Clark Howard gives 30 day notice

Syndication contracts typically require the syndicator to give 30 days notice to the radio stations that a program is going to cease distribution. Clark Howard was being syndicated by Westwood One (owned by Cumulus media). Cumulus Media went through bankruptcy in 2017-18 – typically bankruptcy gives the bankrupt company an opportunity to break their contracts with their “talent” and demand to renegotiate the terms. Previously, Clark Howard and Neil Boortz had been syndicated by the Jones Radio Network.

Consumer advisor Clark Howard is going to cease syndicated opearations at the end of the month. He had already cut back from 3 to two hours per day. According to this story, he is making more money from his website then from his syndicated radio show. Clark also had a health incident where he mixed two incompatible prescription drugs and almost died.

Clark Howard To End Syndicated Show
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Caving to the digital overlords

Enough radio stations are starting to promote using digital assistants that it is time to face reality. I think that behind the scenes, Tunein is the vehicle being used for implementing Skills to play radio streams. As I find them, I’ll add them to the database.

I am somewhat mystified. Obviously, with Alexa, there is no screen to run a prestream video ad. By introducing your listeners to Alexa/Google Home, it just speeds up the demise of terrestrial radio. When Cumulus allowed iHeartRadio to handle their streaming, you had to be brain dead to not see what would happen.

The issue of who (if anyone) is paying streaming royalties is totally unclear. Has Amazon acquired a blanket license covering all music any radio station might play?

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iHeart terminates Steve Sommers for talking politics

Back in the day, WLW-am in Cincinnati was one of the legendary radio stations listened to by truckers driving overnight. WLW is located in Cincinnati, and was actually built with a transmitter capable of 500,000 Watts in the event of a national emergency. It can be heard over most of the Eastern United States after the sun sets.

WLW was created by Powel Crosley, Jr. Fans of antique radios will recognize his company as an early manufacturer of radio receivers. After being sold to Avco and several other ownership changes, it wound up owned by Jacor, which was an early casualty of radio consolidation, being acquired by Clear Channel.

WLW-AM had more autonomy than other AM stations Clear Channel operated, because it still had a huge market share long after AM radio was losing out to FM.

Despite Jacor buying Rush Limbaugh’s syndicator, the program director refused to carry the show. He believed strongly that radio should be local, and that syndication was destroying AM radio.

I don’t think that Steve was given the real reason why he was terminated. Technology has outrun terrestrial radio, especially AM. When SiriusXM took to the air, truckers could listen to their trucking Channel 24 hours a day, and it didn’t matter where they were or whether the sun was up.

In May, just before Steve got the first warnings, Liberty Media, the owner of Sirius XM, announced it intended to take over iheartmedia. That put Steve in direct competition with the trucking channel on Sirius XM.

Satellite radio has an entirely different business model than terrestrial radio. For the most part, they don’t care about “ratings” because satellite radio is not based on selling advertising. They care about subscriptions and churn rates.

Steve’s main competition is Red-eye Radio, hosted by the two Hosts of the former midnight trucking Radio Network, operated by Westwood One and combined in 2012.

The two hosts of that show, Gary McNamara & Eric Harley, are extremely political and conservative. Maybe 5% of the show has something to do with trucking news.

The truck stop fueling business has highly consolidated into about three or four players, who advertise on their show. TA/Petro, Pilot/Flying J, and Love’s dominate the truck stop business. Less competition means less need for advertising.

Popular trucking radio show host “dismissed” following warnings regarding “political talk” on his show

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Public Radio station WAMU turns off website comments

Two weeks before the election, WAMU has turned off comments on their website. WAMU is operated by American University, closely affiliated with the US State Department, and by inference the CIA. WAMU is the official “public” radio station of “the swamp”

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Alexa Bombing

Back in the early days of electronic personal assistants (Siri, Alexa, Google Home, etc) the South Park show pranked its viewers by slipping commands into the script for Alexa to add bizarre things to the person’s shopping list.

Today, while testing WABC radio in New York, the host said the correct string of words to cause Alexa to add the 77 WABC skill and start playing.

Government regulations are frequently a result of irresponsible conduct. I am sure the person who descriptive the automatic enabling of the skill thought they were being very clever. I’m inclined to just delete the radio station from the database. I don’t look forward to having to disable the skill over and over

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Is all-digital the future of AM radio?

If you own an HD capable radio, it already has the ability to receive pure digital AM radio.

There is not much disagreement that hybrid AM did not work. There just is not enough spectrum to support both digital and analog. Combined with the increase in background noise, the whine of the digital signal wipes out adjacent AM signals.

The same type of transition occurred in the 1960s when very few car radios could receive FM signals. With no listeners, there was no reason for creating live programming. With no interesting programming, FM stations were never going to get listeners. Without listeners, there would be no revenue from advertisers, If that was your business model.

