Thursday, October 20, 2016

NYC Radio: WABC To Steam Content, Ads On Website

WABC 770 AM in New York has begun testing streaming of some live broadcasts of three of its weekday shows.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the station is planning to stream these shows on a daily basis by the end of this month. It is also planning to start running, and in some cases even producing, video ads for local marketers, hoping to unlock a new revenue stream.

It’s not unheard of for big radio shows to be simulcast on TV--think ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” or WFAN’s Mike Francesa, whose show in the past aired on sports cable networks Yes Network and FS1. And radio stations have long streamed audio on the web.

WABC’s tests involve three shows: “The Bernie and Sid Show,” which airs weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon, “Curtis and Kuby,” which airs each weekday from noon to 3:00 p.m., as well as “The Drive at Five,” which airs at 5 p.m. The live streams will feature most of these shows’ content, excluding the station’s live news breaks.

Curtis Sliwa
Sid & Bernie
“This is a good opportunity for us to rebrand the station a bit,” said Chris Rudzki, director of digital sales and operations at Cumulus Media, which owns WABC. “It lets us dip our toe in the waters and see what’s out there.”

Interestingly, WABC isn’t focusing on the much-hyped Facebook Live, but instead plans to stream the shows on its own site. Outside of potential product placement deals, or driving people to a station’s ad-supported website, Facebook Live is “tough to monetize,” Mr. Rudzki added. “And the algorithm changes every time you do something.”

Facebook is testing some “mid-roll” video ads during live video streams.

WABC has tapped the technology company Livestream to deliver the live content to the web and help the station insert video ads. Some of the new video ads will be produced by the station, while others will be sold by video ad networks, Mr. Rudzki said. The station hasn’t signed on any advertisers yet.

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Report: Viacom-CBS Merger Could Happen By Thanksgiving

Viacom shareholders believe they’ll have a merger agreement with CBS by Thanksgiving, sources told The NYPost.

National Amusements Inc., the controlling shareholder of both Viacom and CBS, said on September 29 that it sees the deal as an all-stock transaction with an at-market price.

Shari Redstone
Still, some Viacom shareholders are holding out hope for an extra serving of a sweetener for the deal — with the continuing possibility that China’s Wanda Group might still be waiting in the wings with a big check for Paramount or at least give the studio some financing on the upcoming slate.

Sources tell The Post that Aryeh Bourkoff’s LionTree had been helping Viacom look for ways to pay down debt by suggesting the sale of Viacom’s interest in premium TV and movie service Epix or Viacom’s Indian assets. Those proposals have been put on hold as merger talks proceed.

But Viacom shareholders are still angling for some kind of premium.

Meanwhile, sources say, controlling shareholder Shari Redstone — who helped organize the ouster of former Viacom Chief Executive Philip Dauman — has been spending a lot more time at the company’s 1515 Broadway offices.

On the docket is finding someone to lead Viacom after the mid-November departure of acting CEO Tom Dooley.

Trump Says He May Not Accept Election Result

By Steve Holland and Emily Stephenson

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Republican candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday would not commit to accepting the outcome of the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election if he loses, challenging a cornerstone of American democracy and sending shockwaves across the political spectrum.

Trump's refusal, which his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton called "horrifying," was the standout remark of the their third and final debate and ratcheted up claims he has made for weeks that the election was rigged against him.

Asked by moderator Chris Wallace whether Trump would not commit to a peaceful transition of power, the businessman-turned-politician replied: "What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense. Ok?"

Trump's statement may appeal to his anti-establishment followers, but it was unlikely to reverse opinion polls that show him losing, including in key states that will decide the election.

"That is not the way our democracy works," Clinton said during the debate. "We've been around for 240 years. We've had free and fair elections. We've accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election."

Later she told reporters: "What he said tonight is part of his whole effort to blame somebody else for where he is in his campaign."

A CNN/ORC snap poll said 52 percent thought Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state, won the debate while 39 percent said Trump, making his first run at public office, was the victor.

Mexico's peso currency, seen as a measure of Trump's prospects, rose to its highest level in six weeks at the end of the debate, suggesting growing investor confidence of a Clinton victory. Trump has vowed to build a wall on the border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants and has said he would make Mexico pay for it.

The debate in 90-seconds...


Mainstream Republicans were quick to denounce the comment. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a former Republican presidential candidate who has never warmed to Trump, said: "If he loses, it will not be because the system is 'rigged' but because he failed as a candidate."

Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who also ran for the Republican presidential nomination and now supports Trump, defended him.

