Saturday, March 9, 2024

Radio History: March 10

➦In 1876...Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful telephone transmission of clear speech using a liquid transmitter when Bell spoke into his device, "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you." and Watson heard each word distinctly.

Scottish-born Bell made the call over 100ft of wire during trials in his Boston laboratory in the US, summoning his electrician assistant from the adjoining room. In his journal for that day, Bell writes: “To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said.”

The two men changed places and Bell listened as Watson read passages from a book over the device. Bell records: “It was certainly the case that articulate sounds proceeded from the speaker. The effect was loud but indistinct and muffled.”

Just three days earlier, Bell had been granted a US patent for his invention. But it wasn’t an instant success. Communications company Western Union rejected the opportunity to buy the rights for $100,000, believing it wasn’t a rival to the telegraph. A decision it later regretted.

➦In 1920...Kenneth Charles "Jethro" Burns  born (Died - February 4, 1989), He was a mandolinist and one-half of the comedy duo Homer and Jethro with Henry D. "Homer" Haynes.

Burns was born in Conasauga, TN. His family moved to Knoxville when he was three. In 1936, he auditioned for a talent contest at Knoxville radio station WNOX where he met Henry Haynes, also 16. The two formed a duo and WNOX program director Lowell Blanchard gave them the stage names Homer and Jethro after forgetting their names on the air.

Burns was drafted into the US Army and served in Europe during World War II and reunited with Haynes, who had served in the Pacific, in Knoxville in 1945. By 1947, the duo moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and were working at WLW on the station's Midwestern Hayride. They signed with King Records, where they worked as a house band and recorded singles on their own, and two years later signed with RCA Records. The pair were fired along with other stars by new management at WLW in 1948, and after a brief tour, they moved to Springfield, MO and performed on KWTO with Chet Atkins, the Carter Family and Slim Wilson.

In 1949, they moved to Chicago, Illinois and played at the Chicago Theater. Between shows, they would go to WLS to appear live on National Barn Dance.

In 1959, they won a Grammy for the best comedy performance in 1959 for "The Battle of Kookamonga", a parody of Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans".

➦In 1922...Flashback:  From Variety...1M radio receivers in use...

➦In 1922...KLZ-AM, Denver, Colorado began broadcasting. It is the oldest broadcasting station in the state of Colorado, and one of the oldest in the United States

Two years earlier, Dr. William "Doc" Reynolds, a dentist, founded Colorado's first experimental radio station, 9ZAF, at his 1124 S. University home in Denver.

The studio was on the front porch and the transmitter was in the back yard.

On March 10, 1922, the station's call sign changed to KLZ, then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover granted Reynolds one of the first commercial broadcasting licenses in the country, and KLZ became Colorado's first commercial radio station.

1920s-Era Radio Receiver

Today, KLZ is owned by Crawford Broadcasting and airs a talk format.

➦In 1934...Radio, TV personality Gary Owens  was born in Mitchell, South Dakota. At 18 he began working as a news reporter at local radio station KORN, and two years later was made news director.  After several moves in the midwest he became a DJ in Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis, Denver, Sacramento and San Francisco, before finally settling in Los Angeles. He spent two decades playing music with humorous word play in PM drive at KMPC, and became nationally known as the ear-cupping announcer on TV’s Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.  Owens is believed to have recorded some 30,000 commercials. He died Feb. 12, 2015 of complications from his life-long diabetes, at age 80.

Biden Supports Banning TikTok

President Joe Biden said Friday that he would sign legislation sailing through Congress that could lead to TikTok getting banned in the U.S., according to USAToday.

"If they pass it, I'll sign it," Biden told reporters Friday.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted unanimously Thursday, 50-0, to advance a bill that would block the wildly popular app TikTok from U.S.-based web hosting services and app stores unless TikTok severs ties with its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, within 180 days.

The full House of Representatives will take up the legislation next.

TikTok, used by more than 170 million people in the U.S., has drawn scrutiny in Washington over concerns that the Chinese government could use the app to gain access to private user data or spread misinformation.

TikTok strongly opposes the bill, saying it would give ByteDance too narrow of a timeline to find a buyer with the resources to buy TikTok and to overcome the technical challenges involved in spinning it off. Angry TikTok users have flooded lawmakers with phone calls urging their opposition.

"This bill is an outright ban of TikTok, no matter how much the authors try to disguise it," TikTok said in an emailed statement. "This legislation will trample the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs."

Fox News Leads As 32M Watched SOTU

More than 32 million viewers watched President Biden’s State of the Union address across 14 separate broadcast and cable networks Thursday night, with Fox News Channel drawing the largest single audience, 5.640 million viewers. ABC had the largest single audience among the broadcast networks, with 5.024 million viewers—the third consecutive State of the Union that ABC’s coverage outperformed all other broadcast news networks.

Forbes reports viewership for the address was up about 18 percent from one year ago, with several networks setting viewing records. MSNBC had its largest State of the Union viewership in the network’s history, making Thursday night MSNBC’s most-watched night of the year to date.

Among total viewers, NBC broadcast had the third largest audience behind Fox News and ABC, with 4.328 million viewers. MSNBC was fourth overall with 4.2 million viewers, followed closely by CBS with 3.935 million viewers. CNN (2.511 million viewers), followed by Fox broadcast (1.714 million viewers), Fox Business (240,000 viewers), and CNBC (112,000 viewers).

