Feb 2002 April
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 March comment looks at the pros (few, if any, we believe) and cons (significant) of further media consolidation.
RNW February comment considers whether charges and regulations proposed for streaming could almost kill off the idea.
RNW January Comment takes a look at regulation and censorship in view of current US divisions concerning "indecent" broadcasts.
2002-03-31:Australia was quiet on the radio front over the past week but a variety of issues and licensing decisions came up elsewhere.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in smaller scale decisions including an administrative renewal of the broadcasting licence for the French-language radio network operated by Radiomédia inc. for the broadcast of the baseball games of the Montréal Expos, from 1 April 2002 to the end of the 2002 baseball season.
It also published a public notice of a power increase request in Ontario and approved a power decrease, also in Ontario.
The increase was from 298 to 1,430 watts for Milestone Radio's CFXJ-FM in order to improve the stations signal and the decrease was for from 96,300 watts to 70,000 watts for CFJB-FM Barrie-Orillia, Ontario (Rock 95).
The decrease was allied with a transmitter move to the site currently used by CKMB-FM, the licensee's other station serving the Barrie-Orillia market and was necessary to maintain the maintain the station's authorized technical parameters at its new transmitter site, which is approximately 100 metres higher than the present location. Rock 95 says the move to share the antenna will save it around CAD20, 000 a year.
Concern at the change was expressed by Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation (Bayshore), licensee of three radio stations in Owen Sound (CFOS, CIXK-FM and CKYC-FM), which argued that the proposed changes would put CFJB-FM's into much of the Owen Sound radio market.
Rock 95 said it would not significantly affect Bayshore's business and also, in response to an objection by Durham Radio Inc., licensee of CJKX-FM Ajax, which said the proposed changes would significantly increase interference by CFJB-FM, attached a letter from the Canadian Department of Industry that indicated that potential interference to CJKX-FM would actually be reduced.
On the business side, the CRTC has approved a takeover by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, of CJRW-FM Summerside, from The Gulf Broadcasting Company Limited and a corporate re-organisation by North Superior Broadcasting Ltd., Marathon and Wawa, Ontario.
Under this, Mrs. Wendy M. Bell will acquire all the holding, amounting to around 11% of the company, held by Peter A Burns. Control of North Superior, which operates CFNO-FM Marathon and CJWA-FM Wawa, will remain with Spencer S Bell who holds more that 60% of the company's shares.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now signed a contract with NewsTalk 106FM, the new broad-based, speech-driven radio station for Dublin. The station is due to go on air in April along with Spin FM, the new Dublin youth-oriented music station.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has been involved in Access Radio again with the launch in Leicester of Takeover Radio, a new experimental analogue radio service for children and in Nottingham of Radio Fiza, a new experimental analogue radio service for the city's South Asian community.
The former is owned and operated by the registered charity, Takeover Radio Children's Media Trust and the latter is shared between the Asian Women's Project and the Karimia Institute.
The two launches mean that six of the 15 Access radio pilot stations selected by the Authority are now on-air; the others are due to follow within the next two months apart from Shine FM in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, which will broadcast for just a few months from the autumn (fall).
The Authority has also sought public interest comments on the acquisition by Kent Messenger Ltd of a controlling interest in Medway FM Ltd., which broadcasts Mercury 107.9 FM, the local radio station in Medway. The public interest test is required because the Kent Messenger operates a number of newspapers in the station's transmission area.
It has also published its assessment of the re-award to Premier Christian Radio of its Greater London local licence, commenting in particular on the "clarity of the application proposals" submitted by Premier and noting the significant part of the station's output that came from high quality outside broadcasts. It also noted approvingly the measures that the station had now introduced to ensure compliance with programming codes and the 1990 Broadcasting Act.
In Scotland, the Authority has received only one application for the new local FM licence for Skye & Lochalsh; this was from Cuillin FM Ltd., which is proposing a community-led service that will reflect the culture of the area and give prominence to broadcasts in Gaelic.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the creation of the new federal advisory committee, the Media Security and Reliability Council (" MSRC") whose members will study, develop and report on best practices designed to assure the "optimal reliability, robustness and security of the broadcast and multichannel video programming distribution industries."
It will be comprised of senior executives of companies involved in mass media and will initially be chaired by Dennis J. FitzSimons, President and COO of Tribune Company.
On the regulatory enforcement front, the Commission has seen a judge halt its order for halted the revocation of the licences of WSTX AM and FM of Christiansted, Virgin Islands, from Family Broadcasting, Inc. Further hearings are now to be held (See RNW March 29).
In other actions, its enforcement bureau has
*denied an application by KASA Radio Hogar Inc for review of a USD15, 000 fine imposed last year (See RNW June 10, 2001) for various offences relating to not having proper monitoring equipment and not conducting equipment performance tests at KDAP-AM, Douglas, Arizona.
*proposed a penalty of USD10,000 on M& R Enterprises, Inc., licensee of Station WESL( AM), East St. Louis, Illinois, for repeatedly denying access to its public inspection files.
*proposed a penalty of USD 6,000 on Clear Channel for the June 2001 broadcast on WGBF (FM), Henderson, Kentucky of a tape of a phone conversation with an announcer at a rival station so as to ridicule him and without informing him of its intention to broadcast the conversation. The complainant had submitted a tape of the conversation and Clear Channel admitted the offence.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-03-30: Cumulus Radio has now completed this week's biggest radio deal, its USD230 million acquisition of Aurora Communications, which owns and operates 18 radio stations in Connecticut and New York. (See RNW Nov 20, 2001).
It's also completed its USD87 million acquisition of the three Nashville stations of DBBC LLC, which was owned by the Dickey brothers John and Lewis who are respectively Cumulus's Executive Vice President and President and Chief Executive Officer. The Aurora deal gained 99% support from those shareholders who voted according to Cumulus
Both deals were mainly comprised of stock or warrants: In the case of Aurora, Cumulus paid USD93 million in cash or assumed debt plus around 10.6 million shares of its common stock and also issued warrants to purchase 833,333 additional shares of its common stock. In the case of DBBC LLC the deal involved 5,250,000 shares of the Cumulus Class A Common Stock, the assumption of approximately USD21 million in liabilities of DBBC, and the issuance of warrants to purchase 250,000 additional shares of Cumulus Common Stock.
Concurrently with the announcement of the completion, Cumulus also announced that it had completed a USD400 million credit arrangement comprising an USD112.5 million revolving commitment, a USD112.5 million term loan and a USD175.0 million term loan.
The proceeds of this facility have been used to refinance amounts outstanding under current credit facilities, to fund the cash portions of the Aurora and DBBC acquisitions and to pay fees and expenses in connection with both the acquisitions and credit facilities.
In another sizeable deal, Lincoln, Nebraska-based Three Eagles Communications Inc has agreed its purchase for USD71 million by a group headed by Wachovia Corporation's investment arm. Privately held Three Eagles owns 35 stations in five states in the mid west and expects the deal to close within four months.
The group taking it over is comprised of Wachovia Capital Partners, Primus Venture Partners and Three Eagles' management team, with founder, chairman and CEO Rolland Johnson leading the plan on behalf of the management.
In Georgia, Paul Stone is to buy out the estate of his late 50-50 partner in Southern Broadcasting, Charles Giddens, from Gidden's widow Joanne.
He'll pay her USD15 million for the half of Southern she owns, with additional payment to be made should he sell the stations in the next few years. Southern owns ten stations and is buying two others, all in Georgia.
On the results front, Big City Radio's results for the final quarter of 2002 shows it still making losses but trimming them back significantly. In the quarter its net revenues were down nearly a fifth to USD4.5 million but drastic cost cutting took its negative Broadcast Cash Flow (BCF), which was USD771, 000 of red ink a year ago down to a loss of only USD93, 000.
For the full year net revenues were down 14% to USD20.5 million and negative BCF, excluding its Internet operation, which lost, another USD1.5 million, was cut to USD758,000 compared to USD 2.2 million on the minus side for 2000.
The company's 10K filing includes, as it did for 2000, a warning that there are doubts about the group's ability to continue as a going concern.
Big City raised USD34 million to ease its debt problems by selling its Phoenix stations to Hispanic Broadcasting for USD 34 million last September (see RNW Sept 8 2001).
It paid interest of nearly USD10 million on its bonds earlier this month but will have the same problem again on September 15th and says that it will have to raise the money through an equity issue, borrowing or more asset sales to meet the payment.
Should it not do so, and hasn't by the end of October reinvested in broadcasting assets around USD18 million (its cash in hand at the end of 2001)it will have to make an offer to repurchase its USD174 million's worth of outstanding bonds.
Back with the big players, a group including Viacom that owned a fifth of Westwood One in May 2000, has sold warrants for 1 million shares back to Westwood at a price of USD25.43 a share. Westwood, which has already spent nearly USD500 million on repurchases, earlier this week agreed to put an additional USD200 million into its re-purchasing funds (RNW March 28). This latest deal reduced the Viacom group holding in Westwood to just under 16%.
And finally a claim that in RNW's view would in a sane world have been better reported on April 1st, All Fool's Day, a USD 1.2 billion lawsuit against Clear Channel.
It comes from the family of a Binghamton, New Jersey, woman who died two years ago after she fell and struck her head when she was pushed or fell whilst waiting with her daughter, then aged ten, for the appearance of Britney Spears at a Clear Channel WMRV-FM station promotion.
The woman's widower alleges negligence by the station and its owners and has launched a total of 45 suits for damages of USD10 million plus in some cases, punitive damages of USD50 million.
Previous Big City Radio:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous John Dickey:
Previous Lewis Dickey:
Previous Westwood One:
2002-03-30: The UK has seen two radio company closures over the past week (as well as the collapse of UK ITV Digital, handing Sky digital a commercial digital TV near-monopoly in the UK).
One was of a production company and the other of a digital radio station.
The latter was Stormlive, the digital station run by former DJ Bruno Brookes' company, which has now pulled the plug on the station and is to concentrate on its other activities.
Stormlive had been available via the Internet and Sky digital but suffered from having no audited audience figures on which to base advertising charges.
The production company was Wise Buddha Broadcast, which produced a number of shows for BBC Radio 1 and documentaries for BBC Radios 2 and 4. Wise Buddha's other divisions, WB Creative, WB Talent and WB Music, will continue to trade.
Previous Bruno Brookes:
2002-03-30: Former WQAM Miami morning co-host and sports announcer Jeff Deforrest, who in January (See RNW Jan 19) pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks to a Miccosukee Indian Gaming marketing director to ensure that he got the contract to broadcast television shows from its Tamiami Trail casino, has been sentenced to three years probation and six months house arrest.
He will also have to do 80 hours of community service and must repay USD18, 312 to the Miccosukee Tribe
2002-03-29: A US judge has halted the revocation of the licences of WSTX AM and FM of Christiansted, Virgin Islands, from Family Broadcasting, Inc. and designated the case for further hearings.
The stations are owned by Gerard Luz James and his wife Asta Luz James and have been the subject of US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decisionsdating back to October 15, 1994 when
WSTX- FM discontinued broadcast operations, allegedly because of the station's close proximity to the sea and damage from Hurricane Marilyn. It remained off the air until January 18, 1997, and did not submit, as required, any written request to remain silent. Subsequently an administrative law judge ruled that the company was fit to remain a licensee despite dishonesty and violation of rules.
The FCC then issued a "show cause" notice requiring Family to show why its licences should not be revoked and a fine levied "not to exceed two hundred and seventy- five thousand dollars" in relation to various rule breaches including an unauthorised transmitter move.
Gerard Luz James and his wife are attempting to transfer control of the station to their adult children but the FCC has already ruled against the transfer (see RNW June 17. 2001) and argued that James' daughter Barbara James-Petersen, who has run the stations as station manager and is currently company President should have known of some of the violations at the time of their commission.
it also suggests she may still be under control over her parents as far as the running of the stations is concerned.
The hearings will consider these matters and also the question of whether Ms James-Peterson is qualified to continue running the stations and also how to ensure that her parents do not enjoy benefits from a transfer of the licences
FCC re Family Broadcasting:
2002-03-29: The trade body for UK commercial radio, the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA), in a report "OFCOM: Deregulating Commercial Radio"(RNW note:OFCOM is the proposed new UK Super regulator) has called for the BBC to come under the new British super-regulator in the same way as commercial radio does and has also expressed concern over what it terms "the Radio Authority's interference in the day-to-day operations of their businesses."
"These days," it adds, "the imposition of automation limits and prescriptions of where news bulletins are read from should not be tasks for a regulator. We believe that listeners will punish companies that dare to provide poor quality services."
Published thinking to date on OFCOM, it notes, has been limited to that from regulators in the form of the Towers Perrin Scoping Project, which it says, "was short on deregulation and consultation."
Calling for a proper recognition of the importance of radio by the new regulator, the report says," "Commercial radio is strong. Radio employs almost as many people as television, at the same time as increasing its share of advertising and audience, as television's declines. For these reasons, radio deserves better than being consigned to a solo silo."
"Like many other OFCOM regulated businesses, " says the CRCA, "radio will flourish under a deregulatory, streamlined regulator that is sufficiently flexible to respond to developing industries and is armed with sufficient expertise to recognise the ebb and flow of its role.".
On licensing it says that the current system should be maintained for new analogue licences, but existing analogue licences should only be re-advertised at the end of their term if the incumbent licensee fails to perform satisfactorily and analogue licences, like digital ones, should be 12 years long (rather than the current 8 years).
In addition it says OFCOM should recognise the impact of digital take-up delay on licensees by aligning analogue licences to the digital service to which they are tied.
The report recommends "the continuation of the existing 'beauty parade' system for radio licensing. We believe that this will deliver the greatest value to listeners, through the continuation of positive content promises."
It also says that it supports the continuation of positive content regulation and recommends that 'formats' should also be applied to BBC radio stations and wants all complaints referred in the first place to the company involved with complainants being told they can go back to OFCOM should they not receive a satisfactory reply.
"Commercial radio is strong. Radio employs almost as many people as television, at the same time as increasing its share of advertising and audience, as television's declines. For these reasons, radio deserves better than being consigned to a solo silo.
In similar vein on some fronts, the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is arguing that deregulation and subsequent consolidation, far from negatively affecting competition and diversity have actually enhanced them.
In comments submitted to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on a range of issues relating to ownership of radio stations in local markets, it says that the FCC should simply stick to numerical limits related that were set down with relation to market size in the 1996 US Telecommunications Act.
It then argues that consolidation has produced greater programming diversity and significant efficiency benefits.
A study conducted by BIA Financial Network, it says, unequivocally demonstrates that the post-1996 consolidation in US radio has led to greater diversity of radio programming in local markets and a NAB study shows that the overall impact of this consolidation in the radio industry may be less than often assumed, as many stations rare still "standalones," or part of local duopolies in their markets. It also argues against regulations to protect advertisers from concentration in particular local markets and says that, if there is to be such regulation, it should be based on wider media advertising rather than radio alone.
RNW comment: somewhat disingenuously (we might even say a little dishonestly), the CRCA gives as a reason for some of these views, particularly those related to licensing, that it does not "want OFCOM to be required to undertake unnecessary work." Nothing of course to do with its member companies protecting what they hold and, of course, thereby increasing their companies' market valuation.
Similarly we feel much the same way about the motivation behind some of NAB's comments.
In some cases, we think the broadcasters' arguments may turn out to be justified but where they are not we would want to see suitable ways of protecting the "public interest" where a group is subsequently found to have abused the freedoms given to it. In our view, this should include, if actions are sufficiently gross, the withdrawal of all a company's licences with no compensation but somehow, we don't think either CRCA or NAB would feel confident enough to accept the challenge of a go-ahead on this basis.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRCA web site:
NAB web site:
2002-03-29: Following in the wake of Volkswagen-Audi (See RNW March 28), Nissan has now announced that it is to make Sirius and XM satellite radios available in some of its 2003 models from fall this year. They include the Infiniti Q45, G35 and 135, the Nissan Pathfinder and the Nissan Murano.
Sirius receivers are also to be offered in the all-new 2003 Chrysler Pacifica sports tourer due to go on sale in spring of next year although it has not yet decided if they will be standard equipment
Sirius web site:
XM Web site:
2002-03-29: Local revenues have come to the aid of yet another radio company, in this case Scottish Radio Holdings(SRH).
In a trading update issued in advance of interim results due on May 24, it says that for the six months to the end of March, like-for-like radio revenues have shown a 9% fall in national advertising revenue being offset by a 4% increase in local ones which now account for 53% of its commercial radio revenue compared to 50% a year earlier.
Overall SRH says group revenues for the six months to March 31, excluding acquisitions and disposals, will be 3% down on a year earlier.
SRH web site:
2002-03-28: A mixture of ups and downs mark this week's results so far.
It was an up from UK GWR Group, which owns Classic FM and 38 local stations. It has reported some improvement in the UK advertising market but says it is too early to "to be confident that these conditions reflect a sustained recovery."
In the quarter to the end of March it says it expects total group revenues to be up 1.4% tear on year but like-for-like revenues to be flat (made up of a 4.8% reduction in year-on-year national revenues and 2.7% increase in local ones).
For the six months to the end of March, the figures are worse with like-for-like revenues forecast to be down 6% and for the full year they are forecast to be down 5.5%.
GWR had benefited from a strong performance by Classic FM, which had one of its best ever months in March.
In contrast Jones Media Networks in the US has reported a revenue decline of 21% to USD18.7 million in the final quarter of last year compared to Q4, 2000 although it also says there have been "early indications of improvement" over the past few weeks.
Jones' net loss for the final quarter was up from USD1.2 million in 2000 to USD4.2 million in 2001 and consolidated EBITDA was down by nearly half to USD2.8 million; the percentage fall excluding results from Jones' discontinued Internet division was 54% down.
Jones' radio division broke even in the quarter compared to an USD800, 000 profit a year earlier with revenues down 9% to USD9.7 million and EBITDA was down 28% to USD1.8 million.
For the year, revenues were down 9% to USD6.7 million, and radio division revenues were down 5% to USD39.9 million; overall consolidated EBITDA for the year was down 62% to USD6.7 million and radio division EBITDA was down 40% to USD6.2 million.
Looking ahead, Jones Radio Networks says it expects full year 2002 revenues to be up 10% to USD44 million and EBITDA to be up by half to USD9.3 million.
Emmis Communications Corp. is also in a slightly bullish mood based on business so far. It now says that it expects to exceed the fourth quarter guidance it issued in January and says that for the quarter to the end of February it anticipates net revenue to top USD114 million and EBITDA to top USD23.3 million.
Emmis has also announced a public offering of 4 million Class A common shares at USD26.80 a share from its shelf registration in June last year.
Underwriters Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown and Credit Suisse First Boston have a 30-day option to buy up to 600, 000 shares to cover an over-allotments.
In all Emmis expects net proceeds of USD104.5 million which is to be used to pay down debt and possibly repurchase some of its outstanding 12.5% senior discount notes that are due in 2011.
Also on the stocks front, Radio One Inc has announced that it is selling 10 million shares of its non-voting D-class stock, 1.3 million from existing shareholders and 8.7 million new shares. The sale is part of the USD500 million shelf registration it filed in January.
Meanwhile Westwood One is to buy back more of its stock from its free cash. Its board has approved an additional USD200 million share re-purchase programme, to include open market and private transactions. Westwood One has already repurchased nearly 30 million shares of its common stock and warrants for around USD478 million.
