September 2000 personalities:
Jenny Abramsky - Director of BBC Radio and Music ; Frank Ahrens -(2)-Washington Post media writer; Sue Arnold - (2) -UK Observer radio columnist; Peter Barnard -(4) UK Times radio columnist; Oliver Barry -(3)- former chief executive of Century Communications Ireland (collapsed 1991); James Boyle - former controller BBC Radio 4; Helen Boaden -controller BBC Radio 4; Bob Brynteson - former WLIT, Chicago, morning host ; Declan Burke -(2) -Columnist on Irish Radio for UK Sunday Times; Ray Burke -(3) former Fianna Fáil (Ireland) minister responsible for communications; Martin Campbell - Director of programming and advertising, UK Radio Authority; Jimmy de Castro- former AMFM Inc CEO and radio group President, now CEO of Ultimate Inc: Bob Collins- director general, RTÉ, Ireland ; Sean Connolly - former secretary of the Irish Independent Radio and Television Commission; Alistair Cooke- Journalist and BBC broadcaster; Prof. Farrel Corcoran - former chairman, RTÉ, Ireland; Dermot Desmond - Irish financier, involved in Century radio ; Tim Disa -Chicago radio veteran and founder of CopyWap.com; Paul Donovan- (2) -U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Michael Enright -former host of CBC Radio's current affairs show, This Morning; Howard Eskin - host, WIP-AM, Philadelphia; Antonio Ibarra Farina - CEO-designate of planned Mexican radio company,Grupo Acir-Radiopolis ; Lucille Fletcher - US writer and radio dramatist (deceased); Alex Frame - vice-president of CBC Radio; Eddie Fritts - President and Chief Executive Officer, US National Association of Broadcasters ; Harold W. Furchtgott-Roth -(2) - Commissioner, US FCC; John R. Gambling - (2)-former morning host, WOR-AM, New York (fired); JoAnn Genette -WLIT, Chicago, morning co-host; Charles Giddens - trustee appointed to handle the remainingClear Channel--AMFM disposals required by regulators; Senator Rod Grams -(3)-Republican, Minnesota(introduced Low Power FM Bill into Senate); Ray Hadley - commentator, 2UE , Sydney; Patrick Hanratty SC - (3)- counsel for Flood Tribunal, Ireland; Thomas Hicks - vice-chairman of Clear Channel and former chairman and CEO of AMFM ; Professor Ray Hills - former head of the UK Independent Broadcasting Authority's Communications Services divisionand technical adviser to Century Radio, Ireland; Sue Howard -(2) - Director of Radio. ABC, Australia; John Ivey - program director, WXKS Boston (Kiss) ; Zemira Jones - president and general manager, WMVP-AM, Chicago ; William Kennard - Chairman US Federal Communications Commission ; Iskandar Khatloni- correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Tajik Service (died after being attacked in Moscow) ; Peter James - head of Australian Broadcastiong Corporation's Classic FM network; Terry Jaymes - Terry of the "Lex and Terry Morning Radio Network.", US; Alan Jones -Sydney UE breakfast host; Colum Kenny- member of Irish Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC); Jim Kirk --(2)-former Chicago Tribune media columnist, now marketing columnist; Liza Kliman - Independent radio producer, UK ; Michael Laffan - former chief executive of (now defunct) Century Radio,Ireland; Matthew Lasar - US author of book on Pacifica Network; John Laws - Sydney 2UE morning host; Rush Limbaugh - Conservative US talk-show host; Francisco Ibarra Lopez - president-designate of planned Mexican radio company,Grupo Acir-Radiopolis ; Larry Lujack - Chicago veteran disc jockey; Kelvin MacKenzie -(4) -head of U.K. Wireless Group; John McGuigan - chairman, Spike Networks, Australia; P.J. Mara -former Fianna Fáil press secretary(involved in Fkood Tribunal hearings in Ireland); David Margolese - Chief Executive Office,Sirius Satellite Radio; Lowry Mays -(2)- Chairman and Chief Executive,Clear Channel ; George McFly - US DJ ; Mary Anne Meyers - former WLIT, Chicago, morning co-host; Susan Mitten - director of English radio programming, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Susan Ness- US Federal Communications Commissioner; Denis O'Brien -Irish businessman -founder of Communicorps);; Jane O'Hara - managing director, UK radio ratings organisation RAJAR:'s; Paul O'Higgins SC - counsel at Flood Tribunal for Irish state broadcaster,RTÉ ; Kenneth J. O'Keefe - President and Chief Operating Office of Clear Channel Communications ; Michael O'Keeffe - chief executive Irish Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC); John Ousby - director of Ginger Online, the digital development arm of Ginger Media Group, UK: Hugh Panero - president and CEO, XM Satellite Radio ;Paul Peterson -WLIT, Chicago, morning host ; Michael Powell -(2) -US Federal Communications Commission Commissioner; Shelagh Rogers -incoming host of CBC Radio's"This Morning" ; Sean Ross - group editor of Airplay Monitor, US ; Dr Laura Schlessinger -(3) -Conservative U.S. talk show host; Jonathon Shier- managing director Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Clea Simon- writer on radio for the Boston Globe/New York Times ; Bob Snyder -station manager,WMVP-AM, Chicago ; Lex Staley - Lex of the "Lex and Terry Morning Radio Network.,US "; James Stafford -(3) -co-founder of Century Radio(Ireland); Howard Stern - US shock jock; Kathy Stinehour - General Manager WUBT-FM, "The Beat",Chicago; Godfey Talbot - former BBC correspondent (deceased); Gloria Tristani - Commissioner, US FCC; Ed Walsh --veteran US broadcaster joining WOR-AM, New York, as Morning Host; Paddy Wright - chairman of Irish state broadcaster RTÉ;
Numbers in brackets indicate the number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once
September 2000 Archive
Prime Radio Stations
2000-09-23: Only around 50 demonstrators turned up for protests in San Francisco as retired General Colin Powell delivered the keynote address to the National Association of Broadcasters' Radio Show.
Some were demonstrating in support of Low Power FM radio, others against Powell for his military role in the Gulf War against Iraq a decade ago.
In the speech, Powell concentrated on how broadcasters can inspire American youth through showing good examples and also called for broadcasters to clean up their act.
He said he wasn't urging censorship but things were now heard on the radio, which would not have been a decade ago, "Things that are rough, crude, dirty and filthy."
" Then we hear our kids repeat them and wonder where they picked that up. If adults find that acceptable, so will children."
Previous NAB :
NAB web site (links to show promos etc)
2000-09-23: Problems of sports rights have forced the BBC to end a satellite radio feed over Europe because listeners in Europe and Ireland were able to listen to the signal.
The BBC analogue satellite covered BBC Radios 1,2,3,4 and 5 but the main problem was with Radio 5 Live because it only had sports rights for the UK.
2000-09-23: The value of radio spectrum continues to rocket with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announcing that its 700Mhz "Guard Band" auction had raised nearly $520 million for the 96 licences sold.
This is around five times the original estimate.
The winning companies will be able to sub-divide and sell-on the spectrum they have purchases, an approach which FCC Chairman William E. Kennard calls "an innovative and efficient approach to spectrum management."
The auction began on September and went through 66 rounds with a total of 104 licences on offer in 52 major economic areas.
The eight licences not sold will become part of a future auction.
FCC announcement :
2000-09-23: Iskandar Khatloni, a Moscow-based correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Tajik Service, has died in a Moscow hospital from head wounds received when he was attacked in the city.
Khatloni, had worked at RFE/RL since 1996 before which he was a BBC correspondent for ten years.
He had been working on stories about human rights abuses in Chechnya.
Radio Free Europe news release :
2000-09-22: The National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) Convention inSan Francisco has started off without significant action from protesters who're against its opposition to Low Power FM.
A planned four-hour protest on Wednesday was over in much less time with only a few dozen taking part.
A larger demonstration is planned during the convention's keynote address today (too late for our deadline).
Amongst the topics on the agenda are a number concerning the impact of changing technology on radio and research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shows that traditional radio stations could be under threat according to a Reuters report in the New York Times.
It quotes Barry Vercoe, a professor of Music and Media Arts as saying that the emergence of technology such as MP3's could sink many broadcasters unless they adapt speedily.
"Technology has created higher consumer expectations,'' Vercoe told the conference.
"Consumers have shown they will move forward with or without the industry.''
Other speakers felt that the technology could offer opportunities to broadcasters.
Robert Kozinets, a business professor at Northwestern University, told the NAB conference he saw radio becoming more communal and interactive, making it easier to target and reach niche audiences -- and enable advertisers to reach them more effectively.
He also suggested that broadcasters could also explore ways to weave advertising into programming, much like product placement in movies, a strategy that recalled radio's Golden Age, when sponsors were often an integral part of the show.
Reuters/New York Times report.
2000-09-22: The Miss America Pageant is suing Philadelphia radio station WIP-AM and talk show host Howard Eskin over comments he made about the Miss America contest being "fixed". During the broadcast on August 22, Eskin talked about winners of various contests such as CBS' "Survivor" TV series and then went on to say, "I hope people know Miss America's fixed.'' Before they get into the weekend, they know who's going to win. They already know, you know, through all the screenings and all the other stuff.'' Robert Renneisen, president and CEO of the Miss America Organization, said the lawsuit gave notice that they would not stand by whilst someone played "fast and loose with the facts concerning the integrity of an institution that many people view as an American ideal." Eskin and WIP say that the comments were facetious and made tongue in cheek during a humorous discussion.
2000-09-21: South Wales radio station Red Dragon, owned by London-based Capital Radio, has hit the headlines all over Britain.
It featured in most British newspapers as the source of a rumour which led to a rush for fuel at filling stations all over the country.
The station has been trying to play down its part in the saga and the UK Radio Authority, after obtaining a transcript of the comments about an impending fuel shortage, says it does not think there was scaremongering.
In a statement the Authority's Director of Programming & Advertising, Martin Campbell, said: "When rumours reach the level that this rumour reached, it is always a difficult situation for an information medium, particularly one as powerful as radio, to address it without perpetuating it."
" The queues were real even if the rumour was not true."
"These presenters did clearly state that the rumours were unsubstantiated, although I would accept there is an argument to say that they should have stressed that even more forcibly. "
" It also highlighted the danger of presenters using clichés such as "things can change" as a substitute for absolute knowledge of what is going on."
" "Nevertheless in context we do not feel that the station was guilty of scaremongering."
The actual exchange at the heart of the matter took place between announcers, Warren Moore and Stuart McTeer.
It went as follows:
Warren: "Seems the petrol courts are a little bit busier."
Stuart: "They are, you can get petrol today."
Warren: "Which is always a good thing. Now a lot of people are ringing up, right. I'm putting you on the spot here I know, but you should know, you're a man of the news and a man of the people, Mr McTeer. A lot of people are saying they've heard rumours that they are going to blockade petrol areas, petrol forecourts at midnight tonight. What do you know?"
Stuart: "We've had a few phone calls about this as well and I'm a bit worried about turning out to be the Michael Fish-type thing. I'm not aware of anything but things can change."
Warren: "Like hurricanes for example."
Stuart: "I will do, sit on the fence." RNW note: The Michael Fish reference is to a British newscaster who, the night before Britain experiences a hurricane, said on a forecast that there was no risk of it happening.
UK Radio Authority statement:.
For newspaper reports use search engines on UK newspapers listed on our Other Links Pages.
2000-09-21: Former AMFM Inc CEO and radio group President Jimmy de Castro, who stepped down in February (RNW Feb 17) before the Clear Channel take-over was completed, has surfaced again.
He's to be Chief Executive Office of Ultimate Inc, the San Francisco based company which conducts online auctions of sports and entertainment "experiences" such as a round of golf with Tiger Woods.
De Castro is also becoming a major shareholder in UltimateBid.
Previous de Castro;
UltimateBid web site:
2000-09-21: The UK Radio Magazine reports that UBC Media (formerly Unique Broadcasting is buying 12 of the 17 stations in the GWR Group's AM Classic Gold Network in a share deal valued at £2.1 million.
It involves GWR being issued with new shares in UBC, giving it around 4% of the company.
GWR will also have the right to buy back 55% of a newly formed subsidiary, Classic Gold Digital, in which UBC will have an 80% holding and GWR 20%. .
GWR will retain five AM's -- Bristol & Bath, Swindon, Nottingham & Derby, Wolverhampton and Plymouth.
Previous GWR :
UK Radio Magazine site: .
2000-09-20: More on Low Power FM as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Year 2000 "Radio Show" starts its proceedings in San Francisco, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announces details of more applications, the US Senate bill on LPFM gains some more sponsors and legal action moves on.
So far the FCC has received 473 low power FM radio applications from its second filing window compared to 700 plus from its first (RNW June 23): The numbers breakdown just announced for applications in the second window was Connecticut (38); Illinois (84); Kansas (36); Michigan (87); Minnesota (63); Mississippi (22); Nevada (23); New Hampshire (28); Puerto Rico (20); Virginia (58); Wyoming (14).
Three more filing windows are on the stocks, a third 5- day one in November for American Samoa, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin to be followed by a fourth at the end of February 2001, and the fifth and final window at the end of May 2001.
NAB is lobbying strongly against LPFM as well as taking legal action and the Grams bill (RNW Sept 14), in the Senate bill that calls for third-adjacent channel protection for all new LPFM stations has recently gained three more Republican sponsors.
Legal action also continues with final briefs expected soon in the NAB Action against the FCC.
Joined with NAB's action is another from the opposite side of the fence as Greg Ruggiero, whose case was consolidated with the NAB's, argues that the LPFM order should be nullified because the Commission's "automatic disqualification policy" towards pirates applying for a LPFM license is illegal.
He says that there should have been a case by case assessment with provisions for waivers in some circumstances.
