Saturday, July 13, 2024

R.I.P.: Radio-TV's ‘Dr. Ruth', Dies At 96


Ruth Westheimer, a child survivor of the Holocaust who became known to millions as Dr. Ruth, the perky sex therapist whose frankness on her long-running radio and television call-in shows made her a go-to guide for tips on the art and science of lovemaking, died July 12 at her home in Manhattan. She was 96.

The Washington Post reports her death was confirmed by Pierre Lehu, a publicist and her co-author on several books, but no cause was noted.

Described as the first superstar sex therapist, Dr. Westheimer was over 50 when she debuted in 1980 on New York’s WYNY with “Sexually Speaking.” The radio program initially aired in 15-minute installments and was later syndicated and extended to two hours to accommodate the onslaught of queries she received from callers. More than a few listeners professed that she had saved their marriages.

Cable television viewers knew her as the prim, matronly host in the 1980s of “Good Sex With Dr. Ruth Westheimer” and as a frequent guest on late-night talk shows. At 4-foot-7, she often was seen perched on a seat, bedecked in pearls, cheerfully dispensing advice on best practices in the sack.

“Have good sex!” she trilled in her instantly recognizable German-inflected voice.

Dr. Westheimer’s old-world accent, at times seemingly incongruous with her discussion of intimate anatomy and its usage, was one of the few traces of her life before she came to the United States. Born to an Orthodox Jewish family in Germany, she survived the Holocaust at a Swiss orphanage where her parents sent her before they perished.

“I was left with a feeling that because I was not killed by the Nazis — because I survived — I had an obligation to make a dent in the world,” Dr. Westheimer once told an interviewer. What she did not know, she added, was that the dent would entail her “talking about sex from morning to night.”

iHeartMedia Added To Financial 'Distress' List

 

iHeartMedia Inc. made analytics company Debtwire’s ominous listing of the top 10 companies most likely to enter a “restructuring” — which could include bankruptcy — in July.

According to The San Antonio News-Express Debtwire has come up with what it says is the industry’s “first predictive score for leveraged” (meaning having more debt than equity) companies and their likelihood of becoming “stressed, distressed or entering a restructuring.”

Companies that make the list “are experiencing financial or operational trouble that may result in their inability or unwillingness to pay debts, interest payments, or potentially any other liabilities as they become due,” Debtwire says. Companies with stressed debt have serious financial problems. When the debt is considered distressed, the problems have become more severe. At that point, a company may be on the brink of bankruptcy or already mired in it.

iHeartMedia received a “Likely to Distress Score” of 97. Tied atop Debtwire’s latest list with a score of 99 were EchoStar Corp. — the name behind such brands as Boost Mobile and Dish TV, business process automation company Exela Technologies, and Office Properties Income Trust. 

“iHeartMedia is no stranger to distress, having gone through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018 to restructure a … $16 (billion) debt load amid litigation with lenders and declines in broadcasting revenue,” Sarah Foss, Debtwire’s global head of legal said.

iHeart emerged from bankruptcy in 2019, nearly 14 months after seeking refuge.

As part of that restructuring, it was able to shed about $10.4 billion in debt. It also spun off San Antonio billboard advertising company Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. as an independent publicly traded company. 

Debtwire recently reported that iHeartMedia is evaluating its restructuring options again in connection with more than $5.2 billion in long-term debt on its books as of March 31.

iHeart owns and operates more than 860 radio stations in about 160 markets.

Last month, Debtwire — citing two unidentified sources it said were familiar with the matter — reported that iHeart advisers and creditors for weeks have been hashing out “divergent strategies on how best to address the audio company’s over-levered capital structure.”

IHeart’s sizeable debt has been a recurring risk factor in regulatory filings, with it warning that it may “adversely affect our financial health and overall operating flexibility.”

Much of iHeart’s debt doesn’t mature until 2026 and 2027.

Boston Radio: WEEI Fires Morning Host Gerry Callahan


Boston sports radio station WEEI announced Friday that longtime morning host Gerry Callahan is out and is being replaced by "The Greg Hill Morning Show" beginning July 29.

NBC Boston reports Callahan announced on Twitter Friday morning that he had just finished his last show on the station.

"Well, that was fun. After 20 years in morning drive, I did my last show on WEEI this morning," Callahan said. "Thanks to all who listened. Unfortunately, this ain't a movie. Sometimes the bad guys win. Much more to come."

Entercom, WEEI's parent company, issued a press release several hours later announcing that Hill and co-host Danielle Murr would be moving to WEEI from sister station WAAF. Five paragraphs in, the release mentioned that Callahan would be departing the company.

"Callahan has been a dominant force and a big part of WEEI over the years," Entercom said. "While it is now time for a new chapter, we thank him for his many contributions and the indelible mark he has made at WEEI, including his tireless work on behalf of Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. We wish him the best in his future endeavors."

The news comes just a day after the Boston Globe reported that Callahan's WEEI morning show, "Mut & Callahan" had slipped to 5th in the spring ratings, well behind 98.5 The Sports Hub's first place "Toucher & Rich" show.

Boston 6+ June PPMs

Mike Mutnansky, Callahan's co-host, will return to hosting evenings at WEEI, a position he had previously occupied.

WEEI retooled its morning show last year following the departure of Callahan's former co-host, Kirk Minihane. Minihane had been on indefinite leave from the show amid his battle with mental health issues, and announced in November that he would be launching his own show on Radio.com, which is owned by Entercom. But earlier this year, Minihane left Entercom to launch a new podcast on Barstool Sports.

