Saturday, March 23, 2024

Radio History: March 24

➦In 1925...Utah's oldest radio station KSL took over the airwaves at 1160 AM.

KSL/KZN began life as the radio arm of the Deseret News, a Salt Lake City newspaper also owned by the LDS Church. The station's first broadcast aired on May 6, 1922 as KZN.  The broadcast was a talk by then-LDS Church president Heber J. Grant. In 1924 the station was sold to John Cope and his father, F.W. Cope, who formed the Radio Service Corporation of Utah.  Earl J. Glade (later a four-term mayor of Salt Lake City) joined the station in 1925 and guided KSL's operations for the next fourteen years. John F. Fitzpatrick, publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune (owned by the Kearns Corporation) acquired a quarter interest of KSL for a modest price, as did the LDS Church. This was the Tribune's first business partnership with the LDS Church, though the Church later (re)acquired full interest in the station.

In 1924, it changed its call letters to KFPT for one year and then adopted its current call letters in 1925 after they became available, with the "S" and "L" standing for "Salt Lake." (Until that time the KSL call sign had been used by a radio station in Alaska.) A series of power boosts over the next decade brought the station to its current 50,000 watts (daytime broadcast power) in 1932, with a 50,000-watt transmitter being dedicated October 22 of that year.

Soon after becoming a clear-channel station, KSL joined the CBS Radio Network. It remained with CBS until 2005, when it switched to ABC News Radio. The station would also gain a television counterpart in 1949, the CBS affiliate KSL-TV. (KSL-TV switched to NBC in 1995 after KUTV Channel 2 came under the ownership of CBS, following its acquisition by Westinghouse). They remained subsidiaries of the Deseret News until 1964, when Bonneville International Corporation was formed as the parent company for the LDS Church's broadcasting interests.

➦In 1932... A radio variety show is broadcast from a moving train for the first time, when Belle Baker hosts a show on a train traveling around the New York area. It was broadcast on the New York City station WABC (now WCBS-AM) . She talked first about the weather then, about local news regarding home-towns or stations of the train with the radio.

➦In 1935...Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour first aired locally in NYC on WHN in April 1934.  On March 24, 1935, on NBC, Chase and Sanborn chose this show to fill The Chase and Sanborn Hour. This arrangement lasted until September 17, 1936, when the show moved to the CBS Radio Network. The show remained on CBS for the remainder of its run on radio.

Each week, Bowes would chat with the contestants and listen to their performances.

Bowes sent the more talented contestants on "Major Bowes" vaudeville tours, often with several units roaming the country simultaneously. Bowes presided over his radio program until his death on his 72nd birthday, June 14, 1946.

Frank Sinatra was perhaps the best-known alumnus of the Bowes program, having appeared as part of the Hoboken Four quartet. Maria Callas also appeared on the program at age 11, performing as Nina Foresti when she sang a selection from Madame Butterfly.

In 1952, the show, now hosted by Ted Mack, made it to NBC-TV. It would run on various networks until 1970.

➦In 1958...Elvis Presley was finally inducted, starting his day as the King of Rock and Roll, but ending it as a lowly buck private in the United States Army.

Elvis’s manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker, made sure to have a photographer on hand to document every moment of the big day, which began at Graceland before six that morning. The photos show Elvis in dark slacks, an opened-collar shirt and a tasteful plaid sports coat, preparing to depart the house with his similarly well-dressed mom and dad for the short ride to the induction center in downtown Memphis.

Trump Social Media Company Will Go Public

Shareholders in Digital World Acquisition Corp.voted Friday to approve a merger with Donald Trump’s social media company, a deal that could net the former president an eventual windfall of $3 billion or more.

CNBC reports the vote by DWAC shareholders comes about 2½ years after the so-called special purpose acquisition company announced plans to merge with Trump Media & Technology Group, the private firm that owns the Truth Social app platform.

It also comes as Trump faces the possibility that New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday will start trying to collect on a massive $454 million civil fraud judgment against him.

Shares in the newly combined company, Trump Media, could begin to be publicly traded next week under the stock symbol DJT, Trump’s initials.

The share price of DWAC fell by as much as 12% after Friday’s shareholder vote, but clawed back much of that drop by noon ET. The value of Trump’s shares in the merged company would be affected by any decline in DWAC’s share price.

The potential windfall for Trump, while massive, could not be immediately realized, at least not under the deal’s current terms. Trump will be barred from selling shares in the merged company for at least six months, and there is no guarantee Trump Media shares will maintain the trading price level that DWAC did before the merger.

It is possible that the board of directors could vote to allow Trump to sell shares earlier than that.  If the board signed off on lifting the share lockup period, that could quickly free up a large source of cash for Trump, who is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee this year.

Trump currently faces huge legal bills from his attorneys in criminal and civil cases, and damage judgments topping a half-billion dollars in three separate civil cases.

Trump earlier this week asked a New York appeals court to issue a stay of the $454 million fraud judgment as he seeks to overturn the verdict in the case. That court has yet to rule on his request.

Rupert Murdoch Accused Of Phone Hacking Allegations

Rupert Murdoch

An attorney for Prince Harry accused Rupert Murdoch this week of knowing about News Group Newspapers’ alleged use of illegal tactics such as phone hacking to acquire information about the Duke of Sussex and others.

