October 2001 Archive
Prime Radio Stations
October 2001 Archive
Previous month -
Links- internally where there are follow-up stories we try, at the end of each story, to put a pertinent link to the top of the next relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.
RNW October Comment looks at the fight for minds element of the "War against terrorism", a war we fear the US may be incapable of winning.
RNW September Comment looks at how US media reacted to the tragic events of the attack on the US and what we think is needed in the future.
RNW August Comment considers the advantages likely from digital and satellite radio.
2001-10-31: As third quarter results start to flow in, XM Satellite Radio has finally shown some income in its figures; the sum is USD1000 in the financial summary up to the end of September 2001.
XM says it had more than 500 subscribers by the end of September, five days after its commercial launch.
The launch had been scheduled for September 12 but was held back following the Sept 11 attacks.
Set against the income were a third quarter 2001 consolidated operating loss (EBIT) of USD62.1 million, a consolidated net loss of USD65.0 million, and a consolidated net loss available to common shareholders of USD70.8 million, or USD1.14per share.
This compares to a consolidated net loss available to common shareholders of USD160.1 million, or USD3.26 per share in the third quarter of 2000.
Looking on the upside, XM says it expects to have more than 100000 XM radios on retail shelves for the Christmas shopping period.
It adds that since the launch, reaction from retailers has been excellent and that from consumers has been "exceptional".
Although not of relevance to its results, XM's main shareholder make-up has changed considerably recently, first with the transfer by Motient of 5 million of its shares(see RNW Oct 16) and more latterly by the GM sale of Hughes Electronics.
The latter is because Hughes' DirecTV owns 11.6% stake of XM.
Largest shareholder is still Motient with 16.7%, many of them Class B shares with thrice the voting power of the Class A public shares.
It is followed by Clear Channel with 14.2%. General Motors holds 9.5%.
In other third quarter results, Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation has reported net revenues up 1.4% to USD65.8 million but a fall in broadcast cash flow (BCF) by 20.8% to USD24 million compared to 2000.
Same station net revenues were up 1.7% to USD61.7 million but BCF was down 14.5% to USD26.1 million and the company says it expects final quarter net revenues to be down by 3-5% on last year.
Within its radio business the FM stations did better than the AMs: FM same stations net revenue was up 4.7% and broadcast cash flow down 10.6% while AM same stations net revenues were down 14.4% and BCF was down 57.7%.
Hispanic owns 48 stations in 12 of the top 15 Hispanic markets in the US.
Saga Communications has revised its guidance for the year down again.
President and CEO Ed Christian had said in July he expected full year revenue of USD106.6 million, broadcast cash flow of USD41.1 million and after-tax cash flow of USD21.8 million.
Now he is suggesting net revenues of USD26.2 million, broadcast cash flow of USD9.5 million and after tax cash flow of USD5.0 million.
For the third quarter itself, net revenue was USD26.3 million, compared to a July forecast of USD26.8 million and 2000 figure of USD25.5 million but BCF was down on last year at USD9.9 million compared to a July forecast of USD11.4 million and July forecast of USD11.4 million.
On a same station basis for the quarter, net revenue was down 2.7% to USD24.3 million and broadcast cash flow was down 6.8% to USD9.7 million.
Saga, with 36 FRS and 21AMs, operates mainly in medium markets and had escaped the worst excesses of the dot com boom and bust.
XM web site:
2001-10-31: Streaming radio measurement company Measurecast has announced that it has secured USD8.5 million in second-round financing and has also formed partnership agreements with Nielsen and NetRatings.
The announcement follows last week's announcement by NetRatings that it would acquire Jupiter Media Metrix and 80% of Nielsen's eRatings.com.
The latest deal, involves investments in MeasureCast by VNU, the Nielsen parent company that already owns the majority of NetRatings, NetRatings, international investment firm Trans Cosmos USA, Inc., and FBR CoMotion Venture Capital, which led MeasureCast's first round of financing.
The first three of these have appointed members to the MeasureCast board; FBR CoMotion already had a seat on the board.
In operational terms, Nielsen Media Research will market MeasureCast services to its US customers, ACNielsen Media International and Nielsen/NetRatings will market and distribute MeasureCast services outside the US and Trans Cosmos and Nielsen/NetRatings will partner with MeasureCast to launch MeasureCast products in Japan.
MeasureCast, which was launched in 1999, currently has contracts for some 1000 Internet radio stations in the US and Europe.
The companies hope that the new arrangement will enable them to establish MeasureCast's Streaming Audience Measurement Service as the standard for streaming media advertising spending worldwide.
Previous MeasureCast Ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
Nielsen NetRatings web site:
2001-10-31: US broadcasts into Afghanistan now include a safety warning on how to tell the difference between cluster bombs and air drops of food parcels. The food parcels are square, the cluster bombs are can-shaped but both are yellow.
The broadcasts, in Persian (Farsi) and Pashto say, "As you may have heard, the Partnership of Nations is dropping yellow Humanitarian Daily Rations. The rations are square-shaped and are packaged in plastic. They are full of good nutritious, Halal food," prepared according to Islamic precepts."
The broadcasts also say that the cluster bombs are being dropped in "areas far from where we are dropping food."
They then add, "Although it is unlikely, it is possible that not every bomb will explode on impact."
"These bombs are a yellow colour and are can-shaped. . . . "Once again, we will not be using these bombs in areas near where we are dropping relief supplies. Please, please exercise caution when approaching unidentified yellow objects in areas that have been recently bombed."
2001-10-30: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell on Monday announced at the Commission's media ownership policy roundtable the formation of a Media Ownership Working Group to develop a foundation for US media ownership regulation.
Commenting on the move, Powell said, "Rebuilding the factual foundation of the Commission's media ownership regulations is one of my top priorities."
"For too long, the Commission has made sweeping media policy decisions without a contemporaneous picture of the media market."
"We need to rigorously examine whether current forms of media regulation are achieving the Commission's policy objectives, and how changes in regulations would affect the policy goals of competition, diversity, and localism."
"…The first step toward a more contemporary regulatory regime is to strengthen our understanding of the media market."
"What media choices do consumers have? What are the business realities of different delivery systems? How is innovation in media technology affected by FCC regulation?"
"Conducting an empirical examination of these types of questions will give us a solid foundation to re-evaluate the way we regulate media companies."
Powell named seven members of the group and added that it would work with other FCC staff members to consider current and future media ownership proceedings.
Powell news release:
2001-10-30: London pirate station Freek FM is featured in a UK Guardian article on pirate radio that brands the station as one hoping to "lead the UK's top brands into the underground."
The hope is somewhat limited by the fact that not only can pirates themselves be subject to unlimited fines and jailed for up to two years but so can others such as advertisers and those who allow the pirates to use their premises
Action against the stations is the responsibility of the Radio Communications Agency, which has reported that the number of pirate stations has almost doubled over the past decade.
It has also significantly increased the number of operations against such stations from a total of 820 nationwide in 1997 to 1494 last year, and so far this year just over 1000 operations to the end of August.
Freek FM, which has been broadcasting for eight years according to the report, operates from a number of studios so as to make action against it more difficult. It also, says the report, operates from behind thick security doors with an escape route should enforcement officials pay them a visit.
Despite the legal problems, says the paper, Steve Gordon, who runs UK garage club nights "Twice as Nice", is setting up an "underground urban marketing consultancy."
"I can get brands onto pirate radio and I can protect them from the DTI," he told the paper, which says his operation is not the only one.
The other operation it details, Don't Panic, however does not openly consort with pirates but makes money through distributing flyers and posters.
Freek, says the paper, has collected money from record companies. It adds," For the right fee, it can play and even enthuse about main stream record label tracks and remixes which would otherwise barely make it onto the dance floor as the marketing department lack the street contacts that independent labels boast."
The report includes other comments relating to the "street credibility" of the pirate operations and the need to "target" their audiences by some of the big names.
"We try and build brands by understanding what's happening at the leading edges of culture," explains Amy Smith, managing director of Nike's ad agency Weiden and Kennedy.
"And cultural change tends not to come from the mainstream, it tends to come the edges. From youth, from ethnically diverse populations, from the gay community, from artists. That's why we pay attention to non-white, non-middle-class audiences."
Smith adds that she hopes that in the future mainstream advertisers will recognise the needs of ethnic communities, rendering organisations such as Don't Panic unnecessary.
RNW comment: In the meantime we can't see any big companies making any open contacts with the pirates and we'll be interested to see if Mr Gordon steps over the boundaries of the law in his consulting activities.
Previous Radio Communications Agency;
Radio Communications Agency web site:
UK Guardian report:
2001-10-30: In a further sign of the times, Fisher Communications has admitted that it is now breaching some of its lender covenants because of a lowered financial performance.
For the third quarter Fisher's broadcast revenues were down from USD46.4 million last year to USD33.4 million and overall group revenues, including the Group's real estate business, were down to USD37.8 million from USD49.9 million.
The group made a net loss of USD3.6 million. It says it is negotiating new lines of credit and is asking current lenders to waive the default.
And some more stations deals: first in South Carolina where Tin Man Broadcasting is selling alternative format WAVF-FM, Charleston, for USD6million to Apex Broadcasting. Apex will run the station under a Local Marketing Agreement until the deal closes.
In California, Hispanic Broadcasting is paying San Joaquin Radio Company LLC USD5 million for KAJZ-FM, North Fork, in the Fresno market.
2001-10-30: The small Liberal Democrats opposition party has brought up the fate of longtime BBC Radio 2 DJ Jimmy Young (see RNW Oct 23) in the British Parliament.
Its media spokesman Nick Harvey has tabled a motion asking the BBC to end speculation about Young's future, saying that to fail to renew his contract would be an act of "ageism" and do disservice to listeners.
Harvey commented that Young was a "model political interviewer" who "maintains courtesy, while asking well-informed and penetrating questions."
2001-10-29: We range from music to the free market in our look at print comment on media this week.
The music deserves a mention because of a report by Tara Wohlberg in the Toronto Globe and Mail on the CBC Radio Orchestra.
It's the last surviving radio orchestra in North America, a reminder of golden days and a remnant of the days when, as the article says citing the example of the NBC radio orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, "radio orchestras helped define a broadcaster."
Like the now-defunct, once great, US orchestras the Vancouver-based CBC Radio Orchestra, a chamber orchestra which was founded in 1938, had its heyday up to the forties and fifties.
There were once five such orchestras in Canada as well as many in the US but now for orchestras almost everywhere the world is much harsher.
Even such giants as the Chicago Symphony are losing money: it lost not only its nationally syndicated radio broadcasts earlier this month but also its recording contract.
One of the reasons the orchestra survives, as well as its funding from the CBC, which protects it from some commercial pressures, is probably its bottom line: it costs only around CAD500000 a year to keep going.
Which takes us to the "free market", which gets a look in via comment in the Irish Times concerning moves to ease ownership regulation of media companies.
Commenting on this Fintan O'Toole, writes that in these days of globalisation the "very idea of a national resource has become profoundly unfashionable." "Yet, there are still some things that an independent nation needs."
"Without its own physical and cultural infrastructure, its political sovereignty becomes largely theoretical."
He then goes on to comment in terms of the country's media that the "BCI (Broadcasting Commission of Ireland)is also giving up any credible claim to being a serious regulatory body which will enforce the terms under which such radio licences were issued in the first place."
"The language of its statement last week," writes O'Toole , "would be familiar to anyone who has ever studied, for example, George Bush's approach to regulating the oil industry."
O'Toole then says of its comments about a lighter regulatory touch that "Angels stroking your skin with fluff from day-old ducklings could not have a lighter touch than the BCI has shown. "
"This is the body that allowed Radio Ireland to dump most of its current affairs content when, under the direction of that great source of contemporary cultural creativity, Chris Evans's Ginger Productions, it transformed itself into Today FM… Radio Ireland, it should be recalled, was going to be "a national broadcaster, not a song-and-dance emporium", placing equal emphasis on "information, education and entertainment."
"It would have a 'stream of political, cultural and community figures entering Radio Ireland's studios early in the morning.'"
The situation of which O'Toole complains already applies, of course, in the US and has certainly contributed to the way commercial demands for profits from US radio have in many ways narrowed choice.
Events, as they say, however have led to some changes in the US, one of which is the perception of an increased demand for news and indeed, it would appear some changes in musical taste.
Reporting on the former, Allan Johnson in the Chicago Tribune remarks on the return of news in Chicago, even if it's limited and more in snippets than in-depth coverage.
Chicago only has one news radio station, WBBM-AM, and a number of stations had eliminated news entirely.
Now it's coming back and being extended with music-format stations adding scheduled newscasts.
The paper quotes Kathy Voltmer, morning news anchor for rocker WDRV-FM and a former journalist at WMAQ which was switched to sports format rather than news, as saying, "With deregulation in the '80s, stations did not have to provide news and information, and so they didn't provide news and information."
For the moment, though, demand for news has increased around the US to the benefit of organisations such as AP News Network, which says in the last two weeks it has signed up 35 music stations for its newscasts.
First Union Capital Markets analyst Bishop Cheen says listeners want to be informed, so it is to many stations' best interest to provide news, according to.
"And if listeners don't get that information from a music station, for instance, they'll get it elsewhere,"he adds.
RNW comment: The problem it would appear to us is that, at best, a US radio audience is, in general if it tunes to any station and certainly if it tunes to a pop station, likely to be under informed at best on most topics at a time when there is a need to be properly informed.
As we noted earlier (RNW Oct 27), WBUR in Boston is losing sponsorship finance and National Public Radio, which does try and do a reasonable reporting job, has come under attack from a pro-Israeli group.
To make any sound judgements concerning terrorism -and current actions that could go terribly and maybe unnecessarily wrong - a US audience needs accurate and balanced information.
This, we rather fearmany of its media are probably nowadays likely to be incapable of providing and that may yet cost it very dearly.
News, after all, is only informative if it comprises accurate information people need to hear concerning situations they may have to face rather than gossip and chit chat they want to hear but is of no use a all in separating spin and dross from the nuggets of fact.
As they say, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Democracy has costs!
Chicago Tribune - Johnson:
Globe and Mail - Wohlberg:
Irish Times - O'Toole:
2001-10-28: Main licence news this week comes from Australia where the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has changed the frequency on which the new Melbourne FM licence, which DMG won with a bid of $70 million (See RNW Dec. 15 2000), from 91.5MHz to 100.3MHz at DMG's request.
The ABA says the change will make the new service available to as much of the licence area as possible and represents an "efficient and effective use of the spectrum."
The change is associated with a move by Geeelong community service 3YYR off the 100.3 MHz in July this year.
Originally the ABA had planned to allocate a second commercial FM on the frequency in July 2004 and had allocated DMG the 91.5MHz frequency subject to power restrictions because of potential interference with a TV service in Tasmania.
It expects this issue to be resolved before the second commercial licence is auctioned.
The ABA has also now invited applications for new community stations in Adelaide, South Australia, and Queensland
In the Adelaide area: they comprise two Adelaide-wide licences and one each for the Adelaide Foothills, Barossa Valley and Port Adelaide areas.
The ABA is encouraging applicants to consider combining since it anticipates heavy competition for the licences.
In Queensland they are for the regional areas of Beaudesert, Gympie and Noosa/ Tewantin. Canada was quiet with nothing of significance in radio terms as was Ireland, where the main action by the BCI was the latest release of radio ratings. (See RNW Oct 24).
In the UK, the Radio Authority has advertised the new East Midlands regional licence (see RNW Oct 24), renewed four more licences on the basis that the current holders are entitled to automatic renewal because they are providing services on the local digital multiplex.
They are those for the Cardiff/Newport area of Wales where the AM licence is held by Capital Gold and the FM licence by Red Dragon FM and the London FM licences held by Kiss FM and Magic FM.
It has also issued a "yellow card" to London station Premier Christian Radio, which attracted most complaints during the period of its latest quarterly bulletin (See RNW Oct 26).
The US has also seen the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) release the first of its planned quarterly Consumer Information Bureau reports on complaints received.
Unsurprisingly the suggestion on the Howard Stern show that New York City prostitutes should provide oral sex for free to the city's fire-fighters following the September 11 attacks (See RNW Sept 21). led to an increase in complaints.
The bureau only received one complaint about "indecency" in radio and TV broadcasts in July, and six in August but there were 25 in September.
The US also looks set for conflict over the general question of regulation with differences already apparent between the attitudes of Republican members led by chairman William Powell and the sole remaining Democrat member Michael Copps - another Democrat is yet to be appointed ( See RNW Oct 25).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
FCC Consumer Bureau Report:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-10-28: Bessie Walsh, executive director of the Pacifica Foundation, the non-profit parent of the five radio stations in the Pacifica Radio Network, has left, although there is still dispute over whether she resigned or was fired.
Wash was originally named executive director by a board then controlled by former chair Mary Frances Berry.
She is being replaced on an interim basis by Pacifica's National Development Director Joanne Meredith.
The San Francisco Examiner reports that board chair Robert Farrell said she resigned but activist group SavePacifica suggests that she was fired.
It says dissident board member Pete Bramson said Farrell told him on the telephone he "asked her to leave."
This was denied on the stations New York station WBAI-FM, by vice-chair, Ken Ford, who said Walsh had planned to resign for some time.
Following the September 11 attacks she had written a memo throwing down a gauntlet to her opponents Pacifica posted on its site by Pacifica.
In part it said," Now, more than ever, a strong and independent Pacifica is needed to fulfil its historic mission."
"...In order to respond appropriately, Pacifica management must be free to make the changes that will keep the nation's oldest and largest public service radio forum vibrant and responsive."
Wash, former station manager of Pacifica's Washington, DC, station WPFW, has been at the centre of controversy during her reign over the direction of the organisation and the departures and dismissals of dissident staff.
Ford, who has also said that he and other national board members will soon be in New York to try and resolve the situation at WBAI, where dozens of staff and volunteers have been fired and banned since the "Christmas Coup" last year (see RNW Dec 30, 2000) is also mired in controversy.
Ford has posted a statement on the Pacifica site saying that, contrary to the impression that some may have gained from a San Francisco Examiner report, he had not advocated the sale of Pacifica's New York WBAI and Berkeley KPFA stations.
They would have a large price-tag as commercial FM licences.
"I articulated to the reporter the argument in favour of selling a station as it was put forth by a former Board member several years ago," he wrote.
"Then, as now, the idea found no support."
The article had quoted him as saying, "KPFA in Berkeley and WBAI in New York are in the broadcast band reserved for commercial stations."
"I've been told non-commercial licenses sell for $30 to $40 million and commercial licenses sell for $150 to $250 million each. Think of what we could do with the difference!"
"Let's parley these commercial licenses into more stations around the country. To me that's just common sense."
