Monday, November 20, 2017

Entercom Stations To Air 'Count On Country' Special

Entercom Communications Corp. on the heels of their historic merger with CBS Radio, today announced a special philanthropic, commercial-free programming feature, “Count on Country,” that will be broadcast on Giving Tuesday, November 28 at 12 noon in local time zones. The syndicated one-hour on-air program will feature exclusive content from country music’s biggest stars, hosted by Big & Rich.

With a focus on stories from Las Vegas’ heroic first responders to messages of hope from the Mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman and many of the artists that performed at Route 91 Harvest Festival, Entercom’s #CountOnCountry program this #GivingTuesday aims to continue the healing process for listeners. Within the commercial-free programming block and digital exclusives, artists will encourage donations to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund.

“Country music fans are some of the greatest people in the world. They’re the ones you count on in the toughest of times,” said Big & Rich. “We are truly thankful to be your hosts for ‘Count On Country,’ and playing an integral role in bringing our community together to give back. We look forward to curating some meaningful songs, exclusive stories and sharing a little time for us all to count our many blessings – both online and on-air.”

“When the unthinkable happens, people come together.  We come together to heal, to grow, to cry, to remember, and most importantly, to help each other.  It is in this spirit that we present ‘Count on Country,’ a remarkable collection of music, commentary and reflection surrounding the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy,” said Pat Paxton, Entercom’s President of Programming.

“People put their fear to the side and were trying to help one another,” Brothers Osborne’s T.J. Osborne shares in the exclusive video below, before shining a light on Taylor Winston, USMC 2006-2011 who stole a truck in an effort to aid those injured in the Las Vegas tragedy. Reba McEntire echoes, “Good always wins, no matter what happens,” while Garth Brooks reminds, “It’s love that’s always going to win.”

‘Count on Country’ will air on Entercom’s stations in the following markets. More exclusive videos and content can be found on their websites:
  • Chicago – WUSN-FM
  • Detroit – WYCD-FM
  • Greensboro – WPAW-FM
  • Houston – KILT-FM
  • Kansas City – WDAF-FM
  • Memphis – WLFP-FM
  • Miami – WKIS-FM
  • Minneapolis – KMNB-FM
  • Philadelphia – WXTU-FM
  • Phoenix – KMLE-FM
  • Pittsburgh – WDSY-FM
  • Portland – KWJJ-FM
  • Riverside – KFRG-FM and KXFG-FM
  • Rochester – WBEE-FM
  • San Diego – KSON-FM
  • Seattle – KMPS-FM
  • Seattle – KKWF-FM
  • Wilkes-Barre – WGGY-FM

Charlotte Radio: Tamo Sein To Host, Program WEND

Tamo Sein
iHeartMedia/Charlotte has announced that Tamo Sein has been named Assistant Program Director, Music Director and Midday Host for Alternative Rock WEND 106.5 FM The END.

Sein will host from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. As APD/MD, she will assist in the day-to-day operations of the station’s music programming and scheduling of music logs as well as be responsible for all the station’s imaging and branding. Sein will report to Chuck “DZL” Thompson, Program Director for 106.5 The END.

“Tamo is a true talent and her passion and energy is infectious,” said DZL. “We’re beyond excited to bring her creativity and personality to the 106.5 The END audience in Charlotte and beyond. Tamo brings a wealth of programming experience and we look forward to her contributions to the programming team as we begin a new chapter in the storied history of 106.5 The End.  It’s Tamo Time in the Queen City!”

“Tamo is one of a kind – both a creative talent and a strategic programming mind,” said Meg Stevens, Executive VP/Programming for iHeartMedia’s Northeast Division. “She is a welcome addition to the Queen City.”

Sein joins iHeartMedia Charlotte from Richmond, Virginia, where she most recently served as the Music Director and Afternoon Drive Host for sister Alternative XL102. Her background includes Music Director and on-air personality positions at stations in St. Cloud, Minnesota; Austin, Texas; and Norfolk, Virginia, where she began her career at WROX-FM. Sein is a graduate of Old Dominion University.

WEND 106.5 FM (84 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
“I’m thrilled to join the talented programming team at iHeartMedia Charlotte,” said Sein.  “To be a part of one of the fastest growing in-demand markets in the country is both a challenge and an opportunity that I am proud to accept!”

R.I.P.: Singer, Actress Della Reese Was 69

Della Reese, who segued from pop and jazz singing stardom in the ‘50s and ‘60s to a long career as a popular TV actress on “Touched By an Angel” and other shows, died Sunday night at her home in California.

She was 86, according to Variety.

“She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people,” Reese’s family said in a statement. “She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on ‘Touched By An Angel.’ I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts.”

Reared in gospel, Reese became a seductive, big-voiced secular music star with her No. 1 R&B and No. 2 pop hit “Don’t You Know” in 1959. The 45, her first single on RCA Records, was a ballad drawn from an aria from Puccini’s opera “La Boheme.”

By 1969 she had launched her TV show “Della” – the first talker hosted by an African-American woman – and had begun a move into an acting career that would take her to even greater national prominence.

Her greatest popularity came as co-star of the inspirational CBS show “Touched By An Angel.” Though the show was axed during its debut 1994-95 season, a letter-writing campaign convinced execs to bring the series back, and Reese prevailed as the heavenly samaritan Tess for a total of nine seasons, winning seven consecutive NAACP Image Awards as best lead actress in a drama and collecting two Emmy nominations and a 1998 Golden Globe nod.

Though she continued to make TV guest appearances and took the occasional film role in the new millennium, she returned to her religious roots as the founding pastor of her own Los Angeles-based church, Understanding Principles for Better Living (or “Up”). In later years, she was frequently billed as Reverend Doctor Della Reese Lett.

