January 2000 Archive
Prime Radio Stations
January 21,2000: CanWest Global Communications Corp. has told its shareholders it wants the rules governing Canadian media companies relaxed to enable it to compete with international media companies says a report in the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Executive Chairman Izzy Asper told the Winnipeg-based broadcaster's annual meeting that without changes Canada would become the 51st US state " in terms of media, information, entertainment, communications [and] electronic commerce."
Current rules in Canada are more restrictive than those of the US in terms of cross-ownership of media and the number of stations a company can have in a single market.
Globe and Mail report
January 21, 2000: The UK Daily Telegraph reports on the use of radio to boost education in South Africa.
Factors noted in the report are the invention by Briton Trevor Baylis of the wind-up clockwork radio,the development of a broadcast education programme by OLSET, the Open Learning Systems Education trust which is a South African non-governmental body, and an appeal by the newspaper which raised more than £35000 from its readers.
Olset developed an "English in Action" radio programme to aid both teachers and pupils in the country with English which is crucial to employment opportunities.
Broadcasts are made half an hour daily on weekdays but more than half the country's schools have no mains power nor money for batteries to power portable radios.
Baylis's invention took care of the technology part and the clockwork radio is now manufactured in Cape Town by disabled workers. However many schools could not afford to purchase them so the paper stepped in with its appeal.
Daily Telegraph report
January 21, 2000: As expected ( RNW Jan 20 ), the US Federal Communications Commission has adopted rules to allow of at least 1,000 low-power stations to serve local communities.
It also adopted new rules aimed at putting pressure on broadcasters to hire more staff from amongst ethnic minorities and women.
The new rules replace previous guidelines which had been ruled illegal by a federal appeals court which held that they unconstitutionally imposed quotas.
Under them the FCC is prohibited from taking into account a company's record on hiring women and minorities when it decides on licence renewals.
Under the old rules, if such hirings on a broadcaster's staff were at less than half the percentage of such groups in the local population it triggered a review of the company's hiring practices.
Broadcasters believed that this made their record a factor in licence renewal although the FCC disputed that.
The new rules require news about job openings to be sent to any group that requests it and also asks broadcasters to use various approved methods to publicize job opportunities such as being represented at job fairs or maintaining internship programmes for minorities and women.
January 20, 2000: Incoming BBC Director-General Dreg Dyke has now sold his shareholdings In Granada TV as required for him to take up the post. He held around 1million shares which have risen around a third since he was designated for the Post in November. Today they fell 11p to 620p( RNW Jan 17th )
January 20th, 2000:Various newspapers in the US report on the plans to licence new low power Fm stations for the country ( RNW Jan 19th ).
According to the Washington Post thousands of churches, schools, community health organisations and would-be DJs have been flooding the Federal Communications Commission with e-mails in favour.
Under the plans new stations would have powers of up to ten or up to 100 watts compared to the previous smallest Fm stations allowed which were 6000 watts.
This would give the new stations a range of as little as 1.5km (1mile) up to as much as 6km (3.5 miles) from the ir transmitters compared to existing commercial stations with ranges from 8km (5 miles) to 40km(25miles)
The Post reports that FCC Chairman William E. Kennard has pushed the idea in the wake of the radio industry's increasing consolidation after the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which allowed a radio chain to own many stations in the same city.
Since then chains have bought more up small stations from more than 1000 former owners. Commercial broadcasters objected to the change saying that there would be interference with existing signals and also that advertising revenues would be hit.
The latter argument was defused when the FCC said the new stations, initially at least, would not be allowed to sell advertising.
The FCC ran test signals received with fairly cheap radios(under $150) and said that only two showed any interference.
The National Associaton of Broadcasters, which represents commercial broadcasters, also ran tests and says that they did find interference.
In particular they argue that the FCC did not test clock-radios or Walkman-like radios which are of a lower standard and thus more susceptible to interference. These radios they say are used by up to a third of listeners.
Washington Post report
Chicago Tribune report
Previous Kennard : Previous FCC
January 20, 2000: Scottish Radio has announced plans to raise £75million through the issue of 5.5million new shares. The group, which has holdings in regional newspapers and advertising as well as radio, made a number of acquisitions last year and wants to be prepared for further acquisitions as it expects consolidition within the UK radio industry to continue.
January 20, 2000: In her Boston Globe radio column, Clea Simon reports favourable on the children's weekend programme "the Playground" on of WERS-FM as a rarity, offering fun "without a catch."
The station is broadcast by the Emerson College station and, .notes Simon, does not carry commercials in contrast to other stations such as "Radio Disney" which packs plenty of them in.
She also notes the absence of what she calls "catchy bubblegum pop" which is widely aired by other stations as well as the freedom the show offers to introduce material which would not make commercial airtime.
Boston Globe report
Previous Clea Simon
January 20, 2000: In a service it couldn't offer via normal broadcasting channels Premier Christian Radio is now offering a cyberspace confessional. "Sinners" who go the station's Confessor website can type their sins in a space on a form which the radio says is not stores or transmitted further thus totally respecting privacy.
The site has not been received favourably by the Roman Catholic church which only accepts confessions made in person with a priest.
January 19, 2000: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote tomorrow in favour of a plan to create around 1,000 new low-power FM radio stations ( RNW, Jan 15th).
The move is being opposed by radio industry lobbyists who claim it will clog up the airwaves and cause interference to existing broadcasts.
But it is favoured by various groups who want more diversity in US radio now that recent takeovers have concentrated ownership of US commercial stations
( RNW Dec 30 , Los Angeles Times report)
January 19, 2000: The UK Radio Magazine, following up on the Scottish Media Group purchase of Chris Evans' Ginger Media Group, reports unhappiness amongst at least one major shareholder of SMG. It says Granada, who have 18% of SMG, apparently think the price being paid is too high although another major shareholder Flextech is supporting the deal.
Previous SMG item
January 18, 2000: The UK Independent carries an article by Geoff Dyer commenting critically on the 'pre-formatted' way in which most journalists responds to unforeseen events comparing today's practitioners unfavourably with some of their predecessors.
He highlights the comparison of the reporter covering the Hindenberg disaster in 1937 who was so overcome that he could not continue.
His report because of the inability to find words ,says Dyer, conveyed the experience with" extraordinary immediacy and compassion."
By comparison Dyer finds much modern coverage banal because " the language - give or take a few circumstantial details - is always the same."
News reporters, he says do not have the "novelists freedom of invention" but he enters a plea for alternatives to the clichés delivered in hushed tones by reports of many disasters.
(*RNW would add that many of them are also meaningless or nonsensical. Perhaps readers who come across prime examples could let us know so we can feature them). UK Independent report
January 18, 2000 : The lift-off for the first of Sirius Satellite Radio's satellites, scheduled this week from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, has been delayed by Russian authorities because of knock-on effects of launch problems last year.
It is now expected in March or April with klater launches shortly after this. By the end of this year Sirius expects to be broadcasting 100 channels of programming to the US.
January 18, 2000: CTV NewsNet anchor Avery Haines, who won several awards for newscasting during her 11 years at Toronto radio station CFRB, has been fired after only two months at the station for comments she made denigrating various groups after fluffing an introduction, reports the Toronto Globe and Mail.
CTV's senior vice president of news Henry Kowalski said an investigation was continuing but he had no alternative to the dismissal.