Pacifica, founded in 1946 by conscientor objectors as a pacifist station with a single Berkeley outlet, has been mired in controversy since the 1999 firing of popular KPFA station manager Nicole Sawaya and long-time Pacifica national affairs correspondent Larry Bensky.
Farrell, a former Los Angeles city councilman who became board chairman last month, has now agreed to a court-supervised mediation of the dispute as part of four pending lawsuits on behalf of listeners, national, and local advisory board members.
A hearing has been scheduled for November 1 in San Francisco.
As well as the disputes over staff and the future of its programming, Pacifica is also divided over suggestions that its board, which is dominated by African-American men, wants to turn the five radio stations into the nucleus of a national black radio network.
There are also disputes over the expenditure of some USD2million on legal fees, public relations firms, and security services over the last three years.
This say the activists has taken the organisation close to bankruptcy and it suggests that the foundation misappropriated funds raised by the stations for their broadcasting activities in order to pay these bills.
San Francisco Examiner (search site for Pacifica):
2001-10-27: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted a waiver requested by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) for a 60-day waiver of its rules on retention of all public comments in view of the current anthrax scare (See RNW Oct 23).
In its ruling the FCC says, "The circumstances now prevailing are extraordinary, involving as they do, a biological attack of as yet uncertain dimensions but certainly directed, in part, against United States media outlets."
"We are granting the waiver in order to minimize any public health threat to station personnel."
"This concern outweighs the public interest factors embodied in the rule. "
"We expect that broadcasters will use their best judgment to screen letters pursuant to the policies recommended by the FBI and police… We recognize that these procedures may evolve as the nature and scope of the threat is better understood and we commit to broadcasters' good faith belief the actual criteria used in selecting mail that will not be opened."
"We expect broadcasters to return to complete compliance with the public inspection file rule as soon as they believe the danger has passed."
It adds that any extension request should be made later depending upon circumstances.
The Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA), however, is having less luck with its push for the removal of restrictions on news planes and helicopters (See RNW Oct 2).
Following letters commencing last month (See RNW Sept 25) to the Federal Aviation Authority, and an October 5th meeting with FAA officials, RTNDA President Barbara Cochran testified before the House Aviation Subcommittee on October 17.
She said the restrictions were in the face of any real evidence of risk in many cases.
Many news executives, she said, were "deeply disturbed by this unprecedented action which limits their ability to serve their communities because they are not able to use news helicopters or other aircraft."
"Moreover, because the restrictions single out flights for the specific purpose of news reporting, we believe the restrictions may violate the principles of the First Amendment… Our members are puzzled by the fact that this is a nationwide ban, rather than one that is geographically limited to a few sensitive areas."
"They don't understand why 'news reporting operations' are prohibited while crop dusters and pipeline inspection aircraft are allowed in the nation's skies."
Cochran pointed out the effects on news and traffic cover and gave examples of absurdities such as allowing a helicopter, usually used for but currently banned from news flights, to do a job for a brewing company following the same flying path and of a student pilot, who is allowed to fly, being escorted away from a power station by fighter jets whilst experiences news pilots were grounded in the same area.
Cochran was backed up by National Air Transportation Assn. President James Coyne at the hearings and subsequently again earlier this week when aviation attorney Edward P. Faberman wrote to FAA Commissioner Jane Garvey on the matter, suggesting that the ban was now becoming a First Amendment issue.
He noted an instance where "last week, an NBC pilot in one of the twenty-seven communities, where general aviation flights were allowed to resume, was advised by local FAA officials that he could fly his helicopter - but he could not report the news." "Therefore,he wrote,"we cannot help but draw the inference that this is not a security issue but the primary focus of this flight restriction appears to be suppression of news - which raises significant First Amendment issues."
Now Cochran has written to Gov. Tom Ridge, Director of the Office of Homeland Security, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and Counsellor to the President Karen Hughes, concerning the ban.
Saying," News and traffic helicopters are among the most valuable tools used by television and radio stations to inform their audiences," she says that they remain grounded because of "because of national security concerns, which have not been further defined."
Cochran then appeals to the recipients of the letters to "to help get the restrictions on news helicopters lifted."
She adds,"Such a step would bring another level of security to the people living in our 30 largest cities, because they would have access to timely, accurate information about incidents in their communities."
FCC waiver (Word document):
RTNDA web site (links to letters and testimony releases):
2001-10-27: UK radio group Capital Radio has taken a 19% stake in Tainside Ltd. and its group companies, which include Choice, the operator of the two urban format Choice FM licences in North and South London.
It is paying GBP3.3 million for the stake and the option to buy the remaining 81% of Tainside, valuing the whole company at GBP16million on a debt free/cash free basis.
Choice has a combined audience of around 280000 and London share of around 0.8% compared to Capital's London audience of around 3.6 million and 16.2% share.
It was founded in 1990 with the south London station as the UK's first 24-hour black oriented station.
Capital describes the investment as a strategic move "made in anticipation of changes in the regulations governing media ownership in the UK."
The initial GBP 3.3 million will be a mix of Capital shares and GBP1.65 million in cash, the latter to be used for working capital.
Subject to regulatory approval, Choice shareholders then have a put option to sell their remaining shares to Capital from September 2004 to September 2006 and Capital has a call option to purchase the remaining shares from March 2005 to September 2006. Both would be payable entirely in Capital shares in accordance with an agreed formula.
Capital news release:
2001-10-27: Two major corporate donors have ended their support of Boston public station WBUR-FM because of what they see as persistent anti-Israeli bias in US National Public Radio (NPR).
This is a persistent theme of the Boston-based CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), which both donors are connected to and which, despite its grandiose title, is a pro-Israeli lobby group to judge by the contents of its web site.
The Boston Globe says that Hillel Stavis, president of WordsWorth Books in Cambridge and a board member of CAMERA, suspended his contributions, totalling, by his estimate, ''tens of thousands of dollars'' over the years - after listening to a WBUR report on Jerusalem in April that he believes was filled with inaccuracies.
RNW Note: Coincidentally CAMERA's site contains an April release of a " major report documenting NPR's extreme anti-Israel partisanship which it called " A Record of Bias: National Public Radio's Coverage of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, September 26 - November 26, 2000
Another sponsor to withdraw support is Cognex Corporation.
Its CEO Robert Shillman, a member of CAMERA, said he has ended support for the station because of what he calls ''a profoundly pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli bias'' on NPR and WBUR.
He added that his corporation had donated more than USD 120,000 to the station over the past five years and told the paper he hopes to extend the boycott and had written to around 40 business executives round the country urging them to drop support for NPR.
He also said," ''Lots of things in the world are biased, and I don't give a damn. But this one I care about. ... I'm not going to get mad, I'm going to get even.'
WBUR general manager Jane Christo said in a statement, "'WBUR has always listened to and addressed every concern, every complaint and every criticism about our coverage of this issue."
''We take matters of journalistic integrity very seriously. With all due respect to the organizations and underwriters involved, I firmly believe that both NPR and WBUR have been fair and balanced in their reporting of Middle Eastern issues.''
The NPR ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin, who has fielded complaints from CAMERA supporters, said: ''I think as a lobbying group, they've been pretty effective." !They've certainly got our attention. But I think they're not as accurate as they think they are ... Our commitment is to report both sides of the story. CAMERA would only like us to report one side.'' Corporate sponsorship accounts for more than a third of WBUR's budget of USD20 million a year and its loss would be extremely serious for WBUR as it would for other NPR stations.
Boston Globe report:
CAMERA web site (includes links to April report).
2001-10-25: The latest complaints report from the UK Radio Authority shows London Station Premier Christian Radio knocking TalkSport off its perch as the most complained about station.
It's been given a "yellow flag" for a number of complaints, all from the Mysticism and Occult Federation, which were upheld or partially upheld.
In its Quarterly Radio and Advertising Review shows that in the quarter from July to September, the Authority dealt with 64 complaints, upholding 13 compared with 51 of which 17 were held in the previous quarter.
It also dealt with 41 complaints concerning adverts, upholding seven compared to 45 complaints of which two were upheld in the previous quarter (See RNW July 27) .
These broke down by category (2000 Q3 figures are in brackets) into:
*Accuracy 5(9) of which 3 (0) were upheld.
*3(10) concerning balance/bias/ fairness of which 0(3) were upheld;
*38 (20) concerning promise of performance or format of which 9(5) were upheld and;
*10(13) concerning other matters of which 1 (3) was upheld.
There were 41 (52) advertising related complaints of which 7 (7) were upheld.
These broke down by category into:
*1(5) said to be harmful of which none (none) was upheld;
*32 (29) said to be misleading of which 6 (6) were upheld;
*6 (15)) said to be offensive of which 1 (1) was upheld and;
*2 (3) concerning other matters of which none (none) was upheld. In all of the programming categories, there were occasions when there was more than one complaint about a particular matter. Programming complaints upheld included:
*Two complaints against Asian Sound Radio, East Lancashire, concerning exaggerated coverage area claims.
*A complaint about Classic FM failing to make it clear that certain phone numbers used when listeners were invited to take part in a vote were premium rate numbers. Balance and fairness: So many of the complaints here were against Premier Christian Radio in London that we give them a separate section below.
All came from the Mysticism and Occult Federation and the station was issued with "yellow" card.
*A complaint over a broadcast during which the speaker held that there was "no healing outside Christ" and also spoke of the "crazy idea that you can be a good Christian and a practicing homosexual."
The broadcast was held to have contained elements denigrating the beliefs of other people.
*Another complaint over a warning about "burning and destroying" books and things connected with the occult. *Yet another complaint over a broadcast, which among other things said, "Catholicism is a doctrine of devils". This was partially upheld.
*Yet another over a comment was made about going "overseas where people use incense and practice idolatry" which was taken as an attack on eastern religions such as Hinduism or Buddhism.
*Another partially upheld complaint that the complainants felt denigrated other faiths. A sentence "Buddhism, Hinduism, rheumatism" was found to be unacceptable.
*Yet another broadcast that attacked Freemasonry "and its sister Witchcraft." *Another broadcast which described Holy Books of other religions as "full of superstitions and absurdities."
Complaints upheld against other stations:
* A complaint against Key 103 in which a presenter had made comments, which had been taken to give the impression that the parents of a murdered girl had been done a financial favour.
The exact words did not substantiate this, but did make comments about parents not receiving compensation over the death of a child that the authority felt was expressed in a way that breached its codes.
*A complaint about an XFM Breakfast show in which a spoof report spoke of a fight between bands in which an ear was bitten off and someone else " was glassed."
This was upheld on the basis that children might be listening and the item appeared to condone violence.
There were 41(52) advertising related complaints of which 7 (7) were upheld.(In brackets are 2000 Q3 figures ).
By categories these broke down into:
*Harmful - 1(5) of which none (none) were upheld.
*Misleading 32 (29) of which 6 (6) were upheld; a number of the complaints upheld concerned the same matter. * Offensive 6 (15) of which 1 (1) was upheld.
*Other matters 2 (3) of which none (none) was upheld.
Advertising related complaints upheld included: "Other" categories -
*Upheld a complaint against Heart (Greater London) over a competition that featured a competition that involved a seven-year-old girl in "advertising" Smirnoff vodka.
*Partially upheld a BUPA care homes advert carried on Classic FM that sounded like a news bulletin.
*Upheld - a Pepsi Chart advert on Capital FM concerning the downloading of chart ring tones.
*Upheld -a windscreen company advertisement on Ocean FM, South Hampshire, that claimed the service was free when in fact an "excess" was payable.
*Upheld - a complaint over a Power Company advert on Virgin FM that spoke of one bill for a number of services when more than one would in fact continue.
*Upheld - a complaint over a liberty Church International advert on Premier Christian Radio that offered to "deliver" listeners from occultism.
A number of other complaints were resolved.
In addition there was a revised adjudication concerning a February broadcast on Radio XL, Birmingham which involved a presenter describing an individual incorrectly as a "dacoit" (robber).
The presenter apologised but then apparently reneged about the apology during phone calls made two days after the original broadcast.
The station and presenter were held not to have exercised "due responsibility" in the way the second broadcast was handled.
The Radio Authority also notes that the Broadcasting Standards Commission had announced 12 findings concerning radio in the reporting quarter.
(For details of these see RNW Sept 28).
In Ireland, the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland's (ASAI) latest bulletin shows it upholding half of the recent complaints about advertisements.
In all it dealt with ten complaints, five of which were in breach of codes in some way.
Only two complaints made concerning radio advertisements, both involving airline adverts by Go Fly.
Of a number of complaints from rival Ryanair only one was upheld, concerning a claimed saving in timing and money by taking Go Fly's route.
Previous Radio Authority:
ASAI web site:
UK Radio Authority bulletin (227kb PDF):
2001-10-25: A question of the show or the host from the latest ratings in the UK and US: and in both cases the answer has been to discount the host.
In the US it's Christopher Lydon, whose departure from WBUR-FM's The Connection hasn't harmed its ratings.
The summer Arbitrons give the show a 3.8% share compared to shares of 3.2% in summer last year and 3.3% in the fall, the last complete ratings period for Lydon.
In the UK, Virgin's Breakfast show has likewise not suffered from the ejection of Chris Evans (See RNW June 29).
Under successor Steve Penk, who took over five days into the July-September Q3 ratings period, the show now has 2 million listeners a week, an increase of 300,000.
Evans had peaked at 2million listeners a week in the first quarter of 2000.
The latest UK radio audience figures from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) also show the BBC increasing its listening share to 51.6% compared to 51.3% in the previous quarter and 52.1% in the first quarter of 2001.
The overall weekly audience reached reported by RAJAR was down from 44.5 million to just under 44.1 million.
For the BBC it was up 85000 to 32.4 million and for all commercial radio it was down 104000 to 32.1 million.
The greatest success was for Radio 2, which significantly increased its audience again.
Within the commercial sector Virgin Radio increased its weekly audience by some 122000 to 3.7 million, Classic FM took its audience up by 111000 to 6.44 million, but TalkSport's audience remained static at 2.2 million.
Compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 lost around 54000 listeners for the same weekly reach of 23% and share of 9.4% compared to 9.6%;
*BBC Radio 2 increased its audience by 469000 to end with weekly reach of 25% compared to 24% and share of 14.7% compared to 14.3%;
*BBC Radio 3 gained 70000 listeners to end with a weekly reach of 4% (as before) and share of 1.2% compared to 1.1%;
*BBC Radio 4 gained 13000 listeners to end with the same weekly reach of 19% and share of 10.7% ;
* BBC Radio 5 gained 47000 listeners to end up with the same weekly reach of 12% and share of 4.2%.
On the commercial side for national networks:
*New Atlantic (Atlantic 252), now changing format to sports, lost some 17000 listeners to end up with the same 4% reach although share was up to 0. 9% from 0.8%;
*Classic FM gained some 111000 listeners to end up with the same 13% reach and 4.3% share;
*TalkSport stayed static listeners to end up with the same 5% reach but a 1.6% share compared to 1.5%;
*Virgin gained 122000 listeners to end up with an 8% reach compared to 7% and 2.4% share compared to 2.3%.
Previous Atlantic 252:
Previous Classic FM:
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous UK audience figures: Previous Virgin:
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2001-10-25: Scottish Media Group, which owns Virgin Radio, is to axe 95 jobs in response to the UK advertising downturn.
Of these 52 will be voluntary following a recent redundancy offer to its staff last month (See RNW Oct 11).
The rest will be compulsory, 17 from senior management. More than half the jobs are going from SMG's publishing division, which includes the Glasgow Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times.
2001-10-25: US radio business this week so far is yet again dominated by Clear Channel, which is involved in a USD750 million bond issue.
It is also asking for time to dispose of some of the stations involved in its USD800 million purchase of Ackerley.
The bond issue is of 5-year Senior Notes, proceeds of which will be used to reduce the amount outstanding under Clear Channel's credit facilities.
It is being handled by Banc of America Securities LLC and J. P. Morgan Securities Inc.
Clear Channel's shares rose following the announcement; they ended Tuesday at USD43.27, having opened the week at USD40.81.
The offering has been rated BBB- by Standard & Poor's and a similar Baa3 from Moody's.
The Ackerley acquisition involves stations that would take Clear Channel above current regulatory limitsfor TV or radio station holdings in Binghamton, Rochester, Syracuse and Utica, New York and Santa Barbara, California.
R&R says spokesman Randy Palmer told it that Clear Channel would be requesting an extra 12-18 months to dispose of them once the deal is completed.
In other US deals the largest is a Cumulus conversion of its LMA of WDUZ-AM & WQLH-FM, Green Bay, Wisconsin, into ownership.
Green Bay Broadcasting has exercised a put option to sell the station for USD7million; Cumulus had a call option to purchase for USD7.25 million but did not have to exercise it for around three years.
In Arizona, Arizona Radio Partners is paying USD3.875M for KVNA AM & FM, Flagstaff, from Yavapai Broadcasting Corp.
Also in Arizona, Chicago-based Lakeside Media is buying KHIL-AM and KWCX-FM in Willcox for USD1.1million fromCathy Ann Broadcasting.
Cathy Ann is now left with three Arizona stations - KTHQ-FM,Eagar and KRVZ-AM plus KQAZ-FM ,Springerville.
In Kentucky, Key Broadcasting is selling news/talk WULF-FM Hardinsburg- Elizabethtown, for USD1.15million to local broadcasters Bill and Marilyn Evans.
They already own WQXE-FM Elizabethtown
In Illinois, Withers Broadcasting Co. has now closed its USD2million acquisition of WKIB-FM Anna, in the Marion-Carbondale market from Union Broadcasting.
Withers owns KAPE-AM/KGMP-FM in nearby Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
On the Internet front, Arbitron seems to be the kiss of death. Live 365, top rated in its most recent ratings (RNW Oct 24), is now hunkering down and getting rid of 16 of its 57 staff, including Senior VP of Communications Alan Wallace.
Live says the staff reductions are to reduce its "burn rate" and keep the core business going.
RadioWave, the second ranked company in the Arbitron rankings has given its staff notice and needs new funding to avoid closing down.
Also Internet, if not radio, the ABC.com website has cut around 85% of its staff in a restructuring move that will see it become a promotional site for the ABC-TV network instead of providing entertainment, news and information.
And in the UK, the Wireless Group (TWG) has also been cutting back; although the company refuses to give numbers, it says they not as high as the 50 that had been reported.
Those out include Paul Chantler, Group Programme Director for the Wireless Group, who is now a "consultant" to the group, TalkSport Managing Editor Peter Black and head of development Alix Pryde.
There have also been job cuts at TWG's national sales operation and in its local stations.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Wireless Group:
2001-10-25: Chrysalis Radio's Galaxy Network is again the official UK radio partner for the MTV Europe Music Awards this year.
The event takes place in Frankfurt on November 8 with a total of 22 awards; it is expected to be watched by around a billion MTV viewers round the world.
