Friday, May 26, 2017

Ariana Grande To Give Benefit Concert In Manchester


(Reuters) -- Ariana Grande said on Friday that she will hold a benefit concert in Manchester for the victims of Monday's suicide bombing at her show in the English city.

Grande, 23, said in a message on her Instagram account that a date for the concert had not yet been worked out.

Monday's suicide bombing, which killed 22 people and injured more than 100, many of them young people, took place just after Grande had finished performing a concert in the northern English city. She later cancelled several future concerts scheduled in London and Europe.

"I'll be returning to the incredibly brave city of Manchester to spend time with my fans and to have a benefit concert in honor of and to raise money for the victims and their families. ... I will have details to share with you as soon as everything is confirmed," Grande wrote in an emotional message.

Grande has a large young female fan base, many of whom were caught up in Monday's attack by British-born Salman Abedi.

She said that her "Dangerous Woman" concert tour was intended to be a "space for my fans, a place for them to escape, to celebrate, to heal, to feel safe and to be themselves."

She said the victims would be "on my mind and in my heart everyday ... for the rest of my life."

But she added defiantly; "We will not quit or operate in fear. We won't let this divide us. We won't let hate win."

St. Louis Radio: iHM Returns Majic Brand On 103.7 FM

iHeartMedia St. Louis announced today the debut of UrbanAC Majic 103.7, W279AQ via KLOU 103.3 FM HD2 St. Louis. The station will kicked with 10,000 songs in a row commercial-free from the biggest names in R&B.

Majic 103.7 will broadcast hit music from artists such as Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Maxwell and Janet Jackson. A full programming line- up will be announced at a later date.

“The Majic brand is no stranger to St. Louis and has been iconic in the market since 1979,” said A.J., Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia St. Louis. “With the launch of the new Majic 103.7, we are resurrecting over 35 years of enriching lives and serving the St. Louis community.”

W279AQ 103.7 FM (250 watts)
“The heritage of the Majic 103.7 radio brand is like no other and I am honored to be a part of bringing it back to the St. Louis community,” said Derrick Martin, Region President for iHeartMedia St. Louis. “It’s also a privilege to welcome back Majic’s core group of fans and advertisers, and we look forward to engaging new ones as well.”

Miami Radio: 'PK's Throwback' Debuts On iHM's 105.5 FM

iHeartMedia/Miami has debuted “PK’s Throwback 105.5,” a new classic hip-hop outlet in Miami.

The station is airing commercial free for 105 days and playing “Old Skool” music from Bel Biv DeVoe, Mary J. Blige, Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Luke, Jay Z, Lauryn Hill and more.

The driving force behind the new station is Papa Keith - the PK in the station’s moniker. Keith is afternoon host at urban contemporary  WMIB 103.5 The Beat,  who has strong ties to the South Florida hip-hop and R&B communities. He first honed his skills in hip-hop and reggae clubs and built up his name on the streets, eventually landing at Miami’s notorious underground station “Mixx 96,” which set off his career in radio.

“I’m so excited to share my music memories on this new station,” Keith said. “My listeners will get to hear another side of me.”

“PK’s Throwback 105.5” originates on the WMIB 103.5 FM HD3 and broadcasts on translator W288DD at 105.5, licensed to Tamarac FL

W288DD 105.5 FM ( 85 watts)
“We’re excited to launch PK’s Throwback 105.5 and throw it back in the now with Papa Keith,” senior vice president of programming Alex Tear added. “Get ready for the ultimate Old Skool playlist!”

iHeartMedia’s Troubles Worsen

iHeartMedia Inc.’s financial troubles deepened as the company extended the deadline — for a fifth time — on a $14.6 billion distressed debt exchange offer after few investors showed interest and those who did started backing out of the deal.

According to The Express-News, the deadline, which was scheduled to expire Friday, was extended to June 9 at 4 p.m.

The company said it needs more time to negotiate with investors and lenders on a debt restructuring plan. If executives cannot get an agreement, the company will likely have to file for bankruptcy, the company has previously said. iHeartMedia had $20.4 billion in outstanding debt as of March 31.

“People who tendered backed out,” said Patrice Cucinello, an analyst for Fitch Ratings in New York. “The noteholders are not receptive to the offer.”

