Friday, October 20, 2017

Megyn Kelly Tries Dancing To Boost Ratings..Sad

Megyn Kelly Today on NBC desperately needs a ratings boost after less than a month on the air.

On Thursday, Hoda Kotb, the ever-upbeat popular Today host from another hour appeared as a guest. They chatted. They danced. They tried to get the audience on its feet dancing, too.

Last year, Kelly was a rising star on Fox News, earning national headlines for her dogged questioning of presidential candidate Donald Trump. But her short tenure on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today” continues to be challenging both for her and the network.

The show premiered on Sept. 25, and its ratings continue to tank.

According to The Washington Post, the fallout is so worrisome to the network that other “Today” hosts have begun visiting Kelly’s show as if on a rescue mission. Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie all recently appeared. It could be “a strategic way to familiarize viewers with faces they already know and boost viewership,” according to Variety.

Her ratings aren’t even close to those of her predecessors.

Meanwhile, the show’s biggest direct competitor, ABC’s “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” has a healthy lead over Megyn Kelly. The ABC program drew 14 percent more viewers than Kelly during her first week and a robust 34 percent more during her second, according to Nielsen

CBS Radio Merger With Entercom Inches Closer

CBS Corporation Thursday announced the commencement of an exchange offer for the separation of its radio business as part of its previously announced agreement to combine CBS Radio with Entercom Communications.

The combined company will have a nationwide footprint of 235 stations, including stations in 22 of the top 25 U.S. markets.

Les Moonves
The exchange offer represents the next step in the planned combination of CBS Radio and Entercom, which will be effected through a “Reverse Morris Trust” transaction. In the exchange offer, CBS shareholders will have the opportunity to exchange their shares of CBS Class B common stock for shares of CBS Radio common stock, which will be immediately converted into the right to receive an equal number of shares of Entercom Class A common stock upon completion of the proposed merger, in each case subject to certain customary terms and conditions. The exchange offer and merger are generally expected to be tax-free to participating CBS shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

“We are very pleased to be taking this important step toward the split-off of our radio business in a way that we believe is good for CBS Radio, good for the CBS Corporation, and good for our shareholders,” said Leslie Moonves, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. “This exchange offer will give equity holders the opportunity to invest in what we believe will be a best-in-class radio company, with top assets and a terrific management team. And for CBS, we expect that it will unlock even more value and allow us to become even more focused on the creation and distribution of premium video content.”

David Field
In a memo to staff, Entercom President/CEO David Field agreed with Mooves, writing "We couldn't be more excited about the team we are building, the brands we will own, and the bold plans we have to enable the combined company to thrive in the future with big investments across many areas of our business to enhance our capabilities and firepower."

"Our merger still requires regulatory consent from various government agencies. We are continuing our work with those agencies and remain optimistic that we will receive their approvals in a timely manner and close our merger in the fourth quarter, possibly as early as November 17, the day after the CBS exchange offer is scheduled to conclude," Field added.

Tribune Media Shareholders Vote In Favor of Sinclair Merger

Tribune Media shareholders on Thursday “overwhelmingly” approved the company’s proposed acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group, even as federal regulators slow down the TV station megamerger to allow for more public input.

More than 99 percent of the votes cast by shareholders Thursday morning at a Los Angeles hotel were in favor of the merger, according to The Chicago Tribune.

“Today’s vote is an important milestone in the merger process and confirms that Tribune stockholders strongly support this transaction and the value it delivers,” Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern said in a news release. “We look forward to continuing our work with Sinclair toward the closing of this deal.”

Sinclair agreed to buy Tribune Media in May for $3.9 billion, plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt, creating what would be the largest TV station group in the U.S. with more than 200 stations, reaching about 72 percent of TV households.

Tribune Media shareholders needed to sign off on the deal, which ultimately requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.

The proposed deal has generated pushback from broadcasters, lawmakers, media watchdogs and viewers alike over Sinclair's right-leaning editorial views as well as concerns about media concentration.

On Wednesday, the FCC stopped its 180-day transaction clock for 15 days to allow for additional public comments after an Oct. 5 filing by Sinclair. The filing outlines more specific plans for the combined station group, including possible divestitures to get under an FCC ownership cap.

Chicago-based Tribune Media owns or operates 42 TV stations, including WGN in Chicago, KTLA in Los Angeles and WPIX in New York, as well as WGN-AM 720 and cable channel WGN America.

MLB World Series: L-A Clinches, NY Next?

The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their first trip to the World Series in 29 years tonight with an 11-1 victory over the defending champion Chicago Cubs to win the National League Championship Series. Dodgers outfielder Kike Hernandez hit three home runs in the victory, the first Dodger to do so in a championship game.

The last time the Dodgers make the World Series was 1988, when they beat the Oakland A’s for the franchise’s sixth world championship.

