December 2001 Archive
Prime Radio Stations
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 December Comment is our wish list as the year draws to an end.
RNW November Comment looks at our fears for radio in recession.
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.
2001-12-31: For our final 2001 pick of print media reports on radio, we have chosen to narrow down to a few highlights from two radio columnists look at 2001 plus reports on three facets of radio that will still be with us throughout 2002.
For the first, we start in the US with Dean Johnson of the Boston Herald; he lists five top radio stories of 2001, the first three being:
*Sept. 11: It changed everything in radio, too.
*Contraction: Too many jobs, too few people doing them.
*Christopher Lydon leaves WBUR-FM (90.9): Public radio never got so much attention.
On September 11, he doesn't go into the maladjusted hyperbole that has led many, primarily US, commentators to put its importance in line with that of the World Wars although in fairness some of them did speak of this in terms of the psychological impact on the US when it found it wasn't immune to the world (as opposed to the magnitude of the event).
Johnson is of course on the ball, and not only for Boston, when he writes, "…Sept. 11's most profound effect on local radio has been financial."
"An already struggling radio ad community took an enormous hit in the recession that has followed."
"As companies have contracted, numerous positions even in middle- and upper-management have been eliminated."
In the UK, Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times had two columns.
His regular weekly column focussed on a recent limited sale of digital radio receivers for GBP99 which was massively oversubscribed and leads on to issues he has written about that were brought to his attention by readers and listeners.
He also has a "Best of 2001" column which starts," Sometimes the same event can be both a high and a low. When John Simpson famously announced on the Today programme that he had just liberated Kabul, we both winced and smiled - knowing that it was a highly charged moment of the war and yet aware that it was an unintended example of the egoism that taints so much contemporary reporting."
Donovan goes on to list highs and lows -we're giving just the highs below.
These were: " Bouquets to: *Radio 4, for resurrecting children's radio in April in the shape of Go 4 It on Sunday evenings, complemented by the launch of Squawkbox on Oneword and more bedtime stories on Classic FM.
*Local radio, for its magnificent service to the beleaguered communities of Devon and Cumbria during foot and mouth.
*The Pashto Service, which events proved was trusted by Taliban and American-led coalition alike, and which has been invaluable for millions of Afghanis at a devastating time in their history.
*Today, for exposing child-trafficking between West Africa and Britain when no other programme, or body, appears to be interested in investigating the scandal.
*Virgin Radio, for firing the rude and obnoxious Chris Evans in June, and the BBC, for so promptly squashing the rumours that he is joining Radio 2 next year.
The third of Donovan's bouquets serves as a reasonable cue to a New York Times article by Anthony Borden and Edward Girardet that deals with the problems broadcasting will face in Afghanistan following the overthrow of the Taliban.
Noting that so far most international effort has focussed on broadcasts by non-Afghans including an expansion of their broadcasts by BBC World Service and the Voice of America plus the allocation of money to set up Radio Free Afghanistan, they comment, "These efforts may do some good, but they will also soak up enormous amounts of precious aid and draw talent away from more sustainable local institutions."
"Some, like Radio Free Afghanistan, will probably be temporary and largely propagandistic."
"All of these news sources are foreign and cannot provide the local news and perspectives that can come from Afghan journalists."
"What Afghans need most from their journalists is not explanations of the outside world and its views but reliable information and honest debate within their own society."
"Unfortunately, and despite clear lessons from Somalia and the Balkans, most international donors still fail to see the importance of supporting local media."
The writers do, of course, have a point, but it is also worth noting that the European Union and the European Broadcasting Union in particular have been active in supporting the rebirth of local stations in the Balkans.
A a wider and wisely thought-through version of what has been done there would, we suggest, be just as beneficial to the US as any funds it may plough into RFA never minds plans to try and set up a pro-American satellite TV channel to broadcast to the Islamic world.
Afghanistan, of course, also puts into a different context the benefits of such developments as the Internet, never mind Internet radio, which is the subject of a Baltimore Sun article by David Colker.
This looks at the benefits and problems for Internet radio, ranging from the small to the large.
The small is "Destroy Radio", a Californian Internet radio station which operates from the bedroom of Jeff Burgess, one of two prime announcers on a round-the-clock Internet rock station that operates on a shoestring budget.
The large are operations such as those of US National Public Radio and the BBC.
As Coker points out, Internet radio may be fairly cheap to run -a capital cost of maybe USD5000 and streaming costs of a few hundred dollars a month for a small scale operation --compared to terrestrial radio stations but it also has much smaller audience and has failed to attract the finances to keep it going in many cases or in others is kept going more because people want to do something than because they expect to make a lot of money.
And that, of course, is in a rich country like the US with all the infrastructure already available to support Internet stations.
For Afghanistan it's nowhere near the starting blocks.
And even in the US, as elsewhere where local and community stations provide a much cheaper per-listener way of reaching an audience, terrestrial radio doesn't really seem to be much at risk from the threat of Internet radio>
To illustrate this we picked up a Chicago Tribune story by Oscar Avila on a Chicago suburban radio service directed at the city's Indian community.
"Desi Junction", which airs less than two hours a week was started on a WJJG-AM by computer engineer and radio novice Jassi Parmar together with three partners in he hope of entertaining Chicago's Indian community with music and banter in their native languages.
Broadcast in Hindi, Punjabi and English, the show started on September 1 with a line-up of modern music and oldies, nearly all from the "Bollywood" films of Indian cinema.
Ten days later it became more of a phone-in:" The hosts abandoned their aversion to politics," writes Avila,"to let callers talk about the backlash they experienced."
"Entire shows were devoted to tales of harassment and fear. "
"We shared a lot of stories on the air," Dara Singh, one of the partners said.
"People felt relieved to have somewhere to turn."
That phase has now ended and the music is back and Avila writes." The show is a pleasant, some might say saccharine, blend of songs, trivia contests and conversation. This month's terrorist attack on the Indian parliament didn't warrant a mention."
To go back to Donovan's comment, "Sometimes the same event can be both a high and a low."
Bearing in mind the current developments in India and Pakistan, the absence of mention of that attack would indicate "Desi Junction" is rather limiting the value it could give to its community of listeners.
Baltimore Sun on Internet radio:
Boston Herald - Johnson: Chicago Tribune on "Desi Junction":
New York Times on Afghan Radio:
UK Sunday Times -Donovan weekly column:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan comment on 2001:
2001-12-31: Although TeamTalk Media completed its purchase of a four-fifths stake in Atlantic 252, which it plans to convert to a sports outlet, earlier this month (See RNW Dec 6), the Irish Times reports that a former employee of state broadcaster RTÉ is still trying a last-ditch approach to Ireland's Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands to prevent the sale.
Enda O'Kane says the transmitter, located in Summerhill, Co Meath, should be protected as a national asset and that he thought the minister had the power to block the sale.
O'Kane says the station is currently being misused by broadcasting pop music but that was no reason to allow it to be sold to a commercial interest with no public broadcasting dimension.
He has suggested that the transmitter could be used as a "national emergency channel" or for all-Ireland broadcasting.
"This is the only long-wave facility on the island of Ireland. It should be used for native programming," he said.
Former taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) John Bruton is supporting O'Kane and said the channel should be used "to rebroadcast to Britain a mix of Irish programmes output from northern and southern stations, both commercial and public." Previous TeamTalk:
Irish Times report:
2001-12-30: It was an understandably slim last full week of the year on the licence front with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and UK Radio Authority either closed down until the New Year or moribund.
In Australia, licence activity by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has been confined to the community radio sector with the announcement of the allocation of new licences for Adelaide and the Barossa Valley, South Australia, being announced and further comment sought on plans for an additional wide coverage community radio service for Sydney. The new licences have gone to RPH Adelaide Inc to serve the print handicapped community with a permanent licence from June and to Barossa Broadcasting Board Inc (TripleBfm) to serve the general community with a permanent licence starting in September. Both services are already on the air under temporary community licences. These licences take to 100 the total of new community licences issued since the introduction of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. A further Adelaide community licence is yet to be allocated. In Sydney, the Authority has detailed two options on which it is canvassing opinion in relation to plans for an additional AM community licence. The first option involves using the 1386 kHz spectrum with a maximum transmission power of 5 kW from a transmitter site at Bicentennial Park at Homebush with an omni-directional pattern whilst the second is for a similar service with a directional pattern towards Lithgow from a transmitter site at Prospect. The ABA says the first option is more spectrum-efficient but notes that it may require a frequency change for the existing Lithgow AM national radio service 2LG operating on 1395 kHz.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)has proposed four new FMs that would require amendment of existing FM operation tables.
They are for a Class C2 for Pierce, Nebraska and Class As at Coosada, Alabama, Pineview, Georgia and Diamond Lake, Oregon.
All are for small communities, the largest population of them being for Piece which has 1774 residents.
The FCC has also proposed a USD10000 fine on David Edwin Merrell of Wichita Falls, Texas, for operating a radio station on an amateur frequency without a license.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
FCC web site:
2001-12-29: As the year end approached, traffic reporting should be almost back to normal in the US following the restoration of general aviation access to all the country's main metropolitan areas except for Washington, New York and Boston.
Restrictions were imposed throughout the US after the September 11 attacks and in the latter areas, local restrictions will remain in space around specific sensitive areas.
In addition, the US Federal Aviation Authority can impose temporary flight restrictions when it considers them justified.
It is continuing such restrictions for major sporting events or other events where there is a major open-air gathering.
The moves to restore flight access has been welcomed by the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA), which had been campaigning for the restoration of news and traffic flights.
RTNDA web site:
2001-12-28: Sirius Satellite Radio shares have bounded again this week following more analysts suggestions that they had been undervalued compared to rival XM Satellite Radio; they ended Thursday at 11:02, up 20% on the week which they began at around USD9.
Shares in both the satellite companies had also done well in the past few weeks as a result of optimism that followed XM gaining more subscribers than expected (See RNW Dec 20).
Over the past 52 weeks, Sirius has ranged from USD 2.2 to USD35 whilst Sirius, which began the past week at USD17 and ended at USD18, has ranged from USD3.87 to USD21.06.
Sirius web site:
XM Web site:
2001-12-28: US religious broadcaster Salem says it has not completed the swap of its 9% Series B notes for 9% Series A notes that it launched in November.
In all notes worth USD150 million were involved.
2001-12-27: Two stories relating to collapsed towers today, starting with New York where some USD8 million of Federal Aid is to be made available to help with the replacement of the towers destroyed in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre.
The money is part of an USD8 billion package approved for New York City by the US Congress. It is not yet clear how the money will be spent with options including the construction of a stand-alone tower on a number of locations or expanding the existing complex on the Empire State Building, or both.
The overall cost is estimated to be between USD30 million and USD 40 million.
New York broadcasters have lost audiences through having to move to alternative sites with lower power and height with TV companies being especially hit; the New York Times says most local TV stations have lost from 10% to 35% of their audiences.
The other tower loss hit Chicago Du Page College's station jazz and eclectic WDCB-FM, whose tower was toppled by wind on December 22.
Some 50 feet (15 metres) was left standing but the rest of the 310-foot (100 metre) tower toppled into a wildlife sanctuary.
The station, which had been planning to refurbish the tower in spring, was off the air until December 27 and then resumed transmission at a lower power from a makeshift antenna on a 60-foot back-up tower.
Cost of the replacement tower is estimated at around USD100000.
WDCB is due to mark its 25th anniversary in January of next year.
Chicago Tribune report:
2001-12-27: After 21 years on WABC-AM, New York Yankees radio broadcasts are to move to WCBS-AM from spring next year under a five-year deal between Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting and the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network.
Infinity,through its WFAN Sports/Talk WFAN is also to handle the Yankees' Spanish language programmes, although it hasn't yet announced which station will broadcast them.
The Yankees YES television network has already announced agreement with WCBS-TV for broadcasting its 20 regular season games with other games, except those televised nationally, to be shown on YES, which launches in March.
New York Times report:
2001-12-26: Entercom Communications has announced an USD180 million deal to acquire Tribune Broadcasting's three Denver radio stations, Adult Contemporary KOSI-FM, Classic Rock KKHK-FM and Adult Standards KEZW-AM, subject to regulatory approval.
If the deal gets Hart-Scott-Rodino approval, expected in the first quarter of next year, Entercom will take on sales and programming for the stations under a Time Brokerage Agreement that can run up to three years at Tribune's option.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval is also needed to close the deal.
Tribune had said in November that it was looking to dispose of the stations, possibly in an exchange for more TV assets and under the deal Tribune is to look for suitable TV assets that will be bought by Entercom and then spun off to Tribune with a cash adjustment for any difference in the price and the asset values.
Tribune, which once owned six stations, says it plans to retain WGN-AM, Chicago, its remaining radio outlet. If the deal goes through, Entercom will operate 100 stations in 19 US markets.
2001-12-25: Yet another feature of BBC Radio 4 is soon to be diminished; this time it's the shipping forecast, which has long been a feature on the channel and is broadcast four times a day.
Following complaints from Spain, the name Finisterre, used on Radio 4 since 1949 for an area off northwest Spain is to be replaced from February 4 next year by FitzRoy.
The new name comes from Admiral Robert Fitroy who founded the British Meteorological Office.
Spain uses the name Finisterre, which originated in the belief that the far western tip of the country was the end of the earth -"finis terre" -for a different and smaller sea area.
The last major change in the forecast's list of names was in 1956 when Heligoland became German Bight.
The rolling list of names in the forecast has been described as a "familiar poem"; areas currently included are Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth, Biscay, Finisterre, Sole, Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Shannon, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey, Fair Isle, Faeroes, Southeast Iceland.
2001-12-25: The spread of commercial FM radio in India is leading to a boom in receiver sales including cities where including the capital, Delhi, where some FM launches have been delayed.
In some cases Indians are fitting sets to their motorbikes, a practice that has led to concern from not only authority but also from some shopkeepers.
The motorbike radios are usually attached near the handlebars or inside a sidecar with speakers often placed near or on the leg guards.
As well as locally-made sets from small manufacturers, radio giants are also using the advent of FM to boost sales and Philips, India, put out a set of adverts tied in to the launch of ENIL's (Entertainment Network (India) Limited) Radio Mirchi.
ENIL is the only company to have licences for all of India's metro regions but its Delhi launch has been delayed, probably until the second quarter of 2002.
Previous ENIL/Radio Mirchi:
Previous Indian Radio report:
2001-12-24: It being a season supposedly of goodwill, we thought it appropriate to limit to the positives this week's look at print cover of radio and chose three items on this basis.
