Saturday, April 13, 2024

Radio History: April 14


➦In 1912...Two young wireless radio operators at Cape Race, Newfoundland, Robert Hunston and James Goodwin heard the first distress call from the luxury liner RMS Titanic, en route to New York south of the Grand Banks. An iceberg had grazed the ship’s side, popping iron rivets and shearing off a fatal number of hull plates below the waterline. The great ship, on its maiden voyage, sank just under three hours later. 1,517 passengers were lost at sea.

➦In 1925...Baseball's Chicago Cubs broadcast a regular season game for the first time on WGN-AM.

➦In 1930...Robert Ripley overcame his shyness and a stutter to host the first of his Believe It Or Not radio programs on NBC, about strange and freakish facts.  The show would intrigue listeners on various networks for the next 18 years.

➦In 1942...Detroit radio priest, Father Charles E. Coughlin was censured for anti-Semitism.  U-S Attorney General Francis Biddle wrote a letter to the Postmaster General, Frank Walker, and suggested revoking the second-class mailing privilege of the publication Social Justice, which would make it impossible for Coughlin to deliver newspaper to his readers.

Chicago Radio: Happy 100-Years to WLS-AM

Cumulus Media's News/Talk station WLS-AM 890 celebrated 100 years on-air Friday. On April 12, 1924, at 6:00pm, an experiment in radio took to the airwaves and “W-L-S, The Sears-Roebuck Station, Chicago!” was live on-air. 100 years later, the station looks back to honor those who made 890 WLS-AM what it is today. What started as a station for farmers evolved into the epicenter for rock ‘n’ roll in the 60s and 70s and for the past 30 years, has been the home for news and talk in Chicago.

WLS-AM 890 will air a two-part 100 anniversary special on Saturday, April 13th and on Sunday, April 14th, from 4:00pm-8:00pm each day, hosted by Jeff Davis.

Marv Nyren, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Chicago, said: “WLS is bigger than a destination on your radio dial – it’s a Chicago institution and treasure. 100 years ago, radio was simply sound communication via radio waves but there's nothing simple about the impact of WLS on Chicago. WLS has been a neighbor, a friend, and a mentor for people in Chicagoland. It's been a place where people can go for entertainment and information - and it’s been a companion to the biggest moments in history. We are excited to usher in WLS-AM’s next 100 years with Chicago’s best audio content on-air, online, on-demand, and onsite.”

Stephanie Tichenor, Program Director, 890 WLS-AM, commented: "We are not bound by physical limits. WLS is on your phone, your smart speakers, in your car, and on your desktop. Our signal only grows in this digital world, and we will continue to grow and evolve thanks to our amazing team. Please join us in wishing the Big 89 a Happy 100th Birthday and here's to the next century of WLS, radio, and Chicago!”

🎧For more information or to stream WLS-AM 890, visit:

🎧WLS Makes Radio History: HERE

Pittsburgh Radio: Cale & Amanda Get Wake-Up Duty At Country Y108

Audacy unveils a new morning show starring Cale Berger and Amanda Gorecki on Y108 (WDSY-FM) in Pittsburgh. The duo will be heard weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. ET.

“As native Pittsburghers, Cale and Amanda will connect with our local listeners on many levels, and their passionate energy should allow them to be one of the next great morning shows in the city,” said Michael Spacciapolli, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Pittsburgh.

“I am beyond appreciative of this opportunity with Y108. Pittsburgh is incredible and home to some of America's best country music fans,” said Berger. “I was raised on country radio and could not be more excited to join Amanda on this adventure.”

Berger, 2021 recipient of the Media Association of Pittsburgh's Rising Star Award, has been with Audacy for seven years, serving as Producer, On-Air Personality and Director of Social Media, helping to earn KDKA News Radio (KDKA-AM/100.1-FM) a Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Award for outstanding digital presence. He will continue covering football and men’s basketball on the Pitt Panthers Radio Network alongside this new role.

“As a lifelong Pittsburgher, I'm thrilled to transition to this new role as I officially join the Y108 family and engage directly with our listeners,” said Gorecki. “I love country music and this community, and I can't wait to partner with Cale to kick start your mornings!”

Gorecki has been with Audacy since 2017 in various roles.

📻Listeners can tune in to Y108 (WDSY-FM) in Pittsburgh on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via X, Facebook and Instagram.

Milwaukee Radio: WSSP Adds New Local Weekday Show

Audacy introduces a new local weekday show hosted by Steve “Sparky” Fifer on 1250 AM The Fan (WSSP-AM) in Milwaukee. “Wisconsin Sports Daily” will air weekdays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT beginning April 15.

“I'm super excited to be hosting ‘Wisconsin Sports Daily,’ and I can't wait to talk about our favorite sports teams with our loyal listeners,” said Fifer. “The opportunity to host great guests to add to our conversations is a plus. Let's bring some passion back into sports talk radio in Milwaukee!”

As the first daily show since August 2022, “Wisconsin Sports Daily” will fill weekdays with discussions about Milwaukee sports, guest interviews and interactions between Fifer and his listeners.

Fifer is the Assistant Program Director and on-air host at 1250 AM The Fan, where he covers the Milwaukee Bucks, Green Bay Packers, and Professional Bowlers Association (PBA). He has been with the station since its start in January 2005. Fifer hosts a Bucks postgame show and numerous podcasts, including Curd & Long, Green and Growing and Spare/Time Bowling Show. He also helps run Audacy’s BetQL Network in other markets.