DeadlineHollywood reports Fox, which broadcasts the World Series beginning next week must be rooting for the New York Yankees on Friday in the American League Championship series — the network is one pinstriped win away from a matchup of teams from the nation’s two biggest TV markets.

Both the league championship series are crushing the ratings this year: Through three games, the Dodgers-Cubs on TBS has averaged 6.4 million viewers, a 73% increase over last year on the network. The Yankees-Astros series is averaging 5.8 million viewers through three games on Fox and FS1, up 57% over 2016.

The best-of-7 World Series begins October 24 at Dodger Stadium.

NYC Radio: WOR Is Schnitt-Less

One half of the WOR 710 AM morning show is MIA.   Todd Schnitt has departed the iHeartMedia Station after he was unable to reach a new contract agreement.

He had been paired with 40-year sportscasting veteran Len Berman since early 2015.

Schnitt will continue his daily The Schnitt Show, which is syndicated by Compass Media Network.  That show continues to air on iHM's WHNZ 1250 AM and WFLA 970 AM in Tampa.  WHNZ airs the syndicated show live 3 to 6 and WFLA repeats the show 6 to 9 pm.

In 1994, then-Clear Channel Communications brought Schnitt to Tampa, to anchor a new morning show on WFLZ 93.3 FM The Power Pig. Schnitt was teamed up with BJ Harris, the Power Pig’s program director to form the MJ and BJ Morning Show. Harris left the show on February 7, 2001. The show was renamed The MJ Morning Show.

Schnitt hosted The MJ Morning Show which focused on current events, lifestyle news, pop-culture and personal experiences. The program had been mostly a talk format but played about two songs per hour.

Schnitt added a daily talk show on sister-station WFLA in 2001. He ended the WFLZ Morning Show on February 17, 2012, but  continued hosting his conservative talk show on WFLA.

In March 2008, Schnitt sued Tampa-area rival Bubba the Love Sponge Clem for defamation of him and his wife. A Jury found Clem "not guilty" on all counts.

Denver Radio: VP/GM Amy Griesheimer OUT At Entercom

Amy Griesheimer
One of the most powerful figures in Denver radio has fallen. Amy Griesheimer is out as vice president and general manager for KQKS KS-107.5, KALC Alice 105.9 FM and three other stations owned by Entercom.

According to, market observers are speculating that the move was made because of ratings and revenue shortfalls.

Entercom has offered no official comment on the move. However, a knowledgeable source reveals that Doug Abernathy, one of Entercom's regional vice presidents, will serve as acting general manager for the Denver cluster, which also includes KQMT 99.5 The Mountain, Cruisin' KEZW 1430 AM and K276FK Comedy 103.1 FM, while a nationwide search is conducted for Griesheimer's replacement.

Griesheimer has been a power player in Denver radio for more than two decades. Her LinkedIn page notes that she's served as vice president and general manager of Alice for 23 years, beginning in 1994, and her responsibilities over the entire Entercom station group in the market began in the early 2000s.

Much of her success has been tied to the popularity of recent Westword interview subject Jamie White. In June, Griesheimer announced that she'd signed White and current co-host BJ Harris to a new five-year contract. "We are thrilled to have BJ and Jamie stay part of the Entercom/Denver family and continue building on their long track record of success!" she said in a statement.

St. Louis Radio: Staffer Sues Frank O Pinion Over ReHab Talk

Frank O. Pinion
St. Louis talk-radio host Frank O. Pinion may have talked too much.

In a lawsuit filed Oct. 6 in St. Louis Circuit Court, a man who worked 19 years for Pinion (whose real name is John Craddock) alleges that Craddock broadcast live on KTRS 550 AM the fact that the man had entered a substance abuse rehab facility.

He now airs on KFNS 590 AM.

According to, the suit asks for "in excess of" $50,000, and states Craddock talked about the subject at least six times in the two weeks the man was in a rehab facility in late August. The lawsuit does not name the plaintiff.

On Aug. 21, Craddock told listeners that the man "had to go get help" to "deal with substances," the suit alleges.

The suit also states that on Aug. 23, Craddock said the man "has gone away to get straightened out" and then went on to say:

"People who have a substance abuse problem — you're never going to help them kick it by molly-coddling them, helping them keep it hush-hush. You have to put the hammer down."

Bill Designed To Halt Election Meddling On Social Media

Bipartisan legislation to boost social media ad transparency and curb foreign influence in elections was introduced Thursday, the latest congressional response to the role of Russian hackers using Facebook and other social media to influence the 2016 election, according to The Hill.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), are supporting the bill, which aims to put social media companies on par with radio and TV in their disclosure requirements.

“It’s our hope that social media companies, the platform companies will work with us,” Warner said. “The leadership of Facebook recently said they’ll do everything they can to keep our community safe from interference. If they believe those statements, [they should] work with us to get these common sense, light-touch regulations in place.”