Haines told the paper the past two days had been her worst nightmare but she understood why the decision had to be made. She added she did not intend to denigrate anyone but was poking fun at herself in the comments made on Saturday when she was introducing an item.
After the fluff, the introduction was re-taped but the original tape with the comments went to air.
Haines twice apologised after listeners rang in complaining about the comments which included, "I kind of like the stuttering thing. It's like equal opportunity right? "We've got a stuttering newscaster. We've got the black, we've got the Asian, we've got the woman. I could be a lesbian-folk-dancing-black-woman stutterer. In a wheelchair . . . with a gimping, rubber leg. Yeah, really. I'd have a successful career, let me tell you "
Toronto Globe and Mail report
January 17, 2000: A large part of the UK Guardian's "Media Guardian" today is linked to the BBC. Reports include an interview with outgoing BBC Dirctor-General John Birt, reports on the legacy he has left the BBC, and also on the future of BBC Radio 4 in the light of the departure of controller James Boyle (RNW Jan 16th ). Reports on the departure of James Boyle from Radio 4 are also carried by the UK Independent and Daily Telegraph.
Post-Birt -BBC same but different
Boyle quits -news report
Radio 4 post-Boyle
BBC News execs fired
January 17, 2000: The London Times reports that, contrary to reports yesterday, incoming BBC director-general Greg Dyke is refusing to be pushed into selling his Granada shareholding before the April deadline he had agreed with the BBC's governors.
However the paper adds that Peter Ainsworth, the opposition Conservative Party's frontbench spokesman on the media, has said that Mr Dyke should sell his shares immediately. The Conservatives had objected to Mr Dyke's selection for the post after details emerged of his contributions to the Labour Party.
January 16, 2000: The head of BBC Radio 4 , James Boyle, is to quit according to the London Observer.
The paper says Boyle, who revamped the Channel two years ago, is tipped to become head of the British Library.
Boyle , who is 53, has spent 25 years with the corporation and was appointed to head Radio 4 after overhauling Radio Scotland in the mid 1990's.
He was at the centre of controversy in both jobs and initially his changes to Radio 4 led to a loss of some 600,000 listeners to under 7.7 million, well below the psychologically important 8 million benchmark.
More recently the station has more than regained its audience , up to some 9 million with listeners also tuning in longer than they used to.
London Observer report
January 16, 2000: The New York Times carries an article by Clea Simon who writes on radio for the Boston Globe commenting on the habit she and friends have of turning off their local radio and logging into the Internet for stations elsewhere.
Although, still a minority , she says the number of people choosing the Internet for radio is growing.
The article lists a number of links ranging from large broadcaster sites to smaller stations with outputs ranging from news and sports to various forms of music.
So far, notes the article, after five years online, Internet radio audiences in the USA have grown (according to Arbitron) to around four million listeners per week but its potential is enormous.
The article here makes some of the points we've been making about the potential for on-demand programming.
As it puts it," Radio, by its nature, has been limited by space, or distance from a tower or transmitter, and by time, since traditional stations present shows in sequence. Web radio is limited by neither. Because of its medium -- telephone or cable lines -- it does away with the geographic restrictions of radio. And because of the computer's virtually unlimited storage capacity, Web radio can archive nearly any number of programs indefinitely and offer them for access at any time.
New York Times report
Interestingly this is the first article we've read which makes the point that strictly speaking radio is "wireless" (to use an old term) so for the moment Internet radio isn't really radio at all. But with developments under way ( RNW Jan 14th re UK Internet radio licences) even that will change.
January 16, 2000: Britain's Sunday Telegraph reports that Greg Dyke, the new BBC director-general, has agreed to sell his shareholding in Granada Television, worth some £6 million at current prices. When he was appointed he was given until April to sell shares in companies which might lead to a conflict of interest. So far he has already sold his stake in Persons, the newspaper, (Financial Times) publishing , production and information company and in Machester United Football Club. He also resigned from the club's board.
January 15, 2000: The London Times reports favourably on the impact of women on radio despite the early days when they were, says the paper, pigeon-holed, patronised or at one time kept off the air altogether on the grounds that the engineers found their voices unsuitable "prevailing ionispheric conditions."
Nowadays it says radio is finding that it needs the right mix of men and women to get the rich aural variety it needs. Noting that the BBC took 11 years to use a woman radio announcer it adds that the second World War proved the turning point as women were used not just on the farm and in factories but on air.
Particular mention is made of Women's Hour as producing outstanding presenters and also pioneering by discussing such topics as adultery, abortion and contraception in defiance of bans. The paper also says they benefit from the fact that radio executives seem terrified of middle-class male voices but accept them from women.
January 15, 2000 : In a commentary in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Eric Reguly, says that the AOL-Time Warner merger combined with coming internet technology is going to lead to the total Americanisation of the planet and will make local regulation of broadcasters superfluous.
Noting that Canadian radio stations currently have to include 35% Canadian content, he says that this just cannot apply to Internet stations at the moment because nobody has figured out a way to regulate it.
He suggests that possibly the only way of retaining local culture is for the regulators to eschew controls and instead switch to encouraging the development of material that can be used online.
"Sports, he writes," is a natural content route to pursue because of its wide appeal and devoted, statistics-mad fans. Any medium that allows them to watch their teams more often, and provide more information about the game and the players is bound to be a hit."
Globe and Mail report
RNW note: We would welcome feedback on this issue. As implied in our pleas for on-demand services from radio stations, we see that the Internet could be a tremendous way for local cultures to get wider exposure although we can also see the threat in mass media terms of a homogenous rather than diverse output. See RNW Nov 1999 comment
January 15, 2000 : The US Federal Communications Commission appears to be moving towards a plan to approve thousands of new low-power FM transmissions.
FCC chairman William E (Bill) Kennard on Friday (14th) told the Educational Technology Leadership Conference that he hoped the plan would pass to the benefit of communities, churches and schools.
The proposals would permit broadcasters to operate with power levels up to around 1kw as opposed to the much larger outputs of up to 50kw from large stations.
Such stations have been opposed by the FCC for twenty years and commercial stations have expressed fears that their signals could be degraded by such transmissions.
The National Association of Broadcasters is among organisations which have commissioned studies to document degradation that could ensue if such low-power stations are introduced.
New York Times/A.P. report
January 14, 2000: In a move that could widen further the scope of the Internet, Britain is to grant licences for fast permanent Internet access via radio links.
Details about what companies can bid for are to be given in March with the licences being issued in summer.
The licences would permit fixed terminals for individuals or companies which would send and receive radio signals.
Of Britain's existing mobile phone networks only Orange and Virgin have so far expressed interest.
All of Britain's existing networks, however, are to bid for the 5 planned new-generation UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems) licences which would permit full internet access from a mobile phone.
January 14, 2000 : Another sign of the potential for Internet radio is reported in the Los Angeles Times after the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes failed to reach agreement with any radio station to have their games broadcast.
Although the Quakes are still trying for an over-the-air broadcast deal, they have signed one for Internet broadcasts by www.broadcast.com.
Listeners can go directly to the broadcast.com site or www.rcquakes.com which will have links for broadcasts of all the team's 140 regular California League games.
January 14, 2000: The Sydney Morning Herald reports that ABC Radio will not broadcast the acclaimed production of the opera Elektra, despite a last-minute attempt to record tomorrow night's final performance and an offer by the artistes to waive their broadcast fee of around Au$150,000 in return for a tape of the performance.