📻Listeners can tune in to 1250 AM The Fan (WSSP-AM) in Milwaukee on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via X, Facebook and Instagram.

Matter of Survival: Audacy and ElevenLabs Strike Partnership

Audacy is partnering with voice AI research and deployment company ElevenLabs to augment its existing programming and production workflows.

Through ElevenLabs’ market-leading synthetic voice capabilities, this partnership will create a robust library of voices for Audacy to deliver custom experiences for listeners and advertising clients. Audacy will infuse creator-led ideas and concepts with ElevenLabs’ technology to further bolster its programmers' and talents’ unique ability to engage deeply with audiences at scale.

“By experimenting with ElevenLabs’ synthetic voice capabilities, we're transforming how we connect with our listeners and create value for our advertising partners,” said Jeff Sottolano, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming, Audacy. “By streamlining workflows, this collaboration will empower creators with more bandwidth to focus on the exceptional content and listening experiences our audiences love and expect from Audacy.”

“Through our work with Audacy, we’re bringing new voices to life, making radio more diverse and accessible for everyone,” says Carles Reina, Vice President of Revenue, ElevenLabs. “This technology also means we can produce more creator-led content faster, keeping up with the speed of today’s world.”

ElevenLabs is a voice AI research and deployment company with a mission to make content universally accessible in any language and voice. ElevenLabs creates the most realistic, versatile, and contextually aware AI audio, providing the ability to generate speech in hundreds of new and existing voices in 29 languages. As a technology research company, ElevenLabs is at the forefront of developing new cutting-edge voice AI. The company deploys the most advanced models and features accessible via web app or API to a user base from creators to publishers and beyond.

Report: NY Times Struggles With Internal Turmoil

The New York Times is currently grappling with internal turmoil. In recent weeks, Charlotte Behrendt, a senior editor responsible for investigating workplace matters within the newsroom, has conducted interviews with nearly 20 employees. 

The Wall Street Journal reports the purpose of these interviews is to ascertain whether any staff members leaked confidential information related to the coverage of the Gaza war to an external media outlet.

The situation is the latest in a series of internal crises at the Times. The management has been at odds with various factions within the newsroom over issues such as union negotiations and the handling of sensitive topics, including those related to the transgender community and social justice. Notably, reporting on the Gaza war has been a contentious point, particularly regarding an in-depth article that highlighted how Hamas weaponized sexual violence during the October 7 attacks on Israel. Some staff members raised questions about the reporting and alleged that the suffering of Gazans was not receiving equal attention. However, Times leaders reaffirmed their support for the reporting.

The internal investigation was specifically aimed at identifying the source of a leak related to a planned podcast episode about the aforementioned article. The intensity and scope of this probe signal that the Times’s leadership, after years of clashes with its workforce over various issues related to journalistic integrity, is now drawing a firm line. Executive Editor Joe Kahn expressed concern about the breakdown of trust and collaboration within the editorial process when confidential information is leaked externally. He also highlighted the challenge of integrating a new generation of workers who may have different expectations and social values.

While the New York Times remains a powerhouse in the news-publishing world, its culture has come under strain. As the organization continues to evolve, it faces the task of instilling values like independence and maintaining neutrality even as it adapts to changing dynamics in the workplace. The tension between tradition and innovation is a familiar story across companies, but at the Times—a standard-setter in American journalism—the stakes are particularly high.

TV Ratings: Masters First Round Jumps 28 Percent

ESPN’s live telecast of the first round of the Masters Tournament on Thursday, April 11, averaged 3.2 million viewers, the highest for the first round since 2015 and a jump of 28 percent in viewership over last year’s first round. 

The telecast aired from 3-8:06 p.m. ET and the audience peaked at 3.8 million in the 6:15 p.m. quarter hour.

Last year’s first round of the Masters Tournament averaged 2.5 million viewers on ESPN.

The Welcome to the Masters lead-in program averaged 594,000 viewers from 1-3 p.m. on ESPN.

For the two weekend days of the Masters, live streaming coverage of Featured Groups and Featured Holes (Holes 4, 5 and 6, Amen Corner and Holes 15 and 16) continues on ESPN+ all day, each day of the Tournament.

In addition to the live streaming coverage on ESPN+, SportsCenter and will continue to report from the Masters throughout the weekend.

Fox Reporter: Middle East Is Tense

Jennifer Griffin, a seasoned national security correspondent at Fox News, recently shared her grave concerns about the escalating tensions in the Middle East. With over 30 years of experience covering the region, she delivered a stark assessment during an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business.

“Hi Neil,” Griffin began, “I’ve been covering the Middle East for 30 years, as you know, and I have never seen things so tense with the potential for a wider war breaking out between Israel and Iran, which could draw the U.S. and others into a wider Middle East conflict.” Her words carried weight, emphasizing the gravity of the situation.

Until now, the U.S. has primarily faced Iranian proxies. However, recent events have heightened the stakes. Following an Israeli strike in Damascus, Syria, on April 1st—where an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general and six other top Iranian commanders were killed—Iran appears poised to retaliate. The threat looms large, with the possibility of a massive show of force targeting Israeli territory. The U.S. has pre-positioned additional military assets in the region, and attacks by the Houthis (supported by Iran) continue to pose a threat to U.S. ships in the Red Sea. Tensions are at an all-time high.