The loss of investor interest “doesn’t give much comfort” to the possibility of a successful debt exchange, she said.

iHeartMedia recently hired Goldmans Sachs Group Inc., joining two other advisers, Moelis & Co. and Kirkland & Ellis, to help mediate negotiations, corporate debt research firm Debtwire reported.

The addition of Goldman Sachs “may help with negotiations,” said Cucinello. Fitch said in an April 25 report that iHeartMedia probably will have to file for bankrutcy.

The radio and billboard giant is trying to refinance about $8.3 billion in bonds and about $6 billion in loans. The debt-exchange terms call for various discounts on the debt and pushes out maturities by two years.

Philly Radio: CBS Radio Promotes Shelly Easton, Bobby Smith

CBS RADIO Philadelphia’s Senior Vice President and Market Manager David Yadgaroff Thursday announced the promotion of Shelly Easton to VP of Music Programming for Country WXTU-92.5 FM, HotAC WTDY Today’s 96.5 FM and Classic Hits WOGL 98.1 FM, and the promotion of Bobby Smith to Program Director of  98.1 WOGL.

Easton will remain the Program Director of WXTU in addition to her new responsibilities at WTDY and WOGL. Smith, current Program Director and on-air personality of Today’s 96.5 WTDY, will take on Program Director duties of WOGL. Both promotions are effective immediately.

“Shelly’s leadership at WXTU and across our industry makes her the ideal choice to lead the strategy and evolution of our music stations.  In his expanded role, Bobby will be managing two of Philadelphia’s top-5 cuming radio stations. These are very well deserved promotions for two of Philadelphia radio's finest,“ said Yadgaroff.

“This is an exciting opportunity and I am thrilled to work with such legendary brands and top notch talent on a daily basis,“ added Easton.

“I am elated to now be a part of the legendary brand at WOGL and excited to be joining this incredibly skilled staff,” said Smith.

In her new role, Easton will continue to program WXTU and now direct the digital, marketing and promotional strategies across WXTU, WOGL and WTDY.  Bobby will continue in his role as Program Director and morning drive host at WTDY and assume the Program Director role at 98.1 WOGL.

The appointments follow Monday’s departure of Gress from WOGL after 14 years of programming the top-rated station.  WOGL ranked first in Nielsen’s April PPM survey with a 6.9 share in persons 6+.

L-A Radio: Rodney On The ROQ Show Ends June 4


After 40 years of discovering new bands on KROQ 106.7 FM “Rodney on the Roq,” Rodney Bingenheimer announced on Facebook that he will be doing his last show from midnight to 3 a.m. PT on Monday, June 5.

“It has been an amazing run, and I will be thanking all of you when I say goodbye to KROQ next week,” the trendsetting DJ wrote in a post Thursday. “I am planning on some special callers and special music as I say a proper goodbye.”

According to Variety, the rock radio show — occasionally dropping in other genres as well — has been known for playing eclectic tracks since it started in August 1976. “Rodney on the Roq” was among the first to spin music from a number of now-famous talent including Katy Perry, the Sex Pistols, Blondie, Duran Duran, Sublime, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“I may be done with KROQ, but I am not retiring,” the 69-year-old said. “I hope you continue to join me on that journey. I have the greatest fans of all time and you’ve made my time at KROQ a fantastic one.”

He ended the post optimistically saying, “Here’s to rock and roll. More to come.”

SWFL Radio: Sports Vet Pete Sheppard Joins WWCN

Pete Sheppard
Beasley Media Group has named Pete Sheppard as the new afternoon drive co-host with Craig Shemon on WWCN 99.3 FM in  Fort Myers-Naples, Florida. He began his new position on May 22, 2017.

“I am so excited to be part of the ESPN SWFL 99.3FM family and to be working afternoon drive from 2-6pm with Craig Shemon,” said Sheppard. “Our show will be highly energetic, informative and entertaining!”

“Pete Sheppard lacing up with Craig Shemon has just turned a great afternoon show into a major market heavy weight afternoon show overnight,” said Operations Manager Adam Star. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this new show was syndicated a year from now. Sherman and Sheppard are the real deal!”

Celebrating his 29th year in broadcasting, Sheppard most recently worked at WEEI in Boston, where he served as a part time fill-in on air personality for various day-parts on the station. In addition, he hosted NFL Sunday’s 4 hour pre-game show for the New England Patriots, as well as provided an in depth look at the rest of the NFL.