She was born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931, in Detroit. She began singing in church as a six-year-old; the glamorous black vocalist-actress Lena Horne was one of the film stars she admired as a girl. By her teens, she was working as a singer in gospel luminary Mahalia Jackson’s unit.

NY Times Suspends Reporter Glenn Thrush

Glenn Thrush
The New York Times said on Monday that it was suspending Glenn Thrush, one of its most prominent reporters, after he was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior.

The move came after the website Vox published a report containing allegations that Thrush, who joined The Times to cover the Trump administration in January, had acted inappropriately toward women. Mr. Thrush was a reporter at Politico before coming to The Times.

“The behavior attributed to Glenn in this Vox story is very concerning and not in keeping with the standards and values of The New York Times,” The Times said in a statement on Monday. “We intend to fully investigate and while we do, Glenn will be suspended.”

The Times also said Mr. Thrush had said he planned to enter a substance abuse program and that the newspaper supported his decision.

Thrush’s byline has been among the most recognizable this year at The Times, where he was one of six reporters covering the White House and President Trump full time. He was writing a book for Random House about Mr. Trump with Maggie Haberman, another White House reporter for The Times and a former colleague of his at Politico.

Before joining The Times, Thrush was the chief political correspondent at Politico and a senior staff writer for Politico Magazine. He has also worked at Newsday.

FCC To Outline Plan to Roll Back Net-Neutrality Rules

Federal regulators this week are expected to unveil their plans for reversing Obama-era rules that require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally, a move that could fundamentally reshape the internet economy and consumers’ online experience.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the changes, expected to be adopted at the Federal Communications Commission meeting in mid-December, would open the door to a wide range of new opportunities for internet providers, such as forming alliances with content firms to serve up their webpages or video at higher speeds and quality than those without such deals.

Such “paid prioritization” was explicitly blocked under the 2015 rules, which required internet service providers to keep all corners of the internet equally accessible to consumers, and limited the providers’ ability to favor content, including their own.

The new rules, according to industry officials, are expected to thoroughly dismantle the “open internet” plan adopted by the Obama administration’s FCC. Advocates of the current approach, including consumer groups and big internet companies, argued that such regulation is needed to curb the power of the broadband providers to affect the online environment through their control over the pipes.

Proponents of reversing them, including current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, say hard-and-fast rules can stifle investment and innovation in a fast-moving industry. Internet service providers worried the Obama administration rules could open the door to eventual rate regulation and other heavy-handed oversight. They also viewed the rules as a solution in search of a problem, given the internet’s relative openness historically.

If the rollback survives likely legal challenges, it has the potential to reorder the online business environment. It could give internet providers such as AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp., Charter Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. more flexibility to use bundles of services and creative pricing to make their favored content more attractive to consumers.

Read More Now (Paywall)

Moonves: CBS May Not Be Able To Stay Out Of Media Deal Frenzy

Les Moonves
Against the backdrop of sweeping consolidation in the media industry, CBS Chairman and CEO Les Moonves says he is positioning the network as the underdog against "monstrous companies," including Comcast, Disney, as well as online powerhouses Netflix and Amazon.

Moonves spoke with Julia Boorstin at CNBC's Net/Net event on Thursday evening as word was leaking out that Comcast and Verizon were sniffing around the same assets of Twenty-First Century Fox that Disney was said to be in talks to buy. Fox appears to be considering the sale of most of the entertainment company, leaving behind news and sports.

"Disney is six times as big as we are. Comcast is six times as big as we are," said Moonves, making a David and Goliath argument that CBS may be diminutive but nimble. "Netflix's market cap is huge. Now Amazon, the number one company in the world, is producing content. We are sort of like an old-fashioned production company, we are a small guy."

Moonves views online competitors more as frenemies. "We still do a lot of business with Netflix. We still produce original content for Netflix and virtually everyone who is our competitor is also our friend."

CEO Les Moonves: CBS may not be able to stay out of the media deal frenzy much longer from CNBC.

However, Moonves did acknowledge that CBS might need to fortify its position. "Eventually are we going to have to do partnerships with other content companies and distribution companies? The answer is probably, 'yes.'"

"It's sort of a contradictory situation we're in right now. I was pretty surprised. I've been surprised a lot in the past few weeks that the Department of Justice objected to this deal," Moonves said. "It didn't seem like something they would do, but God only knows what the reasons are for stopping that."

But Moonves said there's one thing he's sure of in this current deal-making environment: "Content assets are incredibly valuable."

Springfield MA Radio: Monte Marches For Food

Monte’s March, an annual march against hunger through the Pioneer Valley, began this morning at 7 a.m. in Springfield, MA

Morning host Monte Belmonte from WRSI 93.9 FM The River leads the 43 mile, two-day march each year from Springfield to Greenfield. Along the way, Belmonte will push a shopping cart; urging listeners make donations to The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

Over the last 7 years, “Monte’s March” has raised nearly $600,000, providing more than 1.8 million meals to people in need across the Pioneer Valley.

Detroit Radio: WMGC Making Wishes Come True

Beasley Media Group announces 105.1 The Bounce’s Bikes for Kids Holiday Collection will kick off with four live broadcasts from selected Metro Detroit locations beginning on November 20th, 2017.

WMGC 105.1 The Bounce’s BIGG & Foolish with Shay in the Morning know that when you ask most kids in the Motor City what they would like for Christmas, the answer is clear… a new bike! The station will ask listeners to donate new bikes, as well as cash donations, in an effort to help bring a smile to the faces of needy children in the community.

The collections will be held on December 1st, 8th, and 15th. The final collection and distribution day will take place on December 16th, 2017. Complete details about the collection site locations are available at

“There is nothing like the generosity and big hearts of the people of the Detroit Metro Area,” said Bounce 105.1 Morning Personality BIGG. That has inspired us to weave our way into it. Giving a bicycle to kids in need for the holidays is a way we would love to do it!”

