Saturday, April 27, 2024

Radio History: April 28

➦In 1922...WOI-AM, Ames, Iowa, became the country's first licensed educational radio station.

The history of WOI can be traced back to 1911 when Physics Professor "Dad" Hoffman set a transmission line between the Campus Water Tower and the Engineering Building and set up a wireless telegraph station. By 1913 this was known as experimental station 9YI and it was sending and receiving weather reports by morse code on a regular basis. The first sound broadcast was an hour of concert music on November 21, 1921.

The Commerce Department issued a full radio license for station WOI in April 1922 and the first regular broadcast took place on April 28, 1922. It is the oldest fully licensed noncommercial station west of the Mississippi River. The original callsign 9YI is now WOYI and is retained by the ISU Campus Radio Club, with the amateur radio station located in the Electrical Engineering building.  The first regular programming on WOI was farm market reports gathered by ticker tape and morse code and broadcast throughout the state.

➦In 1932..."One Man's Family" was first aired on the NBC Radio Network.

One Man's Family, was an American radio soap opera, heard for almost three decades, from 1932 to 1959. It was the longest-running uninterrupted dramatic serial in the history of American radio. Television versions of the series aired in prime time from 1949 to 1952 and in daytime from 1954 to 1955.

One Man's Family debuted as a radio series on April 29, 1932 in Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco, moving to the full West Coast NBC network the following month, sponsored by Snowdrift and Wesson Oil. On May 17, 1933, it expanded to the full coast-to-coast NBC network as the first West Coast show heard regularly on the East Coast. The show was broadcast as a weekly half-hour series (1933-1950), sponsored by Standard Brands from 1935 through 1949, then shifted to daily 15-minute installments, initially originating from the studios of San Francisco radio station KPO, NBC's flagship station for the West Coast, eventually moving to Los Angeles.

➥In 1958...Herb Oscar Anderson started at WMCA 570 AM NYC.   H-O-A became the morning personality at 77WABC during most of the 1960s.  When he arrived at WABC in 1960, the station was in the early stages of a battle for listeners with WMCA, WINS and WMGM. He was one of the station’s “Swingin’ 7” air personalities, a group that included Scott Muni and was known as the All Americans. But Anderson was a throwback in a changing music scene, a fan of the big band sound, not necessarily the rock ’n’ roll he was playing on a 50,000-watt station that reached well beyond the city limits.

As the station’s low-key “morning mayor,” Mr. Anderson had a mandate: to appeal to adults whose buying power was critical to advertisers, more than to the teenagers who were already tuning in. Each morning, his booming, melodic voice crooned his lyrics to his signature song, “Hello Again”:

“Hello again, here’s my best to you. Are your skies all gray? I hope they’re blue."

➦In 3 p.m., Top 40 radio visionary Bill Drake took over KHJ 930 AM in Los Angeles, and introduced the ‘Boss Radio‘ format, featuring the top hits of the day, quick jingles, fast DJ talk, and fewer commercials. Drake installed his protege Ron Jacobs as PD.  KHJ hit #1 within six months and was quickly copied across North America.

D/FW Radio: iHM Freaks Out, KEGL 97.1 FM Changes Format

KEGL 97.1 The Freak, launched in 2022, has undergone a significant format change. The station, known for its “free-flowing” talk format, is apparently no more. 

Here are the key details:

Format Shift: The station’s owner, iHeartMedia, announced a format change, leading to several firings. The frequency had previously abandoned its identity as The Eagle, which featured heavier rock music, to become 97.1 The Freak.

Legendary Voice Fired: Mike Rhyner (right), a Texas Radio Hall of Famer and co-founder of The Ticket, joined The Freak after coming out of retirement. He hosted the afternoon show called The Speakeasy. Unfortunately, he and the rest of the on-air crew were fired, including Jeff Cavanaugh and Julie Dobbs.

Flip to Rock Programming: The station will revert back to its original rock programming and adopt the Eagle branding once again. This change is set to take place on Monday, April 29.

How It Happened: The Freak aired its usual "The Downbeat" morning show with Danny Balis, Mike Sirois and Kevin Turner from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., then abruptly switched to a simulcast of WTKS-FM Orlando based “The News Junkie” instead of the regularly scheduled "The Ben & Skin Show" with Ben Rogers, Jeff "Skin" Wade, Krystina Ray and Steve Shackleford from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and "The Speakeasy" with Rhyner, Jeff Cavanaugh, Julie Dobbs and Michael "Grubes" Gruber from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

President Tells Stern He'll Debate Trump

President Biden said on Friday that he would participate in a general-election debate with former President Donald J. Trump, a striking shift after months in which he and his campaign declined to commit to appearing onstage with his Republican rival.

Biden’s announcement, made in response to a question from the radio host Howard Stern on SiriusXM, comes after pressure from television networks and Trump’s campaign for the president to agree to participate in debates.

When Stern asked Mr. Biden if he would debate Trump, the president replied: “I am, somewhere, I don’t know when, but I am happy to debate him.”

Biden’s remarks appeared to be off the cuff, rather than a planned announcement of a shift in his campaign’s strategy, according to a top Democratic official familiar with its thinking. The Biden campaign directed questions on Friday about whether its stance on debates had changed to Biden’s comments on the Stern program.