Israeli warplanes patrol the skies along the borders, and Israel’s military remains on high alert. The U.S. embassy has advised Americans working there not to leave Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or Be’er Sheva in the coming days and to avoid travel to the north or south of Israel. General Erik Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, is in Israel, briefing defense counterparts on the latest intelligence.

Griffin noted that Iran’s unusual telegraphing of its response may leave room for de-escalation. While Iran typically relies on proxies and terrorism, its current posturing suggests a different approach. As all eyes turn to Iran’s supreme leader, the world awaits further developments. The delicate balance between war and diplomacy hangs in the balance, and Griffin’s decades of experience underscore the gravity of the situation.

NPR Boss Rebukes Editor's Bombshell Essay

NPR President and CEO Katherine Maher swiftly responded to veteran editor Uri Berliner’s bombshell essay, expressing her strong disapproval. She characterized Berliner’s questioning of NPR’s integrity as “profoundly disrespectful, hurtful, and demeaning.” In a memo to staff, Maher emphasized the critical role of public media in fostering an informed public. She stated, “At its best, our work can help shape and illuminate the very sense of what it means to have a shared public identity as fellow Americans in this sprawling and enduringly complex nation”.

Berliner’s essay had caused turmoil within the liberal news organization. His critique targeted both the quality of NPR’s editorial process and the integrity of its journalists. Maher’s forceful response underscores the gravity of the situation and the organization’s commitment to maintaining its reputation and mission.

Maher boasted about the NPR staff, saying "their presence across America is foundational to our mission: serving and engaging audiences that are as diverse as our nation: urban and rural, liberal and conservative, rich and poor, often together in one community." 

Maher acknowledged that NPR's audience has "unquestionably changed" in recent years, but touted how "we have earned new trust from younger, more diverse audiences, particularly in our digital experiences. These audiences constitute new generations of listeners, are more representative of America, and our changing patterns of listening, viewing, and reading." 

MLB Phillies' Tom McCarthy Reaches 15-Year Milestone

The Phillies Tom McCarthy

When Tom McCarthy signed a deal to return to the Philadelphia Phillies broadcast team in 2008, the move was viewed as part of a succession plan for the legendary Harry Kalas.

According to The Philadelphia Business Journal the plan called for McCarthy to sub for Kalas on television play-by-play for the middle three innings with color commentators Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews as well as serve as a sideline reporter.

The New Jersey native thought he would have a decade to ease into Kalas’ primary role. The team won the World Series that year but soon tragedy moved up McCarthy’s timeline.

On April 13, 2009, Kalas collapsed in the booth shortly before the Phillies were set to play the Washington Nationals in Washington, D.C. He was pronounced dead less than an hour later, with the cause being heart disease. Kalas had been the team’s primary broadcaster since 1971 and had recently been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

There were few people in Philadelphia more beloved than Kalas. He was the soundtrack of summer for generations of local baseball fans. McCarthy was now tasked with succeeding him on the fly.

Harry Kalas
Him stepping into the role was an initial shock to the system for longtime Phillies fans who had only known Kalas as their voice of the team. Criticism came from local fans and media. Matthews tried to encourage him early on by pointing out that someone had to succeed Hall of Fame players such as Willie Mays.

“I love this city and I love the fans, because I feel like I'm built like them as a sports fan,” said McCarthy, who is 55. “And I knew it would take time. I'd never took any of it personally, at all. It's just not my makeup. My makeup is to grind. To be a really good teammate. That's one of the biggest things to make everybody around me feel like they're part of our Phillies family. Those are my goals. The rest of it, I knew would take care of itself eventually.”

As the 15th anniversary of McCarthy’s tenure as the Phillies main TV play-by-play announcer on NBC Sports Philadelphia is shortly approaching, a generation of fans have now grown up with only knowing the man affectionately called TMac as the voice of the team. He said some wise words from Kalas helped him navigate his early years in the role and create his own legacy.

“He always told me and [radio play-by-play man Scott Franzke] that we had to be ourselves,” McCarthy said. “We couldn't try to be him or anybody else. And that was really important because we're all cut from totally different cloths. That's what makes every broadcast different.”

Philly Radio: Newsradio KYW To Air Primary Debate

Audacy’s KYW Newsradio (103.9 FM and 1060 AM) will host a primary debate moderated by award-winning anchor Ian Bush leading up to the Pennsylvania Attorney General election. Democrats Keir Bradford-Grey, Eugene DePasquale, Joe Kahn, Jared Solomon and Jack Stollsteimer will face each other live on April 17 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET during KYW Newsradio’s highly-rated “Philadelphia's Morning News with Ian Bush & Carol MacKenzie.”

All candidates will be on stage in the KYW Newsradio studio space, except DePasquale, who will join remotely via Zoom.

“We're proud that KYW Newsradio continues to be the place for comprehensive coverage of Pennsylvania politics, especially in such a crucial election year,” said Kristina Koppeser, Brand Manager, KYW Newsradio. “Giving voters details on candidates and their platforms is a vital part of our mission to inform.”