The first, from UK Times media correspondent Raymond Snoddy is most closely tied to religion, albeit not purely the religious as such or Christianity. Snoddy devoted his column to BBC Radio 4's Something Understood programme; it airs at 0605 GMT on Sundays and, to use his words, "gently confronts the spiritual issues that face us all, religious as well as non-religious, through music, poetry and conversation. "
Most prolific contributor to the series is Mark Tully, the BBC's former South Asia correspondent who lives in Delhi.
He has been responsible for some 30 programmes a year, many recorded in Delhi, and the programme has, writes Snoddy, "strengthened his belief that 'there are many routes to God but they all lead to the same destination'".
Tully comments, "It manifests itself demonstrably in music. When you go to a concert and read the music notes, quite often what has been written is a barrier to your enjoyment."
"You can have no experience of life if you cannot see beyond the rational."
Tully records his programmes in batches of six - three in London and three in Delhi.
"India broadens the whole thing enormously. We have lots of good interviews from India," he says.
Each programme costs around GBP6500 and takes two days to make, with one day off before the next one.
The written material for each theme is chosen first, then the music is selected and finally the script is added.
Secondly, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune comes praise for an honest job honestly done.
In this case it is an editorial bidding farewell to Bob Crawford, who has stepped down after 32 years of covering City Hall for WBBM-AM with what the Tribune calls "integrity and decency that never got overwhelmed by the absurdities around him."
It continues, "The truth is that Crawford, who is gray, bespectacled and above all humble, has never found his sense of worth in impressing those who work with him in the press room at City Hall, or in other newsrooms around Chicago."
"That's because in all those years he spent with gas-bag politicians and reporters who are legends in their own minds, Bob Crawford never forgot why he was there: to feed the most complete and honest information he could to hundreds of thousands of citizens who relied on him."
"That is a duty grandly espoused by more reporters than the number who actually live it, decade after decade. Crawford-style journalism has never been All About Bob--or about Bob's ambitions, other than to do his best."
"Crawford doesn't have the prettiest voice or the most compelling delivery."
"He's the rare broadcast reporter who embraces understatement and sometimes conveys volumes by what he doesn't say."
"In 32 years of being lied to by some of the best, he's never lost his enthusiasm for the next story, the next scam, the next character. He probably needed an all-news format like WBBM's even more than his listeners; how else could he get air time to tell all those yarns?"
There is more but more isn't needed.
Finally another editorial, this time from the London Observer: It starts, "A single broadcaster was yesterday invited to attend the entire inauguration ceremony of Afghanistan's new government."
"The factions that tentatively constitute the new Kabul administration easily accepted one thing; they wanted the BBC World Service present."
"At a time when Britain could easily be dismissed as partial, and the Arab broadcaster al-Jazeera has attracted worldwide notice, it is a remarkable tribute to the enduring reputation of the 'Cinderella arm' of the BBC.'" "For two decades, some Conservatives gave the appearance of wishing to starve the World Service into insignificance. Even now it is attacked for its insistence that it avoid the word 'terrorism' to describe acts which some of its 153 million listeners, from Vietnam to Somalia, might not regard in that light."
"But that is what helps preserve the strength of the BBC brand as one of the most trusted in the world." "Broadcasters such as the Voice of America are still regarded - often understandably - as strident propagandists for the nation that funds them."
"Yet in war-torn and unstable countries across the world, the World Service will be listened to today by people longing to know, above all else, the truth."
"For all its limitations, the BBC still serves as a singular cultural glue between diverse communities at home."
"So the World Service performs that function overseas… The World Service - with its robust commitment to impartiality and the liberal values of democracy and fairness - remains far better an ambassador for Britain in a changing world than almost any of us credit."
"And it costs us the tiny sum of £183 million a year... In 1999, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the World Service as 'Britain's greatest gift to the world during the twentieth century'. He was right. In a world where truth is too often thin on the ground, it is a gift we should sustain well into the twenty-first."
Chicago Tribune editorial:
UK Observer editorial:
UK Times - Snoddy:
2001-12-24: In another case of misdirected e-mail, a BBC sports executive has scored an own goal with an e-mail response to last week's signing by BBC Radio 5 Live of Andy Gray from Sky Sports and Jonathan Pearce from Capital Radio.
Graeme Reid-Davies, executive editor of BBC Sports News, responded to an e-mail announcing the appointments by sending an e-mail to Gordon Turnbull, head of BBC Radio Sport, saying he thought both signings were "crap" - and hit the Reply-to-all button.
Realising he had sent his message to all BBC sports staff, he sent another e-mail headed, "'We all make mistakes... and I just made a big one!'".
It continued, "'Apologies - having just had a long chat with Gordon about the good news regarding Andy Gray and Jonathan Pearce, I sent a joke email to him - and the rest of you. Just a private joke with the wrong keyboard key hit - sense of humour and all that. Happy Christmas."
No disciplinary action is being taken over the message.
2001-12-23: A busy week in Australia and fairly busy in Ireland and the US in the run up to the holidays but quiet elsewhere: In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has now announced a number of new stations following the completion of the radio planning exercise it started nine years ago under the country's Broadcasting Services Act.
Overall nearly one thousand new national, commercial community and narrowcast services have now been made available throughout Australia.
Nearly 1500 new transmitters have been planned since 1992 compared to only 900 operating before then and a similar number of low powered narrowcast services have also been made available, mainly for services such as tourist radio.
135 transmitters for 90 new services have been planned during 2001.
The latest plans have involved Western Victoria and New South Wales; in the former the ABA is to make available licences for two additional commercial channels, 11 additional national (Australian Broadcasting Service and Special Broadcasting Service) services, 10 additional open narrowcasting services and one additional community service.
In the latter it is to make a new community licence available.
It's also to launch an investigation into the issue of loud advertisements on commercial television and examine if similar concerns exist in commercial radio.
The two new commercial licences will be in Warrnambool and Hamilton under final radio licence plans for Warrnambool, Hamilton and Horsham and their introduction will be combined with changes for existing commercial services.
3YB-AM in Warrnambool will lose Portland from its designated area, although no technical changes will be required.
The fudge will reduce the overlap between it and 3HA-AM, Hamilton, and making both stations eligible for additional commercial FM licences.
The existing Horsham commercial FM service, 3WWM, will gain a translator service in Nhill and Horsham will gain an additional community service.
The additional national services will be comprised of additional national radio service to serve the Western Victoria region: one in Warrnambool; one in Portland; three in Hamilton and six in Horsham.
Additional open narrowcasting radio services will be made available at Ararat, Casterton, Hamilton, Horsham, Portland, St Arnaud, Stawell, Terang, Warracknabeal, and Warrnambool.
In New South Wales, the authority has allocated a new community licence or Byron Bay to Bay FM Community Radio Inc but it has decided to postpone allocation of a community licence in Blacktown.
In Byroin Bay, Bay FM had already been operating with a temporary licence on the frequency now allocated permanently to it with a service of music, local issues and information.
In Blacktown, there were three applicants for the licence, Blacktown City Community Radio SWR-FM Association Incorporated (SWR-FM), and Western Community-Radio Association Incorporated (West FM) who were offering services for the general community and Voice of Charity Limited, whose service was for the Christian Community.
The ABA decided that none of the applicants could provide an adequate service for the community and suggested they work together to create a coalition that would provide the required service.
For the moment the frequency will continue to be made available for temporary community broadcasting licences.
Canada was quiet with the main activity from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) being to allow CHUM Limited and NewCap Inc. to jointly take over Sun Radio Limited, CHUM and Standard Radio to swap a station each between them.
It has also approved a new low power English FM for Seaside Broadcasting Organization at Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia,and allowed Rogers Radio to relocate its transmitter for CFRV-FM Lethbridge, Alberta, and allowed Tri-Co Broadcasting Limited an extension until May 22 next year to reduce the power of CJSS-FM at Cornwall, Ontario.
The station deals involving CHUM and Standard allowed Standard to take over CHOM-FM Montréal, Quebec, from CHUM and CHUM to take over CFWM-FM Winnipeg, Manitoba, from Standard.
As a result each organisation will end up with three stations in each of the makets, the maximum permitted in Canada in a single language in a market.
Standard already owns Montreal stations CJAD-AM and CJFM-FM and Chum owns Winnipeg stations, CFST-AM and CHIQ-FM.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received more than 70 expressions of interest in local commercial licences (See RNW Dec 18) but the UK was quiet on the licence front although the Radio Authority has now issued its revised News and Current Affairs code and Programme Code, now published as one document.
Most significant changes in the code relate to new rules on automation, networked competitions and "wind-up" calls.
Regarding automation, the Authority said that it was concerned that licencees could in theory automate their operations 24 hours a day.
Its code now suggests that "as a general rule, FM stations with an MCA of over 50,000 should not broadcast more than two hours of automated output during daytime hours; AM stations (of any size) and those FM stations with an MCA of less than 50,000 should not broadcast more than four hours during daytime.
Networked AM stations required to broadcast only four hours of locally produced and presented programming should not automate that four-hour segment."
As a backstop the Authority determined it would generally limit FM stations without agreed exemptions to a maximum of 13 or 14 hours' automation on a weekday; it accepted that there would be exemptions in certain cases such as volunteer-based stations and specialist stations such as Ritz Country 1035 or Jazz FM.
Regarding networked competitions there was concern that their nature must be clear and conditions have been imposed that details must be put in written rules and stated within all broadcast promotions. Concerning "wind-ups", the Authority felt that victims should not "not be exploited in an unacceptable way" and it has imposed conditions accordingly.
It also decided to continue its prohibition on sponsorship of general news although it allows it on a more limited basis such as business, sports, travel and entertainment news.
In the US there was a little Christmas cheer from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for one radio pirate whose USD10000 was dropped and for another station whose fine was reduced by USD125000 (See RNW Dec 20).
The FCC also annoucned that during November its Enforcement Bureau issued various notices of apparent liability including the following:
Holbrook, Arizona - Navajo Broadcasting Company - USD10000 relating to equipment, operational readiness.
San Juan, Puerto Rico - Javiez Rodriguez Boqueron --USD 10000 liability for unauthorised operation
Bastrop, Louisiana - Jamie Patrick Broadcasting, KTRY-FM --USD22000 for failure to respond to notice of violation, equipment operational readiness.
New Roads, Louisiana - New World Broadcasting - USD11000 relating to transmission system monitoring and control.
The FCC has also started a hearing to determine whether Kevin Mitnick, best known for his computer hacking activities, should be granted renewal of his Amateur Radio Station and General Class Operator License.
Mitnick, who first gained notoriety in 1982 when he hacked into the North American Defense Command (NORAD) system, later broke into the systems of a number of companies including Digital Equipment Corporatio.
After this he was jailed for breaking intot he sysyems of a number of companies including Motorola, Nokia Mobile Phones, Fujitsu, Novell, NEC, Sun Microsystems.
The FCC notes thatMitnick is a "convicted felon " and says that his background "raises a substantial and material question of fact as to whether he possesses the requisite character qualifications to be and remain a Commission licensee."
The Commission has also been involved in a number of red-flagging activities. It has now added WEBE-AM in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to the list of stations in the planned Cumulus takeover of Aurora that it is looking at because of ownership and advertising concentration concerns.
Only one of the stations in the deal, WICC-AM is now not up for a flag.
The Commission has also flagged the USD20.5 million North Carolina deal for Entercom to purchase WPET-AM & WKSI-FM in the Greensboro-Winston Salem-High Point market
And another anthrax scare note, this time in relating to more changes for filings or general correspondence with the FCC. Daytime (8 am to 7pm) hand-delivered filings for the FCC Secretary now have to go to 236 Massachusetts Ave. although other messenger-delivered packages and overnight mail except for US Postal Service Express and Priority mail continues to have to go to Capitol Heights, Maryland.
US Postal Service mail may still be sent to the FCC HQ. The Commission has also set up a fax line for general correspondence.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
Direct to Broadcasters Code (35 Mb Acrobat PDF):
2001-12-23: Canada's Competition Bureau has made moves to block Astral Media's purchase of ten Quebec stations included in a 19-station CAD255 million cash and stock deal from Telemedia announced in May; this was followed in June by Telemedia's agreement to sell the rest of its radio holdings to Standard Broadcasting (See RNW June 30).
The two companies have gone to court to protect the deal, which would give Astral more than a third of Quebec's radio advertising and some 40 of its listeners.
The Bureau is not opposing the sale of the other nine stations in the deal but says that it sees serious competition issues in six French language markets in Quebec, with Astral having a "near-monopoly" in French language stations in four of them and dominance over French-language radio advertising in Montreal and Quebec City.
The companies in their filing in the Federal Court of Canada argue that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has the sole jurisdiction to regulate broadcasting deals but the Bureau says it has authority to take action whenever competition issues arise.
Astral says that it will already have to revise downwards its earning estimates for next year because the action means it can no longer be sure it can commence booking its earnings from the Telemedia stations in March as previously planned; it says that radio advertising should not be considered separately from competitive advertising pressures in the overall market.
Astral and Telemedia are still awaiting a decision on the deal from the CRTC, which held public hearings on the proposed transaction in Montreal in November.
2001-12-23: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has now reached a tentative contract agreement with some 1600 radio and television technicians who have been on strike for two weeks.
The technicians had walked out after failure to agree on a new contract was followed by a CBC decision to impose one; their action hit news and sports output (see RNW Dec 9) and also affected plans to mark the anniversary of Marconi's first transatlantic wireless transmission in 1901 (See RNW Dec 13).
2001-12-22: Doctors treating US Conservative talk host Rush Limbaugh for hearing loss say that cochlear implant surgery performed on Thursday was successful.
Limbaugh himself said he felt "great", adding, "The surgery went smoothly and I'm looking forward to enjoying the holidays and returning to the air in early January."
Dr Antonio De la Cruz commented, "As we expected, Mr. Limbaugh responded very well to the surgery, which lasted about two hours, and he was sent home this morning."
"Rush has the approval of his physicians at the House Ear Clinic to return to work in early January."
He added that Limbaugh would return to the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles in a few weeks to be fitted with the external unit for the implant.
"Mr. Limbaugh won't be ready to use his cochlear implant until a recovery period of several weeks is completed," he said.
"Mr. Limbaugh will be able to work and resume his other activities during the post-surgery recovery period while his incision is healing."
The doctors say that cochlear implants have a 99.6% success rate and in rare cases of failure rare instances there is always the possibility of re-implanting or implanting the other side.
Cochlear implant users wear an external unit worn behind the ear comprised of a microphone and speech processor, which produces an electrical signal that is sent to the brain via the implanted electrodes within the inner ear.
Limbaugh web site:
2001-12-22: The US Congress has voted to spend USD19 million to start Radio Free Afghanistan (RFA), which could start broadcasts in the Pashto and Dari languages as early as the end of January.
The funding was included in the US military spending and anti-terrorism package that has been overwhelmingly approved by both the US Senate of Congress.