On Stern's Show Friday, Biden made the following claims...

This month, the five major TV news networks and The Associated Press wrote an unusual letter to the Biden and Trump campaigns urging them to debate. Some of Mr. Biden’s top aides and closest advisers have been longtime critics of the presidential debate system, which is organized by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.

'Nerd Prom' to Air Live Saturday Night

Journalists, politicians and entertainers will gather tonight to eat, laugh and raise money at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

President Joe Biden will attend and speak at the event, which some have jokingly dubbed “nerd prom.” “Saturday Night Live” veteran Colin Jost will be the featured entertainer.

The dinner begins at 8 p.m. Eastern at the Washington Hilton Hotel and will be televised on C-SPAN. ABC News Live, CNN and MSNBC are also airing coverage.

FOX News Channel’s Jimmy Failla will host FOX News Saturday Night from the red carpet at the 2024 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Emanating from the Washington Hilton from 9-11 PM/ET, Failla’s show will feature interviews with celebrities in attendance, as well as FOX News Media personalities attending the dinner, including White House correspondent Peter Doocy, FOX News Sunday anchor Shannon Bream and America Reports co-anchor Sandra Smith, among others. Failla will also react to President Joe Biden and host Colin Jost’s speeches during the dinner.

NY1,com reports the dinner, which began in 1921, raises money to support journalists who cover the president, provides scholarships for future reporters and educates the public about the value of a free press.

“Colin Jost knows how to make Saturday nights funny, and I am thrilled Colin will be live from the nation’s capital as the headline entertainer for this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” WHCA President Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News, who is hosting the event, said in a statement in February when the association announced Jost would be performing.

Aside from Jost and Biden, this year’s dinner guest list includes actors Rachel Brosnahan, Fran Drescher, Jon Hamm, Scarlett Johansson (who is married to Jost), Andrew McCarthy, Chris Pine, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Molly Ringwald and Hiro Sanada, as well as rapper Quavo. 

Among the political figures expected to attend are Vice President Kamala Harris; first lady Jill Biden; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.; Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. 

“My hope is that we can use this night overall to remind people about why a free press is so vitally important, especially in a campaign year,” O’Donnell told Deadline. “I want the night to also reflect on members. I want them to see themselves in the evening. When we gather for these White House Correspondents’ dinners, there’s always a lot of fun, a lot of energy, all of those good things. I wanted to also feel like it’s about the story of the press corps and why our work matters.”

Report: Bob Bakish May Be A Short-Timer At Paramount Global

Paramount Global is reportedly considering removing longtime CEO Bob Bakish and replacing him with a group of executives as the entertainment giant inches closer to a deal with Skydance Media.

The Wall Street Journal reports, Bakish, who has been privately critical of the company’s talks to merge with Skydance, would be replaced on an interim basis with an “Office of the CEO,” comprised of the company’s division heads. 

Bob Bakish
No decision has been made about Bakish’s future, however, and he may remain in place, but the speculation comes at a pivotal time for the conglomerate, which is controlled by media heiress Shari Redstone through her family business National Amusements. Paramount — home to Showtime, CBS, MTV, movie studio Paramount Pictures, and the streaming service Paramount+ — has been hammering out details for a merger with Skydance that it hopes to finalize next month. 

But Redstone and some of the board members have “soured” on Bakish, questioning whether the CEO pursued strategic opportunities for the company “aggressively enough,” including a potential sale of the Showtime channel. 

Spokespeople for the Paramount Global special committee, Paramount Global, and Skydance declined to comment. Bakish, who had been viewed as Redstone’s right hand, was named CEO of Viacom in 2016. He was elevated to the top job after the daughter of the late Sumner Redstone merged the company with CBS in 2019. 

Shari Redstone
Bakish’s critics pointed to Paramount’s eroding TV business, loss-making streaming business, and debt-laden balance sheet. Redstone has blamed Bakish for the company’s overall predicament and what she views as missed chances to strike sound deals. 

People close to Redstone said the mogul was open to selling premium channel Showtime, home to “Billions,” “Dexter,” and “Yellowjackets,” but that Bakish turned down bids — even rejecting a $3 billion offer from former Showtime CEO David Nevins last year. 

Instead, Bakish folded Showtime and its content into Paramount+. Bakish supporters beg to differ, saying that the exec put the company on the map with streaming via its Paramount+ launch, acquisition of Pluto TV (an ad-supported TV streaming service), as well as maintaining CBS’s strong industry position, among other things. 

Paramount’s market value has plunged to $8.4 billion from $25.3 billion in 2019. Removing Bakish could add more chaos to an already turbulent time for Paramount as it explores the deal to merge with Skydance, run by David Ellison, son of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.

Borrell Unveils Top Digital Performers

According to Borrell Associates, radio’s largest operators have been witnessing a significant shift in revenue sources. As digital platforms continue to grow, the question arises: Which companies are leading the way in digital revenue?

Here are the key findings from Borrell’s 2024 Annual Benchmarking Report released this week.  

The report evaluates the digital revenue contributions of publicly traded US and Canadian media companies:

Entravision: Currently, Entravision leads the pack with an impressive 84.3% of its total revenue stemming from digital channels. However, this status is under threat due to the withdrawal of Meta from a major revenue deal, which could significantly impact Entravision’s digital earnings.