He said Trump's message was that "if there's some kind of obvious fraud going on, he's going to say something about it."

"He didn't say he wouldn't accept it," Carson told Reuters. "He said he would evaluate it at the time."

Trump's running mate, vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, said Trump "will accept the outcome" because he is going to win.

But Republican strategist Ryan Williams found Trump's statement "deeply concerning."

"You have to accept the results of the election unless there are grounds for a recount and at this point it does not appear that we're heading for a close election," he said.


In a debate that for the first time focused more on policy than character, the two candidates nonetheless lashed out at each other.

Trump, 70, called Clinton "such a nasty woman," accused her campaign of orchestrating a series of accusations by women who said the businessman made unwanted sexual advances and said that both she and President Barack Obama were behind disturbances at his rallies.

He said the Clinton Foundation was a criminal enterprise and as a result she should not have been allowed to seek the presidency.

Clinton, 68, said Trump himself had incited violence, belittled women and posed a danger to the United States. She said Trump, a former reality TV star, had in the past also complained that his show was unjustly denied an Emmy award.

"I should have gotten it," Trump retorted.

Trump said all of the stories of sexual misdeeds were "totally false" and suggested Clinton was behind the charges. He called her campaign "sleazy" and said, "Nobody has more respect for women than I do, nobody."

Clinton said the women came forward after Trump said in the last debate he had never made unwanted advances on women. In a 2005 video, Trump was recorded bragging about groping women against their will.

"Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth and I don’t think there is a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like," said Clinton, the first woman to win the nomination of a major U.S. political party.

The two candidates also had a spirited exchange on abortion, gun rights and immigration during the showdown.

Clinton said she would raise taxes on the wealthy to help fund the U.S. government's Social Security retirement program. She said Trump, who Forbes says is worth $3.7 billion, would be paying higher taxes too unless he can get out of it.

"Such a nasty woman," Trump said.

Trump and Clinton battled sharply over the influence of Vladimir Putin, with Clinton calling Trump the Russian president's puppet and Trump charging Putin had repeatedly outsmarted Clinton.

Clinton and Trump walked straight to their podiums when they were introduced at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, once again forgoing the traditional handshake as they did at the second debate last week in St. Louis, Missouri. This time they did not shake hands at the end of the debate either.

Moonves Clarifies "Trump Good For CBS" Comment

Les Moonves
Both Republicans and Democrats who aren't Donald Trump fans have criticized how much coverage the news media have given his campaign, particularly in the primaries, when they would air his campaign rallies in their entirety.

Many thought that CBS CEO Les Moonves confirmed that it was all about ratings and money when he infamously said at a Morgan Stanley conference in February of Trump's presidential run: "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." Moonves tried to clarify his comment yesterday at the Vanity Fair New Establishment conference.

He said, "It was a joke! It was a joke!" and explained that it was in the context of a question about local political ad spending, not TV ratings.

According to Politico, he said, "It was early in the primaries, and I was at a business conference . . . The early days of Trump, where no one imagined him being where he is today."

He continued, "By [the 'good for CBS' comment], I meant there was going to be a lot of money in the marketplace. Ironically, because of Donald Trump not spending a lot of money [on campaign ads], more money has been spent on gubernatorial and local races."

Nielsen: Radio Reaches The Voters

Radio has the ability to reach more than 16 million voters across the major metropolitan areas of Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to a new Nielsen report.

Local radio provides both the mass reach needed to quickly inform voters just before they cast their ballots, as well as the local appeal that campaign strategists need to win an election.
To gain insight into where a state’s radio listeners are along party lines, Nielsen Voter Ratings recently matched voter registration data with data from Nielsen’s Portable People Meter (PPM) panelists in the major metropolitan areas for these three critical states. Adults 18+ were then divided into 10 different segments across the full political spectrum.

Florida’s cultural diversity within its population-rich metro areas is one of the key reasons why it’s a critical state for either party to win during any election year. The challenge for statewide and national campaigns is effectively and efficiently delivering the right messages across the five major metro areas: Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach. These metros account for more than 75% of the state’s population. The solution to that challenge, however, is radio. How? AM/FM radio reaches nine out of 10 voters in Florida in an average week.

As illustrated, Florida voters are voracious radio listeners. As an example,  radio in Jacksonville reaches 95.4% of Ultra Conservatives voters, the highest for this voter segment in Florida, compared with 86.4% of Ultra Conservative voters in West Palm Beach. Interestingly, Adult Contemporary is the top radio format for Republican voters in Jacksonville and for Democratic voters in Orlando.