Among viewers 25-54—the key demographic valued by advertisers—NBC was first with 1.114 million viewers, followed by ABC (1.074 million viewers), Fox News Channel (1.031 million viewers), CBS (824,054 viewers), CNN (646,000 viewers), MSNBC (611,000 viewers), Fox broadcast (516,738 viewers), Fox Business (40,000 viewers), and CNBC (35,000 viewers).

The president’s address laid out an agenda for a second term, and drew sharp contrast between Biden’s record and that of the presumed Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump, who Biden referred to only as “my predecessor.”

The Time Has Come..To Spring Forward

Get ready to "spring forward" as people throughout the United States lose an hour of sleep in the early morning of Sunday.

Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 10. While "smart" devices may change time automatically, don't forget to turn manual clocks an hour ahead, from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Daylight saving time (DST) is designed to provide an extra hour of evening sunlight, and it will stay in effect for eight months until Nov. 3, when daylight saving time ends for the year.

While the Uniform Time Act of 1966 promoted a uniform system of time across the country, it did allow states to choose whether they wanted to participate.

Hawaii and most of Arizona — except the Navajo Nation — remain on standard time throughout the year, meaning they don’t change their clocks like the rest of country. It means that for much of the year, the time difference between New York and Phoenix is three hours — but from November to March, Phoenix residents are just two hours behind.

Other U.S. territories including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also remain on standard time year-round.

Studies over the last 25 years have shown the one-hour change disrupts body rhythms tuned to Earth’s rotation, adding fuel to the debate over whether having Daylight Saving Time in any form is a good idea.

The issue is that for every argument there is a counterargument. There are studies, for example, that show we have more car accidents when people lose an extra hour of sleep. There are also studies that show robberies decline when there is an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day. We also know that people suffer more heart attacks at the start of Daylight Saving Time. But what about our mental health? People seem to be happier when there is an extra hour of daylight.

According to, Benjamin Franklin, the brainchild of DST, proposed the idea in 1784 as a way to conserve energy, said David Prerau, author of  "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time". Ideally, people would spend time outside, enjoying the extra hour of daylight, rather than sit inside, wasting energy on lighting, Franklin reasoned.

However, it's hard to say whether daylight saving translates into energy savings, according to several studies, including a 2007 Department of Energy study and a 1997 study on a residential home in Kansas, Live Science previously reported.

Even so, Franklin's idea spread in the 20th century. In 1908, a city in Ontario, Canada, became the first modern region to officially implement DST, according to Time and Date. The Germans began following DST in May 1916, with the goal of conserving fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe followed suit soon after, and the United States officially adopted daylight saving time in 1918.

Baltimore TV: It Just Got More Expensive To Watch MASN

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and Comcast have reached an agreement that will keep the regional sports network as part of Xfinity’s cable packages — but will move MASN and MASN2 to an elevated, more expensive tier.

The transition of MASN from Xfinity’s basic tier, Popular TV, to Ultimate TV is expected to take place Tuesday.

Current subscribers in the Baltimore area who have Popular TV and do not wish to subscribe to MASN, which airs Orioles and Washington Nationals games, will see a slight decrease in their cable bill, since they will no longer pay the regional sports network fee associated with MASN.

But Popular TV subscribers who want to watch Orioles and Washington Nationals games will need to purchase the pricier package, which will eventually cost $20 more a month. Comcast is offering a six-month promotional deal for Popular TV subscribers who want to transition to Ultimate TV: The upgrade will not cost anything extra for the first three months and will then cost an additional $10 a month for the following three months.

A new Xfinity cable subscriber in the Baltimore area can expect to pay, with fees included, about $95 a month for Popular TV. Ultimate TV costs roughly $115.

CEO Witz Talks Up Value of Sports

Jennifer Witz, the Chief Executive Officer of SiriusXM, this week shared insights about the company’s distinctive value proposition in sports. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, 

Jennifer Witz
She emphasized how SiriusXM stands out:

  • All-in-One Sports Coverage: SiriusXM offers play-by-play coverage for all major leagues in one place. This comprehensive approach is unparalleled in both audio and video formats. No other platform provides such a consolidated sports experience.
  • Conversion and Retention: While sports may not be the primary driver of listening time, it plays a crucial role in the overall value proposition. Witz highlighted that when users tune in to sports content, conversion rates and retention rates increase. In other words, sports engagement positively impacts subscriber loyalty.
  • Diverse Sports Programming: Beyond the big leagues, SiriusXM covers a wide range of sports, including golf, wrestling, MMA, tennis, and racing. It’s not just about the events themselves; the insightful commentary around these sports adds further depth to the programming.

In a competitive landscape, SiriusXM’s commitment to sports excellence sets it apart. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual listener, the company’s unique sports offerings resonate with audiences. 

WBD Rebranding truTV With More Sports

Warner Bros. Discovery is giving cable network truTV a sports makeover.

The LA Times reports the cable channel, currently a hodgepodge of reality shows and reruns, will become an additional platform for the media giant’s sports properties, which include the NBA, the NHL and the NCAA basketball tournament.

Starting Monday — a week before the start of March Madness — truTV will be all-sports in prime time, carrying a nightly live highlights program, “TNT Sports Update,” and a betting show, “The Line.” Both will be produced by Turner Sports.

The new programs will air weeknights ahead of simulcasts of live sports coverage airing on Warner Bros. Discovery’s TBS and TNT channels.