The ABC says that it was disappointed but could not go ahead and make the recording without broadcasting rights which could not be secured in time.
The Sydney Festival approached the ABC on Tuesday about recording the production but a deadline set for Wednesday for securing the broadcast rights was not met.
Sydney Morning Herald report (link expires February 14)
January 13, 2000: In a much anticipated UK media deal, Scottish Media Group is to buy Chris Evans' Ginger Media Group, which includes Virgin Radio and the presenter's Ginger TV, for £225 million (USD 371 million).
Evans will personally receive some £75 million in cash and shares. He is to continue presenting his radio and TV shows under the deal.
Nearly half of the £75m will be paid in shares in three equal instalments on an annual basis and will be forfeit if he leaves the company.
SMG also has an option to renew Evans's contract for a further three years, covering all his television and radio work.
Evans, whose assets are already estimated at around £30 million, said that the money didn't really mean anything to him, adding that much of it was still in the company anyway.
January 13, 2000: The Los Angeles Times reports on the cosying-up of long-time rival Southland adult contemporary music stations KOST-FM and KBIG-FM.
After years of sniping at each other in advertising campaigns, the two stations are now under the same control following the purchase of KOST by AMFM Radio Inc which already owne KBIG.
Now Jhani Kaye, programme director at KOST for 17 years before moving to KBIG, has been appointed AMFM's director of contemporary programming for Los Angeles.
As a result he's in charge of both stations and competition has changed somewhat.
"KBIG and KOST always targeted the same audience in all those years we were head-to-head competitors," he told the Times. "So my assignment with AMFM is to pull the stations apart and have them coexist in the marketplace."
Among the moves being made are to change the target audiences of the stations so they don't compete head-on in the way they used. Kaye has also introduced the innovation of staggering advertisements; Every time KOST is in commercial, KBIG plays music, and vice versa.
Los Angeles Times report
January 13, 2000 : The Chicago Tribune reports on the Golden Anniversary of a Chicago School radio staion.
WEPS-FM which first went on air at the old Elgin High School and now broadcasts as the Elgin School District 46 radio station.
The school started to offer radio classes to students, who learned everything from production to broadcasting but after Elgin High School moved to a new students had to take a bus to the old high school and back again.
This was cut for budget reasons in 1988 and now the only students regularly involved at the station now come from the Gifford Street Alternative High School, housed in the same building as the station.
The station however continues because district authorities kept it going to retain the frequency.
Its format is music and news and the station can can be heard over a 90 square mile area.
Chicago Tribune report
January 13, 2000: 45-years-old radio news reporter Art Kraft has been awarded the 1999 Golden Mike award for the best sports news story of 1999.
The awards are made annually by the Radio and Television News Association to mark the best news broadcasts in radio and television in Southern California.
The winning story done for Thousand-Oaks based public radio station KCLU, reports the Los Angeles Times, sprang from Art noticing a boy with crutches sitting at the side whilst he was at a boxing studio in Simi Valley.
On checking further he found out that the 11-years-old boy, Joey Quail, who suffers from cerebral palsy had for the past year been the youth ambassador for the Kid Gloves organisation.
As a result he did a sports feature story on Joey and his family. The story, he says, had no fancy mixing or production; it was just a compelling human narrative made from people talking about their lives.
Los Angeles Times report
January 12, 2000:US civil liberties organisations are expressing concerns about Mobiltrak, a new device which can record what radio stations are tuned into by car drivers.
The devices are being used by various venues from shopping centres to auto dealers so they can plan promoting and marketing campaigns and does not record licence plate details.
The concern of the civil liberties organisations is that it could be extended to track, for example, what people listen to in their homes by using a vehicle parked outside.
January 12, 2000: Kelvin MacKenzie is to re-launch his UK Talk Radio station next Monday as the country's first dedicated sports channel Talk Sport.
Since he took over the station MacKenzie has already introduced more sport, including live coverage of the cricket Test against South Africa.
Latest RAJAR figures show audience figures have dropped by some 400,000 to 1.8 million as the station moved its emphasis to port and got rid of some of its presenters. More are expected to go under the new format whose only non-sport output is a lunchtime motoring show and overnight phone-ins.
The new station is promising around 16 hours a day of sports news, commentaries and interviews which means MacKenzie will have to intensify the bidding for sports rights, especially between his station and BBC Radio 5 Live.
In particular he says he will bid for UK premier league football rights, currently held exclusively by Radio 5 Live until 2001 under a £5 million deal.
The new station will kick off with Gary Newbon presenting a four-hour Breakfast sports show and will include current England soccer coach Kevin Keegan, former England and Yorkshire cricketer Geoff Boycott and racing commentator Brough Scott in its line-up.
Shareholders, who include Rupert Murdoch, have put extra investment into the staion's parent company, the Wireless Group.
( RNW Dec 14th for other Wireless Group deals )
January 11, 2000: Milton E. Krents, a broadcast executive who produced the religious drama and discussion series "The Eternal Light" on NBC radio and television for the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, has died aged 88. He produced the programme, which by 1979 was the oldest continuous drama series on US radio, from its start in 1944 until 1989.
January 11 2000: Changes from its longstanding country output at WMZQ Washington as it struggles to increase its rations are reported on by the Washington Post.
The station was one of the capital's top rated in the late 80s and early 90s, counting then-President George Bush amongst its fans.
Since then country format stations have lost nearly a quarter of their audience according to Arbitron ratings.WMZQ which in the mid-90s had around a 5.7% share is now down to about 4.3%.
In the same period around an eighth of the 2400 peak total of country stations have switched to other formats.
The format changes follow the departure of longtime general manager Charlie Ochs who retired from AMFM radio whose stations include WMZQ.
His job has been taken over by Bennet Zier who also oversees AMFM's seven other stations in the Washington area.
Zier is associated with the Jam'n Oldies format which AMFM took from California and spread successfully nationwide.
He introduced the format to New York and after his move to Washington Zier followed up by converting easy-listening WGAY to Jam'n Oldies.
Now he's giving WMZQ some of the same treatment.
Washington Post report
January 11, 2000:The Irish Times reports on state broadcaster RTE's defence of its decision to drop three classical music programmes from its Radio 1 channel which it now says should complement the Lyric FM classical station started last year.
The shows dropped are Sunday's O'Brien on Song (already replaced by Mooney goes Wild on One) and two other weekend shows Music for Middlebrows and Sounds Classical which will be replaced next month with music programmes headed by Philip King and P.J.Curtis.
Whilst its critics see the changes as weaking the broadcaster#s public service ethos supporters see them as as strengthening the place of other minority-interest musical forms in the Radio 1 schedule.
These include the folk, traditional and international "roots" music likely to be favoured by Philip King and P.J. Curtis.
Irish Times report
January 11, 2000: Older Ottawans are in revolt about the format change of the former soft-pop Lite 101 radio station to rock station XFM@101 reports the Toronto Globe and Mail.
One of them, 52-years old Cheryl Corrigan has organised a 'Save our Soft Sound' group which is trying to get a reversal of the format change by getting its former listeners to boycott purchaes from companies who advertise on the new station.
Toronto Globe and Mail report
January 10, 2000: Almost half the leadership of the Church of England has condemned the BBC for slashing its religious output according to a report in The Times of London.