CEO Joel Hollander said the company's free cash flow increased in 2001 to nearly $104 million and that growth was expected to continue this year. The repurchase he said were "consistent with our long-term objective of enhancing shareholder value by not only paying down debt, but also purchasing our common stock."
Previous Jones Media Networks:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Previous Westwood One:
2002-03-28: Canadian broadcasting watchdog, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has condemned Calgary radio station CHRK-FM for running a contest in August 2002 that required the contestant to dance naked on a major traffic thoroughfare during the morning rush hour in order to win concert tickets.
In this case the male contestant (albeit women were also eligible) had used strategically placed Frisbees to offer partial cover and had painted his body but the Council concluded that to encourage the act was clearly a breach of its code.
It pointed out parallels between a previous contest for which a woman had ridden a bicycle naked down a main street so as to be eligible to win a cash prize.
In that case, the Council had said, "It is perfectly obvious to the Council that a nude woman (or, the Council assumes, a nude man) cycling down the principal avenue of one of the nation's largest cities could reasonably be expected to constitute a distraction for drivers."
It rejected parallels with Lady Godiva, noting, "When Lady Godiva, with an analogous attention-getting goal, tried the same thing in Coventry's marketplace in 1040 A.D., traffic was not as heavy."
In the latest case, the stunt was related to the John Mellencamp album "Dance Naked" and the prize was tickets to a Mellencamp concert but the council said this was not relevant to its finding.
The complaint made its way to the CBSC via the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which received a somewhat acerbic letter of complaint.
In part this read, "Both motorists and pedestrian traffic over the bridge were subjected to the sight of this nude male cavorting around. At that time of day there is a bumper-to-bumper stream of vehicular traffic and a heavy cyclist and foot passenger traffic. To expedite this activity the radio station furnished a "getaway" vehicle."
"No one in this city should be exposed (no pun intended) to this abhorrent behaviour in a highly public place."
"Calgary City Police responded to complaints and ticketed both the station and the idiot involved, but the radio station perverted justice by paying the ticket for the contest winner. There is no doubt that the IQ level of jocks on radio today is about that of a shrub but even for them this was more than a little over the top. It only proves that low lifes can be dredged up out of any sewer who want public attention badly enough, but I do not think our publicly licenced airways is [sic] the place for such trash. I hope that when this radio station's licence is up for renewal that this complaint will be part of the package when that licence is being considered. I also hope that the CRTC will be letting Rock 97 know that future infractions of encouraging abhorrent behaviour will be dealt with. The Calgary City Police have better things to do with their time than running around putting the lid on radio station trash."
In responding, the station programme director wrote, "Many of our listeners found the "stunt" amusing, including the ticket-issuing police officer who stated (in regards to stunting) "You've had the best reason for (stunting) so far, and I can't fault you for that". Even the newspaper article stated that the police officer "did allow himself a chuckle after he had issued [Mr. A] his ticket" This contest, as all our contests, are [sic] always conceived and executed in the spirit of having fun and not intended to put people's lives in danger, intentionally break the law or expose anyone to 'abhorrent behaviour'."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied an application by KASA Radio Hogar Inc for review of a USD15, 000 fine imposed last year (See RNW June 10, 2001) for various offences relating to not having proper monitoring equipment and not conducting equipment performance tests at KDAP-AM, Douglas, Arizona.
FCC denial ruling:
2002-03-28: Sirius Satellite Radio, which posted a wider fourth-quarter net loss on Wednesday, is to bring its rollout forward by a month and be available throughout the US by July 1.
It has also renegotiated its USD150 million loan with Lehman Brothers to eliminate all covenants for 2002; the new covenants will begin in the first quarter of 2003 and require Sirius to report first-quarter revenues that year of USD 2.3 million. Lehman in return sees the strike price for its 2.1 million Sirius stock warrants reduced to USD from USD29, still around three times the current Sirius stock price.
At a conference call, Sirius CEO Joseph P. Clayton said that consumer satisfaction with the Sirius service had been better than expected and the first phase of its launch had been so successful that the company would "accelerate and expand" its nationwide rollout. Sirius, which launched its service in four states last month (See RNW Feb 15) will now be available in 18 more states by the start of May and a further 21 within two months.
Sirius says it now has a few hundred subscribers in its first four markets and expects to increase that to between 100,000 and 200,000 by the end of this year.
On the financial front, it said it had USD331 million in cash and marketable securities at the end of 200, which together with the proceeds of an equity offering in January that raised about USD158 million, gives it a cash balance of more than USD400 million.
In the final quarter of last year, Sirius had a net loss applicable to common stockholders of USD83.6 million (USD1.52 a share), up from a loss of USD54.1 million, (USD1.28 a share), a year earlier.
Chief Financial Officer John Scelfo said the company expects acquisition costs of about USD155 per new subscriber in 2002, higher than expectations, because Sirius has had to catch up to rival XM 's head start.
Sirius is charging USD12.95 a month for its service of 60 commercial-free music channels and 40 news and entertainment channels compared to USD9.95 a month charged by rival XM, which has more services carrying advertising.
Earlier this week Volkswagen-Audi announced that it has signed agreements to offer either Sirius or XM services, the first time that a manufacturer has announced deals with both satellite companies. Previous automaker deals have all been on an exclusive basis for one of the services.
Sirius web site:
XM Web site:
2002-03-27: As concern grows amongst broadcasters about the digital rights fees proposed by the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) for streaming on the Internet (see RNW Feb 22), the lobbying is also being stepped up.
In the latest move, Arbitron has written to Congress suggesting that the fees should be dropped in favour of a five-year moratorium on fees for streaming media.
To back up its arguments, Arbitron has calculated the fees that would apply were streams to gain the same size audience as over-the- air broadcasts.
For the whole US radio industry, it says, this would be around USD2.4 billion a year, 13% of radio's total advertising revenue in 2001; for "one of the top national radio networks" fees would be USD358 million, currently amounting to nearly two-fifths of the entire network radio advertising industry revenue today; and for a top-rated New York music station the fees would be USD15 million a year.
"Streaming media," says Bill Rose, vice president and general manager, Arbitron Webcast Services, "serves the interests of the public by making available thousands of signals from around the country and the world. In addition, streaming media enables small community organizations with the ability for their message, music and voice to be heard in an affordable manner. Broad access through multiple points of distribution is crucial to serving the public interest because it will encourage competition, spur innovation and ensure diversity of voices on the Internet "
"We foresee that the impact of these fees will dramatically reduce the consumer's choice of streaming content, limit the diversity of streaming 'voices' on the Internet, stifle competition among content providers and impede the growth of a popular new medium."
The letter also notes that the business model for streaming is not comparable to that for broadcast, having much lower entry costs but higher costs as audience size increases, contends that streaming cannot be copied and thus does not pose a risk to sales of recordings and says that "very few companies if any would be able to pay the cost. "
"Already," it adds, "a number of radio station group owners and webcasters have indicated that they will cease streaming as a result of the proposed new fees. Thus, the proposed fees are likely to create a business/regulatory environment that will limit competition, stifle innovation, reduce consumer choices and diminish diversity by concentrating the distribution of music to a handful of sources."
2002-03-27: Leading Australian FM network Austereo has fought back against newcomer DMG's Nova in retaining its lead in the latest AC Nielsen McNair Australian ratings for Sydney but Nova has moved into first position in Melbourne.
On the talk front in Sydney, MacQuarie 's 2GB seems to have benefited from a revamp and Alan Jones defection to its breakfast slot from Southern Cross's 2UE where he had reigned supreme for years. 2UE again dropped share -it's now dropped from 13.2% two surveys ago to 10.7% -, although it retained second position overall, whilst 2GB increased its share by almost 50% overall; in the breakfast slot 2UE dropped from a top ranking 16.2% share to 11.5% putting it behind 2-Day which had a 14.1% share and not that far ahead of Jones who took 2GB's share up from 7.1% to 10.1%, just behind ABC 702 which increased its share from 9.5% to 10.3%
City by city, the top three were (previous % share in brackets):
Note- Triple M is now only a whisker ahead of ABC 702, which took its share up to 8.7% from 8.1%. DMG's Nova FM dropped share again, down from 8.6% to 8.3%, down from fourth position to fifth and 2GB, benefiting from Alan Jones as breakfast host, jumped up from 4.9% and seventh position to 7.1% and sixth.
*Adelaide: SAFM with 25.4 (26.5); 5AA with 15.4 (12.3) - up from third; 5MM with 11.8 (13.1)- down from second;
*Brisbane - B105FM with 19.5 (18.8); Triple M with 13.1(12.6 ; NEW97.3FM with 12.5(11.8):
*Melbourne - Nova 12.6 (10.5)- up from fourth; Fox FM 12.3 (11.6) - up from third and now equal with 3AW (12.1 and second); behind these was ABC 774 with 11.6(11.1):
Perth - 94.5FM with 22.5 (22.4) ; All New with 16.5(16.3); 96FM with 13.6(15.2)):
*Sydney, 2-Day with 13.2 (13.8); 2UE 10.7(11.9);Triple M 8.8 (9.1).
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2002-03-27: Internet listening, which had dropped the week before, rebounded by 5% in the week to March 17 according to latest figures from MeasureCast.
It says that during the week the top ten of the networks it rates streamed a combined total of 4,034,980 hours of programming - 66,827 more hours than the group streamed the week before - and the 1,248 stations it measures streamed a combined total of 6,423,886 hours.
At the top of the rankings, there was no change in individual station positions but in the network rankings, where Clear Channel retained the top spot, StreamAudio slipped from second to fifth place.
For the week to March 17, the top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets, were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 310,870 (296,256); CP 61,116 (55,439): Same position with both listening and reach up.
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 223,639 (216,368); CP 68,683 (66,792): Same position with listening and reach up but still less than two weeks previously when it was in top spot.
3: Classical format King FM - TTSL 137,894 (119,657); CP 24,315 (23,714): Same position with listening and reach up but again listening was less than two weeks previously.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM, New York - TTSL 92,397 (89,339); CP 16,080 (15,913): Same position with listening and reach up but again listening was less than two weeks previously.
5: Rock format Internet-only station KNAC - TTSL 81,835 (78,057): CP 15,474 (15,314): Same position with higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for the same week (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,088,273 (1,031,402) ; Cume 220,454 (210,406). Same position but higher listening and reach.
2: WARP Radio TTSL 616,479 (550,087) hours: Cume 133,111 (101,214) - Up from third with higher listening, and reach:
3: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 558,073 (527,466): Cume 128,853 (116,870) - Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: Virgin Radio TTSL 449,078 (418,225): Cume 91,854 (85,602) - Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
5: StreamAudio network TTSL 440,145 (624,781) : Cume 88,211 (133,523) - Down from second with significantly lower listening and higher reach.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-03-26: More than three quarters of Americans 12 or above listened to one or more network radio commercials each week last year according to the Winter 2002 RADAR (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) audience report just released by Arbitron.
The report, covering January 24, 2001 to January 22 this year, shows more listening amongst prosperous Americans - more than 90% of adults in households with an income of USD70, 000 a year or more were in the network radio audience and more than 80% of adults with a college degree.
Heading the rankings in the 31 networks rated by RADAR were Westwood CNN Max Radio Network; Premiere Morning Drive AM and Network xb.
Arbitron web site:
2002-03-26: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has launched a promotional push for its Radio National channel, the station's first major campaign since 1994, in an attempt to raise awareness of the channel, especially amongst younger Australians. The campaign is centred on the channel's Breakfast programme and features adverts on ABC and SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) TV and cinemas in Sydney and Melbourne.
The campaign will also include newspaper inserts of full Radio National programme guides and the breakfast programme will include promotions for other Radio National programmes.
The ABC's Acting Director of Corporate Affairs, John Woodward, said the channel wanted to capital on an audience increase of more than a tenth last year.
"Radio National listeners are among the most dedicated of all ABC audiences," said Woodward.
"We get a tremendous amount of positive feedback from them. Through this campaign we hope more people will sample the station and judge for themselves."
Previous ABC Australia:
2002-03-26: Two Arizona radio deals to start the week: In Las Vegas, Hispanic Broadcasting has now closed its USD16 million purchase of country-format KPXC-FM, Las Vegas taking it up to three stations in the market, It already owned KISF-FM and KLSQ-AM.
Also in Arizona, Three Points Media is paying USD8 million for KKLD-FM in Prescott Valley.
2002-03-25: For our look at print comment on radio this week,. We have concentrated on various aspects of expectation and how far this has been met or not met.
Sometimes it's a matter of how well something is thought through to begin with and in other cases the factors that have the deciding effect come from the outfield.
In the first category comes a decision for a particular UK show reviewed by Elisabeth Mahoney in the UK Guardian: "On paper, it must," she writes, "have looked like a great idea: the Mark Radcliffe Show (BBC Radio 1), live from Alton Towers on Friday, with special guests and a preview of a new fairground ride called Air (largely because you're flung up into the stuff during it)."
"Given that Mark and Lard would try the ride out during the show, this would lend itself to lots of jokes about being 'on air'. "
Living in the UK, you might have thought that, whether they like the climate or not, the producers would have been aware of "the weather."
But, as Mahoney adds, "Of course the weather had other ideas about this particular Big Day Out. It was so windy that a platform they'd built to broadcast from had blown away and there was near-mutiny from guests ('I did think it wasn't the best idea," said Ralf Little, sounding chilly')."
"It is pouring and it is freezing," admitted Radcliffe, still seeming perky despite having to broadcast with "hail pouring into your face."
Not that much of an excuse there for not having thought things through a little: Nor, we would suggest was there for Felicia Middlebrooks of WBBN-AM in Chicago, unless she had the Rev Jesse Jackson ready and primed to come to her aid if demands for a near doubling or so of her pay came to nought with Infinity Radio.
As we've already reported (See RNW Mar 18) she is back and pretty well on the terms originally offered as far as can be gathered.
The question, as aptly put by Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times, is "Did the bosses of WBBM-AM (780) cave in to pressure from the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson? Or did Felicia Middlebrooks finally realize the terrible mistake she'd made and come crawling back to reclaim her old job?"
His answer? "A little of both, actually."
Feder in his column on Tuesday gave some background including details of a 1985 campaign against WBBM-Channel 2, also owned by Viacom, after it had demoted an African-American news anchor.
Of Middlesbrooks, Feder writes of what he calls " her scheme to orchestrate a racially charged letter-writing campaign, in which she raised threats of 'very serious long-term ramifications' if her salary didn't jump from its current USD350,000 a year to more than USD600,000" and notes that '"on her part, Middlebrooks finally dropped the self-righteous blather about 'fighting for women and/or minorities' and "'hanging the course of history' when it dawned on her that no other station would ever pay her as much to read radio copy."
Feder is also prepared to point out that the tale does not necessarily end there, however, noting that "It has become a fact of life in the Chicago broadcasting industry that managers who make any changes in the racial makeup of their top talent line-ups do so at their own peril. Like it or not, they know they'll have to answer to Jackson."
Hethen poses the question," What happens the next time Middlebrooks has to report a story involving the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson?"
Feder also takes up the questions raised by the Middlebrooks rumpus as far as her co-anchor is concerned.
"Through no fault of his own," WRITES Feder, "(Pat) Cassidy repeatedly saw his name--and his salary--bandied about in columns, news stories and e-mails about Middlebrooks' bid to achieve a quantum leap in her USD350,000 annual compensation. All the while, Cassidy was said to be making only half as much for doing the same job as morning news anchor."
Feder, obviously not an unalloyed fan of La Felicia, notes that after he wrote about the duo topping the ratings "Middlebrooks complained because Cassidy's name appeared before hers in two columns I wrote lauding their achievement.
Is that a guy thing?' Middlebrooks asked. (No, I assured her. It's an alphabetical thing.) " and then continues, "To his credit, Cassidy, 51, has held to the high road throughout his distinguished 33-year career in Chicago radio. Even when he was pressed Wednesday to talk about how the latest ordeal has affected him, he diplomatically declined. But his "no comment" spoke volumes."
"I'd just as soon not comment on any of this debacle because it's painful for the newsroom, painful for the radio station, and I just want to look ahead," he said. "I don't want to do anything that will contribute to more negativity because we've already had plenty of it in the press. I don't want to bash anybody."
Feder then asks a relevant question, "will bosses of the Infinity Broadcasting station bring him up to par with his partner? Given his innate modesty and preference for privacy, we may never know if or when that happens. "
RNW comment: Indeed so. We don't like a system under which giant companies can abuse their power, which is certainly a justified fear for talent in the US radio industry, but neither do we have that much time for puffed-up talent to that overdoes the "blather" , whether or not the individual sincerely believes the line they're spouting or is cynically manipulating things.
Nor, in the long run, do we think that there is an overall benefit in pushing things too far. Indeed, in this case we'd have loved to have seen Middlebrooks' salary trimmed to her co-anchor's benefit.
Moving on to another issue, but this time courtesy of the Chicago Tribune, former US Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton N. Minow in an op-ed column entitled, "Why the world isn't listening to us. How is it that America, a nation founded on ideas--not religion or race or ethnicity or clan--cannot explain itself to the world?"
Minow looks at the current status of US broadcasting to the rest of the world. He first details some of the history of Voice of America, launched on Feb 24, 1942, with the words, "Here speaks a voice from America. Every day at this time we will bring you the news of the war. The news may be good. The news may be bad. We will tell you the truth."
Minow then notes the transferral of the system to come under the State Department after the war ended and comments on the dilemma on whether the VOA was to "be a professional, impartial news service serving as an example of press freedom to the world?"
"Or was it an instrument of U.S. foreign policy, a strategic weapon to be employed against those we fight? What is the line between news and propaganda? Should our broadcasts advocate America's values--or should they pro-vide neutral, objective journalism?"
He then writes, "Indeed, as the Cold War wound down, we forgot its most potent lesson: that totalitarianism was defeated not with missiles, tanks and carriers, but with ideas--and that words can be weapons."
"Even though Voice of America had earned the trust and respect of listeners for its accuracy and fairness, our government starved our international broadcasts. Many of the resources that had once been given to public diplomacy--to explaining ourselves and our values to the world--were eliminated."
After looking at the development of rival media sources such as Al Jazeera and noting that "The global marketplace of news and information is no longer dominated by the United States" , Minow comments, "the United States has an important story to tell, the story of human striving for freedom, democracy and opportunity."
" Since the end of the Cold War, we have failed to tell that story to a world waiting to hear it on the radio and see it on television. We have failed to use the power of ideas."
He comments of the current moves under way in the US to increase international broadcasts that they "late and, in my view, too timid. They are tactical, not strategic. They are smart, not visionary."
Minow then suggests that the US must define a clear strategic mission and vision for its international broadcasts, finance it properly(Minow suggests around 1% of US military spending would be about right), and then use the unique talent of the United States to "communicate that vision to the world."
He concludes that in the current world situation , "In virtually every case, those whose rule is based on an ideology of hate have understood better than we have the power of ideas and the power of communicating ideas."
"The murder of 2 million Hutus and Tutsis in central Africa could not have happened but for the urging of madmen with broadcast towers at their disposal. The same has been true of ethnic violence in India and Pakistan."
"On Sept. 11 everything changed except the way we think. It is hard to change the way we think."
"But we know that ideas last longer than people do, and that two important ideas of the 20th Century are now in direct competition: the ideas of mass communication and mass destruction. The question is whether we will be wise enough to use one to avoid the other."