Lawyer David Sherborne went after Murdoch on Wednesday during a three-day hearing in London’s High Court to add more allegations to the duke’s lawsuit against the publisher. Harry, actor Hugh Grant and other claimants now allege that Murdoch and other media executives were complicit in a scheme to conceal and destroy evidence of News Group Newspapers’ misconduct.

“It is inferred that they would not have been carrying out this extensive concealment and destruction strategy without the knowledge and approval of Rupert Murdoch,” Sherborne said in a court filing, according to the Associated Press.

In a statement provided Friday to The LA Times, a spokesperson for News Group Newspapers said that the company delivered an “unreserved apology ... to victims of voicemail interception” and has been paying damages to those affected since 2011.

“These allegations have nothing to do with seeking compensation for victims of phone hacking or unlawful information gathering and should be viewed with considerable caution not only in relation to their veracity but also in the light of those who are behind them,” the spokesperson said. “They are irrelevant to the fair and just determination of claims.”

The News Group lawsuit alleges that staffers at tabloids the News of the World and the Sun violated Harry, Grant and others’ privacy by intercepting voicemails, tapping phones, bugging cars and lying to spy on them between 1994 and 2016. The claimants have also accused newspaper executives of putting out false statements, erasing millions of emails and paying hush money to hide the illegal activity.

Murdoch — the former chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp. who stepped down from his position in September — and other execs stand accused of disseminating a false narrative that “one rogue reporter” at News of the World was to blame for the espionage.

Report: Sports Has A Big Problem

An NBA superstar said sports gambling has reduced him from a human to another line on a prop bet. Another star basically accused refs of point-shaving. Two NBA coaches leading contending teams separately said gamblers had threatened players and, in one instance, families, for failing to cover the spread. A Jacksonville Jaguars employee with an alleged gambling problem was sentenced to prison after being convicted of stealing $22 million from the team, and a prominent gambling watchdog company is investigating Temple University’s men’s basketball team after noticing telltale signs of point-shaving.

But Shohei Ohtani’s accidental—fans hope and pray—stumble into what is currently the fringes of a massive gambling probe is more existential for sports than all the rest combined.  Here is the evidence right now. 

The Dodgers’ multihyphenate found his name tied up in a federal gambling probe after his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, was investigated for his part in it. Mizuhara told ESPN, reportedly in agreement with Ohtani’s camp, that the star covered his $4.5 million debt as a generous “loan” to his friend. 

Nice story, but also one that, as told, likely broke multiple federal statutes according to Front office Sports.   Lawyer and baseball writer Craig Calcatera notes that those laws likely include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Travel Act, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act—and that’s before considering how he’s run afoul with league policy. 

Mizuhara insists Ohtani was uninvolved with his gambling problem. But if you’ve ever known a problem gambler—and Mizuhara described himself as an “addict” in a clubhouse meeting getting ahead of the reporting to come—you’ll understand they hit on the truth about as much as they do on those 14-leg parlays.

Right now the league’s hopes rest on Ohtani sincerely being unaware of millions flowing out of his own bank accounts, despite an inconsistent story and robust paper trail. However the scandal plays out, it’s the inevitable result of a betting environment that U.S. sports has rapidly embraced without paying heed to its consequences.

Gannett Closing So Jersey Printing Facility

A Gannett-owned South Jersey newspaper is laying off nearly 140 workers in Cherry Hill, a move that will impact the printing production of its own paper in addition to that of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, the Philly Business Journal reports.

In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice filed Thursday, the Courier Post said that its production facility used for the printing and packaging of several South Jersey and regional newspapers will close on June 23. The notice said that 139 full and part-time workers in the mailroom and press operations will be laid off.

The facility produces the Courier-Post, the Burlington County Times and the Vineland Daily Journal, all of which are owned by Gannett, as well as the Inquirer, which is owned by public interest organization the Lenfest Institute. In an email to the Business Journal, the Courier Post declined to list other non-Gannett publications that will be impacted.

In an article about the decision, the Courier Post said that Gannett’s three South Jersey newspapers will move production to Gannett’s Rockaway, New Jersey, facility. Other publications such as the Inquirer will now be printed and processed at Gannett’s facility in Wilmington, Delaware. McLean, Virginia-based Gannett also owns the Wilmington News Journal and the Bucks County Courier Times and Intelligencer.

The article said the future of the Cherry Hill facility and its presses is still being determined. According to New Jersey property records from 2023, the 15.5-acre site was assessed at $7.575 million.

For the Inquirer, it is the second move of its printing operations since 2021, when it closed its printing plant on River Road in Upper Merion Township and laid off roughly 500 employees there. At the time, it moved its printing operations to Gannett’s Cherry Hill facility. On Thursday, an Inquirer spokesman confirmed the paper's printing will move to Wilmington.

Report: Paramount Owner Prefers Skydance Deal

Another day, another update on the potential sale of Paramount Global. Earlier this week, it was reported that the private equity firm Apollo Global Management had offered $11 billion for Paramount’s TV and movie studios, which constitutes a greater sum than the entire company’s current market cap. But the Streamable cites a new report from the Financial Times suggests that Paramount’s controlling shareholder Shari Redstone is not convinced by the offer, and is leaning toward a bid by billionaire David Ellison, owner of Skydance Media.

Redstone prefers to sell Paramount as a whole company, as opposed to stripping it for parts and selling it piece by piece.