The move was sponsored by California Republican Rep Ed Royce, who said it was "important that the Afghan population have access to the truth, first, about the Taliban and, second, about the United States."
RFA will be run by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which already has Pashto and Dari speakers on its staff.
RFE/RL president Thomas A Dine, said it will originate its service from RFE/RL's Prague facilities but the fund will in part be used to move three transmitters from Spain to Kuwait to strengthen the signal to the area. Broadcasts would start with a few hours daily but expand to some 12 hours a day.
RFE/RL web site:
2001-12-22: The annual general meeting of Canadian broadcaster CHUM, has been told that the company intends to stick by its new all-sports format, The TEAM, which was launched in May (See RNW May 7) but has done poorly in the ratings.
CHUM has had particular problems in Toronto where it is competing against established sports station The FAN, owned by Rogers Communications.
Jim Waters, president of CHUM's radio division, said he though 18 months to two years would be a suitable period in which to assess the format.
Previous Jim Waters:
CHUM web site:
2001-12-22: US radio website conglomerate LMIV (Local Media Internet Venture), whose members include Bonneville, Emmis, Entercom and Corus, has announced that it has cut 15 staff posts, around a third of its staff before the cuts.
Along with this goes a restructuring and a plan to expand its current websites six fold from 20 to around 125 by the end of March next year.
Jack Swarbrick, LMiV President/CEO, commented, "Our first and primary objective was to help move the company from a product development focus to one of product delivery…We had always anticipated that some restructuring would be required at this point in our evolution."
"Today's more challenging business climate caused us to make more adjustments than might have otherwise been the case."
LMIV web site:
2001-12-21: More radio deals, in the UK and the US: In London, London News Radio (LNR) has put its LBC and News Direct stations up for sale.
There had been rumours for a while that GWR, which owns 20 per cent of the stations, was likely to put them up for sale (See RNW Nov 20).
The other shareholders in LNR are ITN, which holds a 42%, Reuters, which has 32%, and Daily Mail & General Trust, which owns the remaining two per cent. Both stations are due to be re-launched after a frequency switch that will make them more attractive.
The price estimates for the stations ranges from a low of some GBP14 million to a high of more than double that: Chrysalis, owner of the Heart franchise, is said to be among the early frontrunners for the stations.
In the US, deals involve three AM stations: they are Black gospel format KHVN-AM, Dallas, for which Mortenson Broadcasting is paying USD4.5 million to Viacom; Adult standards format WISE-AM in Asheville, North Carolina, for which Ashville Radio Partners LLC is paying USD1.7 million to Ardell Sink's United Broadcasting Enterprises; and another Sink station in North Carolina, WTZQ-AM in Hendersonville for which Houston Broadcasting is paying USD750000.
2001-12-21: Two radio appointments have been announced in the UK: the first is of Jonathan Pearce, Capital Radio's soccer commentator, who is to move to BBC Radio 5 Live.
Pearce, who began his broadcasting career with BBC Radio Bristol in 1979, moved to Capital Radio in 1987 and helped launch Capital Gold Sport the following year.
He will be a regular soccer commentator for Radio 5 as well as developing new programme ideas.
The second is the appointment by Chrysalis's Galaxy 101 of DJ Lisa Kelly to host two weekly shows on the station. Born in Bristol, she had a spell as drive time presenter at Rhythm FM in Australia and is well known on the world club scene.
Also in the UK, Scottish Media Group (SMG) is cutting its last link with Chris Evans, who is suing the group for around GBP9 million as a result of his firing by Virgin Radio (See RNW Dec 15).
The action it is taking is to replacing the trademark black-rimmed glasses from the logo at the end of Ginger TV's programmes.
Ginger TV was part of the Ginger Media Group for which SMG paid GBP225 million.
2001-12-20: Shares in US satellite radio companies Sirius and XM have risen sharply following positive reports from Bear Sterns media analyst Robert Peck and Lehman Brothers satellite analyst William Kidd.
Peck has increased his estimate of the take-up of XM to some 26000 subscribers by year-end and increased his 2002 price target to USD21.
Kidd spoke up for Sirius, saying that that investors had been undervaluing it because XM had launched its service first.
By late afternoon Wednesday, Sirius shares, which had languished at around USD2.20 at the start of November were more like USD10.20 whilst XM, whose last low was around USD4.50 in mid-September was up to USD17.30.
Sirius web site:
XM Web site:
2001-12-20: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD15000 to USD2500 a fine on MAPA Broadcasting, L.L.C., licensees of WSLA- AM, Slidell (New Orleans), Louisiana, USD2500 for failure to install operational Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment at WSLA and its failure to enclose the station's antenna tower within an effective locked fence or other enclosure.
The fine follows a March inspection when inspectors found a gate to the area round the tower had been left unlocked and that no EAS equipment was installed. MAPA had responded by ordering EAS equipment but in July the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture amounting to USD15000.
MAPA responded in September by arguing that at its violations were not wilful. It said that at the time of the inspection the station had a "modified EBS unit with an AM tuner" which allowed reception of EAS transmissions, but not transmitting functions.
It further argued that it had not been told of problems with its equipment after an EAS Equipment Inspection in 1998. Regarding the tower offence, it said that the gate had been left "temporarily unlocked" by the yard maintenance person, despite being cautioned not to leave the gate open and added that the adjacent area was not built-up but was forest or swamp.
There was some Christmas cheer as well for one radio pirate: Jeffrey Alan Pettry, who had been fined USD10000 for operating a pirate station from Princeton, West Virginia, has escaped having to pay after the Commission looked at his finances and accepted that he was unable to pay.
2001-12-20: Entertainment Network (India) Limited (ENIL), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Times of India Group officially launches its Radio Mirchi brand in Ahmedabad today although it has been on the air unofficially since last week.
The station will be inaugurated in the morning by Bollywood celebrity Sonali Bendre and she will then go on the air for a phone-in; in the evening the station is hosting a gala launch event.
The station will have the same format of Hindi music together with jokes, Bollywood gossip, local tit-bits and celebrity interviews as that of its sister station in Indore, the first of 12 planned Mirchi stations to be launched by ENIL. (See RNW Nov 13).
Previous Indian Radio report:
2001-12-19: US Spanish language group Hispanic Broadcasting has announced agreement to purchase KARA-FM in the San Jose/San Francisco market for USD58 million in cash from Empire Broadcasting Corporation.
Hispanic currently operates 52 stations in 12 of the top Hispanic markets in the US: the San Jose/San Francisco markets together are the sixth largest Hispanic market in the US.
The station is currently a hot AC format, which will be flipped to a Spanish one. Hispanic says the new format will be introduced on completion, which is anticipated in the first quarter of next year.
It expects KARA-FM) to generate operating losses during 2002 and to dilute Hispanic's 2002 after-tax cash flow by approximately $0.01 per share.
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Hispanic web site:
2001-12-19: As expected, US radio advertising revenues in October of this year were down on October of last year with local sales again holding up better than national ones according to the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
Its figures showed combined revenues down 8% but national advertising was down 15% whilst local revenues were only off 6%. On a year to date basis, total revenues were off 4%, with national down 19% and local revenues 4%.
RAB's sales index, based on 1998 as a base year of 100 and thus taking the dot.com boom out of the equation show that this year so far has an overall index of 125, national index of 114 and local index of 126.9.
RAB President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Fries said that within the figures larger markets were the ones suffering most with year to date revenues in the top 15markets down 12% overall with national down 24% and local down 7%.
For next year, he sees national revenues as flat or down a little but with local sales up around 4% to take combined revenues up 3%.
Previous RAB (US):
RAB (US) web site:
2001-12-19: Measurecast's latest figures show a new record for Internet listening in the week to December 9 when its Internet Radio Listening Index, based at 100 at the start of the year, jumped 16% to 364.
It also shows Christmas listening continuing to rise, although UK Virgin moved into the top rank ousting from the top spot classical station WXQR-FM, which dropped to fourth.
As last week, WXQR was ahead of rival classical station King FM but it had fewer listeners staying longer.
In the top five there was again no change in stations, just jousting for position, as indeed was the case for the top ten.
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): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio - TTSL 160305 (152597); CP 31647 (32775) - Up from second thanks to leap in listening but reach was down.
2): Christmas music format CableMusic Christmas Classic - TTSL 146283 (108820); CP 33464 (25047) - Up from fifth with listening and reach each well up.
3): Classical station WXQR-FM TTSL - 138842 (156319); CP 9797 (10493) - Down from first.
4): Classical music King FM TTSL - 132738 (132860); CP 25064 (34245) - Same position with listening and reach down.
5): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL - 101740 (142711); CP 62379 (60002). - Down from third with listening down but reach up.
Previous MeasureCast weekly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-12-19: GrooveRadio, which was closed down by Clear Channel at the end of last month after it had returned control of streaming operations to its stations, says it will be back in the New Year.
A message posted on its site by founder Swedish Egil (Egil Aalvik) says "The good people behind the scenes here at grooveradio.com are preparing for a digital reincarnation that will celebrate 10 incredible years of GROOVE RADIO in January 2002."
"Stay tuned while we take control of our own platform, harness the technology, and simply deliver on an old promise of better things to come."
Groove was part of the Enigma Digital group, which Clear Channel bought for USD 20 million.
Enigma also included KNAC.Com, which is still streaming but no longer offers a broadband connection and whose future is also in doubt.
Clear Channel itself has switched tack in its Internet focus in another way through an agreement with Chicago-based FullAudio.com to sell an online music subscription service in five radio markets.
This involves 30 Clear Channel stations in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.
The service, which is due to start in February, will compete with similar offerings from the big record companies; FullAudio so far has agreements to use music from EMI and Universal.
It will cost from USD5 to USD 15 a month, depending on the number of songs ordered, with around a hundred songs a month for a subscription of USD10.
If the subscription lapses, subscribers will lose access to the songs they have already put on their computers.
Clear Channel has limited its exposure; it is not taking any equity interest in FullAudio nor does the agreement prohibit similar deals with other organisations.
In the UK, the Financial Times has cut back on its ambitious plans for an Internet radio and television service although its says that its FTMobile alerts service of audio reports on share prices and financial news is to continue.
Previous Clear Channel:
2001-12-18: The future of diaries as a the main means of radio audience measurements has been further weakened by an announcement by British radio research organisation RAJAR ( Radio Joint Audience Research Limited) that it is to go ahead with a number of developments, including the testing of meter measurements, to improve its service.
The announcement follows an announcement earlier this month by US ratings organisation Arbitron that, following successful tests of its Portable People Meter, in Wilmington, it is to expand its trial to at least 1500 people across the whole Philadelphia market and may switch to live PPM measurement for the Winter '03 book.
It is already planning to release unofficial PPM results the beginning with the Spring '02 book.
RAJAR is jointly owned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA); it organises the largest radio audience survey outside the US with more than 260 stations taking part
Like Arbitron, RAJAR currently uses the diary method.
As well as looking at meter methods for measuring audiences for normal terrestrial broadcasts, it is currently exploring the possibility of providing research on event-led listening data for interested stations carrying specific events such as pop concerts or sporting events.
It is also planning to extend its measurements in the areas of listening via DAB, Internet & Digital TV platforms.
As far as meters are concerned, the areas it intends to evaluate include tests in different environments and how far respondents react to wearing meters and which meters they prefer.
RAJAR also intends to research differences shown by meter and diary methods of measurement.
Arbitron's latest data comparing the two methods has shown higher total-day average quarter hour (AQH) numbers being reported by the PPM for both radio and TV.
Within the radio figures it shows a higher average daily cumulative audience (79.5% compared to 66.6% for the diary) but a lower listening time (2hours 51 minutes for the PPM and 3 hours 12 minutes for the diary).
The only time that the PPM shows lower AQH than the diary was morning drive (11% lower compared to 14% higher for the PPM in Afternoon drive time).
Arbitron has also released its Fall 2001 RADAR Radio Network Ratings, covering the period from October 11, 2000 to October 16, 2001; the figures show the 31 RADAR-rated networks reach 77% of US consumers in a typical week.
As already revealed in a teaser earlier in the month (See RNW Dec 14), radio does better amongst higher income and educated groups.
Arbitron web site:
RAJAR web site:
2001-12-18: The Voice of America is yet again mired in controversy over what a ruling that number of staff perceives as akin to censorship.
In a memorandum to department heads, new VOA chief Bob Reilly, a Bush appointee, has said that it must take notice of "both the letter and the spirit" of a provision that it must not "air interviews with any official from nations that sponsor terrorism or any representative or member of terrorist organizations, or otherwise afford such individuals opportunities to air inaccurate, propagandistic, or inflammatory messages." The provision is part of a pending congressional appropriations bill covering VOA's funding for the 2002 fiscal year and staff response to the memorandum was negative, many seeing it as part of a response to a row over the broadcast of a VOA exclusive interview with Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar. The item was initially dropped (See RNW Sept 25) but later broadcast after staff protests.
At a meeting with staff, Reilly maintained there was a clear distinction between "news" (The VOA charter says news should be presented in an "accurate, objective and comprehensive" way) and giving someone a platform to disseminate their views. RNW comment: from long experience in news on an international basis, we would strongly contend that there is a significant grey area along the road between reporting comprehensively and giving someone a platform just as there are many shades of grey in what the term terrorist means.
Indeed one could argue cogently that the description would cover many activities currently being carried out by Israel with the tacit support of the US.
We would also comment that the current US view seems to be that with an undoubted military superiority, the need to take into account the views of people with different perceptions of US activities has rapidly receded into the background compared to the days when the US appeared to be fearsome of widespread opposition in much of the Moslem world.
In our view this may in the long term cost the US dearly; we just hope that it does not do so in the lives of its citizens or those of othe nations.
2001-12-18: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received 72 "expressions of interest" in providing local radio services during the first phase of its process to re-advertise existing licences.
The applications will now be examined and a decision on which franchise areas are to be advertised will be made in mid-January.
After that the first advertisements are likely to be placed in February.
Of the expressions of interest, 19 relate to existing franchise areas, 17 to modified franchise areas, 23 to additional local radio services, 9 to opt out services and four to digital services.
BCI web site:
2001-12-17: A look ahead to start this week's look at radio columns and comment; it comes courtesy of UK Sunday Times radio critic Paul Donovan, who reflects on the "sharply different tones" in the way the two media celebrate the Christmas/New Year period.
Television, he notes concentrated on jollity whilst speech radio "is a quieter and more steadfast companion for an audience dominated by those listening by themselves."
"Given the uses to which the two seasonal plants are often put, you might call television the holly and radio the ivy."
After looking at some of the programming planned in the UK and noting some areas of overlap, he concludes that "We should be pleased that radio and television are different: broadcasting would be much poorer if each sought to emulate the other... Radio at Christmas is the last bastion of Dickensianism."