The paper says that a motion for the General Synod, entitled Losing Faith in the BBC, has attracted more signatures than any synod motion for a decade and is supported by 8 bishops.
The motion calls for the BBC both to increase religious broadcasting hours and to broadcast it at peak times.
Although the main thrust of the call is related to television, BBC Radio 4 comes under attack for shortening Prayer for the Day and moving it to a much earlier slot at to 5.45am and also for putting the Daily Service on long wave only.
Sunday Telegraph report London Times report
January 10, 2000: In a report on the practicalities of Internet radio in a car -- just not there yet --a San Jose Mercury News report carried by the Chicago Tribune deals with current interim equipment which can record Internet audio directly onto tapes or discs.
Mostly it's used for music as might be expected but the chief executive of one company, Philip J. Monego of Voquette, says he uses his company's gear to tape early-morning broadcasts of financial news and interviews, then listens to the tape as he drives to work.
RNW note: On -demand audio just really isn't there yet on the net but allying this technology with some well-thought-out on demand audio on the Net could yet be a practicable way of picking up radio highlights from around the world. Any comments or suggestions?
January 9, 2000: The Pacifica Foundation, which last year was involved in a bitter dispute with the staff at its KPFA radio station, has moved out of its Berkeley offices in preparation for a move to Washington, D.C.
Pacifica, which owns five radio stations in the US, has announced that it will open its new headquarters in Washington, DC, on January 18th.
It says its move allows national staff better access to other organisations with headquarters in the US capital but some KPFA staff say the move was a result of the dispute, during which longtime presnters were fired and the groups' stations censored its coverage of the dispute.
**Pacifica, a pioneer of the "talk radio" format using live listener call-ins, is the oldest listener supported radio system in the US.
The Pacifica Foundation was set up in 1949 by pacifist and conscientious objector Lewis Hill who headed the foundation until his death in 1957.
He set out the structure for the Pacificica stations, including KPFA which was the first he founded, so as to ensure that individuals should be able to speak freely with programme content being determined by a collaboration of listeners and broadcast producers.
Free Pacifica --Background to Pacifica row from staff side
Pacifica Foundation home page
January 8, 2000 : The UK New Scientist magazine reports that pirate radio operators in the UK have started to manipulate the internationally agreed Radio Data System (RDS) to grab drivers as listeners.
RDS is designed to put digital code into FM signals so that a car radio can seek out any local stations broadcasting traffic news and then temporarily switch over to the announcement before returning to whatever (radio, CD or cassette) was being listened to before.
But Britain's Radio Investigation Service says that pirates have harnessed the technology to their own ends by making a device that constantly appears to be broadcasting the RDS signal and thus grabs control of the radio until the driver turns off the RDS signal or moves out of range.
New Scientist report
January 8, 2000: Picking up on the row between the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the country's broadcast regulator the CRTC ( RNW Dec 10 ), the Canadian National Post quotes another former CBC President, Tony Manera, who resigned from the job to protest cuts in federal funds, as sympathetic to the corporations current President Robert Rabinovitch.
Noting that Rabinovitch at least did not roll over in front of the commission, he says the problem will still have to be faced.
Manera added that the real culprit in the fight between the CBC and the broadcast regulator is the Liberal government of Jean Chretien, and added the public broadcaster's role may have to shrink if it cannot secure more funding as it could not continue its current role without more funding.
This view was echoed by David Spencer, a professor of media studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, who said the CRTC's " naivete in ignoring the CBC's fiscal reality is stunning." Prof. Spencer said the CBC's mandate must be re-examined if more money is not coming. "We live in an era of segmented, targeted broadcasting. The CBC doesn't work any more. It's almost an anachronism in this age."
National Post article
January 8, 2000: WHRB Harvard Radio begins a marathon Bach session tomorrow when it starts to broadcast a chronological survey of his music more than 200 hours in duration , ending on January 18th.
The station last had a major session on Johann Sebastian Bach 15 years ago to mark the tri-centenary of his birth.
This year it marks the 250th anniversary of his death with transmissions even longer because of the inclusion of rediscovered and newly-authenticated compositions.
January 8, 2000: UK radio company the Wireless Group has now re-branded two noth of England stations it acquired from the Radio Parnership.
Stockport station Signal FM is now Imagine FM and Bradford's Classic Gold station is West Yorkshire's Big AM.
January 7, 2000: Aboriginal and black communities have teamed up in Toronto to promote each other's applications for radio licences reports the Globe and Mail.
Non-profit Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR) has agreed not to compete with the black community's Share newspaper for the 93.5 slot . In return, Share is supporting AVR's application for the 106.5 Fm and 740 AM slots and has agreed, if gets the licence, to give AVR Can $2millionin benefits from its 93.5 operation over seven years.
Milestone Radio, another black-owned company which has applied for but been refused two other FM outlets in recent years, is also applying for the 93.5 FM slot.
AVR, which would call its new station JUMP!FM if it gets the licence, says the 740 AM slot is especially useful to them because it can reach 24 native reserves in Southern Ontario as well as the 70,000 native people living in Toronto.
Globe and Mail report
January 7, 2000: Canada's broadcast regulator has renewed the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's licence for another seven years but is demanding changes which CBC President Robert Rabinovitch says would cost some Can $50 million a year more than CBC can afford.
Rabinovitch who only took office on November ( RNW Nov 26th on CBC cut-backs )) says the money just isn't available to make the changes.
Francoise Bertrand, chairwoman of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission said it was up to the CBC to make ends meet although she did admit that the changes culd cut CBC advertising revenue.
The commission has said the CBC must reflect all communities in the country, re-instate regional weekend news shows which it cut as an economy measure. It also demanded more regional arts programming and a reduction of professional sports coverage in favour of boosting amateur sports programmes.
Over recent years, the CBC has already had to deal with both increased competition and major cuts in government funding -- some quarter of its budget was cut leading it to slash foreign bureaux, reduce domestic news cover and cut some 1500 full time staff.
Commenting upon the Commission report in the Toronto Globe and Mail, former CBC President, former CRTC chairman and current World Radio and Television Council chairman, Pierre Juneau, agrees with many of the proposals but recognises the funding problems. Overall he says the Corporation does need reform but it is crucial to aim high and refuse to be satisfied with the current compromises the CBC faces.
Globe and Mail on CBC response
January 6, 2000: CBC Radio has cancelled an appearance by Nova Scotia musician Ashley MacIsaac on a new Saturday afternoon show because of concerns about the "predictability of his performance" following a New Year's Eve performance in a Halifax nightclub, before a mostly teenaged audience, which consisted almost entirely of a profanity-laden rant.
The promoters of the Halifax performance, Give It to Me Large, are negotiating to recover some, if not all of the $10,000 it paid Mr. MacIsaac for his show.
Toronto Globe and Mail report
January 6, 2000: Use of a digital technology, called Cash, to speed up the speed of presenters speech and thus create more time for commercials on US radio stations may have gladdened the advertising managers but it has also upset listeners according to a report in the New York Times.
The paper says that Rush Limbaugh received thousands of E-mails asking why there were more commercials during his show, puzzling him because he was talking exactly as he had done.
It turned out that, without his knowledge, WABC listeners were hearing the speeded-up version which is created when cash removes little bits of silences between words.
The technology is being used by some 50 stations , some of whom are adding up to four minutes of commercials an hour; At one they even went up to the maximum six minutes the technology could handle but then pulled back.