FM is a far better technology, and has much more spectrum available to do things like sideband transmissions for reading services for the blind, displaying song titles, traffic data, etc. With HD, each license can support up to four separate programming streams. If FM also went all Digital, HD technology supports up to seven programming streams per license. If every FM station add seven separate streams, radio would become the same junk land that cable TV has become. You have 652 cable channels but nothing worth watching.

ALL Digital AM will require a lot less power and sound more like stereo FM for music quality. In theory, digital AM could support a second programming stream, But the FCC is not convinced it is technically feasible.

Switching to all digital AM will break existing non-HD radios. Expect that people still listening to radio on their portable radios from the 1960s or their vintage tune radios from the 1930s will scream bloody murder. A large portion of AM stations already have FM digital translators, so the solution is you can listen on FM. This is how we might save AM. This transition is voluntary. For now.

All FCC commissioners forward to support this rule change. People opposed to the transition to digital TV on similar notions, but I think most people now recognize that it was important to do

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The ethics of vaccine testing

The only way to be sure you have an effective vaccine is considered not ethical. You may have read that one of the participants in one of the phase three trials has died. This is especially true if you are watching the Matt Drudge “I hate Donald Trump” show as he counts the daily number of deaths.

The prior phases of the trial should have caught if the administration of the vaccine by itself causes significant health damage. Some of you may remember the 1976 Swine Flu vaccine that caused neurological damage. The virus had never escaped out of the military base where it was discovered, so that damage was completely unnecessary.

The remaining question is to whether the vaccine actually protects you from the virus. Death rates is only one metric. This virus can cause permanent organ damage that does not kill you right away, but still shortens your life.

If you deliberately exposed all participants to the virus, you would know within 2 weeks if you had an effective vaccine. Without deliberately exposing the trial participants to the virus, you are relying on random exposure, which could take a very long time to become statistically significant, especially if the participants are following the rules to not be exposed to the virus and are not at high risk of exposure to begin with.

The news story stated that patient privacy prevents them from telling us much, beyond that we don’t know if it was a placebo or the real vaccination because it is a double blind study. They also didn’t tell us if the cause of death had anything at all to do with the virus. All that they reported was that someone had died and the trial was not stopped. They might have died in a car crash or they might have died from suicide for all we know.

We know that around 1% of the placebo group will die for no reason or suffer organ damage other than preserve the sanctity of double blind testing..

If you provide the placebo patients with very aggressive care which the general population is not going to receive, now you have distorted the death rate. The same is true if the participants are self-selected because they believe they are in good health.

If the participants in the trial found out the cause of death of others, they might change their behavior and distort the outcome of the trial. If you are given a vaccine and told that it probably works, will you engage in riskier behavior than you otherwise would?

If the person had a placebo vaccine and died from the virus, that supports the idea the vaccine might be working, but you are trying to prove a negative. If the person who received the vaccine got the real vaccine, and still died from the virus, that one death does not prove that the vaccine doesn’t work.

No vaccine, especially one for a corona virus that is mutating so quickly, is going to be 100% effective. The reason that measles and polio have an effective vaccine is because the virus mutates very slowly.

How long are you willing to wait until there is a critical mass of people who don’t die to get the answer? People not dying is the proof that the vaccine is working – but only if you know that they were exposed to the virus.

The vaccine itself may cause antibody test to say the person was exposed to the virus when they were not. We already know that people will turn antigen positive from taking the vaccine. That is in fact the point of the vaccination.

The urgency for the vaccine is for medical workers who need to get herd immunity so they don’t spread it further, and highly vulnerable people like those on anti-rejection medications following organ transplants.

With political candidates blaming each other every time one more person dies, it is going to take a lot of courage to release the vaccine and gather the statistical information to be certain that the vaccine works and the country can somewhat return to normal. China and Russia have already taken risks for us, but we don’t trust them to tell us the truth.

There are definitely people who intend to wear a mask for the rest of their lives, and demand that people be put in jail who don’t comply with their fear. In many cases, those are the same people will refuse to take the vaccination because they don’t actually believe in science.

Prisons might be the ideal testing ground, since viruses spread like wildfire. However, that won’t work because very early on we found out that 80 to 90% of prisoners have already been exposed to the virus and survived – and now have herd immunity. That news very early on was a strong indicator that a societal lockdown was not only not necessary, but counterproductive. Herd immunity is the cure.

The most stupid thing being done is releasing prisoners from jail because you’re afraid they might get the virus. Well, the second most stupid. The most stupid was put in known infectious people into nursing homes that killed thousands of people in New York

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The ’80s until now

This is not the first time I voiced my frustration with radio. Radio still has not dealt with the issue that it is 2020 and they still haven’t decided how to describe the music they play.