Townsquare Media: Townsquare Media secures the second position among radio contenders. Digital formats accounted for 52.3% of its total 2023 revenue.

Salem Media Group: Salem Media Group finishes third, with digital contributing 42.3% of its revenue. Note that this data may have changed in the last quarter of the year, as data from its radio segment was only released through the third quarter of 2023.

iHeartMedia: iHeartMedia rounds out the top five, with digital making up 30.5% of its revenue in 2023. This figure surpasses that of its competitors Urban One, Audacy, Cumulus Media, Beasley Media Group, and Saga Communications, which have digital revenue percentages under 10%.

While newspapers lead the way with a whopping 45.5% digital share, radio continues to outperform television in this arena.

NYC Radio: Student Run Radio Airs Coverage Of Protests

WKCR, Columbia University’s student radio station, has been playing a crucial role in covering the ongoing student protests on campus. As pro-Palestinian demonstrations continue to unfold, WKCR’s undergraduate reporters have become an essential news source, working tirelessly for up to 18 hours a day. A story in The Guardian recapped the details:

Quick Transition: On April 17, WKCR swiftly shifted its focus from music and specialized programming to breaking news. As students established a pro-Palestinian encampment on the university lawns, WKCR’s broadcasting studio became a hub of activity. Student journalists collaborated with field reporters to provide live coverage, capturing everything from police presence to performance arts clubs entertaining classmates.

Chaos and Thrills: WKCR’s live broadcasts have been as chaotic and thrilling as radio can get. During last Wednesday’s events, as NYPD officers arrested student protestors and Isra Hirsi (daughter of US Representative Ilhan Omar) faced suspension, WKCR reported directly from the encampment. The raw, unpolished dispatch conveyed the atmosphere of upheaval on campus, complete with audio gaps and hosts trying to keep up with the unfolding situation.

Dedicated Team: The station’s 19 reporters, mostly undergraduates, have been juggling their reporting duties with academic studies. Their commitment to delivering accurate news has been unwavering, even as tensions escalated during clashes between students, university administrators, and the NYPD. Columbia University’s renowned journalism school and other student publications have also contributed to comprehensive coverage from within the encampments.

L-A Radio: KXOL Fined For Not Promptly Awarding Contest Prize

The FCC has proposed a fine for KXOL in Los Angeles for failing to promptly award a contest prize. Here’s the scoop:

Contest Rules: The radio station’s contest rules stipulated that the prize should be awarded within 30 days of a winner submitting all required paperwork.

Delayed Prize: However, the station didn’t deliver the prize until over a year after the contest rules specified.

FCC’s Notice: The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability, proposing an $8,000 fine for this violation.

FCC Rule Violation: The station’s actions were deemed to violate Section 73.1216 of the FCC rules, which requires contests to be conducted “fairly and substantially as represented to the public.”

Material Term: The FCC considers “timely fulfillment of the prize” as a material term in contest rules. When violated, it constitutes a breach of the FCC rule.

Fine Considerations: The prize amount was only $396, but the FCC proposed a higher fine due to the station’s size.   A $4,000 fine might be seen as a mere cost of doing business for a large company, so the FCC adjusted it upward. The FCC could have fined the station for each day the award was delayed, potentially resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Excuses Not Accepted: The station’s excuses (including COVID lockdowns and a ransomware attack) were not credited by the FCC. The prize should have been awarded before these events occurred.

“Chachi Loves Everybody” Podcast Releases Two New Episodes

Benztown announces the release of two new episodes of Chachi Loves Everybody, an original podcast produced by Benztown and featuring Benztown President and audio brand builder Dave “Chachi” Denes. The episodes feature Chachi’s recent sit-down at the 2024 NAB Show in Las Vegas with Mike Hulvey, CEO, RAB, and his chat with Brad Samuel, Founder, Epic Media, from Benztown’s Los Angeles studios.

To listen to the new podcast episodes, visit:

Chachi Loves Everybody takes listeners with Denes – better known as “Chachi” – as he sits down for candid conversations with radio’s legends, master brand builders, up-and-comers, and innovators in the burgeoning audio space, revealing the true stories behind their successes and their insights into building iconic brands through audio.

Chachi’s first guest is Mike Hulvey, newly appointed CEO of the RAB, who takes listeners through his journey from being awe-struck by radio broadcasts at a young age to eventually climbing the ranks of broadcast management and leadership. Mike delves into his vision for the future of radio and the significance of local content engagement. He shares highlights and lessons learned in his career, the impact of his early influences, and his passion for developing future broadcasting talent through his summer mentoring program.

Hulvey has held prominent positions in various industry organizations, including the International Broadcasters Idea Bank and the National Association of Broadcasters. An advocate for local, state, and national volunteer organizations, he is also the founder of a nationally recognized summer mentoring program for aspiring broadcasters. Before joining the RAB as President and CEO, he was CEO of Neuhoff Communications.

NE Radio: KUTT Country Cares Radiothon Raises $115K+

KUTT Ol' Red 99.5, in Fairbury, Nebraska  raised over $115,000 during the Country Cares St. Jude Radiothon.  This is the ninth year of the station doing the Radiothon.