Commenting on NAB's attitude in the San Francisco Chronicle, Matthew Lasar, the author of ``Pacifica Radio: The Rise of an Alternative Network'' says the organisation has through relentless lobbying "slammed shut that portal known as community-based radio."
The problems he says sprang up from the success by the Broadcasters' lobby with the 1996 Telecommunications Act which lifted restrictions on the number of stations an organisation could own>
This, writes Lasar, led to a consolidation frenzy with new owners who "brought a ``banker's heart'' management style with little sympathy for community-oriented programming.
Lasar adds that the problems are particularly acute in the San Francisco Bay area where 21 stations speedily changed hands.
He details some of the casualties on area station and adds that the worst blow off all was the row at the Pacifica Foundation's KPFA station in Berkeley where station's general manager was fired two weeks before KPFA's 50th anniversary followed by the firing of programmers who criticised the decision over KPFA's airwaves.
There was even a suggestion by one of Pacifica's Board members that KPFA, whose frequency now had an estimated value of some $75 million, be sold.
Mass demonstrations ended that idea but Lasar says the big broadcasters still haven't got the message about the need for "airtime dedicated to local politics, dialogue and the arts."
He also takes up the suggestion that the Internet provides an answer ( RNW note: See Paul Donovan in this week's columnists) by allowing choice but adds that as he searches the Internet most of the stations he hears are not providing that choice but are "frequencies stripped of local colour in pursuit of the bottom line."
FCC LPFM announcement;
San Francisco Chronicle report:
RNW Note: Looking at the latest Arbitron figures (RNW Sept 19) for Internet audio it's difficult to argue that it is providing any real form of localised service. The top 75 stations are nearly all from big organisations and targeting non-geographical niche audiences (unless, say, you count say, 40th rated NetRadio - a Celtic Ethnic channel - as geographically oriented!). That seems to us natural for a medium, which by its very nature knows no boundaries and also requires, for the moment at least, relatively high expenditure to listen to. We would argue that the poor in localised communities are just the kind of audience the Internet stations won't reach yet can easily gain access to LPFM.) .
2000-09-20: The UK Wireless Group says its re-launch of the former Talk Radio station as TalkSport is proving a success although the launch cost £4 million in advertising, contributing heavily to an increase in the group's losses from £2.9m to £6.5m in the first half of this year.
It says TalkSport has increased revenues during the six months by 21% to £5.1 million and has a 75% male audience compared to 55% a year ago with its then talk format.
The group's first results as a quoted company show revenues of £13.8m up from £4.2m following its purchases of the Radio Partnership and Independent Radio Group.
Losses for the six months to the end of June were largely due to the costs TalkSport's advertising campaign spending some £2.2million on broadcasting rights for sporting events.
Local radio assets showed a £600,000 operating profit compared to a £300,000 loss last year and Kelvin MacKenzie, chairman and chief executive, said the group remained acquisitive with cash available from its £36 million flotation (RNW May 19) and a £40 million funding facility.
Previous Talk Sport;
2000-09-20: Media consolidation in North America continues apace with big deals in Canada and Mexico, the former a print and television deal.
The radio deal is in Mexico where the country's largest broadcaster Televisa is to buy a 27.8% stake in radio company Grupo Acir Communicaciones for $101 million if it can gain government regulatory approval of the deal.
A merger is then planned with Televisa's radio unit to form an independent entity, Grupo Acir-Radiopolis .
Televisa will have a 50.01% controlling interest in the new company which with 116 wholly-owned stations will be the largest in the country.
Other shareholders in the new company are Grupo Acir Partners and US Giant Clear Channel each with 24.995%.
The new radio group will be operated as an independent entity.
Francisco Ibarra Lopez, Chairman of the Board of Grupo Acir, will become as President of the newly company and Antonio Ibarra Farina will become Chief Executive Officer.
And in the US itself, Christian-oriented media group Salem Communications Corporation has announced that it has agreed to sell KALC-FM in Denver to Emmis Communications for just under $99 million in cash.
Emmis will begin operating the station, an acquisition resulting from the Clear Channel take over of AMFM, under a Local Marketing Agreement as soon as the Department of Justice has completed a review of the deal.
Salem retains four stations in Denver, three Christian-oriented and one news-talk in format.
Emmis recently acquired KXPK-FM in Denver, another Clear Channel deal spin-off.
2000-09-19: A good day for another look at the issue of radio audience measurement with the managing director of UK audience rating organisation RAJAR responding to Kelvin MacKenzie's recent(RNW Sept 5) attack on its diary methods, Arbitron issuing its July web cast ratings and Measurecast, the new competitor in the online audience measurement business (RNW Aug 22) topping the 1500 station mark.
First the RAJAR response to criticism of its diary research methods as old fashioned and inaccurate;
RAJAR Managing Director Jane O'Hara points out in the UK Guardian that more than 130,000 people a year of a wide range of ages and in a wide range of occupations fill them in.
She also points out that RAJAR, which is 50-50 owned by the BBC and UK Commercial Radio Companies Association, produced its first paper on radio meters in 1996.
O'Hara says that BBC radio withdrew from Arbitron meter tests in Manchester in the UK because of faults in the encoding equipment supplied by them.
As far as meters themselves are concerned, she points out that set-top collection of data as is done for television is not satisfactory for radio and that meter wearing methods would need to be properly evaluated in terms of when people use them or remove them (such as when having a shower but still listening and so on).
She says that there may well be advantages such as producing near-instant date which mean the new technology should have a place in rating methods but "before switching from diaries, the radio industry must be sure that meters can identify the correct station ID, can include all stations irrespective of frequency and work in all locations. …and the cost must be reasonable."
For current Internet audio, of course, the set-top approach used for television can currently be used more innovatively since listeners have to log on and thus send back a signal which registers exactly what they are doing.
This does seem to give meter technology a marked advantage and newcomer to the field Measurecast seems to be exploiting its technology effectively with some 1500 stations now using its service which gives next-day data.
And by collecting demographic date from selected listeners it can not only give accurate total figures but also link them to the demographic data.
This does seem to be piling pressure on Arbitron whose own web figures for July have only just been released.
In those ratings, UK-based Virgin Radio, ranked number one in terms of Aggregate Tuning Hours (ATH) at 236,100 hours in the month (which if you calculate it means 80 listeners AQH -- averaged out in quarter hours) followed by Internet-only streaming audio sites-NetRadio with 201,000 ATH and KNAC 148,000 ATH.
The top ten were
1- Virgin Radio (Hot Adult Contemporary) with 236,100 ATH;
2 - NetRadio - 80s Hits -(Contemporary Hit Radio) with 201,000 (ATH) ;
3 - KNAC ( Album Oriented Rock) with 148,600 ATH ;
4 - NetRadio - Hits (Contemporary Hit Radio) with 146,900 ATH ;
5 -NetRadio - Vintage Rock (Classic Rock) with 143,300 ATH
6- NetRadio - The X (Alternative) with 133,600 ATH ;
7 - NetRadio - Smooth Jazz (New AC/Smooth Jazz) with 131,000 ATH:
8 - WABC-AM (News Talk Information) with 119,500 ATH;
9 - CFNY-FM (New Rock ) with 115,000 ATH and
10 - KPIG-FM (Album Adult Alternative) with 111,700 ATH;
Previous MacKenzie :
Previous Virgin Radio :
Audio Web sites:
Arbitron web site;
Measurecast web site;
UK Guardian article;.
2000-09-19: Following its firing of John R.. Gambling as Morning Drive host with his "Rambling with Gambling" show (RNW Sept 12), WOR-AM in New York is to hire veteran Ed Walsh as his replacement. Walsh currently hosts the morning show on KFYI in Phoenix, Arizona.
Since Gambling's abrupt removal, WOR news department head Joe Bartlett has been standing in as morning host.
For Gambling himself however, fresh salt is being rubbed into his wounds with reports that WOR has passed on the chance to carry his Radio Hall of Fame induction on November 18.
WOR web site;
2000-09-18: A wide range of topics in the columnists in Britain this week takes all the space, covering as it does reflections on the strength of radio during Britain's fuel emergency, a radio critic's response to a spell as television reviewer, attitudes to pirate stations and the appropriateness or otherwise of a host presenting shows with very different styles.
The UK fuel emergency first and, although it boosted ratings for both radio and television, and incidentally led to a massive increase in the use of mobile phones, radio did have the in-car advantage. Writing in the UK Observer, Sue Arnold says it also made great radio "irrespective of your political persuasion or the level in your petrol tank."
She adds, "the drama of events as they unfolded minute by minute was seized with obvious relish by presenters."
And an interesting column this week from Peter Barnard in the UK Times on another topic of public discussion in the UK, the Big Brother TV programme.
He's spent past few weeks reviewing TV and says that although some programmes have been excellent, watching is no longer a shared national experience.
But, he continues, talking about it is, "which is why Big Brother, nominally a banal and pointless viewing experience, has been the talk of the nation. Big Brother put television on the front pages to an unprecedented extent."
There is, now the programme has ended, says Barnard an opportunity for radio which has had a low profile for months. "
This opportunity he develops with style if not seriousness (link to article below).
His colleague Paul Donovan in the Sunday Times reflects on illegal radio stations in the UK.
There are around 100 of them he says and although officialdom is fighting back with increased vigour and some 1300 raids on illegal stations last year, it has had little effect.
He comments, "The fact that it has had little effect is hardly surprising, for those who run illicit stations know that yesterday's pirates are today's stars, just as yesterday's terrorists become tomorrow's statesmen."
In support of his thesis he cites examples of DJs on the pirate radio ships who are now household names and pirate radio operators such as pirate radio Kiss FM, Sunrise Radio and London Greek Radio which started out as pirates but are now respectable stations.
In addition says Donovan it is cheap to launch a station and the fines are generally light "though one man in Luton was imprisoned for 28 days last year after admitting making illegal broadcasts on his Flava FM station, which had resulted in airline pilots picking up dance music when they were listening out for vital instructions from air-traffic control."
However,Donovan concludes, pirate radio should not now be romanticised because, apart from the interference problems, the Internet had rendered redundant its arguments that there was no outlet for the interests concerned. The pirates should, he says, move to the Internet.
(RNW note : In view of the Low Power FM controversy in the US, we would welcome feedback on this point.)
And finally, also from the Sunday Times, a comment from Declan Burke with a marvellous introduction: "For all we know, Pat Kenny(host of Irish state broadcaster TV entertainment and radio current afairs shows)goes on air in his underpants. He's entitled to broadcast naked if he wishes, providing he doesn't insult the intelligence of his public in the process. "
The background to this is that Kenny hosts both a light entertainment TV show, the "Late Late Show" and a flagship current-affairs radio programme and on the "Today with Pat Kenny" radio show he " referred to the previous Friday's Late Late Show, the first in the new season of his television chat show, during which the comedian Freddie Starr dropped his trousers and Kenny donned a pair of Starr's soiled underpants."
Having Starr on the TV show says Burke was a mistake and everyone makes them.
But, Burke e goes on, "Offhandedly suggesting, as he did on the radio …. that The Late Late Show and Today with Pat Kenny are not connected was being at best disingenuous, at worst arrogantly dismissive."
" The parameters of Kenny's role with the national broadcaster of the republic are defined by how well he serves the public."
" By pretending that his credibility as The Late Late Show's presenter was not compromised, and ignoring the public's desire to debate the incident, Kenny failed to fulfil his role as a public-service broadcaster. " (RNW note: Again we would welcome feedback on the issue of how one role compromises another.)
2000-09-18: The UK Observer in its business pages looks at prospects for the Wireless Group and its flagship station TalkSport which it says may be turning the corner after its re-launch as a sports service aimed at men from 22 to 45 in place of the former Talk format.
After chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie took over the then Talk Radio station in 1998 its audience dropped by around 400,000 to 1.8 million but it's now back to around 2.2 million>
This recovery is despite some of its unusual ways of covering sports on a shoestring such as having Wimbledon coverage which comprised a reporter commenting on the TV coverage and the row over its newspaper advertisements promising "live" coverage of Euro 2000 soccer to which the BBC had the rights (RNW June 22 ).
The BBC is now taking TalkSport to the High Court over this matter and promises during the current Olympics of 'an un-missable daily diet of the best Olympic action' may also risk action against it.
In this case the commentary rights are held by the International Olympics Committee, which would have no problem with funding lawyers.
Last year the Wireless Group lost £27.5 million before tax but most of these were as a result of acquisitions which have now given the group ownership of or stakes in 20 FM stations.
It is, says the Observer, well placed to benefit from predicted growth in radio advertising.
In addition the paper notes the group's push into digital radio with a stake in one of the London licences and a position as the majority shareholder in Switchdigital Scotland the only bidder for the Central Scotland digital multiplex. (RNW Licence News Aug 20 ).
But says the paper, " while digital radio's potential demographics would be the envy of many broadcasters, no one currently listens to the medium."
"The cheapest sets cost around £300, and fewer than 100,000 people own them in the UK."
"Take-up is slow and, until this alters, the City is going to need more than MacKenzie's stunts to sustain its interest."
Previous Wireless Group;
UK Observer article :
2000-09-17: Licence news this week. Nothing this week from Australia where the Olympics dominate and very quiet elsewhere.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved two new low power FM stations, both 50 watt unprotected services which will provide a local news and sports service within a locally produced pop, rock and dance music format.
One station will be at Kaministiquia, Ontario, for a company which is yet to be incorporated and the other for another company yet to be incorporated will be at Red Lake, Ontario.
The Commission has also approved new Tamil-language service to be broadcast by Corus Premium Corporation using a subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel within the signal of CFMI-FM, New Westminster, British Columbia
The CRTC has also approved two power increases, one for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the other for the Christian Solutions Group Inc.
In the case of the CBC, it recently replaced its transmitting tower for transmitter CBAF-FM-4 Edmundston which re-broadcasts CBAF-FM Moncton in New Brunswick and has been allowed a minor power increase from 20,400 watts to 20,935 watts.