WWCN 99.3 FM (50 Kw) Red=Local Coverage
Previous to that, the radio sports veteran was part of the highly rated “The Big Show” in afternoon drive at WEEI and also hosted “The Real Post Game Show” with former NFL players Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie for 11 years.

Asheville Radio: Brian Hall Named SVP/Programming At iHM

Brian Hall
iHeartMedia has announced that Brian Hall has been named SVP/Programming for its Asheville cluster.

The Asheville cluster includes: Country WKSF 99.5 FM, Top40 WQNQ Star 104.3 FM, Rock WQNS 105.1 FM. 97.7 The Brew, N/T WWNX 570 AM and Progressive Talk WPEK 880 AM.

“Brian's vast experience in Asheville will really help us continue to dominate the market in every format,” said Area Pres. Bill McMartin. “We have an experienced team in Asheville who all have great respect for Brian and his ability to lead our programming efforts.”

“Brian’s expert leadership skills and market knowledge make him the perfect choice to lead the Asheville team,” said EVP/Programming-Northeast Division Meg Stevens. “We’re extremely excited to have him take the reins as our new Senior Vice President of Programming.”

"I am both honored and excited about this promotion,” said Hall. “We are one big family here at iHeartMedia/Asheville. I've been blessed to have been with the company for twenty-two years and am looking forward to our continued growth in ratings and revenue."

M-C Hot Links: What Others Are Saying..Friday


Is Fox News Cleaning Up Its Act? Or Just Trying to Make the Murdochs Richer?

Fox News’ Dueling Narratives: Journalism That Clashes With Fury

How Radio Can Survive in an Era of Podcasts and Streamers

How To Make Your Database a High Leverage Weapon

Gianforte Wins, Apologizes To Reporter

(Reuters photos)
(Reuters) -- Republican Greg Gianforte defeated a political novice to win Montana's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, barely 24 hours after he was charged with assaulting a reporter who asked him about the Republican healthcare bill.

A race that was expected to be a test of President Donald Trump's political influence ahead of next year's U.S. congressional elections was jolted by the charge against Gianforte, a wealthy technology executive who had urged voters to send him to Congress to help Trump.

Speaking to cheering supporters in Bozeman after his win, Gianforte apologized for the incident and said he was not proud of his actions.

"I should not have responded the way I did, and for that I'm sorry," Gianforte said. "I should not have treated that reporter that way."

Gianforte beat Democrat Rob Quist, a banjo player and first-time candidate who had focused his campaign on criticism of the Republican effort to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's healthcare law. CNN projected Gianforte would win. With 96 percent of the vote counted, he led Quist by 51 percent to 43 percent.

Gianforte prevailed despite being charged on Wednesday night with misdemeanor assault on Ben Jacobs, a political correspondent for the U.S. edition of the Guardian newspaper, who said the candidate "body-slammed" him during a campaign event in Bozeman.

Rob Quist
Gianforte's victory is a boost for Republicans, who are worried Trump's political stumbles and the unpopularity of the healthcare bill passed by the House will hurt their chances of holding on to a 24-seat House majority in next year's elections.

But the relatively close margin of the race in Republican-leaning Montana was encouraging to Democrats, who are already focused on next month's hotly contested special House election in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia.

Gianforte had been favored to win in Montana, where Republicans have held the lone House seat for two decades and where Trump won by more than 20 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

The race had grown closer in the last week, however, as Quist focused on criticism of the House healthcare bill.

Quist, wearing his signature cowboy hat, told supporters in Missoula, Montana, that the grassroots energy of his campaign would continue.

"I know that Montanans will hold Mr Gianforte accountable," Quist said.

NBC Megyn Kelly Promos Start Airing


NBC has began tonight to run promos for its new Megyn Kelly newsmag, on Nightly News with Lester Holt.

Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly debuts Sunday, June 4 at 7 PM. Sundays at 7  is, not coincidentally, longtime berth for 60 Minutes. But, according to Deadline.com,  the CBS juggernaut usually airs repeats between May and September, which NBC News hopes means all those Sunday newsmag junkies looking for new material will turn to Kelly.



Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly will have a limited run this summer, returning after Sunday Night Football and the Winter Olympics conclude, in early 2018.