RNW comment: Bearing in mind how much of the message will be directed towards the Arab and Islamic worlds, no matter how straight the reporting we cannot but see current US policies regarding Israel getting a two-finger response from those who see the Israelis as illegal occupiers of, and settlers in, Palestinian territory against whom resistance is justified and whom the US is supporting in defiance of what is just because of domestic political considerations.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder columns:
Chicago Tribune - Minow:
UK Guardian - Mahoney:
2002-03-25: According to the New York Times, the decisions of where tooth whitening advertisements are placed may make more difference to the future of US country radio than the music itself.
In an article in the paper headed, The Country Music Radio ignores, Neil Strauss takes up the issue of what does and doesn't make US country radio airwaves and why.
Pegging his article to the fact that the soundtrack to the film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", the top Grammy winner this year, is getting very little play, Strauss reports on the tensions between the kind of music that country stations air and the traditions of the music itself.
He notes that some 2,1000 of 11,000 US commercial stations are country format yet " most of country's classic artists and styles have been getting short shrift on the air and, consequently, from the Nashville music industry."
"As a result," he adds, " Johnny Cash records for a rock label, Dolly Parton is recording bluegrass for an independent label and many other pioneers and talented newcomers can't get a decent record contract."
Strauss notes that most country music observers think the impact of "O Brother" on radio will be slight despite its success and quotes Eddie Stubbs, the announcer for the Grand Ole Opry and a D.J. on Nashville's WSM-AM as saying, "Sadly, radio did not embrace any of these people before the Grammys, and they're not embracing them now. It's a disgrace. The industry is deciding that it doesn't want to give the music a chance."
The reason says Strauss may be may be Crest Whitestrips.
Expanding on this, he writes, "Yes, Crest Whitestrips, the new dental whitening system. Because when you point a finger at Crest Whitestrips, you're pointing at Procter & Gamble, the product's maker and one of the largest purchasers of radio advertising time. And the major advertisers are the people who really control what you hear on the radio, especially country radio."
He then quotes Paul Allen, the executive director of the Country Radio Broadcasters (CRB), a trade association .
"Contemporary country radio is targeting young adult females," said Allen. "Now, why would you want to target them? Because that's what advertisers want."
"The young female adult is oftentimes a mom. She influences 90 percent of all the buying decisions in the household; she's a generation X or Y consumer, and not brand loyal. That's a very influenceable and key demographic to go after."
"Thus, because of Crest Whitestrips and the machine behind them, not just country radio has changed; country music has changed too."
Only those who don't listen to country radio, continues Strauss, still think the music is about beer and heartbreak. Today, the men are singing love songs and apologies to women while sassy women are singing about dissing the men.
And, adds Allen, "The recording academy recognizes the work of its artists and their music, from the standpoint of art, which is considerably different from what country radio is about."
"Country radio is purely about mass appeal music, and it has some very defined limits because there are some very defined demographics that the owners are tying to find through that music. Where the Grammys are about art, country radio is about the Benjamins."
And of course the Arbitrons. As the article notes, Arbitron recently issued a report as part of its "What Women Want" series which started last year (See RNW Oct 10, 2001) on what women want from country radio.
And that was family-friendly optimistic tracks, amusing DJs and also fewer commercials..
The best hope country some music commentators can come up with is to fragment the format, much as rock is broken into formats such as classic, hard, soft and alternative rock but others are sceptical and doubt if advertisers would find attractive the demographics that would go with such formats.
Arbitron web site:
Arbitron "What women want from country radio" report (396 Kb PDF):
New York Times report:
2002-03-24: The main news from the regulators this week concerned action by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in clearing the backlog of some of the red-flagged deals that had been on its books longest and the levying by the UK Radio Authority of a GBP75, 000 fine on Virgin Radio.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), has extended the licence area of the Melbourne community station 3RPH to include Warragul and Warrnambool. It has also sought comment on proposals to change specifications for the additional FM translator service at Rockingham for Perth commercial radio service 6IX-FM.
The changes are planned so as to improve the station's coverage in the southern part of its licence area:
Canada wasvery quiet but the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued a public notice asking for comment on various applications including Newcap's application for an additional 40-watt transmitter at Grand Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador , for CKXG-FM
There was nothing of note in Ireland but in the UK, the Radio Authority, has for the second time fined Virgin Radio GBP75, 000 , the largest fines it has ever imposed.
The latest fine concerned a broadcast in which a nine-years-old girl was encouraged to repeat sexually explicit words for a contest (See RNW Mar 20 ).
On the licence front , the Authority has re-advertised the Tunbridge Wells/Sevenoaks licence, currently held by Kent and Sussex Radio Ltd and has also announced that it received two applications for the Norwich digital multiplex licence.
These were from EMAP Digital Radio Ltd and Now Digital Ltd. Each has to carry the BBC local service, Radio Norwich, on top of which Emap is proposing 9 services. They are:
*Contemporary hits -Broadland 102 (provider: GWR Group plc) -subject to agreement.
*Gold - Classic Gold Amber (provider: Classic Gold Digital Ltd.) -subject to agreement.
*Dance - Vibe FM (provider: Eastern Counties Radio Ltd.) -subject to agreement.
*Rock - The Storm (provider: GWR Group plc) -subject to agreement.
*Local (Norwich) - Provider: Norfolk Radio Ltd.
*Local (Great Yarmouth & Lowestoft) - The Beach (provider: Tindle Radio Ltd.)
*Young pop - Smash Hits (provider: Emap Performance Ltd.)
*Country -3C (provider: SCORE Digital Ltd.)
*Student (18.00 - 06.00)/community (06.00-18.00) - Providers: confidential
Now Digital is also proposing nine services as well as Radio Norwich. They are:
*Contemporary chart hit radio- Broadland 102 (provider: Radio Broadland Ltd.)
*Gold- Classic Gold Amber (provider: Classic Gold Digital Ltd.)
*Dance- Vibe FM (provider: Eastern Counties Radio Ltd.)
*Local service (Great Yarmouth) - The Beach (provider: East Coast Radio Ltd.)
*Modern rock - The Storm (provider: GWR Group plc)
*Adult contemporary/green issues - Passion (provider: Passion for the Planet Ltd.)
*Either easy listening for 45 pluses
or contemporary and classic country Provider: confidential
*Pre-teen and teenage- Capital Disney (provider: Capital Radio plc)
* Access Norwich (including student broadcasting, and service for under-10s and their carers)- Various, including SBN/Livewire (provider: SBN Ltd.) and AbracaDABra (provider: Soundstart Ltd.)
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cleared four from five of its oldest red-flagged deals but sent the fifth to a hearing (See RNW Mar 21). It has also announced fines totalling USD21,000 on Emmis Communications for indecency offences involving the Mancow Morning Madness show (See RNW Mar 20 ).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-03-23:A reasonably good snapshot of the scale of US radio giant Clear Channel's operations during 2001 is given in the company's annual 10K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
It shows that it spent USD445 million in cash of buying 183 radio stations, some three quarters of the funds coming from monies connected with spin-offs from its takeover of AMFM. It was also involved in a swap of eight stations; spent some USD360 million on buying billboards and USD25 million in buying stakes in other outdoor companies; spent USD125 million through Clear Channel Entertainment on various events; and USD 80 million on the purchase of four TV stations.
Apart from the acquisitions, which totalled more than USD1 billion, it spent another USD660 million on capital improvements, USD145 million of it on radio.
This year it has bought six more radio stations and nearly 2000 billboards, excluding the USD800 million acquisition of the Ackerley Group, which has still not closed. Looking at its revenues, Clear Channel says 43% comes from radio, 31% from live entertainment and 22% from billboard with the remaining 4% from its other activities.
Previous Clear Channel:
Clear Channel web site:
2002-03-23: The release by UK Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie of the results of tests of the Swiss RadioControl audience measuring system (RNW Mar 22) have sparked hostile comment from some UK Commercial radio executives.
Phil Riley, chief executive of Chrysalis Radio, attacked MacKenzie for making his move without consultation with others in the industry and said that confusion would be created over the value of radio commercials.
"When we had more than one currency for advertising in the past it was a bloody disaster. This will be a bloody disaster and is not the right way forward," he told the UK Financial Times.
Currently the UK radio industry uses figures from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research), which is jointly funded by the BBC and commercial radio.
There has been concern amongst radio executives for some time about the accuracy of the diary system with particular concern about how it would perform when there is a multiplicity of digital channels as well as the current analogue stations with suggestions that diary keepers over-record well-known stations because they list them on occasion when they have forgotten or not noted to which channel they have been listening.
At the same time, there s concern at suggestions that people are listening to radio for significantly less time according to thee RadioControl system than according to diaries.
RAJAR has acknowledged this concern and last year announced that it was going ahead with a number of developments including tests of meter measurements (See RNW Dec 18 2001).
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Financial Times report:
2002-03-23: Nashville Public Radio is to issue UD5.5 million in bonds to fund its USD2.5 million purchase of WNSG-AM, Nashville, Tennessee; like Colorado Public Radio, which also went to the bond market for funds earlier this year (See RNW Jan 18), it has been allocated a BBB+ rating by the Fitch Ratings Agency.
Public Radio Capital has advised Nashville Public Radio on the offering.
WYPR-FM, the former John Hopkins University public radio station WJHU-FM, is also expected to use the bond market to raise funds to finance its purchase of the station from the University.
2002-03-22: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed a USD21, 000 fine on Emmis Corporation for what it terms "wilfully and repeatedly broadcasting indecent language" in connection with three editions of Erich "Mancow" Muller's Mancow Morning Madhouse show in March and May 2001.
The complainant had in these cases recorded the programme and although Emmis itself does not keep tapes and said it could not verify the accuracy of transcripts supplied it argued that that the broadcasts were not actionably indecent by contemporary standards.
The FCC disagreed and said that material on all the broadcasts was patently offensive and levied the USD21.000 fine based on the base USD7.000 penalty it has set for such offences.
Previous Erich "Mancow" Muller:
FCC Notice (includes transcripts):
2002-03-22: UK Wireless Group Chief Executive Kelvin Mackenzie has released the results of a test of the Swiss Radiocontrol radio audience measuring system which he says proves his contention about inaccuracies in the traditional diary method used by the UK RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) radio ratings organisation.
The system, which features a wristwatch monitoring device that automatically records what stations are being listened to, was tested for three months in the Windsor-Slough-Maidenhead (Star FM market) area of Berkshire; it is already in use in some parts of Europe. It has long been promoted by Mackenzie as superior to the diary system (See RNW Sept 5, 2000).
Mackenzie, whose talkSport station was shown to have four times the reach recorded under the diary method, told radio industry executives at a JP Morgan conference that the system showed that people listened to more stations than were show by the diary system but for less time.
He concluded that "advertisers, media sales houses and the financial markets are being "misled" and added of the figures, "They are still great for the radio business, but they don't look like the market that RAJAR would have us believe.
In general the results show stations to have a higher reach (all but four of the 23 stations monitored had more listeners) with a larger increase for national and speech stations.
In this case, the greatest increases were (descending order)
2 London Live;
4 News Direct;
5 Premier Christian;
talkSPORT came in at number six, which would make it the top UK commercial station in terms of reach were the pattern to be repeated nationally. At the other end Star FM, Jazz, Classic and Capital Gold recorded losses in reach.
RNW comment: We don't find it particularly surprising that the diary method, which we would expect to under-report short spells of listening to a station as would be done in tuning in briefly to a news or sports bulletin, has differences from the Radiocontrol system.
Certainly the pressure will now be increased on RAJAR but the devil, as always, will be in the detail. We wonder what the Mackenzie response would be if that showed most people tuning away from the Wireless Groups talkSPORT flagship whenever adverts came on; Would he remain so devoted an advocate if the system showed a lot more listeners but not for the adverts?
Previous Wireless Group:
2002-03-22: Beasley Broadcasting has now closed its USD23 million sale of WRNO-FM and KMEZ-FM, New Orleans, to Wilks Broadcasting LLC and has also announced new financing arrangements with its banks.
Under these its loan covenants will now allow its debt-to-EBITDA leverage to go to a maximum of 7.25 times at the end of this month, to be trimmed to seven times at the end of June, 6.75 times at the end of September and 6.25 times at the end of the year.
CEO George Beasley commented, "The New Orleans divestiture strengthens our balance sheet and enables us to focus on those stations we believe will offer the greatest return to shareholders. Continuing to reduce leverage through operational improvements and returning to cash flow growth are our top priorities in 2002."
Previous Beasley Broadcasting:
Previous George Beasley:
Beasley web site:
2002-03-22: The US Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), a group set up in 1986 to remote minority participation in media and telecommunications industries, has come up with a suggestion for a new class of US radio stations to counteract what it terms "diminishing diversity of viewpoints and owners in radio."
The MMTC is suggesting that where a group owns several stations in a market, it would split one of its frequencies to accommodate such a station for part of the time and be allowed to acquire another licence.
The new stations would be devoted to non-entertainment programming such as news, public affairs, religious or public service programming and would broadcast at lest 20 daytime hours a week MMTC suggests that they be owned by small, disadvantaged businesses, including minority-owned companies; and share time on the frequencies held by existing "entertainment" stations.
2002-03-21: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cleared four out of the five transactions that had been in a red-flag backlog because of ownership concentration concerns.
It is to hold a hearing on a fifth, the takeover by Clear Channel of WUMX-FM, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In a statement, FCC chairman Michael Powell, referred to "five of the oldest and most difficult radio assignment cases pending before us."
"Guided by the Communications Act, Commission precedent, and the Interim Policy we adopted in the Local Radio Ownership NPRM," he added, "we find in four of these cases that the license assignments are consistent with the public interest, and therefore we grant the applications."
"Relying on this guidance in our review of the license assignment in Charlottesville, Virginia, however, we cannot find based on the record before us that the license assignment is consistent with the public interest. Therefore, as required by the Communications Act, we designate that application for hearing."
Concerning concentration in this market, Powell notes "the top two owners would have a combined 94.2% market share."
"This level of concentration, in the absence of any countervailing considerations or public interest benefits, is simply too significant for us to conclude that, on balance, the transaction is consistent with the public interest," writes Powell.
"Accordingly, in this case, we designate, as we must, the assignment application for hearing to determine whether grant would serve the public interest, convenience and necessity."
In a dissenting note, the sole Democrat on the Commission, Michael J. Copps, says he would have sent deals in four of the areas involved for hearings.
He writes, "I have struggled to find the public interest in the grant of these transfers. Given the levels of market concentration - both of advertising and audience share - that will result from these transactions, I can support the grant of only one of the five transfers at issue here."
"That one transaction arises in a unique geographic circumstance, in which the potential harm to competition was not significant and was outweighed by the benefits of the transaction."
"In the other four cases, however, I find evidence of significant anticompetitive effects. I could not support grant of these transfers absent additional information on the public interest benefits."
The deals that were allowed were:
*the purchase in Laramie, Wyoming by Clear Channel of KCGY-FM from Gowdy FM 95, Inc.(this is in the Cheyenne market and the deal was supported by all the Commissioners although Copps said he was still "hesitant."
*the purchase by Cumulus of Mississippi stations WKOR-FM, Columbus, WMXU-FM and WSSO-AM Starkville, from Golden Triangle Radio Inc; and of WKOR-AM, Starkville, from Charisma Broadcasting Co; of WSMS-FM, Artesia, from Bravo Communications Inc; and of WJWF-AM and WMBC-FM, Columbus, from Radio Columbus, Inc.
*the purchase in Trenton, New Jersey, of WCHR-AM and WNJO-FM by Nassau Broadcasting from Great Scott Broadcasting.
*the purchase by Clear Channel from Cumulus of Alabama stations WGSY-FM)and WPNX-FM), Phenix City; WAGH-FM, Ft. Mitchell; and WBFA-FM), Smiths; and Georgia stations WMLF-AM and WVRK-FM, Columbus.
Separately from the above, the FCC has also cleared Cumulus's acquisition of Aurora Communications, which owns 18 stations in the North Eastern US (See RNW Nov 20, 2001).
This deal has still to be approved by Aurora shareholders at a special meeting on March 28.
Previous Clear Channel:
FCC web site:
2002-03-21: UK Capital Radio in a first half trading update says that the UK advertising market is likely to remain depressed for the rest of the year.
The company says that its like-for-like radio is expected to be down 5% in the January to March quarter of this year; this, combined with a 9% decline in the October to December quarter of last year will mean a 7% decline in like-for like radio results in the six months to the end of March.
Analysts expect the company's advertising revenue to be up a little in the second half of the year because of World Cup soccer but full year revenues to be down by around 3% and pre-tax profits to be down by around 15% at GBP26 million.
Previous Capital Radio:
Capital web site(Investors section):
2002-03-21:US independent radio sales and marketing company Interep has reported a 26% fall in its fourth quarter radio commission revenues to USD19.5 million with operating EBITDA down a massive 91% to USD800,000.
For the full year its commission revenues were down 19% to USD 80.4 million and EBITDA was down 7% to USD5.6 million, including severance costs of USD3.4 million and USD1.2 million in fees relating to acquisitions. Without these the fall would have been 59%.
For this year, Interep is forecasting radio commission revenue flat to slightly up compared to 2001 with operating EBITDA increasing to a range of USD17 to USD18 million.
This would take Operating EBITDA Margins up to 21 - 23%, close to Interep's 2000 record levels
Ralph Guild, Chairman and CEO , commented that the company had made great strides to strengthen its core business throughout 2001 including efforts to streamline operations and enhance the capabilities of Interep's new business development program. "We believe that radio's share of the advertising dollar will have increased during this slowdown and our clients will enjoy the benefits as national advertising improves," stated Guild. "We have seen increased activity at the start of 2002 and expect national radio to return to steady single-digit growth."
Interep news release:
2002-03-21: Afghanistan now has one less radio station with the demise of US propaganda broadcasts from the planes of the 193rd Special Operations Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, which has returned to base after six months of aerial broadcasts( See RNW Oct 20, 2001).
Described in an Associated Press story in various US newspapers as "One of Afghanistan's most popular radio stations" (RNW comment - with no substantiation or method of measurement noted!) the broadcasts were made from 40-year old C-130 aircraft that broadcast 10,000-watt signals containing a mixture of propaganda messages and Afghan music.
New York Times /AP report:
2002-03-20: UK Virgin Radio, which two years ago attracted the then-largest ever fine by the UK Radio Authority for breaking political impartiality rules during the London Mayoral election (See RNW Mar 17, 2000) has now matched its record with another GBP75,000 fine.
It was told the fine would have been even higher had it not taken appropriate steps to prevent a repeat.
The station had suspended the DJ involved, Jon Holmes, and he was fired shortly afterwards.
The news is yet another blow for Virgin's parent, Scottish Media Group (SMG), which delayed issuing its results last week whilst it renegotiated credit from its bankers; it is expected to have to write down as much as GBP100 million on its investments, particularly the 29% share it built up in Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH), for which it paid around GBP150 million and in Virgin, which was part of the Ginger Media Group for which it paid GBP225 million.
The latest fine was for a broadcast on January 18 this year in which a nine-years-old girl was encouraged to repeat sexually explicit words for a contest called "Swearword Hangman". For the contest listeners had to ring in and guess the letters which made up a phrase of swearwords and in this case the girl was asked to repeat thrice the phrase "soapy tit wank".
