Friday, May 25, 2018

Entercom Announces Senior Management Moves

Entercom Thursday announced nine promotions for senior management across digital, programming, events, sales, ad sales marketing, legal, and traffic.

“We are fortunate to have such a talented team of leaders at Entercom and it is a pleasure to be able to promote several of them today in recognition of their increasing roles and responsibilities,” said David Field, President and Chief Executive Officer, Entercom.  “These are exciting times at the company and as we roll ahead with our investments and execute our transformational plans, we will continue to offer meaningful professional growth opportunities for our top performers.”

“This is a strategic move to position ourselves for success in the long-term,” said Weezie Kramer, Chief Operating Officer, Entercom. “We are making great progress and we are excited about where we are headed. With this new, elevated leadership structure, we are poised to maximize our capabilities and scale as one of the best radio broadcast operators in the industry.”

The management promotions include the following:
  • Fred Bennett, Senior Vice President, Traffic Weather Information Network
  • JD Crowley, Chief Digital Officer
  • Mike Dash, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel
  • Liana Huth, Senior Vice President, Programming Innovation
  • Jen Morelli, Senior Vice President, Events and Experiences
  • Jenny Nelson, Senior Vice President, Ad Sales Marketing
  • John Pacino, Senior Vice President, Product and Engineering
  • Sam Rogers, Senior Vice President, National Sales
  • Jeff Sottolano, Senior Vice President, Radio and Programming

Saga Names Chris Forgy SVP/Operations

Chris Forgy
Saga Communications, Inc. Thursday reported that Chris Forgy is being promoted to the new position of Senior Vice President/Operations.

Forgy joined the Company in 1995 and served as Director of Sales for the Company's radio stations in Columbus, OH until 2006. He left the Company from 2006 to 2011 to serve as General Manager of radio clusters for other broadcast companies. Mr. Forgy rejoined the Company as President and General Manager of our Columbus market where he has served until being promoted to his new position.

Edward K. Christian, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saga Communications, Inc. said, "Chris is a world class broadcaster whose contributions to Saga will be very important and strategic as he joins us in the corporate office."                                                                                           
Chris Forgy said, "I have always dreamed of having this opportunity and am looking forward to working directly with Ed as well as with Saga's great team of broadcasters who I have had the honor to work with and alongside of for the past 20 years."

NOLA Radio: Mark Boudreaux To Manage iHM Cluster

Mark Boudreaux
iHeartMedia New Orleans announced Thursday that Mark Boudreaux has been named Market President, effective June 11.

As Market President, Boudreaux will work with the programming, marketing and sales teams for radio station brands in New Orleans to oversee on-air and digital programming as well as create new business and revenue opportunities. He will report to Michael Hudson, Area President for iHeartMedia Baton Rouge/New Orleans.

“We’re thrilled to have Mark as our new leader at iHeartMedia New Orleans,” said Hudson. “His incredible skill set and passion for people make him the perfect person to take the stations in our New Orleans market to amazing ratings and revenue thresholds.”

“Who better to run our iHeartMedia New Orleans market, than a native New Orleanian?” said Eddie Martiny, President of iHeartMedia’s Houston Region. “Mark has a proven track record in the Crescent City as a seller, Sales Manager and Vice President of Sales. We are excited to have Mark and his infectious personality leading iHeartMedia New Orleans.”

Boudreaux joins iHeartMedia New Orleans from South Central AV, where he most recently served as the Business Development Manager. His over 25 years of sales experience includes leadership positions at Entercom New Orleans, Midwest Communications, Inc. and Knoxville at South Central Media. In addition, Boudreaux has worked as an Executive Producer, Director and co-host for Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Football Round-up and a co-host of The Red Zone on the FPTV channel. He began his career as a Sales Manager for Stereo Village and is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.

“I’m fired up to work with iHeartMedia, especially in a great market like New Orleans that truly understands the power, reach and ROI of radio,” said Boudreaux. “I’ve known many on the iHeartMedia New Orleans team for years and the chance to play in the same sandbox with such a talented group is amazing.”