Fox News Pokes Sleeping Advertising Bear

(Reuters) -- For the second time this year, one of the entertainment conglomerate's popular prime-time programs faces a branding boycott. Twenty-First Century Fox isn't alone, though. YouTube, the web-video site operated by Alphabet's Google, has recently been in the crosshairs, too. Madison Avenue may be slowly transforming from a passive investor to a more activist one.

Cars.com, Peloton and others pulled their commercials from the Fox News show hosted by Sean Hannity, the President Donald Trump supporter who has been pushing a fake conspiracy theory involving the death of a Democratic National Committee staffer. The network retracted an online article it had published on the subject, but Hannity – who attracts an average 2.6 million watchers – stuck to his guns, claiming Fox News doesn’t speak for him. Several advertisers revolted this week.

A similar uprising occurred when more than 70 companies including Mercedes-Benz and T. Rowe Price abandoned Fox News host Bill O’Reilly after he faced a number of sexual-harassment allegations. He was soon booted from the Murdoch empire. YouTube also invited ire when ads were discovered next to objectionable videos. Agency group Havas and the likes of L'Oreal withheld budgets and demanded Google better police placement.

This tactic is relatively new. There has been little outcry from the mostly supine advertising community, for example, with regard to the National Football League and its concussion and spousal-abuse controversies. Likewise, the world soccer organization FIFA, mostly smoothed things over with sponsors amid a damaging bribery scandal.

The recent pushiness could partly be down to consumers swiftly mobilizing on social media to register their dissent. And it always helps to follow the money. Fox News last week experienced a drop in its prime-time ratings for the first time in 17 years. Google’s dominance also has been making advertisers increasingly nervous. They may have just handed advertisers easy excuses to fight back.

NYTimes Defends Publishing Bomb Debris Photos


The New York Times defended its decision to publish detailed images of the Manchester Arena crime scene following Monday's terror attack, according to BusinessInsider.

The US newspaper's report on Wednesday contained photos of the backpack Salman Abedi used to house his explosive device, as well as details on how the bomb may have been constructed and detonated. It also revealed the layout of the blast area and locations of the victims and the bomber's torso.

The story has helped fuel a growing diplomatic dispute between the UK and US over intelligence leaks from the Manchester attack, which killed 22 people. The UK has now decided to suspend the sharing of information with America on Monday's blast.

The New York Times said it did not publish the story lightly. In a statement on Thursday, it explained:
"The images and information presented were neither graphic nor disrespectful of victims, and consistent with the common line of reporting on weapons used in horrific crimes. 
"We have strict guidelines on how and in what ways we cover sensitive stories. Our coverage of Monday’s horrific attack has been both comprehensive and responsible."
As reported by Business Insider on Tuesday, the bomber's name, the body count, and the method of detonation all emerged in the US long before being publicly confirmed by the British authorities.

Liz Spayd, The Public Editor at the Times, said she supports the decision to publish, "The photographs and story are unquestionably compelling and provide insight into an event of crucial public interest. That doesn’t mean the public has some vital need to see these photos; but by that standard neither do they need to see plenty of other stories and photographs.

Detroit Radio: WDRQ Unveils 'Free For All Country Concert' Line-Up

Cumulus Media’s WDRQ / NASH FM 93.1 will present their 2017 Free for All Country Concert in Detroit’s Campus Martius Park, 6 p.m. on Tuesday May 30th. The show will feature country stars, Granger Smith, Runaway June, Walker McGuire, and Ryan Kinder.

“We are thrilled to again bring free, live country music to Downtown Detroit,” said NASH FM 93.1 Program Director, Robby Bridges. “The tradition of a free downtown summer concert is special in this town. It is our pleasure to bring it back with some of today’s hottest acts on the bill.”


Headlining the show is Wheelhouse Records recording artist, Granger Smith. Through eight albums, Granger has grown a massive base known as “The Yee Yee Nation.” These fans flock to see his performances, which regularly includes an appearance by his alter ego, Earl Dibbs Jr. Recently, The Yee Yee Nation has grown substantially on the strength of Granger’s chart-topping hits, “Backroad Song,” and “If the Boot Fits.” Granger’s ninth studio album is due out this fall, with the debut single “Happens Like That” now at radio.


