advertising revenue in 2024, up 8.4% from $33.84 billion in 2023. Core ad categories — including pharmaceuticals, telecom and professional services — are still relatively strong, while the automotive, retail and travel categories remain soft.
  • The local ad market continues to be stronger than the national side of the spot ad business for broadcast stations in 2024, with major brands and ad agencies shifting budgets to streaming, mobile and social media platforms.
  • Outside of advertising, TV station group owners continue to rely on growth in gross retransmission consent and virtual sub fees, which are expected to generate $15.22 billion in 2024
For TV stations, spending in the 2024 presidential election year is expected to surpass prior records, with a possible rematch of Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. Toss-ups in some US Senate and Congressional races could shift power in both houses, in addition to the presidency. And issue-based ads around controversial propositions could add even more revenue to some station's coffers. Political ad spending on TV stations is expected to reach $3.94 billion, up 10.0% from the last presidential election year in 2020.

In 2024, TV station industry revenue, including gross national/local spot advertising, digital and retrans fees, is expected to climb 8.3% to $40.04 billion, up from $36.96 billion estimated in 2023. Total spot ad revenue, excluding digital, is expected to grow 15.4% with a boost from political to $21.57 billion.

The radio station business has been challenged to remain relevant and part of national ad budgets, although it is still relatively strong in the local ad markets. Kagan Research projects a decline in US radio ad revenue of 0.9% to $11.86 billion in 2024. That is roughly $1 billion higher than radio ad revenue in the pandemic ad recession of 2020 but still approximately $2 billion lower than pre-pandemic levels. Radio ads are predominantly local and focused on the auto, retail, travel and entertainment categories, which have been under pressure from inflation and a higher interest rate environment over the past couple of years.

Radio also must compete with streaming music and podcasting alternatives and with a remote working class that has reduced commuting hours during prime in-car radio time. Despite those challenges, radio's lower ad cost, community outreach and relatively high return on investment compared to other media should help maintain its ad share in its local markets.

TV Ratings: Super Bowl Tops, FNC Dominates Cable News

Fani Willis testifies

Breaking news situations and coverage of the Fanni Willis testimony in a Georgia court gave the cable news networks some ratings juice this past week. All networks experienced week-to-week gains, with MSNBC and CNN seeing double-digit gains compared to the previous week.

According to TV Newser, Nielsen live plus same-day data for the week of Feb. 12 officially shows Fox News Channel was the top-rated cable news network in total viewers and among Adults 25-54 for the fifth straight week. In primetime, FNC averaged 2.104 million total viewers and 232,000 A25-54 viewers. This was a +3% gain in total viewers and A25-54, respectively, relative to the week prior (week beginning Feb. 5). 

Among all basic cable networks, Fox News maintained its No. 1 position in total primetime viewers and No. 5 in the primetime demo. In total day, the network was the only cable network to cross one million total viewers in total day, holding its No. 1 position, while it was the No. 3 in the total day demo for the week of Feb. 12, 2024.

MSNBC in primetime averaged 1.457 million total viewers and 140,000 viewers from the A25-54 demo for the week of Feb. 12. It had a +10% gain in total viewers and +17% in the A25-54 demo from what the network averaged the week prior. Among all basic cable networks, MSNBC finished the week at No. 3 in total primetime viewers—TNT took the second spot—and No. 18 in the demo. It was No. 2 in total day viewers and No. 16 in the total day demo. In total day, MSNBC was the No.2 network and tied for ninth place with CNN in the demo.

CNN averaged 677,000 total primetime viewers and 125,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime for the week of Feb. 12. The news net had a hefty +35% increase and +14% in total viewers and A25-54, respectively, compared to primetime in the prior week. 

Fox had 10 out of the 15 most-watched cable news shows of the week, led once again by The Five (3.262 million viewers at 5 p.m. ET). MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell at 10 p.m. ET was the most-watched non-Fox cable news show of the week, coming in at No. 7 with an average of 1.920 million viewers. MSNBC had five of its shows in the top 15 of most-watched cable news shows.

Meanwhile, Gutfeld! remained the top cable news program among Adults 25-54, averaging 323,000 A25-54 viewers at 10 p.m. ET. Fox News once again led the way with 13 out of the top 15 cable news shows in the demo overall, with MSNBC occupying the final two spots. Lawrence O’Donnell once again was its top show, coming in at No. 14 with 188,000 viewers at 10 p.m. ET, and the Rachel Maddow/Alex Wagner timeslot came in at No. 15 with 181,000 viewers for the demo at 9 p.m. ET.