The company said truTV also will offer alternative versions of its TBS and TNT sports telecasts, similar to what ESPN does with Peyton and Eli Manning for the brothers’ version of “Monday Night Football.”

TruTV will carry sports films, documentaries and talk programs featuring talent from its popular “Inside the NBA” studio show with Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson.

The Thursday announcement comes as Warner Bros. Discovery, Fox Corp. and the Walt Disney Co. prepare to launch a streaming platform aimed at consumers who want live sports without a pay-TV subscription.

The companies are targeting an August launch for the still-unnamed service, which is expected to cost around $50 a month for a bundle of channels that carry major sporting events.

TruTV currently is best known as the home of “Impractical Jokers,” a popular reality prank show; its original episodes will move to TBS.

Turner Sports has aired coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament games since it teamed with CBS to carry the event in 2012. That deal runs through 2032.

Once the sports block is launched, truTV will continue to feature entertainment programming during the day, drawing largely from its library.

Swifties Allow Taylor to Cash-In On Different Album Versions

"All's fair in love and poetry," Taylor Swift has declared in the lead up to her new album "The Tortured Poets Department."

Including capitalism, it seems.

The Tennessean reports the billionaire songwriter will release four different versions of the album with each featuring a different bonus track.

The cost of each version on vinyl is $34.99. Standard delivery brings the total to $47.99. For fans lucky enough to nab all four versions (only the version with bonus track "The Manuscript" is still available on her website), the total at checkout will be just shy of $200. Besides vinyl, there are digital downloads for $11.99, CDs for $12.99 or cassettes for $19.99. It may feel like a high price tag, but super fans will say you can't quantify the happiness Swift's artistry provides.

"I've purchased all four," says Sarah Chapelle, a fashion influencer and author of "Taylor Swift Style: Fashion Through the Eras." "I consider myself a CD collector and always have. I love seeing the different lenses Taylor wants to frame her art with, and I enjoy collecting variants."

Taylor Swift is releasing four versions of her album "The Tortured Poets Department" with unique covers and different bonus tracks.

The four bonus tracks are "The Manuscript," "The Bolter," "The Albatross" and "The Black Dog." Each version comes in a different color with a different cover. The phrases on the backs indicate fans are in store for a heartbreak album: "I love you, it's ruining my life," "You don't get to tell me about sad," "Am I allowed to cry?" and "Old habits die screaming."

"I consider fandom a 'choose your own adventure' opportunity," Chapelle says. "It's up to the individual to decide which aspects they want to engage in that emotionally spark joy and financially align with their circumstances."

The variants aren't a new concept in Swift economics. She had six vinyls of "Midnights" (all had the same 13 tracks), five of "1989 (Taylor's Version)" (one of these albums had the bonus track, "Sweeter Than Fiction") and 10 of "Folklore" (all had the same 17 tracks).

Fans have had mixed reactions to the multiple versions on social media, and it's not the first time they've debated the price of being a Taylor Swift fan. In December, Swift released a rental version of the Eras Tour movie, asking Swifties to pay $19.89 to watch the movie for 48 hours. Next week, the movie will be released on Disney+ with her song "Cardigan" added and four new acoustic songs (including "Maroon").

Studies: Music Tastes Can Reveal Your Personality

What does it actually say about you if you love chart pop hits, or prefer unwinding with some bass-heavy dance tracks or heavy metal? Probably not what you expect.

The Daily Mail reports multiple scientific studies have investigated the personality traits associated with different music genres, and come up with some unexpected facts, like the fact that psychopaths are most likely to enjoy No Diggity by Blackstreet.

If you like popular, chart-topping music, you’re more likely to be an agreeable person. Meanwhile, people who listen to extreme heavy metal about violence are actually no more likely to be violent themselves (and in fact just find ‘joy’ in the music).

We listen to music by people like us

When we choose music, we often choose music by people who we think are like us, a 2020 study showed. So for example, David Bowie fans are drawn to him because of his slight weirdness and neuroticism, and Radiohead fans are drawn to the band because of their ‘open’, experimental nature.

The research based on 80,000 fans and 50 famous musicians asked fans to give personality ratings for the public persona of each artist - and found that people naturally gravitate towards artists that are similar to themselves.

So Marvin Gaye fans tend to be agreeable, like the public persona of the musician, where Ozzy Osbourne fans tend to be more obnoxious and ‘disagreeable’, the researchers say.

Dr David Greenbeg of Bar-Ilan University, said: 'In today's world, where social divisions are increasing, our studies are showing us how music can be a common denominator to bring people together.'

Study co-author Dr Sandra Matz, from Columbia Business School, said: 'The findings can pave the way for new approaches for record companies or music management to target and build audiences.'

Like big bass, and cannot lie?

Big bass lines are an unavoidable feature of modern music, but you might be surprised by what a fondness for basslines says about your personality. A 1997 study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that men are more likely than women to enjoy music with ‘exaggerated’ bass.

National Black Hall Unveils 2024 Inductees

The National Black Radio Hall of Fame annually celebrates the remarkable contributions of individuals and entities to the rich legacy of Black Radio in America. 

Let’s honor the Class of 2024 Inductees, who have significantly shaped the landscape of American Radio and inspired generations:

U-S Adults' Attitudes to Advertising Appear to be Worsening

How do American adults feel about advertising? Not quite as good as they did a few years ago, according to a report from YouGov. While changes haven’t been drastic, survey results indicate that fewer adults agree that advertising helps them choose what they buy, while more feel that ads are a waste of time.