The change was described by Limbaugh to the Times as spelling "potential doom to the radio industry".
He said he doesn't waste pauses, he uses them for emphasis.In addition,.
Limbaugh, who receives part of the advertising revenue raised during his program, said he was concerned about advertisers' perception of Cash. "Nobody is going to listen to a radio program where 30 of every 60 minutes is advertising, And no advertiser wants to be sandwiched in between six other commercials. But of course, to the technology nerds, this is a fascinating device."
Although some radio executives say the impact of Cash technology is imperceptible to listeners, some advertising executives say that increasing the number of commercials makes each one less effective.
Other critics say that jamming in too many ads is swiftly apparent to listeners and the growth in commercials may end up eating away the audience. According to Arbitron, time spent listening has fallen by more than ten per cent in the last decade.
James Duncan, president of Duncan's American Radio, a Cincinnati-based broadcasting industry consulting group, said that as deregulation has loosened the industry's limits on commercials, their number has jumped to 20 commercials an hour, from about a dozen.
Phil Boyce, the program director of New York's WABC-AM the only New York station to experiment with Cash, said that the station used Cash because there was an unprecedented demand for commercial inventory. "When you're in a sold-out situation, you look for any way possible to manage more advertising,"
Mr. Boyce said. Because of sensitivity to listeners and Mr. Limbaugh, WABC has suspended its use of Cash for the time being.
Kraig T. Kitchin, the president and chief operating officer of Premiere Radio Networks, the subsidiary of Clear Channel that distributes "The Rush Limbaugh Show," said he had studied Cash to see if its speed had any adverse affects on Mr. Limbaugh's ratings and found that it did not.
He called Cash's innovation inevitable
** Cash technology was introduced by Prime Image, a Silicon Valley technology company, as an offshoot of its Time Machine, which compresses TV audio and visual signals to make more time for commercials on live programming. The Time Machine has been bought by more than 250 TV stations but its impact has been less on TV both because technically it cannot 'save' as much time and also because Tv executives are more sensitive to commercial "clutter".
New York Times report
January 6, 1999: The Los Angeles Times reports positively on L.A's newest radio station, Spanish -language VIVA 107 which took over English-language KLYY-FM ( RNW Dec 10 ).
Viva, says the report, has positioned itself strategically between KLVE-FM (Romantic Pop and ballads) and KSSE-FM (youth dance and pop).
It adds that already KLVE-FM has modified its format to include upbeat dance and pop.
LA Times report
January 6, 2000: The Chicago Tribune reports the surprise resignation of Weezie Kramer from her position as general manager of WJMJ-FM.
She is to become regional vice-president of Entercom which owns some 90 radio stations, although none in Chicago where she will remain based.
Kramer , who was also a 'market captain' for Infinity broadcasting in Chicago, had been considered a rising star in Infinity which owns WJMJFM and is in turn controlled by CBS.
Following her departure, WJMJ-FM will be run on an interim basis by veteran Chicago broadcasting executive and Infinity Broadcasting co-chief operating officer John Gehron.
Kramer's move comes as WJMK is in a tough ratings battle with another 'oldies' sation, AMFM Inc's WUBT-FM.
Chicago Tribune report
January 6, 2000: The Boston Globe "Radio Tracks" report features Joanne Doody, program director of ' WXRV-FM (92.5), one of a small group of women involved in management in Boston radio stations.
She says that her sex didn't seem to be an issue when she joined WXRV after being a disc-jockey at WFNX-FM for ten years.
Her station has a high proportion of female listeners but she defends her decision to keep the male presenters for the station's drive-time slots.
''I just think that there are certain parts of the day when certain voices and personalities sound better,'' Doody is quoted as saying.. ''I like men for the drive-time positions."
She adds that she likes women for midday and nighttime.
In addition to being in charge of hiring and training on-air staff , Doody hosts her own show from noon to 1pm on weekdays with a ''free-form lunch format ,'' during which she plays a much wider, often listener-inspired, range of output than is normal.
Boston Globe report
January 5, 2000: The UK Guardian carries an obituary of Prudence Smith, the South-African born radio producer and writer, who has died aged 76.
She began her radio career on the BBC's Third Programme (now Radio 3) at a time when its mission was to persuade leading figures in the arts and humanities to talk intelligibly to an audience.
Her programmes included one by Michael Ventris in which he announced that he had deciphered Minoan script and others by authors such as Iris Murdoch and Jean Paul Sartre.
In the 1950's she was responsible for programmes featuring African leaders such as Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Patrice Lumumba and Albert Luthuli.
After a spell with the Africa division of Longmans, the publishers, she returned to the BBC as production director of the UK Open University, was founded by Harold Wilson's Labour government in the 1970s.
She then went freelance but her career remained linked to education as she started an educational radio station in Thailand, worked for the Intenrational Extension College in Somalia and Zambia and then returned to South Africa to help train black educational radio producers.
UK Guardian obituary
January 5, 2000: US radio executives are facing problems because of complications in Arbitron's new system to process the diaries that listeners use to record their habits.
This means that the quarterly Arbitron ratings survey, which is the main factor in determining advertising rates, will be delayed until February instead of being released as due on January 12th.
The delay means that stations whose ratings have risen may lose revenue or vice-versa.
It also means headaches for companies making their start of year media buying decisions.
Arbitron say there was a problem with new software designed to improve the quality of diary editing and make the system Y"K compliant.
January 4, 2000: US "techies" will soon be able to listen to software news on their car radios as wel as listen to it off the Internet following an announcement by technology news and information company CNET Inc and Dallas-based broadcaster AMFM Inc that they are to create CNET Radio, an all-technology format service.
The station will be launched this month on ANFM's KNEW San Francisco AM station and the two parents will share advertising revenue from the station.
Later it's planned to extend the format to other AMFM stations across the US.
AMFM, which owns 440 radio stations , will promote the new service on its six other stations in the San Francisco area . The station will also be broadcast as streaming audio on a companion Web-station, www.cnetradio.com.
The arrangement comes as AMFM is being taken over by Clear Channel Communications Inc in a deal which will create the world's biggest radio broadcaster.
CNET has already made some steps into traditional media in partnership with NBC.
CNET Internet radio
January 4, 2000: The Los Angeles Times conjures up memories of radio-times past in a report on the Thousand Oaks Library Foundation's Children's Radio Theatre.
The foundation was formed in 1963 and has gifted some $2million to the library, securing it one of the largest collections of radio memorabilia in southern California.
Now it's gone a stage further; realising that it's not possible nowadays to entrance Californian children with weekly radio drama the tables were turned with a decision to use radio scripts to help educate them.
Following the trail of the Beverly Hill Museum of Television and Radio's "Recreating Radio Children's Workshop" they staged a production using a "Lone Ranger" script updated by Tony Palermo of Los Angeles who writes scripts for the Beverly Hill Museum's children's radio theatre.
Palermo, who directed the show, said that although most of the children had limited knowledge of radio drama they were quick to pick it up and were in love with the medium by the end of the show.
Los Angeles Times report
January 2, 2000: A Californian public radio station, KRRRW-FM at Santa Monica, is plugging its pledge drive by suggesting it's an alternative dating service.
A station promo mention for its February drive mentions three marriages that have resulted from pledge drives.
The station says it can understand how it happened since the drives are a place for singles to meet.