The Authority commented that the "resulting programme was highly offensive, and inappropriate even in the context of adult alternative comedy."
In a statement Authority Chair Richard Hooper said," The late night broadcast on Virgin Radio involving a child, for which the station is being fined GBP75,000, is totally unacceptable."
"This is a huge failure of compliance with the letter and the spirit of the 1990 Broadcasting Act rules on taste, decency and offence to public feeling."
"To its credit, Virgin Radio has acknowledged the seriousness of the complaint received, has made no attempt to excuse the content of the live broadcast, and has told us that it has taken steps to prevent this happening again."
"Without that immediate response, the Members of the Authority are clear that the sanctions imposed would have been even higher."
"I and my eight colleagues on the Radio Authority are fully aware that attitudes amongst adults, about programmes by and for adults, towards what constitutes indecency and offence have changed markedly over recent years. However, where children are involved, the Authority will use the full range of its powers to preserve clear standards of what is unacceptable, in order to protect children."
The fine was the sixth to have been imposed on Virgin Radio since it began broadcasting in 1993; apart from the two record fines; the others in reverse date order were
*January 1999 - GBP10,000 following after broadcasting information about an individual without permission in its breakfast show.
*April 1998 - GBP2,000 failure to broadcast community campaigns which were part of its promise of performance.
December 1994 - GBP20,000 for taste offences relating to comments in a late-night phone-in on sexual fantasies
*May 1994 - GBP5,000 for a presenter's sexual comments.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Clear Channel USD6000 by for airing a phone call without permission. In this case the call was an answer phone message broadcast by WWDC-FM, Washington, but it led to a complaint by the machine's owner.
Clear Channel argued that the message was "generic" in content, not like another case when it aired an actual conversation taken from an answering machine but the FCC insisted that the rules were breached.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
UK Radio Authority new release:
2002-03-20: XM Satellite Radio shares dropped more than 13% on Tuesday following a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in which its auditor cast doubt on its ability to continue trading without additional financing. The shares ended the day at USD13 after starting just over USD15, despite XM playing down the comment in the report, which they said had also been included in previous reports by auditors KPMG LLP.
In the annual form10K filing, XM is upbeat about the nature of its business and comments," Market data show strong demand for radio service. Over 75% of the entire United States population age 12 and older listens to the radio daily, and over 95% listens to the radio weekly. However, many radio listeners have access to only a limited number of radio stations and listening formats offered by traditional AM/FM radio. We expect XM Radio to be attractive to underserved radio listeners who want expanded radio choices. Market studies conducted for us project that as many as 49 million people may subscribe to satellite radio by 2012. We believe, based on our own recent surveys and work with focus groups, that there is a significant market for XM Radio."
It then notes, "We have raised USD1.5 billion of equity and debt net proceeds to date from investors and strategic partners; we are funded into the fourth quarter of 2002."
KPMG's caveat reads," The accompanying consolidated financial statements have been prepared assuming that the Company will continue as a going concern. As discussed in note 2 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company is dependent upon additional debt or equity financing, which raises substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern."
Regarding the KMPG caveat, XM refers to its substance then comments, "The selected consolidated financial data do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of that uncertainty. With the commencement of operations during the fourth quarter of 2001, we have recognized revenue and emerged from the development stage."
Link to XM SEC filing:
2002-03-20: The BBC will again win this year's Sony Station of the Year award, currently held by BBC Radio 2 (See RNW May 1, 2001).
The nominees announced this year for the Sony Awards, often termed "radio Oscars", the finalists are BBC radios 2, 4, and 5 Live.
Competing for the top presenter award are Radio 1's Chris Moyles, Radio 2's Jonathan Ross, and offbeat comic Ricky Gervais, who appears on Xfm's breakfast show.
For the Breakfast Show awards, Radio 1's host Sara Cox is notable for her absence with the contestants being Radio 2's Terry Wogan, Kiss 100's Bam Bam, Viking FM's Hirsty's Morning Glory, Trent FM's Jo and Twiggy or Xfm's Christian O'Connell.
Also notable in the list are Kershaw siblings, Andy who was dumped by Radio 1 two years ago and joined Radio 3 - he is now in contention for two awards - the Music Programming Award for the Music Special Prize for a programme produced on his visit to Iraq - and sister Liz for the BBC Radio Northampton Liz Kershaw Breakfast Show.
The Corporation is also guaranteed a Gold in five other sections in which it has all the nominees.They are:
*The Breakfast News and Talk section for which the nominees are 5 Live's Five Live Breakfast: Holy Cross ; BBC news's Five Live Breakfast: New York, produced by BBC Radio News for Five Live; Good Morning Ulster - produced by BBC Radio Current Affairs for BBC Northern Ireland; the Ronnie Barbour Breakfast Show - produced by and for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and The Liz Kershaw Breakfast Show - produced by and for BBC Radio Northampton;
*The Feature Award for which the nominees are Omnibus: The Avega Widows - produced by BBC Leisure & Factual Entertainment Radio for World Service; Our Word Lives On - produced by BBC Radio Current Affairs for Radio 4; Roots Of Homophobia - produced by All Out Productions for BBC Radio 4; Someone Somewhere - produced by BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4; The Irving Trial: What Really Happened - produced by Above the Title Productions for BBC Radio 4.
* The Speech Award for which the nominations are A Caribbean Night - produced by BBC Factual & Learning Radio for Radio 3;On The Ropes: Judith & Alan Kilshaw - produced by BBC Factual & Learning Radio for Radio 4 ;Something Understood: Become As Little Children - produced by Unique the production company for BBC Radio 4;Sunday Service - produced by Ten Alps Broadcasting for BBC Radio Five Live; Susan McReynolds: The Nine-Line - produced by and for BBC Radio Foyle
*The Comedy Award for which the nominations are I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue - produced by BBC Radio Entertainment for Radio 4; Little Britain - produced by BBC Radio Entertainment for Radio 4; The Hudson & Pepperdine Show - produced by BBC Radio Entertainment for Radio 4; The Sunday Format - produced by BBC Radio Entertainment for Radio 4; Think The Unthinkable - produced by BBC Radio Entertainment for Radio 4;
*The Drama Award for which the nominees are A Woman In Waiting - produced by and for BBC Radio 4' Blunt Speaking - produced by Pier Productions for BBC Radio 4; Dear Doctor Goebbels - produced by Pier Productions for BBC Radio 4; Fall Out - produced by BBC Radio Drama North for Radio 4; The Prince Of West End Avenue - produced by BBC World Service Drama for World Service. The awards will be presented in May.
Sony Awards web site:
2002-03-20: Internet listening was down in the week to March 10 according to MeasureCast but at the top end Virgin FM increased its listening to move into top spot whilst in the network ratings Clear Channel retained its top spot and increased its listening.
For the week to March 10, the top five stations by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets, were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 296,256 (276,557); CP 55,439 (42,775): Up from second with both listening and reach up.
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 216,368 (293,898); CP 66,792 (81,553): Down from top spot - listening and reach down.
3: Classical format King FM - TTSL119,657 (140,740); CP 23,714 (23,243): Same position with listening down and reach up.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM, New York - TTSL89,339 (95,576); CP 15,913 (15,255): Same position with listening down and reach up.
5: Rock format Internet-only station KNAC - TTSL 78,057 (72,966): CP 15,314 (14,625): Same position with higher listening and reach.
In the network rankings, MeasureCast's top five streaming networks the week to March 10 were (Previous week's figures in brackets):
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,031,402 (1,024,319) ; Cume 210,406 (128,487). Same position but higher listening and reach.
2: StreamAudio network TTSL 624,781 (626,950) : Cume 133,523 (102,089) - Same position with lower listening and higher reach:
3: WARP Radio TTSL 550,087 (595,220) hours: Cume 101,214 (134,248) - Same position with lower listening, and reach:
4: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 519,193 (527,466): Cume 116,530 (116,870) - Same position despite lower listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio TTSL 418,225 (383,610): Cume 85,602 (66,683) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-03-19: Citadel Communications founder and former chairman/CEO, Larry Wilson, has left the company for what were described in an e-mail to staff by company president Bob Profit as "personal considerations."
He had remained with the company as CEO following Forstmann Little's purchase of it last year (See RNW Jan 17, 2001 ) but was left without a role last month when Farid Suleman was moved in as the new CEO, although the statement then issued said he would continue as chairman (See RNW Feb 22).
Wilson retains a personal stake in the company.
Previous Forstmann (Citadel):
Previous Wilson: .
2002-03-19: The Australian Broadcasting Authority's second annual conference, to be held in Canberra at the end of April, will concentrate in the impact of digital technology and what will tempt viewers and listeners to switch over to digital.
On the radio side, it will look at the multiplicity of standards on offer and the business case for the adoption of digital technology.
ABA director of engineering Fred Gengaroli will assess the rival US IBOC (In Band On Channel) technology from iBiquity Digital Corporation and the European DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) standards.
ABA web site:
DRM web site:
iBiquity web site:
2002-03-19: The BBC Radio 4 "Desert Island Discs" programme marks its 60th birthday on Wednesday, March 20, with a gala evening in the Royal Festival Hall, London, introduced by Sue Lawley, the programme's presenter since 1988.
It will feature the BBC Concert Orchestra playing the choices most popular amongst its castaways, led by the Ode to Joy, from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and predominantly classics by European composers although Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue also gets a look in.
The idea for the show - a choice of eight records to take as a castaway to a desert island - came to its creator Roy Plomley in 1941 and he presented the first edition in 1942 with comedian Vic Oliver as his guest.
In 1951, the format was modified to allow the addition of a single luxury and in 1958 a book was added, The Bible and Shakespeare being currently exempted from allowable choices.
It was originally booked for an eight-week run but caught on and has now featured more than 2000 guests including five British Prime Ministers, royalty and a multiplicity of celebrities.
Plomley presented the show for 43 years and was succeeded after his death in 1983 by Michael Parkinson, who presented the programme for two years.
Although the format has not changed since his death, the emphasis has differed with Plomley's shows allowing the choice of music to be revealing of the guest's interests and character while Lawley operates in a more journalistic fashion and has suffered some criticism for "intrusiveness."
The show - Britain's third longest running, after the Daily Service (1928) and A Week in Westminster (1929) - attracts an audience of some three million for its weekly broadcast.
A hundred of the programme's "castaways" are scheduled to attend the concert, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday, March 23
2002-03-19: US National Public Radio (NPR) today commences airing a celebration of the "Golden Age" of Yiddish Radio in its All Things Considered slot.
The series, The Yiddish Radio Project, was compiled from some 1000 rescued discs and will run for ten weeks. It is being complemented by a national tour of the project, featuring the producers, klezmer musicians, and Yiddish radio stars.
An associated website YiddishRadioProject.org features additional Yiddish radio shows with real-time English text translations and explore other related visual and text materials.
The series was produced by documentary maker David Isay, musician/historian Henry Sapoznik, and Sound Portrait Productions.
It explores output of Yiddish radio including Yiddish and English language dramas, music, news programs, advice and game shows, man-on-the-street interviews, and commercials; translations are performed by a cast that includes Carl Reiner, Eli Wallach, and Isaiah Sheffer.
Stations serving Jewish immigrants from central Europe flourished in the US in the 30s with New York alone having more than a dozen stations and the then Federal Radio Commission ( a precursor to the Federal Communications Commission ) required them to make single reference recordings of their programmes.
Most of the recordings were melted for scrap during the second World War with some stored in attics and other areas.
Sapoznik started on a mission to preserve recordings that were left in 1985 and commented, "What a story they tell. These programs offer an unprecedented opportunity to travel back to a lost world. They are incalculably precious remnants of a culture all but destroyed in the Holocaust."
Isay said, "It's like opening up King Tut's Tomb. These discs allow us to eavesdrop on a people in the midst of a cultural Renaissance. These shows are mostly in Yiddish, but the voices and spirit captured on them is universal. At a time when New York has lost so much, to be able to bring these long-lost recordings back to life is a profound privilege."
Amongst the material thus preserved are:
*one of Nahum Stutchkoff's radio dramas, which will be aired for the first time for 60 years in a segment narrated by is son Misha;
*excerpts of the output of C. Israel Lutsky, who, as The Jewish Philosopher, was the first radio advice columnist;
*A segment on the Yiddish Melodies in Swing show, narrated by one-time Yiddish singing star Claire Barry, the last surviving member of the cast of the show, which mixed traditional Yiddish klezmer music and American swing and ran from 1938 until 1955 on radio station WHN in New York;
*and various adverts.
NPR web site (news releases):
Yiddish Radio web site:
2002-03-18: For this week's pick pf print on radio, we've chosen to concentrate on demographics and digital.
Gerry McCarthy in his UK raises the first topic in his UK Sunday Times column on Irish Radio in which he comments, "Some of radio's demographic time zones, like breakfast shows and drive time, are unambiguous."
"They are based on a clear perception of what the majority of the audience is doing at that hour, whether crunching cereals or commuting. Other time slots, particularly mid-morning, are more ambiguous."
McCarthy then goes on to note that the "old truism divided listeners into two types: those who were at home during the day, mainly the elderly, home-makers and the unemployed, and those tuning in at work in shops and offices."
Commenting on 2FM's Gerry Ryan Show and Today FM's Ray D'Arcy, he says that the former's "heyday may have passed, but he is still a master of what he does" and later comments, after reviewing a show, that "each topic was meticulously researched, sympathetically covered and shorn of its abstractions."
The sting for Ryan, however, is in the tail: McCarthy ends by saying, "But D'Arcy is starting to get a lot of feedback via text messages, and this suggests a younger listenership. If it mirrors the greying of Ryan's demographic, then it may be the beginning of the end for the old lion."
That comment has resonance in New York where the New York Times has carried further comment on the reduction in classical music output by WNYC, one by Charles Wuorinen, who won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1970, and another by Emanuel Ax, who starts by writing, "As soon as I arrived in New York in 1961, an 11-year-old, wide-eyed newcomer, I got to know the pleasure of non-stop classical music on the radio."
"We had brought an old portable from Poland, and I fell asleep each night with it playing by my ear."
As he notes, there were then "several classical stations in the city then, including the much- mourned WNCN, which played music, live and recorded, round the clock."
"It was a wonderful part of my musical education," he adds. " Even more, it was a source of comfort and a constant in the midst of adjusting to a new language and new way of life."
Ax later delivers, after expressing concern over WNYC's reduction of its musical output, an encomium for radio that is worth reading, "Music is the art form that is not connected to the visual - and that is its chief joy ."
(RNW note - tell that to the MTV audience who prefer the video over the musical content!)
"We can make up any story, paint any picture, indulge any fantasy we wish. Radio is the medium that lets us experience this pleasure. "
"Because a radio station's resources are greater than any one person's CD collection, we can discover new, wonderful performances of music we know and love, and above all, we can find music and even composers we have never heard; they will become new favourites. "
In similar vein, Wuorinen writes that "In the pre- TV world of my youth, radio was my contact with the outside universe, and my first excursions as a composer were stimulated by all sorts of emanations from the loudspeaker."
After also noting hat he also "fed on classical music from several New York stations" he says he regrets he can't join the mourners of the "news that WNYC is gutting its classical music component."
"In truth, serious music as a regular part of broadcasting is long gone. Remember the NBC Symphony? A network beaming out live national broadcasts of classical repertory by its own symphony orchestra. How inconceivable today!"
"Aside from the bread-and-butter repertory on WQXR, New York has not had a good broadcast outlet for classical concert music for a long time, especially for the offbeat new music that makes life worth living. Many other cities do better."
"The sad fact is that WNYC's new music fare has lately been pretty one-sided, concentrating on the pop avant-garde that really is just commercially unsuccessful rock and roll garnished with a dollop of John Cage. Absent is the tough stuff you can sink your teeth into. New York may be the cultural capital of the world, but it's also the world hype capital, and a lot of what happens here culturally is distorted. Puffery trumps reality."
"Let's put all this in a larger frame. Serious music in America faces a musically illiterate nation. This won't change until musical literacy - not appreciation but training to play or sing - becomes a requirement in the earliest school years."
"So it's just a symptom when WNYC says classical music "drives away" listeners. But isn't the point of non-commercial broadcasting to serve merit, not popularity? Don't we like to think New York is more sophisticated than the rest of America?"
Both writers, of course, belong to an older "demographic": RNW wonders just how many youngsters today do tune in to classical music when it exists as in the UK with BBC Radio 3 or even Classic FM, albeit most of the latter's output consists of short movements from the popular classics.
Which takes us on to digital and demographics as combined in a UK Guardian radio review by Elisabeth Mahoney which begins "It's disconcerting to find yourself slap-bang in the middle of a targeted demographic and yet somehow still feel left out."
Mahoney then goes on to comment about the new BBC 6 Music station that launched on Monday of last week (See RNW Mar 11), writing, "Age-wise, I'm perfect for 6 Music (it aims at a 25-44 age group and I'm right in the middle of that), I've got a digital tuner, and, moreover, I'm "passionate" about music, a phrase oft-repeated in the station's pre-launch PR."
"So why, five days in, am I not feeling that I've found one of the cultural places carved out with me in mind?"
The reason is, of course, the playlist featuring such new figures as REM, Alanis Morissette, Rod Stewart, Jimi Hendrix, U2, Blondie and Lenny Kravitz
And finally the digital note from Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times column: He notes tat 6 Music took the total of digital-only stations in the UK up to nine but the comments that "Most of us know nothing about digital radio. Virtually nobody prints the listings, not even Radio Times. Go into a shop and ask for a digital radio, and you are likely to be offered something with a push-button digital tuner, which is not the same thing at all."
After detailing some of the receivers on sale, he says that most listening to digital radio is done via Sky digital television and adds, "Bizarrely, we are now in a situation where one home in three has a digital television, but very few have a digital radio. This despite the fact that 90% of adults have mobile phones, CD players and personal computers are almost universal, and DVD is the fastest-growing piece of consumer electronics ever. Digital technology is everywhere, but digital radio is a well-kept secret. "
The reason is largely because the TV receivers are subsidised by the digital TV providers but not radio and, as Donovan ends his column by saying, "Digital technology can further enrich radio providing that it becomes a mass medium through cheap portable sets. As Jenny Abramsky, the director of BBC radio and music, says, radio's "key characteristic" is that it is portable. And even in a brave new world, that is as true as it has always been."
New York Times - Ax:
New York Times - Wuorinen:
UK Guardian - Mahoney:
UK Sunday Times -Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
*Sunday Times requires registration.
2002-03-18: If Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder is correct, the spat between Infinity's Chicago WBBM-AM and its long-time morning co-anchor Felicia Middlebrooks over pay for a new contract has been settled thanks to intervention by the Rev Jesse Jackson and she will be back on air this morning.
Middlebrooks had been off air since her previous contract ran out on March 5 and in the middle of last week the parties announced that they were parting company.
She subsequently told the Chicago Tribune that she had "no regrets" at walking out (See RNW Mar 17) but she had come under criticism for her approach, particularly since she was already paid twice as much as her white male co-anchor Pat Cassidy.
According to Feder, Middlebrooks and her agent Darcy Bouzeos had pressed demands for more than USD 600, 000 a year compared to the USD 350, 000 she was said to have made in the final year of her former two year contract.
The new deal is said to have been agreed with Rod Zimmerman, vice president and general manager of the station without the agent being present and to reflect WBBM's final offer of a three-year deal with annual rises in single percentage figures.