“We are so proud that Bigg, Foolish, Shay Shay and the team came up with this idea,” said station Program Director Al Payne. “It’s an amazing testament to their care and passion for the community we serve. The entire Bounce staff will enjoy riding along and supporting them on this incredible holiday journey!”

Charlotte Radio: Beasley Supporting CMPD's Christmas Project

Beasley Media Group announces Charlotte’s New Country WSOC 103.7, WNKS Kiss 95.1, WPEG Power 98, WBAV V101.9, WBCN 1660 AM  / 94.7 SMOKE and WKQC K 104.7 have partnered with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and FOX 46 Charlotte for the CMPD Explorers Christmas Project to collect new unwrapped toys for local children in our community.

Since 1974, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and the CMPD Police Explorers have partnered with the community to provide Christmas for less fortunate families in Charlotte. This year, Beasley Media Group, Inc., has joined to help share the joy of toys this holiday season. The toys will go to families that have been referred by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, local police officers and fire fighters.

On Friday, December 1, 2017, all six Beasley Media Charlotte stations will broadcast live at an nearbby  Wal-Mart  in Charlotte, from 6am to 7pm to collect a variety of toys, with the help and special thanks to Acosta Heating and Air and Fox 46 Charlotte.

“We are proud to partner and join forces with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department for this massive toy drive,” said Beasley Media Group Charlotte Vice President and Market Manager Bill Schoening. “We know that our loyal listeners, clients, and businesses will come together so that all of us here in the Carolinas can help make the holidays truly wonderful for so many struggling families in our community.”

For complete details, please visit all Charlotte Beasley Radio Station websites and tune-in to all on-air personalities.

And The 2017 American Music Awards Winners Are...

Pink, Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera led female artists of pop music dominating the American Music Awards stage on Sunday with powerful performances, despite being edged out by male artists in most award categories this year.

Bruno Mars won Artist of the Year, former One Direction member Niall Horan won New Artist of the Year and Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi, Justin Bieber and Daddy Yankee won Collaboration of the Year for the catchy “Despacito.”

The women of pop delivered the night’s biggest moments, reports Reuters.

Pink, Kelly Clarkson
Pink and Kelly Clarkson sang REM’s “Everybody Hurts,” dedicated to first responders and victims of the recent hurricanes and wildfires that have ravaged parts of the United States.

Pink later performed aerial acrobatics from a high-rise building while singing “Beautiful Trauma.”

Lady Gaga performed “The Cure” from the Washington D.C. stop of her tour, playing on a Perspex piano and then dancing as sparks rained down on stage. She won favorite female pop/rock artist.

“Just remember that if you feel different or not understood, don’t you dare give up on who you are, fight like hell for what you believe in,” Lady Gaga said.

Motown superstar Diana Ross received this year’s lifetime achievement award with video tributes from Barack and Michelle Obama and Taylor Swift. Ross performed a medley of her hits including “I‘m Coming Out,” “Take Me Higher” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

The fan-voted American Music Awards show, televised on ABC, features performances from pop music’s biggest names.

Actress Viola Davis paid tribute to the late Whitney Houston and the 25th anniversary of Houston’s film “The Bodyguard,” as Christina Aguilera belted a medley of hits from the film. Houston died in 2012 aged 48 after drowning in a hotel bathtub.

Demi Lovato, who was accompanied by newly-elected Virginia legislator Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person to win a state legislative seat, performed her latest hit “Sorry/Not Sorry.”

Selena Gomez sang “Wolves” with DJ Marshmello, Alessia Cara and DJ Zedd performed a stripped down version of their dance track “Stay” and Hailee Steinfeld joined DJ Alesso, country duo Florida Georgia Line and musician Watt for “Let Me Go.”

Korean boy band BTS garnered some of the loudest screams from the audience as they performed “DNA” on a neon-lit stage.

Linkin Park was named best alternative rock artist, a bittersweet win for the band after the July suicide of frontman Chester Bennington.

The band dedicated the win to Bennington and “his memory, his talent, his sense of humor, to his joy.”

See below for the updated list of winners from throughout the night!

Westwood One Goes Backstage at the American Music Awards

Walk The Moon performs
Westwood One Backstage at the AMAs celebrated the 2017 American Music Awards with three days of branded programming and first-class artist interviews. In addition to the array of artists that came through radio row, there were exclusive live backstage performances from Glassnote rockers Secondhand Serenade,  RCA’s Walk the Moon, In2une’s Taylor Grey, and Hollywood Records’ Sabrina Carpenter.

(L-R) Cat Collins, EVP/In2une Music; Mike McVay, EVP Programming & Content, Cumulus Media and Westwood One; John Kilgo, SVP, Talent Relations, Cumulus Media; in2une recording artist Taylor Grey; and Suzanne Grimes, EVP Corporate Marketing, Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One

Walk the Moon with Mike McVay and Suzanne Grimes: RCA recording artists WALK THE MOON with Suzanne Grimes, EVP Corporate Marketing, Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One and Mike McVay, EVP Programming & Content, Cumulus Media and Westwood One

Westwood One Backstage at the AMAs took place at LA’s Microsoft Theater Event Deck on Thursday, November 16-Saturday, November 18. Westwood One and Cumulus Media are official promotional partners of the 2017 American Music Awards.

San Diego Radio: KSON, KEGY Swap Dial Positions

Entercom has completed the migration of Country KSON 103.7 FM.  The move was made Friday as KSON also continued to air on 93.7 FM during the weekend

KEGY 'Energy 103.7' stream was available over the weekend and today will launch on-air at 93.7 FM, replacing KSON. The air staff remains the same.

CBS Radio closed to initiate the first half of its San Diego frequency swap minutes after the deal closed.

The move comes as KSON's former simulcast partner KSOQ 92.1 FM was spun off to the Educational Media Foundation as a condition of the merger to meet ownership limits set by the FCC.