Also performing are rising stars, Runaway June, featuring vocalists, Naomi Cooke, Hannah Mulholland, and Jennifer Wayne. Their chart-topping single, “Lipstick” has positioned Runaway as country music stars to watch. The trio has been described as having a unique sound that hasn’t been heard on country radio in quite some time. Rootsy and brightly-colored, their songs mix bluegrass tradition with dusty desert cool, creating a sound that is sure to make them a runaway hit.


In February, “Rolling Stone Magazine” named Walker McGuire as one of the 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know. The duo, consisting of Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire, are offering up radio-ready harmonies that are being compared to the likes of Rascal Flatts and Florida Georgia Line. Their debut single, “Til Tomorrow,” which tells a polished and relatable story of heartache and hangovers, is sure to make this duo a chart-topping smash.

Country singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Ryan Kinder was inspired to his craft after falling in love with John Mayer’s debut album, “Room for Squares.” The album motivated Ryan to get a guitar and learn how to play it. Since then, the Alabama native has refined his playing and songwriting skills to a level that landed him a contract with Warner Brothers Records. His latest single, “Close” is now available on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play.

The NASH FM Free for All Country Concert is presented by Faygo, with support from The Hard Rock Café, Parc Restaurant.

May 26 Radio History



Al Jolson - 1938
➦In 1886..iconic performer Al Jolson was born Asa Yoelson in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“The World’s Greatest Entertainer” (a billing he gave himself), ushered in the era of sound movies with The Jazz Singer in 1927.  He had his own high budget radio shows (Shell Chateau in the 30’s, Kraft Music Hall in the 40’s) and was a frequent guest on other radio variety shows.

He died near the start of the TV era Oct 23, 1950 after a heart attack at age 64.


➦In 1903...Canadian radio pioneer Reginald Fessenden was granted a patent for the liquid barretter microphone.



Ben Alexander, Jack Webb
➦In 1911...actor Ben Alexander was born Nicholas Benton Alexander in Goldfield Nevada. A child actor in the silent era, he moved into radio announcing, and was virtually retired when Jack Webb chose him to be his Dragnet partner, officer Frank Smith, first on radio & then TV. He later starred in a second police TV series, Felony Squad. He died July 5, 1969 at age 58.


➦In 1920...singer Peggy Lee, whose real name is Norma Delores Egstrom, was born in Jamestown, North Dakota.

She was among the few singers who can handle any type of song — pop, ballad, country, rhythm-and-blues or jazz. Benny Goodman gave her her stage name when she performed with his band from 1941 to ’43. Lee went out on her own after marrying Goodman’s guitarist, Dave Barbour. Her hit records included “Manana (mahn-YAH’-nah),” ”Fever” — a cover of Little Willie John’s r-and-b song — and ”Is That All There Is?” Peggy Lee died of a heart attack January 21st, 2002. She was 81.


Jimmie Rodgers
➦In 1933...Jimmie Rodgers, the “Father of Country Music,” died of tuberculosis in New York City at age 35, just two days after making his final recording.

He was so ill during his final recording sessions that he had to rest between takes on a cot.  Jimmie Rodgers recorded his first million-seller “T for Texas,” also known as “Blue Yodel,” in 1927, becoming country music’s first superstar. He never appeared on any major radio show or played the Grand Ole Opry. But he, Hank Williams and songwriter-publisher Fred Rose were the first to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961.


➦In 1940...CBS Radio first presented “Invitation to Learning”.  The 30-minute Sunday morning program that featured a discussion of great books, with Lyman Bryson as host, continued for 15 years.


➦In 1959...Chicago-based radio host Joe Kelly, who MC’d the WLS National Barn Dance & NBC’s Quiz Kids (1940-53), died at age 57.


➦In 1962...the original version of “Twist and Shout,” by the Isley Brothers, was released. The song was revived two years later by the Beatles.


➦In 1971...Don McLean was in New York to record his soon-to-be iconic signature song “American Pie.”


➦In 1989...Radio stations staged 30 seconds of silence at 7:42 AM (EST), to honor Radio.


➦In 1993...Radio dramatist, Carleton Morse, best known for "One Man's Family", died at age 91.

