Archive for March, 2019

Would you buy stock in a “new” iHeartRadio?

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Part of winding down the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Clear Channel / iHeart is that iHeart is going to have an IPO. By creating a liquid market in their common stock, debt holders who accepted the debt-for-equity swap can exit their positions and write off their losses, if they so choose.

Inside Radio

The end of WBT-AM

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Not the license, but the original building that housed the station.

The earliest radio stations had an odd collection of owners competing to use the new technology. Pioneer owners included newspapers, department stores, religious groups – and in the case of WBT, the local Buick dealer. WBT stood for “Watch Buicks Travel”. Westinghouse had a presence in Charlotte (and still does). C. C. Coddington was the local Buick dealer and smelled opportunity. He set up 500 watt WBT on the roof of his new five story building. The auto parts department was on the second floor, cars were stored on the 3rd and 4th floor and the roof was used for testing, presumably to keep fumes out of the building.

WBT is now a class A 50,000 watt clear channel station, but with less than optimal signal propagation. AM requires not only a tower of the correct height, but a copper ground system to send the signal through the ground. The perfect location for an AM transmitter is wetlands. The soil in Charlotte is not conducive to good ground conduction, so reception is spotty.

The station was soon moved to a location way out in the country, where it is still located, although the studio is no longer at the tower site.

Lost Charlotte

Charlotte Observer

Mr Coddington died in 1928 at age 50, and his heirs sold WBT to CBS radio in 1929. That ended the local ownership. The building eventually was taken over by the state of North Carolina for use by social service agencies. The building was renamed the James K. Polk building, as President Polk was born in Mecklenburg County.

The Polk building is conveniently right across from the Greyhound bus station and the future transportation center. It has remained empty since the 1990s. Various architects have looked at the building, but can’t figure a way to reuse the building. It is just a strange building.

Work is already underway to construct the new Amtrak/NCDOT sidings at the same location where the Southern Railway passenger station was until Amtrak took over and tore it down – and moved to a small building next to the freight yard in a seriously bad neighborhood. With it clear the streetcar line extension and transportation center are on track, it is time to tear down the Polk building and build 358 more luxury apartments in uptown Charlotte, which currently has a 22% vacancy rate.

As I drove by on Saturday, I snapped a picture of the final rubble pile

James K Polk building debris

I feel confident that nobody at Entercom HQ in Pennsylvania gives a damn about Charlotte or history.

Creeping censorship

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Most recently, Facebook has banned links to Zero Hedge

Google/Youtube is giving a bizarre warning on a video by China uncensored

Clicking on the link for “Why am I seeing this?” reveals why a video that has nothing to do with 9/11 is flagged with a warning

The “do no evil” company is in the midst of a revolt over Alphabet jumping in bed with the Chinese Communist Party.

Bruce Williams has died

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Tampa Bay newspaper

Back when NBC still did radio, Bruce Williams and Sally Jessy Raphael were pioneers in national syndication on a network called NBC TalkNet that was started in 1981 (many years before Rush Limbaugh)

Bruce Williams cheated death when he crashed his airplane in New Jersey. In the final years of his show, one of his main sponsors was Jersey Pork rolls, of which he was a co-owner. At that time, I expressed sadness that he didn’t understand it was time to leave the stage.