Hill's new show is expected to carry over much of the content from his existing morning show on the rock station WAAF, with some changes. 

Mark Hannon, regional president and market manager for Entercom, described Hill as "a Boston market veteran with an incredible pedigree and track record of success." He has been at WAAF for more than 30 years.

Miami Radio: iHM Promotes 'Yako' Calderson To PD, WHYI

Larry Calderson Jr.
iHeartMedia announced Friday that Larry “Yako” Calderon Jr. has been named Program Director of WHYI (Y100)/Miami, effective immediately. He replaces Taylor Jukes who was promoted to Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeart San Diego. He will report to PJ Gonzalez, Senior Vice President of Programming, and Shari Gonzalez, Market President, for iHeartMedia Miami.

“I’ve known Yako for many years and have seen his professional growth first-hand,” said PJ Gonzalez. “His deep knowledge of the vibrant Miami culture, and his passion for the CHR pop format, makes him the ideal candidate for this role.”

Larry Calderon Jr. (Yako) brings over 25 years of broadcast radio experience, having made a significant impact in major East Coast markets such as NYC, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Boston. For the past seven years, Larry has served as the Music Director for Tu 94.9, the #1 Spanish CHR station in Miami giving him a unique perspective and background to lead Y100 in this culturally diverse market.

“I’m thrilled to embark on this new journey with this legendary CHR station,” said Larry “Yako” Calderon Jr. “As a long-time, passionate fan of both Y100 and pop music, I can’t wait to bring my energy and love for the brand to the forefront and make an impact on Miami’s music scene.”

Meta Lifts Restrictions On Donald Trump


Meta announced Friday that it would remove restrictions placed on former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts ahead of the Republican National Convention next week.

CNN reports the company said the decision was made to ensure that Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, would have equal standing with Democrat President Joe Biden.

“In assessing our responsibility to allow political expression, we believe that the American people should be able to hear from the nominees for President on the same basis,” a statement from Meta said. “As a result, former President Trump, as the nominee of the Republican Party, will no longer be subject to the heightened suspension penalties.”

Trump’s accounts on both Facebook and Instagram were reinstated in early 2023, following a two-year ban in the wake of the January 6, 2021, insurrection. At the time, Meta said it would place additional guardrails on Trump’s accounts to “deter repeat offenses.”

“In the event that Mr. Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation,” a blog post from Meta in January 2023 said.

Trump launched his own social media site, Truth Social, in 2022, in the wake of his suspension from Facebook and Instagram, along with social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

'Big Boy' Press Conference Draws Over 24M Viewers


Around 24.2 million people watched President Joe Biden‘s news conference at NATO Summit on Thursday, according to Variety citing Nielsen data. That’s up from the 20.3 million people who watched President Biden address the nation on October 19 in regards to the Israel and Ukraine wars, and it’s hovering in State of the Union address territory, as interest continues to be pronounced when it comes to President Biden’s physical state and performance.

FOX News Channel’s (FNC) coverage on Thursday, July 11 was the highest-rated program in television from 7:30-8:30 PM/ET, averaging 5.7 million viewers and 835,000 in the 25-54 demo, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. In addition to topping cable news, FNC outpaced broadcast and all cable networks, including ABC, CBS and NBC, among others. Additionally, FNC solely held the largest share of the cable news audience (25%) throughout President Biden’s press conference.

In primetime, from 8-11 PM/ET, FNC drew in 4.2 million viewers and 597,000 in the 25-54 demo, easily outpacing CNN and MSNBC combined. During total day, FNC also outpaced all networks, averaging 2 million viewers and 256,000 in the younger 25-54 demo.

 Most of that viewership was in the 55+ demo, where 19.2 million viewers watched live. Among adults 18-34, the number was just over 1 million, while it was 3.6 million with adults 35 to 54.


Presidential press conferences rarely reach mega-ratings. A good comparison might be the annual State of the Union address, which this year averaged 32.2 million people. That was up from 2023’s 27.3 million and 2021’s 26.9 million viewers. In 2022, about 38.2 million watched Biden’s State of the Union — just days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

CNN’s Ratings Cratered 92% The Day After Presidential Debate


CNN’s ratings bump from airing the presidential debate dropped faster than President Biden’s approval ratings,

The embattled network’s primetime ratings cratered 92% the day after the debate between former President Donald Trump and the current commander-in-chief on June 27, according to The NY Post citing Nielsen data.

In the advertiser-coveted 25-to-54 demographic, the ratings plummeted a jaw-dropping 96%, the data found.

CNN, which announced layoffs and a major restructuring on Wednesday, had the exclusive broadcast rights to the first debate — where Biden’s disastrous performance has since led to calls from many in his own party to step aside because of questions about the 81-year-old Democrat’s cognitive skills.

Moderated by CNN anchors Dana Bash and Jake Tapper, the debate was simulcast across other networks, drawing nearly 50 million viewers — with CNN garnering 8.7 million.

However, those looking for their politics fix quickly flipped channels the next day, plunging CNN back to its cellar-dwelling position behind rivals Fox News and MSNBC.

“Nobody cares about Jake Tapper or Dana Bash. They never did anything. Jake was not the star, Dana was not the star, Trump and Biden were the stars,” a former news executive told The Post on Friday. 