The debate will consist of opening statements from candidates and blocks of questions on various public interest topics, including a lightning round of rapid response yes/no answers.

This broadcast follows KYW Newsradio’s mayoral debate in the fall between Democratic nominee Cherelle Parker and Republican nominee David Oh. Community Impact Reporter Racquel Williams will be returning for this event alongside Suburban Bureau Chief Jim Melwert.

KYW Newsradio invited GOP candidates Craig Williams and David Sunday to a separate live debate. Williams accepted, while Sunday, the GOP-endorsed candidate, declined.

📻Listeners can tune in to the event on KYW Newsradio (103.9 FM and 1060 AM) in Philadelphia on air and nationwide on the Audacy app and website. Fans can also connect with the station via X, Facebook and Instagram.

R.I.P.: Robert MacNeil, Longtime PBS News Anchor

Robert MacNeil (1931-2024)

Robert MacNeil, a pioneer of public media journalism and a driving force behind the show that would become the PBS NewsHour, passed away on Friday at the age of 93. His lifelong passion for language, literature, and the arts shaped his remarkable career. MacNeil’s commitment to respectful, intelligent storytelling left an indelible mark on journalism.

Throughout his career, MacNeil covered significant events and interviewed influential figures. He was on the ground in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. His interviews included luminaries such as Martin Luther King Jr., Ayatollah Khomeini, Fidel Castro, and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. However, his most significant breakthrough came with the 1973 Senate Watergate hearings, which he covered in a gavel-to-gavel primetime series. This Emmy-winning coverage marked a turning point for daily news on PBS and led to the creation of The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, later known as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, and eventually, the PBS NewsHour.

Radio History: April 13

➦In 1922..KHJ Los Angeles officially signed on.

KHJ - 1927

Today KHJ is owned and operated by Relevant Radio, Inc., the station broadcasts Roman Catholic religious programming as an affiliate of the Relevant Radio network.

KHJ was first licensed on March 18, 1922 to C. R. Kierulff & Company in Los Angeles, for operation on the 360 meter entertainment wavelength. The Kierulff company acted as contractors responsible for installing the station in the Los Angeles Times building at First and Broadway, and in November the newspaper's owner, the Times Mirror Company, became the official licensee.  The KHJ call letters were randomly assigned from a roster of available call signs, although the station quickly adopted the slogan "Kindness, Happiness and Joy".  Test transmissions began on April 8th.  The station's formal debut broadcast was held on April 13th from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m.

In April 1965, programming consultant Bill Drake crafted KHJ's top 40 format. Drake hired program director Ron Jacobs, who had created formats in Hawaii and California. The format, known as "Boss Radio", featured a restricted playlist and restrained commentary by announcers (although a few, such as Robert W. Morgan, Charlie Tuna, Humble Harve Miller, and The Real Don Steele, were allowed to develop on-air personas). 

Other DJs from this era (1965–1980) included Roger Christian, Gary Mack, Dave Diamond, Beau Weaver, John Leader, Sam Riddle, Johnny Williams, Frank Terry, Johnny Mitchell, Tommy Vance, Scotty Brink, Steve Clark, Bobby Tripp, Tom Maule, and Bill Wade. One defining characteristic of Boss Radio was the jingles by the Johnny Mann Singers.

Drake's format spread throughout North America, bringing high ratings to KFRC in San Francisco, WFIL in Philadelphia, KGB in San Diego, WQXI in Atlanta, WRKO in Boston, and CKLW in Windsor, Ontario, Canada (serving Detroit). Drake and his business partner Gene Chenault brought many of their announcers from the other Boss stations, using those stations as a farm system to develop talent.

The station switched to a country music radio format in 1980 and back to pop music in 1983. In 1986, KHJ changed its call letters to KRTH, adopting an oldies format as a sister station to KRTH-FM 101.1 FM. Three years later, the station was sold to Liberman Broadcasting who aired Spanish-language formats from 1990 to 2014, using the call letters KKHJ until 2000, when it regained its original calls.

➦In 1930...WHOM AM NYC signed on.

This station was founded in 1925 by the New Jersey Broadcasting Corp., owned by Outdoor Advertising executive Harry O'Mealia, whose company owned thousands of billboards around the metropolitan area. WHOM was originally a Jersey City station, having taken over 1450 AM from the merged WIBS/WKBO.

WHOM debuted with a 15 minute inaugural broadcast on April 13, 1930 at 5:45pm. The host was chief announcer Howard Lepper, previously the manager of WIBS. Then, according to,  the station left the air to make time for WNJ and WBMS, returning to the air at 9pm for a gala show that lasted until 2am. In 1931, WHOM absorbed the airtime of WNJ, and the following year, it became a full-time station with the demise of WBMS.

In 1946, WHOM officially changed their "city of license" from Jersey City to New York.

In 1989, the station was sold to Infinity Broadcasting, owners of WXRK 92.3, among others. Calls were changed to WZRC on April 28, 1990 and the station instituted a heavy-metal rock format as "Z-Rock," a service of the Dallas-based Satellite Music Network and was so anxious to enter the New York market. In December 1992, WZRC switched to country music.

Then in 1993, Infinity signed a lease agreement with a Korean programming service making WZRC 1480  the first full-time Korean-language station in New York.