“Just us giving a lot of information about how great the hospital is, how great the research that is happening at St. Jude,” said Trevor Steinmeyer, Station Manager.

The radio station had increased its total donation count over the years but this one was the biggest. 

“Last year, we got to $95,000 so this year, our goal was to get over that 100,000 mark for the kids of St. Jude and we were able to do it, $115,000 and some change,” Steinmeyer said. “When we released the final number of the total, we all just went crazy. Lots of screaming in the control room.”

For two days, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., they were on the air, with stories from kids and families who are and have been at St. Jude. 

Steinmeyer said the community really came out to support.

“As a small rural station, raising over $100,000 is amazing,” Steinmeyer said. “It really shows how much our listeners really connect with us and really go to bat for us when we’re trying to do something. And we had little kids coming in. We had a little kid do a lemonade stand and raise money. We had four little girls that had sold freezer meals and hot chocolate bombs. We had a kid bring in his piggy bank and his allowance.”

Steinmeyer said they got the most sponsors and walk in donations they have ever had.

“I can’t imagine what those guys are going through,” Steinmeyer said. “Us giving up 12 hours out of two days is nothing compared to what they’re doing.”

SW FL Radio: Beasley Stations' Radiothon Raises $50K+

Beasley Media Group’s Southwest Florida Radio Stations joined forces with Children’s Miracle Network to shine a spotlight on Golisano Children’s Hospital and raise crucial funds for pediatric healthcare. The event took place from 6:00AM – 6:00PM on Thursday, April 4th from the heart of Golisano Children’s Hospital, located at 9981 South Health Park Drive, Fort Myers, Florida.

Beasley Media Group’s WXKB (B103.9), WRXK (96K-Rock), WJPT (Sunny 106.3), and WBCN (ESPN SWFL) all came together to broadcast live on site. Listeners were encouraged to lend their support through various channels, including a dedicated call center, text line, and online donations via Children’s Miracle Network.

The event was sponsored by Cape Coral Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Gavin’s Ace Hardware, The Good Feet Store, Lake Michigan Credit Union, Extreme Companies of Florida, Pi Local Pizza, Absolute Law, and Accurate Pavers.

“We have an amazing team, and I am grateful to work with them,” said Vice President and Market Manager AJ Lurie. “I am grateful to everyone who made this event a success. We are proud to partner with Children’s Miracle Network and Golisano Children’s Hospital. Thank You to each person who donated and every sponsor who supported our efforts.”

The radio stations raised over $50,066.00 in 12 hours. Proceeds from the event will be used to support Golisano Children’s Hospital, ensuring that children in Southwest Florida receive the care they deserve.

Radio History: April 27

➦In 1791...Samuel Morse was born Samuel Finley Breese Morse (Died – April 2, 1872). He was an American painter and inventor.

After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of the Morse code, and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.

In 1825 New York City had commissioned Morse to paint a portrait of Lafayette in Washington, DC. While Morse was painting, a horse messenger delivered a letter from his father that read, "Your dear wife is convalescent". 

The next day he received a letter from his father detailing his wife's sudden death.   Morse immediately left Washington for his home at New Haven. By the time he arrived, his wife had already been buried.  Heartbroken that for days he was unaware of his wife's failing health and her death, he decided to explore a means of rapid long distance communication.

While returning by ship from Europe in 1832, Morse encountered Charles Thomas Jackson of Boston, a man who was well schooled in electromagnetism. Witnessing various experiments with Jackson's electromagnet, Morse developed the concept of a single-wire telegraph. The original Morse telegraph, submitted with his patent application, is part of the collections of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.  In time the Morse code, which he developed, would become the primary language of telegraphy in the world. It is still the standard for rhythmic transmission of data.

➦In 1927..In Pacific Coast Biscuit Company launched KPCB in 1927 from Seattle.  Queen City Broadcasting took over the station in 1935, changing the call letters to the KIRO.  The station boosted its signal to 1,000 watts in 1937, and CBS soon moved its Seattle affiliation to KIRO. On June 29, 1941, KIRO's new 50,000-Watt transmitter on Maury Island became operational.

During the radio’s golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, KIRO recorded countless hours of CBS programming for time-delayed broadcast.  Many of these discs are the only extant recordings of CBS’ news coverage of World War 2, according to Faded Signals.

Bonneville International purchased KIRO-AM-FM-TV in 1964. By this time, KIRO-AM was carrying a full-service format of news, talk and middle-of-the-road music.  In 1973, it dropped CBS and affiliated with Mutual.  The station became “KIRO Newsradio 71” in 1974, replacing most music programming with news and talk.  The station spent the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s at the top of Seattle’s radio ratings.

On August 12, 2008, KIRO began simulcasting their programming on sister station KBSG-FM, which dropped their long-running classic hits format. This began the transition of KIRO Newsradio from AM to FM.  To complete the transition, KIRO switched to a sports radio format (as 710 ESPN Seattle) on April 1, 2009, and began carrying Seattle Mariners games, beginning in the 2009 season. KIRO also simulcasts the Seattle Seahawks games with KIRO-FM, and has extensive team-related programming throughout the year. KIRO-FM continues the news/talk format.

Bonneville sold KIRO-TV to Belo in 1995 and then sold KIRO-AM-FM to Entercom.  Bonneville bought back the stations in 2007.