Ellison may bring in former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and former CNN head Jeff Zucker to run cable and broadcast networks for Paramount if his bid succeeds.

Skydance is still conducting due diligence and has yet to submit a final offer.

Redstone is the majority shareholder of Paramount Global, which she controls through a holding company called National Amusements Inc. (NAI). Ellison and Skydance could take control of the entirety of Paramount Global by purchasing a majority stake in NAI, merging the production company responsible for producing “Top Gun: Maverick“— one of Paramount’s biggest hits in recent memory — with the studio itself.

The Financial Times reports that Ellison has lined up some top former media executives to help run Paramount if his bid is ultimately successful. Former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell — who was fired by Comcast in April 2023 after a CNBC reporter filed a sexual harassment claim against him — would be in line to oversee CBS and Paramount’s cable networks like MTV and Paramount Network. Jeff Zucker, head of CNN until 2022 could also come into the picture to help run the CBS news unit.

Ellison’s representatives are still running due diligence on Paramount, a crucial step that allows them to take a deep dive into the company’s finances and see how healthy the business really is. Ellison and Skydance are backed by Redbird Capital, a private investment firm with the funding to carry out a purchase of Paramount.

NBC News, MSNBC Get Pushback For Hiring Ronna McDaniel

Ronna McDaniel

NBC News and MSNBC are facing a wave of backlash after hiring former Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel as an on-air contributor on Friday, with some staffers speaking out publicly against the move. 

McDaniel has repeatedly attacked the network in the past, calling their journalists “propagandists.” She also promoted false claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. 

The hire ignited controversy with some network staffers speaking out, including MSNBC columnist Marisa Kabas who posted on social media an email she sent to NBC News questioning the network’s reasoning and asking for them to reconsider the hire. 

“You wrote: ‘It couldn’t be a more important moment to have a voice like Ronna’s on the team.’ As a fellow voice on the team — albeit one far less known, far less powerful, and likely far less compensated — I want to understand what kind of message this is supposed to send to us?” Kabas wrote in the email. 

“As columnists we are held to strict standards of factuality and truth, and are expected to have a fundamental understanding of our democracy,” Kabas continued. “McDaniel has proven time and again she adheres to none of those values, and lacks that very basic understanding.”

Another MSNBC columnist, Andrea Grimes “cosigned” the message by simply writing “f–k this.” In the internal memo announcing the hiring of McDaniel, senior VP of politics Carrie Budoff Brown wrote that “NBC News has a legacy of serving its audience through reporting that reflects and examines the diverse perspectives of American voters … this variety of voices builds on our rigorous reporting and helps bring audiences and voters closer to the thinking and decision making within our halls of power.”

Others outside of the network lambasted the decision across social media. 

Podcast Reach Grows, Listener Profile Remains Steady

Roughly 4 in 10 (40.3% of) American adults listened to podcasts on a monthly basis last year, up from 35.9% a couple of years earlier, reflecting the continued growing popularity of this medium, according to a recent report from Triton Digital. However, as the podcast audience has grown, its audience demographics have remained largely unchanged.

That’s to say, podcast listeners “are younger, more educated, and more diverse” than the general population. In this latest report, 25-34-year-olds were the age group most apt to tune in, garnering a 52% higher share of the monthly adult podcast listening audience than its share of the US general adult population. That compares with last year’s report, in which they also were the most prominent listeners, with an index score of 150. Consistent with last year’s results, this latest research indicates that the next-highest indexing age group is the 35-44 bracket (141, compared to 143 last year), followed by the 18-24 group (121, compared to 125 last year).

(This year’s report uses data from Q4 2021 through Q3 2023, whereas last year’s report used data from Q4 2021 through Q3 2022).

It’s true that the index figures for the 18-24 and 35-44 brackets are down slightly from last year’s report, which could indicate that older adults are tuning in a little more. In fact, separate results from the research indicate that the 55+ age group has experienced the biggest increase in listeners over the past 2 years, followed by 35-54-year-olds and then 18-34-year-olds.

Research from MarketingCharts also finds the oldest adults to be moving slightly closer to the average in terms of weekly podcast listening, though they continue to trail younger adults in listening by a sizable degree.

Meanwhile, although podcast listening is growing faster among women than men, the latter are more heavily represented among podcast listeners (index of 113 versus their population share, versus 115 last year).

Podcast listening is also higher than average (in terms of audience share versus population share) among college graduates (index of 130, compared to 131 last year) and adults with household income of at least $100K (index of 128, up from 121 last year). This medium does attract a diverse audience, as evidenced by the 118 index score for Hispanic adults (115 last year) and 110 index score for Black/African American adults (109 last year).

News was again the most downloaded genre in the US in 2023, at 22% share of downloads, per the report. News was followed by True Crime (18% share), Comedy (15% share), and Society & Culture (10% share).

Sports Talk Chicago Expands Regional Syndication

STC Media, LLC has announced that its flagship program, Sports Talk Chicago, will expand its regional syndication reach, adding a ninth radio/TV station in the Midwest to the network.

The program, which boasts 18,800 YouTube subscribers and a dedicated podcast following, will now receive weekly airtime on WROK 1440 AM and 96.1 FM. This adds to STC’s current affiliate lineup, which includes News/Talk/Sports/AG WKAN AM 1320/FM 101.3, 101.1 Peoria Sports Radio (WZPN-FM), 98.3 The Life (WRLR-LP FM), Sports Radio 105.5 The Ticket (WYKT), Cities Talk 92.9 FM (WRPW), AM 1230/104.7 FM WJOB, JED TV, and Aurora Community TV (ACTV).