KSON 103.7 FN (26.5 Kw) Red_Local Coverage
At 103.7 KSON will have a stronger signal reach into the northern counties than it did with 973.

KEGY 97.3 FM (50 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area

Indy Radio: WRWM Loses The Beat, Goes All Christmas

Hip-hop is out and Christmas songs are in at radio station WRWM 93.9 FM.

Holiday tunes by Mariah Carey, the Carpenters and Elton John signaled the change at 5:30 p.m. Friday, according

Now Billed as “North Pole Radio 93.9,” the station is expected to adopt a yet-to-be-announced format in 2018.

"93.9 The Beat" ends a three-year run that began in December 2014. By playing back-in-the-day rap songs by LL Cool J, the Notorious B.I.G. and Biz Markie, "93.9 The Beat" sparked upheaval in Indianapolis radio and earned coverage in The New York Times.

New format coming
In less than a month after ditching a Top 40 format, the station rocketed from 15th place in Nielsen Audio ratings to No. 1. In January 2015, "93.9 The Beat" ranked first among listeners ages 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54; women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54; and men 18-49 and 25-54.

WRWM, owned by Atlanta-based Cumulus Media,  ranked No. 15 in overall Nielsen Audio ratings for October 2017. The top five Indianapolis stations for the month: 1. classic hits WJJK; 2. contemporary Christian WKLU-FM (101.9); 3. country WLHK-FM (97.1); 4. classic rock WFBQ-FM (94.7); 5. country WFMS-FM (95.5).

The departure of "93.9 The Beat" leaves three Indianapolis radio stations devoted to hip-hop. In October ratings,  WHHH Hot 96.3 ranked No. 12,  WZRL Real 98.3 ranked No. 20, and W275BD Boom Indy ranked No. 22.

Whatever follows holiday programming will be the latest in a parade of changes at the 93.9 frequency. Since 1993, the station has been easy listening, "urban oldies," smooth jazz, country, '80s hits, contemporary Christian, news/talk, adult contemporary and classic hip-hop.

Russell Simmons Disputes 'Aggressive' Sexual Advances

Keri Claussen Khalighi
Keri Claussen Khalighi was a 17-year-old fashion model from a farm town in Nebraska when she met Brett Ratner and Russell Simmons at a casting call, report The LA Times.

Ratner was an up-and-coming music video director and a protege of Simmons, the Def Jam Recordings mogul. They took Khalighi to dinner one night in 1991 at Mr. Chow in New York, and then back to Simmons’ apartment to show her a music video they’d been working on.

Quickly, Simmons began making aggressive sexual advances, yanking off her clothes, Khalighi said.

“I looked over at Brett and said ‘help me’ and I'll never forget the look on his face,” she recalled. “In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together.”

Khalighi said that Simmons, who was then about twice her age, tried to force her to have intercourse. “I fought it wildly,” she said. He eventually relented and coerced her to perform oral sex, she alleged. “I guess I just acquiesced.”

Ratner, meanwhile, “just sat there and watched,” she said.

Feeling “disgusting,” Khalighi said she went to take a shower. Minutes later, she alleged, Simmons walked up behind her in the shower and briefly penetrated her without her consent. She said she jerked away, then he left. “It hurt so much.”

In a statement, Simmons, 60, strongly disputed her account. “Everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation,” he said. Much of the two days and one night he spent with her, he said, was with other people, or in public. Ratner had “no recollection” of Khalighi asking him for help and denied witnessing her “protest,” his attorney Martin Singer said.

NYC Radio: A Sign Of The Times..

And as of Friday November 17...

Rock Legends Salute AC/DC's Malcolm Young

Tributes poured in on Sunday for Malcolm Young, co-founder of the Australian rock band AC/DC, a day after he died at the age 64 after suffering from dementia for several years, according to Reuters.

Malcolm Young and his brother Angus Young founded AC/DC in 1973. Their hits included “Highway to Hell” from 1979 and “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” from 1980.

“Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC. With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band,” AC/DC posted on its Facebook page late on Saturday.

Young was a songwriter, backing vocalist and rhythm guitarist for AC/DC, a hard rock and heavy metal band that was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

Fans and friends posted more than 56,000 comments on Facebook under the band’s announcement.

Giants of the music world took to social media to express their shock and hail Young’s lasting influence.

“So sad to learn of the passing of yet another friend, Malcolm Young,” Ozzy Osbourne tweeted.

Eddie Van Halen tweeted that it was a “a sad day in rock and roll”, adding:

Kiss bassist Gene Simmons added to the condolences, tweeting:

Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes, guitarist Slash, horror writer Stephen King, Kiss frontman Paul Stanley, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Bryan Adams, songwriter Diane Warren and Joe Elliott from Def Leppard also took to social media to pay tribute.

The band’s most recent Rock or Bust tour grossed $180 million from 54 concerts and was the third highest-selling tour of 2015, only behind One Direction and Taylor Swift.

Young is survived by his wife O‘Linda, children Cara and Ross, three grandchildren, a sister and a brother, the band said. He “passed away peacefully with his family by his bedside”, the band said.

Young’s family confirmed in 2014 that he was suffering from dementia. He last performed with the band in 2014, then stepped aside for his nephew, Stevie, to take over rhythm guitar duties for the band’s last tour to promote its 2014 album, Rock Or Bust.

AC/DC has sold more than 200 million albums across the world and continues to find fans in younger generations.

George Young, another brother to Malcolm and Angus, died on Oct. 23 at age 70. George Young had served as producer to AC/DC and was a guitarist for the Australian band Easybeats.

R.I.P.: Country Music Legend Mel Tillis, Dead At 85

Country Music Hall of Famer, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and Grand Ole Opry member Mel Tillis died early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida, according to his publicist Don Murry Grubbs.

The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure, according to The Tennessean.