➦In 1932...Kemal Amin "Casey" Kasem born in Detroit (Died at age 82 – June 15, 2014).  He was the host of several music radio countdown programs, notably American Top 40 from 1970 until his retirement in 2009. He also provided the voice of Norville "Shaggy" Rogers in the Scooby-Doo franchise from 1969 to 1997, and again from 2002 until 2009.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Report: Paramount, Skydance GettingCloser to Deal

Paramount Global and Skydance Media are reportedly making significant strides toward a merger. The two media companies are actively working on a deal that would not only combine their forces but also involve the buyout of controlling shareholder Shari Redstone. 

Here are the key details:

Valuation and Equity: Paramount Global’s special committee, along with David Ellison’s Skydance Media (supported by private equity firms KKR and RedBird Capital Partners), is currently focused on determining the value of Skydance’s assets as part of the merger. Additionally, discussions are underway regarding how much equity to inject into the company through recapitalization.

Agreement on Value: The sides are close to agreeing on a value for Skydance. The entertainment company is expected to be valued at approximately $5 billion and will merge with Paramount Global. To facilitate this, Ellison and the private equity firms plan to raise approximately $4.5 billion to $5 billion in new equity.

YouTube Revenue Drives Alphabet's 1Q Earnings

YouTube, the Google-owned video giant, continues to dominate the advertising landscape. In the first quarter of 2024, YouTube’s ad sales reached an impressive $8.1 billion, marking its highest Q1 total to date. This figure represents a 21% year-over-year increase in ad revenue. Notably, this amount doesn’t even include subscription revenue generated by YouTube.

Alphabet, YouTube’s parent company, reported overall revenue of $80.54 billion, a significant 15% growth, and net income of $23.66 billion (up 57%). These robust results exceeded Wall Street expectations, driving Alphabet’s stock up by 12% in after-hours trading.

YouTube creation has also seen a lift. “In 2023, more people created content on YouTube than ever before,” Phillip Schindler, chief business officer for Google, said on Alphabet’s earnings call.

Additionally, its YouTube Partner Program has paid out “more than any other creator monetization platform,” Schindler said. In the past three years, the creator monetization platform has paid over $70 billion to creators, artists and media companies.

Media Mogul Sues FCC Over TV Deal Gone Sour

Media Mogul Soo Kim has filed a lawsuit against the FCC, alleging racial discrimination.

The lawsuit stems from the FCC’s decision to derail an $8.6 billion deal to purchase Tegna Inc. Kim claims that he was not considered the “right type of minority” for the FCC’s diversity goals. 

Soo Kim
Here are the key details: Soo Kim, is a Korean American raised in New York, and his company, Standard General, won a public bidding auction to buy Tegna and its 60-plus television stations in 2022.

Kim intended to install a female chief executive, and the transaction was poised to be a historic leap forward for both minority ownership and female leadership of broadcast stations.

FCC’s Decision: However, the FCC nixed the deal in favor of Black media tycoon Byron Allen. The complaint alleges that the FCC believed Allen’s black-owned company deserved greater solicitude than Kim’s Asian American-owned company.

Byron Allen
Racial Discrimination: Kim’s lawyers argue that the FCC’s diversity policies and practices did not consider being Asian as a factor. They assert that Kim’s race was used against him with pernicious stereotypes.

Equity and Fair Treatment: Kim seeks accountability and equitable treatment, emphasizing that every person appearing before the FCC deserves to be treated fairly. 

Kim accused the FCC of dragging its feet by taking over 300 days to take action on Standard General’s license-transfer applications for the Tegna stations before the deal was "killed" without notice. 

"Standard General was one of the largest shareholders, losing nearly $85 million based on its 10.6 million shares owned when the deal died," the complaint said. "The FCC chairwoman and her personal staffer blocked the deal at the behest of Mr. Allen, who used business allies and six-figure political donations to destroy Mr. Kim’s chances of acquiring TEGNA – to the tune of over $200 million in losses to Standard General and Mr. Kim and nearly $2 billion in losses to TEGNA shareholders."

Nielsen Releases 2024 Annual Marketing Report

Nielsen has released its sixth global Annual Marketing Report, revealing marketers’ priorities and plans to improve ROI in 2024 and beyond.

The report, which surveyed nearly 2,000 global marketers, found that marketers continue to view social media, search, online/mobile video, and online/mobile display as the most effective marketing channels for ROI, but could miss out on key revenue opportunities without a cross-media strategy and approach.

The 2024 Annual Marketing Report surveyed marketers on topics including budget allocations and spending optimism, brand building strategies, media balance, and overall confidence. 

Some of the key findings globally include:

Marketer spending optimism is up in 2024: Despite the presence of inflation, consumer spending, and supply chain uncertainties as key planning considerations, 72% of global marketers expect bigger ad budgets this year, up from 64% on a year-on-year basis.

Marketer tactics may not drive top KPI results: Marketers’ top KPIs are long-term ROI and full-funnel ROI. At the same time, however, 70% of respondents plan to prioritize performance marketing over brand building initiatives. A shift to performance marketing, without supporting brand-building marketing, could limit long-term ROI and may cause brand decay.

FCC Proposes NALs Totaling $857K+ For Pirate Operators


The Federal Communications Commission Thursday proposed fines against seven pirate radio operators under the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act (PIRATE Act) for operating six pirate radio stations.  