The proposed legislation will affect websites, apps, search engines, social media and ad networks with over 50 million unique visitors.

Such platforms would be required to provide data on campaigns that spend at least $500 on political ads a year. Necessary information would include copies of ads, information about groups purchasing ads and data on who the ads may have targeted.

Additionally, like TV regulations, the social media ads must clearly show who is funding such content. The ads encompass paid political advertisements on these digital platforms, made by or on behalf of candidates or encompassing national issues.

Lawmakers have clashed with technology companies since Facebook revealed that Russian actors purchased 3,000 ads on its platform around the time of the 2016 election. Warner and others charged that Facebook was not being forthcoming as to the extent of Russian influence on its platform. He later hammered Twitter for its “disappointing” briefing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying that wanted the company to offer a more detailed analysis of influence on its platform.

S-F Radio: Cumulus Partners With Businesses To Help Fire Victims

(Left to Right) Donating gift cards for Cumulus Media's North Bay Fire Relief effort on Sunday, Oct. 15, at San Francisco's Stonestown Galleria are: Arthur (KFOG Morning Show); KFOG listener, Stephanie from Martinez, CA; Stephanie’s son; Dayna (KFOG Talent); and Stephanie’s daughter.

Cumulus Media-San Francisco announces that it has engaged listeners of its six popular radio stations - KFOG, KGO, KNBR, KSAN, KSFO, and KTCT – to raise over $250,000 for the Bay Area Fire Relief Fund since Friday, October 13, 2017, bringing much-needed relief to victims of the massive Northern California wildfires.

The wildfires destroyed homes displacing thousands of Northern Californians and scorched areas including Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, with 42 people reported to have perished in the fires, and more than 58 people still missing. Cumulus Media’s San Francisco radio stations have partnered with local businesses to launch a major two-week relief drive, where businesses match up to $10,000 per day in cash donations raised by the stations’ listeners, driving big momentum for the fundraising effort. 100% of funds raised by the drive will go to local North Bay fire relief. Cumulus San Francisco has already disbursed $150,000 between the Northern California Chapter of the Red Cross and to the United Way Bay Area.

Cumulus Media-San Francisco has established a PayPal account exclusively for donations. Those wishing to donate to the Bay Area Fire Relief Fund with a credit card, debit card or PayPal account will text one of the following keywords to 77948 to make a secure donation: “KNBR”, “KGO810”, “KFOG”, “BONE” or “KSFO”. Relief agencies are requesting cash donations over hard goods at this time. Those preferring to donate via check, should make their checks payable to the Red Cross or United Way while indicating Bay Area Fire Relief Fund in the memo line.

Chilton Auto Body kicked off the fundraising on Friday, October 13, by matching $25,000 in listener donations, while Cumulus Media transported critical supplies donated by listeners to affected areas multiple times throughout last weekend.

Over the next two weeks, other business leaders matching funds raised by Cumulus Media-San Francisco include: Handlery Hotel; Dolan Law; Hanson Bridgett; Ooma; Cal Bank of Commerce; Bay to Breakers; RW Garcia; and The Home Consignment Center. Additionally Mike Lindell, founder of MyPillow and his team in Chaska, Minnesota, donated 3,000 pillows to support the Northern California families who were victims of the wildfires. Cumulus Media-San Francisco and its partners have held collection events since the fundraiser’s launch.

Justin Wittmayer, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Media-San Francisco, said: “We are doing everything we can to raise awareness and donations for the North Bay fire victims. We activated a text-to-donate line last week that has driven over $250,000 in donations with a goal of raising $500,000. We’d like to thank our incredible employees for leading the charge, our advertising partners who’ve offered to match daily listener donations, and our truly generous and big-hearted listeners. This compounding effect has really engaged our audience to get involved and continues to build momentum for much-needed donations. We have a long road ahead of us and plan to stay involved to positively impact those affected as long as we are needed.” 

Following the initial two-week relief drive, KGO 810 will host a benefit Holiday Comedy Show & Toy Drive in early December. The station will collect new and unwrapped toys for children who lost all of their toys in the North Bay Fires. Further details on the Holiday Comedy Show & Toy Drive are forthcoming from Cumulus Media-San Francisco.

D-C Radio: WPGC Hosting Annual 'For Sisters Only' Expo

CBS RADIO’s WPGC 95.5 is proud to announce its 18th annual “For Sisters Only” (FSO) expo, Saturday, November 4th 12:00 Noon to 8:00 PM at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. FSO is one of the largest expo’s for women of color in the Washington, DC area annually attracting thousands and focuses on the needs, issues and lifestyle of this growing consumer base.

Produced and hosted by WPGC 95.5, the annual FSO Expo is a consortium of seminars, healthcare screenings, panel discussions, inspirational forums, and live entertainment.  Over 100 vendors and small businesses will promote their services and engage attendees throughout the day.