:January 2, 2000 : Jim Kirk's Media Talk Column in the Chicago Tribune carries a story featuring the scenes at all-news radio station WBBM-AM 780, as 1999 became 2000.
The column makes a point of noting the advantage for radio, in an emergency , of not being dependent upon receivers with mains power.
In the event the power stayed on in Chicago but the station still treated it as a chance to show off its strengths and try some new approaches.
They included a round-robin approach where individual reporters threw to another reporter rather than back to the studio anchors.
Planning the night had started two months back and on-duty staff included three producers , five writers, eight anchors and 12 reporters on the street covering for WBBM and sister station WMAQ-AM 670
Chicago Tribune report
January 1, 2000: US National Public Radio in what the Los Angeles Times terms an exercise sure to start arguments among music lovers" has created its list of what some 13000 of its listeners and its panel of 15 musicians considers the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century.
The list was culled from 300 suggested to NPR and voted on by listeners as well as judged by the panel , the combined vote deciding upon the final selection.
The works were chosen not on the quality of the item as such but because each signalled a breakthrough in some way, introduced a new voice, or caught the mood of an era.
NPR will feature one piece each Monday for a year on "all Things Considered" and other programmes will feature the remainder.
Los Angeles Times (full link expired)
January 1, 2000: GWR, the UK Radio group which has just completed its purchase of Classic-FM, has now announced a bid for Worcester-based Wyvern Radio.
The bid, worth just under £4million, has already been accepted by Wyvern's board and by Capital Radio who together hold nearly 60 per cent of the company.
The deal could face regulatory scrutiny from the Radio Authority because GWR already owns Severn Sound, based in the same area.
January 1, 2000: Radio- or at least audio - gets a boost in a start of year television report by John Allemang in the Toronto Globe and Mail. Citing the assassination of John F Kennedy as the point at which change began, he notes that at the time news broke on radio and even the announcement of Kennedy's death on CBS was audio only. Things changed two days later with the shooting on-camera of Lee Harvey Oswald and the world of news changed.
Globe and Mail report
**RNW Note -- And as you will all be aware the situation is still the same. CNN's first Baghdad reports at the beginning of the Gulf War were audio and there's still a lot of television without pictures backing up the audio. Except maybe where the audio describes the pictures, sometimes over the pictures if it has them!
Back to top
31, 2000: Demographic changes have lead to two more Los Angeles radio
stations being switched to Spanish programming.
This follows the rebirth of KLYY-FM as VIVA 107 (See RNW Jan 6th).
They are KACE-FM and KRTO-FM, former simulcast R&B stations.
They're are being acquired from Cox Radio for $75 million by Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, the largest owner of Spanish-language stations in the U.S.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the new stations won't be on air until the acquisition is formalised and the new owners have decided upon the format which is likely to be music.
The death of KACE, formerly Los Angeles' biggest R&B station leaves nearly 20 employees looking for work and only one R& B station in the area.
This is Stevie Wonder's KJLH-FM which has a much weaker signal.
Hispanic Broadcasting already owns KSCA-FM (talk and music), KLVE- (music) KTNQ-AM (talk) in the Los Angles area.
Los Angeles Times takeover story.
Los Angeles Times R&B farewell
January 31, 2000: Hearings start today for four radio licences for the Toronto region to be issued by the Canadian Radio,Television and Telecommunications Commission. They're for three FM and one AM frequency and applicants include organisations from Canada's native and black communities ( RNW Jan 7th. ).
January 31, 2000: In articles coinciding with the start of Greg Dyke's spell as BBC Director General, and pegged to his interview on the BBC TV Breakfast with Frost show on Sunday, British newspapers take varying views of his appointment and prospects but none are uncritical.
The Guardian in an article headlined "Twelve Good reasons to worry about future of the BBC" starts on a pretty firm line with the suggestion that it's time to sack the Corporation's board.
It backs this up with noting that they had raised no questions with him about his business dealings (See RNW Jan 20 about his shareholding in the Granada Group).
It quotes an open letter written by Will Wyatt, former chief executive of BBC Broadcast who said of his shareholding, "The business of your Granada shares shows that you have not yet quite got the point. The BBC is different."
The Times ( part of the Murdoch empire which also controls BSKyB and has keenly investigated Dyke's business activities ) is also critical --about the interview, the board, and asks the sticky question of how the BBC will pay for things in future.
It suggests that privatisation might be the answer.
The Times site (RNW note -a rather poor one)
January 31, 2000: London-based Capital Radio becomes a national broadcaster this week with the launch of its digital station, Life, a contemporary music channel. Life will be broadcast on Digital One , the UK national commercial radio network.
Capital has amassed 18 digital licences over the UK although at the moment receivers are few and far between.
January 30, 2000: KSRK-FM in the "Rose City"( Portland, Oregon), is being pursued by lawyers for calling itself "Rosie 105".
The lawyers for Warner Brothers and Telepictures who produce and distribute talk show host Rosie O'Donnel's TV show say that station is capitalising on her name.
The station says its name relates to Portland's nickname.
January 30, 2000: The Los Angeles Times reports on the return to Los Angeles primetime airwaves of Michael Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan. He'll be broadcasting in the afternoon drive slot on KIEV-AM.
Reagan had not been off the air -- his "Michael Reagan Show" has been syndicated to around 200 stations but had been bumped to a midnight slot by Kiev in September last year.
Los Angeles Times report
January 29, 2000:The US Federal Communications Commission has reversed a ruling in December that programming "primarily devoted to religious exhortation, proselytizing, or statements of personally held religious views "did not count as educational.
The ruling would only have affected a few religious stations which have non-commercial licences but led to strenuous objections from right-wingers and religious broadcasters including Jerry Falwell. The non-commercial licences require that at least half of programming is devoted to a community's educational. instructional or cultural needs.
New guidelines including the definition were issued after the FCC considered a Pittsburgh case in which a PBS station wanted to swap one of its non-commercial stations with a religious broadcaster. ( RNW Dec 15th )
January 29, 2000: The Sydney Morning Herald carries a report today by former ABC journalist David Marr looking forward to the return of Alan Jones and John Laws to Sydney's airwaves ( RNW Jan 28th ). It speculates on how far Laws in particular will be able to resist continuing plugs, and examines the two broadcasters careers and personalities.
Sydney Morning Herald report
Previous Jones ; Previous Laws ; Previous cash-for-comment
January 29, 2000: The New York Times reporting on the new US low power stations authorised by the FCC ( RNW Jan 21st ) says there's a good chance they " will at least begin to make American radio more lively, interesting and diverse."
It then credits pirate stations for having already created a lively micro-radio movement, which grew it says because of FCC policy of not allowing small transmitters and permitting major consolidation of existing stations.
It concludes that the success of the new plan could be measured by how many pirates stay on the air.
New York Times report
January 29, 2000: The UK Daily Telegraph carries a rebuttal by Bob Shennan, Head of Sport at BBC Production of a recent feature which said that Kelvin MacKenzie's conversion of his talk station to talkSport had rattled the BBC.
Shennan says that Radio5 live is a BBC success story with six million people tuning in regularly.
He adds that each Saturday more people tune in to the station's Sport on Five programme than talkSport manages in a week.
* Talk Sport, headed by Kelvin MacKenzie, has been spending heavily on rights. ( RNW Jan 25th)
UK Telegraph report
January 29, 2000:The UK radio and media group Chrysalis is seeking to raise nearly £30 million from a new issue of 1.5million shares.
