Things going on in the Broadcast Industry that might interest you.
Salem Media Group admitted today they have joined the ranks of stations and groups affected by malware. They said that a ransomware attack happened on some of their systems on August 7th. FTP operations were among those disrupted. (a partial list of victims)
NAB President Gordon Smith suffered a heart attack today. He was hospitalized, with a good prognosis.
Multiple station owner, Ed Stolz, has had three of his FMs placed in receivership due to his loss in lawsuits from ASCAP and other music copyright holders. The dispute, now over 8 years in length, resulted in well over $1 million in damages and lawyers fees.
Mood Media - the parent of the Muzak service - filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy this week, not long after announcing there were no problems at the company. Some $650 million in debts are involved. (Hat Tip: Bob Cauthen, SCMS)
The Weekly Lunch Gathering will continue this week at 2PM EDT, 11AM PDT. To remove danger of Zoombombing, invitations are by request.
The Las Vegas Convention Center is spending some $980 million to construct 600,000 more square feet for exhibitions. The new "West Hall," entry lobby, and meeting rooms are under construction where the West Parking Lot and Riviera Hotel used to be. A new tunnel system featuring electric vehicles will allow attendees to move around - making it much easier and quicker to go from the west end to the southeast part of the South Hall.
Townsquare Media's WGBF-FM in Evansville IN, lost their tower to a tornado. While repairs are being made, transmission is coming from another site.
The McClatchy Company, the third-largest newspaper publisher in the U.S. by circulation - with 29 daily newspapers - has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At one time McClatchy was a broadcaster with stations including KFBK, Sacramento CA.
Microsoft has official retired Windows 7 as at End of Life. No support nor further security updates are to be made available. However, several sites indicate you can upgrade to Windows 10 without charge.
It is now 30 years for "The Simpsons" ... and the series has been renewed through the 32nd season - a record.
The FCC has proposed using 988 as the National Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Hotline.
Newly elected UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that his government will "withdraw engagement" from a popular BBC Radio news program and consider ending rules that make payment of television user license fees mandatory. Johnson claims the BBC has shown a bias against his political party and the decision to exit the European Union. Meanwhile, the BBC warns that ending its licensing fee would reduce its programming budget by $267 million.
WNCU in Durham, NC reported they were hit by ransomware, and have been scrambling to recover. The source of the infection is not currently known.
Meanwhile, a current report from Verizon shows that four out of five breaches from hackers came from either stolen and/or weak passwords. And Microsoft released a statement urging that ransom demands not be paid - not only can they be expensive but there is no guarantee a working key will be delivered. Microsoft recommends backing up data, tightening network access, update software and develop good email protocols.
We also recommend Ron Castro's look at what has worked for his stations.
Casey Kasem's family settled their competing "wrongful death" lawsuits against each other (the children vs Casey's second wife, Jean). The strange odyssey saw Kasem moved from LA to Washington State and, in the end, his body ended up in Oslo, Norway. A sad end for a man who was famous for his work on the air in Radio and Television. His uplifting signature signoff: "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
Sadly, another tower worker death in the broadcast industry - the eighth in 2019. An 80-foot fall took the life of a 43-year-old rigger in Mississippi working on a 380-foot self-supporter.
The BDR has had some reports that folks trying to sign up for the one-time-a-week Newsletter had gotten a "security risk" display in some browsers. This has been determined to be an effect of moving things to the secure https URLs. Apparently Mailman - the list server - using an undeclared subdomain of "lists," ran afoul of some of the browser architects. This issue has now been fixed. Opt-In subs can be accessed here.
Looking for some protection from ransomware? One group found Heimdal Security's product to solve their problems.
Ransomware hit Bicoastal Media in Oregon. The five station cluster in Hood River and The Dalles OR had been crippled by ransomware on the 22nd (Tuesday). A week later, it is fortunate that all seems to getting back to normal. But, as we have discussed many times, all it takes is one click on a fishing email and your entire station(s) can go down. Dare we repeat: training of staff is more essential these days than ever.
WPFA, Ft. Payne AL, was evicted from their offices/studio for failure to pay rent. Even their tower was dismantled, although the station has a new site and plans to build the new tower there.
It seems clear now that Entercom has joined the number of broadcasters suffering from an apparent major network system attack over the past weekend. The company will not confirm, but reports seem to indicate the entry point was a programming side computer. One report says a ransom demand for $500k has been received.
At last report all Entercom email is slowly being restored (resolution is unclear - employees are told to use personal email for necessary communications). Internet is marginal, IT personnel have been telling people not to connect laptops to the networks. One report displayed what appears to be an internal memo, describing the situation and telling employees not to say anything outside the company. So far as we know, the phones still work.
WJOI (1230) and WNOR (FM) in Norfolk, VA are going to get a new tower - not due to destruction from the recent hurricane, but Saga Communications is replacing the 540-foot tower, built in the 1970s, before weather, erosion, rust, and salt air did cause a collapse. The replacement tower, said to cost around $1 million, will take about four months to erect.
Two FM translators using the same frequency in Chicago just sold for $3.5 million. "Clubsteppin" is aimed at the African American audience in Chicago.
KBBG-FM in Waterloo IA apparently is in big trouble. Since March, the station reports their transmitter, digital STL, audio processor, music files, and data files have all died and need to be replaced.
The roll call of stations (see 7/19/19 below, and at bottom) hit with ransomware continues to grow. KNEO in Neosha MO was hit with a demand for $100,000 which the station did not pay. GM Mark Taylor says the station will overcome the hack, the station has stayed on the air while IT people sort through the damage. Some good reminders on protection are here. Food for thought: Here.
Ever get to the car/truck and realize you forgot the keys? A Tesla owner, realizing she did not even get a key with her car, had a novel solution: a chip in her arm.
It took 72 years, but KQTY Radio in Borger TX is signing off for the last time on August 16th. The station, which debuted as KHUZ on January 8, 1947 was a victim of reduced coverage, listenership, and advertising income. The owner is turning in the license for the station, but will continue to operate the co-owner FM station.
You probably have read about Equifax loss to hackers of millions of people's information. Some reports say you could get up to $20,000 by filing with Equifax if your data is compromised - or get some years of free credit monitoring. Two things, 1) Millions of people already have filed for part of the $31 million set aside to compensate people. 2) check to see if your data might be compromised and make you eligible for the credit monitoring.
WMNF, Tampa, reported getting hit by a ransomware demand. In this case, years of archived programs and data may be lost. Fortunately, the station says no financial (donor/payroll/etc) information was hacked. While help has been sought from a data recovery company, results are not guaranteed, but are expensive.
Reports say Samsung has fixed the problem with the Galaxy Fold screen failures, although an exact release date is yet to be announced. The phone, to be competed with by the forthcoming Huawei Mate X, is expected to have a price of - are you ready? - $1980.
Tower collapse takes KELK, Reno NV, down. The cause was a semi that hit a guy wire, dropping the 198-foot tower. The accident also damaged power lines, a restaurant, and three cars. The station plans to rebuild.
Jon Levine, a TV Weatherman in Dayton Ohio, responds to twitterers who were complaining about storm/tornado coverage interrupting a reaity show. How vapid can viewers be? (Thanks, Adrienne Abbott)
Microsoft has announced a severe zero day bug on older than Win 8 versions. Apparently, it is so bad, security updates for XP and Win7 are being put out.