The report compared American’s attitudes to ads in late December 2023 with their attitudes in late December 2019. The results show that 46% of adults recently agreed that advertising helps them choose what they buy, down slightly from 49% in December 2019.

Along with that, there’s been a small rise in the share who agreed that they think ads are a waste of time (53%, up from 48%) and that they don’t trust the ads on TV (52%, up from 49%).

Digging into how these results differ by age bracket, the data shows that there’s a clear age-related skew to some. It’s somewhat encouraging given marketers’ focus on youth that 18-34-year-olds are the most likely to agree that advertising helps them choose what they buy (59%). However, with only about half as many (30%) adults ages 65 and over agreeing, marketers might be missing out on the consumers with access to the most spending power. In fact, recent research indicates that 6 in 10 adults ages 55+ feel they’re not accurately represented in marketing and advertising, and another study shows they lack much representation in TV and video ads at all.

Perhaps of even more concern is the deterioration in attitudes among older adults. The 30% of those 65 and older who recently said ads help them choose what to buy is down from 44% in 2019. Likewise, the 33% of respondents ages 50-64 agreeing with ads’ influence represents a drop from 46% in 2019.

Meanwhile, YouGov’s research presents somewhat conflicting results. Whereas older adults are the least likely to say that advertising influences their purchase choices, they’re also the least likely to agree that they think ads are a waste of time (45%), with younger adults instead the most apt to concur (60%).

Media Choices Influences Voters

Media consumption plays a significant role in shaping voters’ opinions and behaviors. The influence of media on political participation and civic engagement has been the subject of extensive research. A meta-analysis of social media use found that 82% of factors examined showed a positive relationship between social media use and forms of civic or political engagement, including voting and protesting 1.

Moreover, studies suggest that media exposure can impact the public’s political knowledge, attitudes, and behavior, although there is a tendency for individuals to seek information that aligns with their pre-existing views. Media can also influence voters by making them feel either excited or discouraged about a candidate, depending on the coverage.

Some 37% of 6,262 U.S. respondents participating in a LoopMe survey that explored U.S. voter sentiment toward ad frequency and placement of political advertising indicated a distaste for viewing the same political ad too many times. The findings were mostly aggregated in late December 2023.

The data showed that high frequency rates are three times more likely to result in a more negative opinion of a message, especially for older voters. 

Just 11% of respondents said high political advertising frequency would lead to a more positive opinion of a candidate, while 37% said high ad frequency would lead to a more negative opinion of a candidate.

In addition, social media and word of mouth are tied to a lower likelihood of voting in the future, more skeptical views about the efficacy of voting, and lower community engagement overall. This highlights the complex relationship between media habits and voter participation.

It’s clear that media consumption, especially through social platforms, has a profound impact on voters, potentially influencing election outcomes and the democratic process at large.

R.I.P.: Rob Crocker, Longtime NYC Radio Personality

Rob Crocker (1946-2024)

Rob Crocker, who worked as a radio host at WBGO for more than three decades, died on March 7, 2024, at his home in New York City. He was 78 years old.

The cause of death, according to his family, was coronary disease and complications from asthma. Crocker had the singular distinction of being the longest-running disc jockey in the history of jazz radio in New York City.

Born in Brooklyn on November 1, 1945, Crocker was a musician in high school, but his life took a turn towards broadcasting when injuries, sustained in Vietnam, cut short his future as a performer. He started his broadcasting career as a programmer in Europe; Crocker co-hosted the Holland-based show "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" for Radio Free America.

After returning to the U.S., he produced, reported the news, and hosted jazz programs for the Pacifica Network. New York area listeners are sure to recognize Crocker's voice as having hosted the best of jazz, fusion, Latin, R&B, and dance music on some of the city's most popular FM radio stations such as WRVR, WWRL, WBLS and KISS FM (whose pop audience Crocker introduced to jazz) as well as WQCD. He was also instrumental in returning to New York the captivating beat of Brazilian music during the ’70’s. Crocker initially joined WBGO in the early '80s as a host.

Radio History: March 9

KJR Transmitter 1927

➦In 1922...KJR-AM, Seattle, Washington, signed-on.

According to John Schneider at The Radio Historian: KJR, begun by amateur radio operator Vincent I. Kraft, was the first radio station to be licensed in the Pacific Northwest.

Vincent Kraft
After World War I, the civilian radio stations that had been ordered closed during the war were allowed to reopen.  One was Vincent I. Kraft’s amateur station 7AC in Seattle.  Kraft operated a small radio parts store in downtown Seattle, and in his spare time played with a small 5 Watt deForest Wireless telephone transmitter, transmitting from his home at E. 68th Street and 19th NE.  An antenna hung from a 90 foot tower in the back yard.

He soon applied for and received the experimental license 7XC for “wireless telephone” transmission.  He moved a phonograph and a piano into the garage adjoining his home, and tacked carpeting on the walls to improve the acoustics.  7XC went on the air on 1110 kc. starting in 1919, transmitting voice and music programs.  He played phonograph records, coaxed a local piano teacher into performing, and asked a neighbor boy to play the violin.  There was no regular schedule.  Every so often he would get a call from one of the few people that had a crystal radio set in Seattle, and he would turn on the transmitter and broadcast so they could demonstrate the new "wireless" to their friends.