The singer, songwriter, comedian and businessman, whose genuine warmth and down-home humor drew countless fans, was 85 years old. In his six-decade career, he recorded over 60 albums, notched three dozen Top 10 singles and wrote several hit songs that are now regarded as classics.

"Mel Tillis was a guy who had it all: He could write, he could sing and he could entertain an audience," said Grand Ole Opry announcer and WSM DJ Eddie Stubbs. "There’s a big difference between a concert and a show. Mel Tillis always put on a show....You always felt good about being around him."

Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born to Lonnie Lee and Burma Tillis on Aug. 8, 1932, near Tampa, Fla. His speech impediment developed after a childhood bout of malaria; Tillis was mocked for his stammer when he was young, but would later use it to comedic effect on stage and screen. "After a lot of years and more hurting than I like to remember, I can talk about it lightly — which eases things a bit," he wrote in "Stutterin' Boy," the autobiography he released in 1984. "It's a way of showing people that it hasn't licked me, so it doesn't have to lick others."

He moved to Nashville in 1957 to pursue a music career full time. That year, “I’m Tired,” a song he wrote and country star Webb Pierce recorded, went to No. 3 on the charts. Pierce found success with several other Tillis-penned songs, including “Holiday for Love,” “Honky Tonk Song,” “Tupelo County Jail,” “I Ain’t Never” and “No Love Have I.”

During the 1960s, Tillis became one of Nashville's go-to writers. Songs like "Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town)," "Mental Revenge" and "Detroit City," among others, became country classics, and have been recorded by dozens of artists in the past half-century. Brenda Lee took "Emotions," written by Tillis and Ramsey Kearney, to No. 7 on the pop charts in 1961.

Tillis earned his first charting country single in 1958 when he recorded “The Violet and a Rose” for Columbia. Fourteen years later, "I Ain't Never" became his first No. 1.

As a recording artist, Tillis was most successful in the 1970s, with two dozen Top 10 hits. Five of those were chart-toppers, including "Coca Cola Cowboy," which was featured in the Clint Eastwood film "Every Which Way But Loose." The Country Music Association named Tillis Entertainer of the Year in 1976. That year he also was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In addition to his music career, Tillis appeared regularly on television shows such as “Hee Haw” and “Hollywood Squares,” was in multiple films, including “Smokey and the Bandit 2” and “Cannonball Run,” and appeared in commercials for the fast-food chain Whataburger, which further enhanced his visibility.

When Tillis' chart success began to wane, he began focusing more attention on his business ventures. He owned radio stations and acquired several publishing companies with thousands of songs in their catalogs. He also opened his own theater in Branson, Mo., performing several thousand shows there before selling the property.

Country Artists mourning passing of Mel Tillis:

"Kindest man I've ever known. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Gonna be some great country music in Heaven this Sunday."
--Billy Ray Cyrus

"My heart is just broken over the passing of the great Mel Tillis. I have so many wonderful memories with him. I'll never forget working with him on 'Love Boat' with Dottie West. We just go way back - from the time I was 8 years old when he brought me on stage with him. When I got older, sometimes I had to use other bands because I didn't have a band. Mel always let me use his band and I'll never forget that. We remained friends right up until the end. Love you, Mel."
--Tanya Tucker

Mel Tillis, Naomi Judd
"There are stand-up comedians and then there's Mel Tillis. His hilarious misadventures out on the road are legendary. Just ask Mac Davis or Ray Stevens. I also know Mel as my friend. Upbeat guy who admirably turned his stuttering into an asset and educated everyone on how to overcome stereotypes. There will never be anyone else like Mel Tillis."
--Naomi Judd

"We're so sad to hear about the passing of Mel Tillis, but we feel so fortunate to have known him. Prayers and condolences to all of his family."
--Bellamy Brothers

"Mel was a true country legend. A singer, a songwriter and entertainer. Like Ray Price, Mel was a forerunner in bringing a big band to country with 3 fiddles. As big as he was, he made time to come visit when I was in the studio. When I was in Branson, he would often drop by. I recorded Mel's song 'Burning Memories.' He was just a genuine nice guy and we will all miss him dearly."
--Gene Watson

"Rest In Peace my brother Mel. Love to you and your family."
--Phil Vassar

"I had the honor of sitting and talking with Mel a couple of times. He's such a great man. I loved his jokes, stories and songs. He's another legend that will be missed, but never forgotten."
--Lucas Hoge

November 20 Radio History

➦In 1907...actress Fran Allison was born in smalltown Iowa. She played the folksy tale-telling Aunt Fanny for decades on ABC/CBC radio’s Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club.  On TV she was a co-star (with Burr Tillstrom & his puppets) on Kukla Fran & Ollie.

She died of bone marrow failure June 13 1989 at age 81

➦In 1928…WGH-AM in Newport News, Virginia began broadcasting.  The WGH call letters were not used from 9/1/83 to 12/10/84.

The earliest ancestor of WGH Radio was WPAB, granted a license by the Radio Division, Bureau of Navigation, United States Department of Commerce on December 4, 1926.  The licensee was the Radio Corporation of Virginia, who operated the new station for the Park Avenue Baptist Church in Norfolk.  On December 6, 1926, WPAB signed on the air at 1040 kilocycles with a power of 100 watts.  WPAB later became WRCV and broadcast programming mostly of a religious nature.

In January 1927, the Radio Corporation of Virginia put another station on the air, WSEA, which transmitted on the frequency of 1370 kilocycles with a power of 500 watts.  In April 1927 WSEA began broadcasting from the brand new Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach but was dark by the middle of 1928, the Radio Corporation of Virginia having gone bankrupt.  WSEA, however, had one shining moment on June 10, 1927 when Norfolk Mayor S. Heth Tyler became the first American to extend coast to coast radio congratulations to aviator Charles Lindbergh after his successful solo flight from New York to Paris.  Lindbergh heard the message on WSEA as he was passing over the Cape Henry Lighthouse.