Woman Says Alexa Sent Recorded Private Conversation

A Portland, Oregon woman named Danielle said she feels like Amazon Echo invaded her family's privacy after the voice-controlled device sent audio recordings of her private conversation to one of her husband's employees, who was in the family's address book.

According to Buzzfeed News, the recipient of the recordings called her family and warned them, "unplug your Alexa devices right now," she told Seattle-based news station KIRO 7. "You're being hacked."

According to Amazon, however, Danielle, who has an Echo device in every room of her home, was not hacked — one of her Echo devices simply misinterpreted the family's conversation for a "wake word" and voice commands. The Amazon Echo has a microphone that's constantly listening for a wake word, which users can set as "Alexa," "Echo," or "Computer." When the Echo hears the wake word, a blue ring light will appear.

In an emailed statement, an Amazon spokesperson explained, “Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like 'Alexa,' and the next conversation was heard as 'send message.' Then, when Alexa said out loud, 'To whom?,' the device interpreted the background conversation as a name in the customer's contact list. Alexa then responded, '[Contact name], right?;' Alexa again interpreted the background conversation as, 'Right.'"

"As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely,” the spokesperson said.

In a statement to KIRO 7, an Amazon spokesperson wrote, "Amazon takes privacy very seriously. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future."

KIRO 7 reported that Amazon offered to "de-provision" Danielle's calling and messaging feature, so she could continue using the device as a smart-home hub. She said all of her home's Echo devices are unplugged, and is seeking a refund from Amazon.

Townsquare Media Sells-Off Money Losing NAME

Townsquare Media, Inc. announced Thursday that it has completed the sale of North American Midway Entertainment LLC to North American Fairs, LLC, an entity owned by Danny Huston, for $23.5 million plus a 15% residual interest in any future proceeds of a sale of NAME in the next ten years.

Townsquare purchased NAME in 2015 for $75.5 million.

NAME is North America's largest mobile amusement company, entertaining approximately 16 million people on an annual basis as the owner and operator of amusement attractions at approximately 150 fairs per year across the United States and Canada.  NAME has been a subsidiary of the Company since it was acquired in 2015.  In 2017, the Company announced that it was initiating a strategic review of its Entertainment segment, which included NAME.

Under the terms of the purchase agreement, North American Fairs, LLC will acquire all of the issued and outstanding membership interests of NAME's parent company, Heartland Group, LLC, from the Company for total cash consideration of $23.5 million. In addition, Townsquare will have the right to receive 15% of any sale proceeds if NAME is sold, in whole or in part, in the next ten years.  The Company expects to hold the net cash proceeds from the sale on its balance sheet, pending reinvestment.

For the year ended December 31, 2017, NAME generated net revenue, net loss, Adjusted EBITDA and capital expenditures of $92.2 million, $33.7 million, $7.3 million and $6.3 million, respectively. Pro forma for the divestiture of NAME, Townsquare's 2017 net revenue, net income, Adjusted EBITDA and capital expenditures were $415.2 million,  $23.4 million, $89.9 million and $16.5 million, respectively.

Sexual Harassment Accusations Target Morgan Freeman

Actor/Narrator Morgan Freeman has issued an apology for making women feel “uneasy,” following a CNN report in which eight women alleged that he sexually harassed them or made inappropriate remarks.

“Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy,” Freeman said in a statement obtained by Variety. “I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.”

CNN reported that two women alleged Freeman, 80, touched them inappropriately. One of them, a production assistant, said the actor repeatedly tried to lift her skirt.

In total, 16 people spoke to CNN about Freeman. Eight claimed to be the subjects of either sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior, and eight said they witnessed Freeman’s alleged misconduct. The months-long investigation was sparked by comments made by Freeman to one of the CNN journalists who co-wrote the report over a year ago. During a press junket for “Going in Style,” CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas said Freeman shook her hand, not letting go while he looked her up and down and said, “You are ripe.”

It was after this experience that Melas began inquiring whether other women had experienced similar treatment. CNN also spoke to other entertainment reporters who said Freeman had similarly made suggestive remarks during interviews promoting his films. Chicago’s WGN-TV Tyra Martin said she grew accustomed to Freeman’s remarks and recalled one instance where a comment by the veteran actor gave her pause.