Alleged Fox News, Tucker Carlson Hacker Arrested

The journalist accused of leaking videos of former Fox News star Tucker Carlson was charged Thursday with 14 federal crimes relating to computer hacking the media giant.

Tim Burke, 45, worked as part of a criminal duo that used “compromised credentials” to break into the behind-the-scenes broadcast streams before sharing them as an anonymous source, according to a federal indictment.

The pair allegedly kept the hacked clips and files on a server, which Burke’s co-conspirator described in a direct Twitter message as the main location “for all of their footage they post to social, send to partners, etc.”

Tim Burke
The Burke Communications founder was arrested Thursday morning and appeared in court by the afternoon, with his City Council member wife watching on in support, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“I am confident in my husband’s innocence, and I support him completely,” Lynn Hurtak said in a statement.

“I will not be making additional statements regarding this matter.”

He faces one count of conspiracy; six counts of accessing a protected computer without authorization; and seven counts of intercepting or disclosing wire, oral or electronic communications.

The arrest comes nearly a year after FBI agents raided the couple’s home and seized computers and electronic devices Burke used to run his media business.

Investigators landed on Burke after videos were leaked of Carlson, just days before his bombshell firing.

The former “Tucker Carlson Tonight” host was seen blasting his colleagues who cite their preferred gender pronouns and made unprofessional comments to an on-set makeup artist.

R.I.P.: Roni Stoneman, Hee Haw Banjo Player Dead at 85

Roni Stoneman (1939-2024)

Roni Stoneman, banjo player and beloved "Hee Haw" star has died at the age of 85, according to The Tennessean.

Born in 1938 to Ernest V. "Pop" and Hattie Stoneman, Roni was the second-youngest of her father's 23 children. She played banjo in the Stoneman family band, one of country music's earliest family groups. As of several years ago, Roni and her sister Donna, a mandolin player, continued to perform. With Roni's passing, Donna is the last surviving member of the Stoneman Family band.

an accomplished banjo player, Stoneman became known for her comedic roles on "Hee Haw" including her character Ida Lee Nagger, known for her part in the Buck Owens and Buddy Allan song "Pfft You Were Gone!"

Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said of Stoneman in a statement that she was known as the "First Lady of the Banjo."

"Country music was a birthright and her life’s work," Young's statement read. "Roni was an integral part of a bedrock country music family, who were longtime fixtures in the country music scene of Washington, DC. For 18 years on 'Hee Haw,' she stole scenes as both a skillful banjo player and as a comical, gap-toothed country character. She was a great talent and a strong woman."

Las Vegas TV: Entravision Unveils State-of-the-Art News Facility

Entravision Communications Corporation has announced the opening of its new state-of-the-art news facility in Las Vegas. This milestone underscores the Company's three decade commitment of empowering the Latino community through trusted news and resources.

Latinos account for 30% of the state's population making Nevada a pivotal market for Entravision in its mission to amplify Latino voices.[1]

“The inauguration of the Las Vegas news facility marks a significant achievement accompanied by the recruitment of nearly 40 incredibly talented individuals, further bolstering our teams,” said Jeffery Liberman, President and Chief Operating Officer of Entravision. “As a civically engaged community, Latinos transcend partisan lines, with 43% of voters identifying as independent or other in both Las Vegas and the state[3]. Failing to engage with Latinos overlooks a crucial and decisive political group in this year's election.”

With Latinos constituting 22% of the electorate in Nevada[2], Entravision's expansion in Las Vegas, Reno, and Carson City carries profound significance particularly this critical election year.

United States Senator Jacky Rosen, United States Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada Lt Governor Stavros Anthony, and Peter Guzman from the Latin Chamber of Commerce Nevada expressed their support at the event.

“Entravision has the important responsibility of keeping Nevada’s Latino community informed about what is happening in our state,” said Senator Rosen. “I was proud to join Entravision to celebrate the ribbon cutting of their new studio in Las Vegas, and to honor the critical work they do to keep Nevadans engaged in their communities every day.”

2/23 WAKE-UP CALL: Ukraine War Reaches Two-Year Milestone

The United States will impose sanctions on over 500 targets on Friday in action marking the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. The action, taken in partnership with other countries, will target Russia's military industrial complex and companies in third countries that facilitate Russia's access to goods it wants, Adeyemo said, as Washington seeks to hold Russia to account over the war and the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

"Tomorrow we'll release hundreds of sanctions just here in the United States, but it's important to step back and remember that it's not just America taking these actions," Adeyemo said. The package will be the latest of thousands of sanctions targeting Moscow announced by the United States and its allies following Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which has killed tens of thousands and destroyed cities.