And in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Christian Solutions' CFEQ-FM Winnipeg has been given permission to change frequency from 93.5 MHz) to 107.1 MHz and increase the power from 22 watts to 920 watts.
In the UK the Radio Authority has re-awarded the local radio licence for Scarborough to Yorkshire Coast Radio Ltd under its special application procedure which was applied when no other bids were made.
It has also announced that only one application, from EMAP Digital Radio Ltd., was received for the local digital multiplex service licence for the Humberside area.
The applicants propose a nine-channel service comprising the BBC Radio Humberside local radio service and eight commercial services- - Contemporary Hit Radio, Dance, Easy Listening, Full Service, (Classic) Gold, Modern Rock and Adult Contemporary.
In the USA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued proposals for standardising and enhancing public interest disclosure requirements for television broadcasters, a move which logically should apply just as much to radio.
In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) , the FCC tentatively concluded that television broadcasters should provide information on how they serve the public interest in a standardised format on a quarterly basis.
The disclosure form would be maintained in the station's public inspection file in place of the currently required issues/programs lists and the FCC also proposes that broadcasters make the contents of their public inspection files, including the standardised disclosure form, available on the station's or a state broadcasters association's Internet web site.
Previous Licence News;
CRTC Website ;
FCC web site;
UK Radio Authority web site:
2000-09-16: Australian Internet group Spike Networks is cutting staff back by around 20 people in a re-organisation of its California-based online radio station SpikeRadio according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Overall Spike lost nearly Australian $27 million in 1999-2000 compared to a forecast loss of $6 million.
Revenue was $19 million compared to $6.5 million in the previous financial year when the company lost $4.5 million.
Most of the losses came from US web design operations which have been shut down and SpikeRadio which sacked its DJs and other staff this month but continues to broadcast pre-recorded and repeat show.
It is to be re-named Spike Inc and concentrate on providing audio for commercial clients such as Nike, which is operating an online radio station during the Sydney Olympics.
The company is now focussed mainly in Asia and the Herald quotes Spike chairman John McGuigan as saying they felt very positive having taken huge costs out of their operations. He added that they hoped to turn in operating profits by the last quarter of the 2000-20001 financial year.
Previous Spike Networks:
Sydney Morning Herald report;
Nike Olympics radio;
2000-09-16: Arbitron, the US radio ratings organisation, has added five new radio markets to its service in the US for the Fall 2000 ratings, bringing the total number of markets for which it produces ratings to 283.
They are Middlesex-Somerset-Union, New Jersey; Westchester, New York; Clarksville-Hopkinsville, Tennessee-Kentucky; Flagstaff-Prescott, Arizona; and St. George-Cedar-City, Utah.
Arbitron News release;
2000-09-15: The radio deals continue in the US with two of the big players adding more to their stables. Giant Clear Channel is spending around $17 million on the Taylor Broadcasting Group, which owns nine stations in Georgia.
Seven are in Macon --- WCLG-AM& FM, WIBB-FM, WQBZ-FM, WRBV-FM, and WRNC-AM & FM; the other two are in Cochran around 40 miles away.
And in Alabama, Cumulus is spending $10 million on WLWI-AM, WHHY-FM & WXFX-FM in Montgomery, the last stations held by the McDonald Media Group. Cumulus already has four stations in the market.
Further down the scale, HEH Communications has bought KSAM-AM and FM in Huntsville, Texas for just under $2million.
Previous US radio deals :
Previous Clear Channel :
Previous Cumulus :
2000-09-15: Chicago superjock Larry Lujack, fresh from his retirement, is going international.
Clear Channel is to air his weekend show from "Jammin' Oldies" station WUBT-AM, The Beat, on WLON, its digital multiplex in London.
The show is already on the Internet and its London launch event is on September 21.
And still on the Chicago Beat, radio veteran Tim Disa, has launched a free Internet radio commercial script service CopySwap.
On its site the service is promoted on the basis that all comers are welcome to take as much as they need with the only condition being that takers have to leave some of their own copy behind.
Previous Lujack ;
The Beat web site:
2000-09-15: The StopDrLaura campaigners are almost indecently celebratory about what they portray as the failure of the conservative radio show host's lack of success in translating to television.
Their web site lists more advertisers who have dropped out from the TV show as well as references to reports on the show's poor ratings.
Amongst those dropping the TV show according to the site are Ontel, Kimberly-Clark ,the Luxor hotel and resort in Las Vegas, Brentwood Volvo, Brinks Home Security and Conair.
Previous Dr Laura:
Dr Laura web site;
Stop Dr Laura web site;
2000-09-14: The Sydney Morning Herald, reporting on the effects of re-structuring on Australian Broadcasting Corporation's radio services (see RNW Sept 3) reports on the case of one radio boss who was at home recovering from a heart attack when learned from his staff that his job had been abolished.
Peter James, the head of the Classic FM network told the paper, "I just think the behaviour is churlish. I have not had the courtesy of being consulted on the new structure, even though I have been network manager for almost seven years."
James said he had been told nothing about the changes by either his immediate boss, director of radio Sue Howard, or by ABC managing director Jonathan Shier.
The charges were rebutted by Ms Howard who told the paper she had tried to contact him before the changes were announced but he had not returned her calls.
She added that he had been kept informed by one of her executives.
Under the restructuring of the ABC's, its radio networks, each of which used to have a general manager, are being grouped into three divisions with advertisements being placed for internal and external candidates for the new jobs.
The changes involve ABC's NewsRadio and Radio National coming under a single head of National Talk Radio and Classic FM and Triple J being grouped together under a head of National Music Radio.
Howard said she was deferring the advertisements for the latter post until Peter James was stronger but he said he doubted he could manage both and said to do the job, "You'd have to be a genius to be expert in both genres."
In the other groupings it has been announced that the third division made up from the metropolitan and regional stations will be managed by Michael Mason, former head of the ABC's South Australian operations.
However the Herald says that a number of long-time employees are likely to be made redundant and says that the head of Radio National,Steven Alward, has said he is leaving; two others, Ed Breslin, head of Triple J, and Ian Wolfe, head of NewsRadio are effectively without jobs.
Previous ABC jobs report ;
Sydney Morning Herald report: .
2000-09-14: Opposition to Low Power FM (LPFM) radio stations in the US is continuing with both National Public Radio (NPR) and reading services for the blind organisation IAAIS joining the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in supporting the latest bill to restrict LPFM.
The bill which was introduced into the Senate last week by Senator Rod Grams (Republican, Minnesota) is identical to a bill already passed by Congress (RNW April 15 ).
It allows LPFM licensing to continue but retains third adjacent channel protection , something the organisations say will protect existing stations and reading services for the blind from interference until further tests have been carried out.
NAB web site :
NPR web site .
Senate Bills site (search for Bill S.3020)
2000-09-13: US radio talk show host Dr Laura Schlessinger has finally premiered her television show to minor protests and mixed reviews.
Major advertisers have stayed clear of the host, whose comments on homosexuals and lesbians led to protests which were in turn followed by a number of major advertisers dropping her radio show and plans to advertise on the television show.
The StopDrLaura web site reports that already one advertiser, Chicago-based Bally Total Fitness which operates fitness centres over the US, has dropped the TV Show having run one advertisement.
Dr Laura's own site, meanwhile, has had a makeover to include the TV show and present a brighter image.
In Los Angeles around 200 gay activists shouted "Shame, Shame, Shame" outside Paramount Studios Monday as the television talk show made a debut that focused on teenage drug addicts without references to her controversial views on homosexuality.
Similar demonstrations were held in other cities over the US. The show itself had an upbeat feel and was less shrill than the radio version, featuring guests who were well dressed and polite and seemingly on the way out of their problems.
Of the reviews of the show, the San Francisco Chronicle lead-in was perhaps the best:" I tuned in to the ``Dr. Laura'' TV show yesterday and saw a European prince sliding a diamond garter up the leg of a seductively smiling blonde."
As it happens this was the show which led into Dr Laura, a more soporific experience according to the Chronicle reviewer, who later wrote, "The radio show is a hit because it gives us a churlish Dr. Laura"
" She's impatient, hectoring, and imperious and, I think, often scarily neurotic. We tune in to hear her whup her callers and expose her anger."
" But the empress was fully clothed in her TV debut. She hardly seemed worth a midday protest. She was just another afternoon yawn"
Previous Dr Laura:
Dr Laura web site;
Stop Dr Laura web site;
San Francisco Chronicle review
2000-09-13: The problems of and simmering discontent amongst Independent radio producers in the UK about BBC radio commissions are featured in the UK Independent in an article by Liza Kliman, a producer at one of the companies.
Late summer is usually the time the BBC radio networks outline their programme requirements and is a crucial time for many companies.
This year, however, BBC Radio 4 has decided to refuse a number of independent companies any right to submit ideas for consideration.
The companies involved have received a standard letter telling them they have been excluded from commissions following a "review of registered suppliers."
They have also been told that an appeals procedure will be in place soon and that they would be welcome to make submissions through registered companies.
The writer's company, Liba Productions, did decide to appeal citing the range of programmes it had produced and pointing out the problems involved in making submissions through rival production companies.
A month later the reply was a letter saying the original decision had been upheld but they were given no opportunity to meet Radio 4 executives or develop their case in any other way.
The letter also said the Corporation did not discriminate against smaller companies but, says the writer, the list supplied was comprised of leading media conglomerates and companies involving ex BBC Radio 4 staff.
As the writer points out, the BBC tried the idea under former Radio 4 Controller James Boyle and resulted in the station was taken before the Office of Fair Trading.
This time, however, the article concludes, "the new Radio 4 controller, Helen Boaden, has drawn up her list in conjunction with the Office of Fair Trading, so that while it is unethical, offensive and discriminatory to radio professionals, it is none the less legal - a gloomy revelation that life under Dyke(Greg Dyke, BBC Director General) will be as divisionary as under Birt (John Birt, former BBC Director General)"
Previous Boaden ;
UK Independent article:
2000-09-12: A 3-generation link with New York station WOR has been broken by the station's decision to fire morning host John R. Gambling following problems with his ratings in the crucial 24-54 year age segment.
The host's grandfather, British-born John B Gambling - who began in radio as an engineer - started a quarter-hour exercise show on the station in 1921, aired from Bamberger's Department Store; he launched the "Rambling with Gambling" show in 1925.
John B's son John A Gambling then ran the show solo for a while until joined by grandson John R. Gambling as a co-host in the late 80s.
John R took over in 1991 when his father retired
He has been main host of the news, interview and talk show``Rambling with Gambling'' for almost a decade.
Overall the family has hosted some 17000 shows, the longest family run in US radio history.
2000-09-12: Irish weekend listening figures in the latest JNLRI/MRBI weekend survey shows a strong but fairly static performance by independent stations.
On both Saturday and Sunday, Today FM has increased its national listenership share by around a percentage point but in the local markets there were some significantly better performances.
Noteworthy were Radio Kerry which increased its Saturday reach by 7% to 39% and its Saturday share by 8% to 51% and Limerick's Live 95 FM which recorded an 8% increase in Saturday share.
On Sundays, Radio Kerry increased its reach by 5% as did Galway Bay FM but both were outpaced by Tipp FM with a 7% increase and Radio Kilkenny and Midlands Radio each of which recorded a 6% increase.
Commenting on the figures, Michael O'Keeffe, Chief Executive of the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) said the survey showed " the strength of the local radio sector at weekends with a share of 49% on Saturdays rising to 54% on Sundays. "
He added, "It is particularly encouraging that the survey reveals a further strengthening of the independent national station, Today FM"
" The station recorded market share figures on a national basis of 8% on Saturday and 6% on Sunday marking a 1% increase for both days."
" This strong performance is reflected in the growth in numbers listening to the stations Saturday sports programme, Premiership Live, and its Sunday news and current affairs programme, The Sunday Supplement."
Previous Irish Ratings;
2000-09-11: A little self-indulgence to start of with in the columnists this week as we consider two items which relate to topics under preparation for this month's comment and that planned for October, namely the impact the Internet and satellite radio could have on current radio listenership patterns.
The Internet first and Declan Burke in the UK Sunday Times who considers the potential effect of the Internet on one kind of programme, alternative-music.
He cites the example of an Irish presenter who doesn't encourage requests but played one for a San Francisco listener who had found "Pet Sounds" from Today FM on the Internet.
On the surface says Burke it's a simple example of technology bringing a wider audience but in the longer term the Internet "threatens the raison d'être of alternative-music programmes such as Pet Sounds."
The reason says Burke, is that the programmes are attracted to fans that want specialist hybrids and are in effect "become misfiring jukeboxes, only occasionally playing the type of music a fan has tuned in to hear."
Hence, he concludes, as bandwidth increases and technology develops the results will be "be to turn PCs into all-singing, all-dancing portals to the world of popular music. "
In the short term he concludes the "scatter-gun approach of alternative programming will lose its listeners in the short term."
Although in the longer term he feels the presenters are needed to continue diversity and originality as new acts are unlikely to attract surfers attention on the Internet.
Also on the technology front, Frank Ahrens in the Washington Post looks at the competition between and prospects for Sirius and XM Satellite Radio.
To quote him, "Both companies plan roughly 50 music and 50 talk stations. Both are well-financed Wall Street darlings, smiled on by analysts and investors."
" Both have assembled an array of broadcast talent. And most important, both are laying the same bet: that folks will ignore a century's worth of habit and cough up $10 a month to pay for something that has always been free……………. Both XM and Sirius follow essentially the same business plan, based on a concept that might be called the Unheard Third, or the Yanni Factor."
"About 27 percent of all music sales comes from musicians--such as new-age keyboardist Yanni--who pack concert halls, rack up CD sales and yet "can't get arrested on radio," says David Margolese,, Sirius's CEO. Like Panero (XM's chief executive, Hugh Panero), Margolese was an early cable-TV executive. "
" He sank $25 million of his own money into Sirius, formerly called CD Radio."