The women who shared about their experiences with Freeman have worked with the Oscar-winning actor on movie sets and at his production company, Revelations Entertainment. Over time, the women said they dressed conservatively when they knew Freeman would be around in hopes it would prevent inappropriate comments about their bodies or outfits. The women told CNN that they didn’t report him out of fear for their jobs, and taking on a powerful and towering figure in Hollywood.

Harassment Allegations Force Resignation Of Michigan Radio Analyst

Jack Lessenberry
Wayne State University professor Jack Lessenberry has resigned from his role as senior political analyst at Michigan Radio after being accused of sexual harassment by multiple women

A growing number of women accuse him of sexual harassment and other questionable behavior. 

The allegations, first published in an extensive article in Deadline Detroit, date back decades. The article quoted women who worked with Lessenberry and students he taught at Wayne State University.

One accusation includes inappropriate physical contact; others cite inappropriate remarks.

“By mutual agreement, Mr. Lessenberry’s responsibilities as a contracted contributor to Michigan Radio will end immediately,” says University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald in a written statement. “Mr. Lessenberry will officially resign from Michigan Radio effective July 31.”

Since the Deadline Detroit article was published one week ago, Lessenberry stepped away from his duties at WSU while the university conducts an investigation. He also resigned as a columnist for the Metro Times.

In a statement, Lessenberry acknowledges the allegations.

“I am saddened by the events of the last several days and admit to absolutely no wrongdoing whatsoever,” Lessenberry’s statement reads in part, “but (I) have decided to resign to pursue new opportunities and avoid distracting listeners from the fine work of Michigan Radio.”

Lessenberry is also the ombudsman for the Toledo Blade and the host of a public affairs program on Toledo's WGTE-TV. The paper did not immediately respond to inquiries as to his employments status.

WGTE-TV says Lessenberry works on a volunteer basis and that no one has registered any complaints about him. A spokeswoman said the station is monitoring the situation and the investigation being conducted by Wayne State University.

WWO, NBC Sports Radio To Cover 2018 Stanley Cup Final

In conjunction with NBC Sports and NBC Sports Radio, Westwood One will once again present live play-by-play audio coverage of the Stanley Cup Final, starting Monday, May 28, when the Vegas Golden Knights take on the Washington Capitals in Game One of the best-of-seven series.

Both teams are looking to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, and the Golden Knights are trying to become the first expansion team in American sports history to capture a championship in their inaugural season.

Kenny Albert (play-by-play) and Joe Micheletti (analyst) return for the third straight season as Westwood One/NBC Sports Radio’s broadcast crew for the Stanley Cup Final. Former NHL center Ray Ferraro will serve as rinkside reporter and Florida Panthers announcer Steve Goldstein hosts the pregame, intermission, and postgame reports.

Albert calls regular-season and post-season NHL games on NBC and NBCSN and has served as a hockey play-by-play commentator for NBC Sports at five Winter Olympics. He is also the radio play-by-play voice for the New York Rangers.

Micheletti serves as an analyst for NBC Sports Group’s NHL regular-season and post-season coverage, and is a TV analyst for the New York Rangers as well. He began his broadcasting career in 1985 as part of the St. Louis Blues radio team.

Ferraro scored 408 goals during an NHL playing career that spanned 18 seasons. Since his retirement in 2002, he has broadcast hockey games for many networks, including ESPN, CBC and CTV, and currently works as an analyst for both the NHL on TSN and the NHL on NBC.

Goldstein is the longtime hockey voice of the Florida Panthers. With the team since 1997, he's in his 11th season as TV play-by-play announcer on Fox Sports Florida. Prior to taking over the TV job, Steve was the radio play by play announcer, and served in the same capacity for the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics on Westwood One.

All games of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final will be available on NBC Sports Radio and Westwood One affiliates throughout the United States, as well as on,, the NBC Sports Radio mobile app,, SiriusXM Radio (NHL Channel 91), and TuneIn and the free TuneIn mobile app. NHL fans can also follow the playoffs on the NBC Sports Radio station on Apple Music. The stream can also be found on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices via the Westwood One Sports Skill.