For the week of June 28 to July 7, CNN’s primetime ratings fell 93% to 500,000 total viewers, and 97% in the key demo, to 83,000 viewers, according to Nielsen.

Fox News, meanwhile, reeled in 2.3 million total primetime viewers and 270,000 in the demo during the same week — more than double the 1 million viewers at left-leaning MSNBC, which drew 88,000 in the demo.

Orlando Radio: N/T WFLF Adds Talker Jesse Kelly


“The Jesse Kelly Show” is now expanding its reach to WFLF (NewsRadio WFLA AM540) in Orlando. Starting Monday, July 15

The show will air on weekdays from 7-10pm ET. Hosted by Jesse Kelly, a U.S. Marine combat veteran, former Congressional candidate, and conservative radio and television host, the program covers a wide range of topics—from news and politics to business and social issues. Jesse shares his unique and entertaining perspective, unfiltered opinions, and trademark humor.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jesse Kelly to WFLA Orlando!” said Ken Holiday, SVP/Programming, iHeartMedia Orlando. “Starting Monday, July 15, Jesse will bring his unfiltered and unapologetic insights to our listeners.

The addition of WFLF expands “The Jesse Kelly Show’s” reach in Florida. The program is also available on other stations across the state, including WFLA-AM in Tampa, WIOD-AM in Miami, WMMB-AM in Melbourne, WJNO-AM in West Palm Beach, WZTA-AM in Vero Beach, WZLB-FM in Fort Walton, WCCF-AM in Port Charlotte, and WXJB-FM in Homosassa

Premiere Networks Talkers Cover Republican National Convention


Premiere Networks has announced that the company’s industry-leading talk radio talent, including Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Clay Travis, Buck Sexton, Jesse Kelly and Ben Ferguson, will provide extensive coverage of the 2024 Republican National Convention (RNC).

The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show (11a.m. to 2 p.m. CT) and The Jesse Kelly Show (5 p.m. – 8 p.m. CT) will originate from Milwaukee’s convention center next week beginning on Monday, July 15, providing millions of listeners nationwide with comprehensive coverage of the four-day RNC held at FiServ Forum and Wisconsin Center District. The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show will broadcast from local affiliate News/Talk 1130 WISN on Friday, July 19.

Additionally, Sean Hannity will host The Sean Hannity Show (2 p.m. – 5 p.m. CT), along with his primetime Fox News program Hannity, live from Milwaukee during the RNC. 

Ben Ferguson will also be on the ground in Milwaukee covering the convention for his various programs, including the nationally-syndicated weekend program The Ben Ferguson Show, The Ben Ferguson Podcast and the Verdict with Ted Cruz podcast.

Outside of Milwaukee, The Glenn Beck Program (9 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET) will offer 360-degree coverage of the RNC next week, with on-site reporting by Blaze Media’s D.C. correspondent Chris Bedford, along with insight and analysis from headline makers, politicians and contributors.

For affiliations, please contact affiliates@PremiereNetworks.com or visit www.PremiereNetworks.com for more information.

AT&T Call, Text-Message Info Hacked


AT&T said a hacker stole call and text-message information covering almost all of its wireless subscribers.

The Wall Street Journal reports the cellphone carrier said that it hadn’t found evidence the data downloaded in April was shared publicly. The records, mostly from 2022, didn’t include personal subscriber information, such as names, credit-card data or Social Security numbers. However, leaked phone numbers are easy to tie to their owners using public databases, even without other identifying information. If published, the records could uncover private connections between individuals, such as confidential business meetings or extramarital affairs.

What did the hacker steal?

The hacker stole AT&T records accessed through an outside company’s cloud platform. The data didn’t include the content of calls or texts, nor did it have personal information like birth dates and Social Security numbers.

The stolen data showed the telephone numbers a customer contacted between approximately May and October 2022 and on Jan. 2, 2023, according to AT&T. The records also showed how many times those numbers were contacted and the total duration of calls over time. A subset of the data included details about cellular sites that could be used to determine users’ locations.

AT&T said it doesn’t believe the data was leaked to the public.

What should I do if I’m an AT&T customer?

AT&T subscribers affected by the hack, including former customers, can request until December that the company send them the phone numbers illegally downloaded from their records. For more information, check AT&T’s website.

R.I.P.: Dave Loggins, Singer-Songwriter

Dave Loggins (1948-2024)

Dave Loggins, the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter best known for his 1974 hit “Please Come to Boston,” died Wednesday (July 10) at Alive Hospice in Nashville. Billboard reports he was 76 years old.

Loggins, born in Shady Valley, Tenn., and raised in Bristol, Tenn., moved to Nashville where he became one of the most prolific songwriters of his generation.

He crafted five decades’ worth of hit songs for a long list of artists, including Three Dog Night, Joan Baez, Toby Keith, Johnny Cash, Wynonna Judd, Smokey Robinson, Ray Charles, Reba McEntire, Tanya Tucker, Kenny Rogers, and Willie Nelson.

Loggins, a cousin of pop star Kenny Loggins, achieved fame with “Please Come to Boston,” which topped the Easy Listening chart and reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974. The song earned him a Grammy nomination for best pop male vocal performance, marking the first of his four Grammy nods.


In 1986, Loggins made history by winning a CMA Award for vocal duo of the year with Anne Murray for their duet “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do,” making him the only artist to receive the award without being signed to a major label.

One of Loggins’ most enduring contributions to music is “Augusta”, the theme song for the Augusta Masters Golf Tournament. Since 1982, the Tennessean hailed it as “the longest-running sports theme in history.”