Tom Little moved the WSEA allocation to Newport News and changed the call letters to WNEW (signifying its new city of license, Newport News) on August 8, 1928.  Facilities were in the Tidewater Hotel at 2400 Washington Avenue in Newport News.  The studio was on the ground floor, directly behind the front desk and switchboard for the hotel, and the transmitter and antenna were on the top floor.  Shortly thereafter  a new licensee, Hampton Roads Broadcasting Company, changed the frequency  to 1430, and government authorization came through on October 8, 1928.

The WNEW calls lasted for only a few weeks, when they were changed to WGH ("World's Greatest Harbor").  It was also among the first 100 radio stations on the air in the United States.  By 1928, however, the station was gone and the available WGH call letters were requested by Hampton Roads Broadcasting.  An application to the Federal Radio Commission was approved on November 19 of that year and the station began identifying itself as "WGH" the next day.  The abandoned WNEW call letters were later picked up by a Newark, New Jersey radio station on 1130 kilocycles.

In early 1959, a new era was ushered in with a switch to "Top-40" programming under the "Color Radio" banner.  Late 1950's performers included Jim Stanley, Jack Fisher, Lou Nelson, Dick Lamb, Jack Krueger, Frank Drake, Bob Calvert, Dean Collins (who went on to WPGC in Washington as Dean Griffith and later to New York as Dean Anthony, one of the WMCA "Good Guys"), Don Owens, Roger Clark, Bob Calvert's alter ego (and the inspiration for Wolfman Jack) "Baron Bebop", Throckmorton Quiff, and Gene Creasy.  Early newscasters included Ed Meyer, Dick Kidney, Pete Glazer, Bud Buhler and Art Merrill.

By 1960, the station was broadcasting at 5,000 watts from a non-directional daytime tower at the Newport News Small Boat Harbor, switching to the three-tower directional site in Hampton during the evening hours.

1960s on-air performers included George Crawford, Dave Cummins, Bob Calvert, Gene Loving, Keith James, Dick Lamb, Roger Clark (Program Director until 1967), Glenn "The Turtle" Lewis, Russ Spooner, Chuck Adams, Don Robertson, Bob Chesson (Production), Jim Lawrence, John Garry (who was also Program Director from 1967 until 1970, when he left WGH to program WIST-AM in Charlotte), Larry O'Brien, Tom Scott and J.J. Bowman.

➦In 1929… November 20, 1929…The radio program "The Rise of the Goldbergs," later known as "The Goldbergs," made its debut on the NBC Blue Network. The series continued on radio until 1946. The show's creator/writer/lead actress Gertrude Berg took the show to television – first to CBS, then NBC, the Dumont Network, and syndication – between 1949 and 1956.

➦In 1938… Father Charles Couglin broadcast the first documented anti-Semitic remarks over U.S. radio.

Father Coughlin
Coughlin began his radio broadcasts in 1926 on station WJR, in response to cross burnings by the Ku Klux Klan on the grounds of his church, giving a weekly hour-long radio program. His program was picked up by CBS four years later for national broadcast. Until the beginning of the Depression, Father Coughlin mainly covered religious topics in his weekly radio addresses, in contrast to the political topics which dominated his radio speeches throughout the 1930s. He reached a very large audience that extended well beyond his own Irish Catholic base.

On November 20, 1938, two weeks after Kristallnacht, Coughlin, referring to the millions of Christians killed by the Communists in Russia, said "Jewish persecution only followed after Christians first were persecuted."  After this speech, some radio stations, including those in New York and Chicago, began refusing to air his speeches without pre-approved scripts; in New York, his programs were cancelled by WINS and WMCA, leaving Coughlin to broadcasting on the Newark part-time station WHBI. On December 18, 1938 thousands of Coughlin's followers picketed the studios of station WMCA in New York City to protest the station's refusal to carry Father Coughlin's broadcasts. A number of protesters made antisemitic statements. The protests continued for several months.

➦In 1940..The iHeartMedia station now known as WRVE in Albany NY has a much longer history as one of the nation's pioneering FM radio stations. A byproduct of the station being owned by General Electric with similarly pioneering sisters WGY (AM) and WRGB (TV), WRVE traces its history to W2XDA Schenectady and W2XOY New Scotland, New York - two experimental frequency modulation transmitters on 48.5 MHz, which signed on in 1939. The two were merged into one station with the W2XOY call-letters on November 20, 1940 with the station then taking the W57A designation, and finally the long-running WGFM call-letters in the mid-1940s.

The station eventually settled on 99.5 MHz when the FM band was relocated to the 88-108 MHz portion of the radio spectrum.

On June 1, 1961 at 12:01 AM (EDT), WGFM became the first FM station in the United States to broadcast in stereo.

➦In 1954...when his career as America’s most successful singing cowboy was almost over, Gene Autry appeared for the first time on radio’s “Grand Ole Opry.”

Autry was easily the most popular country singer of the 1930’s and ’40s, with such hits as “Silver Haired Daddy of Mine,” “South of the Border” and “Tweedle-O-Twill.” Autry’s trio of million-selling children’s records — “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Peter Cottontail” — were recorded in the late ’40s.

➦In 1955...At New York City's Warwick Hotel, Sun Records owner and producer Sam Phillips sells Elvis Presley's contract to RCA for an unheard-of $35,000, at that time the largest amount ever paid to sign a recording artist. Elvis receives $13,500 of the total; Phillips invests his share in a local hotel chain called the Holiday Inn.

➦In 1959… Disc jockey Alan Freed was fired from New York's WABC 770 AM after refusing to sign a statement saying he had never accepted "payola" or gifts from record labels in exchange for airplay, a move that triggered his eventual downfall.

When Freed was employed by WABC, it was about two years before it evolved into one of America's great Top 40 stations by launching its "Musicradio" format. At this time, WABC (unlike Top40 1010 WINS) was more of a full-service station which began implementing some music programming elements.