In 1921, the U.S. Department of Commerce created a new class of license for radio broadcasting stations. At the same time, a new law was issued that prohibited amateur stations from broadcasting music.  So Kraft immediately applied for and received the license KJR, and transferred his 7XC operations to this new license.  Unlike its amateur station predecessor, KJR operated on a regular schedule of several hours per day, 3 days a week.

Beginning in the 1950s and lasting until 1982, KJR was a pioneer Top 40 radio station owned by entertainer Danny Kaye and Lester Smith, "Kaye/Smith Enterprises".

In the 1960s, under the programming guidance of Pat O'Day, the station was top rated in Seattle and well known for introducing the Pacific Northwest to many recording stars such as Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts and the Ventures.  Today, the call letters are used by KJR-FM, which broadcasts a format that includes many of the songs and shows (including original American Top 40 shows from the 1970s) from that era.

Gary Lockwood was THE big morning show on Seattle radio in the 1980's as AM radio was fading out in Seattle. KJR was playing Oldies then.

KJR would switch to soft adult contemporary in 1982. In 1988, the station shifted to oldies, playing the music that had made the station famous throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

KJR's shift to sports programming was a gradual evolution starting in 1989, when the station added some sports-themed shows in mid-days and afternoons. The rest of the music programming would be phased out in September 1991.

On November 4, 2011, at 7 AM, KJR began simulcasting on 102.9 FM, replacing country-formatted KNBQ. This ended on June 13, 2013, when KNBQ (now KYNW) reverted to an Adult top 40 format. During this time, Clear Channel did not transfer the KJR-FM calls from 95.7 to 102.9, instead co-branding the station as "Sports Radio 950 AM and 102.9 FM KJR".

A collection of some of the country's greatest air personalities entertained Seattle listeners like Larry Lujack, Scotty Brink, Norm Gregory, Burl Barer, Pat O'Day, Eric Chase, Bob Shannon, "World Famous" Tom Murphy, Bobby Simon, Jerry Kaye, "Emperor" Lee Smith, Lan Roberts, Robert O. Smith, Charlie Brown, Bwana Johnny, Matt Riedy, Marion Seymour, Sky Walker, Tracy Mitchell, and Bob Brooks. Gary "Lockjock" Lockwood, a.k.a. L.J., was the disk jockey who had the longest tenure on the "Mighty Channel 95," from 1976-1991.

➦In 1925....WHBC Canton, OH signed-on. The original license for the station was granted on February 13, 1925 to Father Edward P. Graham and the St. John Catholic Church. WHBC began broadcasting at 1180 kHz with 100 watts. It was the first Catholic radio station on the air in the U.S., as WLWL in New York was not licensed until August 1925. By the middle of 1927 the station had moved to 1270 kHz. Broadcasting had moved to 1200 kHz by the middle of 1930.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Pop Acts Seem to Be 'Going Country'

Bolstered by acts like Morgan Wallen, Zach Bryan and Luke Combs, country music in 2023 experienced its biggest growth spurt in more than 30 years — way back when Garth Brooks soared to superstardom. Already, this year seems on track to continue that explosion, as country stars and pop icons alike are capitalizing on the genre’s recent boom, Billboard reports.

In February, BeyoncĂ© became the first Black woman to top Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart with her galloping hit, “Texas Hold ’Em,” from her upcoming Act II, expected to be a full-on country album, out March 29. Post Malone has teased a duet with Combs on social media and written with other genre stars including Wallen and HARDY for his upcoming country album. And Lana Del Rey — who declared that her fall album, Lasso, will be a country set — recently posted a snippet of a song that she worked on with noted Nashville songwriter-producer Luke Laird.

CMT senior vp of music strategy and talent Leslie Fram views the influx as a sign of “overwhelming respect for the storytelling and the songwriting in Nashville,” but predicts that noncountry artists taking up slots at terrestrial country radio “is going to be a major topic of conversation … If [a core country artist] has spent 30 to 50 weeks trying to climb up a chart and, all of a sudden, they’re replaced by someone who is not in the genre, I do believe there will be concerns.”

And unlike in the past, when artists might explore country only as their pop career dwindled, today’s infiltration and interest are coming from names at the peak of their pop prowess. “It isn’t like the heritage artists before that wanted to do a country record. These are artists at the top of their game,” Fram says. Olivia Rodrigo attended Megan Moroney’s Los Angeles show last year and posted photos backstage together. And in November, Post Malone made his debut performance at the Country Music Association Awards.

Plus, fandom aside, it’s smart business. “The pop labels are seeing the success of a Morgan Wallen,” Sony Nashville chairman/CEO Randy Goodman says of the country superstar, whose smash “Last Night” and album One Thing at a Time logged the most weeks of any song or album on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200 last year, respectively. He adds: “The biggest female artist in the world is Taylor [Swift], who started in country. I don’t think that’s lost on any of the labels.”

Chris Cuomo To Interview Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson, Chris Cuomo

Chris Cuomo, the host of NewsNation, is set to engage in a candid one-on-one interview with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson. This exclusive conversation will air on Monday, March 11 at 8 p.m. EDT. During their discussion, they will delve into various topics, including:

Carlson’s Departure from Fox News: The interview will shed light on Tucker Carlson’s exit from Fox News Media. Carlson left the network last spring and has since embarked on new ventures, including launching a show on X, formerly known as Twitter, and establishing his own media company.

Recent Controversies: The conversation will address recent controversies surrounding Carlson. Notably, he faced criticism for his interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his commentary on Russia.