"One Man's Family" centered on a family in the well-to-do Sea Cliff area of San Francisco, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. The tribulations of its main characters, Fanny, Henry and Jack Barbour, dominated the national airwaves from the time the show began in 1932 until it went off the air in 1959 after 3,256 episodes.
He covered radio and police news for The Sacramento Union before moving to San Francisco, where he worked for several newspapers, including The Call, The Bulletin and The Chronicle. He took a writing job at NBC in 1929 and went on to became a legendary radio pioneer.

At its peak, "One Man's Family" rivaled "Amos 'n' Andy" in popularity.


Dan Daniel - WCBS-FM
➦In 1996...Dan Daniel starts at WCBS FM.

He started as a disc jockey at age seventeen on Armed Forces Radio with the US Navy. His first commercial job was at KXYZ in Houston in 1955 and he then worked at WDGY in Minneapolis before moving to WMCA in 1961.

His first broadcast at WMCA was on 18 August 1961. He started on the graveyard shift overnight but from 1962 to 1968 he played the top 40 hits from 4 pm to 7 pm. The station produced a survey of the current sales in New York record stores and Dandy Dan gave the countdown of the week's best sellers every Wednesday in this late afternoon slot.

From 1968 to 1970, he did the early morning drive-to-work slot before leaving WMCA after nearly nine years; his final broadcast was on 11 July 1970.

Dan was heard coast-to-coast on NBC Radio's "Monitor" in the summer of 1973.

He subsequently worked on WYNY-FM where he hosted the mid-day slot and later morning and afternoon drives. He then did a stint at WHN playing country music before returning to WYNY-FM. Finally, he moved to WCBS-FM in 1996. He retired from WCBS on December 31, 2002.

Daniel died on June 21, 2016 after falling in his home the previous day. He was 81

➦In 2010...Radio and TV host (House Party, People Are Funny) Art Linkletter died at the age of 97.

Art Linkletter
Although he earned a degree in teaching, Linkletter worked as a radio announcer at KGB in San Diego. Radio paid better than teaching, and Linkletter directed radio programs for fairs and expositions in the mid-1930s. In the 1940s Linkletter lived in San Francisco and worked in radio.  In the 1940s, Linkletter worked in Hollywood with John Guedel on their pioneering radio show, People Are Funny, which employed audience participation, contests and gags. The series served as a prototype for future radio and television game shows. People Are Funny became a television show in 1954 and ran until 1961.

Other early television shows Linkletter worked on included Life With Linkletter with his son Jack (1969–1970) and Hollywood Talent Scouts (1965–1966). He acted in two movies, People Are Funny (1946) and Champagne for Caesar (1950).

Linkletter declined the opportunity offered by his friend Walt Disney to build and operate the Disneyland Hotel due to Linkletter's doubts about the park's prospects. But, out of friendship for Disney, Linkletter volunteered his experience as a live program broadcaster to help organize ABC's coverage of the Disneyland opening in 1955.

with Walt Disney
Besides being an on-air host, he recruited his two co-hosts: Ronald Reagan and Bob Cummings. The park opening experience convinced Linkletter Disneyland was going to be a huge success. When Disney asked what he could do to show his gratitude for the broadcast's role in the successful launching of the park, Linkletter asked for Disneyland's camera and film concession for its first ten years, to which Disney readily agreed. This turned out to be very lucrative.  He appeared for two stints of two weeks each, as a guest host of The Tonight Show in 1962 between Jack Paar's departure and Johnny Carson's arrival as its new host.

In the 1950s, Linkletter became a major investor in and promoter of the hula hoop.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lawmaker 'Body Slams' Reporter For The Guardian


By Justin Mitchell | MISSOULA, MONT.

(Reuters) -- A Democratic political novice hopes to pull off a surprise victory in Republican-leaning Montana on Thursday in a special congressional race roiled on the eve of voting by allegations that the Republican candidate physically assaulted a reporter.

Democrat Rob Quist, a banjo-playing folk singer and first-time candidate, is facing off against Republican tech executive Greg Gianforte in a tightening race for the U.S. House of Representatives seat vacated when President Donald Trump named Ryan Zinke as secretary of the interior.

Greg Gianforte
Republicans have held Montana's lone House seat for two decades and Gianforte was still favored in a state that Trump won by more than 20 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

However, the race was jolted on Wednesday when a political correspondent for the U.S. edition of the Guardian newspaper said in a Twitter post that Gianforte had "body slammed" him in a confrontation at a campaign event in Bozeman in which the reporter's eyeglasses were broken.