 “WPGC is proud to once again present the FSO Expo,” said Steve Davis, Vice President, Programming, CBS RADIO Washington, D.C. and Program Director, WPGC 95.5.  This iconic event is a premier showcase for some of the most incredible talents and performers.  As a local outlet dedicated to connecting with the community, WPGC 95.5 entertains and informs nearly one million listeners each week, with 60% of that audience being women of color.”

This year FSO will spotlight award winning talent with roots in the D.C. area through a showcase entitled The DMV All Star Edition.  Guests include: Emmy award winning, New York Times Best Seller and host of OWN’s “Fix My Life”, Iyanla Vanzant, Grammy nominated artists, Ginuwine and Ameriie, Grammy award winning artist, Mya, The CrossRhodes featuring three time Grammy Award nominated, Raheem DeVaughn and  his critically acclaimed partner, Wes Felton, ASCAP and BMI Award winner Lil Mo, Prince’s Paisley Park Musicology Battle of the Band winners, Black Alley, and the band responsible for bringing the first Go Go #1 record to the USA, E.U. featuring Sugar Bear.

Past musical artists include: Eric Benet, Tamar Braxton, Toni Braxton, Ciara, Keisha Cole, Bell-Biv-Devoe, Estelle, Faith Evans, Johnny Gill, Vivian Green, Dru Hill, Joe, Mary Mary, Miguel, Jay Sean, Diggy Simmons, Jazmine Sullivan, Tank, T.I., Tye Tribbett, Wale, and the local Go-Go sounds of The Chuck Brown Band, Lissen Band, Rare Essence and many more.

Past panelists include network and reality television stars: Nicole Ari-Parker, Kandi Buruss, Hosea Chanchez, Torrei Hart, Stevie J, Drea Kelly, Boris Kodjoe, NeNe Leakes, Omarosa, Tami Roman, Richard Roundtree, Dr. Ian Smith, Larenz Tate and many more.

For more information, visit

The 25 Brands US Consumers Feel the Most Loyalty Toward

Consumers in the United States feel the most loyalty toward Amazon's e-commerce store and Google's search engine among major brands, according to recent research from Brand Keys.

Marketing Profs reports the report was based on data from a survey of 49,168 US consumers between age 16-65. Respondents were asked to evaluate how loyal they feel to 740 brands in 83 categories.

Amazon's e-commerce site, which ranked second in last year's survey, tops this year's list of brands US consumers feel most loyal to.

Google's search engine, which ranked first in last year's survey, drops to second on the list this year.

Westwood One News Presents Vietnam Retrospective

Westwood One News, winner of the 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Hard News Reporting, will present a special retrospective, Pain & Pride: Remembering Vietnam – 50 Years Later, a look back at 1967, a pivotal year in what may have been the most polarizing event of 20th century America. Nearly half a million American troops were fighting in Vietnam at that time and the anti-war movement at home was heading toward a fervent peak. 

In Pain & Pride, the terror of war and a divisive home front is brought to life through the recollections of those who were there and from archive audio from Westwood One News, including audio from a similarly titled program 30 years ago.

In their own voices, combat veterans share their stories with Vietnam War veteran and Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon, and former Westwood One executive, White House press secretary, and NBC News Vietnam War correspondent, Ron Nessen. Bohannon will look back 50 years on his own war experience and will cull new perspectives on the war in assorted interviews, including one with filmmaker Ken Burns, director of the recently broadcast 10-part documentary, “The Vietnam War.”

The half-hour special -- airing Veterans Day weekend, November 10-12, 2017 -- is available to all Westwood One News affiliates, Westwood One music format stations, and Cumulus-owned stations. It will also air in place of The Week in Review during that same weekend.

Contact Jim Jones at or (202) 895-2339 for more information.

October 20 Radio History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

L-A Radio: Charred Body Found At Mt. Wilson Fire Scene

A burned body was found in the Mt. Wilson area, but authorities could not yet confirm whether a fire still burning in the area was responsible for the death, officials said Thursday.

According to The LATimes, the body of a male was found Wednesday south of the parking lot at Mt. Wilson, and authorities have not confirmed his identity or the cause of death, said coroner's Lt. Kelly Yagerlener.

Sheriff’s detectives were called around 5 p.m. Wednesday and determined that the death was not due to a homicide, said Deputy Guillermina Saldana.

Firefighters still are trying to gain full control of a 50-acre blaze in the San Gabriel Mountains near Mt. Wilson before Santa Ana winds are expected to kick up Saturday, authorities said.

Faced with around 400 firefighters and six helicopters, the fire was 45% contained Thursday morning, said Angeles National Forest spokeswoman Seneca Smith.

Officials hope to fully contain the blaze by Saturday, when the National Weather Service predicts that moderate Santa Ana winds will move in and last through the weekend, Smith said.