First National Television Appearance Since Exit: This interview marks Carlson’s first national television appearance since leaving Fox. His departure from the network occurred shortly after Fox settled defamation claims brought by Dominion Voting Systems for $787 million in connection with its coverage of former President Trump’s election fraud assertions.

Chris Cuomo joined NewsNation after being fired by CNN in December 2021.

TV's Future Is A Confusing Maze for Viewers

TV used to be relatively simple. Fifty years ago, everyone watched the same shows on the same three networks, ABC, NBC and CBS, by default. The delivery system was the TV set itself and an electrical outlet for the plug. There were some great offerings like “Roots” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and countless flops like “BJ and the Bear”.

Now, rhe future of television is a complex landscape, with various trends and changes shaping how we consume content. Let’s explore insights from industry experts:

Legacy TV Decline:

  • Peter Chernin, CEO of The North Road Company, predicts that legacy TV will continue to decline. Budgets will be cut, scripted programming will migrate to streaming platforms, and repeats will become more common. However, he believes linear TV will persist, especially due to the core value of sports rights.
  • Kevin Mayer, co-CEO of Candle Media, asserts that legacy TV has only a few years left. Entertainment that doesn’t require specific viewing times has already shifted to streaming. Scripted programming on broadcast networks will likely end within the next two or three years. When sports giant ESPN eventually pulls the plug, the traditional TV bundle will effectively be over.
  • Barry Diller, chairman of IAC, acknowledges that while linear TV is dying, syndication will linger, albeit diminished. The tail end of these transitions tends to last longer than expected.
  • Ann Sarnoff, former Warner Bros. chairwoman and CEO, believes the linear bundle will still exist in three years, but subscriber numbers will continue to decline, and the average viewer age will rise.

The Viewing Experience Transformation:

  • The concept of “television” has expanded beyond traditional cable TV. It now encompasses mobile devices, connected screens, and streaming services.
  • Accelerating trends include changing business models, IP and cloud workflows, and data-driven analytics. These factors will reshape content creation and redefine how audiences engage with media.

Content Creation and Delivery:

  • Digitalization, streaming media, mass content creation, and on-demand access are driving the transformation of television.
  • The future will see a blend of traditional linear TV and streaming services, catering to diverse viewer preferences.
  • AI and data analytics will play crucial roles in optimizing content delivery and personalization.

In this maze of change, viewers can expect a dynamic mix of old and new, with technology and creativity shaping the way we experience television. 

Colorado Public Radio RIFs 15 Staffers

Colorado Public Radio (CPR) recently implemented layoffs, affecting 15 employees. These cuts primarily impacted the audio and podcast production departments. It’s worth noting that this is the largest reduction in CPR’s payroll in at least a quarter of a century.

Here are the key details about the layoffs:

Reason: The layoffs were necessitated by a budget deficit faced by CPR.. CEO’s Statement: Stewart Vanderwilt, CPR’s President and CEO, acknowledged the difficulty of this decision. He emphasized that it was essential to reset the organization financially and position CPR for future success. Despite the pain of saying goodbye to talented colleagues, the move was strategic to ensure sustainability in the face of changing economic realities.

“I hate to see talented colleagues lose their positions for financial reasons,” said Kevin Dale, CPR News Executive Editor. “CPR News has been growing into a powerful news source for the past six years. Our mission has been to become an urgent newsroom that also has time to devote to enterprise reporting and accountability reporting, and we remain dedicated to that.”

Stewart Vanderwilt
Colorado Public Radio’s President and CEO Stewart Vanderwilt initially declined to comment. The organization then issued a statement late Thursday morning as Vanderwilt met with staff to explain the cuts.

“This was a painful and difficult decision to come to, but it is necessary to reset the organization financially and position CPR for future success,” Vanderwilt said. “This is a strategic reduction in workforce to clearly focus our efforts to provide free access to Colorado-focused news across the state, and to do so while being sustainable in the face of changing economic realities. And it is also never easy to say goodbye to talented, hard working colleagues.”

Background: CPR experienced significant growth in staff over the years, but revenue growth did not keep pace with expenses. While member giving remained strong, corporate sponsorship declined. Rising programming and fundraising expenses, driven partly by employee costs, contributed to the financial challenges.

3/8 WAKE-UP CALL: Biden Zeroes In on Abortion, Ukraine—and Trump

Confronting congressional Republicans, an angry sounding President Biden on Thursday sought to convince Americans that his policies have bolstered the economy and warned that their freedoms are at risk in a feisty election-year State of the Union address that drew repeated contrasts with former President Donald Trump. Biden’s speech before a joint session of Congress focused heavily on his case for a second term. It came two days after Trump cemented his position as the presumptive Republican nominee with victories in nearly all of the Super Tuesday states, setting the stage for an unusual rematch between two candidates who have both sat behind the Resolute Desk.

Biden said his lifetime “has taught me to embrace freedom and democracy. A future based on the core values that have defined America: honesty, decency, dignity, equality.” He added, in a veiled reference to Trump: “Now some other people my age see a different story: an American story of resentment, revenge, and retribution. That’s not me.”

Biden never uttered Trump’s name but referred to his “predecessor” more than a dozen times, repeatedly comparing his record with Trump’s. He appeared to relish a give-and-take with congressional Republicans who largely oppose his agenda. At one point, he referred to the bipartisan border agreement in the Senate that would have allowed the government to expel migrants if crossings surpassed a daily threshold of 4,000, prompting jeers from Republicans. “Oh, you don’t like that bill, huh?” he asked. Trump opposed the plan and urged congressional Republicans to reject it. “I’ll be darned,” he said, adding later that he was ready to fix the border if Republicans pass the Senate agreement.