For candidates trying to win the state and reach voters across Central Florida’s Interstate 4 corridor, identified as the area’s biggest swing area, it’s critical for them to know where their voters are and what they are tuning to.

In Tampa, radio has the ability to reach 93.4% of Independent voters, the highest in the state, while also reaching a high number of Super Democrats and Uninvolved Conservatives. Whether it's a local, statewide or national candidate, reaching the right voter and encouraging voter turnout is key.

Like in Florida, candidates who want to connect with specific voter segments in North Carolina can leverage the power of radio to deliver a message that is targetable and that resonates with the intended audience.

In Charlotte, Urban and Pop radio formats reach the majority of Democrat voters that are under age 35 , while Adult Contemporary and Adult Hits reach most Democrats that are over the age of 35. Radio performs extremely well among Republican voters in Charlotte, as 91% of them can be reached by the medium, a higher percentage than Democrats (90.3%) and Independents (90.1%).

When we look at Nielsen’s voter ratings data, it shows that the Greensboro-Winston-Salem area has a very diverse voter segment. Radio has the unique ability to effectively reach more than 93% of Super Democrats, Ultra Conservatives, On-the-Fence Liberals and Green Traditionalists.

When it comes to overall reach, AM/FM radio reaches nine out of 10 voters in Raleigh-Durham each week, with its highest reach among Independent voters at 93.6%. Radio’s wide and far-reaching appeal goes beyond party lines and in the Raleigh-Durham metro it reaches 95.6% of Mild Republican and 95.5% of Left Out Democrats.

For any candidate running a statewide campaign, it’s critical that they ensure that their messages reach key voters in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and these cities’ suburbs. In both metros, radio effectively reaches more than 94% of Democrats and more than 95% of Republicans. The medium is also effective in reaching at least 92% of Independent voters.

In Philadelphia, Nielsen data found that one individual radio station has the ability to reach over half of a single voter segment group. When looking at the percentage of voters in each segment, radio is effective in reaching 97.3% of Mild Republicans and 94.6% of On-The-Fence Liberals and 95.6% of Super Democrats.

A significant part of the Democrat to Republican voting shift in Pennsylvania is being driven by the more rural, western part of the state. Pittsburgh, which is the second-largest market in the state, remains Democratic, but is experiencing an increase in Republican voters. Radio presents a great opportunity for Democrat and Republican candidates to reach voters and deliver a message that resonates. In Pittsburgh, radio has the power to reach 94.6% of Ultra Conservative, 94.7% of Mild Republicans, while at the same time reaching 92.8 % of Conservative Democrats and 95.6% of Super Democrats.

Lexington Radio: Kenny Wall Joins Country WLXX As PD

Kenny Wall
Cumulus Media announces that it has named experienced programming professional Kenny Wall as Program Director of NashFM WLXX 92.9 FM in Lexington, KY.

Wall joins Cumulus from Townsquare Media in Amarillo, TX, where he was Operations Manager.

Prior to that, he was Operations Manager and Program Director for Cumulus Media stations KKEG-FM in Fayetteville, AR, and KBBQ-FM in Fort Smith, AR. Wall also served Cumulus previously as Program Director of WBSX-FM and WBHT-FM in Wilkes Barre, PA. He was also Program Director for stations in markets including Tulsa, OK; Birmingham, AL; Little Rock, AR; and Sydney, Australia.

Scott Frazier, Market Manager for Cumulus Media-Lexington said: “We are very excited to have Kenny Wall join us in Lexington as PD/MD on NASH FM 92.9. Kenny’s experience, ideas and great on-air presence will bring a new level of energy to our 100K watt country station.”

Tony “Twitch” Longo, Operations Manager for Cumulus Media-Lexington said: “I've known Kenny for years, and I'm excited that we are finally getting the chance to work together! There is nobody in the country I'd rather have at the helm of such a heritage station as WLXX. Can't wait to turn him loose!”

WLXX 92.9 FM (100 Kw)
Wall said: "I am so stoked to join the Cumulus team in Lexington. Looking forward to lots of bourbon, horse racing, and country music."

Report: Google Signs CBS For Web TV

(Reuters) -- Alphabet Inc's Google has reached an agreement with CBS Corp  to carry the network on its planned web TV service and is in advanced talks with 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Co and Viacom Inc to distribute their channels, people with knowledge of the talks told Reuters on Wednesday.

The service, which will be part of Google's YouTube platform, is expected to launch in the first quarter and will include all of CBS's content, including live NFL games, one of the sources said.