“I couldn’t be more excited to bring Sports Talk Chicago to Rockford,” President Jon Zaghloul said. “I want to thank Townsquare Media, and, specifically, Chuck Armstrong and Johnny Vincent, for helping to make this new partnership happen. We are thrilled to bring our patented blend of opinionated, unfiltered sports talk to such a great city. And, we continue to thank our affiliates and supporters for helping us to expand across the region!”

Sports Talk Chicago airs weekly and offers full customization opportunities for TV and radio stations on-air and online. For affiliation and advertiser information, email

Philly Radio: Anthony Fuscaldo Returns To iHM As SVP/Sales

iHeartMedia Philadelphia announced today Anthony Fuscaldo has been named Senior Vice President of Sales, effective March 24. He will report to Jeff Moore, President of the Philadelphia iHeartMedia Markets Group.

Anthony Fuscaldo
“We are fortunate to welcome Anthony Fuscaldo back to iHeartMedia Philadelphia as Senior Vice President of Sales,” said Moore. “With his proven track record of driving revenue growth, attracting top talent and fostering strong client relationships, we are confident he will lead our sales team to new heights of success. Welcome home, Anthony!”

Fuscaldo rejoins iHeartMedia Philadelphia from Carvertise where he was Division Sales Manager. Fuscaldo previously served as SVP, GMS and National Sales Director at iHeartMedia Philadelphia. Fuscaldo began his career at Katz Radio.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be returning to a very special place. I have the utmost respect for Jeff Moore, Nick Gnau and the entire team at iHeartMedia Philadelphia,” said Fuscaldo. “This is an incredible opportunity to contribute to the success and growth of the company once again. My mission is to continue to build a winning culture that attracts the best talent and has a positive impact on our employees, brands and the community we serve.”

Radio History: March 23

Paula Winslowe with William Bendix
➦In 1910...Paula Winslowe was born Winifred Reyleche (Died  at age 87 – March 6, 1996). She was a radio and television actress and is known for her role as Bambi's mother in the 1942 movie Bambi.

Winslowe played the role of Mrs. Martha Conklin in Our Miss Brooks on both radio and television. On radio, she played Peg Riley in The Life of Riley, She was also heard in Silver Theater, Big Town and Broadway Is My Beat.

She briefly portrayed Mrs. Foster on Big Town, which starred Edward G. Robinson. She starred in several episodes of Suspense, including June 14, 1955 ("The Whole Town's Sleeping") written by Ray Bradbury; July 11, 1956 ("Want Ad"); January 24, 1956 ("The Cellar Door"); and June 5, 1956 ("The Twelfth Rose").

➦In 1922...KMJ-AM, Fresno, California signed-on.

KMJ was originally owned by the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation. It was later acquired by the McClatchy Newspaper Company in 1925. It is also the 38th oldest licensed, and continuously operated radio station in the United States.

KMJ operated on a number of other frequencies between 1925 and 1932; some of the frequencies used included 820 and 1350 kHz.

McClatchy was intent on improving the signal, and competed with KTAB in Oakland for a new frequency (580 kHz), which was being made available by the newly created FCC.

Eventually, they were awarded the new channel, and KMJ moved to 580 kHz in 1932, operating with 1 kW non-directional from a building rooftop in Downtown Fresno.

In 1936, a new 5,000-watt non-directional transmitter site was constructed, which utilized a 5/8 wave antenna, and was located 5 miles east of Fresno, at the northeast corner of the Kings Canyon Road and Fowler Avenue intersection.

The Fresno Bee - April 1940

In 1941, Hammer Field (which later became Fresno Air Terminal) was constructed, as a training base for the Army Air Corps. The KMJ tower was directly in line with the runway, and the Army wanted the site relocated.

The site was then moved some 16 miles west of Fresno, the existing tower was unstacked and moved as well; however, it was only 660 feet in height. The remaining 330 feet were stored on the site, with the intention of creating a directional array, altough World War II interrupted the project and it never resumed.

The extra portion was eventually moved to Sacramento, and used in the construction of the KFBK transmitter site in 1945.

Today, KMJ-AM operates on the regional channel 580, with 50Kw and a directional antenna array.

KMJ 580 AM (50 Kw, DA2) Daytime 2 mV/m contour

From 1925 until 1987, KMJ was owned by McClatchy Company, who also owned KFBK in Sacramento, KBEE in Modesto, KERN in Bakersfield, and KKOH in Reno. McClatchy Newspapers also owned three daily newspapers in Fresno, Sacramento, and Modesto. In 1953, McClatchy signed on KMJ-TV on channel 24. The television station would be sold off in 1981 to become KSEE.

In November 2006, KMJ and its sister stations KFPT (AM), KWYE (FM), KSKS (FM), KFJK (FM), KOQO (FM), and KMGV (FM) were sold by CBS Radio to Peak Broadcasting, for $90 million.

In March 2009, Peak Broadcasting replaced the KFJK Jack FM format on 105.9 FM, with KMJ-FM; it is a partial simulcast of KMJ-AM.

In the fall of 2012, Premiere Radio Networks exercised a termination clause and ended its relationship with both the AM and FM KMJ stations. As of January 1, 2013, all Premiere-controlled syndicated shows were moved to Clear Channel-controlled stations in the greater Fresno area. From 6:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, KMJ-AM broadcasts all live and local talk shows.