Sun Times -Feder:
2002-03-18: The Pacifica Radio network is set to return its headquarters to Berkeley, California, following a vote by its interim Board has meeting in Los Angeles.
The decision needed a two-thirds majority and in the end gained a 7-2 vote for the return as soon as feasible with a deadline of the end of this year. There was one abstention, Marion Barry of Washington station WPFW.
Voting against were Jabari Zakiya (WPFW) and Ray Laforest of Pacifica's New York station WBAI-FM.
The board has also agreed on a procedure for rewriting Pacifica's bylaws and setting up an election procedure for Local Advisory Boards and the permanent national board; for hiring station managers to replace the temporary managers now in place.
It also passed a resolution aimed at settling the Free Speech Radio News stringers' strike under which Pacifica would pledge itself not to censor FSRN or any other programs that air on the network's five stations, and continue to provide access to the KU satellite system for the stringers group.
2002-03-18: Viacom has announced that John Sykes, currently president of its VH1 cable music TV network, is to succeed Farid Suleman as chairman and CEO of its Infinity Radio division. Sykes, who has no radio experience, is closer to Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone than to its president and long-time Infinity chief Mel Karmazin, although both are said by the company to be fully behind the appointment.
The post became vacant in February when Suleman unexpectedly quit Infinity to become CEO of Citadel Communications and a special partner of its parent, Forstmann Little and Co:
Previous Forstmann (Citadel):
2002-03-17: There was a fairly even spread of licence activity over the past week: In Australia, it included the issue by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) of new commercial licences in the broadcasting and non-broadcasting bands.
The commercial licences were additional FM licences for existing AM services 3GG Warragul, owned by a subsidiary of RG Capital Radio Network; for 3TR Sale and 3HA Hamilton, owned by Ace Radio broadcasters, and for 3YB Warrnambool, owned by Regional Communications Pty Ltd.
The non-broadcasting band commercial licences went to Coastal Broadcasters Pty Ltd for the whole of Queensland and the Northern Territory, except the licence areas of Innisfail and Alice Springs and to Murrangi Holdings Pty Ltd for the Emerald licence area in Queensland.
In Canada, things were fairly quiet but the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved a special temporary licence for Fondation radio enfant (du Canada) to operate services in Ottawa and Gatineau to broadcast programming that promotes Francophone cultures from March 18 to July 1: The programming will be directed to children and teenagers and will be produced by French-language schools throughout Canada.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), has signed contracts with new Dublin music station, Spin 103.8, which will offer a mix of contemporary music styles including dance, urban, pop and alternative music targeted at a 15-34 year old audience. Tests will begin shortly and the station is to go on the air early in April.
In the UK the Radio Authority has announced a mixture of awards and adverts, as well as noting that Northern Visions Radio in Belfast has become the fourth station to launch as past of the Authority's Access Radio Pilot Scheme: Three stations Angel Community Radio of Havant, Hampshire; Bradford Community Broadcasting and Cross Rhythms City Radio, Stoke on Trent, are already on air (See RNW March 2).
On the advertising front, it has pre-advertised the Greater London AM licence currently held by Liberty Radio, and announced that it is re-advertising the local radio licence for Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks in Kent after an indication of interest from a competitor to existing holder Kent and Sussex Radio Ltd., broadcasting as Mercury 96.2 FM;
It has also announced the award of the digital multiplex for Swindon and West Wiltshire to Now Digital, which proposes to broadcast a total of eight programme services, in addition to BBC Wiltshire Sound, on a round-the-clock basis. Now had faced competition from Emap Digital Radio Ltd (for details of programmes offered see Licence News Jan 20 ).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined C. W. H. Broadcasting Inc., licensee of WHNY-AM, McComb, Mississippi, USD3500 for violations of rules concerning failure to register three antenna, exhibit red warning lights on them and enclose one of them properly. W.H. broadcasting had originally been assessed a fine of USD20, 000 but, although not denying the offences, had argued for the fine to be dropped on financial grounds.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
FCC "Reform" web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-03-17: Former WBBM-AM, Chicago, morning co-anchor Felicia Middlebrooks has no regrets over leaving the station after failure to agree on a new contract, she has told the Chicago Tribune.
She said that she had received a final offer of a pay rise of three per cent each year for three years and she told the paper, "I feel I'm worth more to the station than 3 percent. I feel what I did was the right thing, and I stand by it."
The paper also says that station vice president and general manager Rod Zimmerman declined to comment but other sources said the offer was for far more than a 3% rise. To which Middlebrooks responded, "I would have been satisfied with something a little above 3 percent."
Middlebrooks had contended her pay should be more in line with morning drive-time radio personalities and commented, "The fact is, WBBM benefited from my being an anchor and a personality--I do have a personality too--and that's what listeners are drawn to."
Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine said, "She may be right, but she's taking a very dangerous course."
"The prevailing wisdom is that news anchors are more interchangeable [than other radio personalities] because they are not the specific reason an audience tunes in, " he added, noting that de-regulation had led to dramatic consolidation, which in turn made things more difficult for talent.
"There is no doubt that consolidation has put the cards in the hands of the owners in terms of the negotiations with talent," he said. "There are fewer people for whom to work."
Chicago Tribune report:
2002-03-16: The conflict between the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the satellite radio companies, Sirius and XM, is continuing to simmer with more denials from the latter that they plan to use terrestrial repeaters for local programming or advert insertion and moves by NAB to get the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to set explicit conditions for such repeaters.
The latest denial came from Sirius Satellite Radio President and CEO Joseph Clayton at the Kagan Radio Summit in New York: He said Sirius had no absolutely no plans for local broadcasting and reminded a panel at the conference that it will carry no commercials on its music services. He also noted that Sirius is planning far fewer terrestrial repeaters than XM.
NAB in its latest submission to the FCC has singled out comments by five mobile phone companies, banded together as the Wireless Communications Service (WCS) coalition concerning XM's siting of repeaters along state highways that it says have "generally have unobstructed paths to satellites."
It further suggests that "under the pretext of filling in gaps, it may be that XM is constructing a repeater network that, using its patented technology (to facilitate local insertion - see RNW Mar 6 06repeaters), would effectively transform its system from a direct satellite audio broadcasting service to a primarily terrestrial service fed from satellites."
It notes that XM has repeated its denials of plans for local services but notes that if the XM patent were implemented, " all of the programming that would be distributed by the repeaters would have originated on the satellite, so the condition XM proffers would be technically satisfied, but the
Commission's intent - that SDARS (Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services) licensees only offer national programming - would have been evaded."
NAB concludes by asking that the FCC impose conditions in allowing any repeaters to be licences to say "SDARS terrestrial repeaters may not originate any programming, are restricted to the simultaneous retransmission of the complete programming and only that programming transmitted by the satellite directly to the SDARS subscribers' receivers, and may not be used in any manner to facilitate the provision of locally differentiated services by SDARS licensees."
NAB web site (links to latest letter re repeaters):
Sirius Web site:
XM Web site:
2002-03-16: Scottish Media Group (SMG), owner of UK Virgin Radio, has said that it has reached provisional agreement with its banks about funding until June 2003, dispelling rumours that it was to be forced to sell off assets to remain within its banking covenants. The group has a debt burden of around GBP400 million and had been criticised for overpaying for Virgin Radio and for its stake in rival Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) which it built up almost to the regulatory 30& maximum allowed before it has to launch a full bid, which would currently be barred under UK media ownership regulations (See RNW Aug 6. 2001).
It has issues a statement saying that it has reached in-principal agreement on key terms for funding that will carry it through until June of next year and expects the deal to be finalised soon. SMG had delayed issue of its 2001 results, originally scheduled for earlier this week (See RNW Mar 12 ) and now says they will be published when the loan restructuring was completed.
2002-03-16: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in its presentation just made to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which is reviewing the state of the Canadian Broadcasting System, has called upon the Canadian government to "reaffirm its commitment to public broadcasting and to the role CBC plays as a cornerstone of the Canadian broadcasting system."
The CBC submission looks how broadcasting has changed since Canada's Broadcasting Act was last reviewed a decade ago and also stresses the Corporation's role in giving Canadians a sense of their identity.
Carole Taylor, Chair of the CBC Board of Directors, commented, " The CBC is a major broadcaster, providing high-quality and distinctive Canadian programming at any time of the day, any day of the week Today there is a greater than ever need for a distinctive Canadian voice."
Robert Rabinovitch, President and Chief Executive Officer of the CBC, commented, "I welcome a comprehensive analysis of Canadian Content requirements, involving all broadcasters and the government. Piecemeal solutions will not work... By taking risks and offering innovative programs that would not otherwise exist, the CBC is providing a place where Canadians can find a fair reflection of their country's regions and values."
"The CBC is the only broadcaster that provides coast-to-coast traditional and new media services in French and in English, as well as in eight aboriginal languages. The CBC is also a key source for information, sports, and entertainment programs that are proudly and distinctly Canadian. All of the CBC's schedules are almost totally Canadian and offer programs that help give Canadians a stronger sense of who they are."
CBC news release:
2002-03-16: The US has now moved ahead on its plans for additional broadcasts to the Middle East with the announcement that agreements have been signed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors for Middle East Radio Network (MERN) transmissions from Bahrain and Qatar.
The group also says that it has been given commitments to allow additional FM frequencies in the United Arab Emirates states Abu Dhabi and Dubai..
2002-03-15: There have been optimistic pronouncements about the prospects for advertising in general and radio, terrestrial and satellite, this week.
In the UK, the Daily Mail and General Trust refers to improvements in print display advertising and is bullish about its Australian radio operations, commenting, "DMG Radio Australia's metropolitan Nova stations continue to perform ahead of our expectations, especially in Melbourne where our station's debut result last month showed it to have achieved a market leading position for its target audience less than two months after launch."
"The regional stations are recovering gradually from the previous year's depressed levels of profitability."
In the US, the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has reported a radio rebound in January when it says national sales were up 2% on January 2001 and local sales, like combined revenues, were up 1%.
RAB's Sales Index, that equates 1998 to 100, thus removing overemphasis on the dot.com boom times, is now 133.5 for combines sales, 135.7 for local sales, and 127.4 for national sales.
Announcing the results at the Kagan Radio Summit in New York, RAB President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Fries commented, "The Radio industry has withstood economic turbulence in the past and it has done so again."
"Radio is a resilient, effective medium that delivers for its advertisers during down times as well as good. Looking ahead, I think we will see a slight glitch in February, brought on by the absence of traditional television sweeps advertising due to the Olympics. Following that, all indicators point to on-going sustained growth as the year progresses."
Analysts at the summit also said they were likely to raise radio revenue estimates with Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown's Drew Marcus, the most bullish, saying figures could be up by 7-8% at year's end compared to previous estimates of 2-3%.
Also on the agenda at the Kagan Summit was the likely impact of XM and Sirius satellite radio with widely differing estimates from analysts. Most bullish was James Marsh of Robertson Stephens, who predicted 40 million satellite radio subscribers by 2010, whereas Drew Marcus thought the figure would range between 4 and 8 million.
Marsh, who said terrestrial broadcasters would have to cut commercial loads and stay local in their emphasis, said that since he tested an XM receiver in his car he didn't listen to AM of FM any more.
RAB web site:
Sirius Web site:
XM web site:
2002-03-15: US radio syndication company Westwood One, which is operated by Infinity, has confirmed that Fox TV news personality Bill O'Reilly is to move into radio.
It is to launch the Radio Factor With Bill O'Reilly on WOR-AM in New York on May 8.
The show will originate from Westwood One studios at Fox News Channel in New York and air weekdays from noon to 1400 ET. Westwood, which is run by Infinity, is hoping for initial syndication to around 100 stations.
In many markets, the timing will put O'Reilly up against conservative talk host Rush Limbaugh, who is syndicated to around 600 stations by Premiere Networks, which is owned by Clear Channel.
Each day's show will focus on a specific topic.
Speaking on a conference call, O'Reilly said he wanted to do radio because it was "looser" and a "more relaxed medium." He called the radio show a natural extension to his O'Reilly Factor television show and added, "We're going to take the hottest story on The O'Reilly Factor TV show and talk about it the next day on the radio, so we give everyone a chance to get in and get their views."
"We're melding radio and television in the best possible way with immediacy. But the big reason I took the job and went with Westwood One is they're so powerful, and this gives me a chance to cause even more trouble."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Westwood One:
Westwood One web site:
2002-03-15: Chicago WBBM-AM morning co-anchor Felicia Middlebrooks is now off the airwaves following failure to agree pay for a new contract with the all-news station where she has been morning co-anchor for 18 years.
The Infinity-owned station made a final offer which had not been accepted when the deadline ended on Wednesday and Rod Zimmerman, WBBM vice-President and general manager, said that it had been withdrawn and WBBM was now moving forward."
Zimmerman said nothing further on the offer or WBBM's future line-up but had said that Middlebrooks, whom he termed the "highest-paid radio news anchor in America", had been offered a multiyear contract with increases each year.
Middlebrooks' agent had said last week that her client was seeking a "substantial increase" on her previous two-year contract, which ran out on March 5 and was reported to have paid her around USD350, 000 in pay and bonuses in its final year.
In a statement agent Darcy Bouzeos said, "In the end Felicia simply did not want to accept the terms of their offer. She didn't believe that after 20 years at WBBM as an award-winning journalist with a No. 1 ranking that she should be paid significantly less than other radio personalities in the Chicago market, especially when delivering higher ratings and higher revenues."
Central to the conflict was the issue of whether the anchor's pay should be in line with that of news staff - her co-anchor Pat Cassidy is said to have been paid about half her rate - or in line with morning personalities at other stations such as WKQX-FM morning personality Erich "Mancow" Muller who receives around USD3 million a year (See RNW Oct 3, 2001).
The issue of Middlebrooks' future and pay sparked a fairly lively set of messages to the Chicago Sun-Times, some of which are reproduced in Robert Feder's column on March 14.
They range from the supportive "Felicia Middlebrooks deserves a new contract and whatever money she is entitled to" to the dismissive "Earth to Felicia. Whatever credibility you may have had as a news journalist is now far overshadowed by your diva-like behaviour and your extremely bloated sense of self-worth."
Previous "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2002-03-15: One of the top-rated Internet audio streaming companies, MediAmazing, has switched to a subscription-only model and ended all free streams in a move which Radio and Internet Magazine (RAIN) says it has been told was a reaction to the recent ruling by the US Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) on rates to be paid and information supplied concerning streamed music (See RNW Feb 22).
RAIN notes that would-be listeners who try and play a song (the channel is a user-selected stream) now see a screen asking for USD3.95/month (or USD35.55/year) to listen to a commercial-free stream.
MediAmazing co-founder Henry Callie confirmed that the move to end all free streams had been made in response to a combination of the ruling and a weak advertising market.
The CARP recommendations, which suggest a fee of 0.14 cents per song streamed by an Internet only station and 0.07 cents for terrestrial broadcasters who stream their output, are being opposed by US radio groups including Clear Channel, Infinity, Entercom, Salem, and Susquehanna.
They claimed in their appeal, which asked the US Copyright office librarian to void the decision, that the rates were "arbitrary, confiscatory and unreasonable" and that they reflected "a mistaken view of the governing legal standard; result from a constricted notion of the nature and kinds of evidence that are probative in arriving at reasonable fees; fail to find support in the record " and would "drive broadcasters and webcasters from the Internet."
The broadcasters suggested that a rate for streaming station signals should be more like a maximum of 0.02 cents.
MediAmazing web site:
RAIN web site:
2002-03-14: US National Public Radio (NPR) has come under fire concerning honoraria accepted by its Jerualem-based correspondent from pro-Israeli groups and for a report it carried concerning the anthrax-contaminated letters that were sent to two leading Democrats.
The latter report by NPR science reporter David Kestenbaum, broadcast on Morning Edition Jan. 22 this year and reported on the methods being used in the search for those responsible for mailing anthrax.
In particular the report examined similarities between the search for the anthrax mailers and the Unabomber and at one point Kestenbaum said, "One group who had a gripe with Daschle and Leahy is the Traditional Values Coalition, which, before the attacks, had issued a press release criticizing the senators for trying to remove the phrase 'so help me God' from the oath."
"The Traditional Values Coalition, however, told me the FBI had not contacted them and then issued a press release saying NPR was in the pocket of the Democrats and trying to frame them."
"But investigators are thinking along these lines. FBI agents won't discuss the case, but the people they have spoken with will."
"The FBI, for instance, has met with Planned Parenthood. Years before all this happened, Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics regularly received threatening anthrax letters containing white powder."
" The organization kept photocopies of the letters, and after this investigation began, FBI agents came by to check them out."
The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) took exception to the comments and on its website now has a panel saying," NO MORE TAX DOLLARS FOR NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO! NPR's Attempt To Link Church Group With Anthrax Shows It Can't Be Trusted with Taxpayer Funds."
Several Republican legislators accused the network of irresponsible journalism and liberal bias as a result of the broadcast and Current Magazine reports that TVC has threatened a libel suit and quotes its executive director, Andrea Lafferty, as saying "NPR has a lot to answer for. They can't buy our silence."
Current reports that Lafferty said Kestenbaum phoned her Jan. 3 and asked her if she had been contacted by the FBI. She said no and asked why the reporter would call TVC.
On being told why she said she rebuked Kestenbaum. "His tone was very clear that he believed that we would do it," she says. "It was very insulting."
The next day,reports Current, TVC issued a press release accusing NPR of "a baseless and factless attempt to smear conservative Christians" and attacked NPR for having its scripts written by the Democratic National Committee.
Kestenbaum's story was aired 19 days later and the TVC site contains a transcript of the show.
A week later, NPR issued a correction, which it broadcast and published on its website, saying in part: "Reporter David Kestenbaum contacted [TVC] to ask if it had been contacted by the FBI. The TVC said it had not, since there is no evidence that it was or should be investigated. The TVC said it was inappropriate for it to be named on the air. The NPR editors agree."
This was not enough for TVC nor a number of Republican Senators including House Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas who commented, "NPR's conduct is outrageous and ignores their basic responsibilities as journalists: presenting the facts to the public accurately and without bias."
Another Republican Rep. Ken Calvert of California said, "While the people of the Traditional Values Coalition practice the American ideals of charity and compassion, NPR continues to practice their traditional values: shameful pettiness and slanderous lies."
RNW comment: From a distant standpoint it seems that various Republicans and the TVC have more problems with behaving fairly than does NPR. We have seen no substantiation from TVC that there was any link between the Democrats and the report and Calvert would seem to have no relationships with charity or compassion when t comes to this matter.
On the Middle East, NPR's ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, in a posting concerning the area and the various complaints received about coverage, noted that Linda Gradstein, NPR's Jerusalem correspondent, had been invited to a speaking tour of colleges and universities in the United States for which expenses and an honorarium was to be paid by Hillel, the Jewish Students Society. This provoked a comment from a pro-Palestinian activist and led to a re-affirmation of NPR's longstanding policy against accepting money from groups that may have an interest in how the news is reported with the result that Gradstein would no longer accept money from Hillel.
Dvorkin commented, "Linda Gradstein should not be taking money from any group that has a partisan approach to the conflict in the Middle East."
"But she has a First Amendment right to speak to whomever she wants NPR has a policy, which forbids its journalists from accepting benefits, gratuities or monies from groups that have an interest in how the news is reported. NPR management must make sure that the policy is widely distributed and scrupulously followed."