These pirate radio stations, investigated during the Enforcement Bureau’s sweep in the Boston area under the PIRATE Act, now face proposed fines totaling $857,775.

Pirate radio is an unauthorized transmission of radio signals on the frequencies in or adjacent to the FM and AM radio bands.  Pirate radio operations pose public safety risks, including causing harmful interference to licensed radio stations which transmit public safety emergency alert messages.  Operating a pirate radio station is illegal under the Communications Act of 1934 and subject to the FCC’s enhanced enforcement capabilities enacted by Congress in the PIRATE Act in 2020.  Under the PIRATE Act, the FCC can fine pirate radio operators up to $119,555 per day and a maximum of $2,391,097, as adjusted for inflation.

NYT Slams Biden For 'Systematically Avoiding' Media Interviews

The New York Times has issued a scorching statement, criticizing President Joe Biden for avoiding questions from independent journalists during his term. 

The Times finds it troubling that Biden has actively and effectively sidestepped interviews with major news organizations. 

They argue that this behavior not only undermines an important norm but also sets a dangerous precedent for future presidents to evade scrutiny and accountability. 

The statement came following a report from Politico about escalating tensions between the Times and the White House.

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger reportedly confronted Vice President Kamala Harris over Biden's decision to avoid interviews with major newspapers. After Sulzberger questioned Harris on why Biden had not done sit-down interviews with major newspapers, including his own, Harris told him to get in touch with the White House press office. She later "grumbled" to her aides, Politico reported, about the exchange being a waste of time. 

Some on Biden's team believe the Times has not adequately covered the importance of the 2024 election, which they view as "a matter of democracy's survival," according to Politico Magazine's report on the tumultuous relationship between The White House and the paper. 

The people closest to Biden reportedly see the newspaper as "arrogant," and reluctant to give the president "his due."

4/26 WAKE-UP CALL: Economic Growth Is Slowing

Slowing economic growth and firm inflation spells trouble for Wall Street. Gross domestic product expanded at a 1.6% seasonally- and inflation-adjusted annual rate in the first quarter the Commerce Department said. The pullback from last year’s quick pace lagged behind the 2.4% projected by WSJ-polled economists. The data also suggested inflation, using the Fed’s preferred gauge, was likely firmer than expected in March. That gives investors another reason to stop expecting the central bank to cut interest rates in the coming months. 

Individual readings on growth and prices so far this year haven’t been enough to dramatically change the Fed’s outlook, but the cumulative effect has been notable. Investor concerns drove broad-based declines across U.S. stocks and government bonds.

NY Post 4/26/24
➤WEINSTEIN CONVICTION OVERTURNED:  New York’s highest court overturned Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction for sex crimes. The court, in a divided ruling, said that a trial judge committed fundamental errors, including admitting testimony that shouldn’t have been allowed. In a leading case of the #MeToo movement, jurors found the Hollywood producer guilty of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sex act for incidents with two women. 

Weinstein, who was sentenced to 23 years in prison, isn’t a free man, though. In a separate case, a California jury convicted him in 2022 of rape and other offenses, earning him a 16-year prison sentence. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said it will “do everything in our power to retry this case.” A Weinstein representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

➤SCOTUS SEEMS OPEN TO TRUMP IMMUNITY DEFENSE: The Supreme Court appeared open to some of Donald Trump’s immunity claims. The justices considered whether former presidents should be granted immunity from being prosecuted for alleged crimes committed while in office, and specifically whether Trump could be prosecuted on charges that he conspired to steal the 2020 presidential election. He denies any wrongdoing, but has argued that if he broke the law, the Constitution’s framers preferred to let a president get away with crimes than worry about the potential of future prosecution. 

The Supreme Court, which spent little time discussing the specifics of Trump’s case, signaled an interest in broadly protecting the presidency for the future. Any high court decision embracing that position could further delay or end Trump’s trial.

➤PECKER TALKS:  David Pecker testified about deals to bury stories that could be damaging to Trump. Here's what he said.  Longtime tabloid publisher David Pecker was questioned by the prosecution and cross-examined by Donald Trump's attorney in the former president’s criminal hush-money trial. 

During the prosecution’s questioning on Thursday, the longtime tabloid publisher told jurors about the practice of buying stories that could be damaging to Trump and refusing to publish them. His testimony included references to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Columbus OH: Saga Cuts Longtime Voices From Air

Saga Communications, which owns and operates Qfm96 (96.3), Rewind (103.5/104.3), Sunny 95 (94.7 WSNY), and Mix 107.9, is making some significant changes, and with those changes comes numerous lay-offs.

According to the website, Dino Tripodis and Stacy McKay, the talent behind Sunny 95’s morning show, Sunny This Morning, have both departed the station. Tripodis hosted this morning show from 1994 to 2018, then returned in 2021, totaling almost 27 years of experience at the station. McKay hosted alongside Tripodis for 13 years, then after a brief stint elsewhere, returned again in 2010 to spend almost 14 more years hosting Sunny This Morning.

News Director Clark Donley and producer Greg Hansberry have also been let go of their positions. Donley spent 31 years at this station, and Hansberry served as a producer from 2012-2014, then again starting in 2016.

