Saturday, March 30, 2024

Radio History: March 31

➦In 1903...legendary broadcaster Arthur Godfrey was born in New York City.  From the late 40’s into the 1970’s Godfrey was a unique force in daytime radio, at his peak occupying three hours of CBS network time daily. He espoused & successfully pioneered the concept of talking to just one listener, which was particularly effective in his commercial delivery.  He died of emphysema March 16 1983, just two weeks short of his 80th birthday.

➦In 1908...Lester Joseph "Les" Damon born in Providence, RI (Died at age 54 from an apparent heart attack – July 21, 1962). He was a character actor best known for his nearly 30 years performing on radio. Out of all his appearances on radio, Damon was best remembered for his roles as Nick Charles on The Adventures of the Thin Man from 1941-1943 and again from 1946-1950 on NBC then CBS and as Michael Waring on The Falcon from 1950-1953 on Mutual.

➦In 1915...Henry Morgan born as Henry Lerner Van Ost Jr. (Died at age 79 – May 19, 1994).

He first became familiar to radio audiences in the 1930s and 1940s as a barbed but often self-deprecating satirist; in the 1950s and later, he was a regular and cantankerous panelist on the game show I've Got a Secret as well as other game and talk shows. Morgan was a second cousin of Broadway lyricist and librettist Alan Jay Lerner.

Henry Morgan
He began his radio career as a page at New York City station WMCA in 1932, after which he held a number of obscure radio jobs, including announcing.  In 1940, he was offered a daily 15-minute series on Mutual Broadcasting System's flagship station, WOR. This show was a 15-minute comedy, which he opened almost invariably with "Good evening, anybody; here's Morgan."

In his memoir, Here's Morgan (1994), he wrote that he devised that introduction as a dig at popular singer Kate Smith, who "...started her show with a condescending, 'Hello, everybody.' I, on the other hand, was happy if anybody listened in." He mixed barbed ad libs, satirizing daily life's foibles, with novelty records, including those of Spike Jones. Morgan stated that Jones sent him his newest records in advance of market dates because he played them so often.

Morgan appeared in the December 1944 CBS Radio original broadcast of Norman Corwin's play, The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, taking several minor roles including the narrator, Ivan the Terrible and Simon Legree. He repeated his performance in the December 1944 production of the play.

Later, he moved to ABC in a half-hour weekly format that allowed Morgan more room to develop and expand his topical, often ad-libbed satires, hitting popular magazines, soap operas, schools, the BBC, baseball, summer resorts, government snooping, and landlords. His usual signoff was, "Morgan'll be here on the same corner in front of the cigar store next week."

Life Savers candy, an early Morgan sponsor, dropped him after he accused them of fraud for what amounted to hiding the holes in the famous life saver ring-shaped sweets. "I claimed that if the manufacturer would give me all those centers," Morgan remembered later, "I would market them as Morgan's Mint Middles and say no more about it."

Earle C Anthony
➦In 1922...KFI-AM, Los Angeles signed-on.

In 1922 Earle C. Anthony was the founder and owner of what eventually became 50,000 watt KFI 640 AM, a station he controlled until his death in 1961.

From 1929 to 1944, he also owned KECA 790 AM, now KABC. The E.C.A. in KECA stood, of course, for Earle C. Anthony.

He was an early president of the National Association of Broadcasters and, during his term, oversaw the establishment of the organization's first paid staff.

He was also a founder of one of the earliest television stations in Los Angeles, KFI-TV, channel 9, and KFI-FM, both of which were disposed of in 1951.

The original KFI station used a 50-watt transmitter (above) and was made out of a crank telephone. Early on, Anthony operated the station from his garage, and later from atop his Packard automobile dealership. In its early days, it was typically on the air for only four and a half hours a day.

This is the original KFI 50 kW transmitter, an RCA 50B.
Installed in 1931, it served as the main until a Continental 317B was installed in 1959.

From the time of its inception in 1926, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) operated two networks, the Red Network and the Blue Network. The Red Network carried the commercial programs, while the Blue Network carried the sustaining ones (those without commercial sponsors). The red and blue designations came from the colors of the U.S. flag.

Being an NBC affiliate, Anthony operated two radio stations to carry both networks. KFI-AM, 640 kHz, carried the Red Network, and KECA-AM, 790 kHz, carried the Blue.

KFI helped to keep the calm during the dark days of World War II by airing President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Fireside Chats." Later, it carried "Monitor (NBC Radio)," the network's very successful weekend radio service.

As a side note to KFI's participation in World War II, there is a bullet hole in the ceiling of the transmitter building, located in La Mirada, California, where a National Guardsman accidentally discharged his rifle on December 10, 1941, three days following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The bullet hole is still there to this day, preserved as a monument to KFI's wartime service.