" Because commercial radio is so tightly programmed--limited essentially to the moneymaking talk, rock, country and urban formats--there's little room on the dial for the likes of Yanni."
"Which is why neither satellite service will duplicate over-the-air radio by broadcasting existing music stations. In other words, you won't be able to drive the Beltway while listening to San Francisco's KFOG. Further--and this is satellite radio's biggest disadvantage compared with what's on the radio now--there will be nothing local about either Sirius or XM."
"No local traffic, no local weather, no local news or sports--the staples of drive-time radio. So not only are Sirius and XM betting that disgruntled radio listeners will pay for radio, they're betting listeners will pay for extra radio."
In their bets however, Sirius is going all the way with the promise of no advertisements but XM will have up to six minutes and hour (a third of some of the US commercial stations) on some of its music stations.
RNW Note: Whatever way it goes it will be fascinating to see if people are prepared to pay a smallish subscription fee for the extras and particularly go dumping the advertisements which is something listeners in many countries already do via the licence fee. Do E-mail us with your comments.
Back to earth now for the rest of the columnists and back to UK stalwarts Peter Barnard of the UK Times and colleague Paul Donovan of the Sunday Times.
Barnard in his column considers the political interviews on the UK's prime talk breakfast show "Today" on BBC Radio 4.
He writes, "I suspect that the Today programme is more talked about than heard. True, it has six million regular listeners, but its political interviews often reach a far larger audience through other media."
" This makes it all the more ironic that Today is actually a better programme during the summer political break when the one criticism that it attracts, its seeming obsession with politics, does not apply."
" This summer Today has come up with some sparkling material to replace the political Ping-Pong. "
"Indeed, my point was made by one of those on Monday's programme. The Labour MP Stephen Pound, remarking on the large Labour lead in the recent Mori poll for The Times, said that when politicians were on holiday, people liked them more than when they were at work. "
" We feel the same about parking wardens and for the same reason: when they're on holiday, they can't hurt us." Which to us is as good a quote as we can think off to end a column although it isn't the end of Barnard's (link below for it all).
Donovan has gone to the trouble to examine the register of "freebies" received by members of the UK Radio Authority, a fascinating selection of oddments with none of significant value.
He says the practice of making the information on this topic is valuable but, "What one wants most of all, and which is inevitably in scarce supply, is access not to freebies but to secrets. "
And finally a quote from a
Sue Arnold review of a BBC Radio 4 programme in the UK Observer.
It just intrigued our imagination (and would have made us hunt up the programme had it been available online on-demand).
"As for teaching Eng. Lit, you couldn't do better than Enfield Pedals After Byron - the quirky peripatetic adventures of Edward Enfield riding in the footsteps of Lord Byron."
" Childe Harold was never my favourite epic poem but, declaimed on an Albanian hillside by Harry Enfield's dad, it achieves a certain extra dimension which I feel sure school children would appreciate."
Previous Satellite Radio;
2000-09-11: Radio changes in Chicago: in the wake of the Clear Channel take over of AMFM. veteran morning host Bob Brynteson and co-host Mary Anne Meyers at adult-contemporary WLIT-FM are being replaced by Paul Peterson, formerly morning co-host at Top 40 WKIE-FM (92.7), and JoAnn Genette, who was morning sidekick at all-'80s WXXY-FM
The Chicago Tribune reports that the shake-up appears to be a move toward a more "contemporary" sound following a fall in ratings at WLIT.
Peterson had been morning DJ at WKIE for five months, having replaced George McFly when the latter moved. (RNW Sept 4).
And at ESPN sports-talk WMVP-AM, Bob Snyder, who took over as station manager at ESPN Radio 1000 in May has been given full authority.
He no longer reports to Zemira Jones, president and general manager since 1998 when the station was acquired by ABC.
Jones continues to oversee ABC's three other Chicago radio properties - - news/talk WLS-AM, classic rock WXCD-FM and Radio Disney's WRDZ-AM.
Chicago Tribune report;
2000-09-10: Licence news this week. And a bit busier than recently.
In the US, all the commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission have now issued personal statements concerning the radio deal of the century, the Clear Channel take-over of AMFM (RNW Sept 7 ).
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority has decided to boost radio services in Gosford, New South Wales. It is making licences available for five new radio channels.
They are one new commercial station whose licence it expects to allocate by the end of this year, three community radio services and one open narrowcasting service.
It has also allowed for an increase in power and an increase to the licence area of the existing community radio service 2CCC to include the Shire of Wyong. Canada was quiet but in the UK the Radio Authority has been quite busy with both advertisements and awards of licences.
It has pre-advertised the local radio licences for St Albans and Watford, currently held until October 2002 by Mercury FM, and for Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough, currently held until December 31, 2002, by Connect FM.
It has also re-awarded the Colchester licence to current holder East Anglian Radio, has awarded the new Independent Local Radio licence for a small-scale service to serve Dumbarton, in west central Scotland, to Castle Rock Fm Dumbarton Ltd and the central Lancashire digital multiplex licence to Emap Digital Radio Ltd.
The latter will provide an 8-channel service comprising seven commercial stations and the BBC local radio service.
The Authority has also announced that it received only one declaration of intent to apply for the Harrogate licence, from existing holder existing licence-holder, Stray FM Ltd; only one only one declaration of intent to apply for the licence for Fort William in Inverness-shire, from existing licence-holder, Nevis Community Radio Ltd., broadcasting as Nevis Radio, and only one only one declaration of intent to apply for the licence for Inverurie in Aberdeenshire and the surrounding area from the existing licence-holder, North East Community Radio Ltd., broadcasting as NECR.
There were three applications for the new licence to serve the towns of Grimsby and Cleethorpes, from Compass FM, Haven FM and Southbank FM all offering music-led stations combined with local news and information.
Previous Licence News;
ABA Website ;
FCC web site;
UK Radio Authority web site:
2000-09-10: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ expects to lose £12 million this year with smaller losses continuing into next year and a surplus thereafter when savings under a restructuring plan take full effect.
The Irish Times quotes RTÉ director general Bob Collins as saying that it will ask for a rise in its annual licence fee by year end.
Its last licence fee increase was one of £8 a year in 1996.
The broadcaster had a deficit in 1999 of £16.6 million, when it set aside £38 million as an exceptional expense for the cost of reducing staff numbers by 330 over three years. It had a surplus in 1998 of £3.2 million.
In his final statement as RTÉ Authority chairman Prof. Farrel Corcoran said the authority's policy was to seek index-linked increases to the licence fee but the paper reports that it is thought RTÉ wants an initial rise from £70 to £110 a year although the authority has not yet made a final decision.
Overall, RTÉ generated a £74.3 million surplus last year, boosted by the sale to US firm NTL for £123.6 million of its 25 per cent stake in Cablelink.
Most of its £198 million income in the year was generated from commercial activities, within which radio income was £20million, TV income £84 million and other income of around £26 million.
£65 million came from the licence fee.
Radio expenditure was up from £23.8 million to £28.14 million most of it on RTÉ Radio 1, the group's flagship station.
The start-up costs of Lyric FM, an introduced last year were estimated at around £1.5 million and the annual cost of running Raidió na Gaeltachta at around £4.5 million.
Prof. Corcoran, who was replaced as authority chairman by Paddy Wright at the end of his five-year term in March this year, warned of the problems of broadcasting in the digital age where profit motives would dominate.
He commented, "Great uncertainty persists about how to pay for the standard of broadcasting we expect. Some 67 per cent of RTÉ's revenue is earned commercial income: the balance comes from the television licence fee. "Commercial income is, by its nature, uncertain, and broadcasting is an expensive activity, driven by novelty and demanding costly resources and scarce talents."
RTÉ is expecting significant changes in the Broadcasting Bill due at the end of the year which will involve the sale of its transmission network(RNW July 10) with funds raised being used in the establishment of three digital TV channels.
Previous RTÉ :
Irish Times report;.
2000-09-09: England is to get a transmitting angel according to a report in the UK Guardian. Mobile phone company One-2-One is paying to re-gild the 4.5 metre (15 foot) high angel on the top of Guildford Cathedral in return for which it will be able to use the angel as a transmitter.
UK Guardian report:
2000-09-09: US radio competitions have added another million dollar winner to the list , in this case a Virginia man who took part in the American Media & Special Promotions (AMSP) "Million Dollar Race Ticket" promotion in which listeners call to predict the top five in the week's NASCAR races.
The win, more than that for race winner Bobby Labonte went to a caller to the afternoon drive show on Classic Rock station WKLR-FM Richmond who predicted the winners of the Pepsi Southern 500.
AMSP says it has paid out more than $6 million to radio contest winners over the past two years including £2million to a listener to KIIS-FM, Los Angeles. .
2000-09-09: Cox Radio has signed a five-year syndication agreement with Lex Staley and Terry Jaymes of the "Lex and Terry Morning Radio Network." They've also agreed a five year deal for the duo at their home station, Cox's WFYV-FM in Jacksonville, Florida.
Cox Radio Syndication says the show is " the ultimate guy talk show" and , "We look forward to giving them the resources they need to go from being a hidden gem to the most successful radio show of its kind in America."
The show is now heard on 17 stations.
Previous Cox Radio ;
Cox Radio site :
2000-09-08: Business dealings in US radio continue at a high level, despite the stocks sell-off earlier this week, which took overall radio share prices to a year low around 40% below the record high at the end of last year.
In addition, two major companies Clear Channel and Cox Enterprises, parent of Cox Radio, are taking advantage of low interest rates to issue new bonds. Clear Channel wants to raise around $1.5 billion in three and five year notes and Cox, which has just closed its $280 million purchase of Midwestern Broadcasting a third of that in ten year notes. Beasley Broadcasting has also arranged new financing, in its case an eight-year credit line through the Bank of Montreal to replace its previous $150 million through the bank.
In Wisconsin, Entercom has closed its purchase of three Woodward Communications stations in Madison, which it already operates under a Local Management Agreement, for $14.5 million.
It already owns WAPL-FM and WHBY-AM in Appleton, and WKSZ-FM and WZOR-FM in Green Bay; the deal will add WOLX-FM, WZYM-FM and WMMM-FM in Madison to its holdings.
Woodward retains WAPL-FM and WHBY-AM in Appleton and WKSZ-FM and WZOR-FM in Green Bay.
And finally yet another market for giant Clear Channel. It's buying five stations in Sioux City, Iowa, from Radioworks Inc. for an undisclosed price.
They are KMNS-AM, KWSL-AM, KSFT-FM, KSEZ-FM & KGLI-FM .
Previous Beasley Broadcasting;
Previous Clear Channel;
Previous Cox Broadcasting;
Previous Entercom ;
2000-09-08: Governments are still looking at large sums for the airwaves with the US and British governments expecting more billions from radio spectrum.
In the UK twelve bidders have now been named for 28GHz spectrum, which is to be used for fixed wireless devices, which use dishes on a building to receive broadband services.
The auction is expected to raise around £2 billion ($3 billion) on top of the £22 billion raised by the mobile phone spectrum auction(RNW April 28).
And in the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it plans to go ahead with the re-auction of frequencies awarded to NextWave Telecom which later filed for bankruptcy.
The agency said that the licences were automatically cancelled when NextWave failed to meet its payments and it would auction the licences again in December.
NextWave had petitioned for reconsideration of the cancellation and said it would pay its debts in full; it says the Commission acted illegally in revoking the licences whilst it was trying to re-organize and that it will appeal against the FCC decision.
When NextWave won the licences its bid was $4 million but the value is now thought to be much higher because of increasing demand for wireless voice and data services.
Previous Spectrum Auctions
2000-09-07: It's Britain, which is normally censured for its emphasis on accents, but a report in the Irish Times indicates that the same has at times applied over the Irish Channel.
In the current case, the paper reports considerable comment on the accent of meteorologist Ann Farrell from Brisbane, Australia.
She's broadcasting on Irish state broadcaster RTÉ's Radio 1 channel and says she was surprised at the amount of comment but that most of it was favourable.
In Ireland, as in Britain, years ago apparently the situation was different.
The article also reports on the dismissal in 1953 of Patrick Begley by Radio Éireann for his 'Oxford' accent.
He auditioned successfully for a presenter's post in January that year, was hired and, he says, told by the studio supervisor that he needed no training because he was so good.
However in March 1953 a new supervisor took over and by November he was fired.
The termination was debated in the Irish Parliament with his main defender commenting, "he speaks Irish fluently, speaks German and French and, furthermore, is fully qualified in elocution ... He was educated in this country and has no connections whatsoever abroad except those made on a short holiday."
Previous RTÉ ;
Irish Times search page (Look for radio)
RNW note: our view is that it is clarity of voice and communication which matters most on radio with accent being of far less importance. We would welcome any feedback or tales on how far others think accent of itself is important.
2000-09-07: Following the approval of the Clear Channel take over of AMFM, the commissioners at the US Federal Communications Commission have all issued personal statements regarding the deal.
Perhaps unsurprisingly they seem split along party lines with the chairman William Kennard being supported in his concerns about concentration in the US radio industry by fellow Democrats on the Commission, Susan Ness and Gloria Tristani.
Although chairman William Kennard in his comment praises Clear Channel for the way they followed through on the divestitures required, particularly in terms of giving purchase opportunities to minority companies, he says he still remains concerned that the increasing concentration will raise market entry barriers for small, minority and women owners.
Kennard wants proponents of such mergers to have to state public interest benefits that they think consumers will receive as a result of any transaction and would like to consider reviewing radio transfer rules against this background.
In her supportive memorandum Commissioner Gloria Tristani says of the merger itself, "When a merger produces a single owner of almost one thousand radio stations across the country, evaluating its impact through a town-by-town framework fails to measure the overall impact on the diversity of voices in the marketplace of ideas, as well as its complete fiscal impact on advertisers and listeners."