May 25 Radio History

➦In 1905...journalist Joseph C. Harsch was born in Toledo Ohio.  He was a working ‘witness to history’ over 60 years, primarily as a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor.  But he also served, and probably was better known, as a radio & TV commentator for each of the major networks … NBC, CBS & ABC.  He died June 3 1998 at age 93.

➦In 1919...sportscaster Lindsay Nelson was born in Campbellsville Tennessee.  He began as a University of Tennessee student spotter for Hall of Fame sportscaster Bill Stern, and became a premier broadcaster for CBS, NBC and WTBS over more than 3 decades. He spent seventeen years with the New York Mets, and three with the San Francisco Giants. For thirty-three years he covered college football, including twenty-six Cotton Bowls, five Sugar Bowls, four Rose Bowls and fourteen years announcing Notre Dame games.  He died June 15, 1995 at age 76.

➦In 1985...In 1985, CBS resumed weekly national play-by-play baseball on radio for the first time in 20 years as Brent Musburger called the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets. The Mutual Broadcasting System was the last radio network to have offered regular-season coverage of baseball back in the 1960’s.

➦In 2013...Veteran radio talk show host (WOR-New York City, KGO-San Francisco, WRKO-Boston, WCAU-Philadelphia, WKIS-Orlando)/food critic Gene Burns died of complications from a stroke at age 72.

Gene Burns KGO
In his early twenties, Burns was hired as news director for radio station WWHG in his hometown of Hornell, New York before moving on to WSBA in York, Pennsylvania. He began his career as talk radio host at WCBM in Baltimore in the mid-1960s. While at WCBM, Burns did two major international assignments, going to Vietnam in 1968 and the Middle East in 1969.

Following a brief stint with WEEI in Boston, Burns served as a talk show host as well as program director at WKIS 740 AM in Orlando, Florida, beginning in 1971. He would remain there until 1981, when he departed for WCAU in Philadelphia in 1981. He then returned to Orlando and WKIS in the early 1980s and was named the station's operations manager in 1984. In 1985, Burns returned to Boston, hosting a talk show on WRKO for eight years.

In 1993, Burns moved to New York City and began hosting a nationally syndicated talk program from the studios of WOR.

In 1995, he resumed his broadcasting career at KGO-AM in San Francisco. He hosted a talk show of political and social commentary called The Gene Burns Program on weeknights, as well as a program that focused on wine and fine dining in the San Francisco Bay Area called Dining Around with Gene Burns which was broadcast weekly on Saturdays.

Talkers magazine ranked Burns #24 on its list of The 25 Greatest Radio and Television Talk Show Hosts of All Time, in 2002

Harry Birrell
➦In 2013...Harry Birrell, a Los Angeles radio news reporter and anchor at KNX for more than 30 years, died of complications from interstitial lung disease at 85.

Birrell joined KNX in 1968 and was a regular weekday anchor on the all-news station until 1993, when he retired. But  he continued to file daily reports of Ventura County news from his home in Thousand Oaks until January 1999.

The Radio and Television News Assn. of Southern California recognized Birrell with multiple Golden Mike awards for excellence in local broadcast journalism.

He was born Henry Walker Birrell in Steubenville, Ohio, on March 5, 1928, but he was known throughout his life as Harry. He attended Miami University before beginning his radio career in Beaver Falls, Pa., in 1949. He criss-crossed the country working as a broadcaster before arriving at KNX.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Nielsen: April 2018 PPMs A Hit For Sports Radio

Nielsen reports people still tune in for baseball.

Nielsen’s portable people meter (PPM) radio ratings for April confirm a seasonal increase in listening to sports radio stations when the major league season gets underway. Each year, the All Sports format’s audience share peaks in the fall when football kicks off and the World Series takes place, remains strong through the end of the NFL playoffs and then spikes again in the spring around opening day.

All Sports Radio Trend for April 2018 - Persons 25-54
This year, Major League Baseball’s opening day—March 29th—was the earliest opening day ever and marked the first day of the April PPM survey (March 29-April 25). As a result, sports radio had its strongest April book since PPM measurement began in full in the beginning of 2011. This month’s 4.6% share among the total audience (ages 6 and older) is the highest April result for the format ever.