Reflecting on the inspiration for “Augusta” in a 2019 interview with the Associated Press, Loggins said, “That course was just a piece of art. I looked over at some dogwoods and, man, I just started writing the song in my head which is what I do when I get inspired. I had the first verse before I even got off the course.”

Radio History: July 13


➦In 1898…Guglielmo Marconi applied for a patent for his radio technology.

Marconi
Marconi, just twenty years old, began his first experiments working on his own with the help of his butler. In the summer of 1894, he built a storm alarm made up of a battery, a coherer, and an electric bell, which went off if there was lightning. Soon after he was able to make a bell ring on the other side of the room by pushing a telegraphic button on a bench.

One night in December, Guglielmo woke his mother up and invited her into his secret workshop and showed her the experiment he had created. The next day he also showed his work to his father, who, when he was certain there were no wires, gave his son all of the money he had in his wallet so Guglielmo could buy more materials.

In the summer of 1895 Marconi moved his experimentation outdoors.  After increasing the length of the transmitter and receiver antennas, arranging them vertically, and positioning the antenna so that it touched the ground, the range increased significantly.  Soon he was able to transmit signals over a hill, a distance of approximately 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi).  By this point he concluded that with additional funding and research, a device could become capable of spanning greater distances and would prove valuable both commercially and militarily.

Marconi wrote to the Ministry of Post and Telegraphs, then under the direction of the honorable Pietro Lacava, explaining his wireless telegraph machine and asking for funding. He never received a response to his letter which was eventually dismissed by the Minister who wrote "to the Longara" on the document, referring to the insane asylum on Via della Lungara in Rome.

In 1896, Marconi spoke with his family friend Carlo Gardini, Honorary Consul at the United States Consulate in Bologna, about leaving Italy to go to England. Gardini wrote a letter of introduction to the Ambassador of Italy in London, Annibale Ferrero, explaining who Marconi was and about these extraordinary discoveries. In his response, Ambassador Ferrero advised them not to reveal the results until after they had obtained the copyrights. He also encouraged him to come to England where he believed it would be easier to find the necessary funds to convert the findings from Marconi's experiment into a practical use. Finding little interest or appreciation for his work in Italy, Marconi travelled to London in early 1896 at the age of 21, accompanied by his mother, to seek support for his work; Marconi spoke fluent English in addition to Italian. Marconi arrived at Dover and at Customs the Customs officer opened his case to find various contraptions and apparatus. The customs officer immediately contacted the Admiralty in London. While there, Marconi gained the interest and support of William Preece, the Chief Electrical Engineer of the British Post Office.

The apparatus that Marconi possessed at that time was similar to that of one in 1882 by A. E. Dolbear, of Tufts College, which used a spark coil generator and a carbon granular rectifier for reception.  A plaque on the outside of BT Centre commemorates Marconi's first public transmission of wireless signals from that site. A series of demonstrations for the British government followed—by March 1897, Marconi had transmitted Morse code signals over a distance of about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) across Salisbury Plain. On 13 May 1897, Marconi sent the world's first ever wireless communication over open sea. The experiment, based in Wales, witnessed a message transversed over the Bristol Channel from Flat Holm Island to Lavernock Point in Penarth, a distance of 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). The message read "Are you ready".  The transmitting equipment was almost immediately relocated to Brean Down Fort on the Somerset coast, stretching the range to 16 kilometres (9.9 mi).

From his Fraserburgh base, he transmitted the first long-distance, cross-country wireless signal to Poldhu in Cornwall.

Marconi watching associates launch a kite used to lift an antenna in 1901 at St. Johns, Newfoundland

Impressed by these and other demonstrations, Preece introduced Marconi's ongoing work to the general public at two important London lectures: "Telegraphy without Wires", at the Toynbee Hall on 11 December 1896; and "Signaling through Space without Wires", given to the Royal Institution on 4 June 1897.

Numerous additional demonstrations followed, and Marconi began to receive international attention. In July 1897, he carried out a series of tests at La Spezia, in his home country, for the Italian government. A test for Lloyds between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island, Ireland, was conducted on 6 July 1898. The English channel was crossed on 27 March 1899, from Wimereux, France to South Foreland Lighthouse, England, and in the autumn of 1899, the first demonstrations in the United States took place, with the reporting of the America's Cup international yacht races at New York.

Marconi sailed to the United States at the invitation of the New York Herald newspaper to cover the America's Cup races off Sandy Hook, NJ. The transmission was done aboard the SS Ponce, a passenger ship of the Porto Rico Line.  Marconi left for England on 8 November 1899 on the American Line's SS St. Paul, and he and his assistants installed wireless equipment aboard during the voyage. On 15 November the St. Paul became the first ocean liner to report her imminent return to Great Britain by wireless when Marconi's Royal Needles Hotel radio station contacted her sixty-six nautical miles off the English coast.

➦In 1913...Radio-TV personality Dave Garroway was born in Schenectady NY.  He was one of the first adopters of a conversational approach on the air, as opposed to ‘announcing’ to the audience.  He had a popular late night jazz radio show in Chicago before being featured in Garroway at Large in the earliest days of the TV era, and then being named first host of the NBC Today Show. He was fired ten years later after lying down in the studio to press for his contract demands. He committed suicide July 21 1982, just days after his 69th birthday.