More than two dozen antenna towers cluster on the peak of Mt. Wilson. Smith estimates that hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of communications equipment are at risk, including federal and county facilities used for emergency communications, commercial television facilities and radio transmitters. Damage to the communications towers could disrupt cellphones, television and radios, as well as interrupt some communications for emergency responders.

The fire, which ignited Tuesday below the Mt. Wilson Observatory parking lot, has threatened the historic observatory and more than two dozen antenna towers.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire, Smith said.

NAB Says Apple Deliberately Disables FM-Chip

In a new blog posting, NAB Chief Technology Officer Sam Matheny attempts to set the record straight concerning Apple's refusal to voluntarily equip iPhones with FM radio reception.

Sam Matheny
Citing recent months in the Southeast U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, these areas have been pummeled by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The wildfires in California have been equally devastating. These storms and fires have wreaked havoc on communications networks and challenged public safety officials' ability to get lifeline information to affected residents.

At a time when many Americans have come to rely on their smartphones, massive cellular outages were suffered from Texas to Florida on an even greater scale than in Superstorm Sandy five years ago, and California has also suffered major outages  in key locations. In Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, it may take weeks and even months to fully restore cellular service because of the damage to the electric grid. In the wake of these storms, a passionate discussion about activating FM radio in smartphones and, specifically, Apple's  iPhone has emerged.

According to The Morning Mouth, this discussion was started by those most impacted by Irma when the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorialized on the issue and Senator Bill Nelson (D) of Florida called for activating FM chips in smartphones. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai also issued a public statement calling for Apple to activate FM chips to promote public safety and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel also weighed in with her support.

Among the details, Matheny says Apple deliberately disables FM. Apple has chosen to only use the WiFi and Bluetooth aspects of the communications module. They have admitted as much for all phones through the iPhone 6 series, at which point they claim FM capability was removed from the 7 series and 8 series. Yet, tear-down reports indicate the iPhone 8 contains the same 4357 chip family, which manufacturer Broadcom clearly states includes an integrated FM radio core.

Howard Stern Presents Jimmy Kimmel With Dirty Laundry

Howard Stern brought Jimmy Kimmel his dirty laundry, after learning David Letterman had given the ABC late-night host a box of his ties when he retired.

Stern complained he watched Kimmel “fawning all over Dave” the previous night, as Jimmy Kimmel Live broadcasts from Brooklyn this week, though he has been a bigger influence on Kimmel. “So I brought you a gift” as he dumped the bag of underwear, socks, and T-shirts on his desk.

Stern’s radio program has never been better, Kimmel insisted, and Stern agreed, calling satellite radio “liberating.”

“When I was on regular radio…sex talk and outrageousness was the thing, because you were breaking all the taboo. I got fined by the United States government, millions of dollars, for saying the word ‘penis.’ And now ‘penis’ comes out of my mouth and your mouth so easily. It was shocking back then,” Stern reminisced.

Talk turned to the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal.

“First of all when did this guy have time to make movies?” Stern wondered.”I thought movie making was hard!”

“And all these guys who do sexual harassment, they’re freaks. This big fat guy…he goes, ‘Listen, I’m going to get into the shower. I want you to watch me nude.’ There is no girl on the planet that want to see Harvey Weinstein naked.  If I’m Harvey Weinstein, I wear a burka and say, ‘Listen, you don’t have to look at me’.”

Trump: 'Fake Media Doesn't Want To Follow' Russian Uranium Deal

President Trump blasted the “Fake Media” in a tweet on Thursday for not following a story about a controversial uranium deal involving Russian bribes during the Obama administration.

About an hour later he tweeted a report on “Fox and Friends” about the deal and links to the Clinton Foundation.

Russia used bribery, kickbacks and extortion to pull off a deal to get control of a large part of the US uranium supply in a deal the Obama administration signed off on in 2010, according to a report in The Hill on Tuesday.

The report said the FBI learned that Russia had compromised an American uranium trucking company and used it to kick back about $2 million to Moscow in a scheme that violated the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act.

Russian nuclear officials also routed millions of the dollars to the US intended to benefit the Clinton Foundation when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government panel that signed off on the deals.

The Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, investigated but did not bring charges before the deals were made.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday said it will investigate the matter and ordered 10 federal agencies to provide information about the Russian uranium deals.

CBS News Radio Syndicates "The Takeout" Podcast

CBS News Radio announced today that it will launch nationwide “The Takeout,” a weekly, one-hour program about politics, policy and pop culture hosted by CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett and CBS News political director Steve Chaggaris. The first episode will air Friday, Oct. 20.

Listeners across the country can expect context and analysis of the week’s political news in a casual format that allows for expanded conversation with a newsmaker. Each episode is recorded over a meal at a Washington, D.C. restaurant, adding flavor and texture to the program. Recent guests include Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget; Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX); Sen. Al Franken (D-MN); Carly Fiorina; Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD); Corey Lewandowski; and comedian Samantha Bee.