Associated with the deal is a Galaxy promotion with the five stations of its network each holding a listener competition with a prize of two tickets for the event plus travel and accommodation.
And in London, Chrysalis station Heart 106.2 has announced that presenter Toby Anstiss is to join its weekend line-up.
Anstiss, who has been working on Heart's overnight show, will now host a show from noon to 3 pm local on Saturdays and Sundays.
2001-10-25: A battle seems to be on the horizon in the US over federal regulation of broadcasting.
Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell on Tuesday told a news conference that the commission was planning a "full and comprehensive" review of the mass media marketplace.
He added that the " current rules, standards and principles do not take any account of very dramatic changes in the media landscape."
He also said diversity remained a "vital objective, but the instruments for preserving it have to be reconsidered."
His comments followed a speech earlier this monthmore in favour of regulation by the one Democrat currently a member of the Commission.
Michael Copps was talking to the Federal Communications Bar Association in a speech that he entitled, "In Defence of the Public Interest."
In this, he referred to the need after September 11 to re-think the way US government agencies conducted themselves.
He complimented the media, saying, "Radio, television and cable - locally, nationally and internationally - worked around the clock and shared scarce resources and precious information."
"Revenue consequences - which turned out to be tremendous - were swept aside in favour of informing the citizenry."
"Newspapers and newsmagazines produced special editions and began providing information and perspective from the outset." Copps then he brought up the use of the term "Public Interest" in the US Communications legislation, saying that this was of importance.
"Some question the relevance of the public interest standard, " he continued, "'It can't be quantified,' they say. Or 'It's never really defined.' Or 'It's just abstract theory devoid of real-world application.' "
"Some people may even be saying, right here, right now - 'Oh God, spare us another Democratic Commissioner's public interest musings.'"
"Well, many of life's good things aren't quantifiable," he continued.
"Most are not defined for all time; and many of them, like "public interest," can be abused, no question about that. But they are no less real for all of that."
He said that the Commission had a duty to "take only actions that are in the public interest."
Among other comments Copps defined this in terms of open, transparent and predictable regulation that allowed business to "do its business with a minimum of confusion and delay and question marks from government."
But, he said regulation must also be "thoroughly considered and vetted"in terms of the needs and concerns of business.
Subsequent remarks will be considered more contentious by many lobbyists.
"When consumers have more options, they reap the benefits -- better services, greater innovation, higher technology, and more robust discourse," he said.
"As examples, I would point to two areas in which this goal of consumer choice plays itself out."
"In the area of media ownership, the statutes focus on diversity and localism to ensure competition and choice among sources of content."
"In a market-based democratic society, Americans are entitled to a variety of sources of ideas."
"I like the concept of the 'marketplace of ideas.' "
"It is in this marketplace where the values of a democratic society can best be exchanged."
"For each American to benefit from the marketplace of ideas, there must be a diversity of sources of programming available in each community."
"Not just a variety of stations and formats, because variety and diversity are not the same thing, but diversity of ownership and diversity of programming reflecting the increasing diversity of our society."
"An informed citizenry, cognizant of the complexity and diversity of opinions on the issues of the day, is part and parcel of the public interest."
"And part and parcel of that informed citizenry are localism and the avoidance of excessive market power."
Copps is outnumbered on the Commission, which has two current Republican members as well as its chairman (a further Democrat seat is vacant) but as counter to their de-regulatory approach he is a protégé of Senator Ernest Hollings.
Hollings was his boss when he was a Senate aide, and iscurrent Commerce Committee chairman.
If nothing else Hollings has the power to order hearings in the Democrat-controlled Senate, which may strengthen Copps when he argues his "public interest" case, which Powell has said is bedevilled by being so loose in definition as to make it impossible to set standards.RNW note: The FCC is holding a roundtable discussion on ownership policies, chaired by Powell, on October 29 (See Licence News Oct 20)
2001-10-24: Latest listening figures for Ireland from the JNLR/MRBI survey for the six months up to September show Today FM continuing its growth with a 1% increase in weekly reach to 16%.
Overall independent radio has an audience of more than 1.6 million a week, a reach of 55%.
In Dublin, FM104 increased its reach by 1% to 24% and 98FM increased its reach by 2% to 23% but Lite FM lost 1% to end with a 12% reach.
State broadcaster RTE increased the reach of its Radio 1 channel by 1% to 30%, maintained the 2FM audience at 27% and increased the Lyric FM audience by 1% to 4%.
Previous Irish ratings:
2001-10-24: The UK Radio Authority is to advertise later this week a new regional FM licence for the East Midlands, covering around 1.6 million adults in an area which includes the cities of Leicester, Nottingham and Derby.
A deposit of GBP 12000 is required with applications for the 8-year licence, which is expected to be awarded in the summer of next year.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
UK Radio Authority announcement:
2001-10-24: Latest Internet ratings from MeasureCast show another jump in listening in the week to October 14, taking the organisation's Internet Radio Index to 298.
It's now only a whisker from triple the base 100 at the start of this year.
Of the top 25 stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL), 14 saw an increase in the week whilst 17 saw an increase in their cumulative audience.
Heading the rankings again was London-based Jazz FM, which streamed 16% more hours than in the previous week.
At the very top, there was again only some position switching.
The top five were, ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and with, where applicable, previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets:
1): Jazz station Jazz FM TTSL 227715 (196114); CP 67841 (70402) Position unchanged but listening way up.
2): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 137159 (141869); CP 49672 (52247) Position unchanged but listening down.
3): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 115248 (112822); CP 21799 (20237)- Previously fourth. 4): Classical music King FM TTSL 104430 (116641); CP 18958 (19431) - Previously third.
5): Sports-talk ESPN Radio TTSL 99051 (101393); CP 17877 (17766) - Position unchanged, listening down.
In contrast to the MeasureCast figures, Arbitron's September webcast ratings just released show a very different picture of Internet listening; part of this may be due to the exclusion of a number of stations, which, says Arbitron, did not "data in a timely and consistent manner."
Arbitron ranks by its version of listening time, ATH or aggregate tuning hours. Its top five were headed by Live 365 with an ATH of almost five million ( approximating to a weekly audience of 215000.) Live365 is listener-formatted and portal station that allows people to either create their own mix or listen to existing stations.
Second-placed in Arbitron's rankings was RadioWave, which only last week was reported to have given notice to most of its employees and may go under unless its gets new funding (See RNW Oct 20). It had an ATH of 902000 hours.
Third in the Arbitron rankings was Public Interactive ranked third with an ATH of 759200 hours.
Arbitron also notes that five college stations were in its top 25. They were
*Pacific Lutheran University (www.kplu.org) ranked seventh with 212,500 ATH;
*Boston University (www.wbur.org) ranked eighth with 187,400 ATH;
*Santa Monica College (www.kcrw.org) ranked 14th with 60,500 ATH;
*University of South Florida (www.wusf.usf.edu/wusf-fm) ranked 24th with 17,200 ATH;
*Oklahoma State University (www.kosu.org) ranked 25th with 16,900 ATH.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Arbitron web site:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-10-24: BBC Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox has now hired prominent media lawyer Keith Schilling in connection with the publication by a British Sunday newspaper ten days ago of nude pictures of her and her husband, club DJ Jon Cater.
The photographs were taken when the couple were on a private island during their honeymoon in the Seychelles and the newspaper, the Sunday People, has already apologised for publishing them. In a statement on October 21, it said, "The honeymoon pictures we published last week of Sara Cox and her husband Jon Carter understandably deeply upset them. "
"The photographs were taken of them while they were in a private area of the hotel, we now discover, and therefore should not have been published."
The UK has seen a number of cases recently concerning the publication of photographs of celebrities who were on private property when they were taken.
2001-10-23: Because of the current anthrax scare in the US, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a two-month waiver, subject to possible extension, of its requirements that broadcasters keep a complete public inspection file.
It says this is because, "strict compliance with the Commission's rules and instructions governing the content of public inspection files could place station personnel and visitors to station locations in danger of exposure to anthrax or other threats."
"NAB believes, " it continues, " that nothing is more vital to the public interest than the protection of station employees and visitors to the fullest extent possible."
NAB is also asking for a waiver of the requirement for TV stations to provide a summary of public written comments concerning violent material when applying for license renewals.
NAB web site:
2001-10-23: Veteran British broadcaster Alistair Cooke's future is assured at the BBC but that of another veteran Jimmy Young is less certain, according to the London Times.
A week ago the paper reported that that Sir Christopher Bland, the chairman of the BBC, had admitted in light-hearted comments his farewell speech that he had been unable to resolve the issue of when to tell Cooke and Young to go.
Now the paper says it has received a letter of assurance about 92-year-old Cooke's future from BBC Radio 4 controller Helen Boaden.
"May I reassure your readers," she writes, " that I have absolutely no intention of retiring Alistair Cooke."
"Alistair Cooke is part of the fabric of Radio 4 and a much-loved presenter."
Cooke has been broadcasting his weekly "Letter from America" since 1946.
The paper adds that no assurances have come from BBC Radio 2 concerning DJ Jimmy Young, who is around 80 years old and has been broadcasting for the channel since 1973.
His current contract expires in March of next year but he is not intending to retire and issued a statement last month saying: "My ratings are higher than ever. I have no plans to leave . . . unless, of course, in the ageist pursuit of youth, someone decides to fire me."
He also referred to the 10-year deal signed by veteran US presenter Paul Harvey in November 2000 (See RNW Nov 4, 2000) as encouraging him because of "the common sense shown by the ABC radio network in America.".
A Radio 2 spokesman told the paper, "We never comment on individual presenters or their contracts."
UK Times report:
2001-10-23: Former Sirius Satellite Radio CEO David Margolese is to get USD5 million in severance pay,
Margolese, who remains with the company as non executive chairman, is also entitled, at the board's discretion, to a "fee" of USD200000 a year according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The filing also says that Margolese has received a salary of USD450000 in 1999, and a salary of USD500000 and bonus of the same in 2000.
The latter was in connection with Sirius partnerships with Daimler Chrysler and BMW.
Sirius has also extended Magolese's options on 3.2 million shares until April 2007.
In September Sirius lowered the target price of all executive stock options to USD7.50; nearly 2 million of Manganese's stock options had until then been priced at USD31.25.
In addition to the options, Margolese owns 4.45 million shares in Sirius.
Under the terms of his buy out, he cannot work for the next two years with any company involved in transmitting "radio entertainment programming" in North America.
Sirius Web site:
2001-10-22: Time this week to get back to normal and relegate the effects of September 11 to a lower status: Which takes us first to the tribulations of two radio hosts who would have headed the file in different times.
First is Rush Limbaugh whose effective deafness poses questions not just of sympathy for his plight but also wonder about how he can continue to go on, wonder in both meanings of the word wonder.
In this light we look at two items, one from Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe of a week ago and the other from Howard Reich in the Chicago Tribune.
Characterising Limbaugh's great strength as his ability to listen and tap in to the sentiments of "Middle America", Jacoby writes of Limbaugh's deafness, "The irony is almost Shakespearean."
" It is Limbaugh's ability to hear that has been the key to his success. Of course he is a great talker, and of course his mouth - his ability to hold forth for three hours a day, five days a week - is a powerful asset."
"But it is his ear that has made him a cultural phenomenon: his ear for the sentiments of Middle America, his ear for its patriotism and practical sense, his ear for what Main Street finds funny or crazy or inspiring."
"Lots of microphone jockeys have the gift of gab. Very few have the instinct for their audience - for its convictions, its frustrations, its political judgment - that Limbaugh does."
"That is the source of his tremendous acclaim."
We should note here that Jacoby declares a self-interest via an anecdote:" A few weeks before Bill Clinton's re-election in 1996," he writes, " I wrote a column headlined ''Four more years? Here are 40 reasons to say no.''
Shortly after noon on the day it appeared, my phone began ringing off the hook with queries about it. E-mail requests for the column began streaming in. I couldn't understand the explosion of interest - until I learned that Rush had read every word of that column over the air, raving about it to his 20 million listeners.
When he mentioned that it could be found on The Boston Globe's Web site, the digital tidal wave that ensued crashed the server."
Howard Reich has no such interest but his style makes his column worth a read. "The sound was unmistakable," he writes, "A deep, chesty baritone matched by an oratorical style one might sooner expect to hear on the Shakespearean stage."
"Whether you celebrated Rush Limbaugh's conservative cant or abhorred it, no one could deny that the man was a master technician at using his pipes."
"Every angry roar or hearty laugh or below-the-breath whisper had impact, every pregnant pause made a palpably dramatic point." "But Limbaugh's much-publicized loss of approximately 80 percent of his hearing has had an effect perhaps even a man with 'talent on loan from god,' as he often chortled, could not predict: He has lost control of an instrument he had spent a lifetime learning to use to perfection."
"Like a great pianist who develops carpal-tunnel syndrome or a leonine saxophonist whose embouchure is destroyed, Limbaugh now stands as a former virtuoso no longer in control of his art."
Reich then comments on the content of Limbaugh's show and then about the voice as it is now.
"For at least a minute or two, " writes Reich, "it sounded as if a guest host were sitting in for America's most popular radio personality."
"The voice was too high-pitched, too shrill, too lacking in nuance and inflection and character to be even an ailing Limbaugh."
Reich notes that Limbaugh is not alone in having hearing problems, citing Chicago morning ranter Erich "Mancow" Muller, who has tintinitus, a constant ringing in his ears.
He then then quotes another Chicago host, Steve Dahl, on Limbaugh's problems.
His diagnosis could suggest opportunity or oblivion for Limbaugh and he considers that Rush may have to re-invent himself.
"When you listen to him on the radio now, you can tell they're running his voice through machines to give it a higher pitch, so that his speech will sound clearer or brighter" says Dahl,
"But it doesn't sound natural. Maybe he just should go with what he really sounds like now, tell people that this is the real voice as he now sounds."
"I think his audience, which is already very loyal, would be sympathetic. But if, subconsciously, fans feel they're not getting the real thing or that they're being deceived, they're going to feel cheated."
Another high profile US host who has had problems but seems to be recovering is Paul Harvey, who was featured in a Robert Feder column in the Chicago Sun Times.
83-years-old Harvey received the 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award at the sixth annual Achievement in Radio Awards ceremony on Tuesday and said he feared he might never be able to broadcast again because of his vocal chord problems.
"Sentenced to silence, I had to confront the possibility that I would not be back on the air--ever," Harvey told his fellow broadcasters.
"I was not ready for that. There are a few more footprints I had hoped to leave behind for my colleagues, especially the very young ones."
"With the rusty pipes renewed and a reminder like this [award] to inspire me, I just might go on forever," he continued before adding his trademark sign-off: "Good day!"
The quality of voice which makes Harvey, Limbaugh, and other hosts immediately recognisable also has commercial value, the subject of an article in the Los Angeles Times by Brian Lowry.
He sets up the article with a scenario of ABC TV World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings moving from a news story tease into an advert for a hair research clinic.
"Such a scenario sounds preposterous, of course," he writes. " Yet it is played out daily on local and national radio programs, where anchors, weathermen, traffic reporters and talk-radio hosts seem to increasingly find themselves temporarily stepping outside their roles as broadcast journalist or commentator to serve as commercial pitchmen, from simply reading copy for advertisers to providing personal endorsements."
" For the sponsors, it's a no-lose proposition. The assumption is that a familiar voice will invariably make listeners less likely to tune out and more apt to embrace a particular message."
Lowry illustrates the perceived value of such testimonials by noting that on Infinity station in Los Angeles is reported to charge more than double for a spot read by Howard Stern during his morning show than it does for a pre-produced spot and also noting that he is reported to command three times normal spot charges in New York when he discusses a product live in his show.
Lowry then comments on the risk of blurring the lines between editorial and advertising by such activities.
Some organisations prohibit the practice by their anchors, others allow it for talk hosts but not news ones and others encourage it.
Many young broadcasters, says Lowry have grown up with the practice and don't seem bothered about it and station executives insist they don't blur the line between news and commercial endorsements.
Others however are more concerned, and Joe Saltzman, a journalism professor and associate dean at USC's Annenberg School for Communication, points to a gradual erosion of standards in local television and radio. He contends it has led to the mix of advertising, self-promotion and news to become virtually indistinguishable.
"What has to happen is a brand-new definition of news, and a newscast that reflects that.... There is a very dangerous precedent in combining news and pseudo-news," Saltzman says.
RNW comment: As with the Australian cash-for-comment scandal, which led to new guidelines being issued by the country's regulator, we share concernsabout the inducements of serious money.(See RNW February 8, 2000 for rgulators proposals and RNW April 3, 2000 for details of payments to Sydney 2UE hosts).
They can lead to a potential for a potentially worrying combination of motivations leading to serious bias either though positive presentation or the absence of reporting news that could be negative for a sponsor.
However we do ntoe that It's no different in principle, however, to concerns that advertisers can exert undue influence on newspapers and magazines.
We'd feel rather happier if there were rather more countervailing pressures even if the general public were more knowledgeable and judged a little more harshly those who will promote almost anything if the price is right.
Previous Paul Harvey:
Boston Globe - Jacoby:
Los Angeles Times - Lowry:
Chicago Tribune - Reich:
Chicago Sun Times -Feder:
2001-10-22: More concerning US radio in Afghanistan courtesy of a Boston Globe article on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE), which does not broadcast in Afghan languages but does have significant contacts with anti-Taliban forces and has eight correspondents in the country.
It is also at the centre of controversy over proposals that it add a new service, Radio Free Afghanistan, which would broadcast in Pashto and Dari.
The US Congress is considering a bill that would allocate USD8 million for the first year of the service and USD6 million for a second year for this service.
These sums compare with a total spend of USD65 million a year on Radio Free Europe's current broadcasts in 27 languages to countries in the former Soviet bloc.
RFE has its headquarters in Prague and the paper quotes its director of broadcasting Jeff Trimble as saying it is well qualified to provide a service to Afghanistan.
''We are really wired into what is happening. We have people all over the place. If we had to, we could start broadcasting in Pashto and Dari today,'' he commented.
The station does not however see itself as a propaganda tool of the type envisaged by some, notably Conservative political columnist William Safire who has argued that such a station should aggressively promote US interests.
RFE/RL President Thomas A Dine said, ''Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is not engaged in propaganda or advocacy and does not try to tell the story in Washington's way.'
RNW comment: We would agree with Dine not Safire and suggest to the latter that honesty is the better policy when you have the best case. On the other hand we would also not the saying, "Empty vessels make most noise" as frequently applicable.
Boston Globe report:
RFE web site:
2001-10-21: A fairly even spread of activity worldwide on the licence front this week with Ireland finally looking set to ease ownership restrictions and more discussion due in the US on the Federal Communications Commission's ownership rules being the most important general topics.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) is proposing a new commercial FM service for Spencer Gulf North in South east South Australia; new community stations in the Murrumbidgee/Riverina region of New South Wales; new open narrowcasting radio services under revised plans for the Gippsland region of Victoria; and frequency and transmission power changes to improve the 5MG-AM national radio service in Mount Gambier, South Australia.