The "FI" segment of its call sign was an abbreviation of "farmer's information." Every winter evening between 1924 and 1956, KFI would deliver a frost report at 8 pm that would tell citrus farmers whether to turn on wind machines or light "smudge pots" to keep their orange and lemon groves from freezing. The frost warnings moved to 7 pm until the late 1970s when they were removed from the schedule.

After the end of radio’s golden age, KFI-AM moved toward a full-service format of music, sports and local news.  Cox Broadcasting purchased the station in 1973.

It moved KFI into a Top 40 format in the mid 1970s. That playlist softened in the early 1980s as KFI moved toward a more adult contemporary format.

By the mid 1980s, KFI had slipped in the ratings.  By 1988, KFI dropped music and focused on issue-oriented talk radio.  Chancellor Media acquired the station in 1999.  Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) assumed control in 2000. KFI continues to broadcast a news/talk format.

➦In 1925...WOWO-AM, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, signed-on.

NBC News' Five-Alarm Fire Bound To Engulf Comcast

The NBC News situation involving Ronna McDaniel has ignited a five-alarm fire at 30 Rock, leaving the reputation of the network scarred and threatening multiple parts of the Cesar Conde-run NBC Universal News Group.

Here’s a summary of the chaos:

Ronna McDaniel’s Hiring: The decision to hire former Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel set off an unprecedented on-air mutiny. McDaniel’s role in working to subvert the 2020 vote sparked outrage among network staff and viewers alike.

Conde’s Response: Instead of dousing the flames, Cesar Conde and other NBC executives poured gasoline on the fire. Conde hesitated to sever ties with McDaniel, even after top personalities like Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow publicly criticized the hire. Inside Conde’s inner circle, Stephen Labaton, executive vice president of communications, is facing an accusation of professional misconduct. Amid the crisis, Labaton bashed his colleagues over at MSNBC, rebuking the hosts in a profane manner. Labaton denied making the remark and suggested a disgruntled McDaniel had alleged it after being fired.

Internal Strife: The crisis spiraled out of control, leading to an all-out civil war within the news group. Staffers are enraged, and details of executive behavior are leaking out. For instance, Carrie Budoff Brown, NBC News’ senior vice president of politics, allegedly recruited a Republican to push back against Chuck Todd on social media. While Brown denies specific instructions, she acknowledges discussing McDaniel’s supporters speaking on her behalf as an NBC News contributor. The revelation has left NBC News staffers furious at the executive’s involvement.

Who's Accountable: Staffers inside the company are wondering amongst themselves who is going to be held accountable for the mess. Will any executives lose their jobs over the corporate catastrophe?

The situation is far from resolved, and the flames continue to rage. Brian Roberts, the Chairman of Comcast, is currently caught in the crossfire of a political firestorm. Former President Donald Trump has directed his ire at Roberts, blaming him for the editorial positions of MSNBC. In a previous incident, Trump called for the government to take action against Comcast. Now, with the turmoil surrounding Cesar Conde and NBC News, Roberts finds himself once again in the former president’s spotlight. Given Comcast’s aversion to drama, this situation is undoubtedly unwelcome for Roberts.

L-A Times Deputy Managing Editor Walks

Christian Stone, the Deputy Managing Editor of the Los Angeles Times, has resigned after four years at the paper. 

According to The Wrap, his departure comes amid a period of upheaval within the newsroom. 

Christian Stone
Stone was the lead editor on the 101 Power List, which was recently put on hold indefinitely. This list features the 101 most influential people in the Los Angeles region. Despite rescheduling plans, the piece has yet to be published, even though Stone was its brainchild and lead editor.

His exit adds to the list of high-level editors who have left the paper during a tumultuous year. Earlier, Executive Editor Kevin Merida stepped down ahead of historic layoffs in January, along with editors Shani Hilton and Sara Yasin. The layoffs affected over 100 staffers, including notable figures like Pulitzer Prize-winning Kimbriell Kelly and Angel Rodriguez.

In an internal email, Stone reflected on his time at the Los Angeles Times, expressing pride in working alongside talented colleagues. He joined the paper in February 2020, navigating significant events like the Kobe Bryant crash and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stone’s contributions spanned various areas, including sports, studios, and the upcoming “LA Influential” project.

Apple Says DOJ Monopoly Claim Is Misleading

Apple stands firm and refuses to apologize for its iconic blue bubbles. The tech giant asserts that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) sweeping antitrust lawsuit—which targets various aspects of Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone—is misleading, according to a story at

The DOJ’s lawsuit, filed last week, alleges that Apple has created a monopoly in the smartphone market. It further claims that Apple’s actions hinder both direct competitors and app developers, as well as those working on super apps, smartwatches, and digital wallets. The complaint outlines 210 allegations against the tech behemoth, accusing it of deliberately making its products worse for consumers to maintain its smartphone monopoly and reap extraordinary profits.