Google's offering, known as a "skinny bundle" because it will have fewer channels than a typical cable subscription, will cost $30 to $40 a month, the source said. It was unclear which Fox and Viacom networks would be part of the Google service, two of the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity because the discussions are confidential. A spokesperson for YouTube declined to comment.

A representative at Disney was not immediately available for comment. CBS, Viacom and Fox declined to comment.

Google will be launching into an increasingly crowded market. Dish Network Corp and Sony Corp in the past year have launched skinny bundles delivered over the internet to appeal to younger viewers who do not want to pay for cable.

Both AT&T Inc and Hulu, the online video service owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc, have streaming television offerings that are expected to go live in the next few months.

Traditional cable operators also have unveiled smaller packages to fight "cord cutting" by consumers who are dropping their more expensive packages with hundreds of channels.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

Google has been talking to media companies about its web TV for years, but its plans have just ramped up over the past few months, one of the sources said. Apple Inc had looked at a similar service but has shelved that plan for the time being, sources previously told Reuters.

Shares of CBS, Viacom and Fox rose to session highs on the news before they pared gains. Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox ended up 0.6 percent at $25.12, Viacom rose 0.6 percent to $36.37, and CBS closed up 0.8 percent at $55.53.

SLC Radio: Frankie C Extends Contract At KZHT

Jess and Frankie C
iHeartMedia/Salt Lake City has renewed and extended its agreement with Frankie C at its  Top40 KZHT 97.1 FM.

The three-year deal will allow Frankie C to continue to host Frankie and Jess, which broadcasts weekdays from 5 - 10 a.m. The five-hour show will continue to feature on-air co-personality Jessica Ferguson.

“We’re thrilled to team with Frankie again for another three years, “said Stu Stanek, Regional Market President for iHeartMedia Salt Lake City. “Our company has built its success on having the best personalities in all of our markets and Frankie is a prime example. After 19 years on 97.1 ZHT, the audience has come to enjoy him and the show every day and he has helped put us in a dominant position. All of us at iHeartMedia Salt Lake City are grateful that Frankie is on our team!”

“Frankie and 97.1 ZHT are symbolic of Salt Lake City,” said Steve Geofferies, Executive Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia’s West Division. “I couldn’t be more excited to continue our partnership with Frankie, as well as with our listeners and clients in the community.”

KZHT 97.1 FM (25 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
Frankie just celebrated his 19th year as a broadcaster on 97.1 ZHT this October.

“I'm blessed to have found my home at 97.1 ZHT in Salt Lake City 19 years ago,” said Frankie C. “Here's to 19 more! Now, let's make mornings great again!”

WSJ to Review Operations

The Wall Street Journal announced plans Wednesday for a substantial revamp of its print newspaper as parent company Dow Jones & Co. launched a broader review of operations to cut costs in response to a significant decline in print advertising.

Dow Jones Chief Executive William Lewis said the review, dubbed WSJ2020, would seek to come up with an action plan for the next three years and identify the best ways to rebalance revenue streams as the news industry continues to undergo a tumultuous shift toward digital and mobile, in particular.

“These are challenging times. I thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we set about the difficult task of continuing to build our digital future while responding to the decline in traditional advertising,” Lewis said in a memo to staff.

In a separate memo, the Journal’s editor in chief, Gerard Baker, said the revised version of the paper—which will launch in the next few weeks—will involve some consolidation of sections, with more details to come.

“The new product will be a livelier, sharper and more concise newspaper that is an engaging counterpart to our digitally delivered news,” his memo read. “It will also present a more coherent organization of our coverage in print, and will involve some consolidation of sections of the paper and the teams that produce it.”

Baker added that the measures “will require difficult decisions, with some inevitable significant restructuring and they will, regrettably, mean concomitant cost reductions.” People familiar with the matter said the revamp could include a reduction of head count.

Lewis’s note said the review would focus on three key areas: the newsroom, advertising sales and areas where the company can be more efficient. A full action plan is expected to be shared with the Journal’s staff in January, he said.

The volatility isn’t unique to the Journal. The New York Times earlier this year announced a similar review, called the 2020 Report, to chart a path forward as readers move online and increasingly onto mobile platforms. The paper has said it is planning a downsizing of staff and the shifting of resources within the newsroom to more digital roles by early next year.

Digital subscribers were expected to outnumber print subscribers at some point in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The paper had 1.09 million print subscribers, as of July 1, and an average daily circulation of 1.38 million.