On August 30, 2013, a deal was announced in which Townsquare Media would purchase Peak Broadcasting, and then immediately swap Peak's Fresno stations, including KMJ, to Cumulus Media in exchange for Cumulus' stations in Dubuque, Iowa and Poughkeepsie, New York. The deal is part of Cumulus' acquisition of Dial Global. Peak, Townsquare, and Dial Global are all controlled by Oaktree Capital Management. The sale to Cumulus was completed on November 14, 2013.

Today the station airs a news/talk format.

WEW Chief Engineer Gordon Sherman 1933

➦In 1922...WEW-AM, Saint Louis, Missouri began broadcasting.

Saint Louis University established the station 9YK around 1912, using Morse code to communicate seismological and weather information. George E. Rueppel, assistant director of the Meteorological Observatory at SLU, worked with 9YK before he founded WEW in 1921. Audio transmissions began at 10:05 a.m. on 26 April 1921; the first voice heard was SLU president Rev. William Robison. The station received radio license #560 to broadcast on 618.6 kHz (wavelength 485 meters) as WEW on 23 March 1922;  KSD had been licensed on March 8.

The station has claimed to have broadcast the first quiz show, Question Box Hour, in 1923.

The station later moved to 833 kHz (360 meters). In April 1927 it was changed to 1210 kHz then 850 kHz; and changed in 1928 to 760 kHz, which was moved to 770 kHz on 29 March 1941 when NARBA took effect.

WEW 770 AM (10 Kw-D, 200 watts-N) Daytime 2 mV/m contour

On April 28, 2016 the station was granted a Federal Communications Commission construction permit to move to a new transmitter site, increase day power to 10,000 watts and add nighttime operation with 200 watts while still protecting clear-channel station WABC (AM) in New York City.

Today the station is owned by by Birach Broadcasting and airs diverse ethnic programs.

➦In 1938...CBS Radio newsman Christopher Glenn was born (Died at age 68 from liver cancer – October 17, 2006).  He was a news journalist who worked in broadcasting for over 45 years and spent the final 35 years of his career at CBS, retiring in 2006 at the age of 68.

Christopher Glenn
Glenn worked at various radio stations in New York, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. before joining CBS in 1971. He was a narrator for In the News, a long-running Emmy award-winning TV news program geared toward children and young people, which aired between the network's Saturday-morning children's shows. Glenn also appeared on camera as an anchor for the short-lived 30 Minutes, a young people's version of 60 Minutes.

He served as an anchor for two of the CBS Radio Network's signature news roundups carried by affiliates in the United States - The World Tonight (now the CBS World News Roundup Late Edition) from 1988 to 1999, and the morning CBS World News Roundup from 1999 until his retirement. Glenn's final morning broadcast occurred on February 23, 2006.

Glenn made his best-known report on January 28, 1986, when he anchored CBS Radio's live coverage of the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Glenn had just signed off—after what was thought to have been a normal launch—when the shuttle disintegrated, killing the seven astronauts on board. "I had to get back on the air real fast to describe that, and had a very difficult time doing that," he recalled. Glenn and correspondent Frank Mottek (now a reporter at CBS Radio Station KNX) covered the Challenger disaster from that point as a CBS NetAlert bulletin.

➦In 1940...The game show “Truth or Consequences” was first heard on the NBC Radio Network.

Ralph Edwards (left) stated he got the idea for a new radio program from a favorite childhood parlor game, "Forfeits". The show premiered on NBC Radio in March 23, 1940, and was an instant hit with listeners.

Edwards hosted the show from 1940 to 1957 and on television from 1950 to 1954. Other TV hosts were Jack Bailey (1954–1956), Bob Barker (1956–1975), Steve Dunne (1957–58), Bob Hilton (1977–1978) and Larry Anderson (1987–1988). The television show ran on CBS, NBC and also in syndication. The premise of the show was to mix the original quiz element of game shows with wacky stunts.

Truth or Consequences was the first game show to air on broadcast television, airing as a one-time experiment on the first day of New York station WNBT's commercial program schedule on July 1, 1941. However, the series did not appear on TV again until 1950, when the medium had caught on commercially.

In the late 1940s, Hot Springs, New Mexico agreed to host a T or C radio episode, resulting in the community renaming itself to Truth or Consequences; it still continues to use that name today.
AFVN Saigon - 1972
➦In 1973...American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) radio and TV signed off permanently after serving the American fighting men and women for many years in Vietnam. During that time over a thousand military personnel served at one of the many in-country sites

➦In 2008…Big Jack Armstrong died at age 62 in High Point NC. (Born -  John Charles Larsh on December 4, 1945).  He was also known as Jack Armstrong, Jackson W. Armstrong, and Big Jack Your Leader, was a top-40 disc jockey of the 1960s through the 1980s, and an oldies DJ until 2006.

Friday, March 22, 2024

FCC Fines Nexstar $1.2M, Orders WPIX NYC To Be Sold

The Federal Communications Commission has ordered Mission Broadcasting to sell WPIX New York and fined Nexstar Media Group $1.2 million because Nexstar has taken de facto control of the station in violation of agency rules. reports the agency also ordered Mission to pay a forfeiture of $612,395 for rules violation.