➦In 1953...Music ‘Til Dawn with host Bob Hall premiered on WCBS 880 AM NYC. American Airlines owned the program.  The show also aired on five other CBS-owned stations in cities served by the airline. The list of cities expanded to include at least eight others, with many hosts over the years all bearing the signature "soothing" voice.

Friday, April 12, 2024

4/12 WAKE-UP CALL: Prostate Cancer Murdered O-J

O.J. Simpson, the football star criminally acquitted of killing his ex-wife, died of cancer. The 76-year-old was one of the greatest running backs in college and pro football history before becoming an actor and celebrity pitchman. Simpson’s sensational 1995 trial triggered debates over racism in the U.S. criminal justice system. His professional reputation never recovered. Since the case, Simpson lost a wrongful-death suit related to the killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, wrote a book that he said was a hypothetical tale of how he would have killed them, and spent nine years in prison on robbery and kidnapping charges. He was paroled in 2017.

➤KATO BELIEVES O-J DID IT: Kato Kaelin, an actor who was living in a guest house on O.J. Simpson's property at the time Simpson’s former wife and her friend were murdered, said he hopes the former football star did penance before he died Wednesday of prostate cancer at 76. Kaelin, who gained worldwide attention when testifying at the criminal trial in which Simpson was acquitted of the murders that took place in 1994, said he thinks Simpson was guilty of the killings.

➤MORTGAGE RATES CLIMB: Mortgage rates climbed again, threatening the housing revival that many people had hoped for this year. The average rate on the standard 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 6.88%, up from 6.82% a week earlier, according to mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac’s lender survey, and the Mortgage Bankers Association’s measure of average mortgage rates rose to 7% this week. 

Rates were lower at the start of the year, but now expectations that the Fed will cut interest rates several times—or even once—in 2024 have dropped. Mortgage rates aren’t directly tied to those moves but tend to loosely follow the 10-year Treasury yield, which posted its largest one-day gain in more than 18 months yesterday.

➤IRAN HOPES TO AVOID MAJOR ESCALATION: Iran has signaled to Washington that it will respond to Israel's attack on its Syrian embassy in a way that aims to avoid major escalation and it will not act hastily, as Tehran presses demands including a Gaza truce, Iranian sources said. Iran's message to Washington was conveyed by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian during a visit on Sunday to the Gulf Arab state of Oman, which has often acted as an intermediary between Tehran and Washington, the sources said. A White House spokesperson declined to comment on any messages from Iran but said the United States has communicated to Iran that it was not involved in the strike on the embassy.

➤ISRAEL DEBATES EXEMPTIONS: The Gaza war is shaking young Israelis who had been largely spared the violence and existential fears their parents and grandparents endured. More than 300 Israeli soldiers were killed in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks—along with several hundred civilians. At least 260 other soldiers have been killed in the fighting in Gaza, the highest number of military fatalities since a three-year war with Lebanon in the 1980s. Among the fallen soldiers, including many as young as 18, are left-leaning residents of kibbutzim, tech workers, members of the country’s non-Jewish minorities and Orthodox Religious Zionist students, who see fighting for Israel as part of their faith. Their growing prominence makes it harder to justify ultra-Orthodox Jews’ exemption from compulsory military service, a controversial privilege dating back to Israel’s founding. Around 33,500 people in Gaza have been killed, most of them civilians, Palestinian health authorities said.

➤HOSTAGES FATE: Fears are rising over the fate of the remaining hostages held in Gaza after Hamas said it was unsure whether it could bring forth 40 Israeli civilian captives as part of a U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal, according to officials familiar with the negotiations. The 40 hostages, including women, children, elderly men and those in fragile health, would be released under a U.S.-supported plan for a six-week cease-fire in the war in Gaza. In exchange, Israel would release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Instead, the militant group has been unable to confirm that it has enough civilian hostages to fulfill its end of the deal in the initial phase of the proposed plan, complicating talks toward a possible cease-fire in the six-month-old war that has left much of Gaza in ruins. A Hamas official said the group wouldn’t commit to releasing 40 living hostages but could commit to 40 hostages total, which could mean dead or alive.

Webinar: Workers Listening More to Radio

Listeners perceive themselves as listening more to local radio today than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is encouraging news. This insight is part of the “What Workers Want” study conducted by Point-To-Point Marketing and Strategic Solutions Research. The study delves into U.S. workers’ audio usage and covers various topics related to radio engagement and preferences.

Here are some key findings from the study:

  • Ease of Use: Despite a plethora of audio choices, radio’s ease of use remains a significant factor. Respondents believe they are using radio more than pre-COVID due to its simplicity.
  • Commuting Influence: Radio usage is driven by full-time workers who commute. Among this group, local radio still holds a 2:1 advantage.
  • Car Preference: In the car, radio triumphs over DSPs like Spotify by a ratio of 3:1.
  • Home Listening: However, at home, broadcast radio is losing ground with a 2:1 disadvantage.
  • Contesting Motivation: One out of four workers likely to participate in ratings say that contesting would motivate them to listen to more local radio.

The study also explores other aspects such as devices and headphone usage, marketing strategies, and social media engagement. If you’re interested, you can sign up for the remaining webinars in the series:

“The Workday and Headphone Usage”: Tuesday, April 23, 2 p.m. ET

“Contesting, Marketing, and a Profile of Likely Ratings Participants”: Thursday, May 2, 2 p.m. 