However, Apple contends that some of the facts presented by the DOJ are simply untrue. Let’s delve into the company’s rebuttals:

  • No Monopoly: Apple asserts that it does not hold a monopoly.
  • Performance Smartphones: The company claims it has never heard of ‘performance’ smartphones.
  • Blue Bubbles: Those little blue iMessage bubbles carry cultural capital, especially among young users.
  • Messaging Platforms: While WhatsApp and Signal don’t support SMS, Apple plans to adopt RCS (Rich Communication Services) for messaging.
  • Social Media: Apple remains unapologetic about its blue bubbles, even in the face of legal challenges1.

In this high-stakes battle, Apple’s defense is resolute, and the clash between innovation and regulation continues to unfold. 

TV Ratings: Iowa's Caitlin Clark Scores Viewers

The Iowa Hawkeyes and their star player, Caitlin Clark, achieved a remarkable feat during the women’s NCAA Tournament. In their second-round game Monday against West Virginia, the Hawkeyes secured a 64-54 victory, captivating an impressive audience. 

Nielsen reports that the game averaged 4.90 million viewers on ESPN. This viewership milestone makes it the most-viewed women’s tournament game ever, excluding Final Four contests and title games. Notably, this game also holds the distinction of being the most-watched NCAA Tournament game (both men’s and women’s) on cable this year, surpassing the previous high set by Houston’s overtime win over Texas A&M.

With that huge Iowa boost, round-of-32 games this year averaged a record 1.4 million viewers, up a staggering 121% from last year. All that came on top of 3.23 million people tuning in to Iowa’s 91–65 rout of outmatched 16-seed Holy Cross in the first round. Since advancing to the Sweet 16, Clark has been in the news all week, receiving an invite to Team USA’s Olympic camp, starring as the subject of a 96-page tribute magazine from ESPN, and even getting a $5 million offer to compete in the Big3 basketball league.

The excitement surrounding the Hawkeyes continues, and their upcoming Albany 2 Regional semifinal game against Colorado promises to draw another large audience, especially since the men’s regional finals won’t tip off until the evening. Additionally, the overall viewership for Sunday and Monday’s second-round games has seen a 121% increase compared to last year, with standout matchups like LSU’s rally over Middle Tennessee and UConn’s victory over Syracuse contributing to the surge in interest1.

Iowa's Albany 2 Regional semifinal game against Colorado will be on ABC on Saturday afternoon. It should draw another large audience, especially with both men's regional finals not tipping off until the evening.

Joe Rogan Rips NY Times Reporters

During a recent episode of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, Joe Rogan didn’t hold back when discussing the journalistic standards at The New York Times. He characterized the writers there as "ultra hard-left activists masquerading as journalists"

Rogan made the remarks while talking about how The New York Times was creating Instagram videos featuring its reporters talking about the topics they cover at the newspaper.

“They don’t understand what they’re doing,” Rogan said. “This is exactly who we thought was writing these things. It’s like this very effeminate guy and this woman that it’s like, the kind of woman that seems like she f***ing [would talk down to you at a party].”

“The type of people that would, you know, these, like, these ultra-liberal out-of-touch people and these people are talking about, one of the guys was talking about Donald Trump’s words being taken out of context that it would be a ‘bloodbath’ because he was talking about the auto industry and the economy,” he continued.

Rogan’s candid commentary highlights the divide between media outlets and the perspectives of everyday Americans.

Diddy's Woes Provide Red Meat For Some Podcasters

In the vibrant world of Black pop culture podcasts, a unique media ecosystem that delves into storylines and personalities central to the hip-hop genre, the Sean Combs saga has taken center stage this week.

Sean Combs, also known as Puff Daddy or Diddy, has been the subject of intense discussion following federal raids at his homes in Los Angeles and Miami. These raids were prompted by allegations of sexual assault against the hip-hop mogul, who has vehemently denied all claims.

The podcast hosts and radio personalities have responded with a mix of humor, speculation, and denial, diverging from the more serious tone adopted by traditional news outlets. Here are some notable reactions:

According to The NY Times: Mase, the rapper who once topped charts under Combs’s Bad Boy record label, playfully hinted at “reparations getting closer and closer” without directly addressing Combs by name.

iHeartMedia's The Breakfast Club hosts criticized the authorities’ actions, questioning the necessity of the raids. Charlamagne Tha God wondered about the information justifying the raids, while Jessica Moore (known as “Jess Hilarious”) likened the situation to a television show1.