The proposal for a new Spencer Gulf North commercial FM is part of a draft plan which involves combining the licence areas of existing commercial services SCS-AM, Port Pirie, and 5AU-AM, Port Augusta and converting 5CS to FM.
5AU would gain the AM frequency currently used by 5CS and the ABA also proposes a channel for an additional national radio service for Spencer Gulf North.
In the Murrumbidgee/Riverina region, the initial draft proposal is to add to make four new community FM radio services available; they would serve Cootamundra, Cowra, Narrandera and Tumut.
In addition, the ABA proposes to make two channels available for additional national radio services in Griffith and Wagga Wagga.
In Victoria, seven new open narrowcasting services are proposed; they would serve Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Leongatha, the Latrobe Valley, Orbost, Sale and Yarram. The Authority had also said that the licences relating to plans already announced for new commercial services in Sale and Warragul should now be allocated on a price-based system rather than go to existing operators.
Also proposed are additional national radio services on four channels, one for each of Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance and two in the Latrobe Valley.
At Mount Gambier, the ABA proposes to allow the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's national service 5MG-AM to increase its power from 200 to 500 watt following a frequency change.
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved a number of conversions to FM from AM and also a new subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel in Toronto.
The conversions were for: *Acadia Broadcasting Company Limited's CKBW-AM in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
This is to be replaced by a country music format English language FM.
All programming apart from one hour on Sunday will be locally produced.
The licensee will also introduce a series of special programming initiatives focusing on East Coast music and artists, development of South Shore musical talent and a local talent exchange with the New Brunswick Broadcasting Company's FM stations in Saint John and St. Stephen.
*Radio CHVD inc.'s CHVD-AM at Dolbeau-Mistassini, Quebec.
This is to be replaced by a French language FM offering the existing station's mix of local and national news plus pop and oldies music.
The SMCO licence has been approved for CJRT-FM Toronto to allow a new channel, primarily in the Tamil-language.
CJRT-FM already broadcasts an SMCO channel with programming in Tamil, Telugu, Kannadam, Malayalam and English. Ireland is now moving to ease regulation under a report by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) (See RNW October 19).
In the UK the Radio Authority has issued assessments of two recent digital multiplex licence awards and has announced that it has received one application for the Inverness digital multiplex licence.
This came from SCORE Digital Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Scottish Radio Holdings plc (SRH)., which is offering three commercial services in addition to carrying the BBC national regional service, Radio Scotland, and the Gaelic language service, Radio Nan Gaidheal.
The commercial channels planned are:
*Classic and chart hits - MFR (provider: Moray Firth Radio Ltd.);
* Specialist and community programming - MFR 1107 MW (provider: Moray Firth Radio Ltd.);
* Pop country - 3C (provider: SCORE Digital Ltd.)
MFR and 3C would occupy one channel on the multiplex on a time-share basis under the proposal and Score plans to start broadcasting by October 2004, from a single transmitter at Mount Eagle.
The assessments published relate to the digital multiplex for Bradford and Huddersfield, which went to the sole applicant TWG Digital (The Wireless Group Holdings Ltd.)(see Licence News August 26)), and that for Exeter & Torbay, which was awarded to another sole applicant, Now Digital Ltd. (See Licence News July 28).
Commenting on the Bradford application, the Authority said essential criteria were satisfied and added, "Members considered that a good range of tastes and interests would be met by this application and noted that this was the first occasion on which two complementary services for the Asian community would be carried on a single multiplex."
"Members were disappointed, however, by absence of any commitment that the non-simulcast services would provide any local content until the level of digital listening represents one-third of all radio listening."
It also noted that discussions were continuing about extending coverage to a number of areas that would not be able to receive the service and noted, "The award of this licence is conditional upon the applicant's technical proposals being made fully compliant with the coverage brief for this licence; at present, limits on outgoing interference levels appear to be slightly exceeded."
In the case of the Exeter and Torbay licence, the Authority commented that the application "presented an imaginative proposition containing inventive proposals to make the best use of available capacity."
It noted that local content would be included once digital listening represents a third of all radio listening.
In the US, the question of ownership policies is up for discussion later this month. The Federal Communication Commission's Office of Plans and Policy has announced a roundtable discussion on the matter on October 29.
It will be introduced by FCC chairman Michael Powell and will feature panels on competition, diversity and localism.
Previous BCI (IRTC):
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-10-21: Yet another Internet radio firm seems to be on the rocks.
According to FMQB, New York based ClickRadio has closed its doors and laid off its entire workforce.
he company provided a service under which new songs were downloaded in the background and cached on users' computers.
t had around 300000 users but was dependent on advertising and, says FMQB, lost its third round of funding as a result of the September 11 attacks.
The company's site was still running when we last looked.
2001-10-20: A bad week for Internet radio: Minneapolis-based NetRadio Com is shutting down and has already fired most of its 50 or so staff and, according to Radio and Internet magazine RAIN, RadioWave has given notice to all its employees and may be gone shortly unless it manages to sew up a deal or merger.
In addition Clear Channel is scaling down its Internet Group.
Trading in NetRadio shares has been suspended and its site carries a message saying, "Visitors, Listeners, Friends, In the words of Kenny Rogers, you've got to know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em.
"Sadly, the time has come for folding at NetRadio. After more than six years of streaming diverse and quality music over the Internet, we've ceased our music service."
Netradio was one of the largest clients of HiWire, which says it was not told in advance of the impending closure.
Concerning RadioWave, RAIN says the company's VP/Business Development and Legal Affairs David Marcus had confirmed the notices and added that the company was "in the process of negotiating strategic alternatives" that will allow it to survive>
Neither he nor RadioWave CEO Bill Pearson, says RAIN, was at liberty to say with whom their company is negotiating.
RadioWave produces Internet radio for RollingStone.com, the WB television network, MSN Chat, and others.
They also provide streaming services for several Susquehanna Radio Corporation stations like KFOG-FM/San Francisco and KKMR-FM/Dallas.
Clear Channel has handed streaming of radio and entertainment web sites back from Clear Channel Interactive Group (CCIG) to the divisions themselves although so far no announcement has been made of any staff losses.
Clear Channel says the move will increase operating efficiencies and improve local flexibility and that some CCIG staff will move over to the divisions and others will remain. Clear Channel operates some 800 station web sites.
For XM Satellite Radio, the financial future is looking brighter. It has now negotiated financing deals with Boeing affiliates totalling USD66 million, UD31 million in restructuring of existing debt plus an additional USD35 million loan.
The deals are expected to be finalised by the end of this month and will help XM keep operations going through the middle of next year.
In terrestrial radio a number of deals have now been completed.
Largest was Salem's USD 6.75 million purchase of WTBN-AM, Tampa, Florida from Synchronous Media Group.
Salem has been operating the station since mid July under a local programming and marketing agreement.
It carries a Christian Talk and Teaching format.
In Virginia, The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company has closed on its USD2.15 acquisition of WWUZ-FM Bowling Green from Rappahannock Communications Inc.
Previous Clear Channel:
RAIN web site:
Salem web site:
XM web site:
2001-10-20: The US has equipped an Air Force plane especially to carry propaganda broadcasts into Afghanistan for ten hours a day as part of its psychological operations against the Taliban.
The messages are broadcast five hours a day in each of Pashto and Dari, Afghanistan's main languages.
Transmissions are on two AM frequencies, one formerly used by a Taliban station whose transmission equipment has been destroyed by the US air strikes, and one short wave according to US officials.
The broadcasts intersperse popular Afghan songs with messages read anonymously by native speakers, and leaflets have been dropped since the start of the week bearing details of the frequencies.
In all, the Pentagon has released English language texts of 13 of their messages with content ranging from details of US food drops to recitations of Taliban and Al Qaida misdeeds.
The US is characterised as carrying out a just mission, the Taliban as oppressive and al Qaida members as cowardly fanatics feeding off the blood of the Afghan people.
One message gives Taliban fighters details of how to surrender.
"When you decide to surrender, approach United States forces with your hands in the air," one message says.
"Sling your weapon across your back, muzzle towards the ground. Remove your magazine and expel any rounds. Doing this is your only chance of survival."
Another appeals for local support for the US, saying, "Take the following action: Do not give food, shelter, or any type of aid to the Taliban or Osama bin Laden."
"This will be a great help in the effort."
One British newspaper commented that this was not likely to be effective as it did not suggest how to overcome the fact that the Taliban were likely to be heavily armed and in no mood to ask politely for food or shelter.
2001-10-20: Among the radio stations hit hardest by the September 11 attacks was New York public broadcasting station WNYC-FM.
It was amongst those taken off the air at the time because its transmitters were on the World Trade Centre north tower.
Subject of a New York Times report this week, WNYC was doubly hit because its studios and offices are in the Municipal Building near to ground zero.
For the short term it had to operate from studios loaned by the New York Bureau of National Public Radio (NPR), public television station WNET, Columbia University station WKCR, and Sirius Satellite Radio.
Oxygen Media in Chelsea housed WNYC's Web site staff members.
On a temporary basis, the New York Board of Education put WNYC's programming over its frequency, WNYE-FM.
Subsequently WNYC broadcast from an NPR satellite dish on the Municipal Building that fed its signal to WCBS-FM's transmitter on the Empire State Building, on which WNYC is borrowing space.
The jury-rigged system sometimes fails due to signal attenuation in poor weather and even when working the station can only reach around half of its former audience with the 850-watt transmitter that is being used in place of its original 7000 watts.
Commenting on its performance, the Times describes it in terms of a "journalistic triumph, technical nightmares and financial calamity."
The first of these is also featured in Current Magazine, which notes that the station's reports, even when it was itself off air, were carried nationwide on the NPR network; sister-station WNYC-AM stayed on the air, in part thanks to the efforts of some "Morning Edition" staffers who refused to leave the Municipal Building on September 11th.
The second is reflected in the makeshift arrangements, which kept it on air, and the third is connected with a double blow in terms of the costs needed to replace equipment and the fact that, like most public stations, it has felt it inappropriate to continue normal money raising activities such as pledge drives.
WNYC's insurance, reports the Times, is expected to cover only the USD 250,000 to USD 400,000 cost of the FM transmission equipment, because nobody conceived of the entire building ceasing to exist.
The station, however, has to pick up a tab for an extra USD 2.5 million to build transmission facilities at the Empire State building and has also lost around USD1.5 million because of the cancellation of a September direct-mail fund-raising drive and suspended corporate- underwriting spots for a week after the attack.
It was already facing the task of having to raise USD3.3 million above its annual budget to make a final payment in January to New York City for its licences. It had agreed to pay USD20 million for them in 1995 when Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's administration was preparing to sell WNYC on the open market. So far it has been helped out by an emergency grant of USD 1 million from the Ford Foundation and in addition NPR stations have been asked to request members to make extra payments for WNYC during their pledge drives.
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) President Bill Kling is leading that drive. "This is a win-win option for public radio and for our audiences," Kling wrote.
"By rebuilding WNYC-FM quickly, we will put back in place in the nation's largest city the public radio programming that is so effective in contributing to understanding, healing and rational debate in these very troubled times."
MPR and WNYC will seek foundation aid to match donations from outside New York, Kling said.
MPR has contacted the FCC about obtaining a waiver so that it can raise money for its sister station.
In addition WNYC itself is to hold a fund-raiser on the air between Oct. 26 and Nov. 3.
WNYC is also trying to raise pledge money via its web site.
Current Magazine web site:
New York Times report:
WNYC web site:
2001-10-19: US radio companies may have lost up to USD 1billion in revenues according to figures given to the Kagan Radio Summit in New York.
The summit was told by Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey that, in addition to already existing shortfalls, revenue losses directly resulting from the attacks could be between 2.5% and 5% for the full year.
Bonneville estimated it would lose between 2.5% and 3.5% and Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) President and CEO Gary Fries said that in the week following the attacks radio had lost some USD 300 million in revenues.
Others were less pessimistic with Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan kicking off the summit with an estimate that next year will be "slightly positive" and Regent Communications CEO Terry Jacobs saying that the anthrax scare might benefit radio.
"I think people are throwing away a lot more junk mail," Jacobs said and added "in kind of a sick way, that may be something that benefits radio."
The shortfalls man that many radio companies may have debt problems and analyst Drew Marcus of DB Alex. Brown predicted that within the next three to six months half of them might trip their debt covenants.
He did not see closures resulting, rather that banks would increase charges but allow companies to continue trading.
Wachovia Securities analyst Bishop Cheen noted that the Bush administration has been putting pressures on lenders not to foreclose on businesses suffering as a result of the attacks.
On the results fronts, Arbitron has reported third quarter revenues up 12.4% over 2000 to USD65.6 million and year to date revenues up 10.3% to USD176.1 million.
Net revenues however are down 16.4% to USD12.9 million for the quarter and year to date down 11% from USD38.1 million to USSD33.9 million.
Core business accounted for 9.3% of the 12.4% gain in the third quarter: the remaining 3.1% came from the newly acquired RADAR service.:
Previous RAB (US):
Arbitron web site:
2001-10-19: Irish radio now seems set for a period of consolidation following a decision by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland ( BCI , the former IRTC) to relax its rules.
It will now consider letting existing media groups take full control of other media companies.
Under a policy statement just released, the BCI exposes a policy of making decisions on a case-y-case basis within a broad framework intended to preserve broadcasting diversity.
Overall it appears to be thinking of a cap to ownership.
In context of "An undue number of sound broadcasting services licensed under the 1988 Act" it gives guidance that "that a number equivalent to 15% or less of the total number of commercial sound broadcasting services licensed under the Act would likely be an acceptable level for any one investor."
"A number equivalent to between 15% and 25%," it continues, "would require more careful consideration by the Commission and would be necessary for an applicant to justify."
"A number equivalent to over 25% would be unacceptable."
As far as concentration in any one area is concerned, it says it will " consider each application on a case-by-case basis with particular reference to the circumstances i.e. the total communications media in the specified area."
The policy seems to indicate that Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) may be allowed to buy full control of Today FM in which it already holds 24% and similarly that UTV may be allowed to take full control of County Media which owns three radio stations in Cork.
UTV had been barred from taking control earlier this year but was allowed to increase its holding beyond the 27% normally permitted and take a 60% share.
Previous BCI (IRTC):
BCI policy statement:
2001-10-19: Seton Hall University, the oldest Catholic diocesan university in the US whose campus is in South Orange, New Jersey, has ordered its campus radio station, WSOU-FM, to change its format from heavy metal and hard rock.
According to the Baltimore Sun, station staff were told of the decision at a meeting with the university provost.
It says that a number of station staff have objected to the change and noted that WHOU has had the format for 15 years.
The station's music director said it already bans bands and songs whose lyrics might be considered obscene or anti-religious, adding that university officials did not understand the music that was played.
The university says it is not banning heavy metal and rock but that it will not be the "signature music because "the tone and lyrics and the genre is different than 15 years ago."
A spokeswoman said, "It's a matter of the acceptability of that in a faith-based institution."
Baltimore Sun/AP report:
2001-10-19: The French government, under severe pressure from telecoms operators, has slashed the price of its third generation mobile phone licences and also extended their life from 15 to 20 years.
At the height of the telecoms boom, companies were asked to pay 4.95 billion Euro (USD4.5 billion) price tag 619 million Euros (USD 570 million) for a licence under the French "beauty cost" system.
Half of this was to have been paid in the first two years.
RNW note - By comparison auctions of licences n Germany and Britain raised some GBP32 billion (USD 48 billion) and GBP22.5 (USD 34 billion) respectively (See RNW Aug 19, 2000)
Now the French companies will only have to pay 619 million Euros (USD 570 million) upfront.
The changes led to rises of around 7% in the shares of one mobile operator, Vivendi, and of 9% in those of France Telecom, which is heavily in debt.
Those of Bouygues, the third incumbent operator, rose by 10%.
It had decided to opt out of the bidding for the 3G licences in January but may well now be interested in the two third generation licences that were unsold in January, as may a number of other European operators.
2001-10-18: Following the Sirius Satellite Radio admission that it will not now meet its December launch date (RNW Oct 17), the analysts are suggesting that it may not be up and running until March or April next year.
Sirius spokeswoman Mindy Kramer had told the Washington Post that "If everything goes as expected, then we can move forward very early next year" but admitted the launch could be pushed back if there were technology problems.
However Lehman Brothers' analyst William Kidd put the probable launch target date as March or April, commenting, "An occasional glitch continues to plague receiver performance."
He added that the glitches "have already led to countless delays, which have exhausted time and eroded investor confidence."
Kidd said he thought the Margolese departure announcement was linked to the delays and commented," We interpret the move as an attempt to rebuild some investor confidence."
Kidd cut his Sirius 2002 price target by USD31 - from USD57 to USD26 following the announcements.
The announcement has given a boost to rival XM, which has already started its commercial roll out (RNW Sept 25).
It expands the service in the South West today with a launch covering major cities such as Denver, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta and plans to reach the rest of the country by the end of November.
Sirius Web site:
XM web site:
Washington Post report:
2001-10-18: Following in the wake of BBC World Service and Voice of America(VOA), Radio Canada International (RCI), the international arm of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), is also increasing its broadcasts to cover the current "international crisis".
The increases will be in Russian and Arabic language services and RCI is also to reinstate original newscasts at weekends; these were dropped as part of cutbacks in the summer (See RNW June 26).
The changes will be part of the new RCI fall schedule that is being phased in with the broadcast of thematic programmes already in preparation.
The additional Arabic and Russian programming will start on Saturday, October 20 and weekend newscasts will be back on air by the end of the month according to Sylvain Lafrance, Vice President, French-language Radio, CBC, who is responsible for RCI.
The Corporation is continuing with implementation of plans to integrate RCI's support and distribution service into the CBC's existing services, due to be completed by December this year.
2001-10-18: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has published the first of its planned quarterly audience reports dealing with the period from July to September this year.
Overall the ABC says it has done well; for radio it reports audience increases for most of its networks over the year but overall has lost share.
Its weekly reach for the year to date has grown 3% and is now just over 3.74 million; for the quarter it was up 1.4% to just over 3.64 million
Share for the year to date compared to 2000 is down by 0.6% to 29.6% and for the quarter share is down 1.2% to 20%.
ABC NewsRadio however has increased its weekly reach for the quarter by 17.5% to 624000 with a year to date rise of 19.5%.
Local radio also did well with a weekly reach for the quarter up 7% to 1.9 million.
Previous ABC Australia:
2001-10-17: Sirius Satellite Radio's co-founder and CEO, David Margolese, has stepped down from his post but is to remain as non-executive chairman of the company's board.