Chrysalis whose radio holdings include Heart FM wants the money to invest in internet businesses' it already runs Chrysalis Radio Online.
January 29, 2000: Former BBC broadcaster Jean Metcalfe, has died aged 76. Her career began during the second world war when she was on "Forces Favourites" which she later compered with her husband-to-be Cliff Michelmore . It continued up to the late 1970's when she presented "If you think you've got problems" She is survived by her husband and children.
UK Guardian obituary
UK Telegraph obituary
January 28,2000: The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that Halifax, Nova Scotia, rock station Q-104 has run a three hour radio-thon in aid of Cape Breton rock star Ashley MacIsaac, prompted by reports that he was in financial trouble.
Unfortunately for MacIsaac's finances, at the end of the show they'd only raised pledges of just over a dollar plus various pledges in kind including a sack of "gold coins2 without the chocolate filling.
Globe and Mail report
January 28th, 2000: Australian talk radio hosts Alan Jones and John Laws, at the centre of the "cash-for-comment" scandal (RNW Decemberand November 1999), return to the 2UE airwaves in Sydney on Monday next week.. First up with his breakfast show will be Jones with Laws following later in the day. The report on the affair from the Australian Broadcasting Commission is due in February.
January 28, 2000: A small group of around 20 people, including such BBC luminaries as Alan Yentob and Tony Hall, bade farewell toSir John Birt, the outgoing BBC Director- General, as he left the corporation tonight.
Elsewhere it was reported that a group of BBC staff had set up their own farewell - an "On Yer Bike" party.
Birt, who is soon to become Lord Birt, spent 13 years at the Corporation and there seems little agreement amongst his supporters and detractors upon the effects of his tenure.
The detractors, many of whom left the Corporation during those years voluntarily or involuntarily, generally feel he made the BBC a much greyer place with bureaucracy, number-crunching and consultants squeezing out creativity.
His supporters say he modernised the corporation and thus saved it when the then-Conservative government might have dismantled it.
RNW Note-- Among the items in The Listener, produced by the BBC this week (as a one-off online edition of the printed magazine which died nine years ago), is a report on Birt's effect on the BBC. The magazine is worth a look at but is predominantly print and in our view has missed a great chance to also link to more audio:
The Listener magazine
Article on Birt
January 27, 2000:A Berlin court has ruled that a public access radio station can take a neo-Nazi radio programme off the air because it violated laws against hate speech. The show, called "Radio Germania " was broadcast once a month and featured information on neo-Nazi activities and often contained anti-Semitic comments.
January 27, 2000: Incoming BBC Director-General Greg Dyke has come under attack for his involvement with a property company whose board he joined after accepting the BBC post.
The BBC said there was no breach of its conflict of influence guidelines but opposition politicians , who were critical of him because he had donated £50,000 to the ruling Labour Party, said this was another example of poor judgement.
January 27, 2000: The Washington Post reports the death aged 98 of a pioneering US communications engineer, Raymond Wilmotte.
Born in Paris and educated at Cambridge University in England, Wilmotte first moved to the US to work on blind landing equipment for aircraft but moved to broadcast engineering when his employer ran into trouble.
In the early 1930s he designed, installed and put into operation the first AM station directional broadcast antenna in Tampa where the FCC had been prepared to terminate a station's broadcast license because of interference its signals were causing with a station in Milwaukee.
During the second World War he worked on direction finding systems for aieports and radar and after that he worked as a consultant before a spell with RCA working on development of a communications satellite.
In the 1970s he became a full time FCC consultant where amongst other things he was directed a UHF task force whose accomplishments included development of a high-performance tuner that permitted greater use of the UHF spectrum.
Washington Post obituary
January 27, 2000: The BBC Radio 4 "sex in a shower" episode of the Archers (RNW Jan 23 ) turned out to be more steam and searching for soap than sex.
Prior to the episode advance publicity had led to its condemnation by Conservative MP Julian Brazier
Fans can try the links below:
Archers programme link
Official fan club
January 27th: A survey commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation shows that 90 per cent of respondents thought it did a good or very good job compared to less than 45 per cent saying the same about commercial television in Australia.
Less than ten per cent thought the ABC performance poor in presenting balanced news and current affairs.
Following the poll , the ABC managing director Brian Johns released a statement drawing attention to the results, particularly regarding bias. ( RNW Jan 22nd. re ABC Triennial budget)
January 27, 2000: The UK Broadcasting Standards Commission has criticised Liverpool Radio City DJ KevSeed for allowing a schoolboy to make offensive comments about a named teacher on his breakfast show. The teacher complained and the commission said thet station had been wrong to allow the naming of the teacher and school, had treated her unfairly and unwarantably infringed her privacy
January 26, 2000: Kentucky-based Regent Communications Inc had an auspicious launch on the NASDAQ exchange when their shares rose more than 40 per cent on the first day of trading.
The initial offering was 16million shares priced at $8.50 and they ended at $12.
The company focuses on radio stations in small and medium sized markets
January 26, 2000: Scottish Radio Holdings is the only applicant for the Edinburgh area local digital multiplex licence to be awarded in spring by the Radio Authority.
The application has been submitted by subsidiary company Score Digital which wants to broadcast 8 music programme services commencing in October from four transmission sites.
The licence was advertised to run for 12 years from the start of broadcasts.
Previous Scottish Radio
January 26, 2000: Sport, it seems, is not an all consuming interest in Chicago where the Chicago Tribune reports that WXRT has opted not to broadcast the Super Bowl this year but stick with its music output.
In past two years it has done a simulcast of the Super Bowl along with sister sports station WSCR-AM but it appears the audience just didn't follow along.
The Tribune also reports on a bid by WMTH, a radio station run by thee high schools and celebrating its 40th year , to up its power from 15 watts to 100 watts.
The station is to approach ther Federal Communications Commission to request the upgrade and in the meantime is doing its best to increase and upgrade its programming to further the application.
At one of the stations, Maine East where transmissions began, a claim to fame is that a superstar-to-be named Harrison Ford sat behind the microphone and read the sports. Currently programming rotates between the three high schools in Maine with content ranging from music to news, sports and weather.
Chicago Tribune WXRT report
Chicago Tribune schools station report
January 25, 2000: In a report in the UK Independent, David Lister, reviews Kelvin McKenzie's broadcasting career, described as a series of expensive failures, and does not hold out strong hopes for talkSport, the sports station he has created from his former Talk station.
One paragraph is particularly telling: " That holds for his latest incarnation, at what was until earlier this month Talk Radio. MacKenzie's idiosyncratic use of language is not failing him. "The British public loves sport," he declares in his latest press release announcing the change of Talk Radio to talkSPORT. RAJAR listening figures "prove", he says, that: "We are already winning a new, younger, up-market, more attractive audience." Well, they may or may not be more attractive. For the rest of it, MacKenzie is talking through his wireless. "
In another choice sentence Lister says MacKenzie " characteristically confuses the necessary abrasiveness and challenging dialogue of radio discussion with yobbishness"
Lister later however, adds that it may not matter all that much to MacKenzie nor Rupert Murdoch, who owns a fifth of the station. They may, he says, want to use the station as a means of buying up as many sports rights as possible, and sharing them between Sky and talkSPORT in a long-term battle against the BBC.