Former N.B.A. player Gilbert Arenas, on his “No Chill” podcast, humorously declared, “It’s over, no, it’s done, they got you.” He contrasted the daytime raid with his own experiences during late-night raids in the “weed game” and "poker game".

To provide context for his listeners, Arenas said he had been at the scene of more than a dozen raids while he was in “the weed game, the poker game.” He noted that those raids happened between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. “The fact that they raided this dude in the middle of the day so everybody could see it, this was more embarrassing,” Arenas said.

Combs’s lawyer has labeled the raids a “witch hunt” based on meritless accusations from civil lawsuits, emphasizing that no criminal or civil liability has been established.

Report: Lizzo 'Quits' The Music Industry


Lizzo reportedly has 'quit' the music industry

Lizzo took to social media on Friday afternoon (March 29) to share an emotionally driven statement.

“I’m getting tired of putting up with being dragged by everyone in my life and on the Internet,” she wrote against an orange and yellow background. “All I want is to make music and make people happy and help the world be a little better than how I found it. But I’m starting to feel like the world doesn’t want me in it.”

Billboard has reached out to Lizzo’s team to confirm the validity of the statement.

The “About Damn Time” singer has been under scrutiny over the past year, as she’s been involved in a harassment lawsuit brought by three of the “Special” singer’s former dancers in August 2023. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles by dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez, accuses Lizzo (real name Melissa Jefferson) and her Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. of a wide range of legal wrongdoing and included dozens of pages of detailed allegations.

In one allegation, the lawsuit claims that Lizzo pushed the dancers to attend a sex show in Amsterdam’s famed Red Light District and then pressured them to engage with the performers. 

The lawsuit also detailed alleged outbursts by Lizzo, including an “excruciating re-audition” in April after she accused the dancers of “drinking alcohol before shows”; one dancer claims the ordeal continued for so long that she wet herself because she feared she would be fired if she left the stage. The case also claims Lizzo repeatedly told dancers “none of their jobs were safe” and raised “thinly veiled concerns” about a dancer’s weight gain.

Lizzo’s message comes in the wake of the Democratic National Committee facing criticism for hiring her as a headliner for President Biden’s election fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall Thursday night.

Fox Sports Ready For New MLB Season

Fox Sports is gearing up for an exciting 2024 MLB season, and they’re pulling out all the stops. Last season’s rule changes have injected positive momentum, and now Fox is doubling down on their commitment to top-notch coverage.

Here’s what’s in store:

  • New Talent: Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright joins the booth in a full-time capacity. His on-field experience and familiarity with newer rules make him an exciting addition. Fans can expect fresh insights from this seasoned player.
  • Derek Jeter: The legendary Derek Jeter is part of the studio crew. His presence adds star power and baseball expertise to the mix.
  • Alex Rodriguez: A-Rod inked a new multiyear deal with Fox last July. His exclusive work with the network has elevated the baseball broadcasts.
  • Tentpole Broadcasts: Fox’s deep roster of talent will shine during key events like the All-Star Game, the London Series, and the first-ever MLB game at historic Rickwood Field in Alabama. The latter promises to be a special night for all viewers, not just baseball fans. 

So get ready for a season filled with home runs, double plays, and unforgettable moments. Fox Sports is all in!

Fox News Media To Present Easter Specials

FOX News Media will present special extended programming across its platforms leading up to and through Easter Sunday, including the Pope’s Easter Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Square and a message from Israel by evangelist Franklin Graham. Coverage across FOX News Channel (FNC) and other platforms will encompass broadcasts from church services around the world from the Vatican to New York City, as well as reporting and special programming centered around the holiday.

FNC will feature special coverage surrounding the Easter holiday across its programs. From 4 AM until 6 AM/ET on Easter Sunday, FNC will broadcast live Easter Sunday services from Vatican City with Pope Francis. Continuing at 12 PM/ET, Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, will deliver an Easter message from Israel. FOX & Friends Weekend will present a holiday edition of the show (6-10 AM/ET) with co-hosts Rachel Campos-Duffy, Pete Hegseth and Will Cain featuring Easter-themed segments and the final installment of the franchise’s Faith and Friends concert series with contemporary Christian musician Matthew West.

FOX News Digital will provide coverage of various domestic and international religious events on, including Good Friday’s Celebration of the Passion of the Lord at St. Peter’s Basilica and Way of the Cross at the Colosseum, Easter Vigil on Holy Night at St. Peter’s Basilica, and, on Easter Sunday, Daytime Mass at St. Peter’s Square and Central Loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica’s Blessing ‘Urbi et Orbi’.