➦In 1928…Radio host and actor Bob Crane was born in Waterbury Conn.  While he had excellent radio credentials from his KNX Hollywood breakfast show, he is best remembered as the star of TV’s zany sitcom, Hogan’s Heroes. He was found murdered in his hotel room in Scottsdale, AZ June 29, 1978 at age 49.

➦In 1960…KDBQ-AM, San Francisco changed its call letters to KYA-AM.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Ad 'Cartel' Allegedly Blacklists Conservative Platforms


A damning new congressional report shows how a little-known advertising cartel that controls 90% of global marketing spending supported efforts to defund news outlets and platforms at points urging members to use a blacklist compiled by a shadowy government-funded group that purports to guard news consumers against “misinformation.”

The NY Post reports the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), which reps 150 of the world’s top companies — including ExxonMobil, GM, General Mills, McDonald’s, Visa, SC Johnson and Walmart — and 60 ad associations sought to squelch online free speech through its Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) initiative, the House Judiciary Committee found in an interim report released Wednesday.

“The extent to which GARM has organized its trade association and coordinates actions that rob consumers of choices is likely illegal under the antitrust laws and threatens fundamental American freedoms,” the Republican-led panel said in its 39-page report based on internal organizational records.

House Republicans previously studied the extent to which the US government flouted free speech norms by leaning directly on platforms to censor content — through both the Biden White House and Department of Homeland Security — or by funding outside groups that compiled blacklists of outlets for advertisers to avoid.

Milwaukee Radio: Progressive Talk Net Admits Making WH Edits


 Civic Media, a Wisconsin-based progressive talk-radio network, said Thursday it had agreed to make two edits to an interview with President Joe Biden at the request of his campaign before the broadcast aired, a decision the station said fell short of "journalistic interview standards."

Still, the station said, it stands by its popular host Earl Ingram, who conducted the interview with Biden following the June 27 televised debate with rival Republican Donald Trump during which the president lost his train of thought and at times made nonsensical statements. Ingram's interview was recorded on July 3 and aired on July 4.

"On Monday, July 8th, it was reported to Civic Media management that immediately after the phone interview was recorded, the Biden campaign called and asked for two edits to the recording before it aired. Civic Media management immediately undertook an investigation and determined that the production team at the time viewed the edits as non-substantive and broadcast and published the interview with two short segments removed," the station said in a statement released on Thursday.

FCC's Carr Denounced for Project 2025 Involvement


Democrats and consumer advocates are speaking out against a Republican Federal Communications Commission official’s role in crafting Project 2025, an aggressive conservative plan to remake the federal government pushed by allies of former president Donald Trump, according to The Washington Post.

The sprawling proposal calls for sweeping changes, including dismantling the Education Department, dramatically reducing the federal workforce and giving the president more control over the civil service, as my colleagues Josh Dawsey and Hannah Knowles reported. The plan has sparked significant backlash from Democrats and President Biden since its April release.

Brendan Carr
Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, whom Trump appointed to the agency in 2017, wrote a portion of the report for the Conservative group The Heritage Foundation calling for a dramatic reimagining of the agency, shifting more of its focus to reining in tech giants like Facebook and Google.

Most notably, Carr’s chapter calls for enlisting the Federal Communications Commission into the Republican battle against Section 230, the law that shields digital platforms from lawsuits over user-generated content. Carr has long advocated for revamping the law on grounds that social media companies are disproportionately “censoring” viewpoints on the right, which many conservatives allege.

Olympics Could Be Most Watched Event in Eight Years


The past two Summer Olympic games, taking place in Rio (2016) and Tokyo (2020), each attracted over 3 billion viewers worldwide, according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s official reporting, making them some of the most widely watched televised events over the last eight years.

Beyond the chart:

  • NBCUniveral expects even higher viewership for this Olympic games as it is the first in several years to take place outside of Asia, providing Western audiences with better viewing times.
  • The company has set record ad revenues for this year’s Olympics, securing $1.2 billion in ad commitments, with over $350 million from new advertisers.
  • Peacock, NBCU’s streaming service, is raising subscription prices ahead of the games. Ad-supported subscriptions will increase by $2 to $7.99 monthly and ad-free subscriptions will jump to $13.99.
  • We forecast total US TV ad spend (including connected TV and linear) will reach $87.74 billion in 2024. Linear TV will continue to make up the majority of that spend through 2028, but its share is declining as spend on CTV grows.


The 2024 ESPYS Celebrates Sports Celebs


On Thursday evening, some of the biggest stars in sports and entertainment gathered at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles to celebrate the year’s best moments in sports at The 2024 ESPYS presented by Capital One. The show, which aired live on ABC, was hosted by tennis legend and cultural icon Serena Williams and featured appearances by Andy Reid, Candace Parker, Colman Domingo, Draymond Green, Drew Brees, Jennifer Garner, Lil Wayne, Nikki Glaser, Paige Bueckers, Quinta Brunson, Rob Lowe, Venus Williams, and more.

Each year, The ESPYS recognizes individuals in the sports world who have demonstrated admirable strength and bravery in the face of adversity with three marquee awards: the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, and the Pat Tillman Award for Service.

Stefan Jones Rises To President Of United Stations


Gemini XIII has announced the promotion of Stefan Jones to President of United Stations Radio Networks (USRN).