The announcement of his leaving co-incides with an admission that Sirius will not now meet its December commercial launch date.
Until a successor is appointed his duties are to be covered by Senior Vice Presidents John J Scelfo, who is also CFO, and Patrick L Donnelly, who is also General Counsel to the company.
Margolese in a statement said that after years of work to establish the foundation for Sirius to become a World Class company it was now strong enough to achieve this and time for him to " pass on the baton."
Sirius has also announced an expansion of its in-vehicle testing programme to six additional markets in November, the final element of its testing before it announces its commercial launch date.
On the regulatory side of satellite radio, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has now issued an amendment of its September order that gave Sirius and XM special temporary authority to operate their terrestrial repeater networks.
It has dismissed the Wireless Communications Association's Petition for Reconsideration and Emergency Motion for stay of the original permissions.
Headlines of the amendment include requirements to:
*coordinate repeater operations with other Wireless Communications Service (WCS) band licensees;
* to provide location data to other licencees including Multipoint Distribution Service (MDS) and Instructional Fixed Television Service licensees andincluding those operating at or below 2 kw power;
*to furnish contact information to licensees and have staff available to immediately reduce power if repeaters are found to interfere with established signals of other licensees.
FCC notice re amendment (Sirius version):
Sirius Web site (has announcement re Margolese):
XM web site:
2001-10-17: Latest Measurecast weekly Internet ratings show a 10% jump in listening in the week to October 7, taking its Internet Index to 291, almost triple the level at the start of this year.
They also show listening patterns going back to music and sports with news a long way down.
Top rated news/talk station is Cox Broadcasting's WSB-AM at 12th with a cumulative audience of only 6,720 and total time spent listening (TTSL) for the week of 32575 hours (evenly spread this would mean an AQH of less then 50).
There were two other news stations in the top 25, Salem's KRLA-Am at 18 and Bonneville's WTOP-AM at 20 (compared to 14 the week before).
Of the top 25 stations ranked by TTSL, 17 saw an increase in listening and 17 also saw an increase in cumulative audience (CP).
At the top the mix was the same although the positions were juggled around and UK-based Jazz FM leapt back into top spot with a major listening increase.
The top five were, ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and with, where applicable, previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets:
1): Jazz station Jazz FM TTSL 196114 (118248); CP 70402 (61326) Previously third.
2): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 141869 (128324); CP 52247 (45506) Previously first with less listening.
3): Classical music King FM TTSL 116641 (116641); CP 19431 (19431) - Previously fourth but with exactly the same numbers listed! And what were the chances of that?
4): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 112822 (128324); CP 20237 (45506)- Previously second.
5): Sports-talk ESPN Radio TTSL 101393 (78,773); CP 17766 (17190) - Position unchanged but listening up again.
The Measurecast numbers follow on the heels of Nielsen's September Net Ratings, which show a record number of US office workers using online audio or video streaming in the month.
Nielsen says 21.1 million people logged on from work and used streaming media, more than 55% of those who logged on. Nielsen's ratings are on a different base from those of Measurecast and their top three sites are AOL, Yahoo and MSN.
AOL, part of the media and entertainment conglomerate AOL Time Warner Inc., has just introduced a new radio service, which it says will carry 75 different channels of music as well as news, sports and talk programming.
It describes the service as the "cornerstone" of its of its music offerings to its 31 million subscribers.
Rival MSN has also just announced an upgrade of its online service and will among other offerings now have live audio broadcasts of US National Hockey League games.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Previous MeasureCast weekly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-10-17: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (formerly the IRTC) is today launching a newspaper advertising campaign to call for expressions of interest in commercial radio services.
They're being sought in connection with the implementation of the Commission's licensing policy and re-advertisement of existing local radio licences which will start in February next year.
As well as asking for interest in existing services, the Commission is also asking about interest in other areas such as modification of franchise areas, additional local stations, and digital audio broadcasting (DAB) services.
Interested parties will have to give details such as the programme services proposed, target audience, ownership structure and project promoters, area to be served and capacity to provide the service.
Previous BCI (IRTC):
2001-10-16: The British government has asked broadcasters to exercise care over any messages from Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida network but is to leave decisions up to the broadcasters following a meeting between their representatives and British Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman, Alastair Campbell.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the BBC, ITN (Independent Television News) and Sky Broadcasting:
After it BBC news chief Richard Sambrook said, "The government accepted our view that the best people to decide what to broadcast are the broadcasters themselves."
"The government also agreed that we have acted responsibly in our coverage of the crisis to date."
Attempts to clamp down on broadcasters by both he US and British authorities have come under attack from among others, the international pressure group for media freedom, Reporters Sans Frontieres.
It has written to US secretary of state, Colin Powell to express concern about comments made about the satellite TV channel al-Jazeera.
Robert Menard, the general secretary of the organization, said the US was "joining the many authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, who have little respect for freedom of the press, in their criticism of this channel".
Statement re meeting:
2001-10-16: A number of radio deals are on the move this week, both in the US and elsewhere, and (as always?)the biggest of them involve Clear Channel.
The largest deal involves Europe and the Americas as Mexican group Televisa announces a deal under which Spanish broadcaster Grupo Prisa, is to invest USD60 million for a non-voting half share in Televisa's Radiopolis radio group.
Grupo Prisa operates 388 radio stations in Spain, including the country's largest radio network, SER, as well as having newspaper and satellite TV operations.
Televisa is Mexico's largest TV company but its radio group is struggling and last year Televisa had attempted to merge it with another Mexican radio company, Grupo Acir Communications, in which Clear Channel has a stake but regulators stopped the deal (See RNW December 7 2000).
In the US, the largest deal involves Salem Communications, which has announced the sale of two stations for a total of USD 8.5 million, subject to regulatory approval.
They are WHLO-AM, Akron, Ohio, for which Clear Channel is paying USD4.5 million and KEZY-AM, San Bernardino, California, for which Hi-Favor Broadcasting, is to pay USD4 million.
Hi-Favor to to take control of programming and sales of KEZY in the third quarterunder a local marketing agreement (LMA).
Earlier this month Clear Channel had spent USD 17.5 million expanding its Ohio operations with the purchase of Secret Communications' WKKJ-FM in Chillicothe where Clear Channel already owns one FM and two AMs.
Salem is also reported to be close to completing its USD8 million deal to take is Sacramento "Fish" station KNSS-FM, the former dance format KNLA-FM, into full ownership; it's already operating the station under an LMA (See RNW May 18).
Cumulus Media is also doing some selling.
This time it's to get USD1.9 million for Minnesota stations KOWO-AM & KRUE-FM Waseca and KPQR-FM Albert Lea from Hometown Broadcasting.
Hometown is then to sell off the Waseca stations to another Minnesota operator, Main Street Broadcasting, which already owns KTOE-AM Mankato and KOWZ-FM Blooming Prairie.
In South Carolina the story is of deals that won't be going ahead.
They involved Waccamaw Neck Broadcasting Co. in selling WPDT-FM, Johnsonville, to minority-owned Glory Communications contingent on the station being moved to Olanta.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected the move and noted Waccamaw's admission that it had not tried to build an audience and had been broadcasting only one day a year to keep the license current.
The FCC also noted that Johnsonville has twice the population of Olanta.
Another move request, by Atlantic Broadcasting to take SWIM-FM from Fair Bluff to Litchfield Beach, was made impossible by the rejection although the FCC also indicated it did not favour this move either.
And on the satellite-related front, Motient Corporation has eased its cash shortage by a number of deals including the transfer of five million of its shares in XM Satellite Radio to Rare Medium Group Inc., a Dallas Web design firm it had planned to merge with; the payment covers half of a USD 50 million loan due to Rare Medium.
It is negotiating to delay repayment of the rest until October 2002.
Motient has also raised USD 55 million in cash from other deals, USD 10 million from an escrow payment relating to its sale of its industrial-tracking business last year and USD45 million from another deal under which its satellite affiliate Mobile Satellite Ventures exercises an option to buy Motion's satellite assets and Rare Medium through a subsidiary becomes a new investor in Mobile Satellite in which it will have a 23% share.
Both US satellite radio companies, XM and Sirius, have been down rated by consultants recently with Bear Sterns Analyst Robert Peck on Friday cutting targets for their shares to USD20 for Sirius, down from USD54, and to USD19 for XM, down from USD49.
Reasons given were the economic climate, higher costs for capital and Sirius' delays in its commercial launch.
Sirius shares rose slightly on Monday to just above Friday's USD3.45 close but XM had a strong day with an increase of some 10% to nearly USD7.
Previous Clear Channel:
2001-10-16: In what has been described primarily as a "cost-cutting" measure, Viacom's Infinity radio subsidiary has "laid-off" Senior Vice-President John Gehron.
Gehron joined Infinity in 1997 when it took over American Radio Systems where he was co-chief operating officer. Gehron had been mainly involved in programming for the company and his role will now be taken on by Infinity radio President Dan Mason and other senior managers. Gehron is to " be available" to Infinity stations on a non-exclusive consulting basis.
2001-10-15: No apologies this week for yet again concentrating on columns relating to September 11 and in particular the issues of open information and censorship, which will form the basis for our October comment.
First a timely reminder, however, that the Taliban are not the only examples in recent history of the intolerance which can emanate from a state where religion dominates politics, never mind the examples of the more distant past.
This one comes from Gerry McCarthy of the UK Sunday Times whose weekly column starts, "At a time when many affect a liberal disdain for the fanatical fatwas of mad mullahs and assorted fundamentalists, it is useful to be reminded of a time when religious fundamentalists ran Irish society."
"Not the 1970s and 1980s, when liberals and conservatives began their battles over legislation and referendums, but the 1950s, when the Catholic church wielded the crosier in the republic."
McCarthy then goes on to give some details enumerated in an RTE radio documentary "The Ballyfermot Co-operative" of how the church led by Dublin's autocratic archbishop put the boot into a co-op set up to sell food cheaply.
This, the bigoted cleric had decided was a communist front and denounced from the pulpit.
Not a patch on the mullahs in terms of injustices perpetrated but as McCarthy comments the broadcast later in the week of a translated version of Bin Laden's comments "If you want to get even the tiniest sense of how Bin Laden sounds to Muslims, remember the fate of the Ballyfermot Co-operative."
Radio is of course, in some ways as important as armaments in the current Afghanistan conflict.
That makes the broadcasts to the area from outside, primarily from BBC World Service and Voice of America of immense importance. Both services have, it would appear, fairly good reputations for fair reporting amongst ordinary Afghans and other listeners.
One perspective on radio to Afghanistan comes from Mcarthy's Sunday Times colleague Paul Donovan; he devotes his column to "war of words being fought not just on television but on radio" and gives an example from the world or a radio soap.
In this case it is a Pashto service opera, loosely based on long-running BBC farming soap "The Archers", which is trying to incorporate the events of September 11 in its story line.
"The first thing they are having to do is convey what a skyscraper is," says Mike Gardner, chief spokesman for the BBC World Service.
"Most Afghanis have never seen one, and many have never even seen a picture of one on television."
"They have no idea what a 100-storey building looks like. There has been no television in the country for five years."
Donovan continues, "It is humbling to realise how much we take for granted."
"With no television or cinema in Afghanistan, and no national newspaper, much of the battle for hearts and minds is being waged on radio… Already there is plenty of evidence of radio's significance, quite apart from the role of the Pashto service: it was noticeable on the first night of the bombing, for example, that one of the first targets was the Taliban's radio station - Voice of Shariah."
"Initially knocked out, it was back on the air eight hours later, defiant as ever."
And concludes Donovan, "I do not hear everything I want to hear on the radio. Troubling theological and political questions seem to go untouched."
"The fog of war is often compounded by the fog of journalism. But the point to be made at a time like this, when it is frequently said that the world is not only impossibly complicated but spinning out of control, is how many people continue to depend on their radio sets - on desert sands, in mountain passes, and in hovel and palace alike."
Putting the VOA efforts in perspective, a Los Angeles Times editorial "An Honest Voice in Radio" starts," The United States will have to launch propaganda along with missiles and bombs in the war against terrorism."
"The false portrayals of Osama bin Laden and his acolytes as defenders of Islam must be rebutted. But this should not come at the expense of the Voice of America's editorial independence."
"The VOA has spent decades building a worldwide reputation for objective reporting. It was invented to bring reliable news to countries ravaged by World War II and later to those behind the Iron Curtain."
"Treating it now as a mouthpiece for U.S. policy, as some in Washington seem to desire, would squander a precious asset."
Commenting on what is sees as misguided efforts by the US administration to ban broadcast of an interview with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed (Initially successful, although later rescinded - see RNW Sept 25 ) the Times comments," Listeners around the world can detect lies or one-sided tales."
It goes on to say, "The Voice of America, by carrying on with unbiased news broadcasts, can continue to present another face of democracy, the one where ideas compete and vile pronouncements of terrorists are overwhelmed by truth."
RNW comment: Quite so, although we fear that the US media in all shapes significantly under-reports or mis-reports other events, particularly from Israel, giving resonance to Bin Laden's comments in the minds of many Moslems round the world.
Which still doesn't affect our view of an organisation that equates love o death with love of life; to put it in the earthy word's of US President Abraham Lincoln, "What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself."
Los Angeles Times editorial:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2001-10-15: The BBC is involved in controversy over suggestions that it and other British broadcasters should censor broadcasts of comments from Osama bin Laden.
They suggestions were said to have been made in the wake of similar calls in the US by the Bush administration but interpretations differ.
According to Richard Sambrook, the BBC's head of news, earlier in the week the Corporation and other broadcasters were led to believe the government did not want to interfere but then later was asked to get involved in a "chat" about the matter.
Nothing further, he said, had been done about this when it appeared that briefings were given to the British Sunday newspapers about the matter.
Speaking on BBC radio he said that the BBC already did what the US networks were asked to do, exercise editorial judgement rather than just broadcast statements.
Of a 25-minute original Bin Laden statement last week, he said the BBC broadcast under a minute with a translation read over it.
The UK Observer quoted Alastair Campbell, Prime Minister Tony Blair's director of communications, as saying that the broadcasters should be more sceptical about information from bin Laden and the Taliban because," We simply do not know whether what they are saying is true or not.'
The Observer quoted Sambrook, speaking before his radio comments as saying, "There is an argument that bin Laden shouldn't have the oxygen of publicity. I disagree. It is better for them to be heard and for us all to know what they are thinking. We learnt from the ban on Sinn Fein that censorship like that doesn't work." "But we would never use these tapes without a lot of context. We never just slap it on the air."
UK Observer report:
2001-10-14: Main licence activity this week was in Australia where the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has now issued details of its plans for a new commercial FM and five new community services in Perth.
The authority has also decided to licence four new open narrowcasting services and institute changes to improve the reception of existing commercial AM services 6IX and 6PR.
The latter will move its transmitter to a new site at Hamersley and increase its power whilst 6IX will gain FM spectrum for additional transmitters to serve the northern and southern parts of the licence area and two existing community services, 6NR and 6AR will convert to FM.
Of the new community licences, one will be for a Perth-wide service and the other four will serve local communities in Wanneroo, Armadale, Kalamunda and Fremantle.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved a new English language Christian music service for Brantford, Ontario; an additional 1.5 wall transmitter at Kapuskasing for CHIM-FM Timmins and given the go-ahead for the University of Toronto Community Radio Inc. to use a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SCMO) channel to broadcast predominantly Punjabi- and Hindi-language programming.
There was nothing posted in Ireland this week and the UK has been quiet in terms of licence work, althoughthe UK Radio Authority has now announced details of its planned timetable for the re-advertisement of local licences in the period up to autumn of next year.
As well as the licences in the schedule, the authority will also competitively re-advertise the Oxford small scale next month and the Greater London AM licence, currently held by Liberty Radio in March or April of next year.
Spectrum Radio's greater London AM will not now be re-advertised, as it has qualified for automatic renewal because it has now reached agreement for inclusion on a London digital multiplex.
The licences listed in the schedule will first be pre-advertised but only advertised competitively if anyone other than the existing licence holder applies for a licence.
December - Inverness:
January 2002 -Shaftesbury FM;
February 2002 - Tunbridge Wells/Sevenoaks;
March 2002 - North London AM;
April 2002 - Leicester AM and FM;
May 2002 - Hereford/Worcester and Swindon/West Wiltshire AMs and FMs;
June 2002 - Ipswich/Bury St. Edmunds AM and FM and Darlington FM;
August 2002 - Guildford AM and FM;
September 2002 - Chichester & Bognor Regis and Stratford-upon-Avon FMs.
In the US, Low Power FM may soon be mired in another controversy althogh the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in a sense apart from the issue,
It concerns the large number of applications for licences filed by Calvary Chapel which objectors see as in breach of both the intent for and rules concerning low power FM.
They are expressing particular concern that all the local licensees are virtually the same as the national organisation with no distinct local purpose and also that no entity may own more than one LPFM in the first two year of a station's existence.
They also say the organisation does not satisfactorily say how its programming will differ from that of the Calvary Satellite Network or the national Calvary Chapel.
More than 30 Calvary applications have led to objections including those from organisations such as the Microradio Implementation Project and the Prometheus Radio Project.
Earlier this year there was controversy over the way another religious organisation, American Family Radio, had exploited rules to knock public radio stations off the air (See RNW Aug 16).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-10-14: As well as releasing its summer radio survey reports Arbitron has also released a special analysis of listening in the top two US markets for September 11 and the period before and after that.
It shows radio listening increasing in both cities in the week including the attacks but with different patterns in the cities.
In New York Time Spent Listening (TSL) at work rose from 14 hours in the week before the attacks to 19 hours in the week after but at-home and in car listening only rose slightly.
In Los Angeles, the largest increase was in home listening.
The survey also shows a fall off in cumulative audience in both cities by the over 65s in the following week to levels below those for the week prior to the attack whereas all other demographics recorded a higher cumulative audience for the week.
In New York a week later there was a higher audience in the 35-64 group than in the week including the attacks.
All demographic groups in both cities except for New York over-65s spent more time listening in the week of the attacks then in the week before; the New York over-65s were recorded as listening 20 hours in the week to September 5; 17 hours in the week to September 12 and 15 hours in the week to September 19.
In the week after the attack, listening to all-news stations in New York rose markedly but that for other stations, many of which had amended their formats, remained steady.
Owen Charlebois, President, U.S. Media Services, Arbitron Inc., commented, "Radio is the medium that people can turn to for news, information and a sense of community no matter where they are."
"The stations of all formats responded quickly to meet the needs of our fellow citizens. Thanks in part to radio, Americans rallied to help out and drew together to cope with the events of September 11."
The peak listening percentage (Cume) over the period in New York was 96.2% by the 35-64 age group in the week following the attack and they listened for 20 hours a week compared to 94.5% and 18:45 hours in the week of the attack and 91.5%/15:15 hours in the week before.