FOX News Audio will offer hours of special holiday programming with FOX News Radio providing Pope Francis’ Easter Mass to all affiliates with correspondent Gurnel Scott reporting on Pope Francis’ message. The platform will also feature several Easter-themed podcasts, including FNC religion correspondent Lauren Green’s Lighthouse Faith program’s interview with Bishop Robert Barron in Rochester, Minnesota at Word on Fire Ministries and The Livin’ the Bream Podcast with Shannon Bream will spotlight author and minister Dr. Jeremiah Johnson for an Easter episode about the beauty and symbolism of Jesus’s resurrection. Additionally, Mark Wahlberg’s brother, film producer and screenwriter Jim Wahlberg, joins The Untold Story with Martha MacCallum to discuss reconnecting with God after years of addiction.

FOX Nation will present religious content throughout the holiday including The Passion of the Christ, The Chosen, and The Life of Jesus.

Audacy Podcast Series Explores The Impact of MTV

Audacy has announced the launch of “Who Killed the Video Star? The Story of MTV,” an eight-part original series from Audacy Podcasts exploring the cultural history, impact, and phenomenon of MTV. The series is hosted by former MTV VJ and Esquire Editor-at-Large Dave Holmes. 

“Who Killed the Video Star? The Story of MTV” launched with the first two episodes on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, on the Audacy app and everywhere podcasts are available. New episodes will be released weekly through May 8.  Listen and follow the show: here.

For nearly four decades, MTV defined youth culture. Today, MTV has proven mortal after all. What happened? How did MTV build a brand that stayed relevant to young viewers for decades, and what has it turned into? In this eight-part series, Holmes–who was a VJ from 1998 to 2002–sits down with the people who were there to explore the question “If video killed the radio star, who killed the video star?”  

Guests include former MTV VJs “Downtown” Julie Brown, Damien Fahey, and Kevin Seal; former MTV News correspondents Gideon Yago, Chris Connelly, and Suchin Pak; Ridiculousness producer Shane Nickerson; on-air talent including Rob Dyrdek (Ridiculousness) and Eric Nies (The Real World: New York); former Viacom Music and Entertainment Group president Doug Herzog, Brian Graden, former president of Entertainment, MTV Networks Music Channels, Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp, and more.

Atlanta TV: Marian Pittman Now President of Content For WSB-TV

Marian Pittman, Cox Media Group executive VP of production & innovation, has been promoted to president of content at Cox in addition to general manager of WSB Atlanta. She succeeds Ray Carter at the station, when he retires April 1. 

Marian Pittman
“Marian possesses an unmatched knowledge of broadcast television, and there is no greater advocate for local news and investigative journalism,” said Dan York, CMG president and  CEO. “She’s the right leader to help WSB-TV build on its extraordinary legacy of journalistic integrity, operational excellence, and service to the people and businesses of Atlanta.” reports Pittman started her career at WSOC Charlotte, then moved on to WHIO Dayton, WFTV Orlando and WSB, where she was news director from 2006 to 2012, and then station manager in 2012 and 2013. 

All are part of Cox.  

“I’m proud to return to WSB-TV to lead a station and team with such a storied history and reputation for positively impacting viewers and communities,” Pittman said. “WSB-TV continually demonstrates what can happen when a group of people focus on a shared purpose of serving their community and clients. It’s an honor and privilege to continue cultivating that culture and to rejoin such a winning team.”

Radio History: March 30

➦In 1922...KGY-AM, Olympia, Washington, signed-on.

KGY has a long history in Olympia, going back to Saint Martin’s College (now Saint Martin’s University). It was there that Benedictine monk Father Sebastian Ruth began experimenting with radio, and when the FCC first started licensing radio stations, KGY was one of the first stations in Washington State to be licensed. “In fact, the three letter call stations are a heritage, the oldest around,” Kerry said.

In 1939 Nick Kerry’s great-grandfather Tom Olsen, an Olympia native, purchased the business. In 1960 KGY moved to its current location on Marine Drive overlooking Budd Inlet and neighbor to Swantown Marina and Hearthfire Grill.

It was built on pilings and has dramatic views of Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains. “This was the perfect location for an AM tower. The radials went into the saltwater which they believed created a stronger signal,” said Kerry.

Barbara Olsen Kerry ran the stations until the mid-2000s and today the family continues to remain owners, the majority of whom live in Olympia.

➦In 1922...WWL-AM, New Orleans signed-on.

Circa the '50s

After receiving permission from the Vatican, the Jesuits at Loyola University started WWL on March 31, 1922, with a piano recital and a three-minute request to listeners to support construction of a new classroom building on campus.  The advertisement above says the 10-watt transmitter was “made from $400 worth of spare parts from a Government War Surplus Ship.  The studio audience — 20 Loyola students —- gave a spontaneous cheer at [the] conclusion of [the] historic broadcast.”