This week, Garrett and Chaggaris interview Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

“‘The Takeout’ breaks the mold of news/talk programming,” said Craig Swagler, General Manager of CBS News Radio. “It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that gives the listener a seat at the table with two great journalists and notable guests, chewing on the latest issues of the day.”

“I open every show the same way – ‘Welcome to the very best part of my broadcast week,’” said Garrett. “‘The Takeout’ is a dream come true for me. It’s a show Steve and I created so we could listen to, learn about and travel the ideological roads of American politics. ‘The Takeout’ is a conversation, not an interrogation. And we edit nothing. Our guests never have to fidget about context. They are heard fully. We discuss news of the week and try to translate Beltway buzzwords so America can join the conversation. I never stop learning from and enjoying this humble audio odyssey.”

“Major and I are honored and excited to be taking ‘The Takeout’ to the historic and venerable CBS News Radio network, extending our conversations to new audiences,” said Chaggaris. “Our discussions take place where most Americans talk about politics: around the table, over a meal. And while we’re usually eating at a restaurant, we hope our listeners will ‘take out’ some news, knowledge and fun from our weekly interviews.”

“The Takeout” launches Friday night at 9:00 PM, CT on powerhouse KMOX-AM St. Louis, Mo. and will be heard Saturdays and Sundays on WCCO-AM Minneapolis, Minn.; WTMJ-AM Milwaukee, Wisc.; KXNT-AM Las Vegas, Nev.; WECK-AM in Buffalo, N.Y.; and WJJF-FM in Montauk, N.Y.

FCC Hits Pause On Sinclair-Tribune Merger

The FCC is pausing its review of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed merger with Tribune Media to allow more time for the filing of public comments.

The FCC is more than halfway through its 180-day timeline for review of the merger, which would create a broadcasting giant with 223 TV stations serving 108 markets, including 39 of the top 50, and to cover about 72% of U.S. households.

In a statement, the FCC’s Media Bureau said they are pausing the review for 15 days until Nov. 2. Last month, the FCC requested more information from Sinclair on how the transaction will be in the public interest, as well as other concerns, and the company responded earlier this month.

“The Commission has a strong interest in ensuring a full and complete record upon which to base its decision in this proceeding,” the Media Bureau said in a statement. “Pausing the clock will ensure that commenters have additional time to review and comment on this new information.”

Public interest groups lobbying against the deal had been urging the FCC to open a new period for public comments.

Conservatives Fear More Left-Leaning Media

The proposed AT&T merger with Time Warner has some conservatives nervous about its impact on free speech — namely theirs.

The Washington Times is reporting the prospect of another massive, left-tilting media conglomerate running both platforms and content — including Trump nemesis CNN — strikes trepidation in the hearts of right-wingers already feeling the squeeze from Google and Facebook.

Rick Manning
“I think it’s pretty dangerous given that we’re looking at CNN being part of this merger,” said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government. “Consolidating CNN with DirecTV, which is in 26 million households, combined with the other outlets that exist in the context of that merger, you’re creating a pretty massive corporate profit motive for pushing eyeballs to CNN. And CNN has really ended any credibility they have as a news agency.”

At the same time, he said he would be opposed to the deal even if it didn’t mean increasing the clout of CNN.

“I’d still be against it because I think the single greatest challenge to the First Amendment is the consolidation of media,” Mr. Manning said. “In this modern world where speech is under attack on a daily basis from the left, when you consolidate media into mass corporate entities, they decide what’s valid speech and what’s not.”

Not all conservatives would agree. Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the right should stick to its free market guns.

“Conservatives should not be in the business of regulating the size of somebody’s microphone,” Mr. Crews said. “Conservatives are supposed to be in the business of saying, ‘Hey, especially in the internet age, everybody is a broadcaster on their own, and we can always create new microphones.’ And that’s exactly what we do.”

The Justice Department is weighing AT&T’s proposed $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner, which owns CNN, HBO and other television and media content, while AT&T has the nation’s largest pay-TV provider with DirecTV as well as mobile phone service.

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Trump: Media Out to 'Bring Down' Administration

President Donald Trump has ratcheted up his media attacks, making it crystal clear Wednesday (Oct. 18) he thinks the mainstream media are indeed enemies of the people, bent on destroying him and willing to stop at nothing.

Broadcasting&Cable reports that came in an e-mail circulating a new "Mainstream Media Accountability Survey on the news media, one of several the Trump Pence campaign fundraising committee has conducted in concert with the Republican National Committee.

"I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the Mainstream Media is out to bring down my Administration.," the President said in the e-mail. "It’s a 24/7 barrage of hit jobs, fake stories, and absolute hatred for everything we stand for as a movement. "They don’t care about the truth. They don’t care about what’s right. They only care about propping up the liberal Democrats they worship and destroying anyone who wants to put America First. There is nothing they won’t do to stop us."