LA Radio: $10 Million Demand Alleges Radio Payola

Stephanie Himondis
A former KLAX La Reza 97.9 FM host known as Chiquibaby sued the Spanish Broadcasting System for $10M on Monday, claiming it fired her and her husband for objecting to its illegal payola scheme: demanding $5,000 from musicians to play one song one time, according to Courthouse News.

Stephanie Himondis pka Chiquibaby says her husband, co-plaintiff Gerardo Lopez, earned more than $120,000 base pay for managing two SBS stations, and she got more than twice that, through base pay and bonuses.

Defendant SBS is "the largest Hispanic-controlled radio broadcasting company in the United States," owning and/or operating at least 20 FM stations, in L.A., New York, Miami, Chicago and elsewhere, according to the Oct. 17 complaint in Superior Court.

Last September, the couple claimed that SBS "demanded that Mr. Lopez engage in an illegal payola scheme" as part of his job. "SBS demanded five thousand dollars ($5,000) in payment from musicians in exchange for one play of one song on the air per station," the complaint states.

"SBS flat-out refused to play music on its stations if musicians refused to pay SBS's illegal 'fee' for the same. SBS in turn gave Mr. Lopez a monthly sales quota of five (5) music spots, i.e., SBS required Mr. Lopez to illegally sell and collect from musicians at least five such 'fees' each month, per station, per month, which would yield at least $50,000 per month of $600,000 per year in illegal revenue to SBS."

Himonidis' radio career began in Guadalajara, Mexico. She moved to Fresno and worked her way up into the Los Angeles market. In 2014 was DJ and host of one of SBS' most successful offerings, The Chiquibaby Show, during the 5 to 10 a.m. drive-time slot, with good ratings in the influential markets of Northern and Southern California

Her husband was a successful radio executive who moved to SBS in 2014 after the company's CEO Raul Alarcon recruited him away from his Univision, according to the complaint. Lopez, who was not yet married but in a relationship with Himonidis, persuaded her to follow him to SBS.

They say their work produced a spike in ratings not only during The Chiquibaby Show but across the broadcast system's various platforms. Then, Lopez says, he found that payola was part of his job.

Lopez was fired after he refused to participate in the payola.

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Report: Taylor Swift Wants Butt-Grope Photo Placed Under Seal

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift, who’s currently locked in a legal battle with a former Denver morning host who allegedly groped her butt, has filed legal papers to keep evidence from the lawsuit out of the public’s hands, reports The Wrap.

Swift is being sued by David Mueller, who says he was fired after being accused of “grabbing Ms. Swift’s bottom” at a meet-and-greet at Denver’s Pepsi Center in June 2013. The radio personality, who goes by the professional name “Jackson,” has adamantly denied the accusation. Swift subsequently filed a countersuit against Mueller.

In a joint motion filed last week in federal court in Colorado, Swift and the other parties in the suit seek to keep her motion for summary judgment, as well as “confidential and private evidence” relating to it, out of the public eye.

David Mueller
The joint motion in particular mentions a “photograph taken on June 2, 2013, and documents describing it.”

“Exhibit 14 is extremely personal and sensitive in nature and should not be shared with the public until absolutely necessary (at trial),” the motion reads.

The motion contends that, given the intense public interest in the case, dissemination of the evidence to the public would likely taint the potential juror pool in the case.

“Defendants admit that Mr. Bell showed Mr. Haskell a photograph of Mueller with his hand in an inappropriate place and a grin on his face,” the papers said, referring to Frank Bell, Director of Radio & Research at 13 Management, who is named as a co-defendant in the filing.

ESPN's PTI Renew Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon

Pardon the Interruption hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon agreed to a new multiyear contract with ESPN, according to USAToday.

PTI has become the template for the “embrace debate” format that has proliferated sports broadcast media. The two were both columnists at The Washington Post when the show launched in October 2001 with verbal sparring on various sports topics and countdown graphics that have become commonplace.

“The fact that ESPN would give me yet another extension at my age indicates one of two things: one, they have never actually seen me on television. Two, they feel they are saving money on health insurance because they think I will have all my expenses covered by Medicare,” Kornheiser said in a statement. “Either way I am thrilled to be doing PTI with Wilbon and scaring the children.”

PTI, which airs at 5:30 pm ET each weekday on ESPN, is the network's most-watched daily studio show with more than a million viewers when re-airs are factored in.

BFA-Celeb Tourney Raises $200G To Help Colleagues In Need

The Broadcasters Foundation of America raised $200,0000 during its Celebrity Golf Fundraiser, held recently at The Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, NJ, home of this year’s PGA Championship.  More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities came out on a rainy morning and stayed the course as the weather cleared to a beautiful day of golf for a good cause. The annual event is one of the Foundation’s major fundraisers and supports its mission to provide monthly and emergency financial assistance to broadcasters in need.