Biden also went off script to address Republicans who shouted questions at him about the killing of Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student in Athens, Ga. Police allege she was killed by a Venezuelan citizen, who immigration officials said entered the U.S. illegally. Holding a badge passed around by conservatives with Riley’s name on it, Biden incorrectly said Riley’s first name. He added: “But how many of the thousands of people are being killed by illegals,” a reference to the rarity of such killings.

➤NO DEAL ON GAZA: Negotiators for Hamas left Cairo without a cease-fire deal Thursday, apparently ending hopes that a deal could be in place ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Hamas spokesman Jihad Taha said Israel “refuses to commit to and give guarantees regarding the cease-fire, the return of the displaced and withdrawal from the areas of its incursion.” But he said the talks would resume next week. Ramadan will begin Sunday or Monday depending on the sighting of the moon. There was no immediate comment from Israel, which did not send representatives to the latest round of talks. Israel first wants Hamas to provide detailed information on the hostages. Hamas said the captives are held by multiple groups and no accounting can take place until a cease-fire is in place.

➤CHINESE CARGO CRANES UNDER SCRUTINY: A probe of Chinese cargo cranes at U.S. ports has found communications equipment that doesn’t appear to support normal operations. The discovery has fueled concerns that the foreign machines may pose a covert national-security risk. The installed components in some cases include cellular modems, according to congressional aides and documents, that could be remotely accessed. The Pentagon and intelligence officials at other agencies have grown increasingly alarmed by the potential threat of disruption and espionage presented by the giant cranes built by ZPMC, a Chinese state-owned manufacturer that accounts for nearly 80% of ship-to-shore cranes in use at U.S. ports. ZPMC didn’t respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson at the Chinese embassy in Washington didn’t address specific questions about the modems but said claims that China-made cranes pose a national-security risk to the U.S. is “entirely paranoia.”

➤JUDGE SAYS TRUMP NEEDS TO PAY-UP: Former President Donald Trump lost his bid on Thursday for a three-day shield from E. Jean Carroll trying to collect on her $83.3 million federal defamation verdict. Without a court order to protect him, Carroll can begin trying to collect on the $83.3 million judgment next week if Trump hasn't posted a sufficient bond or deposit with the court. The likely Republican presidential nominee asked New York federal Judge Lewis Kaplan on Feb. 23 to block Carroll from going after the money until 30 days after Kaplan rules on Trump's post-trial motions, including a request for the court to give Trump a win despite the jury's verdict and a request for a new trial.

➤WARNINGS ON MICROPLASTICS: Microplastics are everywhere – even in the fatty deposits called plaque that can build up in the arteries and cause heart disease and strokes. Now researchers in Italy have found that in people with microplastic in the plaque clogging their neck arteries, the risk of heart attack, stroke or death was four-and-a-half times higher than in those whose plaque didn’t contain plastic, said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and executive vice president of Scripps Research in La Jolla, California. “It's extraordinary," he said. "I’m a cardiologist for three decades plus and I never envisioned we’d have microplastic in our arteries and its presence would accelerate arteriosclerosis,” he said.

➤FROSTBITE IS SERIOUS: The medical director at the Grossman Burn Center at Research Medical Center says 70% of patients referred for frostbite injuries suffered during the bitter cold in January are now being advised to schedule amputations. Majority of them are Chiefs fans who attended the team’s frigid playoff game. It was the fourth-coldest game in NFL history and coldest in Chiefs franchise history. one fan who took his gloves off for just five minutes in order to put up a tent in the parking lot outside Arrowhead Stadium.


Is Time Running Out For TikTok?

The U.S. House Committee has taken a significant step by unanimously advancing the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. This bipartisan bill could have far-reaching implications for TikTok, the popular video-sharing platform owned by ByteDance, a China-based company.

Here are the key points about this bill:

  • Purpose: The bill aims to address national security concerns related to apps owned by foreign adversaries.
  • TikTok’s Fate: If enacted, the legislation would block TikTok and other apps owned by ByteDance from being available in Apple or Google app stores within the United States.
  • Divestiture Deadline: ByteDance would have 180 days from the legislation’s enactment to divest its applications, including TikTok.
  • National Security: The bill also empowers the White House to ban access to an app owned by a foreign adversary if it poses a threat to national security.
  • TikTok’s Response: TikTok expressed concern, stating that the government is attempting to limit free expression for millions of Americans and harm businesses, artists, and creators 3.

While the bill’s impact remains to be seen, TikTok has undeniably played a significant role in shaping cultural conversations and trends, including those in Hollywood. Whether it’s cooking tutorials, news discussions, or livestreaming protests, platforms like TikTok allow people to exchange thoughts and ideas globally 3. The debate continues, and the fate of TikTok hangs in the balance.

College Basketball Conference Championship Week on Westwood One

CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One, America’s largest audio network, will present a total of 24 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball games from Conference Championship Week.

Westwood One’s postseason basketball coverage tips off on Saturday, March 9th, with the Ohio Valley Conference Championship game, and continues through Selection Sunday, March 17, with broadcasts that day of the Ivy League, the SEC, and the American Athletic Championship games. Westwood One will also broadcast Selection Sunday, which will reveal the 68-team field for both the men’s and the women’s tournaments. Jason Horowitz will host Selection Sunday coverage with PJ Carlesimo and Debbie Antonelli as analysts.