Cathy Lewis
➦In 1961....Billboard reports on the stunning popularity of the "Twist" craze: three separate films, starring Chubby Checker, Joey Dee and the Starlighters, and Dion, are scheduled for production, and New York television station WOR is airing hourly twist lessons of between one and five minutes, also featuring Checker.

➦In actress and Spokane native Cathy Lewis died of cancer at age 50. Half of “the first couple of radio” (with husband Elliot Lewis) she was featured as Jane Stacy on My Friend Irma on both radio & TV.  She was one of the most oft-used stars on CBS radio’s Suspense series.  When Fibber McGee & Molly came (briefly) to TV, she was cast as Molly.

➦In 1994… KFWB-AM, Los Angeles' first morning man, Bruce Hayes, died Hayes worked atKFWB, 1958-61; KDAY, 1962; KHJ, 1963-64; KFWB, 1965-67; KFI, 1969.

➦In 2000...organist Gaylord Carter died of Parkinson’s at age 95.  Born in Wiesbaden Germany, his family moved to the US when he was a child.  He became active in playing music for bigtime radio, notably “Hollywood Hotel”, “The Packard Show”, “The Second Mrs. Burton”, and “Breakfast In Hollywood”. Carter will always be associated in the public mind with “The Amos & Andy Show”.  For seven years on radio he introduced the show by playing its theme, “The Perfect Song”.  After the war he played for both radio & TV, including “Bride & Groom”, “The Big Payoff”, and “The Pinky Lee” TV show.

➦In 2004…Longtime Toronto radio personality (CFTR, CHUM) Tom Rivers died of cancer at age 57.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

November 19 Radio History

➦In Alan Young was born in England.

He moved to Vancouver at 6, and had his own CBC Radio show by the age of 17.   He got a big break when he was hired as the 1944 summer replacement for Eddie Cantor’s NBC radio show.

He hit the big time in TV as co-star to the talking horse on the Mr. Ed series. He also has done voices for many cartoon characters, notably Scrooge McDuck. Happy 96th Birthday, Mr. Young!

➦In 1933…Radio talk show host, Larry King was born. He later parlayed his Radio success into a successful television talk show on Cable News Network (CNN).

Larry King
King got his first job in radio in 1957, when the manager of a small station, WAHR (now WMBM) in Miami Beach, hired him to clean up and perform miscellaneous tasks. When one of their announcers quit, they put King on the air. His first broadcast was on May 1, 1957, when he worked as the disc jockey from 9 a.m. to noon. He also did two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast. He was paid $55 a week.

He acquired the name Larry King when the general manager Marshall Simmonds said that his real last name Zeiger was too ethnic and difficult to remember, so Larry chose the surname King, which he got from an ad in The Miami Herald for King's Wholesale Liquor, minutes before air.

He started doing interviews on a mid-morning show for WIOD 610 AM, at Pumpernik's Restaurant in Miami Beach.  He would interview anyone who walked in. His first interview was with a waiter at the restaurant. Two days later, singer Bobby Darin, in Miami for a concert later that day, walked into Pumpernik's as a result of coming across King's show on his radio; Darin became King's first celebrity interview guest.

Larry King circa 1960
His Miami radio show launched him to local stardom. A few years later, in May 1960, he hosted Miami Undercover, airing Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. on WPST-TV Channel 10 (now WPLG). On the show, he moderated debates on important issues of the time.

King credits his success on local television to the assistance of comedian Jackie Gleason, whose national television variety show was being taped in Miami Beach during this period. "That show really took off because Gleason came to Miami," King said in a 1996 interview he gave when inducted into the Broadcasters' Hall of Fame. "He did that show and stayed all night with me. We stayed till five in the morning. He didn't like the set, so we broke into the general manager's office and changed the set. Gleason changed the set, he changed the lighting, and he became like a mentor of mine."

In 1978, King went national, inheriting the nightly talk show slot on the Mutual Broadcasting System, broadcast coast-to-coast, that had been "Long John" Nebel's until his death, and had been pioneered by Herb Jepko. King's Mutual show developed a devoted audience.

It was broadcast live Monday through Friday from midnight to 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time. King would interview a guest for the first 90 minutes, with callers asking questions that continued the interview for another 90 minutes. At 3 a.m., he would allow callers to discuss any topic they pleased with him, until the end of the program, when he expressed his own political opinions. That segment was called Open Phone America.

The show was successful, starting with relatively few affiliates and eventually growing to more than 500. It ran until 1994. King would occasionally entertain the audience by telling amusing stories from his childhood.

For its final year, the show was moved to afternoons. The afternoon show was eventually given to David Brenner and radio affiliates were given the option of carrying the audio of King's new CNN evening television program. The Westwood One radio simulcast of the CNN show continued until December 31, 2009.

➦In 1953...After popular singer and heartthrob Julius LaRosa finishes his version of "Manhattan" on today's CBS radio broadcast ofArthur Godfrey Time , host Godfrey says, "Thanks ever so much, Julie. That was Julie's swan song with us..." effectively firing the young singer on air without his prior knowledge.

Godfrey later holds a press conference after the incident becomes a national scandal, claiming that by hiring his own manager, LaRosa had lost his "humility," but several historians claim that Godfrey was actually upset that the singer was beginning to receive more fan mail than the host

➦In 1954…First mass-market transistor pocket radio introduced, the Regency TR-1. It's a four-transistor radio that operates on a 22.5 volt hearing aid battery and it sold for $49.95--quite a chunk of money for a radio back then.

➦In 1957…The local chapter of the Elvis Presley fan club picketed Chicago radio station WCFL after it banned Presley's records (before the station flipped to Top 40). Nevertheless, the station did not reverse its policy.

➦In 1965…ABC radio began a weekly "Vietnam Update" report.