“The funds come at a time when more broadcasters than ever are in need of assistance,” stated Dan Mason, Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation. “Just recently, we helped 85 colleagues affected by the Louisiana floods with emergency grants of $1,000 each, and requests are now rolling in from broadcasters impacted by Hurricane Matthew.”

“We are pacing to distribute $850,000 in monthly and emergency grants this year,” added Jim Thompson, President of the Broadcasters Foundation. “We are very grateful to our sponsors and to those who gave of their time to make this year’s Celebrity Golf Fundraiser a success.”
Traug Keller, Senior Vice President, Production & Business Divisions of ESPN, served as Event Chair. Celebrity golfers included: Bruce Beck, WNBC-TV; Rachel Grant, actress and philanthropist; Jay Harris, ESPN; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Karl Nelson, NY Giants; Lee Saltz, New England Patriots; Bob Wischusen, voice of the New York Jets, and more.

Evercore Wealth Management was the title sponsor. Additional sponsors included: ABC Channel 7, CBS Television, CBS Radio, NBC Owned TV Stations & Telemundo Station Group, Eileen & Jack Connors, Jr., ESPN, The Norman Knight Charitable Foundation, Marketron, Nielsen, Putnam Investments, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and others.

The Broadcasters Foundation of America has distributed millions of dollars in aid to thousands of broadcasters and their families who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy.  For more information on applying for a grant or making a donation, please visit, or call 212-373-8250.

R.I.P.: Record Label Co-Founder Phil Chess

Phil and Leonard Chess
Phil Chess, who with his brother founded Chess Records, a storied Chicago label that captured great blues musicians like Muddy Waters in their prime and helped power the musical fusillade of rock ’n’ roll with vibrant recordings by the likes of Chuck Berry, died on Tuesday at his home in Tucson, Ariz.

He was 95, according to The NYTimes.

Chess Records was one of the most prominent of the independent labels — Atlantic in New York and Sun in Memphis were among the others — that became successful in the 1950s by finding little-known performers, recording them and persuading radio stations (not infrequently with the help of cash payments) to play their records.

Their goal was profit, but their lasting influence was suggested by the first ballot of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which consisted almost entirely of artists who had recorded for independent labels.

Chess Records was best known for recruiting black musicians who had taken their heartbreak, hopes and not a few harmonicas from the South to Chicago and who, with electric guitars and a big backbeat, gave birth to what came to be known as Chicago blues. In addition to Muddy Waters, its roster included, at various times, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson and many other Chicago blues stars.

“Chess not only became the true repository of American blues music, but it also presented black music for the edification of white audiences throughout the world,” the Hall of Fame said in 1987 when it inducted Phil’s brother and partner, Leonard Chess.

Both brothers were honored in 2013 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with a Trustees Award for lifetime achievement.

Leonard died of a heart attack in 1969. That same year, Chess Records was sold and Phil moved to Arizona, where he worked in radio.

R.I.P.: KGVY Green Valley AZ Radio Founder Martha Crystall

Martha Crystall
Martha Crystall, who with her husband, Joe, founded KGVY 1080 AM radio with a Big Band sound in 1981, died Monday in Tucson.

She was 93, according to Green Valley News.

The Crystalls used the radio station to promote Green Valley through community programs and news. They launched the popular radio talk show “Around the Cracker Barrel,” and the station's catch-phrase, “Music the way it was and still is.”

The couple's daughter, Bonnie Crystall of Tempe, said her dad got fed up with the bureacracy of radio in Tucson and the couple decided to start their own station with an available signal in Green Valley.

Martha handled all the finances and, with voice and acting training from Northwestern University in the 1940s, was heard on countless commercials and public service announcements.

“Green Valley had no voice, so this was it,” Bonnie said. “It was all about the music because that's what the people of that generation and living in Green Valley listened to, it was Big Band.”

KGVY 1080 AM (1 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
The couple sold the station in 1998 to Nelson Multi-Media, and Martha retired; Joe kept active in several activities. He was inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1996. He died in a car accident in Tucson in 2001.

October 20 Radio History

In 1906...Dr. Lee DeForest demonstrated the electrical vaccuum radio tube.

DeForest disliked the term "wireless" and chose a new moniker, "radio."

In 1902 he and his financial backers founded the De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company. In order to dramatize the potential of this new medium of communication, he began, as early as 1902, to give public demonstrations of wireless telegraphy for businessmen, the press, and the military.