Among the other Championship games Westwood One will broadcast that week are the Pac-12, the Big East, the Coastal Athletic Association, Conference USA, the Patriot League, Missouri Valley Conference, and West Coast Conference games. The Women’s Conference Championship games include the Big East, the Pac-12, and the Ivy League.

Tampa Radio: Ronnie & TKras Show Ending Soon On WDAE

“The Ronnie & TKras Show” heard on afternoon drive on iHeartMedia’s Tampa Bay sports talk WDAE will end on March 27 as hosts Ronnie Lane (left) and Tom Krasniqi (right) are set to begin new roles on the station.

Ronnie Lane and Tom “TKras” Krasniqi have been a dynamic duo on 95.3 WDAE, Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio, for over nine years.

Their engaging banter covered topics ranging from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Rays to the Lightning, NCAA, and more12.

New Opportunities:

Starting March 28, Ronnie Lane will transition to a new role as the host of the Tampa Bay Rays pre-game show, aptly named “The Inside Pitch.”

This exciting opportunity means he’ll step away from The Ronnie & TKras Show, marking the end of their successful run together1.

Meanwhile, co-host Tom Krasniqi will continue to hold down the afternoon drive slot with an all-new sports program.

Iger ‘Extremely Confident’ In Disney Streaming Profits This Year

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger is “extremely confident” that the company will meet its goal of showing a profit in its streaming TV businesses in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year.

“I mentioned streaming, we are on a path to profitability,” Iger said this week at the Morgan Stanley technology, media and telecom conference. “I think the results these last two quarters clearly demonstrate that we’re extremely confident we’re going to get there by the fourth fiscal quarter of this year.” 

Disney reported a loss of $216 million in its combined streaming businesses for the quarter that ended in December, a sharp improvement from the $1.05 billion loss in the same period the year before. Those results include the Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu streaming services.

The world’s largest entertainment company has been investing in streaming businesses as consumers increasingly shift from traditional TV to online viewing. Disney’s fiscal year ends in late September or early October. 

Disney is embroiled in a proxy battle with billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management LP, which is seeking to appoint Peltz and Jay Rasulo, Disney’s former chief financial officer, to the company’s board at its annual meeting in April. On Monday, Trian published a 133-page manifesto for change titled Restore the Magic at The Walt Disney Company in which the firm advocated for an overhaul of Disney’s business strategy.  

“This campaign is in a way designed to distract us and to take our eye off the ball,” Iger said. “I am working really hard to not let this distract me.”

Baltimore Radio: WWMX Raises $1.4M+ For Hopkins Children's Center

Audacy raised over $1.4 million to benefit Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, a proud member of the Children’s Miracle Network®, during Mix 106.5’s (WWMX-FM) 35th annual “Mix 106.5 Radiothon for Johns Hopkins Childrens Center.”

Funds raised during the annual two-day event help the Children’s Center purchase vital tools and technology, fund important research and develop innovative equipment and programs, and provide patients with books, toys, games, art supplies, and more.

“This radiothon embodies the power of community coming together to uplift and support those in need,” said Tracy Brandys, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Baltimore. “With each donation, we’re not just raising funds — we’re investing in lifesaving tools, pioneering research, and creating brighter tomorrows for the children and families who rely on us. Together, we’re nurturing hope, healing and happiness, one gift at a time.”

“The radiothon is such an important event for the Children’s Center community,” said Margaret Moon, M.D., M.P.H., co-director and pediatrician-in-chief at the Children’s Center. “Whether you donated or helped in another capacity, we are profoundly grateful for all of the generous support from this event, as well as for Mix 106.5 and the volunteers and staff members who work tirelessly to make Radiothon successful year after year.”

R.I.P.: Steve Lawrence, Singer/Actor Married To Eydie Gorme

Steve Lawrence (1936-2024)

Steve Lawrence, the acclaimed singer and half of the beloved stage duo Steve & Eydie, has passed away at the age of 88. His remarkable career spanned several decades, leaving an indelible mark on the music industry.

Career Highlights:

  • Steve Lawrence, along with his wife Eydie Gorme, formed the iconic duo Steve & Eydie.
  • Their hits included timeless classics like “Go Away Little Girl.”
  • They graced talk shows, nightclubs, and the stages of Las Vegas.
  • Their style drew inspiration from legendary songwriters such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Jerome Kern.
  • Despite the rise of rock music, Steve remained true to his passion for classic crooning, choosing to be the Sinatra rather than the Rick Nelson of his time.
  • Steve and Eydie had two sons, David (a composer) and Michael.
  • Tragically, Michael passed away from heart failure at the young age of 23.

Solo Success:

  • While known as a duo, both Steve and Eydie achieved solo success.
  • In 1962, Steve’s achingly romantic ballad “Go Away Little Girl” became a hit.
  • The following year, Eydie matched his success with the bouncy tune “Blame It on the Bossa Nova”.
  • By the 1970s, they were headlining in Las Vegas and appearing on television shows.

Their enduring appeal was like a trusted product—audiences knew what to expect from their performances.

Steve Lawrence’s impact extended beyond the stage. His son, David, described him as an inspiration and a charming, hysterically funny guy who sang alongside his insanely talented wife  Steve’s journey began at age 15 when he won “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” TV show.