A large portion of owners of FM radio stations acquired station licenses in the 1960s. Lack of competition and rules to freeze out new competitors caused radio to stagnate. People who controlled their local radio station in the 1960s are now at least 80 years old. In a lot of cases, their children have no interest in inheriting Dad’s radio station and taking home a minimum wage salary.

I know this is hard to take, but the 1980s were 40 years ago. That music is as stale as Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey was in the 1960s when I was a teenager. My father loved that music, but it set the stage for the Beatles to arrive.

Many of the artists have long ago died, which makes it difficult to give concerts, which is where the real money is, at least before the virus fear pandemic.

Almost nobody under the age of 40 listens to radio, unless it is country music or K-Love or Mexican accordion music. We are in the twilight of radio as we knew of it. When Rush Limbaugh cannot do his show anymore, the final pillar will collapse.

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The Dubious Media

I invite you to visit your favorite news aggregator, for instance google news, and try to find any story about the hunter Biden laptop data dump.

A quick summary of the facts. A laptop was dropped off at a computer repair shop in Delaware in April 2019 because of water damage. The laptop had a sticker on it from the Beau Biden Foundation, named after Hunter’s deceased brother.

According to Louis Rossmann, who has a very popular YouTube channel about his business in New York City, it would be extremely unlikely that water would damage the hard drive in a Mac laptop.

It needs to be stipulated the repair store owner is a Trump supporter and fairly extreme – he accepts the possibility that Marc Rich was murdered by the Clinton campaign because he leaked Hillary Clinton’s emails. That may also play into his distrust of the FBI.

So after 90 days went by and nobody showed up to pay for the repairs and his attempt to contact the owner failed, he took ownership of the laptop as the normal repair contract provides.

He opened up the laptop and looked to see its contents. He found something disturbing enough to cause him to contact the FBI. In response to his information, the FBI issued a subpoena to seize the laptop, which occurred in December 2019,

Before giving the laptop to the FBI, he made a copy of the contents of the hard drive, probably suspecting the FBI would not pursue the information.

So he got in contact with Rudy Giuliani a few months ago and provided him with a copy of the hard drive, probably in electronic form. Mac Laptops have SSDs (Solid State Drive) that do not have platters that spin. Unlike the iPhone, the contents are not encrypted. To access the contents, whoever dropped off the device would have been required to provide the password to unlock the device.

One of the accounts that is a little dubious is that they noticed bleed through on the subpoena that was probably from the FBI agent who requested it. This source believes the signature is of an FBI agent who specializes in pornography displaying underage children.

So the emails concerning Ukraine are not the only thing on the device. There are also emails regarding China, and Hunter Biden’s involvement in legal issues to protect Chinese interests. Allegedly, there is video of Hunter Biden engaging in drug use and sexual activity with an unspecified female.

So if we accept that this might all be true, what does this have to do with Joe Biden other than his disappointment in his surviving son’s life choices? Well, if Joe Biden actually did intervene as vice president at the request of his son, and then deny that he did so, now it becomes his problem.

The FBI definitely has some explaining to do, and Republicans are going to turn up the heat very quickly.

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The Decline of the Dickey Empire

In keeping with the three generation rule, the Atlanta-based Dickey family appears to have significant difficulties.

Lewis Dickey Sr was generation one of the Dickey broadcasting empire. He owned several radio stations in the Atlanta area. He originally owned radio stations in Toledo Ohio, but moved to Atlanta in 1980, when he was in his mid 50s.

Lewis Dickey Sr had 6 children. Lew Dickey Jr and John Dickey built up Cumulus Broadcasting using other people’s money until they were kicked out by the lenders in 2015. Cumulus subsequently declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Shortly thereafter, it was announced Lew Dickey Jr had a $200 million line of credit to acquire media properties. He did not re-enter the radio business, instead investing in a company called akazoo, hoping to become the world’s biggest streaming company. I have never heard of it.

It turns out it was a fraudulent company with exaggerated subscriber counts. Lew Dickey Jr has stayed on as CEO to resolve the legal issues.

Back to Dickey Radio Company (DRC) – well after sons Lew Jr and John were running Cumulus, dad continued to own three AM radio stations in the Atlanta Market. If his children can be believed, Dad moved those assets into a trust, and then split up that trust among his children, in anticipation of his death. Nobody informed the FCC and the children claim they only learned of it several days before Lew Sr died in 2013.

So that brings us up to now. Dickey Radio Company still owns 3 AM radio stations in the Atlanta Georgia market. WCNN-AM holds the AM broadcasting rights for Atlanta Braves baseball games. All three stations are sports talk format. That is diffult to keep going in 2020.

I guess it was not a surprise that Dickey Radio Company was near the front of the line to get a government rescue loan.


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