The advertisement also claims other firsts.  For instance, the 1922 broadcast of a recording of John McCormack singing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” is claimed as the first music broadcast in the South.

Over the years, WWL moved to different positions on the dial and steadily increased its power.  In 1938, WWL boosted its signal to 50,000 watts, sending the sounds of New Orleans across much of North America.

WWL became a CBS affiliate in 1935.  During World War II, Loyola University offered WWL’s facilities to train soldiers in radio operations. The station also produced wartime radio programs.  WWL again allowed the government to use its facilities in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

WWL-AM avoided the turn toward rock in the 1950s and became well known in the region for its broadcasts of local Dixieland jazz bands and big band music.  The Leon Kelner Orchestra was popular for its broadcasts from the Roosevelt Hotel’s Blue Room.  The broadcasts were heard far and wide over WWL’s 50,000-watt signal. The LPB radio history site says comment cards were received from as far away as Finland.

In 1971, the station started a long-running overnight country music show targeted at long-haul truck drivers called “The Road Gang.”

Loyola sold the WWL stations to separate companies in 1989.  WWL-AM and WLMG-FM are now owned by Audacy.-Faded Signals

➦In 1936...Backstage Wife, a soap opera radio program that details the travails of Mary Noble, a girl from a small town in Iowa who came to New York seeking her future, moved fro the Mututal Broadcasting System to NBC Radio.

Vivian Fridell had the title role from 1935 until the early 1940s. It was then taken over by Claire Niesen, who played Mary Noble for 14 years, until the end of the series. Mary's husband, Larry Noble, was portrayed by Ken Griffin, then James Meighan and finally, Guy Sorel. The music was supplied by organist Chet Kingsbury.

The program continued on for the next 23 years. Claire Niesen played the title role for the last 17 years.

➦In 1937...Charles Wesley Leonard born (Died – August 12, 2004).  Known as Chuck Leonard. he was a radio personality at 77WABC during the 1960s and 1970s. His deep voice and smoothness resonated across 38 states for 14 years at ABC.

Chuck Leonard
During his over 40-year career in broadcasting, Leonard worked virtually every shift and played all styles of music at stations including WWRL, WABC, WXLO, WRKS, WBLS, WQEW, WNSW-AM and WJUX. He has been inducted in the Museum of Television & Radio and is known as the first African-American disc jockey to work on a mainstream radio station.[1

Leonard began at ABC's flagship New York radio station, Musicradio 77WABC, under program director Rick Sklar in 1965. He broke the color barrier for all who followed — the first African-American to cross over from black R&B radio to (then-mostly white) mass-appeal radio.

Leonard began in the 11 p.m. to midnight slot, and continued working late nights and Sundays at the station until November 27, 1979. He did the 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. shift following “Cousin” Bruce Morrow and later George Michael.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Infinite Dial: Online Audio Surges

The portion of Americans who listen to any kind of online audio, and the portion who listen to podcasts, have both reached new record highs, according to The Infinite Dial® an annual survey from Edison Research with support from Audacy, Cumulus Media, and SiriusXM Media.

For the last 26 years, Edison Research’s Infinite Dial® has tracked key consumer media and technology usage among the U.S. population. Earlier today, Edison Research Vice President Megan Lazovick presented the latest benchmark data on weekly and monthly podcast consumption, as well as insights into the evolving landscape of online audio listening, AM/FM radio engagement, smart speaker utilization, social media usage, and other digital media behaviors, at the Podcast Movement Evolutions conference in Los Angeles.

Some of the key findings include:

Podcast listening reach is up overall: 47% of the U.S. 12+ population has listened to a podcast in the last month, up 12% year over year; 34% of the U.S. 12+ population has listened to a podcast in the last week, up 10% year over year. Despite changes in how downloads are being delivered and counted, listening levels are up markedly.

Growth in podcast reach is driven by large increases among the number of female listeners:45% of women in the U.S. age 12+ have listened to a podcast in the last month, up from 39% in 2023, an increase of 15%; 32% of women in the U.S. age 12+ have listened to a podcast in the last week, up from 27% in 2023, an increase of 19%

Weekly and monthly podcast listening among men are up 3% and 4%, respectively
Increases in the number of monthly and weekly podcast listeners are seen across all age groups

Online audio listening hits the highest mark ever:76% of those in the U.S. age 12+ have listened to online audio in the last month, an estimated 218 million people 90% of those age 12-34 and 85% of those age 35-54 have listened to online audio in the last month

Smart speaker ownership appears to have plateaued, but the number of smart speakers per owner continues to rise:
  • 34% of the population age 12+ report owning a smart speaker, down from 36% in 2023
  • Nearly half of smart speaker owners (43%) own three or more of the devices

Twitter/X usage sees a sharp decline after Elon Musk acquisition:19% of those age 12+ are currently ever using X (formerly known as Twitter), a 30% drop from the findings in the 2023 Infinite Dial study.