These cuts also applied to ‘Miss Lisa’ Bryant, who was on-air in the afternoons on Sunny 95, and mornings on Classic Hits Rewind 103.5/104.3. Bryant joined WSNY in 2016, becoming popular 

Last, but certainly not least to be let-go, is Andre Styles Friederich, who was the events director and host at Mix 107.9 WVMX Westerville. He spent 14 years with Saga and Mix 107.9, and he shared with 614Now that he’s absolutely shocked. “The amount of years, days, and hours I put in…It came as a big surprise,” he said.

Andre shared that Saga Communications told them that they were looking to go a “different route” and “do some restructuring within the building.” And unfortunately, that meant his event director position was eliminated, and he was told he would no longer be doing the morning show.

These radio station personalities have been ingrained in our community for decades, and the public seems sad to see them go. People took to social media to share their frustration. One person commented on Sunny 95’s Facebook, “If the rumors about Dino, Stacy, Clark & Greg are true, then I’m out. I didn’t listen for the music. I listened to the morning crew’s banter and Clark’s news…horrible decision…” Another person expressed, “What a slap in the face for loyal listeners. I’m done with everything Sunny 95. Wishing success for those let-go.”

Indy Radio: WFMS Morning Host Speaks Out After Home Is Shot Up

WFMS' Matt Malone

Matt Malone, co-host of "Mornings with Deb, Kevin and Matt" on Country WFMS 95.5, reflects after someone fired shots toward his house this week.

Malone doesn't think he was the intended target. Even so, two days later, the sight of bullet holes in his home are unnerving.

Malone said he moved to a duplex a year and a half ago, because it was an affordable place to live. But he has decided to leave after what happened Tuesday night.

He shared the experience with his co-hosts and listeners Thursday morning.

"It was an experience I've never been through before," Malone said on the radio, playing for them the sound of gunfire captured on his Ring doorbell camera Tuesday.

Malone talked with 13News..

"I stepped out of my room towards the hallway. I started stepping on glass," he recalled. "That's when I found out that the bathroom window had been shot through."

When he went downstairs, Malone found bullet holes through his front door, which is made of steel and the outside glass door was shattered. The couch he sometimes works and falls asleep on was also shot up. The couch cushion where he usually lays his head had a bullet hole right through it.

"If I had worked like I normally do, that would have killed me and that's a hard thing to think about," Malone said.

When Malone looked at his doorbell camera, 20 minutes before the gunfire, video showed two people in ski masks walking around the duplex where Malone lives.

According to Malone, you can hear his neighbor yelling at them before they disappear off camera.

"Let's face it.  We need Indianapolis and central Indiana to be safe and if my circumstances can help in any way to do that, I want to be a part of that solution," Malone said.

Even so, he's not taking any chances and has decided to move somewhere else. But Malone recognizes that not everyone who deals with gunfire where they live can do that.

Despite Media Choices, Radio Shows Continued Strength

During Thursday's webinar, Techsurvey 2023 revealed fascinating insights into the current state of radio, especially in the post-pandemic era. This annual survey, conducted by Jacobs Media, involves 434 radio stations and over 30,000 surveys from core radio listeners. Let’s delve into some key findings:

In-Car Rebound: Despite the rise of streaming services and podcasts, radio remains resilient in the car. The connected car continues to shape the media landscape, and radio holds its ground as a trusted companion during commutes.

AM Radio’s Fate: The future of AM radio has been a topic of discussion. While it faces challenges, it still resonates with certain audiences. Understanding its role and relevance is crucial for broadcasters.

Generational Listening: Younger generations, including Gen Z and Millennials, exhibit varied listening habits. Some embrace radio, while others explore alternative platforms. Radio professionals must adapt to these shifting preferences.

Smart Speakers: After a period of stagnation, smart speakers are making a comeback. Their impact on radio consumption is significant, and broadcasters need to leverage this trend.

Podcast Strategies: Radio stations can optimize their podcast strategies. As podcasting gains popularity, integrating it effectively can enhance overall engagement.

Radio Personalities: Personalities have taken the lead over music as the primary reason for tuning in to the radio. While melodies and beats still resonate with listeners, it’s the charisma, wit, and relatability of radio hosts that keep audiences engaged. These personalities weave stories, share insights, and create a sense of connection, making the radio experience more than just a playlist.

Influential Lawmaker Alarmed Over Soros' Radio Ventures

George Soros

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, is accusing liberal billionaire George Soros of trying to fast-track his acquisition of a major radio company through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

"I write today regarding Soros Fund Management’s acquisition of over $400 million in debt held by Audacy — the second-largest broadcast radio station owner in the country. Of particular concern, the Soros groups are asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve a change in ownership in Audacy without the FCC running its normal, statutorily required process," Roy said in a letter.

"This transaction, which affects radio stations that reach millions of listeners across the U.S., including in Texas’ 21st congressional district, should — at minimum — be subject to rigorous FCC oversight to ensure U.S. radio stations are not subject to undue influence."

Chip Roy
Soros’ investment firm became the largest shareholder of Audacy last month, which owns local radio stations across the country. Audacy filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. 

Soros Fund Management was involved in a similar corporate restructure last year when it was one of the companies that acquired Vice Media after its bankruptcy filing last year.