The return of baseball is not the only factor that coincides with a seasonal shift in audience on the radio. The summer season is just around the corner, and each year as habits and lifestyles change, so to do radio listening trends. For the Classic Hits and Classic Rock formats, the summer has turned into the most important time of year. Over the past four summers, these two formats have seen their audience grow more than any other and claimed the title of ‘format of the summer’ as a result. Classic Hits saw the most audience growth during the summers of 2014 and 2015, followed by Classic Rock in 2016 and 2017.

This year, Classic Hits is positioning itself strongly in the months leading up to summer; the format had its best April book on record while Classic Rock declined slightly compared to past trends. Particularly among Millennials (listeners aged 18-34), Classic Hits is on the upswing in 2018, following the strongest first-quarter results that we have seen for the format.

Chicago Radio: Dick Biondi OUT At Classic Hits WLS-FM

Dick Biondi
Radio Hall of Famer and broadcasting treasure Dick Biondi is no longer part of the line-up at Cumulus Media's Classic Hits WLS 94.7 FM.

Biondi had been hosting Saturday and Sunday mornings until April 2017,  when the 85-year-old was hospitalized for what was described as a leg ailment. Several weeks later, he released a statement that said: “My doctor has assured me they doing all they can to get me back into fighting shape and I look forward to getting back on the air as soon as they say I’m ready! I want nothing more than to get back to entertaining the greatest radio audience in the greatest city in the world!”

It’s not clear exactly when Biondi’s status as an “inactive employee” changed to “former employee,” reports Chicago Media Watcher Robert Feder.

When Dick Biondi turned 85 last September 13, WLS 94.7-FM honored the legendary radio personality with a daylong celebration that included an outpouring of on-air salutes and social media messages along with a “Happy Birthday, Dick Biondi” web page.

No one knew it at the time, but those tributes turned out to be Biondi’s farewell from the Cumulus Media classic hits station, writes Feder.

Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago, confirmed Wednesday that Biondi’s employment ended months ago. He’s no longer on the WLS website, and he’s not expected to return as weekend morning host.

In any case, the move signals the end of an era in Chicago radio — and an association between Biondi and WLS that dates back six decades. At night on Top 40 powerhouse WLS 890 AM from 1960 to 1963, “The Wild I-Tralian” commanded a 60 percent share of all listeners, attracting millions of adoring teens in 38 states and Canada. After numerous stops along the way, he was reunited with the iconic call letters at WLS 94.7-FM in 2006.

Calling himself The Wild I-tralian. Biondi was one of the original "screamers," known for his screaming delivery as well as his wild antics on the air and off. In a 1988 interview, Biondi related he had been fired 23 times; both fits of temper and jokes gone wrong were part of the tally. Over many years and many frequencies, Dick's close-of-the-program line was, "God bless, bye, bye, Duke. Thanks a million for dialing our way."

Biondi gained national attention in the 1950s and 1960s as a disc jockey on leading AM radio stations in Buffalo, New York; Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles, California. Biondi is credited as the first U.S. disc jockey to play the Beatles, on Chicago's WLS 890 AM in February 1963, with the song "Please Please Me".

Since 1984, Biondi has been a mainstay on Oldies stations in the city where he first earned his reputation, Chicago. On 2 May 2010, Dick Biondi celebrated the 50th anniversary of his first Chicago broadcast.  WLS-AM and WLS-FM presented a 5-hour simulcast special from 7 PM to midnight, featuring memorable moments in his career and special celebrity guests, with Biondi as its host.

Biondi is an inductee of the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Pittsburgh Radio: Entercom Boots Michael Young

Michael Young
Entercom has confirmed that Michael Young, former senior vice president and market manager for Pittsburgh’s four CBS Local radio entities, is no longer with the company. It would not comment further, according to The Post-Gazette.

Young oversaw flagship station N/T KDKA as well as Sports 93.7 The Fan, Country Y108 (WDSY) and Top40 100.7 Star (WBZZ). In more recent months, Entercom had become the guiding presence in the Pittsburgh market.