Jacobs Media to Present Techsurvey 2024 Results

Jacobs Media's  annual Techsurvey is the radio broadcasting industry's largest survey, with this year’s study seeing participation from 500 radio stations, yielding more than 31,000 surveys from core radio listeners.

The 20th annual study will be presented Thursday, April 25th at 2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT.  This year's survey is packed with rich data covering a variety of new topics, and we are excited to share these findings - along with all the familiar trending data on radio listener technology usage and behaviors - with you and your staff, including:

  • The in-car rebound, who is working from home, and how are both listening environments impacting radio overall? Radio faces fierce competition in the car, and home radios continue to disappear. Has radio maintained its edge in key listening locations?
  • What expectation do radio listeners have for engaging with their favorite radio personalities and hosts? What opportunities exist for on-air talent to build on radio’s local advantage?
  • Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) seen as exciting, worrisome, or both? How do radio listeners perceive AI’s personal and societal impact? And what are their expectations about how this technology may or may not be used by radio?

What can be learned about how and listeners tune to their favorite radio stations? The webinar will explore radio’s core strengths and examine the trends to see if there are any new vulnerabilities to address. Are personalities still overshadowing music on the hierarchy of why respondents listen to broadcast radio?

Techsurvey 2024 is presented in partnership with Inside Radio and is sponsored by Quu. To register for the webinar, please click: HERE

Journalist Slams CBS News For ‘Journalistic Rape’

Catherine Herridge, an esteemed investigative journalist formerly with CBS News, recently testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee on press freedoms. During the hearing, she used strong language to express her concerns about media practices.

Herridge accused CBS News of “journalistic rape” for their actions during her termination. Let’s delve into the context:

Contempt of Court and Confidential Sources: Earlier this year, Herridge was held in contempt of court for refusing to disclose her confidential sources related to a national security story. She faced a fine of $800 per day until she revealed these sources.

In her opening statement, Herridge shared the emotional toll this situation took on her and her family, including the fear of losing their home and savings.

CBS News’s Actions: When Herridge was laid off, CBS News locked her out of the building and seized hundreds of pages of her reporting files, including confidential source information. Multiple sources expressed concern that working with Herridge to expose government corruption and misconduct would lead to their identification and exposure.

With the support of her union, Sag-Aftra, Herridge successfully had her records returned.

The Red Line Crossed: Herridge firmly stated that CBS News’s decision to seize her reporting records crossed a red line that should never be crossed by any media organization in the future. She emphasized the importance of protecting confidential sources and investigative journalism.

Support and Impact: Herridge expressed gratitude for the support of fellow journalists and First Amendment organizations. She described CBS’s actions as an “attack on investigative journalism” and even likened the seizure of her records to “journalistic rape.”

This case highlights the delicate balance between press freedom, source protection, and responsible journalism. Herridge’s testimony underscores the need for robust legal protections for journalists and their sources.

Herridge testified before the Judiciary Committee at a hearing focused on the value of the First Amendment and protecting journalistic sources. Veteran journalist Sharyl Atkisson, SAG-AFTRA executive Mary Cavallaro and First Amendment expert Nadine Farid Johnson also delivered testimony.

Atkisson notoriously left CBS News in 2014 after two decades at the network for what she describes as favoritism towards former president Barack Obama. Both Atkisson and Herridge warned of the potential damage to investigative journalism if confidential sources cannot be guaranteed protection.

TV Ratings: 'World News Tonight' Tops Broadcast, Cable

For the week of April 1, 2024, Fox News had 81 of the week’s top 100 cable news telecasts, cementing its position as the No. 1 cable news network in total viewers and the Adults 25-54 demo. All cable news, however, saw massive audience declines in both measured categories, with the March Madness tournament, men’s and women’s, possibly keeping viewers away.

TV Newser reports Nielsen live plus same-day data for the week of April saw FNC average 1.907 million total viewers and 221,000 A25-54 viewers during primetime. The network was down in total viewers by -5% and -3% in the A25-54 demo, relative to the week prior (week beginning March 25).

In total day viewing, Fox News averaged 1.250 million total viewers and 152,000 A25-54 viewers. This translates to drops of -4% in total viewers and -5% in A25-54 from what Fox News averaged in those measurements the week prior. Among all basic cable networks, Fox News remained in 2nd place in total primetime viewers, with ESPN in 1st place, and stuck in 5th place in the primetime demo. In total day, the network held its No. 1 position in total viewers and fell one spot from No. 3 to No. 4 in the total day demo for the week of April 1.

MSNBC in primetime averaged 1.068 million total viewers and 88,000 viewers from the A25-54 demo for the week of April 1. It dropped by -12% in total viewers and -19% in the A25-54 demo from what the network averaged the week prior. CNN averaged 495,000 total primetime viewers and 85,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime for the week of April 1. The news net dipped -7% in total viewers and -19% in the A25-54 demo compared to the previous week..

Fox had 12 out of the 15 most-watched cable news shows of the week, led by The Five (2.958 million viewers at 5 p.m. ET). Deadline: White House with Nicole Wallace at 5 p.m. ET was MSNBC’s most-watched program, coming in at No. 10 with 1.469 million viewers. MSNBC took the remaining two spots within the top 15, with Deadline: White House at No. 12 with 1.450 million viewers (4 p.m. ET) and The Beat with Ari Melber at No. 13 with 1.439 million viewers (6 p.m. ET).