For the 25-34 group the corresponding figures were 95%/20 hrs in the week of the attack, 94.1%/19:15 hours in the week after and 92.1%/15:45 the week before.
For the 18-34 group they were 94.9%/19:45 hours in the week, 93.8%/17 hours in the week after and 91.8%/16:15 in the week before.
The Los Angeles increases were significantly less than those in New York and peaks were all in the week of the attack.
These were 18-34 at 96.5%/18:30 hours; 25-34 at 95/8%/19 hours; 35-64 at 95.5%/18 hours.
Arbitron web site:
2001-10-13:.The BBC World Service, which has significantly extended its broadcasts to Afghanistan and its neighbours (See RNW Sept 21 ) is asking the British Government for an extra GBP 3million to cover the cost of covering the "War on Terrorism".
The British Foreign Office funds the service and talks are under way to boost the government grant, which is currently GBP183 million a year.
Broadcasts to the area were boosted after the attacks on the US and include increases in Pashto broadcasts from three to four and a half hours a day and Persian (Farsi) broadcasts from six and a half hours to nine and a half hours a day.
In London, World Service has increased its Pashto and Persian staff to around 70, ten more than normal.
Its main weakness at the moment is the absence of a reporter in Kabul where it maintained an office from 1988 until the destruction in March by the Taliban of the Bamiyan Buddhas.
The Taliban, reacting to reports that the destruction had caused unease amongst many Afghans, then expelled its correspondent Kate Clark and has so far not allowed the bureau to re-open.
There have, however been continuing contacts with the Corporation which earlier this week broadcast in the Pashto service an interview with the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.
In it he said US forces were not invincible and Called for all true Moslems to "stand up against this arrogant power (the U.S.) decisively and with strong will."
He also said the Taliban was continuing its ban on the growing of opium poppies.
The BBC has also put a special "BBC World Service Extra" channel, comprised of broadcasts in Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Persian, Pashto, and Urdu, on digital satellite for the benefit of UK listeners who speak the languages of the region.
This complements the language services already available via the Internet.
Digital satellite announcement:
BBC World Service web site:
2001-10-13: US National Public Radio (NPR) has now picked up the Motley Fool financial radio show, cancelled by Cox Radio Syndication last month.
Following the cancellation, Motley Fool, which at its peak had a staff of four hundred, had announced that it was to cut 75 of the 140 remaining staff.
In an announcement to staff, founders Tom and David Gardner then said, "The Motley Fool has taken its worst hit this week, bidding farewell to approximately 75 people, some of our favourite people on this planet…Our plans have proven too optimistic to withstand the current business environment, and so now we are hunkering down and battening the hatches, running a business that is ready for even very bad continued weather."
NPR in its announcement says that the show, which had been taken by some 150 stations, is currently being developed by the Motley Fool and NPR; it anticipates the show will be available for public radio stations in the coming months.
The new show will be hosted by the Gardners of whom Jay Kernis, NPR's Senior Vice President for Programming commented, "When I first heard David and Tom Gardner, it was clear they were meant to be on public radio."
"They are smart, funny and demonstrate tremendous knowledge of money and personal finance. This show will overflow with useful information -- and be thoroughly entertaining at the same time."
NPR web site:
2001-10-13: US radio ratings organisation Arbitron has now taken the results of the 2000 US Census into its ratings with the result that the fall ratings show some significant changes in the top markets; it had previously been working on figures from the 1990 US census.
Perhaps the most significant gain was for Madison, Wisconsin, which moved up the rankings from 122 to enter the top 100 at 97: at the top end, the markets in the top ten were unchanged but the positions moved around.
The new top ten with populations and, where applicable, previous ranking in brackets are:
1: New York - (15,281,600)
2: Los Angeles - (10,304,900)
3: Chicago -( 7,477,700 )
4: San Francisco - ( 5,811,300)
5: Dallas-Ft. Worth -( 4,298,800 : Up from sixth)
6: Philadelphia - ( 4,222,400 : down from fifth)
7: Washington, DC - ( 3,885,300: Up from ninth)
8: Boston - ( 3,871,700 )
9: Houston-Galveston - ( 3,860,600 : Up from tenth)
10: Detroit - ( 3,838,600: Down from seventh).
Arbitron web site:
2001-10-13: Latest monthly ratings from Measurecast show traditional broadcasters taking six of the top ten spots in September compared to two in August with UK based Jazz FM and Virgin Radio taking the top spots.
They had total time spent listening (TTSL) of 672,995 and 426,716 hours, respectively.
In the top 25, terrestrial broadcasters had 12 spots compared to nine in August. There were 16 newcomers in the top 50, 14 of them terrestrial broadcasters.
The top 5 stations ranked by Total Time Spent listening (TTSL), with last month's TTSL and Cume (Cumulative Audience) in brackets were:
1): Jazz format Jazz FM TTSL 672995, CP 191,008 (Previously unlisted)
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 426716 (511572); CP 52491 (52542) - Position unchanged, listening down to a little over July figures.
3): Classical King FM (Seattle) TTSL 388176 ; CP 46712; Previously unlisted.
4): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 358091 (634405); CP 108495 (124189) - Previously first. Listening way down for third month running.
5): Sports-talk ESPN Radio TTSL 306718 (441755); CP 40030 (39959) - Previously third. Listening down for second month running
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Previous MeasureCast monthly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-10-12: Top rated conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh will never again have normal hearing according to his doctors but they will try a combination of immuno-suppressive drugs for up to two months before considering a cochlear implant.
Earlier this week Limbaugh surprised his listeners by saying he had gone almost totally deaf (See RNW Oct 10).
Doctors at Cedar Sinai's House Ear Clinic and Institute in Los Angeles where he has been receiving treatment says he has autoimmune inner-ear disease.
This progresses rapidly and doctors think that it is caused when the body's immune system attacks the inner ear and damages nerves.
Dr. Jennifer Derebery said that that Limbaugh's rate of hearing loss has slowed since he began taking medicines but there has been no improvement.
If the drug treatment fails doctors will consider the cochlear implant, which creates an electronic signal and sends it to the brain.
Limbaugh at a new conference said, "I'll be honest with you, I've said I'm not going to quit until every American agrees with me, and I don't expect to pull that off until I'm at least 66, 67."
Limbaugh is syndicated by Clear Channel's Premiere Networks to some 600 stations and has a weekly audience of some 20 million.
At the same Los Angeles news conference Premier president Kraig T. Kitchin gave details of how Limbaugh has been helped to continue with his show and overcome his inability to hear callers.
Listener comments are transcribed into text on a monitor in front of Limbaugh and multicoloured lights are used to indicate the mood -- anger, sympathy -- of each caller
.Kitchin added that Limbaugh was dedicated to continuing with the show for which he has a contract running until 2009.
Limbaugh web site
Premiere web site:
2001-10-12: The UK is to get another national sports station following the GBP 2million purchase by Leeds-based Internet and radio group TEAMtalk Media of RTL's 80% stake in long-wave dance music station Atlantic 252.
TEAMtalk is to re-launch the station, which is based in the Irish Republic, as a sports-based service.
Irish state broadcaster RTE is to retain its 20% stake in the station, which last year reported a pre-tax loss of GBP480000 on a turnover of GBP 4million.
TEAMtalk provides sports programming to media around Europe and has this year already purchased German sports producer Sport-Redaktion and Hampson Radio, which delivers in-store broadcasts via satellite to a number of large UK groups.
RTL put its stake in 252 up for sale a while ago, initially valuing the station at around GBP30 million but that figure fell sharply as deals failed to materialise and the prospects for radio worsened.
The new 252 will be competing for audience with BBC Radio 5 Live and TalkSport.
Previous Atlantic 252:
2001-10-12: Latest US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) figures, although presented by RAB in a positive light, make fairly grim reading.
RAB says that for August the national figures are "showing the first signs of possible stabilization": the figures themselves show total revenues down 6%, local revenues down 4% and national revenues down 14% compared to August 2000.
On the RAB index, which takes 1998 as a base year to eliminate the dot com effect, the local index for August is 123.8, for national it's 111.2 and the combined total is 120.6.
On a year-to-date basis, the local index is 131.0, national is 118.8 and the combined total is 128.4 whilst revenues for the year to date are down 7% overall, 3% for local and 19% for national.
RAB President and Chief Executive Officer, Gary Fries, said, "Radio remains uniquely positioned to fare better than most media during this uncertain economic climate."
"Small and medium market activity remains healthy on the local level and Radio's core categories remain strong."
"An aggregate of 19 markets, for example, showed that automotive was up 12.2%."
Somewhat belying the presentation of the figures Fries has also penned an open letter urging maximum effort from the radio industry.
"It's time for leaders to start leading, and it's time for all of us to get moving," he writes.
"It is clear that as a result of the events of September 11th and their effect on an already troubled economy, many of our sellers are having difficulty getting back to the business of radio and to their sales responsibilities."
"Many of our people are emotionally bruised and reluctant to conduct business aggressively with customers and prospects."
"Many are having trouble dealing with the pressure of their jobs. Many are avoiding the rejection inherent in sales by failing to approach prospects and ask for the order."
"Many--both sellers and manager--are looking like deer in the headlights, waiting for something to happen and change the situation"
While remaining sensitive to the situation, he says," top executives need to get out on the front lines and help their clients and prospects get back to business."
RNW note: But for the September 11 attacks, advertising figures would soon have started into a period where comparisons would have been without the effects of the dot com boom.
September 2000 figures had already slipped back with national revenues down 6% on 1999 although local figures were 6% up, taking the overall total to a 3% gain but the figures for the quarter were still healthy.(See RNW Nov 11, 2000).
September will now be a massively abnormal month because of the period of commercial-free broadcasting and subsequent cancelling or postponing of many adverts, thus hitting third quarter figures.
Looking forward, overall economic indicators do not bode well for the rest of the year
RAB web site:
2001-10-11: More media industry woes both sides of the Atlantic: In the UK, Scottish Media Group (SMG) has offered all its 1700 staff the chance to apply for voluntary redundancy and in the US Beasley Broadcasting is the latest company to reduce expectations following the September 11 attacks.
SMG's action follows a fall in profits of a third for the first half of the financial year (See RNW Sept 12) because of an advertising slowdown.
This which has hit not only SMG broadcasting operations, which include Virgin Radio, but also its newspaper and cinema advertising.
Staff have until the end of the week to apply for redundancy according to the Financial Times, which adds that the company has not ruled out compulsory redundancies.
SMG has already frozen recruitment, management salaries and capital spending.
In the US, Beasley Broadcasting says its third quarter results, due in early November, may show revenues up to 5% below previous guidance of USD 29.5 million and broadcast cash flow down as much as 10% on a forecast of USD7.9 million.
The company says the September 11 attacks "compelled Beasley to suspend regular programming across its portfolio to keep its listeners informed and provide a platform for them to express their grief and shock."
"These actions are consistent with the spirit of our FCC licenses and our obligations to serve our local communities," added CEO George Beasley, who said some cancelled advertising was rescheduled but not "enough to offset the impact of this event."
The slowing US economy is also dealing a double whammy to XM Satellite Radio according to the Washington Post, which says conditions could both hit demand for its service and make it more difficult to raise money for its operations until it becomes profitable.
Chief executive Hugh Panero told the paper the company has cut costs and emphasized that it should be able to raise more cash this year despite analysts suggestions that it might have to both sell a larger stake to corporate investors and scale back operations as it runs low on cash later this year.
"We have a great product in a bad economy," said Panero, who added that refocusing its marketing strategy and other cost reduction together with financing deals it is working on would stretch current cash out to cover the company until the middle of next year.
Amongst the analysts who have expressed warnings about the satellite radio companies, XM and Sirius, Morgan Stanley this week described the two as in a "high risk" sector and Merrill Lynch last week reduced its rating of XM stock from "accumulate" to "neutral".
Expressing a contrary view last week investment and research firm C.E. Unterberg, Towbin reiterated a "strong buy" rating on the company's stock.
The Post also looked at the attitudes of major XM stockholders.
It noted that Motient Corp., which in May owned 25.4 percent of the shares, has already announced that it selling some of its stock in the firm to prop up its own operations and next largest shareholder GM with 21% has problems with auto sales slowing and declined to comment on its investment plans but said it remains enthusiastic.
XM has already spent around USD 1.5 billion and will need around USD300 milion more to operate until the end of 2002; It hopes to go into profit in 2004 and have some 4 million subscribers by then.
Previous Beasley Broadcasting:
Previous George Beasley:
Washington Post report:
2001-10-11: The rows during elections have frequently been of cases where journalists, well prepared on particular ground, have stumped candidates such as George W Bush who was memorable during his election campaign knowing who was President of Pakistan, but in Australia it's the radio host who was caught out this week not getting his facts right.
In an interview on Sydney 2UE, morning host Alan Jones who is a former Australian Liberal (conservative) Party candidate, got into a row over what was and was not on the opposition Labor Party's web site.
Labor leader Kim Beazley, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, was questioned about his party's policies and said that anyone wanting to see them had only to click on the party web site.
Jones then responded, "But now on your Web site, those policies aren't there. Why have they been taken off the Web site?"
Beazley said that as far as he knew they were still there and Jones followed up with questions including some on his truthfulness about the problems of collapsed airline Ansett.
Meanwhile Beazley's advisor checked the site on a 2UE computer and printed out the party's policies, handing the printout to Beazley who then accused Jones of telling a "fib" and said Jones had "got to start being honest."
Jones according to the paper, rather than being abashed, decided that offence was the best form of defence and snapped back "Like you were about your daughter going to the hospital," referring to the recent controversy over whether Mr Beazley's daughter had been turned away from public hospitals after suffering acute appendicitis."
Jones was defended by his station. Tony Bell, managing director of , Southern Cross Broadcasting, which owns 2UE, commented, "Alan Jones is paid to have an opinion and to draw comment and truth from those he interviews and to generally present an informative and at times entertaining program."
RNW note: That does not include being impartial it would seem: The Australian Labor Party has released figures from a media monitoring company showing that that in the 1998 election, 70 per cent of mentions about the top 10 ALP issues on the Jones program were negative and none was positive. In contrast, only 6 per cent of mentions about the top 10 Coalition issues were negative and 41 per cent were positive.
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2001-10-11: BBC Radio 4 announcer Laurie Macmillan has died of cancer aged 54.
She had been with the BBC for more than 30 years, starting as a graduate trainee after leaving Newcastle University.
Paying tribute, BBC radio 4 controller Helen Boaden said, "Laurie epitomised the very best of Radio 4… She was a passionate believer that spoken English should be clear, direct and unpretentious and her skilled and subtle technique on air was always to this end."
"She was a wonderful colleague - witty and perceptive. Many of the voices we hear now on Radio 4 have benefited enormously from Laurie's astute mentoring and generosity."
2001-10-10: Top rated Conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh, who has been having voice problems that were at first explained as being the result of a cold, has now told his listeners that his problems are the result of deafness.
Limbaugh, who has an estimated weekly audience of some 20 million, on Monday made the announcement on his show, saying that he first noticed on May 29 that he had lost hearing in his left ear and has subsequently lost hearing in the other ear to the point that in his right ear he has "the ability to recognize sound but not identify it."
In a statement on his web site, the 50-years-old host adds, "I can occasionally talk to people in person one on one if their voice frequency happens to fit the range that I can still hear, but I cannot hear radio; I cannot hear television; I cannot hear music."
"I am, for all practical purposes, deaf - and it's happened in three months."
Limbaugh says that between May and July his hearing loss was what a person normally suffers over 15 years and that at first he was able to "to get powerful enough hearing aids to where I can communicate one on one with people and, up until about ten days ago, was able to listen to things on radio and TV."
He continues, "But I can no longer do that, and the odds are that within another month or so, if the pattern keeps up, I will be entirely deaf - 100% - and at that point, a decision has to be made as to what to do about it, because my desire is to continue doing this, and there are an infinite number of ways of continuing."
"I mean, I'm doing this program today, ladies and gentlemen, in effect, total deafness. I have taken two phone calls today, and have not heard a word any of the callers said to me."
Limbaugh says that he has had the best medical treatment and may have to consider the last-resort option of a "the cochlear implant."
"It's the last thing they do, because it's irreversible. Once you do that, you're finished, and if it doesn't work, then nothing they can do to go back and put you back the way you were."
He concludes that his challenge is to find a way to continue and heads his web page with a notice reading, "I have no intention of stopping what I do. That's the beauty of this country and that's the purpose of the announcement, and even though I can't hear I can still communicate."
"So liberals and moderates beware!"
RNW note: In July, Limbaugh signed an eight-year deal with Premiere Networks, reportedly worth USD285 million (See RNW July 17).
Limbaugh web site ( carries links to audio and transcript of statement):
2001-10-10: Yet another US media company has reduced its expectations in the wake of the September 11 attacks. This time it's Kentucky-headquartered Regent Communications which says it now expects third quarter revenues in the USD13.8 to 13.9 million range compared to previous forecasts in the range USD14-14.8 million.
It also says that it expects same station revenues to be flat compared to a previous forecast of 3.5% growth and broadcast cash flow to be down by a fifth to a quarter compared to its previous guidance of flat figures.
Terry Jacobs, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Radio did what it does best following the horrific acts of September 11th -- serving and informing its communities."
"We are very proud of our employees, especially at the station level, who worked closely with their communities to assist in the relief efforts for New York."
"As expected, " he added, "Regent's financial results have been impacted in the near-term, primarily from the loss of advertising revenues resulting from over two days of non-stop news coverage and subsequent uncertainty in the overall economy."
Jacobs was bullish about the future, noting Regent's strength in local advertising and said, "While the advertising and economic situation remains unclear, Regent is well positioned for long-term success."
Regent web site:
2001-10-10: More satellite radio news from the US, first from XM Satellite radio which may only have a few hundred customers but which has nevertheless declared a regular quarterly dividend on its 8.25% series B convertible redeemable preferred stock.
The dividend is payable in Class A common stock at a rate of USD1.03 per share of series B stock.
Sirius Satellite Radio, which has yet to launch its service, is being hit by a class action lawsuit filed in Vermont by investor Paul Sterbenk.
The suit alleges that Sirius issued misleading and false statements and news releases thus misleading investors about its commercial viability.
The suit says Sirius "knew, or recklessly disregarded, that it would be impossible for the company to offer its service commercially by the end of 2000, as initially disclosed, or early in 2001, as subsequently disclosed."
Sirius says the claims are "frivolous and without merit."
Sirius Web site (has statement dismmissing the law suit):
XM web site:
2001-10-10: Yet another jump in Internet listening has been reported by Measurecast which says that in the week to the end of September 11% more people listened than in the previous week.
This takes the organisation's Internet Radio Index, which started at a base of 100 in January of this year, to 265.