The new survey focuses on four specific news outlets, CNN, NBC, co-owned MSNBC and Fox News, asking whether each can be trusted to report fairly on his presidency. The President has been highly critical of CNN and NBC News, and generally positive toward Fox.

Poll: Nearly Half Think Media Fabricate Trump Stories

Nearly half of voters, 46 percent, believe the news media fabricate news stories about President Donald Trump and his administration, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

Just 37 percent of voters think the media do not fabricate stories, the poll shows, while the remaining 17 percent are undecided.

More than three-quarters of Republican voters, 76 percent, think the news media invent stories about Trump and his administration, compared with only 11 percent who don’t think so. Among Democrats, one-in-five think the media make up stories, but a 65 percent majority think they do not. Forty-four percent of independent voters think the media make up stories about Trump, and 31 percent think they do not.

Among the voters who strongly approve of Trump’s job performance in the poll, 85 percent believe the media fabricate stories about the president and his administration.

Trump last week accused NBC News of concocting a report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” and threatened to resign earlier this year. (Tillerson denies he intended to quit but has not personally disavowed the “moron” allegation.) After NBC reported that Tillerson’s comments came after a meeting in which Trump suggested a broad increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, Trump called it “[p]ure fiction, made up to demean” him.

Throughout his young presidency — and during his campaign, as well — Trump has attacked media organizations that air or publish coverage critical of him and people in his orbit. On Tuesday, after the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll had left the field, Trump told a radio interviewer he thought news coverage of his administration would be more favorable.

FNC's Peter Doochy Hits Nerve With John McCain

Sen. John McCain exploded on Fox News’ Peter Doocy on Wednesday for asking him if he would oppose everything that President Trump asks him to do.

Doocy asked Sen. McCain if his relationship with the president is “so frayed” that McCain would “not support anything that he comes to you and asks for?”

McCain snapped, “Why would you say something that stupid? Why would you ask something that dumb?”

“My job as a United States senator — you mean I am somehow going to behave in a way that I’m going to block everything because of some personal disagreement?” McCain said incredulously. “That’s a dumb question.”

There has been a significant amount of tension between McCain and Trump over the past few days.

L-A Radio: SoCal Says Goodbye To 'The Sound'

The countdown is on for classic rock listeners in Southern California. KSWD 100.3 FM The Sound is slated to permanently go off the air anytime in the next few weeks.

The Entercom-owned station is being sold to the Educational Media Foundation which will soon replace the music from groups like Rush, Boston and The Beatles with Christian pop songs.

Roughly 30 people work at The Sound and all will be laid off when the sale is finalized.

Long-time Los Angeles disc jockey Uncle Joe Benson said he's worried local listeners who've spent years tuning in to the classic rock station will lose a sort of radio therapy.

"You reach a certain age where the job isn't what you want, you're not driving the car you want, God only knows what's going on at home, but you got your music," Benson said. "And that's what we provide: the music, the background that's people's lives."

Personality Cynthia Fox, another seasoned LA radio veteran, said classic rock music is really taking off with younger generations who are just discovering some of the artists from the 1970s and 1980s.

Milwaukee Radio: WTMJ Shuffles Two Shows

WTMJ 620 AM has swapped its two midday talk shows, returning Jeff Wagner to his previous time slot from noon to 3 p.m. and sliding former Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi to the 8:30 a.m.-to-noon shift.

The flip-flop begins Monday. In its statement announcing the move, WTMJ said the switch "positions the conservative news analysis of Steve Scaffidi and the local, town-hall nature of Jeff Wagner’s midday program."

Wagner had been in the early afternoon shift for 18 years at WTMJ before he was moved to the morning slot vacated when talk-show host Charlie Sykes left the station at the end of 2016, after 23 years on the air.

Scaffidi joined WTMJ in February, as an early afternoon host with news executive producer Erik Bilstad. He resigned as Oak Creek's mayor to take the gig.

In a statement issued by WTMJ, director of programming and news Eric Brooks said: “Steve has grown tremendously since joining the station in early 2017. He has capitalized on his unique perspective as a former politician and community leader. His show is quickly growing, and we are excited to put him in the day part where our audience has come to expect political and issue-driven talk.”

WTMJ’s weekday lineup - Effective Monday, October 23:

5:00 a.m. Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller
8:30 a.m. Steve Scaffidi with news anchor Erik Bilstad
12:00 p.m. Jeff Wagner
3:00 p.m. Afternoon News with John Mercure
6:00 p.m. Sports Central with Greg Matzek
9:00 p.m. Clark Howard

Report: Female Pop Stars Facing Identity Crisis

The Wall Street Journal is reporting R&B/hip-hop has surpassed rock for the first time to officially become the biggest music genre in America, according to Nielsen Music, which tracks online streams and digital and physical albums. As of Oct. 12, R&B/hip-hop has driven 24% of music consumption in 2017—more than rock’s 21% and double pop’s 12% share.