Which in a sense takes us to a Robert Feder column in the Chicago Sun-Times, in which he notes that 20 years ago the then king of late-night radio in Chicago, Eddie Schwartz, launched his "Good Neighbour Food Drive" to protest against the then-Mayor who was spending USD100000 to "light up the city's bridges and set off fireworks at a time when the shelves of local food pantries were bare."
"The drive, " Feder writes, "eventually grew into the largest one-night anti-hunger event in the country, raising millions of dollars and tons of food" adding that, although Schwarz's career was derailed by health problems, the mission he began continued this week with a WBBM-AM 19-hour radiothon to raise money for the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation.
Feder then went on with an interview with Schwartz that contained an interesting comment on the state of US radio today.
Schwartz commented on radio, "I listen to it a lot, but I often don't like what I hear. Thanks to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, the broadcasting industry has been deregulated to the point where there are almost no rules left."
"The accountability portion of the industry is about gone."
"As a listener, I find the lack of news content on most radio stations rather baffling."
"Because of deregulation, three companies now own the majority of all the great radio stations in the entire country. Three owners! I don't think that's good for radio, and I don't think that's good for the country."
RNW comment: A point worth noting, particularly as one St Louis TV station may have started a trend for TV stations to follow radio in many areas and pull out of local news cover.
That decision, of course, will relate to maximising profits, which makes another Chicago newspaper column, this time in the Tribune by its music critic John von Rhein welcome as a contrast.
He writes of 50 years of WFMT-FM, started by Bernard and Rita Jacobs "as a station built around classical music but not limited to it."
"A station where quality and style mattered more than big bucks and big ratings numbers."
In a paragraph which brings to mind comments in the UK concerning the difference between BBC Radio 3, also built on classical music but with a broader remit, and Classic FM, a commercial station mainly playing popular classical snippets, Rhein writes, "WFMT remains true to its mandate: it's an oasis of broadcasting class in a sea of crass."
"Outsiders have called the station elitist. But others say it respects the intelligence of its listeners at a time when a growing number of classical radio outlets have dumbed down their programming."
Rhein then quotes Bruce Dumont, president of the Chicago-based Museum of Broadcast Communications as saying, "WFMT has [built] one of the most loyal audiences in the U.S. by sticking to its initial mission of [offering] quality and excellence and not mucking it up with gimmicks."
"I wish other commercial broadcasters were as true to their core beliefs."
Later in his article, Rhein gives a list of highlights of the station, now run by a not-for-profit.
Two entries that particularly caught our eye were the following: "'78 -- For the first time, WFMT programs are heard overseas. The following year WFMT becomes America's first radio superstation, delivered by satellite to hundreds of cable systems and millions of listeners in more than two dozen countries, including the Soviet Union and China."
" '80 -- WFMT becomes the first U.S. radio station to join the European Broadcasting Union and participate in its program exchange of festivals and concerts. A close relationship with the British Broadcasting Corp. enables WFMT to broadcast and sometimes syndicate hundreds of BBC concerts, plays and spoken-word programs."
Finally a rather newer station, also founded on ideas as opposed to purely for profit, albeit profiting from a niche was firmly in the mind of its founder, Torquil Riley-Smith. who is a heterosexual with a chequered business career.
The station is featured in the UK Daily Telegraph that, in an article by Matt Born, takes a look at LBH, Britain's first and only gay radio station.
The station is based on Colchester because rents are much lower than in London. It's headquarters, writes Born, were furnished for just GBP600.
Riley-Smith saw a pan-European market in a continent with some35 million gay people and the station initially broadcast from Poland on an AM frequency.
This brought with it unsustainable costs of some GBP120000 a month but a switch to Sky digital and the Internet has helped reduce these to around GBP31000 and it is now taking around half this in advertising.
Riley-Smith says the corner has been turned with word of the station spreading rapidly and growth following.
Chicago Tribune - Rhein:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan (requires registration):
UK Telegraph - Born:
LBH web wite:
2001-12-17: Members of two Sydney community radio groups are at loggerheads in the courts over whether arts broadcaster Free Broadcast Incorporated (Fbi), which in May was awarded one of Sydney's last permanent community radio frequencies (See RNW May 25), has the right to refuse membership of its station to supporters of Sydney Youth Radio Incorporated (SYRI), one of the losers.
SYRI ran dance music station WILD FM , which the Australian Broadcasting Authority investigated because of complaints that its CD sales made it part of a profit-making enterprise run by its president, entrepreneur Anthony Gherghetta. (See RNW April 26).
Not long after the licence award Gerghetta and some 200 WILD FM supported marched to Fbi studios and demanded that they be granted membership.
Fbi refused them on the basis that it should not accept money from an organisation that did not agree with its philosophy.
Gerghetta says the decision is illegal under Australia's Broadcasting Services Act.
2001-12-16: Licence activity was fairly high in Australia and fairly quiet elsewhere this week.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA)is to make two new commercial services available in Tasmania; they'll be in Burnie and Scottsdale and the licencees of the existing AM services in each area will be eligible to apply.
In addition provision is to be made for five additional community radio services in Tasmania, one each in George Town, the Northern Midlands, Scottsdale, South Hobart and the Tasman Peninsula, and five additional national radio service (Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service channels), four in Burnie and one in Launceston, and three open narrowcasting services, one each in Burnie, Devonport and Launceston.
In connection with the plan there will also be changes to some existing services.
The licence area of 7RPH community radio in Hobart will be extended to serve Launceston, that of 7RGY Hobart will be extended to cover the areas of Huonville, Kingston and Blackman's Bay and an alternative frequency is being made available for the community radio service 7HFC in Hobart and its licence area extended to cover the same area as the existing commercial radio services.
7THE in Hobart will gain an additional frequency in Lutana.
The ABA also says it is concerned that Launceston has no access to a commercial FM radio service and that it will consider ways of providing this in future.
In Queensland, the ABA has allocated the new AM Brisbane community licence to Brisbane Interactive Radio Group Inc. (Switch) against competition from three other groups, Silver Memories Community Radio Association Inc., Greater Brisbane Radio Broadcasters Inc. (Pulse FM) and Radio Queensland Inc.
In Western Australia, the new community licence for the Geraldton area has gone to Christian group Soncity FM, which already runs its service under a temporary licence.
Canada has been quiet with the main radio activity being the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approval of a new power FM station to provide traffic and parking information for motorists en route to Montreal international airport.
There was nothing of note in the Republic of Ireland but in the UK the Radio Authority has been active on both the analogue and digital fronts.
On the analogue side, it has advertised a new local FM licence for the Island of Skye and the Kyle of Lochalsh area on the west coast of Scotland and re-awarded the Northampton local FM and AM licences to existing holders, Northants 96 and Classic Gold 1557 respectively.
It has also announced that it has received two applications for the new local FM licence for Mid-Ulster, comprising the towns of Cookstown and Magherafelt and the surrounding districts.
They are from Mid FM Ltd, which is proposing a full-service community focussed station and Mid Ulster Broadcasting Ltd, which is offering a full service station of news, information and entertainment and says it would like to extend the service area to cover Dungannon.
On the digital front, the authority has advertised a new digital multiplex licence for the city of Norwich and surrounding area and has awarded the digital multiplex for Inverness in Scotland to the sole applicant, Score Digital Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Scottish Radio Holdings plc.
The award is subject to Score meeting the revised launch date of July 2003, which it has proposed for the commencement of its service. Score is offering three commercial services in addition to the two BBC services it has to carry (See Licence News Oct 21).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released details of proposals for new rules concerning Equal Opportunity in Employment (See RNW Dec 13).
It has also been looking at a number of deals including a planned purchase by Regent Broadcasting of WLSP-AM & WRXF-FM Lapeer, Michigan.
It has red-flagged the deal because of concerns about ownership concentration in the Lansing market.
The Commission has also red-flagged most of the deals in Cumulus's planned 200 million USD purchase of the 18 stations of Aurora Communications in Connecticut and New York (See RNW Nov 20).
Only two deals have not been flagged, those for WICC-AM & WEBE-FM in Bridgeport, Connecticut
The FCC is also looking into a Virginia deal in Charlottesville where Clear Channel is planning to acquire WUMX-FM, which it has operated under an LMA since January this year.
Clear Channel argues that its
Operation of the station has enhanced competition in the market and that the FCC should be considering advertising competition from all media in the area, not just within the radio sector..
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-12-15: Former DJ and radio tycoon Chris Evans is suing UK Virgin Radio, which fired him as its breakfast show host in June after he had failed to turn up for work for nearly a week (See RNW June 29) for around GBP9million
His lawyers have served a writ on Scottish Media Group (SMG), which acquired Virgin radio as part of the GBP225 million to buy Evans' Ginger Media Group in January 2000 (See RNW Jan 13, 2000), claiming that he was entitled to share options worth GBP8.6 million that were forfeited as a result of the dismissal.
Evans also wants cash damages for his dismissal and interest on any sum awarded to him. SMG says it will defend the writ and plans counter-claims.
Evans personally collected around GBP75 million from the takeover, nearly half of it SMG shares to be paid in three annual payments, subject to forfeiture if Evans left the company.
2001-12-15: Duncan's American Radio has come up with more gloomy figures and predictions about US radio.
It says revenues this year were down 7-8% on 2000 and founder Jim Duncan Jr. says his best bet is that there will be another decline in 2002.
He adds that he senses that rates are dropping rapidly, especially in larger markets and expresses concern over a continuing decline in listening levels.
Duncan says satellite radio will affect listening over time, albeit not for a few years, but predicts that only one satellite radio company will survive, commenting," If they had any sense they would have merged by now."
The warning came as the US continued officially in recession and retail sales fell a record 3.7% in November compared to October, which in turn had seen an increase of 6.4% over a September hit by the effects of the September 11 attacks.
The figures were skewed in particular by auto sales, which had been boosted in October by price cuts and which fell some 12% in November.
Better news came from north of the US border where Montreal-based Astral Media has reported net revenues for 2001 up 22% to CAD345 million and net earnings from continuing operations more than double at CAD29.7 million in 2001 compared to CAD13 million in 2000.
On a per share basis, EBITDA from continuing operations was up slightly over 2000 at CAD3.21 compared to CAD3.20, cash flow from continuing operations was up from CAD1.97 to CAD2.18 and net earnings from continuing operations were CAD1.31 compared to CAD 0.67 Astral's president and chief executive Ian Greenberg told the company's AGM in Toronto.
"Astral Media stands apart as one of the few large Canadian pure play media companies, said Mr. Greenberg.
"Our goal is to offer the best television, radio and outdoor advertising experiences by delivering relevant media."
He commented that, two years after the company said it would become purely a media company, it had accomplished the aim.
Astral owns radio stations, specialty, pay and pay-per-view television services and outdoor billboards across Canada; in May it spent CAD255 million on buying 17 radio stations in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia from Telemedia Corp. It also took a 50 per cent interest in Radiomedia, which operates two of Québec's foremost AM stations and its leading radio news and sports networks.
The company is hoping for regulatory approval of the deal early in the New Year.
Astral says it sees room for "organic growth" in its radio operations and, although it was keen to grow, it would not buy at any price. "We're not desperate to do acquisitions in order to have growth," said Greenberg.
"Our position is, firstly, to make sure we're running our businesses very well and, secondly, to make sure we're positioned financially."
Astral web site (A Flash.site).
2001-12-14: The Pacifica Foundation, parent company of the five US Pacifica Radio has settled four lawsuits against its board of directors in an agreement that the dissident SavePacifica campaigners say brings to an end two and a half years of struggles following what it terms an illegal change in the method of selecting Pacifica's board of directors who had previously been elected by local Pacifica station boards.
Under the deal, an interim 15-member board would serve for 15 months while new structures are implemented for an elected national Pacifica board.
The interim board, to be made up of five members each of the current board minority and majority and five more members appointed by the chairs of Pacifica stations' Local Advisory Boards (LABs) is in line with details announced last month by the campaign. (See RNW Nov 19).
The agreement gives five days for the parties to " take all necessary actions to resolve the pending lawsuits in the form of a stipulated judgment that dismisses all complaints and cross-complaints" involved and may only be amended by unanimous written agreement of all the parties.
The agreement requires a two-thirds vote by all members of the Interim board who are present at a meeting to effect changes to bylaws whilst resolutions concerning election of officers requires only a simple majority.
Resolutions on other matters require a simple majority subject to an "aye" from at least one member of the three groups on the board or a two-thirds majority of those present in voting.
A resolution passed by a simple majority but without an "aye" from a member of all three groups will automatically be referred to Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw, who will retain jurisdiction over the settlement, and has promised to quickly rule on all disputes that may result from the agreement's implementation.
All parties to the four pending lawsuits against the Pacifica Foundation's board of had attended a "Mandatory Settlement Conference" with the pre-trial judge on Tuesday, designed to reach agreement before a full trial on January 7.
In addition to the settlement, SavePacifica says that Pacifica's National Program Director Utice Leid who had been heavily involved in last December's "Christmas Coup" at WBAI-FM, New York, has resigned her post after only two months in the job.
She had been the target of continued protests by dissidents after the dispute at WBAI, which was followed by her appointment as its General Manager and the firing and banning of many members of staff.
Juan Gonzalez, former co-host of Pacifica's "Democracy Now" programme and the coordinator of the Pacifica Campaign, a nationwide listener pressure group, described her resignation as "another important step in our campaign to restore accountability to the Pacifica Radio network." "...the injustices at and the destruction of WBAI cannot be swept under the rug," he added. "All the producers that were arbitrarily fired and banned must return and a new democratic governing structure must be put in place at WBAI and around the network."
Amy Goodman, the former host of WBAI's "Democracy Now," said she hoped the settlement would lead to the rehiring of those who were fired at WBAI and its affiliates in Los Angeles, Houston, Washington, and Berkeley, California.
SavePacifica web site:
Statement re Leid resignation:
2001-12-14: A new report by London-based Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates says that commercial radio in Europe is underdeveloped.
It comes out as Arbitron releases a teaser for its Radar 71 Radio Network Audience Report, due to be released next week, that says that in the US over the course of a typical week, radio reached 99 percent of persons 12+ living in households with an income of $50,000 or more.
The Oliver & Ohlbaum report says that European radio is still dominated by public service stations, which together consume more than half of radio revenues and nearly 40% of listening.
In all it says that some 5000 European radio stations share some USD9.2 million dollars in revenues from advertising and sponsorship compared to a US commercial radio revenue of some USD 40 billion.
In terms of advertising yield per thousand listening hours, European stations take between USD35 and USD70 compared to around 115 USD in the US.