Stefan Jones
Jones, who joined USRN in 2016 as Senior Vice President of Content and Affiliation, previously founded and served as Chairman/CEO of Nineball Radio Networks from 2004 to 2015. He also has experience in affiliate sales for Dial Global from 1995 to 2003. In his new role, Jones will oversee all aspects of USRN’s operations, including programming, services, affiliate relations, and affiliate sales. He will collaborate closely with the team at USRN and Gemini XIII to develop innovative strategies to enhance the network’s offerings and provide value to its affiliates and partners.

Gemini XIII acquired United Stations last July. CEO Spencer Brown expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We are incredibly excited to elevate Stefan Jones to this position. His expertise, passion, and approach align perfectly with our mission to deliver exceptional audio content and services.”

Jones shared his excitement, saying, “I am honored to continue expanding United Stations’ portfolio of high-quality programming and services at such a pivotal time in the industry. USRN has a rich history, and I look forward to building upon its legacy and exploring new opportunities for growth and innovation.”

Chicago Radio: WGN Adds 'Other Side of Midnight'


Red Apple Audio Networks has announced WGN Radio, the Voice of Chicago, has added The Other Side of Midnight with Frank Morano, the fastest growing syndicated overnight show in the nation. 

The Other Side of Midnight with Frank Morano debuts on WGN Monday, July 15. The popular overnighter airs Midnight to 4a Monday and 1a to 4a Tuesday through Friday from its flagship station, WABC Radio in New York.

“The Other Side of Midnight with Frank Morano is engaging, creative, and lively – a trifecta not often found in late night radio shows,” said Mary Sandberg Boyle, Vice President/General Manager of WGN.

“WGN is one of the most respected news/talk radio stations in America,” said Chad Lopez, President of Red Apple Media and WABC Radio. “They are a perfect fit for The Other Side of Midnight, and we’re delighted to welcome them to Red Apple Audio Networks.”

The Other Side of Midnight with Frank Morano delves into topics that are popular and engaging with nighttime listeners: True Crime, Paranormal Activities, and Conspiracy Theories are balanced out with Top News stories.

In addition to WGN and WABC, The Other Side of Midnight with Frank Morano is on WCCO, Minneapolis; KMOX, St. Louis; K-DAWN, Las Vegas; WCBM-AM, Baltimore; WFDF-AM, Detroit; and more.

Phoenix Radio: KMLE to Throw KMLE Koozie Concert


KMLE Country 107.9 presents KMLE Koozie Concert with Shaboozey, bringing the viral Country star to an Arizona stage for the first time at Gila River Resorts and Casinos – Wild Horse Pass on Saturday, August 17.

“We have curated a creative interactive experience for our listeners, where a koozie is their ticket to see one of the biggest Country artists taking over the charts this summer,” said Drew Bland, Brand Manager, KMLE Country 107.9. “We’re excited to welcome Shaboozey to Arizona with tons of energy from our local community.”

For a chance to win entry into the concert, listeners can get their hands on a KMLE Koozie by visiting “Koozie Stops” at select Gila River Resorts and Casino locations, tuning in to the morning show “Gunner & Cheyenne” on weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. MT, or following @KMLE1079 across X, Facebook and Instagram.

PA Radio: Amber Miller Joins WXPN as On-Air Host


WXPN
, the member-supported, public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania, announced Thursday that Amber Miller will join as On-Air Host. She will be heard during nights and weekends, in addition to fill-in shifts, starting Thursday, July 18.

Miller was On-Air Host, Assistant Program Director, and Program Director for WRFF/Philadelphia from 2016 until earlier this year. She held the same positions at WEQX/Albany from 2007 to 2013. From 2013 to 2016, she served as Director, National Promotion for Caroline Distribution (now Virgin Music Group). Previously, she was On-Air Host at WDGC/Raleigh and WQSM/Fayetteville.

Amber Miller
A Michigan native, Miller started her career in 2000 at WDVD/Detroit as Programming/ Promotions Assistant, working her way up to Assistant Producer of The Rocky Allen Show. She holds a B.A. in broadcast and cinematic arts from Central Michigan University.

Miller said, “This Philly gal couldn't be more enthused and honored to join the revered team of world-class radio professionals at XPN. I can't wait to work alongside each of them, all in the name of celebrating amazing music, community and connection.”

Bruce Warren, WXPN Associate General Manager for Programming, said, “We’re super excited to welcome Amber to the on-air host and programming team at XPN. Her long-standing passion for music, combined with her extensive experience in both on-air and behind-the-scenes roles, makes her a highly valuable addition to our team.”

🎧WXPN-FM serves on-air listeners in the Philadelphia, PA metro area, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Worton/Baltimore, Lehigh Valley, northwestern New Jersey and worldwide via streaming. For all the ways to listen to WXPN, click here. Join and follow WXPN on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Radio History: July 12


Milton Berle 1943
➦In 1908.
..Comedian Milton Berle was born in New York City (Died from colon cancer – March 27, 2002). Berle's career as an entertainer spanned over 80 years, first in silent films and on stage as a child actor, then in radio, movies and television. As the host of NBC's Texaco Star Theater (1948–55), he was the first major American television star and was known to millions of viewers as "Uncle Miltie" and "Mr. Television" during the first Golden Age of Television.

From 1934–36, Berle appeared regularly on The Rudy Vallee Hour, and he attracted publicity as a regular on The Gillette Original Community Sing, a Sunday night comedy-variety program broadcast on CBS from September 6, 1936 to August 29, 1937. In 1939, he was the host of Stop Me If You've Heard This One with panelists spontaneously finishing jokes sent in by listeners.