A poor businessman and a poorer judge of men, de Forest was defrauded twice by his own business partners. By 1906 his first company was insolvent, and he had been squeezed out of its operation. But in 1907 he patented a much more promising detector (developed in 1906), which he called the Audion; it was capable of more sensitive reception of wireless signals than were the electrolytic and Carborundum types then in use. It was a thermionic grid-triode vacuum tube—a three-element electronic “valve” similar to a two-element device patented by the Englishman Sir John Ambrose Fleming in 1905. In 1907 de Forest was able to broadcast experimentally both speech and music to the general public in the New York City area.

De Forest is credited with the birth of public radio broadcasting when on January 12, 1910, he conducted experimental broadcast of part of the live performance of Tosca and, the next day, a performance with the participation of Italian tenor Enrico Caruso from the stage of Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

In 1908...Arlene Francis was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She appeared on radio and TV in most notabley the show called "What's My Line?".

In 1930...the "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" premiered on the NBC Radio Network.

In 1945...the quiz show Break the Bank debuted on Mutual radio.  With contestants routinely winning as much as $3,000, It became known as the “highest paying quiz program in the world.”

In 1947...the radio rights to the World Series were sold to Mutual for three years for $475,000.

In 1969...WCBS 101.1 FM switched to live deejays when it launched a freeform rock format, which was becoming increasingly popular, and all other CBS-owned FM stations followed suit.

For the first time, WCBS-FM would have an airstaff. Bill Brown began his long tenure with the station, and Don K. Reed began his late in 1971; both remained there until 2005. Radio personalities such as Bobby "Wizzard" Wayne, Tom Tyler, Ed Williams, Steve Clark, Roby Yonge, K.O. Bayley (Bob Elliott from WOR-FM), Les Turpin, Bob "Bob-A-Lew" Lewis also briefly joined the WCBS-FM "freeform" format. Besides Bill Brown and Don K. Reed, Wizzard Wayne and Ed Williams also stayed into the early part of the oldies format.

Here's a pre-Oldies aircheck of PD Gus Gossert on WCBS-FM (courtesy of

In 1973...the Family Station Inc. purchased shortwave station WNYW, changed the call letters to WYFR & moved it from New York City to Scituate, Massachusetts.

Assocated Press photo
In 1977...Guitarist Steve Gaines, lead singer Ronnie Van Zandt, and backup singer Cassie Gaines of Lynyrd Skynyrd are all killed when the band's small Convair plane runs out of fuel and does down en route from Greenville, SC, to their next gig in Baton Rouge, LA. Crash landing in a forest near Gillsburg, MS, the accident also takes the lives of the band's assistant road manager as well as the two pilots, not to mention severely injuring the rest of the band and most of the other two dozen passengers. The remaining members would not reunite for another decade.

At the time of the 1977 plane crash, Lynyrd Skynyrd was at the height of its fame, having just released its sixth album, “Street Survivors,” only three days earlier. The original album cover featured a picture of the band surrounded by flames; it was changed shortly after the accident.

In 1984...The Hot 100...Stevie Wonder remained at the top with his eighth #1 song--"I Just Called To Say I Love You".  Billy Ocean closed with "Caribbean Queen" and Chicago was up to #3 with "Hard Habit To Break".

The rest of the Top 10:  Madonna edged up with "Lucky Star", the Cars slipped into reverse with "Drive", the new one from Bruce Springsteen ("Cover Me") was up to #7, John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band got their first taste of the Top 10 with "On The Dark Side", Prince shot up from 18 to 9 with "Purple Rain" and the Pointer Sisters were feeling good about their new hit "I'm So Excited".

In 1984...Prince reigned for the 12th week on the Album chart with Purple Rain.  Born in the U.S.A. from Bruce Springsteen was second, followed by Private Dancer from Tina Turner, Sports from Huey Lewis & the News and Heartbeat City by the Cars.  It was the ninth consecutive week that those five releases held down the Top 5 albums, believed to be the only time in the Rock Era that the feat has occurred.

Luther Masingill 1922-2014
In 2014...Legendary Chattanooga radio broadcaster Luther Masingill died after a short illness.

He was 92 and had been on the air for a record 74 years.  He was still active on Country WDEF 92.3 FM.

In 2015...singer Cory Wells, a co-founder and longtime member of the rock group ‘Three Dog Night,’ died of an infection while battling cancer at age 74.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Amazon Pays Millions For Garth Brooks Deal

Exactly one week after the US launch of Amazon Music Unlimited, the online retail giant has shelled out the big bucks to lock in a massive artist exclusive.