The report also says that listeners in major European cities have only around three-fifths as many stations to choose from compared to US listeners in similar circumstances, citing a total of 47 stations in Chicago, 39 in New York and 38 in San Francisco whereas London has just 24 including BBC and national services.
(RNW comment -a look at range and quality of choice, would, we suggest give a different picture. Perhaps someone in Chicago would like to try and compare their classical music choice with that offered by BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and Talk Output with that of the gamut available in the UK from BBC Radio 4 onwards).
It denigrates the likely impact of digital broadcasting in the near future, saying that within the next 5 years the 2000 digital terrestrial channels planned in Europe will only reach a tenth of the population and account for around 6% of total listening.
Likely to be of far more impact, it suggests, will be changes to ownership rules and regulation in general.
The digital audience, it says, will be shared by a combination of technologies including terrestrial DAB, satellite, cable, Internet and mobile devices with no one platform dominating the scene.
Oliver & Ohlbaum regards prospects for radio in Europe as positive, noting that listening is on the up, advertising on radio is comparatively cheap and that likely de-regulation including relaxation of ownership limits, is likely to reduce costs.
The Arbitron RADAR (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) report, based on a 12000 person telephone survey, shows radio doing better in higher income households than lower income ones.
Compared to the weekly reach of 99% of above 12's in households with an income of USD50000 pa or more, it says the reach was only 90% for those households where the annual income was USD30000 or less.
Over a week, 97% of college graduates listened to radio compared to 94% of non-graduates.
In demographic terms, the report shows that men listen more than women (96.6% reach compared to 94.3%) and the young listen more than the old (99.2% of the 12-17 age group falling to 87.5% of the 65 plus group.
Illustrating radio's availability irrespective of location, the survey notes that 68.5% listen in the home, 83.8% in the car, and 36.2% in other locations.
Over the course of a week the report says, radio reaches more the 225 million people, or 96 percent of all persons aged 12 and older.
And radio doesn't take the weekend off-more than 188 million people, or 80 percent of all Persons 12+ tune to radio on Saturday or Sunday. In time of day terms, 82% listened in the morning up to 10 A.M., 77% in the following period to 3P.M. followed by an afternoon-drive pick-up to 80% in the 3-7 P.M. slot, an a drop to 56% for the rest of the evening up to midnight.
Arbitron web site:
Oliver & Ohlbaum web site:
2001-12-13: Mapleton Communications is to add yet another station to its cluster in Monterey, California.
It's buying KTEE-FM Seaside, from Bicoastal Media for an as-yet undisclosed price; Bicoastal paid USD1.5 million for the station two years ago.
Mapleton paid USD10.25 million to New Wave Broadcasting for its existing five stations in September and also has a JSA with New Wave for KBOQ-FM (See RNW Sept 26).
2001-12-13: Military technicians from Britain, Canada and the US have shown that the primitive spark transmitter equipment that Guglielmo Marconi used for the world's first transatlantic wireless signal on December 12, 1901, could indeed have worked.
Sceptics had long suggested that Marconi and his assistant probably only heard static on the day of their original experiment but a test carried out exactly 100 years later worked.
Three taps made on a key in Poldhu, Cornwall, by Marconi's grandson, Guglielmo Marconi Giovanelli were picked up on Signal Hill in St John's Newfoundland.
The event was watched on a big screen in John's by more than a thousand people including Canada's Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson who exchanged greetings by satellite with Italian President, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.
Marconi's grandson in his comments highlighted the thousands of lives, including the survivors of the Titanic, saved by the medium whilst Clarkson commented that it marked the moment of transition "…to the global village."
Plans for a live broadcast over Canada from Newfoundland to mark the anniversary fell victim to the strike by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) technicians.
The Corporation had made plans for Shelagh Rogers, host of the "This Morning" programme to be in St. John's, Newfoundland, to co-host with local broadcaster Jim Brown a four-hour salute to the early days of radio.
The show, Tuning the World, was to have included broadcasts from Australia, Britain, South Africa, and the United States as well as a satellite feed from a band in Kinshasa in the Congo, organised with the help of the United Nations.
The strike scuppered the live parts of the planned show butthe CBC did air a documentary "Whispers in the Air" on Marconi.
Pre-recorded parts of the planned live show were also aired.
Previous Shelagh Rogers:
2001-12-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to establish a second NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) to establish Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) rules for broadcasters.
The unanimous vote by the Commissioners followed court action, which had twice ruled against previous EEO rules.
Under the proposed new rules, broadcasters and cable operators will have to notify any organisation that requests information about job openings and asks that efforts be made to ensure that all segments of the community are made aware of employment possibilities with the companies.
In connection with the latter, the companies would be required to place information on "outreach" efforts in their public file and radio stations with more then ten employees would be subject to mid-term reviews. Random audits are to be conducted by the FCC and public comments or complaints would go into the public file.
The FCC will also require an annual employment report for informational, rather than enforcement, purposes.
FCC chairman Michael Powell praised the FCC Mass Media Bureau for coming up with a legally sustainable EEO proposal.
Although all the Commissioners voted in support, the lone Democrat on the Commission, Michael Copps, commented that the FC had been too cautious in ensuring that it stayed within judicial boundaries.
Copps also voiced concern over another measure that he voted for, saying in a statement that it was "with some hesitancy" that he supported a measure to open a rulemaking to determine how to address radio ownership and establish interim rules on how pending radio licence transfer applications were to be handled.
Although commending FCC Chairman Michael Powell for reducing the backlog since he assumed office, Copps said that he was still troubled by the number of applications still pending and the time for which some had been pending.
Noting that "limits on local radio ownership are not merely the result of our own determination, but rather were expressly mandated by Congress", Copps said that he would have preferred to grant conditional approval to applications that had been pending for several years.
It would then have been possible to ensure that stations were brought into compliance with any rules that were subsequently approved.
FCC web site:
2001-12-12: Transatlantic radio is 100 years old today despite the aerial problems encountered by Gugliemo Marconi in 1901 when he transmitted the three clicks of the Morse code " S" from Cornwall in England to Newfoundland, Canada.
Marconi had problems with his tower and a balloon used to gain sufficient height for the transmission but eventually succeeded using a kite.
Those who credit Marconi with the first radio transmission should however note that he was preceded by German physicist Heinrich Hertz who in 1888 became the first person to transmit and receive radio waves and by other pioneers.
Marconi himself filed his first radio-related patent in 1896 and in 1899 made news use of his equipment to report the progress of the America's Cup yacht race to New York newspapers.
The anniversary is being marked by celebrations in Cornwall and Newfoundland.
2001-12-12: Developments in various legal cases involving Clear Channel include a response to a petition by Ohio carpet dealer David Ringer to stop the Secret Communications' sale to the company of WKKJ-FM Chillicothe.
Ringer had alleged that Concord Media Group had been used by Clear Channel as a front to operate the station (See RNW Nov 24).
Concord, in its response, says that Ringer's petition "contains a series of vacuous allegations that are based on fiction, linked to, or supported only by, speculation, innuendo and surmise."
It says that Concord-Clear Channel agreements are legal arms-length ones as part of a business plan using LMAs and JSAs.
Clear Channel itself has responded to a petition filed by Buckley Broadcasting over it's purchase of Ackerley and it's KION-TV, Monterey, which Buckley says in conjunction with an approach to run KCBA-TV, Monterey, would give it undue control of advertising in the market when combined with the strength of its six radio stations (see RNW Dec 1).
Clear Channel says that the mix of one TV station and six radio stations is permitted by FCC rules and that the LMA is not an "attributable" interest.
Buckley operates an AM-FM combination in the Monterey-Salinas market.
Previous Clear Channel:.
2001-12-12: Radio has again escaped unscathed in the latest bulletin from UK broadcasting watchdog, the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) which in all lists 90 complaints compared to 111 a month before (See RNW Nov 8).
Of these, seven concerned fairness and a further 83 related to standards.
In the fairness category there was only one complaint, which was not upheld against radio; there were six against television of which one was upheld and two were partially upheld.
The other complaints involving standards comprised 10 against radio, none of which were upheld, and 83 against TV. Of the 73 against TV, four were resolved and only two upheld.
Previous BSC Complaints Bulletin:
BSC web site (Note: This is a Flash 5 site: It links to the report in PDF format-105 kb):
2001-12-12: MeasureCast's latest Internet listening report shows a rebound in the week to December 2 to take its Internet Radio Listening Index up by a third from 235 to 314.
This approaches its record 319 in the week to November 4.
For the Thursday and Friday of the week, listening was more than half as high again as in the previous week when the Thanksgiving Holiday led to a large fall in listening.
Christmas listening continued to rise with Cablemusic's Christmas Classic station doubling its reach to more than 25000 listeners in the week and taking it to fifth positionin MeasureCast's ratings; Jazz FM dropped out of the top five.
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): Classical station WXQR-FM - TTSL 156319 (91329); CP 10493 (9524) - Up from fourth position with a large increase in listening and smaller increase in reach.
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio- TTS 152597 (64605 ); CP 32775 (16694 ) - Up from fifth thanks to leap in listening and reach.
3): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing - TTSL 142711 (129850); CP 60002 (50198) - Down from second but listening and reach up.
4): Classical music King FM - TTSL 132860 (91458); CP 34245 (21243) - Down from third but listening and reach up.
5): Christmas music format CableMusic Christmas Classic - TTSL 108820 (38056); CP 25047 (11,275) - Up from ninth with listening and reach each more than doubling.
Previous MeasureCast weekly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
............ Arbitron's monthly webcasts for November show a similar picture to those of Measurecast with the same two classical channels in the top five.
They are rated by ATH - aggregate tuning hours-and for individual stations the top five stations were:
1: Listener-formatted MediaAmazing with ATH 600800 Up from third place with ATH 501500
2: Classical King FM with ATH 516100 Previously second with ATH 517900
3: Adult contemporary Virgin FM with ATH 360600. Previously first with ATH 567800
4: Electronica Groove Radio with ATH 276900.Previusly in same rank with ATH 346900.
5: Classical WQXR-FM with ATH 275000. Previously seventh with ATH 314600
In the network ratings, there was one newcomer to the top 5, MediaAmazing, which knocked out KNAC Pure Rock.
The top five were, ranked by ATH (Aggregate Tuning Hours):
1:Live 365 with ATH 4654300. Position unchanged ATH down from 4906000
2: Cablemusic Networks, Inc. with ATH 799,000. Up from third ATH up from 755300
3: Public Interactive with ATH 779,300. Down from third with ATH of 1178400.
4: MEDIAmazing with ATH 600800. Up from eighth and ATH 501500
5: Clear Channel Internet Group with ATH 574400. Previously third with ATH 787300.
Previous Arbitron webcast ratings.
2001-12-11: Radio broadcasters have reached agreement with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) over royalties to be paid to record companies for a blanket license to stream their signals over the Internet according to Broadcasting and Cable.
It says that sources say that, although the radio companies have reached an agreement, webcasters and the RIAA have still not managed an accord. The two parties have been in arbitration at the US Copyright Office and any settlement has to be agreed by the arbiters.
The Copyright Office has to set a rate applying to all parties and this then has to be approved by the Librarian of Congress, although an appeal can subsequently be made.
According to the report, the settlement has provision for waivers to be given to radio stations concerning one of the conditions to qualify for the copyright licence, namely that songs must not be pre-announced.
It says that the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Board wanted to ask Congress to revise the law so that the waivers would not be necessary but that members of the TV Board, who want their signals to be kept within local markets, were apposed because they did not want to open a discussion about putting TV signals on the Internet.
No details of any agreement have been posted by the RIAA or NAB.
Broadcasting and Cable web site:
2001-12-11: UK Chrysalis Group has announced expansion of its digital radio services.
In January of next year , it is to launch its Heart Digital channel on the Central Scotland regional multiplex, which covers both Edinburgh and Glasgow, and its Arrow channel on the third London digital multiplex.
Both brands and Chrysalis's Galaxy service are already broadcast on the four regional digital multiplexes owned by the MXR digital consortium; they cover the North East, North West, West Midlands and South Wales & the West.
Chrysalis has also announced two appointments. Female singer and disc jockey Sonique has signed up to present a series of shows for its Galaxy network and in London it has announced the appointment as deputy programme director of its London flagship Heart station of Mark Browning.
He comes from Radio Investments where he was Southern Group Programme Director
2001-12-11: Leslie Gold, "The Radio Chick", who was formerly with Infinity's WNEW-FM New York station, has now turned up at Clear Channel's classic rock WAXQ-FM in the city where she is to co-host the stations morning drive with PD Bob Buchmann who currently hosts the slot.
The show, "Bob Buchmann & The Radio Chick" will have its debut in January, filling the weekday 6-10 am slot.
Gold is taking with her two colleagues from Infinity days, producer Butchy Brennan and stand-up comedian Chuck Nice.
Previous Clear Channel:
2001-12-11: MeasureCast's November Internet listening report again illustrates the degree to which Internet listening is an at-work phenomenon rather than something to which people devote their own resources.
This timethe evidence is in part through the fact that holidays in the month reduced listening with particular falls during the US Thanksgiving holidays.
There were two Classical outlets in the top five, pushing Virgin radio down from third to sixth place ranked by listening time.
The top 5 stations ranked by Total Time Spent listening (TTSL), with last month's TTSL and Cume (Cumulative Audience) in brackets were:
1): Classical format WQXR-FM, New York TTSL 702225; CP 27,340 - not listed in October.
2): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 676234 (689695); CP 168320 (164431) - Position unchanged but listening down although reach was up.
3): Jazz format Jazz FM TTSL 640076 (934979), CP 196,678 (226675) - Previously first, listening and reach significantly down.
4): Classical King FM (Seattle) TTSL 525117 (538999); CP 63959 (59308) - Down from third, with lower listening but higher reach.
5): Sports-talk ESPN Radio TTSL 382656 (505332); CP 44040 (50773) - Position unchanged but listening and reach down:
Measurecast's top five streaming networks were :
1:WARP Radio (1893827 hours);
2:SurferNetwork (1135299 hours);
3:StreamAudio (1096014 hours);
4:Cablemusic Networks (1087657 hours);
5:WQXR-FM/The New York Times (702225 hours).
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Previous MeasureCast monthly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-12-10: Afghanistan and cover of the war forms the backdrop for our look at reports concerning radio this week.
As so often in a case of conflict, the reporting has itself been the subject of conflict and camps quickly appear of those who think that their duty is to report the truth as they find it, albeit often expecting some security constraints, and those who feel their duty is mainly to present the official view.
The latter seem to be rather more in the ascendancy in the US moment than they are elsewhere, a point made in a Boston Globe report by Mark Jurkowitz.
It looks at the war cover on BBC World Service and contrasts it with that of mainstream US media.