➦In 1971…Sportscaster Bill Stern, who announced the first remote sports broadcast in the U.S. and the first telecast of a major league baseball game, died at age 64. Bill Stern's Sports newsreel was a show about the way Bill Stern broadcast baseball games from 1937 to 1956. Stern made famous the dramatic pause, the over emotional call and exagerrated words in every sentence.

Bill Stern 1949
Stern began doing radio play-by-play commentary in 1925, when he was hired by a Rochester station, WHAM, to cover football games. Shortly after that, he enrolled at Pennsylvania Military College, graduating in 1930.

NBC hired him in 1937 to host The Colgate Sports Newsreel as well as Friday night boxing on radio. Stern was also one of the first televised boxing commentators.

He broadcast the first televised sporting event, the second game of a baseball doubleheader between Princeton and Columbia at Columbia's Baker Field on May 17, 1939. On September 30, he called the first televised football game.

According to the book Sports on New York Radio by sportscaster and Westwood One executive David J. Halberstam, Stern's remarkable career flourished despite a physical handicap. In 1935, on his way home from a football game in Texas, the car Stern was in got into an accident, injuring him severely enough that his left leg had to be amputated just above the knee.

Some observers consider Stern's style a blueprint in the 1940s for the style of Paul Harvey, ABC Entertainment Network social commentator, who adapted both Stern's newscasting (transforming his Reel One to Page One) and his stories about the famous and odd (to Rest Of The Story), although Stern made no effort to authenticate his stories and, in later years, introduced that segment of his show by saying that they "might be actual, may be mythical, but definitely interesting."  Harvey, on the other hand, said he told only stories he had authenticated in some way.

➦In 1980…the "Sunday Morning Oldies Show" with Roger Ashby debuted on CHUM-1050 AM in Toronto.

➦In 1992...songwriter Bobby Russell, the composer of “Little Green Apples,” “Honey” and “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” died in Nicholasville, Kentucky, of heart disease at age 52. “Little Green Apples,” with hit versions by Roger Miller and O-C Smith, won Grammy awards in 1968 for song of the year and best country song. The same year, the Country Music Association voted “Honey,” recorded by Bobby Goldsboro, as song of the year.

➦In 2004...record producer Terry Melcher, the son of Doris Day, and the force behind hits by the Byrds, Ry Cooder and the Beach Boys, died aged 62 after a long battle with skin cancer. He had co-written ‘Kokomo’ for the Beach Boys, produced ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ for the Byrds, as well as hits for The Mamas and the Papas.

R.I.P.: AC/DC CoFounder Malcolm Young Dead At 64

Malcolm Young, who founded the Australian rock band AC/DC along with his brother Angus, has died at age 64 after suffering from dementia for several years, the band said on its Facebook page on Saturday.

Malcolm Young was a songwriter, backing vocalist and rhythm guitarist for AC/DC, a hard rock and heavy metal band that was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Their hits included “Highway to Hell” from 1979 and “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” from 1980.

“Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC. With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band,” the band posted on Facebook without saying where he died.

Reuters reports Malcolm is survived by his wife O‘Linda, children Cara and Ross, three grandchildren, a sister and a brother, the band said. He “passed away peacefully with his family by his bedside,” the band said.

George Young, another brother to Malcolm and Angus, died on Oct. 23 at age 70. George Young had served as producer to AC/DC and guitarist for the band Easybeats.

Entercom Stations To Reduce Commercial Load

Entercom Communications Corp. has announced it will implement three new business policies which better reflect Radio’s strong value proposition as America’s #1 reach medium and Entercom’s position as the leading provider of live, original, local audio content.

These policies will enable the Company's stations to provide greater value for advertisers while improving the listener experience.

Consistent with Entercom’s culture of continuous improvement, the Company announced plans to:
  • Reduce commercial advertising inventory by 5% in order to improve the listener experience and increase the entertainment to ad ratio for Entercom’s advertising partners.
  • Prohibit cash infusion advertising deals which the Company views as a poor business practice and inconsistent with its strategic goals.
  • Eliminate future sales of advertising with spot resellers which like cash infusion deals, the Company views as a poor business practice and inconsistent with its strategic goals.
“With our enhanced platform and scale, Entercom is committed to evolving our business practices for the benefit of Entercom’s listeners and advertising partners,” said Weezie Kramer, Entercom’s Chief Operating Officer.

Field also welcomed new employees in a video. Click Here to view.

“Entercom is the number one creator of live, original local audio content in the United States.”

Ryan Seacrest Denies Misconduct Allegations

Ryan Seacrest
Cable channel E! is conducting an internal investigation into an allegation of misconduct against Ryan Seacrest, according to The NY Post and other media.

The allegation stems from an alleged incident reported by a former stylist who worked at E! News when Seacrest worked there. The incident, the details of which are unknown, is alleged to have occurred roughly a decade ago.

“Recently, someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago at E! News, came forward with a complaint suggesting I behaved inappropriately toward her,” Seacrest said in a statement Friday.

“If I made her feel anything but respected, I am truly sorry. I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result. I treat all my colleagues with kindness, dignity, and understanding, as this is a principle that’s core to who I am. Throughout my 25 years in the entertainment industry, the majority of my co-workers have been women, and I’ve endeavored to foster a positive work environment of mutual respect and courtesy, as that’s how I believe it should be. I’m distraught that anyone or any situation would call that into question. I’m proud of my workplace reputation, and believe my track record will speak for itself. I’m an advocate for women. I will continue to support their voices.”

Seacrest is a multi-hyphenate producer and host. He currently co-hosts “Live With Kelly and Ryan” weekday mornings on ABC and is slated to serve as host of that network’s upcoming revival of “American Idol.”  He is also morning show host in iHeartMedia's KIIS 102.7 FM in Los Angeles.  His radio show also airs on other iHM stations nationwide.