“We find that Mission and Nexstar have committed apparent willful and repeated violations,” the FCC said. 

Nexstar said it intends to dispute the ruling “vigorously.”

Nexstar operates WPIX under a series of management agreements. The FCC said that because Nexstar programs the station and collects its advertising and distribution revenue, it controls the station without approval. The arrangement also puts Nexstar over the 39% station ownership cap, which is why Nexstar divested the New York station and WGN in Chicago after buying Tribune Media.

Mission has 12 months to either sell the station to an independent party or to Nexstar. If it sells to Nexstar, Nexstar must divest stations to get under the ownership cap, the FCC said.

“We are extremely disappointed in today’s action by the Federal Communication Commission regarding our relationship with WPIX-TV and we intend to dispute it vigorously,” said Nexstar CEO Perry Sook.

“We believe the FCC has been misled by the often distracting noise in the media ecosphere and that it has completely misjudged the facts,” Sook said.

Sook said Nextar has complied with FCC regulations since Mission acquired WPIX in 2020. Nexstar divested WPIX after acquiring its parent company Tribune Broadcasting. Nexstar sold an option to buy the station to E.W. Scripps Co. Mission later acquired the option.

“Nexstar believes that joint operating, shared service, and local marketing agreements like those in which it is engaged are vitally important to maintain a competitive media marketplace and to enable broadcasters to continue investing in local news, investigative journalism, and other services that they uniquely provide to the communities in which they are located,” he said.

CNBC Docu Claims ESPN Is At A Crossroads

For more than 40 years, the world’s largest all-sports network has grown annual revenue by increasing cable subscription fees. ESPN first charged pay-TV distributors less than $1 per month per subscriber in the 1980s. In 2023, ESPN’s monthly carriage fee was $9.42 per subscriber, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

That business model is eroding. Since 2013, tens of millions of Americans have canceled their cable TV subscriptions, raising questions about ESPN’s future in an increasingly fragmented media landscape. CNBC spoke with multiple current and former Disney and ESPN executives about the network’s path ahead as part of the digital documentary “ESPN’s Fight for Dominance.”

Jimmy Pitaro
ESPN reported domestic and international revenue grew just 1% to $4.4 billion in its most recent fiscal quarter. The network can no longer rely on price increases to make up the difference as the number of cable customers declines.

The company has a new two-part streaming plan to reinvigorate growth. First, this fall, Disney will make ESPN available outside the traditional cable TV bundle for the first time as part of a joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox.

The service, which does not yet have a price, will target noncable customers who want to watch sports but don’t want to pay $80 or $100 a month for a full bundle of networks.

Second, in fall 2025 ESPN will launch its flagship streaming service that will include everything ESPN has to offer, both live and on demand. It will include unprecedented personalization and will interact with ESPN Bet, the company’s licensed online sportsbook, and fantasy sports to cater to younger fans. The product will go well beyond ESPN+, which exists as a $10.99 streaming service that doesn’t include ESPN’s most expensive programming, such as all of “Monday Night Football.”

“The industry is in a transition phase right now,” ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in an interview as part of CNBC’s documentary.

Watch the documentary for the full story.

Twin Cities Radio: Wes McKane Succeeds Ryan Roos On KS95

The KS95 morning show has named Twin Cities native Wes McKane as its newest co-host, taking the place of the departing Ryan Roos, reports Bring Me The

A Paul native, McKane most recently hosted the Alpha Media Hot AC morning show in Illinois. He will now join morning show hosts Adam Zalusky and Dez Young on Hubbard Radio-owned KS95 beginning April 8.

Wes McKane
“I grew up listening to the station now I get to work there, on one of the best morning shows in the [Twin Cities]! McKane wrote on Facebook.

KSTP-FM Brand Manager Mat Mitchell said that McKane’s move came after a "nationwide search of America’s best talent to join Crisco and Dez on one of the best morning shows in America."

Roos recently announced he would be leaving the show after 20 years with the station, and said his long tenure at the station played a part in his decision to leave.

“I had toiled over this decision for months, but ultimately it is the right call,” Roos said on the air. 

“Half of my life has been on the radio. Don’t get me wrong, I don't regret it. But I’m afraid if I don't get out there and try something new, it’ll be over before I know it.” 

Music Revenues Climb 10% to $28.6 Billion

Global music sales grew for the ninth consecutive year in 2023, with recorded music revenues increasing in every market and region, and across almost all formats, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s (IFPI) Global Music Report 2024.

Billboard reports total revenues climbed to $28.6 billion, a rise of just over 10% on the previous year, and the second highest growth rate on record after 2021’s 18.5% year-on-year spike.

2023’s total sales figure is the highest level since 1999 — when IFPI first started compiling global music revenues and sales totaled $22.2 billion — on an absolute dollar basis, not accounting for inflation. Piracy and declining physical sales saw the market bottom out at $13 billion in 2014.

Driving last year’s growth was an 11.2% rise in paid streaming subscription revenue, which totaled $14 billion, up from $12.7 billion in 2022, and accounted for almost half (48.9%) of global music sales.

Baltimore Radio: WJZ-FM Celebrates Their '15th Fanniversary'

Audacy’s 105.7 The Fan (WJZ-FM) in Baltimore is celebrating its 15th “Fanniversary” in 2024.