Within the rankings Internet-only MediaAmazing is in the top spot and Bonneville's Washington, DC.WTOP-AM and FM talk station has moved into the top 25 measured by total time spent listening at number 14.
WTOP is streamed under the Local Media Internet Venture, or LMiV, set up by a number of US broadcasters to establish an industry-owned streaming radio network of local member stations.
At the top end of the rankings there was again jostling for position but no change in the top five stations.
They were, ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and with, where applicable, previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets:
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 128324 (70745); CP 45506 (34,123) Previously fourth. Listening is up but still below the TTSL of 174716 at the start of August.
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 128324 (101126); CP 45506 (19562)- position unchanged; listening way up and now above pre-September 11 figure.
3): Jazz station Jazz FM TTSL 118248 (178195); CP 61326 (72231) Previously first.
4): Classical music King FM TTSL 116641 (98384); CP 19431 (19334) - Previously third.
5): Sports-talk ESPN Radio TTSL 78,773 (66253); CP 17190 (15717) - Position unchanged but listening up.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-10-09: Following the start of attacks on Afghanistan, the Voice of America (VOA)has further expanded its radio broadcasts into the country.
It now carries two hours fifteen minutes daily in Afghanistan's two main languages Pashto and Dari, an increase of a further 30 minutes on the extra 30 minutes in each language it announced last month (See RNW Sept 21).
On Sunday VOA carried US President Bush's Sunday speech announcing the US air strikes live in English and also translated into numerous languages including Arabic, Dari, Farsi (Persian) and Pashto, as well as an editorial on the US military goals and policy.
This was read by Robert R. Reilly, who has been nominated by Bush to become VOA's next director.
Reilly told the Washington Post that, "The point of it is, the United States was already the largest contributor of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people… The United States is now going to accelerate its effort to do for them what the Taliban regime has failed to, which is feed them and get medicine to them."
The move comes as VOA is mired in controversy over the nature of its broadcasts with some members of Congress arguing that it should be a propaganda weapon for the US government whilst its staff say that this would cause it to lose the credibility it has gained from balanced and objective news reporting (For comment on this by former director Stafford Ungar see RNW Oct 8).
Some members of Congress now want to revive Radio Free Afghanistan which ended broadcasts when the then Soviet Union withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in 1989.
After a row over the broadcast of an interview with the Taliban leader the Bush administration nominated Reilly, who has strong conservative credentials, to replace the agency's acting director.
After the row over the interview V.O.A.'s news director, Andre deNesnera, wrote in an e-mail to staff, "During the past few days, there has been a systematic attack on the Voice of America - more specifically, an attack on Article One of our charter, which states that we should be a `reliable and authoritative source of news' and that our news should be `accurate, objective and comprehensive.' "
The New York Times reports that later staff meetings and in an interview he said, "I would not allow the integrity of our news operation to be compromised."
To do so, he said, "would be a devastating blow to the public diplomacy of the United States and a squandering of the fund of trust that has been developed over the decades in our overseas audiences, who turn to V.O.A. for accurate and objective news."
Reilly certainly once held different views.
The Times reports that a 20-year-old memo from him to Charles Z. Wick, the Reagan-era head of the United States Information Agency, concluded, "It is time we recaptured the words `balance' and `objectivity' from the rhetorical excesses of the left and re-established them to stand for the full truth about this country - the last and best hope of freedom in the world."
Asked about the memo last week, the paper reports, Reilly said: "It's a wonderful document of the cold war era. This is a different war and a different era."
New York Times report:
Washington Post report:
2001-10-09: US radio giant Clear Channel is now gobbling up the Seattle-based Ackerley Group in a stock and debt assumption deal worth some USD800 million in all.
Under the deal, Ackerley shareholders would get 0.35 Clear Channel shares for each Ackerley share they own; on Friday's closing price this amounts to just over USD14 per share, a premium of nearly 30 per cent on the Ackerley closing price of USD 11 per share.
In Monday trading, Ackerley shares rose to USD13.68 and Clear Channel slipped 24 cents to USD40.07
In addition Clear Channel would take on around USD295 million of Ackerley debt.
The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year, subject to approval by Ackerley shareholders, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the US Justice Department.
Ackerley, which was founded in 1975 by current chairman and CEO Barry Ackerley, owns or operates some 6000 outdoor advertising sites in Boston, Seattle and Portland, Oregon; five radio stations in Seattle, four owned outright; 18 TV stations, 16 owned outright; and Internet news portals in three of its television markets.
The Ackerley family will not remain involved once the deal is completed according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which quoted Ackerley President Chris Ackerley as saying that Clear Channel had expressed interest in the company several years ago before making a formal offer in the summer of this year.
The deal would give Clear Channel, which has its own outdoor advertising operations, a significant presence in Boston, Seattle and Portland, Oregon where Ackerley has its sites and in radio take it into Seattle, the only top 50 market where it has no stations.
Ackerley's New Century Media operates sports talk stations KJR-AM and KHHO-AM, music stations KUBE-FM and KBTB-FM and also has investments in, a marketing and sales agreement with, and an option to acquire music station KNFK-AM.
The deal has not been posted on Ackerley's web site but Clear Channel carries details including a statement by chairman and chief executive Lowry Mays saying," "We are very excited to have The Ackerley Group join the Clear Channel family."
"They have assembled a truly unique set of assets with top quality personnel that will be a great complement to Clear Channel."
"This transaction allows Clear Channel to enter Boston, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, three of the top 25 U.S. outdoor advertising markets."
"Seattle is also a top 25 U.S. radio market where we currently have no presence. In addition, this acquisition enables us to offer our advertising customers more cross-platform advertising opportunities, because we have a radio station, outdoor advertising operation or live entertainment venue presence in 15 of their 18 television markets."
It also carries a statement from Ackerley chairman and CEO Barry Ackerley saying," "Over the past 26 years, The Ackerley Group has established a reputation for building quality assets and a quality working environment for employees."
"We are proud of that legacy and we are pleased to be part of this transaction in the best interest of our shareholders."
It does not say anything concerning Clear Channel's plans for the group or its 1500 employees.
Previous Ackerley Group:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Clear Channel web site(links to news release on deal -20 kb pdf):
2001-10-08: We had anticipated moving on this week from the events of September 11 but events, to paraphrase a former British Prime Minister, have changed this!
And in view of those events, it seems timely to note that for most Afghans the only real source they have of information from the outside world is short wave radio with a majority of Afghan men (the Taliban don't appreciate questioning or women nor it would seem allow them to count for much!) listening to either the BBC World Service or Voice of America (VOA).
And it's not just news they get from this; it's also a connection with the outside world however strange the connection may at times seem such as the BBC World Service playing a Madonna track at the request of an Afghan listener and indeed the VOA playing Western pop hits.
BBC World Service also carries a soap opera called "New Home, New Life," funded partly by U.N. aid agencies, set in a mythical village that offers strong lessons in health; it is broadcast in Persian (Farsi) and Pashto (the language mainly spoken in Taliban areas as opposed to the Dari language which predominates in Northern Alliance areas).
All the more important then the content of an article in the New York Times by Stafford Ungar, the former director of Voice of America.
He refers to the censoring of the channel (See RNW Sept 25) over an interview with Taliban leader Mullah Omar Mohammad in an article which notes the high listenership to VOA in Afghanistan (an estimated 80 per cent of males listening once a week to broadcasts in either Pashto or Dari) and says of the Afghans " They know that their own radio is pure propaganda."
"The Voice of America wins listeners because it is not propaganda - because people around the world know they can count on it for fair and balanced coverage when their own news outlets are often slanted to protect the governments in power."
Ungar then goes on to say, "From its first broadcast, on Feb. 24, 1942, when it pledged - in German - to give the real news of World War II, it has promised the truth."
"The trust that it has earned can't be taken for granted - especially by our own government."
"Late last month, the State Department, in a bizarre episode of bad editorial judgment and patriotic censorship, pressured the V.O.A. not to air excerpts from an exclusive interview with Mullah Muhammad Omar, the leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban and a defender of Osama bin Laden."
"…Caught by surprise, the Broadcasting Board of Governors - the panel of private citizens created by Congress in 1998 to serve as a firewall between the State Department and government-funded radio - found itself unable to act quickly enough to protect the V.O.A.'s integrity and credibility."
"…Credibility takes a long time to build, but it can be quickly lost. We need only remember how the reputation of the British Broadcasting Corporation, another publicly funded news service, suffered when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government would not permit it to air the voice of Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein."
"The BBC did not recover its well-deserved stature for years."
"Now more than ever, the Voice of America has important work to do. It must be able to interview anyone anywhere at any time, without fear of rebuke or reprisal, in order to provide honest and full coverage of momentous events."
"The State Department should keep its hands - and editing pencils - off the news."
RNW note: Quite so, as we had already commented.
Moving on, one of the main radio events this year was the Sept 25 commercial launch of XM Satellite Radio which may not have many listeners (a few hundred so far) but seemed to get even fewer reviews of its actual content.
We did find a review last week by Mike Langberg of the San Jose Mercury News which we spotted in the Chicago Tribune.
He said that that radio had been stuck in a time warp, writing,"… not much has changed since the introduction of FM about 40 years ago.
"What you hear on the radio, meanwhile, has gotten much worse."
"Broadcasters increasingly copy each other in delivering the same stale formats--particularly adult contemporary rock, country music and news/talk--while larding in more and more commercials."
"In other words, radio is much like television before the arrival of cable brought new ideas that forced everyone to change."
Commenting on his sampling of the service (we note here that he went to San Diego on September 6 just before the scheduled Sept 12 launch date) Langberg writes, "Reception was nearly flawless, far better than most AM or FM radio, and the programming choices were nothing sort of awesome."
Unfortunately there wasn't much specific about the service and RNW, which wishes the new satellite services well, found the rest of the article too much of PR handout to be worthy of comment although it did note both the technical quality and diversity of XM's music channels and the wide range of news channels on offer, complete with around a third of the advertisement load of most US stations.
Good potential news for the channels in view of the recent Arbitron report suggested that commercials were a major tune-out factor for women (RNW Oct 1) but that won't matter unless they can get an initial audience and some word of mouth recommendations.
So on to another area relating to the potential future of radio which has been suffering a fall in the younger audience in both the US and UK.
In this case, the comment comes from Paul Donovan of the UK Sunday Times, who comments on the digital channels available in the UK already and the five new ones to be expected from the BBC now that the British government had given the go ahead for them. (See RNW Sept 15).
Whilst welcoming them he makes a good point over a notable absence.
The government he writes, "brushed aside the evidence presented to them by outsiders that there was substantial public support for a speech-and-music station for preschool and primary-school children."
"I confess to a financial interest here: I chipped in £50 towards the £2,000 cost of the Mori poll that was carried out on this last February."
"It was desperately depressing to see the way in which the DCMS (Department of Culture, Media , and Sport) , part of a government ostensibly so keen to improve the dismal levels of numeracy and literacy among British children and their often acute problem in concentrating, listening, learning and speaking, failed to address - or even acknowledge - the arguments for a children's station."
"… the proposal from the pressure group Children 2000, that one of the BBC's five digital allocations be put on hold pending evaluation of the children's-radio potential, was rejected - with no reason given. I cannot believe that in their hearts Tessa Jowell and Jenny Abramsky (RNW note - the British Minister responsible for Media and the BBC Director of Radio) who are both parents, believe that what Britain really needs is more pop music rather than programmes to stimulate, inform, entertain and extend the imagination of our children. Or do they?"
RNW note: Again quite so. Particularly as we would welcome the use of the potential of digital to extend the range of services available rather than merely duplicating or improving technical quality of those that already exist.
Chicago Tribune - Langberg:
New York Times Ungar:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan .
2001-10-08: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI - the former IRTC) is expected to announce rule changes today which would ease restrictions on media ownership which currently insist on all radio licences being locally owned with no media group owning more than 27%.
If the rules are relaxed to allow complete acquisitions it could lead to a burst of takeover activity.
This would almost certainly include a takeover by Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) of Today FM, in which it already holds 27%, and of Cork's County Sound by UTV (See RNW Sept. 1).
UTV was allowed to 60% of the station by the Irish regulator earlier this year and has already said it would like 100% whilst SRH has been lobbying to rule changes to allow it to control Today FM.
2001-10-07: A fairly
busy week in Canada where four new Ottawa licences have been awarded
(See RNW Oct 6)
but it was fairly quiet elsewhere with nothing of real note in
Australia and Ireland.
2001-10-06: Ottawa is to get four new radio stations under licence approvals just made by the Canadian Radio Television Commission (CRTC).
They are an aboriginal station, an ethnic station, an English language dance station, and a French language classical music station. In all the commission considered eleven applications for the four licences on offer.
The four licences awarded, following public hearings, which began on May 22, went to:
* Aboriginal Voices Radio (AVR), a not-for-profit radio station, will provide listeners native musical and spoken word programming oriented to people's interests in aboriginal issues and music
* Radio 1540, an ethnic station to be operated by Chin Radio-Tv International that will offer programming to 37 different cultural groups in at least 20 different languages. It will focus on local news and events as well as providing talk, music, and information.
* Newcap Inc.'s "The Planet" English-language dance-music station, which will offer a blend of dance music, European pop, urban, world beat rhythms and Latin music.
*A Radio Nord classical music station, which will offer popular classical concert music geared to a broad segment of listeners, including younger audiences and also local programming, including regional news.
As a condition of the licence, Radio Nord will establish a scholarship program to support the local and regional classical music scene.
It will only be able to start broadcasting when it receives approval for an alternate frequency other than the one for which it originally applied.
2001-10-06: Continuing gloomy predictions from the analysts but more US radio deals this week and to lead off yet more off giant Clear Channel activities, starting with a red flag from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its planned USD 1.8million purchase of WSKW-AM & WHQO-FM Skowhegan, Maine (See RNW Sep 26).
The red flag, on the basis of ownership concentration in the Augusta-Waterville market, does not affect Clear Channel's continuing operation of the station under an LMA.
In another deal, Clear Channel is to add to its portfolio of Ohio stations.
The latest addition planned is Secret Communications' WKKJ-FM in Chillicothe where Clear Channel already owns one FM and two AMs.
The price is said to be USD 17.5 million in cash and Clear Channel hopes to move the city of licence closer to the state capital. Columbus: Secret had already applied to change the licence to Ashville, Ohio, around 10 miles south of Columbus and Clear Channel, which already has stations in Columbus, is said to also be considering Williamsport to the north.
Also in Ohio, NextMedia is reported to be selling WKKD-AM, Aurora, to Kovas Communications for USD850000. In New York State, Galaxy Communications is planning a purchase of WHTR-M, Corinth, contingent on regulatory approval of a frequency and city of licence change.
Galaxy, which is acquiring WABY-AM and WKLI-FM in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy market, wants to move the station to Scotia, New York.
It's already put down an option payment of USD150000 and will take this up to USD 2.4 million in cash if the deal goes ahead. In Portland, Oregon, Northwest Radio Broadcasting is to add KGUY-AM to its existing news-talk KKGT-AM.
Some two-thirds of the USD750000 price will be taken up by debt assumption.
In Wisconsin, Woodward Communications is to pay USD450000 for WRIQ-AM, Appleton; it already has two AMs and three FMs in adjoining markets. On the reporting front, Salem Communications has revised its third quarter predictions following the September 11 attacks but nevertheless remains upbeat about the future.
It is now predicting third quarter same station revenue growth of approximately 6%, compared to previous guidance of 10%; net broadcast revenues and broadcast cash flow for the third quarter of 2001 to be approximately USD33.8 million and USD12.0 million, respectively, compared to earlier guidance of USD35.0 million and USD13.3 million.
Salem expects after tax cash flow of $0.20 per share for the third quarter, down from previous guidance of after tax cash flow of $0.23.
Edward G. Atsinger III, Salem's Chief Executive Officer, said that while the September 11 events, "impacted our financial expectations in the near-term, recent events underscore the power of radio as a medium and its ability to connect with and serve local and national audiences."
"In fact, the recent tragedy," he continued, "reinforces our programming partners' commitment to their listeners, as many of them have utilized their airtime to support relief efforts and provide comfort to the communities they serve."
"Salem's unique strategy is not only in the best interest of serving our listeners, but it is also in the best interest of our shareholders -- which is highlighted during these challenging economic times." Previous Atsinger:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Next Media:
Salem web site:
2001-10-06: The UK Radio Authority is finalising plans to limit automation at the country's radio stations according to the Radio Magazine.
It says that FM stations in markets of more than 50000 adults will be limited to two hours automation during daytime hours and smaller FM and all AM stations will be limited to four hours of automated operation.
Stations which had proposed higher levels of automation when they applied for their licences will be exempted as will night-time operation according to the report.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Radio Magazine web site:
2001-10-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied a request to allow the continuing operation of station's owned by convicted child molester Michael Rice's companies.
It ordered Contemporary Media, Inc., Contemporary Broadcasting, Inc., and Lake Broadcasting, Inc. to end broadcasts at 11:59 PM on October 3.
The case stemmed from the 1994 conviction of Rice on four counts of sodomy, six counts of deviate sexual assault in the first degree, and two counts of deviate sexual assault in the second degree, for which he was jailed.
The FCC then held that he was an unfit person to hold licences and in 1998 reaffirmed that decision; it says that in addition to Rice's conduct, the Rice Stations "misrepresented and lacked candour in reporting to the Commission that, subsequent to his arrest, Rice was completely excluded from any further involvement in the management and operation of the Licensees' radio stations."
The stations were, however permitted to continue operations for 91 days after the completion of a judicial review.
This was completed on March 19, when the Supreme Court denied Rice's petition for certiorari.
Rice did not seek rehearing and the decision became final thirty days later.
The operating authority of the Rice Stations was then scheduled to terminate on July 17, 2001 but the . FCC issued Special Temporary Authority (STA) for a further 90 days operation because," it seemed possible that there might be a seamless transition to interim operation by persons other than Rice within that time frame."
It dismissed Rice's request to extend the licences further pending consideration of a Petition for Equitable Relief which sought to allow him to retain them or be allowed to assign them.
The Commission says it took the view that he no longer had licences to retain or assign.
Rice also contends that certain public interest benefits would result from extending the STA and says that the listening public in three small markets would lose service and the employees of these stations would lose their jobs.
The Commission responded by saying that, after an exhaustive survey of stations in the relevant markets, it believed "the public interest is better served by denying the Request and ordering the Rice Stations off the air."
The stations involved are WBOW-AM, WBUZ- AM, and WZZQ-FM in Terre Haute, Indiana; KFMZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri; and KBMX- FM, Eldon, Missouri.
Rice had also held two CPs in addition to his five stations
He had argued that he was mentally ill when he commited the offences but had recovered subsequently.
2001-10-05: UK radio group GWR has held informal talks with its bankers about the potential impact of current difficult trading conditions according to the UK Financial Times.