U-S WARNS RUSSIA: The U.S. government warned Russia not to deploy a new nuclear-armed antisatellite weapon. That would violate the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and jeopardize U.S. national security interests, officials said. The Biden administration’s diplomatic campaign to head off the threat also involves approaches to China, India, G-7 nations and other close allies that have interests in space and channels to Moscow. The Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Kremlin last week accused the U.S. of manufacturing concerns about Russian space weapons to generate support in Congress for additional Ukraine aid, according to Russian state media.

➤HOSTAGE TALKS CONTINUE:  The White House and Arab states are pursuing talks to free the hostages in Gaza as Israel signals progress. CIA Director William Burns is tentatively scheduled to meet senior Middle East leaders tomorrow in Paris, regional officials said. Burns was instrumental in securing a weeklong cease-fire in November that freed more than 100 Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Israel was against Hamas’s previous cease-fire proposal that called for the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, among other demands. The militant group sent mediators a new offer in the past day. The talks come as Israel threatens to invade Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city where more than a million Palestinian civilians are sheltering, and fears for the safety of Oct. 7 hostages are rising. Israel says Hamas fighters are hiding in Rafah.

Thousands Lose Cell Service

AT&T said Thursday it restored service to wireless customers after people across the U.S. reported problems with making cellphone calls.

The company said a widespread outage that took hours to resolve Thursday was caused by “an incorrect process” while expanding the wireless network.

The Wall Street Journal reports customers of the telecommunications giant began reporting problems on Downdetector, which tracks internet outages, after 3 a.m. ET. There were nearly 75,000 reports of outages around 9:15 a.m.

Cricket Wireless, which is owned by AT&T, also experienced network issues, with about 13,000 outages reported on Downdetector as of 9 a.m.

“We sincerely apologize to them,” an AT&T spokesman said in a statement. “Keeping our customers connected remains our top priority, and we are taking steps to ensure our customers do not experience this again in the future.”

Some AT&T users said on social media that their phones were stuck in SOS mode, meaning they had no service but could make emergency calls. 

Twin Cities Radio: Falen & Colt Afternoon Show Debuts On KDWB

101.3 KDWB, the Twin Cities’ #1 Hit Music Station, announced today the debut of the new Falen and Colt Show, effective immediately. Falen and Colt will broadcast weekdays from 2:00–6:00 p.m. (CST).

Falen and Colt will entertain the Twin Cities with their humor and features including Pop Culture Minute and Normal or Nope.  Falen who’s been on 101.3 KDWB for 12 years is a chronic over-sharer, pop culture junkie and one of the biggest Swifties in the Twin Cities.  Colt loves interacting with listeners and building genuine bonds. 

“The debut of the new Falen and Colt Show brings a fresh dynamic to the Twin Cities’ airwaves. With Falen’s 12 years of experience on 101.3 KDWB and Colt’s enthusiasm for interacting with listeners, it’s clear they’ll bring a lot of energy and entertainment to the afternoon time slot,” said Greg Alexander, iHeartMedia Minneapolis Market President.

“As a Program Director, I’m always looking for the best ways to position our radio stations to entertain and deeply connect with our Twin Cities listeners,” said Rich Davis, Program Director 101.3 KDWB and Cities 97.1. “Colt, who worked for me in 2018 and 2019, wanted to come back, and I was looking for ways to capitalize on Zach Dillon’s success in the market too.

Falen and Colt have a ton of chemistry from working and podcasting together back then.  This is just the next step in the evolution of our afternoon show on KDWB and will help highlight the strengths of Falen, Colt, and Zach.” Integrating Colt into 101.3 KDWB’s afternoon show will showcase their unique strengths and further evolve our programming to ensure we continue to deliver top-notch content to our audience.” 

Colt adds, “I appreciate all my time in Dallas – along with all the extraordinary coaching I received from Patrick Davis. I’m thrilled to be teaming up with the extremely talented Falen on the legendary KDWB.  I am beyond excited for this opportunity and to work with such a talented staff.

Vice Shutters Flagship Website

Vice Media said it would stop publishing content on its flagship website and plans to cut hundreds of jobs, following a failed effort by owner Fortress Investment Group to sell the embattled digital publisher and its brands.

“It is no longer cost-effective for us to distribute our digital content the way we have done previously,” CEO Bruce Dixon told employees in a memo. He said the company could partner with established media companies to distribute its content. “As part of this shift, we will no longer publish content on,” he said.

