CBS Radio merger into Entercom has closed

CBS split off the radio assets into CBS Radio which were given to eligible CBS shareholders at about 5.6 shares per share of Class B stock. CBS Radio shares will convert to Entercom Class A shares. CBS will retire about 17 million shares of CBS Class B (Sumner Redstone controls CBS via his Class A shares with 10:1 super voting rights)

To satisfy the FCC and Department of Justice, a total of 19 stations are changing owners. iHeart (Clear Channel) is picking up 4 stations in Boston including WBZ-AM and WRKO-AM, but iheart has to also dump 4 existing stations it owns. In exchange, iheart gives up stations in Seattle and Richmond Virginia to Entercom (including heritage WRVA-AM)

As a bonus, Entercom is inheriting about $1.3 billion in long term debt from CBS Radio and negligible tangible assets ($157 million)

EMF (the parent of K-Love) is also picking up some useful stations.

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Pilot / Flying J

I am no longer in a position to listen to overnight radio, but the Midnight Trucking / Redeye show must be getting interesting.

There is a trial underway accusing senior people at Pilot Flying J of systematically cheating trucking companies that use their truck stops. There has been a lot of consolidation in the truck stop business, which is a difficult business to operate.

They have been a sponsor on the overnight trucking shows for as long as I can remember…

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The EPCOT vision of Bill Gates

Walt Disney fancied himself to be the creator of a completely planned perfect city that would be powered by safe nuclear power (“atoms for peace”). What he lacked was a basic understanding of how people actually live in a real city.

After Disney died of lung cancer from smoking, the people he left behind realized there was no way to complete that dream, and scaled the ambitions to just be another tourist park showing off the advances in Univac computers, hydroponic vegetables and monorail Transportation.

Bill Gates seems to have this same instinct that since he is rich, he is qualified as an urban planner with the skills to create a big city from scratch, undoubtedly with all the comforts of a smart home with Windows 10 auto-replenishing the vegan groceries in your smart refrigerator.

This new city will be called Belmont Arizona, along the path of the future I-11.

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Chinese Hamster Ovary cells

While reading the product sheet for a medicine we were using today, the fine print mentioned that the drug was tested for safety using Chinese Hamster Ovary cells (CHO). What?

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College in 2017

It has gotten so bad that The Atlantic is calling out the excesses of the Social Justice Warriors

The Surprising Revolt at the Most Liberal College in the Country

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Murder solved

You may have heard about the young woman whose body was found behind the church in Charlotte in September. The Charlotte Police have charged a homeless Navy veteran who lived on the Navy base in Norfolk where he did odd jobs.

The chronology seems to be that the young woman entered the base around 5 AM. At 5:30, the man drives her car out the gate. The car is spotted again on video at a dumpster where her cell phone is thrown away.

The (alleged) killer lived as a child next door to the church where the body was dumped and had attended Summer Bible School at the church. The car was seen in the neighborhood in Charlotte after she had disappeared.

He drove her car back to Norfolk and his DNA was found on her clothes. The killer did web searches looking to see if police in Charlotte were searching for a murderer eight days before her body was found. He had a blackout due to PTSD and doesn’t remember anything, yet did remember where he dumped her body. He’s not a very good liar.

Missing from the story is any details about how she died or any mention of sexual assault. It also seems strange that she would be going to work at 5 AM since Blimpie’s does not serve breakfast.

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iHeart embraces podcasting, uh-huh

Tom Taylor’s newsletter mentioned that iHeart/Clear Channel has signed a deal with a podcasting company to move into offline distribution. This morning, iHeartRadio emailed me information. Here is the podcast info for Sean Hannity:

It is pretty pathetic that iHeart has no idea what a podcast is. With a podcast, your software informs you that a new episode is available, and depending on the settings, optionally downloaded. You might also have a mobile device like an mp3 player set up to transfer the podcast via bluetooth or a USB cable. With the podcasts on the device, you are free to listen when and where you want without need for internet access. You typically can back up or fast forward, and change the playback rate to save time. Podcasts typically do not have the network ads or local news/weather/traffic breaks.

What iHeart is actually offering is a show archive. Listening requires an iHeartradio account. Do you really want iHeart spamming your Facebook friends?

It is more evident that Hannity carries the least content of the national syndicated talk shows. After stripping out the local breaks and ads, his three hour show has a run time of only 95 minutes.

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Triton digital rankings

Triton is not the only company providing streaming, but they are the 900 pound gorilla

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Before the @ sign

In 1994, the US government decided it was way past time to make the Internet available to the huddled masses, much to the consternation of the academics and military contractors who ran the Internet to that point.

The computer world was a series of isolated islands that all used different methods to send email.   By far the largest island was CompuServe, which was owned by the unlikely H&R Block income tax preparation service.  Anyone who was anyone in the tech world had a CompuServe account and a monthly bill to prove it.   Using was not necessary because everyone you needed to contact was on the same online service and people often have accounts on every service, like AOL and Prodigy.

This post was inspired by finding this document as I was going through boxes starting the process of unwinding a life time of accumulating “stuff”

While the users of the ARPA net had email techniques to send to each other using the @ sign, sending between the coming internet and an island (like IBM’s PROFS system – intended for internal corporate email) only could get outside the corporate moat by traveling through a gateway with each extra destination needing its own gateway and ways to translate each proprietary format to another format.

The Internet sendmail program made all of that go away. All you needed to do was add the after the other user name and anyone in the world could send a message to anyone else in the world in a few minutes.

This change killed CompuServe – now living your electronic life inside the palace walls had little value – as support forums and discussion groups moved out onto the Internet where what you  you said and to whom was not limited by the income need of an online service. America Online greatly expanded its market share by offering online access without a per minute charge.  CompuServe cratered immediately and was purchased by AOL which refocused CompuServe as the simple service for people not smart enough to understand AOL.   For me, that was one of the darkest moments during the time existed.





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A month or so ago, Countess and I streamed the movie “The Founder”, the partly accurate story of Ray Kroc and the founding of McDonald’s. The movie focused on the business relationship between Kroc and the McDonald brothers who designed the carefully choreographed system to sell burgers and fries in 30 seconds.

Because I subscribe to their mailing list, I got an email soliciting me to donate to RMHC™ – it took me a bit to realize what that was. Ronald McDonald House was a charity formed to provide temporary housing for the families of children undergoing medical treatment at hospitals.

However, McDonald’s has  walked away from their iconic mascot, which leaves the Ronald McDonald house without a connection to its origin. Children today don’t get the idea of Ronald McDonald.  Much of McDonald’s success was due to advertising on the emerging medium of television that wormed its way into the brains of children everywhere. The children would go to birthday parties at McDonald’s and a generation later take their kids to spend an hour with the real Ronald McDonald.

McDonald’s management and activist groups have been trying to phase out Ronald McDonald since 2003, at one point reimaging the clown as a skinny “healthy” clown. The Founder’s story never mentioned Ronald McDonald, and the charity just barely acknowledged the inspiration for the charity.

After Ray Kroc died, Joan did not leave Ray’s fortune to the Ronald McDonald House charity, but instead left around $200 million to National Public Radio, and a much larger donation to the Salvation Army.

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