Hours after the incident, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office issued Gianforte a citation for misdemeanor assault. Gianforte has until June 7 to appear in a county court. He faces a $500 fine and six months in jail if convicted, the sheriff said in a statement.

The incident, capping a campaign seen as a bellwether for next year's mid-term congressional races, occurred as Guardian correspondent Ben Jacobs was trying to ask Gianforte about healthcare, according to an audio tape captured by Jacobs and played on cable television.

Fox News Channel reporter Alicia Acuna, who said she and her crew were in the room preparing to interview Gianforte, wrote that she saw the candidate as he "grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him to the ground."

In ambulance, Ben Jacobs holds broken glasses
Acuna, her field producer and photographer then "watched in disbelief as Gianforte began punching (Jacobs) as he moved to top of the reporter," she wrote.

Gianforte's campaign did not deny Jacobs' allegation but countered in its own statement that Jacobs provoked an altercation by barging into the candidate's office, shoving a recording device in the politician's face and "asking badgering questions."

"AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR"

"After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined," campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon wrote. "Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground."

"It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ," the statement concluded.

Acuna disputed that Jacobs was the aggressor.

"At no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte," Acuna wrote on the Fox News website.

Quist declined to comment immediately. He has focused his campaign on sharply criticizing the Republican effort to repeal and replace former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.


According to the audio tape, Jacobs' encounter with Gianforte turned violent when he tried to ask the candidate if he supported a Republican healthcare overhaul bill after the Congressional Budget Office found the measure would cost 23 million Americans their medical insurance coverage by 2026.

A Democratic upset in the race would set off alarms for Republicans already worried about the effects of Trump's unpopularity and the healthcare issue on their candidates in next year's midterm elections, when Republicans must defend their 24-seat House majority.

It would also give Democrats grassroots momentum heading into two special House elections for Republican-held seats next month, in Georgia and South Carolina. Republicans had to sweat out a closer-then-expected special House election win in conservative Kansas last month.

Gianforte has touted his willingness to work with Trump, who is still relatively popular in Montana. But Quist, who reported raising $6 million for the race, has urged voters to send Republicans a message about healthcare. Gianforte says he supports the effort to repeal Obamacare but has not backed the Republican bill passed by the House.

"I will only vote for a repeal and replace that brings premiums down, protects people with pre-existing conditions, and protects rural access. I can’t make that guarantee to Montanans yet, so I haven’t seen a proposal that I can support," Gianforte told a news station in Missoula on Wednesday.

Brits Furious Over Manchester Leaks


By Andy Bruce and Kylie MacLellan | MANCHESTER/LONDON

(Reuters) -- British police have stopped sharing information on the suicide bombing in Manchester with the United States, the BBC reported on Thursday, because of fears that leaks to the U.S. media could hinder a hunt for a possible bomb-maker still at large.

The row came as police pressed a fast-paced investigation into Monday's bombing, which killed 22 people at a music venue packed with children and raised fears a further attack could be imminent. Troops have been deployed to guard key points and eight people have been arrested.

Authorities have said the 22-year-old bomber, British-born Salman Abedi, was part of a network and had recently returned from Libya, where his parents were born.

Police chiefs have made clear they are furious about the publication of confidential material in U.S. media, including bomb site photographs in the New York Times, saying such leaks undermined relationships with trusted security allies.

"This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorized disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counter-terrorism investigation," a National Counter Terrorism Policing spokesman said in a statement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will raise the issue with U.S. President Donald Trump when she meets him at a NATO summit in Brussels later on Thursday, a government source told Reuters.

The pictures published by the New York Times included remains of the bomb and of the rucksack carried by the suicide bomber, and showed blood stains amid the wreckage.

"I think it's pretty disgusting," said Scott Lightfoot, a Manchester resident, speaking outside a train station in the city. He criticized media for publishing such material.

"Who's leaking it? Where's it coming from? This is British intelligence at the end of the day, people shouldn't be finding out about this."

"BOMB-MAKING WORKSHOP"

The Financial Times reported that such images are available across a restricted-access encrypted special international database used by government ordnance and explosives experts in about 20 countries allied with Britain. It said the database was built around a longstanding U.S.-British system.

The BBC said Manchester Police hoped to resume normal intelligence relationships soon but was currently furious.