Vice will instead focus on growing its business-to-business media arm, including its production studio and creative agency, according to a person familiar with Fortress’s plans.

In his memo, Dixon told employees, “It is no longer cost-effective for us to distribute our digital content the way we have done previously. Moving forward, we will look to partner with established media companies to distribute out digital content, including news, on their global platforms, as we fully transition to a studio model.”

In his note, Dixon confirmed that Vice will be shutting down its digital operations, including its website. He added that the company will instead emphasize using social channels, where “content will be viewed most broadly.”

The memo also noted that Refinery29, another media brand owned by Vice, “will continue to operate as a stand-alone diversified digital publishing business, creating engaging, social-first content.”

New Vendor Alliance Formed To Serve Radio

A select group of the country’s leading radio vendors have teamed to provide planning and advisory assistance to small and medium size radio station owners. The Radio Vendor Alliance (RVA) will serve as a trusted advisory for radio station owners and managers looking for high value service and software partners.

The eight charter members of the RVA are RadioFX, Envisionwise, Big Deals Media, Cool Radio Streaming, Rumple, Silverback Advertising, Radio Consulting Services, and Frank Gerard Voiceovers.

“The primary objective of the RVA is to provide small and medium size radio station operators confidence that the vendors they are looking for to help elevate their business have been vetted and provide broadcasters with quality assurances,” says John Wanzung President of RadioFX and a founding member of the RVA.

Members of the RVA provide best-in-class services, reliable and cost-effective solutions for a variety of radio business challenges. Each vendor has submitted to a review process and their inclusion in the RVA has been based on their proven track record of delivering fair market value services backed by inclusive support.

Radio History: February 23

➦In 1904...Print journalist and CBS Radio correspondent William Lawrence Shirer was born in Chicago (Died – December 28, 1993 at age 89).  He was a journalist and war correspondent. He wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a history of Nazi Germany that has been read by many and cited in scholarly works for more than 50 years.

Originally a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and the International News Service, Shirer was the first reporter hired by Edward R. Murrow for what would become a CBS radio team of journalists known as "Murrow's Boys". He became known for his broadcasts from Berlin, from the rise of the Nazi dictatorship through the first year of World War II (1940). With Murrow, he organized the first broadcast world news roundup, a format still followed by news broadcasts.

➦In 1927...President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill into law that created the Federal Radio Commission, “to bring order out of this terrible chaos.” The president was speaking, of course, of the nation’s then unregulated radio stations. The name was changed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on July 1, 1934. The FRC regulated radio use in the United States from its creation in 1926 until its replacement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1934.

The Commission was created to regulate radio use "as the public interest, convenience, or necessity" requires. The Radio Act of 1927 superseded the Radio Act of 1912, which had given regulatory powers over radio communication to the Secretary of Commerce and Labor. The Radio Act of 1912 did not mention broadcasting and limited all private radio communications to what is now the AM band.

➦In 1970...Jay Reynolds, who generated huge ratings in PM Drive at WIFE 1310 AM, the market leader at that time in Indianapolis, started at 77 WABC in NYC.

Reynolds did the all-night show for six years - not only the longest consecutive tenure during the station's 21 and a half years with a music format, but nine months longer than the combined time that Charlie Greer spent on the all-night show during his two stints.  He died in March, 1996.

➦In 2010...‘Boss radio’ co-creator Gene Chenault died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 90.

Chenault, who with his business partner, Bill Drake, reshaped rock radio in the 1960s with prepackaged programming that delivered more music and fewer commercials to hundreds of stations, creating an automated format.

The programming, using reel-to-reel tapes of Top 40 hits, was primarily designed by Drake and marketed and syndicated by Chenault. It raised ratings at station after station and brought a certain big-city sound to many small towns.

The new format gave rise to the stock phrases “boss jock” and “boss radio,” which first took hold at 93KHJ in Los Angeles in 1965. (The word boss was derived from California surfer slang for good, as in “That’s a boss wave.”) Within a year KHJ leapt from 12th to first place in the Los Angeles ratings. Its slogan: “Much More Music.”

➦In 2017…Broadcaster Alan Colmes died from cancer at age 66 (Born-September 24, 1950). He was a radio and television host, liberal political commentator for the Fox News Channel, and blogger. He was the host of The Alan Colmes Show, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show distributed by Fox News Radio. From 1996 to 2009, Colmes served as the co-host of Hannity & Colmes, a nightly political debate show on Fox News Channel.