" This unduly narrow framework also fails to measure the loss to localism when a single owner selects the format for hundreds of stations."
Tristani also expresses concern about the implications for democracy of such mergers, commenting, "There is no doubt that a diversity of voices on the public's airwaves is vital to our democracy."
" Just as the strongest fabrics are woven of many tiny, interlocking threads, each of which alone is unable to sustain the strength of the whole, radio listeners must be able to weave their local fabric with many, diverse threads."
" Our obligation to protect the public's interest should include submission and review of evidence of a merger's overall impact on that societal fabric."
In her comments Commissioner Susan Ness also expresses concern about the concentration, and goes on, "The radio marketplace has changed dramatically over the past four years. "
" Ownership consolidation, the Internet, and satellite digital radio are rapidly transforming this audio service. It is timely to examine the impact of our ownership rules on the market, on programming, and on diversity of voices, as we determine what constitutes the 'public interest.'"
" Such a determination is best made in the context of a rulemaking proceeding, after ample notice and public comment, rather than in the course of an adjudication."
In his statement Commissioner Michael Powell defends the merger and implicitly attacks the attitudes of some of his colleagues, writing of his concern "about the manner in which my colleagues apply our public interest authority in cases such as this."
" The approach is unnecessarily complex, redundant and ill-suited to meet the needs of the fast-paced, innovation-driven communications marketplace." He calls for simplified rules relating not to broad concepts such as "public interest" but instead to straightforward structural tests on such matters as ownership and cross-ownership in a market. Commissioner Harold W. Furchtgott-Roth is also critical of fellow commissioners, writing, "Although I support today's decision to approve the transfer of AMFM, Inc.'s licenses to Clear Channel Communications, Inc., I cannot support the majority's determination to once again supplement the review of the Justice Department and the detailed provisions of our rules with an amorphous public interest analysis."
" As I have explained previously, this analysis is not only duplicative of the efforts of other federal agencies, but the four-factored test upon which it is based is so loose as to be practically limitless in its reach"
Previous Furchgott-Roth ;
Chairman Kennard remarks:
Commissioner Furchgott-Roth remarks;
Commissioner Ness remarks;
Commissioner Powell remarks;
Commissioner Tristani remarks;
2000-09-07: It's not the billions which were raised in the UK and Germany, but the US Federal Communications Commission has announced that it raised around $320 million 1000 licences sold to 14 companies in its latest auction of spectrum for mobile services.
Biggest buyer was Nextel Spectrum Acquisition Corporation, a subsidiary of the wireless telephone company Nextel Communications, which spent $231.5 million on 800 licenses.
The next auction of the 800-megahertz specialized mobile radio services will begin on November 1st.
Previous German spectum auction;
Previous UK Spectrum auction;
Previous US spectrum auction;
2000-09-06: Australian talk show host John Laws has been given a 15-month suspended prison sentence and placed him on a good-behaviour bond by a judge who said that even the maximum fine would not be sufficient to someone as wealthy as he is but a jail sentence would put him as risk of being attacked.
Laws was found guilty last week of soliciting information from a former juror for the purpose of obtaining information about the deliberations of a jury (RNW Sept 1).
He could have been jailed for up to 7 years for the offence on his Sydney 2UE programme in 1998 which involved the presenter quizzing a woman juror who had been unhappy over the acquittal of two men charged with murdering a computer shop owner.
Passing sentence, Justice James Wood said the Crimes Act prevented him from imposing a fine on top of the 15-month suspended sentence and 15-month good behaviour bond but warned Laws that if he breached the bond he could be brought back before the court and jailed.
Explaining his decision, the judge said, "It is obvious that Mr Laws is well able financially to pay a substantial fine, yet I do not consider that a fine, even up to the maximum available for the offence of $110,000, would of itself provide sufficient by way of personal or general deterrence or by way of punishment for this offence."
He continued," By reason of Mr Laws' high profile and his well-known stand on issues of law and order, I believe that he would face a significant risk of personal injury or worse if sentenced to periodic detention."
"Home detention would risk attracting the derision of the community, and provide a juicy subject for lampoon by cartoonists and columnists, which would threaten respect for the law."
Commenting on Laws defence, Mr Justice Woods said some of what he had said "beggars belief" and reflected adversely on his professionalism.
He added that some of what Laws told the court "beggars belief" and that his ignorance of the law "does not reflect well upon his professionalism".
Laws had said during his trial that said he wrongly believed the juror, had already spoken to a Sydney newspaper and added that he was not interested in exposing the jury's deliberations when he interviewed her.
Justice Wood commented, "Had there been evidence that (Laws) knowingly (breached the Jury Act) then I would have had no hesitation in imposing a sentence that involved a significant period of full-time custody."
In 1998 Laws attacked an accused man on his show, leading to the man's murder trial being aborted. He was fined $50,000 for contempt of court an amount later described by a judge as about the amount (Laws) would spend on a small cocktail party".
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2000-09-06: Two obituaries today, one of the BBC's one and only Court Correspondent and the other of a US writer and radio dramatist who began work as a typist at CBS.
The Court Correspondent was Godfey Talbot who has died aged 91. He was born in Yorkshire and started a journalistic career as an office boy with the Yorkshire Post later becoming a junior reporter in 1928 and then assistant editor of the paper's weekly edition before joining the then Manchester Guardian's weekly " City News"
He joined the BBC in 1937 as a press officer but moved to news sub-editing in London when Hitler invaded Poland, later becoming a war correspondent working in Egypt and later Italy with the Eighth Army.
He became BBC Chief Reporter after the war and in 1946 was accredited to Buckingham Palace when the Corporation created specialist posts.
Talbot was effectively Court Correspondent from 1948-1969.
Amongst oddball highlights of his career noted in UK paper obituaries are a broadcast from a phone box outside a public lavatory at a Canadian railway station during a stop by the royal train (UK Guardian) and from the back of an elephant in India (UK Times).
He is also the only professional journalist to have managed to interview Queen Elizabeth 2.
This was in 1969, long after his retirement, when she commented on her memories of the event for a BBC Radio 4 programme on the 40th anniversary of VE Day.
The other obituary is of Lucille Fletcher, who has died at age 88.
A writer and dramatist, her work included the radio drama ``Sorry, Wrong Number,'' which was twice made into a film.
Fletcher, who graduated in English, worked her way into writing radio dramas from a typists post at CBS.
Those radio dramas included ``The Hitchhiker'' and ``The Search for Henry Le Fevre'', both of which were performed by Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre group.
UK Guardian obituary :
UK Times obituary:
New York Times/ AP obituary :
2000-09-06: Sirius Satellite Radio's second satellite, Sirius 2, has been launched into space from the Baiokur Space Centre in Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Proton Rocket.
The launch follows the successful launch (RNW July 3) of Sirius 1 which has successfully completed in-orbit tests (RNW Aug 9); a third satellite is due to be launched in November.
When all three satellites are in orbit, they will loop the earth so that one is always transmitting to the US.
Previous Satellite Radio ;
2000-09-05: UK Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie in an article in the UK Guardian has strongly attacked the British radio audience organisation, RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research), over its current "diary" methodology which he describes as "akin to reading tea leaves."
He argues that its days are numbered because the diary system is expensive, is incapable of coping with the changes in the radio industry.
MacKenzie descibes the ratings as an "absurd charade is carried out by 100,000 people every year in order to put together the ratings for all Britain's 350 radio stations."
In addition, he says, the system means that ratings are always old when delivered (see RNW Aug 25th on the problems this has caused for Ireland's Lite FM).
As MacKenzie points out, television audience measurement is now done using a set-top box which records all use and for radio a number of companies have been developing systems that record what is listened to using electronic meters worn by survey participants.
MacKenzie says meters are,"Accurate, reliable, no guesswork and no reliance on memory and "Not only are meters accurate, but they can deliver up-to-date information that should be the norm for the radio industry."
He says that he is astounded that the radio industry "is not up in arms seeking a change" but then somewhat contradicts himself by citing the resistance of the US networks to slow the change from diary -based to meter-based ratings in the 1980's.
This was because the system worked well for them since "Diaries rely on people's recall, so the networks scored inaccurately high ratings while the smaller cable stations suffered."
" Once meters accurately recorded what people were actually watching, the result was always the same: networks lost viewers and cable gained."
The same, he says, would be true for radio and he has a self-interest because when TalkSport had test cricket live on an exclusive basis research they did showed that only one listener out of three knew the channel it was on.
The other two were convinced they had been listening to BBC channels which historically carried test cricket.
MacKenzie then comments on Arbitron's portable people meter (PPM) which was tested in Manchester in the UK and is currently on test in Philadelphia in the US (RNW June3.)
The Arbitron meter works by detecting codes embedded in the radio signal and to work properly needs all broadcasters to co-operate; In this case the BBC national network stations pulled out of the test because they said some Radio 3 listeners complained that they were experiencing a "buzz" on the audio.
Now, says MacKenzie, a system is being developed which does not need such co-operation because it uses a built-in microphone, which picks up all the audio that meter-wearers listen to and then matches it up to a radio station's output.
The device, a digital wristwatch, Radiocontrol, being developed by a Swiss company SRG SSR, will be used by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, and should be fully operational from January 2001.
MacKenzie concludes by arguing that people listen to more radio stations than ever before and will listen to even more when digital adds even more stations.
He says it is in advertisers interests, if not some of his rivals, to push for implementation of a metering system.
UK Guardian article;
RNW Note: In view of MacKenzie's attitude to sports rights - RNW June 21 - we can't feel too upset over his problems over the diary system as such but he makes a strong case for metering;
It will be interesting to see if the Swiss system does end up being used more widely as on the surface it could be a serious threat to Arbitron's PPM).
Any comments please E-Mail us
2000-09-05: The Toronto Globe and Mail comments on the launch of CBC's new radio season which has just launched and asks whether the $6 million recent boost to its coffers will translate into better staff morale and programmes.
Much of the line-up is familiar although one name Shelagh Rogers is now heading flagship This Morning "show having moved over from Take Five classical music show. Former This Morning presenter Michael Enright is still hosting it on Sunday mornings.
But there is also new blood according to Alex Frame, CBC's vice-president of radio although he concedes that the radio needs of the 15-27 year-old age group "are not being met" on the traditional airwaves. "
To address that gap and grab a portion of the estimated 800,000 Canadian teens who listen regularly to Net-based radio, the Globe says, CBC created R3 on the Web this past spring.
Still in its beta-testing stage, the new service will have three separate Web sites up and running by the end of the year. As regards the airwaves, Susan Mitten, director of English radio programming is quoted as saying, "The last thing we want to do is alienate the core audience. The principal challenge is to keep pushing forward, and freshen up and take chances, without going so far that we leave folks behind."
Toronto Globe and Mail (search for radio in 7-day search).
2000-09-04: "No, it's not your imagination. There really are a lot more commercials than ever on radio." A quote from Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times to lead off this week's columnists.
It's an issue dear to this listener's heart. But back to Feder and, on the issue of the clutter of advertisements, he quotes a study by Cincinnati-based Empower MediaMarketing, which showed that radio commercial time in major markets increased an average of 6 percent from 1998 to 1999.
In Chicago, he says the situation is worse with an 11 per cent jump to a total of more than 20 minutes an hour in some cases.
The 11% rise was beaten in this case by San Francisco, Miami and Detroit.
Behind the practice Feder suggests is profit and it could have, "has the long-term effect of infuriating listeners and eventually turning them off to radio altogether."
(RNW note: It's not just the adverts: In the UK the BBC may carry no adverts but it does have an infuriating load of jingles and promos.)
Another intro, this time from Peter Barnard in the UK Times, also deserves a quote: "'Radio phone-ins as a guide to policy-making are about as much use as a chocolate kettle."
It leads in to a column about politicians monitoring public opinion including that heard on the airwaves.
Barnard's view is clear from his introduction and the middle of the article (see link below) gives examples.
Its end is a fairly good summing up as well, "Filter out vested interests, nutters and publicity seekers and you are left with a very small sample. The people who can really help your ratings, Mr Hague, (RNW note: British Conservative Party leader) are not the ones who are ringing up radio stations but the ones who are listening to the radio."
" Wasn't it Ronald Reagan who called them the 'silent majority'? You can't hear them with an earphone, Mr Hague."
Back to Chicago for our next column, this time from Jim Kirk in the Chicago Tribune.
He takes up the non-compete clauses, in this case one signed by George McFly who left Top 40 outlet WKIE-FM (KISS-FM) last year to go to Spokane but has now been offered a post by "Jammin' Oldies" station WUBT-FM, now owned by Clear Channel.
McFly was released early from his WKIE contract on the basis of agreeing to a one-year non compete clause.
Now he's being held to it amid rumours that Clear Channel wants to launch a top-40's in Chicago and might flip WUBT to this format.
The rumours are deniedby Chicago AMFM and WUBT chief Kathy Stinehour who says the approach is about trying to localize the station sound.
Whatever happens on the format front, McFly is likely to join WUBT in October when his non-compete clause ends.
And while on the subject of top-40, Clea Simon in the Boston Globe, opines that after a decade of decline, the format is back.
She cites radio trade publication Airplay Monitor, which in the recent spring book recorded ratings for Top 40 stations nationally that are higher than they've been in years.
Not that top pop radio has ever gone away but it did go into an eight-year decline which Sean Ross, group editor of Airplay Monitor, says may have been due to Top 40's short-sighted approach through that period when Top 40 veered away from new sounds in its attempts to woo female listeners, who supposedly didn't listen to rock.
Ross comments that, "It was that attempt to super-serve 25- to 34-year-old women, to the exclusion of everybody else, that probably had a lot to do with the implosion of the format in the early '90s."
".As it happens, it didn't make the 25- to 34-year-old women very happy either."