Lazovick said, “The Infinite Dial was created for those looking to understand emerging technologies and the infinite options available to consumers. If you have tuned into the webinar or used the findings at any point in the past, then you are a part of that legacy of curious people helping to keep it going. We hope you are as excited as we are to have access to this rigorous research, free and available to all.”

Other findings include:

Radio Fans Weigh in on AI

It’s still March but already the big story in broadcast radio and all of media is the impact of Artificial Intelligence. In the past year, much has been said and written about how radio broadcasters – from management to talent – feel about this burgeoning technology. 

But now thanks to the early-released feedback from more than 31,000 core radio fans from across the U.S. and Canada who responded to the world’s largest online radio survey – Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 2024, findings have emerged. The study was fielded in January and February of this year.

As Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs noted, “Many radio companies have jumped on the AI bandwagon but with little guidance from their audience. This exclusive data from Techsurvey 2024 provides valuable feedback from partisans of 10 popular radio formats about their hopes and for now at least, fears of AI.”

Audience Perceptions of AI

First and foremost, a solid majority (58%) say they’re very or somewhat familiar with Artificial Intelligence. Men, as well as members of Generation Z, Millennials, and Gen Xers are more apt to say they’re familiar with this new technology.

And of those familiar with AI, nearly one in ten (9%) uses its applications for personal, work, or school. Gen Z and Millennial respondents are most likely to say they use it at least weekly.

As for format fans, core listeners to Alternative stations are most apt to regularly put AI to use, while partisans of both Classic Hits and Classic Rock radio are least likely to utilize this technology:

Similar to what we’ve seen in our Techsurveys in both public and Christian music radio, most people are concerned about the speed at which AI is being adopted. In fact, more than seven in ten (71%) are very or somewhat alarmed at the rate AI is progressing, especially women. But every demographic subgroup is in concurrence about the proliferation of this new technology:

Philly Radio: Why Anthony Gargano Exited The Fanatic

Well-known Philadelphia sports talker Anthony Gargano has launched his first show on PHILY, a recently launched website for Philly sports fans.  Let’s explore his recent endeavors:

PHLY Show Debut:

After a settlement in the breach of contract lawsuit with former employer Beasley Media, Gargano launched his first PHLY Show Thursday morning. In this local media venture, he candidly shared his reasons for leaving 97.5 The Fanatic.

Gargano cited two main factors: According to Crossing Board considerations and the evolving media landscape. He emphasized the shift toward digital platforms and the challenges faced by traditional media companies. While he roots for radio, newspapers, and television, he recognizes the boundless possibilities of the internet.

"Printing plants and (radio) signals, they’re a tough haul. The internet now is boundless, and listen, I want to make this clear, and this is true – I’m rooting for radio. I’m rooting for newspapers, rooting for television. I have countless relationships, close people, people I love, they work at WIP, they work at 97.5 the Fanatic, they work at the Inquirer, they work at Comcast SportsNet, they work at FOX 29, all the local stations, NBC 10, ABC, Channel 6, I love these people right? I want them to succeed, I want them to thrive, I want them to feed their families. Here at PHLY, we’re meant to be an addition to the marketplace, we’re here just to fill a niche that is sort of a hybrid network. The other reason I left is I’m a little goofy, and I like to satisfy my creative mind."

ALLCITY Network:

Gargano is also part of the ALL NFL show, co-hosting alongside Brian Baldinger. Baldinger, an analyst for NFL Network, FOX, and Compass Media Networks, brings his expertise to the program. The show aims to provide engaging content for football enthusiasts.

Additionally, ALL NBA features hosts Tim Legler and Adam Mares, catering to basketball fans.

PHLY Sports Podcast:

Finally, Gargano made his debut on PHLY Sports, a couple of months after the settlement. The lawsuit involved Gargano, his new employer BSN Media, and his previous employer, Beasley Media Group.

Gargano’s journey reflects the dynamic landscape of media, where creativity, freedom, and adaptability play crucial roles.

After Joe Rogan Shot: Musician Sees Huge Jump On Spotify

Joe Rogan‘s massively popular podcast not only drives millions of listens of his show on Spotify — it also can boost music streams of guests featured on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” according to Variety.