"The BBC, " writes Jurkowitz, "is known for crisp on-scene reporting, a tendency to determinedly grill a subject until a question is answered, and in this war, a view of the American-led military campaign that BBC fans find refreshingly objective, and that foes consider downright anti-American."
He quotes Craig Crawford, executive publisher of the Hotline World Extra, which monitors coverage of international issues, as saying, "'There's a noticeable difference. There were days there when the BBC seemed like Al Jazeera ... It was quicker and much harder on US bombing of civilians ... My view is they are more neutral.''
American coverage, he said, tends to take ''a more jingoistic, nationalist tone that is understandable, but is there.''
The BBC's policy of eschewing the use of the word "terrorist" but describe acts as "terrorism" - on the basis that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" has, says the article raised hackles in the US, and led the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group based in Virginia, to call on US networks to ''sever their relationships with the BBC.'' (RNW note - to get an idea of the blinkered perspective of the MRC search their site for terrorism-you'd probably feel fine as a member of the Contras or the AWB but definitely not if you had any positive feelings towards Nelson Mandela ).
The BBC has also garnered criticism from another media monitoring centre , the pro-Israel CAMERA group but on the other hand it attracted praise from Steve Rendall, senior analyst for the liberal media watchdog group FAIR.
''Getting the news from the BBC is a very different experience from getting the news from American broadcast outlets,'' said Rendall.
''Not only is there a broader range of opinion ... but the BBC `presenters' and reporters are often more professional, ask tougher questions, and seem to have a greater level of knowledge about news subjects than their US counterparts.''
Another perspective, this time from within the US, comes from Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Johnson, who follows up on response - including a far too common series of responses based on mis-reporting of details - to a column he wrote in October entitled, "Cutting through `the fog of war' ".
In that column, he quoted US National Public Radio senior foreign editor Loren Jenkins as saying, in the context of journalistic values such as reporting and scepticism, "The best reporting is getting to a place and assessing it yourself."
"Since Vietnam, the Pentagon has made this harder and harder for reporters to do, mostly because they all blame the press for losing the war in Vietnam."
Jenkins then commented that his staff had been told to try and find where Americans are, adding, "The game of reporting is to smoke 'em out."
He went on, asked if his "team would report the presence of an American commando unit it found in, say, a northern Pakistan village" to say, "You report it. I don't represent the government. I represent history, information, what happened."
Jenkins also commented that his operating theory about information from the military is that "in one form or another, they never tell you the truth. They've been proven wrong too many times."
Johnson's follow up column then considers what happened as versions of the original report were carried by other newspapers and attracted comment by pundits and broadcasters.
On this Johnson notes, "Short of Michael Jackson's confidences, I can't imagine a stranger place in which to be. I've become a sort of favourite of the far right and the scourge of National Public Radio."
He then continues to say of the article, "It's been cited by Rush Limbaugh and others in attempting to prove that the press, and those hippie holdovers at NPR, are unrepentant flag burners."
"NPR, meanwhile, has indeed been liberal, at least in terms of impugning me. The organization's representatives have said that I took out of context or, "sucker punched" the veteran NPR senior foreign editor Loren Jenkins." The NPR comment from its ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin started, "Should journalists -- including NPR journalists -- ever be forced to choose between their profession and their country?"
"This dubious and hypothetical choice emerged in an interview published on October 12, 2001, in the Chicago Tribune between columnist Steve Johnson and NPR's foreign editor, Loren Jenkins. "
The response then details a "clarification" by NPR News Vice President Bruce Drake who says, "Let me assure you that Loren Jenkins neither believes nor intended to suggest that NPR would engage in reporting that would put in peril the lives of U.S. military personnel."
"NPR reporters, producers and editors always take into account whether our reporting might put lives in danger, or pose an unacceptable security risk. NPR would never knowingly compromise the security or safety of American military or national security operations by airing information that would endanger them."
Later Dvorkin writes of the article raising three issues.
"First, the Chicago Tribune columnist was either foolish or wickedly clever in asking what is a hypothetical question. Jenkins was sucker punched and led with his chin. As an experienced journalist, Jenkins should have sensed even coming close to that "issue" would end badly."
(Johnson's response to this seems eminently reasonable: " Dvorkin surely understands that when, in the midst of interviewing ultra careful news executives, you suddenly hear something bold and, yes, incautious, your ears perk up."
"You follow up and ask a guy what he means by "smoke 'em out." The journalism term for this kind of information is 'interesting", he writes.) "Second, the eagerness of reporters and columnists to repeat second and third hand information without bothering to call NPR is truly astounding.
Only one out of 30 newspapers called Drake to verify the quotes.
For the record, the lone newspaper to follow a basic journalistic principle was The Union Leader in Manchester, N.H.
This speaks badly about the standards and practices of some journalists and the newspapers that employ them.
Columnists have more license to speculate, but this should not be at the expense of fairness or the facts.
"Third, and most importantly, there needs to be a place where issues of patriotism and journalism can be discussed calmly. We need to see if those values -- normally compatible -- can legitimately be reconciled in a wartime democracy.
That discussion won't happen for a while thanks to the Chicago Tribune, to Jenkins who spoke rashly and to those journalists who behaved more like typists than as reporters."
RNW comment: Let us first state that we understand the concern of the military in a campaign to protect their forces and sustain morale but add that we do not think that in a democratic society the military should be allowed to be the sole arbiters of what is necessary to do so.
In particular, some activities of a military should in our view be reported even if there is a risk to life in the short term (we would suggest here that this would include reporting activities -such as for example, the decade of bombing Laos in secret and without Congressional authority.
Looked at in this light, NPR's response lacked either intellectual rigour or spine, or both.
It also exhibited a woeful naivety about the nature of US media and pressure groups.
We would agree with the need for a discussion of issues of how far reporting should go in the current situation although we feel the context should be a rational discussion of national interests with the term patriotism very firmly sidelined in view of its overtones.
Boston Globe - Jurkowitz:
Chicago Tribune -Johnson:
Tribune - Original Jonhson column:
2001-12-09: A fairly busy week in Australia and the US but quiet elsewhere: In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) had a busy week with commercial licences and a whole swathe of new community radio licences.
On the commercial front, activity included changes in Victoria for Gippsland radio stations 3TR Sale and 3GG Warragul; in South Australia where the authority is to combine the licence areas of AM commercial radio services 5AU Port Augusta and 5CS Port Pirie and create a new 5AU Spencer Gulf North AM service and a 5CS FM service; and in South East South Australia where the ABA has made changes to improve the coverage of commercial radio services 5MG Mt Gambier and 5EZY Murray Bridge.
In Victoria, the changes include the removal of Moe from the licence area of 3TR Sale, thus reducing overlap between the licence areas of 3TR and 3GG Warragul, making both 3TR and 3GG eligible for an additional commercial licence.
In addition, FM channels will be made available for seven additional national radio channels, three to serve Bairnsdale, two to serve the Latrobe Valley, one to serve Lakes Entrance and one to serve Foster.
There will also be seven additional open narrowcasting radio services -at Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Latrobe Valley, Leongatha, Orbost, Sale and Yarram; and two additional community radio services to serve Warragul and the Latrobe Valley in the Gippsland region.
In New South Wales, the ABA is to make capacity available for six new community radio services to serve the areas of Cootamundra, Cowra, Narrandera, Tumut, Wagga Wagga and Young.
It has also decided to increase the power of the existing community radio services in Griffith and Wagga Wagga and allow the four existing national radio services in Wagga Wagga to increase their transmission power from 40 W to 500 W but says that, because of spectrum congestion, it cannot find a suitable frequency for an additional national channel.
The ABA also says it is not to make any new commercial or open narrowcasting radio services available in the Griffith, Wagga Wagga or Young markets.
In South Australia, as well as changes to commercial services, the ABA is to make two licences available for new community radio services to serve Port Pirie and northern Yorke Peninsula and has made FM channels available for four additional national radio services in the region.
The ABA has also made FM channel capacity available for an additional national radio service to serve the Spencer Gulf North region, for three additional national radio services to serve the Port Lincoln regio.
An FM channel will be made available for retransmission of the 5CCC Port Lincoln commercial radio service at Wudinna in upper Eyre Peninsula.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved a new English-language station for Radio CJVR at Melfort, Saskatchewan, with transmitters at Dafoe and Waskesiu Lake.
The application was in part opposed by Central Broadcasting Company Ltd, licensee of AM and FM stations in Prince Albert.
It objected to the transmitter at Waskesiu but the Commission held no harm to existing broadcasters would be caused by this transmitter.
Also in Saskatchewan, the Commission has approved the addition of a 250-watt transmitter at Denare Beach for CJLR-FM La Ronge.
In Ontario, the CRTC has approved the addition of a subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel to allow Corus's CFNY-FM Brampton, to broadcast programming from CRBC-Russian Radio, Inc
There was nothing of significance announced in Ireland but n the UK, the Radio Authority has issued its assessments of three licence awards, one a digital multiplex and the others local FM licences.
The digital award was that for Peterborough, which went to the sole applicant Now Digital Ltd; now had fulfilled all the required statutory conditions and also generated local support for its application.
It would initially provide six services. (See Licence News September 16).
The FM licences were those for Pembrokeshire in Wales and Stockport in northwest England. There were three applications for the Pembrokeshire licence, from Haven FM, More 102 and Read Radio; the licence was awarded to Haven FM, which proposed a full service station.
Haven has links with the Wireless group and has run four trial broadcasts in Pembrokeshire since being founded in 1998.
Its programming proposals were described as "clear and coherent" with favourable comment being made on its plans for weekend programme resource and the local support it has put together.
In the Stockport case, there were also three applications, one of which came from RAKA Asian Radio Ltd. and was subsequently disallowed because it failed to follow procedures set down by the authority.
The other two came from existing licence holder Imagine FM. Owned by the Wireless Group, and Stock FM.
The licence was re-awarded to Imagine, the Authority members commenting, "Imagine FM plays an active role in the local community through various features and appeals, and an appreciation of this involvement was reflected by the support the station received from the local business community and elected representatives." In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a major re-structuring that will give Kansas City a new station (See RNW Dec 6); it's also been fairly active on the disciplinary front.
Among actions it has taken are the levying of a USD16000 fine on Barnstable Communications and a USD8000 fine on Eure Family Limited Partnership.
The first related to failure to keep operational tower lights for KGGO-FM and KJJY-FM, Des Moines, Iowa, and also for failure to determine and log why EAS tests were not being received.
Wilks Broadcasting was operating the stations at the time under an LMA prior to purchasing them and the FCC record initially said that station operations were under the direction of Wilks.
Barnstable corrected this and pointed out that its manager was fulfilling licensee obligations.
The FCC corrected the record but continued to levy the fine.
In the second case, Eure was fined for failure to show red obstruction lighting on an antenna structure in Mathews County, Virginia.
It had used the tower for its WXEZ-FM, Yorktown, station until October 2000 when it sold the station but after this Bullseye Broadcasting had leased space for WSRV-FM, Deltaville.
According to Eure Bullseye was required to let Eure know of the problem but did not do so; when it became aware of the situation it took remedial action. The FCC took account of this and noted Eure's strong record of compliance with regulations; it therefore reduced the fine from the standard USD10000 but it still is levied on the licensee under the rules.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site
2001-12-09: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has been forced to show more repeats and cut back on its news and sports output as a result of industrial action by 1600 technicians belonging to the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Union of Canada (CEP) (See RNW Nov 28).
Technicians in St. John's, Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto downed tools for "study sessions" on Thursday, December 6, and the Corporation said this amounted to a strike.
On the radio side, CBC Radio 1's local regional programming has largely been replaced by national network shows from Halifax and Toronto.
2001-12-09: Regent Communications has now closed its deal to acquire seven Louisiana stations for USD39.6 million from ComCorp of Lafayette (See RNW Aug 30).
Stations involved were KMDL-FM, KRKA-FM, KFTE-FM, KTDY-FM and KPEL-FM plus KPEL-AM and KROF-AM and the price comprised USD38.1 million cash plus USD1.5 million of Regent stock.
Regent web site:
2001-12-08: The row between the Pacifica Radio Board and dissident members, which had been thought to be close to settlement under a deal for the current board to resign and be replaced by an interim board (See RNW Nov 19) now seems to be reviving. Notices posted on the dissidents' Save Pacifica site speak of "revving up campaigns again" because some of the current majority board members have refused to support the deal.
Juan Gonzalez, former co-host of Pacifica's "Democracy Now" programme and coordinator of the Pacifica Campaign, has announced plans to resume efforts to pressure individual board members to resign should the current board not agree to a peaceful transition soon.
Carol Spooner, lead plaintiff in the listeners' lawsuit against the board, announced that her attorneys had resumed taking depositions for the trial.
Gonzalez wrote," We now learn that this second agreement is now being renegotiated by the board majority and is not at all settled. This is outrageous."
Another posting by "Concerned friends of WBAI (WBAI-FM is Pacifica's New York station) reads, "The Pacifica National Board (PNB) majority, after foot dragging for two weeks on its promised--but very flawed--deal for reorganizing the Board, is now blocking a final settlement of the lawsuits that would turn over genuine control to the dissidents."
It then calls for a campaign to support the re-claiming of the stations by the dissidents.
Previous Pacifica :
Pacifica web site:
Save Pacifica site:
2001-12-08: Radio and television technicians at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation have started walkouts in their dispute over new contracts.
Their union, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union had received overwhelming backing for strike action (See RNW Nov 28).
The first walkouts were in Halifax and Toronto with further action likely.
The Union previously called a strike in 1999; then its action, which lasted six weeks, did not take the Corporation off the air bud did lead to cuts in newscasts and much more repeats.
2001-12-08: Yet another class action lawsuit has been filed involving a US radio company.
This time Regent Broadcasting is in the firing line in a suit against the company and its Initial Public Offering underwriters, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, and Credit Suisse.
The suit says that Regent failed to disclose that its underwriters had received payment from some investors for restricted shares in the IPO and that the underwriters had deals with customers to give them IPO shares, with an agreement that they purchase more shares afterward at pre-determined prices. The suit follows a number of other lawsuits recently involving Spanish Broadcasting System, Sirius Satellite Radio, Radio One Inc, and Radio Unica:
2001-12-07: More US satellite radio developments as Sirius appears to be considering a change of stance over its charges and XM caps its national launch and announces more funding. The comments from Sirius came at the Credit Suisse First Boston Media Week Conference in New York where SVP/CFO John Scelfo, commented on Sirius's plans to charge USD12.95 a month for a commercial-free service.
"If people don't feel that paying more for 100% commercial-free is worth it, we will change," he said.
XM, which is already operating, charges USD9.95 per month but has adverts on most of its channels.
Its CEO, Hugh Panero, told the conference that feedback from early customers had been strong; he added that XM, which has just arranged another USD100 million plus of funding, now has enough cash to continue its operations until the end of next year.