In the late 1940s, he canceled well-paying nightclub appearances to expand his radio career. Three Ring Time, a comedy-variety show sponsored by Ballantine Ale, was followed by a 1943 program sponsored by Campbell's Soups. The audience participation show Let Yourself Go (1944–1945) could best be described as "slapstick radio" with studio audience members acting out long suppressed urges—often directed at host Berle. Kiss and Make Up, on CBS in 1946, featured the problems of contestants decided by a jury from the studio audience with Berle as the judge. Berle also made guest appearances on many comedy-variety radio programs during the 1930s and 1940s.

Howard Duff
 ➦In 1946…"The Adventures of Sam Spade," debuted on ABC Radio.

The show ran for 13 episodes on ABC in 1946, for 157 episodes on CBS in 1946-1949, and finally for 51 episodes on NBC in 1949-1951. The series starred Howard Duff (and later, Steve Dunne) as Sam Spade and Lurene Tuttle as his secretary Effie, and took a considerably more tongue-in-cheek approach to the character than the novel or movie. The announcer was Dick Joy.

The series was largely overseen by producer/director William Spier. In 1947, scriptwriters Jason James and Bob Tallman received an Edgar Award for Best Radio Drama from the Mystery Writers of America.

➦In 1957…DJ Alan Freed - the man who coined the term "Rock and Roll" - started a Rock and Roll program on ABC-TV.

"The Big Beat" with guest performers Frankie Lymon And The Teenagers, the Everly Brothers and Connie Francis. The series was cancelled after the fourth show in which Frankie Lymon was seen dancing with a white girl, something that reportedly offended the management of the network's affiliate stations in southern states. Freed hosted a local version of "The Big Beat" on WNEW-TV New York until late 1959 when he was fired due to payola allegations.

➦In 1976…Ted Mack died (Born William Edward Maguiness February 12, 1904). He was the host of Ted Mack and The Original Amateur Hour on radio and television.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Biden To Wear Big Boy Pants For News Presser


President Biden is slated to face the media late Thursday afternoon in his first solo press conference since his disastrous debate last month, and it's anticipated that he'll be grilled as the nation weighs his mental acuity amid heightening health concerns. 

Biden is expected to hold the news conference on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. EDT after hosting NATO leaders in Washington, D.C., this week. The media has dubbed the press conference a "big boy press conference," with the president fielding questions from the media solo. It marks Biden's first solo press conference of the year and the first time he will speak to the media at a presser since his debate against former President Trump on June 27, Fox News found.

Biden is facing heightened concerns over his health in the wake of his poor debate performance, which opened floodgates of concern in the Democratic Party that the president's 81 years of age and alleged slipping mental acuity will cost the party as the Biden campaign squares up against Trump.

At least nine elected Democrats have called on Biden to drop out since the debate, and at least 23 Democrats, including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Adam Schiff and Jamie Raskin, have expressed concern over Biden’s performance and re-election effort.

Axios urges:  Don't underestimate reporters' bitterness at this White House.

A natural tension always exists. But this is different: Biden has operated in a protective bubble, often hermetically sealed from tough questioning. Many reporters believe the White House hid signs of Biden's aging, and played them or badgered them when they did push on the topic.

Many are being harassed on social media for being too soft on Biden. In our experience, most reporters are more insecure than people think, and highly sensitive to how friends and foes see them, especially on X.

The stakes are even higher than during the first presidential debate. If Biden looks weak and wobbly, his Democratic critics will pounce and crank up resignation calls. If he looks strong and steady, the anti-Biden campaign could stall.

Biden's every word and move will be dissected, every mangled sentence scrutinized, every stiff move or mind freeze discussed, according Axios.

Clooney to Biden: Good Night and Goodbye!


NBC News announced Wednesday that Biden will be sitting down with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt for a primetime special Monday airing at 9 p.m. ET, coinciding with the first night of the RNC convention in Milwaukee.

The NY Post reports the interview follows a string of post-debate media appearances including on ABC and MSNBC as well as his upcoming press conference scheduled for Thursday.

Biden has repeatedly vowed that he is staying in the race through November and intends to defeat former President Trump.

But Democrats have been in disarray on Capitol Hill as they clash over whether to rally behind the beleaguered president or call for him to step aside.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., added fuel to the fire Wednesday morning during her appearance on MSNBC when saying “I want him to do whatever he decides,” suggesting there’s an open door for Biden to step aside despite his letter to Democratic lawmakers on Monday reiterating he is staying in the race.

Meanwhile, at least eight House Democrats have publicly called for Biden exit the race.

Another bombshell that dropped on Wednesday was the scathing guest essay published by Hollywood liberal George Clooney in The New York Times.

Clooney, who had just hosted the star-studded Biden fundraiser in Los Angeles last month, called for a new nominee on the Democratic ticket and starkly revealed he witnessed the same Biden that the country saw at the presidential debate. 

“It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe “big F—king deal” Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate,” Clooney wrote. 

Last week’s ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos was widely seen as a test for Biden to show he has the mental capacity to continue his reelection bid.

However, the 22-minute sit-down has not eased tensions within his party.

NBA Finalizes $76B Broadcasting Deal


The NBA secured a multi-year television deal worth $76 billion set to make NBC and Amazon new regular season telecast partners and maintain ESPN’s rights to broadcast the NBA Finals, The Athletic reported, noting longtime NBA partner TNT Sports may match terms of the deal to keep its broadcast rights.