Now, however, Roy raised alarm over Audacy also requesting that federal officials grant it a temporary exemption to existing FCC rules that forbid foreign company ownership of U.S. radio stations to exceed a 25% share, which would normally slow down the approval process.

"But instead of going through the usual petition for declaratory ruling process, which would enable the FCC to review and assess those foreign ownership interests as part of its transaction review, the Soros group has asked the FCC to waive that process and put it off until sometime down the road — indicating that those foreign stakeholders will be given ‘special warrants’ in the meantime," Roy wrote.

"The Soros group says that skipping the foreign ownership review at this time will enable the FCC to expedite its approval of the Soros applications and thus allow them to more quickly realize their ownership interests in, and take the reins at, these hundreds of local radio stations across the country."

Roy told Fox News Digital that he heard from constituents who "reached out and raised issues and concerns about the extent to which it's very clear that Soros is, you know, making a move in the radio world.".

Meanwhile, The NY Post is reporting  Soros is paying anti-Israel protestors . . . George Soros and his hard-left acolytes are paying agitators who are fueling the explosion of radical anti-Israel protests at colleges across the country. 

The protests, which began when students took over Columbia University’s Morningside campus lawn last week, have mushroomed nationwide. 

Copycat tent cities have been set up at colleges including Harvard, Yale, Berkeley in California, the Ohio State University and Emory in Georgia — all of them organized by branches of the Soros-funded Students for Justice in Palestine — and at some, students have clashed with police.

Radio History: April 26

➦In 1916...Vic Perrin born (Died of cancer at age 73 – July 4, 1989). He was a  radio, film, and television actor, perhaps best remembered for providing the "Control Voice" in the original version of the television series The Outer Limits.  He was also a radio scriptwriter as well as a narrator in feature films and for special entertainment and educational projects, such as the original Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Perrin was a regular performer on many commercial radio programs. In 1941 he became a staff announcer for NBC, staying there for several years before moving to ABC and becoming chief announcer at the Blue Network.  His first credited role came in 1943, when he served as the announcer for "The Last Will and Testament Of Tom Smith", a radio episode of Free World Theatre, which was produced and directed by Arch Oboler.  He narrated too "A Star With Two Names", part of the segment "Behind The Scenes Hollywood Story" of The Hollywood Music Hall radio program. At the same time, he joined Charles Laughton's theatrical repertory group.

Perrin was also a regular guest star on the radio version of Gunsmoke, and he wrote or co-wrote five scripts for that popular Western series between 1959 and 1961.  Perrin was a series regular as well on the anthology radio drama Family Theatre, played Ross Farnsworth on One Man's Family, and was featured as cavalry trooper Sergeant Gorse in Fort Laramie in 1956. He performed too as several characters in Escape, Pete Kelly's Blues, Dragnet, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, and Have Gun – Will Travel. In an uncredited role, he also impersonated Clyde Beatty on The Clyde Beatty Show.

He played supporting roles on TV, many of them as a voicist on cartoons, for more than 30 years.

➦In 1921…Radio station WEW was the first to broadcast weather news and forecasts.

Saint Louis University established the station 9YK around 1912, using Morse code to communicate seismological and weather information.

Brother 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 April 26, 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.

➦In 1924...WHO Des Moines is believed to have signed-on, although the actual on-air start date is in dispute.

A WHO memo from June 14, 1951 states that the first broadcast was on April 10, 1924; this is contradicted by Barry Mishkind Database which states that the First Broadcast License was effective on April 10, 1924 (the FCC's records indicate that the license took effect on April 15, 1924) with the first broadcast on April 26, 1924.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

R.I.P.: Mike Pinder, Last Surviving Original Member of The Moody Blues

Mike Pinder (1942-2024)

Mike Pinder, the last surviving original member of psychedelic rock of 1960s/70s prog rock band the Moody Blues has died at 82. The pioneering keyboardist/singer credited with helping to introduce the mellotron into the rock arena passed away on Wednesday (April 24) at his home in Northern California of undisclosed causes.

Moody bassist John Lodge shared a statement from Pinder’s family on Facebook, in which they wrote, “Michael Thomas Pinder died on Wednesday, April 24th, 2024 at his home in Northern California, surrounded by his devoted family. Michael’s family would like to share with his trusted friends and caring fans that he passed peacefully. His final days were filled with music, encircled by the love of his family. Michael lived his life with a childlike wonder, walking a deeply introspective path which fused the mind and the heart.”

It continued, “He created his music and the message he shared with the world from this spiritually grounded place; as he always said, ‘Keep your head above the clouds, but keep your feet on the ground.’ His authentic essence lifted up everyone who came into contact with him. His lyrics, philosophy, and vision of humanity and our place in the cosmos will touch generations to come.”

Pinder, a native of Birmingham, England, was a key songwriter and technical innovator for the Moody Blues, as well as an instrumentalist, singer and music arranger. During his tenure with the band, which lasted from 1964 until 1978, Pinder had a crucial influence on groundbreaking albums such as “Days of Future Passed” (1967), “On a Threshold of a Dream” (1969), “A Question of Balance” (1970), “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” (1971) and “Seventh Sojourn” (1972). “Seventh Sojourn” reached No. 1 in the United States and included the hit single “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band).”