XM's latest financing deals include placing 10 million shares of its common stock in a public offering underwritten by Morgan Stanley.
This has raised USD112.5 million gross and in addition, XM has granted the underwriter an over-allotment option to purchase an additional 1.5 million shares of common stock.
XM has also has closed a $66 million funding package with Boeing announced in October.
The package included $35 million in new debt financing with Boeing Capital Services Corporation and $31 million in restructured obligations with Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc.
On the operational and promotional side, XM on Thursday, capped its national rollout with celebrations in New York and Seattle which marked the end of its "Power of X" listen-and-ride tour which has now covered the entire U.S with events in 60 cities.
XM's launch has exposed divisions within terrestrial radio companies, with some of them refusing advertisements for the satellite service and others taking them, even though many of those refusing the money are still staunchly proclaiming that satellite radio is no threat.
Amongst those who are taking the money are Radio One Inc. and US giant Clear Channel, which has a stake in XM: Amongst the hold outs are Buckley Broadcasting, Cox and Entercom.
The latter's executive vice president and general counsel John Donlevie told the Washington Post that XM's adverts disparaged terrestrial radio through their line, "Beyond AM. Beyond FM. XM."
"The way they are doing it is disparaging radio, and we think that's inappropriate," he said.
Cox President Bob Neil commented, "We're certainly not going to allow them access to our air to try to further their cause, which is to put us out of business."
Others are more relaxed with both Bonneville and Infinity Broadcasting allowing station managers to make their own decisions.
Where stations are not accepting the adverts they cite similar reasons to the companies who have banned them.
"I won't run them for the same reason that I wouldn't run an ad for DC101," a direct competitor, Mark O'Brien, general manager of Bonneville's Z104 in Washington, told the paper.
"I'm not stupid enough to think we can stop them, but I'm not going to give them a shove."
XM itself says most stations are taking the adverts. "I can't speak for how people will get nervous or defensive when a new radio [medium] comes into town," said Steve Cook, XM senior vice president of sales and marketing.
"We don't try to compete head to head with their offering."
Sirius web site:
Washington Post report:
XM Web site:
2001-12-07: One of Sydney's best known disc-jockeys has been fired following a row over smoking in his studio according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
It reports that Ron E Sparks, who has worked in Sydney radio for a quarter-century, was fired by Austereo station 2-Day FM after he had scrawled No Frigging Smoking" with a marker across work stations and a touch-screen monitor in the studio.
The paper says Sparks has been involved in a running row about people leaving the studio in a mess; it says that he arrived at work to find the studio "looking and smelling like a pigsty" and wrote the No Smoking signs up with a washable marker pen after cleaning up.
2Day's program director, Rob Logan, told the paper Sparks used a permanent marker which had ruined a $5000 touch-screen monitor.
Logan said that the decision related entirely to the incident but the paper says there has been speculation that 2-Day was looking for an excuse to drop Sparks because new FM rival Nova had been biting into its audience (See RNW Dec. 6).
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2001-12-07: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) final quarter results show it doing better than expected despite falls everywhere except for revenue, which rose slightly.
For its final quarter up to the end of September, net revenues went up from 6% from just under USD34 million to just over USD36 million but BCF was down 15%to USD14.5 million and EBITDA was down 21% to USD11.5 million.
Overall SBS had net loss for the quarter of $1.6 million, or 3 cents per share, compared to net income of $1.8 million, or 3 cents, in Q4 2000.
On a same-station basis, net revenue fell 1% and BCF dipped 7%.
For the full year, most figures were in the red again: revenue was down almost 10% from USD134.3 million to USD122.7 million, BCF was down 23% to USD50 million, EBITDA was down 11% to USD39.5 million.
However net loss narrowed from $10.6 million to $7.6 million.
Chairman/CEO Raul Alarcon said, "Throughout this economically challenging period, we have continued to invest in our management, programming and sales efforts."
"These investments are beginning to pay off… management team has been very successful in implementing our growth strategy, which is evidenced by the growth in market share and increased ratings in key markets, particularly New York, Los Angeles and Chicago."
SBS is to change its fiscal year from now on to end on the last Sunday in January rather than in September.
2001-12-07: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled against CIOX-FM (Xfm, Ottawa) over its broadcast of versions of two songs -- "Livin' It Up" by Limp Bizkit and "Outside" by Aaron Lewis and Fred Durst.
It ruled that the transmissions at times of the day when children could be expected to be listening was in breach of the provision of the Canadian Association of Broadcaster's Code of Ethics.
The Council had received a number of complaints about the use of the words "fucker", "fuck" and "motherfucker" in the broadcasts/
Its Ontario Regional Panel said that the station, in the event that an edited version of the song was unavailable, had the choice of delaying the airplay until a later hour or not playing the unedited song at all.
2001-12-06 : Latest Australian ratings just released from AC Nielsen McNair show further bites being taken out of the Austereo audience, in Sydney where Nova FM gained 2.3 points whilst top rated FM station Austereo's Today FM dropped almost 2 points.
2-Day ended up with a 10.6% share compared to 12.5% a month earlier, having lost 50,000 listeners a week.
Triple M, another Austereo station, was second with a 105 share, down from 10.8%, having lost 22000 listeners a week; and Nova ended up with a 9.35 share, up from 7.0% having gained 54000 listeners.
2Day now has a weekly audience of 957,000, Triple M of 752,000 and Nova of 707,000.
Overall, AM talk station 2UE stayed in top spot with a 13.2 rating, up 1%; in the breakfast slot, Alan Jones increased his lead with a 19.2 per cent share, almost nine points ahead of his nearest rival, 2Day's Morning Crew.
2UE rival talk station 2GB again lost audience, dropping to a 3.3% share from 3.5% and increasing speculation that it will bid hard to tempt Jones from 2UE.
In the talk station's afternoon drive slots, 2GB's Graham Richardson, lost share, falling from 3.75 to 3.3% whilst 2UE's John Laws increased his share from 8.8% to 9.2%; overall afternoon drive leader was still 2-Day but its 14.4% dropped to 12.5%.
ABC 702 pulled back to take a 7.2% share, up from 6.6% a month earlier and ABC newsRadio also increased its share, up to 2.5% from 2.3%.
In the rest of the country, the story was mixed but Austereo stations still held the top two spots everywhere.
In other Australian main cities, the top three were as follows (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: SAFM with 26.1 (23.7); 5MM with 13.8 (14.6) 5AA with 12.3 (13.7);
*Brisbane - B105FM with 21.1 (23.5); Triple M with 13.0 (16.4); 4KQ with 10.3 (12.5):
*Melbourne - Fox FM with 17.6 (17.1); 3AW with 14.3 (14.6); 3MM with 12.0 (12.4):
*Perth - 94.5FM with 21.5 (22.7); All New with 18.9 (17.0); 96FM with 13.1 (14.6):
2001-12-06 : The Kansas City market will get a new station under a major shuffle that has been given the go-ahead by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC): It involves various moves and upgradings. Under them:
*Country format KCSX-FM 97.3, currently licensed to Moberley, Missouri, in the Colombia market, will upgrade to C1 and have a new city of license - Lee's Summit, Missouri.
*Country format KNDY-FM Marysville, Kansas moves from 103.1 to 95.5;
*Adult standards KRLI-FM Malta Bend, Missouri, moves from 97.5 to 103.9;
*Country KNMO-FM Nevada, MO moves from 97.7 to 97.5;
*Top 40 KJCK-FM 94.5 Junction City, Kansas moves from 94.5 to 97.5;
*Adult Contemporary KINZ-FM Humboldt, Kansas moves from 94.3 to 95.3;
*Variety KSNP-FM Burlington, Kansas moves from 95.3 to 97.7;
*Country KNCY-FM Auburn, Nebraska, moves from 94.7 to 103.1;
* Oldies KCHI-FM Chillicothe, Missouri goes from a Class C3 at 103.9 to a Class A at 97.5 *Country WIBW-FM Topeka, Kansas, moves from 97.3 to 94.5;
*Classic Country KAYQ-FM Warsaw, Missouri, moves from 97.7 to 97.1;
*Oldies KNIM-FM Maryville, MO moves its transmitter site.
In addition 97.3 is allocated to Madison, MO as a new C3.
FCC web site:
2001-12-06 : TEAMTalk Media has now completed its acquisition of an 80% stake in Atlantic 252, which is to be changed from a dance to a sports format and renamed TEAMtalk 252 (See RNW Oct 12):
It paid GBP2 million for the stake, held by RTL, leaving Irish state broadcaster RTÉ as the other shareholder with 20%.
Previous Atlantic 252:
2001-12-05 : The UBS Warburg media conference in New York has been hearing some upbeat forecasts for next year.
They include a prediction from Universal McCann forecaster Bob Coen that advertisement spending in 2002 will be up 2.5% from this year, and from Interrep CEO Ralph Guild that radio advertising should grow by 1% to 2%.
Both Viacom President (and Infinity CEO), Mel Karmazin and Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays were also modestly optimistic.
Karmazin said that Viacom could grow its cash flow " by at least $500 million, even if the environment is difficult." Independently of the economy, Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation CEO Mack Tichenor says that the effect of the demographic changes reported in the 2000 census will mean a boost for Spanish speaking stations.
Hispanic CFO Jeff Henson told the conference that in 2002 they saw "values of radio stations declining as revenues come down."
This meant said Henson that more stations would be for sale at prices that played into Hispanic's practice of buying English stations in big Hispanic markets to flip to Spanish formats.
Karmazin and Lowry Mays also spoke in favour of more de-regulation of media in the US.
Mays commented," "We believe very strongly there should be further deregulation in the Radio sector."
"We think there is still opportunity for deregulation there."
"How will this affect our business going forward? You certainly will not see us in the newspaper business, in the cable business, those types of businesses."
"We are going to stay in those businesses we are already in."
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is also urging more de-regulation, in particular the ending of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule that bans ownership of a newspaper and broadcast station in the same market.
In a submission to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), NAB says that the FCC will be unable to provide evidence that the ban has produced greater diversity in local markets.
It is backed in the call for the ending of the cross-ownership ban by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA).
Already various companies are making preparations for a rush of deals should the FCC loosen regulations.
In the meantime, deals do still continue: the latest is a USD1.3 million cash purchase by Regent Communications of Covenant Communications' WLSP-AM & WRXF-FM in the Flint, Michigan, market.
Regent will run the stations under an LMA until the deal is completed; it already owns another AM and three FMs in the market.
The deal will be more than financed by another Regent deal; the USD 2million sale of the frequency of WGNA-AM, Albany, New York, to ABC Inc.
Regent will retain the call letters.
In Chicago, however, the Radio Center for People with Disabilities has petitioned the FCC to deny the sale by Catholic Radio Network to Midwest Broadcasting of WAUR-AM.
The Center had a deal to acquire the station but it collapsed and the Center wants the return of a USD400000 payment from Catholic Radio Network.
Previous ABC, US:
Previous Catholic Radio Network:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Raph Guild:
Previous Lowry Mays:
2001-12-05 : A total of sixteen UK radio station licences have been automatically renewed for 8 years by the UK Radio Authority on the basis that they were providing or had commitments to provide programmes on relevant local digital multiplexes.
They are 2CR FM (Bournemouth), Choice 96.6 FM (South London), City Beat 96.7 (Belfast), Classic Gold 828 (Bournemouth), Classic Gold 1359 (Coventry), Classic Gold 666/954 (Exeter/Torbay), Classic Gold 1332 (Peterborough) Galaxy 102.2 (Birmingham), Gemini FM (Exeter/Torbay), Hereward FM (Peterborough), Kix 96.2 (Coventry), Mercia FM (Coventry), Spectrum Radio 558AM (Greater London), Sunrise FM (Bradford), Tay AM (Dundee/Perth) and Tay FM (Dundee/Perth).
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Radio Authority news release:.
2001-12-05 : The new company that is to take over the online sports services Rivals.net, which was formerly owned by the UK Chrysalis Group, and 365 Corporation, is reported to be planning to cut staff by up to half.
Co-incidentally the Live365 365 site, which streams for hobbyists and professional broadcasters, is currently out of action.
It is currently carrying a message that says this is due to "network problems beyond our control" but promises speedy resumption of services.
Another provider of services to broadcasters, SiteShell has announced that it is to cease handling website maintenance and content.
SiteShell says that it will now licence its technology to customers and that a new company founded by former employees will be licensed to maintain sites for affiliates.
2001-12-05 : MeasureCast has reported yet another drop in Internet listening in the week to November 25, taking its Internet Radio Listening Index down 16.5% to 235; the Index, which started at a base of 100 at the beginning of 2001 peaked at 329 in the week to November 4.
The organisation puts the fall over the previous week down to the Thanksgiving Holiday.
It also notes that listening to Christmas-related outlets and music continued to rise with CableMusic's Christmas Classic station moving up from 31st to ninth place in the organisation's ranking by time spent listening.
At the top of the rankings there was little change, although Virgin moved back into the top five and sports-format ESPN dropped back from fifth to sixth.
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 175854 (140100); CP 72285 (64831) Up from 2nd place but its listening is lower than that last week for then leader, MediaAmazing.
2): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 129850 (193781); CP 50198 (60400) Previously top - listening and reach down.
3): Classical music King FM TTSL 91458 (126593);CP 21243 (23493) - Up from fourth but listening and reach down.
4): Classical station WXQR-FM TTSL 91329 (130509); CP 9524 (10267) Down from third - listening and reach down.
5): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 64605 (45280 ); CP 16694 ( 13020 ) Up from seventh thanks to significant increase in listening although reach was down.
Previous MeasureCast weekly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-12-04 : US digital radio has taken a step forward following a dual endorsement of iBiquity Digital Corporation's IBOC (In-Band, On-Channel) FM technology.
One came from the US National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC), which has completed its evaluation of the technology and recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorise it as an enhancement to the current analogue FM broadcasting system in the US.
The system has also been endorsed by the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as meeting its standards for digital broadcasting on the FM band.
The ITU had already approved the system for the AM band.
IBiquity is planning its commercial roll-out next year with the launch of IBOC transmission equipment at the National Association of Broadcasters Conference in April.
iBiquity web site:
2001-12-04 : Amongst the other changes wrought in Afghanistan the speedy successes of the Northern Alliance has been one as effective in changing radio formats as a US station takeover.
Within a few hours of the arrival of the Northern Alliance in the centre of Kunduz, the Taliban "Voice of Shariat" radio station had exchanged its diet of Islamic programming for one that is the voice of the Alliance.
It also added music, which was banned by the Taliban, to its mix.
The staff, however, remained unchanged, smoothly switching from one side to the other.
It's not the first time the station has switched its views to accommodate its masters.