Talking Points:

  • The deal will last for 11 seasons and still awaits approval from the NBA’s board of governors, which will send finalized contracts to TNT Sports, giving it the ability to match the offer within five days, according to The Athletic.
  • Amazon is expected to fork over $1.8 billion a year under the deal while NBC will spend $2.5 billion each year, according to The Athletic.
  • Regular season games would be nationally televised nearly seven days a week under the new deal, The Athletic reported, with games on Amazon Prime Video primarily being streamed on Friday nights and Saturdays while NBC and Peacock games will air on Tuesdays and Mondays, respectively.
  • Amazon will have the In-Season Tournament and alternate conference finals with NBC, while ESPN also gets a conference final and the NBA Finals every season, according to The Athletic.
  • TNT Sports could be looking at its last season with the NBA after 34 years of partnering with the league if it does not match the deal, bringing an end to its and ESPN’s $2.6 billion, nine-season NBA agreement

The TNT partnership’s potential end provoked “Inside The NBA” host and former NBA player Charles Barkley to call network executives “clowns” who “screwed this thing up.” Barkley has since declared he will retire from broadcasting in 2025.

Forbes reports speculation around the new deal increased in May, when multiple outlets reported the NBA might be moving on from TNT after a decades-long partnership that started in 1989. The rising popularity of streaming services and cord-cutting in the last five years has given way to a slew of sports broadcasting deals. Apple inked a 10-year, $2.5 billion agreement with Major League Soccer in 2022, allowing it to air matches exclusively through Apple TV. Meanwhile, the NFL has splintered the ability to watch its games across multiple platforms including Peacock, Prime Video, ESPN+ and Netflix.

Fans Biggest MLB Issue: Blackouts

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred

As he approaches his 10th anniversary as MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred has seen baseball through a cheating scandal, a pandemic, a work stoppage, dramatic rule changes and a significant expansion of the playoff field.

There are signs that changes are drawing fans back to watching the game. Attendance this year has been up slightly, about 2% over 2023, according to MLB, and game times continue to fall. The average game time is down more than a half hour from 2021, to 2:36 this season. Baseball also appears to be making inroads with a younger audience, with the average age of ticket buyers dropping from 51 to 44 over the last five years.

There are still, however, significant headwinds to counter, starting with the potentially industry-changing implosion of the regional sports network model for local broadcasting revenues.

Ahead of the All-Star Game in Arlington on Tuesday, Manfred, 65, sat down with The Dallas Morning News for a wide-ranging Q&A on the state of the game and the issues still ahead.

Regional sports networks

Manfred: “I’ve tried to be clear about this. We hope that Diamond [Sports] continues to pay our clubs the amounts they are contractually obligated to pay. That would be a good outcome for us. But, we have been prepared and remain prepared to step in, in the event they reject agreements to make sure that our fans get served both in the traditional broadcast cable arena and on the digital side.”

In the interim, though, is there any potential solution to the blackout situation that is preventing a significant number of fans from watching their own teams locally via streaming options that seem to already be in place?

Manfred: “Blackouts are the No. 1 issue we hear from fans about. It is certainly possible to solve the blackout situation. Unfortunately, the RSN situation has made it even more difficult. The regionals and the distributors have become less interested in distribution, particularly in the outlying areas. It means more people are blacked out. So, that’s a problem.

“Because these [RSN] contracts are generally good deals for the clubs, breaching the exclusivity that’s contained in those contracts is not a particularly appealing option right now because that would give the RSN an opportunity to walk away. So, we’re in a tough spot. I think we will get past that tough spot, though, in relatively short order. And reach will be a priority for the game.”

The potential impact on the game - losing that RSN revenue - seems like an industry-changer. Is it not?

Manfred: “There is potential for a downtick in revenue, but I think that down tick is going to be relatively modest. The content has fundamental value and we will be back at our peak relatively quickly. And from there we continue to grow.”

NBC To Air Toby Keith Legacy Concert


NBC will broadcast a two-hour network special honoring the life and legacy of country star Toby Keith in August and fans of the music icon can see the show live before it airs.

NBC announced that the “Toby Keith: American Icon” concert will be recorded at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, on Monday, July 29 at 7 p.m., according to a news release. Viewers can enjoy the show at home when it airs on Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 9 p.m.

The night is set to be a star-studded event with performances by some of the most popular artists in country music including Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Ashley McBryde, Parker McCollum, Jelly Roll, Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood, Lainey Wilson, The War And Treaty and more. Keith’s greatest hits will be performed in addition to original songs from the entertainers.

NBC noted that the special will “feature an A-list lineup of musical performances and special guests who will come together to share their love for one of music’s most iconic artists.”

The Country Music Hall of Famer’s career highlights include 42 top-10 hits, 33 No.1’s, 44 million albums sold, 100 million BMI performances and more than 10 billion streams. He was a songwriter and producer whose hits “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!” “Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)” and “I Love This Bar” rocketed him to worldwide notoriety. Of all his accolades the New York-based all-genre Songwriters Hall of Fame (2015), the National Medal of Arts (2021), the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (2021) and BMI Icon (2022) were his most treasured.

Ticket prices range from $73 to more than $400 and are on sale at Ticketmaster. A portion of the ticket sales will benefit The Toby Keith Foundation’s OK Kids Korral, a cost-free home for families of children dealing with critical illnesses, and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals and the top-rated in the Southeast.