RNW comment: The link below goes to Dvorkin's posting which is a reasonably illuminating summation of the problems faced by NPR in its reporting of the Middle East and of its policies.
Current Magazine web site:
Dvorkin Mid East comments:
TVC posting on NPR programme including programme transcript:
2002-03-14: Formula One racing driver Eddie Irvine has won a legal battle against TalkSport, the UK national commercial sports-talk station, over the station's use in 1999 of a doctored photograph of him in an advertising brochure. His lawyers argued that the leaflet, which had a photograph of Irvine in racing gear holding to his ear a radio with a TalkSport logo; in the original photograph he was holding a mobile phone.
His lawyers argued that the leaflet could give the impression that he had been paid to endorse the station but TalkSport argued that the leaflet s also featured other drivers and there was "passing off" or attempt to deceive
The judge said that the law of passing off would give Irvine protection and his decision on the amount to be awarded will be issued by March 25 but he indicated that it would not be a large sum.
2002-03-14: Radio Australia, the international arm of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), has launched "Time to Talk", a new 13-part radio series linked to a website and interactive CD in partnership with AusAID, ANU and ABC New Media.
The series, in English and Tok Pisin covers a wide range of issues related to governance in the Pacific region including human and legal rights, indigenous systems, colonial rule, independence and nation building and the agenda of international agencies such as the World Bank.
Contributions have come from a range of sources including Fiji Broadcasting, the National Broadcasting Corporation of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation and the series will be broadcast on more than 30 local stations across the region as well as on Radio Australia and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National network. The CD will include audio of the radio series plus a copy of the Time to Talk website.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Radio Australia:
Time to Talk web site:
2002-03-14: US media and marketing research company Arbitron is to switch its system for the RADAR (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) radio network ratings service away from a phone survey to a diary system starting with the release of the RADAR 73 report in June. Whereas this month's RADAR 72 survey was collated from 12, 000 phone calls, the June report will use 9000 phone calls plus 12,500 diaries.
Diary samples will be increased by 12.500 and the telephone sampling will be reduced by 3000 for each report until phone sampling is nil for the March 2003 RADAR 76 report which will be compiled from 50,000 diary entries.
Arbitron acquired the RADAR service in July last year (See RNW July 3, 2001); it measures audiences on 31 networks operated by ABC Radio Networks, American Urban Radio Networks, Premiere Radio Networks and Westwood One Radio Networks.
Arbitron web site:
2002-03-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that contractors have now completed the process of "cleansing" the large amount of unprocessed mail that it received in January before it stopped deliveries to its Capital Heights Maryland at the end of the month following the discovery of a small amount of anthrax contamination.
The backlog is now being handled and it expects to finish this and deliver it to its destinations within the commission by the end of this month.
Tests at the Capitol Heights facility showed that the anthrax traces arose from cross contamination of mail (See RNW Feb 6) and deliveries were resumed mid-February following decontamination and retesting of the facility.
FCC News release:
2002-03-13: More US results show Spanish news/talk network Radio Unica joining the ranks of companies with greater revenues and losses. In the final quarter of 2001, it increased revenues by 42% to USD10.6 million but EBITDA (loss from operations plus depreciation and amortization) excluding stock option compensation expenses was also up by 138% to a loss of USD5.1 million from USD2.1 million.
Radio revenues for the quarter were up by 12% to USD8.4 million and radio EBITDA loss was 150% higher at USD5.4 million.
Net loss applicable to common shareholders for the final quarter 2001 was USD11.1 million, 53 cents per basic and diluted share, compared to a USD 10.1 million, 48 cents, in Q4, 2000.
For the full year, radio revenues were up 25% to USD37.5 million and radio revenues were up 6% to USD31.8 million but EBITDA loss before stock option compensation expense was also up, by 58% to USD14.7 million and radio EBITDA loss was 68% higher at USD15.5 million.
Net loss for the year was USD42.6 million; USD2.04 per share, compared to USD1.53 per share a year earlier and radio loss was USD43.2 million compared to USD32.3 million a year earlier. Commenting on the likely impact Financial Accounting Standards (FAS) 142 that requires annual evaluation goodwill and intangible assets, Unica said this should have no effect.
Chairman and CEO Joaquin F. Blaya said of the results, "We are pleased to report a 10% increase in our fourth quarter same station radio revenues, a considerable achievement given the advertising recession. In addition, our promotions business has continued to exceed our projections."
"We have entered 2002 with considerable momentum. Our first quarter radio revenues are pacing well ahead of the industry as we benefit from improving ratings, strong sports and news programming and an expanding presence among the nation's top advertisers."
"In addition, going forward we have reduced our operating expenses to below year 2000 levels. Finally, we continue to focus on improving our signal coverage and asset base. Given these factors, we are well positioned to benefit as the advertising market begins to rebound."
In other US radio business, Educational Media Foundation, which runs the Contemporary Christian K-LOVE network, has bought WZKM-FM Montgomery, West Virginia from Mortenson Broadcasting for USD500, 000.
Unica web site:
2002-03-13: The UK Financial Times in a report on digital radio says that there are encouraging signs in the UK with a number of manufacturers developing chipsets that will substantially cut the cost of a receiver and more than 200 digital station on air.
Among products on the way is a digital portable clock radio that is to be launched at the CEBIT electronics show in Hanover this week and a number of products due from UK-based electronics group Goodmans, which is committed to a range of digital products priced between GP100 and GBP200.
However there is still caution with Tony King-Smith, director of the European chip design facility for Panasonic, a subsidiary of Japanese giant Matsushita, saying that a GBP100 price tag will not be low enough to tempt the mass of radio devotees.
His group has already developed a digital tuner with integral hard disc drive that will not only receive digital audio but also allow instant access to material in a similar way to a CD and a Siemens subsidiary has produced a prototype pocket radio around half the size of a mobile phone based on the technology.
King-Smith argues that price and a greater range of stations are not the way to promote digital radio since these alone are not enough to persuade listeners to switch. "Value comes from the data services, crafted to lie alongside the audio content," he says. He also thinks some kind of incentive will be needed to persuade listeners to change to digital such as subsidies in the style of the mobile phone business or devices which combine radios with another gadget in one consumer product.
Subsidies, however, seem unlikely and unless sales reach a critical mass, suggests the Financial Times, the big developers are likely to invest in other areas in preference to digital radio.
Financial Times report:
2002-03-13: Latest Internet listening recorded by MeasureCast was back on the increase again in the week to March 3, with the organisation's listening index up 6%, indicating a 431% rise in listening since the beginning of 2001.
The organisation also has a new leader for its network rankings, Clear Channel Worldwide, a newcomer to MeasureCast whose network of 192 stations includes Jazz FM, the top ranked station. Jazz FM had been listed separately as a network in the past because its figures on its own were high enough to put it into the network rankings.
In contrast, Arbitron which rates Live365 as well as Clear Channel Worldwide, which has just joined its service, puts the former at the top of its February monthly ratings, just released: it has Virgin Fm as the top station with Jazz FM second.
Although the network ratings changed there were no changes at the top of MeasureCast's station rankings.
For the week to March 3, the top five by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets, were:
1: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 293,898 (301,033); CP 81,553 (83,834): Same position but listening and reach down.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 276,557 (262,783); CP 42,775 (42,669): Same position but listening and reach up.
3: Classical format King FM - TTSL 140,740 (127,627); CP 23,243 (23,004): Same position but listening and reach up.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM, New York - TTSL 95,576 (91,525); CP 15,255 (15,012): Same position with higher listening and reach.
5: Rock format Internet-only station KNAC - TTSL 72,966 (70,824): CP 14,625 (14,207): Same position with higher listening and reach.
In the network rankings, the absence of Jazz FM, and inclusion of Clear Channel were the main changes.
MeasureCast's top five streaming networks the week to March 3 were (Previous week's figures in brackets):
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,024,319; Cume 128,487. Newcomer to rankings.
2: StreamAudio network TTSL 626,950 (499,208) : Cume 102,089 (90,304) - Same position, much higher listening and reach:
3: WARP Radio TTSL595,220 (634,294) hours: Cume 134,248 (129,855) - Down from first , lower listening, and higher reach:
4: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 527,466 (482,699): Cume 116,870 (114,753) - Down from third despite higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio TTSL 383,610 (366,634): Cume 66,683 (64,937) - Down from fourth despite higher listening and reach.
Arbitron's February top five channels, ranked by ATH (aggregate tuning hours) were:
1:Adult contemporary Virgin FM with ATH 893,500. First in January with ATH 958,000 (Note- Virgin had reporting difficulties during the month)
2: Jazz FM with ATH 826,200. Newcomer to Arbitron ratings.
3: Classical King FM with ATH 535,500 Same position as January when ATH was 581,400
4: Classical WQXR-FM with ATH 352,300. Same position as January when ATH was higher at 384,200
5: Listener-formatted MediAmazing with ATH343,400. Down from January second place when ATH was 778,100:
Arbitron's February top five networks were, ranked by ATH (Aggregate Tuning Hours):
1:Live 365 with ATH 6,148,800. Position unchanged but up from January 5,702,600 ATH.
2: Clear Channel Worldwide with ATH 3,483,700. Newcomer to Arbitron rankings.
3: ChainCast Networks/StreamAudio with ATH 2,073,800. Second in January with ATH 2,124,400.
4: SMG PLC (Virgin radio owners) with ATH 1,251,100. Third in January with ATH 1,336,100.
5: Public Interactive with ATH 853,600. Fourth in January with ATH 867,700.
Previous Arbitron webcast ratings.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Previous MeasureCast monthly ratings:
Arbitron web site:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-03-12: Scottish Media Group (SMG), which was to have released its annual results today, has delayed their publication until next week.
The reason given is that the release clashes with that of Aegis but city speculation is that it may be connected with last-minute negotiations of SMG's banking covenants.
SMG, whose holdings include Virgin Radio plus television stations and the Pearl & Dean cinema advertising company, is widely thought to be in breach of its current covenants because of its debt, said to be around GBP400 million, and may eventually be forced to dispose of some assets if the advertising market remains slow (See RNW Jan 24).
At the moment it is expected to agree new banking arrangements but at higher interest and maybe also a one-off penalty.
SMG has dismissed as nonsense a story in Scottish newspaper The Business that lenders had ordered a break-up of the company and says its publisher Andrew Neil, who is also publisher of the Scotsman, "has made no secret of his desire to run our newspapers."
The report said Virgin Radio was up for sale and that shareholder Granada had secured an option to buy the Border and Grampian ITV businesses
2002-03-12: Austereo, which has sold half of its interest in Newcastle radio stations NX-FM and KO-FM to RG Capital in an AUD12 million tie-up, is considering expanding its joint venture relationship with RG according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Austereo is to use the proceeds of the transaction for other acquisitions and will continue to be in chare of programming and marketing at the stations whilst RG Capital will assume operational control.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2002-03-12: British broadcaster Jazz Fm has ousted Virgin Radio from the top station spot on MeasureCast's monthly ratings for February, which have just been published but Warp Radio has maintained its lead in the network ratings.
In all MeasureCast's top ten networks streamed a total of 13.27 million hours in the month, up 2.15 million hours on the streaming they did in January. At the top of the channel rankings there was considerable shuffling and New York classical station WQXR-FM came back into the top five, pushing sports-format ESPN down to sixth place.
MeasureCast February top five channels ranked by TTSL with last month's TTSL and Cume (Cumulative Audience) in brackets were:
1): Jazz format Jazz FM TTSL 1,129,763 (1,043,490); CP 220,990 (213,791) - Up from second with listening and reach each up.
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 1,085,346 (1,061,430); CP 118,436 (122,835). Down from first despite increases in listening and reach.
3): Classical King FM (Seattle) TTSL 527,690 (585,378); CP 58,183 (61,372) - Up from third despite lower listening and reach.
4): Listener Formatted MediAmazing TTSL 441,435 (812,164); CP 162,075 (195,282) - Down from third with listening and reach each down.
5): Classical format WQXR-FM TTSL 401,962 (401,962); CP 36,885 (36,885): Sixth in January when MeasureCast published exactly the same listening and reach numbers (Believe it if you will?).
There were also changes in the top five networks with Radio Free Virgin coming in at three as a new entrant and SurferNetwork being knocked down from fourth to seventh.
MeasureCast's top five networks were (Previous rank and hours in brackets where applicable):
1:WARP Radio hours 2,506,269 (First with 2,877,453 hours);
2: StreamAudio network 2,352,317 hours (Same rank with 2,213,172 hours);
3: Radio Free Virgin 1,975,924 hours (New entrant to top five)
4:Virgin Radio1 hours 1,525,644 (Third with 460,181 hours);
5: JazzFM 1,129,763 hours (Fourth with 1,043,190 hours);
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Previous MeasureCast monthly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-03-11: Two new national radio services are on British airwaves today; one a former dance music AM now re-branded as sports talk and the other a new BBC digital service.
The new BBC station, the corporation's first new national music channel in more than 30 years, is 6 music, which opened at 0700 GMT with Phil Jupiter launching its breakfast show with "Burn Baby Burn", by the Irish pop-punk band Ash: The last BBC national music channel launch was that of of classical format Radio 3 in 1970 and of a pop channel was of Radio 1 on September 30, 1967, also at 0700, but with Tony Blackburn as the DJ and "Flowers in the Rain" by the Move.
6 music will air a mix of contemporary and classic pop and rock together with music news.
Linked with the radio broadcasts will be internet chatrooms run by the presenters, message boards, live chats with guest bands and artists and email and SMS together with a web cam of the studio.
6-music is soon to be followed by black music station 1Xtra, which is already broadcasting preview shows on BBC Radio 1 on Wednesdays at midnight.
The AM station is the former Atlantic 252 which has now been re-launched as TEAMtalk 252 following its takeover by Leeds-based TEAMtalk, best known for its sports news and services including premium sports phone lines, text messages and websites (See RNW Oct 12, 2001).
TEAMtalk will be in competition for audience with TalkSport, currently the only UK commercial sports-talk network, but it may soon face more competition on the medium wave band which is of interest because of the large area the signal covers and in which interest may be spurred by digital developments by Geneva-based Digital Radio Mondiale which would mitigate against some of the technical quality problems that AM faces compared to FM.
Already two new stations are planned, MusicMann and Delta 171, both based offshore and thus escaping UK ownership restrictions.
MusicMann, run by Isle of Man International Broadcasting, plans to invest some GBP12 million in getting to air from an offshore transmitter on 279KHz and Delta 171, based in the Netherlands, hopes to clear regulatory and planning hurdles to broadcast from a GBP30 million offshore facility.
Previous Digital Radio Mondiale:
2002-03-11: This week in our look at print cover of radio, we've opted for the theme of music, format and nostalgia, from the Los Angeles and New York Times newspapers
First in the east, a brief look at comment by Philip Glass in the New York Times on the decision by WNYC-FM, to switch daytime programming away from classical music to mainly culture and talk programmes(RNW Mar 9).
He notes that the proposals, despite a station policy of open meetings, were discussed at meeting closed to the public and suggests that the move will lead to WNYC becoming more like a commercial station, "responding to surveys, polls and advertiser."
This he suggest will lower standards, referring to the planned programming as "dismal" and commenting," At last count; about 40 radio stations in the region offer precisely this."
"Furthermore, WNYC is a non-profit cultural institution that does not sell time to advertisers. In any case, why should commercial radio be a model?"
"This move strikes me as a continuation of the dumbing down of America, which is already proceeding at an accelerated pace."
"Entertainment is seen as a value in and of itself. Virtually everything is measured by polls, from sports and politics to the arts. To lose ratings is the death knell for basketball players, politicians and pianists. Never mind what standards of quality and performance they set for themselves and the rest of us."
There was similar emphasis in comment regarding country music in a Los Angeles Times article by Steve Carney, which starts off," Country music radio is no longer discernible from pop, and station programmers are playing it safe while ignoring the genre's rich roots."
"That's not just the rant of some snobbish music purist, however, but the view expressed by some programmers and executives themselves."
He backs this up with comment from R.J. Curtis, program director at Los Angeles' KZLA-FM, who said, "Stations are gearing toward women in their 20s, 30s and 40s--to attract the advertisers that covet them--so running songs about cheatin', drinkin', drivin' a truck and goin' to jail "doesn't fit anymore. It's become more of an AC [adult contemporary] format."
Artists such as Shania Twain and Faith Hill, says the article, rule the airwaves, while Country Music Hall of Famers such as Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline can't crack the line-up.
Paul Allen, executive director of Country Radio Broadcasters Inc., the industry's trade group, commented that commercial radio nowadays was all about leasing its audience to advertisers which meant country radio is trying to sell more BMWs than pickup trucks.
"Country music now, I suppose, is the music of the suburbs," Allen added.
"It used to be blue-collar. Clearly country music doesn't want a working-class audience."
This view was shared by Grant Alden, co-editor of No Depression, a bimonthly magazine covering alternative country and Americana music; He commented, "Country radio is in a weird place. It severed itself from its traditional roots. It said, 'We don't want that audience anymore.'"
After which, a nostalgic article in the New York Times remembering the days when big AM stations were a potent force, also deserves a mention.
Commenting on the past of Musicradio 77, WABC, whose signal reached almost 40 states at night, Stephen Battaglio, writes, "Throughout the 1960's and 70's, WABC- AM (770) was the dominant top-40 radio station in the New York area, outlasting all of its local competitors."
"t's a challenge to find a baby boomer who grew up within reach of its 50,000-watt signal who does not recall the signature jingle sung to the tune of Rodgers and Hart's 'Manhattan.'"
"And with so many stations and formats available today, not to mention cable music channels and the Internet, it's hard to imagine a single radio outlet being as powerful as WABC was in its heyday."
"Getting a record onto the station's tight play list meant enormous exposure at a time when the British Invasion, Motown, the surf sound, soul, folk rock and other genres were changing pop music forever. WABC's share of the New York radio audience often topped 20 percent compared to an average of about 6 percent for today's highest-rated stations."
For those nostalgic enough to take a trip further down memory lane, he notes that, even though ABC switched the station to talk in 1982, three of its most popular personalities, Dan. Ingram, Harry Harrison and Bruce Morrow, known as Cousin Brucie, are heard on the New York oldies station, WCBS-FM, playing the hits they popularised in the 60s.
he also mentions the MusicRadio web site, started by Westchester County dentist, Allan Sniffen, which acts as an online shrine to the old WABC.
The rest of the article is worth a read for Beatles fans, as indeed is a Los Angeles Times item on "payola" n radio that has had quite a lot of reporting in radio trade magazines but space considerations dictate a close.
Los Angeles Times - Carney on Country music:
Los Angeles Times on payola:
MusicRadio web site:
New York Times - Battaglio:
New York Times -Glass:
2002-03-11: Looking at the Australian radio scene, the Sydney Morning Herald reports on not just the clash for audience and advertisers between newcomer DMG and its competitors, but also a different less-means-more business approach from DMG, which is headed by Paul Thompson, a former chief executive of Austereo, Australia's leading FM group.
Thompson's approach, reports the paper, could cut more deeply into the revenues of competitors Austereo and the Australian Radio Network (ARN) and than a direct comparison of market share would suggest.