The paper says the talks were prompted by analysts expectations for operating cash flow which, if accurate, would put the company in technical breach of its banking covenants.
GWR has a net debt of GBP160 million but, the paper says, GWR insiders were confident they would not be in breach of the covenants which come up for review in May next year.
Last month GWR issued a cautionary trading update in advance of its preliminary results which are to be issued in November (See RNW Sept 28).
The paper says that, based on estimates of GBP24 million earnings before interest, tax and depreciation for the year to March 2002, GWR would cover its interest charges by a multiple of 3.6 times compared to a four times required by the bankers.
2001-10-05: US radio giant Clear Channel has now, reports the Denver Post, publicly denied allegations from a Denver promoter that it has threatened to curtail radio airplay to entertainers who signed with promoters who were rivals to its concert arm, Clear Channel Entertainment, formerly SFX (See RNW Aug 9).
The promoter, Nobody in Particular Presents, sought unspecified damages and claimed that Clear Channel had denied airtime to acts that use competing promoters and also blocked rivals from opportunities to advertise their concerts.
The paper quotes Steve Smith, chief operating officer for Clear Channel Entertainment, as saying, "I can assure you that none of our radio stations have conspired against Nobody in Particular Presents, or (rival promoter) House of Blues, or anyone."
Commenting on suggestions that the concept arm attracts entertainers by promising airplay on Clear Channel stations, which would be illegal, Smith said," Guys (on the radio) aren't focusing on what's coming to town. Our programming people make independent decisions and they're not obligated to play, or not play, anyone."
He also cited statistics concerning Nobody in Particular's promotions, saying their business had grown in contradiction of their case, and added that Clear Channel will be filing its formal response to the lawsuit in the US District Court in Denver today.
Previous Clear Channel:
Denver Post report:
2001-10-04: The effects of the September 11 attacks on US broadcasting revenues are now becoming clearer with estimates and revised predictions from the giants and more downward revisions of figures from other radio groups.
Radio giant Clear Channel says it lost from USD45million to USD50 million.
Figures given at the "Communicopia" media conference in New York by CEO Lowry Mays split this into around USD 20 million from running advert free immediately after the attacks with the rest due to subsequent cancellations.
The figures are fairly small set against an annual revenue of some USD8 billion and the company is not revising its guidance figures.
Viacom has said Infinity radio division lost around USD25 million in cancelled advertising revenue following the attacks, although many of the advertisers had since returned.
President and chief operating officer Mel Karmazin said that overall Viacom would take a USD200 million hit in the third quarter.
The company predicts full year EBITDA (net revenue less operating expenses and corporate expenses (including non-consolidated affiliates)) some USD 500 million down on previous guidance for the full year to just over USD 5 billion.
The top executives at both giants will have dropped significant wealth because of the attacks and general economic woes but will hardly approach poverty according to the latest Forbes Magazine annual rich list.
It puts Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone's net worth at $10.1 billion and that of Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays at USD1.6 billion.
Red McCombs, Mays' partner in 1972 when the pair bought their first radio stations, is listed as worth USD1.4 billion.
There's also been a lowering of expectations by , Michigan-based Saga Communications.
It says its bookings are down USD1.1 million since the attacks because of initial advert-free operations and subsequent cancellations, although it expects much of the latter to be rescheduled.
The group has updated its financial guidance and now expects third-quarter net revenues of USD26.2 million, broadcast tax flow (BCF) of USD9.5 million and after-tax cash flow (ATCF) of USD 5 million.
For the full year it is predicting net revenues of USD104 million, BCF USD37.6 million and ATCF of USD 19.9 million, USD1.19 per share.
President and CEO Ed Christian says Saga is closely monitoring expenses but won't make drastic cuts.
He added, "Now is the time to use our sound financial condition to strengthen all of our station's relationships with their local audiences and advertisers."
"We will continue to run our stations with our sights on continued long-term growth in both audience share and advertising dollars. This has been our operating mantra for 15 years, and it will not change now."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Saga (US):
2001-10-04: BBC Radio 5 Live is to launch a Saturday Football phone-in show in January, hosted by Danny Baker and Danny Kelly, his former co-presenter.
Baker was fired by the station from his weekly Radio 5 show, The Baker Line, some four years ago after he urged listeners to doorstep a soccer referee who had given a controversial penalty in an FA cup tie between Leicester and Chelsea.
The new show, Baker and Kelly Upfront, will have a ten-week run from 1100 to 1230 on Saturdays, commencing on January 5.
Baker has already been hired back by the BBC to host a, 8 to 11 am Saturday morning phone in for BBC London Live.
2001-10-04: Although XM Satellite Radio has hogged the headlines with its recent commercial launch (See RNW Sept. 25), competitor Sirius says it is not that far behind and expects to launch its service by the end of the year.
It says its three satellites are all performing "to Specifications."
Sirius is also to re-launch its web site, complete with sample channels, early next month.
Sirius Web site:
XM web site:
2001-10-04: US radio talk host Dr Laura Schlessinger breaks her format for the first time today for a call-in on the September 11 attacks to Islamic law expert and author Hassan Hathout.
Announcing the change on her site, the host says that she has received so many questions concerning Islamic issues that she felt obliged to help to bring "clarity and understanding" about the issues. "…since I'm no expert on Islamic law, I found someone who is to help us all learn more about our current situation," she adds.
Her guest, Hassan Hathout is an Egyptian American who graduated in Egypt and then pursued advanced studies in medicine in England and the United States.
After a spell at the University of Kuwait, he migrated to the US. He is author of "Reading the Muslim Mind,"
The special show, syndicated by Premiere Networks, is to be taped at noon Pacific Time (1900 GMT) but in some areas not broadcast until October 5.
Previous Dr Laura:
Dr Laura web site:
2001-10-03: Chicago shock jock Eric "Mancow" Muller has finally agreed a new contract with Emmis Communications.
Muller had been working without a contract since the July expiry of his previous 3-year contract, rumoured to be worth some USD9 million.(See RNW July 28).
No details were released of the new deal, said to be of the same order. In a statement, Emmis said it and WKQX-FM (Chicago's Q101) had finalised negotiations on a three-year contract.
Emmis Vice President/General Manager Chuck DuCoty commented, "In a market crowded with good morning talent, we're excited that the very best talent, Mancow, is staying at Q101 where he belongs."
However reporting on the agreement in the Chicago Sun Times, Robert Feder,says that statements made about it by Emmis and Muller were in conflict, with Muller saying the deal was only for two years. He then quoted Muller as saying," Two years at Q-101 is going to seem like an eternity. Working there is just a cut above working the rock heap at prison."
And in Boston, Dick Gordon has now taken office formally as host of The Connection, WBUR-FM's syndicated midday show whose previous host Christopher Lydon quit after a dispute when he asked for a share in the show(See RNW March 3).
Gordon, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation veteran, had already made an early start when he hosted several shows after the September 11 attacks.
Sun Times - Feder:
2001-10-03: Britain's Jazz FM has reported a first-ever full year profit in its results to the end of June.
The profit of GBP134000 compared to a 2000 loss of GBP489000. The company's operating profit was GBP21000 compared to a loss of GBP600000 in 2000. Turnover was up 57% to GBP8million. More than half the total came from its Enterprise division, which sells CDs and so on.
However the company still felt it incumbent to warn of the effect of falling advertising.
Chairman Sir Harry Roche said the advertising market remained weak and he anticipated more "modest" future growth, warning, "Next year will be challenging, not only for Jazz FM but for the entire radio industry."
Still with the UK radio business, Tindle Radio has acquired Mid Essex Radio Ltd, which owns Chelmer FM, the Chelmsford area station. It already owns Colchester-based Dream 100fm and The Beach, which covers Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
Previous Jazz FM:
2001-10-03: Internet audience company MeasureCast Inc says that in the week to September 23 listening again hit an all-time high for the stations it measures, taking its Internet Radio Index up 11% to 238: The base for this was 100 at the start of this year.
The peak listening day was Thursday, Sept. 20 with more than a fifth of all streaming on this day.
Whereas in the previous week there were six stations carrying News/Talk in the top 25 ranked by total time spent listening (TTSL), this week there were only two.
The top ranked of them was Cox Radio's Atlanta station WSB-AM which was ranked eighth with a TTSL of 38,367 compared to fourth ranking and TTSL of 57597 in the previous week.
The top five ranked by TTSL was back to music with ESPN Sport-Talk hanging in at fifth. They were, ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and with, where applicable, previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets:
1): Jazz station Jazz FM TTSL 178195 (184536); CP 72231 (55602) Position unchanged, listening down, but cumulative audience up.
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 101126 (66956); CP 19562 (12884)- previously third; listening way up but less than a fortnight ago.
3): Classical music King FM TTSL 98384 (84861); CP 19334 (14337) - Previously second with lower figures.
4): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 70745 (57341); CP 34,123 (25297) Previously sixth. Listening is way down from the TTSL of 174716 at the start of August.
5): Sports-talk ESPN Radio TTSL 66253 (57383); CP 15717 (14185) - Position unchanged
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-10-02: The events of September 11 have provided a timely boost to BBC World Service radio as it gets ready to renegotiate its annual GBP200 million grant from the British Foreign Office.
The radio service, which has boosted its services to the region (See RNW Sept 21 and audience research by a UN agency in Afghanistan said 72% of Afghan men listen to the BBC Pashto service each week and 62% listen to its Persian (Farsi) service
. More than 85% said they regarded it as trustworthy.
The events also provided a boost for its sister TV Service, BBC World, which lost some GBP11million last year: it estimated that its regular weekly audience of some 175 million was boosted by a further 75 million as many stations round the world took its service.
BBC World receives no British government subsidy.
Also benefiting from the events as from any major news event is the BBC Monitoring Service at Caversham Park, Reading, the subject of a report in the UK Guardian.
Some 400 people work at Caversham, which operates around the clock monitoring more than 2,000 radio, TV, press, Internet and news agency sources and translating from up to 100 languages.
Among the sources currently being constantly monitored are Afghan radio stations including the Taliban's station, Radio Voice of Shari'ah, and the Northern Alliance's Radio Voice of Mojahed.
Although Caversham Park is the hub, the service also operates monitoring stations in the region, including the Trans-Caucus unit in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan and the Central Asia unit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which in April 1998 took over responsibility for Afghanistan.
Caversham is funded from an annual GBP 20 million from the BBC World Service, Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence (6 million each) and the Cabinet Office (2million) plus around another GBP 4 million from other sources including commercial contracts with various media organizations and subscriptions to its World Media newsletter.
It puts out about 150,000 words a day and its Internet database contains 240,000 stories.
Mike Elliott, deputy director of BBC Monitoring, told the paper," A facility like ours is indispensable because we tell the UK not just what is happening in the rest of the world, but how the world is perceiving events, it is an indispensable guide to intelligent policy-making."
He added, "We contribute indirectly to ministerial briefings, give a direct service to Downing Street's press office, can feed in at a pretty high government level."
"We haven't flown extra people out to Baku or Tashkent: we find it easier to pass the work around here. There are reasons of safety to be considered and the wider operation."
Asked about concerns of infiltration of the service, he commented, "All I can say is that people don't tend to come to our operation to grind their axe."
"They certainly may be unremittingly hostile to the regimes they have left, but they tend to feel that even by being here, reporting what the regimes are saying, just telling the truth is enough."
BBC Caversham site:
UK Guardian report:
2001-10-02: Bonneville-owned WWZZ-FM in Washington, DC, has announced that it is reducing its commercial load to a maximum six units and hour.
It says the move is intended to eliminate "excess clutter" and put the station at "the forefront of a new paradigm in broadcasting".
The station says the move follows a recent Arbitron report (see RNW Oct 1) which listed commercial clutter as one of women's main dislikes about radio.
Long commercial breaks have long been seen by manyconsultants as a prime opportunity for listeners to change stations, thus avoiding the adverts and losing audience for the broadcaster.
Last month the station agreed a two-year sponsorship deal with the McDonald's Family Restaurants of Washington for "The McDonald's Morning Drive with Dylan and Erin".
2001-10-02: In Britain. Sky News has signed new deals to supply news bulletins to 30 radio stations operated by the Wireless Group and the Chrysalis Group's Heart and Galaxy stations.
The deal makes it the second-largest supplier of news to commercial radio stations in the country.
Itl strikes a blow at the dominance of Independent Radio News (IRN), owned by Independent Television News, the largest supplier of news bulletins to the country's commercial radio stations.
Sky already supplies a tailored news service for TalkSport, owned by the Wireless Group.
The deal is seen by many as a reflection of other tie-ups: Rupert Murdoch holds shares in the Wireless Group and Chrysalis was a partner in a consortium including Sky News which bid unsuccessfully this year for the UK ITV television news franchise
Andy Ivy, Sky News's radio editor, commented, "I'm thrilled that we can now offer a real alternative. We have a brilliant team of experienced radio journalists who are working hard to provide the kind of news service our clients are looking for."
Previous Wireless Group:
2001-10-02: US traffic reporting is still being significantly affected by the grounding of news helicopter and plane flights over cities in the wake of the September 11 attacks, forcing reliance on ground reports.
A New York Times report on the business, dominated by Infinity-run Westwood One, estimates its annual turnover at around USD500 million.
Westwood operates its own fleet of planes and helicopters, the business being financed on the basis of broadcasters providing the airtime without charge and Westwood providing the spots free and selling advertising sponsorship for the reports.
Currently it is keeping going through a network of ground reporters but it is much more difficult to get a full view of the situation in an area this way.
The business itself is also potentially under some threat from new developments from potential provision of information through mobile phones or in-car navigation systems and the aerial requirements may be lessened by new technology using information from roadside sensors which is fed into computers to give predictions about possible problems or even journey times. One of the problems facing operators, reports the New York Times, is how to match the information available to that needed by an individual driver, particularly for a mobile phone system when one individual may want information for a destination a few city blocks away and another for a journey through the same area but going to a destination much further away.
Subscribers to General Motors OnStar system, which gives access to Internet information, can log in and select the radius around their location for which they want a report and this will be delivered via the car's audio system from a verbal request to "Get traffic report" from the list of options provided once the system ahs logged in.
Previous Westwood One:
New York Times report:
2001-10-01: It may now be nearly three weeks since the attacks on the US but they are still dominating much media cover and comment with commentators on radio no exception.
Some of it still relates to the way radio has reacted but other comment goes deeper or further.
In the first vein is a New York Times article by Timothy Egan. who comments on the restraint shown by US talk radio stations and the way in which many hosts have "gone from stoking verbal bonfires to trying to educate listeners on the fine points of Islam and world geography."
Exceptions are notes including Howard Stern, who featured jokes on the fashion tastes and speaking styles of personalities at the Yankee Stadium prayer service and G. Gordon Liddy who urged " that the United States attack at least five countries he claimed were harbouring terrorists."
In some cases, the report notes, the calls for restraint have come from the callers rather than the hosts.
An example given was from Dallas where Scott Anderson of KLIF-AM suggested that the United States should not rule out the use of nuclear weapons in response to a terrorist attack but was quickly taken to task by several callers who said that his view was inappropriate.
Moving on to a widerplane, Paul Donovan of the UK Sunday Times, comments on the question of what is and is not appropriate.
"Words," he writes," are best chosen with care, especially at times like the present. President George W Bush will go to his grave regretting that he ever said "crusade" - as millions of radio listeners heard him say on stations all round the world, and which instantly handed such potent ammunition to his enemies." Donovan then goes on to comment in more general terms, citing an example on a BBC Radio 4 programme for the blind, In Touch, which was preceded by a continuity announcer recommending that listeners "have a pen and paper handy" to jot down some important information that was to be given out.
Donovan points out that the remark might have slid past him but had in this case provoked comment from some listeners about it being inappropriate.
The BBC apologised to any who might have been offended but Donovan goes further to comment about the problems of satisfying everyone.
He quotes the comments of a blind freelance broadcaster, who is who is also a spokesman for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and commented, "When I was working on In Touch in the early 1990s, it was billed at the beginning of each programme as being for people with a 'visual handicap'."
"Some of us disliked that word, so it became 'visual impairment'. Now that, too, has gone. The truth is that there has never been a perfect word. Every word offends someone."
Donovan then gives a few examples of slips, some merely amusing including Brian Perkins trailing "the Brian of - I'm sorry, the Brain of Britain", Simon Mayo in his Radio 1 days introducing "the latest turn from Tina Tuna", newsreaders referring to "frog and fost".
Also on a wider plane but in a different context is a project by Berkeley Youth Radio that is the subject of a report by Pati Poblete in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Reacting to the attacks, the students have posted various streaming media items about the attack on their website youthradio.org ranging from responses to the attacks by young people in general including youngsters in classrooms, prison and one girl's discussion with her grandparents.
New York Times - Egan:
San Francisco Chronicle - Poblete:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Youth Radio site:
2001-10-01: Following the recent US census, which could have significant demographic implications for broadcasters, a recent Arbitron/Joint Communications study of American women listeners also suggests that, unless radio companies want to write off significant segments of the population they may have to change tack significantly.
The study, which involved interviews with more than a thousand female Arbitron diary keepers, reveals something of both what women want out of radio and the contradictions in part between that and the aims of those providing the services.
It starts by noting that their radio listening has been declining sharply and then goes on to say that they are "becoming an increasingly desirable target for advertisers and programmers alike".
The study comments on women's increasing spending power and then writes of the reasons that they do or do not listen to radio, "Women are juggling more responsibilities than ever."
"They are pressured for time, worried about their kids' safety and overwhelmed by commercialization."
After further comments to the effect that women are " holding on to the American dream" the study says that radio plays a role in providing information, as a stress reducer and in some cases as a companion.
It then says that different women are "motivated by different programming elements"
(RNW comment: Surprise, surprise, they are human individuals!).
The study goes on to talk of agreement on "some key items", the prime one of which is that "Commercials are the number one reason they tune out of radio."
Other highlights noted in the report include:
*Women demand radio they can listen to with children and will turn the dial if it is offensive."
*Contests must be carefully targeted and focused for women, since many see them as a tune-out factor."
Having dealt with the factors the study highlighted on listening habits, the study's comes up with a total of 17 key findings; most significant of these, apart from those already mentioned, are
* "favourite music" is the biggest reason for tuning in but the demand for quantity rather than quality declines with the age of the listener.
*It is critical that radio provides information *Women find it important to have songs identified.
*Women dislike "rude announcers" and "inappropriate" comments.
The study also has a subsection of nine tune-in factors -with music the most important common factor but only small groups interested in such content as sports or off-colour humour- and three tune-out actors, including songs they don't like, too many commercials, or material inappropriate for children.
Among the recommendations made to attract female listeners are planning contests carefully or having a no-contest policy, rethinking commercial loads, making stations child-friendly, and identifying songs or artists much more.
Arbitron web site:
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