“It was an honor and a privilege to work and serve with such a talented staff at these stations, and I thank Entercom and CBS Radio for that opportunity,” Mr. Young said.

Philadelphia-based Entercom Communications Corp. merged with CBS Radio in a tax-free merger last year, and eventually all properties will operate under the Entecom banner. Adding and subtracting stations in various markets, Entercom is in the process of becoming the country’s second-largest radio presence.

Michael Spacciapolli is serving as interim senior vice president and market manager while a nationwide search is conducted.

Report: Fidelity Investments Taking Hit Over Entercom

Fidelity Investments is feeling indigestion over its holdings in Entercom Communications Corp.

According to, Fidelity, based in Boston, has taken an 10.9 percent stake in the Bala Cynwyd-based radio station group whose shares are now trading around a five-year low after a first-quarter earnings miss.

Wall Street has punished the stock, knocking 25 percent off its value from early May, as Entercom CEO David Field has said he does not expect a recovery until later this year. Entercom stock was down $. 05, or .64 percent, to close Monday at $7.75.

Fidelity Investment now owns 15 million Entercom shares, or more than the 9.4 million shares held by the founding Field family, according to a recent regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Because of a super-voting class of stock, the Field family, father, Joseph, and son, David, control 28.4 percent of the shareholder vote in the radio giant.

Fidelity spokesman Stephen Austin said the investment company does not comment on “companies or specific holdings.”

Other big holders in Entercom are Scopia Capital Management (9.4 percent), Vanguard (6.7 percent), BlackRock Inc. (6.1 percent) and Barclays PLC (5.3 percent), according to regulatory filings.

Comcast Goes Public on Plan for Fox Bid

Comcast Corp. is escalating its threat to disrupt Walt Disney Co.’s megadeal to buy the bulk of 21st Century Fox Inc.’s assets, a potential move that could reshape the power structure in the entertainment industry, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Comcast said on Wednesday it is in advanced stages of preparing a cash offer that would top Disney’s all-stock, $52.4 billion deal for Fox’s entertainment businesses. One major Fox shareholder is also urging the company to engage with Comcast, adding pressure as the cable giant gets ready to appeal directly to Fox shareholders.

Fox’s board last year rejected Comcast’s original bid, even though it exceeded Disney’s offer, because directors believed it was more risky with regulators and would require the sale of too many valuable assets to win approval.

Since then, Comcast has been laying the groundwork to make a case for why it should be the one to acquire Fox’s assets, setting the stage for a potential bidding war that would pit Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts against Disney CEO Robert Iger for businesses long controlled by media titan Rupert Murdoch.

Iger, Murdoch, Roberts
The Fox assets—which range from international pay-TV distribution to cable networks and a stake in streaming giant Hulu—are some of the most-prized entertainment properties likely to come on the market for some time, and the Murdoch family’s willingness to sell these assets has come as a surprise to many in the media industry.

The rare acquisition opportunity, combined with the need to significantly expand overseas and acquire new distribution and content, is adding a dimension of urgency for both Comcast and Disney.

Comcast is dealing with a saturated pay-TV market at home and could find new growth with Fox’s international assets in countries where the penetration of cable services is lower.

For Disney, a Fox tie-up would immediately give it an advantage in its fight with Netflix Inc. by bolstering the movies and shows available for its planned streaming service and giving it majority ownership in Hulu.

According to, Comcast disclosed its game plan Wednesday because it believed that the Rupert Murdoch-controlled 21st Century Fox was rushing to hold a special shareholders meeting to seek approval for the Disney offer. Disney has offered to buy the Fox assets for Disney stock and Comcast has been telling investors that its cash deal would be “superior” for Fox shareholders — or a sure thing with hard cash vs. Disney stock that could sink in value.

Comcast and Disney could face harsh scrutiny from Justice Department antitrust lawyers because they already own substantial entertainment assets. Comcast owns the NBCUniversal entertainment conglomerate, two movie studios, the NBC television network, and cable channels. Disney owns ESPN sports-media juggernaut, movie studios, a huge film library, and the ABC broadcast-TV network. Disney also owns the rights to the Star Wars movie franchise after buying Lucasfilm in October 2012.