The best-selling solo act in US history, Garth Brooks, is now available to stream exclusively on Amazon Music, reports MusicBusinessWorldwide.

His catalogue will appear across the three price tiers of the Unlimited service: $3.99-a-month locked to the Amazon Echo speaker; $7.99-a-month for existing Amazon Prime Members; and $9.99-a-month for non-Prime members.

Brooks has been a long-term holdout from streaming services including Spotify, but was rumored to be shopping an exclusive $30M deal for his catalogue earlier this year.

"It is a joy to work with a company that is all about the customer when it comes to service, and all about the music and its creators when it comes to the music,” stated Brooks.

“I applaud Amazon on their commitment to quality and thank them for this opportunity.”

Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers can stream Brooks's latest single, “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance,” from his upcoming new studio album, Gunslinger (Pearl Records, Inc.), in addition to Diamond-selling album, The Ultimate Hits and the two-time Diamond-selling album, Double Live.

“This is a landmark moment for both Amazon Music and Garth Brooks,” stated Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music.

“Garth Brooks is a legendary country music superstar who continues to shatter industry records and amaze fans three decades into his career. We are honored to make his music available for streaming for the first time ever, exclusively on Amazon Music.”

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Entercom Refinances $520M In Debt

As Entercom Communications Corp. has agreed to acquire four radio stations in North Carolina from Beasley Broadcast Group, the Bala Cynwyd, PA-based company is launching a refinancing of all of its existing senior and senior unsecured debt.

According to the Philly Business Journal, the company expects to enter into a new $520 million senior secured credit facility composed of a $60 million revolving credit facility with a five year maturity and a $460 million term loan B with a seven year maturity.

The two news items – both announced Tuesday morning – do not appear to be directly connected. Entercom said it plans to use the proceeds from the debt offering to refinance its existing $225 million in senior secured bank debt; call its $220 million in 10.5 percent senior subordinated notes; and pay transaction fees and expenses.

As part of the Charlotte, North Carolina station deal, Entercom will acquire The Fan WFNZ 610 AM, The Link WLNK 107.9 FM and news/talk WBT 1110 AM/99.3 FM — all of which are currently owned by Greater Media and held in trust pending the completion of Beasley’s acquisition. Entercom will also acquire Beasley’s WFNZ-AM in Charlotte and an FM translator. The transaction is set to close late in the fourth quarter or early first quarter.

The acquisition provides Entercom with a new position in the Charlotte market while strengthening its existing Carolina presence alongside its Greensboro, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina clusters. The new station cluster is the radio broadcast home of the Carolina Panthers and the Charlotte Hornets.

This was Entercom’s first deal since it completed the $105 million acquisition of 15 radio stations from Lincoln National Corp. in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego markets last summer.

Beasley intends to use the net proceeds from the sale of the four stations to reduce the borrowings required to complete the $240 million Greater Media transaction, which includes four Philadelphia properties: rock station WMMR 93.3 FM, classic rock station WMGK 102.9 FM , Adult Hits WBEN 95.7FM and sports talk station WPEN 97.5 FM The Fanatic. That deal is set to close later this month and involves a total of 21 stations.

Beasley already owns in the market — sports talker WTEL 610 AM and talk station WWDB 860 AM.

Entercom is the fourth-largest radio broadcasting company in the U.S., with 124 stations in 28 markets.

Providence Radio: Curt Schilling Says He May Run For US Senate

(Reuters) -- Former Boston Red Sox pitcher, failed video game entrepreneur and conservative political commentator Curt Schilling said on Tuesday he is considering running against Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in 2018.

"I've made my decision. I'm going to run," Schilling said during an interview on WPRO 630 AM radio in Providence, Rhode Island, about 40 miles from Boston. He added that the decision would be contingent on his wife's approval. "Ultimately it's going to come down to how her and I feel this would affect our marriage and our kids."

Schilling also fielded phone calls from listeners about a $75 million loan the state of Rhode Island made in 2010 to his video game company, 38 Studios, which went bankrupt in 2012.

"I'm sorry it ended the way it did," Schilling said, adding that if he had been governor of Rhode Island he would not have offered financing to that company.

Schilling is still warmly remembered by Red Sox fans for undergoing a medical procedure that allowed him to pitch with an injured ankle and blood-stained sock during the American League Championship Series and World Series in 2004, helping the team win its first world series championship since 1918.

Despite being associated with a team from a politically liberal state, Schilling has long backed conservative politicians, most recently Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.