Simon also quotes WXKS Boston (Kiss) program director John Ivey, as saying what has revived the format, is the range of good new music that appeals to women and can fit in with workplace listening.
Finally and still with music, Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times marks the eighth birthday of Classic FM, which he says, unlike so many other stations, is continuing as it began and is Britain's fourth most popular radio station.
It plays much the same mix of "of popular classical music interspersed with news, weather, racing tips, traffic, jingles and, of course, advertisements."
It's not only popular, it's also keeping its listeners longer, says Donovan, up from five hours a week soon after start to seven now.
More to the point, he notes, BBC Radio 3 has changed its emphasis and "is making conscious moves this autumn to establish itself not just as our most important and substantial purveyor of classical music - which it clearly is, always has been and probably always will be - but also as Britain's premier cultural broadcaster."
For once not more of the same but, as Donovan writes," There has not always been this sharp choice between Classic FM and Radio 3, but it certainly exists now, and is much to the benefit of listeners."
Previous Simon :
Barnard UK Times column;
Donovan Sunday Times column;
Feder Sun-Times column;
Kirk Chicago Tribune column;
Simon Boston Globe column;
2000-09-03: Australian Broadcasting Corporation staff expect to hear on Monday details of the second stage of the restructuring of the Corporation set in train by managing director Jonathan Shier.
It's expected to involve an end to the corporation's separate management structures for each of its five separate network radio divisions.
Also expected are details of how the planned 21 new programme development units, covering topics such as Arts, Science, News and Current Affairs, and Ethics, will relate to the corporation's radio and television networks.
Radio is expected to get a single management structure to replace the current separate management for Radio National, Classic FM, Triple J, NewsRadio and the local radio network but director of radio Sue Howard has told staff that there will not be a merging of NewsRadio and Radio National.
The changes are expected to lead to job losses for a number of senior managers in the radio division.
In addition, plans to give preference to those programme unit which can attract state government funding is expected to mean further job losses in Sydney.
Previous ABC Radio changes;
2000-09-03: Licence news this week. A very quiet week.
The US is still dealing with the Clear Channel take-over of AMFM and in Australia, the ABA has nothing on the radio side.
Nothing significant in the UK either.
In Canada, a few minor decisions have been announced including the approval of a new Low Power FM English language Christian Station for the Joy FM Network Inc., Fredericton, New Brunswick.
It will broadcast a 23-watt signal, mainly of Christian music but with some spoken word programmes including inspirational messages.
And in Nova Scotia, the Central Nova Tourist Association in Amherst has been allowed to amend the licence conditions for CFNS-FM, which will now be allowed to accept up to six minutes per hour of advertising material.
Advertising was previous prohibited and the revenues will be used to support the CFNS-FM tourist information service.
Six month administrative licence renewals have also been granted to community radio service Radio Blanc-Sablon inc. Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon, Middle Bay et Rivière Saint-Paul, Québec; student radio service Radio campus des étudiants de l'Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Trois-Rivières, Quebec and Association francophone d'Iqaluit Iqaluit, Nunavut.
Previous Licence News;
CRTC Website ;
2000-09-02: US shock jock Howard Stern has been found in breach of Canadian Broadcast codes overcomments about the mentally handicapped.
He used the word" retard" in one show in relation to the likelihood of mentally handicapped to commit rape and the devaluation of housing near group homes for the mentally handicapped; he was found not in breach over the use of it in a different context on another show.
This concerned the use of the term "retard" by a belly dancer to describe the man who took her virginity at the age of 15 and then by Stern to state that most "retards" listen to his show and that he is the "King of Retards".
Amongst comments on the show that was ruled in breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics, it was said that that 'a retarded home' will diminish surrounding property values, that 'retarded' persons do cruel things to animals, that 'retarded' persons are more prone to commit rape and do socially unacceptable things in public and so on."
The code concerned forbids broadcasters from making abusive or discriminatory programming based on grounds such as sex, religion, age, national origin or physical or mental handicap.
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) concluded that that Stern and his cohorts "made fun of the protected group" in this case.
It said of the show comments on the mentally handicapped, "It is apparently the view of Stern and his sycophants that this is nothing short of hilarious, a perspective not shared by decent-minded individuals."
" It is a cruel use of the position he occupies at the public microphone."
The council said that Toronto Q107, the only Canadian radio station which broadcasts the Stern show, must be more vigilant in removing any such comments before they reach the airwaves or face losing its membership in both the CAB and the CBSC.
There was swift condemnatory reaction from Canadian advocacy groups according to the Toronto Globe and Mail.
It quoted Al Etmanski of the Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network in British Columbia as saying, "That stuff was put to bed in Canada many years ago. A guy like Stern just fans the flames, and it's hateful."
Keith Powell, executive director of the Ontario Association for Community Living said "This is not a matter of censorship; it's a matter of checks and balances to protect people who can't speak for themselves."
Following previous complaints and rulings, the Stern show is aired in Canada with a tape-delay mechanism to allow him to be "dumped";
Toronto Globe and Mail site:
2000-09-02: More US radio deals. Princeton-based Nassau broadcasting Partners has announced that it has set up private financing to complete its $185 million acquisition of nine stations from Aurora Communications by the end of this month.
Nassau, which last month abandoned its Initial Public Offering, has not disclosed the terms on which it obtained the funding.
It agreed to acquire the stations in March and FCC approval of the deal is already in the bag.
The stations involved are news/talk/sport WFAS (FM), which Nassau intends to relaunch with a new format by the end of next year and adult contemporary WFAF (FM) and WFAS (AM) in Westchester, New York, adult contemporary WEBE (FM) and full-service format WICC (AM) in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Album Oriented Rock WRKI (FM), oldies format WAXB (FM), and adult standards WINE (AM, and WPUT (AM) in Danbury, Connecticut.
The stations will create Nassau's fourth cluster and will be referred to as Nassau North.
Nassau, which operates in the North Eastern US, last month re-branded two of its stations; WHCY (FM) in Newton, NJ from country music to MAX 106.3 to contemporary hit radio format and WSBG (FM), which competes in the same market place, to a Rocking Hits format.
In other deals, Laramie mountain Broadcasting is buying KLDI-AM & KRQU-FM Laramie, Wyoming from Chaparral Broadcasting Inc for $875,000; and Radio South group is paying $867000 to Cajun County Broadcasting for KJEF-AM & FM in the Lake Charles, Louisiana, market.
Nassau news release:
2000-09-02:Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has had to broadcast an apology to the captain of Galway's hurling team following a hoax which led to a caller being given airtime to make sexist comments during a studio discussion on discussion on the women-only game of camogie.
The caller said this was not very ladylike and also commented that most girls who supported the Galway hurling team had, have no interest in going to watch a bunch of girls running around trying to lose weight in Croke Park."
He also said that it was all right for girls to play golf or tennis, but it was not very feminine or healthy for them to play soccer, Gaelic football, hurling or camogie.
Previous RTÉ ;
2000-09-01: Sydney 2UE presenter John Laws has been found guilty of soliciting information about the secret deliberations of a jury, an offence for which he could be jailed for up to seven years.
Justice James Woods who presided over the trial will receive submissions concerning the sentence to be imposed on September 5.
Laws was replaced by regular stand-in Ray Hadley for his morning slot yesterday.
2000-09-01: The big deal is now formally done, too late for our deadline yesterday, but AMFM is no more and Clear Channel is by far the largest radio network in the US with some 1000 stations .
The final merger was announced jointly by Clear Channel Chairman and CEO Lowry Mays and AMFM Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas O. Hicks.
AMFM shares closed at $72.13 on their final day and shareholders received 94% of a Clear Channel share for each share they held.
Hicks and his Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst investment company own around 10% of Clear Channel.
Commenting on the deal, Kenneth J. O'Keefe, former Chairman and CEO of AMFM Radio, now President and Chief Operating Officer of Clear Channel Radio, said, "Combining Clear Channel and AMFM creates a world-class content and distribution juggernaut with global reach powered by our most valuable assets -- our people.
Previous Clear Channel ;
Clear Channel site -links to announcement
2000-09-01: Two more advertisers have dropped Dr Laura Schlessinger's show according to the StopDrLaura site. They are Albertson's and Econo Lodge. Albertsons said once they learned they were inadvertently advertising on the Dr Laura show they directed their media buying service to pull the advertising.
Previous Dr Laura ;
Dr Laura website;
StopDr Laura site;
Links note: As far as possible we provide site links to the previous related story. Should these links not work, please advise us so we can sort out the problem. Regarding external links, we give links where we can but some newspapers and stations only keep items available for a limited period or move them to a pay-per-use archive (typically after 7 or 14 days in the USA). Thus some links become outdated or sources you would have to pay for or subscribe to access. See links page for notes regarding various sites we think of value
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Aug 2000 Oct 2000
RNW August Comment
looks at some of the unique benefits of radio when you're on the move be it walking around, in a car, or on vacation. It's a great medium!
2000-09-30: The US National Association of Broadcasters' lobby in favour of the Senator Rod Grams bill, which would limit Low Power FM radio by requiring third adjacent channel (600khz away) protection for existing stations, seems to be close to success.
The bill needs the support of 51 Senators to gain a majority and thus make it easier for the bill to be attached to another bill which it would be difficult for the President to veto.
With Congress scheduled to adjourn next Friday, Grams is reported to have 50 Senators signed on as supporters. (More on LPFM tomorrow).
Previous Grams :
Previous LPFM :
2000-09-30: In Ireland, the Flood Tribunal hearings into the award of the country's first national commercial radio licence to Century Radio are continuing with more details emerging of payments or loans to politically-connected individuals as well as of the question of transmission fees.
On this latter, Century co-founder James Stafford has testified that the Irish Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) knew when it granted the licence that the station was not prepared to pay the amount decided by then minister for communications, Ray Burke.
Stafford said Burke wrote to the IRTC in February 1989 saying a "reasonable" figure of more than £600000 had been agreed with state broadcaster RTÉ but Century had said in January in its submission that a figure above £375000 would make the project unviable. Stafford also testified that in June 1989 he met the minister to discuss problems it was having with the IRTC and RTÉ.
Complaints included one against the IRTC for refusing to give an assurance that Century's seven-year licence would be renewed.
The Tribunal also heard that Sean Connolly, secretary of the Independent Radio and Television Commission in 1989, told Michael Laffan, chief executive of Century Radio, during a meeting that Century felt empowered to enlist the support of ministers "whenever and wherever they chose" and that he felt the "promoters of Century were too highly politicised."
Stafford denied the allegations and said that he was "not that political a person."
He said that comments noted by Laffan about the meeting reflected "a lot of bad blood" between Century Radio and the IRTC and between Oliver Barry, another Century co-founder,and Connolly.
He added that Connolly overstated the level of consultation between Century Radio and Burke.
The tribunal also heard about a December 1989 meeting with Burke when Century was having financial trouble and after which Burke capped RTÉ's advertising revenues.
Tribunal counsel Pat Hanratty, SC, asked Stafford if minister had told his civil servants "to take whatever steps necessary to cap RTÉ's advertising and Stafford agreed that would "seem to be what happened."
RTÉ's counsel, Paul O'Higgins SC, told the tribunal that Century Radio was a private company looking for a "free ride" on RTÉ's transmission system, which was owned by the public.
Century had argued that it have to pay to have its signal broadcast on RTÉ's transmission network because this had been paid for by the taxpayer; Stafford said that this was simply driving the hardest bargain he could for his station.
O'Higgins responded that Century never tried to drive a bargain at all and said RTÉ put its position to Stafford and he responded by putting his position to the minister.
He suggested that Century's bid might have been dismissed out of hand had it been required to put forward a breakdown of its transmission fees.
Stafford fought back, admitting that RTÉ had more than fulfilled its contractual obligations to extend Century's coverage throughout the country but saying that RTÉ had discriminated against Century by refusing to accept television advertisements for the new station.
Another matter brought up was a £46,000 loan to former Fianna Fáil press secretary, P.J. Mara, by financier Dermot Desmond.
Mara's counsel said that Stafford had alleged that the amount of the loan was £100000 with the suggestion that Mara was involved in something wrong.
Stafford said he had been invited to a meeting where a demand had been that he pay money to Mara with no explanation, either then or now, what the money was for.
Counsel for Stafford's co-director Oliver Barry told the tribunal that Barry had never suggested to Stafford that there was a "shopping list" for radio licence and also said that request was made for money for the former government press secretary, P.J. Mara, at a meeting of Barry, Mara, Stafford and the businessman Dermot Desmond.
Stafford insisted the incident "did happen and it happened exactly as I have told this tribunal...
Previous Ray Burke;
Previous Desmond :
Previous Flood Tribunal;
Previous Mara :
RNW note: Most of our report is culled from The Irish Times which has been carrying full reports on the Flood Tribunal. For their reports follow the link below:
Irish Times --search page
(go for radio and September 2000).
2000-09-30: Clear Channel is not letting up on its US acquisitions.
It's now filed an application with the Federal Communications Commissions to buy KOWB-AM and KCGY-FM in Laramie, Wyoming.
Clear Channel already owns three stations in the Cheyenne, Wyoming, market.
Also in the US, Salem Communications has now closed its swap with Cox Communications which gave it an Atlanta AM station WALR, now contemporary Christian format WFSH (The Fish) and AM's in Tampa, Florida, and San Antonio, Texas, in exchange for KKHT-FM Houston.
Cox, which bought WALR for $280 million, then moved its format and WALR call sign to the frequency formerly used by Smooth Jazz WJFZ.
Previous Clear Channel;
Previous Cox Radio ;
Previous US radio deals:
Cox Radio site :
Salem web site;
2000-09-29: BBC Radio has outlined plans for five new national radio services to run alongside its five existing national channels Radios 1 to 5.
The new services would comprise three new digital services and enhancements of two existing services.
The new digital services would be a black music and news-based station targeted at young people, a music-based station drawing on the Corporation's archive of performances, concerts and interviews and a speech service of drama, comedy and readings including children's programmes which will mix original programming with archive material.