*RNW note: Even if this is not so, Talk Sport has obtained the radio rights for this weekend's Mike Tyson v Julius Francis boxing at a figure reputed to be more an £100,000 compared to Radio 5's offer of less than half that. Sky has the television rights.
UK Independent report
RNW add: In a move that may be significant for sports broadcasting (see previous item), the Football Association has sent a letter to clubs reminding them that exclusive rights for live broadcasts of FA Cup matches have been sold to broadcasters.
The letter is significant because many clubs broadcast commentaries on their matches on their websites as a service to their fans and strict enforcement of the rules would mean this would have to cease.
RNW note 2: This matter could be particularly significant to Kelvin McKenzie. Before he converted Talk Radio into a sports format, the station had offered a sports service, Talksport.net on a website of UK sports coverage. The webcast was then described as the UK's first all-sport radio station.
January 25, 2000: Las Vegas based Citadel Communications Corporation is purchasing Illinois-based Bloomingdale Broadcasting for $176 million in cash. With the 20 stations it is acquiring, Citadel will now have approaching 200 stations.
January 25, 2000: BBC Radio 5 live found out a problem in being live yesterday when presnter Nicky Campbell was folled into putting live on air an imposter purporting to be the new world indoor bowls champion Robert Weale. The imposter, who was introduced as a new British champion said he'd "won for Wales" and then proceeded to attack the English. The real Robert Weale, who had been invited to go on the show phoned around ten minutes later only to be told he'd already been broadcast.
January 25, 2000: In another broadcaster-internet tie up, US AMFM and traffic.com Inc which provides real-time traffic and logistics information have announced an agreement under which traffic.com will act nationally for part of AMFM's active information spot inventory and also provide traffic reports to AMFM's Philadelphia stations beginning in April.
AMFM on its part will gain promotin and advertising time on AMFM stations. Additionally AMFM has received warrants to purchase a minority equity stake in traffic.com.
January 24, 2000: Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America have trimmed their Serbian language broadcasts --boosted when NATO begain ita war over Kosovo.
They are now back to around the level they were before the war started. Despite an increase in financial support for the 'democratisation' of Serbia by the Clinton administration there was no increase in the radio stations' budgets.
RFE still broadcasts more than ten hours a day in Serbian, down from some thirteen hours.
VOA has also cut back its Serbian broadcasts by about 15 mins from 2hrs 45 minutes but broadcasting in Albanin has been trimmed more, down to half its previous three and a half hours. daily.
January 24, 2000: The Washington Post reports on efforts by Lanham-based Radio One Inc, the US's largest African-American owned public company, to become a national radio empire.
The radio empire was dominated for years by Catherine L Hughes who started it in 1980 when she financed a takeover of WOL-1450 AM with 1.5m dollars of seed money and bank loans.
Over the years she build it into a chain which, including pending acquisitions now controls 27 stations.
She is now its chairwoman but has handed over her son Alfred C. Liggins III who is president and chief executive. Together they own more than a quarter of the company and nearly two thirds of its voting shares.
The company is growing at a faster rate than industry giants such as larger networks such as Clear Channel Communications Inc. and Infinity Broadcasting Corp.
Its shares soared by more than 150% last year to take its value to around $1.5billion.
But although analysts and businessmen approve of the way the company is going, the Post quotes some of its longtime listeners as saying that with the business success and orientation the chain has lost much of its community flavour.
Washington Post report
January 23, 2000: The UK Independent speculates today about who is likely to take over as controller of BBC Radio 4 following the departure of controller James Boyle (RNW Jan 16).
Although the post will be advertised ,most favoured are three women BBC insiders, Helen Boaden, head of current affairs, Anna Carrocher, head of broadcasting at BBC Northern Ireland, and Anne Morrison, the head of features and events with Boaden heading the list. Two male BBC staff, Ron Liddle, editor of the 'Today' programme and Mark Damazer, head of political programmes for BBC news are also in the running.
On a different note, the long-running (49 years) Radio 4 series, the Archers, is engaged in controversy because of a decisionto include an explicit sex in a shower scene next Thursday . The participants are Sid Perks, the married-but-bored pub landlord, and Jolene, the local temptress.
UK Independent report
January 23, 2000: In Chicago, Michael Fowler, has jumped ship from WUBT-FM, the AMFM-owned Jammin Oldies station to become general manager of rival WJMK-FM.
At his former station he'd helped WUBT become a major competitor to his new station.
January 22, 2000 :In an editorial, the Boston Globe generally welcomes the US FCC decision to allow new low power radio stations. ( RNW Jan 21st )
The National Association of Broadcasters, issued, the paper says, a statement reading ''This FCC has chosen advancement of social engineering over spectrum integrity,'It's a sad day for radio listeners.''
The paper adds, "It could get sadder still if the association mounts a legal challenge" saying that a decision to close down the small voices would not be a good solution.
In her report on the reaction to the decision, the Globe's radio writer Clea Simon says local public-access radio community is excited and cautiously optimistic about the decision.
In the Boston area, Stephen Proviser, founder of Radio Free Allston and director of the citywide Citizens' Media Corp. estimates there could be two to three new 100-watt stations (range 5.5 km, 3.5miles) and several 1-10 watt stations with a smaller reach.
Proviser added that he hoped for collaboration between groups to share air time when new licences are issued.
Boston Globe editorial
Clea Simon report.
Previous Clea Simon ;Previous FCC
January 22, 2000: The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has asked for an extra Aus$160 million over the next three years to fund its digital television plans and boost Australian content.
But, adds the paper, the request comes as discussions over the corporation's new triennial funding agreement have highlighted tension between the government and the ABC over its independence.
The opposition spokesman on communications, Stephen Smith, told the paper he was deeply concerned by a letter from the Communications Minister ( RNW Jan 20th ) seeking a performance agreement as part of the deal. He, and others, saw the letter as an attempt to influence the broadcaster's independence.
Sydney Morning Herald report
January 22, 2000: An English local radio station has come up with an antidote to the usual St Valentine's day offerings.
Where other stations in the past have promoted romance or blind-date marriages, Key 103 in Manchester is offering a free divorce.
Listeners will vote on marital woe stories broadcast on the station's breakfast show with the winners getting solicitors fees paid for their divorce plus a separate "divorcemoon" each to celebrate the parting. Couples with children are being excluded from the contest.
January 22, 2000: Incoming BBC director-general Greg Dyke apparently has more money than he knew about.
Following his sale of various shareholdings which might give rise to a conflict of interest
( RNW Jan 20th re sale of £6m of Granada shares), he's been reminded by former employer Pearsons that it's still holding around £175,000 worth of shares in his name. They were acquired as part of a management bonus scheme and cannot be sold until summer 2001.
Dyke had already sold his l holding of Pearson shares worth around £800,000. He has asked the company to hold the shares in trust until they can be sold and then give profits to charity.
January 21, 2000: The Australian newspaper reports that the country's Federal Government wants state broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to enter a programming and performance related agreement with the government as part of its new funding arrangements.
It says a letter from Communications Minister Richard Alston to ABC chairman Donald McDonald includes suggestions on budget allocations including a relationship to the likely ratings for programmes and also for more open information about revenues the ABC can generate for itself. It also wants the corporation to be more open about the amount of programming sub-contracted to outside producers and how much more material could be bought in.
The Australian report
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