So far this year, 20 of the 25 most-streamed songs on Spotify, Apple Music and other on-demand audio services are by R&B/hip-hop acts such as Kendrick Lamar, Migos, Childish Gambino and Lil Uzi Vert, Nielsen’s data shows. Two are by male pop stars (Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars). Not one is by a female pop artist.

At the same time, a string of white A-list arena-pop stars—Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, even Taylor Swift—have stumbled over the past year amid poor reviews, underperforming singles or disappointing sales.

It’s a real shift going on with pop music—we’re showing that hip-hop is pop music,” says Andre Torres, vice president of urban catalog at Universal Music Enterprises, a division of Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music company. He says female pop artists who “are unsure about who they are and who they want to be” are finding it harder to navigate today’s pop landscape.

Hit machines Katy Perry and Lady Gaga—who together have produced 12 chart-topping songs in the past decade—have both failed to deliver a No. 1 song with their new albums.

Five of the 10 songs to hit No. 1 on the singles chart this year have been rap, the most ever, Billboard notes. The other five include one R&B, one Latin and two male pop songs. The only female pop single to hit No. 1 was Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.”

Meanwhile, R&B/hip-hop artists like Drake, Rihanna and BeyoncĂ© have more easily crossed over into pop in the past decade and now dominate mainstream culture. The expanding genre is squeezing traditional white female pop stars off the stage. “With young streaming subscribers bypassing female pop acts in favor of hip-hop and R&B, A&R execs are combing SoundCloud looking for the next Drake or Kendrick, rather than the next Taylor,” says Craig Marks, editorial director at Townsquare Media , which owns over 300 U.S. radio stations.

Historically, the core of the traditional pop-diva audience has been teen girls. Yet several experts say these same fans aren’t as interested in the staged artificial personas of many pop stars such as Lady Gaga. They are now interested in hip-hop where lyrics are often more direct and true to life.

Nielsen: NFL Ratings Down 7.5% Through Week 6

Although the numbers have improved somewhat since Nielsen’s week three prognosis for NFL ratings, the audience metric firm says that ratings are still down from the 2016 season.

According FierceCable, The firm says that an average of 15 million people are watching games through the first six weeks this year, down 7.5% from the average 16.2 million people that watched through week 6 last season. Those numbers represent an improvement over Nielsen’s analysis after three weeks into the season, when it said viewership was down 11%.

However, Monday Night Football on ESPN is averaging 11.2 million viewers, up 6% from where it was after week 6 of last season.

When the 2017-2018 NFL season opened with slightly lower viewership, coverage of Hurricane Irma was cited as a possible reason for the ratings erosion, much like the 2016 presidential election affected NFL viewership.

Regardless of the reason for the viewership struggles with the NFL, analysts are warning investors that earnings season for NFL broadcast partners including CBS could be impacted. Analyst firm Credit Suisse in particular thinks that CBS could see a downturn in advertising revenue.

The firm recently warned that 21st Century Fox could be in line for some financial fallout due to the NFL’s ratings.

Streaming Is Bright Spot For Viewing NFL

Ratings for the NFL this year haven’t exactly rebounded from last season’s 8% dip through the first several weeks of the season. according to USAToday.

While the audience size has continued on a downward trend, there has been one bright spot: Streaming. While it makes up less than 5% of the audience for NFL games, the number of people streaming games has seen a roughly 25% gain over the same time period last season, according to information provided by NBC, Fox, CBS and ESPN.

“What we have seen is that the walls between (broadcast) TV and digital TV are breaking down,” Campbell Foster, director of product marketing at Adobe Primetime, a division of Adobe that provides analytics to broadcasters, told USAToday Sports. “It will become a meaningless distinction.”

Adobe is the leading provider of the authentication service used by broadcasters. To use many streaming apps provided by broadcasters, you’re required to enter your cable or satellite account. Adobe partnered with The Diffusion Group to study the trends in sports streaming, the results of which were provided to USAToday Sports.

The survey polled 2,000 U.S. consumers in July on their viewing habits to stream sports on any screen-- such as phones, computers and tablets-- as well as on their television via streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku and video game consoles.

The NFL had the most enthusiastic fan base as the the survey found that 48% of the respondents ranked themselves at a 9 or 10. (The 10-point scale started at 1 as “definitely not a fan” to a 10, “a super fan.”)

While broadcast ratings continue to lag, there appears to be no letup in streaming for NFL games. Each TV partner offers apps and, in some cases, their own streaming TV options that don’t require cable or satellite subscriptions.

“Ratings are down, yes,” said Michael Greeson, director of research for The Diffusion Group. “Declines in legacy broadcast television has been too often tied to Nielsen’s ratings, which don’t take into account the viewing of connected devices used by people to watch live sports.”