To be enhanced would be the current Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live sports services which gain 5 Live Sports Plus and the BBC's Leicester-based Asian Network which was founded there in 1996 and would become a national speech and music network for Asian communities
The new and existing services would be part of the BBC's package, which will be available via digital satellite and cable, the Internet and digital radio.
BBC World Service radio would be part of the BBC's digital radio package available in the UK.
Licence payers will be invited to give their views on the proposed new and if the result of the consultation exercise is positive the BBC will then seek government approval.
If this is given, the new service could be broadcasting as early as spring next year.
In a statement, Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio and Music said: "The digital future is as vital for radio as it is for television. This announcement recognises the importance of radio to the BBC and gives us the opportunity to reach as many of our licence fee payers as we can."
"All five services will build on the BBC's commitment to live performance, original programming and the championing of talent."
BBC News Release :
2000-09-29: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that San Mateo County's District Attorney has filed charged against two disc-jockeys from radio station "Wild 94.9"over a prank that went wrong.
The two men, Joseph Lopez, and Graham Herber, had allegedly dressed themselves up as escaped prisoners and were going round houses knocking on doors and asking residents to remove their handcuffs.
Frightened residents called police who ordered the two to the ground at gunpoint and arrested the pair.
The police filed complains with both the district attorney and the US Federal Communications Commission and the men now face misdemeanour charges of falsely causing an emergency to be reported.
The charges that carry penalties of as much as $1,000 in fines, a year in county jail, or both
The station and one of the DJs have already been in trouble before according to the Chronicle.
Lopez was arrested in 1997 after he refused to stop encouraging listeners to deface a Castro Valley sign.
And the station under a former owner and frequency settled in 1993 after a lawsuit was instituted when traffic on the Bay Bridge was halted because a disc jockey was having a haircut in the middle of the span.
SF Gate search page (go for radio and date) :
2000-09-29: Although US radio stocks remain in the doldrums with rumours flying of problems for the next quarter, the deals still go on and current figures which are coming through are so far healthy.
Some groups are taking advantage of the low prices including Hispanic Broadcasting whose board has approved a stock repurchase program, under which the Company may repurchase up to five million shares of its outstanding common stock.
Emmis Communications Corporation has announced record revenues and cash flow for its fiscal quarter ending Aug. 31; net revenue grew to $109.1 million from $81.5 million, a 34% increase over the same quarter of the prior year.
On a same-station basis, net revenue for the quarter increased 14% and Broadcast Cash Flow (BCF) was up 20%.
Compared to the same quarter of 1999, overall BCF was up 40% to $47.4 million and After Tax Cash Flow (ATCF) up 77% to $47.4 million. Emmis also announced that inside the next two weeks it expects to close its acquisition of the Sinclair Group's six St Louis stations (see RNW June 24) and downstream swap of four St Louis stations for Bonneville's KZLA-FM in Los Angeles.
On the deals front, Radio One Inc, the Maryland-based group which targets African-American and urban listeners, has announced that it has acquired KJOI-AM, formerly KLUV-AM, in Dallas from Infinity Broadcasting for approximately $16million.
Radio One Inc last month acquired another Dallas station, KBFB-FM. And in the wake of the Clear Channel take-over of AMFM, Charles Giddens, the trustee appointed to handle the remaining disposals, has filed papers with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to sell buy WXBM-FM & WMEZ-FM Pensacola-Milton, Florida, for $439500 to Pamal Broadcasting. An earlier deal fell through.
Gidden's is also selling KVOD-AM Denver is going to Latino Communications to $3.3million.
In Louisiana, Southwest Broadcasting is paying $975000 for WJSH-FM Folsom, one of three FM's owned by Styles Broadcasting. And in Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation is selling its radio holdings. KADA-AM & FM in Ada, bought for $637500 four years ago. KADA-FM will be sold for $550000 to Tres Broadcasting.
In addition the tribe will get $25000 a year of advertising and three weekly 30 minute programmes on Tres' FMs in Ada and Ardmore for the next three years. KADA-AM is to be sold separately.
Also getting out of radio is Dynamite Radio Inc, which is selling its only station, WRRO-FM in Addison, Vermont to Northeast Broadcasting for around $450000.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Previous Infinity :
Previous Radio One Inc;
Previous US deals:
Emmis web site :
Hispanic Broadcasting web site :
2000-09-28: In Ireland, the Flood Tribunal into the award of Ireland's first national commercial radio licence to Century Radio has been told that Century anticipated a directive on transmission costs from former communications minister Ray Burke by preparing a brief for him without consultation with state broadcaster RTÉ, who would have to provide the transmission services.
Tribunal counsel Patrick Hanratty SC, in making the allegation quoted a 1988 letter from a Century technical adviser who noted that RTÉ wanted £320,000 a year to cover maintenance costs whilst Century was only offering 30,000.
Adviser Professor Ray Hills, former head of the UK Independent Broadcasting Authority's Communications Services division urged Century to negotiate over the matter, saying he felt the RTÉ offer made economic sense on the grounds of equipment maintenance and infrastructure but if agreement could not be reached to fall back on a broadcasting act provision which would allow the minister to fix the cost.
Century director James Stafford said he had not given the briefing to the minister himself but had intended to give it to co-director Oliver Barry and leave it up to him whether to give it to Burke.
Stafford said that they had asked for the ministerial directive as a result of frustration with RTÉ but Hanratty said they'd sought it before even applying for the licence or negotiating with RTÉ.
Stafford disputed this and said there had been a number of discussions with RTÉ which had been `'a complete waste of time" although he could not recall when the meetings had taken place or who was there.
In another story concerning radio licences in Ireland, the Irish Times, which has been covering the Flood Tribunal comprehensively, reports on a later licence dispute.
This concerns the award of Dublin's new youth-oriented licence to Spin FM, which is already six months late in getting to air because one of the losing bidders is taking the issue to the Irish Supreme Court.
Spin cannot commence broadcasts until this case has been heard.
Amongst those involved in Spin is its consortium chairman, Ossie Kilkenny, the former accountant of U2, whilst the group's manager, Paul McGuinness, and guitarist, The Edge, were involved respectively in the losing Pulse FM and Storm FM consortiums.
Storm is continuing with legal action although Pulse, which had also sought a judicial review, withdrew after the High Court told it to lodge £100,000 as security for costs.
At the heart of the dispute is Storm's claim that one member of the IRTC, Colum Kenny, was objectively biased against Storm's application(RNW May 4).
There is also complaint about the involvement of businessman Denis O'Brien in the Spin consortium with losing bidders claiming that this breached Irish regulations concerning involvement in an "undue number" of broadcasters.
As well as his 25% holding in Spin, O'Brien owns companies whose broadcasting interests include own 22 per cent of East Coast Radio and 15 per cent of Newstalk, which was awarded the all-talk news licence.
Previous Ray Burke;
Previous Flood Tribunal;
Previous Spin FM:
Irish Times --search page
(go for radio and September 2000)
2000-09-28: KSJO-FM in San Jose, California has been penalised by two $7000 fines for Indecency by the US Federaal Communications Commission (FCC); One fine resulted from a "joke" which involved a little girl asking her parents questions in the shower and the other following a morning show discussion on the proper way to perform fellatio. The station, owned by Clear Channel, says the only offensive content in the first case resulted from innuendo and denies indecency in the second case which involved a guest sex therapist.
2000-09-28: US Comedy Central is to launch am Internet audio channel ComedyCentralRadio.com at the start of next month is an attempt to try and dominate this niche. It will feature stand-up comedians performing routines in the organisation's library and from their CDs.
Comedy Central already has an Internet competitor in ComedyWorld.com but with the deep pockets of its owners, Time-Warner and I, Comedy Central things it is well placed to take top spot.
It already has nearly 70 million subscribers to its cable channel.
Comedy Central site :
ComedyWorld site :
2000-09-27: The BBC, which at the weekend began broadcasting on an FM band in Kuwait, has already run into trouble from an Islamist MP.
Waleed al-Tabtabai has complained that a BBC programme included "indecent discussions on extramarital affairs" including an interview with a wife who had an extramarital affair and urged the Information Minister to impose controls on the BBC broadcasts.
The broadcasts result from an agreement with the ministry under which the BBC will train some 300 Kuwaiti broadcast engineers and in return can broadcast English and Arabic programmes using a Kuwaiti booster station.
2000-09-27: Latest Sydney ratings show that 2UE has moved up to equal 2DAY as the most heard station in the city.
Both stations now have a 13.8% audience share, 2UE having increased its share by 1.4% and 2DAY having lost 0.7% since the July ratings.
2UE has done particularly well with Alan Jones' breakfast up 2.1% and also in attracting the 25- to 39-year age group, beloved of advertisers.
Previous Sydney ratings :
2000-09-27: San Francisco's district attorney's office has decided not to file any charges for the moment against nine demonstrators arrested last week during the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Four of the demonstrators had spent the night in jail on possible charges in connection with "a vandalism" incident according to the report.
Three attorneys were also arrested Friday when they allegedly tried to brush past police to get into the Hall of Justice after officers refused to let them inside to see the arrested protesters.
The lawyers were held for two hours and cited on misdemeanour charges of battery on a peace officer.
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting officials said activists had been arrested during a peaceful march but a police report asserted that the activists had been arrested after walking in the middle of the street and breaking a radio station window.
The Chronicle's sister paper, the San Francisco Examiner, reports that there has been criticism of NAB and police by several reporters who said their press credentials were suddenly revoked while they were trying to cover the anti-NAB demonstration. The paper says NAB officials accused the reporters of handing out NAB passes to protesters.
It adds that a SFPD spokesman said the conference was on private property, and any disputes over an NAB press credential was between NAB and the reporters involved but that if an SFPD officer had taken away credentials, it was against department policy.
Still with NAB and the organisation is piling on the lobbying pressure in its fight against low power FM (LPFM) in the final week before the US Congress adjourns.
It's urging broadcasters nationwide to lobby their Senators to support Minnesota Senator Rod Grams' bill which would require third adjacent channel protection for all LPFM stations, thus drastically cutting the number which could be allowed.
NAB is also trying to get the measure attached to essential legislation such as the appropriations bill for the Departments of State, Justice and Commerce so as to prevent a presidential veto.
Previous NAB :
SF Gate site -for San Francisco reports -use search for radio and date
2000-09-26: Now that NAB's San Francisco Convention is over, a quick glance at the way the stock market differs in its feelings about US radio prospects from the bullish sentiments expressed in San Francisco.
There Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays said Wall Street had overdone its selling of radio stocks, played down the effects of losing dot com revenue and predicted more advertising from traditional retailers moving online.
On the markets as the week started Infinity was doing best of the big players with its stocks only 25% down from its 12-month high, Clear Channel was down almost 40% with others faring even worse.
One thing the convention did succeed in was avoiding the threatened disruption by pro-LPFM (low power FM) demonstrators with demonstrations themselves turning out to be small scale and only a couple of incidents, both on Friday of last week.
One was when two pro-LPFM female protesters infiltrated the FCC Policymaker's Breakfast and grabbed the microphones as FCC Commissioner Harold Furtchgott-Roth was being introduced and the other when four young men chained themselves together in the convention centre lobby.
Supposedly large-scale demonstrations planned for Saturday to disrupt the annual Marconi Awards ceremony also fizzled out.
The actual awards themselves saw Rush Limbaugh finally making it as Network Syndicated Personality of the Year and WEBN, Cincinnati, Ohio, taking the award for Legendary Station of the Year.
The other wards were as follows:
Major Market Station of the Year -WOMC, Detroit, Michigan
Large Market Station of the Year -KESZ, Phoenix, Arizona
Medium Market Station of the Year -WOOD-AM, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Small Market Station of the Year -WAXX, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Major Market Personality of the Year -Mike Francesa & Chris Russo, WFAN, New York, New York
Large Market Personality of the Year - Jay Gilbert, WEBN, Cincinnati, Ohio
Medium Market Personality of the Year - Jimmy Matis. WFBQ, Indianapolis, Indiana
Small Market Personality of the Year - Tim Wilson. WAXX, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
AC Station of the Year -KSTP-FM, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Adult Standards Station of the Year - KVFD, Fort Dodge, Iowa
CHR Station of the Year - KDWB, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Classical Station of the Year - WBQQ, Kennebunk, Maine
Country Station of the Year - WTQR, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
NAC/Jazz Station of the Year - WJJZ, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
News/Talk/Sports Station of the Year - WTMJ, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Oldies Station of the Year -WOMC, Detroit, Michigan
Religious Station of the Year - WMBI, Chicago, Illinois
Rock Station of the Year - WFBQ, Indianapolis, Indiana
Spanish Station of the Year - KLAT, Houston, Texas
Urban Station of the Year - tie between
WUSL, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
and WVEE, Atlanta, Georgia
Previous Furtchgott-Roth :
Previous Rush Limbaugh :
Previous Lowry Mays;
NAB web site:
2000-09-26: Time for another look at the proceedings of the Flood Tribunal which is looking into the question of payments made in 1989 allegedly inconnection with the award of Ireland's first national commercial radio licence to Century Radio.
Proceedings resumed last week and accusations have again been flying around.
Patrick Hanratty, SC, counsel for the Tribunal, has accused James Stafford, a co-director of Century Communications Ltd, of misleading the tribunal by giving evidence that he did not learn about a payment of £35,0000 to former Communications Minister Ray Burke until two years after the event.
Hanratty said that it was "screamingly obvious" that Stafford misled the tribunal team in a private interview in May this year and also said Century Radio directors fabricated expenses to recoup the payment.
In May Stafford said he became aware of the payment through reports of the tribunal proceedings but last week he gave evidence that he first heard of it in 1991 in a meeting with co-director, Oliver Barry who was seeking money for the payment and a £5000 donation to Fianna Fáil.