Gutfeld! reclaimed his top spot in the Adults 25-54 demo, averaging 307,000 A25-54 viewers at 10 p.m. ET. Fox News again led the way with 14 of the top 15 cable news shows in the demo overall, with MSNBC’s The Reidout holding on to the 15 spot with 128,000 viewers at 7 p.m. ET.


ABC's David Muir

“World News Tonight with David Muir” stood as the No. 1 program of the week in Total Viewers (7.830 million) on all of broadcast and cable (excluding sports) during the week of April 1, 2024, based on Live + Same Day Data from Nielsen Media Research.

Eclipse TV Ratings: ABC, Fox Win

TV Ratings have been released for Monday’s solar eclipse coverage:

Broadcast Networks:

  • ABC News (Eclipse Across America): Attracted 4.448 million total viewers and 920,000 viewers in the A25-54 demographic during the two-hour period (2-4 p.m. ET) when live coverage was provided.
  • CBS News (Total Eclipse of the Heartland): Garnered 2.705 million total viewers and 447,000 viewers in the A25-54 demographic (2-3:30 p.m. ET).
  • NBC News (Solar Eclipse: 2024): Captured 2.406 million total viewers and 483,000 viewers in the A25-54 demographic (2-4 p.m. ET).

Cable News Networks:

  • Fox News (America’s Total Eclipse): Led all cable news networks with 2.1 million total viewers and 210,000 viewers in the A25-54 demographic during the three-hour period (1-4 p.m. ET) when cable networks offered coverage.
  • CNN (Eclipse Across America): Attracted 1.7 million total viewers and 345,000 viewers in the A25-54 demographic.
  • MSNBC (Total Eclipse 2024): Had 895,000 total viewers and 118,000 viewers in the A25-54 demographic.

Streaming Front:

  • NBC News Now: Achieved its second-best day this year during the two-hour (2-4 p.m. ET) coverage window. The livestream ranked among the network’s top five largest afternoon audiences on record and was the largest since the Donald Trump arraignment on April 4, 2023.

The solar eclipse was a highly-anticipated celestial spectacle, and viewers tuned in across various platforms to witness this rare event. ABC News led the broadcast networks, while Fox News topped the cable networks in viewership 

News Outlets Urge Biden-Trump Debates

ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, Fox News, and NewsNation have jointly drafted a letter imploring President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump to commit to participating in televised debates ahead of the 2024 election. 

The letter, which has not yet been sent, emphasizes the rich tradition that debates have played in American democracy. 

It urges the presumptive presidential nominees to publicly commit to participating in general election debates before November’s election. 

The Commission on Presidential Debates oversees these debates, and three are scheduled: on September 16 in San Marcos, Texas, October 1 in Petersburg, Virginia, and October 9 in Salt Lake City. 

While Trump has stated that he will take part, Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has not yet committed to appearing, citing concerns about Trump following the debate rules.

Biden has repeatedly declined to commit to participating in the three debates scheduled for September and October. His aides say they are concerned that the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonpartisan group that has organized the telecasts since 1988, will be unable to enforce the rules when Trump takes the stage.

Presidential debates remain among the most watched events on TV, although the Trump-Biden debates in 2020 did not attract as many viewers as the debates between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

NPR CEO: Left Bias Is A 'Perception Problem'

National Public Radio (NPR) finds itself embroiled in controversy over allegations of liberal bias. Let’s delve into the details:

Uri Berliner’s Whistleblowing: Berliner, a senior business editor and reporter with 25 years of experience at NPR, penned a scathing letter. In this essay titled “I’ve Been at NPR for 25 years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust,” Berliner accused NPR of:

  • Lack of “viewpoint diversity”: He claimed that NPR’s audience no longer trusts the broadcaster due to its ideological tilt and lack of openness.
  • Embrace of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives: Berliner argued that while NPR’s audience had always leaned left, it could no longer claim ideological neutrality.

Editorial staff composition: He highlighted that among NPR’s editorial staff in Washington, DC, there were 87 registered Democrats and zero Republicans.

Hunter Biden laptop story: Berliner alleged that senior editors at NPR refused to cover the Hunter Biden laptop story during the 2020 election, fearing it would impact Trump’s re-election chances.

NPR’s Response: Edith Chapin, NPR’s editor-in-chief, strongly disagreed with Berliner’s assessment. She defended NPR’s “exceptional work” and emphasized the importance of inclusion in their coverage. Chapin maintained that NPR’s journalism was critical for telling nuanced stories about the country and the world.

Public Funding and Perception: Vivian Schiller, NPR’s Chief Executive, challenged critics to find evidence of liberal bias in NPR’s coverage. She considered the accusation a mere “perception problem” and stood by NPR’s journalism.

NPR faces continuing scrutiny over its journalistic integrity, audience trust, and the delicate balance between viewpoint diversity and editorial responsibility. The controversy underscores the challenges public broadcasters encounter in maintaining public trust while navigating political landscapes.