According to Thompson, advertisers have been paying for dead space on his rivals airwaves because the placement of adverts in clusters of around eight interspersed with fairly lengthy spells of music puts many of those adverts into a limbo where many are ignored. Backed by research commissioned from the University of South Australia's Marketing Science Centre, Thompson says that people remember the first and last adverts in a block but ignore most of those in-between. The research showed around half recalling the first advert but by the time the fifth was reached only 4% could recall it; the last advert was recalled by around half of listeners.
Based on this DMG is working on a strategy of charging more per advert but running only around a third as much advertising as its competitors but limiting them to a maximum of two adverts in a break, thus improving the recall and also reducing the numbers who tune to another station during advertising breaks.
DMG is aggressively promoting the research but the Herald calculates that it will have to charge around double the industry norms to get a reasonable return on capital so far invested.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2002-03-10: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators with mainly routine licence action although the US Federal Communications Commission has now announced details concerning its various new reorganised bureaux.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has allocated a new commercial FM licence for North East Queensland to Rebel FM Stereo Pty Ltd, licensee of 4SUN.
The new service will cover the same area as 4SUN's existing FM service and will be broadcast from a main transmitter at Beaudesert, and from translators at Mt Tambourine and Kooralbyn.
In Canada, the main action by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) concerned extension of time limits for new services including:
*an extension until July for Celestial Sound to commence operation of services at Kirkland Lake, New Liskeard, and Sault Ste Marie, Ontario;
*a six month extension for Mix FM Inc., Lewisporte, Newfoundland and Labrador, to start a new service at Lewisporte; a six month extension for Gladstone Area Development Corporation (Gladco) Ltd. to start a new tourist information radio service at Gladstone, Manitoba;
*an extension until the end of this year for Standard Radio to implement a new English-language urban rhythm format FM station at a new Calgary, Alberta';
*and a one-year extension for Native Communication Inc., Thompson, Manitoba, to commence operation of new transmitters for CINC-FM, Thompson, at Brandon, Fox Lake and Lake Manitoba.
The Commission has also approved the acquisition of an existing Quebec service that distributes the programs of CITE-FM Montréal to Katinniq (Raglan Mine) by the Superintendent of Technical and Surface Services of Raglan Quebec Mines Ltd. and also various associated transmitter changes.
These are the reduction in power of its existing transmitter at Katinniq from 150 watts to 106 watts, addition of a 106 watts transmitter at Katinniq to distribute, in non-encrypted mode, the programming service of CFFB (CBC) Iqaluit, Nunavut, and addition of another 150 watts transmitter at Kilometre 38 to distribute, in non-encrypted mode, the programming of CITE-FM Montréal, Quebec.
Ireland was quiet but in the UK, the Radio Authority has pre-advertised the AM licence for North London currently held by Turkish Radio (UK) Ltd. Should there be no other interest, Turkish Radio will be invited to apply under the Authority's fast-track procedures. The Authority in connection with other UK broadcasters and regulatory bodies has also published the results of a survey into public attitudes to privacy and public service (See RNW ) and has also invited public interest comments concerning the application by Capital Radio (East Midlands) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Capital Radio plc, for the new East Midlands regional licence with a Capital Disney service directed at pre- and young teens in the region. This is required because the licence area overlaps the area of existing East Midlands regional FM service, Century 106, which is also owned by Capital Radio plc.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has announced that the reorganisation of its Media Bureau (formerly the Cable Services and Mass Media Bureaus); Wireline Competition Bureau (formerly Common Carrier Bureau); Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (formerly Consumer Information Bureau); International Bureau; Enforcement Bureau; Wireless Telecommunications Bureau; and Office of Legislative Affairs (formerly Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs) will go into effect on March 25. The FCC web site lists the principal staff of the new bureaux and also has releases concerning individual bureaux. The Commission also announced the launch of a new web site on the FCC's reform efforts.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
FCC "Reform" web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-03-09: Arbitron Inc has announced that six more Philadelphia radio stations have started to encode their signals to take part in the trial of the company's Portable People Meter (PPM). 44 radio stations, eight TV stations, and 22 cable networks in the Philadelphia market are now taking part in the second phase of the trial including the latest participants WAEB-FM, WCTO-FM, WKXW-FM, WLEV-FM, WRFY-FM and WZZO-FM. In all Arbitron has now recruited some 1,150 of its planned total of 1,500 people to wear the PPM for the trials.
Arbitron web site:
2002-03-09: New York public broadcasting station WNYC-FM has announced major programming changes that shift its daytime emphasis from classical music to news and "cultural" talk shows.
The widely anticipated changes (See RNW Feb 7) will take effect from April 8, when the station will resume separate broadcasts on its AM and FM frequencies and will also unveil a new web site. The changes will see five hours of classical music dropped from the daytime schedule. WNYC lost its transmitters in the September 11 World Trade Centre attacks and had been simulcasting an output that was mainly news and talk but a new transmitter has now been set up on the Condé Nast building at Times Square.
From April 8, WNYC-AM will resume its former news and information format during the week but will start its weekend classical music programming an hour earlier at 1900.
WNYC-FM will now have news from 0900 to noon, including National Public Radio's "Morning Edition"; formerly it began its classical output at 0900 with Steve Post's "Morning Music. Afternoons until 1600 will be mainly talk-format cultural programming but is to include a classical music programme including excerpts of music plus interviews from 1400-1500, and after 1600 it will revert to its former output of "All Things Considered" and "Marketplace" before commencing its classical music output at 1900 an hour earlier than before September.
The change will leave only one mainly classical music station in New York, the New York Times' commercial station WQXR-FM.
WNYC web site:
2002-03-09: Cumulus Media has announced that co-founder and former executive chairman Richard Weening has now left its board of directors, the last position he held with the company.
He is involved with new projects with his own Quaestus company that is mainly involved in new media activities but retains a large shareholding in Cumulus. In all Weening and Quaestus own some 2.3 million shares but many of these have extra voting power, giving Weening control of some 30% of Cumulus votes.
2002-03-08: UK Virgin Radio, which is owned by Scottish Media Group( SMG) ,has fired DJ Jon Holmes following a radio stunt in which he went into a hospital mental ward occupied by former pop star Adam Ant.
The stunt led to a complaint to the UK Radio Authority, which is expected to adjudicate on the matter next week.
Holmes had gone to the hospital after news that Ant had been committed to the mental ward following an incident with a gun. Virgin suspended him after the hospital criticised the action as a thoughtless media gimmick that threatened the health and safety of its patients.
Virgin's Programme Controller Paul Jackson has now written to the complainant saying, "I apologise for the harm that the broadcast could have caused and assure you that no such broadcast will take place again. We have also since removed Jon Holmes, the presenter responsible for this broadcast from Virgin Radio."
2002-03-08: Australia's dominant FM radio company, Austereo, has reported a net profit for the six months to December of AUD33.9 million, above forecasts for the period, but has also been cautious about the prospects for the full year and admitted that results for the first two months of this year were behind forecasts.
The company noted that in the period, metropolitan commercial radio in Australia was down by nearly 3% but adds that Austereo had a record high share of more than half market revenues. Executive Chairman, Peter Harvie praised the group's cost controls and development of new business such as its Austereo Live concert projects, adding a positive note that "commercial radio audiences have grown significantly, as has time spent listening. Radio is increasing in its relevance to audiences and advertisers alike."
Group Managing Director Brad March said that the relaunches at Austereo's Triple M reflected the changing market and the new programs would grow in strength across the year. "Austereo has continued to lead commercial radio creativity in Australia through the development of new talent and through the strength of our ongoing star line-up" he said
March said the company would see off the challenge from newcomer DMG and noted that Austereo's Sydney ratings had recovered as DMG's dropped following an initial surge.
As well as its Australian interests, Austereo said its Malaysian joint venture grew in strength, with the stations leading in most market performance areas, and taking more than 60% of the total radio advertising as Malaysian commercial radio rose as a percentage of total advertising spend.
It also reported an audience increase of more than half in Athens station Klik FM in which it took a 75% share in July 2001 (See RNW July 17, 2001), and early audience gains in UKRD stations that it had targeted for special programming attention. Austereo took a share in unlisted UKRD, which operated 15 UK stations in December 2000 (see RNW Dec 4, 2000)
Austereo site (links to six month figures - 340Kb PDF)
2002-03-08: US religious and family broadcaster Salem Communications has reported significant increases of 10.4% and 14.5% in same station revenues for the final quarter of 2001 but increased costs associated with the roll-out of its "Fish" Contemporary Christian stations has brought down overall broadcast cash flow.
For the final quarter of 2001, overall revenues were up from USD38.1million to USD39.3 million and for the year they were up from USD120.1 million to USD146.2 million but BCF was down from USD16,2 million to USD12,6 million for the quarter and from USD49.4 million to USD47.7 million for the year. Same station revenues for the year were up 9.6% and same station BCF for the year was up 10%.
Total EBITDA for the quarter was down from USD12.1 million to USD9.3 million but for the year it was up from USD31.98 million to USD32.69 million and after tax cash flow per share was down from 27cents to 22cents for the quarter and from 81cents to 76 cents for the year.
President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III commented, "Salem's fourth quarter and full-year results underscore the strength of our business model during a challenging economic period. We are especially pleased with our 10.4% same station revenue growth during the fourth quarter, which compares very favourably with the industry, which was down 8%. Our industry out-performance demonstrates the more consistent and dependable nature of our local spot advertising business, which is not nearly as volatile as general market retail spot business, the steady growth of our block programming revenues, as well as our developing Contemporary Christian Music radio stations."
For this year, Salem said same-station revenues were up 11.5% in January and it expected them to be up 12% in February and it expects first quarter same station revenue growth in the low double digits.
Atsinger continued, "We have to be pleased with Salem's first quarter growth outlook, which should represent one of the highest revenue growth rates in the industry. We successfully renewed over 90% of our block programming contracts for 2002 at an average increase of approximately 5% over 2001. In addition, our recently launched Contemporary Christian Music stations are experiencing strong ratings gains, as well as increased revenues and cash flows. Taken as a whole, Salem is well positioned for strong growth and we look forward to another record year."
Like other companies Salem has also reported on the likely impact Financial Accounting Standards (FAS) 142 that requires annual evaluation goodwill and intangible assets but unlike some of them it expects to gain as a result.
It reported, "As of December 31, 2001, the Company had net unamortized goodwill and broadcast licenses in the amount of USD14.2 million and USD323.8 million, respectively. The change in accounting policy will decrease amortization expense beginning in 2002 by approximately USD22 million annually."
"While this expense will no longer be reflected on future financial statements, it will continue to be deductible for tax purposes, resulting in an increase of Salem's annual deferred taxes of approximately USD9 million, which will positively impact cash flows."
Salem web site:
2002-03-07: Top ranked Chicago WBBM-AM morning news anchor Felicia Middlebrooks is now off the air following a pay dispute with Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting.
Her contract ended on Tuesday and her agent said she was seeking a "substantial increase" for Middlebrooks who has been at the station for 18-years and whose show with Pat Cassidy topped the Arbitron fall ratings with an 8.8% share.
In a memo distributed to colleagues, Middlebrooks said management's first and only proposal was a 1.5 percent pay increase in the first year of a new contract, adding, "Among nearly all morning-drive on-air Chicago talent in the Top 10 [stations], I have the greatest seniority--and I'm one of the lowest paid.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Rod Zimmerman, vice president and general manager of WBBM, said the 1.5 percent figure cited by Middlebrooks was off the mark, and too low, but he declined to detail the station's proposal.
"We feel we made a fair-market offer," he added. "She's the highest-paid radio news anchor in America, and I know because Infinity owns all the all-news radio stations in the Top 10 markets."
Chicago Tribune Report:
2002-03-07: UK Jazz FM has reported radio revenues up 9% and overall revenues up 15% to GBP4.5 million in the six months to the end of December.
Enterprise sales including Ds rose by a fifth and now account for more than three-fifths of the company's revenues.
Operating profit before digital costs was up from GBP65, 000 to GBP105, 000 but losses from digital operations took the bottom line to a loss of GBP181, 000 for the half-year compared to a profit of GBP60, 000 for the last six months of 2000.
Previous Jazz FM:
2002-03-07: Two more radio deals in the US, the biggest in Palm Beach, Florida, where Adult Contemporary WRMF-FM is being sold for USD 70 million by James Crystal Enterprises to Palm Beach Broadcasting LLC, a new company headed by veteran radio manager Mike Cuchall.
The deal will leave Crystal, who acquired WRMF from Clear Channel n 1998, with four AM's in the area.
In Oregon, Entercom is reported to be expanding its regional cluster around Portland with an agreement to buy KCBZ-FM from Broad Spectrum Communications. No price details have yet been released.
2002-03-07: More than 90% of Britons believe that children have a virtually absolute right to privacy according to a new report by a Leeds University team. They also felt that no matter what someone has done, or who they are, the media should not impinge on the lives of their children.
The finding was one of the results reported in "The Public Interest, the Media and Privacy", which was commissioned by the British Broadcasting Corporation; the Broadcasting Standards Commission; the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services; the Independent Television Commission; the Institute for Public Policy Research and The Radio Authority
For the report, Professor David E. Morrison and Michael Svennevig spoke to media professionals, eight focus groups and more than a thousand individuals.
Their survey was conducted between July and September last year, and to clarify the principles which underline people's judgements of privacy against the public's interest several scenarios were discussed in contexts that ranged from the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the wedding disaster in Jerusalem to foods sold in supermarkets that have been contaminated or a sex offender living in the UK under a new identity.
Apart from the very strong feeling that children's privacy should be inviolable (56% strongly agreeing, 35% agreeing, 4% neutral, 3% disagreeing and % strongly disagreeing) there was a generally strong support for the idea of individual privacy but at the same time a feeling that those who chose to be celebrities or who were in important positions had to accept some intrusion into their personal lives. There was also a seemingly contradictory acceptance that sometimes it is "better for a few people to be upset than to stop important issues being covered fully by the media." The researchers put this down to people accepting that there could be exceptions to rules.
As with previous research, tabloid newspaper were though most likely to intrude into people's privacy and radio least likely amongst the traditional media although Internet chat rooms and news pages were given an even cleaner bill of health.
On the matter of "public interest" there was no agreement on exactly what the phrase meant although people understood the distinction between this and what people were interested in and were described as "quite cynical" about incidents where the media overstepped regulatory guidelines in an attempt to create interest.
UK Radio Authority news release (Links to full report -126 page, 400 kb PDF)
2002-03-06: The long-standing dispute between XM Satellite Radio and the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) over XM's use of terrestrial repeaters that NAB alleges are part of an attempt to build a national radio network, has taken a new turn with the disclosure that XM has obtained a patent on technology that would allow it to provide local advertising and programming through its terrestrial repeater network.
NAB has filed a response with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking that the renewal of special temporary authority for the repeaters, granted in September 2001 and due to expire on March 18, should not be extended without XM specifically showing that each repeater is needed to fill in where there is a gap in satellite distribution. It also asks that there should be no permanent licence of any repeater other than on the same conditions.
NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts issued a statement saying, "We are astonished to learn that XM Radio has secretly acquired a patent that will allow the company to provide local radio programming through its extensive terrestrial repeater network.
"This development indicates that the FCC International Bureau has either dropped the ball, or that XM believes it does not have to play by the rules. Regardless, XM's lack of candour suggests it is time for Chairman Powell and the individual FCC Commissioners to put a halt to this ruse of a terrestrial repeater network."
XM spokesman Charles Robbins said that the NAB demands were something they already agreed with, adding, "Going back to 1997, we have consistently agreed we are a national satellite radio broadcaster. We have no intention of doing anything but a national satellite radio broadcast. We are not broadcasting locally and will not."
He said the patent application had been made because it was part of the normal routine with intellectual property
NAB web site:
XM Web site:
2002-03-06: Australian radio, already seeing the formation of an extra national FM network by DMG, may now get an additional national AM network in the shape of WorldAudio, which is planning to raise AUD6.5 million and go for a public listing on the Australian stock exchange.
It would make the move through a reverse takeover of listed company International Media Management and issue some 32.5 million shares at 20 cents each.
WorldAudio owns some 45 licences that cover every capital city and most large regional centres in Australia and its first station is already on air in Sydney. It now plans to spend some AUD10 million on establishing a network of some 30 Am stations over the next two years.
2002-03-06: Saga Communications has reported a 3% fall in radio revenues in the final quarter of last year compared to 2000 Q4 to USD23.7 million but a full year rise of 4% to USD93 million. Overall Saga's net income for the year was USD8.6 million (51 cents per diluted share), 1% down on its record 2000 figure of USD8.7 million (52 cents per diluted share), net revenues were up from USD102 million to USD104 million (radio revenues were up 4% to USD93 million) and Broadcast Cash Flow (BCF) was down from USD39.3 million to USD37.3million (radio BCF was down 1% to USD34.7 million).
The fourth quarter fall was put down mainly to the effects of the September 11 attacks and took overall net revenues for the quarter down by 4.1% to USD26.9 million and BCF down 14.1% to USD9.7 million whilst in the first nine months net revenues were down by 1.1% and BCF was down 1.9%.
On a same station basis net revenues for the final quarter were down 3.2% from USD28.1 million to USD25.5 million and BCF was down 5.8% from USD11.3 million to USD9.6 million.
For the full year same station revenues rose from USD97.1 million to USD100.3 million but BCF dropped from USD 39.1 million to USD36.8 million.
Saga web site:
2002-03-06: Internet listening recorded by MeasureCast dipped again last week, falling by 1% compared to a 4% fall in the previous week. MeasureCast also announced that Entercom is the latest radio network to subscribe to its service.
In the rankings two stations were ousted from the top five -listener-formatted MediAmazing, which fell from fourth to seventh and sports-talk ESPN, which dropped form fifth to 12th.
For the week to February 24, the top five by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets, were:
1: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 301,033 (308,508); CP 83,834 (82,583): Up from second with listening down but reach up.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 262,783 (238,704); CP 42,669 (42,562): Same position but listening and reach up.
3: Classical format King FM - TTSL 127,627 (121,222); CP 23,004 (22,791): Same position but listening and reach up.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM, New York - TTSL 91,525 (73,519 ); CP 15,012 (13,713): Up from seventh with higher listening and reach.
5: Rock format Internet-only station KNAC - TTSL 70,824 (80,189): CP 14,207 (14,488): Up from sixth despite lower listening up and slightly lower reach.
MeasureCast's top five streaming networks the week to February 24 were (Previous week's figures in brackets):
1:WARP Radio TTSL 634,294 (680,405) hours: Cume 129,855 (128,959) - Same position, lower listening, and higher reach:
2: StreamAudio network TTSL 499,208 (673,961) : Cume 90,304 (94,209) - Same position, lower listening and reach:
3: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 482,699 (478,165): Cume 114,753 (107,923) - Same position, higher listening and reach.
4: Virgin Radio TTSL 366,634 (478,165): Cume 64,937 (66,421) - Same position, lower listening and reach.
5: Jazz FM TTSL 301,033 (308,508) : Cume 83,834 (82,583)- Same position, lower listening and higher reach.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-03-05: The fight for the Sydney breakfast talk show audience has now started in earnest with Alan Jones, now ensconced at 2GB and Steve Price, formerly from 3AW in Melbourne, in Jones' former seat at 2UE.
Not unnaturally Jones, who dominated the ratings when at 2UE and whose format was near identical to that at his former station, claimed victory over his rival.