Through May 31, the station will launch special “FAN 15” content to honor the past 15 years by highlighting key interviews, contributors’ top moments, vignettes that capture the most important sports moments and 105.7 The Fan personalities’ favorite memories. Celebratory programming will include two live broadcasts of the “Big Bad Morning Show” hosted by Ed Norris, Rob Long and Jeremy Conn.

The festivities commence with a 15th Anniversary Kick-Off Party at Ryleigh’s Oyster House on Thursday, March 21, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. This 21+ event will feature a whole pig roast, cigar and beer garden, fire pits, live music from the decades and sports commentary from on-air Fan personalities. For more information, including tickets, please click here.

“105.7 The Fan’s beloved personalities have consistently delivered high-quality sports coverage fueled by passion,” said Tracy Brandys, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Baltimore. “We’re ready to replay 105.7 The Fan’s history on and off the air and recognize the programming, personalities and listeners that have helped serve up the best in sports talk to Baltimore.”

105.7 The Fan reaches more fans than any other Baltimore sports station, consistently ranking No. 1 with men ages 25-54 and Top three with adults ages 25-54.

📻Listeners can tune in to 105.7 The Fan’s (WJZ-FM) in Baltimore on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via X, Facebook and Instagram.

Fox Nation To Televise "Menendez Brothers: Victims or Villains"

FOX Nation will release an exclusive four-part docuseries entitled “Menendez Brothers: Victims or Villains” on Monday, March 25th, announced Lauren Petterson, its president. 

The series will feature never-before-heard and exclusive sound from Lyle Menendez from prison, along with interviews with the Menendez brothers’ lawyer Mark Geragos, and the prosecutor on the case Pamela Bozanich. Additional contributions are made throughout from comedian and actress Rosie O’Donnell, who conducted a 2023 interview with Lyle Menendez from prison, radio personality Adam Carolla and former Saturday Night Live cast member Darrell Hammond, who has advocated for the pair’s release from prison.

In conjunction with the series, The Five co-host Judge Jeanine Pirro, former Westchester County District Attorney and the first woman to prosecute murder cases there, will host key discussions breaking down the Menendez case with crucial figures on both sides of the trial. Pirro will present a sit-down interview with Geragos to discuss the defense attorney’s fight to overturn the life convictions and whether a letter outlining allegations of abuse could bolster the brothers’ self-defense claim. Separately, Pirro will moderate a panel including the supervising detective on the case, Thomas Edmonds, who will outline why he believes the killings were in cold blood and the convictions should stand. Additional panelists will include FOX News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett and psychologist Caryn Stark.

In August 1989 brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez shot and killed their parents, José and Kitty Menendez in Beverly Hills for what was believed at the time to be an opportunity to obtain their $14 million dollar inheritance. In 1996, the brothers were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. However, Lyle and Erik’s attorneys argued they killed their parents out of self-defense and claimed they faced years of emotional and physical abuse.

Now, after two trials, a massive cultural reckoning and the emergence of new evidence, the notorious crime story is reexamined in this special with the voices closest to the case. Developed and produced for FOX Nation, Pilgrim Media Group and Los Angeles Magazine Studios, the series was executive produced by Craig Piligian, Nicole Rittenmeyer, Scott Eldridge, Nicholas Caprio, Shane Farley, Chris Hannan and Adam Carolla.

3/22 WAKE-UP CALL: Trump May Get Last Minute Windfall

Shareholders of Truth Social, the social-media platform started by the former president, are scheduled to vote today on a merger with a publicly traded shell company. If approved, the deal could give Trump $3.5 billion. His supporters have driven up Digital World Acquisition’s value, gaming the complicated system of special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. Elsewhere on the Street, Reddit shares soared to close up 48% from their IPO price, an encouraging sign for companies waiting to go public. All three major U.S. stock indexes rose to new records, boosted by investors’ growing conviction that the post-Covid surge in borrowing costs is ending soon.

The former president most immediately faces a $454 million judgment against him in a civil-fraud case in which a judge found he inflated his assets for financial gain for years. Unless an appeals court soon rules in Trump’s favor, New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who brought the case, could begin trying to seize his assets Monday.

➤MIGRANTS SWARM BORDER IN EL PASO: A group of over 100 migrants attempted to enter the US illegally by rushing a border wall Thursday, breaking through razor wire and knocking over guards in the process. Around 600 migrants amassed at the international border, as part of a ‘spring surge’ of migrants arriving and hoping to gain access to the US. The Texas National Guard were attempting to organize them into smaller groups, but the situation grew tense after some women and children were separated from adult males by the guardsmen.

Video taken by The NY Post showed one set of migrants, mostly single men, then rushing the Texas troops. A group of men with hoodies, gloves and winter jackets could be seen pulling fencing away and dashing through the concertina wire, as a group of five guards formed a defensive position to fill the gap.

➤HUMAN RECEIVES PIG KIDNEY TRANSPLANT: Doctors successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig’s kidney into a living patient for the first time. The organ was genetically edited to remove pig genes that can harm people and to add human genes to try to decrease the chance of rejection. The recipient, a 62-year-old man with end-stage kidney disease, underwent a four-hour surgery at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital on Saturday, hospital officials said. Pig kidneys have been transplanted into brain-dead people. In 2022, a critically ill Maryland man received a genetically modified pig heart; he died two months later.