NAB Leadership Foundation Honors Outstanding Broadcasters

The National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation (NABLF) has announced the recipients of the 2024 Celebration of Service to America Awards, which recognize outstanding service to their communities by local television and radio stations. Winners will be honored at the awards ceremony on June 4, 2024, at The Anthem in Washington, D.C.

The Celebration of Service to America Awards, presented by Bonneville International and Hearst Television, is part of the NABLF’s mission to honor the exemplary and essential public service campaigns and philanthropic efforts that local radio and television stations lead in their markets across the country.

“Television and radio stations are the cornerstones of their communities, and they go above and beyond to serve their audiences,” said NAB Leadership Foundation President Michelle Duke. “From trusted reporting that uncovers corruption to fundraisers that help those in need, these stations are doing incredible work. We can’t wait to share their stories with everyone at the 2024 Celebration of Service to America gala in June.”

The following is the list of honorees by category:

Service to Community Award for Radio, Broadcast Ownership Group
Bonneville, Maui Strong

Service to Community Award for Television, Broadcast Ownership Group
Cox, Real Estate Racket

Service to Community Award for Radio, Large/Major Market

WFSH-FM, Salem Media Group, Atlanta, Ga., Acts of Love

Service to Community Award for Television – Large/Major Market
WANF-TV, Gray Television, Atlanta, Ga., In Plane Sight

Service to Community Award for Radio – Medium Market
KTXY-FM, Zimmer Communications, Columbia, Mo., Children's Miracle Network Radiothon

Service to Community Award for Television – Medium Market
KETV-TV, Hearst Television, Omaha, Neb., Voices of GenZ

Service to Community Award for Radio – Small Market
WLBC-FM, Woof Boom, Muncie, Ind., Muncie You-Nite

Service to Community Award for Television – Small Market
WJHG-TV, Gray Television, Panama City, Fla., Chapter Chat

R.I.P.: Tommy Gordon, Well-Known NJ Personality

Tommy Gordon (1957-2024)

Former WKXW New Jersey 101.5 personality  Tommy G died Monday.  His passing was disclosed on the station website. He was 67-years-old.

Tommy Gordon was the self-proclaimed "leader of the late night" from 2004-2009. He later worked at WCTC in New Brunswick before starting his own streaming program and then a podcast that focused on his adopted hometown of Manalapan.

"He was a great, great guy. He was greatly respected, very kind. He's admired. He was loved by all. People looked to him for advice on lots of thing," Manalapan Mayor Mary Ann Musich told New Jersey 101.5. "He had this Facebook page that everybody checked in on every morning. You would say 'good morning' and, kind of catch up with everybody in town."

Radio History: April 12


➦In 1924
...WLS-AM, Chicago signed-on.

After buying time on radio stations in the early days of broadcasting, Sears Roebuck & Co. in Chicago decided to start its own station.  Its first test broadcasts used the call sign WBBX and then WES (“World’s Economy Store”).  On April 12, 1924, the station became WLS (“World’s Largest Store”).

In its first month, WLS started its “National Barn Dance” program, a live country-music showcase that was the direct predecessor of the Grand Ole Opry.

A Chicago radio manufacturer signed on WENR Radio in 1925. The station entered a time-sharing agreement with WBCN Radio.  An investor bought both stations in 1927. He later sold the licenses to NBC.  The network kept WENR on the air.  It shared a frequency with WLS for decades.  One station would sign off and another would sign on.

Sears sold WLS to the “Prairie Farmer” magazine in 1928.  The radio station became an essential part of agriculture in the Midwest.  Farmers relied heavily on agricultural news, commodity prices and weather reports from WLS.

WENR-WLS boosted power to 50,000 watts in 1932, beaming its programming over much of the nation.  Despite its part-time status, the station built a large amount of goodwill and a huge audience.

In addition to farm programming, WLS offered entertainment and educational programs.  It also made history in news broadcasting. WLS reporter Herb Morrison famously said, “Oh the humanity!” as he watched the 1937 Hindenberg crash in Lakehurst, N.J.  The recorded account aired the next day over NBC.

The station also experimented successfully in many forms of news broadcasting, including weather and crop reports. Its most famous news broadcast was the report of the Hindenburg disaster by Herbert Morrison.



For about 15 years WLS shared it's frequency with WENR as part of the NBC Blue Network. In 1941 WLS changed frequency from 870 to 890 kilocycles with 50 kw of power. The transmitter site was in Chicago's south suburb of Crete, Illinois from 1924 to 1938. In 1938, they moved to it's current location in Tinley Park.

WLS was an NBC Blue Network affiliate during radio’s golden age.  NBC was forced to sell the Blue Network, which became ABC.  In 1954, ABC bought a controlling interest in WENR-WLS, combining the two into WLS.  The network bought WLS outright in 1959.

The ABC era brought a major change.  The staid, conservative WLS that brought Midwesterners a steady diet of farm reports, news and weather, general-interest music and entertainment and the “National Barn Dance” became a Top 40 station at 6 a.m. on May 2, 1960.   ABC created one of the nation’s most influential radio stations in the rock era, attracting millions of listeners each week.

Here’s a sample of a 1962 aircheck featuring Dick Biondi:

By the late 1980s, it was an adult contemporary station during the day and offered talk programming at night. WLS switched to its current full-time news/talk format in 1989.  Cumulus Media now owns the station.