Netflix Surpasses Comcast In Market Value

Netflix surpassed Comcast in market value on Wednesday in a possible sign of consumers’ growing preference for video streaming services over traditional television subscriptions, according to The Hill.

On Wednesday, Netflix ended the trading day with a market capitalization of about $152.8 billion, overtaking Comcast’s market value of $147 billion, as first reported by Bloomberg News. The streaming giant is very close to reaching Disney, which had a market value of $153.36 billion on Wednesday.

Netflix, the S&P Index’s best-performing stock this year, went up 3.95 percent on Wednesday while Comcast fell 1.94 percent.

Wednesday’s events mark the second time that Netflix has overtaken Comcast in valuation but, according to Bloomberg, it's likely the change will be more lasting this time.

Shares for Netflix were up 5 percent this week, a trend that began after former President Barack and Michelle Obama announced a multiyear production deal with the company on Monday.

Meanwhile, streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu continue to attrack more customers by offering original content in addition to their libraries of programming.

ABC To Add Third Hour For G-M-A Franchise

ABC News’ Emmy Award-winning morning show, “Good Morning America,” will expand to three hours. The new third hour of the program will air at 1 p.m. EDT, noon CDT/PDT.

After seven seasons, 1454 episodes, multiple Emmy nominations and two Emmy Awards, “The Chew” will cease production at the end of this season but will continue to air as planned until September with all-new episodes airing in June.

“Over the past six years ‘Good Morning America’ has solidified its place as America’s No. 1 morning show,” said Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney|ABC Television. “We believe there is great opportunity for viewers and advertisers in expanding to a third hour.”

Ben Sherwood
He continued, “While this is the right decision for our business, it is also bittersweet. For seven years ‘The Chew’ has delighted audiences by delivering innovative food segments in an entertaining atmosphere. We applaud and thank Gordon Elliott, Aimee Householder, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and the entire cast and crew for their great work and amazing run. And we wish them the very best.”

In telling his staff, executive producer and “The Chew” show creator Elliott saluted ABC’s bold move into a brand-new genre seven years ago. “Before ‘The Chew,’ no one had attempted a talk/food hybrid. Our hosts Clinton, Carla and Michael and the staff created television history executing the show as well as they did for all these years. I know I speak for all of the people who work on the show when I say it was the best television we have ever had the privilege to produce.”

Additional details about the program, including the title and anchors, will be announced in the coming months.

Emmy Award-winning “GMA,” featuring the anchor team of Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Michael Strahan and chief meteorologist Ginger Zee, airs live Monday–Friday (7:00-9:00 a.m. EDT) on ABC. Michael Corn is the senior executive producer.

Houston Radio: Sports KILT Revamps Line-Up

Sports radio KILT 610 AM has announced its most significant lineup shuffle in at least four years Wednesday, moving nighttime host Paul Gallant to mornings and rehiring former host Fred Davis while parting ways with midday host Cody Stoots.

Gallant, who has worked the evening shift for KILT since 2014, will now work morning drive (6-10 a.m.) alongside incumbents Mike Meltser and Seth Payne.

Paul Gallant
With Stoots’ departure from the midday (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) show with John Lopez, Lopez will be paired with Landry Locker, the current morning show producer, and Fred Davis, who returns to KILT after working for the station from 2012 until January 2014.

Sean Pendergast, Rich Lord and Ted Johnson will continue to host from 2-6 p.m., and the Houston Texans hour will continue from 6 to 7 p.m. The station did not announce programming plans for the 7-10 p.m. time slot now hosted by Gallant.

The lineup changes are effective Tuesday, said Sarah Frazier, market manager for Entercom’s Houston radio stations.

“Part of remaining on top is continuing to evolve with the needs of the Houston audience,” Frazier said in a statement. “I'm excited about the energy that Paul will bring to mornings and Fred and Landry will bring to middays.”

KILT 610 AM (5 Kw, DA2)
According to the Houston Chronicle, KILT has steadily lost ground in the men 25-54 demographic in recent months. None of its three 6 a.m.-6 p.m. shows led its time slot in the most recent Nielsen Audio ratings book.