The bombing, which took place at the Manchester Arena indoor venue just after the end of a concert by U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande, was the deadliest in Britain since July 2005, when 52 people were killed in attacks on London's transport network.

The Manchester attack has caused revulsion across the world because it targeted children and teenagers, who make up the bulk of Grande's fan base. The victims ranged from an eight-year-old schoolgirl to parents who had come to pick up their children.

U.S. channel ABC News reported that police had found a kind of bomb-making workshop in Abedi's home and he had apparently stockpiled enough chemicals to make additional bombs.

British news website The Independent also reported bomb-making materials which could be primed for imminent attacks had been found in the raids following the Manchester bombing. The report said one suspect device was blown up in a controlled explosion.

Britain views the United States as its closest ally, and the two countries also share intelligence as part of the "Five Eyes" network which also includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

After Trump defended his decision to discuss intelligence with the Russians during a White House meeting, May said last week that Britain would continue to share intelligence with the United States.

FNC, R&R For Hannity As Advertisers Defect

Sean Hannity
Sean Hannity is taking a couple days off amid a growing advertiser boycott after pushing a conspiracy theory involving a slain Democratic National Committee staffer.

Cars.com, mattress ccompany Casper, and several other companies pulled advertising from Sean Hannity's Fox News program Wednesday as the host continued to push a conspiracy theory about Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed in Washington, DC, last year, according to buzzfeed.com.

For days, Hannity was peddling a theory that Rich's killing was ordered by the Clintons in retaliation for leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Police have said his death was the result of a robbery gone wrong.

"Cars.com's media buy strategies are designed to reach as many consumers as possible across a wide spectrum of media channels," a Cars.com spokesperson said in a statement to BuzzFeed News when asked about Hannity's focus on the conspiracy.

"The fact that we advertise on a particular program doesn't mean that we agree or disagree, or support or oppose, the content. We don't have the ability to influence content at the time we make our advertising purchase. In this case, we've been watching closely and have recently made the decision to pull our advertising from Hannity," the company added.

After learning its commercials ran on Hannity's show, Crowne Plaza Hotels said it terminated its relationship with its third-party ad-buying agency.

"We do not advertise on Fox News, Hannity or any political commentary show. We have a specific do not advertise list for this type of programming. Unfortunately, our expectation to adhere to this list was not met by a third-party agency. Since we learned of the airings, we addressed the issue immediately and terminated our relationship with the agency. We have no plans to advertise on Fox News for the foreseeable future," the company explained.

Ring, a video doorbell company, and Peloton, a cycling studio, announced that they had directed their media agencies to stop advertising on the show.

Miami Radio: Talker Fernand Amandi OUT At iHM's WIOD

Fernand Amand1 (Sun-Sentinal photo)
Citing cost-cutting measures, WIOD 610 AM has canceled Fernand R. Amandi’s talk show, according to a statement the radio personality released on Twitter.

His show aired mid-morning weekdays from the iHeart Media-owned station in Miramar. Amandi said iHeart officials informed him that the May 19 broadcast was his last, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

“While I’m disappointed I won’t be able to continue the lively town hall style conversations we first began in late 2014, I am grateful for the opportunity given to me by WIOD program director Grace Blazer, the team at iHeartRadio and listeners across South Florida and throughout the country,” he stated. “Hosting this show and listening to the hopes, and fears, the stories and passion of our listeners will always be among the most rewarding honors of my life, and I will miss all of you every day.”

In Amandi’s place this week, WIOD has had David Bloomquist, known as Bloomdaddy, a talk show host from West Virginia.

WIOD program director Grace Blazer did not comment on the show’s cancellation. “We will be announcing a new show soon,” she said.

Amandi has a full-time job as a partner in Bendixen & Amandi International, the Miami-based firm that conducts public opinion research and focus groups. He also frequently appears on MSNBC as a guest of Joy-Ann Reid’s weekend show.

Amandi, a Cuban-American and graduate of Florida State University, has been a fan of radio since he was a kid. He tuned into Spanish-language talk radio that played in his childhood homes in Coral Springs, Boca Raton and Miami-Dade County. Amandi listened to sports talk radio hosts Hank Goldberg and the late Neil Rogers, who once had the 10 a.m. time slot at WIOD that Amandi eventually took over.