One of Spotify’s theses behind its investment in podcasts is that they spur higher engagement for the music side of the house: Users who listen to podcasts on average listen to more music, according to the company. Now Spotify has new stats it says demonstrate that flywheel effect as it relates to Rogan’s show, which has more than 14 million followers on the platform.

Gary Clark Jr
Grammy-winning blues guitarist and singer Gary Clark Jr. was the featured guest on “The Joe Rogan Experience” on Friday, March 22. Clark Jr. joined Rogan timed to the drop of his latest album, “JPEG RAW,” and performed his song “Habits” off of the new album live in the podcast studio — a first on Rogan’s show. (Watch a clip at this link.)

As a result, Clark Jr.’s music saw a significant jump in consumption on Spotify. In the 72 hours following the episode’s release Friday, Clark Jr.’s streams increased 180% in the U.S. and 150% globally, compared with the previous daily averages in March.

“JRE” fans responded even more enthusiastically. Spotify saw a 500% increase globally in streams of Clark Jr.’s music in the same 72-hour period among listeners of “The Joe Rogan Experience.” In addition, Spotify registered an 80% increase in global user-generated playlist additions of the blues artist’s “Habits.” (Spotify declined to disclose number of streams, providing only percentage increases.)

Report: iHM Supporting PAC Backing Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's office has repeatedly dismissed ethical questions about his three-times-a-week podcasting gig, saying he makes no money from the venture with a company that lobbies Congress. 

But The San Antonio News-Express reports over the last year, iHeartMedia, the massive radio compoany that picked up the "Verdict with Ted Cruz" podcast in 2022, has made regular, and growing, payments to a super PAC supporting the Texas Republican's reelection effort. The payments, which the media company says are associated with ad revenue from the podcast, total $630,850 — about a third of the $2 million the Truth and Courage PAC reported raising since the start of 2023, according to the latest Federal Election Commission data.

Ethics and campaign finance experts say the payments appear to be a novel arrangement that blur the lines between what is allowed under campaign finance law and Senate ethics rules. Cruz is the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees the communications industry. 

"This is not an arrangement we’ve seen before, and it seems like Sen. Cruz is trying to find a way to walk the lines between not falling into an ethics violation and not falling into a campaign finance violation," said Shanna Ports, senior legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, which filed an ethics complaint about the senator's podcast deal in 2022. 

The Truth and Courage PAC's stated focus is "ensuring that Ted Cruz is re-elected to the United States Senate in 2024." It has already started rolling out ads targeting U.S. Rep Colin Allred, the Dallas Democrat and former NFL player running against Cruz in one of the highest-profile races in the nation this November.

Cruz is seen as one of the only potentially vulnerable Republicans in the Senate after narrowly winning reelection in 2018. Cruz’s campaign has been warning donors that the senator is already tied with Allred in polling and bracing for a tougher 2024 reelection campaign than GOP voters might expect. 

Ports said the payments from iHeartMedia beg "the question of whether this is an unlawful contribution." Federal officeholders are prohibited from soliciting a contribution of over $5,000 to a super PAC or directing over $5,000 to a super PAC. So if Cruz told iHeartMedia that it could or should move money to the super PAC, he could be in violation of that law, Ports said. 

GOP Mulls Plan To Restrict NBC News During Convention

The Republican National Committee is mulling whether to limit NBC's access at its convention this summer over the network's decision to dump former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel on Tuesday, Politico reported Thursday.

Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump and RNC Chair Michael Whatley both railed against NBC's decision to part with McDaniel after four days due to the internal uprising over her hiring.

"We are taking a hard look at what this means for NBC's participation at the convention," Danielle Alvarez, a spokesperson for the RNC and the Trump campaign, told Politico. "Our priority is making sure this is a world-class event that allows President Trump to feature his message and vision in a fair way."

Newsmax reports the RNC doesn't control the credentialing to the convention; the House Periodical Press Gallery does. But the RNC could impact NBC's access to the perimeter around Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, host site of the Republican convention, according to the report. The RNC could also affect NBC's space for live shots, transportation, and hotel space, Politico reported.

McDaniel made just one appearance — on Sunday's "Meet The Press" — after NBC announced it had hired her as an on-air political contributor. But after days of being browbeaten on air by NBC and MSNBC talent, NBCUniversal News Group Chair Cesar Conde conceded defeat Tuesday night and announced he had parted ways with McDaniel, apologizing to his staff along the way.

"These Radical Left Lunatics are Crazy, and the top people at NBC are weak. They were Broken and Embarrassed by Low Ratings, Highly Overpaid, 'Talent.' Bring back free and fair press — Make America Great Again 2024!" Trump posted Tuesday night after McDaniel was axed.