➤U-S PRESSURES ISRAEL: The U.S. ratcheted up pressure on Israel with a proposed cease-fire resolution at the U.N., a forum where it usually defends the country. The draft resolution is intended to head off Israel’s offensive in the southern Gazan city of Rafah amid a humanitarian crisis. It calls for an immediate and sustained pause in fighting in Gaza tied to the release of hostages whom Hamas abducted during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The matter could go to a vote as soon as this week, according to U.N. diplomats. Other Security Council members are expected to oppose it because of wording about restarting the fighting. Israel says rooting Hamas out of Rafah, its last stronghold, is crucial for eliminating ihe U.S.-designated terror organization from Gaza. Separately, Israel is crafting a secret plan to distribute aid in the enclave that could eventually create a Palestinian-led governing authority there, Israeli and Arab officials said, causing a fierce backlash from Hamas and creating divisions in Israel’s war cabinet.

Shari Redstone Has A Dilemma At Paramount Global

Apollo Global Management’s $11 billion bid to buy Paramount Global’s film and television assets on Wednesday is the most serious offer yet for the struggling entertainment conglomerate and has likely ignited a bidding war with David Ellison’s Skydance Media and any other possible suitors for the legendary Hollywood brand.

Key points including:

Apollo’s Bid: Apollo Global Management has made an $11 billion offer for Paramount’s film and TV assets, excluding CBS, Paramount+, and cable networks. Skydance’s Interest: Skydance Media, along with RedBird Capital, is also interested in Paramount and has made an undisclosed offer.

Redstone’s Dilemma: Shari Redstone, non-executive chair of Paramount and president of National Amusements, faces a tough decision regarding the sale, aiming to preserve her father’s legacy.

Analysts’ Views: Analysts believe Paramount is worth more if sold in parts, and Apollo’s bid may be too good to ignore, potentially leading to a profitable deal.

For detailed analysis and opinions on the situation, click HERE

Disney Dealt Stunning Blow

In a blow to Walt Disney activist Nelson Peltz received a powerful endorsement in his battle against the entertainment conglomerate on Thursday, when proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended shareholders elect him to the board.

Reuters reports ISS, whose recommendations can sway hundreds of investors' votes, said Peltz, a large Disney shareholder, could ensure the board does its job well as it tackles questions of CEO succession and strategy at the home of Mickey Mouse.

The recommendation comes as Disney CEO Bob Iger continues to rally support among a high profile cast that included Emerson Collective founder and president Laurene Powell Jobs on Thursday and Star Wars-creator George Lucas earlier this week.

"Dissident nominee Peltz, as a significant shareholder, could be additive to the succession process, providing assurance to other investors that the board is properly engaged this time around," the report seen by Reuters said.

Peltz's Trian Fund Management is vying for two board seats, one for Peltz and the other for former Disney financial chief Jay Rasulo, while another activist firm, Blackwells Capital, is pushing for three board seats.

The fight over who will help guide Disney, valued at $213 billion, is one of the year's most bitter and closely watched board battles, pitting a prominent activist investor, who says he works well with target companies, against a talented media industry CEO who returned to the top job two years ago after the board fired Iger's hand-picked successor.

Peltz and Blackwells said Disney bungled plans for life after Iger, lost its creative spark and failed to properly harness new technology.

Disney previously dismissed both hedge funds' candidates' qualifications, and on Thursday said it "strongly disagrees" with ISS's recommendation as Peltz "does not bring additive skills to the board."

Shareholders will vote on April 3 and each side has now signed up prominent supporters to press its case with voters. Disney had Star Wars creator George Lucas and JP Morgan banker Jamie Dimon supporting Iger, while a number of business executives on Thursday publicly supported Peltz.

EMF Goes Fishing In Nashville and Honolulu

Salem Media Group, Inc. has announced it has entered into an agreement to sell its contemporary Christian music stations in Nashville, Tennessee and Honolulu, Hawaii to Educational Media Foundation (EMF). 

EMF operates Christian music stations across the country as K-LOVE and Air1. Salem’s Today’s Christian Music (TCM) network is not affected by these sales.

In Nashville, Salem is selling the “Fish” trimulcast of WFFH (94.1), WBOZ (104.9), and WFFI (93.7). In Honolulu it is dealing “95.5 The Fish” KAIM. The deal is expected to close in late May or early June.

All of the Nashville signals are Class As: WFFH, licensed to Smyrna, TN, broadcasts with 3,200 watts; WBOZ, licensed to Woodbury, TN (6,000 watts), WFFI, licensed to Kingston Springs, TN (1,150 watts).

In Honolulu KAIM is a 100,000-watt Class C.

Salem Media CEO David Santrella stated, “Salem remains steadfast in our commitment to paying down debt and reducing our overall leverage. The sale of these radio stations helps achieve those goals. At the same time, we are focused on the stations staying in mission format. We are happy to be working with our good friends at EMF to continue impacting lives through music. We are grateful for our staff at these stations that have worked tirelessly over the years.”

Santrella continued, “With this change, Mike Blakemore, Salem’s VP of CCM Programming, will provide focus and leadership to programming TCM, which remains an important part of Salem’s content offerings.”

Salem expects to close on the sale of these stations sometime in late May or early June.

Also...EMF's new corporate headquarters is located in the Berry Farms development in Franklin, near Nashville and is slated to be 170,000 square-feet. It will include six floors where broadcast facilities, podcast and video production studios, and a worship center will be housed. The company is scheduled to move into its new facility in July.