In financial terms he certainly did well for his paymasters according to the Sydney Morning Herald, which reports that 2GB claims to have written USD6 million in extra advertising business since news of Jones's arrival broke three weeks ago; it has doubled the charge for some advertisement spots.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2002-03-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has red-flagged another planned Clear Channel acquisition on ownership concentration grounds.
This time it's the planned purchase of WDAK-AM and WSTH-FM in Columbus, Georgia, from Solar Broadcasting.
Clear Channel already owns seven of the 19 stations in the market.
Cumulus had attempted to buy the same stations in 1999, when it owned a cluster of six Columbus stations that it has since sold to Clear Channel but was also turned down.
Previous Clear Channel:
2002-03-04: For this week's look at print comment on radio, we have chosen to take one item on technology and then concentrate on the big companies, Clear Channel - which was featured in the Los Angeles Times in a critical article and Arbitron and Infinity which are locking horns over ratings fees in a Media Life magazine report.
The technology is digital radio, where the lead player is iBiquity Digital which is promoting a different system for the US that already in use in Europe and Canada, and which was the subject of a Chicago Tribune report by Raoul V. Mowatt.
From a non-US perspective, the article seems chauvinistic in content and rather lightweight in intellect, being more PR for iBiquity than a considered analysis of digital radio prospects in the US. Nevertheless it contained some useful information, one being a cost estimate that the cost of a digital receiver for an automobile would be only around 20 per cent more than a conventional stereo; that figure if true, should spur take-up and is a much lower additional cost than for digital systems in the UK.
iBiquity, which announced its rollout plans at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January, will first test the waters in six markets - Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
Next Clear Channel, subject of a Los Angeles Times article by Jeff Leeds that is far more critical. It carries allegations that Clear Channel is bullying artists and skirting ownership rules.
Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of the watchdog organization Media Access Project, commented, "Our worst fears have been realized."
"A lot of the things Clear Channel is doing are the traditionally questionable industry practices, now on steroids."
Amongst practices some have alleged are those of refusing artists air play on the organisation's radio stations unless they used Clear Channel's concert arm to promote their tours and the widespread use of voice- tracking in which centrally produced programming is given a local feel through sophisticated editing in which "local" comment for many smaller market is given by the remote DJ and spliced into the segments of the show for a particular market.
Clear Channel defends the practice as effective both for cash flow and ratings. Its executive VP and CFO Randall Mays subsequently told Radio Ink "ultimately we believe that voicetracking allows us to put a better product, a more tailored product, and a higher quality product on the air-and that's the only reason we're doing it."
Not so according to some competitors quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
"They're making radio into spoon-fed generic" junk, said Mike Spencer, who programs rival pop station KLUC-FM in Las Vegas. "They're turning listeners off. It gives listeners one more reason not to listen to radio but to turn on their computer or use CDs."
RNW comment: In as far as it is not misleading listeners-and the Times did note that Clear Channel was fined USD 80,000 in for misleading radio listeners into thinking that a national contest was local - we can see the economic sense in voice-tracking.
We can also, of course, see the commercial sense in using clout from one division to force the best deals for a company but should this step over the line into unfair abuse of position as is alleged in terms of coercing acts to play in station promotional concerts at artificially low rates then we feel the only answer to such commercial abuse of power would be immediate and harsh curbing action by the authorities such as very large fines and revocation of licences.
We can't see that happening in the current climate in the US, where Clear Channel has strong links to a Bush administration that seems to favour loose or no regulation of big business, but will be interested to see if anything comes out of a call by Democrat Howard L. Berman, a senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, for the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission to investigate some of the allegations concerning Clear Channel using its radio clout against stars that have not used its concert promotions division.
Finally a case where the fighting is between big players themselves; in this case Arbitron and Infinity are at loggerheads over the renewal of ratings contracts and like Clear Channel last year, Infinity has carried the fight right up to the last moment,
Writing in Media Life, Gabriel Spitzer says that insiders put the dispute down to Infinity's bid to get favourable terms from Arbitron. Already Infinity cannot use the first phase of the interim Arbitrends reports (See RNW Feb 23) and if no agreement is reached by April, Infinity will not be able to use the winter 2002 ratings in its promotions or when negotiating with media buyers,
"I would assume that they're using the same ploy that Clear Channel did: Give us a better deal or we won't re-up with you," says Warren Edelman, partner and local broadcast manager at Mindshare.
Both sides, points out the article have good reasons to settle but at the same time Infinity, which accounts for around 10% of Arbitron's income thus has significant financial leverage, and Arbitron, fearing similar ploys from other radio groups will want to avoid setting precedents unfavourable to itself for future negotiations with them.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Randall Mays:
Chicago Tribune on digital radio:
Los Angeles Times on Clear Channel:
Media Life on Arbitron-Infinity:
Radio Ink web site:
2002-03-03: The story last week was of activity everywhere but nothing startling on the licence front.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has awarded two new commercial FM licences in Tasmania to the current holders of AM licences for the areas, Burnie and Scottsdale (See RNW Feb 27).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved a number of new community radio stations and various licence amendments.
The new Community stations, all Native Type B English FM stations will be at Kispiox, British Columbia for Kispiox First Nations Community Radio; at Sydney, Nova Scotia for the Memberton First Nation; and at Forteau, Newfoundland and Labrador, for Northern Lights Community Radio.
The latter two applications were made on behalf of corporations yet to be incorporated
Each station will broadcast a mix of languages.
In the case of Kispiox First Nations Community Radio it will broadcast 25 hours of local programming each broadcast week of which 20 hours will be in English and five in Gitxsan and will also offer 15 hours of musical programming of which 30% will be performed or composed by Natives.
The Memberton First Nation station will broadcast 126 hours of local programming a week of which 6 hours will be in Micmac; It will offer 100 hours of musical programming of which 33% will be performed or composed by Natives.
Northern Lights Community Radio also plans to offer 126 hours of programming each week. This will include 12 hours a day of locally produced programmes weekdays and eight hours per day on Saturday and Sunday. The remaining 50 hours will be made up of network or pre-recorded programming.
The Commission has also approved a number of power changes for Image Wireless Communications in Saskatchewan.
They are made up a transmitter re-location and decrease in power from 18 watts to 7 watts for its MDS (multi-point distribution system) in North Battleford; a transmitter relocation and power increase from 13 watts to 40 watts for its MDS in Lloydminster; a transmitter relocation and power increase from 15 watts to 17 watts for its MDS in Swift Current and a transmitter relocation and power increase from 22 watts to 27 watts for its MDS in Stranraer.
There were no opposing interventions in any of these cases.
In Ontario the CRTC has approved a power increase for Rogers Broadcasting station CISS-FM, Toronto, from 4,700 watts to 9,870 watts; Rogers said this was necessary to minimize the level of co-channel interference caused to CISS-FM by WBEE (FM) Rochester, New York, as well as to improve the quality of the station's local signal east and west of Toronto.
Objections were raised by CKMW Radio Limited, which was concerned that the power increase would increase the market dominance of Rogers and the coverage area of CISS to the detriment of smaller operations such as itself.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now advertised the second group of franchise areas in the current licensing process for existing local services.
They include two new licences, each low power special interest AM services, one for Galway and the other for Limerick. Commenting on these, BCI chairperson Conor J. Maguire said, "We are leaving it open to the applicants to indicate the type of special interest service proposed. However, the Commission will have regard to the quality, range and type of programmes to be provided and the extent to which these will add to the diversity of services already provided by existing operators in the Limerick and Galway areas."
The other licences, all being re-advertised are for FM services in Clare, Counties Carlow/Kilkenny, County Kildare, County Wexford, Galway City & County, Mayo, and Waterford City & County.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has been active on the analogue and digital front. On the former, it announced that it had received six applications for a new small scale FM licence for the Worthing area of West Sussex.
They were from:
Southdown Radio Ltd - proposing a mix of music and local information
Splash Fm Ltd - proposing a music led full service station for 35-54 age group
WBC (WBC Radio For Worthing Ltd.) - proposing an easy listening station for 35 plus audience.
Worth FM Radio Ltd - proposing a classic hits and information station for 25-44 age group.
Worthing Radio Ltd - Proposing information and sport service within broad music mix.
YWFM (West Sussex Radio Ltd.) Proposing a community focussed station combining news and popular music.
On the digital front, the Authority has now advertised the regional digital multiplex for Yorkshire.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has yet again slapped down another attempt by convicted child molester Michael Rice (See RNW Oct 5, 2001) to gain a review of the revocation of the licences of his companies.
It has also ruled in the case of a Pennsylvania construction permit in Hattiesburg that was won by Abundant Life Inc. that it has to forfeit the CP because it failed to submit the final auction payment. It has also said that Abundant Life must still pay the relevant USD 52,000 sum and ruled against Abundant Life's argument that, pending a case in which a loser in the auction, Unity Broadcasting, is attempting to have the auction winning bid overturned.
To rub salt into the wounds, the FCC has also told Unity that if it submits a fifth of its previous high bid, it will be awarded the CP.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-03-03: CHUM's radio sports network in Canada, which launched in May last year (See RNW May 5, 2001)ago with the Toronto Blue Jays as one of its promoted attractions, has dropped the team after one year of its three-year deal according to the Toronto Globe and Mail.
The paper says CHUM's network, The Team, is losing the battle against rival Toronto sports station the FAN, and opted to exercise an escape clause in its contract.
The Fan was bought last year by Rogers Communications, although the deal has not yet received regulatory approval.
Rogers also owns the Jays and the FAN was expected to eventually pick up the cover in line with Rogers' strategy pf vertical integration of the club with its TV sport channel and redo network.
When the FAN launched in 1992, it owned the rights to the Jays, but lost money on the broadcasts and eventually a new management dropped them( See RNW Nov 19. 2000).
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2002-03-02: Yet again it's a tale of higher overall revenues for the year but lower revenues for the final quarter in the US radio results releases, this time from Kentucky-based Regent Communications.
For the full 2001 year, Regent's net broadcast revenues were up 21.9% on 2000 to USD53.7 million, and BCF was up 9.2% to USD15.2 million whilst same station revenues, excluding barter, were up 5.2%.
The increases were fuelled by acquisitions and Regent had a net loss for the year of USD 1.713 million compared to a profit of USD 13.852 million.
For the fourth quarter, everything was down apart from losses. Net broadcast revenues were down 3.9% to USD13.7 million, BCF was down 29.3% to USD3.4 million and losses nearly doubled, up from USD1.3 million to USD 2.2million whilst same station revenues were down 8.7% to USD11.5 million and same station BCF was down 18.5% to USD3.7 million.
Looking ahead, Regent says it expects first quarter 2002 reported revenues and broadcast cash flow of approximately USD12.8-USD13.1 million and USD2.5-USD2.7 million, respectively. Based on continued weakness in the overall advertising environment, it expects same station revenues to be flat to down 5% in the first quarter of 2002.
Regent expects to report a loss per share of approximately 2 cents for the first quarter of 2002.
Terry Jacobs, Chairman and CEO commented, "Our 2001 financial results underscore Regent's long-term operational focus combined with the strength of our local brands. Despite a challenging advertising environment, we outperformed the radio industry as a whole in 2001 while continuing to invest in our stations."
"These investments provide us with a competitive advantage when overall advertising rebounds and position us for above average revenue and cash flow growth."
"In fact, while visibility remains limited in the near-term, we still expect to report positive revenue and cash flow growth in full-year 2002 based on the strong ratings of our established properties and continued improvements in our start-up and developing stations."
Regent like other US companies has to make adjustments to its accounting procedures under Financial Accounting Standards (FAS) 142 which requires an annual evaluation goodwill and intangible assets and says that this will be done fully in the first quarter of this year.
it says the change will have no effect on "Regent's real earnings potential or cash flows" adding that "Prior to the implementation of FAS 142, Regent would have expected a comparable amount of amortization expense in the 2002 year."
RNW comment: The effect of this rules change in the current economic climate is that companies can no longer obfuscate so much of the drop in value of assets they bought at overvalued prices.
It will particularly hit companies with exposure to say assets that are now worth much less or in some dot.com cases virtually worthless. They will now have to put these assets into their books at current value rather than writing off the loss over a number of years.
Whilst the change may have no impact on the actual cash coming into the door, it certainly changes the position concerning debt ratings and the willingness of banks to loan money to companies whose asset values have plummeted,
Expect therefore, some companies to end up paying a lot more to service their debt, thus significantly affecting net income and cash flow.
Regent web site:
2002-03-02: Yet again only one complaint against British radio was upheld by broadcasting watchdog, the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) in its February bulletin, the same number as in January.
In all the Commission lists 107 complaints compared to 89 in January, seven of them concerning fairness (5 in January) and 102 concerning standards (84 in January).
Of the seven fairness complaints, one against radio was upheld and of the other six against TV, two were upheld, two upheld in part and two not upheld.
The fairness complaint against radio that was upheld concerned an Isle of Wight radio report suggesting that The Vanguard Alliance Limited was being investigated for fraud. The station, said the Commission, had relied on a newspaper report that did not allege fraud and had further not made enough efforts to contact the Alliance for its comments.
Of the 102 "Standards" complaints, 86 were against TV and 16 against radio, five complaints against TV being upheld and two resolved with the remainder not upheld and 16 were against radio of which one was upheld, two resolved and the other 13 not upheld.
The upheld complaint against radio involved TalkSport and a September programme in which presenter Alan Brazil had suggested that a ship containing asylum seekers should be sunk. The station responded by saying that the comments had been intended as light-hearted banter and that as the programme was then going to a break before the news he did not have time to correct any mistaken impression. It added that he had been told to be more careful in future.
The Commission noted the action but held that the comments had exceeded acceptable boundaries.
The resolved complaints in the case of radio involved a spoof call on Rock FM which a listener considered mocked people suffering from Tourette's Syndrome (Attention Deficit Disorder) and another against GWR, Bristol, concerning a graphic description of the death of child murder victim James Bulger.
In both cases, the stations were held to have taken appropriate action to ensure that there would be no repetition.
Previous BSC Complaints Bulletin:
BSC web site (Note: This is a 'Flash' site: It links to the report in PDF format-118kb):
2002-03-02: The draft of the new UK Communications Bill is expected to be published on April 26 according to the chairman of the UK Radio Authority, Richard Hooper.
He gave the date for the bill, which is expected to indicate a relaxation of media ownership rules and prompt a run of mergers, at a conference hosted by a broking company.
At the other end of the UK radio spectrum, the first of 15 non-profit "Access" stations (similar to US Low Power FM Stations) have now started broadcasting in Britain. Three stations Angel Community Radio of Havant, Hampshire; Bradford Community Broadcasting and Cross Rhythms City Radio, Stoke on Trent, are now on air.
Hooper commented that the new stations represented a "pioneering experiment in not-for-profit radio" that, if successful, could lead to a new tier of stations across the UK that would find "new ways of harnessing the medium to serve local communities."
Previous UK Radio Authority:
2002-03-02: The US administration has given tentative approval for the idea of setting up a radio transmitter in the Kurdish enclave in Iraq or in Iran to allow the Iraqi opposition to start broadcasts to encourage opposition to Saddam Hussein according to the New York Times.
The paper cites State Department officials as saying that the idea cannot be supported unless "the Kurds or Iranians agree." The move is just the latest in a Bush administration effort to step up broadcasting propaganda in various areas of the world.
The US is already spending some USD400, 000 a month supporting satellite television broadcasts by the Iraqi opposition although they can only be seen by Iraqis who have satellite dishes and are prepared to risk action against them by the Iraqi authorities. It also transmits short wave radio to Iraq but these also have a more limited audience than would the proposed new FM transmitter that would be able to reach central Iraq including Baghdad.
It recently approved Radio Afghanistan, which began broadcasting towards the end of February under the auspices of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty(RFE/RL).
In addition the Voice of America (VOA), which last month celebrated its 60th anniversary, has also increased its service to various areas including Afghanistan and the Middle East.
New York Times report:
RFE/RL web site:
VOA Web site:
2002-03-02: One of US public radio most respected backroom figures, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) Vice President Richard H. Madden has died of brain cancer aged 56. He had been diagnosed with brain cancer in December 2000.
Madden joined the CPB from Ohio University's public broadcasting complex in 1983 and three years later founded the CPB Radio Program Fund.
For the rest of his 18-year CPB career he oversaw distribution of the agency's public radio spending giving gave seed and expansion money to shows such as Fresh Air, Marketplace, Talk of the Nation, This American Life and NPR's newsmagazines and also nurturing and encouraging numerous independent producers. He was known for travelling the country to drop in on producers, visit stations and scout new talent and Current Magazine in its obituary says he once noted that few other grant makers would, as he once did, find themselves shovelling snow at a public radio outpost in Barrow, Alaska, the country's northernmost city.
In a tribute to Madden, National Public Radio (NPR) President Kevin Klose commented, "Rick loved new ideas and worked ceaselessly to nurture them."
"Thousands of men and women in public radio and millions of listeners have been touched by his innovative ideas and constant push for progress. He told us, 'Think as big as you can,' and his vision will continue to shape the landscape of public broadcasting."
Madden's changes were not universally welcomed, however, in particular the 1995 addition of ratings or fundraising criteria to determine which stations would be eligible for station grants. This led to some stations dropping lower audience programmes to increase ratings and, in a profile that Current Magazine published when he Madden was given a Murrow Award in 2001, Marty Durlin, general manager of KGNU in Boulder and co-organizer of Grassroots Radio Conferences in recent years, commented. "Rick Madden's priorities in dispensing CPB funds have been skewed for the past decade toward big stations and large public radio entities--and away from small, local, efficient community stations."
Current Magazine (Links to obituary and May 2001 profile)
2002-03-01: Florida DJ Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) and three co-defendants have been cleared by a jury of charges of animal cruelty in connection with a stunt in which a wild boar was castrated and killed in the car park of Clear Channel's WXTB-FM in February of last year.
The jury of four men and two women took less than two hours to reach its verdict. The prosecution had claimed that the boar suffered needless pain and a cruel death while being killed for the ``listening pleasure of the audience.''
Lawyers for the four defendants said the hog was castrated and slaughtered in accordance with accepted practices by hunters and called wildlife experts to testify that feral hogs were considered a nuisance and a danger and commonly hunted. They also testified that castration before the killing was a common practice which hunters believed improved the meat, although there was no scientific proof of this.
During his testimony, Clem wore a suit and was on his best behaviour.
He admitted to abusing callers to his radio show and staging various stunts but also presented himself as a humanitarian, saying he collected Christmas toys for needy children through allowing toy givers a glimpse of topless women. He also said that his regular "penis talk" radio show segment helps callers diagnose serious health problems and said that the "road kill barbecue" during which the boar was killed had the social purpose of displaying "where we get our meat and how we get it."
He also admitted that in this case the board was castrated so that one of the other men participating in the stunt could eat the testicles raw.
Previous Clear Channel:
2002-03-01: The BBC is to make a week's worth of its longest-running drama, the Radio 4 soap opera "The Archers" available on demand on the Internet.
The innovation will begin on the afternoon of Monday March 4 after the 1415 GMT broadcast of the programme.
BBC Radio 4 controller Helen Boaden commented, "I'm delighted that fans of The Archers - including myself - will now be able to keep up with the events in Ambridge even if we miss an episode or are out of the country. I'm particularly pleased that people who miss the episodes broadcast on Friday nights will no longer have to wait for the Sunday omnibus to find out what happened."
Archers web site:
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