Stafford said the difference was only after reading newspaper reports that he believed the payment had been made.
The tribunal was also told of payments of £40,000 to Barry from Capital Radio, the UKL Group which took a major shareholding in Century before it went into liquidation.
Hanratty described the justification given for the money, management feeds of £16,000 a week for 25 weeks, as a complete fabrication.
Stafford said he understood Mr Barry had legitimately been owed the money and also believed Mr Barry would repay a £28,986 loan, but this did happen and he later started legal proceedings try and recoup the money.
Stafford gave evidence that he was not happy with expenses submitted by Barry, which included the £35,000 payment to Ray Burke, listed in a document as a "deposit".
The document also listed a £5,000 donation to Fianna Fáil from Barry and another £2000 he himself had given to Fine Gael, money Stafford said he had never claimed back as an expense.
He thought that when Barry approached him in 1991 for £40,000 to cover the Burke and Fianna Fáil payments, he thought this was a separate amount from the previous £40,000.
Previous Barry :
Previous Burke ;
Previous Flood Tribunal;
Irish Times --search page
(go for radio and September 2000)
2000-09-25: Pride of place in the columnists this week has to go to Frank Ahrens of the Washington Post who has been covering the National Association of Broadcasters radio convention, with a sidebar mention of Jim Kirk who is tomve over from media correspondent to become marketing correspondent for the Chicago Tribune; the job covers advertising, consumer products and media, so it will be interesting to see if there is any change of emphasis in any radio cover that may appear.
Ahrens first and in his look-ahead to the NAB convention, he says this year there may be reason to temper the optimism about radio's future.
He says new technologies - naming satellite, Internet, and low power FM - mean Big radio moves from "-a profitable past into an uncertain future."
Ahrens asks if the changes could put Big Radio in the position of the Big 3 US automakers before the OPEC oil shock.
He notes that the Big Two -Clear Channel, with some 1000 stations, and Viacom/Infinity, which has less stations but more big city ones and thus almost as many listeners, help mightily in enabling radio to bill $17 billion of advertising last year.
Yet he warns, there are danger signs as forecasts are that revenue will rise more slowly, dot-com advertising may be short-lived, the companies are carrying massive debts from their buying sprees, and over the horizon come the new technologies.
"Satellite radio," he writes, "will charge subscribers $9.95 a month for 100 channels of music and talk. Instead of one classical music station with a limited playlist, satellite radio promises, you'll have a choice of three with deep and broad song selection."
Then Internet radio allows people to listen to stations from all over the world, currently via a computer and through poor speakers but the technology will change as portable Internet devices come along.
And finally LPFM is being fought strenuously by the broadcasters who are accused by many of its proponents of fearing the competition for audiences.
"It is telling, " he adds, "that Clear Channel bought a major stake in XM satellite radio and is spending money to develop Internet radio."
" It is equally telling that Viacom/Infinity has not invested in satellite radio and has forbidden its stations from broadcasting over their Web sites, choosing to hold off on the Internet until it can figure out how to make money from it."
Reporting at the end of the week, Ahrens, picks up on some of the gadgets guaranteed to change radio but which he says you only hear about a second time when their makers file for bankruptcy.
The stars this year he names as "Kerbango, SonicBox and Kima Kima, three chunks of chips 'n' plastic that promise to make it tolerable to listen to Internet radio."
He then concludes on Internet radio that it, "is the Holy Grail of the frustrated radio listener: In theory, you can hear thousands of radio stations from all over the world through your computer."
" In practice, you have to sit at your computer, download software, navigate browsers, raise your left elbow, compose a haiku, etc. Internet radio will be big when and only when it's as easy as switching on your clock radio. It's not there yet."
Back down to earth and in the UK Times, Peter Barnard centres his column around veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke's weekly "Letter from America" which has been running since 1946.
As usual the Barnard column deserves a quote or two so here goes with the introduction on how Cooke started this week's programme by talking about hurricane's names and ended up on Gore v Bush
. "I forget how he got from the weather to the White House. Travelling from A to B via 17 other letters is Cooke's stock in trade. It works brilliantly on radio, though you wouldn't want to live with it: you send him out for a dozen eggs, he comes back with a grand piano."
Cooke himself is now 92 and Barnard writes, "No one else could do it, but then no one else will have to."
"The day after the world ends, a voice will come through the ether: "Good evening. The other day I was thinking that . . . "
Barnard then moves on himself to pick up a more general point, "The precision of Cooke's conversational English is taken for granted after all these years, but it should not be, for it serves to highlight the fact that British broadcasting is home to some sloppy use of language. And it is getting worse."
Her backs this up with comment about BBC Radio 4, which he says is the best UK network in this regard because it has "the highest proportion, among speech networks, of scripted, recorded programmes."
"Standards on other networks are frankly shoddy. Could not Radio 5 Live, for instance, ban the word "literally" from the airwaves? "
He continues, "Recently one 5 Live reporter found himself "literally in the middle of nowhere" and a football commentator on the same network observed a sight more rare than a total eclipse, namely a football manager "literally beside himself." That would have made good television."
RNW Note: Indeed it would and a brief listen to many stations or indeed read of many supposedly quality broadsheet newspapers, would bring up a few examples. For those of you so inclined may we suggest read of the autobiography of author Compton MacKenzie (My Life and Times). He collected 'literallys" two of which we note were the Admiral who "literally won his spurs at the Battle of Jutland," (Pegasus, perhaps) and an accused who, said the court report, had "literally gone to pieces after his arrest" (It didn't say how many bits were in court!).
After which a true, if not literal, story about radio from Barnard's Sunday Times colleague, Paul Donovan.
It concerns a pensioner who rang a local radio phone-in in Cornwall after thieves who had broken into his home not only stole his television, ate his food and drank his whisky, but also took away his false teeth which he could not afford to replace.
Listeners pledged and delivered hampers, whisky and new dentures, made by a dentist in Truro, Cornwall, who had been listening.
As Donovan writes, "Spontaneous kindness like this is a powerful reminder of radio's immediacy. The incident also shows how well local radio stations can reach - and affect - their own areas"
" …… Today there is much excited talk about what it means to be "interactive", a term often applied to lewd sex sites on the Internet."
" But radio has been truly interactive for decades, and there is at least one man of advanced years in the south-west of England who has every reason to be grateful for that."
RNW Note: Indeed so and a good note to end on. We wonder if Internet radio will ever have quite the same localised impact!
Previous Alastair Cooke;
Ahrens pre-NAB report;
Ahrens NAB report;
2000-09-25: In a move which may significantly increase the short-term take-up of digital radio in the UK, Psion the UK company best kjnown for its personal organiser, is to unveil a new product which will enable PC users to tune into to digital radio.
Psion, which has set up a new Psion Infomedia division to exploit digital radio's potential,. Is to price its "Wavefinder" device at around £200 ($300), around a quarter of the price of current digital radio receivers in the UK.
" Wavefinder" will enable listeners to tune into digital signals both for audio and to receive data which is being broadcast on digital channels.
2000-09-24: Licence news this week. And the most important development is probably the continuing developments on Low Power FM in the US as the Federal Communications Commission, which received 473 applications in its LPFM filing window (RNW Sep 20 moves to blunt the efforts of the anti-LPFM lobby (See below).
Otherwise, it's fairly quiet.
In Australia most regulatory effort seems to have been devoted to digital television although behind the scenes work continues on the new Sydney's community licences.
Canada and the UK have also been fairly quiet.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is now working against a background of concern at general media consolidation in view of the BCE's planned media conglomerate which will control Canada's biggest private sector television network, CTV, largest Internet service provider, Sympatico-Lycos, and a national newspaper, The Toronto Globe and Mail,
Its main radio decision has been the granting of a licence for a new English language rock music FM station for Kingston Ontario.
Amongst the losing bidders for this was CHUM whose shares have been shooting up amidst speculation that it may become a take-over target if consoliodation continues; CHUM's holdings include 27 radio stations and 8 TV stations.
The winning bid for the station went to John P. Wright, on behalf of a company to be incorporated; other bids were from CHUM and by McColman Media Inc., on behalf of a company to be incorporated.
The creation of a new station was opposed by Corus Entertainment Inc which effectively controls two of the existing Kingston licences, oldies CFFX and country music CFMK, which were bought from Power Broadcasting in March this year.
Before the deal, Power had applied for a new Kingston licence but Corus dropped the application after the take over on the grounds that the market would not support a new station.
CHUM is the licensee of the other two Kingston stations, CKLC and CFLY-FM., which are both adult contemporary but aiming at different age groups.
Garry P. McColman who was involved in the other losing bid, owns 11% of WBDR-FM Watertown, which is heard in Kingston through a rebroadcasting facility at Cape Vincent, some 610 km (6 miles) from Kingston.
In making its decision, the CRTC says that it considered there was room for a new station and that the winning application offered the best combination of a distinctive format and increasing competition and diversity to the market.
The new station's owners will be Wright (60%), Rogers Broadcasting (25%) and Douglas Kirk (15%). Mr Kirk is owns shares of a number of other Ontario radio stations.
The CRTC has also allowed VOWR, St. John's, Newfoundland, which is run by the Wesley United Church Radio Board to lower the percentage of Canadian music in its output and has published a public notice calling for comment on an application by Rogers Broadcasting to increase the power of CHYM-FM Kitchener, Ontario, from 74,000 to 100,000 watts.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has advertised the regional digital multiplex licence for north-west England, published its assessment of the award of the Central Lancashire digital multiplex to EMAP Emap Digital Radio Ltd. (Licence News Sept 10)
It has also sought comment on am application by Compass Radio Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Lincs FM plc, for the new Grimsby local radio licence.
There are two other applications for the licence but under existing legislation the Lincs application can only be allowed if it is thought not to be against the public interest since it already owns a Lincs FM whose coverage area would significantly overlap the area of the new licence.
Submissions have to be made on the basis of plurality of ownership, range of programmes and diversity of information and opinions for the area.
And finally a reminder of the value of the airwaves as in the USA, the FCC raises $520 million though its 700Mhz "Guard Band" auction (RNW Sept 23).
Previous Licence News;
CRTC Website ;
FCC web site;
UK Radio Authority web site:
2000-09-24: UK Virgin Radio, which topped Arbitron's latest Internet ratings (RNW Sept 19) has released details of its digital strategy which includes a new Internet radio network according to the UK Guardian.
The paper says the plan, centred on niche audiences for streamed radio broadcasts is similar to the plan announced by UK Capital Radio in July.
It will start with the launch of a branded internet radio station, Virgin Digital, in October.
The site will have the same music content at the on-air broadcast but will exploit the Internet's capabilities for different the branding, promotions and advertising and is already on track to generate more than £1million this year from advertising and promotions.
As a second step the current output will be split into four niche stations based on either themes or demographics.
The third step involves the development of more spin-off products such as co-branded internet radio channels, building on the strategy behind the Global Sound Kitchen venture launched in conjunction with Levi's at the start of this year.
The paper quotes John Ousby, director of Ginger Online, the digital development arm of Ginger Media Group as saying, "The endgame is targeted music and advertising; a big step away from our current output, which is very wide."
(RNW note: Virgin is now owned by Scottish Media Group which took over Ginger Media Group - RNW Jan)
Previous Scottish Media Group :
Previous Virgin Radio;
UK Guardian article ;
2000-09-24: In a move aimed at blunting the lobby against Low Power FM, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has created a new procedure to resolve complaints from listeners to existing full power stations who claim they are being affected by interference from the new stations.
At the same time it has re-iterated its views that the new 10watt and 1000 watt LPFM stations would provide outlets for new voices whilst "preserving the integrity and technical excellence of existing FM radio service and safeguarding a digital transition for radio."
The Commission says it still thinks the interference risk is small and did not require general 3rd adjacent channel protection but adds that in response to concerns from such organisations as the Radio Reading Service and National Public Radio that, pending analysis of a study of radio reading service reception it will require LPFM stations to meet 3rd adjacent channel spacing standards with respect to existing full power stations operating radio reading services via FM sub-carriers.
It also adopted new complaints procedures for speedy resolution of cases where full power stations claim interference.
These procedures would be triggered when a full power station "receives complaints of interference by the LPFM station from one percent of its listeners in the area in which it is most likely to experience interference."
The procedures would start with a co-operative effort buy the stations involved to identify the source of interference and possible solutions, with FCC field agent assistance if needed.
If the stations cannot then agree the FCC would commence a speedy procedure to resolve the complaint within 90 days.
The FCC has also modified some of the rules for LPFM single-ownership; it now proposes to allow government public safety and transportation organisations to apply for multiple LPFM stations for disseminating traffic, safety and other information in cases where are no conflicting applications.
In similar circumstances it would also allow applications for university student-run LPFM stations from universities holding full power FM licenses that are not student-run.
Separate college campuses within a university system, or individual high schools under a single school board, will be allowed to apply individually for LPFM licenses and Indian tribes meeting the eligibility criteria for non-commercial educational stations will also be allowed to apply for LPFM licenses.
The FCC rejected arguments for more and less stringent channel separation requirements which had been put forward.
The new moves will not satisfy the National Association of Broadcasters which has been lobbying furiously against LPFM.
In addition, FCC Commissioner Michael Powell, son of former US General Colin Powell who gave NAB's keynote speech at its San Francisco radio convention (RNW Sept 23), has expressed some concerns that LPFM, despite being non-commercial and not allowed to accept advertising, could threaten the commercial viability of some small broadcasters.
Before General Powell's address to the NAB convention, NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts, brought up the issue of LPFM and urged the broadcaster to lobby for support for what NAB's new release calls "a new legislative compromise on LPFM."
The "compromise" would allow LPFM to go forward but require additional "buffer-zone" protection against interference, thus significantly reducing the number of LPFM stations which could be set up. (See RNW April 15 ).
Previous Michael Powell;
FCC News Release:
NAB Convention site :
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