Build by the then- Soviet Union during its occupation of Afghanistan 1979 to 1989, Radio-TV of Kunduz broadcast Russian views, news and television.
When the Russians were expelled, the station denounced its former masters. The TV broadcasts are yet to be resumed as equipment has to be repaired and the radio station is operating on limited resources- - its first music broadcasts used bootleg tapes bought on the city's black market.
2001-12-03 : This week we found comment from various newspapers on particular programmes of sufficient general interest to warrant wider circulation, starting with two reports on minority interest programmes in the US.
First is a Baltimore Sun report by Jackie Powder concerning the first Low Power FM station for Maryland.
In this case, the paper reported on plans by environmental group, the South Arundel Coalition for Responsible Development (SACReD) to launch a radio station to aid in their fight to use radio to advance its cause.
The planned station, WRYR-FM, will have a range of around 15 miles and should reach the South County area and coastal communities across the Chesapeake Bay in Talbot County.
As well as the WRYR licence, two other LPFM licences have been allocated in the state , to St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Garrett County and Edinboro Early School in Ocean City.
SACReD leader Michael Shay and other station organisers say it will offer an eclectic mix of programming, much of it hosted by local residents with a range that runs from a jazz programme to a gardening show and a show on policies affecting Chesapeake Bay.
Another report, this time by Leslie Linthicum in the Albuquerque Journal which we found in the San Francsico Chronicle.
It looks at "Native America Calling," the only nationwide radio talk show devoted to Indian people and the issues that affect their lives.
The programme began in 1995, originating from the KUNM-FM studios on the University of New Mexico campus.
It is now carried by 32 tribal radio stations and 14 public radio stations with no tribal affiliation.
The show deals with political and social issues from the obvious ones such as those concerning natural resources, and preserving language, religion and culture to more obscure ones such as what it is that makes a person Indian and the proliferation of coffee houses on reservations.
Host Harlan McKosato, a 35-year-old member of the Sac and Fox and Iowa tribes, majored in broadcast journalism at the University of Oklahoma and intended to become a sports broadcaster before he decided to put his radio skills to use for Indian people.
"There are three shows that are can't miss," he said.
"Anything to do with alcoholism and how it affects Native American communities; blood quantum and how you decide who is Indian; and non-natives practicing native religion."
The show is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and has been owned by Koahnic Broadcast Corp. ("koahnic" means "live air" in an Athabaskan language) since April.
It has its offices at the Koahnic headquarters in Anchorage while maintaining its production and editorial staff in Albuquerque.
After two reports indicating some of the non-commercial fare on the US airwaves, a more jaundiced view, reflecting, we fear, the reality in most areas.
It comes from BBC Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie whose diary item in the UK Guardian commences," Even apart from the pips, you do miss radio when you're in the US."
"Last week there, I was finding the television coverage of the war so irritating, with the 'America Strikes Back' labels still there after three months, and the 'hey mom, look at me' school of war reportage, that I searched even more diligently than usual across the dial."
"National Public Radio fires away, of course, but there is still something 50s-like about its ponderous tone, and a sense that it knows that it is a broadcasting niche, however worthy. "
It then continues, "Elsewhere - almost nothing, except 12-second-long reports and acres of bland phone-ins, all the blander for consisting often of the most lurid imaginable "solutions" to Afghanistan and the Middle East."
"The threshold of discussion has dropped so low, thanks to the efforts of the 'nuke 'em all' brigade, that there is no freshness left, only repetition and rage."
"The real arguments, which are enlivening the wider and subtler public debate in America, aren't shaping the broadcasting."
"Talk show hosts and their scramble for celebrity and outrage haven't made radio livelier; they've threatened to kill it as journalism. "
On a more positive note, he comments, "Even in an atmosphere in which most correspondents are having to hunt in packs in the war zone (for their own safety), radio here is managing to craft real reportage from the front; the parallel challenge is to sustain the level of genuine debate when the more spectacular military moments have passed."
And also a report from Australia that indicates that some, less desirable to us, US trends have been replicated elsewhere.
In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Andrew Hornery and Cosima Marriner write that Australia is mirroring the US in that consolidation has mainly been to the detriment of local news, especially on television, but could yet benefit radio stations.
Not that radio is exempt from the pressures, they say, commenting, "In recent years radio stations across regional Australia have been bought out by larger conglomerates resulting in much of their programming being centralised at metropolitan 'parent' stations."
"For many towns that has meant the loss of local announcers and localised programs."
However, says the article, the decline has been much more marked in television around three quarters of whose revenues come from national advertising, a ratio which is reversed in radio.
This gives radio an incentive to maintain its local output, says the paper, citing comment from DMG Radio managing director Paul Thompson.
"Local news is something that radio does really well," says Thompson.
"Listeners might now feel they're not getting local information from TV and move to radio. If that's the case, we'll take that happily."
RNW comment: we would note here that Australia is more regulated than the US and also has far more community stations, something that of itself puts pressure on the commercial stations.
In this case the Australian Broadcasting Authority is considering introducing a new programming standard which would force regional television stations to broadcast local news
In the meantime we can only hope that enough people switch over to radio to give it an incentive to keep up a local flavour - and that they stick with the medium, whatever TV may subsequently do.
Albuquerque Journal - Leslie Linthicum:
Baltimore Sun report - Jackie Powder:
Sydney Morning Herald - Andrew Hornery and Cosima Marriner:
UK Guardian - James Naughtie:
2001-12-02 : Australia had the main licence news over the past week with the advertising of a new commercial licence for Perth (see RNW Nov 27) and Canada was fairly active but elsewhere was very quiet with nothing of note from either the UK or Ireland.
In Australia, as well as the Perth licence advertisement, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has also been active on the community radio front.
In Queensland it has varied the plans for Gympie and Nambour, thus making spectrum available for additional translator services for existing commercial services in the Noosa/Tewantin area and also for an as-yet unallocated new commercial licence for the Nambour area.
The ABA has also varied the Remote North East Zone licence area plan to make an alternative frequency available for the commercial radio service, 4SUN, at Mt Tamborine but has decided not to make spectrum available to extend the 4SUN service into Caloundra.
In Northern New South Wales, the Authority has invited applications for a new community radio licence each for the Ballina, Casino, Coraki and Nimbin areas.
Applications have to be submitted by December 21.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has acquired a new chairman in Toronto Communications lawyer Charles Dalfen (see RNW Dec 1).
It has also authorised a re-structuring of commercial radio in Regina, Saskatchewan, to leave two owners instead of the previous three, each of whom held two licences.
Under the changes, Craig Broadcasting exits the market, where its CKCK-AM and CFWF-FM had been operated by HDL under a Local Management Agreement.
HDL, which owned CKRM-AM and CHMX-FM, will retain these and add CFWF-FM to its portfolio.
Rawlco, which owned CJME-AM and CIZL-FM, will retain these and add a new FM station. CKCK-AM will no longer operate.
The Commission has dealt with a number of amendments to existing licences including:
*an increase in antenna height and a power decrease for CJAY-FM Calgary from 74,000 watts to 44,000 watts.
British Colombia -
*An increase in antenna height and a power increase for CHQM-FM Vancouver from 49,000 watts to 53,000 watts.
*Allocation of a new frequency for Telemedia's new FM station at Vernon after technical factors rendered unacceptable the original frequency allocated for the conversion of CICF-AM to FM
* A Power decrease for CBUE-FM Hope, from 136 to 105 watts and relocation of the transmitter site.
* Power decrease for CFMK-FM, Kingston from 50,000 watts to 14,000 watts.
*Power increase for CJBR-FM Rimouski, from 5,500 watts to 19,400 watts
North of the border, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted new rules for various filings that might have been affected by disruptions to the regular mail service because of the anthrax scare in the US.
A number of filings now have to be submitted electronically, by hand, or by overnight delivery.
These include petitions to deny, petitions for reconsideration, applications for review, informal requests for FCC action on pending applications, and petitions for amendment of the FM and TV table of allotments, which affect new station allotments.
It has also granted Ohio moves and Construction Permits that are dependent on Canadian approval, because of the proximity to the border.
One involves Clear Channel, which has successfully petitioned the Commission to allow it to upgrade an unbuilt CP for a Class A station in van Wert to a Class B1 in Columbus Grove, subject to CRTC approval.
Also in Ohio, Salem Communications is to move its Class B WYGY-FM to Lebanon from Hamilton whilst Infinity plans to move its WAQZ-FM from Lebanon to Fort Thomas.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2001-12-02 :The main British opposition party, the Conservatives, might privatise the BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 channels if they regain power according to a report in the UK's Broadcast magazine.
It quotes shadow Media Secretary Tim Yeo as saying that they are not "an essential part of public service broadcasting" and that their functions could be performed better in the private sector.
The channels are both mainly music outlets but the BBC said the idea was "nonsensical".
A spokeswoman said: "Radios 1 and 2 are as much a part of the public service portfolio as the rest of our services."
"Nowhere in the commercial sector are you getting live music and news and social action broadcasting as one package."
2001-12-02 Technicians at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) have threatened to stop work on Monday (Dec 3) should the Corporation, which has said it will unilaterally implement new terms of employment, not reach agreement with their union by then.
The CBC says they have not moved from their offer of November 15 and that that its move, following the June expiry of a previous contract with the union, is legal under the country's Labour Code.
Under the terms, due to take effect at 1800 EST (2300 GMT) tonight, employees who stay at work will receive an immediate lump sum payment of CAD500 and immediate pay increase of 1.5% with a further 2% on July 1 next year.
The union says that after cuts in lunchtimes, overtime and shift turnaround are taken into account, the offer amounts to a 5% pay cut.
Also on the work front in Canada, Corus has announced that it has cut, 20 full-time jobs in Vancounver and 11 full- and part-time jobs in Edmonton according to Canadian Press.
It had already trimmed 180 jobs last month.
2001-12-01:Chicago shock-jock Erich Mancow Muller is being sued again, this time for defamation by Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese concerning comments he made on his show in June.
The Chicago Tribune reports that they included allegations that she accepted payoffs to do town business and also associated with mobsters.
Loren-Maltese is to go to trial in May on racketeering charges for allegedly taking bribes to allow a mob-controlled insurance administrator to loot the town of more than $10 million.
In her lawsuit against Muller and Emmis Communications, she contends that Muller made comments he knew to be false and caused her "injury to her reputation, humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish."
She wants damages of more than USD50000.
Chicago Tribune report (requires registration):
2001-12-01: Radio America talk host (and Iran-Contra arms related convicted criminal) Lt Colonel Oliver North says he's to become the first American radio talk show host to broadcast live from Afghanistan.
He says he is to join the marines near Kandahar today. North said, "I've heard too much on the air about how tough this war is on the reporters who are covering it from the comfort of their hotels."
"I'm going in with the grunts to broadcast the real story of this war-the courage of those brave young American heroes of our military who are dodging death on the front lines to protect our freedoms back home."
RNW comment: In the planning for various other US media personalities to host shows from Afghanistan, locating them with the marines has been part of the planning for safety reasons as well as story ones.
A quick read concerning condition in Mazr-i-Sharif, Kunduz and Taloqan (where a Swedish journalist was murdered - in the house in which he was staying and not a non-existent hotel!) and about the battle at Qala-i-Jhangi fort (where a British reporter was injured when a Taliban fighter being taken from a truck killed himself and four others by blowing himself up with a grenade) should enlighten him.
Had he shame, it should also make him ashamed.
The current circumstances when the Taliban are reported to be offering a bounty of around USD50000 for a Western journalist's death make his comments particularly inappropriate. even if the threats are misreported (they do not fit in with previous Taliban treatment of journalists they have held)..
Perhaps he'd consider a challenge to go and go and do some real reporting in US ally General Dostum's patch?
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has appointed Toronto communications attorney Charles Dalfen its new Chairman.
He replaces CRTC vice-chairman and acting-chairman David Colville, who stood in when Francoise Bertrand resigned in December last year before her term expired.
Dalfen was CRTC vice-chairman from 1976-1980. He takes over in his new post, which pays around CAD350000 a year, on January 1.
2001-12-01: A fairly quiet week on the deals front in the US has seen amongst other things an Entercom buy in North Carolina, Nassau Broadcasting Partners involved in a five-station shuttle, Mapleton Media closing on six acquisitions and yet another class action lawsuit launched.
In North Carolina, Entercom is paying USD20.5million for WPET-AM & WKSI-FM, Greensboro, North Carolina, from Bahakel Communications.
It will operate the stations from December 5 under an LMA, giving it a total of six stations - four FMs and two AMs - in the market.
Also in North Carolina, Burns Media Strategies is buying WCCA-FM and WLTT-FM, Wilmington, which it already operates under LMAs.
The Nassau Broadcasting deal, involves the group in buying back two stations it has sold but is still running under LMA's, and swapping an AM and its expanded-band sister station for an AM it already runs under an LMA.
The stations being bought back are WVPO-AM & WSBG-FM Stroundburg, Pennsylvania, which Nassau sold to Multicultural Broadcasting for $7M in 1998 but which it has continued to operate under an LMA.
The other deal involves a swap of WHWH-AM and WTTM-AM, licences to Trenton, New Jersey, for Multicultural's WJHR-AM, Flemington, New Jersey. WJHR currently simulcasts WHWH under an LMA and Nassau is expected to run WHWH under a new LMA.
The Mapleton Communications deal that has closed is the $8.85M acquisition of six Medford-Ashland, OR stations from Marathon Media.
It is the first closure by the group, which also has deals pending in two California markets.
On the finance side, Sinclair Broadcast Group has taken advantage of low interest rates and privately placed USD310 million in 10-year Proceeds will e used to redeem outstanding 10% notes, which it is calling in more than three years before they mature.
The latest class action lawsuit involves Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS).
Like those involving Radio 1 Inc and Unica (See RNW Nov 28) the target is not the company itself but the financiers.
The suit claims that buyers of stock were defrauded because some of the underwriters had under-the-table deals with big institutional investors to prop up the stock's trading price in return for getting access to blocks of the IPO shares.
There have also been more developments over Clear Channel's USD800m purchase of Ackerley Communications, on which Ackerley shareholders are to vote on January 24 next year.
The deal will involve a number of spin-offs for regulatory reasons and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council has files comments supporting an extension of the six-month period for disposal of radio stations in New York and California; it notes that previous sales by Clear Channel and Infinity led to an increase in minority ownership and wants the extension to allow qualified minority buyers to find funding.
Opposing the deal, Buckley Broadcasting, which operates an AM-FM combination in Monterey-Salinas, California, says that allowing Clear Channel to acquire the two Ackerley TV stations in the market, in which Clear Channel has six radio stations, would enable it to so dominate spot advertising that others will not be able to compete.
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